Archive for the ‘Current Events’ Category

9/11/17, “In Memory”

Posted on September 11, 2017

 

Hi Everyone,
 

Wow…time seems to be flying too quickly, as always, and as I get back to serious writing in the fall, the date struck me a few days ago, and I was shocked to realize that today is not only the anniversary of September 11, but it is the SIXTEENTH anniversary of it. Sixteen years? Is that possible? I think it is one of the most striking moments of our history, one of two in my lifetime, the other being the assassination of John F. Kennedy when I was still a kid in school. Others have compared 9/11 to Pearl Harbour, when America was attacked on its own turf, and it catapulted us into World War II. I suppose the beginning of every war is that way, whether the First World War, or the Second. Fortunately 9/11 did not lead to a war but was certainly a life changing event for all of us.
 

As with the Kennedy assassination, I think all of us remember where we were when we heard about 9/11. I was in bed, asleep in California, around 6 am, some of my kids were still young then, so I had a nanny to help me with them. It was around 9 am in the East. And the nanny I had was a sweet woman, she was English, and had that very dry, crisp style that some English women have. She came into my bedroom and woke me up, and said in a strong official voice, “America is under attack. I thought you should know”. Thought I should know?? Was she kidding? But no one kids about something like that. I woke up instantly and sat up and asked what she meant by “under attack”. I had visions of New York being bombed. I had a daughter in New York at the time, and another one in Washington, DC. I turned on the TV, just in time to see the second tower go down. And I was finally able to reach my daughter in DC, and asked if she was okay. She sounded mystified, and had no idea what had happened. She lived relatively close to the Pentagon, and she looked out the window as we were talking, and couldn’t believe her eyes, as smoke poured out of the Pentagon, after the plane had crashed into it. I would have liked to bring both daughters in the East home to California, but there was no easy way to get them out, since the airports were closed, and stayed closed for many days.
 

My first thoughts were for my children’s safety, and it took hours to absorb what had happened in a broader sense. Watching the ongoing news on TV, and seeing the building collapse, it looked like a science fiction movie. It just couldn’t be real…..could it? The World Trade Center collapsing? That just wasn’t possible. I watched the news on TV all that day, and little by little it began to sink in. The image of people leaping from the building, some holding hands, is an image I will never forget. So many people affected, so many lives lost, so many dreams shattered on that day. 2,996 people killed, and more than 6,000 wounded. And so many stories of incredible bravery. It truly is a day none of us will ever forget, nor should we. And that incredible feeling of having been invaded, violated, attacked on our home turf. Where do you feel safe after that?
 

I spent the entire day watching TV with friends, and one of them said “This is going to change everything, our lives will never be the same again”. I thought that was an exaggerated statement, and couldn’t see what he meant. But with hindsight, I know now that he was 100% right. Travel has changed radically, and the rules at airports get more stringent every day. It’s a good thing, and ultimately protects us from another 9/11, but it’s a sad statement about our world, that some people have evil intentions and want to hurt the rest of us. (We have seen smaller versions of it in many countries, including our own for the past sixteen years). It has certainly made travel infinitely more complicated, all the safety measures we go through now, that didn’t exist before….and the concerns, the fears. My children always call me now before a flight, just to tell me that they love me, they started doing that after 9/11, and I always know that they’re not just saying I love you, they’re saying goodbye in case they never call again. What a terrible thought. And I call them before I fly too, for the same reason. We never discuss the reasoning behind the call, we just do it. But there is an instant when I last see them, before they fly somewhere, or I do, when we cling to each other for just an extra second or two, in case it’s our last chance to do so.
 

Like any act of terrorism or violence, 9/11 has marked us. The scars will always be there, for the families and survivors of the brave men and women who died there. We heal in time, but there is no question, an event of that magnitude is life changing in every possible way. Historically, personally, nationally, internationally. It was a terrible, terrible event.
 

