Archive for 2017

4/24/17, Cyberhell

Posted on April 24, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a terrific week. I’ve been busy, writing a lot, and am on the move again. I was saddened by the recent act of violence in France, and I hope that the French elections will happen peacefully.

I had an experience last week that was so frustrating I wanted to share it with you, as I think we all run into similar experiences now. One of my children needed some ongoing health maintenance care (nothing too serious, but worth doing), and I decided to contact both of the big highly respected university hospitals in San Francisco. Both offer top notch care and are respected well known institutions. I didn’t have a name of who to call, so decided to call the right department in each hospital, which seemed like a simple project, to gather information, and who might offer the most appropriate options for health care. It was not a life threatening situation, but important enough to me to warrant some research on the subject. And bluntly put, I ran into a wall. A call that should have taken maybe ten minutes to each hospital, took me SIX AND A HALF HOURS of constant calling and total frustration before I ever got to speak to a human at one hospital, and never got to one at all at the other. I went from one robot voice to the next, got shifted into dead end extensions, reached voice mails in some cases, pressed buttons, called new numbers, and it went on and on and on and on, until I finally reached a human at one of the two hospitals, and no one at the other. At the hospital where I got no human after all my calls, someone finally called me back the next day to tell me that my child had JUST missed the age cut off and they made no exceptions, that they were not accepting new patients anyway, but would call me back in six months, in October, to then put us on a wait list which was going to be at least six months long, but I MIGHT be able to get an appointment NEXT April, maybe, but maybe not until next July (NOT this July!!). So we’re talking about waiting 12 to 15 months before we could see a doctor. At the other hospital, when I finally reached a living person and not a recording or a robot after six and a half hours on the phone, they gave me great information, had someone call me back within the hour who was absolutely wonderful and we got an appointment for 3 days later. What a difference between the two, but I still had to spend almost seven hours on the phone, determined to fight my way through the maze of cyberhell to get the information we needed. I dropped everything I was doing that day to do it. What happens if you don’t have the time or patience, can’t spend 7 hours on the phone, don’t understand the messages or the system, or never get lucky enough to reach a human? What do people do? Forget it? Give up? Not get medical help when they need it? I don’t think my experience was unique. And what are you supposed to do with a 15 month wait to see a doctor?? It reminded me of when I was working on the streets with the homeless, would refer them for medical care, and they would sometimes be put on a wait list for 8 to 18 months, most of them would have been dead at the end of that time, and some were. I think it’s a terrible statement about how we have mis-used technology, to build an impenetrable wall around services we need, medical people we can’t reach, where we get fobbed off with waiting lists of more than a year, IF they even bother to call you back. What happens to people who don’t understand the messages, can’t make themselves understood to a robot, and just don’t have the tenacity or skills to get through? I became so determined I was not going to give up until I got someone. It also showed me the difference between the two institutions, one where they leapt in to help us once I reached them, the other where they simply didn’t care and fobbed us off for 15 months, or would have, except that we had missed the age limit by a few months. Then what?? You just live with the problem. In the era of high technology health care, with such enormous advancements in science and health and new information, what good does it do us if we can’t even reach health care providers, and get pushed off on a wait list for more than a year? I found the whole experience shocking. And I can’t begin to tell you how grateful I was to actually reach a human, who was nice, helpful, and gave us an appointment.

And if this is how we treat humans now at medical institutions, I can’t even think about what it is like trying to get your washing machine repaired or call a plumber. Everything is voice mail and robots now, press #1 for this and #5 for that, where you get nowhere and no one calls you back, or it disconnects, or shifts you entirely into the wrong service, and there is no one to explain it to. There is something VERY wrong with our systems if we have used technology to make life this complicated, and replaced human beings with machines that don’t “get it”. Whose life have we simplified with this?? Certainly not ours. I was so grateful for the help I got, and shocked at how hard it was to cut through the red tape in Cyberhell. What can we do about it? How can we change it? Is this how it’s going to be now? It was one of the most frustrating experiences I’ve had in years, and I think we all run into it now. Some of the old systems, which actually used humans, worked so much better!!!

