Archive for 2016

12/26/16, Auld Lang Syne

Posted on December 26, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I hope that you made it through Christmas and the holiday with some warm memories, and a Christmas as close to what you wished as possible, though holidays are unpredictable sometimes as to how they will turn out. But however it went, you made it through, and you can heave a sigh of relief.

There are three holidays I find potentially difficult. I love Christmas, and despite occasional bumps, it’s usually a happy time. But I know how challenging it can be for many people, and it can be an opportunity for loneliness instead of joy. I hope that yours was happy and not lonely. The other two holidays that can be tough are Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve. Most of us associate those two dates with being in love, or at least in a couple, and you feel like the odd man out when you’re not either one of those things. It is not fun to be the one person on New Year’s Eve who has no one to kiss at midnight. And Valentine’s Day can be really painful without flowers, chocolates, or dinner with a person you love. For me, those two dates are a real opportunity to feel like a loser, and feel left out if I’m solo that year. And even in a good relationship, your partner can fail abysmally on Valentine*s Day, and not bother, or forget what day it is. I regard those two dates with caution, and even dread on some years.

I never cared about New Year’s Eve for most of the years I was married. We stayed home and watched movies on TV, and were often asleep before midnight when our kids were small (We used to cheat and serve them ginger ale at 9pm, blow horns and tell them it was midnight, and then we’d go to bed after we put them to bed). I also had some ‘glamourous’ years when we gave big black tie dinners on New Year’s Eve, with everyone in black tie and evening gowns, with a delicious meal and champagne. Actually, the best New Year’s Eve we had of that kind, there was a huge storm in San Francisco, and the highways and bridge were closed—-with our chef for dinner on the other side. At 6pm he called to say there was no way he could get through. I didn’t want to disappoint my guests two hours before dinner, and leave them without plans, so we did the only thing I could think of—-we rushed around to fast food places, Jack in the Box, Kentucky Fried, pizza places. My guests arrived all dressed up, looking very elegant, and when they sat down to dinner instead of an equally elegant meal, they got corn dogs, and hot dogs, pizza, tacos, cheeseburgers, and every kind of fast food. There was a moment of shock, and then everyone started to laugh. We had the BEST time ever, and I still remember one of my beautifully dressed guests with ketchup on his chin saying “Who has the Curly Fries??” It was really fun, totally silly, and everyone loved it so much that I served the same menu again the next year at a black tie dinner. Personally, I’d rather eat a hot dog than a fancy meal any day—I eat like a 5 year old, and I love Kentucky Fried, and peanut butter and jelly any time!!!

Once I was divorced and alone, the idea of giving a beautiful dinner for all my friends who were in couples, while I was alone, really depressed me, so I thought about what would be fun and NOT depress me. I love to play poker, so I organized a poker game on New Year’s Eve. It was fantastic, about 20 people, playing for low stakes, with fast food again, and no one cared about what time it was or who they were going to kiss at midnight. And on a good year, I made about twenty dollars for the evening. It was a super fun way to spend a dicey holiday. And I hosted a poker game on New Year’s Eve for several years—not a hint of romance, just good friendly fun with other friends who were also alone. (it was in the vein of “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”, and we really had fun!!)

And last year, I shifted gears again. My ex husband, whom I often spent that evening with, was very sick, (and passed away this June), I didn’t feel like celebrating—–nor did I want to spend the evening mourning the past, and thinking of happier New Year’s eves. I decided to stay home, and started a new book a few days before. When midnight struck, I was plunged into the book, enjoying the work thoroughly, and didn’t care what day it was. Work is always a wonderful escape for me. It’s not a night I like being out, there are too many drunks on the road, and it seems dangerous. People try too hard at parties, and there is a melancholy feel to it when midnight rolls around. And if your life isn’t exactly where you want it, it’s too easy to see what’s missing, and remember happier times.

My children leave right after Christmas, and I’m going to spend New Year’s working again this year. For now, that really works for me. So there are lots of options on New Year’s eve, as a happy couple, at a party, at home with friends, tucked into bed with the person you love watching favorite movies or alone watching whatever you enjoy, playing poker, casually with a few friends, or all dressed up in a jazzy dress. I think the best way to spend it is doing exactly what you want to do, in whatever your circumstances are right now. And if it isn’t exciting for you this year, maybe it will be everything you hope for next year. In the meantime, I’m going to be working on a new book, and I hope you spend it some way you really enjoy. Have a great new year’s eve. Happy New Year!!

love, Danielle

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12/19/16, Merry Christmas!! Happy Holidays!!

