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I woke up Saturday morning to an empty house, a box of donuts on the counter. Kids gone, car gone, bank card gone. A stack of French novels and magazines piled on the sofa. And I exhaled and gave thanks for one of the dearest people in my life, a friend from grad school, now on sabbatical and here because I asked. I opted for a second cup of cold brew, extra cream, and a long, hot shower without interruption.

Mister is traveling this week, maybe into next. I’m rolling right through week 36 of this pregnancy and rapidly approaching week 37 so I was a bit nervous to say the least. My friend and I had talked about getting together, working over her manuscript together, face to face. So during our weekly Skype chat I said, Hey! Care to cross the Atlantic and come hang out? And then twenty minutes later I had bought her a plane ticket and three days later, I gave a lecture to an English class then waddled to my car and headed to New Orleans to pick her up. And immediately, she hugged me and this baby, cooing in Creole in my ear and then to the wee babe, my shoulders came down from around my ears and I was filled with such a sense of relief.

My kids are thoroughly enchanted by the fact we just sit and converse in French and picked up exactly where we left off where we saw each last (2? 3? years ago). They love her because she brings a fresh selection of books and goodies from France and photos of us in our heyday—there we are in the Maghreb, in our rather derelict flat in Lyons, on a train in India, the two of us at a table on a café patio with my dad and a lizard in Lagos, on a beach in Martinique, and at her family home in Haïti, bleary-eyed in a pub in Ireland. And it feels good to remember all these adventures, the life I knew before this one, to remember how it felt to take off on a whim with little more than a backpack.

And so this week will be finishing the layout for Kindred’s eighth issue (Eight!), finishing up work for clients, and then a whole lot of nothing, and I’m looking forward to it. The little people are hoping to brush up on their Creole and are excited at the prospect of having company (the good kind they say and I nod knowingly). Brave soul that she is made it through Whole Foods and Traders Joes today (on a game day no less) with my five littles in tow and they have meals planned and movies to watch and well, for once mama is going to just sit back and smile and say, Yes, yes whatever, just enjoy while I sit back and watch the best and most loved people in my life come together to bring back old memories and create new.

  • Wow, what a history the two of you have, and how wonderful she is here for you now. It sounds to me like you and your kiddos are in very good, very loving hands. Enjoy this time, and all the best in these last few weeks.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Kim, definitely lots of history and such a good one, too!ReplyCancel

  • oh what a joy and comfort for you. I am so so so SO glad. May God be near to you as you are in the last weeks before baby, etc.ReplyCancel

  • Stephanie Bonin

    I’ve loved you for what has turned into years now. But this morning, love grows. You truly are something special my pal.
    Enjoy this magical time.ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Oh Stephanie, I’m all verklempt. Too much, too much goodness coming my way lately! xoReplyCancel

  • perfect, just perfect.
    enjoy!ReplyCancel

  • This sounds simply perfect! What a special friendship! Breathe in every minute of this wonderful time. And all the best for the remaining weeks of your pregnancy!ReplyCancel

  • Manise

    Echoing everything in comments above me. Enjoy the last few weeks and your dear friend’s visit. She sounds like a gem! Hugs to you.ReplyCancel

  • Jessica

    And I breathed for you a long sigh of relief. You are in my prayers.ReplyCancel

  • Juliann

    How lovely to have a friend you can ask. Enjoy this time. I am excited to receive my first order of Kindred magazines.ReplyCancel

  • won’t be long now ;) Friendships like yours are a treasure and it’s nice knowing you have someone to be with while you are bursting with impending baby (and happiness!).ReplyCancel

  • Issue 8! Congrats! Hard to believe.

    Ah, I think we need to hear more about your travel days! So wonderful to have a friend like that. Mine is in Barcelona right now. So easy to pick up right where we left off and such wonderful travels and memories we share. And especially foodie adventures! Enjoy your time together and the work break before baby arrives!ReplyCancel

  • I can feel your happiness seeping out of my iPad…so wonderful. There is real warmth in this post, tangible and it’s how I feel about my close friends and good times with them. Enjoy xReplyCancel

  • Everyone needs a friend like that, I’m glad you have one Amanda.
    Enjoy all the memory making.ReplyCancel

  • lovely to be able to pick up exactly where you left off.ReplyCancel

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And so with Evie, as she stood talking to the cook. Thought she could take up her mother’s work inside the house, just as the men could take it up without, she felt that something unique had fallen out of her life. Their grief, though less poignant than their father’s, grew from deeper roots, for a wife may be replaced: a mother never.

