Category Archives: beautiful

Artistic Genius

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My young friend, Margaret, at a fun blog recommended I see this

movie, “Camille Claudel” which is a French movie about Rodin and

one of his many female apprentices, who became enraptured with

him, became an artist by her ‘own right,’ and ultimately finished her

life in a mental

institution for 30 years. This was another example of how being a

woman during a different time period created challenges for her

own ability to present her artwork, mainly sculptures, to the world.

 

Poor dear Camille Claudel.

While getting this movie, you may have to go through a rather

complicated ‘search,’ since mine took me on a nearly ‘wild goose

chase.’

 

This was not available in the state of Ohio, in DVD form?

How is this possible?

 

Anyway, Central Campus of Southern State Community College

sent Delaware County District Library the movie, “Camille Claudel”

in VHS form. Thank goodness, I have one of those tiny televisions

with a VHS ‘drawer’ installed in it. It is one that has accompanied

more than one of my own three children off to college in the late

90’s and early 2000’s.

 

The director is Bruno Nuytten and has the sense of darkness in

his scenes and perspective thrown into his filming close shots.

The main actor, portraying Rodin, is Gerard Depardieu who was

in the American movie, “Green Card” and is well know for his

Academy Award nominated role in, “Jean de Florette.” The

female character is played beautifully by Isabelle Adjani. She

may be recognized for several roles but more famous, at least to

me while playing in, “Ishtar.” She was nominated for her portrayal

of  a character she played in, “Story of Adelett.”

 

This fine French film, “Camille Claudel, fascinated me. It was truly a

disturbing masterpiece. It  was nominated for “Best Foreign Language

Film” in 1989. (Gerard Depardieu was thin and muscular in this film.)

The story begins with a young, lithe woman in an alley in Paris, where

she is digging into a cliff of what looks like mud.  This must have some

amount of ‘clay’ in it.  She is gathering clumps of this, being muddy

from head to foot, and flinging it into her large container; like a bucket.

 

The brutal cold scene depicts snow on the ground.

It is February, 1885.

 

Camille’s story is full of  harrowing and intensely dramatic moments.

I hope you may look up her fantastic sculptures.  One which has the

name of “The Chatterboxes.” In the film, the piece looks like it is

carved from black coal, in its raw material state.

The beautiful sculptures may be viewed at the Musee D’Orsay in

Paris, France. Or much closer, you may look Camille Claudel on

the Internet.

 

Another, called, “Age of Maturity,” a neighbor child named Robert

asks such a sweet and insightful question of Camille of a gorgeous

sculpture:

“How did you know there were people inside the big rock?”

As if she had chiseled them Micah said,

“Out of their hiding place, like in a cave.”

 

My grandson, age 5 1/2 mentioned when I had him come across the

room where I sat at the dining table watching this film.

Micah was over by the living room section of my apartment watching

Saturday morning “Sponge Bob Square Pants” episodes and eating

pancakes he had helped make.

 

Later, he took a “cartoon break” to wash the dishes, taking his shirt off

and standing on my step stool. He rushed out to see a particularly

dramatic scene where the noise caught his attention.

 

Sadly, Camille Claudel was used and debased in every way.

She became a model, muse and an original artist and sculptor,

under the tutelage of Rodin.

 

She lost touch with her father, mother, brother and reality by

becoming immersed and having a long-lasting affair with Rodin.

Rodin’s wife who lives apart from Rodin, while he is ensconced

in his huge studio, calls Camille loudly on the streets, “Whore”

and many obscenities.

 

I felt it was most depressing that her husband is still given his

wife’s adoring attention, not disparaging HIM with the same

kind of swearing in other scenes. She persuades him after many

years of his intimate relationship with Camille, to move away.

When Camille is eventually thrown out of Rodin’s studio, having

served her time with him for almost 28 years, I cried. It is such

a tragedy, but you cannot help wanting to see more. . .

 

Camille writes long letters to the Court and Magistrate, asking

and pleading for her own sculptures and art pieces, ones she

designed to be given back. She independently had created lovely

marble sculptures with fine detailed hands, arched backs and

her brother finds her living in the upstairs of an abandoned

building, wishing to use his fame as a poet, along with his good

friend, “Blot,” who wishes to be her ‘benefactor.’ He is meaning

by helping financially and wonderfully is not asking her to give

her still beautiful body to him.

 

There is a point when the Court says she was ‘paid’ for her donations

of her artwork. (They were stolen and kept by Rodin.)

Camille defiantly declares,

“I burned the check!”

 

Her anger at her inability to get her own art back leads her to yell

about “Rodin’s gang.” She feels that France calling her sculptures,

“Property of the State,” are wrong but cannot find anyone at any

level to listen to her pleas. Her friend and lawyer, “Dr. Michaux,”

tried his best to defend her. The cops who haul her each time out

of the courtroom seem to show a more sympathetic view, as they

take her away.

 

When her father is dying, Camille goes to see him, she listens but

cries as he says she ‘disappointed him,’ but he ‘still loves her.’

There is something hurtful and touching in her studying the

Her brother, after the one singularly amazing gallery opening,

describes her pieces as lighting the inner beauty and qualities

of people through her sculptures. They have such delicate and

sensitive details, but she later while they are transported back

to where she is ‘squatting,’ is told not one piece was sold. Her

appearance in finery at the opening, with rouge and red lips

made her appear scandalous, unfortunately.

