When I was in college I became obsessed with Winnie The Pooh created by A.A. Milne. Ernest H. Shepherd’s early drawings of the characters ignited my imagination first, and then I started to read Mr. Milne’s works from the 1920’s and I was permanently charmed. Those stuffed animals-come-to-life, and their master, Christopher Robin, became a very important part of the core memories of my collegiate days. Pooh sticks on the bridge, adventures in the 100 Acre Wood, Eeyore bringing his gloom and doom, the boundless energy of Tigger, the devotion of Piget, the grumpy and worrisome Rabbit, and of course the lovable Pooh Bear with his insatiable appetite for honey. I’m sure everyone has a favorite character, one they identify with the most. I identified with Piglet with his love for his best friend Pooh and his small size, but mighty will. But oddly, my favorite was Eeyore. I was just rooting for him. And that pink bow tied to his tail was a little flag of hope.
This week I saw the Disney Pixar animated film Inside Out and it brought up so much discussion in my household and has taken up a great deal of space in my thoughts. Have you seen it? See it! I won’t spoil anything by sharing what the film has done for me. More than anything, after seeing the film I have gained so much compassion for myself, my friends, family members, and even people that I don’t know on the subway or sidewalks of New York. Inside Out deepened my belief that everyone is doing the best they can with what they have, and where they are in life. It is an extremely powerful little movie. The director Pete Docter says, “It’s all about the Emotions - they’re running the show. We can control how we act, but we don’t get to choose how we feel.”
If you’ve read even one of my blog posts, you know I come from a genuinely happy place. It’s not forced and it’s not contrived. After seeing Inside Out, I can easily identify that Joy is primarily running the show in the headquarters of my brain. She may not always be the one pushing the buttons as I act and react, but she’s the guiding force of my emotions. And Joy can’t do her job without letting Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger take the wheel. All of our emotions work together. I think and write about contrast all the time and the movie reinforced for me the value of that. To benefit from the light, we need the dark; our happiness is tempered with unhappiness, success with failure and on and on. If you’ve seen it, let me know what you thought of Inside Out in the comments! If you want to dive even further into the world that Pixar created for this film, read THIS!
Something else that has had me thinking is a powerful play I saw here in New York City a few weeks ago. At The Table was written and directed by my friend Michael Perlman and if you live in NYC and are a human being, it is a MUST SEE! It is so provocative, on the pulse, and one of the best contemporary pieces of theatre I have seen. When I made plans to see the show, I didn’t know anything about it except that my friend is a successful emerging playwright, and a very celebrated director. The play reminded me of a conversation that I’d recently had with a new friend. We talked about how everyone has something to bring to the table. We may not like it, agree with them, or may not even understand their point of view, but as humans we all deserve a seat at the table and an opportunity to make our offering. Michael’s play gives voice to many points of view, tapping into race, sexuality, feminism, and privilege — everyone eventually gets a say. The play is running at HERE Arts Center until July 19th, I would love for all the New Yorkers reading this to see this very important piece of work. I’d like to see it again, let me know if you’d like to join me! Here is ticket information.
Seeing Inside Out left me with similar lessons when I saw At The Table. First, everyone is doing the best they can. Second, really listen, for everyone is trying to be heard. And third, have compassion for those that are seemingly unlike me. Both of these entertainment offerings are added to my list of All Good Things things! And as for Winnie the Pooh, it occurred to me why he might have had so much importance to me as an adult. My baby blanket had little baby Poohs and Piglets on it! Core memories of my core memories…
A few weeks ago I was invited to a table for a sweet, sweet evening of hammock swinging, fireflies in the backyard and good old fashioned girl talk. My friends Miriam, Carmen, and I were hosted by our friend Lisa. We were treated to a Southwest quinoa bowl and strawberry rhubarb pie. Are you jealous? The quinoa dish has changed my Summer! Lisa got her recipe from the Kitchn and I couldn’t find the recipe at the time so I made up my own remembering what I tasted from hers. Lisa's Kitchn version was better, but I challenge you to come up with a recipe that out does mine and we'll have a Southwestern Quinoa battle on our hands!)
Southwestern Quinoa Salad
For the dressing:
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Combine and set aside.
For the quinoa:
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cup red quinoa
- 3 cups orange juice
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced
- 1 15 oz. drained and rinsed canned black beans
- 1 1/2 cup quartered grape or cherry tomatoes
- corn kernels from 3 ears of fresh, corn on the cob
- 1 jalapeño, minced
- the juice of 1 lime
- 1 large ripe avocado, diced
- 1 generous handful of chopped cilantro which I completely forgot but is a must have!
Place a large pot on the stove over a medium flame. Heat the olive oil, cumin seed, and garlic salt for 1 minute, stirring so it doesn't burn. Add quinoa to the pot and stir until spices and oil coat the grains. Add broth and orange juice, stirring. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When all of the moisture is absorbed and the grains are tender, remove from heat and place the quinoa in a large bowl. (If liquid is absorbed and quinoa is still crunchy, add 1/2 cup water and stir, cover, remove from heat and let it steam for 5 more minutes.)
Add onion, beans, tomatoes, raw corn kernels, and jalapeño and the mixed dressing to the bowl and gently combine. Before serving, toss the avocado in the lime juice, folding it into the mixture. Lisa served hers with boiled eggs and radish on the side which were delicious additions!
This is mine, not nearly as pretty as the one above, but super tasty!