Have a great week, and stay out of Cyberhell, if we can!!

love, Danielle

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4/17/17, Opening Day of the Giants

Posted on April 17, 2017

Hi Everyone,

Well, it must be spring, baseball season has officially begun!!! One of my great treats is going to baseball games with my youngest son. And BEST of all is when he invites me to opening day. It’s always so festive and exciting and fun. People are waving and laughing and talking, there are fireworks, and fighter planes fly overhead. There is music and laughter, and fast food everywhere (I had a pretzel, AND caramelized popcorn, and I wanted a churro, but couldn’t find any.) People were drinking beer (which I don’t). I had lemonade—there is also cotton candy, which I love. The excitement of the day brings out the kid in me (and maybe in all of us), and I love sharing it with my son, and his girlfriend, and good friends sat right behind us, and my son had several friends at the game. Barry Bonds was there as a new employee of the team, and he’s an old friend, so it was nice to see him there. Everyone is in a good mood on opening day, with high hopes for the team!! I was really touched that my son invited me to go with him!! He expects me to dress in team colors, so I wore black jeans, an orange sweater, coat, and loafers, and a handbag that my son gave me for Christmas, with the team’s logos on it. So I was dressed for the occasion!

They played the Diamondbacks from Arizona for the opening game, and the first inning got off to bumpy start with a mishap. The pitcher of the Diamondbacks hit Buster Posey, one of the Giants’ star players, he hit him smack in the head with a fast flying ball, when Posey was up at bat. Posey was wearing a helmet but he fell to the ground and looked dazed for several minutes. A medical person of the team’s came out to check him, led him off the field, and took him out of the game, which was disappointing, and everyone booed the Diamondbacks’ pitcher. But other than that, everything went smoothly, and the Giants won the game to the delight of the crowd.

I’ve gone to baseball games with two of my sons for several years, and I always have a great time (less so when they lose of course!!). But a victory makes it a real celebration. I didn’t grow up with baseball, and I think one of the things I love about it is that it is so jubilantly American. Pacbell Park where they played is beautiful, and it was a gorgeous sunny day, not windy for once, and pleasantly warm.

So I had a ball at the ballgame, and the season is off to a great start with a win for the Giants on Opening Day!!

Have a great week,

love, Danielle

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4/10/17, Random Acts of Kindness

Posted on April 10, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I had a particularly fun four days, visiting one of my daughters in LA, to celebrate her birthday and spend some one on one time together, which isn’t always easy to achieve, with demanding jobs, and busy lives, and she travels even more for work than I do. So I loved having the time with her in LA for lunches and dinners, and shopping, and just hanging out!!!

I hope you’ve had a good week too. I thought of something the other day that I wanted to share with you. It was one of those small miracles that happened in my life, and affected me for years. It was proof to me at the time that good things DO happen, and maybe it will give you hope and encouragement too, if you’re looking for a new home or apartment, or need a lucky break. And we all do at times.

When I first arrived in San Francisco, my second apartment was one I particularly loved. It was in a small building, in a good residential neighbourhood. I had only one child then, my oldest daughter, who was five, and there was a lovely, secluded playground a block away. I felt lucky to find it, at a rent I could afford, in a safe building. Everything about it suited me. There were two apartments on each floor, mine had two floors, it had 3 small bedrooms, which worked well for me, a balcony, and a beautiful view of the San Francisco bay. The owner of the building lived on the ground floor, and everything was perfect, until he decided that he wanted my apartment on the top floor, instead of his. I had a year left on my lease and he asked me to give up the apartment to him. I refused, because the apartment was too good to give up, and I was sure I couldn’t find anything to match it that I could afford. He became quite irate about it, and extremely convincing when he threatened me with a gun. That terrified me, so I began looking for a new apartment immediately. I was very young then, and scared to death!! I looked at lots of apartments, and everything I saw was awful, dark, dingy apartments, in decent neighbourhoods, or slightly better ones in dicey neighbourhoods. There was absolutely nothing I could afford, or where I’d want to live, and nothing that even remotely compared to the lovely apartment I had and was being forced to leave—-at gunpoint!!! On top of it, I had a dog, and most of the apartments I saw didn’t allow dogs—OR they didn’t allow children, and I had my daughter. One landlord told me to let him know if I changed my mind—-about what? My daughter or the dog??

