Archive for 2020

11/30/20, Countdown Weeks Before the Holidays

Posted on November 30, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week last week, and a heartwarming Thanksgiving, as close to ‘normal’ as you could get it, or maybe a very different one that surprised you and suited you better. Sometimes when we least expect it and dread a change, the new version of something turns out better than the old one. Thanksgiving was definitely different this year. Trying to comply with the Covid rules and recommendations, our whole family didn’t fly home to home base/the mother ship this year, and each little group stayed in the cities where they are and celebrated in small groups of 2s and 3s. Some stuck firmly with the traditions of how we celebrate the holiday, what we do and eat—others made it more free form, with a different menu and style. We had two family face times, one of which allowed me to say grace to start the Thanksgiving meal, which really touched me and warmed my heart. We’re all doing the best we can in the pandemic.  Others, I know, traveled despite the suggestions not to, and I’m hoping that their doing so won’t shoot the numbers of Covid cases way up again. Let’s hope not, so we can get the current situation in control.

 

There seem to be a wide variety and degree of restrictions happening in various countries, states and cities, which are trying to bridge safety and health necessities, with helping the economy, and not shutting down commerce completely, and leaving stores open for Christmas. Trying to respect and salvage the holidays makes it even more challenging. In Europe and some US cities, the closure of restaurants and bars is a hard blow to restaurant owners, but restaurants and bars seem to be among the more dangerous locations, with people having their masks off to eat and drink, at close range in enclosed spaces. Individuals as well as governments are groping in the dark to try and figure out what’s safe and what isn’t. We’re all doing the best we can.

 

In another vein completely, I have a new book out for the holidays, “All That Glitters”, which I hope will distract people and provide a welcome escape from our challenges of the moment. I always try to bring out an uplifting book for the holidays, which makes a good gift. And my little quotation book “Expect a Miracle” is a gift straight from my heart, with all the quotes I love most.

 

We’re starting to decorate the house for Christmas, and trying to figure out how to celebrate it safely, and still honor the season.

 

One of my favorite Bible passages comes to mind especially this year. “God places the solitary in families.” I’ve always loved that, and the idea that even if you aren’t with your traditional family for the holidays, some other solution will happen that meets the need of those who are alone.

 

My thoughts are with you in this month before the holidays, that you will find a way to make the season bright for yourself and others. Even dark times can’t dim the light in our hearts, and the light of Hope, so essential to us all. One of the hardest things we’re all dealing with is uncertainty and how hard it is to make plans. Things seem to change constantly, but hopefully the changes are leading us to a good place and out of the darkness. Together, we will meet the challenge of these unusual times.

 

All my love to you now and in the coming weeks. We will win in the end!!!  I bought some silly Santas and put them on my kitchen table, a snow globe, and two music boxes that play Christmas carols, and the kitchen looks happy now. Corny always works for me!!!  I’m putting the last touches on my list of Christmas gifts, still a few left, even though I start in August. I think we can suspend Santa’s naughty and nice list this year, and assume we’ve all been Nice and deserve a reward of some kind. I send you lots of warm thoughts and virtual hugs in these countdown weeks before the holidays.

 

Stay safe!!!

 

all my love, Danielle

 

11/23/20, Happy Thanksgiving

Posted on November 23, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that everything leading up to the first of these important holidays has been as peaceful as possible. The Covid numbers have been alarming in the US in recent weeks, and most people I know have had to adjust their plans in some way. No one is unaffected by it. Families that are used to coming together from different cities, towns and states, have either tried to implement new measures to make it safer, and many have cancelled their family  reunion Thanksgiving plans. I’m sure you’ll each figure it out in the best way that works for you, while protecting family members. Eating meals indoors is the subject of great controversy these days, in every country, so it’s a challenge, and something of a practice run for Christmas, as each family asks themselves “what will make it safe and work for us?” It takes careful thought and planning especially for people with big families, or big groups of good friends who gather every year. We have 3 dear friends who join us every year, and sadly, they can’t join us this year, as we try to keep the numbers down for safety. Our family will celebrate Thanksgiving in small groups this year, in separate cities. A first for us.

