Archive for 2015

10/19/15, WOW!!! MVP Warriors’ Basketball Star Stephen Curry

Posted on October 19, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a great week and that all is going smoothly!!! We can all use more of that!!!

I had an absolutely fantastic experience with my daughter. Like everyone else, I go along through life, being with my family, doing my work, trying to keep up with the big and little stuff, seeing friends, and meeting ‘regular’ people. And then once in a while, through luck or my work, or even my kids, I meet someone extraordinary and very special. (like meeting Joel Osteen this summer, through a friend of a friend). My youngest daughter is a HUGE basketball fan and never misses a game. And she absolutely loved last season when the Warriors won the championship and her hero is MVP Stephen Curry. And luck smiled on us again, one of my daughters has a good friend who works in sports, and was able to arrange a meet and greet with the basketball star. It was too good to be true, and more than I ever hoped, and on my youngest’s birthday a few weeks ago, I was able to promise her she’d meet the star!! She nearly keeled over!! We were told we could come to their practice facility after a practice and she could say hello and shake his hand. And she asked me to come with her.

Steph Curry

The Big Day came, and we drove to Oakland, where the team practices (in a huge, spectacular gym). We followed the directions and found ourselves in the hallways of the Warriors’ facilities, nervous with anticipation, excited, even I had caught the bug by then and was excited to meet him. Everyone was wonderful to us, treated us like royalty, welcomed us warmly, we chatted with some people in the halls, an ex-basketball player who has a radio show and had come to interview him. The General Manager, Bob Myers, couldn’t have been nicer. The head of Communications made us feel welcome. And we got to watch Stephen Curry’s practice routine. I was as excited as my daughter by then, and she looked adorable in team tee shirt, hoodie, jeans, and sneakers in the team colors. (And I managed to wear royal blue, since royal blue and yellow are their colors). We hung around for an hour, soaking up the atmosphere and watching several of the players practice, my daughter recognized all the players she saw, as several of them went through their practice regimes in the enormous gym. And when he finished his, Stephen Curry walked over. He is strikingly handsome, and an outstanding, gifted athlete and a major star, and like some great people, what struck me about him immediately was his modesty, how humble he was, and how kind. He was absolutely wonderful to us, we talked about their victorious past season, how exciting it had been, and we talked about his daughters. He made my daughter feel special and important, wasn’t in a hurry and gave her all the time she wanted, and signed the team tee shirt she had brought. We thanked him for his kindness and his time, and then, smiling at her, he stooped down, took off his shoes, signed them and handed them to her, they were bright turquoise, an incredible trophy to go home with, and remarkable souvenir. We went home dazzled by him, and what an obviously special and extraordinary person he is. Just meeting him was a gift and a thrill, to be in the presence of such talent. He is diligent and disciplined about what he does, you can see it in the way he practices, and he was overwhelmingly nice to us. The whole experience was a thrill, it was everything my daughter hoped and more, and we were so grateful for all the people who made it possible and fun for us. And we’re going to put the signed tee shirt and shoes in a special case and hang it on the wall. Meeting Stephen Curry was a total WOWWWWW!!! And an unforgettable experience. I hope he and the team have a great season, and I will never forget his handing my daughter his shoes, a gratuitous generous incredibly thoughtful gesture. And after all is said and done, in addition to being a real star and an outstanding athlete, what a truly, genuinely nice person. We went home after that, giggling and laughing and excited. Some experiences don’t live up to what you hoped they would be, but this one far exceeded anything we could have imagined. It was just plain WOWWWW!!!!

love, Danielle

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10/12/15, Columbus Day Weekend

Posted on October 12, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a good week. I’ve been writing a lot, so I’ve been buried at my desk, not paying much attention to anything else or what goes on around me. I always seem to write more in the fall and winter, so I don’t feel guilty (or cheated) when I’m locked up and can’t go out in pretty weather.

Lots of noise over my desk though!!! Every year on the Columbus Day weekend, there is a big air show in San Francisco: the Blue Angels, Navy pilots in fighter planes flying in tight formation, and doing all kinds of breathtaking stunts and tricks—-and they make a HUGE amount of noise. They used to fly very low, I once literally saw the face of one of the pilots as they flew past my house. They dont fly as low now, I think the city complained. But they are very impressive, and practice all week over the Bay. Warships come into the Bay the week before and are still there. And every sailboat in the Bay is lined up to get a better view as they flash by. It really is impressive, though noisy when I try to write, and since this is high writing season for me (I’m always working on a book this time of year), it’s distracting while I try to write. But nonetheless impressive to watch. One year, it was foggy, as it often is in SF, and they had to cancel, and everyone was disappointed.

