Backstage In Nashville

When your children grow up and leave the nest the parent/ child dynamics change. No longer under your roof, their lives continue with you in the background; nose pressed to the window of their lives looking in. 

A recent angry force of nature made me leave my nest at an odd time of the year and take refuge with my youngest bird of flight, my son. Hurricane Irma gave him fears his old mum’s nest just might be blown away. So it was that I landed  outside the boundaries of a holiday celebration visit in Nashville with my son and his family. 

It just so happens that Emerson is a platinum awarded singer/ songwriter who spends a lot of time on the road doing what he loves to do; entertain by telling his lyrical stories. Once in awhile if he is performing within driving distance, my husband and I will make the journey to his concerts and a few moments of private time with him.  But in a lifetime that is not much. 

You might say we are distant groupies most of the time, however, this time, my only positive Irma experience is that I was given a performance day  with my son that I would never have had.  

Squeezed within the sixteen day visit of watching my son be a good husband and great father, was a full day of a mother’s heart singing with joy that her son is able to have a satisfying  creative life, doing what he was born to do.  

Can’t get much better than that. Come along with me for a capsule of my day before a concert hall performance of Songs and Stories in Nashville. 

Copyright Sandra Hart©2017

Believe It Or Not… You Are Creative

Who me? Creative? Don’t think so.

I have news for you. Everyone of us has some type of creativity inside of us, whether it be singing, playing an instrument, cooking, gardening, or creating a beautiful vision through makeup everyday. 

Life is more satisfying when we use our creative souls with an outlet. Expressing yourself boosts your brain, gives you satisfaction, boosts energy, relieves stress and most of all, brings us joy. 

There are five types of creativity:

• Artisan

• A-Lister

• Activist

• Game Changer

• Sensitive Soul
Let me explain the types and how important using our creativity is to us.  

Copyright Sandra Hart© 2017. All Rights Reserved. 

I Had A Dream

I had a dream that I awoke to a world of rationality, patriotism, non-partisan peace among men and charity to those who mean no harm. Love, hope for the future and for those willing to roll up their sleeves and work hard the opportunities were there.  The churches and synagogues were an integral part of  jointly helping their rebounding communities ….and I felt safe. Malice, greed and hatred were words unfamiliar to us.  The year was 1947 and I was 8 years old.  

This morning I opened my eyes and the forward flight of  seventy years brought me back to reality that has no dream attached to it, but all the realities of our 2017 collective nightmares.  How did this happen?

I have lived through 14 presidential elections, my family’s preferred candidate not always getting elected, but my parents were patriots who lived through the depression and respected our Constitution and the democratic process.  With hate and malice toward none, they placed patriotism and love of country before politics. I am grateful for their strength that has allowed me to move forward in my life, sharing their same values.

My father always cautioned me that if I couldn’t say something nice, keep it to myself.   “There are other ways to give positive reenfircement than hurting someone with negative speech or actions,” he would say.  “Think before you speak. Always give someone the benefit of doubt and a chance,” he advised. “Do as your faith guides you, not as ‘they’ do.”

Well, it is evident everywhere I turn, all of this sage elder advice from my father years ago has evaporated in today’s divided political and hateful rethoric. 

 With  fake news running rampant on the internet and passed around greedily like Krispy Kremes, everyone salivating to get  their ‘two cents’ in to see who can be the most hatefully  divisive, politicians holding up the democratic process because they angrily feel like it, Facebook ‘likes’ attached to vile negative posts, it seems we are doomed to perpetual division. 

Where oh where has my country gone? Is everyone drinking denial Kool Aid? Hey folks, if you know civics, we have a new democratically elected president.  The electoral college has spoken. I understand, reality bites for some, but acceptance and support of our Constitution is part of the privilege of living in this great country.

 

I am off Facebook and only sharing my blogs. I have turned off the television and instead I am reading more and working at my own craft and thank God everyday for the beautiful  adoptive children in my extended family life who wouldn’t be here today if their birth mothers had had an abortion. 

 I am boycotting my once respected union peers out in Hollywood. I want to see them ply their craft and I care not a twit their stance on politics. Whether folks agree or not with you, fellow actors,  award events are not the platforms to share your political rage. Just because you can, doesn’t make it right, or even interesting.  

So, I don’t know how long my withdrawal from the political insanity will be, but  with malice toward none I am giving the new president a chance to keep us safe, improve the economy, and move us forward. If he doesn’t, then, lucky me, democracy will allow a change. 


In the meantime, for someone,  do or say something kind today, will you? One small step for mankind may collectively save all of us in the end.

Artwork by Norman Rockwell

Copyright©Sandra Hart 2017.      All  Rights Reserved

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Unexpected Moments In Time


Think about your life. Try to pinpoint a moment that perhaps changed the direction in your life. One that you didn’t chose, but would be responsible for a turn of events. It doesn’t have to be just one, but a decisive change in your direction.

For me, my first unchosen life event would be rheumatic fever. That illness turned me from a confident, popular young girl into a shy, insecure adolescent who through high school would hide behind her books and writing skills, dreaming of a better life away from my hometown.  

The second event that would definitely shape my career and life was being hired to host the children’s television program, Romper Room. That entry into television postponed my career path toward acting and provided me the ability to work while raising my children.

Such a life moment happened to Sharbat Gula who was 12 when photographer Steve McCurry captured his iconic image of her living in a refugee camp for Afghan nationals in Peshawar, Pakistan. Now in her 40s, Sharbat Gula — also known as Sharbat Bibi — was arrested in Peshawar for falsifying documents and staying illegally in Pakistan. She since has been asked by the President of Afghanistan to return and has been treated as a national hero. Because of that iconic photo, instead of being punished, she is being embraced by her country.

“In China, before cranking up the techno music at his 80th birthday party, the man known as “China’s hottest grandpa” paused from his D.J. duties to poke fun at the country’s staid traditional celebrations for the elderly.” according The New York Times. He is 80 years old and is as buff as a 40 year old. 

Mr. Wang was born in the northeastern city of Shenyang in 1936, one of nine children of a cook and a stay-at-home mother. At 14, a year after the Communist Party came to power in 1949, he began working as a streetcar conductor.  

By 49, Mr. Wang was eager to move to Beijing, China’s cultural capital. He wanted to be a “living sculpture.” He also needed money, so he began working out, determined to have a lithe body that would allow him to interact, almost naked and covered in metallic paint, with copies of Auguste Rodin’s and Camille Claudel’s sculptures of women. The idea, he said, came from his wife of 48 years, Zhao Aijuan. The rest is history.   

https://youtu.be/mJyu67Hwm4g

One thing we can learn from these stories is that we must embrace moments of change no matter how early or late in life they come. 

Copyright ©Sandra Hart 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Lotus Hands And Hip Shake

Lotus Hands And Hip Shake Therapy

Most mornings I am lotus hand, hip shaking, lift stepping and shoulder shaking my over-fifty self to energizing music. My new uninhibited idea of fun exercise in my freedom years is Bollywood dancing in the front row with no one watching but Sofi and my big Sony flat screen.   

I have to admit I was part of the 1970s fitness craze. I joined my first gym, bought the most flattering leotard that I could find and headed out with a fitness mat curled under my arm. I went faithfully to the aerobic classes for, well, maybe about six months. 

Three times a week I dragged myself to the gym trying to believe that I was a public exercise person who loves strange showers and locker rooms. That fantasy faded faster than my waistline. One morning I just stopped, firm thighs be damned. 

What happened to save me from a lifetime membership of hiding in the back row of power aerobics, trying to stay fit and healthy while looking at the perfect behinds of women with figures I would never be able to achieve?Jane Fonda  did, that’s who. All of a sudden I could put my body through all types of aerobic pain in the privacy of my own living room.  

Throughout the ensuing years I have run 5K’s, walked miles, jogged a little, and made sure I downsized to a townhouse with stairs when all of my sane contemporaries were going with single floor residences. All this effort because I know it is good for my aging body. But, nevertheless, in spite of trying to keep as fit my age allows, I have stayed away from gyms.

Between you and me, I rarely ever found exercising fun until I discovered I was able to combine my fascination with a movie genre and exercise – Bollywood films. Netflix and iTunes are my new ‘go to’ for Bollywood movies and Bollywood music videos

If you already haven’t checked them out, Bollywood films always include music with dancing that is an interesting fusion of Indian classical, Indian folk, jazz, hip hop, belly dance and others from around the world. 

These films are always ‘feel good for the soul’ entertainment. I love the energy and message they bring and there is a whole lot of shaking going on and calories burned in my South Beach living room to Bollywood music.  Life is good when you love it with passion. 