I was immensely discouraged, when a friend called me and told me she had driven by a “cute little house” in her neighbourhood with a for rent sign in the window. I assured her that there was no way I could afford a house, and I couldn’t have afforded anything in her neighbourhood. She lived on Russian Hill, which is one of the nicer areas in San Francisco. And her suggestion seemed ridiculous and no help at all. She insisted that I should go to see it and said “you never know”. I was annoyed at the suggestion, which was so obviously out of my leagues. She called several times to push me about it, and finally just to shut her up, I drove by, and it was indeed a VERY cute little house, I wrote down the phone number on the sign, called the owners, and made an appointment to see it, feeling ridiculous because I knew there was no way I could afford it. (I was working as a copywriter at the time, in an ad agency, not very well paid, and writing my books at night. And I was doing free lance translations, to make ends meet. And my books weren’t successful yet, it was the beginning of my career).

I went to see the house, and if you had asked me to list everything I wanted in my dream house at the time, that house would have been it. It was small, but cozy and well laid out, in perfect condition. It had a living room with a fireplace, a dining room, a big sunny kitchen, three bedrooms, a small bedroom downstairs for the student I had living with us to help take care of my daughter when I was at work, it had a garage, and a small pretty garden, and balconies off two of the bedrooms. All it did was show me what I couldn’t have, and wished I did. The woman who showed it to me explained that she and her three cousins had inherited the house from an elderly aunt who had no children. They didn’t want to sell the house, didn’t need it, she was of a grandmotherly age, and said that all her children had their own houses and children, and the house was too small for any of them. So the four cousins who had inherited it had decided to rent it. She also told me that there were three couples who wanted it, who had seen it first, but the owners of the house hadn’t made any decision yet. Predictably, I nearly fainted when she told me what the rent was that they wanted, and the house was worth every bit of it. I told her that I couldn’t afford it, and explained that I was divorced with a child and a dog. The house was exactly four times what I could afford. We talked for a while, and she asked me what I could afford to pay in rent. (She was very well dressed, and it was obvious that they weren’t pressed for money, but the rent they were asking was reasonable for what it was. On top of it, it was on a historic block on Russian hill, in a row of beautiful little Victorian houses. This one was stucco, and built in the 1930’s, and had been beautifully maintained). Feeling very embarrassed for having wasted her time, I told her what I could afford, so much less than they were asking in rent. And a few minutes later, I thanked her, and left, and went home even more discouraged than before. She called me the next day, and the four cousins had discussed it, she said what I had suspected that none of them needed the money, and she told me that they had decided to rent it to me, at the price I could afford, a quarter of what they had been asking. It was a gesture of such enormous kindness and generosity that it took my breath away. It was truly a miracle in my life. It was a real home, a house!!! In a beautiful neighbourhood, at a price I could afford. It was the most amazing thing that had ever happened to me. I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I was.

I moved in a few weeks later, with a sense of wonder over what had happened to me. My daughter loved the house and so did I, and even my dog was happy with our new home. I lived there for almost 5 years, and my books became more and more successful while I lived there. After four years, I was able to buy the house, the first house I had ever owned. And the year I bought it, John and I got married, and I sold it, and my life with him began. I moved to his house, and we had many children, and you know the rest of the story. But I never forget the incredible kindness of those people, and the miracle that that house was for me, just when I needed it. From a frightening situation, being threatened by my landlord, I found a house that was so much better, and a haven of peace and safety for me and my daughter, for a rent that they reduced to what I could afford. It gave me faith in miracles, and in the unexpected kindness of total strangers. I was thinking about it again the other day, and wanted to share it with you. The blessing of that experience has stayed with me in the many years since. It gives one faith that wonderful things can happen, when you least expect them, and need them most. And it occurred to me to share it with you, maybe it’s something you need to hear right now. Miracles DO happen, that certainly was one for me.

