March 13, 2010

Satisfaction Saturday - a movie review or two

In this week, I've had more than a little satisfaction in movies. As I continue the recovery after my fractured shoulder surgery I find myself with the perfect set up for movie viewing. I have to sit (or lie) in my bed six times a day for an hour and a half with a prescribed, rented, high tech, ice machine. Here are two really good recovery movies.

First, a completely satisfying and highly recommendable portrait of Dr. Robert Kearns, the true inventor of the intermittent wiper blade: Flash of Genius. I loved the long walk on this movie from Dr. Kearn's "ah ha!" of an idea to create the "blinking eye" wiper, to his final presentation of the facts in Federal Patent Court. I enjoy Greg Kinnear as an actor, and this might be my vision of his finest portrayal. Kinnear is only slightly endearing in this case, but so fully dedicated and willing to be this man who fought the cheating-because-they can giants of Detroit. Watching with my 13 year old son gave me the pleasure of talking with him about what we might give up when we dedicate ourselves to the service of an ideal. In Flash of Genius, Dr. Kearns may have lost some, but we all gain, when one of us is willing to go the distance for what truly ethical and right, regardless of the recovery. 

The second film took me completely by surprise. Rachel Getting Married, is the view of the wedding week with the central character, Kym (who is in recovery) and her working-oh-so-hard-to-function-in-spite-of family. I knew almost nothing about the movie, except that it's up for an academy award, Jonathan Demme directed, and Anne Hathaway stars without lipstick. It's not the easiest movie to watch. The way it's shot I felt at times like I wanted to sit further and further away, like I was getting too close to the family and the drama. But I wanted more and more. Debra Winger plays Kym and Rachel's rather removed mother in a performance I found painfully dichotomous. I hated her distant yet proximate relationship to her daughters. (Really hated) And at the same time, I wanted to see more of her and understand how she managed to live so cut off from truth. Bill Irwin, as dad, is a marvelous portrait of dad, constantly rewinding the unraveling edges.

There is this brilliant moment when Demme has Kym's character very literally drive into a Y/why (?), that provokes such understanding of her character and desperation to be clear and cleared, that it took a while for me to release the deep breath I was holding for her. 

Living through the wedding with Kym, while she struggles to hang on to her 9 months of clean, is worth every minute of difficulty you might find as you seek the redemption the whole family requires.

If you want a review of a movie for kids check this: You'll Laugh, You'll Cry

Check out Journey to a Simple Happy Life for a e-course giveaway. Very cool!

March 12, 2010

And these ~ In Search of Spring

See the little blueberry buds in the forest of peppermint geraniums? 

These are the only other fruit plantings in my yard. 
Judging by the sweet spring beauty, I might need to add a few.

The search continues.

March 11, 2010

Found some! In Search of Spring

Spring is singing quietly in my backyard in the form of nectarine blossoms on my dwarf tree.
Poetry itself.

The fragrance of thoughtfulness

May I just say that I have learned a great deal about thoughtfulness?
It appears that thoughtfulness is a thought turned to action.
In the situation of being bound to house or limited in some other way, I now can say: I believe that thoughtfulness is a fragrance wafting richly.

Thoughtfulness from Lynette and Dale.

March 10, 2010

e.e. cummings -- Spring is like a perhaps hand ~ In Search of Spring


Spring is like a perhaps hand 
(which comes carefully 
out of Nowhere)arranging 
a window,into which people look(while 
people stare
arranging and changing placing 
carefully there a strange 
thing and a known thing here)and

changing everything carefully

spring is like a perhaps 
Hand in a window 
(carefully to 
and fro moving New and 
Old things,while 
people stare carefully 
moving a perhaps 
fraction of flower here placing 
an inch of air there)and

without breaking anything.

March 08, 2010

The Fragrant Freesia - In Search of Spring

Freesia probably changed my life. The beautifully, delicate and fragrant flower entered when I was the VP of a marketing team in a big corporation. The creative director in my group would stealthily place a handmade, sky blue, pottery vase on my desk or table filled with Freesia at the first bloom each February. They were so pretty. But then their fragrance became more engaging even than their appearance.
I would notice the faint beckoning of tea topped with the Freesia's sweet finish. Coffee drinker that I am, I'd often find myself strolling for a cup of Earl Grey in the blooming winter months.
A couple of years into this, I decided to plant a few of my own Freesia. They are simple to grow and bloom prolifically. They also are more than willing to share summer space with carrots or broccoli in the big clay pot in the garden.
So today, I share them with you and encourage you to plant a few. The whites (don't you love white flowers?) are particularly fragrant. You'll find them at the nursery, but I found some specialties at Annie's Annuals.
Here's my favorite: Freesia
As to how they changed my life, you have to stop to smell the flowers and to brew the tea. The change is in the stop.

March 07, 2010

Quotable Sunday - Simplicity

"Everything should be made as simple as possible and no simpler." - Albert Einstein

This quote has found it's way into my life three times recently. So I'm paying attention. The third time way yesterday, as the chapter quote in the book I'm starting, Simplicity,  by Mindy Caliquire, on care of the soul. (It's one of a four part series from Renovare.)

If I hold this up next to my realization that I lean into the complex to get to the simple, I'm encouraged. I'm seeking simple. But in honesty,  I can spend more time in the complex or even seek or see complexity when I simply don't need to.

I'm seeing such value in this ideal. Simplicity. And I'll put it the terms that make it work for me: while opening a can of tomato soup and adding milk or water is simple; combining whole tomatoes, sweated onions, chicken stock, a bouquet garni and a bit of rice for soup just might be as simple as it should be and no simpler.

Are you with me?

Oh! And check out the sweet Lisa Leonard giveaway at A Journey to a Simple Life.

Potage Magali - Mediterranean Tomato Soup with Rice a la Julia Child

The soup base
3/4 cup thinly sliced leeks and onions or onions only
3 Tb olive oil
1 1/2 lbs. fresh, ripe, red tomatoes
4 large cloves garlic, minced or mashed
4-5 cups liquid: light chicken stock, or canned broth and water
1/4 cup plain, raw, white rice
Bouquet in cheesecloth:
6 parsley springs, 1 bay leaf 1/4 tsp thyme, 4 fennel seeds, 6 large fresh basil leaves
A large pinch of saffron threads salt and pepper

In a 3 quart stainless or enamel saucepan, cook the leeks and onions slowly in the oil to tender. Meanwhile, peel and halve the tomatoes, squeeze out seeds and reserve juice. Chop tomato pulp roughly and stir into the cooked leeks/onions. Add the garlic and stir over moderate heat for 3 minutes. Then add the tomato juice and liquid, bring to a boil and sprinkle in the rice. Add herbs and saffron; season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, for 30 minutes.

Carefully taste for seasoning, adding pinches of sugar to bring up flavor and counteract acidity, and small amounts of tomato paste if needed for color and taste. Remove herb bouquet.

To serve
Serve hot or chilled and sprinkle with minced fresh basil, chervil or parsley.

Recipe courtesy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume Two, Julia Child/Simone Beck. On Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Finally, a plug for Mrs. Child, I'd prefer not to live without MAF/I & II, so, I highly recommend the investment in cash and time. She provides brilliance. And my family waits for her Zucchini Tian (VII). 


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