November 30, 2008

Me & Mom...

This is my favorite pic of Mom and me!
My mom is gone but not forgotten!  It's been hard over the past three years to be without her.  If you knew her, you'd understand why!  I have been blessed to have had such a wonderful mom in my life for 40 years... I know that some people lose their parent(s) younger than I was when I lost mine.  
My mom was such a ray of sunshine, a light that burnt bright never quavering... Even in the face of cancer, she stood strong and brave.  She never complained to us (her kids).  I lived in denial until the end that it was really as bad as it was, because she looked so radiant and bright and smiley...even after all the chemo, radiation and other treatments she endured, hoping to beat this horrible maladie.  She gave it her all, she did a lot of it for us- so that she would live and stay around.  She wanted to live - she wanted to stick around. 

One day, about 3 years into her cancer (breast cancer).. she and I were walking around the field at Occidental College... I asked her how she was feeling about everything... She said to me that she was okay... but that she wanted to live and that "this cancer really SUCKS!" 

Mom was very funny... always making jokes about things and keeping us in stitches.. I miss her quick wit and great sense of humor... She could make you pee in your pants she was that funny!!

I wanted to share this special story with you all... It's a story I like to tell when people ask me about me and Alex - about how we met and how much he means to me....

Here it goes (although I am going to have to hold back the tears so I can type this)...

Alex had already planned to take his very first vacation in the U.S. (back in Dec. 2005).  He had his tickets and was really looking forward to spending the holidays with me and my family and meeting my friends and all...
Well, it was that in Oct., Mom's condition took a turn for the worse and she we almost lost her... She was really, really sick due to her liver being really bad off (about a year after she was diagnosed with breast cancer, it went to her liver).  
She had had a masectomy just after she was first diagnosed so she had no more breast cancer after that.  However, it had metastasized to her liver and was inoperable... she started chemo and another treatment called herceptin to combat the cancer in her liver... Nothing really worked, but it did buy her some more time with us.... which I am thankful for.  Mom looked really good for about 4 1/2 years so I was in denial that she was really bad off... PLUS, I was just holding onto the hope that she would get better!
Around the end of Oct.... I was on Messenger with Alex and asked if he could possible take a few days off from work and fly to the U.S. right away... even just for a few days... I wanted him to meet Mom before it was too late.  I had a feeling she wasn't going to last until he got there in December and it was sooo important to me that they both meet each other, because the were both so important to me...   
Alex was a little confused at first but when I said, "I don't think my mom will make it to December..."  He then said, "Okay, let me see what I can do."  That was on a Thursday night... Alex arrived at LAX on Saturday.  He spent a week with us... and Mom just loved him... and she was still pretty mobile and able to talk and all.. She adored him, as did everyone else in my family... esp. my dad and step mom!  
 It's a sweet story and a sad one... but I know how wonderful it was for my mom to meet him and for him to meet her!  I will always remember this for the rest of my life!

My Mom... It was 3 years ago but it feels like forever!

Three years ago today, my mom took her last breaths and left this world. We were all with her and she is at Peace now. I will see here again, one day!
Me and my mom!

My Mom! My mom is Louise. My mom is beautiful, loving and kind. My mom is brave, strong and inspirational. My mom is special to me because she gave birth to me on Nov. 28, 1965. She nurtured me and raised me to be the special woman I am today. She supported me, put up with me, listened to me, gave me good advice, and loved me unconditionally. She was always kind and funny!! I LOVE my mom very much....

Dear Mom,
I wanted to let you know how much I miss you and that I think about you all the time... day and night! It's so hard to be without your beautiful smile, loving words, and warm hugs. You live on in my thoughts and in my heart. You are everything to me. You are the best mom EVER and you have always been there for me. I LOVE YOU MOM!!
Love, your one and only daughter, Leese

November 29, 2008

Kindness of the spirit...

I have a "friend" whom I have never met, but he presented me with such a wonderful gift for my birthday that I wanted to share it with you all, as well... Thank you soooo much, Philip. It really touched my heart and brought lots of tears running down my cheeks like a river......
I invite everyone to visit Philip's blog, not just for this post... but for all of his wonderful posts that allow us to travel the world through his beautiful photos and also photos of his fellow bloggers around the world....
I raise my glass to you...Philip! 

Full of Birthday Celebrations!

Here is my party with my little group of five kids! It was fun... We had cake and they presented me with a GORGEOUS moth orchid plant... I even got a drawing from one of the little girls... Sooo cute!!!

Here's little Noel

We'll be getting her tomorrow in La Rochelle...

November 28, 2008

Birthday Celebration!!

I may very well be one of the only Americans in France who brings her b-day party to the gym!! Well... it's not so far-fetched if you know me well!  I love celebrating my b-day... or anyone's, for that matter.  
I went to my morning SPIN class and Alex came by afterwards with the cake... There were just a few of us, but it was cozy!!! A HUGE thanks to Anna for the lovely gifts.. You really shouldn't have, but I'm glad you did!! Sooo thoughtful!!! It was a nice time!!! Thank you all!!!

Birthday Celebration!!