Have a great week, full of wonderful surprises, and random acts of kindness that come your way.

love, Danielle

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4/3/17, April Fool

Posted on April 3, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’ve had a good week, it’s been crazy busy and a full week. And by the time you read this, I’ll have survived another April Fool’s Day at the mercy of my children. Although usually reasonable and sensible people, they take full advantage of April Fool’s day, and have since they were kids. And they haven’t given it up yet. Since I’m usually running around busy, or deep in a book, I never remember what day it is, until the third call to bail one of my kid’s out of jail. JAIL???!!!!! Or the third call from one of my single daughters telling me that they’re pregnant. They’ve told me some lulus over the years, and I always believe them—until by sheer numbers, I realize what day it is. After all, they can’t ALL be in jail!!! They’ve pretended that they eloped to Las Vegas, or broken up with a girlfriend. Have announced that they got fired, and every time I try to be sympathetic, and then of course realize that I’ve been had. One of my daughters played an April Fool’s joke on her boss and nearly got fired years ago. And they trick each other too, no one is exempt in this group!!! They’ve gotten milder as they grow up, but they still can’t resist the temptation to start my day off with startling news!!! I should do the same to them, but never do.

Other than that, I’m really happy about how well my new book Dangerous Games is doing.  I’m soooo happy people are loving it!! I hope you’ve read it, or will soon!!!

And I’ve had a house guest for 3 days, one of my closest friends, so that has been wonderful!!!

I hope that all is going well for you, and that if you had any bad news, it was all April Fool’s jokes, and nothing more than that!!!! I’ll be travelling again this week…..I am definitely leading a nomadic life!!! Have a great week.

love, Danielle

3/27/17, New York New York!!

Posted on March 27, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope everything is going well for you, and that you’re busy and having fun, and that good things are happening for you. I’ve been travelling a LOT lately, and writing a lot. I’ve been travelling for the last two months. And I just had a chance to do something I haven’t done in many many years, I just spent three weeks in New York. Usually I just fly through for a night or two on my way to San Francisco or Paris. This time family events required me to be in New York for several weeks, and it was a busy, fun experience. New York is always electric, more so than either San Francisco or Paris. It gave me a wonderful opportunity to spend a lot of time with three of my daughters, without rushing off the next day. They have busy lives too, and work hard, but we managed to carve out some really good time together. I LOVED it!! I always do. It reminded me though of all the reasons why I don’t want to live in New York. Although supposedly Spring, the weather was absolutely freeezzzing the entire time I was there. It snowed lightly once, and I was there for a blizzard, when the entire city was shut down, offices and schools were closed, and I got stuck in my hotel for three days, which gave me some unexpected time to do some writing. I edited three books during the weeks in New York, had a wonderful lunch with my publisher, which was terrific, and found time to visit a very dear friend whom I hadn’t seen in too long, a remarkable woman!!! And I appeared on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts, which is always a major treat for me. My newest book “Dangerous Games” came out in hardcover a few days before I got to New York, and it was #1 on the bestseller lists yesterday. I hope you’ve had a chance to read it. It’s a political thriller, a little different for me, and an exciting book full of twists and turns and surprises, some of which even surprised me!!! So it has been a busy few weeks!!! No fashion shows, just family, and a little business. And a lot of icy cold freezing weather, every single day (in the teens most of the time I was there.)

I’m off to see the rest of my children now, visit one of them in her city, and spend Easter with the ones who’ll be around. I used to have green and blue and purple fingers for weeks after Easter, from dyeing eggs with my kids and making Easter baskets. I have to admit, I miss it!!! Now we have a grown up Easter brunch, although I provide rabbit ears for everyone who comes to lunch.