I couldn’t let this day go by without acknowledging it—-without sending my deepest sympathy and tender compassion to those who lived through it, and the families and loved ones of those who didn’t. I hope nothing like it ever happens again. I’m sure we all hope that.  May our prayers be heard for a more peaceful world.
 

With deepest condolences, yet again 16 years later, and all my love, Danielle

Filed Under Current Events | 7 Comments

8/28/17, “Fight!”

Posted on August 28, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well with you and life is going smoothly. I’ve been back at work and VERY busy writing, and revving up for September, right around the corner!!

I did something atypical for me and interesting this weekend. It’s a nice counterpoint and balance to the fashion shows I report to you from Paris!! (And possibly a relief for those who read my blog and don’t want to hear about fashion). Like a great many people, I watched the Conor McGregor/ Floyd Mayweather fight in Las Vegas—I saw it on TV, not in person. The seats apparently were selling for an absolute fortune, thousands of dollars, and I was told that some of the best seats sold for $40,000. From what I saw on TV, it was a star studded audience of famous people and celebrities, masses of enthusiasts and supporters, the hype beforehand was enormous, and the excitement in the fight location was palpable. It was a BIG event!!! I’ve only been to one actual prize fight in my life, because I knew the organizer, but it was small town, small scale, and a minor event. It looked messy more than glamourous or organized (and I didn’t enjoy it, or ever want to see a boxing match again). And as those of you who follow the sport know, Floyd Mayweather came out of retirement, at 40, for this fight, which was a HUGE money making event, with millions to be gained from it, for the promoters, and the fighters. It was a very big deal. Also, an unusual event because Conor McGregor is an experienced ‘cage fighter’ in the MMA, so not a traditional boxer. It was his first official boxing event, and he couldn’t use the variety of skills that he can in cage fighting.

The idea of watching two men beat each other up, as a ‘fun’ spectator sport has never appealed to me, and is certainly violent, but the attention around it was hard to resist, so I decided to watch it. At the one boxing event I went to years ago, I had a front row seat which was a lot closer to the action than I’d ever want to be. Sitting at home, watching it on TV, made it a much ‘cleaner’ event, gave me enough distance to be comfortable, and was a lot easier to watch. And I found it fascinating. One of the elements I found interesting was that Mayweather came out of retirement for the fight, and said it would be his last one, so a final victory and undefeated fight as the last one in his career heightened the tension around the fight. He had a perfect record of never having lost a fight which seemed remarkable. His opponent, Conor McGregor, who is Irish, is 29 years old, and has a long career ahead of him, to make up for it if he lost the fight to Mayweather. Mayweather is certainly a colorful persona, who wears flashy boxing outfits, and has lots to say, which makes it that much more fun to watch. (There’s a fashion element here after all!!). He entered the ring wearing a black and gold robe (his entire support team wore matching ones), black and gold shorts and matching shoes. McGregor wore less flashy white shorts, and was draped in the Irish flag when he walked in. And both men were obviously talented professionals. I was impressed by the main referee as well, when he reminded both fighters of the rules at the beginning, before the fight started. I was also startled, while watching the fight, by how little time they had between rounds, to recover and catch their breath in their corners, while their supporters ministered to them. (They applied ice bags to McGregor after each round).

Experience-wise, apparently McGregor was at a disadvantage, as apparently cage fighting only goes 5 rounds (and boxing events 12 rounds), so the concern was that he wouldn’t have the endurance to go twelve rounds—-and in fact he didn’t. After the 5th round, he looked seriously winded, and rapidly started to look worn out in subsequent rounds.