— E. M. Forster, Howards End

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Saturday morning was breakfast at the café with the Red Bean: a proper capp for me, Darjeeling for her, peach scones. Then Mister and I headed out to do some birthday shopping for the Poulette and enjoy a late lunch. This heading out without kids in tow is a new thing for us, one we’re settling into quite nicely. It feels new and different, a bit shiny. A reminder that these days are iridescent, changing colour as my viewpoint shifts or the light passes just so. And so I do what I do: eyes wide, observing, making notes, doling out hugs and kisses as frequently as possible, and giving thanks.

PS: There is a new course offering up over here, one near and dear to my heart. I would love for you to join us!

 
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Weekending with Karen and weaving words along with everyone else inspired by August prompt-a-day. join us and link up over here, on the ALM Writes fb page, or on twitter or instagram using the hashtag #writealm.

 

  • What a delish breakfast with wonderful company.
    Now that the kids will be in school maybe there will be a little time in the day for me for this course- jumping over there now.
    Happy Sunday.ReplyCancel

  • A lovely Saturday : )) So nice to have time with your Mister! Me and mine celebrated our 18th anniversary this weekend with a night out alone and then one with our wonderful boy and friends : )) Looking forward to the course very much!!ReplyCancel

  • Sweet catching up here, friend.
    I hope all is well in your world and your pregnancy is going easy!
    XOReplyCancel

  • My heart took a little leap when I linked to your lovely offering of Wholly Ordinary. Just enrolled and couldn’t be more excited Amanda! This school year marks a major turning point in my life…in the way of having 3 whole hours all to myself early in the day (my favorite and most inspired part of the day). With my littlest beginning 1/2 day kindergarten, I am welcoming this time as a gift to myself…I’m just a little thrilled, just a little ;o). Your offering of this journaling class will provide me with the perfect jump start to diving deeper in my journaling and writing, thank you again for sharing your amazing gift of writing with others.

    ~ AprilReplyCancel

  • Mike and I were both commenting on the shift of light in our home this morning, gives me a ray of hope that there really will be cooler temperatures in my future because right now it is unbearable!
    Enjoy a beautiful day with your birthday girl and her wonderful siblings!ReplyCancel

  • I love how you can leave the kids and be out, that newfound freedom :) happy birthday to your girl! I love your weekend and am happy you shared it with us. I’m so excited about my course!ReplyCancel

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This was the scene late yesterday afternoon. I’d been reading too long, so the Red Bean gave me a gentle nudge by beginning to set the table around me. I love evenfall; it’s one of my favorite words, it’s easily my favorite time of day. And sitting at my dining room table looking out the windows, I love watching the sun sink in the sky and do amazing things in the treetops across the street then sink a smidge lower to make that sweet little yellow cottage glow. I wonder what it would be like to be in that cottage, in those front rooms, bathed in golden light. I wonder if my neighbors appreciate it, if they’ve even noticed it.

“The book was in her lap; she had read no further. The power to change one’s life comes from a paragraph, a lone remark. The lines that penetrate us are slender, like the flukes that live in river water and enter the bodies of swimmers. She was excited, filled with strength. The polished sentences had arrived, it seemed, like so many other things, at just the right time. How can we imagine what our lives should be without the illumination of the lives of others?”
― James Salter, Light Years

I’m reading this again. Again. I’ve read it several times and have yet to be disappointed. Each reading is a new reading, gleaning new gems from the pages, new insight into Viri and Nedra. It’s the very best kind of book because I feel that flaws and all, Viri and Nedra would be ideal friends, neighbors. If Viri and Nedra lived in the yellow cottage across the street, I imagine they would make a practice of having their afternoon cocktail there in the front room bathed in golden light.
 
