Saturday, October 31, 2015

Going to Borneo with Anthony Bourdain

Charismatic Storyteller/Chef, Anthony Bourdain, takes us to "Parts Unknown", on his CNN lifestyle series...now in season 6. The show profiles this man of many talents exploring the history, food and culture of countries such as Ethiopia and Marseille this season, and so many others through the years, such as Colombia, Libya and Peru...Israel, Spain, India and on and on.

Everything, from the graphics, cinematography and history of these areas, that most of us have no idea about, opens up a world of discovery...the people, landscape and local cuisine are vividly presented. Sometimes a sad history will be revealed, such as that of the Congo, but, the spirit of the people that's captured is always uplifting.

Bourdain, a chef, author and TV personality, is the perfect traveler/host...his blend of intelligence and humor create the mood. The show is a revelation...TV at it's absolute best. Looking forward to a Borneo visit tomorrow night.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Max...Birthday Thoughts...

I was telling a friend about my Dad the other day. When he was seventeen he was in the "Battle of the Marne", in the lst World War--fighting for Germany. He escaped this fate within 6 months, due to being gassed--he also lost the hearing in one ear when a tank fell into the trench he was in. A Baroness from his hometown brought him to her villa to recover. My friend commented that my account was like a novel she had read. He was like a "hero" to me and my Mother--his quiet strength was always felt by us--his elegant demeanor magnitized people to him...

Thinking about him today as it's his birthday...he came to this country in 1928, from a beautiful village in the Black Forest of Southern Germany, near the spa town of Baden-Baden. He fell in love with my Mother, when she was 19 years old...at "first sight". But, they didn't get married for another 16 years, with different responsibilities keeping them apart. They inspired me with their total devotion to one another.

On his birthday, I like to think of his accomplishments...his creative mind as an inventor and engineer, his strength of character and discipline, his devotion to his family, but, most of all, I like to envision his beautiful smile that made everything better...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

"A New World"...Discovered in Provincetown

We visited the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown recently...built between 1907-1910, to commemorate the first landing of the Pilgrims in 1620, and the signing in Provincetown Harbor of the Mayflower Compact. The Compact  is the first instance of a democratic society in the "New World". The amazing Monument is the tallest all granite structure in the U.S. (252 feet)...visitors can climb to the top on a series of stairs and ramps. Willard T. Sears was the winner of the design contest and based his idea on the Torre del Mangia, in Siena, Italy, built in 1309. President Theodore Roosevelt laid the cornerstone for the Monument in 1907. Christmas lights are strung from the top of the monument to its base annually...lit in November, they illuminate the sky in a magical way.

R. and I toured the Provincetown Museum, at the base of Monument, which houses extensive exhibits depicting important events and people in Provincetown history, including the arts. I was so inspired by the bravery of the settlers,  their vision motivating them to set out on the unknown seas to find freedom and develop a "New World".

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Friendships...How to Recognize a "True" One...

I like referring to this article published in Gwyneth Paltrow's  newsletter, "Goop" in one of the earlier issues. It's an insightful piece examining friendships. She wondered "What do you do when you don't like a friend anymore, even if you have years of history. How do you realize if a friend makes you change for the better or if you're better off without them. Do you feel drained, empty, belittled or insulted after spending time with them...?"

One person she questions about this is Cynthia Bourgeault, an Episcopalian priest and writer who feels, "Whenever either party begins to feel this friendship is draining me, it's a tip-off. A true friendship has the capacity to grow with you, it's low maintenance regarding expectations and contact is never a duty, but a "heart to heart" gift".

Dr. Karen Binder Brynes, a New York psychologist states, "Good friends fill us with warmth, honesty and a sense of well being".

Often, I'll leave a friend feeling totally drained as I seem to pick up their feelings and moods so easily. I've had friends who could be belittling and insulting because they're feeling insecure or envious. Fearing confrontation, I've only recently been able to express my feeling to them in an attempt to reconstruct the relationship, but, I've learned, from the above, that you have to "examine" which are valuable and which aren't, for your well being.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Sweet Dreams--Metaphysical Musings

I started having precognitive dreams in my 20's...rereading my journals, I was amazed at how many I've had through the years. They were mainly about people, but, also ranged from jobs to much more serious happenings. When I was living on Martha's Vineyard, I had a vivid dream of a tower...the next day, I was the victim of a vicious attack and robbery walking home from visiting friends.While driving by the area with the police, I saw the tower that was in my dream, which wasn't visible when walking. It was set back in the area where the incident took place.