 

And as complicated as the logistics may be, along with all the normal complications of any holiday, what seems most important is to respect and honor what the holiday is really about. Thanksgiving is about family and good friends, and gathering together to celebrate our blessings, not just about how good the stuffing is this year, or whose recipe it was, or how pretty the table looks, and if there was pecan pie or mince, and how delicious that was!!! I’m a pumpkin pie and apple pie person myself, with whipped cream (not ice cream)!! With an avalanche of good food, and either easy or difficult relatives around one table, we sometimes forget the deeper, underlying meaning of this holiday. Put aside the food, what you’re going to wear, and who’s going to be there, with a relative you love or one you loathe—-this holiday is ALL about gratitude. That’s it. That’s the whole show. It’s a MAJOR reminder to be thankful, to be grateful, to embrace and embody and express gratitude, within ourselves, and expressed to others, and even to be grateful to them.

 

Gratitude makes everything better, it adds magic to our lives. Whenever I am down about things, if I can find something to be grateful for, everything changes and gets better. It is so MUCH easier to focus on what we don’t have, what is wrong instead of what is right. No matter how bleak the picture, if we can get just one little glimpse of gratitude, of something or someone we are grateful for, it changes and improves everything, and spreads like magic!!

 

No matter how different Thanksgiving is this year, if the local government has forbidden Thanksgiving gatherings entirely, if you’re too afraid or it’s too complicated to get on a plane to be with your loved ones with the dangers of Covid all around us—no matter if you can’t see your family at all, or are alone, or are eating at Mc Donald’s, instead of your favorite family member’s home, and even if you do get home, and if people are on edge in the pandemic and it’s not how it usually is,—- The more you focus on gratitude, the more you can remember what you are TRULY grateful for, the more blessed and bountiful Thanksgiving will be, for you and all those around you. And I know it’s not easy to be grateful when times are hard.

 

Thanksgiving is about abundance, an abundance of good, of blessings, of food. In Biblical terms I am always reminded of the ‘fragments’ of (I think) 7 fishes and a few loaves of bread that fed 4,000. Not even whole fishes, ‘fragments’, little pieces. And all were fed. No matter how small our Thanksgiving gatherings are this year, how many or few of our loved ones we can share it with, if any, and no matter what is on our table, whether a glowing golden perfectly prepared turkey, or half a sandwich shared with a friend—-if we can find it in our hearts to be grateful this year, of all years, it will be the best Thanksgiving we ever had. How we view it comes from within us, not from without.

 

May your Thanksgiving be richly blessed, with an abundance of blessings in your hearts, all that you need on your table, and may your blessings be too many to count.

 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, with all my love,  Danielle

 

11/16/20, Popcorn Time!!!

Posted on November 16, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week, restrictions seem to be tightening around the world, to try and get the numbers down and get a handle on Covid before the holidays. Moderate measures and varying degrees of confinement seem to be in place in many cities and countries, to get a grip on it, lower the numbers, but not impact the economy too badly. It’s a delicate balance.

 

And I have just had a REALLY fun few days binge-watching various series, and even took a class, to help pass the time and stay at home. Books are always a wonderful way to spend confinement, getting lost in the story, the ultimate form of escape. Reading books (and writing them!!) helps pass the time incredibly!

 

And in addition to writing (my main activity in or out of confinement at all times), and reading, I have had some real fun with series.  I was lucky enough to follow a religious class for half a day, which is only given once a year. It really helped ground me, and feel peaceful, in the face of the pandemic. And after that, I indulged myself. I loved The Queen’s Gambit, on Netflix, 7 episodes. And I am LOVE LOVE LOVING Season 4 of The Crown which started on Sunday, also on Netflix. I think it’s the best season of all so far. And I know I will watch the whole thing again, after I watch it for the first time. I like watching things for a second time, I see all sorts of things I didn’t notice the first time.

 

AND THIS TUESDAY MY NEW BOOK ALL THAT GLITTERS COMES OUT!!! So between binge watching, I hope you enjoy my new book, for yourself and as a gift for the holidays, and my little book of quotations “Expect a Miracle”, which came out 3 weeks ago.

