Thursday, November 30, 2017

Day 251 Phipps Conservatory -Wonder of the Season- New Show- New Timed Entry

The weeks surrounding  the Holiday Season often involve that panic rush feeling "to get it all done.” We forget, as my blog inspiration book, Everything I Learned About Christmas, I Learned From A Little Golden Book, reminds us that Christmas should be a “time of wonder, a time like no other time of the year.”   Phipps Conservatory is a place were you can escape into a world of beautiful plants and lights and relax, feeling the wonder of the season (see Day 180).

Monday, November 27, 2017

Day 250 Charlie Brown Christmas-Live on Stage-Holiday Season Kick Off Like a Kid

I  have always loved the  1965 animated television special Charlie Brown Christmas  and who doesn’t love that twig of a  tree.  This iconic cartoon is a Christmas tradition for my son and I.  I thought that the  "Charlie Brown Christmas-Live on Stage" would be a great way to kick off the Holiday Season.  So even  though this show  is for families I thought- why shouldn't “kids at heart” like me also enjoy the magic?  I was ready to experience all my favorite characters and kick off the season  just  like a kid even if I would be sitting among a bunch of kids!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Day 249 Happy Thanksgiving-Turkey in a bag-stress free

I stress about making Thanksgiving dinner every year because I am not that good of  a cook (see Day 243).   Thanksgiving is one of my least favorite holidays because cooking the dinner is not a “ labor of love” for this girl but a stress bomb. I also think it’s highly unfair that during this holiday women slave all day cooking (I know that some men  carve or  help by deep frying the turkey) but mostly men get to relax, eat dinner, and watch football.  This year instead of making  numerous calls to my girlfriend, who takes on the role as my “turkey line”,   I decided to make it stress free by trying a freezer to oven turkey in a bag!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Day 248 Motown The Musical -Pittsburgh Broadway Series-Can’t get enough

Temptations -Motown the Musical 
I have always loved the Motown sound. If you are like me, you feel some kind of  connection to it that  always brings your feet moving, your head bopping and your mouth singing. That might have been why I had a “musician connection” for many years before I started this blog that had me listening to this type of music.  Although I took a reprieve from it  in my empty- nest period, when I heard  that the Pittsburgh Broadway Series was bringing Motown The Musical to town,  I was ready to experience that Motown sound again because it’s the type of music that you just can’t get enough of!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Day 247-Pittsburgh Broadway Series- Color Purple-Resilient and Strong

Celie and her sister Nettie

The musical The Color Purple is based  on the 1982 novel by Alice Walker. It  is a story about a  woman (Celie)  who triumphs over life’s hardships  in the American south.  As  my blog inspired physiologist Maslow would say, she self-actualized or became her personal best.  I was a sap and cried tears of joy on her behalf  during most of the play's second act when she  triumphed over adversity with the strength and resilience given to her from God. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

246 Marriage of Figaro-Pittsburgh Opera-Lovely Comedy

Figaro and Susana, Countess and Count
There is nothing better than a good laugh, especially when there seems to be an endless trail of “doom and gloom” stories in the news. The Marriage of Figaro with music by Mozart and sung in Italian, is an operatic  comedy.   I was excited to experience my first opera  where someone did not meet their demise in the name of love!


I have discovered  a new interest in the opera during  my empty-nest period (see Day 239-Tosca). They all seem  to be such “larger than life” productions with extravagant  sets,  powerful voices, and beautiful symphonic music.  The Marriage of Figaro was less extravagant than  my past experiences but it  was  filled with wonderfully whimsical music. Much of  Mozart’s 1786 composition, especially the overture, has been played outside of this opera  and thus the  music was familiar to my ears. (listen here)

In this four act opera no one died. In  fact, most of  the action centered round the playful antics during a 24 hour period before the impending marriage of Figaro (the Count Almavia’s head servant) to Susana (the Countess Rosina Almavia’s maid).

 The Count (Christian Bowers)  had a thing for Susana (Joella Harvey) and wished to exercise his noble right to take the place of his servant on his wedding night. He continued to try to delay their wedding. He also  tried to force the marriage of  Figaro  to an old woman, Marcellina (Leah de Gruyl) to satisfy his debt. Then in Act 4 Marcellina discovers that Figaro (Tyler Simpson) is her long lost son.   

Figaro gets the girl, Susana

The Countess (Danielle Pastin) fearing that her husband has lost interest in her, schemes with Susana  and Figaro to teach him a lesson. They convince the page  boy, Cherubino (Corrie Stallings) to dress up as Susana in order to trick the Count. You get the picture, there  is a lot of  twist and turns and mistaken identities  that result in laughter but in the end the Count and Countess fall back in love and Figaro gets his girl!

There were 12 strong characters in this opera and many shared the stage together in song. Since there was so much  movement,  I often just stopped trying to follow the action and English subtitles and enjoyed the music. Especially in Act 3 when both Susana (Joelle Harvey) and the Countess  (Danielle Pastin) produced such beautiful soprano melodies.

This light- hearted opera with familiar music and  a twist of laughter was a welcomed new operatic experience.  I intend to keep the Pittsburgh Opera Season in my survival toolbox because thus far, I have enjoyed the diverse  variety in their shows.  

(Their next show in  January, The Long Walk, is a contemporary American Opera about a solder's struggles after his return from the Iraq war.)

Other Sources

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Day 245 4x4 Ephemeral Architectures -Ballet and Juggling-Beautifully Intimate

Juggling  and ballet is not something that  you often experience  together but renowned juggler, Sean Gandini and Royal Ballet dancer, Ludovic  Ondiviela combined their talents in the show, 4x4 Ephemeral Architectures  at Wilson Center recently.   This show continues to  receive rave reviews since it opened in 2015 at the London International Mime Festival.  Luckily, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust  brought this merger of two different art forms to Pittsburgh.   I thought that this would be my first contemporary  circus experience but this was something much better- something beautifully intimate!   

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Day 244 The NEW Arcade Comedy Theater –Improv, humors spontaneity

New Arcade Comedy Theater, Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh
Bringing  humor and laughter to Pittsburgh  is a great way to circumvent some of the unpleasant current events in the news lately and to combat the impending shortened daylight this time of year. Arcade Comedy Theater  is a new comedy venue with a non-profit mission to, “elevate and advance the art of comedy” and  “present fun accessible and affordable live comedy to Pittsburgh every weekend”.  I was  ready to experience some  spontaneous  humor   through the art of improvisational comedy during the  Grand Opening of the New Arcade Comedy Theater!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Day 243 My Great Stress Cook- Off

My blog inspiration book, “Everything I Need to Know I Learned from, a Little Golden Book recommends, “Learn to cook”. I never thought that I would use that book page in this blog because I am such a bad cook and I actually really hate to cook. I know it’s shocking -an Italian girl that does not know how to cook. I wish I had a dime for every time I heard, “You’re Italian and you don’t cook”! 

Today my happiness meter went into the “critical red zone”. Why my stress  level  was in the red zone: whether it’s a product of work, my relationships, or my child is irrelevant, but what matters is the way I choose to circumvent  potential despair. I don’t drink, use drugs, shop much, or sleep it off, so I decided to try something new –cook!

Friday, November 3, 2017

November Preview of Upcoming Events

Since this blog is  all about keeping a forward trajectory in midst of change and reaching your personal best, I wanted to preview some of my planned experiences in  the hope  that it will inspire some to join in. As Dale Carnegie once said, "Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." Let's all get busy!