I’ve had my little Chihuahuas with me during all my travels, which is always fun for me. The puppy, Lili, is still driving Minnie and Blue crazy, she wants to play ALL the time, and they don’t. She has limitless energy, and we’re all hoping she settles down a little as she gets older!!! (Her favorite game is finding a box of Kleenex, and shredding it all over the house into a million little pieces!!)

So that’s what I’ve been up to, blizzards and New York, and family. It’s been a really lovely few weeks, and I’ll be starting a new book soon. I hope you have time to read Dangerous Games in the meantime. Have a fabulous week ahead—-hopefully without a snow storm!!

love, Danielle

I was just reading some of your recent responses to my blogs, and I’m always touched by the very nice things you say!!! A few things came up that I wanted to respond to, so I am adding a PS to today’s blog.

One lady said that her happiest Valentine’s Day EVER was bringing her baby home from the hospital on that day. Me TOO!!! I brought my son Maxx home from the hospital on Valentine’s Day!!! He was 4 days old. Such happy times!!!

Another person said that they would like to see more photos. There’s an explanation for that. I don’t have a Smart phone, I am not high tech, and you would laugh if you could see my phone, which doesn’t take pictures!! I have a tiny little Nokia phone from around the year 2000. You can drop it off a building and it never breaks. It’s very small, and when someone calls me, or I have a message, it lights up. I’ve had several of them, and when they wear out, I find another one of the same vintage on the Internet, so I have been stubborn about not getting a Smart Phone—-which is why I don’t take pictures with my phone!!! But I will try to send more pictures, with someone else’s phone!!

Someone else asked why I don’t write series, or sequels to my books. (I would LOVE to write a TV series, but haven’t yet). And I’ve discussed writing sequels to my books, but I like wrapping a story up all neatly and tie up all the loose ends. And I’m always hesitant to write sequels, so that people don’t say, “nah…I liked the first one better…” I don’t like comparisons like that. So, for now, there are no sequels to the books. But you never know, that could change if I get inspired to write a sequel one day.

And the last question was a sad one. A young woman in France asked why I’ve never mentioned Julie Campbell again, the extraordinary woman who helped take care of my son Nick. I wrote about her in my book about Nick, His Bright Light, and she was a very, very important and much loved person in our lives. That story had a doubly sad ending. She fell into a deep depression after Nick’s death, and never recovered from it. Like Nick, she committed suicide not long after his death. It was a terrible loss to our family, and for hers. She left three young children and a loving husband, and we remain close to them. He remarried a wonderful woman, the children have grown up and all are doing well. She died after the book about Nick was published, and I was too shaken by her death myself, and it was just too sad news to share at the time. So she and Nick are together, and will always be greatly loved, and much missed.

So that answers some of the points you brought up. Take care, and talk to you next week!!

love, Danielle

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3/21/17, Good Morning Robin!!!

Posted on March 21, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I’m sorry I’m a day late writing to you—it’s been a crazy couple of weeks, and I’m travelling again. But I had to share with you how wonderful it was, and always is, to be on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts last week. As I’ve told you before, she is truly one of the nicest people I’ve ever known, and I cherish knowing her and consider her a friend, and she is just a beautiful, remarkable human being. It’s always a treat and a privilege to be on the show with her. She is one of the very rare important TV interviewers who does everything to put her guest at ease, and show them in their best light. As shy as I am about doing TV, I LOVE being on the show with her!!!

