October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!





















































From the DOGHOUSE!!! (None of these photos are my own).

October 29, 2007

Two CLASSICS......


The YUMMY box of chocolates from Belguim


that Kristen brought for us!!!!

Me n' Kristen at Starbucks....



















in Montparnasse! My friend Kristen, whom I haven't seen in about 12 years is here visiting us now. She lives/teaches
Brussels and they don't have Starbucks over there so she was HAPPY to see our *Bucks over here!!! We both miss our Pumpkin or Eggnog lattes for the holiday season, though!!!

A look at a chocolatier in Paris....



October 27, 2007

The fire's eerie blaze over the mountains at night...







My friend Chelice took this picture the morning she was evacuated from her home... It was about 3:30 am in Chula Visita when she was awakened by a neighbour and told to leave her home.
"This is what I saw from the back of my house. It was less than five miles from my house. This is San Miguel Mountain. Actually, the fire was burning down the front of my mountain by the time I evacuated. The sky is getting clearer in my community and tonight I can see the moon! It’s not over though, the area north of here are still burning."

October 26, 2007

Generlow Wilson FREE!!!



Several months ago, Genarlow Wilson was not optimistic Georgia courts would ever rule in his behalf. Interviewed in June at the Burruss Correctional Training Center in Forsyth, he pondered his chances."I'm really praying for the best, but at the same time I'm expecting the worst," he said.Genarlow Wilson smiles Friday after being released from jail after almost three years. If he had pled guilty, he would have been on the sex offender registry for life. On Friday, Wilson got the best. He won his freedom after the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that "... Wilson's sentence is grossly disproportionate to his crime and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment under both the Georgia and the United States Constitutions."
I cannot tell you how HAPPY I am for this young man to be FINALLY freed from prison. I remember the story when it happened and it just sickened me to NO end what they charged him with at age 17. He had been imprisoned for nearly THREE years and was released today after the Georgia Supreme Court ruled his sentence amount to cruel and usual punishment! I have been PRAYING for this man since his incarceration and I am sure that my sentiment is shared with many others... He was a star athlete in high school with a 3.2 GPA and on his way to university!!

Bofinger's in Paris...

There were 21 of us for lunch that day!

Lucky Dube will live on in our hearts...


A True Prince of Peace was killed for his car, maybe it was a cover for executing a Messenger of Peace. Lucky Dube was born in South Africa in 1964 to a woman thought she couldn't have children. This is why she named him "Lucky." We were lucky, fortunate, BLESSED to have him and his beautiful music for many years... But, now he is gone, and the world will continue to mourn his senseless and early death as they do for Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. Please send your prayers out to the family, friends, and fans of Lucky Dube...

Victims (Lucky Dube R.I.P.)

Rest in Peace!

Lucky Dube killed for his car

A Real Prince Of Peace. This is soooo unbelievably TRAGIC! The world lost another prophet in the senseless murder of LUCKY DUBE. He and his music were internationally renowned. He is up there with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. God rest his soul and keep his children safe. Lucky Dube was killed for his car and in front of his two children. The world weeps for this Reggae King. His message was PEACE. He was taken from us way too early. He will be remembered as a LEGEND along with those who came before him. His music will be played through eternity. You can kill the MESSENGER, but you can't kill the MESSAGE! I am deeply saddened about the tragic and senseless death of Lucky Dube. May his soul join the great Reggae musicians who are waiting for him in Heaven. May we all remember the man for his positive message for humanity and for his soothly and beautiful voice... "I will Love Him for Ever and Ever. Respect for the man Of peace, unity and love......" Rest in Peace, Lucky Dube. We will miss you!

October 25, 2007

Letter from a dear friend in San Diego..







Chelice and Leo

Dear Chelice,

Thank you SOOO MUCH for your email and keeping us all current amidst this big catastrophe! I cannot even begin to imagine what you are all going through and the tremendous efforts that are being made to put out these raging fires!! I am with you all in prayer and spirit... It must be soo hard for everyone...
Your email brought tears to my eyes because like you, many of my dear friends have had to flee their homes, taking only what was absolutely necessary... I am thankful that you and Leo are okay... that you were able to get some of your belongings out.. and that you had dear friends to stay with... also that the air was more bearable where your went! My heart goes out to all of you and to the kind acts and efforts to all the San Diegans..who are soo well known for standing strong and untied in times of trouble and devastation! They are also know for being kind, helpful and generous in times such as these. God Bless you San Diego! Hang in there and we are sending our love to you and Leo and all the rest!!
Love you lots!!
Leesa et Alex

Letter from a dear friend in San Diego..


My dear friend, Chelice just sent this letter to let her friends and family know how she is doing... The letter is very touching and gives a look into what everyone is going through right now in San Diego. Fortunately, she and her doggie, Leo are okay, and Thank God for friends!! We are praying for you all in So. Cal!!

Hello Everyone!

Leo and I are doing fine. We are safe doing our best to focus on the positive! Thanks to all of you near and far for your prayers, good thoughts, and well wishes. I am writing on generic email to keep everyone updated.