Posted on December 19, 2016

Hi Everyone,

It’s Christmas week, and I know how exciting and fun the holidays can be—-and also how difficult, lonely, and challenging they can be. No one to be with, not enough money, alone in a new city, or at home with a family you don’t get along with, or in the midst of a divorce, just after a break up, or after you lose a loved one. The holidays are not as easy and simple as they look on Christmas cards, or in the movies. It’s a time when we are acutely aware of whatever is missing in our lives, or whatever is difficult. I’ve had my share of difficult Christmases too, a long time ago, when I was divorced, and barely three months after my son Nick died at 19. That was a brutal year. Oddly, I worked harder on making Christmas special for my family in the hard years, than in the easy ones. And sometimes those Christmases turned out the best—the ones I expected to be terrible, and then they weren’t. Trying to cheer up my children after Nick died, I gave a skating party that year for my friends and their children. It didn’t bring Nick back, but it was a warm, loving event that became a tradition we loved every year, until all my kids left for college and everyone else’s kids grew up too, and we stopped doing it. But it was a lovely time of families joining each other during the holidays. We’ve all had our tough years, they’re part of life.

We’ve always been about twenty or more, at our holiday table, for dinner on Christmas eve, they’ve always been loud, happy, fun events, with a visit from Santa during dinner. it’s a grown up, dressed up event, and on Christmas night, the next day, we have Christmas dinner with the whole family and all the children in the family, it’s more informal, and really a fun night. Five years ago, my ex husband John (whom we spent all holidays with even when we were no longer married) had recently died, and all my older children went to their in laws for the holidays, and instead of 20 at the table, and John being elegant and jovial and loving among us, we were going to be the 5 younger children and me for dinner on both nights: 6 of us, not twenty, no older kids, and no John. It was a radical change, and a sad time we were all wrestling with, and there was no way to pretend that it was going to be the same, or even a happy event, and we were all dreading it. So I decided to really turn it upside down, and told my 5 younger kids, in their early 20s, that they could do Christmas however they wanted that year. We could get dressed up, as we always did, and have a serious formal dinner, or wear blue jeans and eat pizza, or no dinner, invite friends or not, go to the movies, or go bowling, or leave town together—-if it was going to be different, I invited them to make it as different as they wanted. We didn’t have to please anyone but ourselves and each other. After discussing it among themselves, they decided they still wanted to get dressed up and stay at home, still go to mass on Christmas eve, and no one felt up to having friends over, but they wanted to play games at dinner, and we collected a bunch of ridiculous party games, including the White Elephant game, where everyone brings a gift of some kind, you don’t know who brought it, and you take turns and randomly pick a gift. If someone else likes the gift, they can steal it 3 times, and after that you’re safe, if you like the gift it’s yours. Let me tell you, it was ridiculous, the gifts were funny, everyone stole everything from everyone else, my youngest son flatly refused to give up his Chewbacca (from Star Wars) back pack, which he said he was going to wear to the office. We were loud and silly, had fun, we played lots of games, and cuddled up together and watched movies afterwards, and ate popcorn. Somehow just being together worked, we didn’t have to ‘behave’, and we all missed John terribly, but the love and laughter between us got us through the evening, and it was one of our sweetest holidays. I still have the pink ballet tutu that I stole from two of my daughters during the white elephant game. Sometimes you just have to make the best of what is, when things are different or not the way you hoped, like watching all your favorite movies on TV or DVD if you’re alone.

And I know it’s hard to be alone during the holidays. I hope that you can be with your family, or with friends, or people you like, or bring joy to someone else. And if Christmas isn’t quite the way you want it to be this year, I hope that you get through it peacefully, and that it will be better next year. Life changes, it flows, it gets better, and worse and better again, and everything does not depend on how great your Christmas is. I hope it will be a good one, even a great one, and if it is a small one this year, I hope that you can cherish it, and enjoy it anyway. I send you all my good thoughts, and thanks and love on this holiday, whatever your holidays, and I wish you a beautiful new year!!

with all my love, Danielle

12/12/16, Wow!!!