It’s quite an experience being on the show. I usually have to be at the show, “camera ready” at 7:30 am. So the day begins with the hair and makeup artists who arrive at my hotel at 4 am. They have until about 6:30 am to get me ready, then I dress in whatever I’m going to wear on the show, and leave my hotel at 7 am. The makeup artist starts first, and he really is an artist. I’m normally not at my glowing best at 4am—I often end my day at that hour, if I’m writing—but I don’t start at that hour!! And have to look wide awake and as good as possible for the show. The make up man began by putting ice on my face (on an already freezing cold day!!! Wake up, Face!! Ugh!!!) Then he put marble balls he had frozen all night on my face and massaged my face with the marble—to wake my skin up some more. It sounds crazy but it works, and the winter gray face comes to life and looks healthier and brighter. He uses various creams and potions (most of the time, in my ‘real life’ I wear no make up at all, or very little), and then he has me apply the make up myself to my eyes and lips, because he says I know my face better than anyone else, which is true. I hate it when I get my make up done for a photo shoot for a book cover, or a TV show, and I don’t recognize myself in the mirror!! After the make up, the hairdresser does my hair (I usually wear it in a pony tail since it’s very long). I dress and then we’re ready to go. They all come with me to the TV studio with me, and the Senior Editor of my publisher meets me there, and by then I have serious butterflies about being on live TV. What if I say something really stupid, or get so nervous I faint!!! But that’s when Robin’s magic comes in, and she makes me feel totally at home. She is truly a talented interviewer and brings out the best in everyone!!

I am taken to a dressing room with my whole ‘crew’, hair and makeup and assistant and the publisher, and we wait in the dressing room, while the Producer comes to say hello. A sound man slips a microphone under whatever top I’m wearing, and the next thing I know, I’m led onto the set, get seated, and then, Robin is asking me questions about my current book, or anything else I’ve done in the past year. We talk and laugh, and I enjoy talking to her, and about 5 or 7 minutes later, it’s over, we say goodbye, and I leave the show, feeling like a fairy princess after spending the time with Robin, and then I’m off to my real life, to do whatever I have to do that day. It’s an exciting experience, and it always helps the books. In fact, this coming Sunday, my new book, “Dangerous Games” will be #1 on the Bestseller Lists—so being on the show works its magic, and Robin is the magician——and a precious friend. And in spite of what it does for the books, I feel honored to be on the show with Robin. She is just a fabulous person!!! And that’s what it’s like being on Good Morning America with her.

Have a great week!!

love, Danielle

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3/13/17, Blast Off

Posted on March 13, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’re okay and that last week was a good one.

And yes, it’s Ready to Wear fashion week in Paris again, which is a big deal in the world of fashion. One of you who read the blog complained that they’re not interested in fashion, but I really have to share with you the shows I saw, they are just too good not to tell you about. So for those of you not into fashion, my apologies. And for those of you who love it, here goes.

After seeing the Celine show, which I told you about last week, I went to two shows this past week: Hermes and Chanel. Two stellar shows, and a big part of the fashion scene at these shows are the audience, the people who attend, the excitement, the stars, the music, as well as what you see on the models on the runway. And as fabulous events go for the overall spectacle, Chanel always wins hands down. They build sets that are just astounding!!

So first, I saw the Hermes show, which was beautiful, elegant, wearable, and everything you’d expect from a house as distinguished, elegant, and quality driven as Hermes. Really lovely clothes, in a dramatic setting at a museum, with the room entirely dark and blacked out, the runway lit, an elite crowd watching as the models came down the runway. It was really a lovely show.

And then there was Chanel, always held at the Grand Palais, a beautiful antique glass domed structure. Chanel once did their ready to wear show all built like a supermarket, as the models showed the clothes while pushing shopping carts. They did a vintage restaurant set. They have done sets that looked like landing on the  moon, a kind of moonscape, one that looked like the inside of an airplane, and they once flew a REAL iceberg in from Sweden and placed it center stage, and flew it back after the show before it melted. So it’s always exciting waiting to see what they come up with next. Their incredible sets are designed by an extremely talented man named Peter Marino. So guess what the set was this time??? A ROCKET SHIP!! Or what looked like a real rocket ship was placed center stage. It reached all the way to the top of the glass structure—maybe 100 feet up?? The idea was for the models to walk around the rocket ship. And obviously, if the rocket ship looked like it was touching the top of the glass building, it certainly wasn’t going to rise up any higher, right? Well, not exactly.

