Monday, November 3, 2014

Anniversaries and an Ann Mah giveaway



Tick tock goes the clock, whether we are listening or not.

For you see, it happened on October 24th.

And so it was with a blip of a giggle that I realized that I had wizzed right by the fourth anniversary for Lost in Arles, just as I had already zoomed blindly past my 500th post, whoops! Does this really mean that I have spent four whole years of wandering and looking, of trying to put meaning where it should be and taking it out where it shouldn't? That is a lot of time following around my own shadow. But so much has happened...we have moved (twice!), adopted Kipling, Remi accomplished his dream of being published in National Geographic magazine, I was interviewed about this blog both for a magazine and live on national television...it has grown to about 20,000 visits per month...and that is just the big stuff...the mind reels!


 If I had originally zapped the date it was because I had been fixated on that of October 27th, which it turns out, was not the beginning of this particular endeavor but of a greater one in my moving to France thirteen years ago to be with the man I love, Remi. Lucky me, lucky thirteen. So today I am celebrating two anniversaries and they are intertwined as they should be. There are so many, many sweet memories that are diving into an interesting present with a hopeful gaze towards the future. That is about where I am at right now. 


Do other bloggers look back at their work? I don't. I admit it. As with my professional writing, it is the tap, tap, tap that I enjoy. When I hit publish after a swishy wipe of my palms, I move on. And yet, anniversaries are made for reflecting and so I poked around in the archives. Provence, Remi and the puppers, beauty and patina are all there - of course! But, after having gone through them a bit, I can also safely say that I am proud that I stuck to my guns by making all of the content myself. Plus, I realized that I have learned so much from this blog - about writing, photography and how the two can work together - as well as that there are certain ideas that keep attracting my interest and have from the beginning. 


In March of 2011 for Something like Heaven? :

"Grace. To be touched by something greater than ourselves. Missing for so many of us, myself included, in this world of noise. How lovely to want to believe, to believe in general, to believe in everything. I could feel my heart." 


In October of 2011 in the post Traces

"Digging down a little deeper, I have become increasingly aware of how flexible our personalities are, those outer traces of our inner spirit. I might be nearly unrecognizable to some of my companions of years gone by...For we see what we want to, we pick and choose and turn a blind eye. Would we still find the desire to be a part of each other's lives? Continuity in relationships can be a blessing as it necessitates that a certain flexibility is built in, one that involves seeing beyond personality and the temporary swoosh of life."


From September 2012 in The weight of a cricket:

"Just in the simple act of seeing, something shifts slightly. With the acknowledgement that beauty surrounds me, a door starts to crack open. The shape of the irises,  their bended elegance, draws me in until I spy perched on one ever so lightly, a bright green cricket. His antennas stop wiggling under my gaze but he does not flee. I slowly lower my face towards him. He is not alone. Nor am I. Inexplicably, I am filled with utter joy that expands to shake the clouds down. How giddy I become in remembering that hope repeats. What a fool to forget. My clock starts ticking at twelve. Anew, anon. The scales have been tipped and all with the weight of a cricket."


From August 2013 in Suspended in Amber:

"The streets of Arles are solid but also shady and shaking. I have lived here for eight years now, quite some time for a nomad like me. I walk them in patterns and loops, where the dogs lead, I follow. That too can be dulling blind until the light shifts and on the wall in front of me and an angle aligns or a sign is revealed, one that I had somehow never seen. A bit of magic and blink are the must of these little gifts. It is a moment that inevitably makes me smile and snaps the amber quick to set me buzzing free." 


From this past September for White bird in the snow:

"I realize that this isn't a subject that touches everyone and that there are plenty of you that are already living true to your authentic selves. But it is interesting to me, now. And I am listening. And besides, what is the underlying force that lies at the root of us all? Connectedness. It is, wonderfully, what is always present in our ever changing world...It can be good to explore blind terrain from time to time as just maybe, maybe we will sense those nearly invisible territories in front of us, as yet indiscernible as the white bird in the snow."


If you have been reading for a while, you might know that I struggle with my memory. So there is that too, a trigger for the repeat. But for me, these are also little connecting lines of electricity that keep the wires alive...and hopefully they do for you as well. For while I started this blog for me, it has become a path to all of you. I feel like we are in this together now, which is really wonderful, non


And so to thank you for being here these past four years, I am so excited to be offering my very first giveaway. 

