“As If” – The Limitlessness of Play (by Jocelyn)

I was fortunate enough to attend NYU for my MFA in Acting under the legendary theater director, Zelda Fichandler.  Zelda taught a class for the first years called, The Actor’s Space, which I later came to realize was an in-depth exploration into our Imagination. We created one-person shows which she called Universe Projects and performed them just for the other 17 members of our class and, of course, Zelda.  We learned intimacies about each other, in an instant of mime, mask or music that would have taken years to reveal, and which would make our work as an ensemble incredibly strong.  Every day there would be another brave sharing of personhood.  And ironically, the more specific the work, the more universally we all felt it.

And then the games began.  Zelda led us in the kind of theater games that rely on the trust an actor has in her ability to play. It was like a wonderful regression to kindergarten, where what you make-believe teaches you about the world and yourself, and you don’t even know it. 

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Our Journey So Far (by Bridget S.)

If you’ve been reading here the last few months, you’re already familiar with the writing of Bridget Straub.  I love the candidness and insight she brings to the sanemoms table, and when I heard about a new creative project of hers that needs a little kick to get it going, I wanted to share it with you all! She tells the story in her own words below, so please take the time to check it out, and chip in a buck or two or more if you can … if we all gave $5 she’d be there in no time :).  Good luck Bridget!

Room to Grow : A Cool New Musical for the Whole Family!

As parents, sometimes our closest friendships develop through our kids. When my daughter Tessa began kindergarten, she became friends with a little girl whose mother just happened to be Laura Hall.

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Fly Away and my night off

I promised 2 weeks ago to update you after my night out to see the movie Fly Away, and I’m finally getting to it.  I met up with a friend in the East Village, and we ducked into the theater just as the movie was starting.  There was enough light from the screen to see that the place was nearly empty, but it quickly dimmed enough to not acutally be able to see where the rows were!  After a bit of groping for seatbacks, we found a place to park.   

The film, by Janet Grillo, is a heart-wrenching look at the life and struggles of a single mom (Jeanne) and her teenage daughter Mandy, who is autistic. 

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Q of the Week : Any good reads lately?

I received a Kindle on Friday as a thank-you gift for a design job I did for a friend.  I’ve been wanting one for awhile, and am loving it so far!  Thanks M :).  I don’t think it will ever replace paper books for me, the tactile nature of turning pages is something I love, and kind of miss with e-book reading.  Then again Fynn is so pleased with it he just sits next to me and wants to turn the pages :).  It’s rather seductive in it’s sleekness, and the idea that I can carry a bunch of books in my backpack, including ones to keep my boys busy, is pretty fine. 
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Recognizing Yourself

I had that eerie experience yet again last night, where you recognize some aspect of yourself in a book or movie, and walk away shaking your head, perhaps shivering a bit.  The culprit this time was Natalie Portman’s character in the movie Black Swan.  A disturbing and powerful movie, well played, and still haunting me a bit.  No I don’t look like Natalie, nor am I a dancer, but her struggles with perfection and letting go?  Oh boy do I get that.  I get it like a second skin.  I live it every day, I struggle with it, and while I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t seen it, I totally get the ending.  Makes complete sense to me in a twisted way. 
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Two New Distractions

Q of the Week will come out tomorrow, along with some great poetry from a longtime reader/friend and the newsletter, I promise … but first a quick pic of the reason I’ve not been too available to blog today!  Other than a streaming cold and lack of sleep due to a: coughing, and b: see distractions below.

Without further ado, the two newest members of our crazy household …

The front-man is Edmund, who I spent an hour luring out of the base of the pedestal sink this afternoon, among other things.  His as-yet-unnamed sister Sparrow is lurking behind him, and appears to be the real trouble-maker of the pair.  We shall see.  I must go install the turtle’s filter and floating dock, because he had to get some attention today too, you know.  Catch you tomorrow!


Knitting, Risk, and Who Does She Think She Is anyway?

I’m finally sitting down at my computer for the first time today, and am loving the fact that it took this long!  We did a lot of errands today (my sister is in town, making the process infinitely easier!) and got rid of some things that have been cluttering up the entry way … and boy do I love getting rid of stuff!  It’s the best kind of therapy, next to cleaning I think.  Having my sister around is good therapy too :).

We watched the Who Does She Think She Is movie last night, and while it was my 2nd time through I found it just as fascinating and thought-provoking as the first time. 