Here’s the scoop…

Monday night my neighbor knocked on my bedroom window at 3:30am to tell me it was time to evacuate. The entire horizon was on fire. I was scared, but took immediate action to get the ‘h-e-double toothpicks’ outta there! My back window faces east, so from north to south all I could see was fire. It was like molten lava running down San Miguel mountain. It seemed so close, almost like I could throw a rock and hit it. Anyway, it was about 4miles away. But, for me that was too close. I dressed, grabbed Leo and we left. I had already packed my truck before going to bed.

I drove to the gas station and just sat there, in shock trying to figure out what to do. The smoke was very heavy with smoke, thick like peanut butter. Leo just stared at it, as if he was shocked too. After sitting at the station for a few minutes, I collected my thoughts and drove downtown San Diego.

I stopped at a Starbuck’s and the girl at the counter said, “Hi, good morning, how are you?” I burst into tears. I didn’t expect to cry, but I did and the girl came and gave me a hug. She guessed I just evacuated, by the mask on my face! Anyway, she was very nice and gave me a free cup of coffee. There are many stories of kindness, it is unbelievable. It is beautiful to see people uniting and truly helping each other. Anyway, after that I drove to my friend Randi’s house which is just three block from the beach. Compared to where I came from in Bonita, the beach area was clear and refreshing. I sat outside my friends house in my truck for a couple hours just thinking. There’s nothing like a life threatening emergency to help one prioritize.

Anyway, we stayed in Ocean Beach until today Wednesday with Randi, who is a greatly appreciated friend ( she even loves Leo and left him sit on her sofa). After leaving my Randi’s house, I went to my other friend Kate’s house to wish her happy birthday. Leo and I visiting with her for the afternoon. Kate had two families who had also been evacuated from there homes staying with her. She also had two evacuated dogs with her, so Leo was happy to have playmates. We went out to lunch to celebrate Kate’s birthday. It was nice to laugh with friends and forget the fires for a minute.

The fires are huge. NO, I mean HUGE! Smoke everywhere, the air stinks. We are not suppose to use our cell phone except for emergencies. We are supposed to conserve water and electricity. Boil water is encouraged. Some people are still out and about. Some people are still going to work. My school is closed until at least Monday. I went to the grocery store today, people are being so nice to each other. Each community is different, we have so many micro-climates, so one area is clear, the next is black with smoke and soot.

Leo and I are thinking good thoughts. We are trying focus on the positive. I understand that the aftermath; pollution, destruction, chemicals in the air, effect on the food crops in southern California, and the run-ff into the ocean, etc. of these fires will be huge on the physical, emotional, and even spiritual health of the people, animals and earth, but, for now, I am fine, well, and thankful; doing my best to be positive. My health is good and my attitude is great. I have cried already and now looking forward.

I suppose what makes this difficult for me is that I am in the middle of moving my home. This Saturday my friend Hugo from Arizona is coming in to help me move the furniture and big stuff. Thank God for Hugo! I hope the air will be clear so we can breathe well while moving. Another good lesson from these fires is that I have too much STUFF! I plan to down size big time. I have been really to live the philosophy that less is more and this is now the perfect opportunity for me to practice what I believe. When I had to put only the important stuff in my truck to evacuate, I decided what I needed and don’t need.

Okay, I know, I have rambled on and on here. I suppose I just needed to get it all out. Leo and I are exhausted. I don’t know what you are seeing on tv. But, it really is a terrible emergency, national disaster. Bonita has so many horses. The poor horses have had to breathe the bad air, lots of animals. The Home Depot and other large stores have turned there parking lots into animal evacuation centers. One million people have evacuated there homes. I am guessing that many animals also. It is bigger than I can describe.

PRAY FOR RAIN PLEASE. WISH FOR RAIN. THINK OF RAIN. DO A RAIN DANCE FOR US! It is not over. It is better in my community, but the fires are still raging in so many other places. It is so smoking outside that I cannot see the mountain to see where the fire burned.

That’s it. I love you all! We are well.

Chelice and Leo

October 24, 2007

Halloween in Antony...


Our local Boulangerie is full of the Halloween spirit!!!

Color...


FIRE UPDATES in San Diego



I woke up this a.m. to emails from friends in San Diego. 9:34 p.m. October 23, 2007
SAN DIEGO – Thousands of people began returning Tuesday to the homes they were forced to evacuate in scattered neighborhoods and cities from Scripps Ranch to Del Mar and Chula Vista as officials said the worst is over. Arnold was there yesterday and Bush is visiting today. The gov't is treating way different than Katrina!
Here is what CNN says...
But the damage was severe. The four major fires ripping across San Diego County have burned nearly 300,000 acres and destroyed or damaged 1,250 homes and 100 businesses since Sunday. More than 500,000 people have been told to evacuate.