 

Camille destroyed many of her pieces, her madness in these

scenes of devastation is understandable. I would have gone

mad, under the circumstances.

The authorities never jail her in prison.

 

It was her own brother who ultimately, ‘betrayed her,’ and using

the ‘excuse’ of preventing her from hurting herself, placed her in

the mental institution.

 

Camille Claudel was put into a mental institution in March, 1913.

She lived, ‘imprisoned’ there, until 1943.

 

Camille never did any more artwork after she was placed there.

This was her own way of rebelling and refusing to ‘buckle under

authority.’

 

Thank so much for recommending this, Margaret! Your comment,

after reading my post about Mozart’s sister, Maria Anna Mozart

led me to watch this. You were so right in your choice of this movie,

another example where because of her gender, along with her

choice to become involved with a famous sculptor and artist,

she lost herself.

You may find Margaret who has a clever and funny video of

herself recently on a post at:

http://verybangled.com

 

 

The best question I feel needs to be asked,

“Where does creative passion separate from insanity?”

 

 

Onward later tonight, I will be watching, “Amadeus,” which I had

seen so many years before. . .

My grandson, Micah, is with me, while playing Teenage Mutant

Ninja Turtle ‘free games,’  I will try to check a few posts out.

Are You Still There?

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When author, Lisa Genova, wrote “Still Alice” she was hoping to

express the feelings of someone who had early onset Alzheimer’s

Disease. Julianne Moore is up for an Academy Award for her

authentic performance as Alice, someone who wishes to be still

heard and recognized, whether or not she is able to reciprocate

the recognition back to the greeter or family member.

Julianne is a gifted actress who studied and met many people

who were struggling with the challenge of having this disease.

There is a genuine quality I feel while watching her in any of her

various roles. I had recently watched “What Maisey Knew,” and

had mentioned this in the Golden Globes post which held a trio

of events which were meant to cheer the reader up. She played

a rock and roll star who was going on tour, putting her little

kindergartner on the back burner of her life. This has other good

actors and actresses in the movie. It is just my recent movie with

her in it. The one you may wish to seek out at the theaters is

called, “Still Alice.”

Julianne Moore, in an interview in the recent January/February

paper “AARP Bulletin,” she shared her experience of meeting both

caregivers and those who have A. D.  When she met some of the

victims of this ravaging disease she said they still had not lost

their own identities yet. “They were still present.” That is the point

of the title of both movie and book, sort of like saying, “I am still

here.”

Julianne Moore’s thoughts about “Still Alice:”

“People have been so touched by it (the film). There’s a great deal

of shame associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.” (Especially, she

focused and mentioned early onset A. D.)

“Suddenly you have your intellectual capacity diminished at such

a young age, it is embarrassing.”

On the  front page of the January/February “AARP Bulletin” there

are a series of rows of black and white photographs of famous

people who have dealt with and some passed away with, this topic

of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Here is a list of those faces featured:

President~ Ronald Reagan

Author~ Iris Murdoch

Singer~ Perry Como

Secretary of State~ Cyrus Vance

Boxer~ Floyd Patterson

Artist~ Willem De Kooning

Actor~ Beloved Jimmy Stewart

Prime Minister~ Margaret Thatcher

Senator~ William Proxmire

Singer~ The fabulous Etta James

Action Star~ Charles Bronson

Actor~ Peter Falk (“Columbo”)

“Washington Post” editor and journalist, Ben Bradley

Advice Columnist~ Abigail Van Buren of “Dear Abby”

Actor~ The legendary Charleston Heston

Go ahead and add a first or complete name of someone you know.

The numbers and cases are soaring. . . but the funding is dwindling.

Inside the January/February “AARP Bulletin,”  you will find the

devastating facts about this rampant disease.

Including an estimated 5.2 million Americans had this in 2014.

Two/thirds (2/3rds) were women.

The poignant article covering this topic is titled,

“Where’s the War on Alzheimer’s?”  by T. R. Reid.

I have not seen the movie, “Still Alice,” so I am not reviewing it

just featuring it to go along with the AARP information.

Interestingly enough, I sought out the Academy Award-nominated

historical trio of films I have mentioned in other posts. I chose not

to see (yet) “Wild,”  since Reese Witherspoon’s  mother and  the

author of the book, “Wild,” dealt with the deaths of mothers. Reese

used her own mother’s younger self’s angst and her vague childhood

memories of her mother crying over her grandmother’s death as her

inspiration for her portrayal. I was not ‘ready’ to sob or think about

the frailty of life, especially with my mother still here. It will be an

inevitable sorrow I will face someday.

My mother has not been diagnosed with A. D. but has been told her

memory loss is due to low thyroid levels. She is on her medication

and I am doubtful she will ever recuperate fully in her mind. She

is ‘still there,’ most of the afternoon and evening. Sometimes doing

strange and forgetful things so I was not yet prepared to watch,

“Still Alice,” nor read the book.   I will someday.  I  strongly will

recommend the Oscar-nominated film, as both critics and audiences

have found it a true testament to the spirit of those who have A. D.

I think the reason that I respect the movie and subject matter of

“Still Alice,” is due to my working experience of four years as the

Activity Director (1995-999) at a local nursing home. I had taken

the necessary coursework to be prepared to handle all sorts of

debilitating diseases, especially learning about aging processes,

including Alzheimer’s Disease.