In the first three or four rounds, McGregor swung a lot at Mayweather, and landed a lot of punches, some of them not acceptable in boxing: several hard punches to the back of his opponent’s head. Mayweather let McGregor use up his energy and his best shots in the early rounds, and let him wear himself out, and as the fight progressed, Mayweather came to life, and his expertise and skill became apparent as he honed in on McGregor and began hitting hard. In the ninth round, it became clear that McGregor wouldn’t hold up much longer, and began to look dazed. And in the tenth round, Mayweather used all the strength, experience and skill that has won him a career of wins, and landed at least a dozen punches, that McGregor could no longer ward off and return, and when the fight became entirely one sided, with McGregor no longer able to defend himself, the referee ended it and declared it a victory for Mayweather with a TKO (Technical knockout, he wasn’t unconscious, or on the floor, but McGregor’s ability to fight was over. It would have been cruel, and potentially dangerous if the fight had continued past that point.) I thought that the referee ended the fight at exactly the right time, when it was no longer sport or entertainment, the victory was clearly Mayweather’s, and McGregor would surely have been in danger had it continued. I thought the referee did his job well.

What impressed me most, and I really liked, beyond the sport and the hype and the excitement in the room, and the spectacle of it, was the good sportsmanship instantly shown by BOTH fighters, immediately when the fight ended. There was no gloating, no malice, not even disappointment on McGregor’s part. For those first instants after the fight ended, the two men smiled at each other, hugged, talked, congratulated each other, and each immediately sung their opponent’s praises when mikes were pushed into their faces for comments. They had nothing but good things to say about each other. It was really a good fight, the audience got their money’s worth with ten rounds full of action, and an end to the fight which was reasonable and responsible. It’s always disappointing not to win, and McGregor must have felt some of that, but it didn’t show. He looked excited and happy to have been there at all, and the respect between the two men was impressive. In so many sports, you don’t see that kind of sportsmanship, and you see angry players, who stomp around, glare at each other, behave badly, and claim they were cheated out of their victory by someone, and can’t simply accept graciously that they lost. There was none of that here!!! And it was noteworthy that Mayweather was able to finish his career with a final victory making him undefeated for all 50 fights of his career, an extraordinary record.

So there was no official fashion show, gorgeous models were not heading down the runway, showing next year’s fashions, and there was no bride at the end of an haute couture show, no designers took a bow, as they do at the events I usually go to, but it was interesting and different for me to see it. It was a milestone event for both men, McGregor’s first official boxing match, against a formidable opponent, and a final win in Mayweather’s undefeated career. A great deal of money was made on all sides, all aspects of the sport were respected, the fans got to watch an action packed boxing match between two impressive pros, and Mayweather can go back into retirement with a final victory to his credit. And it’s back to fashion shows in Paris for me!!

love, Danielle

Filed Under Current Events | 2 Comments

8/7/17, God Bless America!

Posted on August 7, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I’m still a little dazed from travelling, moving around a lot in the last few weeks, and a vacation with my kids, and now getting back to work. I’ve been doing re-writes (on books) all week. And I had a REALLY lovely experience I want to share with you.

One of my employees, a wonderful woman, became an American citizen this week, and I was honored to be invited to the ceremony. I’ve never been to one before, and I was thrilled to go. I knew it was an important moment for her. She is Italian, and grew up in England, and has been in the US for more than 30 years, with a green card, and decided to become a citizen. And the ceremony was beautifully organized, and very touching. It was held in really lovely theater from the 1930’s, there were 1,014 people naturalized, from 92 countries. And everything was perfectly planned from the moment we got there.

While we waited for the ceremony to start there were films of various beautiful parts of the US, and some wonderful film clips of Ellis Island, which is a fascinating place, which I’ve researched in the past for several books. The stories of immigrants there in the early days are very touching, and they have remarkable records, where you can find your ancestors in the ledgers of immigrants going back over 100 years. We were greeted by various Federal employees, a chorus sang, and there was a mounting sense of excitement as we waited for the new citizens to take the oath. It’s a long, long process for many, until they get to the final event. We saw a wonderful film clip from Madeleine Albright, the previous ambassador to the UN, and Secretary of State (under Clinton). who was apparently Czechoslovakian, and came to the US at eleven. She gave a very moving talk of what it meant to her then and now. There were a few more speeches, we sang the Star Spangled Banner, pledged allegiance to the flag, and then finally the oath was administered and 1,014 people became Americans. What touched me profoundly was how excited and thrilled they were, and how much it obviously meant to them. To those of us born here, we take our citizenship and freedoms for granted much of the time, and then you see how much it means to others, how they have struggled for it, and wished for it, it really makes you realize how precious those freedoms are, and what a gift.

