elegant music…with a twist

Canadian Brass Live!Visited another friend’s blog, http://figmentsofadutchess.com and discovered the following gem. Marion is a self-confessed music buff to the nth degree. All kinds seem to catch her fancy.I was introduced to the Canadian Brass on Marion’s blog. I commented that I was somewhat skeptical at first, but was quickly won over by the elegance of their music and the theatricality of their musicians. Might I add…they’re extremely funny! I never stopped smiling.¬†

I went in search of the ensemble and found more of the same…with a twist. Long-time readers know that my daughter’s a professional ballerina, hence my youtube choice. Take a moment from the rat race that is your daily life…I did…and let someone else do the work…of entertaining you. You won’t regret it.

Marion’s selection was just as eloquent…albeit more folksy. It’s called Hornsmoke, and features an ensemble of fine musicians from the Canadian Brass. So keep those feet up, pahdners…those peepers peeled…and those audio receivers wide open for an oft-told tale…of the wild, wild, wild west

…now you can return to being…a city slicker…………hugmamma.¬† ūüôā

“blog buddies,” getting it…finally

Figuring out how “blog buddies” works has been a bit of a mystery. But I think I’m finally getting the hang of it. It seems to be a matter of finding bloggers with whom I share common interests, and once found, trying to establish continuing dialogue. I’ve begun doing that with a couple of sites, by growing the conversation. It’s not easy keeping several conversations going at the same time. But it is fun, once you begin. I’m sure I’ll find the technical components that make it easier to check in with everyone, without having to click in all the time. Takes me a little bit, but I eventually manage. Good exercise for growing brain cells, and staving off Alzheimer’s.

The first blogger who taught me about being a blog buddy was Scriptor Obscura.¬†A knowledgeable techy, she was the first to leave regular comments and “likes” on my posts. I was very touched when she asked to run some of them on her blog. She allowed me to decide which they should be, but I left the decision with her, emailing those she “liked.” Not all mind you, I didn’t want to overrun her site. As passionate as me about causes, Scriptor Obscura minces no words in her support of issues. A person less than half my age, I admire her conviction to promote compassion for those less fortunate.

Another blogger with whom I’ve begun a conversation¬†is jeanne’s blog. I just learned that she and I share a love of antiques, hunting them down, owning, and cherishing great finds. Her blog’s photo header displays 2 adorable lhasa apsos¬†or shitzus, not sure which. I had a shitzu, years ago, named Sushi. She was the sweetest, smallest dog. Loved her to pieces. Jeanne’s gardens are lovely, like an oasis. Mine will be, once the last dregs of winter pull up stakes and leave. She also shares recipes, which shows a love of cooking, another interest of mine. She’s gotten me started doing book reviews. And the lady has a compassionate spirit, as¬†is demonstrated in inspirational messages she posts.

Image representing Etsy as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

The Daily Dabbler¬†is another blog¬†with whom I’ve begun another conversation. It’s centered around crafting, a shared interest of ours. Both dabblers in creating things, I think we both realize making a living at it is best left to the professionals, not amateurs like ourselves. Nonetheless it’s fun to check out the¬†creative offerings on ETSY, where all manner of beautiful crafts are sold.

My French friend has shared so much of¬†herself in my interviews with My English Thoughts. Besides our love of travel, though we’ve both not the kind of time or money to globe trot, we have the commonality of the theatre, where she works, and my daughter performs. I can understand the trials and tribulations she must endure in such a unique occupation, because of those my daughter herself has endured. But I’m sure they would both say that there’s also something magical about the stage, especially behind-the-scenes. What’s also captivating about Isa is her simplicity. She seems to “go with the flow,” dealing with life as it presents itself. At this stage in my life,¬†taking life as it comes is less stressful. My¬†friend from France has learned it at a young age. Kudos to her!

I’m getting to know other bloggers as well. Random Thoughts from Mid-Life speaks my language, although much better, I think. An excellent writer who expresses herself so clearly, with seeming understatement. By contrast, I think my words explode on the page. But we’re different people, with different messages. Learning from others is always good, great in fact. And I’ve a lot to learn.

