Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Language of Flowers

I read this book in one day.  Sure, it only had about 300 or so pages but the story was compelling.  Victoria is a child who has been shuffled from one foster home to another.  One day, she has the fortune to be placed with Elizabeth from whom she learns the language of flowers.

Later, she will earn her living, helping others communicate their most fervent desires and feelings through the gift of flowers... and form a special relationship of her own.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

Bonne journée,

Stella

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Help

Week after week, I write this blog.  I do it for the joy of sharing but also in the hope of reaching like-minded people.  Very few people take the time to comment.  In fact, I get less than 1 comment per week.

Here are some reasons why people do not comment:

1. You are unable to comment for some technical reason.  If so, please write me to let me know(see my email address on the side bar).

2. You are not a commenter.  If so, please make an exception and let me know you are there.

3. You are a commenter but as very few people comment, you are getting out of the habit.  Please comment and let me know you are there.

If I get 5 comments/email messages in 3 days, I will take it as a sign that you want me to continue.

Thank you to all of you who come by.  It is because of you that I do this.

Stella

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry


Late  yesterday afternoon I was browsing Kindle on my iPad and found that I had a sample of this book downloaded.   I read it.  Minutes later, I was buying the book.  After that, I only stopped reading to have supper.

Harold Fry is an ordinary man who's become so self-effacing as to practically disappear.  He's been retired for 6 months when he receives a letter from a woman he worked with many years ago.  A woman who did him a great service.  She wants him to know she is dying of cancer.  Harold replies with a short, polite note and leaves the house to mail it... and doesn't come back for 3 months.

When I finished the book at 1 am this morning, I turned off my iPad with the deep satisfaction of having enjoyed a really good story, an edifying story, a well-written story.  While reading I learned a lot, was totally captivated, vibrating in phase with Harold, feeling what he felt and thinking: "Yes! that is how I feel too sometimes! You are so right!"

What a totally mesmerizing, delightful, delicious and noble book! Please pick it up and read it! If it does for you what it did for me... This is a timely book for those of us who may be wondering - Now what?  It's never too late to rediscover/redefine/reignite yourself. Come on, get up,  and enjoy this walk with Harold!

For obvious reasons, I give this book 4.5/5 

Re-energized Stella

P.S. D., this would make a great itinerary for a trip to England!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Creativity

How often do people exclaim: "You are so creative!  I'm not that creative..." Creativity is a state of mind.  It is a willingness to try, to play, to experiment.  Dabbling, puttering, fiddling are all processes of creativity but the most important ingredient is the desire to do so.

Before you say you are not creative, think. Creativity has thousands of forms of expression.  Very few people I know are not creative, they just think that if they are not practicing an art, they are not creative.

Think creative thinking and problem solving for example.  They often manifest as actions and outcomes that are not visible as a painting or a poem.  The important thing is to keep the ability to problem solve or to think creatively alive; practice it and notice it, then, dare to apply these abilities to different areas of your life.

Tell yourself that you are playing.  When you are playing, there are no risks, no failures because you are doing it to amuse yourself.  When the element of risk is removed, you are able to enter the state of mind where the outcome is not important, it is called flow.  When you are in flow, some of the most wonderful things can happen.

Practice playing.  It is good for your creativity.

Bisous,

Stella

Monday, July 22, 2013

Took a Trip to the Country















To see the object of my desire.

Have a good one,

Tatie Stella

Friday, July 19, 2013

Update

Last night, my long-time neighbors invited us for a belated happy birthday and retirement drink.  Nestor had my favorite libation for the occasion: champagne.  They had a couple of gifts waiting for me and I was humbled yet again by the love that surrounds me.

Several months ago when I was visiting with Brenda, she had me wash my hands and put on cream with these products that Nestor had brought back from one of his trips.

I oohed and aahed about them, the smell is divine!  So now, I have my own.  No small feat as Nestor had to buy these in the Napa Valley and bring them back over the border for me.  This lovely soap and hand cream came in a home-made bag and decorative flower made with these fabrics which I had oohed and aahed about also several months ago.  This hand dyed fabric I think is pretty enough to be framed but I think I will use it to make a rectangular lumbar pillow for our apartment in Provence as the colors are just right.

So our new fence is up, the old deck has been dismantled.  At the end of next week, the new deck is being put up.  V. has been very busy spraying for weeds (we rarely do this as I am seriously concerned about its effect on the water table) and destroying the several ant hills in the back yard.  I've been getting a great deal of satisfaction cleaning out borders. We're getting ready to have a pretty back yard again after years of neglect. I look forward to new plantings and laying in interlocking brick next summer for paths and the fire pit.  Then, we'll look to repainting the house as it is made of cedar and hasn't been done in too many years.  I'm experimenting with color and this is the direction we're going. This from the on-line workbook available on the Behr website.


Life is good.

Bonne journée,

Stella

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Paperman



Cutest little animation I've seen in a long time.  Merci Bergère!


