Friday, March 29, 2013

April is Autism Awareness Month

April is Autism Awareness Month.  As you can see, the odds now of a child being diagnosed with autism is 1 in 88.  I have added a link to on this blog's side board.  Just click on it for more information.  Autism Speaks created this ad.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

New York, New York -- A Wonderful Town and School Trips

Chesley Bonestell, artist,  Dover Clip Art 
School trips.  During my growing up years there were no school trips -- those trips you take with your classmates usually during Spring break.  But, I am so happy for my grandson, who with his high school orchestra is going to New York City over the Easter weekend to play at Carnegie Hall.  There will be over 100 students taking part from his high school. This happens every Spring with music students from all over the United States.  My grandson's school district has an excellent music program which starts in 4th grade, and with a little coaxing from his maternal grandfather, he began to learn to play the viola while in elementary school.

The itinerary is amazing with visits to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Empire State building, the World Trade Center Memorial, choice of two Broadway plays, walking tours of Chinatown, Rockefeller Center, and a jazz concert at Birdland, plus of course coaching and practicing for their concert at Carnegie Hall.

Looking over the schedule, I am impressed with all the volunteer parents and others who spent months planning this. This trip could not have happened without them. The students did have to come up with their own expenses, which they did this past year by summer jobs and "donations" from friends and relatives.

Personally, though, I am happy for my grandson who has shown patience, love and understanding for his younger brother who has autism and who takes attention and center stage for much of the time.  This will be my oldest grandson's week.  I am sending him much love (and a little monetary help) and Godspeed for a wonderful week in my home town.

When I was a student teacher in Winchester England, I heard that the students were planning a Spring trip across the channel to France to view the Bayeux Tapestry.  There is a museum that displays this 230 foot needlework--
appliqued depiction of the Norman Invasion and the Battle of Hastings, 1066. The BBC web-site is interesting and shows visually the artists view of the events.  This is a national treasure from the 11th Century.

Did any of you bloggers take school trips that you remember?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A-Z Practice

First line from: Tender is the Night by F.Scott Fitzgerald

"On the pleasant shore of the French Riviera, about halfway between Marseilles and the Italian border, stands a proud, rose-colored hotel."  Shimmering in the sunlight with promise and untold secrets:  promise of romance and interesting diversions, secrets both kept and divulged, but always a frisson in the air as one crossed the threshold.

It was there that a sad-eyed youngish blond woman was ushered through the massive glass doors.  She quickly walked to the registration desk and checked in, made her way to her assigned room accompanied by her Louis V. luggage and the bell cap.  After tipping him generously, she indicated that she did not require anything more, and he left.

Her room overlooked a palm-laden courtyard and as she looked down at the sculptures, she noticed one: gleaming in the sunlight--Poseidon, his iron trident poised to be thrown; she began planning her revenge.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Legos, Peeps, and Creating Small Worlds

Every new mall has Legos Stores. Legos are those little plastic brick-like rectangles with knobs on them which have had a new revival.  When researching this post, I found out that Legos originated in Denmark, and have been around for 100 years. First made of wood, now plastic, and are one of the oldest plastic toys in the world.  Google has a detailed history of this toy.  And now we have Legoland, featuring models of every famous building, church, cities, airports, and more.  These Lego museums are all over the world.

The stores are usually busy with young (and older) boys, not too many girls, with parents and sometimes grandparents in tow.  Fragments of conversation drift through the store.  "I really like this one, grandpa;" "Do you have the XYZ fighter, freighter model?"; or "Please, please, please could I stay here longer?"

There is a certain enchantment with creating a smaller-than-life scene.  In the past there were also models made from balsa wood, Erector Sets and Lincoln Logs.  And encouraging such activities are good for kids, I think -- future engineers, architects and set designers are just some of the professions that a love of making models could lead to, plus just the pleasure of building these   models.

When the Denver Post announced its annual Peeps contest, I was in!  Peeps are those marshmallow, too sugary eatable figures which are made around certain holidays.  Other cities have these contests as well.  The idea is to make a diorama using Peeps with some theme connected with current events, Denver news, sports, etc.

"Peeps Visit Yves St. Laurent Exhibit at the Denver Art Museum" was my theme.  I had seen the exhibit and was fascinated with the couture fashions.  Seeing them up close and viewing them as works of art, which they are, gave me the idea.

Peeps Visit the Yves St. Laurent Exhibit
Using a book from the library, I drew and painted one dimensional  paper doll-like figures using some of YSL iconic fashions -- the lipstick dress, the gown with the huge pink bow on the back, the gown with Matisse-like cutouts, and the Mondrian dress from the 60's.  I added some cut out French furniture I had which was perfect for the scale, copies of parquet flooring and last, but not least, a portrait of Yves St. Laurent himself.  Gluing the Peeps lining up to see the exhibit was the easy part.  Then I took a photo and e-mailed it to the Denver Post.  We will see.  What I did discover, is how much I missed drawing and what a pleasure it was.  

Re-reading my post this morning -- an idea for a short story came to my mind -- The main character is obsessed with making models -- creating small worlds in which she plays the major role to the exclusion of the outside world.  Now this could go either way -- she hates Mr.X and creates a scenario in which he is murdered and he is in real life, or after months of being a recluse, she creates a positive scenario with herself as the main character and her diorama comes true.  Happy ending.  Hmm

All you real writers out there -- where do you get your ideas?