Category Archives: Three Things Thursday

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!

Three Things Thursday: Winning a Book, A Literary Conversation with a Blogging Friend, Jeeves & Wooster

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 book I won from Stafford County Master Gardener Association. This was a thrill on many levels, and could probably be used for all three things. Who doesn’t like to win a prize? Who doesn’t like to win a book? And, this particular book—Vertical Vegetable Gardening by Chris McLaughlin–is perfect for my part sun/part shade/part ledge, quite small yard. Anyway, many thanks Stafford Master Gardner Association! Such a treat to get the book.

But, there are other things to be grateful for, especially a recent conversation—via the Internet—I had with one of my blogging friends, Sandra from Wild Daffodil. Sandra wrote a post called “Fiction,” where she described Norah Pulling’s Miss Richards’ Mouse, a book from childhood that both scared and fascinated her.  As I enjoy reading children’s books every bit as much as I enjoy books for adults, I decided to see if Miss Richards’ Mouse was available in our library system. Unfortunately, it isn’t, but on doing further research I discovered that the illustrator, Susan Einzig, also illustrated Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philipa Pearce. I just happen to own Tom’s Midnight Garden, and it is one of my favorites, a lovely fantasy that involves time travel. As my own novel Maya and the Book of Everything illustrates, time travel is a subject I am particularly keen on. Anyway, how wonderful to have a literary conversation with a blogging friend. And Sandra, you might be interested in knowing that the illustrations in Tom’s Midnight Garden are nowhere near as dark as they are for Miss Richards’ Mouse.

Speaking of dark…when it comes to television shows and movies, my tastes can be a little dark. Clif and I just whipped through The Walking Dead, and I have a weakness for dystopian fiction. However,  I occasionally need a bit of humor and light to add some zing and fun to my life, and this brings me to my third thing to be grateful for: The television series Jeeves & Wooster, based on novels by P.G. Wodehouse. I had watched Jeeves & Wooster when it first came out in the 1990s, and I wondered if the series had stood the test of time. I was able to get the complete series via interlibrary loan, and readers, I am happy to report Jeeves & Wooster is still very funny. Stephen Fry, as the all knowing, very controlling butler Jeeves, and Hugh Laurie, as the dimwitted but endearing aristocrat Bertie Wooster, are the perfect team. Jeeves is the straight man, Wooster is the wild guy, and the show skips along with impeccable timing as Jeeves rescues Bertie from one scrape after another. The dialogue is so fast and funny that at times Clif and I actually laugh out loud. Besides, where else are you going to hear the farewell, “Tootle pip”?

Three Things Thursday: Summer, Dragonflies, Irises

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 and foremost, summer, beautiful summer is here. And although we had a couple of brutally hot days, the weather has turned delightful—warm and sunny during the day and cool at night. Despite the sometimes stifling heat, I love this time of biking, patio days, and flowers.

Second, the dragonflies are here, and they have come in squadrons, zooming, zipping, and nearly hitting us as we bike. But those daredevils pull up at the last minute. They are expert pilots, and it makes me laugh just to watch them dip and dive. The fact that dragonflies eat lots and lots of mosquitoes makes me even more grateful for their arrival. Welcome, welcome, dragonflies!

Third, when irises are in bloom, I am always grateful,  and right now my irises are abloom. They are gone too soon, but while they are here, how I love them. I know. I’ve featured them in previous posts,  but I just can’t help myself.

A bonus: Chives, because you can never have too many flowers.

Three Things Thursday: NPR, York Hospital, and Scrambled Eggs with Herbs and Cheese

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.

This week I have a rather odd assortment of good things to be thankful for. But truly, I am grateful for all three, which in ways great and small, make my life better.

First, National Public Radio or NPR, as it’s known. Truly, I don’t know what I would do without this wonderful broadcast service. From Morning Edition to On Point to All Things Considered (and lots in between!), NPR is my lifeline to the broader world. This morning, as I did quiet tasks, I listened to Former FBI Director James Comey  testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Comey spoke about Trump and the Russia Investigation and why he was fired by Trump. Comey even called Trump a liar. Whatever your political affiliation, this was one historic day, and I was grateful to be there with NPR.

Second, York Hospital, where I recently had my yearly mammogram. Here is the logo that states their mission, and this hospital isn’t just paying lip service to the notion of Loving Kindness.

From the moment I walked into York Hospital, there was a feeling of calm and tranquility, no small feat for a hospital. The staff is incredible, warm and caring. Best of all, I got the results of my mammogram before I left. They don’t let you fret about the results, which is a huge kindness. I have a friend who has had surgery at York Hospital, and she had glowing things to say about her overnight stay. (They even offered her a lobster roll for supper.) Never, ever, have I encountered a hospital like this.  It is a gem.  And here’s a big, big bonus: Seven years of being cancer free!

Third, and this is really another nod to my wee herb garden, scrambled eggs with herb and cheese. This oh-so-simple dish elevates humble scrambled eggs to a dish eagerly anticipated for supper. For Clif and me, I use five eggs beaten with five tablespoons of milk. I melt butter in my cast-iron skillet, and when the butter is melted I pour in the egg mixture. I sprinkle about three tablespoons of fresh, chopped herbs over the eggs as well as some salt and pepper. I stir it slightly, let it set as it cooks, and stir it some more, all the while keeping the heat high enough so the eggs cook but low enough so that the bottom doesn’t get too brown. When the eggs are solid but still a little shiny, I sprinkle about 3/4 cup of shredded cheese on top, turn the heat to low, and cover. In a minute or two, the cheese is melted. Add whole-grain toast and a side of apple sauce, and you have yourself a pretty good meal.



