Category Archives: Residents

Collingtonians Join Tibetan Prayers for Worldwide Peace

mandala 3On Sunday morning I did something rather unusual.  I joined 2 other Collingtonians and went to the Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda.  I was motivated by the opportunity to participate in a spiritual experience that was offered by the Tibetan Buddhist Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery.  The Monastery was reestablished in South India by escapee monks after the Chinese invaded Tibet and killed or imprisoned others.

The monks, endorsed by the Dalai Lama, are touring the country to promote world peace and healing.  At Cedar Lane they laid down millions of vibrantly colored grains of sand to create a mandala sand painting. Formed of a traditional prescribed iconography that includes geometric shapes and a multitude of ancient spiritual symbols, the sand-painted mandala is used as a tool for re-consecrating the earth and its inhabitants.  The monks constructed the mandala between August 23rd and and August 26th.

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The day included an incredibly moving ceremony that included blessings, chanting, a guided meditation, gleanings from ancient and contemporary wisdoms, and a dedication prayer.

 

Perhaps most moving for me was the deconstruction of the mandala. This was done as a metaphor of the impermanence of life. The sands were swept up and placed in an urn. To fulfill the function of healing, half was distributed to the congregation while the remainder was carried to Rock Creek where it was deposited. The waters then carried the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.  I can say that this was a once in a lifetime experience for me and that it was both mystical and transforming.  The grains of sand I received will always be a reminder of the preciousness of each moment of this fleeting life of mine.

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If you would like more information or would like to see their schedule you can visit their website at https://www.mysticalartsoftibet.org

 

The Collington Pool Table

Note: Thanks, Marian Fuchs, for this great piece.

It’s a fairly sure bet that there are some residents who do not know about a little gem of a room nestled behind some glass cases, behind the library.  The room has a good carpet, some rather inappropriate autumn-leaf wallpaper, and, as of 18 August 2017, a new piece of equipment as lovely in its way as our new grand piano in the auditorium.

What’s the place and what’s the new addition?

The place is the Billiards Room, and the new addition is a magnificent pool table that has to be seen to be believed.  Go see for yourself!

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The table replaces an old one, purchased a decade and a half ago with funds from the woodshop and the hill top garden. Curtis Langford coordinated choosing and purchasing the table.  After 14 years of use, the table needed refurbishing as the rubber on the banks hardened and the cloth wore in ways that the balls no longer rolled true.   The regular players, both from the men’s games and the women’s games, got together to identify and fund a replacement.  The Woodshop provided the bulk of the funds; a handful of residents added to the total, and the old table got a $700 trade in.

The installation was a critical element, according to Bill Colby.  Two highly skilled men worked for five hours to put the table together.  Two hours alone were required to level the three pieces of slate that form the table’s surface. The level the technician used was so sensitive that it detected a dollar bill under one end. The felt, railings, and pockets were added at the end.

There’s another surprise:  the felt is blue. Research shows that blue is the best color for ‘old eyes’, and people with any vision problems.  The table has carved legs, and its pockets are little works of art, replete with fringes and a patterned basket to catch the balls.

At the same time as getting a new table, the company who did the restoration included new balls (resin this time, instead of lighter plastic). Everything is in place for better games and matches!

.The table inauguration

Regular players and some friends gathered in the Pool Room at lunchtime on August 18 to inaugurate the new table.   Marvell Adams was invited to make the first break at the table.  He told the group that he was really nervous. Who wouldn’t be, when inaugurating something that cost almost $1700 after the trade in?   Marvell made a good, hard shot, and the balls scattered all over the table.

Denny Klass, who arranged the inauguration, asked different people to speak about the evolution of billiards at Collington.   Some of the old timers (Herb Anderson and Curtis Langford) remembered the struggles to keep the little room secure for pool. But now, Denny pointed out, playing was becoming more and more popular.  About a dozen men play regularly, and in recent months a group of women (six to ten of them) have started playing.   You can see some of the current players in the people line-up at the end of the article.

Denny also said that the table is a ‘magnet for grandchildren’, and explained that the players were putting together some rules for play by teenagers. The group is looking for more growth; you are invited to visit, look, and stay to play! Most of the current players had not played for many years before they came to Collington, and several are learning the game for the first time.

Who are the current players?

Here are just some of them, and they’re waiting to welcome you.

 

 

 

Collington Resident Joan Zorza Honored For Domestic Violence Work

As described in the Summer 2017 issue of BC Law, Collington resident, my wife Joan, was given one of the five Law Day awards this year by Boston College Law School for her lifetime of dedicated work in domestic violence and sexual assault.  She saved thousands.

