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 Eliza

May 20th is a special day for me. No, it’s not because it’s World Metrology Day or the feast day of Saint Ivo of Chartres. It’s because it’s Eliza Doolittle Day!

As any musical or classic film fan knows, Eliza Doolittle is the aspiring “lady in a flower shop” and star of Lerner and Loewe’s MY FAIR LADY. The original 1956 Broadway production won seven Tonys, with the 1964 film going on to garner eight Academy Awards, and a current revival is up for 10 more possible Tonys. It’s an almost guaranteed critic and crowd pleaser.

MY FAIR LADY has been my favorite film for nearly 20 years now, and as an Audrey Hepburn obsessive, I have a soft spot in my heart for the song “Just You Wait.” Unlike most of the songs, which were dubbed by Marni Nixon, it features Hepburn’s actual singing voice with only a small section of dubbing. Skip to 1:31 for the establishment of this important international holiday.

 

So here are a few options for celebrating Eliza Doolittle Day:

Watch the film

5.17 My Fair LadyMY FAIR LADY
Directed by George Cukor
(1964)

Number 8 on the American Film Institute’s list of the Greatest Movie Musicals, Number 12 on their 100 Years … 100 Passions list, and number 91 on their list of the 100 Greatest American Movies Of All Time. It’s just that good. 

 

Listen to the original cast recording

5.17 SoundtrackMY FAIR LADY: ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDING
Music by Frederick Loewe
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
(1956)

Even half a century later, there’s still a surprising amount of controversy over the casting of Audrey Hepburn in the film over Julie Andrews, who originated the role. Luckily, you can still listen to the original Broadway cast recording in all its undubbed glory. 

 

Play or sing along

5.17 Piano VocalMY FAIR LADY PIANO/VOCAL/CHORD SELECTIONS
Music by Frederick Loewe
Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
(2007)

Why not try your own hand (or voice) at classic tunes like “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly,” and “I Could Have Danced All Night.” I’d argue that Alan Jay Lerner’s lyrics for MY FAIR LADY are some of the cleverest ever written for Broadway, and Loewe’s gorgeous, sweeping score stands the test of time. 

 

Read the original

5.17 PygmalionPYGMALION
By George Bernard Shaw
(1913)

MY FAIR LADY is based on this classic play, inspired by Greek mythology. Nearly every clever line from the musical comes straight from George Bernard Shaw’s original, but be prepared for a very different ending. 

 

Read about the Elizas

Though many women have played Eliza, Julie Andrews and Audrey Hepburn are inarguably the women who defined the role. They are fortunately both exemplary role models in their own rights, and these biographies will give you wonderful insight into the women behind the role.

5.17 HomeHOME: A MEMOIR OF MY EARLY YEARS
By Julie Andrews
(2008)

 

5.17 Audrey HepburnAUDREY HEPBURN: AN ELEGANT SPIRIT
By Sean Hepburn Ferrer
(2003)

 

substitute moms

This time of year we think about moms and the important place they have in our hearts. It is also a time to remember that not everyone has a wonderful mother or a mother who is still a part of their lives.  For those people often other women come into their lives and give them a mother’s love.  So many wonderful women have “mothered” children not their own and they deserve to be celebrated, too.  Luckily, there have been several children’s novels published lately with great “substitute mom” characters.  Here are five of my favorites. 

5.16 The War That Saved My LifeTHE WAR THAT SAVED MY LIFE
By Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
(2015)

Ada and her little brother, Jamie, live with a abusive mother in a flat in London at the beginning of WWII.  When the children are evacuated from London because of bombings Ada and Jamie are sent to a small village in Kent.  There they are taken in by a single lady who "doesn't like children." Miss Smith soon finds that caring for the neglected children fills a space in her own empty heart. 

 

5.16 Betty Before XBETTY BEFORE X
by Ilyasah Shabazz
(2018)

When Betty Sanders is two, her aunt takes her away from her mother because she feels that Betty is being neglected.  When Betty is six her beloved auntie dies, and she goes to live with her biological mother again. Betty finds herself drawn to the women of the House Wife's League, a women's civil rights group, so when her relationship with her birth mother falls apart again, she goes to live with one of the League women who prepares her for the role she will later play as the wife of Malcom X. 

 

5.16 Beyond the Bright SeaBEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA
By Lauren Wolk
(2017)

When Crow was an infant, she washed up on the shore in a small boat on one of the Elizabethan Islands in Massachusetts. She is adopted by kindly hermit, Osh, and raised by him and a neighbor woman, Maggie.  When Crow is twelve, begins to wonder about where she was born and why she was abandoned.  Even though her curiosity is painful to Osh and Maggie, they give her the support and love she needs as she searches for her origins.   

 

5.16 The Wardens DaughterTHE WARDEN’S DAUGHTER
By Jerry Spinelli
(2017)

Cammie lives with her father who is the warden of the local prison.  Cammie's mother died saving Cammie from a pedestrian/car accident when Cammie was a toddler, and Cammie desperately misses having a mother.  She decides that one of the inmates who works as a housemaid for the Warden should be her surrogate mom.   

 

5.16 The Detectives AssistantTHE DETECTIVE’S ASSISTANT
By Kate Hannigan
(2015)

Recently orphaned, Nell gets sent to her maiden aunt who is her only remaining relative.  The year is 1859 and Aunt Kitty is the first and only female detective in the Pinkerton Detective Agency.  At first Aunt Kitty wants to find a respectable boarding school for Nell, but gradually she comes to realize that Nell is not such a bad detective herself. 

