hello again!

Author: angiem, 06 12th, 2012

Hello dear friends!

I’ve missed you all and thought of you daily. I can’t believe it’s been over 3 months since I’ve last posted, but there it is. Three months. Thank you for your emails and concern. I am well. Family is well. All happy and healthy. And busy.

You know how it is: work and family and more work. And even writing, if you can believe that. Once a week I drive myself to a writing class, present some of my old work that I haven’t shared with anyone before, listen to, and read the work of other students, accept their feedback on my work, offer mine on theirs, and so on and so forth. It’s one of the highlights of my week. Haha. No. It really is.

I’ve been wanting to take a small writing class since forever, and now that I finally have, I can’t believe I put it off for so long. Our teacher, Jennifer Lauck, is phenomenal. And I’m not saying that just because she’s a New York Times bestselling author - and I want to be one too. There. I admit it. - I’m saying it because she truly is phenomenal. The things she’s been through… I’m amazed at how she’s endured and carried on and become the person she is today: full of life, of joy, of gentleness and of wisdom.

So as a hello to you all, again, after such a long absence, I’m giving away a copy of her memoir, Blackbird. The writing is graceful. Exquisite. The story: powerful, harrowing, hopeful. I read it in one day. I cried and I laughed and I cried some more. And you will too. I promise. So go on. Leave a comment anytime between today and next Tuesday evening. And have yourselves a beautiful week!

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rain, rain and a giveaway

Author: angiem, 10 04th, 2011

It’s been pouring out. Nonstop. I’m sitting by the lamplit window trying to figure out what to write about, but instead am too busy watching the rain come down, gathering in puddles, making little lakes in my little garden.  Rain is so romantic, isn’t it? The sound of it, the look… But, I can do without the feel of its cold drops, like icy fingers, sliding down my back.

My favorite time to read is when it rains. A hot cup of tea or coffee in one hand, and a book in the other, is one way I love to spend a rainy day. Add to it the lonely sound of a train making its way to exotic destinations, glittery cities or majestic mountain resorts, and I’m in heaven. I spend quite a bit of time daydreaming of being on the train myself, looking out the window at the rolling images of dark villages, their windows glowing like honey, steep slate roofs with smoke curling out the chimneys, the humming of the tracks as the train rushes along, and the cobbled train stations where people anticipate the arriving and departing trains with as much excitement as though it were Christmas.

I can’t imagine a more romantic way to travel, than by train. And, yes, most of my daydreams are about destinations unknown. Probably because I rarely ever go anywhere these days. Or perhaps because in my armchair travel adventures everything goes according to plan, and no luggage is ever lost.

How about you? How do you imagine travel at its most romantic? And how do you like to pass a rainy day? Do you like to read? Well, here’s a chance to read a great book and travel to Paris, all at the same time from the comfort of your own cozy chair. This is a story about friendship, love and delicious food, written by one of my funniest, cleverest blogging friends. We meet this past summer and over coffee and chocolate muffins I found her to be just as delightful and hilarious and intelligent as I had imagined her.

So join in the fun and leave a comment before midnight October 11th for a chance to win Hidden in Paris.

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summer days

Author: angiem, 07 14th, 2011

When I was a young child, the summer days stretched endlessly from dawn to dusk. Mornings were always my favorite time: the bright sunshine, the cool air, the quiet. I would fluff up my pillows and open my book. In our overcrowded and busy family house, the best time to read was when everyone else was asleep and no artificial light was needed.

Breakfast was usually a hurried affair of cold cereal and toast, as the day awaited and we all couldn’t wait to get going. The playground awaited. Visits to family friends awaited. Lakes awaited and picnics awaited and barbecues awaited and laughter and fun awaited. There was always something going on. And when there wasn’t, lazy days of reading and sunbathing in the backyard awaited.

No matter how censured I felt as a child and young adult, both by my parents and the church community, my parents did their best to create for us a childhood and youth filled with happy memories and free of financial worry. We weren’t rich. Far from it. My dad worked hard, often three jobs at a time, so that my mom could stay home and take care of us. And it wasn’t easy. I knew it then, and I know it now; being a parent myself, I find myself pulled in all directions. Work. Family. Books. Guilt I’m not at work enough. Guilt I’m not with my family enough. Guilt I’m spending money on books I don’t have time to read. Always on the phone… Or checking my messages… Or sending texts to my employees, reminding them what to do. The list goes on.

Excuses. All of them. I’m sure that on my death bed, the only thing I’ll regret are the days and times I’ve spent away from my kids. These summer days my goal is to be with them as often and as much as I can, and to provide them with a legacy of golden memories. What about for you? What are your goals?

