Celebrate Your Unique Talent Day: Nov. 24

Camille Farrell, Hoop Artist

For many adults, the sight of a hula-hoop brings back childhood memories of carefree days of rotating a round plastic tube around their hips. Gyrating a hula-hoop can be how many have learned the physics of force, propulsion, speed, and that irreducible buzz-kill known as gravity. Since its introduction by WHAM-O as a children’s toy in the late 1950’s, the hula-hoop has been instrumental in teaching persistence, patience, and the exhilaration of accomplishing a goal.

One of the goals of Hoop Tribe of Salem is to inspire a sense of unity within the community, one hoop at a time. Like many flow artists, their aim is to bring people together, making a positive difference by promoting a healthy, fun, and positive lifestyle. Camille Farrell, founder of Hoop Tribe, has been actively involved in producing hoops and performing at local venues since 2008. With their hoops as dance partners, the hoopers perform at various music festivals, public events, art shows, and also hold workshops at BushPark, Minto Brown Island Park, and at the Waterfront in Salem. The positive feedback from the community has been encouraging and rewarding for the group, spurring their desire to pay it forward.

Hoop Yoga

Flow arts are something that Farrell has been interested in since she first saw a young woman dancing with a hula-hoop. “Shortly after my father passed away, I discovered hooping as a way to channel my negative energy into something positive and creative,” Farrell said. “I’ll never forget the first time I saw someone dancing with a hula hoop – it was in 2008 at the NW String Summit festival at Horning’s Hideout, a wild peacock farm right outside of Hillsboro. I went home and made a hoop of my own (and one for my best friend). Here I am five years later still passionate about hooping. It’s a creative outlet to raise money for charities, encourage a healthy positive lifestyle, create a sense of community among local artists, spread love, and inspire others the way I was inspired that day at NW String Summit.”

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A Rhapsody in Blue, Red, Orange & Yellow

Central Park in Autumn

I don’t know why, but George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue has always reminded me of Fall. Watching the season’s colors burst forth in a dazzling array, while the temperature drops and the sky exhibits a dichotomy of gloom and brilliance all at the same time. The Fall season is a time for fresh starts, almost similar to New Year, with much less pressure; and also a time for the beginning of hibernation and introspection.

I love Fall. I love the clothing of Fall, the warm snugly sweaters, the scarfs, the jackets. It all seems so much more stylish than shorts and tank tops and flip flops.  I love the routine of Fall, no one is going on vacation – they are concentrating on work, school, business (or so it seems). I love the crisp air in the morning and evening, the shuffling sound of the leaves underfoot, and the cacophony of the geese above, flying south. I love the crackling sound and smell of fireplaces, oh how I love wood-burning fireplaces!

If only Fall could last forever! Enjoy this video by Gilda Tabarez with music from the Columbia Symphony Orchestra, directed by Leonard Bernstein. It is amazing!

 

Hero Is A Woman

Hero

The Last Watch of Hero by Frederic Leighton

Hero Is A Woman is the opening vignette in a in a new, delightful book of inspirational mini-biographies celebrating the heroic feats of courageous women, Heroic Vignettes by Tami Richards. If you would like the chance to win an autographed copy, just enter your name and email on our Facebook page in the tab Enter To Win.

“So the sun set and the dusk came. The first star shone; and as the gradual dark deepened, the torch glowed brighter, a signal through the night. About her, asleep, were the sparrows and doves, the birds of Aphrodite which it was Hero’s duty to feed. At the foot of the rocks the ocean boomed solemn and forbidding. Continue reading

Our USA Summer Must Reads!

We realize there any number of noteworthy and popular summer reading lists – from a selection by the New York Times and Washington Post, to Publishers Weekly, Scholastic Times, and of course the “how to live your best life” selections from Ms. “O”. So we thought we would put together a shout-out of very fine books from our contributors that we thought should be a must read! (Click on the Page Cover and you will be taken to Amazon for easy purchase.)

A Piece of Her Mind By Amy McVay Abbott

Visit a universe where roosters crow 24/7 and The Rolling Stones perform unnoticed on the neighbor’s lawn. Journalist Amy McVay Abbott shares 35 of “The Raven Lunatic” newspaper columns in this romp that will keep you laughing from start to finish. Abbott celebrates Vince Lombardi’s birthday every December, and hopes forever whiter teeth and world peace. Put down your Smart Phone, enjoy a “hot oven meal,” and explore the world of “The Raven Lunatic.”

