Category Archives: Three Things Thursday

Three Things Thursday: Daylilies, Daylilies, Daylilies

My weekly exercise in gratitude, or as some of my blogging friends put it, three things that made me smile this week.

First, second, and third: my August- blooming daylilies. All right. I know this is a bit of a cheat, but after the week this country has had, I really needed a soothing dose of beauty. It makes up, at least a little, for all the ugliness that seems to be always on the verge of erupting.

But back to the daylilies and beauty. Truth be told, my front yard doesn’t receive quite enough sun for daylilies to thrive, yet still I plant them. The lilies don’t bloom profusely, but I enjoy whatever beauty they give me. (Surely there is a lesson in this.) The other day was a bright, overcast day, which meant the light was perfect for taking pictures of flowers. Here are three of my August-blooming lilies.

Just looking at the pictures of these three ephemeral beauties makes me smile.

Three Things Thursday: Agents of Field, A Veggie Spiralizer, Maine Authors Section at My Library

My weekly tribute to gratitude…

First, the wonderfully snappy blog, Agents of Field, where Agent Ade and Agent Sophie write about their allotment (community garden in the U.S.), vegetables, cooking, and their love of gardening in general. In a recent post, Agent Sohpie extolled the virtues of her veggie spiralizer, which she bought for just over ten pounds at a grocery store. She included a very tasty soup recipe, which featured spiralized zucchini—or courgettes, as they call them across the pond. For quite a while, I had been thinking about buying a veggie spiralizer, and Agent Sophie gave me just the nudge I needed.

This brings my to my second thing to be grateful for—my very own veggie spiralizer. We ordered one from Amazon, and it arrived a few days ago. It’s handheld, cost $13, and works like a charm. Clif and I have been spiralizing like crazy, and last night I made a tasty little salad using zucchini spirals, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pretty tasty!

I really like the idea of using spiralized zucchini or yellow squash in a soup, and as soon as the weather cools down a bit, I’ll use them in soup, too.

Many thanks, Agent Sophie!

Third, and on a completely different note, the Maine Author Shelf at my town’s public library. A month or so ago, Richard Fortin, the director of our library, put together a Maine Author Shelf along the railing in the lobby.  Anyone who goes into the main section of the library passes it, and I’ve been told the books have attracted a lot of interest. My own novel, Maya and the Book of Everything, has been on that shelf, and I happy to report it has been borrowed on a regular basis. But best of all, I have been introduced to books I was unaware of, and here is a picture of three of the most recent books I found on that shelf.

A hint to my blogging friends: Perhaps you could suggest that your library put up a display of books written by local authors. Not only would it give them a boost, but it might also introduce you to books you have not heard of.

Three Things Thursday: The Theater at Monmouth, Summer Vegetables, My Garden Toads and Frogs

My weekly tribute to gratitude…

First, the Theater at Monmouth. In the center of Monmouth, a town next to Winthrop, reigns this beautiful building—Cumston Hall, built in the early 1900s for the then princely sum of $20.000. It’s quite a shock to drive through this small rural town (population circa 4, 000) and come across stately, ornate Cumston Hall.

The building houses the town’s library, and it is also home to the Theater at Monmouth. Here’s a little blurb from the Theater’s website: “Theater at Monmouth is a year-round repertory company of professional theatre artists from across Maine and the United States. Founded in 1970, the Theater was named The Shakespearean Theater of Maine by the Maine State Legislature in 1975. Performances are held in Cumston Hall, listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings since 1976.”

A couple of weeks ago, we saw a wonderful, heart-felt production of Othello. This afternoon Clif and I are going to see The Learned Ladies by Molière. As I have written in a previous post, I feel so fortunate that I can live in a rural part of the state and yet still have access to art.

A side note: When our eldest daughter went to college and took a Shakespeare course, the other students were amazed that she had seen so many of Shakespeare’s plays actually performed on stage. (As opposed to a film version.) Especially since she came from Maine. Thank you, Theater at Monmouth.

Second, and a little more down to earth, summer vegetables fresh from a Maine garden—our own Farmer Kev’s.

Greens are all very well and good, but give me fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and any number of late summer vegetables, and I am one happy, happy woman.

Third, now we go to the silly—my garden toads and frogs.

All right, I know that they are a little tacky and that a sophisticated gardener wouldn’t dream of putting them in her garden, but I don’t care. I smile every time I see them, and I imagine them frolicking at night, joining the real frogs and toads who inhabit my garden.