I may very well be one of the only Americans in France who brings her b-day party to the gym!! Well... it's not so far-fetched if you know me well!  I love celebrating my b-day... or anyone's, for that matter.  
I went to my morning SPIN class and Alex came by afterwards with the cake... There were just a few of us, but it was cozy!!! A HUGE thanks to Anna for the lovely gifts.. You really shouldn't have, but I'm glad you did!! Sooo thoughtful!!! It was a nice time!!! Thank you all!!!


We are going to La Rochelle to pick up little Noel.  Alex is very excited!  We bought her cage today and he disinfected the cage and put it all together... 
Here are some cute pix to hold you over until we get Noel.  I took the pictures of a hedgehog breeder in Canada... If you'd like to see more cute pictures of baby hedgies... click HERE!


Happy Birthday to me... Happy Birthday to me.. Happy Birthday to meeeeee... Happy Birthday... toooooo meeeeeee!!!!!!!! Okay.. I gotta go get working on my b-day cake and make my morning coffee!! Stay tuned!!! Thanks Everyone for all your b-day wishes via FACEBOOK... by email, etc... There's never any gift that I really want for my b-day... I'd much rather be showered with birthday wishes!!!

My homemade stuffing with REAL French bread!

Here's the makings of the Thanksgiving stuffing... I sliced up a large pain de campagne and toasted it in the oven the next day.... I turned out really yummy... just as good as Stove Top, if not better!!!

The "add ins"-- onion, dates, prunes, and walnuts. Normally, I also chop up an apple but I forgot!!!
I sliced and cut up the bread myself!!!

Apple/Pear/Cranberry Crumble for dessert...

It tuned out really yummy!!!

November 27, 2008

Note about Thanksgiving...

While indeed Thanksgiving doesn't exist as a holiday in France, Christmas surely does... I liken the family closeness spent at the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day meal to be very much like the Thanksgiving feast in the U.S. - minus the Macy's Day Parade and football all day long... But, hey... Even if we are so different as a culture... We are very much alike when it comes to celebrating an important holiday "en famille."
People don't take out enough time to be thankful, as it is... So, for this one day.... (though I mentally note EVERY day how thankful I am-- even if just for the simple and little things in life) of the year, it's nice to openly give "Thanks" and "Gratitude" to our friends and family and others around us.....
It's just a nice, warm and fuzzy feeling all-around!!  Happy Thanksgiving to ya'll and even a Happy Thanksgiving to all you Frenchies out there... Even though I know you don't celebrate Thanksgiving!!!! 

Happy Thanksgiving to All!!!

I just sent this out as an email so some of you will be reading this for the second time.... I just wanted to get this out to everyone who reads my blog, as well... Have a wonderful Thanksgiving wherever you are!
Hi Everyone...

Just wanted to take a moment a wish all of you - friends and family - a very wonderful Thanksgiving....

It's at this time, as well as all year long, that I reflect on how blessed and fortunate I am to have all of  you in my life... even through the miles that separate us in distance, you stay close to my heart.....  Even when I don't write or call, I am still thinking of you all with fondness... with cherished memories of the times spent together.... These are the times I am most thankful for....

I lost my beloved mom three years ago on Nov. 30 so the holidays (the holiday season) are filled with good and sad memories... I still miss my mom tremendously, though I do have to say the the deep pain (or sting) of her passing has gone, it's just the missing her that remains, and the sadness that she is no longer here with us... I think that will never go away. That's part of life. I was very close with my mom...

So, this time is both happy and bittersweet for me... but Thanksgiving has always been "Mom's" special day .... a day where she got everyone in the family together to enjoy a wonderfully delicious Thanksgiving meal. God bless mom and all she did for us all.... God bless all of you, dear friends and family. May you set aside some time to celebrate and honor this very meaningful day in American history--- I can say this with all my heart now... being in a foreign country that doesn't observe Thanksgiving Day, just makes this day all the more important and special to me.... I bring this American tradition with open arms to France, and let all of my friends here embrace it and enjoy it as though we were all in America, celebrating it together!
Peace and Blessings to you all.....  Namaste
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

November 23, 2008


(Not really) but this chinny looks EXACTLY like my precious Snowy...  I miss Snowy!!!  I had him for 11 years and he died the day before I went to see him up at the Chinchilla Farm in Vista.  It was heartbreaking!!! 

Snow today in Antony!

Well, it snowed today for about a half an hour but it didn't stay on the ground.  Oh well... It was still nice to see SNOW!!  I'm from So. Cal, you know... So snow is still a novelty for me!  
Pictures taken from the internet

Grace Jones-- FYI!

... is 60 1/2 years old and doesn't have any wrinkles!! Just saw her on tv and she looks stunning!! Goooo Grace!!! 

November 22, 2008

Cute animals!

I don't really talk to often about my love of animals... but I used to have quite a menagerie of my own in San Diego... There is a chance that we may possibly be able to adopt a small pet! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this one because I really loved my little pet, Sydney... and I'd love to have another.... I'll keep you posted!!! Keep your fingers crossed for me! : )

Here are some really cute little critters: