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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Modern Indian House Building Designs

When we think of India, we usually think of dense urban populations, such as Mumbai, where new construction consists mostly of gutting the interiors of existing structures and reconstructing them with modern design sensibilities and conveniences. However, in recent years, with the high technology economic boom that India has been experiencing, there has been a boom in suburban developments with modern homes. Four factors in modern Indian houses are: (1) India’s huge population, 1.2 billion people and growing, (2) the age of its population, with 65% under 35 years old, (3) the hot, humid climate, and (4) its pervasive religious influences. Population demands for potable water, food and space forces modern Indian architecture, whether urban or suburban, to focus on sustainability. Architectural features provide shade and air circulation. The fusion of tradition and modernity is expressed by central courtyards and household temples. Another huge influence on modern Indian residential design is it growing economy. India has become one of the most dynamic high tech economies in the world, providing the fuel to a growing middle class and great wealth. With technology comes modernity, which most new young home buyers demand. This demographic group seems to favor the suburbs where they can enjoy more space and tranquility. Often their their homes consist of several buildings connected by gardens, covered walkways and water elements. However, affluent urban dwellers are finding innovative ways to redesign the interiors of existing structures. One example is of a 16th century urban building, situated in an old neighborhood of row houses that Indian architect Ana Noguera converted into a 173-meter modern dwelling. No matter where they choose to build or buy their new homes, they insist that their homes are sustainable. Both passive and active solar elements work to cool the home. Many windows open to outdoor spaces. Water is another element that is present both in pools and ponds. Courtyards are landscaped to add beauty and relief. Interiors blend with exteriors, with open layout floor plans, bringing the outside in and the inside out with outdoor living areas. Rooms and functions flow into one another. There is an open spaciousness. When Indians talk about modern house building, they are way ahead of the curve.

The Healing Power of the Mind

Our minds possess a phenomenal energy that empowers us to heal ourselves and overcome great obstacles. Qualities, such as hope, faith, love or grace, hold significant physiological power. Over the past 100 years, study after study has supported how they actually change the body’s chemistry. More and more, the medical profession is recognizing how strong the mind-body connection really is. More than 60 American medical colleges now offer courses on health, religion and spirituality. Polls indicate that most Americans think that faith and prayer benefit health and that doctors should address the connection. Since it is true that what we do not know or understand, we tend to reject, The Medical College of Ohio at Toledo offers classes and courses to enable students to be open to and accepting of complementary – alternative or integrative – medicine. According to Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Robert Harmon, M.D., who teaches aspects of alternative medicine, when the body has experienced great trauma, “Anything we do in terms of treatment must take into account the total mind-body connection. The healer is within us.” Herbert Benson, M.D., the director of the Mind-Body Medical Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, says that spirituality promotes health in two direct ways. Research has shown that the belief in the effectiveness of a placebo or “sugar pill” does in fact relieve illness. Therefore, the reasoning goes faith in any healing resource the patient chooses to believe in works. Also, some spiritual practices actually do have measurable metabolic effects. The “relaxation response,” according to Dr. Benson, whether brought about by Zen breathing, Jewish davening or reciting the rosary, can lower the heart and respiration rates and slow the brain waves. Most all the illnesses that drive people to seek medical attention are stress-related. In response to stress, people abuse food, alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. These unhealthy reactions then cause diseases of the heart, liver and lungs. Another physiological effect of stress is the weakening of our immune systems. So, if negative thoughts and emotions produce positive chemical changes, it stands to reason that positive thoughts and emotions will produce the opposite ones. In 1964, Norman Cousins, senior lecturer at the School of Medicine UCLA and editor of “Man and Medicine,” was struck down with a crippling disease called ankylosing spondylitis, from which his doctors thought he would never recover. He decided he would not let the disease beat him He believed totally that the will to live is not a theoretical abstraction but a physical reality with therapeutic characteristics. According to Mr. Cousins, “The power of positive thinking produces the vital brain impulses that stimulate the pituitary gland, triggering effects on the pineal gland and the whole endocrine system.” With this firmly in mind, he consulted with his physician and watched funny movies and had visitors tell him jokes. He felt that laughter was a very strong antidote to pain by releasing endorphins. Since then scientists have proven that laughter does indeed boost the immune system. Cousins called it “internal jogging.” Mr. Cousins beat the odds and made a full recovery. More and more evidence indicates that psychological influences, such as a positive attitude, affect the body’s ability to control the symptoms of, and even survive, life-threatening illness. This has also been shown with cancer victims. For example, studies indicate that women with breast cancer who participate in group therapy as part of their treatment live longer. This, along with guided imagery, written release and yoga complement traditional medicine.

