Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Day 6: New projects...more inspiration

It's been harder to write these blog posts than I anticipated, largely because my brain has been focusing on a new idea I have for a project...which I obviously cannot write about on my blog! It's just one of those things that for me has been the intersection of many ideas, concepts, answers to questions, analysis of changing markets, etc. We all have dreams and the difficulties come when it is time to make decisions. Am I going to be one of those people who will always look back thinking about what "might have been"? Or do I have the courage to take the plunge?

Day 5: More thoughts on Parenting and a another little guessing game

I've written many times before about the daunting task of raising children without a owner's manual. Lately, I've been reflecting on my life and analyzing why things turned out the way they did so that I can choose what I would like to so differently (or not) for my children. While the focus in parenting conversations with other couples usually turns to educational opportunities, I often think of the importance of socialization. I must attribute this to a few influential people in my life.
One of my personal struggles is in this social relationship world. While I have several close friends, each of these friends has usually been in a direct relationship with me, it hasn't been a friend-group type of scenario. I can basically trace this "social-history" back to my middle school days. In those days, I developed some great friends, who are my friends to this day, but there began a disconnect in the 8th grade when ballet became the focus of my after school and weekend activities. Then, after middle school, I went away to boarding school, so those relationships became rather distant. You might think that a boarding school scenario would be great for building friendships, but my schedule was different from everyone else's in that my parents insisted that I return home every weekend. So there again there was a disconnect for me, I was not part of the relaxing weekend- social scene of my high school, nor was I really a part of the life of the old friends I would occasionally visit back at home. The old soul I have always been, I became friends with some of the dorm supervisors and teachers. From there, I quit ballet and returned home. My friends were seniors in high school, but I had graduated early so had to dive into college. I took off for a year studying and traveling in Europe, and then I transfered as a junior to Davidson College. Most students spend their junior year abroad which meant I arrived on a campus with most of my class missing. So I befriended mostly sophomores, who left the following year when I got to meet my class-but it was a little late for the traditional college bonding opportunities. I'm not writing this to complain or rant in any way, just an expository description of how my life developed. All this to make the observation that I really hope that my children can have more continuity in their social relationships. I know girls who now go on trips with their high school buddies, etc and I want my kids to have those kind of life-long relationships. I watched my younger sister go to an all-girls high school (with many of the girls she'd gone to school with since pre-school) and saw that even while they've all gone away to different colleges those bonds will hold.

The longest standing friendships I do have, I can trace to elementary school, can you identify the four people who are in both of these photos? (One taken in high school, the other taken last month.)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Days 3 & 4: Appreciation and Creativity

While I promised myself that during these 40 days I was not going to be swayed by the need to please my readers, I want to thank all of those who have been so supportive of my choice to have these reflective days. Your words have been kind and are appreciated.
When I entered this questioning stage a few months ago, mostly concerning my job situation, I began at the bequest of one of my closest friends to read a book called "A Whole New Mind" by Daniel Pink. In this book he talks about the evolution in our society from a "left-brained" world to a "right-brained" world. It is of course more complicated than that sentence, but for me it was quite an empowering book to read because I do believe that he is spot on in his description of this American (and global) evolution. In a sense, I have taken on his challenge as a personal one. How am I going to adapt to this changing world? What am I going to do differently? And most importantly how an I going to embrace my creative talents?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 2: The other man in my life

Today is my little man's third birthday. And what a man he is. He has stolen my heart.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 1: The Zoo

Today I had signed up to chaperone Cecilia's class on their field trip to the Miami Metro Zoo. I had secretly hoped the field trip for which I would be selected would suit my interests a little more, such as the previous two, one to a musical theater performance, the other to a museum. But as these things go, I got to go to the zoo. First we rode on a traditional yellow bus, combinations of memories from my days riding buses to school everyday (all through elementary and middle school) along with the days in which I drove a bus while a supervisor at my former high school crossed my mind as I regretted choosing a thin jean jacket over a warmer fleece. The rest of the trip was basically one chaotic adventure in keeping 3 six year olds under my fold while also trying to keep up with the rest of the class. The best part--at least for me--was the ride home when I got a few minutes to catch up with Ceci's teacher. She let me know that she was recommending Cecilia for the gifted program. As most parents, we think our children are the greatest thing that ever happened to us, but when someone else thinks our kids truly are bright we can only be so proud. And hope that in these few years we have to teach them something...we do something right!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ashes: Lent 2010