I loved Ann Mah's "Mastering the Art of French Eating" when I was generously offered an advance copy to review last year. You can read all about it here...and below:

"The premise is as follows--Ann is finally able to spend a three year stint in the city of her dreams, Paris, when Calvin, her diplomat husband, is transferred for a year in Baghdad, leaving her alone in the City of Light. Now, it is harder than one might think being an expat, yes even in Paris and yes, even if Ann already had plenty of experience in moving from country to country. It would take as strong a woman as she is not to fall into a whimpering series of "Whyyyyy?"'s...a strong woman like, say, Julia Child? Ah ha. Inspired by Julia's efforts to document la cuisine française in the legendary "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and fueled by her own insatiable curiosity, she decided to visit ten different regions to get to the heart--the how's and why's plus the je ne sais quoi's--of each area's signature dish." 

Ann's writing is incredibly immediate, warm, funny and not to mention very well-researched. She puts all of her hard-won experiences on the page in a truly delightful manner devoid of both flippancy or heavy-handedness. Plus, she is just a genuinely lovely person and that shows up too. If you like food, travel and love (and something tells me that you do if you have been hanging out here)...then quite simply, you will like this book.

Interested? I thought that you might be. Ann's book has just been released in a paperback edition. Hallelujah! This makes me seriously happy because I don't know about you but the only time that I can afford hardcovers is when they are gifts. And (hint, hint)...it has been released just in time for the holiday season.


As you can see, Ben and Kipling won't go anywhere without their copy. It makes them dream, "...fromage...cassoulet...steak frites...ahhh, oui..."

To find out more about "Mastering the Art of French Eating" and to read an excerpt, please click here.

If you would like one of your own you can find it on Amazon in Kindle, hardback or paper: here.

*OR*

You can enter the giveaway by either leaving a comment below or sending me an email at robinsonheather (at) yahoo.com! Hooray!!! Make me proud peeps, feel free to spread the word and I promise to be 100% objective when choosing the winner. Really. :)

I am sending a huge thank you to Ann and all of the nice people at Penguin for making this possible and to YOU for following along and making Lost in Arles so worthwhile...


With all of my Very, Very Best from Provence...
Plus a couple of bisous thrown in just for good measure,
Heather


Pop the champers kids, it's my Happy Fourth!


PS. You have one week to enter...go, go, go!

PPS. EDIT: I updated this post to include the original photos that went with the selected texts. Honestly? I have no idea what I was thinking...

55 comments:

  1. A hearty "Congratulations" on your accomplishments ... even more on your obvious path toward self realization. Thank you for sharing both.

    Aloha,
    Bill Facker

    www.Kauai-to-Paris.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely not obvious to me Bill but thank you very much!

      Delete
  2. Dearest Heather, I am so glad I found you! You inspire me and your words and photos keep getting better and better. I raise my glass!

    Your loyal and forever fan, Judith

    ReplyDelete
  3. I adore your blog Heather. It is such a joy to share your journey and discovering Provence along with you doesn't hurt either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel the same way about discover Malte with you, Loree. :)

      Delete
  4. Congratulations on 4 years and 500 posts. Wow, 20,000 visitors a month, that is really terrific. I am jealous but I know your work deserves that kind of following. I really enjoyed "Mastering the Art of French Eating" and highly recommend it to those who have not had the chance to read it yet.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Michel but I know that if I had pushed this blog through social networks I would have more readers...but you know what? I like the ones that I have! Such as yourself. :)

      Delete
  5. Congratulations! I love France and especially the Provence area. I would love to cook more dishes like the French and what a wonderful treat it would be to win. I enjoy reading your blog and when I was in Arles in September, I thought of you. Best wishes, Teresa

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope that you had a great time in Arles, Teresa!

      Delete
  6. CONGRATULATIONS HEATHER!
    It is very kind of you to celebrate this way one of the most important stage of your life. I believe that sharing ideas with readers everyday or week through a blog is something special. We can keep in touch with a click and share words about any topic. Isn't it amazing?
    As you already know I want to keep learning and here in your "space" I learnt a lot and above all I feel at home.
    Waiting for a book written by you I send you all my best and warmest wishes.

    P.S. I am going to have a look at Ann Mah I think I can learn through her experience.
    Bisous

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That you feel "at home" here is just the most lovely compliment Emilia...no surprise as it comes from a truly lovely woman! Grazie mille. And a book...oh boy...I don't know...

      Delete
  7. Yes, the connectedness is the most important thing I find about blogging. As you know, I think I am really good friends with you even though we've not met in person. Beautiful reprise of your blog, Heather. And, you know how I love seeing the boys. And, a fabulous giveaway! What on Earth could we want, it's all here in "Lost in Arles."
    xx's

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh thank you wonderful Marsha...I feel the same! And I was thinking of you going back through these posts..."Thank Goodness Marsha made me make the photos bigger!" and that you invited me to participate in BIO...So happy that we know each other even if we don't know each other in person...yet!

