Float Us


Sometimes I want to fly away…from the news, from my daily routines, my endless thought loops… Had a fantasy of total unplugging for a while this summer but of course that’s not possible and perhaps not advisable…History is in the making and luckily I saw FLOTUS Michelle Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. There is hope for our country if such a human being is in the arena. What a heart, what intelligence, what a beacon for our children and the future. And there are others… If you haven’t seen it yet, here is a link to Meryl Streep’s tribute to Hillary Clinton at the Women of the World Conference 2012, please watch it:

I’ve been following Hillary’s career for a long time. As Chairman of the Children’s Defense Fund, she came to France in the early 90’s, before she was FLOTUS, to study the French Pre-K and Kindergarten program (one of the best in the world) and make recommendations for the US.

In France, Day Care Is Every Child’s Right – NYTimes.com

When I was looking into pre-schools for my daughter in Paris, my friend Janet sent me a copy of the commission’s glowing report.I enrolled my little one at the local maternelle and we were delighted with the experience. That’s another story… Meanwhile these women float us above the heaviness and temptation to despair. Let us set intentions full of light for the future, let our hearts float on enlightenment… To be continued… xxxxx  Aliss

A far far greener place…


Teleported to another continent, another latitude, another time zone, another reality…

Echoing: “I want to know exactly what color green it was,” said Sylvia.

“The modern English word green comes from the Middle English and Anglo-Saxon word grene, from the same Germanic root as the words “grass” and “grow”.[1] It is the color of living grass and leaves[2][3] and as a result is the color most associated with springtime, growth and nature.[4] By far the largest contributor to green in nature is chlorophyll, the chemical by which plants photosynthesize and convert sunlight into chemical energy. Many creatures have adapted to their green environments by taking on a green hue themselves as camouflage. Several minerals have a green color, including the emerald, which is colored green by its chromium content.”


Artichoke, asparagus, avocado, chartreuse, dark green, fern green, forest green, Hooker’s green, jungle green, laurel green, light green, mantis, moss green, myrtle green, mint green, pine green, sap green, shamrock green (Irish green), tea green, teal, olive,  crayola green, pantone green, army green, bottle green, bright green, Brunswick green, Castleton green, celadon, emerald, feldgrau, yellow-green, harlequin, hunter green, India green, Islamic green, jade, kelly green, malachite, midnight green, neon green, office green, Pakistan green, Paris green, Persian green, rifle green, Russian green, screamin’ green, sea green…

Viridian, parakeet, pistachio, lime, pear, pickle, crocodile, sage, seaweed, basil, juniper, clover, broccoli, eel, caterpillar, grasshopper, dollar bill, lettuce, cactus, parrot, lawn, lizard, pea….

to be continued xxxx Aliss

C’est La Life

Paris Plages, Bassin de la Villette, July 2016: sky, water, sun, greenery, people….momentary escape from machines and newsDSC02820

Thoughts on summer and the fabric we weave with our minds:

Spike in temperature, mini heat wave, living on top floor, challenge of trying to keep things cool. Close shutters, pull heat shades, live in the dark like Provençal houses. Unplug everything that isn’t necessary, but Wifi, computer, refrigerator, fans and portable AC still in use, all churning out calories like there’s no tomorrow. Machines to keep us and our food cool, machines to keep those machines cool, machines somewhere to make energy for those machines, and machines to cool the machines that make the energy? Multiply this times millions? Blame vehicle pollution, agricultural methane or our own machine addiction for global warming? Haven’t figured out a solution.

Spike in fear and anxiety from terrorist attacks, refugee camp around the corner (1200 adults and children being evacuated as I write this), US presidential campaign and nation-wide psychodrama…Taking mindfulness class, listening to sages, walking, breathing to keep calm. What part can we play? Meditating on rosé wine with ice cubes, laughing with friends around welcoming tables, vision of almost invisible golden threads linking us to loved ones everywhere when we smile, sing, pray, tell stories, listen, flowing into a glowing fabric, like an aura, joining the earth’s magnetic field, a shield of health to heal the breaks in so many places and keep u son track to the best possible scenario…

Mind over terror?