After the ceremony, people milled around outside with a festive feeling and atmosphere, then a group of us went to lunch to celebrate with her. It was a fun day, and a very special moment I was proud to share!!

The other excitement of my week was official, but less patriotic, and a lot less fun—Upon renewal of a drivers’ license in California now, you have to take the written test, every five years. The booklet of questions to prepare you for it is 80 pages long, with sooo MUCH to remember. I passed, but was terrified I wouldn’t.

So I’m keeping busy and having fun. It was a very ‘official’ week for me!!! I hope you’re having a great summer!!!

lots of love, Danielle

7/31/17, Two weeks “off”?

Posted on July 31, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I apologize for not writing to you for the last two weeks. I don’t know if they qualify as “off”. The time has flown. It has actually been an insanely busy couple of months, and especially for the last two weeks. I barely got a minute to sit down, and answer a letter or write a blog, or keep up with returning phone calls. Five of my children visited me for 10 days, and we went away for 6 days of it, as we do every year. I had a lot of things to do in my house, I had a re-write to do on a book, I decided to weed some things out in my house and sold some furniture, and with one thing and another, I haven’t stopped for two weeks. The vacation with my children was really lovely, and I’m always grateful for the time we spend together. The time just whizzed by, and 6 days for a vacation just isn’t very long. By the time you get settled, wherever you go, it’s time to pack up and leave. They left a week ago, and I haven’t stopped since!!! I’m going to be seeing them again in August.

I also went to New York and saw 3 of my daughters there, and met up with friends from Paris, who had three of their children with them. We’ve had some good times and good meals out together. Now tomorrow it’s back to real life, and I have another re-write to do. I do many, many re writes before a book finally gets published. It takes a couple of years from when I write a book until it gets into your hands.

One nice thing happened this summer, aside from seeing my children which I always love—my three little dogs have finally gotten used to each other, and seem happy together now. It was a hard adjustment, the third dog really upset the apple cart, and REALLY upset one of my other dogs—but she’s grown up and is less of a puppy now, and the three are finally friends. It took nine months—-and when I added the second dog four years ago, it took six months for them to adapt and bond. But we are finally getting there now.

So it’s back to the grind for me now, time to get back to work. The vacation is over. Thank you for your patience!!! I’ll be hunkering down with the typewriter tonight and for the next several weeks!!!

lots of love, Danielle

7/10/17, Fabulous Again!!

Posted on July 10, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a great Fourth of July, and did something really fun!!!

I didn’t get to celebrate the fourth, but I had a fun time going to the Chanel Haute Couture Fashion Show, with one of my daughters (who works in fashion herself, and had just put on a beautiful fashion show two days before.) As I’ve mentioned before, the stage setting at the Chanel shows are just AMAZING!! Not just the fashions. For one of his recent shows, they had a rocket ship center stage—a life size model of one, which was cleverly built to look like it was taking off. It was incredible. This time, they had built a replica of the Eiffel Tower inside the Grand Palais, where they hold their shows. And the top of it was enveloped in fog (smoke blowing at the top of it). I am always mesmerized by the scenery as much as the fashions. I can’t even imagine what goes into building those sets!!!

The show was very beautiful, and the clothes were just lovely—-for the fall/winter season. It’s always a special treat to go to their fashion shows, and I am always in awe of the genius and talent of the designer, Karl Lagerfeld, who is well into his 80’s now and still going strong, and a powerhouse and legend in fashion. It’s wonderful to see someone so full of talent, still creating, still innovative and still inspired—it’s inspiring just to see what he does. Time has not dimmed his talent or slowed down his creative genius!!!