I wish all people to treat the elderly, whether or not they know them,

with respect and dignity. Each has such fascinating lives, simple and

complicated lives to share with us. Their stories may not be famous

but they come to life, once you take the time to listen to them.

I still enjoy meeting the few elderly inhabitants of  my building,

having made friends with “Dee” who is in her 70’s,  yet is a helpful

volunteer driver for “Meals on Wheels.” “Delores” tells me rambling

stories about her childhood. I enjoy the one where she dressed up

a piglet to be her ‘baby’ and placed him in her mother’s perambulator

(baby carriage) to take him for a ride! My apartment building has

adults with Special Needs and Ohio Wesleyan University students

here also. I am blessed with many different people housed within.

There is a Dayton, Ohio caregiver and daughter of a mother who

has A. D. and she has a short list of good ideas, to spark ones of

your own to add here in the comments’ section:

1. To get her mother to wear disposable underwear for incontinence,

she calls this her ‘girdle.’ I can picture her saying, “Mom, let’s put on

your girdle” as she helps her to get dressed everyday.

2. She grew tired of arguing with her mother and struggling with her

to take her medicines so she pushes the pills into the soft filling of

her mother’s favorite cookies, fig bars.

3. She incorporates her mother’s past interests and occupation into

her daily routines, crocheting and using a simple math workbook,

(she had been an accountant.)

4. Her mother and she enjoy lighting the candle she bought at Yankee

Candle, called “Sparkling Snow.” It also masks odors at certain times

of the day, she delicately added.

The article inside Jan./Feb. “AARP Bulletin,” was the source for this

information, along with several other suggestions called,  “Being a

Family Caregiver Isn’t Easy.” You will find more to read there. . .

I am encouraging an Open Forum for discussing about anyone

you love or care about, those you have contact with or have

experienced dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease.

I would also like to mention a fellow blogger who writes about this

very subject. Marylin is someone who shares daily wonderful and

meaningful activities she participates with her mother. She writes

such lovely posts about her mother. Her mother has dementia and

her father had Alzheimer’s Disease.

Thank you, Marylin Warner for the gift of numerous special posts.

Marylin includes links to articles and is very informative, while

being a warm and caring blogging friend to many. I am sure she is

a source of comfort to many who have been dealing with elderly

family members with different varying degrees of memory loss.

http://warnerwriting.wordpress.com

Her blog is called, “Things I Want to Tell My Mother.”

And due to not being able to produce another award nomination

post so quickly after my last one, I would like to thank Rashmi for

her nominating me for “Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award.”

I encourage you to read about her perspective, positive and poetic

writing along with her international travels. I have enjoyed her

safari posts immensely! Thank you for taking us on your travels,

as well as lifting our spirits, Rashmi!

Please check out, Soul n Spirit, if you have not already done so!

http://soulnspiritblog.com

A sincere thank you for giving me the award!

On a lighter and happier note about those who are ‘still here’

sending a huge hug, big smiles and lots of love out to

BETTY WHITE!

Happy 93rd Birthday, dear BETTY!

I had a comment that Ian made about a poem/story about

a couple who met in a nursing home. They shared so much

of their present time, although the woman could not tell much

about her past due to her memory loss. It was such a well-

written post that I would hope future visitors will check it out:

Please read Ian’s post titled, “George and Marg” on:

http://aussieian.wordpress.com

Thank you, Ian!

Let’s have a conversation here since it is the weekend.

I plan on being able to respond on Sunday

after the library opens at noon!

Musical Notes

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When David Letterman took over for Johnny Carson, it was not a

pretty sound heard around the country, possibly the world. There

were four letter words, profanity being blurted out and there was an

inexplicable sadness for ‘losing’ the off stage private person, on stage

hilarious man. Who could replace Johnny?

My parents  were open-minded  and would routinely enjoy ‘new’ things,

which meant they eventually watched, “The Jay Leno Show” and “The

Late Show with David Letterman.”

There was a night owl lurking in both parents, even while completing

their careers, they were ‘stout’ and ‘devout’ late to bed and during the

week, early to risers.

Now, retirement changed this but that is another story!

I was flabbergasted that TONIGHT will be the LAST Christmas show

with David Letterman where he features the fabulous (‘dahling’) woman

known to many as “Darlene Love.” You must have heard her singing, even

if not on this show, but David’s Late Show band leader, Paul Shaffer,

was the one to have discovered her and encouraged David to have her on

his show, particularly singing (should I say, ‘belting out?’) this marvelous

song,

“Baby, Please Come Home for Christmas.”

She came in short hair, blonde hair, long and wavy hair, sometimes even

crimped hair, she changed her octaves over the 18 years of being the one

who heralded in the Christmas season’s last week before evening show.

 

David Letterman has declared her (or ‘dubbed her’) the Christmas Queen!

 

There is someone or something that brings Christmas into your heart,

if you follow the tradition to celebrate this holiday. . .

Who or what makes the holiday come true?

David Letterman sometime almost 30 years ago said,

“It’s just not Christmas, without Darlene Love on our show.”

 

If you cannot listen tonight, don’t have DVR to save this momentous

occasion, then find her and look her up on Youtube or listen to her one

one of Phil Sceptor’s brilliant Christmas albums, recorded in 1963…

Art, Environment and Health News

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“I loved the title for this short entry in the “Natural Awakenings”

magazine: “Looking at Beautiful Art Bumps Up Brain Activity.”