They're always vivid and colorful and wake me up...many times R. was in trouble with dangerously low blood sugars...I would awaken from a dream knowing that  he needed help...I would wake up talking to "someone" directing me to notice his condition.

By far, the most interesting have been deceased relatives, some in an illuminated form, giving me messages.

When I recently heard from someone that hadn't been in my life for decades, I remembered a dream that preceded this...we were greeting each other.

Can precognition be inherited..I wonder, as my mother was clearly clairvoyant. Many psychics believe we all have the ability, to some extent...we just have to be open to it and develop our intuition.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Can the Magic of Music Transform the World

With the news of more brutality ravaging parts of the world, I turn to music to inspire me...

If only music could be a universal magic that could transform the world we live in now...it has such power to stir the senses and trigger all types of emotions...and, bring people of all cultures together.

Leonardo Da Vinci said, "Do you know that our soul is composed of harmony?"

Plato's quote: "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything".

Bono: "Music can change the world, because it changes people".

According to research, humans have used music as a form of social bonding since 40,000 BC.

But, now, with the world in incredible chaos, it's just a dream...

Thursday, October 8, 2015

War Reporters--Walking Into Danger While Capturing History

I recently read a book by Lynsey Addario, and before that, one by Janine de Giovanni...both women are war reporters. Lynsey is a photojournalist and Janine a sensitive writer, and both have written about their amazing careers, attempting to balance relationships with that dynamic. Their stories describe the danger and often miserable living conditions and, yet, they had to do it...had to get to the next war zone...willing themselves to get the best story or photos. They're truly heroines to me.

"Al Jazeera America" has a fascinating article, written by Jamie Tarbay, regarding the world of these risk takers, mentioning that "in the past three years, more than 100 professional and citizen journalists have been killed covering the war in Syria, more than 12 kidnapped by ISIL and other groups and four beheaded". Anthony Loyd, who has covered conflicts for years is quoted saying, "war is ruled by the dynamic of chaos"...reporters want to "relay history".

Dr Anthony Feinstein, a psychologist who works with those that experience combat journalism trauma, says that reporters covering war zones exhibit the same biological disposition as extreme sportsmen, firefighters or people in the military...with higher levels of dopamine...they are drawn to this type of excitement...an adventurous lifestyle.

This is so interesting to me as I couldn't imagine putting myself in their world and yet I admire their zeal and bravery as they sacrifice so much to capture the truth of war for all to know.


Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"Imagine All The People Living Life in Peace" John Lennon

"In the end, only three things matter:

 How much you loved...

 How gently you lived...

 And how gracefully you let things go not meant for you."

Buddha

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Wallace Bassford--American Artist...1900-1998

I had the pleasure of meeting Wallace Bassford and his wife, many years ago, at their home in Truro, here on Cape Cod. Wallace was known for his portraits, floral still lifes and female figure portraits. At this time, he was teaching at the North Truro School School of Art, in the summers. While visiting, he asked me if I'd pose for him that winter, at one of his "alla prima" painting demonstrations in Palm Beach. I felt honored to be asked, as his portraits were beautifully rendered--soft and romantic. When the time came, I was presented with a vintage couture gown to wear--long and tight, white lace, with a Spanish flair.

I watched Wallace enter the crowded room, from my perch. He appeared, dressed completely in white, as was his custom when doing this style of painting. "Alla prima" means he would finish my portrait in one sitting. Being quite a showman, each brushstroke was done with a flourish. He would stride away from the canvas after each stroke and then seem to dance back to it. At the end of the session, his outfit was still immaculate and the painting was sold.

It's such a great memory of a stylish, gifted artist...he and his wife were an elegant couple.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

"One of the Most Diversely Talented Individuals Ever to Have Lived in the World"

As so many, I'm fascinated by Leonardo da Vinci--a mysterious figure who transcended the mundane trials of day-to-day life to embody the ideal of the Renaissance man. I like the following description of him in a biography by Serge Bramly, attributed to Vasari, a painter and architect, who wrote this about him around 1550--"Celestial influences may shower extraordinary gifts on certain human beings, which is an effect of nature, but there is something supernatural in the accumulation in one individual of so much beauty, grace, and might".

An Italian polymath,born in 1452, his areas of interest included inventions, painting, sculpture, architecture, science, music, math, etc, etc. I learned that he rarely finished the works he began and there were very few of them. He was left-handed and a vegetarian. He was known to wear a rose-colored garment, which reached only to the knee, although the fashion of the time was for longer clothes. I would love to have met or even seen this amazing person...

Kenneth Clark devoted much of his life to studying him and wrote, "Leonardo is the Hamlet of art history, whom each of us must recreate for himself".