I have such a fondness for frogs and toads, which might be one of the reasons I included the Toad Queen in my own Maya and the Book of Everything.

Jump, Ribbet, Hop!

Three Things Thursday: My Nephew Patrick, A Movie, and Roger Deakins

In Tuesday’s post, I had written that on Wednesday, I would post reviews of the other three movies I saw at the Maine International Film Festival (MIFF). However, for various reasons, including a trip to Lucky Gardens in Hallowell, the day got away from me.

No matter, I will post one more review today—of Prisoners—and the last two tomorrow. Because Prisoners was such a memorable event,  this piece will also do double duty for Three Things Thursday, my weekly exercise in gratitude. This, to me, is a winning situation as I love combining things.

First, a bit of backstory. My nephew Patrick, who is twenty-three, is a full-fledged cinephile whose taste in movies extends well beyond summer blockbusters. (He’s our nephew, that’s for sure.) Patrick is such a movie buff that he is even a fan of certain cinematographers such as Roger Deakins, whose films include No Country for Old Men, Kundun, and many, many others. At this year’s MIFF, Deakins  was honored with the festival’s brand-new Karl Struss Legacy Award for “distinguished achievement in cinematography.” Patrick wanted to go to the presentation of this award, which also included a showing of the 2013 movie Prisoners, featuring Roger Deakins’s incredible cinematography. Among others, the film stars Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Viola Davis. And so Dee, Clif, and I went to see Prisoners with Patrick and his mother, Rose.

U.S.A 2013—152 minutes
In English

From the moment this film opens in a bleak, dreary woods with a lone deer in the distance—a deer you know won’t be long for this world—the tone is set for this dark movie. Two families in a neighborhood join together for a Thanksgiving dinner. In each family there is a teenager and a young daughter. The Thanksgiving meal is the one bright note in Prisoners, where it is made clear that the families truly enjoy being together. After the meal, the two little girls go out, and they never come back. The families  descend into grief as the days pass, and the girls are not found. Hugh Jackman, one of the fathers, decides he knows who kidnapped the girls. Taking matters into his own hands, he crosses lines that should not be crossed.  Jake Gyllenhaal plays a tightly-wound detective who comes from a troubled background. This movie really does keep viewers on the edge of their seats, especially as there is even a scene that involves snakes. Deakins’s brooding cinematography adds a chilling menace to this disturbing film. Best of all, Prisoners never descends into cliché, where the cop and the frantic father become buddies and bring the movie to a heart-warming ending. Quite the reverse. The two men never warm up to each other, and this holds true for the entire film.

After the movie, Roger Deakins received his award and was interviewed on stage by a journalist from the New York Times. (Unfortunately, I don’t remember the journalist’s name.) Deakins spoke about how he didn’t want to achieve the same look in every movie and how he thought cinematography shouldn’t call attention to itself. For Deakins, the story is the thing. An illuminating interview with a true master.

When the interview was over, Clif, Dee, and I went to the lobby, but Patrick and Rose did not follow us.

“Where’s Patrick?” I asked.

“He wanted to shake hands with Roger Deakins,” Dee replied.

She had no sooner said this than Patrick came striding out of the theater, and there was a big, big smile on his face.

He said, “I can’t believe I just got to shake hands with the cinematographer for No Country for Old Men.”

Surely, this must be one of the best lines from a MIFF attendee.



Three Things Thursday: Rain, A Visiting Daughter, The Maine International Film Festival

Three Things Thursday is a  weekly tribute to being grateful for the good things in life. This tradition was started by Emily of Nerd in the Brain and is currently hosted by Natalie of There She Goes.  

First, a deliciously rainy day. Now I like a sunny day as much as the next Mainer—especially in the summer—but we need  rain, too, and today it came. This morning I woke up with the covers tucked under my chin, a cool room, and the sound of the rain as it fell on the roof, against the house, and on the lawn and gardens. As soon as the dog and cats were fed, I headed outside to take a few rainy-day pictures.