At Japan’s Oita University there were outstanding research results

and I will share them with you. Another part of this article will give

you some natural choices to replace antibiotics in fighting those

winter illnesses. While looking at locally grown foods, the pesticide

levels are less in those choices over the ones found in stores. Also,

an interesting find that I came across had two ecological and ‘green’

facts to make sure we contribute to a better world.

How did they measure the increase of brain activity ? You may have

guessed that in the Japanese study of MRI scans, (which are magnetic

resonance imaging screenings) were the source for the scientific

results found in this research study.

I enjoyed the comparison of slides shown of still lifes and landscape

paintings to the actual real artwork of paintings in a museum. The

39 subjects were shown slides of art and later, presented with the

paintings. Another element they were researching was asking them

to express their feelings of the element of beauty in the  slides and

then again, what degree of beauty they felt the actual paintings were.

The most “beautiful” in the subject’s ‘eyes’ of ‘real art’ were rated

significantly higher in the pre-experimental phase over the slides of

paintings.  They called the slides of the paintings, “corresponding

photographic analogs.”

“The MRI’s showed that during the experiment, portions of the brain’s

frontal lobe, related to emotions, memory, learning and decision-making

were activated.” (November, Central Ohio; “Natural Awakenings.”)

Final significant results were that when the researchers compared the

“positive effects of aesthetic appreciation of the art paintings versus

the photographs, they noted more activity at the back of the subject’s

brain.” Which means both areas of the frontal lobes and back part of

the brain were stimulated but the back part was raised at a higher level

of activity.  The location in the back parts were in the bilateral cuneus,

which is a part of the occipital lobe and the left lingual gyrus or ridge.

This means the basic visual processing location and the visual memory,

logical ordering and dreaming areas were the most stimulated with

it being verified on the MRI’s.

When we eat foods, such as fruits and vegetables, we need to make

sure we are getting them from a ‘safe’ source. I think this is a fact we

are all aware of but the interesting facts were presented once again,

which prodded me to share this information here. Conventionally

grown foods contain pesticide residues that are 3-4 times higher in

organically grown foods. This was found in the “British Journal of

Nutrition,” where they conducted 343 research studies and published

last June. Since from the farm to the market is a continually growing

industry, it is nice to have facts that support this movement. The ones

grown on organic farms also were found to have higher levels of healthy

nutrients such as minerals, vitamins and antioxidents. Ones that are

grown with phosphorus fertilizers and not including mineral nitrogen

in their practices were found to contain higher levels of cadmium. The

study’s results confirmed this in the following statement:

“Results indicate that switching from conventional to organice crop

consumption would result in a 20-40 % increase in crop-based anti-

oxidants and polyphenolic intake levels.

The emphasis on Honey and Ginger being such healthy and natural

curative power sources even fought the drug-resistant bacteria which

have a list of long names:

“Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli (E Coli) and Klebsiella

pneumoniae.” Also known as “Super bugs.”

* Further clinical examination is needed to standardize the amounts

in these two ingredients for cold, flu and germ fighting. The research

was conducted at Ethipia’s University of Gondar College of Medicine.

I concluded, we may as well include healthy doses of honey in our

diet, along with including ginger while cooking. I love sauces where

the sweetness is balanced by the spice ginger, along with making a dark

black tea, with some ginger added for flavoring, honey for sweetening.

India’s green project to improve their environment, is focusing on the

areas along their 62,137 miles of highways. India’s Rural Development

Ministry is following their kind of “Johnny Appleseed,” America’s

noted man of  spreading apple seeds along different areas. India’s

hero is named Jadav “Molai” Payeng, an Indian man who. all by

himself, planted 1,360 acres of forest.

This project has three focuses: to help provide jobs for the rural poor

people, include youth in employment and improving the environment.

The country of India has been suffering from severe air pollution.

The World Health Organization released unfortunate statistics of India’s

youth unemployment rate being 10.2 percent and #6 on a list of World’s

Ten Worst Cities with air pollution. The Prime Minister Narenda Modi

has announced a goal of spreading electricity to every home by 2019,

which will rely largely on solar power. Other areas of health concern are

also being targeted for cleaning the Ganges and Yamuna rivers.

 

Merry Christmas news for environmentally concerned:

“The Greenest Tree” is supporing buying locally grown trees,

preferable ones that will be grown outdoors, with a close

second being ones that are cut down in tree farms that are

purposely evergreens growing for resale.

Here is the reason:

85% of artificial trees are sourced from China and often contain

toxic chemicals.

Looking at the carbon trail is also important, meaning how much

effort and use of power and resources was used to get the tree to

your home.

Temporary sidewalk or street corner tree lots may be getting trees

where pesticides are used to create the Perfect Tree. These are not

good fro homes, again, comparing this to the natural sourced trees.

Sometimes, home-grown products are just about what we put into

our body for food, but what we breathe for a month while it is in

our living areas.

According to National Geographic Green Guide, Americans actually

discard 30 million cut trees after the holidays. Oh my goodness!

The wood is ‘wasted’ in landfills.  One state that is leading a better

way to go with old Christmas trees is in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana

where they collect them to combat coastal erosion. Way to go!