Other than that, I have a new book that came out last week, “The Duchess”, it’s a historical novel set in the 19th century in England and Paris, about a young woman who, according to the laws of the times, inherits nothing when her father dies, and is turned away by her nasty half-brothers (Only men could inherit then, in England). From a privileged protected life, with an adoring father, she finds herself alone in the world, with no skills, no allies, no one to protect her. She goes to Paris, and through a series of unexpected events, she opens a brothel at the age of 20 or 21, and runs the most glittering, glamourous brothel in Paris, and finds herself at the center of power, surrounded by the most important men of the times. She eventually goes to America, and has a whole new life there, and the book is about how she turns adversity into a quite remarkable life, and what happens after that. It’s a different theme for me, and I hope you love it!!! A fun summer read for the beach or wherever you spend time this summer!!!

Have a great week!!
lots and lots of love, Danielle

7/3/17, Happy 4th

Posted on July 3, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’re enjoying a long weekend, and in the midst of barbecues, picnics, lots of celebrations, some down time, and time off work!!!

I had a really exciting experience yesterday. As you know, three of my daughters work in fashion, and regularly put on fashion shows for the designers they work for, to show the next season’s collection. Ready to wear fashion shows are a big deal these days, a lot of money is spent on them, and they really are spectacular and exciting to go to. I’ve never been able to see the shows done by one of my daughters. I’m never in the right city at the right time. And yesterday, I had a fabulous treat and saw her show for the first time. She is the collection consultant, which means she does the research before the collection is designed, coming up with ideas, suggestions, and directions for the next season’s collection. Then there are lots of design meetings, as the ideas take shape, fabric meetings, more research, and at the very end of all that, the samples of the collection are made, meticulous fittings, the models are hired, and on the day of the show, my daughter is back stage watching every look, every accessory, and watching the girls go out on the runway to wow the audience. I know what kind of work goes into it, she works till all hours at night preparing the show, and the night before the show, she is up all night, watching the sewers finish, and checking every detail till the very last minute. It is meticulous, grueling, exacting work—-exciting for us to see, but a HUGE amount goes into it behind the scenes. And after the show, they are involved in how it’s sold, the look book, photography, etc.

Just as a spectator, people worry for weeks about what they will wear just to SEE a show—there’s lots of press there from all over the world, usually famous people, and all the important editors from fashion magazines. Dame Anna Wintour (recently knighted by Queen Elizabeth II), the publisher in chief of Vogue, goes to all the shows, and was there yesterday, looking very glamourous as always.

The weather played tricks on us all. A week ago it was 100 degrees in Paris. For the past few days it was in the 50’s….brrrr…..freezing for July. And the day of the show it was pouring rain. The Proenza Schouler show was held in the courtyard of a beautiful old school in Pigalle, under the overhang of the stone building, so we were dry. And the clothes were absolutely spectacular!! I want all of it!!! Glamourous, beautiful, feminine, just gorgeous clothes. It was a very special event, because it was a ready to wear show during the Haute Couture week (of all handmade clothes). There was lots of embroidery and handmade details, a gorgeous evening jacket made all of feathers. Even the shoes were fun!! They make beautiful clothes. I was sooo proud as a mother to be there, knowing that my daughter was part of the whole creative team that put it together. It was a beautiful event—-and a HUGE treat for me!!! And right after the show, the whole creative team went off for a meeting, after being up all night!!! They work VERY hard in fashion!!!

And now tomorrow is the 4th of July. Have a fantastic one!! I will be spending it with 2 of my daughters. I hope you have a fabulous day, and see fireworks at night!!! Happy 4th, and please be careful on the roads, it’s a busy holiday!!!

lots of love, Danielle

6/12/17, One Love

Posted on June 12, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope things are going smoothly and happily for you.

I was so touched by something last week that I just wanted to share it with you, although I’m sure you know about it too.

After the recent terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, with many injuries and deaths—– Ms. Grande organized and performed at a benefit concert in Manchester on June 4th, the proceeds to benefit those injured at the original concert.  It was a star studded, and deeply moving evening with performances by Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Pharrell Williams, Black Eyed Peas, and Robbie Williams, and other performers and bands. Fifty thousand people attended, and THIRTEEN million dollars were raised, from donations and ticket sales, with more still coming in. The response was overwhelming, and the cause so worthwhile. Ms. Grande has volunteered to pay for the funerals of those who died in the attack. The One Love Manchester concert was such a brave and heartwarming thing to do, appreciated by all.

