12/15/14, Busy Days

Hi Everyone,

It’s less than two weeks before Christmas, and I’ve definitely been busy on the holiday circuit, and with holiday activities, and it has been fun. It’s a nice time of year to spend time with people you care about and enjoy, not just the ‘have to go to’ parties or the ‘think I should’s’. I weeded those out a few years ago, so I get to spend time with people I really consider friends.

This week was a bit of a whirlwind. On Monday I gave a lunch for my women friends, we see each other pretty regularly, so there wasn’t a lot of ‘catch up’ to do, just talking about our plans for the holidays, our families, and latest news, and taking time out from the rush to enjoy each other and have a civilized lunch. There were 7 of us at lunch, since five others couldn’t make it. Almost all of us work, and several of them still have young school age kids at home, and those activities take precedence, for all of us. Or work obligations. It was really fun to have lunch, and to discover that one of the group is having a baby, her fourth, which is brave of her, since she has a big career as an attorney, and a cardiologist husband, and 3 older children, so she has a very full life, but is very excited about this baby. And we were all thrilled for her!! They don’t have baby showers in France, that’s an American tradition, but I’m going to have one for her before the baby comes.

On Tuesday, I had lunch with one of my closest friends, which we do often, to discuss whatever is happening in our lives and enjoy each other’s company. He’s a male best friend, so we also give each other the benefit of the opposite sex perspective on situations, and that can be very helpful at times!! We always have a wonderful time together! And that night, I was invited to an interesting dinner given by American friends, an ex-Ambassador and his wife. And they invited me and a friend to meet the new American Ambassador to France, who is a charming woman. The ambassadorial post in France is not given to a career diplomat, but always to a major supporter of the current president, so it brings some very interesting people to the job, which is an appointment by the President. It was a fun evening and a small dinner of about 10 people, so a good chance to talk to her.

On Wednesday, I had lunch with my co-producers of the song album I wrote the lyrics for last year. And it was nice to catch up with them, and that’s a whole different milieu, since music was very new to me, and not my usual professional world.

On Thursday (which is Saint Danielle Day in France, my saint’s day. Saint Danielle!!), I gave my Christmas party, with 30 good friends, it was what the French call a ‘dining cocktail party’, officially it’s a cocktail party, but that tells people that there will be enough food passed around, or set up on a table that you won’t starve to death if you decide to stay. And in France, all parties go longer, so people will come to a cocktail party and stay til 1 or 1:30 am, which is what happened. It was the group of my social circle in France, and we really had a nice time together, particularly because everyone knows each other well. It was fun!!

And on Friday, I had lunch with a women’s group (of 5 women) that I belong to, and we meet once a month, usually for dinner, but everyone is so busy right now that we met for lunch. And that was really fun too. We all gave each other small gifts, one of them gave me some ‘lotto’ tickets, and I won $10.00 !!!! And Friday night, I went to a Shabbat dinner at the friends who are having the baby. They have a Friday night dinner every week, where friends come for dinner, and stay for long conversations. The food is plentiful, the discussions interesting, the people varied, and their children and their children’s friends come to dinner too. It’s a warm family gathering that everyone enjoys, and I love being invited to their Friday night dinners, with the lighting of the candles, the opening prayer, the traditions, and the lively atmosphere after the formalities. It’s always a special evening to be with them and their friends.

And today, I stayed home to work, and started packing to leave. Tomorrow, my God daughter and her family are coming to dinner. She is four years old, incredibly adorable and irresistible, and we’ll all open presents under my Christmas tree. It has been a thrill to give the little girls I know my new children’s book, “Pretty Minnie in Paris!”, which has wonderful illustrations, and even glitter on the cover, and so far they have all loved it (and so have some of my grown up friends!!) It’s about a little teacup Chihuahua who lives in Paris, and loves to wear pretty clothes. And the illustrations by Kristi Valiant are fabulous!!!

So this week has been all pre-Christmas events, all of which I’ve enjoyed. And last weekend I stayed home to wrap presents—which I am terrible at, and they all look like someone was blindfolded while they did it. Wrapping presents is not my strong suit!!
And before I leave Paris, I’ll have lunch with another good friend, and on my last night here before the holidays, two friends are coming to dinner.

Next week, once I leave Paris, I’m going to spend a day with one of my daughters to celebrate her birthday and have dinner with her and her friends, on the way home. I have a business meeting too, and then back to California for all our family Christmas traditions, and a chance to see some friends too. And I give a lunch every year with Santa present for all the really little children I know. I’ve been doing that since my own children were that small.

