Archive for November, 2009

the embrace of home

Author: angiem, 11 30th, 2009

little miss has something to contribute to every conversation

little miss has something to contribute to every conversation

Since my mom had been diagnosed with cancer, it had become my duty as firstborn to prepare the Thanksgiving day dinner.  With a few years worth of experience under my belt, and the misguided sense of confidence that brings, I no longer worry whether the turkey is moist enough or cooked through.

I have learned one thing about becoming the new family cook, and that is to never vacillate.  If the meat is a bit pink, it is so because I meant it to be so, and not for any other reason.  There are always a lot of cooks in my mom’s kitchen, and you can bet the opinions fly.  Thankfully, no one has gotten food poisoning as a result of my time spent wearing the apron of honor.

Thanksgiving this year has been poignant as my youngest sister and my youngest brother could not attend.  Based on our collective recollections, this has been the only Thanksgiving that we didn’t celebrate together.   As my nephew said grace and prayed for their safety, wistfulness took over and we spent the better part of the meal reminiscing about other Thanksgivings gathered together around my parents dining table.  And perhaps because they were not there, we decided to forgo the pie eating contest at the end of the meal.

Regardless, it was almost three hours later that we pushed our chairs back and retired ourselves to the family room couches and chairs where more of the same talk of politics, relationships, literature, religion and good times continued, while golden pools of light from the lit lamps shone on the blessed faces of loved ones far into the night.  Outside the cozy and comforting embrace of our childhood home it was cold and drizzly, a sort of desolate world of wind and water.

And as everyone said their goodbyes and goodnights promising to meet again in the new day, I offered up a little prayer of gratitude for those people that mean so much to our lives, whether they be family or friends, that we cannot imagine a life without them.

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announcements!

Author: angiem, 11 27th, 2009

Because I am busy eating away at leftovers and spending time with family, I will not write about any particular subject today, but rather I will introduce you all to a post of one blogger that I admire.

Before I do that, please take a moment and revisit the post titled Violence and Shame.  In the last two hours I have had an interesting comment/question.  I have answered it the best I could, but would welcome all your input.  Thank you!

Also, I am taking this opportunity to announce that I am having the first of my three Christmas giveaways. Any comment on any post past, present or future will be eligible to win.  You have until noon Friday, December 4th to enter. The winner will be announced the following day, Saturday the 5th of December. The winner will have the opportunity to choose from a $25.00 gift card at either Target, Barnes and Nobles, or Toys R Us.  Good luck to you all!

Now… Throughout my year of blogging, I have written bits and pieces about my son.  Needless to say, I have fears about his growing up.  The world is so cruel and he is such an idealistic boy.  As parents we do the best we can to prepare our children for the future. Although, oftentimes we are at a loss what that ‘best’ is or could be.  Maggie May (#mce_temp_url#) has written about this struggle she is going thorough with her 15 year-old son. Please take a moment and visit. If you are a parent, you will understand her despair, and will cry alongside.

Thank you for visiting me!  Have a fabulous weekend!

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violence and shame

Author: angiem, 11 24th, 2009

The weirdest thing happened today while I was washing the breakfast dishes and staring out the window at the shadows made on the sidewalk by the weak autumn sun.  An elderly couple, very well dressed, possibly European, or possibly history professors at the nearby university, was out for a stroll, when suddenly the man’s left arm extended out and pushed the woman off the sidewalk.  I was shocked.  I thought my mind or the shadows must have been playing tricks.  But no.  The woman righted herself and got back on.  The man turned and pushed her again.  Right off she went, and this time her knees buckled under and she fell.

And I have no excuse for it, but all I could do was stand there, unmindful of the running water, rooted to the spot, not knowing what to do.  I am ashamed.  I watched as she picked herself up, furtively glanced around, and followed him, careful to keep her distance.  And I still stood, shame washing over me.

A sick feeling came into my stomach and I left the dishes to go peer out through the other windows, making sure she was all right.  Would she be safe?  Would worse happen once they arrived between their own four walls?  I truly hoped not.  But why was she with him?  Why did she stay?  I had and have no answers.

I grew up in a loving home, where the worst my parents did was argue, and even that was a rarity.  Peasants were the wife beaters, because they lacked the culture and the education to know better.  Or so I was led to believe.  And yet this man today, was anything but a peasant.