Space Buddies

Image via Wikipedia

Pet lovers such as those who blog at The (mis)Adventures of Sage, and Lifewith4cats remind me of my own four-legged family, and how much joy they bring their human family. Never underestimate the healing power of animals. They give so much of themselves,¬†asking so little in return. And they get me up and exercising, even when I’d rather be lazy and blogging. A walk with Mocha, or running down the hallway with Sitka and Juneau, or crouching on all fours to stroke Sunkist, remind me that I too need to move about to keep¬†my joints oiled. And how they make me laugh, watching some of their antics. ha, ha.

So I take my hat off to all who’ve nurtured their own communities of blog buddies. It’s an art form which when begun, takes thought and effort to maintain. But the¬†rewards of connecting with like souls is immeasurable. I encourage you to visit these blogs mentioned above,¬†and¬†I’ll let you know of other blog buddies¬†with whom I¬†start a dialogue.

writing is fun…sharing with others enhances the enjoyment…hugmamma.¬†

inspirational thought, from a mom who inspires

Wanted to share the following from my friend, a great mom of whom I’ve spoken in an earlier post. Katy is the CEO in her family, having weathered a divorce several years ago. Her 2 children have benefitted from her management style, one of unconditional love that, like many moms, attempts to fix everything. But God bless Katy, she does manage to “build castles out of sand.” Her daughter is a successful events planner for a retirement community, even as she faces ongoing health issues that would suck the life from most of us. Her brother, Katy’s son is continuing to resolve his health issues as well. Both siblings had set their sights on stage careers, the daughter as a ballerina, the son as an actor in musicals, and perhaps a director.

When her children lacked the energy, Katy sustained them until they¬†regained their determination to¬†look ahead towards another day, another sunrise. They are as remarkable as their mom. Despite her share of setbacks, my friend¬†has discovered new horizons for herself. Katy’s on the verge of becoming a movie actress!!! Now living in California, she’s dabbled in theatre. It seems the play¬†in which she’s acted, “Pink Squirrels,” is being made into a movie. Her part has even expanded, from a smaller role, to one vacated by another actress. So if you find yourself¬†in¬†a viewing of the film,¬†watch the actress playing a Lesbian lawyer. She’ll be my amazing friend, Katy!¬†

So it’s with joy that I pass along another of my friend’s gems,¬†the other being the youtube video of dance clips to the music of “Footloose.” Not one to advise others on how best to live their lives, Katy just does it¬†by example. It’s my guess, she¬†finds¬†daily inspiration from the following. I hope you do as well.

We face magnificent opportunities throughout our lives, each of which is brilliantly disguised as an impossible situation.

¬†for a mom who inspires,¬†a holiday toast!…and huge¬†hugs…hugmamma.

eclipse, the twilight saga

Saw the latest installment of the much hyped vampire series, The Twilight Saga. Eclipse did not disappoint, unlike its predecessors. Twilight and New Moon¬†were not as appealing because the actors seemed stilted in their conversations and movements. They projected as teenagers who don’t want the world to know their true thoughts and feelings, very different from their counterparts in reality TV. Viewers know only too well what they’re about, TMI (“too much information”, as explained by my daughter).

Robert Pattinson¬†as a vampire, Taylor Lautner as a wolf, and Kristin Stewart as their human love interest were more engaging in this, the final episode. All 3 seemed to have matured since they were last¬†on the big screen.¬†Their complex love triangle assumed more depth.¬†There seemed¬†a real possibility that Bella¬†could be in ¬†love with both Edward and Jacob. I wondered¬†if the story would end in a menage a trois.¬†I’ll have to wait and see the final, final episode. Yes, it’s a two parter.

Pattinson’s¬†handsome face, chiseled like a¬†Greek god’s, seemed less overwhelming, while ¬†Lautner looked less like a high school star athlete, and more like a man. Eclipse seemed less focused upon¬†capturing¬†their obvious traits, Pattinson’s¬†brooding glare and Lautner’s 6-pack, bronze abs. More filming from the neck up meant they needed to express their emotions more fully, more genuinely. Tears welled in their eyes as they spoke with angry passion or loving comfort. There were tender moments, humorous asides, and fiery encounters. The teenagers who began the journey had evolved into young adults, finally comfortable in their own skins, whatever their composition.