 
 

 Utah

Summer vacation is right around the corner and I have to be honest and say that part of me is dreading it! I love my kids and I love having them home but after about a week I start hearing, “I’m bored!”, “There’s nothing to do!” or worse, they start bickering with each other. I am determined to make this summer different. I want to make plans to get out and discover fun things to do in the area. There is a great link on the Provo Library website of What To Do In Provo that has lots of ideas for each season. Here are several books that are perfect for planning some fun adventures. 

5.15 PlaydatePLAYDATE WITH SALT LAKE CITY AND UTAH’S WASATCH FRONT: OVER 200 CREATVIE ADVENTURES FOR UNFORGETTABLE FAMILY FUN
By Emily Smith Robbins
(2014)

This is an amazing book, full of fun color photos and tons of ideas for things to do around the area. It is broken up into the following categories:

  • Museums & More
  • Animal Attractions,
  • Historic sites,
  • Gardens & the Outdoors
  • Playgrounds & Parks
  • Hikes & Nature Walks
  • Performing Arts
  • Indoor Play Spaces
  • Hands-on Experiences
  • Amusement Parks & Fun Centers
  • Splash Pads & Fountains
  • Indoor Swimming
  • Outdoor Swimming
  • Story Time & Libraries
  • Tours!
  • Unique Adventures
  • Ski Areas & Resorts
  • Sporting Events
  • Park City
  • Heber City

Each entry lists the address, hours, admission, parking, food rules, where to find discounts, what to expect and other nearby attractions. I seriously love this book and plan on letting my kids look through it to help plan our adventures for this summer. 

 

5.15 Fun with the Family in UtahFUN WITH THE FAMILY IN UTAH
By Michael Rutter
(2004)

This guide is divided up by regions in Utah and then within each section it divides it by cities. There are fun little facts spread throughout the book. This book is a little dated, so it would be good to double check the information on the internet before you head to one of these destinations, but it is still a good resource to get some ideas. 

 

5.15 Outdoor EscapesOUTDOOR ESCAPES SALT LAKE CITY: A FOUR SEASON GUIDE
By Robin Norris & Freddie Snalam
(2003)

This guide is divided by types of activities. You can find things like bird watching, ballooning, boating, camping, fishing, golf, hang gliding, horseback riding, ice climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing, scuba diving, wildlife-watching, and lots of other outdoor activities. Each entry gives basic information and description. This book was published in 2003 so it would be a good idea to double check the information and make sure the venue is still open. 

 

5.15 Salt Lake CitySALT LAKE CITY: ENSIGN TO THE NATIONS: WALKING TOURS
By John P. Livingstone
(2008)

Downtown Salt Lake City is full of many historical sites. This small guide divides the city into three walking tours: Temple Square, Pioneer Business District, and Capitol Hill and Pioneer Memorial Museum. Colored boxes give the walking directions as you move from one point of interest to another. This book is full of historical facts and colored pictures.   

 

5.15 Utah CuriositiesUTAH CURIOSITIES: QUIRKY CHARACTERS, ROADSIDE ODDITIES & OTHER OFFBEAT STUFF
By Brandon Griggs
(2008)

This book is full of fun things that make Utah unique. It’s not a guide to the state, but it would definitely make a road trip more interesting.  Divided into 7 geographical areas, the author talks about interesting people, restaurants, museums and natural landforms for each area. It is a fun book to browse! We live in a pretty amazing state.

 

 mindfulness

There is so much stress in the world. Although some aspects of stress can be motivating, too much stress, without a way to manage it, is not good. It is important to find ways to balance stress, finding time to relax and play. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in our own deadlines, we forget that children also need ways to wrap their growing minds around their stress. Even though their stressors are different than ours, they are real. Tools are necessary to help them manage their thoughts and combat the ever growing numbers of young children experiencing anxiety and depression. Recently, mindfulness has become a trending topic and a way to restore the balance that is needed in this busy world. 

The ideas surrounding mindfulness recognize that hard things happen and storms rage, but with practice, thoughts can be controlled and managed to find peace inside, despite surrounds that cannot be controlled. Each individual can make a difference for themselves and others. Gaining the knowledge and making time to exercise the mental capabilities that make peace possible will benefit all. These are a few picture books published recently geared specifically to children and mindfulness. 

5.9 I am PeaceI AM PEACE
By Susan Verde
Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
(2017)

Simply looking through this book makes me happy. The warmth of the pictures brings the peace that is described in the book’s pages. This is the perfect introduction to mindfulness. As the book is read calmness enters the reader and the listeners of the story. As it progresses and peace increases, the empowerment to share the kindness and peace that results is invited. 

 

5.9 Meditate with meMEDITATE WITH ME: A STEP-BY-STEP MINDFULNESS JOURNEY
By Miriam Gates
Illustrated by Margarita Surnaite
(2017)

Gates gives specific instructions to guide a classroom of preschoolers or one-on-one guidance to teach children to recognize the sensations, feelings, and emotions they are experiencing and how to process them. Breathing, relaxing, and listening are the important elements. 

 

5.9 Breathe and BeBREATHE AND BE: A BOOK OF MINDFULNESS POEMS
By Kate Combs
Illustrated by Anna Emilia Laitinen
(2017)

The poems are written in a Japanese poetry form called tanka, an earlier version of haiku, as described in the back of the book. Many of the poems contain analogies of nature to help the reader transform their thoughts in the mindfulness experience.

 

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