New Year’s How To


The media and my inbox are full of New Year’s How To’s.

Mine is just two questions and two pictures.

1) What did you love about 2019?

I loved completing and publishing Margaritas at Midnight, my first video as director, watching it get selected for a film festival and rack up views, loved flying to the NY to see family and friends, loved having them here in Paris, loved my birthday, best so far, loved publishing new pieces on Medium, polishing a draft of my book and starting to query it, loved starting new film and writing projects, loved my daughter’s success and beautiful partner, loved my son receiving his middle school diploma and getting accepted to a good culinary program, loved playing and singing around town again, loved taking photos and sharing them, loved laughing, cooking, learning, walking, swimming… Loved all the good news, creativity and commitment, people taking action to help other beings…

2) What did you not love?

I did not love bad news about the environment, war, violence, and intolerance, did not love often feeling helpless in the face of so many challenges, in my immediate surroundings and farther away…

3) Imagine saying goodbye to the old year like watching the Normandy sunset pictured above.

4) Imagine the new year inviting you, an open road, a new morning like the one below:


Happy New Year 2020!

To be continued!




Thank You France


Emerging from election stress and heavy weather… This is where I wanted to be the day after  Macron was elected, immersed in the light of one of the great souls of France at Giverny…May 8th is a national holiday here (V-E Day) so the place was packed with French and international tourists, it was rainy and cold, but this living masterpiece, wonder of the world, was still perfect. Thank you France xxxxxx Aliss

Giverny October


Why would anyone go to Giverny at the end of October just before it closes for winter?  Because I made a list of places to search for the Soul of France (see Sept. 28 post). Number 1: the Orangerie Museum with Monet’s Waterlilies, Number 2: Giverny, 2+ hours from where I live in northeast Paris: Metro, Train, bus, walk. Not sure what I would find at this time of year. Partly cloudy, a few rays of sunshine, rain forecast. Pleasant surprise, train and bus not crowded,  people fairly relaxed, most actually speaking French. Arrive in the parking lot, get off the bus and walk through the village, streets almost empty. Just in case, experience has taught me to arrive between 11:30 and 12, have a bite at Les Nymphéas and then slip inside the gardens when everyone is elsewhere for lunch. This time, instead of the lovely salmon salad, I let the waiter talk me into the plat du jour, designed for descendants of 9th century Viking invaders (rôti de porc à la sauce normande, vegetable flan, mashed potatoes, apples) :dsc03009

Of course it was too much food, and all those calories felt like a roaring furnace in my belly afterwards, but that turned out to be just fine as I sat beside the lily pond in the muted fall light, totally immersed in chilly beauty:image

Then the sun came out. Yes, the Soul of France is here, incarnated for a few decades in Claude Monet, now living on as his gardens and house:dsc03012

A corner of his studio, reproductions of his private art collection:


Dining room:




View from front steps:dsc03015

When I was leaving 4 hours later, the bus driver called me “mademoiselle” and I laughed because that morning as I was buying my train ticket at Saint Lazare station, a young clerk asked me if I had a discount (did he mean “Senior” ?!) I didn’t take it personally because I was a sleepy mess, but does Giverny have rejuvenating powers in addition to opening our senses and spirit? To find out, I recommend visiting in October :-)))

PS Having the place almost all to myself, I saw things I never saw before, such as a sign pointing to Monet’s grave at the Sainte Radegonde (!) church located on the other side of the village. Too bad, have to go back in the Spring!

xxxxx Aliss


Horizon Therapy/Back to School (updated Sept 4)

Atlantic Coast near Deauville, August 31, 2016DSC02927


From the Online Etymological Dictionary site:

horizon (n.) Look up horizon at Dictionary.comlate 14c., orisoun, from Old French orizon (14c., Modern French horizon), earlier orizonte (13c.), from Latin horizontem (nominative horizon), from Greek horizon (kyklos) “bounding (circle),” from horizein “bound, limit, divide, separate,” from horos “boundary, landmark, marking stones.” The h- was restored in English 17c. in imitation of Latin. Old English used eaggemearc (“eye-mark”) for “limit of view, horizon.” The apparent horizon is distinguished from the celestial or astronomical horizon.


horizon ‎(plural horizons)

  1. The horizontal line that appears to separate the Earth from the sky.
    A tall building was visible on the horizon.
  2. The range or limit of one’s knowledgeexperience or interest.
    Some students take a gap year after finishing high school to broaden their horizons.
  3. (geology) A specific layer of soil or strata
  4. (archaeology, US) A cultural sub-period or level within a more encompassing time period.
(line separating Earth and sky): skysillskyline


So what is on the horizon as we start a new school year? The next level we want to reach? The limit we want to  transcend? Our intention for our next circle around the sun? Personal? Professional? Global?

As I sift through answers, I remember a song I heard kids singing at Wayfinder Experience bardic circle campfires:

There are many versions, lyrics adapted from a Chinese proverb and put to music by Sharon Durrant…

When there is light in the soul

There is beauty in the person

When there is beauty in the person

There is harmony in the home

When there is harmony in the home

There is honor in the nation

When there is honor in the nation

There is peace in the world


To the light in our souls   xxxxx Aliss

Meanwhile in Normandy


Feeling fortunate to be in Normandy: more and more in love with swans, a wish come true to see a female nestling with her tiny new born cygnet

Paris is having a hard time: floods, antigovernment demonstrations and strikes, vandals roaming the streets. Friends of friends invited us to this paradise, a “teaching farm” near Ouville l’Abbaye, in northern Normandy about 30 minutes from the English Channel. If you are nearby, contact the gracious owners, Antoine and Brigitte Vandecandelaere and plan a visit:

IMG_0636The house…


Linen museum and farm shop: delicious local eggs, cheeses, garden vegetables, apples, apple juice, cider, pâtés, bread, pastries, handmade flaxseed oil soaps, bread, potatoes…a feast at your fingertips, plus linen scarves and socks…

IMG_0634Traditional brick and flint buildings + chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, peacocks, pigs, rabbits, orchards, meadows…

IMG_0633donkeys to pat and ride…

IMG_0639“Unique,” a white percheron who loves to roll in the mud…IMG_0637Flax (linen) crop and grains…


Cliffs at nearby Veules-les-Roses…

IMG_0629Delicious lunch, lovely service and a ray of sunshine at “Comme à la Maison”…

Of course, this is not where you wanted to be 70 years ago. The regional capital, Yvetot, was completely razed by the Nazis and rebuilt after the war. You can measure the destruction by the difference in architectural style between the old and the new…

Blessings to all those who gave their lives on D-Day, before and after, soldiers and civilians…

Thank you everyone for checking in so often although I haven’t had time to post very much recently. it has been a very full month, lots to catch up on… To be continued xxxx Aliss