Thursday, November 27, 2014

Our special day

November 27 is our very Special day. Not because it's Thanksgiving this year, although that is very nice. It's because four of our sisters share November 27 as their birthday! Happy birthday Karen, Colette, Beth and Ann.

Now, this brings to mind the rather well-known mathematics fact: There is a high probability that in a room of 30 people, that two will share the same birthday. In fact, the probability of that happening is just over 70%.

I am feeling very cocky today and so I am going to try and show you why this is true! Here goes..last chance to get out of this page. I won't blame you......Have a nice holiday.

For those who stayed: the idea here is that it's easier to compute the probability of NOT sharing a birthday and then, subtract that answer from 1 (100%) to get the chances OF sharing, because sharing or not sharing together make up 100% of all that can happen.

We'll start with 30 people. The first person has a certain birthday. What are the chances that the 2nd person will NOT share that date (have her own unique birthday)? The chances are 364/365, because there are 364 days available, not taken by the first person. Now a 3rd person comes along and what is his chance of NOT sharing one of the first two's birthday dates? 363/365, because two days are taken by the first two people, leaving 363 free.

How are you doing with this logic?!

Now, we continue this string of fractions for all 30 people. By the way, the last person's chances of NOT sharing a date already taken as a birthday by any of the other 29 is the fraction 336/365.

Now in probability when you want things ALL to happen in one situation, you must multiply their individual chances. We would multiply all the fractions---all of which have a denominator of 365 by the way. It's a mess, but a calculator or computer does it easily.

When you do this, you get the answer, in decimal form, 0.294 In percentage form that is 29.4% Now here comes the grand finale: Ta Da! Remember all of these were chances that they WOULD NOT share a birthday, so if any two DID share a birthday, it would be 100% - 29.4% or 70.6% chance that at least two WILL INDEED share a day.

This is truly amazing, because when you realize that you'd really have to have 366 people to be 100% sure that two would share a birthday (Hint: the first 365 could all have separate birthdays, couldn't they? But the 366th person would have to double up with someone!)

Now, if you've survived this far I hope you realize that you are much smarter in Math than some bad experience in math class in some grade made you think!! And the next question in your head is probably, In a community of 101 women, what are the chances that four share the same birthday? And the answer is, I'm nowhere near smart enough to even set it up, let alone do it! Suffice is to say that we have such and it's loads and loads of fun....which is what I hope you had a little of here.

Happy Thanksgiving and Blessed Advent, which begins this weekend, too.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Weekend delights

If you haven't seen it through our community website already, don't miss the online edition of this week's Faith Life newspaper. We're the major story on page three, excellently done by editor Mary Solberg. Yes, we are both proud and happy that these four "seekers" are doing their seeking with us!

Sunday we hosted the dress rehearsal for Tennessee Backporch's Christmas Show, "Follow the Star." What a creative and marvelous holiday event! Nearly two hours of top notch music with arrangements that are contemporary and charming. If you want a wonderful Christmas experience for the entire family, even teens should like it, here are the 6 sites where it can be seen this year.

Friday, December 5, 7:30 pm
Asbury United Methodist

Sunday, December 7, 4:00 pm
Saint Peter Cathedral

Sunday, December 14, 6:00 pm
Our Lady of Mercy, Harborcreek

Tuesday, December 16, 7:30 pm
St. Jude the Apostle

Thursday, December 18, 7:30 pm
St. Francis, McKean

Sunday, December 21, 4:00 pm
Saint Joseph, Warren

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chalk in hand

I am in front of an old fashioned blackboard, holding a piece of white chalk and writing, a hundred times:

I will not talk about snow.
I will not talk about snow.
I will not talk about snow.

My holiday cacti are blooming beautifully. One is pink, one white, one salmon and one yellow and since they grew too large for my bedroom or office window sills they now live in our library where there are much wider ones. Here they are all lined up in a snow.

Because of the early setting suns and late rising suns of winter, we had a not-often-seen scene Saturday at 4:00 pm, at the end of our community day: three fawn and their mothers, a couple snoe, appeared in the backyard, romping around in the cool air, wearing their dark, dark winter coats.

Two of my favorite book series have just announced the holiday release of another of their movies: The Hunger Games, part 1 of Mockingjay, the last of its three books and the final segment of the movie of Tolkien's The Hobbit. Both are basically the same classic story of good over evil, with the underdogs and seemingly powerless ones finally overthrowing the evil rulers. Both also employ the simplest of weapons as part of their victory: snows and arrows.

P.S. We have some nice new things on our community website if you haven't been there lately. Sno here.