Posted on December 12, 2016

Hi Everyone,

Less than two weeks til Christmas, I hope you’re enjoying it, and not dreading it, as some people do. I think I’ve almost finished my Christmas shopping. I’ve been seeing friends, a little shopping, and had an amazing invitation this week. I most enjoy seeing good friends around the holidays, and spending Christmas with my family, but as you know I go to fashion shows occasionally. They’re mostly in and out affairs, you dash in by invitation, sit down, the fashion show begins, and then half an hour later, after seeing some very pretty clothes, you leave. The locations and decor can be exciting and beautiful (like the year Chanel had flown in an iceberg from Sweden and placed it center stage for the models to walk around—-and then they flew the iceberg back to Sweden after the show. But this week I went to the fashion show to end all fashion shows, a MAJOR event. It took me by surprise, and was a real show stopper.

Once a year, Chanel does a special collection of ready to wear clothes (as opposed to Haute Couture, which is made to order and all hand made. Ready to wear is what you find in stores and can buy off the rack). They do the once a year special collection in an exotic location: Beijing, Dubai, Venice, Dallas, Cuba last year—-and the influence and style of the clothes is influenced by the location. They are called Metier d’Art shows, and are then referred to as the Paris/Cuba show, or the Paris/Dubai show or Paris/Dallas a few years ago, with a kind of cowboy theme. The fashion show introducing the collection is held in the location being honored. And although I’ve been to a lot of fashion shows, I’ve never been to one of these, and had no idea what a massive undertaking it is. They invite well known people in the city where it’s held, and their good customers, and they also fly in hundreds of glamourous women from around the world. So there are women there from South America, Asia, India, Hong Kong, Dubai, all over Europe, the USA, some famous, others just fashionable women. And I discovered that they pick up all the expenses for the women they fly in, airfare, hotel, etc. In this case, the fashion show was held at the famous Ritz Hotel in Paris, and the women invited stayed there too, for four days of related fashion events, all hosted by Chanel. They were given limousines, several of them borrowed clothes to wear to the show, and many of them were also all decked out in fabulous jewelry also by Chanel. Not knowing how elaborate this was going to be, I dressed in ‘grown up clothes’ (black slacks and a sweater, my uniform) wore a pale pink coat, and black suede high heels—-all my own not borrowed. The show was at noon, and I was stunned when I got to the Ritz Hotel to find that there were about 800 women there, at tables all over the lobby floor and restaurants of the hotel, for a noon lunch, followed by the show at 2pm. (There is normally no food served at fashion shows). The luncheon was very elegant, and the women (no men invited that I could see) were dressed to the nines, some even wore evening gowns, and floor length fur coats at lunch time, and tons of jewelry. I felt like a bumpkin from the country in my lunchtime clothes. Several movie stars were there, and the singer Farrell Williams. Lunch was elaborately served and very diet conscious, since probably all of those women were on diets!!! And champagne flowed. I don’t drink, so it was wasted on me. And finally, the fashion show started, it had a jubilant exciting feeling to it, and the theme was “Cosmopolitan Paris” this time, so they were mostly dressy city clothes, and some very glamorous creations—-and the usual beautiful models. It was definitely “A scene”, and not at all what I expected. There was a breakfast the next day, which I didn’t go to, where people could try on the clothes the models had worn the day before, as they threaded through the tables to bouncy music, and looked like they were having fun. Apparently, Chanel spends millions on those events, for publicity. It was dripping glamour, and I had fun, even though I didn’t know anyone there, except a friend of one of my daughters, and I was happy to see her. I was seated at lunch with four very nice Parisian women, and an Italian woman, wearing a gold evening gown, floor length sable coat and a ton of jewels. I looked a lot more subdued in my pale pink coat. It was definitely an experience, and I felt a little (or a lot) like Cinderella after the ball, when I went home to my dogs and my typewriter. And yes, one could think that there are more important ways to spend money, for charity, but in reality this is business for Chanel, great publicity for them, and I’m sure they donate to charitable causes during the year as well. So I had my moment of glamour, and had to share it with you.

