1. The sun will come out…tomorrow. Annie, the musical, is making its way back to Broadway (again). Most of us know the story of the little orphan with perfect pitch who worms her way into the heart of a tough, old, rich man and lives happily ever after. Well this version of the musical has another happy ever after story.
Sandy, Annie’s dog who is always played by a real dog on stage, was plucked from a Houston city shelter, a mere 24 hours before being euthanized for lack of space. Sunny (the dog’s real name) was picked by trainer William Berloni having seen only a photo online. He wasn’t sure it was the right fit. Sunny had been mislabeled as male, and Sandy is always female. Also, he wasn’t sure Sunny was up to the task of a rigorous Broadway performance. It takes just the right temperament. ”Her description was so sweet and she looked very much like the original Sandy that we were just saving her to find her a home.”
It turned out that Sunny was the ideal dog. ”She’s going to be fantastic,” Berloni said. Rumor is he’s even teaching Sunny a dance number! FYI – Sunny’s understudy (yes, even dogs have understudies), named Casey, is also a rescue dog from Nashville.
2. Judging a book by its cover. With the publication of my recent e-book collection of essays (with admittedly not the most intriguing cover), I’ve been enraptured with this blog called Underground New York Public Library. The photographer/blogger, Ourit Ben-Haim, posts multiple photos daily of commuters reading on the NYC subway. This is the simplest concept, yet absolutely addicting. Go ahead. Check out the site. I’ll wait….
See what I mean? And when you scroll through the photos, they tell a story – not just of the people reading, but of the culture and values. Clearly I need to cover my copy of 50 Shades of Grey with a jacket of War and Peace – just in case.
I decided to do my own experiment and snapped this photo of a guy sitting across from me during my morning commute. Guess what he’s reading… (answer at the bottom of the post)
3. Going bananas. Last year I read a book by Barbara Kingsolver about her family’s year-long experiment to eat only foods grown locally. Her words encouraged me to be a more conscientious consumer when buying groceries. But, it’s hard to imagine never eating another banana or avocado again – two foods I love which don’t grow anywhere near the Northeast.
Enter Urbanana, a vertical banana farm on Les Champs-Élysées in Paris. Integrating greenhouse agriculture seamlessly into an urban landscape while providing residents with locally grown produce is the whole idea behind the project. If ideas like this catch on, we can have our bananas and eat them too.
Do you try to eat locally? Is it difficult in your area?
4. Bonsai! I snapped this photo at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden a few weeks ago. It’s a bald cypress tree scaled down to about 40 inches tall in order to grow in a shallow tray. It’s in the “formal upright style” which means that no two branches can be on the same level and each branch is slightly longer than the one above it forming a general pyramid shape. (There are a lot more rules.)
It’s part of an exhibit of bonsai with amazing specimens, most of which are more than 60 years old like this guy below. I wonder if bonsai enthusiasts have to leave their trees to a next of kin in their will.
5. Simplify. That was what Henry David Thoreau suggested more than 150 years ago. He pointed out that the more we try to gain freedom through technology, the more it actually enslaves us. (Did he have a crystal ball or what?)
This is a topic that’s everywhere from Twitter to popular magazines to book clubs, but often the recommendations feel a bit out of reach like giving away all of your possessions. I liked Zen Habits blogger Leo Babauta’s nine small ways you can start to simplify your life because they seem manageable. From spending time outside once a day (not just getting from point A to B) to blocking out “disconnected” time, his suggestions didn’t seem drastic or nitpicky.
Have you simplified your life? Do you have any suggestions on what worked for you?
Answer to # 2: He’s reading The Relationship Cure: A 5-Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family and Friendships. Did you guess that?
Have a simple and enjoyable weekend, everyone!