The sets of the Chanel fashion shows are usually as exciting as the clothes they’re showing. And to pay homage to the clothes, they were beautiful, the models were gorgeous, and the feeling was vaguely reminiscent of the lush, happy, lively, colorful and glitzy clothes of the 1980’s. There were lots of sparkles, sparkly boots and metallic threads, and some really beautiful, wearable clothes. And at the end of the actual fashion show, when all the clothes had been shown to about 1,500 or 2,000 spectators, the lights of the rocket ship began flashing, vapor/steam that looked like smoke came out from underneath it and filled the giant hall, there were sparks coming from beneath the rocket, some major noises, and slowly the rocket ship itself (fairly life size) began to lift or seemed like it. What was actually happening was that the lower half of the rocket ship was sliding into the top half, so it LOOKED like it was lifting off, and rising off the ground (if it really had, it would have broken through the glass ceiling), but it was the most life like simulation I have ever seen and the entire audience was mesmerized by it. And so was I. It was fantastic and a really exciting scene. And when the base finally settled down on the ground again, I was really thrilled to see Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s genius designer take his traditional walk around the runway, looking well and active, and moving at  normal speed. He is an utterly remarkable person and creative genius, in his mid 80’s now, with no sign of slowing down, so seeing him trotting down the runway was a happy sight.

It was a fantastic experience, the last show I was planning to attend for this season. (It ended with the Louis Vuitton and Miu Miu shows which I didn’t attend). So I ended on a high note. A very high note. The Chanel rocket ship would have been hard to top. If you look on YouTube, for the Chanel show, Paris fashion week for winter 2017, I’ll bet you can find a video of the rocket lifting off, and maybe even the show itself. I was reminded of a friend who once said of a Broadway show she went to, with particularly wonderful stage sets, “I came out humming the scenery”—-which we all did after the Chanel show with the rocket ship lifting off. Unforgettable!!! The rocket ship will go down in fashion history, and it was sooo much fun to see.

And although the fashion shows are certainly glamourous, and everyone tries to look their best if they get invited (the shows are by invitation only, and invitations are hard to come by!!)—so I wore a new red wool coat today, and a new black dress under it, with a red heart on the left, over my heart, and high heels. And after the amazing experience of the Chanel show, it was back to real life for me. From the sublime to the ridiculous in this case. My refrigerator died over the weekend, so I had to go to buy a new fridge at the local appliance store. So one minute, I was seated among the fashion set, and all dressed up, and the next I was trying to figure out what kind of fridge to buy!!! I felt like Cinderella after the ball, after the clock strikes midnight, the coach turns into a pumpkin, and the coachmen into white mice. I got a fridge that looks like it will be okay…..and a memory I will never forget of a real looking rocket ship rising into the air, shooting sparks and steam….it was definitely a Wow!!! And a fun day!!!

Have a great week,

love, Danielle

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3/6/17, Paris in the Spring

Posted on March 6, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well with you. I have been writing nonstop lately, working on a new book, so I’m sorry if I was uncommunicative for a week or two as the writing got intense and the book heated up. When I’m writing, I can’t concentrate on anything else!!

Well, as the song says, I love Paris in the Spring…but it is pouring rain, and today there was even a hail storm, this is ridiculous!!! We need some flowers and sunshine by now after the winter!!!

I took a break from writing when I finished a big chunk of writing on Thursday—just in time for one of my daughters to spend three days with me, on her way to do a freelance fashion job in Greece, and it was wonderful to have time alone with one of my kids. We went shopping, had lunch and dinner out, stayed up late talking, and watched a favorite TV series (the new English one about Queen Victoria, which is a knockout, beautifully done!! I had seen it and love it, but watched part of it again with her.)