Ideas for Victorian Turret Roofs

Ideas for Victorian Turret Roofs The turrets of Victorian homes are so enchanting that even new construction has them. Ideas about what to do with these roofs are as fun – and a little challenging – as their interiors. The main thing to keep in mind is to maintain the same feel and style of the roof as the rest of the house. Think of it as putting the toppings on a sundae, you want everything to blend for good taste. Adding a cupola to a turret roof is similar to putting a cherry on top of a confection. Cupolas come prefabricated in several shapes with different features. Some are square, some round, some hexagonal or octagonal. Their roofs can and should match the roofing materials used on the turret roof. Some have windows, some have louvers. You can top off the cupola with a weathervane, available from the same suppliers. Copper cladding for turrets is available in both glazed and unglazed. The glazed cladding will keep the pure copper color, while the unglazed will allow the copper to oxidize into a very classy affect. The unglazed copper usually looks better on houses painted in colors that have a minimum of red or yellow pigment. Greens and browns coordinate well with this roof. You can go with almost any color paint when you use unglazed, oxidized copper cladding. Similarly, matte or glazed terra cotta roofing offers a very richly textured visual on a turret roof. The glazed terra cotta is much redder than the matte, so you want to select house paint in colors that are complementary to red. The unglazed terra cotta leaves you slightly more color options. Finishing the roof of a Victorian turret in slate can be time-consuming and costly, but its overall virtues make it all worth it. Slate is very durable and insulating as a roofing material and almost any color you choose will coordinate with it. If your Victorian is quite ornate, you can continue its elaborateness by adding plaster friezes to the turret. White plaster friezes were a very popular decorative element in Victorian homes, usually found bordering the ceilings of the parlors and formal dining rooms. You can try your own hand at creating one, hire an artisan or buy prefabricated friezes.

Harlequin in your Home

In 17th century northern Italy, the theater of Commedia dell’Arte was born and nurtured. These theatrical groups consisted of stock characters performing in stock costumes and masks. Of these characters, outside of the theater, the most recognizable is that of Arlechinno, or Harlequin. He was a buffoon, but a very colorful one, with his costume composed of red, blue, brown and yellow diamond-shape patches. It is this diamond-shape pattern that defines Harlequin d├ęcor, along with the colors popular in that era and that place and the masks. Interpreting Harlequin in Your Home You can interpret the diamond-shape Harlequin theme in a variety of color combinations, fabrics, flooring, lighting, and accessories. The traditional Harlequin colors of red, blue, brown and yellow can be expressed in a myriad of hues, from soft to brilliant, or in black and white, or any two-color combination. You can carry out the scheme in draperies, carpeting, rugs and linens, as well as continue the theme with lighting that reflects the diamond pattern. Harlequin Themed Bathroom Either do your entire bathroom in Harlequin or simply use it as accent walls or floors. For example, choose Harlequin glass mosaic tiles in your favorite color combinations for the floor, and line the shower enclosure and walls with larger tiles in the same pattern. Or, select black and white Harlequin floor tiles on the floor and only three-fourths of the way up the wall. To complete the look, install Harlequin lighting fixtures. Harlequin Theme Master Bedroom Because Harlequin is such a strong design pattern, you want to use it moderately in your bedroom. Employ the colors of Venice, often associated with Harlequin, in your color scheme. Imagine your bed floating on a sea of carpet, with a rich coral-on-coral small Harlequin pattern for warmth cooled by walls painted in a serene green. Paint one wall to repeat the coral of the carpet in a large Harlequin pattern. You’ll want your accessories in silk and gold. Harlequin Accents There are Harlequin accent pieces and accessories to be found for every room. For the bathroom, there are Harlequin bath mats or rugs in a number of color combinations, glass mosaic bathroom accessories, wallpaper and borders, and porcelain masks. For the bedroom, you can find sculptures of the Harlequin character in bronzes and porcelains, gorgeous silk bedspreads and pillows in the Harlequin pattern, and reproductions of 17th Century Italian furniture.