Have a great week!!!

love, Danielle

11/21/16, Happy Thanksgiving

Posted on November 21, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a good week—Wow the year is whizzing by. I’m always stunned when the holidays roll around. The year has really sped by. I had a VERY busy week this week, editing some writing, adding research to two books, working on a new outline, picking book covers, doing errands, Christmas shopping, going to the dentist, meeting with a new attorney to replace one who retired, and working with the puppy trainer to introduce Minnie and Blue to the new puppy in the least stressful way for them. I had dinner out with friends three times, and also dinner with my youngest son. AND I did something really fun—-a woman friend invited me to a matinee of the King and I, one of my very favorite musicals. She asked me months ago, and the day finally came, and I just loved it. I love the songs and know them all, and it was a really lovely, happy interlude in my week. So it’s been a very nice week, and next week my children will be home for Thanksgiving, which is always a wonderful time for me.

Thanksgiving is always a lovely way to spend time with family and friends, but what I like best about Thanksgiving (even more than all the yummy food) is what it symbolizes: gratitude, being grateful/ thankful for the good things in our lives, whether family or friends, our jobs, or opportunities, or the good things that happened this year. We don’t always have the time to think about what we’re grateful for, and to count our blessings. Thanksgiving is a day dedicated to that. I know it can be difficult too, with challenging families, or no families, or difficult families, or hard circumstances sometimes. Its nice spending the day with people we care about, but sometimes we find ourselves alone, thinking of what others have and we don’t. If we can take time out to be grateful for what we do have, to give thanks for the small things in our lives, our lives become richer from that gratitude. So whether you are alone, or surrounded by loved ones, in a good space, or not having a great time, I hope that all of us will find the time and the grace to be grateful for even a few things, even one thing in our life. Gratitude is like a seed that you plant, that becomes a tall tree eventually, with leaves of gratitude that grow and multiply. Gratitude is an enormous blessing available to all of us.

I was alone one Thanksgiving many years ago, in a new city, divorced, with no friends yet, and my daughter was visiting her father far away. I came across the Bible verse “God places the solitary in families”. And I’ve had many occasions to remember that, grateful for my family, and the friends I’ve made over the years. May your Thanksgiving be filled with warmth and blessings, and good people. And may we all remember to reach out to those who are alone. And on the list of things I am thankful for, you, my readers are high on that list. Thank you!! I am VERY grateful to and for you…..I hope you will have a wonderful holiday!!!

with much love, Danielle

10/31/16: Trick or Treat

Posted on October 31, 2016

Hi Everyone!!

It’s here, the silliest and most fun holiday of the year!!! Trick or Treat!!!

I hope you are doing something fun today, or did something fun this weekend. My kids have worn costumes on Halloween right into adulthood, and even dress up their dogs. Minnie and Blue are going to be bumble bees again this year!!!

When my kids were little, they would plan their Halloween costumes for months, witches, goblins, nuns, pirates, the Little Mermaid, Ursula the Octopus, Ninja Turtles, Spiderman, Superman, Cat Woman, Wonder Woman, Prince, Michael Jackson—-I think they’ve done it all. And last year one of my daughters went as Me!!! With bracelets on her arms, black jeans and a black turtleneck sweater, black loafers and glasses perched on her head. She looked more like me than I do.

It’s a silly, fun Holiday. One of my daughters went as a matador a few years ago and looked fantastic, and this weekend she was Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz for a Halloween party. When they were little, my husband John went as “Picasso’s Blue Boy” painting, all painted blue by a make-up artist, with a third eye on his forehead. The effect was amazing, and the children all squealed with delight when they saw him and said “Daddy!! You’re a SMURF!!!”

My favorite costume is one I wore a few years ago, and is a whoopee cushion costume. Undignified and very funny. And I don’t think I’m wearing a costume this year. I don’t think most of my children are either.

But whether you wear a costume or not, eat lots of candy, have some fun, and Trick or Treat!!! (All Treat, I hope!!)

love, Danielle

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10/17/16, “Life is short—buy the shoes”

Posted on October 17, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’ve had a good week. I’ve had a busy one, some big and small important moments, work, travel with my kids, a wedding in our family, and in the days before the wedding, some philosophical thoughts. And some funny things occurred to me, to share with you. And which were good realizations for myself. Talking to some friends in recent weeks were good wake up calls, about how we react to our parents and older relatives. And even how we react to small joys—–and big ones.

