New Year’s How To

Normandysunset.jpg

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:

Normandyroad.JPG

Happy New Year 2020!

To be continued!

Aliss

 

 

How to make Christmas last forever (or at least until the end of January…)

DSC04092

This is a post from a previous Christmas, just as relevant now ūüôā ” This year’s darkness hasn’t been due to the weather but many other things… “As a native of more southerly latitudes, I had to learn to ignore Parisian weather to survive. If I had known before I moved here that my birthplace near Washington, DC, is comparable to Madrid and Rome in terms of sunlight, whereas Paris is comparable to Montreal, that lack of sunshine depresses the immune system and dampens the spirits…¬†I may not have come. Then one day I was ranting about the gray skies to a French friend who said, “Il y a d’autres soleils √† Paris” (There are other suns in Paris) and that was a turning point. I¬†learned to love rain even when it falls every day for months as it has this winter, one of the darkest in 30 years.

Living in Paris has made me think that Christmas and Hanukkah lights are Northern Hemisphere responses to winter sun deprivation, and this year they are more vital than ever. So here are my strategies to make Christmas last forever, or at least until the end of January and the gradual approach of Spring…

  • Virtual fireplace on flat screen TV (DVD’s available and now streaming on Netflix!)
  • Epiphany galettes (King cakes) still on sale in the bakeries (collect prizes, wear crowns!)
  • New Year’s cards can be sent until at least the end of the month (and received!)
  • New Year’s resolutions boost energy and project us into the future, especially if updated and tracked
  • Skype faraway friends and family to open presents they sent by mail
  • Sort pictures, print some to send with New Year’s greetings
  • Play with presents: make a list of who gave you what and what you will do with each one in the new year, include thank you’s in New Year’s cards
  • Keep a log of good times over the holidays, in your appointment calendar, and relive them by journaling: funny things people said, conversations, realisations, issues to clear up?
  • Food memories: recipes new and heirloom, to share in New Year’s messages
  • Food continued: bake cookies and send to older and younger loved ones
  • Keep the tree and decorations up even as the tree folds inward like a shriveled umbrella and begins to look like a biological equivalent of Miss Havisham’s wedding cake (in Great Expectations)
  • Make un-decorating part of the holiday, set aside lots of time, enjoy treasured ornaments, as mementos and promises of future holiday celebrations
  • Keep the music playing: all the oldies you didn’t listen to when it was really Christmas, laugh at Bob Dylan and Elvis holiday albums, discover Yuletide gems by Lynerd Skynerd, Louis Armstrong and the never-obsolete Frank Sinatra. If that’s too much, fall back on instrumental “Winter Solstice” and “Celtic Christmas” collections from Windham Hill and others…
  • Recycle your tree in any of Paris’s parks until January 28th (and beyond), knowing it will become fragrant mulch for gorgeous spring landscaping…
  • Hibernate without guilt, perhaps with the help of a carefully selected winter virus, just severe enough to keep you on the couch in front of the “fire” with herb teas and soups, ¬†but not requiring antibiotics or ER trips…
  • Continue your creative and professional work when the fog clears
  • Start thinking about Valentine’s day…”

Merry Christmas!

To be continued, love xxxxx Aliss

 

 

Summer Reset

Minnewaska

Minnewaska

What I look for in summer, refilling my inner lake… Time with family and friends, time in between without appointments of any kind, let my thoughts wander, let ideas come to the surface, let synthesis take place, and source new energy…

Food for poetic thought, an image from the I Ching:

Tui

I Ching Hexagram 58 – Tui / The Joyous, Lake

Hexagram 58
Above Tui the Joyous, Lake
Below Tui the Joyous, Lake

The trigram Tui denotes the youngest daughter; it is symbolized by the smiling lake, and its attribute is joyousness. True joy, therefore, rests on firmness and strength within, manifesting itself outwardly as yielding and gentle. The Joyous. Success. Perseverance is favorable.

To be continued…

xxxxx  Aliss

When in existential doubt, look at pastry

pastry

It was a toxic afternoon: a lunch date gone terribly wrong, a miscommunication with a friend, a big tech glitch, all this after a hectic end of spring, beginning of summer, heat waves coming and going, bad news, end of world atmosphere…

Didn’t even have the heart to photograph street scenes, no eye-popping beauty jumped out and grabbed me. ¬†Came across this recent pic on my phone and got an immediate physical lift. Never even tasted these works of art, merely immortalized their colors and shapes as I passed the shop window. Now fantasizing about shrinking like my namesake and strolling around inside this display like an edible city, breathing in the flavors, taking an occasional mind-boggling bite.

Haven’t solved any of the world’s problems yet, but approach the subject with a fresh attitude.

Can something so ephemeral save us?

‚ÄúHope is always accompanied by the imagination, the will to see what our physical environment seems to deem impossible. Only the creative mind can make use of hope. Only a creative people can wield it.‚ÄĚ Poet Jericho Brown, interviewed in the Kenyon Review:

https://www.kenyonreview.org/conversation/jericho-brown/

https://onbeing.org/programs/jericho-brown-small-truths-and-other-surprises/

And for another way to feel good, plant some trees, please:

https://www.americanforests.org

Rainforest Action Network to protect an acre of the Amazonian rainforest.

Rainforest Trust to help buy land in the rainforest. Since 1988, the organization has saved over 23 million acres.

Reduce your paper and wood consumption. Double-check with¬†Rainforest Alliance that what you’re buying is considered rainforest-safe. You can also purchase rainforest-safe products from the alliance’s site.

Tree planting in France:

http://www.yves-rocher-fondation.org/plantons-pour-la-planete/?fbclid=IwAR1MVdct9Aoq-uHUEhEEz_aZCNM01YpE2SRYuqmio9WEzROdIUpjVmKJSSE

http://afac-agroforesteries.fr/le-programme-plantons-avec-la-fondation-yves-rocher/?fbclid=IwAR1kkthW6soYWFbUZVeRcEhV1bgKry45lsz-rc-LHWJyvkxQrJpu7sIgMQg

http://ecotree.fr/en/

I may not have solved any of the world’s major problems yet, but approach the subject with a fresh attitude.

xxxxxxx Aliss

UPDATE: Margaritas at Midnight, Carmarthen Bay Film Festival, U.K.

CBFF selection

Margaritas @ Midnight was screened on Thursday May 30th at 12:20:

Screenshot 2019-05-21 at 09.41.09

http://carmarthenbayfilmfestival.org

Moved mountains to get there, but who knew Paris-Wales travel could be so long, complicated, and expensive?¬†It turned out I couldn’t spend two days on the train including 400‚ā¨ Eurostar tickets (holiday weekend rate? last minute?) or fly into Cardiff ¬†and get transportation¬†from there to Swansea (one flight daily, times didn’t mesh). Really wanted to be there in person!¬†Next best thing: someone wonderful represented me=Mr. Paul Raymond, great guitarist who played on Margaritas ūüôā

His report: “Evening went fine but …no cigar ūüė鬆It was great, spoke with lots of film¬†people and they all noticed the vid.¬†Also it was seen at the festival so it’s all good.¬†M@M has lots of cred that’s the main thing.”

No award was given in our category, Short Comedy. So we didn’t win but we definitely didn’t lose.

Our first film festival! To be continued! Thank you Paulie!

xxxxxx Aliss