Monday, November 17, 2014


OMG, that darn Golden Snow Globe site has started up again with its annual "contest" for cities of populations over 100,000 and their seasonal snowfall. During the 5-6 years it's been "awarding" its prize we've certainly been in the top 20 or so, but last year when we won'd think by the coverage in our local paper that we'd hit upon a new tourist attractor! Geeesssh.

And now, in just mid-November, aren't we already in first place for 2014-15! Oh my. Not my type of "Visit Erie" PR! Go to the link and see for yourself!

On a nicer note, here's a good reflection for a Monday, from Mary:

"What I Can Do"

The television has two instruments that control it.
I get confused.
The washer asks me, do you want regular or delicate?
Honestly, I just want clean.
Everything is like that.
I won't even mention cell phones.

I can turn on the light of the lamp beside my chair
where a book is waiting, but that's about it.

Oh yes, and I can strike a match and make fire.

November 13

November 16
Ok, ok...we live in a snow globe!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Winter Entertainment

Erie got its first snowfall this morning which reminds me of home entertainment, especially in the winter months. Last year I found the website and under his subheading "Entertainment" found British Crime and Mystery TV series. For each he gives a short overview of the main character, setting and time period. Very accurate.

He has listed dozens of great British TV mystery series, many of which we already knew and loved, such as:
Foyle's War
Midsomer Murders
A Touch of Frost
Inspector Lewis
Pie in the Sky
Inspector Morse

But, since our Erie County Public Library has a large number of the series we tried more of them and, voila, happened upon the most wonderful treasure trove of DVDs. Bring on those Lake Effect Snows that bury us for weekends on end--we travel to the British Isles: London, small towns, Ireland, wherever and find the BBC-rich actors and actresses in mystery after mystery. WOW!

Here are the new ones we now love, too:
George Gently
The Last Detective
New Tricks

PS There is some advantage of watching them in order--character development!

Sister Susan Freitag got this view from her window this morning!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dignitas, JES and the Common Good

Friday night about 40+ community members were able to attend the Jefferson Educational Society's presentation of its Dignitas Award to Sr. Joan down at the Bayfront Convention Center. You can read more about it, including viewing an Erie Times News interview, here on our website.

It was a truly lovely evening as Joan spoke about the search for the common good, for the U.S. and especially for the whole world. The proceeds from this event in their week-long Summit are graciously being donated to the community.

The convention center is a goldmine of photographic opportunities. Here are three quick ones that I got:

Benetvision had a good selection of materials for the 500 in attendance.

The convention center is a long building running south to north. You enter on the south side and the main hallway runs the entire length of the building toward the peninsula/lake (north). But that also means it runs right along the bay--gorgeous views. Here's one of the Sheraton and part of the public dock, taken right through the floor to ceiling windows.

I don't even know if I can describe this adequately. Its title is "Airbourne" and it appears to be, when you get close enough, hundreds of birds, some on four wires and others flying. The description by the artist states that it is indeed that, with the birds made out of pieces of board games: Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, Candyland, etc. So creative!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

In Memory

In honor of and in memory of our Kathleen Ruszkowski who died in April 2012 at age 63, Monica Brown, the acclaimed singer, songwriter and spirituality leader from Australia, came down from Toronto this week to share with us one of her "programs" as a memory of Kathy and for an opportunity for Monica to see the place that Kathy spoke to her about so often.

It was a mutually enjoyable time for all of us. One of Monica's songs we have begun to sing, "Listen," based on the Prologue of the Rule. It's really a mantra, sung throughout. As Monica is an oblate of the Benedictine Rule following Good Samaritan Sisters in Australia, it seems fitting. Here it is from a listing of Monica's songs online. Click here.

November 5th in the prioress's garden!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tis the season

Tis the season for:

1) holiday cactus to bloom. Here's the first full one I've seen. It's a beauty. My yellow and white ones live in the library now, but haven't started with buds yet;

2) those wonderful refractions of our windows in the late fall/early winter sun. Here's one from November 2 at 10:30 a.m.

3) fellow "seekers" to join us--and my goodness, have they ever. Seems like every time we turn around we're having another ceremony: in mid-August our novice took first vows; 3 weeks ago we welcomed a new postulant; last weekend over 200+ oblates renewed their commitment, 1/2 of them on site along with six new oblates; 2 days ago two sisters from the St. Marys community formally began the transfer process to our community; yesterday we welcomed another postulant and in 2 weeks a third postulant will become a novice! Need a dance card?!

We are indeed blessed!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween weekend

In case you didn't have any children trick or treating at your door, you can have some of ours--from St. Benedict Child Development Center.