I heard that there were 2 more school shootings somewhere in the country this week. Please tell me the world hasn’t gone mad, and that this horrifying insanity will stop one of these days. You know how I feel about it, we all do.

I just finished a big writing project, and am hitting the road this week. This is one of my 4 city weeks when I visit all my kids as I trek across the world. I love doing it and seeing them. My dogs aren’t quite as happy about it, as I drag them with me too. And from the absurd to the ridiculous, my Chihuahuas will be ballerinas for Halloween this year!!! (last year bumble bees, the year before geisha girls). It’s good to do something silly and have a laugh sometimes. And they HATE their costumes, but they look so funny and cute.

Getting ready for Halloween….I can never resist it. The perfect excuse for chocolate in bite size candy bars, with the excuse that you’re giving them out to children (and I eat half of it myself!!!)

Take good care, be safe and happy, and I hope great things happen to you this coming week. Have a great one, and I just learned that I will be doing 4 Facebook ‘chats’ a year with readers from now on. I can’t wait!!!

All my good thoughts and love to you, Danielle

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10/5/15, Shootings

Posted on October 5, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’ve had a good, peaceful, productive week. Things are pretty busy after the first month of fall.

I don’t have the heart today to write to you about fashion shows—although Paris fashion week is still in full swing with the spring ready to wear collections—–or my opinions about love and marriage, or funny quotes. It’s a time for quiet musing, about the state of our country and our world.

Last Thursday, as I’m sure you know, there was a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, a small town of 22,000 people, which left 10 people injured and 10 dead (including the shooter). We CANNOT allow this to become a banal event, and ordinary occurrence in our lives. We just can’t. There are statistics flying around since the shooting that vary but essentially this was supposedly the 41st or 45th public shooting THIS YEAR, and the 141st in 3 years, since the tragedy at Sandy Hook, in addition to some random shootings in public places that left a smaller number of people dead. If you do the math on that, that means that there is approximately ONE shooting per week in public places like schools, colleges, or churches, or even in public restaurants. It means that the places that we send our children, or young adults, and assume they will be safe, are NOT safe by any means. You can send your kindergartner off to school now with their superhero lunch box and not be absolutely certain they’ll still be alive by lunchtime. If I had a school age child today, I would be terrified to send them to school. My youngest child graduated from college two years ago, and I would be just as panicked about her. But it’s not just schools, there are random shootings in churches now, so no one is entirely safe there. You might go to buy your groceries, or stop for a meal at a fast food restaurant, and it’s entirely possible that someone will open fire in the restaurant, leaving dead and injured victims everywhere, and grieving families in the news. What is happening to us? What are we not doing or seeing? What is wrong with our mental health care system that we are not identifying these very troubled people who commit these atrocious crimes, providing them the help they need, and stopping them before they kill innocent bystanders and children? Are we so blind to the troubled people among us? Do we not care? Are we afraid to speak up when we know that someone in our communities is putting the rest of us at risk? Is human life so totally without value that we just accept this now as a symptom of modern life? It is truly, truly shocking, beyond words. » read more »

9/28/15 Midnight Musings about Fashion

Posted on September 28, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is going smoothly in your life, and that the Fall is off to a good start, now that it’s officially here.