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we have a winner!

Author: angiem, 05 28th, 2011

I know, I know I’m a day or so late. Sorry. But we do have a winner. Without further delay, congratulations to commenter number 25: Joyce! Please email me your mailing address and Hidden in Paris will be on its way to you.

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book giveaway!

Author: angiem, 05 22nd, 2011

I first came across Corine’s blog about two years ago. I was smitten from the start with her colorful garden, her fearless decorating style, and her refreshing sense of humor. I remember one night in those early days of having discovered her, when I couldn’t sleep, so I spent about two hours just reading her previous posts, fascinated by this French woman who could say so much and so well, in just a few words.

In the time since, I have discovered that Corine and I have several things in common, besides blogging and telling stories: we both have sisters, we love to eat and are great at it, and we speak English with an accent. When I found out that Corine’s first book came out I immediately bought it, and read it all the day it arrived.

I love the story. It is a perfect read for the summer.  Hidden in Paris, is about three American women in the heart of Paris, each wishing to escape her own problems, living together in a beautiful house, and eating delicious French food. Because Corine is French and has lived in America for quite a long time now, she’s tackled both the French and the American cultures so well. And because I love the story so, I am offering a giveaway of the book. Any comment from now until Wednesday midnight (Pacific Standard Time) will be entered.

Visit Barnes & Nobles online, Amazon.com, and Goodreads, to purchase your own copy of Hidden in Paris.

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happy christmas reading

Author: angiem, 12 16th, 2009

When I was a child my favorite Christmas story was The Story of Holly and Ivy, written by Rumer Godden. It is a lovely story about an orphan child wishing for a doll and a grandmother, and also the story of a doll wishing for a dear child’s arm around her.  My sisters and I loved it so much we kept checking it out of the library over and over.  As I got older I forgot about the magical story of a wish coming true, until I got pregnant with my son and started on making my dreams of a children’s library a reality.

For months and months I couldn’t find it anywhere.  Finally Powell’s Books, my favorite local bookstore, located a used copy for me.  And wouldn’t you know it, but a few years later there was a new printing of the book, and suddenly they were everywhere.

A new book I am adding this year is Jane in Winter by Elizabeth Wix.  I just ordered this fairy tale and can’t wait for it to get here.  Evil queen, forests, children, winter!  My favorite kind of story!  You can read more about it and order it from the author’s own site: #mce_temp_url#

Also, check out my friend Michelle’s Christmas blog: #mce_temp_url# Michelle loves books!  She’s got a collection close to 2000 of them, not counting the Christmas ones.  I’d love to spend a weekend in there just looking around.  Besides that she is one of the best book reviewers out there, and Christmas is her favorite holiday.

Following is what I consider to be essential reading:

The Gift of the Magi     O. Henry

The Fir Tree     Hans Christian Andersen

A Miserable, Merry Christmas     Lincoln Steffens

The Legend of the Christmas Rose     Selma Lagerlof

The Birth Of Christ     St. Luke 2:1-16

The Three Wise Men     St. Matthew 2:1-14

A Pint of Judgment     Elizabeth Morrow

The Miraculous Staircase     Arthur Gordon

The Story of Holly and Ivy     Rumer Godden

The Little Match Girl     Hans Christian Andersen

Jane in Winter   Elizabeth Wix

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe     C.S. Lewis

The Mitten   retold by Jan Brett

The Gingerbread     retold by Jan Brett

Toot and Puddle: I’ll Be Home for Christmas     Holly Hobbie

Christmas in the Big Woods     Laura Ingalls Wilder

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree     Robert Barry

Eloise at Christmastime     Kay Thompson

Are your favorites on my list?  If not, what are they?

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sick in bed, yet enjoying myself

Author: angiem, 12 09th, 2009

Apparently I work too many hours, have horrible eating habits (too much chocolate, coffee and pastries), and sleep too little.  For the second time, in as many weeks, I am sick again.  I’ve had the flu shot and the H1N1 shot, to no avail.  I have no idea what exactly is the matter, as I dread going in to see the doctor just to be told to go home and rest.  But my right ear hurts so, I feel like cutting it off, and I who have never smoked, have a smoker’s raspy voice.

It’s been sunny, yet very cold.  At night the wind scratches at the windows and sends the kids to our bed, where they snuggle in wide eyed, clutching at the covers and twining their legs with ours.  And although I am sick and should know better, I love the warmth of their little bodies and let them stay, only to awaken hours later my limbs all numb, hubby gone down the hallway to sleep in the empty room.

