Categories
Book Reviews

After Dark * Haruki Murakami

Haruki_Murakami-Afterdark_German Edition(Roman)A short, sleek novel of encounters set in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn, and every bit as gripping as Haruki Murakami’s masterworks The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Kafka on the Shore.

It is a very, very short book and I think I forced myself to read it slow, otherwise it would have been devoured in less than two hours. It’s all about connections, memories, and most importantly the eerie question of how we perceive ourselves through the eyes of others.

“You know what I think?” she says. “That people’s memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive. Whether those memories have any actual importance or not, it doesn’t matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned. They’re all just fuel. Advertising fillers in the newspaper, philosophy books, dirty pictures in a magazine, a bundle of ten-thousand-yen bills: when you feed ’em to the fire, they’re all just paper. The fire isn’t thinking ‘Oh, this is Kant,’ or ‘Oh, this is the Yomiuri evening edition,’ or ‘Nice tits,’ while it burns. To the fire, they’re nothing but scraps of paper. It’s the exact same thing. Important memories, not-so-important memories, totally useless memories: there’s no distinction–they’re all just fuel.” 

Categories
Book Reviews

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood Book Review

Do you remember the Illiad? Homer’s Oddyssey? Do you remember Odysseus who sailed the seas and fought monsters and escaped mermaids to return to his faithful wife who waited for him for more than 20 years? Well, this is not his story, it’s hers.

odysseus_and_penelope_by_bohemianweasel-d8pzagiIt’s the story of Penelope—wife of Odysseus and cousin of the beautiful Helen of Troy— the quintessential faithful wife, her story a salutary lesson through the ages. Left alone for twenty years when Odysseus goes off to fight in the Trojan War after the abduction of Helen, Penelope manages, in the face of scandalous rumors, to maintain the kingdom of Ithaca, bring up her wayward son, and keep over a hundred suitors at bay, simultaneously. When Odysseus finally comes home after enduring hardships, overcoming monsters, and sleeping with goddesses, he kills her suitors and—curiously—twelve of her maids.

In a splendid contemporary twist to the ancient story, Margaret Atwood has chosen to give the telling of it to Penelope and to her twelve hanged maids, asking: “What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to?” 

Categories
Art

Of Mice and Men Encore * Theatre

I have been most blessed to see an outstanding performance from James Franco and Chris O’Dowd acting in the stage production of Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”. An american classic, Of Mice and Men is one of the most read books in schools across the country despite appearing on the American Library Association’s list of Most Challenged Books of the 21st Century

Of Mice and Men tells the story of George (James Franco) and Lennie (Chris O’Dowd), an unlikely pair of friends drifting from job to job across the farms and fields of California, holding fast to their dream of one day having an acre of land they can call their own.

60370___Selected

The creative team for Of Mice and Men includes scenic design by Tony Award winner Todd Rosenthal, costume design by the international, Emmy Award-winning designer of the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony, Suttirat Larlarb, lighting design by 2014 Tony Award nominee Japhy Weideman, sound design by Rob Milburn & Michael Bodeen, original music by David Singer, fight direction by Thomas Schall, hair & wig design by Charles G. LaPointe and casting by Calleri Casting.

Categories
Poetry

Sleep is supposed to be (Emily Dickinson)

Blowing_Bubbles_by_AquaSixio
Emily Dickinson (1830–86). Complete Poems. 1924.
Part Four: Time and Eternity
XXXVIII
SLEEP is supposed to be,
By souls of sanity,
The shutting of the eye.
Sleep is the station grand
Down which on either hand 5
The hosts of witness stand!
Morn is supposed to be,
By people of degree,
The breaking of the day.
Morning has not occurred! 10
That shall aurora be
East of eternity;
One with the banner gay,
One in the red array,—
That is the break of day.

Categories
Baby Care

Baby's Naptime

s3 1024If your baby is not napping well during her first few months of life, you may want to try to cut back on the time she is awake by 15 minute increments. If she is getting overstimulated, then she will fight sleep and be difficult to get to nap. The way to prevent this is to watch her ôsleepyö cues to make sure that you put her down when she is beginning to get sleepy.
Some parents believe that letting their child cry will harm him or her. Fifteen or twenty minutes of crying will not harm your child physically or mentally. Babies will learn to self-soothe and fall asleep by themselves, but only if you let her. It is very important that babies learn to fall asleep by themselves so that they can self-soothe if they awake in the middle of the night. Otherwise, you may have a child that will not sleep through the night for years.
Regular sleep patterns are intermeshed with regular eating patterns, so let us look at the stages of a babyÆs life:
* Newborn: Your newborn will sleep anywhere from 16 to 20 hours a day, including the naps that he takes between feedings. When your baby has been fed, let him stay awake for a short while and then put him down before he becomes overstimulated.
* Two months: At two months and older, your child should be allowed to try to self-soothe during their naptimes and bedtime. Crying is normal when you put your baby down, but it is okay. If he cries for longer than 10-15 minutes, then go in and check on him. Don’t get him up, but pat his bottom or lightly rub his back until he calms down.
* 3-6 months: At around 3-6 months, your baby will stop taking one of his naps. Usually it is the third nap or late afternoon nap that they do not need as much. He may be a little fussy and may want to take a little nap, but you need to try to keep him up if you want him to go to bed at a decent time and sleep soundly through the night.
* 16+ months: When your child is between 16-20 months, they usually quit taking the morning nap in favor of a longer nap in the afternoons. Babies this age usually sleep between 10-12 hours a night and take a 2-3 hour afternoon nap.
Ground Rules about Naps
1. You decide when the nap starts and ends, not the baby.
2. When your baby is older than 4 months old, she will wake up crying if she hasnÆt slept enough. She might have a dirty diaper, be in a position that is not comfortable, or cold/hot. Fix the problem and encourage her to go back to sleep. Babies that have enough rest wake up happy, talking, and in a good mood.