Locate tree growers by state and learn how to dispose trees responsibly.

There are great places and resources to check up on facts:

http://PickYourOwnChristmasTree.org

http://GreenPromise.com

http://Tinyurl.com/65oqh9

There are detailed steps for care and planting potted trees at

http://WikiHow.com and other locations of the Tinyurl.com

website.

Do you mind letting me know if any of these facts were helpful

or ones you learned today? Also, any other Green Choices or

healthy suggestions are welcome here.

 

 

Youth Ruled at the AMA’s on 11/23/14

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If you have been around my blog awhile, you may know I have always

enjoyed the splendor and elegance of watching people on the Red

Carpet. I ‘made deals’ with my parents to be allowed to stay up and

watch the Academy Awards and the Kennedy Center Awards, as well

as the Miss America beauty (and talent) show. I thoroughly enjoyed

the AMA’s which stands for the American Music Awards. I know you

already have seen some of the beautiful dresses and attractive tuxes,

along with some of the performances. . .

Here is a summary of my viewing pleasure with some details which

may support what you watched, if you are one who enjoys this, or may

disagree with what some of the newscasters and entertainment emcees’

may say.

On the RED CARPET:

Here is my list of my favorite nine FEMALE performers or award

presenters’ attire.

1. Fergie (of solo performer and Black-Eyed Peas’ fame) wore a classic

black Halston dress, with a silver belt around her waist. It cinched in

nicely and what made her my favorite? Her special story she shared

with the E commentator, Juliana G., she talked about her two year

old son, who is also her husband, Josh Duhamel’s . He is currently

loving his guitar and drum set, while his favorite song is (and Fergie

sang it so sweetly), “Row, Row, Row Your Boat. . .” Being kind on

the inside and beautiful on the outside made me really smile and

vote for Fergie to get ‘Best Dressed.’

2. Heidi Klum, who is not only a past model, but a mother and one

of the coaches on the clothing design show. Also, she is one who is

very open and funny, just a special and talented woman. Her dress

had ‘cut-outs’ which showed her shoulders and a little bit of her skin.

The colors of her gown made it unique- pink, black, gray and white

geometric designs. If you have ever seen her interview children on

her talk show, she has a real knack, as good as Art Linklater. That is

saying something!

3. Kate Beckinsale was a presenter but is one of those famous women

who make you feel she is both classy and genuine. She did not appear

the least bit in a hurry, as she embraced and talked to the interviewers.

She wore a sexy, (Deep V-d neck) white dress. I feel she is ‘timeless,’

wearing the Kaufman Franco dress.

4. Julianna Hough is a country singer, dancer and actress. She is presently

employed as a Judge on dance show. She wore a vibrantly colored red,

pink and orange-ish colored dress which showed a mature side of this

young lady. (She was in a serious movie, along with the remake of

“Footloose.”) I think she is open and honest, while having dated Ryan

Secrest, she did not let interviewers ‘dig up any dirt’ on him, then or

now. She also is protective of her family and particularly, her brother

who still continues to dance on the show. She is sporting a short hair

style, with blonde highlights, this evening was wearing it ‘slicked back.’

5. The woman in Yellow, the only one all night. She was gleeful that

she was unique, while looking stunning. Her name it Rita and is from

the Broadway production of “Finding Neverland,” arriving with Matthew

Morris, who was the chorus teacher in “Glee,” while having been in

musicals for quite some time now.

6. Taylor Swift, gorgeous in a copper-bronze shimmery dress, which she

took the skirt off and made it shorter, while performing her song, “Blank

Space.” I enjoy all of her new album, which has ventured into the Pop/Rock

genre and away from Country Music. She holds her stories and weaves them

into her songwriting, which I deeply admire this multi-talented young lady.

Her short, wavy with a little curl in her hair style really made a big change in

her appearance since the last awards ceremonies. Her performance was my

second most favorite of the entire evening.

7. Nicki Minaj shocked me, no not by being daring or rebellious, but by being

such a stylish fashionista. Nicki is not known for this! Her more reserved, classic

look was in a black dress, with long, straight black hair. She has been known to

have wild hair dyes and sometimes showing up blonde. If she has not used her

distinctive and raspy voice, I would have possibly not identified her.

8. Mary J. Blige looked very attractive in a black fishnet, lacy styled top of her

overall black dress. The black lace was sexy yet not revealing, while there were

sequins sprinkled on this dress.

9. Selena Gomez, looking very mature, with pretty solid black satin dress from

the front, while from the back, it was squared off and totally backless to her

waist. She sang one of her songs, very nicely. I did not write it down, but I did

see on our television set at break time, an overview of all the performances,

with hers featured.

One Direction won my favorite dressed and fun filled group award, on the

Red Carpet. They allowed us to see their meeting with Kate and William, while

one of the men admitted he pointed out, “Nice bump,” to Kate. They won the

following awards, but if you wish to add another you can do so in the comments’

section! They wore black slacks and varied patterned black shirts. No matching

each other for this British group. They mentioned, “The UK,” in conversation,

too.

1. “Best Pop Song.”

2. “Best Pop Rock Album.”

3. “Entertainers of the Year.”

