It is not every day that we meet some exceptional people, especially those that are pretty to look at and have something to offer "upstairs", as the saying goes.
I have been a fan of the extremely popular TV show Dharma and Greg, starring Jenna Elfman as a quirky and uncomplicated daughter of a set of hippie parents. They were quite complicated and complex in their search for the true cosmic way to life. The show probably was such a success because so many of us baby boomers knew about this search because we ourselves were on this quest for something else, other than Capitalism or Communism. Some of us found what we were looking for and Jenna Elfman certainly has. She was in Toronto to tell people about that and opened the ABLE World Solutions Exhibit and to speak of her own experiences.
An organisation called Criminon provides tools with which to help and rehabilitate even so called hardened criminals successfully. According to her experiences, this program is not a revolving door back into prison, but really rehabilitates an individual.
It is a proven fact that illiteracy is part of the problem. This door to crime is wide open.
This cycle can be turned around with various programmes designed to help an individual where he or she needs it most.
Hearing her speak at the exhibit, that featured solutions to the problems of our civilisation, really was an experience to be remembered. She is very bright and very believable in her conviction. She wants to help people, and would like other people to be able to help too.
Why? Because there is something that can be done about it. She knows from personal experience as a trained correspondence course instructor for Criminon. Anyone of us can do the same! We do not any longer have to passively sit around and say: "Ah well, that is the way of the world"
There are ways to help our fellow man affectively with proven methods, she said.
I checked out some of the statistics and found for instance that Narconon has a drug-rehabilitation program that is with 75% full and permanent recovery the most successful in the world. Not only are the drugs removed from the body of an individual, but some real and needed life skills are being imparted and self-respect is restored to an individual, so that confidence takes over where not enough knowledge and skills were once the road to self-destruction, ignorance and helplessness.
There is also a group called Applied Scholastic, especially concerned with aiding the field of education. As with the other facets of ABLE the success stories I read speak loud and clear. There are many testimonials to demonstrate that lives are being altered and saved. This exhibit showed through videos and other media devices how our civilisation is in great need of help and change. It appears the job at hand has just become easier!
The Sound of Music
The theme of this popular film and musical was recently revisited in the St. Laurence Centre, Toronto. Sponsored by the Austrian Tourist Board a press conference/reception was held to welcome the descendents of the famous original von Trapps, who came so long ago to the USA, because they disagreed with the politics of that time.
The children Justin, 11, Amanda, 14, Melanie, 15, and Sofia, 17, are brother and sisters and have been making singing their career since 1997, something that surprises their mother tremendously, since neither she or her husband sing themselves. The talent must have skipped a generation or two.
The children spoke of their great grandfather, Baron Georg von Trapp, with much affection. He lives in Vermont now and loves the idea of them singing.
John A. Miller, an artistic producer, brought the children to the Stratford Summer Music program for their first concert in Canada. The concert sold out in no time at all. At the time of the reception there was not even room for a mouse. Very likely the next time there will be more than one concert to fulfill the demand.
The children performed a short set of songs in the very Austrian styling we have come to love over the years, also through our own local "Wunderkinder", the Forget-me-nots, who, does it surprise anyone, are also decedents of Austrian aristocracy, namely the von Szauter. Too bad that they are all grown up and no longer interested in singing together. They are going their various ways, some of them studying music.
In the meantime, we can hope for the von Trapp Children to return soon to our fair country.
The Quality of Light
Toronto holds an annual outdoors art show on Nathan Phillip Square every summer. I recall the first time I visited. We were smitten with the many creative efforts and have gone back many times over the years, often coming home with a new piece of art.
We discovered Manfred Heine Beaux, a descendent of Heinrich Heine there and admired his vivid market scenes of the world.
This year we were fascinated with the many artists who create glass art. Among the different offerings one artist stood out in our minds: Minna Koistinen, originally from Finland, now living in Toronto with her other half, multi-talented educator and artist Fred Franzen, and a two year old son, Max. Playing with fire, creating unusual pieces of glass art appears to be a desire so strong, it could almost be called an obsession. The artist gives all of herself, her talent and skill to a project, thus creating something very pure and unique, unwaveringly truthful to the integrity of the medium.
Art by Minna Koistinen
The result is often startling in its simplicity. There is a group of pieces called Cribby. The word is taken from the Newfoundland Dictionary and can refer to the designating stones under the water, which form a barrier.
Minna Koistinen’s fascination with stones goes back to her childhood. She is the daughter of a geologist and finds glass an ideal way to explore and create her own brand of geological wonders. When nature cannot help but create smooth and multicoloured objects we are not surprised; but when we see a glass object concocted of black and white granite that turns out to be made of glass we shiver in admiration. She is much more than a master glass blower; she is an interpreter of nature’s poetry in glass, a translator of possibilities.
She can take a natural configuration and give it new life in another form. There might be blackness, but there is never darkness in her work, but rather a lightness of spirit transcends as if from within her work. The illuminating effect from an inner core gives her work an ethereal quality.
You can go to her website www.minnakoistinen.com and get to know her better. There is also another website that explains that she also gives workshops for even a novice, or would like to be glass blowers, one might say. Google her name and you will be surprised how many references attest to her brilliant artistry. The over 1o years of study certainly accomplished to make her into and outstanding artist whose communication is strong and whose skill is highly evolved.
If you would like to set up an appointment with Minna to see her work in the studio you can contact her at 416-653-6864.
The Value of Community
No one survives alone, or at least not for any length of time or with any quality for a long duration. Thus it is natural for people to flock together, just like birds of a feather.
How valuable this feeling of community really is was once again experienced on our visit to the Concordia Farm, situated only a few minutes outside Kitchener-Waterloo.
The K-W Police Band
A summer fest was arranged featuring the KW Police Band, who had invited a visiting Danish Police Band to join in the fun.
The Danish Police Band
Ahhhh, the memories that invoked! There is nothing quite like a marching band, which these musicians could form in a heartbeat. Of course here they sat down and played from their huge repertoire all our oldies and evergreens from classical to film music. Very entertaining I must say. And the bandleaders could tell a good anecdote too!
Games with sponges
A trip around the entire grounds astounded even more. There are dozens of trailer/camper homes nicely arranged around the 250-acre site, some of them having a very permanent feel to it with built porches and well tended gardens along real streets.
It was fantastic to see the people we so often meet on official occasions let their hair down and just chat without any other obligations, like the volunteer jobs they took on in their Concordia Club.
Friends and their friends
Another occasion where that community feeling came through loud and clear was the Hansa Club In Mississauga/Brampton at Carabram time. Without the huge tent and the problems it brings of security for the beer guzzling masses this event turned out to be a wonderful festivity with a charming atmosphere.
Always delicious Food
I am always delighted when I arrive and the organ grinder offers to take a break and lets me wring the music from his instrument.
A break for the organ grinder
We have a few ideas about that, if anyone wants to know…ATMOSPHERE! It is the magic that makes things work and gives value to community!
Until next time
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