      Delete
  8. Congratulations on your significant milestone! I get the feeling that it has been a pleasure to write, (although coming up with new posts several times a week is a regular commitment) and it has certainly been a pleasure to read! Looking at selected pockets of Arles and Provence through your eyes has been a joy! Being able to share your musings has been thought provoking and a delight. We are eager for more! As has been mentioned, a book in the making....
    Cheers,
    Deb C, Melbourne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deb, I always appreciate your kindness and support. Thank you...

      Delete
  9. Congratulations Heather! Your words and photos are just so lovely and thought provoking. Thank you for sharing with us! Ann Ma's book looks delicious! Here's to four more years --- and, more after that!!

    With great regard,
    Judi

    ReplyDelete
  10. BINGO!I would LOVE to WIN the cookbook!!!!!!!!
    Four years...................I think my little blog is about the same......UNBELIEVABLE.Where has the time gone.......I can recall reading all the quotes you have Hi-Lighted here.Your BLOG SUITS YOU...........and I am so LUCKY to have FOUND YOU!XOXO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I wonder if I would still be blogging if you hadn't found me? Maybe not...my guardian angel! I am the lucky one.
      Gros bisous to you...

      Delete
  11. Happy, happy Blogiversary (and France-iversary), Heather! I'm so thankful for all your thoughtful, beautiful posts, and the glimpse you give us into your world. You've always inspired me with your commitment to creating your own content, which pushes me to see how much I can do making my own posts truly original. Mostly I'm thankful for your friendship. We may be in far-flung places, but I love our conversations.

    Looking forward to many more! XOXO

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci, dear Jeanne. You are one good egg. And I have loved watching us both find our footing from different angles. It makes me happy to no end that you are doing exactly what you "dreamed of" when you took that brave, brave step to working towards your dreams...and yes, I wish that you weren't on the other side of the planet!
      Bisous.

      Delete
  12. Congratulations on your blogging anniversary, Heather. I love reading your thoughts about life, about France and about life in France. Your photos are full of mystery and enchantment. I like to think there would be an instant rapport if we ever met in person, although I'm so introverted that that's unlikely. After reading all your lovely quotes from past posts, I now want to go back and read everything you've written from day one! The Ann Mah book is on my list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Lorrie, I am super shy! So we would definitely have to break the ice (wine could be involved ;) but I absolutely agree with you based on what I have read in your wonderful writings. It may be the internet but we are on the same page. I think that I might add a random "you might also enjoy" option under my posts as some folks have...I like the posts from mid 2012 to 2013 a lot. Thanks for the support!

      Delete
  13. Congratulations on your blog anniversary, and all the other achievements that are happening in your life. From the first post I read I've loved reading the wonderful way you express your thoughts and seeing your fantastic pictures of the beauty around you , be it shabby or elegant, you have been blessed with a gift to see beauty in such simple things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for saying that, I feel blessed for sure. It helps me so much in my life. I always feel rich, even when we are really not! Thank you for having read for so long...

      Delete
  14. Generally I don't re-read my blog but, as you have done, I do enjoy referring to older posts from time to time. I don't have 500 to refer to, like you do! That's amazing, and it's wonderful that you have so many views per month. Congratulations on 4 years of beautiful blogging, and congratulations on even more years of living and loving in France. Hugs! Oh yes, I would love to be in on the giveaway. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merci chere G. Hugs to you too...and gratitude for your fine writing too.

      Delete
  15. Happiest Anniversaries!
    I appreciate the consistency of your writing and your family mentions, Remi, Ben and Kipling woven in. Reading here feels like listening to an interesting relative at a holiday dinner during and after several deserts, and walks in the woods between them.
    Thank you.
    I imagine there are dozens of bloggers that will be going back to read their blogs today. I know I will.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh good! I hope you have had a fun time digging in the words. And I love, love your description of the interesting relative! Thank you, that was a little 'cadeau'...

      Delete
  16. Just yesterday morning I thought about how I found your blog: By a single photo in the google image search. At the time I wasn't at all aware where exactly I was and the browsing of blogs did not really belong to my major activities.

    What first struck my eye was the nice photo of a familiar place, the Cap Bénat. Then I noticed the tasteful layout, colours, typeface, the way the photos are framed! After that I was feeling invited to read and realized that here was someone who has put in words how I felt about that place.
    After some orientation I realized I was at "Lost in Arles" ! I saw with delight that there were plenty of other posts to discover or should I say to devour!
    I always wanted to compliment the way you designed your blog. Though the structure of a blog is already given you have created yours very well. Besides the tasteful -colour-shadow-font-ensemble, it is well structured and focused on the important things. One never gets lost and can easily browse the archive.

    Et regarder des belles choses, c'est i-n-d-i-s-p-e-n-s-a-b-l-e (:

    Congratulations, Heather! Chapeau bas! Thank you for so much inspiration and contemplation!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If only you could have seen what the design of the blog originally was! It actually was right for Arles - dark red, purple with a bit of gold - but became too busy for me quickly. I felt a huge weight lifted off of my shoulders when I redid it.

