Monday, April 27, 2015

Inspiration to Start Your Week


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Book Spotlight: Czar Nicholas, The Toad, and Duck Soup by Elisabeth Amaral


The mid-1960s through the mid-1970s was a heady, turbulent time. There was a lot going on back then, and author Elisabeth Amaral was in the middle of it all: the fights for women’s rights, racial equality, a music revolution, be-ins, love-ins, riots in the streets, the rage against the Vietnam War, and sex, drugs, and rock and roll. It was an amazing time to be young.

In Czar Nicholas, The Toad, and Duck Soup, Amaral shares her recollections of those times. She and her husband gave up their jobs in New York City, relocated to Boston with their infant son because of mime, unexpectedly started a children’s boutique, and opened a popular restaurant in Harvard Square. Most of all it is a coming-of-age story about herself and her husband as they embarked on an improbable and moving journey of self-discovery.

With sincerity and humor, Czar Nicholas, The Toad, and Duck Soup offers a personal and revealing account that reaches out to those who find themselves striving to make a relationship work that, by its very nature, may be doomed. But this story is also one of friendship—and of finding the courage to move on.

Praise for Czar Nicholas, The Toad, and Duck Soup by Elisabeth Amaral

"A truly wonderful memoir that reads like great fiction. The characters come alive on the page." – Elizabeth Brundage, author of The Doctor's Wife and A Stranger Like You

“The story of how Liz Amaral and her husband became successful at the epicenter of counterculture businesses near Harvard Square / Cambridge from 1967-1975 with their boutique and restaurant is told with humor and insight. Swirling around them are all of the entrapments of the era, the drugs and free love and betrayal, as well as the politics that defined the times.

With a fierce dedication to her son and husband, Liz Amaral triumphs in this stunning memoir where she discovers that, while love isn’t always what we think it is, it remains, in all its multi-faceted transformations, the driving force of who we are and how we live our lives.” – P.B. O’Sullivan, writer and mathematician

“In her intimate and humorous memoir, Liz Amaral reveals the challenges of a young family establishing a home in Cambridge amid the tumult of the late 1960s. You will discover the disconcerting truth about her marriage and the painful path she takes to find herself again. A true adventure of the heart.” – Kathrin Seitz, writer, producer, and coach

Book Excerpt:

We shared everything, even our friends. But wait. What about those friends of his? Kind, gentlemen. Always womanless. Don’t even start to go there. Just don’t. It was easier to be in the immediate present, a member of our generation who shared the sentiments of the era, the sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll era. The civil-rights and women’s- rights and anti-war and race-riot era. It was a thrilling time for youth. Along with our frustrations and fury at the government, we also shared an enormous sense of freedom and adventure, of this being our time. And if it was our time, that made it my time. My time to grab an afternoon lover, come home to nights of gentle affection, hug our kid, make supper, smoke some pot, and live happily. With luck, that might include ever after. Piece of cake, and it was no one’s fault.

Thoughts whizzed by. I grabbed onto some, because I knew I would need reminders.

This is my life, not a bad one at all. A very good one, in fact.

That was one thought. Here’s another: Look at me. Look at me! A sensual, sexual, twenty-something woman. A Scorpio. Married happily much of the time, except nighttime, the right time.

Purchase: Czar Nicholas, The Toad, and Duck Soup: A Memoir of Marriage, Mime, and Moving On



A native New Yorker, I have lived in the city for much of my life. My first jobs after graduating from NYU were jewelry design and case worker for the Departments of Welfare of New York City and Cambridge, Massachusetts. This was followed by co-ownership of a children’s boutique (Czar Nicholas and the Toad) and a restaurant (Duck Soup) in Cambridge near Harvard Square. I then worked as an industrial purchasing agent in New Jersey, and for the last 25 years have been a real estate broker in Manhattan, accumulating stories of the wonder and madness that is this city. I published a book of short stories (When Any Kind of Love Will Do), wrote two children’s books and a memoir (Czar Nicholas, The Toad, and Duck Soup), and am currently working on a novel.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

As A Busy Mom Thinks - Take the Politics Out of Education



Does anyone know when public education became more about politics than in providing quality education to our children? Maybe I'm naive, but shouldn't the children be our first priority?

The issue of Common Core has divided our little town and, as a result, one of the political committees has received some push back from members of the School Committee who are running for re-election. This will probably be one of the most exciting election cycles our town has seen in a while.

Having the privilege to serve on the District Curriculum Advisory Committee, I've learned a great deal since September. Being a member of this committee has been very eye-opening. And while Common Core is definitely a large part of our discussion, our interactions feel very different and more respectful than what I am seeing in other arenas.

Here's praying level heads continue to work for our children.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Mailbox Monday - April 13

Mailbox Monday is a meme started by Marcia of To Be Continued. Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came in their mailbox during the last week. It now has a permanent home at the Mailbox Monday blog.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

After two Easters--Greek Easter was yesterday--I am looking forward to a less busy weekend coming up. It is, however, always wonderful to spend time with the family. Everyone was together this year, which made it especially nice.

I'm not reading as much as I would like, but I did receive a whole bunch of kid's books recently, which I am going to give away since they were unsolicited.


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Friday, April 10, 2015

Dad Figures Out What A Stay-at-home Mom Should Earn A Year




While on Klout today, I discovered a link to this article about a dad who took the time to figure out how much a stay-at-home mom would earn if she were paid for all she does. His calculations probably won't surprise any busy mom, but it might make a few others blink twice.

Check here to view the figure calculated by Steven Nelms.