I love to go shopping with my daughters, when we’re in the same city, I often go out with three or even four of them (I have five daughters, as well as 4 sons). It’s fun to be with the girls, shopping is fun for us, and of course I get to hear their opinions. I already own some pretty clothes, and enough basics, and sometimes I fall for some silly item of clothing. (To complicate matters, three of my daughters work in fashion, so their opinions about what I buy are pretty strong about what I should and shouldn’t buy). I look at things in stores sometimes that are downright silly. Other things I’d enjoy wearing, and what I hear most often from them is “you don’t need that”. And most of the time, they’re right, I don’t. Most often, they’re right, and when I buy it anyway, sometimes it turns out to be a fashion mistake—-but sometimes I buy it anyway, and it turns out to be something I really love, and enjoy wearing (even if they hate it). And sometimes I don’t have the courage to go against their advice, and sneak back to the store later, and buy what they hated and I loved. And most of the time, I don’t regret it. Silly, maybe, or frivolous, or maybe something not very useful—-but if it makes me happy, what harm does it do? One of my good friends gave me a key chain last year with a tag on it that says, “Life is short—buy the shoes”. I keep it on my desk, because it’s a good reminder in life. You just can’t always be sensible, and maybe you don’t “need” whatever it is, but if you love it and it makes you happy, why not??? You’re not hurting anyone. Sometimes that key chain is good advice for life.

At some point in life, the tables turn, and we begin to scold our parents as they once scolded us. We tell them what they should and shouldn’t do, and expect them to be ‘sensible’ because they’re our parents. We forget that they’re people too, need to have fun, be frivolous, and not sensible all the time. I see examples of it constantly around me. And I think we need to rethink that. People need more than what they ‘need’ in their lives, they need fun, and love and happiness, and some foolishness too. How sad life would be without it. Even our parents don’t have to act like grown ups all the time, at whatever age.

When my children were young and I was divorced, they disapproved of everyone I dated, hated his hair, or his shoes, or his tee shirts or his kids. The bottom line was they figured I didn’t need a boyfriend (and in some cases, they were entirely right, but not always). And with 9 kids, that was a lot of disapproval to swim through. And long before that, when I was married, and having a baby almost every year, very few people thought it was a great idea, most people disapproved and what I heard most often was “ANOTHER one?” Who asked them? My family has been the greatest joy in my life, and I have no regrets about having so many children, they’re the best things I ever did. My children had the same response when I bought 2 Chihuahuas in the last 5 years, “You don’t NEED a dog, Mom.” No, I didn’t. But I cant begin to tell you how much I love those two silly dogs, how much I enjoy them, and how much joy they give me. Why not, 2 Chihuahuas? They keep me company now that the kids are grown up, and only one of my children still lives at home. But the automatic reaction is “You don’t need that”. But in fact, yes, I do. Very much in fact. They make me happy.

Several years ago, a good friend of mine was 87 years old, quite ill, and she very much wanted a dog. The obvious answer was that she was too old and too sick to have a dog, and it just didn’t make sense. Against family opinion, I gave her a Maltese for Christmas, she fell in love with the dog instantly, absolutely adored it and it adored her, and it was one of the best things I ever did. She lived for several more years, and the dog made her incredibly happy.

Why do we so easily believe that older people don’t need dogs, or boyfriends, or companionship in whatever form? Why should they have less happiness than we do? Why do we think our parents don’t need these things if they are older?

A friend just gave his 95 year old grandmother a dog for her birthday, which I think is not only a wonderful companion for her, but a fantastic message: It says you’re still young enough to have a dog, I expect you to live a lot more years and be here to enjoy it, not that you think they’re going to die any minute and a 95 year old doesn’t need a dog. Apparently, his grandmother is thrilled with it. What a great gift!

Tonight, I was speaking to a friend in her 50’s, and inquired about her mother who is 77. I asked how she was, and if her mother still had a man in her life, and the friend said “oh no, she doesn’t need that”. (The friend in question is happily married with 2 kids at a home and a full life). I then suggested maybe her mother might enjoy a dog, and she said “Oh she doesn’t need a dog”. There it was again. Why should her still very attractive, very lively mother NOT need a man in her life, a dog, or companionship in any form? We don’t cease to need those things, a shot of joy, or even some frivolity, at any age. In fact, I think older people need it more than we do, as their lives are less full than they used to be.

It really made me think about how quick we are to assume that our older parents or older friends don’t “need” the same things we do. How quick we are to assume, that they don’t need a companion, shouldn’t marry, have a dog or buy crazy shoes. Why NOT??