While they are far behind in their ages, much younger but energetic and so

much fun also, I cannot help but say I adore the group of Australian ‘lads’

known as, “5 Seconds of Summer.” Although the song is not uniquely theirs,

since it has been performed by others, I enjoyed their version of, “What I

Like about You.” I got up and danced to their riotous and lively song, which

had the entire audience joining in. They are like the Ramones, started out

in a garage band practicing together.

The A Capella group which starts with P and has a lot of strange letters behind

it, (somewhat like Punxatawney Groundhog, which I can never spell correctly

either!) stopped and won my heart with their in prompt singing of,

“Santa Claus Is Coming  To Town.” Wow! This is probably from the A Capella

television show, which I don’t watch, sadly.

They sure did give Bruce Springsteen a ‘run for his money,’ which is really a

high compliment from me. Their blended voices eliminated any need for a

band accompaniment.

“E!” channel also had an homage to Boy Bands, showing the old photos

of New Kids on the Block, Boyz 2 Men and the fairly recent Jonas Brothers.

(Of course, our generation would have begun the homage or tribute to

all male singing bands with The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and you

know the rest of the long list of entertainers who began the “Boy Bands.”)

It was a great way for those in their 30’s like my own two older children

to remember the period of time when these bands came to be. They were

passing the baton on to “One Direction,” Imagine Dragon, “5 Seconds of

Summer,” and “One Republic.”

I also liked Julianna G. who intervied One Direction asking them a great

question: What would you be doing if you had not joined a band?

One of the ‘lads’ mentioned being a teacher before, had completed his

college, another mentioned he would have liked to become a fireman and

the last one who spoke, was acting a little loopy, falling backwards off

the “E” stage platform which caused Julianna to say, ever on her toes,

“Things would be kind of ‘off kilter’ or you would not be the same,

without your musical group, would you?”

The Four Men I admired their clothing and fashion styles were:

1. Neo, who is ‘hip hop’ I feel. You may challenge this and let me know.

He was not on the singing parts I watched, so I am talking off the top

of my head. Neo looked sharp in a black suit and his words warmed my

heart. He embraces all musical genres saying that he admires country

stars and feels they are ‘humble’ and also says ‘rock and rollers’ are also

genuine and give to us all. Neo wore an Anthony Franco suit.

2. The GQ Cover model, actor in two famous and recent movies, who

played the character, “Gus,” in “The Fault is in Our Stars,” is gorgeous.

He also is popular in the movie, “Divergent.” This young man had a

unique short jacket and shirt, along with unmatched pants. It was all

put together in a way he described as from the past.

3. Brantley Gilbert, accompanied by a woman I should know with the

first name of Amber, looked great with his fashionable look. He is a

nice looking country musician who said to the interviewer, “I don’t feel

that fame will ever change me.” He went on to say he feels he is still

the same man under the expensive clothing.

By the way, Luke Bryan won the award for “Best Country Male Artist.”

He looked nice, but not on my short list of best dressed, accompanied

by a female who I should recognize named, Caroline.

4. Matthew Morrison is always attractive and wore a nice suit. I felt

this awards ceremony did not try to blow us away with wild costumes,

except during performances.

An announcement was made that Katy Perry will be performing 4-5

songs at the Super Bowl Intermission. There is a website set up, where

you may vote which songs she should choose to sing.

 

Here are some outstanding performers who did not win any awards

but I feel should be checked out:

1. Ariana Grande who trills like a beautiful songbird, accompanied by

a saxophone. This solo performance was simply lovely.

2. Ella Henderson wowed me, with her 70’s folk song voice, which had

some bluesy and throaty characteristics. She has been compared, which

is a huge compliment to Ella, to Adele!

3. Iggy Azalea, who was ‘discovered’ or sponsored by the hip hop/ rapper

known as, “T.I.” I did not particularly love her rapping song, nor the one

she did with JLo, but I can hear she is versatile and is a beautiful woman.

4. Charlie XCX, who did the song from the movie, “The Fault is in Our Stars,”

which is over-played, (but my three granddaughters love her, almost as

much as they did Idina M. who sang, “Let It Go,” for the movie, “Frozen.”)

Her song that is silly but catchy is called, “Boom Clap (Sound of my Heart)

which really does remind me of “Sugar, Sugar” by the Archies and also,

the song, “I Think I Love You,” by the Partridge Family. Charlie XCX

is young and also does a little more racy song about not liking school

and uses a vamp, sexy style while singing, “I Just Want to Break the

Rules.” (Reminds me of several of the songs from my teenaged years.)

 

I am always pleased to listen to “Imagine Dragons” and they have been

at all the musical awards shows of 2014. I liked their 2013 song which

won awards, “Radioactive,” but strongly recommend your listening to

their newly released (and first performance on television) song:

“I Bet My Life,” which starts out quietly, like a hymn, soulful and

intuitive, building and becoming a stand-up party anthem. Wonderful

and worth checking this one out. I would have liked to replay it again,

but do know this will be on all the radio stations and will set records.

 

My favorite duet, which was nicely and sweetly intertwining the older

musician, Wy Clif Jean, with the younger one named “Magic,” who is

famous for his song, “Rude.” How it starts out, was so clever! Magic

began the duet by singing the he wishes to “Marry that girl… for the

rest of my life,” and is asking for permission. Wy Clif Jean’s deeper

and throatier voice responded just like the father of a young woman

would, “No, you will not marry that girl and keep her for the rest of

her life…” Then, of course, the song goes into, “Why do you have to

be so rude? I’ll marry her anyway.” Outstanding performance and

my Favorite one of the night. (Taylor’s would be my Second Fave.)