  

achchha lag raha hai. – feeling good
Pyar se Zindegi mel tha hi – Life is good when you love it with passion.


©Sandra Hart 2016. All rights reserved

To Be, Or Not To Be

I often talk about genetics here in my blog. I don’t know, but the older I get and as the years go by, I see my children growing up finding their spaces in life and now my grandchildren doing the same thing. It is really so evident to me that somewhere along the line we have inherited this either great or cursed creative gene that keeps us square pegs in a round hole.

My oldest is a flight attendant and while waiting between flights doodles beautiful designs on her notepad and can’t wait for her days off to create on her many online accounts.

Now the middle child is quite brilliant, works in the legal field, and is very creative like the rest of us. A great photographer, artist and sometimes journalist, she is also extremely adept at math, yet at times struggles with organization and budgets. What does that mean? Are both sides of her brain fighting for dominance when performing tasks? One side asks, “Should I buy it? Do I really need it?” While the other senses it is just too beautiful to resist. 

My youngest is a gifted singer, songwriter and performer who uses his talents as a storyteller through his musical lyrics and melodies. His left brain is screaming to let it alone! 

Well, what about that  creative brain of ours, the right brain?
The right brain is referred to as the analog brain. It controls three-dimensional sense, creativity, and artistic senses. 

 The left brain is referred to as the digital brain. It controls reading and writing, calculation, and logical thinking. 
I hate spreadsheets. They give  me a headache. In school I tried to stay away from as many math classes as I could.  While my middle daughter was taking advanced calculus, my other children agreed  a hundred percent  with me. Does that make us analog people and not her? 

What do you think? Is it possible to have a balance of both right and left brain without a dominance of one over another? Or is it a constant tug of war if you are born with a little bit of both. 

 

Okay, numbers are not my forte, but I still am very good keeping inline with what I want and what I can afford. But in truth,  my life has been saved many times because my left brain usually is strong enough to override the financial foolishness fueled by my artistic senses. But within that realm my left brain feels sorry for me and reasons a logical way to satisfy my artistic side. It knows.  Within its logic mechanisms it realizes  I would actually whither away without this part of me being fulfilled.  

So  I guess in the end both my left analytical and right creative brain are daily fighting the tantamount Shakespearean question, “To be, or not to be.”
  Today, that is what my Saturday life over fifty is thinking. Well, somewhat.
(Authors note: during the period of writing this blog today my toilet has developed a serious ghost flush every five minutes, the fire signal in our complex of town houses was set off in a loud screaming cadence sending my Lhasa Apsa, Sofi, running to her safe haven under my desk and my computer died. No part of my brain is willing to troubleshoot toilets and computers this lazy Saturday.)

Copyright Sandra Hart 2016©. All rights reserved

Throwback Thursday

  
Every successful musician has a history and usually that history is made up of important people who have helped inspire, shape and teach techniques that natural talents will eventually shape and mold into their own unique musical voice. 

When Emerson was about 10 years old he had such a teacher. I don’t know exactly the history of how they discovered him, but my parents found a young man in Steubenville, Ohio who was giving guitar instructions. That is when Pandel Collaros came into our lives.

I personally have never met Pandel and I don’t know what kind of student Emerson was, or just how long he took lessons, but this young man, Pandel, gave him a start by teaching him the basics of playing a guitar. 

It was wasn’t until I started the Emerson Hart and Tonic News Facebook page that I began thinking about all of the people who were responsible for helping Emerson along the way. That included Pandel. Curious as to what happened to this young man, I searched the Internet and finally found him thirty-five years after those first guitar lessons. And I was not surprised that Pandel has done very well for himself, too. He has not abandoned his love for teaching, nor his music.

Pandel is now a musician and Assistant Professor of music at Bethany College in West Virginia. He teaches music theory, aural skills, audio recording, and popular style guitar music, both acoustic and electric. He is also the founder and director of the Bethany College Rock Ensemble and performs frequently in a variety of area venues.
 

Pandel is a member of the Emerson Hart and Tonic News page. I hope to eventually meet the man who gave my son his first guitar lessons. On this Throwback Thursday I want to thank him for sharing his love of music and great teaching skills, not only to young musicians as Emerson, but to the many students at Bethany College who he has inspired by his love of music and to let him know it’s good to play it forward. As a musician one doesn’t have to be a platinum awarded artist for your life to have meaning. His life has mattered.   His life has mattered. 

Copyright Sandra Hart©. All Rights Reserved