I think the message on that key chain on my desk is in fact very profound: “Life is short—buy the shoes”. In other words have some fun, have a romance, a girlfriend or a boyfriend, get married no matter how old you are if that’s what you want to do, get a dog even if you’re 95, buy silly shoes if they make you happy. In other words, LIVE, don’t stop living, no matter what age you are, don’t stop having fun, don’t let anyone tell you “You don’t need that”. Maybe you DO need that. And before we tell someone they don’t need that, we should think about it. The idea is to have joy in your life, enjoy the unexpected, and enjoy all the gifts life gives us… matter what anyone else thinks, or if they think you need it. YOU decide—-and let’s not be so quick to write old people off, they have as much right to joy in their life as anyone else—-we ALL need that. So what are you waiting for? Find a partner, have some fun, get married if you want to, get a dog, and buy the shoes, or the equivalent in your life!!

Have a great week, love, Danielle

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10/10/16, Fleet Week

Posted on October 10, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I hope everything is going well for you. I’m in the swing of my fall schedule, writing up a storm, keeping very busy, with a family wedding in less than a week. And looking forward to the holidays, making plans for that too. The weather is a little crazy everywhere, which happens at this time of year, with a last burst of warmth (in San Francisco), or a sudden chill (in New York), and fall weather in Paris.

On Columbus Day weekend, in San Francisco, they have Fleet Week. Before cutbacks in government spending, it was an even bigger deal than it is now, with the Bay full of Naval ships, and a major air show by the Blue Angels, the Navy pilots who do fabulous demonstrations all over the country for special events and holidays. There are fewer ships now, but some battleships still come to the San Francisco Bay for the weekend before Columbus Day. They come into the Bay under the Golden Gate Bridge, in single file procession, with the fire boat leading the way with a spray from the firehoses. It’s a pretty sight, and always very impressive. And on Thursday, the Blue Angels begin to fill the skies doing practice runs over the city and over the bay. It used to make me very nervous, in case there was ever an accident, as they flew over the residential neighbourhoods. They were allowed to fly VERY low. They don’t flow as low nowadays but it is a VERY impressive show, by our jet fighter pilots, and the incredibly able, skilled Blue Angels pilots flying in formation literally only inches apart, and low enough to impress everyone. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday they put on a full air show to dazzle the locals and any tourists in San Francisco at the time. People love to see it, and they fill the skies for 3 or 4 hours every day. It’s a VERY noisy event, and despite how impressive they are, there is a wartime feeling to it, which is always slightly unnerving. But one can only be impressed by what talented pilots they are.

I’ve known a few people who have been invited to go up in the planes with them as VIPs, and without exception all of them have either fainted from the G force, or thrown up, or both. There’s an invitation I’m not begging for!! I would be terrified, and am perfectly content to watch them from the ground. All the small boats in the San Francisco area fill the bay during the days of the air show, to get a better view, or people stand on rooftops all over the city so they can see it. But you can see their performance from just about anywhere. It’s a very patriotic event, and one that most people in the city love (if they don’t mind the noise!!)

Other than that, I’m busy planning Halloween, looking forward to the family wedding, have started my Christmas shopping, and am working on several books. Keeping busy!!! I hope you have a great, happy, peaceful, productive week!!

much love, Danielle

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10/3/16, Writing

Posted on October 3, 2016

Hi Everyone,

Well, that was a busy week. I hope yours was busy, in good ways.

I’ve been writing for the past week, which always feels great. Life is so unpredictable, you never know what to expect next. Good stuff, bad stuff, surprises of all kinds. And there is very little we can control in life. But when I sit down to write, the world fades, I know where the book is going, I’ve worked hard on the outline for months, and when anything spins out of control in the story, I can fix it immediately. In the book, I know who the characters and what’s going to happen. I’m the one who makes the decisions, and decides where the book is going to go. It’s a great feeling unraveling the story, getting involved with the characters in the book, until they seem real. I know what they would and wouldn’t do and I respect it. And if the book starts to veer off in some direction, I can correct it, fix it, rewrite it and bring it back. It’s an amazing feeling of control of the story. And the process of developing a book is an exciting one, and so familiar. I don’t care how I look, what I wear, and I just keep following the story.