Leaving the theater, I announced to my daughter that, for her sake, I’d see Eclipse a second time. I’m a fan of seeing performances more than once, as I like to do when my daughter dances. The first time unleashes a floodgate of sights and sounds which overtake¬† my senses. (Back from exchanging bear hugs with Juneau, my other Maine Coone, mixed-breed.) Subsequent views allow me to dissect a performance, so that I become aware of details that I’d not¬†noticed before. I leave the theater with a greater appreciation or better understanding of someone or something. I may¬†confirm an opinion, or¬†have a change of heart.

It’s undeniable that the casting¬†net trolled for only the gorgeous among us. Pattinson, Lautner and Stewart are easy on the eyes, as are the other actors. Would we be as attracted to ugly vampires and wolves? Perhaps if we were paying to see a sci-fi thriller.¬†But The Twilight Saga is fantasy, and we want fantastic, not scary, looking creatures.

If you want to feast on “eye candy,” first love, gorgeous vampires and hunky wolves, then I suggest you “fly like a bat outta…”¬†

and see Eclipse¬† …hugmamma.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

 

new album

Not sure if there are any Michael Jackson fans reading my blog. If there are…good news! A new album of 10 unreleased, new songs should be in stores in November. Evidently someone found a hard-drive with hundreds of songs¬†sung by¬†MJ. Among them, was “Hot Time In The Summer Sun” by Sly and The Family Stone. In my mind, I could see and hear Michael singing the lyrics to the rhythmic tune. Head bobbing up and down, back and forth, while he sat moving to the beat. Happily doing what he loved to do, what he was obviously born to do. That’s how he should be remembered, how I’ll remember him.

My favorite memories of MJ are captured on a DVD of his live concert in Yokohama, Japan. He was in his late 20’s at the time. He cut a lean, mean, “dancing machine” figure. Belting out song after song, gliding and spinning across the stage, he owned it. The ultimate performer, MJ gave himself totally to the act, to the fans. Therein lay his Achille’s heel.

Jackson grew up in front of¬†his fans; realized his full artistic potential because of¬†them; he¬†earned hundreds of millions of dollars because¬†they bought his music, attended his concerts; and he¬†felt completely engulfed by their love. On the flip side, Michael didn’t enjoy a normal childhood; he didn’t grow in other areas which might have given balance to his life; he spent money as fast as he made it, knowing he could always make more; and he kept many individuals who knew him and loved him, at arm’s length. He dedicated his life to his fans, the only¬†ones he seemed to trust as being loyal and truthful to him. He lived in a fantasy, peopled only by himself, his fans and a select few, very few.

In his naivet√©, MJ’s total trust in his fans was his final undoing. Inviting those who seemingly adored him to take shelter under his roof cost him dearly. While he went about the daily routine of his life, the free-loaders dug in their heels aiming to stay on the payroll for as long as they could. When MJ’s attention and devotion strayed from them, mother and children resorted to “bringing him down.” And they did.

Michael fled Neverland,¬†a land of fantasies and wild imaginings, where all his dreams, and nightmares,¬†came true. Living abroad with his 3 children, MJ tried to heal his life, himself. Their love, an innocent one, nourished his soul, bringing him back to a shadow of his former self. But at least he was alive, focusing upon them, and not his audience, his fans. But at 50, he contemplated a comeback, a personal performance¬†for his children now old enough to¬†understand and appreciate his talent. But in the bigger picture, Jackson owed millions in unpaid debts. Creditors were clamoring for their money. So “This Is It” was an answer to so many prayers.

Performing¬†50 live¬†concerts was probably not in the realm of¬†possibilities for Michael Jackson.¬†In older age,¬†he was not what he had been as a dancer, or even as a singer in his earlier years. But he was still amazing. My daughter and a couple of dancer friends¬†were dumbfounded when they saw the film¬†showing what might have been “the greatest show on earth,” for this generation. In their 20’s they could not believe MJ could belt out tunes and “shake his body” alongside younger dancers. They sat in the darkened theatre until the credits were done and the last strains of his voice were heard. I think they felt humbled by Michael’s huge talent.

Sad that MJ is gone, but like Elvis and others before him, such a predictable end to a glorious, but unreal life. Too much too soon, too fast to slow down, and fans always wanting more, expecting more. And their icons always aimed to please.

who controlled whom?…hugmamma