 

Sam Smith, will be my Third Pick for Favorites of the Evening.

This man wrote the song that many performers have sung, he is

to be given credit for creating a classic. It is reminiscent of many

people’s all time favorite song, “Stand by Me.” Sam’s song is titled,

“Stay with Me.” He acknowledges his favorite artist who sings his

song is Ed Sheeran. I have featured Ed S. as one of my new 2014

favorite singers, and I do like his version of Sam Smith’s song.

Sam has a high falsetto voice, which is heart-wrenchingly and

hauntingly beautiful.  Sam Smith won Best Pop Male Artist. His

newest song, also one to check out is, “You Say I’m Crazy.” I did

feel his duet last night with the new song was exciting and good.

 

Lourde won her First AMA award for “Best Pop Female Artist,”

for her song last year, 2013: “Royals.” She just completed the

soundtrack for the movie, (Hunger Games), “Mockingjay.” The

song with her bizarre and gloomy performance was not nearly

close to how I felt about her fun and mocking song about the Royals.

 

Trying to get this in before everyone goes to watch the news and various

entertainment shows tonight. Let me know if I missed a great one

who performed or looked outstanding…

 

Trio of 2014 Children’s Books

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When parents get book order forms from school, sometimes it can be overwhelming

and also, stressful when they have a limited budget. I remember my three kids bringing

home their school picture order forms, their sports group picture forms and then, on

top of all this, Scholastic book order forms. Of course, all school book fees, new clothes

and shoes, sporting equipment also came during the same time of year.

Occasionally, my Mom and Dad may have dropped a check off in the mail, which would

cover some of the items mentioned. I had child support for two of three children, along

with a carefully budgeted babysitting fees from my clients’ list. All of the five children

I watched stayed with me for the seven years I watched them, who were from parents

whose careers were either as professionals or a combination of positions. I could count

on them paying me regularly on Fridays. I had typed up a babysitting contract which

included paying me for sick days or times their children stayed home. Also, for vacations

they chose to take. If I ever needed to call them to ask them to use one of my  ‘back up’

babysitters then I would not get paid, same if I chose to take a rare vacation. I think I

‘called in sick’ on only three occasions in the  7 years, 9 summers  watched their kids.

When we were closely tied like we were, they would tell me when their vacations were

planned. We also would try to have seasonal family gatherings where we would get

our schedules in ‘synch,’ planning sports, extra curricular activities like gymnastics

and jazz dance classes, karate for the kids who chose this outlet. All 8 children, mine

included, took swimming lessons the same 6 weeks, usually in August, hoping the

water would be nice and warm in the morning.

I am rambling a bit, to tell you that my own children fit a lot into their budget.  I did

not expect to receive 5 x 7″ school pictures nor have the joy of seeing the choices of their

Book Fair. My oldest daughter pointed out that the Book Fair is during Parent-Teacher

conference time so you have extra time on your hands. Also, a little bit of pressure to go

wandering around with the kids to check out the books. I reminded her that the boys

have library cards like the three of ‘them’ (my own children) had from early years on.

I also would tell their teachers this, including what I thought was a valuable lesson,

which was to choose books and return them regularly allowed my kids to have many

more books, choosing far more than what we would need to have in our home. She

listened and told me they each were told they could choose one nice book to keep.

The boys, Skyler and Micah, already have a nice collection of hardback books in

their bedroom.

My daughter in law has the children’s book shelves in the play room, which means

they can sometimes need to be reorganized and cleaned up. She allowed the four

children to choose a book, with the two oldest, Lara and Landen, picking chapter

books.

The two little girls, M & M, each chose a book. I felt the ones I was most interested

in viewing would also be the ones you would be curious to hear about. I will include

Micah’s to round this out with a boy’s choice. This ‘trio’ of enjoyable selections is

a collection of picture books that were so endearing and entrancing. Along with one

that is quite dramatic!

 

1. “Flora and the Penguin” is a 2014 book with 40 pages, written and illustrated  by

Molly Idle. Last year, she won the Caldecott Honor for a wordless picture book called,

“Flora and the Flamingo.” The flamingo and little girl dancing in the different scenes

was quite beautiful and artistic.  Makyah chose the newer book since she loves the

movies, “Happy Feet,” and “Happy Feet Two.” It is one which will appeal to both boys

and girls, ages 3-5 years old. The author, Molly Idle,  mentioned the quote, “Actions

speak louder than words.” Since Makyah is the ‘baby’ in her household at age 3, I felt

this was a wise choice. She can tell adults or her siblings, what the pictures mean to her,

using descriptions and  her vivid imagination, to tell her own story about Flora. At her

preschool, Kyah is learning how to find her own voice, letting others know what she

thinks.

 

 

2. “The Iridescence of Birds,” a Newberry Medal winner, written by Patricia Mac Lachlan,

was chosen by 5 1/2 year old kindergartner, Marley. This is a 40 paged hardback book

which has a wonderfully illustrated story about Henri Matisse. The book has the small town

in Northern France, where the little boy and young artist grew up. It is winter and Henri

feels it is cold and dreary. The pictures show shades of grays in the gloomy scenery.  In the

true story of his life, Henri’s mother paints plates. Henri’s mother has him help her to set

out plates which radiate colors. His life brightens up when he puts fruits and flowers out to

inspire her painting. Rainbows shown in the book are like a prism (to his life) has been

added to every scene. Glorious!  This story of Henri Matisse’s young childhood is like an

‘ode’ or warm ‘homage’ to his mother. It is like we should give credit to her for inspiring

Matisse to create his impressionistic masterpieces of color. Of course, I love the birds.