      And thank you Silke for all of your kindness and encouragement, suggestions and shining a light when needed. To have actually met you and to know that you are the amazing woman that I see in your comments here was incredible...and I doubt it will be the last time!

      Delete
  17. The sweet meanings of things you do and the collected memories from the first of 500 Lost in Arles and still flowing, and yes the expressive photos full of intimate experiences-Thank you Heather. Congratulations.

    I add my praises to yours for Ann Mah.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Edgar, she is a wonderful writer and a lovely person to boot!

      Delete
  18. Congrats on your anniversaries, Heather! Both are significant and so nice of you to share them with us. I like the idea of looking back every so often as usually I am amazed at far I have come since that particular moment in time even though it sometimes doesn't see so unless I do take that pause. Keep up the good work - look forward to reading more from you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really well said Jackie, as always and thank you for the compliment!

      Delete
  19. Happy Anniversary Heather to a most special blogger and writer, Your posts are always so wonderfully crafted!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena

    ReplyDelete
  20. Happy Anniversary, Sister!!! Wow - 4 years and 500 posts is UH-MAY-ZING!!! I can remember when you started; I'll bet I was one of your first followers! I'm so glad you posted some snippets from past blogs - the things you chose were especially beautiful, though I love ALL of your words and photographs. And who knew you would become such a wonderful photographer?? That was accidental, methinks, but now a huge part of your blog and your success! Congratulations!!!! And, p.s., what needs to be done to be in the running for the book give away? Whatever it is, I'll do it! (perhaps I've already done it just by posting!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sister, you are so awesome. I love you so much. :)

      Delete
  21. It is good every now and then to take a breath, sit back and just be in the moment for a while...both your anniversaries are very special moments to cherish! I just love the wonderful abstract quality of your photos which seem to shift perspectives as you look at them and your words seem to come from the heart which you so generously share with the rest of us. I am only a new reader but want to wish you happy anniversary and to say thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gretel, you may be a "new" reader but I always love your responses and am grateful for them...especially this one. Merci beaucoup!

      Delete
  22. Congratulations on four years of blogging! I know I speak for many of your readers when I say thank you for sharing your unique thoughts, photos and perspective from your corner of the South of France.

    ReplyDelete
  23. A big yay to 4... Congrtulations and celebratons... next week... :) xv

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just spending a bit of time with you is celebration a plenty!

      Delete
  24. My note is late; we've had this lil' ol' election down here in sunny Florida where a cartoon of evil has been reelected as Governor. So coming to your anniversaries anthology is a special treat. Congratulations and thank you. Once again you've slowed me down to feel the beauty both in/around Arles and here.

    And "Mastering the Art of French Eating" ....c'est moi!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear...the Florida election...time to reach for a comforting piece of cheese...

      Delete
    2. Mind reader....I had just splurged on a very good chunk of goat cheese from France!

      Delete
  25. Heather,
    "In the swoosh of life" says so much and that is the reason I blog and connect to others who challenge themselves to stop, to look, to take it all in and to jog it up to memory or lack thereof. I honestly love looking back at my own blog as it does serve as a memory jogger or a time travel if you will. Date your images and mark them as well with your own signature. Your images and words are so restorative.
    Now, I would love that book to reinforce my own mastery of French Cooking. My husband is in France right now and I keep reminding him to "mange" for me.
    Congrats to you on Four years of blogging.
    pve

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so very much pve. I hope that your husband is taking that reminder to heart! It is good eating time here now with the arrival of cassoulet, choucroute...*happy sigh* And it was interesting looking back. Time travel is absolutely the perfect description for the sensation of being plopped right back to whatever it was that I was experiencing when writing and preparing certain posts. Some of which I can now see were felt stronger by me than what actually got to the page...but that is how we learn! :)

      Delete
  26. as allways I really love to read your posts, I am more than bad to leave comments, often athers have writen it allready. This may be my first in fact, but I want you to know than your writing and photos are really enjoyable. so big big thanks and hoping many more yrs to come. Jaana

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jaana! I really appreciate hearing that. :)

      Delete
  27. H., I absolutely adore that pic of you in the window with your shades. Tres chic!

    You have amassed quite a tapestry here, and it bears commemorating. Lovely retrospective of the last four years!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why thank you! I lost those sunglasses for about four years and it was like Christmas in finding them again.

      More poemlets from you please...

      Delete

Your responses are what makes this blog so special to me. I love hearing from you. Thank you for visiting!

* Comments left on posts two days after publication or more will be published after moderation. So not to worry, they will arrive and again, I appreciate them all so very much...Merci! *

If you prefer, feel free to email me directly at robinsonheather (at) yahoo.com...