Oh My Blog!


(What we all want, right? To be welcome, to belong…This place makes me feel that…)

 Long time no post but I’m back!

Here’s the deal, all the blog energy got sucked out of my brain by unforeseen other stuff:

Finishing and publishing 4th interview for the Trump Antidote, child’s wisdom teeth removal surgery and complications, endless new administrative BS to renew son’s passport at foreign embassy that shall not be named for fear of bureaucratic reprisals, said son got his hair bleached (resulting in 2nd degree burns to the scalp), planning an author event for an esteemed writer friend who then cancelled… Mother’s Day prep (transatlantic flower order, sending card, calling), shopping for presents and dinner party for a dear friend’s birthday, overnight family escapade to the Picardy countryside, annual appointment with vet for cat vaccinations, organizing a camp out for Boy Scouts in June, managing my new Instagram account…

Lucky me! Got invited to the theater twice (El Cid, The Mercy Seat) plus 2 concerts (Lucy Dacus, Jazz Manouche ensemble) had coffees, tea, lunches and dinners with various friends I don’t see often enough who were suddenly available… Russian visitors, US visitors, planning trip to London to copyright a song co-written with English musician friends, reservations for marathon trip to NY this summer…

Thank God work schedule was light but time to make more appointments… Home-schooling (Yes, me! Who would have ever thought? But that’s another story all together…) Made annual doctor appointments, found new dentist

Rehearsed and sang briefly at a charity fundraiser for the Emmaüs homeless shelter in the 17th.

Trying to walk and do yoga regularly, meditate, keep up voice exercizes, put together a set of my songs, some covers, and accompany myself on the guitar... Learning some new stuff to sing with US musician friends at Fête de la Musique

Mainly… I made a commitment to myself on February 20th to finish revising my coming-of-age-memoir manuscript in 90 days, meaning by May 20. This was inspired by Marie Forleo’s webinar “How to get anything you want in 90 days” and the Oprah Deepak meditation experiences…

Went to my canal-side writing nook (pictured above) diligently at every opportunity…

Was off to a running start until all the above mayhem and Spring Break broke my stride, then May 1st, May 8th, May 17th and May 21st French holiday weekends made it hard to get back in the rhythm… Made amazing headway, but still have to go though it one more time, plus finishing touches and formatting. Let’s say I finished a new draft

I’ll have to ask  Marie F what she advises as a back up when you miss your deadline? Maybe I over-committed, set a too-ambitious goal?

I will keep you posted… so to speak… Meanwhile, highly recommend:



In this fantastic (and free) audio training you’ll learn three simple strategies that’ll give you the courage and confidence to create a business and life you love.”

To be continued!!!

xxxxxx Aliss

PS!!!! That’s not all! I just remembered I also replaced all my plants that got killed by frost during the winter and took a first-aid/CPR refresher!! Yikes!!!

Stillness and Dancing…

Is it possible to keep an open mind and heart?DSC03113.JPG

“I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love, for love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith, but the faith and the love are all in the waiting. Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.”

T.S. Elliot, Four Quartets

Thank you Marion Woodman for introducing me to these lines in your lecture, “Rolling Away the Stone.”

Happy Thanksgiving from Paris

Pavillon des Canaux, Paris 19…dsc03044

There is much to be thankful for:

Gratitude to Mother Earth, sailing through night and day–
and to her soil: rich, rare and sweet
in our minds so be it.
Gratitude to Plants, the sun-facing light-changing leaf
and fine root hairs: standing still through wind 
and rain; their dance is in the flowing spiral grain
in our minds so be it.
Gratitude to Air, bearing the soaring Swift and the silent
Owl at dawn. Breath of our song
clear spirit breeze
in our minds so be it.
Gratitude to Wild Beings, our brothers, teaching secrets,
freedoms and ways; who share with us their milk;
self- complete, brave, and aware
in our minds so be it.
Gratitude to Water: clouds, lakes, rivers, glaciers;
holding or releasing; streaming through all
all bodies salty seas
in our minds so be it.
Gratitude to the Sun: blinding pulsing light through 
trunks of trees, through mists, warming caves where
bears and snakes sleep–he who wakes us–
in our minds so be it.
Gratitude to the Great Sky
who holds billions of stars–and goes yet beyond that–
beyond all powers, and thoughts
and yet is within us–
Grandfather Space
The Mind is his Wife.
so be it.
(after a Mohawk prayer)
– by Gary Snyder