I saw a video of the concert and in particular her final song, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. Watching her perform, seeing her cry, seeing tears running down the faces of the people in the audience, it ripped my heart out and I just sat there and cried.

My niece was gravely injured in the terrorist attack in Brussels a year ago, but has survived, with incredible spirit and courage. So many others have been injured and have died in these horrifying senseless attacks. More attacks in London recently, after the carnage in Manchester. Another stabbing. New attacks in France only this week—-with a hammer, with machetes. The Bataclan attack, Nice last summer. When will it stop? Where is this taking us? How long will fear and terror and senseless destruction impact us and control us?

This has to stop. Somewhere Over the Rainbow has to be Now. The pain of lost loved ones and devastated lives HAS to stop. May One Love Manchester, and the loving gesture of Ariana Grande put balm on the wounds and get us back on the right path. Now. Kudos and my admiration to Ariana Grande, and once again my heartfelt sympathy to those who suffered injuries, or losses in Manchester, and all of the attacks.

with all my love, Danielle

PS reading your very touching comments to last week’s blog, about the foundation we established in my son’s honor:

I just want to tell Laura how very, very sorry I am about your nephew. You have my very deepest sympathy. And only a month later, you are probably still in shock about the loss. These tragic deaths by suicide are very hard to live with. I came to realize that, although we did absolutely everything we could to save Nick and help him, in the end, it was his decision and we couldn’t stop him. He once said to me “If I want to do this, Mom, you can’t stop me”. He was right, we couldn’t, we tried very hard. In some cases, you can turn the tides, but in other cases, you can’t. Try to know that you couldn’t change what happened, it wasn’t in your control, it was in his. You will always miss him, but in time, you will feel more peaceful about it. The loss is huge, but in time, you will laugh and smile when you think of him, remember silly things he did, and fun times you shared. Those we love and lose stay in our hearts forever. My deepest sympathy to you, love, Danielle

And to Keyla, who “feels so lost that nothing makes sense”, and asks what to do when you feel that way. The answer for each of us is different. For some it is medication which helps, for others its religion, for others talking to a friend, or a counselor or therapist. A friend may bring you comfort, or cuddling a pet, or a loved one may say things that resonate for you, or a 12 step group, a support group of some kind, or exercise, or going for a walk every day, or yoga. The answer is different for each of us. Try to reach out for what makes the most sense to you, and just as life seems worse at times, it also gets better. Hang on for that time, and try to find what feels best to you, and makes your life better again. love, Danielle

5/30/17, “The summer begins…”

Posted on May 30, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day, and had a long weekend!!!

Memorial Day is when we remember those fallen in combat and war, a serious holiday, but it is also the very beginning of summer. It’s not hot everywhere yet, but the weather is warmer, and for many people it’s their first weekend away, to mark the beginning of summer. Every year we scrubbed and cleaned and painted and organized our country house for the summer, and I helped my children do that two weeks ago. It’s fun to get everything ready for the summer. I spent the weekend writing, but I love knowing that summer is just around the corner and I’ll take some time off soon—not quite yet though. I took a few days off last week to read a book and enjoyed it, but I’m back at work now. So my summer hasn’t quite started yet, but I’m looking forward to it!!

I hope you got to enjoy the three day weekend. Children will be out of school soon, and parents will be busy keeping them entertained all summer, and I hope you’ll be able to take some vacation time this summer, to sleep late, go to the beach, or lie in a hammock and read. What a heavenly thought!!!

I’m looking forward to some downtime this summer, and hope you are too!!! I worked hard writing books all winter!!