She’s one of my daughters who works in fashion, so we went to the Celine ready to wear fashion show today, —-in the pouring rain. It was held indoors at a tennis club. And as usual, the characters and ultra fashion-y outfits were in evidence in the audience. Also, the important power figures were very much present: Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue, Hamish Bowles and Grace Coddington (who is a legend) also from Vogue, there were editors and buyers, some clients, Suzy Menkes, famous fashion journalist and a legend too. It was a great opportunity for people watching, as well as seeing what was on the runway. The show itself was very serious, with clothes for the fall, subdued colors, simple clothes, and many things my daughters loved (one of them saw it on the Internet in New York). It was, as always, a fun way to spend a rainy afternoon. And I’ll be seeing two more shows this week. I guess fashion is just a fun way for me to relax for a minute between books, and with three daughters in the business, I’m always interested in what’s happening in that world, and what the new styles are for the next season. Since I went to design school, for fashion design, I still love to keep up with it.

I had a great time writing for the last few weeks, I love it when I get plunged deep in the story, and forget everything else that’s going on—the way you feel when you read a book, and can totally escape whatever is happening in your life. I’m editing another book now, and working on the outline for the next one.

I hope that all is going well for you, and that you’re getting at least a hint of spring wherever you are. Have a great week!!

love, Danielle

2/27/17, “Busy Writing!!”

Posted on February 27, 2017

Writing a book right now!! Back in a Jiffy!!!
much love, Danielle

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2/13/17, “Happy Hearts!!”

Posted on February 13, 2017

Hi Everyone,

Ahhh…yes…today is the eve of one of those days that can go either way, thrill you or break your heart, or slip and slide from the sublime to the ridiculous: Valentine’s Day of course. I’ve had all kinds, and you probably have too. I had two marriage proposals on Valentine’s Day (I am a profoundly corny person, so I thought that was great!!) One of those proposals resulted in 18 mostly happy years of marriage, and 8 of my 9 children, and the other resulted in 8 years, and a second great love in my life. I am very lucky to have had two great loves, and both of them wonderful men. And our love for each other lasted longer than our marriages, and lasted until the end of their lives. I will confess, I miss them both. So that was the height of my Valentine’s Day experience. But there have been some very major lows too. (The French say “Never two without three”, which is an interesting thought… who knows maybe one day there will be another great love in my life. Anything is possible. I heard of a couple recently who married at last at 87, so that certainly gives us all something to hope for—-and plenty of time to plan!!!)

Valentine’s Day is a tough day because we all have such high hopes and expectations for it, from the time when we are children. I’ve told you before, that mine got off to a rough start when I was the only girl in 3rd grade who didn’t get a Valentine’s Day card!!! But there have been some grown up Valentine’s Days that fell short of expectations. There is always a frenzy of flowers and chocolates and romantic plans and dinners exchanged on that day, and if you don’t have a seat in the musical chairs of Valentine’s Day, it can leave you feeling very sorry for yourself!!! Or you can just treat it with humor and figure it will be better next year!!! The wonderful thing about life is that you really never know what is just around the corner, what wonderful person will come into your life, and how things can change radically in the space of a year, or even months!!! My greatest defeats were always followed by my greatest victories, my greatest disappointments followed by my great loves.

I actually got unceremoniously dumped (yes, it happens!!!) one summer, and 6 months later, on Valentine’s Day, my husband John proposed, and the happiest 18 years of my life ensued. I could never have predicted what was going to happen. It came right out of the blue, when John and his wife separated and divorced, and he stunned me by asking me out a few months later, and 18 years of marriage and 8 children happened after that. So you really never know what’s going to happen. And I’ve watched it happen to my children too. One of them was heartbroken over a failed marriage, and a year later is married to a wonderful man and expecting a baby. You just never know.

So if this year doesn’t look like it’s going to be a winner in the lottery of Valentine’s Day, wait and see, next year you may be on top of the world with the person of your dreams, having the best Valentine’s Day of your life. Tomorrow is just one year, one chapter in your life… my hope for you is a wonderful Valentine’s Day, and that all your dreams come true. And if it isn’t tomorrow, next year may be your lucky year. And if you are in the throes of a grand romance with romantic plans for tomorrow, good for you!!!

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day—–and be sure to eat all the chocolate you can!!!

All my love,