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Rambling out the week ...

The pile of finished pillows, positively reeking of lavendar but they’ll calm down a bit over time. It all started with Fynn getting something similar as a gift, and me having to make a replacement when it was lost, so I decided to churn out a stack of them to make a few bucks for Christmas gifts this year.Well, that was a big old blank screen for a week, sorry about that!  My pillow-making frenzy for a craft fair this weekend got in the way a bit … and of course I left it all till the last minute, had sewing machine problems that made me crazy, and it rather snowballed from there. 

My moods didn’t help either, as they’ve been all over the place.  I’m doing some therapy-ish reading and journaling, and it’s digging up some stuff that needs to come up, but makes life extra messy in the meantime.

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We went to the circus!

Last weekend, the boys and I, along with a friend of Douglas’, went to the Big Apple Circus here in NY.  It’s the one I mentioned last week.  It’s at Lincoln Center in a wee big top, so all the seats are good seats … it has a really intimate feel and as they say, no seat is more than 50’ from the ring!  We had seats in the 5th row (full disclosure: they were comped tickets for Mom Blogger night) and had a (mostly) great view.  Of course the most broad-shouldered family in the place sat in front of us, so Fynn spent most of the time on my lap, and D and his friend swapped seats a few times to share the best viewing angle. 
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Would You Like Some ... Funky Crafty DIY Summer Ideas?

Douglas at the new project table …I’m a big fan of SAJ and she’s got a gig with Alpha Mom that’s turned out some cool craft projects.  If you’re hitting the summer doldrums and need some ideas, take a look!

I’m also addicted to the New Dress a Day blog, which has me scarily inspired to start mucking around with my sewing machine and some old clothes that aren’t quite favorites.  I’ve finally gotten the sewing machine OUT which is huge progress, it’s normal home is wedged in our single tiny bedroom closet, to the left of a filing cabinet which fills the entire doorway.  I have to deadlift the heavy old thing over the filing cabinet while batting away my husband’s suits (which he wears once every 2 years but that’s another story) and sweaters.  Swearing is usually involved.  So are pinched fingers.  Douglas is sewing madly away as I write, trying to stitch the word Mitten onto a series of tiny silk scraps he’s sewing into some form of a mitten.

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Wee Play Camp for fellow NYC moms

Jocelyn’s given us some great play tips before, and her classes are fab for the younger set.  Check out her summer camp below, it’s during the dog days of August and is a great way to keep the wee ones entertained while you get a bit of a breather!  Enjoy …

Wee Play Camp

WHEN: 10am-12pm, Monday-Friday
Week 1 Animal Adventures: August 16-20
Week 2 Fairytale Theater: August 23-27

WHERE: Area Yoga, 320 Court Street in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

WHO: Kids ages 3-5 who love stories, characters and play!

WHAT:   In this exciting camp, young performers are introduced to acting, improvisation, creative movement and song.   We adapt tales from children’s literature and invent our own stories as well! Students create visual art that supports their understanding of character.  Both weeks culminate in an open class for family and friends.  A stimulating and nurturing environment for the budding artist. 
In Week 1: Animal Adventures, we read fables, and the children create animal characters that express their artistic voice. 
In Week 2: Fairy Tale Theater, we read children’s fairy tales and interpret characters of heroes, villains, fairies and more! 

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Tip Tuesday : Free Movies online

Cindy D turned me on to this one (thanks!), and it’s cool if you like old movies like I do :).  Check out http://emol.org/movies/  and see Entertainment Weekly’s Online Magazine section that offers free movies that are out of copyright.  There’s a catalog listing here that shows what they cover.  My boys love the old cartoons especially, and they’re great summer entertainment.  Check it out next time you’re looking for something new to watch, or waiting for a Netflix, or just bored with what’s on the shelf.  

Any other free movie sites out there that are legit?  Please add to the list if you know of any, and have a great Tuesday :).


Would You Like Some ... Creative Kid Activities? (guest post by Jocelyn)

Guest post by Jocelyn Green of Child’s Play NY, thanks Jocelyn!

Looking for a fun activity to spark your kids’ imaginations?  A game that I use in class, (which can work for even just 2 people) is something I call “Story Clap”, inspired by Viola Spolin, the legendary originator of Theater Games.

One person starts with an opener that puts us in the fairy tale or fable mind-set, like:  

Once upon a time there lived a firefly who didn’t know she was a firefly…

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