I was thinking about ‘fashion’ in general and specifically tonight. I write about it often, when I go to fashion shows, or see my daughters’ work. Three of my daughters are professional stylists and design consultants, to a variety of designers. All three of them have the same job, but perform it in very different ways, depending on who they’re working with, and their own individual styles. A design consultant works closely with the designer to develop their next collection, how it should look, what colors are strongest, fabrics, textures, details, and a huge amount of research and collaboration goes into putting the new collection together. They may be inspired by a period in history, a country, a culture, or even world events, or street culture. First they help develop the concept, and then in the case of one of my daughters, she does an immense amount of research, delving back into fashion books, and even looking at vintage pieces, for inspiration. And then the hands on work begins, helping to choose fabrics, seeing how they work, what colors work best with those designs, then they have samples cut and sewn and fit them on models to see how they move and drape, before cutting the actual clothes for the collection. And once the real samples are made, they fit them on the models who will wear them in the fashion show (and pick the models), and then their role as stylists comes in, as they put together each complete look that will be worn by a model on the runway, and the accessories that will help create that look. The tension before a fashion show is enormous, my girls stay at work long after midnight, and are often back at work at 6 or 7 am right before a show. And the day after a show, it’s not over, and then they begin shooting photographs for the “look book”, which buyers can refer to when they order the clothes. And by the time they finish that, a week after the show, they begin work on the next collection. Designers (who actually do the drawing of the designs) and their consultants work closely together, and have to come up with 3 major collections a year: spring, fall, and ‘resort/cruise’, which used to be beachwear people wore to resorts in the winter, and is now essentially an early spring collection. In addition, for spring and fall, they do a “pre-collection”, which is a simpler, more commercial, sometimes slightly less expensive version of what is shown on the runway. So you’re really talking about designing 5 collections a year, with the pre-collections. It’s a stunning amount of work, and that’s true for all brands, whether low, moderate, or high priced. “Fashion Week” happens twice a year, for the spring and fall collections, and is really fashion month. It starts with a week in New York, where American designers show their wares, then on to London for the British designers, Milan for the Italians, and then the grand finale in Paris, for all the French ready to wear designers. It is four intense weeks where magazine editors, the fashion press in general, store buyers, and anyone who follows fashion go from city to city for an exhausting month. It begins in early September in New York and goes into October, showing spring clothes for the stores to order, and then happens again in February, into March, to show the fall collections. One of my daughters actually worked all 4 cities at times, but mostly my daughters work in New York and Paris. All three are talented and work with major designers, and it’s a thrill for me every time to see the collections they worked on, and to see the influence they had, and the results of their hard work. I admire them immensely for how hard they work, and am very proud of the results. (I’m proud of all my kids, who work in very different fields, the eldest is a social worker in pediatric oncology, the youngest has a passion for music, two of my sons work in startups, and another works in the film industry. And my late son Nick was a talented musician, and lyricist, and lead singer in a band. And best of all, each is following their passions and expressing their individual talents.) » read more »

9/21/15, Love & Marriage

Posted on September 21, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a good week. I had a birthday last month (I always dread my birthdays, but I had a great one this year!!! With my children, we spent a weekend together, and REALLY enjoyed it). Minnie.cakeThe joke of the birthday was that my kids had a fantastic birthday cake made: it was a life size and life like sculpture of my two tiny Chihuahuas, Minnie and Blue, wearing tutus and tiaras. The cake showed them looking real, was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen, and the baker who made it was a genius. I was THRILLED with my birthday cake, and because it was so cute, I wouldn’t let the kids cut the cake——I wasn’t about to let them chop off a nose or an ear, or a paw when it looked so real and so adorable—-I spent the weekend protecting it, and made the family eat apple pie instead!!! And there were a LOT of complaints about it. I took the cake home after the weekend, untouched, like a work of art. It would be hard to top that cake!!!

I got wonderful gifts from my kids, even a pair of shoes that said “I Love U”, and lots of other gifts, shoes, sweaters, bracelets, a ring with a heart on it, all kinds of thoughtful things I loved and have been enjoying since. And I got a really sweet little tiny miniature book from a friend, with sayings about love and marriage that I found extremely touching and wise. (Including a very funny quote from Phyllis Diller that said “Don’t go to bed mad, stay up and fight”). The book is called “Words about Love” from the Orange Art Miniature Press. And I wanted to share my favorites with you here. Since you all know how much I love quotes!!!

– “Money can’t buy love, but it improves your bargaining position” – Laurence Peter

– “The great secret of successful marriage is to treat all disasters as incidents and none of the incidents as disasters” – Harold Nicholson.

– “Often the difference between a successful marriage and a mediocre one consists of leaving about 3 or 4 things a day unsaid” – Harlan Miller.

– “Be good to yourself, be excellent to others, and do everything with love” – John Wolf

– “We can do no great things, only small things with great love” – Mother Teresa

– “Love your neighbours—not the neighbours you pick out, but the ones you have” – Wendell Berry

– “A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person” – Mignon Mc Laughlin

– “Love has to be put into action, and that action is service” – Mother Teresa

– “Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward in the same direction” – Antoine de Saint Exupery.

I thought they were wise and helpful, and some good reminders!! Have a great week!!

love, Danielle

(Footnote: After writing this blog to you a few days ago, I was shocked yesterday to learn of the passing of my friend and very talented writer Jackie Collins. She was a wonderful woman, and apparently has been battling breast cancer in secret. We spoke several times only a few weeks ago, and she didnt even hint at it. We’ve been friends for many years, I admired her talent enormously, and loved her as a person. She was an incredibly kind friend, and helped me for several years with my son Nick’s foundation, and came to San Francisco to visit me. She will be greatly missed by all her friends, for her kindness, wit, sharp mind, beauty and great sense of humor……my deepest sympathy to her family and all who knew and loved her. A truly terrific woman. Farewell, beloved friend.)