 

The New Orleans Way  By Liz Newman

Everything comes at a price. Love. Security. Even happiness. On the day of her debutante ball, Rosemarie Kuhn is heralded at “The Next Great Lady of New Orleans.” Despite her love for the lowborn private detective Michael Hennessy, she is betrothed by her mother to marry General George C. Boas. Spurned by the general and a false marriage certificate, she guns him down in front of his favorite tavern at St. Anthony Street. With her family’s income in jeopardy, her home is turned into a casino for high class patrons funded by the first families who brought The Mafia to the United States. As her love for detective Michael Hennessy grows, she is torn from her desire for him and the promise she made to her dying mother.

Giant Killers By Mark Barkawitz

Hidden behind dark sunglasses, long hair and a beard, a mysterious young man in shorts and sleeveless T-shirt runs the streets of a small town in Middle America. Store fronts are closed. The unemployed, like Darwin Charles, sleep on bus benches no longer on bus routes. The factory around which the town has grown, now struggles to stay open. So why has the runner returned when so many others are escaping? At the park, he meets Willy Wood, a fatherless little leaguer who, like his teammates, can’t catch the baseball. When pressed for information, the runner remains elusive, like the answers to the town’s economic woes. The novel tells the story of this fatherless little leaguer and his single mom, who find their fortunes changing when a mysterious stranger arrives.

 Mae’s Open Arms By Shelly Gail Morris

All she wants is a place to call home… and to be able to dance again. The summer before her junior year of high school Amanda has lost her joy in life. After not making the dance team, she’s engulfed in self loathing and bad decisions. One hot afternoon, during a bad drug trip, an old friend, Jered, rescues her. His nonjudgmental, blue eyes remind her of happier times, easier times, before her father left and her mother spiraled into a world of depression. When Jered takes her to his grandmother Mae’s farm, with her kitchen smelling of cinnamon and apples, Amanda wonders if she’s fallen into a bit of heaven. A peaceful feeling surrounds her, but she doesn’t feel worthy of love. Amanda longs to show her talented, generous side, but knows it will be a challenge with a high school full of drama and equally confused friends. Making the right decisions is never easy. Yet what she discovers in the picturesque setting of the farm will change everything for her, and for countless others. A poignant tale of dreams, change, giving back, and strength.

Golden Haze By Larry W. Fish

A family from Pennsylvania is having a great life until tragedy comes into their lives. They are hit with struggles when an unlikely angel shows the powers that will put their lives back together again. The family decides to move south to North Carolina hoping that the mild winters will be easier to deal with. The struggles in Pennsylvania were nothing compared to what they would be facing in their new home. It didn’t take long before the happiness turned to sadness and tragedy. What was going on in their house was tearing them apart. It was putting their little angel to the test, making them all wonder just how much more she could take. How much more could the family take? The terror and the fear continued building up and it was a question as to whether it would reach the breaking point.

 Secrets of an Old Typewriter by Susie Duncan Sexton

Anyone who has ever lived in a small town certainly knows that secrets are sometimes not so secret. Susie Duncan Sexton has lived her entire life in a small town—indeed, in the same house where she grew up. As an adult, she taught at the same grammar school that she attended as a child, and many of the relationships she cultivated while growing up, including her marriage, have endured over the years. Always one to document the present and offer her sometimes unorthodox ideas and opinions, Susie Duncan Sexton has tickled the keys of her trusty old typewriter for nearly five decades, and now that venerable machine is ready to reveal its secrets.

This book may be about small town life, but the ideas contained within it are expansive. The written accounts of the life of a ‘smart and sassy small town girl’ are as urbane as those of any city dweller. From ’50s and ’60s nostalgia to modern-day values, and from the drama and insight of America’s great books and motion pictures to politics, religion and animal rights, Susie Duncan Sexton’s ‘secrets’ always hit the mark with unexpected candor and a unique perspective.

I’m Dancing As Fast As I Can

 

Art of Jeanie Tomanek

Artist: Jeanie Tomanek

As an entrepreneur one can become quite disillusioned and disenchanted with social media, especially for all its time-robbing ability, unintentionally I am sure.  But, one does get the feeling that if you are not in the newsfeed, or reading the newsfeed, or conjuring up ways to get in the newsfeed, then you have missed out on something. This week we have slowed down a bit with posts to try and get back to reality. However, one amazing thing happened this week because I connected with an artist who ‘friended’ me on Facebook. I looked at her profile page, and her work, and really felt connected with it, so I accepted. I prefer to keep personal and professional relationships separate, but there was something about her work that really drew me in, especially the piece included here. The caption of her piece also intrigued me as that is how I was feeling, especially with the difficult week that I had just experienced. This wonderful artist, with the beautiful moody images turned out to be an old high school friend – a friend I didn’t know by her current artistic name. So, we have a lot of catching up to do.  As much as social media can seem so draining, it also has some inexplicable worth – like connecting with your long-lost community and friends and sisters. She doesn’t know that I have written this post, but I am sure you will love her work as much as I do. Check out her FB page here, then share the love.