A friend phoned soon after and I mentioned what I had seen.  ”Hmm.” Was all she said, and I was appalled at the apathy in her voice.  This very sophisticated friend changed the subject and started talking about a new rug she wanted to purchase and needed my opinion on.  And I left the conversation at that, wondering if domestic violence is so prevalent and accepted that it doesn’t unnerve us anymore.

As a mother to two young children I cannot imagine the terror that goes on, both within the woman, and within the children that are living in such a household.  It must be a living hell.  I have read a bit about it on the internet and am horrified at the mind tricks and methods these men use to keep their wives and children terrified of them, and fearing for their lives.

While still feeling ashamed for my cowardly reaction to what I have witnessed, I have made a decision that this holiday season I will see what it is that I can do to put a stop to it.  Will you, too? At least inform yourself, and take a stand against it, in whichever capacity you can.

Click on the link for more information: #mce_temp_url#

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intimate conversations

Author: angiem, 11 18th, 2009

“Mom, I’ve been thinking.” My nine-year old son starts the moment he gets in the car.  I wait for him to settle in before backing down the driveway.  He doesn’t like me to drive an inch if he doesn’t have the seatbelt on.  ”Yes?” I prompt.

“Well you know how you and daddy want to be great parents to me and Isabelle?  I wonder if that’s such a good idea…”

It is our weekly date night.  For the next three hours it is just the two of us.  We’ll watch a movie, treat ourselves to a book, have a leisurely dinner.  It is the one evening of the week where all my hard work of teaching him grace, wit, and impeccable manners are put to the test.  And my mother heart swells proudly in my chest when beautifully dressed and well groomed older patrons of restaurants stop by our table to commend my son on his elegance of deportment for one so young.  But back to our conversation.

“Why not?”  I ask wondering what he could possibly mean.

“Well, I’m just afraid that you aren’t true to your real selves, if you constantly worry about doing the right thing for us.”

I reach across and ruffle his hair.  ”Being a mother to you two is the most important thing in my life right now.” Did I have such well formed thoughts at his age?  I think not.

“I know mommy, and you’re the best at it.  I just want you to be happy too.  It’s okay to be selfish, once in a while.”  He picks up my hand and kisses the back of my palm.  For a moment I feel a sharp stab of guilt.  Am I expecting too much from him?  Is that what he is saying?

“You know what would be real cool,” he goes on peering out the window into the gathering darkness.

“What baby?”

“To see a real live bat. Jackson says that these woods are filled with them.”

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honey cakes

Author: angiem, 11 15th, 2009

The wind blows gently through the fir trees and the walnut’s leaves are scattered across the driveway in a carpet of gold. Whatever leaves are still hanging on tremble and dance, and it could be just hours before the waves of the wind beckon them away completely. It had rained all night. Its incessant tap-tapping on the windowpanes keeping in rhythm with the children’s gentle snores, before puddling down beneath the green tinted petals of the hydrangea bushes.

The house is cozy and warm, a gentle fire burning on the hearth. The young wood fizzles and cracks. It isn’t old enough or dry enough for the honor of such a job, but it is splendidly keeping us spellbound. Sitting here, I am reminded of autumns as a child in my beloved Tanti Marie’s village house. Woods and wild forest as far as the eye could see… Oh, how I loved that place! And the wind blowing fiercely, rattling the shingled roof and rustling through the mulberry trees in the courtyard.

On rainy days she would weave her rugs on the loom, entertaining us with stories of the wild creatures in the ancient forest of ashes, oaks, and pines behind her house, and how they had come down at dawn or at dusk, snatching the hens out of the henhouse. And sometimes yes, even children. The bears and the wolves had no fear of the men and women of the village, and we were cautioned to never linger on a darkened road.

On warm days she would get a few village boys and smoke out the beehives running up the hillside, squeezing the honey from the combs and filling oak barrels with it. Those wild raspberry and blackberry bushes produced the best tasting honey. We ate to our heart’s content, and for days after every meal was prepared with it. When we returned to the city, we had delicious honey to last us through the winter.  And with the honey cakes, precious memories of a gentle soul who had spoiled us with her pure love.

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congratulations giveaway winners!