Stella

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

25 Tips for a Beautiful Life

1. Take a 10-30 minute walk every day. & while you walk, SMILE. It is the ultimate antidepressant.
2. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
3. When you wake up in the morning, ask God’s guidance for your purpose, today.
4. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants.
5. Drink green tea and plenty of water. Eat blueberries, broccoli, and almonds.
6. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
7. Don’t waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
8. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.
9. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
10. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Forgive them for everything !
11. Don’t take yourself so seriously.
12. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
13. Make peace with your past so it won’t spoil the present.
14. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
15. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
16. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: ‘In five years, will this matter?’
17. Help the needy, Be generous ! Be a ‘Giver’ not a ‘Taker’
18. What other people think of you is none of your business.
19. Time heals everything.
20. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
21. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.
22. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
23. Each night before you go to bed, be thankful for what you’ve accomplished, today.
24. Remember that you are too blessed to be stressed.
25.Share this with as many people as you can.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Staying Put Soon

Over the last week I've had several social engagements.  Tomorrow is the last one for at least another week.  We leave for France in about a month but there is much to do yet.

A few things done:

- old back fence taken down
- new fence went up yesterday
- deck taken down
- two dinner parties for friends from work
- ad stuff done for this fall's Wellington Reads (We are doing Annette Vallon by James Tipton)
- flags for tomorrow's Fête de la Bastille at Wellington Garden Center
- laundry
- sale of a few antique medals to shore up the coffers
- purchase of TGV tickets Marseille-Paris


To do:

- baby shower for my niece
- dinner party for 1 group of friends who we see in Mexico
- visit Dad with my sister D.  (this means a 450 km drive one way)
- Reading circle end of the year pot-luck
- house cleaning
- packing

In the meantime, I have been enjoying another TV series on Netflix.  This one is lighthearted and very funny, so very British.  Set in Cornwall, this comedy features a very fine doctor with zero emotional intelligence. Give it a watch why don't ya!

As I write this, a tiny mouse is wondering around my bedroom.  Yes! a mouse!  When V. and our son D. took down the deck, they left the door open and in came our little friend.  We have set traps and changed the bait three times to no avail.  Blue cheese, Fontina, peanut butter are not the mouse magnets we thought they would be.  We even left the door open, hoping against hope that our little buddy would scram.  In 31 years living in this house, it is the second time we have a mouse.

Yep, there's a mouse in the house...

Bonsoir,

Stella

Monday, July 8, 2013

I'm 55 Today

Time has just whizzed past me.  My life has been full to the brim. I love and am loved.  What more could I want for my birthday?

As it happens, I am spending some quality time with my men this afternoon on Whyte Avenue, followed by dinner at Origin India.  Our son D. told me I would like it. He knows his Mama.

My Mom made this dress
Notice the pose
What you do not see are the Gogo boots

Notice the pose


New Mom

Birthday Stella

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Session

Blown away by this movie. It is based on the true story of Mark O'Brien,  a paraplegic who lives most of his life in an iron lung.  He's in his early forties and he wants to experience love and physical intimacy before his "best before" date.

Enter sex surrogate Cheryl played by Helen Hunt.  Now, I've never been a fan of this actress but her acting in this movie is stellar.  She's genuinely believable in her role as a compassionate professional who's job it is to help people with disabilities explore and experience their sexuality.

John Hawkes who plays Mark is an unknown to me actor but he plays his role with aplomb.  He's had polio and been in an iron lung since the age of six.  A religious man, he seeks the advice of his parish priest played by the incredible William H. Macy and once he gets the go ahead from his confessor/friend, he embarks on a series of sessions with Cheryl.

This is a breathtakingly understated film, so tender and genuine in its exploration of disability, mortality and intimacy that you scarcely notice how deftly it breaks your heart.
 I watched in on Netflix and I know that in a few days, it will still be with me.

A must see.  I give this movie 4.5 stars out of 5.

Bonne journée,

Stella

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Re-potted

Much like a person, a plant's needs make themselves known by it's outward appearance.

Excuse my finger
After a certain time, a plant outgrows its environment.  It becomes pot-bound.  It's growth may be stunted, its leaves may become dull.  These are the signs that it's time for a change.

A roomier pot, some new, rich soil in which to transplant will assure not only the plant's survival but it's blossoming.  After all, what animal or vegetable wants only survival when thriving is an option?

I think I've been re-potted.

Bonne journée,

Stella

Monday, July 1, 2013

Grandnephew

This made my Canada Day.
Grande tante Stella

Happy Canada Day!

I've been cooking.  Feel like it.  V. installed a large fan on the dining room table facing the kitchen.  Did I mention we have AC?  We are standing at 32 degrees centigrade today.  Nothing like what the people in Arizona are enduring lately. Prayers for the 19 firefighters who lost their lives...

The only summer fare on the menu is Barefoot Contessa's roasted vegetable and orzo salad which you can find here.  Other than that, I made a large pot of chili and two large Martha Stewart Classic Chicken Pot pies - recipe here.
My sister D. and her husband are returning from Europe and I'm going to see my great nephew this evening.  Will bring some grub for the homecoming.



I'm liking this retirement thing.

Industrious Stella