My hours awake are spent in bed, looking through my journal for favorite recipes,

pasting cutouts of images from my favorite magazines,

opening my mail (yay, Christmas presents have arrived!),

and reading this lovely book:

Finally, I will be enjoying a bowl of this delicious stew prepared by my darling hubby, with a chunk of crunchy French bread, at the kitchen table surrounded by the dear faces of my family.  I adore the primitive taste of bone marrow.  There’s something so satisfying in it’s goodness.

And then off to bed for sleep and another day of the same, until I feel better.  Stay safe and healthy!

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on my nightstand

Author: angiem, 07 03rd, 2009

my attempt in the dining room

my attempt to design my dining room

my study... favorite room in the house

my study... favorite room in the house

Many houses are deserted by the men of the family for lack of… simple comforts. ~ Edith Wharton

I love interior design almost as much as I love to read. I salivate over glossy magazines and books featuring exquisite residences from around the world, and wish that my work would be featured as well. Wishful thinking. For one thing, it’s nowhere near as good, and for another, I could never be as detail oriented as required.

Edith Wharton, however, was not just one of the best female American authors (Ethan Frome, The Age of Innocence, The Custom of the Country, and The House of Mirth, are just a few of her novels) she was also a superb interior designer. The Decoration of Houses, is one of the best books I’ve read on design. On the Lenox MA property she had bought in 1902, five years after she wrote the book, she created a peaceful and harmonious space where she was able to entertain her closest friends. Known as The Mount, it is currently owned by a preservation group, who has restored it to its original grandeur, as the original furnishings are long gone.

Readings of her books and tours are offered daily during the summer months. Check out: http://www.edithwharton.org/index.php for more info and some great photos.

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Christmas stories for young and old

Author: angiem, 12 09th, 2008

Since we gave up our television set a little more than a year ago, we have been doing a lot of reading.  In the beginning it was a bit hard to get used to the seemingly empty evening hours and I confess I was anxious to fill the time with anything that would make the hours pass.  After a few nights of going online to get the news and chat with friends, we realized that our decision to kick the TV out had been in fact a desire to create a bond between us, and not just to prove our superiority to our family and friends.  

So we brought out the cookbooks and cooked up elaborate meals with the kids participating, stocked up on board games and delegated Sunday night ‘family game night,’ and went to the public library and made library cards for each one of us.  (As I am writing this, I am looking out the window at an elderly woman walking along and reading a paperback.  I see her everyday at about this time and sometimes she stops and reads, flipping the page, as though wondering what she missed.  I want to ask her what she’s reading so intently that she can’t wait until she gets home or to the bus stop.  It must be good if she’s willing to risk falling or tripping and breaking an ankle!  I have done that a few times, dragging myself off the couch and walking around the house in an attempt to get some exercise in besides my reading.  I have ended up either stubbing my toes or bumping my head on a wall that suddenly came up. Consequently, I have determined that I much rather work out my brain.)

I am thrilled to say that reading became our favorite pastime. Every evening (unless I go to one of my two book clubs, on a date with my husband, or to the bookstore or library with the family), following a yummy dinner where we sit and chat about our day, school, work, current events, books we’ve read, etc., we all retreat to our cozy family room lined with brimming bookshelves and depending how cold it is outside, a blazing fire, and read until time for bed.

It doesn’t take much to get us into the holiday spirit, even without a TV, or without trips to congested malls.  The kids open the respected day’s flap on the advent calendar, select a book from the overflowing holiday bookshelf, my husband and I find our places in our books, and we’re on our way.  Silent reading is the best!  Nonetheless, memories are made while reading to one another, so we try to remember to include that in our nightly ritual.  Following is our recommended holiday list.  Pick one, pick all, just sit back, sip something comforting (a little spiced apple cider?, a hot cocoa perhaps?), and enjoy making memories!

The Gift of the Magi     O. Henry

The Fir Tree     Hans Christian Andersen

A Miserable, Merry Christmas     Lincoln Steffens

The Legend of the Christmas Rose     Selma Lagerlof

The Birth Of Christ     St. Luke 2:1-16

The Three Wise Men     St. Matthew 2:1-14

A Pint of Judgment     Elizabeth Morrow

The Miraculous Staircase     Arthur Gordon 

The Story of Holly and Ivy     Rumer Godden

The Little Match Girl     Hans Christian Andersen

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe     C.S. Lewis

Toot and Puddle: I’ll Be Home for Christmas     Holly Hobbie

Christmas in the Big Woods     Laura Ingalls Wilder

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree     Robert Barry

Eloise at Christmastime     Kay Thompson

 

HAPPY READINGS!!

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