Monday, August 18, 2008


It was a lovely Sabbath day. After our usual split morning, Mick cleaning house and I singing the service at St. Luke’s, we rendezvoused for lunch and a movie. We thoroughly enjoyed Bernard and Doris, a fictionalized true story concerning Doris Duke, an heiress, and Bernard Lafferty, who had buttled for Peggy Lee and Elizabeth Taylor before coming to be Miss Duke's butler. The film was a bonanza of gorgeous production values. The costumes were wonderful, the cinematography was lush and the sound track was a grand visit with the great crooners and jazz singers of the forties and fifties.

I cannot say enough good about the performances of Ralph Fiennes, who played Bernard with infinite delicacy, and Susan Sarandon, who played Doris in a virtuso turn. Doris had never been loved for herself but always for her money. When she asked Bernard what he wanted from her, he said that he wanted to take care of her. This fragile yet sturdy relationship between the two was developed well by the good screenplay and both stars absolutely tore their parts asunder. It was delicious!

There was one moment right at the film’s end, as Doris lies on her deathbed, when Sarandon’s character simply looks at Bernard for a long, long take, perhaps thirty seconds. The intensity and complexity of that gaze, and Bernard's returning gaze, was a piece of screen acting you will not see often. It was all done with the eyes alone. and the eyes spoke eloquently indeed.

We took a nap together before embarking on our second film, Into the Wild, starring Emile Hirsch as the young college graduate, real-life Christopher McCandless, who decides to see the country and lose his childhood’s unhappiness instead of going directly on to graduate school. This film is also based on a true story. The screenplay and the direction credits go to Sean Penn. It was a luminous film, although a long one, almost two and a half hours in running time. However, the pace never lagged.

The ensemble around Hirsch offered a strong backdrop for the young man’s search for values. William Hurt as his Dad and Marcia Gay Harden as his Mom were especially excellent. The sound track shone as Eddie Vedder offered songs written for the film. I can see why this film has garnered so many awards and “best 10 movies of 2007” lists!

I came upstairs for a stint at reworking recipes while Mick puttered around with outdoor chores, watering and weeding, before we gathered again for supper. He is grooming our gardens to peak at Homecoming and every step he takes makes things fresher and more beautiful.

As for the recipes database, it is coming along! Having finished the beverage recipes, I waded in to the large bread section and spent my time today organizing the recipes for quick breads, topped breads, corn breads and bread machine breads. Now the section is easy to use. Next comes reworking the recipes themselves.

Gary joined us for supper and offered the closing prayer at the Gaia Meditation.