Filed Under Family, Kids | 11 Comments

9/14/15, Nicky

Posted on September 14, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is well with you, and that your fall is rolling out nicely.
This is usually not an easy week for me. We all have our challenges in life, and my greatest one was losing my son Nick eighteen years ago, when he was 19. Those of you who’ve read my book about him, His Bright Light, know that he was bi-polar all his life. I suspected that something was wrong, or very different about him, when he was 18 months old, by the time he was four years old, he was fully and obviously bi-polar, although then people with bi polar disease were never diagnosed until their early 20’s. I spent years telling doctors his symptoms, always to be told that he was just very bright, or too bright, or ‘spoiled’, and not to worry. Today, children are diagnosed with bi polar disease, and treated with medication and therapy at three or four. In Nick’s case, his diagnosis was confirmed at 16, which was considered early then. The psychiatrist who diagnosed him was bi polar himself. And once medicated and treated, he had 3 great, mostly happy and VERY productive years until the end. He was hugely talented in music, as a musician and lead singer of a successful band. And despite his illness, he had a lot of fun, and gave us enormous joy. I always hasten to remind people that many, many, many people with bi-polar disease survive it, live well, manage it successfully, and have full, happy, and productive lives. Living with bi polar is challenging, like a lot of other illnesses, but can be successfully managed. Some are unlucky, like Nick, but many people survive it well. » read more »

9/7/15, Two Wolves

Posted on September 7, 2015

Hi Everyone,

One of the readers who made a comment to my blog post of August 24th, shared a wonderful quote: “The legend of the two wolves, Hope vs. Despair. Which one wins? The one that you feed.” That is so true and so inspiring. Thank you!!!

I just added some new quotes to my office wall, and moved one of my favorites to where I see it more directly. “One of the deep secrets of Life is that all that is really worth doing is what we do for others” by Lewis Carroll.

The reader who offered the quote about the wolves referred to the men who recently stopped an armed gunman on a train between Amsterdam and Paris. A man carrying an arsenal of weapons, including a machine gun, boarded the train, and injured three people before 3 American Servicemen and a British teacher stopped him, before anyone else could get injured. Miraculously, no one was killed. And their incredibly bold act of courage saved the lives of countless people on the train. It is shocking, heartbreaking and terrifying that acts of terrorism have now become not part of daily life, but a frequent occurrence: school shootings, shootings in public places, homemade bombs, suicide bombers due to mental illness or politics. Every time we go to large public gatherings, or even just go out to buy groceries, go to school, or take a trip we are facing the very real possibility that something unexpected and dangerous could happen. We can’t worry about it constantly, or hide at home, but the possibility is very real. The Boston Marathon, the attacks in Paris, shootings at Universities and even at elementary schools. It is becoming increasingly frequent, and alarming. One of the US Servicemen from the train said not to simply stand by and watch it happen, but to do something when it does. I cannot imagine having the courage to do that, and yet people become heroes every day when they step in and step up and save others. I cannot even imagine the sheer guts it must take to do that, the bravery and selflessness. Those who acted on that train were decorated three days later as heroes to whom the French government was grateful. » read more »

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8/31/15, Undercover

Posted on August 31, 2015

Hi Everyone,

Well, it’s the last day of August, and appears to be the end of the summer. Kids are back in school, fall is officially almost here, those of us who were taking time off this summer have done it, and I was lucky to have two vacations with my kids, one for 10 days in France with my younger children, and the other for a few days in the States with everyone for my birthday, it’s a good excuse to get together. I hope you got some time off to play, relax, get some sun, and rest before launching into Fall.

Tomorrow is an exciting day for me: my new hardcover novel will come out. “Undercover”. It’s a thriller, with surprises and twists and turns. It begins in the jungles of Colombia, with an Undercover agent placed in the drug cartels there, a different venue and subject for me, and exciting to write. It’s about two people in separate worlds, an Undercover agent in the DEA, who is then transferred back to Washington, DC, after years of living an entirely different identity. He is assigned a desk job in the Pentagon, which he hates, and then is loaned to the Secret Service on the Presidential detail. And while there, more excitement happens to him, and he eventually winds up in Paris. The other central character in the book is a young woman, daughter of an Ambassador assigned to Argentina, where she is kidnapped by revolutionaries, a life changing experience for her. She also winds up in Paris, later in the book, and finds herself in danger once again. The Undercover agent crosses paths with the Ambassador’s daughter, and they wind up on the run, escaping the dangerous men from their past. The book is exciting, covers a lot of territory, with interesting characters woven in and out, and some frightening and thrilling moments. I hope you read it and love it!!! I had a great time writing the book. And it’s especially fun to write something different, for a change of pace. I hope you enjoy it too!!