Author: angiem, 11 10th, 2009

Thank you all for celebrating my blog’s birthday with me!  I adore celebrations!  I am so pleased to announce the winners of the giveaway, and hope that you all take a few minutes and visit their blogs as soon as possible, as they are absolutely lovely and captivating and I just know that you will love them as much as I do.

The first one belongs to Miss Cavendish, who dishes about literature and fashion, and fashion in literature.  She is extremely cool and stylish, and I would have loved to have her as a literature professor when I was in college.  I would have gone shopping with her, that’s for sure!  You can find that under the Blogroll since WP is acting weird and I can’t link directly from here.  Go right now and look!

The second winner is lovely Audrey from L’air Du Temps.  Her posts are about life in New York City.  There is nothing hurried to them though.  They are so beautifully written and graceful.  You’ll feel as though you are inside a bejeweled kaleidoscope.  She is also in the Blogroll.  Head on over right now!

Congratulations to the both of you!  You can get to my email address by clicking on the  About Me link in the left hand upper corner of the blogsite.

I have so much fun doing these giveaways, that with the holidays coming up I have decided to have THREE more.  Make sure you check in to see when they are announced and leave comments for a chance to win!

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the merits of chocolate for breakfast

Author: angiem, 11 06th, 2009

This post has nothing to do with the scientific, lab tested benefits of the consumption of this delicious thing.  First of all, I highly doubt that any dietician in their right mind would advise chocolate for breakfast.  And truth be told, the recommended food pyramid works for me on most days.

Second, there are many books waiting on my nightstand and magazines on my coffee table that are eagerly awaiting their turn in the spotlight of my attention, for me to be so callous as to read a scientific journal.  So, although I hear every once in a while that chocolate is good for the heart (and the brain??), I prefer to believe it without checking the facts.

I really cannot think of a better food than chocolate.  Chocolate for breakfast is good for the soul.  I’m ridden by guilt about most things (I can be a better wife, a better mother, a better daughter, a better sister, a better friend, a better neighbor… you get where this is going), however, I refuse to be ridden by guilt over chocolate.  It’s too perfect for it, and it always treats me so well.  On the days that I eat it, everyone and everything appears more interesting somehow.

I have several friends who do not like chocolate, and this I cannot understand.  There must be some flaw in their taste buds.  That is my only explanation.  I don’t complain.  These are the best kind of friends to go out to breakfast or dessert with.  They may roll their eyes at my chocolate chip pancakes or my chocolate souffle, but they won’t ask for a taste.  More for me.  And that is always the way I like it.

Have a fun weekend everyone.  And have a bit of chocolate for breakfast.  You can have it in pancakes, on crepes, on bread, or just by itself!  You’ll see what I mean.

(Just a reminder, you all have until 12:01 Monday morning to leave comments for the giveaway.  Comments could be on any post, but must be left here on this site and not on Facebook.)

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happy 1st birthday to me!

Author: angiem, 11 01st, 2009

Aren’t birthdays exciting?  That wonderful day which comes but once a year is truly the one time each of us gets spoiled.  And if we don’t, we should.  I always get a rush of unexpected happiness when my birthday comes around.  My lovely hubby and darling babies know just what to do to make it extra nice.  And then of course, my wonderful friends remember me with fondest wishes.  I float on this love and attention from the moment I open my eyes until I go to sleep.

One of the most amazing things about starting this blog, was meeting so very many like-minded people.  Each and every one of you has become a dear friend, and I am happy that you’ve selected me to become a friend of yours as well.  I have often cried, laughed, and smiled at memories resurrected through the sharing of your stories, and I hope you all continue to share your fascinating lives, adventures and advice with me and other readers for years to come.  And for all of you who read my blog and don’t comment, thank you too, for silently offering your support and friendship.  It is greatly appreciated.

I wish I could celebrate this first birthday of my blog with a huge feast, and all of you in attendance.  We’d make merry far into the night, ensconced in lovely gilded chairs, dining by candlelight.  Wouldn’t that be fun?  But since passing together such an evening is physically impossible, I’m settling with not one, but two  giveaways, to show my appreciation to you, my fabulous friends.  Thanks for the memories!

Unfortunately, the only way this works is if you leave a comment.  So stop on by and don’t be shy.  I’d love to get to know all of you.  Comment on any post until Monday the 9th of November to be entered into the drawing.

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