Raising Money-Savvy Kids

Raising Money-Savvy Kids By Sandra Kirkland, “U” magazine, The Blade 2001 When I was growing up, my father would tell me I needed to learn to budget. Well, I didn’t know what a budget was, and he didn’t teach me. My mother told me to pay myself first, but I had no clue what she meant, and she never taught me. As it turns out, this was not unusual back then and is not now. According to a recent study conducted by Charles Schwab Company, 53 per cent of all parents surveyed were uncomfortable talking about money to their children, feeling that money was too personal to discuss with them. For all of you parents out there who fall in this group – and those who don’t—Juliette Fairley, author of Money Rules, Personal Finance Strategies for Your 20s and 30s, has good, solid advice to guide you in raising your children to be money-savvy. Interestingly, her advice as to when is the best time to begin teaching your child about money is almost identical to what child psychologists recommend is the best time to begin talking aobut the birds and the bees. “As soon as your child expresses an interest in spending your money,” Juliette says, “is the time to start teachig your child about money.” Teaching the Basics When you’re out shopping and your child asks you to please buy him something, pull out what money you have in your purse or wallet and count it with him. If there isn’t enough money to get what he wants, brainstorm with him ways to come up with extra money: more babysitting, new customers for his paper route, a part-time job. The idea here is to get children thinking about money: how much things cost, what they can do to earn money and the importance of saving. As soon as they begin earning money, guide them through the process of spending and saving, and make it as fun and exciting as possible. Let’s say they have accummulated $100 from a paper route, babysitting or extra chores. Let them decide how they want to use the money by asking them how much they want to save, what they absolutlely must buy now and how much it would cost. If they want to save $75, guide them through the options for savings, such as “Kiddie IRAs,” mutual funds and bank savings accounts. They can become involved in the savings process that will make it a habit. Make Money a Family Event Money impacts every member of your family, so engage your children in your spending plan. Fairley counsels parents to set aside a time when family members can sit down together to go over bills. Show your kids your paychecks and your budget. Explain how you “pay yourself first,” by setting aside an amount for savings. Then, as you go through the bills, have them do the math. At the end, ask them if there is anything left over for those extras. When it comes to money, as in everything else in your children’s lives, you are the role model. Fairley states that you should not use credit cards on a regular basis. “If you don’t use credit cards,” she says, “show your children how you pay them off each month.” Let’s face it. When it comes to money, everything does not go smoothlly all the time. Whatever you do, do not argue about money. Fairley feels that arguing about money teaches children to fear it. If there are money problems, sit down as a family to discuss it. Every member can make a contribution. Parents have all sorts of opportunities to teach their children to be money-savvy and assure their children bright financial futures.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Visions for American ballet