I hope your September gets off to a great start!!!

love, Danielle

Filed Under Books | 9 Comments

8/24/15, Whisper Thanks…

Posted on August 24, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I tackled a massive project recently: my desk. On the corner of my desk is a stacked “outbox”, where everything seems to wind up, bank information, literary contracts, birthday cards from my children, poems I’ve written, Christmas lists, and religious articles. Anything I’m not sure where to file, I put on the stack in my outbox, until it resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and if anyone moves too quickly, bumps into it, or adds a single piece of paper to it, it slides into an avalanche onto the floor. I clean it all out every few years, though I rarely go through it all. With a few hours to spare recently, I decided to attack it, put away the sentimental things, photos of friends….a photo of a man I dated a dozen years ago, birthday cards from my husband from longer ago than that. I decided to get rid of what was no longer relevant, file the business papers in my office, and get rid of the towering stack. There were things in it that went back twenty years, and I found some real treasures, some things that made me laugh, and of course a lot of junk. But some truly great stuff from my kids!!! I saved everything that was special or meant a lot to me, and put it all in a box.

And among the papers, I found some things that had inspired me and I was happy to find. And I thought I’d share two of them with you here, about love, and life.

The first one was written by Mary Baker Eddy: “I make strong demands on love, call for active witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements as its results. Unless these appear, I cast aside the word as a sham and counterfeit, having no ring of the true metal. Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness without activity and power”. I like that one a lot.

And the other one is anonymous but touched me too:
“If life is funny, it’s okay to laugh.
If it becomes too difficult, it’s okay to travel with a friend.
If life becomes tragic, it’s okay to cry.
If life becomes impossible, you still have to go on, you can never, ever give up.
If life becomes too lonely, look for someone to take your hand.

And if by some miracle, you find your dreams and they actually come true, remember to count your blessings and whisper thanks.”

I love that message a lot. Have a great week!!

love, Danielle

8/17/15, Breakfast of Champions

Posted on August 17, 2015

Hi Everyone,

Here we are in the middle of August, the summer is almost over, and thoughts are turning to Fall and making plans. September always seems exciting to me, maybe left over from my school days, but life begins anew in the Fall, new season, fall clothes, clean slate, and a burst of energy after the summer, to do new things. When the real new year starts in January, the weather is usually so dreary and depressing (unless you live in Hawaii or the Caribbean!!), but in September, everything starts over again, the cooler weather is invigorating, and the pace steps up as we get busier again after the summer. I actually have a new book coming out on September 1st: “Undercover”, about an undercover agent, fighting the Colombian drug cartels, lots of excitement and suspense!!! I hope you like it!!

So back to breakfast. My real breakfast is not too exciting. I eat the same thing every day: 1 piece of toast, and an iced decaf coffee, which seems to hit the spot as I start the day. I’m not much of an eater, and I share my single piece of toast with my 2 Chihuahuas, Minnie and Blue, who get very excited about it!!! So that’s the fuel I use to start my day, nothing too exotic, to say the least.

But I also try to feed my soul in the morning. Some days are better than others, and I try to keep a positive attitude, no matter what is going on—sometimes more successfully than others. Sometimes I think of the things that are worrying me as I wake up, not a great way to start the day. So I need a little boost to brush away the cobwebs. The first thing I do when I get up, even before my breakfast, is check my emails, to see if I have emails from my kids, my agent, editor, or publisher, or anything urgent. With half my life in Europe, it’s already the end of the afternoon there when I wake up early if I’m in the States, as emails come in from abroad while I’m sleeping. So I read through them first thing. What that means is that my first stop of the day is at the little table my youngest son made for me when he was about 10, in Woodshop, (it was for my birthday, I think, he made it and painted it) and I use it as my computer desk, with a little child’s antique chair. It’s a cozy set up in a corner of my office, since I only use my computer for emails, and not for writing my books. I’m always in my office by 8 am, no matter how late I go to bed (usually around 3 am, sometimes a little earlier or later if I’m writing). And first thing in my morning, I sit down at the little computer desk. So I put things on and around that desk to inspire me and start my day off right, and make me happy.
» read more »