Movie: Frozen River

I never would have seen Frozen River had it not been nominated for an Academy Award in 2008. I’ve seen it only once (TV Stevie sees every nominated film he can, and I happened to catch this one with him), but the images and messages have stayed with me. The film was nominated for Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay. It won several other awards, mostly for Best Actress.

I never realized the underlying story until I overheard a TV program my husband was watching about female directors. Frozen River  was mentioned as being a film about motherhood. When I heard that, all the images came crystal clear.

Mexico isn’t the only point of entry for undocumented immigrants. When the St. Lawrence River freezes, it becomes a smuggler’s route between New York State and Ontario/Quebec–especially since the Akwesasne nation (St. Regis Mohawk tribal land) straddles the river between the two other countries.

Two single mothers–one white, one Native American–both desperately poor, want better lives for their children.  They live on the New York side of the Frozen River. This unlikely pair team up  with disastrous consequences. There is a happy ending, just not in the traditional sense.  The film ends on a note of hope. Yes, their partnership brought dire consequences, but in the end, the same partnership will help them create the better lives they want for their children.

The movie is dark. Grim. Yet as a mother, I identify with their anguish.  We will do anything for our children.



Thursday Though-Self Help: The Organized Mind

The Organized Mind is another book that came highly recommended  but I could not finish. I may have read it years ago. Everything I read as I delved into it sounded familiar. On the other hand, so many of these books aimed at executives rehash the same processes, the same systems, and the same theories. I don’t know if I was bored or disgusted.

News flash: not everyone’s mind works like the author’s.

More breaking news: crap rolls downhill. What about the person to whom all your crap gets delegated?

Unless a full time homemaker  blogs about it, no one ever talks about who does the grocery shopping or scrubs the toilets.

Life is full of more details than your in box.





Thursday Thought: Self-Help: Make Your Creative Dreams Real

For several years, I was “into” SARK. Believe it or not, Positivity is one of my strengths, and SARK is very much into being positive. I love her bright colors and creative drawings.

When I saw her book Make Your Creative Dreams REAL in a bookstore I naturally had to purchase it. Like the more popular The Artists Way, the book is broken into twelve parts–in this case, months, not weeks. When I decided to follow the outline, I broke each month into weeks.

Unlike TAW, there is a lot of external reading involved.  Fortunately, my local library system had most of the books. I even purchased at least three that I loved so much I knew I would want to read them again. Since SARK’s book is copyrighted 2004, many of the books are no longer in the library. Many aren’t even available (except as used) on Amazon.  But I learned a lot from the books. It’s funny now, because I belong to a “reading club” and many of the books we’re supposed to read are either books from SARK’s reading list or rehashes of same.

There are also a lot of Internet links in the book. Many of the urls were no long active even when I did the year of introspection.

But the book is more than a reading list and websites. There’s a ton of introspection involved. I journaled my way through the book.

SARK is also a proponent of what she calls “micromovements.” I call them chunks. I call it eating a whole bear by myself–one bite at a time (thank you Julie Garwood). Don’t look at the whole picture at once, but break it down into do-able pieces. I live by this philosophy.

So even though the reading list is outdated and the website links are history, I still recommend this book for anyone wanting to define what it is they want from life and how to make that dream happen.


MJ Monday-Meals: Cilantro Lime Quinoa

I had some leftover ingredients hanging out in my fridge and decided to combine them to see what I could come up with as a side dish for quesadilla night.

That’s about a cup of cooked quinoa, half a jalapeno, a lime and what I could salvage from a bunch of decaying cilantro.

First, I diced the jalapeno into tiny pieces.

Then I squeezed the room-temperature lime into the bowl. (I use a small tea strainer to keep out the pulp and seeds.)

After I’d wrung all the juice I could from the lime, I grated a little zest into the bowl.

And chopped the cilantro.

Voila! A simple side dish using ingredients about to rot in the refrigerator.

We ate it the next night with chicken quesadillas and it was surprisingly good.