Paris Pulse (updated Sept 9)


August 25th: Olive tree and cedar, Pavillon du Lac café, Buttes Chaumont, looking down towards the lake, yesterday morning, Paris 19th…

Emerging from jet lag, picking up the pulse, listening to people, remembering questions from a US friend…How are we living with terrorist threats, what’s going on with the burkini thing?

August 27th: It’s taken longer than I expected to compose this in my thoughts, partly due to jet lag slomo, but also because of the emotional charge on these questions:

How are we reacting to the terrorist threats here? The consensus is that more incidents are coming and we’re doing our best to prevent what we can and prepare for what we can’t prevent. There are soldiers patrolling the streets. I don’t see them every time I go out, but when I do, I thank them. Never thought I’d see the day. But no, there are no soldiers in my 12 year-old son’s school, and still no metal detectors. He and I took a mass-emergency first aid class at our town hall this spring (see March posts). I hope I’ll never have to use what I learned. If I do, I hope I can stay focused enough to save lives, including ours. One million fewer people have visited France since January than usually come. This summer alone tourist expenditures are a billion euros less than in previous years. On the other hand, 89% of French households maintained their vacation plans and now that August is coming to an end, I feel the life force returning to Paris. There’s a lovely buzz of people in my neighborhood, walking, filling sidewalk cafés. Reality check: France is still 3 times safer than the US!


In fact, I had fears about going home this summer, based on headlines from the past year. Once there, I was fine. Front pages have to be kept in perspective. Which brings me to the second question, “What’s going on with this burkini thing?”

As I tried to explain stateside, the bans were local ordinances in seaside towns still traumatized by July 14th, and would be overturned by the judicial branch in due course. This is exactly what happened yesterday, faster than I expected, when the Conseil d’État (State Council, like an administrative supreme court) ruled the bans illegal. Around the globe, people were absolutely convinced the bans emanated from the French government because they read “French Burkini Ban…” in the media. I was blown away by the intensity of their moral outrage. As someone who goes to the beach in a shirt, hat, and sunglasses, I would never tell anyone else what they can or can’t wear. Have to say I did find burkini timing a bit odd, only weeks after the attack in Nice. Could it really be completely by coincidence, totally without an agenda?  I’m struck by the fact that the most virulent statements in the controversy seem to come from people who’ve never lived in France, don’t speak French, have no inkling of cultural history or daily reality here. There’s much more to say, about France as a “secular” country, pros and cons…

For a good summary:


Meanwhile, the words echoing in my head are “context,” “compassion,” and “humility.” Can we try to see that there are always multiple perspectives? Talking about all this has made me humble.  OK, so I speak a few languages and have traveled. What about all the countries I’ve never been to, all the languages I do not speak, the cultural histories and daily realities I’ve never experienced? So…I’m going to try to keep this in mind at all times in the onslaught of headlines, sound bites, and social media flare ups… Keep talking to as many real human beings from different areas of the globe as I can, to get their inside take on local and world events, think before I react….

To be continued….

xxxxx  Aliss

Coffee with Kisses

Due to a WordPress malfunction, some of the visuals display sideways on certain devices! Trying to correct…

DSC01577Hesitate to divulge the location of my favorite café, want to keep it all to myself… How do I love thee Pavillon des Canaux, let me count the ways: When you first opened last year (above)…

“My” big chair as I first saw it…DSC01602

Seen from across the water:      DSC02315 (1)

View from my table:    DSC02593

Ordering my latte:  DSC02659 And most of all:

Marion and Alexandra:DSC02366DSC02680

DSC02660DSC02661Simon and Lucas (Mr. Bean)…

Upstairs, downstairsDSC02145 DSC02066

Looking west along the canal: DSC02136This is how I dreamed Paris would be…


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xxxxx Aliss