Categories
Baby Care

SLEEP DURING INFANCY AND CHILDHOOD.

During infancy

baby-sleeping-on-backFor three or four weeks after birth the infant sleeps more or less, day and night, only waking to satisfy the demands of hunger; at the expiration of this time, however, each interval of wakefulness grows longer, so that it sleeps less frequently, but for longer periods at a time.
This disposition to repose in the early weeks of the infant’s life must not be interfered with; but this period having expired, great care is necessary to induce regularity in its hours of sleep, otherwise too much will be taken in the day-time, and restless and disturbed nights will follow. The child should be brought into the habit of sleeping in the middle of the day, before its dinner, and for about two hours, more or less. If put to rest at a later period of the day, it will invariably cause a bad night.
At first the infant should sleep with its parent. The low temperature of its body, and its small power of generating heat, render this necessary. If it should happen, however, that the child has disturbed and restless nights, it must immediately be removed to the bed and care of another female, to be brought to its mother at an early hour in the morning, for the purpose of being nursed. This is necessary for the preservation of the mother’s health, which through sleepless nights would of course be soon deranged, and the infant would also suffer from the influence which such deranged health would have upon the milk.
When a month or six weeks has elapsed, the child, if healthy, may sleep alone in a cradle or cot, care being taken that it has a sufficiency of clothing, that the room in which it is placed is sufficiently warm, viz. 60 degrees, and the position of the cot itself is not such as to be exposed to currents of cold air. It is essentially necessary to attend to these points, since the faculty of producing heat, and consequently the power of maintaining the temperature, is less during sleep than at any other time, and therefore exposure to cold is especially injurious. It is but too frequently the case that inflammation of some internal organ will occur under such circumstances, without the true source of the disease ever being suspected. Here, however, a frequent error must be guarded against, that of covering up the infant in its cot with too much clothing throwing over its face the muslin handkerchief and, last of all, drawing the drapery of the bed closely together. The object is to keep the infant sufficiently warm with pure air; it therefore ought to have free access to its mouth, and the atmosphere of the whole room should be kept sufficiently warm to allow the child to breathe it freely: in winter, therefore, there must always be a fire in the nursery.
The child up to two years old, at least, should sleep upon a feather bed, for the reasons referred to above. The pillow, however, after the sixth month, should be made of horsehair; for at this time teething commences, and it is highly important that the head should be kept cool.

During childhood.

Up to the third or fourth year the child should be permitted to sleep for an hour or so before its dinner. After this time it may gradually be discontinued; but it must be recollected, that during the whole period of childhood more sleep is required than in adult age. The child, therefore, should be put to rest every evening between seven and eight; and if it be in health it will sleep soundly until the following morning. No definite rule, however, can be laid down in reference to the number of hours of sleep to be allowed; for one will require more or less than another.Regularity as to the time of going to rest is the chief point to attend to; permit nothing to interfere with it, and then only let the child sleep without disturbance, until it awakes of its own accord on the following morning, and it will have had sufficient rest.
Child-sleepThe amount of sleep necessary to preserve health varies according to the state of the body, and the habits of the individual. Infants pass much the greater portion of their time in sleep. Children sleep twelve or fourteen hours. The schoolboy generally ten. In youth, a third part of the twenty-four hours is spent in sleep. Whilst, in advanced age, many do not spend more than four, five, or six hours in sleep.
It is a cruel thing for a mother to sacrifice her child’s health that she may indulge her own vanity, and yet how often is this done in reference to sleep. An evening party is to assemble, and the little child is kept up for hours beyond its stated time for retiring to rest, that it may be exhibited, fondled, and admired. Its usual portion of sleep is thus abridged, and, from the previous excitement, what little he does obtain, is broken and unrefreshing, and he rises on the morrow wearied and exhausted.
Once awake, it should not be permitted to lie longer in bed, but should be encouraged to arise immediately. This is the way to bring about the habit of early rising, which prevents many serious evils to which parents are not sufficiently alive, promotes both mental and corporeal health, and of all habits is said to be the most conducive to longevity.
A child should never be suddenly aroused from sleep; it excites the brain, quickens the action of the heart, and, if often repeated, serious consequences would result. The change of sleeping to waking should always be gradual.
The bed on which the child now sleeps should be a mattress: at this age a feather bed is always injurious to children; for the body, sinking deep into the bed, is completely buried in feathers, and the unnatural degree of warmth thus produced relaxes and weakens the system, particularly the skin, and renders the child unusually susceptible to the impressions of cold. Then, instead of the bed being made up in the morning as soon as vacated, and while still saturated with the nocturnal exhalations from the body, the bed-clothes should be thrown over the backs of chairs, the mattress shaken well up, and the window thrown open for several hours, so that the apartment shall be thoroughly ventilated. It is also indispensably requisite not to allow the child to sleep with persons in bad health, or who are far advanced in life; if possible, it should sleep alone.