I’ve been thinking a lot about the victims of the attack at the concert in Manchester, England. So troubling and so heart breaking to think of young people being targeted for an attack like that, or anyone. So cruel. I hope we see the end of events like that soon. And my thoughts are with the victims, and their families, and the injured who will have a long road to recover. My prayers are with them. This is an unseen war, which explodes periodically, attacking the innocent, in this case, young people, teenagers and children. Our Memorial Day should include them too. May our troubled world come to a place of peace soon.

Have a terrific, peaceful, safe, happy week!!!

love, Danielle

5/22/17, Reese!!

Posted on May 22, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’ve had a great week. I’ve had a fun, varied, busy one. A wonderful Mother’s Day with my kids a week ago, and busy days since then. I’m in a frenzy of spring cleaning, cleaning out closets, getting rid of clothes I don’t wear (some very entertaining—-and embarrassing—-fashion mistakes, where I manage to forget both my height (5 feet 1 and a half inches!!) and my age, or some trendy things I never should have bought.) When I clean out my closets, I give the best of what I find to my five daughters, give a choice piece now and then to a friend, and sometimes donate or sell the rest. Every May, I spend a couple days with one of my daughters cleaning and scrubbing and refreshing the country house that five of my children share, which they own now, and where we spent summers when they were growing up. The place is 160 years old, and its hard work keeping it in good order, but I always enjoy projects like that. A book takes me more than two years to write, sometimes three, from my first notes on the concept, to outline, first draft, to the many re-writes I do, before the book is finally printed and then published at last. It’s a long process of honing, cleaning, building, editing—–but you take a messy, or tired, or dusty house, or a pile of things to get rid of and repair, or clean out a closet, and presto magic, within hours or a few days, you see the shining results right before your eyes. It’s so gratifying to get results on a project with a rapid beginning and an end. So I’ve been busy with that, found time to read a book I enjoyed, while I take a little break from my own writing (I never read other books while I’m working on my own), went to a dance recital and a school play.

But the highlight of my week was a very special visit. A few weeks ago, while in New York, I went to a birthday party with two of my daughters. The birthday boy was a good friend, a talented young fashion journalist, who knows and has interviewed some major stars. His birthday party was a fun event, at a bar that was taken over for the event. And there was a wonderful mix of young, talented, writers, actors, artists, business people, and some very famous people who were exciting to meet. Among them, I was thrilled to meet Reese Witherspoon, and have always been a big fan of hers. I love her romantic comedies, and also this week, I ‘binge-watched’ her recent TV series “Big Little Lies” and LOVED it!!! It’s a terrific series of 7 episodes, which has been a big hit, with some great surprises in it, and some wonderful actors and actresses (Nicole Kidman) in the cast. Reese is both acting and producing now, with enormous talent at both. I loved chatting with her at the birthday party, and decided to be brave (I’m normally pretty shy, and don’t like to intrude on people), and emailed her after we met, and told her how much I enjoyed meeting her, and how much I enjoy her work. A lively, friendly email exchange ensued in the past few weeks, and we discovered that we were both going to be in the same city this week, and agreed to get together—–and we did!!! What a treat!! She’s a beautiful woman, incredibly bright, enterprising, creative, talented, and full of exciting ideas. She was busy in the midst of a trip, and I had no idea if she could only spare half an hour or more. We wound up spending three hours together, talked incessantly, about her work and mine. I would love to do a project with her, and we kicked around some ideas. We both talked a mile a minute, about life, our work, our families, our plans, and our wish list of what we want to do next. In the 90’s, a meeting at a dinner party led to my 21 TV movies, and it would be a dream come true if our meeting at that birthday party led to our working together one day. And if not, I am thrilled to just know her as a friend. The time we spent together was a gift. She is warm, lively, vivacious, gracious to everyone who approaches her, she is an absolutely delightful woman, and I loved every minute of the time we spent together. And it is soooo invigorating to talk to someone full of energy and ideas. The time flew by. I could have talked to her for another ten hours, and look forward to seeing her again!!