Three Things Thursday: Thank you, Raindrops on Flowers, Herbs

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 and foremost, a big thank you to Jan of the wonderfully creative blog The Snail of Happiness. Not only does her blog inspire me, but in her current Three Things Thursday, Jan expressed gratitude for receiving  in the mail—ta-dah!—Maya and the Book of Everything.  Jan, thanks so very much for the shout-out!

Second, raindrops on flowers. Roses aren’t the only flowers enhanced by raindrops.

Note to readers: From now through September, flowers will most likely figure in my Three Things Thursday posts. As I’ve mentioned previously, I am a fool for flowers.

Third, my wee herb garden. It is small but mighty, and oh, how it produces. Sage, oregano, mint, and thyme have wintered over and are now growing in abundance. What to do, what to do?

Well, I made a macaroni herb salad, a simple dish that can be adapted to whatever you have kicking around  your refrigerator or freezer. I cooked two cups of macaroni, mixed in a liberal amount of olive oil, three tablespoons of mixed chopped herbs (next time I will use more), salt, pepper, and many squeezes of half a lemon. Then came cubed chicken, crumbled feta, and chopped tomatoes. I also used a clove of roasted garlic. Next time I will skip the garlic as it tends to overpower the delicate taste of the herbs, lemon juice, and olive oil. What else could you add? Sliced red peppers, olives, carrots, celery, any kind of green. Chickpeas. Roasted walnuts. The list is long.

Stay tuned for more recipes using herbs.

So much to be grateful for.

Three Things Thursday: Flowers, Flowers, Flowers.

Oh, the lovely month of May! Even when the day is cloudy, the landscape is positively aglow with new green, bright yellow, and the froth of flowering trees. In May, it is not too hard to find three things to be grateful for in my Three Things Thursday Post.

At the risk of being redundant, this week all my gratitude will be lavished on flowers. Full disclosure: I am a fool for flowers, and this might happen again in another Three Things Thursday post.

First, the Solomon’s seal I bought at Fernwood Nursery in Montville. How dainty yet mysterious the flowers are. Long may this plant  thrive!

Second, the brilliant purple of this iris. Jason, of Garden in a City, has his tulips. I have my irises. They are my favorite flower, bar none.

Third, begonias.  While I can’t honestly say they are one of my favorites, begonias are one of the few annuals that thrive at the little house in the big woods. From May through October, begonias bring a welcome splash of color to all the lovely green we have here. And for that I am very grateful.

And, for an added bonus, there is a fourth flower. A weed actually. But how bright and yellow it is. And a closer look reveals the various shapes and twists of the flower..

So there! Four things for Thursday.

Readers, may you find many things to be grateful for.

Three Things Thursday: Bagels, Croissant, Master Bakers

Once again it is Thursday—funny how they roll around every week—where I list three things I am oh so grateful for. Hence the title, Three Things Thursday.

For this week’s post, my gratitude can be summed up in two words: Forage Market. Add Lewiston, Maine, to this and the gratitude slips into astonishment. A little while ago, I wrote about Forage Market and how their bagels were so good it was almost beyond comprehension, especially for a gritty little city like Lewiston.

However, upon my first visit, I had ordered a bagel sandwich, and I had decided that to really taste the bagel, I would need to order one with just a smear of butter and no other ingredients. This meant a return trip—all in the interest of research, you understand—and last Friday Clif, Mary Jane, and I went back to Forage Market, where I had a sesame bagel with butter and nothing else.

And how was it? Good enough to go on my Three Things Thursday post.

So here is the first thing: A buttered bagel from Forage Market—loaded with sesame seeds, crunchy on the outside, soft and tender on the inside. And as if that weren’t enough, the tea is really good, too. (Not a given in Maine restaurants, which fuss over coffee but think nothing of providing a Lipton tea bag to tea drinkers.)

Second, a croissant: As I was ordering my bagel at Forage Market, I glanced at the glass case beside me and saw some croissants. Should I get one to split between Clif, Mary Jane, and me? I am sorry to report that in central Maine, I have been unable to find anything that remotely resembles a good croissant, which should be crunchy on the outside and flaky with butter on the inside. Oh, what the heck, I thought. Just get the darned thing.

Readers, I almost wept with joy when I tasted this croissant, which was everything a croissant should be. Clif and Mary Jane concurred, and Mary Jane said that next time she goes to Forage, she will get a croissant sandwich.

Third, but most important: The master bakers at Forage Market. None of these amazing baked delicacies would be possible without the skill and dedication of the bakers, who truly are masters of their craft.  Clif took a picture of one of the bakers, but unfortunately he did not get the baker’s name. Clif did learn that there is another baker who specializes in making croissants. Oh, happy, happy day! Also note the fireplace to the right of the baker and the black doors above. This is the wood-fired oven where all the delectable items are baked.

Clif and I have decided that we would be fools not to go to a bakery of this caliber on a regular basis. Forage truly is a first-rate bakery, not only for Maine but also for anywhere else.