Hadley Hooper is the artist who has brilliantly illustrated this book to match the tone

of the story told in simple prose.

 

3. “Draw!” by Raul Colon was chosen by Micah, my 5 year old kindergartner. I am sure

his eyes were attracted by the bold and vibrant illustrations done by Raul Colon. This

book is 40 pages long, which begins with a boy in his room with a sketchbook. He had

read a large book about Africa. He becomes immersed in the world of being on a safari.

He uses paints and an easel to create drawings from his imaginations. They are of very

lifelike animals- elephants, zebras, lions and a very angry rhino. The scenes seem to come

alive and seem inter-active. He ends the book by showing his drawings to his classmates

in school. This book is appropriate for young adventurous children of  ages 4-8. I also

was excited to find out that “Draw!” is not about guns being “drawn” since over the

phone, I had heard its title, mistakenly picturing it to be a Western.

 

What are some of your favorite children’s books that are more recently published?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fantasies

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Not sure the Grimm brothers would wish to be considered descendants from an

“elite line of criminal profilers” known as simply, “Grimms.” The character, Nick

Burkhardt, is very popular in the television show with that name. It is a combination

of mystery, suspense, horror and fantasy. I have watched this from its premiere, with

bated breath waiting for the next episode to begin. Nick’s character partner is named,

Hank Griffins, who is part of knowing Nick’s ancient history. The story revolves with

ancestry references and a fictionalized heritage besides. Hank is a good and trust-worthy

partner. This history allows him to ‘see’ and ‘fight’ by engaging in battle with all sorts of

strange creatures. The fantasy television series first appeared three days before the

holiday, Halloween, in 2011.

The other side characters in “Grimm” include a woman, Fuchsbau Rosalee, who is

able to use pharmaceuticals, including herbs and natural ingredients needed to be

‘antidotes’ and ‘potions.’ She is the “Fox,” among the characters. The Wolf,” is also

once the ‘big, bad wolf,’ but has learned to control his transformations, unless he

is angered, his character’s name is Monroe.

A very popular episode with my fellow coworkers at my warehouse is one that engages

the character of the Filipino fairy tales, the terrifying, ‘aswang.’ Felda, Mary Jane and

their families gathered to watch this “Grimm’s” episode that aired on March 7, 2014.

It came up again in conversation, with the new Fall Season starting soon. Next Friday,

another “Grimm” show will be presented. The March scary Filipino fairy tale involved

a popular character played by a Clevelander, a Padua Franciscan High School graduate.

In the television series, his name is Sergeant Wu. As Sgt. Wu, his character was an integral

part of the way the case against the “aswang” was solved. In real life, Cleveland born Reggie

Lee, could have headed off to Harvard. His parents, who were from the Philippines, would

have been so ‘proud of him.’ He chose instead to dabble in the dramatic art of acting,

at the Cleveland, Ohio Greenbrier Theater and Cleveland Play House.

 

Make sure you check out “Grimm” for fulfilling your need for fantasy crime scenes!

 

There is a rather new “fractured fairy tale” written by a woman named Helen Oyeyemi,

who has written a re-telling of the traditional, “Snow White.” Her book titled,  “Boy,

Snow, Bird” is her newest book. This is a tale with the main character being a bi-racial

eight year old girl and her ‘badly behaving’ secret friend.  Ms. Oyeyemi’s history of

wondrous books includes her first book published called, “The Icarus Girl.”  This tale

wove African and Western cultures together in an international mythology.  Her second

one was called, The Opposite House.” Her third book, “White is for Witching,” sounded

intriguing, too.  While on the cover of her “Boy, Snow, Bird” book there includes “Mr. Fox”

as her most recently published before this one. If you wish to hear why the secret friend

of the 8 year is old is ‘wicked,’ you may check this out.  The playfulness of the book, is

shown in the mother being called mistakenly, “Boy.” While her daughter is called, “Bird.”

The rat-catcher, involved in the plot, adding comic relief. It is published by the Riverhead

Publishing Co. Its bright lime-green colored cover, captures your eyes like ‘eye-candy.’

It has a rose-covered vine winding around the title. . . like a sinister snake.

 

This is not a fantasy, but it is certainly inspiring to watch. Check out YouTube for a

community of Amish people constructing a barn. I always think of that fantastic

mystery, police story and cultural movie, “Witness,” when it comes to the artistic

‘barn-raising’ scene filmed in this Harrison Ford movie. The way it is constructed in

such a beautiful, poetic and fluid way is just goosebump raising for me. So far, there

have been over 2 million ‘hits’ of watching this Raising of an Amish Barn.

 

Here is a quotation that wraps up this post that is about the television series,

“Grimm,” some creatively constructed fairy tales by Helen Oyeyemi and

the Amish community spirited barn-raising:

 

Charles Dickens’ quotation:

“The whole difference between construction and creation is exactly this:

that a thing constructed can only be loved after it is constructed; but a

thing created is loved before it exists.”