Here is the video of her being introduced for the Hon. David S. Nelson Public Interest Law Award and her speech.  (I apologize for the quality of the video at the beginning.  It gets much better at about 2 min, 25 secs.)

Collington Corridor Artists

Fabric Art by Jacob Kijne

Every few months the corridors of Collington’s main building are the site for a new exhibit of art work done by residents. These shows will be featured on the website as they occur.   This summer, one corridor is the site of a show of fabric art by resident Jacob Kijne.  

Jacob, an irrigation engineer and soil scientist, started creating fabric art when he was living and working in Lahore, Pakistan.   He bought a sewing machine, and had his secretary translate the manual from Urdo.  Inspired by the ready availability of local fabrics, he made his first piece, Sunflowers, shown in the exhibit and center below.

When he moved to Sri Lanka to become Research Director of the International Water Management Institute in Colombo, there were more great fabrics available, and also some great scenery that inspired a number of wall hangings.

 

 

In retirement Jacob married for the second time, and spent over a decade consulting on water issues to several developing countries, based first in a small home north of London, and then condos in Washington DC.   Some of the hangings he made during these years are also in the show.

 

Above left is a view of the houses in the Dupont Circle area;  Jacob had a view similar to this from the window of his office/work room in the one-bedroom condo he lived in when first coming to Washington.  Above right is a hanging commissioned by his wife Marian Fuchs (also now a Collington resident);  she wanted something in the colors of the great room of their home in England.  

After some time, the couple moved to a larger condo in the heart of downtown DC.  This home had lots of windows, and not very much wall space.  So Jacob made a series of long, thin wall hangings to display between the tall, thin windows.  Here are some on display in the Collington corridor this summer, show here sideways.

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This wall hanging was made after attending an exhibit at the Textile Museum a few years ago. The show was called Kuba Textiles and the Woven Art of Central Africa.  The mats, blankets and baskets were all done in shades of beige and black or dark brown, and were a feast for the eyes of intricate abstract patterns.. 

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This piece is called ‘Red Squares’.  The fabrics are left-overs from making pillow covers for the new condo ‘great room’.  Most of the textiles came from stores in England and the US, but a few were collected during visits to India.  

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‘Umbrellas’ was inspired by the long escalator at the north entrance to the Dupont Circle metro.  On rainy days riders keep their umbrellas up until they are half way down the escalator and in the metro proper. The bright colors are always a charm on a grey day. 

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Above is part of the wedding quilt shown in full at the start of this article.  When Jacob and Marian married in England in 2004, guests were asked to give as gifts a scrap of fabric to be included in the quilt.  The big center piece was the fabric Jacob used to make his bride a dress for the occasion.

Here are two more hangings from the exhibit.  The first was made in nostalgia for winter, while Jacob was living in the tropics.  

 

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Ten Birds was inspired by a painting by Fred Tomaselli in an exhibition in 2000 in the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Jacob made the hanging 17 years later, so any resemblance is unlikely. A generous donation of fabrics from a fellow resident, stimulated Jacob to finally make the piece.   

 

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AREN’T WE LUCKY! By Nancy and Lois Brown

An article in the Sunday, July 9 issue of the New York Times addressed aging and housing as they affect the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. Not having some of the options available to many family members, L.G.B.T. adults often worry about where they will end up, and wonder about their ability to afford getting old and possibly sick in a society that is not totally accepting of them.

We are fortunate that as a married lesbian couple we do not have to depend on our families. And, we can afford to live within a community that practices its nondiscrimination policy. We interviewed only Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRs) that were welcoming. Only at one CCRC were we introduced to another gay person. We shared meals and histories with all the residents we met before we signed on to live at Collington Life Care. Here we met people who were friendly, curious, of course, and encouraging that Collington would be a good match for us.

The article spoke about gays and lesbians who had to go back “in the closet” or remain there in order to find a retirement community. That is a particularly sad state when individuals cannot be themselves and have to live a lie, mostly to protect the discriminator! We have no bias against those who are not like us. We are “out”. We have had a good life and continue to have a good life in the Collington community where there is diversity, friendship, intellectual stimulation, fun things to do, cultural activities, and paths through lovely woods inhabited with wild life.

The picture for older adults is not always this pretty regardless of sexual orientation. But for the L.G.B.T. adult, the choices can be limited and less clear. Communities such as Collington provide the safety, security and variety of activities we all want to enjoy during these elder years. We could have selected other communities, but Collington provides us with the best of many worlds.

We are grateful for all of you!

Editor’s note:  Thanks Lois and Nancy, you have already added so much to our community.