Second, this Saturday, our daughter Dee is coming to stay with us for a week. (Dee does not like having her picture taken, so I’ll have to make do with words. ) Both of our daughters live far away, and we don’t see them as often as we would like. Sigh. But the good thing is that when they do visit, it’s a treat. Dee, a movie buff, has timed her visit to coincide with an event that I’m ever so grateful for, and this brings me to…

Third, the Maine International Film Festival, better known as MIFF. In Waterville, a town about twenty-five miles away, is an independent movie theater called Railroad Square Cinema. The Square has brought to central Maine movies you would never see at the cineplex. The Square, in partnership with Maine Film Center, also started MIFF, which is in its twentieth year.  At Miff, for ten days in July, there are movies, movies, movies, as well as speakers, special events, and all kinds of folderol. For various reasons, I am on dog duty during MIFF, which means Dee and Clif get to see more movies than I do. However, I’ll be going to three movies as well as to a talk about the art of Bambi. I’m very much looking forward to MIFF, and, of course, to spending time with daughter Dee.

Here is a picture Clif took of MIFF at Railroad Square Cinema many years ago. It is one of our favorites, and the Square even uses it on the opening page of  their website.

For readers who live within driving distance of central Maine, maybe I’ll see you at the movies!

Three Things Thursday: Farmer Kev, Strawberries, and a Most Awesome Bag

Three Things Thursday is a  weekly tribute to being grateful for the good things in life. This tradition was  started by Emily of Nerd in the Brain and is currently hosted by Natalie of There She Goes.  

First, a box of goodness with vegetables straight from the gardens of our own Farmer Kev. Longtime readers of this blog will recall that Farmer Kev is an extraordinary young man who has been gardening since his early teens and is now a full-fledged farmer with his own land. The most amazing thing is that Farmer Kev isn’t even thirty yet, but through hard work he now has a farm. He offers delivery farm shares, and every other week from now until September, we will be getting a bin of his local, organic vegetables. Yahoo!

Second, it is strawberry season in Maine. Need I write more about these red gems of deliciousness?

Third, and so exciting, a shopping bag from across the pond. It was made by Jan of The Snail of Happiness, and I won it in a contest she sponsored on her blog. Such a treat to get this snappy bag, and soon I will be using it to pick up tea and biscuits—or cookies, as we call them here—from a shop in a nearby town. I’ll be sure to include pictures. In the meantime, here is a shot of this little beauty, sans tea or biscuits. And, for the cherry on the sundae, so to speak, Jan also included a lovely, handwritten letter. Thanks so much, Jan!


Three Things Thursday: Liam, Wee Garden Shed, Blue Beauty

Three Things Thursday is a  weekly tribute to being grateful for the good things in life. This tradition was  started by Emily of Nerd in the Brain and is currently hosted by Natalie of There She Goes.  

Last week  and this week were rough for us and for our dog, Liam, who’s twelve years old and blind. He had digestive/intestinal problems that kept us all hopping, sometimes twice during the night. My, we’re tired. At one point, we were even considering canceling our Fourth of July gathering. But, after a few days of a chicken and rice diet and a trip to the vets, Liam’s system seems to be settling down, and we can carry on with our Fourth of July plans. This is all a preamble to say that first, I am thankful for the Winthrop Veterinary Hospital and especially for Dr. Marie Barengo for helping to get Liam on the road to recovery. (The bacteria in his system was out of whack, and he’s on medication.) Twined with this is how thankful I am to have this wonderful dog. We love our dog buddy, that’s for sure.

Second, on a much lighter note. I have a fondness for cute little things, for knickknacks and garden ornaments and various other folderol. Mostly I keep this in check, but a couple of weeks ago I went to D. R. Struck Landscape Nursery and succumbed, coming home with a wee garden shed and a diminutive wheel barrow. I found a shallow pot, planted some begonias and few tiny hens and chicks, and voilà!  A little scene to great me every time I come up the steps. And I must admit, it pleases me very much to see it.

Finally, I come to Blue Beauty, my bike of twenty years. I received her for my fortieth birthday, and to me she is as beautiful as the day I got her. Together, we’ve ridden miles and miles, up hill, down hill, past the lake, by woods, along fields, even by the ocean. Thanks to Blue Beauty, I can get the exercise I need, despite having arthritis.  Plus, it’s just plain fun to zip, zip, zip with Blue Beauty. Any day I can go on a bike ride is a good day, and I am grateful that at sixty—or nearly so—I can ride twelve miles and not feel like collapsing. As my new blogging friend Tootlepeddle observed, if you can ride ten miles, then you can ride twenty. It’s just a case of taking things steadily. Twenty miles are what I’m aiming for by the end of the summer. Go, go, Blue Beauty!