So, as you can see, I’ve been caught up in the whirl of Christmas, still doing a lot of shopping, seeing a lot of friends, and still managing have time to work, on a new book outline, some re-writes, and editing a set of ‘galleys’, which is the last stage in “book production”, my last chance to make corrections before a book goes to the printer and is turned into an actual book.
I do love the busy-ness of Christmas, the chance to see friends I love, the excitement of finding just the right gift for someone and hoping they’ll be excited about it, and the quiet moments when you think about what it all means, and inevitably, you think of the people who were part of your Christmas and no longer are, like my late son Nick. There are always some very nostalgic bittersweet moments to the season, but on the whole, happiness prevails.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. I hope your Christmas is off to a good start, and even if it falls short in some way, or the people you love aren’t around, it is a finite number of days, and you know it will be over soon. Before it is, I hope you have some wonderful days and evenings, and some special moments with loved ones and friends.

I am thinking of you, and send you much love, on holidays, and at any other time.

all my love, danielle

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8 Comments so far
  1. Bonnie Hastings December 15, 2014 4:31 pm

    I enjoyed reading about your last few days. Thank you.

    I am so sorry about Nick, I too have lost loved ones.


  2. Keyla Marques December 16, 2014 5:07 am

    Someone is really having some fun.
    Well, theses days havent been the best ones for me. My dad sold my bycicle without even telling me. My mom wont ask my 42 yo sister to pay bills at home and when I told her that my sister need to help us with the bills, she told me I was jealous of my sister’s new cell phone.
    But, my fianceé is great to me and we are saving most of our money to buy an apartment next year. And at my job, Im great and my boss is helping me to grow and become a translator. Wish me luck.

    My God mother died last year and yesterday I arrived home and there was a small gift on the couch, without thinking properly, i thought it was a gift from her (because she always gave me presents before the date and my mom used to let them on the couch)…well, of course it wasnt. But I know she’s in a happy place. taking care of me.

    Merry Christmas.

  3. Carol December 16, 2014 10:44 am

    Hello Danielle,
    It was good to know that you do read the Comments..I don’t comment very often but have. We are the same age, and our Birthdays are a few months apart. I have told you about How I have all your Books ever written and I have collected them for years in Antique Stores. The only ones I do not have are your Poems, and Older Children Books..Its a great Collection and I love having them..some books more than the others, my favorites. I just finished reading A Perfect Life…It was very good..I like Blaise.
    Many years ago you actually did response to me, when I first started collecting your books, and you let me know how to access the Names of the books, I still have the email. Have always admired you Danielle, Paris and all…Have seen your Beautiful Home many times, Angels and all…
    Happy Holidays Danielle, I wish that you did have book signings once in a while, so that I can finally meet you.
    God Bless and thanks for sharing your busy last few weeks…

  4. Randi Portnoy December 18, 2014 5:11 am

    Good Morning Miss Steel. Over the years I have enjoyed reading all your books and I believe that I have. I noticed that you wrote a children’s book, I authored a children’s book HARLEE HUGS (Amazon)and self published it. Take a look at it and see what you think. I have been trying for the past year to market it, but I need an important author, such as yourself to promote my book. Thank you for your response

  5. Bozena December 18, 2014 9:46 am

    Dear Danielle I would like to meet you and tell you my life story. Please send me a message when you come to Europe.I’m from Poland, now I work and stay in Switzerland but with all my pleasure I will come to each counrty in Europe when you have a tours. Please don’t ignore my letter and answer for it.I send you my best wishes. Bozena.

  6. Shelly December 21, 2014 7:44 am

    Happy Holidays Miss Danielle!!,
    I am such a fan of yours. I love reading and writing and you have always been a huge inspiration for me. I started reading your books when I was 15 and I will be 40 on Jan.5 🙂 hehe. I still can’t believe it. I just finished reading ‘Sisters’ this morning! As always I fell in love with each of them! I also have 3 sisters and saw a little bit if myself in each one! I also have a 21 year old son who battles depression :(. I found your tribute to Nicks life and death to be very helpful. I hope you and your family/friends have a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I look forward to reading anything and everything you write! Much Love, Shelly

  7. Jina December 21, 2014 2:05 pm

    Excellent article! We are linking to thi great content on our site.
    Keep up thhe great writing.

  8. Krystal December 22, 2014 4:45 am

    Dear Danielle: I’m Krystal, from China. I’ve been reading your book ‘Until the End of Time’ these days. So attracted by the story ! I really enjoy it and I’m eager to finish it and then wanna translate it into Chinese to make it popular in China.