So I’m busy writing which is always great for me!! I’ve been locked up in my office or a week. I miss being out when I’m all locked up. I miss my kids, and my friends. I miss going outside. But the only way I can write a story is to stick with it right to the end, with as few distractions as possible. So think a good thought for the book I’m working on, and I’ll be back to chat with you in greater depth next week.

all my love, Danielle

9/26/16, Happy Endings

Posted on September 26, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is well, and that you had a good week last week, and that this week is off to a great start.

Today is one of my favorite days. It’s my youngest daughter’s birthday, so a happy day at our house. She is the last of my chicks still in the nest, and I’m very grateful to have her with me, although she leads a busy life. Today is also the birthday of her father, my late husband John. I thought I was absolutely brilliant when I gave birth to her a few weeks early, on her father’s birthday. I thought it was the perfect birthday gift for him. When, in fact, funnily enough, neither of them thought it was a great plan, they both always felt that the other had stolen their birthday!!! It’s also the birthday of three of my good friends. So a happy day all around.

I just recently saw a movie I really enjoyed. Once in a while I enjoy a good thriller, but I always love a good Ro-Co: a romantic comedy. I’m a romantic at heart, and I LOVE happy endings in real life, and in movies. (I hate movies that depress me and leave me feeling down for a week. I’d much rather come out of a movie all happy and glowy and full of hope.) The movie I saw was “Bridget Jones’ Baby”, and it was a sweet movie with Collin Firth in it, a wonderful actor, so very British, and lovely to look at. I always enjoy his movies. And Renee Zellweger (I hope I spelled that right!!). It’s the third in the Bridget Jones series of movies. And I totally loved it, some great British humor, very well written, some good laughs, and tender moments, and a very satisfying ending. It’s a real feel good movie, and if you like that kind of movie, you’ll love this one. I saw it with one of my daughters last week, and for a second time this week with one of my Godchildren. I love seeing movies again when I love them!!! I’ll get the DVD and probably watch it a few more times at some point. I highly recommend it. Best of breed in the realm of Ro-Co’s.

We have some real life happy endings at hand too. One of my daughters is getting married in a few weeks. My three oldest children are married, and have chosen wonderful partners, and have solid, happy marriages. My youngest 5 children aren’t married, but now one of them will be. We all love her future husband, he’s French, which makes sense given our family history, and culture, and my living in France a good part of the time. We’re all very excited about the wedding, of mostly family and some friends. She just found her dress a few days ago, and is VERY excited about it. So after this, half of my children will be married, and the other half not. And right now, I’m super busy planning the wedding. It’s a special time for her, and my wish for her is that they live Happily Ever After!!!! May it be so!!!

Have a great week, with all my love, Danielle

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9/12/16, Remembrance

Posted on September 15, 2016

Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is well with you, and that life is treating you well.
Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of 9/11, one of the most shocking events in our modern history. The day that 3 airplanes, manned by trained terrorists, with a daring plan, intentionally crashed into the famed twin towers of the World Trade Center in NY, and the Pentagon in Washington, DC. A fourth plane was heading for the White House, and crashed before reaching its goal. The event was one of the most startling, devastating acts in our recent history, with the exception of Pearl Harbour, which catapulted us into World War II.

On September 11th, 2001, thousands of lives were lost, heart breaking images are engraved in our minds and hearts forever. Among those that shook me most were the people leaping from the buildings, once they knew that there was no way out for them with the fire raging at the heart of the building. Some held hands when they jumped. I will never forget the surreal science fiction look when the twin buildings actually came down, in a tower of smoke, debris and dust. The buildings were a monument we thought would be there forever, to symbolize our strength, freedom, and independence. The acts committed on that day, blew open a war that had been silent and unseen until then, and changed our lives forever. The endless wait at security in airports now, removal of shoes, belts, clothing, etc, the pat downs, the waiting, the metal detectors, the long delays, is all part of what happens when a country has been attacked and wants to prevent it from happening again. It was the first shot across our bow, to warn us that terrorism had snuck up on us and taken charge. And inevitably with tragedy, the lives of men, women and children were lost. I hope that no one you love was among them.

We speak of 9/11 as a landmark in our lives now. And some things have not changed, how much we love each other and our country. But 9/11 was a loss of innocence for all of us, a turning point where we realized how dangerous our world is, and that we are blessed with freedom, and safety most of the time.

May we all remember, not just the spectacular event that most of us saw on TV, but the men and women who lost their lives, the innocent victims, and the injured, and all those who loved them. May peace bless our world.

with all my love, Danielle
And have a great week!!!

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