Here is an email from a friend in S.D.
I have avoided any fire trouble but the evacuated Del Mar all the way to the water. Can you believe that? Rancho Bernardo and a lot of north county burned bad, Chula Vista and all of south including TJ is burning. Julian is close, Sycuan area is burning, pretty much everything east of Lakeside (which they barely saved) and everything North of poway and south of the 8 and 15 is burning. Hard to breath. They have evacuated almost 1 million people now, but have only suffered 1 death and about 20 burn injuries so far. Very well organized evacuation with all of Northern California helping and Tijuana just sent 38 units up today. Santa anna winds are dying down so it should get better this side but thats worse for the mountains cuz the winds become unpredictable. Wish us the best, keep praying and hopefully we get some rain. Northern CA got some so were hoping it comes our way.

October 23, 2007

11 FIRES RAGE in San Diego, over 500,00 people are evacuated from their homes

Things seem to be getting worse in California!! I have received many email from friends who have evacuated their neighbourhoods and others who are okay.. Please pray for California!!


Fire near Bob's house


































My friend, Bob, who is in the line of the fire, took these pictures of the hill outside his home. It looks as though he is very close to the fire.. SCARY!!!!

Fires are still raging in California!










I have been calling a lot of my friends in San Diego to see if they are ok and affected by the fire... It seems as though a lot of San Diego is on fire or on the verge of being on fire... A lot of my friends have had to evacuate their homes and many are getting prepared to leave... It's REALLY scary. Apart for the trauma of losing one's home and possible the loss of a life, the air quality is EXTREMELY bad, forcing people to stay indoors. I am very afraid for my friends and for the state of California. They had a very dry year and now the Santa Ana's are passing through, giving fuel to the fire...

Here is what CNN had to say about the fires: "AN DIEGO, California (CNN) -- More than a dozen uncontained wildfires raged Monday across Southern California, threatening thousands of structures and forcing people to flee homes from San Diego to Malibu to Lake Arrowhead. Fire officials said more than 265,000 people have been evacuated and nearly 4,900 firefighters are battling the fast-moving blazes, which began over the weekend. By Monday afternoon, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention had reported 13 active wildfires have consumed more than 98,000 acres and destroyed or damaged at least 50 homes and businesses across six counties. The winds driving the flames are expected to stay strong, coming out of the northeast, at least through Tuesday, according to CNN meteorologist Rob Marciano. "It's a tragic time for California," California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said earlier Monday. He declared a state of emergency in seven counties and asked the National Guard to pull 800 soldiers from patrolling the U.S.-Mexico border to help battle the wildfires. Monday evening, Schwarzenegger asked U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates to order delivery of all available Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) to help fight the fires."

October 22, 2007

Dubai..... A State of Modernization...

It amazes me to NO END that Dubai just keeps on continuing to grow and develop at such an amazing rate! Check out the city!



Calfornia makes CNN Headlines....




















But not in a good way!! Wildfires are raging through California in a very dangerous, 0% contained manner... Due to the conditions (dryness and tornado-speed winds), California is under the vicious attack of these terrible monster fires!
Here is what CNN has to say: "Parched conditioned, one of the driest years on records, erratic, powerful Santa Ana winds (up to 70 mph)- all three combined igniting a threat into a reality."

October 21, 2007

Jasmin comes to town!





Jasmin and I took a walk in the Parc de Sceaux and here are some of the pictures








































































Today my new friend and fellow blogger, Jasmin from L'Etrangere Americaine, came to our neck of the woods today! We walked through the farmer's market in Antony... and then came back to our humble abode for a Mexican style lunch... My hubby is the gaucamole/salsa fresca king... so he did the honors of preparing those two dishes... We dined on chicken and corn tortillas... with a variety of hot sauces. For dessert, we had a SCRUMTIOUS strawberry tarte -- Thanks so much, Jasmin!!! After lunch, we talked about school and teaching English, and later took a nice walk in the Parc de Sceaux. It was a lovely day, and there were lots and lots of families out at the Parc to enjoy the sun! All in all, it was a lovely day and so nice to have a friend with whom to share the afternoon.

Hershey kiss peanut butter cookies...









Hershey Kiss Cookies
INGREDIENTS
2 2/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter
2/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Additional sugar
5 dozen kisses, unwrapped

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking soda. Add butter and peanut butter and mix until smooth. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Make balls out of level tablespoons of dough - add flour if needed. Roll in sugar.
Bake 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet for 8 minutes.
Remove from oven and add 1 kiss to the center of each cookie. Return to the oven and bake for 2 more minutes. Remove and cool.

Halloween's coming.....




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October 20, 2007

Peanut butter cookies














I found this recipe on Simply Recipes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Cream the butter for 2 minutes. Add the sugars, cream for 2 more minutes. Mix in the peanut butter and egg. Mix together the dry ingredients - flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir into the sugar butter mixture.

2. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 375°F. Shape dough into 1 1/4 inch balls. Place about 3 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten in crisscross pattern with a fork. Bake until light brown, 9 to 10 minutes. Cool on baking sheets for a minute; transfer to rack to cool completely.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
For chewier cookies, bake at 300°F for 15 minutes.