Today is (was) Ash Wednesday. While I rarely dwell on my religious views/ practices, etc, my faith is something very prominent in my life. I am a practicing Catholic who goes to mass every Sunday. And there are many different reasons to go to mass on Sundays. But I digress. Very often I think up blog posts in my head and somehow from the time I thought about it to the time that I sit at the computer everything I had to say becomes lost in some vacuum in my head. Somewhere with the two more hours I should have slept and the exercise routine which would have given me more energy to keep going. I'm going to write a few things that I've been wanting to clarify--for me--not for you, my readers. As most bloggers, I often think of you and wonder what you want to me to write about, what your interests might be. And for a long time I've struggled with this battle of the you vs. me. Of course, this is a battle entirely in my head, as you have never participated in it. And across the blogosphere there are certainly both types of bloggers, just as there are writers, those who write for their audience and those who write for themselves, or perhpas out of some internal need for expression. I have bounced back and forth between the two. At times, I follow all the rules of blogging, i.e. visit and leave comments on all the blogs that visited your blog, reply promptly to all comments, list those bloggers on your blogroll, etc. But all this is can be very exhausting in today's blogosphere with new blogs popping up everyday. In that world I find it very easy to lose sight of any goals I had established.
So I've come up with a plan for Lent. 40 days of internal reflection. 40 days in which I will write--not at the end of the day and risk being too tired to write anything, but at the start of each day. Whatever is on my mind. No writing for an audience. No writing for networking or self-promotion, just writing what is in my heart. Right here, right now. So if you are a fellow blogger, be assured that I will visit your blog--after Lent is over. I promise. If you are not a fellow blogger and are just a person who has so far enjoyed reading my blog, I can only hope that you like the "reflective me" just as much as you loved my house renovations and buying trips, its just another part of who I am while dancing through paris. See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

And the answer is....

Let's review our guessing game...Here is the photo of the three figurines I purchased at the antiques show. I received 6 guesses:
1. Three Magi
2. Santons
3.Turkish ballerinas
4. Russians, maybe dancers
5. Statuettes of the wives of the three wisemen/kings, dancing they were so happy the husbands were out of the house
6. Petrushka peasant costumes. Designer: Benois or it also may be Scheharazade. Costumes: Bakst.

That last answer already assumes that we have the initial answer which is that they are maquettes of dancers in costume from the Ballets Russes, circa 1920s. For those of you who aren't balletomanes, the Ballets Russes (literally "The Russian Ballets") was an itinerant company founded by Serge Diaghilev in 1909. Many of the patrons and dancers were exiled Russians who gathered in Paris after the revolution in 1917. Here is a quip from Wikipedia: "The company featured and premiered now-famous (and sometimes notorious) works by the great choreographers Marius Petipa, Michel Fokine, as well as new works by Bronislava Nijinska, Léonide Massine, Vaslav Nijinsky, and the young George Balanchine at the start of his career.

The company's productions, which combined new dance, art and music, created a huge sensation around the world, altering the course of musical history, bringing many significant visual artists into the public eye, and completely reinvigorating the art of performing dance. The Ballets Russes was one of the most influential theatre companies of the twentieth century, in part because of its ground-breaking artistic collaboration among contemporary choreographers, composers, artists, and dancers. Its ballets have been variously interpreted as Classical, Neo-Classical, Romantic, Neo-Romantic, Avant-Garde, Expressionist, Abstract, and Orientalist. The influence of the Ballets Russes lasts to this day in one form or another."

Diaghilev's brilliance was in bringing together artists from every spectrum to produce a masterpiece--from Stravinsky to Picasso, Gustave Moreau to Coco Chanel--any aspiring artist who was becoming important in the 1920s worked for Diaghilev.

So here are photos pertaining to the two possibilities. The first is of the principal characters in Petrushka, costumes be Alexandre Benois. My maquettes would not be of these characters, but you get the idea...

The following two images are paintings by Leon Bakst for characters in Scheharazade. My guess is that this is the correct answer. Look at the earrings on the "Sorcerer," even they look like the ones on my maquette!

Thanks for participating in my guessing game! To see more wonderful images from the Ballets Russes, I recommend this book just published in December. See you next time!

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