It’s not every day I get to meet a movie star, and get to spend hours with her, talking about our lives and work. I spend most of my time locked up in my office, writing my books—or with my kids, when I’m lucky enough to spend time with them. So meeting Reese Witherspoon was a great big fabulous treat, like a super duper fantastic chocolate cake with whipped cream on top!!! Spending time with her made it a very special week!!!

I hope you have a wonderful week!! I don’t see how this coming week can possibly be as exciting as the last one was for me—-unless I get to see Reese again—-and I hope I will soon!!! Have a great week!!!

love, Danielle

PS. In response to some of your questions at the end of last week’s blog.

The little book I mentioned, with the house story, of the woman who hated her house, and then made it beautiful and she came to love it once she embraced it: The book is called “Gratitude: Affirming the Good things in Life”, by Melody Beattie, published by Ballantine. It may be out of print, I’ve had it for a long time, but it’s a wonderful little book.

In response to your asking if I’ve written a sequel to one of my books—-No, I haven’t. I have never written a sequel to any of my books. I don’t like comparisons, where people may prefer the first book, and might be disappointed by the sequel, so I never write them. Or at least I haven’t yet.

And one of you referred to my ‘flip phone’, because I admitted to using a VERY old cell phone that I love—–mine PRE-dates the flip phone, and is a tiny little Nokia, that has fallen on the floor a million times and doesn’t break. It lights up when a call comes in, or when there’s a message on it. I just love that little phone. I’ve heard that Nokia is going to make a modern version that looks the same, and I don’t know if that’s true. It is definitely a dinosaur but a beloved one. My kids and friends make fun of it—-but I just love that little phone, and I’m sticking with it, as long as there is life in it!!! love, Danielle

5/8/17, Happy Mother’s Day

Posted on May 8, 2017

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’ve had a great week since I last wrote to you!! My favorite holiday is coming up this week, on Sunday, Mother’s Day. I always say I love it, because I get presents and don’t have to get a year older!! Definitely a plus!! And I think I have every Mother’s Day gift my kids ever gave me: I still use a slightly battered Kleenex box my kids decorated for me, all the usual soup can pen and pencil holders. Several decorated jewelry boxes. One of my sons made me a terrific table in woodshop when he was ten or eleven, which I still use in my office, for my computer when I send emails. He made it and painted it himself. I have drawings and paintings they made me, and ceramic hand prints they made in Kindergarten, and some ceramic fruits and vegetables that are so pretty I still have them in our family sitting room, mixed in with some antique Chinese ceramic objects (and they look great together!!). I have lots of needlepoint cushions the girls made for me, and some wonderful more sophisticated gifts they’ve given me as they got older. One of my favorites is an Italian sweater, black with gold and pearl letters on it that says “Mamma”—-I wear it every chance I get when I think I need to be identified as The Mom at a special occasion!!! So I have been utterly spoiled by my kids.

When I was married to their father, and the kids were younger, we made a BIG deal of mother’s day—but they still do, we have brunch together at home, and usually meet up again in the evening and go out to dinner. And I do it in two ‘sessions’ now, in two cities, so I can meet up with as many of them as possible, for those who live far away now. It’s a very, very special day for me.

I realize too that it’s not always an easy day. If your own mother is no longer around, it can be a hard day, or if the relationship with your mother is not an easy one (I’ve had that experience too). There have been some very important ‘adopted mothers’ in my life, growing up and as an adult, women who became extraordinary friends and role models for me, and whom I love and admire still to this day. Even if we don’t have a present mother, or an easy one, other sometimes older women can come into our lives and be an important force in our lives for love and support. And I’m very, very grateful to the women who did that for me and some who still do.

So whether you celebrate with your own mother, or a stand-in mother, or a favorite aunt, whether you are a mother yourself or not, it’s an important day to celebrate some of the relationships we have with other women who are important to us, or to be motherly ourselves for someone who needs us in that role, whether we are related by blood or not.

I hope this Mother’s Day will be wonderful for you, and that the special relationships in your lives that celebrate mothering in some way, will nurture you, or that you will be nurturing someone else.

Have a great day!!! And a wonderful week ahead, much love, Danielle