PS: Have you signed up for the ALM Writes monthly newsletter yet? One email a month with writing/photography prompts, news, and other tasty morsels. Next one is hitting inboxes Friday with news about a new course offering. Sign up here.

 
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Weaving words along with everyone else inspired by August prompt-a-day. join us and link up over here, on the ALM Writes fb page, or on twitter or instagram using the hashtag #writealm.

 

  • Okay, I signed up. I promised to challenge myself more and I need to get to it, writing will accomplish that challenge since it is something I struggle to do.

    I find great comfort in visiting old friends in books, like old friends knocking on the front door that you haven’t seen in ages.

    Evenfall is a great word!ReplyCancel

  • Oh, that quote….I get a little shiver reading it. Well, this novel has been added to my list…I always appreciate the little snippets of what you’re reading.

    Evenfall, a word I love. I follow the evening light around the house, always with appreciation for the subtle changes in the way the light falls across the room. These last few weeks of August seem rich with promise of what’s to come, a slight hint of Autumn in the evening light. And, I’m ready for it :o)ReplyCancel

  • Beautiful imagery. I want to see that light and sense that feeling of home. <3ReplyCancel

  • Such a magical time of day : ) I love how you describe it Amanda. This sounds like a book I should perhaps purchase! Have a lovely evening : )ReplyCancel

  • I just requested Light Years from the library…ReplyCancel

  • jenny tackett

    What a happy place the world would be if everyone took notice of the elegant beauty mother nature bestows on us daily. I’m lucky enough to receive this gift every evening in my kitchen just about time to start dinner. The light transforms the room into a warm cocoon. Thank you Amanda for letting me think of this moment through your eyes as well.ReplyCancel

  • my absolute favorite time is mornings however when the dishes are done and I sit and knit in the evening, I love the settledness of the day.ReplyCancel

  • Evenfall I love this .. I love the quiet contentment that comes with this time of day I have added the light years to my ever growing to read list .ReplyCancel

  • I’m thinking of evenfall, your neighbor’s yellow cottage, and reading Light Years. Time for bed. I hope these good thoughts bring good dreams.ReplyCancel

the habit of being | the interestings

…Then, softer, he told her, “You’re the one.”

“I’m not the one.”

“You are.”

She couldn’t continue the volley, and she thought: Okay, I am the one. I am the one and I have always been the one. This life was here for me, pulsing, waiting, and I didn’t take it.

But, she knew, you didn’t have to marry your soulmate, and you didn’t even have to marry an Interesting. You didn’t always need to be the dazzler, the firecracker, the one who cracked everyone up, or made everyone want to sleep with you, or be the one who wrote and starred in the play that got the standing ovation. You could cease to obsessed with the idea of being interesting. Anyway, she knew, the definition could change; it had changed, for her.

—Meg Wolitzer, The Interestings

  • Swoon…sounds really good.ReplyCancel

  • Compelling quite. I like the idea that one could “cease to obsessed with the idea of being interesting.”ReplyCancel

  • I seeing this book pop up everywhere, I really need to read it!

    Hope you are feeling well Amanda and you enjoy a great weekend.ReplyCancel

  • Kirsten

    Oooooh, sounds good!ReplyCancel

  • Felicia Jones

    Oh, I know a couple people who could benefit from this read. They’re so caught up in playing a part, acting out a role instead of just being themselves. It must be so tiring…ReplyCancel

  • Just finished Chapter One!ReplyCancel

  • Lyssa

    I love reading quotes that you post from books! It makes me fall in love with the book already.

    I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Award because I love visiting your blog : ) You can check it out here: http://playguitar4him.blogspot.com/2014/08/liebster-award.html Don’t know if you have time or inclination for this, but I would love to read the answers to the questions I’ve written!ReplyCancel

  • Is it good?? What a wonderful quote.

    I have a beautiful hardbound copy a friend gave me for my birthday and have yet to open it. I long to read this book!!ReplyCancel

    • admin

      Rebecca, It took a while to get into it but I enjoyed it. There were some really beautiful/thought provoking passages that made it worth reading.ReplyCancel