Prior to the 1930s, American ballet lovers had to wait for European ballet companies, such as the Paris Opera, the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo and the Kirov, to come to town with their repertoires of 19th century classical ballets. These ballets arose out of the Romantic era of music, which began a century before. They were full-length narratives, set to the stirring compositions of such composers as Tchaikovsky, with dramatic scenery and beautiful costumes.
The Beginning of the American Ballet Movement
In the 1930s Lincoln Kirstein, a wealthy, Harvard-educated New Yorker and major cultural mover and shaker, met with choreographer George Balanchine, the Russian dancer and choreographer, to found an American school of ballet to create and perform original ballets, now known as the New York City Ballet. Balanchine was recognizes as the world’s most creative and foremost choreographer. About the same time, heiress and talented dancer Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith, the foremost American set designer for half a century, formed the American Ballet Theater. They, too, founded a school of ballet to train dancers and to choreograph and present the classics.
A Place to Call Home
The American Ballet Theater’s home is the Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center, an appropriate venue since both the opera and the ABT present full-length stories, with elaborate sets and costumes. When not at their home, they are touring all around the United States and the world. Almost immediately next door, the NYCB has been performing in what is now known as the David H. Koch Theater, also at Lincoln Center, their permanent home. They take up residence at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in the summer.
A Difference in Vision
The major difference between the two lies in their visions. Both Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith, ABT’s founders, wanted to develop a ballet company that would continue in the grand tradition of the European classical ballets, but with an American sensibility. When Mikhail Baryshnikov, a former student and dancer, took over as artistic director in 1980, he completely revitalized major works.
As a choreographer, George Balanchine had envisioned, along with NYCB co-founder Lincoln Kirstein, a ballet company that would create new works that would reflect contemporary times. Assisting them in this endeavor was choreographer extraordinaire, Jerome Robbins, who took over artistic direction in 1980. Its repertoire continues to grow and break artistic boundaries.
Boundless Creativity
When Jerome Robbins passed away, it was up to present-day Ballet Master in Chief Peter Martins to step into his formidable shoes and carry on with the nurturing and development of new dancers and choreographers. At this time, the NYSB can boast more than 500 originally choreographed ballet productions, all of which had been imagined and created by their own choreographers over the past 60 plus years. Every time, the audience can expect something unpredictable and mesmerizing.
The goals of ABT founders Lucia Smith and Oliver Smith continue to achieve its goals today under the artistic direction of Kevin McKenzie. Possibly no dance company performing today has its depth of full-length productions, with a list of approximately 350 titles that include all the major classical masterpieces of the 19th and 20th centuries.

LA CATRINA DE ALCALA Cuisine for your body and soul

Other than the most savory, beautifully presented food in Oaxaca, La Catrina de Alcala has the most charming, handsome chef-owner, Juan Carlos Guzman Toledo. Proud of his Tehuantepec heritage and his home in Juitchitan, he studied culinary arts and ESL for five years in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Not only does he know how to create a 5-star restaurant, he is also fluent in English.

His food philosophy is to serve only fresh, high quality, organically produced food in a contemporary fashion.The limited seasonal menu reflects this discernment.
For our dining experience,my companion enjoyed every bite of the venison with mushrooms served over a bed of Granny Smith apple-spaghetti, with a Roquefort
sauce and roasted tomatoes. Equally divine was the duck with honey and figs, arranged on a nest of cucumber-spaghetti, with a sauce sending subtle signals of
sweetness and mild picante -- all perfectly proportioned to satisfy your taste buds and your appetite. Distinctive desserts finish the meal perfectly.

Enjoy such succulent specials as Rack of Lamb with Blackberry Sauce served with Limey Mashed Potatoes and Shrimp with Oranges and Mangos. Other offerings include
Sushi, a Ceviche Bar, Oaxacan quesos, and pan baked fresh daily.

Situated in a 16th century courtyard, La Catrina reflects Juan Carlos’ attention to detail,with contemporary clean lines, softened by an array of fragrant plants, amid art provided by the Gallery of Contemporary Arts next door. Rolando Rojas, renown Oaxacan artist, designed the restaurant, and his art is prominently displayed.
La Catrina de Alcala, 102 Alcala, just north of Independencia, is open from 1 to 11p.m. For reservations, call 514-570