5/03/2007

Retrofits, compaction grouting and t-shirts oh my!

Thursday was the groundbreaking for San Francisco Friends School's new site: 250 Valencia Street, the former Levi Strauss & Co. factory. It was built in 1906 after the earthquake and fire destroyed their previous factory. It has amazing old-growth redwood timbers, which of course require extensive and expensive shoring up.

If you're a Bay Arean or Southern Californian, you're well aware of the practice of seismic retrofitting. Some of you may not be as familiar with compaction grouting. This is the pouring into the soil of seemingly endless amounts of some form of concrete-like substance to stabilize the sandy soil on which the building rests. There's an old streambed under it, and the edge of the bay used to be relatively nearby.

The highlight for everyone was when Bob Haas, the CEO of Levi Strauss, choked up just a bit when talking about the meaning of the building for him. He remembered when his father brought him there as a young boy to see how a pair of blue jeans is made, and to meet the workers. He talked about how they usually had accents, were recent immigrants, and were paid modestly but enough to support their families and move into opportunity in their new country.

My personal highlight was the six 3-foot-wide by 8-foot-tall banners hanging from the rafters, spelling out the words: simplicity, service, peace, integrity, community, equality. (SSPICE!) I was pleased that the school would place the values so visibly at this event.
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Also Thursday, Robin visited Eight-soon-to-be-Nine Year Old's class to discuss the differences between Quaker decision-making and voting. They're in the midst of a unit on government, and recently held class elections. But she already wrote about it on her blog, so you've probably already read it there! I'm just impressed with how well-written the piece was for being only an hour or two after the fact. Good work, darlin'!

On Wednesday, she went to the community meeting for worship at the school. Someone let go of a blue ball, which rolled across the floor... stopping a couple of feet away from the kindergartners. Despite squirming and looking and thinking, they resisted the temptation to reach out and grab it. Cathy Hunter, the head of school, apparently talked about how much they've already learned in life if they can do that.
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I have an idea for our meeting's Memorial Day weekend retreat: a Quaker Meeting t-shirt design festival! We're figuring out if we'll just work on drawings and words and lettering on paper, or if we should bring the laptop to design things online and we'll bring some iron-on decal paper we can run through the printer, or if we should set up a Cafe Press shop.
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Inspired by that idea, today (Sunday) I taught a Firstday School lesson on clothing in the Bible, and we designed "t-shirts" traced on large sheets of butcher paper. It didn't go quite as I'd planned -- the fact that there were five males in the room meant we had lots of boy energy and lots of, um, "interesting" details in the designs.

Well, maybe if I hadn't used Psalm 22 (they cast lots for my garments) as one of the readings -- it's pretty gory in the Message version that I used. I'll post the lesson outline later.
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Also today we went to the picnic for families of incoming kindergarteners at the Friends School. The kids get a school t-shirt. Five Year Old already had his, and he very proudly picked it out of his dresser this morning. He is excited to be going to the same school as Eight Year Old.

2 comments:

Aj said...

Wow: so much good stuff shakin' in Cali!

RE: t-shirts. I know a number of craft bloggers were really into making t-shirt stencils from freezer paper. Here's a link: http://www.makezine.com/blog/archive/2006/04/make_tshirt_stencils_from_free.html

Chris M. said...

Aj: Thank you, that's sooo what I need! I am not at all crafty. I just want to get the word out that there are Friends in San Francisco! T-shirts are one way to do that.

--Chris M.