To be continued xxxxx Aliss

And now some comic relief…

Forgive me I know this is incongruous and badly timed…We had a moment of silence today for Nice…and are still grieving, but laughter keeps us going…DSC02813

Three story inflatable gold Eiffel Tower and “Easter Egg” installation at the usually staid Galeries Lafayette, part of an exhibit called “Toiletpaper” I unfortunately can’t comment on yet because it was closed today… This was put up last week before the attacks. But still, what were they thinking? Anyway, it feels good to laugh 🙂

to be continued…xxxx Aliss

July 14th, France (2)


Flag at half mast on my street, third day of national mourning for Nice…

Finished listening to the On Being podcast mentioned in previous post, “Being Peace in a World of Trauma,” interviews conducted in 2003 and reposted on Thursday in response to the recent shootings of police in Dallas and in sync with Black Lives Matter.  Thich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen Master, does begin saying suffering is a necessary part of life, then at the end of the interview, speaks of humanity’s potential for awakening. His own life, leading mindfulness retreats in the US, literally loving his country’s former enemies, is a lesson in itself. The second interview features Cheri Maples, a cop for 19 years, then in charge of training for the Madison WI police department, who co-organized a retreat for her colleagues with TNH. Her compassion for her fellow officers and the people they deal with is enlightening and very moving. Larry Ward is an African American businessman, speaking about his experience through the prism of mindfulness.

Healing antidote to fear-mongering media. Can’t recommend it highly enough, especially the unedited versions. Perspective and hope. Thank you Krista Tippett. xxxxx Aliss


July 14th, France


Middle of the night. Something ringing, is it the door, the phone? 3am…Who is it? Is this the moment my life changes forever, someone I love is in trouble, or worse?

My husband gets up and answers a phone, goes into another room and shuts the door…no sound, no movement…eons pass, maybe it was just a wrong number? Want to know, don’t want to know. Pray. Can’t stand it, get up, find him in the dark and ask, “What’s happening?”

It’s our daughter calling from the US to make sure we’re ok. A truck has rammed into the crowd on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, families watching the fireworks, dozens killed.

Strange. Before I went to sleep I was listening to Krista Tippet’s 2003 interview with Thich Nhat Hanh, “Being Peace in a World of Trauma.” He was telling what it was like to be in Viet Nam in the 60’s when the US military wanted to “bomb it back to the Stone Age” “destroy the town to save it”…Before the US, the French were there… In his book, The Miracle of Mindfulness, he writes that all life is a miracle, in a world full of suffering, suffering is what makes beauty, understanding, and compassion possible, mindfulness allows us to understand and react in the best way…

Every time I hear this, my heart cries, no!  How can we accept so much suffering? In Europe and the US,  we know there are vilains among us, multinationals destroying the land, the water, and local agriculture all over the world, arms manufacturers and bankers making money from war… We have a colonial past with centuries of slave trade, our armies are dropping bombs on civilians in Syria… I understand the rage but I can’t accept deliberate execution of innocents no matter how I look at it.

Is there no way to stop the circle of slaughter?

To be continued…

More Heaven


Visiting friends near Chantilly…view from upstairs window overlooking the wooded valley.


Chantilly is the epicenter of horse breeding and racing in France, welcoming millions of visitors every year. The forest once belonged to the Condé princes and is now used for training thoroughbreds to compete at the local racetrack and all over the world. Must go back to tour the Chateau’s exquisite art collection.

Happy Bastille Day, Vive La France… to be continued…. xxx Aliss

Moments of Heaven


Palais Royal arcades, summer walk

So much hell in the world, I cherish every moment of heaven on earth. Sublime dinner at Versance restaurant on rue Feydeau near the Bourse Stock Exchange.DSC02795

Emblem: fresh frond on the tablecloth under the plate.

Mise en bouche (tiny hors d’oeuvre): Crème de pois chiche et tomate, piment d’espelette (mini glass of cream of tomato and chick pea soup seasoned with Espelette pepper from south west France).

Starter: Effeuillé de sésame aux langoustines et asperges, mizuna au jus de crustacés et crème fermière au yuzu. (Still trying to find a translation for this dish that transforms the Franco-Japanese ingredients into erotic poetry about bared sesame crisps, seafood and vegetables)… I was so taken aback, I forgot to take a picture.

Main dish: Pavé de caballaud confit dans son beurre aux épices et duo carotte: mousseline de carotte à l’orange en crumble café. (My photo doesn’t do it justice, and translation would kill it, but let’s just say it’s lightly caramelized cod, in Asian-influenced spicy butter sauce amidst a sculpture of colorful fresh garden veggies, with a hint of coffee in sprinkled croutons…)

DSC02796 Wine: Saint Veran Domaine Paradis, 2014

Instead of dessert, a selection of assorted cheeses, from Monsieur Chevinet.

Mignardises (hand made chocolates). Expresso. www.leversance.fr

DSC02798Romantic stroll under the arcades  of 17th century Palais Royal Garden, built for Cardinal Richelieu, inhabited by Louis XIV and later French author Colette…. Que demande le peuple?

to be continued…xxxx Aliss