 

The distraction is good for us all!!!! Have fun watching and reading, and have a GREAT week!!!

 

love, Danielle

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11/9/20, Bag Story

Posted on November 9, 2020

 

Hello Everyone,

 

AMAZING story: 2 weeks ago, I had lunch at a favorite restaurant with a terrace, before the new confinement. Fun lunch. Happy day. I was wearing a favorite handbag I love a lot, a big black leather bag with a bright red lining. I put it under the table at my feet. End of lunch, I reached for my bag: gone. Vanished. Stolen. A first for me. In Paris, there are cameras in the street high up on posts, to fight crime. 5 hours at the police station, stolen bags a common occurrence (all my credit cards, ID, phone, address book etc. in it). It’s an expensive one of a kind bag, and the likelihood of ever seeing it again was zero. Back to the police station the next day for another 4 hrs. And then, luck was with me. The police had the whole theft on video from the street, the case was referred to a special theft unit, and a fantastic senior officer took an interest in the case. 12 days later after some incredible police work by the Surete Territoriale, they arrested the thief, and a miracle: he still had my bag, hadn’t sold it. I never, ever thought I’d see my bag again. I am SOOOO GRATEFUL to have it back, and the detectives of the special unit are OUTSTANDING. They handed me the bag, and it was a very happy ending for me. I’m thrilled and the French police were truly amazing!!! Wow!!! I posed for a picture with the detectives of the Surete Territoriale, to celebrate the return of my bag and their incredible police work!!

Have a great week!

 

love, Danielle

11/1/20, Back in Lockdown—the dogs are back!!!

Posted on November 2, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’re doing okay, and that you’re finding ways to keep your spirits up, even during Covid times with the inevitable restrictions—which in the US seem to vary from city to city and state to state. It seems very hard that there is no uniformity of rules and guidelines in the US, and there is everything from total freedom to total lockdown, with and without masks. In France, the President calls the shots and makes the rules. One person delivers the message, which applies to the entire country: the President, and I personally think he has done a good job, been responsible, and is very presidential, although he is a relatively young President. Right below him is the Prime Minister, who reinforces what the President said and spells out the details, like what stores and businesses will be open, and what won’t, parks and gardens are open, and places that gather big crowds aren’t (gyms, theaters, movie houses, etc.).  With the rules coming from those 2 people, it’s a bit like having a Mom and a Dad. And the rules are clear. And although they tried hard not to, they put us back in confinement again last Friday, which was disappointing, but the rules are less rigid than the total lockdown of March, April and May. People were more panicked then, I think they are less so now, we’ve been living with Covid for 8 months now. I think what set off the sharp increase of cases now were all the people who went on vacation and partied all summer, on beaches, in bars, restaurants and nightclubs, inevitably spread the virus, and then went back to their home cities with the same free spirit and made everyone else sick. The increase in cases was dramatic in September and October, so they put on the brakes, and put us back in lockdown again. It was disappointing, but I think it was wise. We need to get things back in hand, so it doesn’t get totally out of control. It doesn’t feel as ominous as it was in March, where our whole world was caving in at a rapid rate. Since then, we’ve been confined, we know many people who have had Covid and survived it, so it doesn’t sound like an automatic death sentence, which it does not have to be. And we’ve had 5 months of deconfinement now in France, which was really very livable, and heaven compared to three months locked up at home. There are also better treatments now, easily accessible testing (in France), and everyone is wearing masks. The one big uncontrolled element are young people, teen agers, adolescents, high school and college students, who have been the hardest to control and convince to be careful. They party, they kiss, they hug, they congregate in big groups glued together, they don’t wear masks, and at one point half the people getting Covid were under 24. I think our current lockdown was in great part due to their refusing to follow the rules, and the adults who partied like crazy over the summer months and threw caution to the winds and ignored the rules. The young are convinced that they won’t get it, and if they do, it will be mild, which isn’t always true—-but their flaunting the rules and getting even a mild case makes the people they meet sick, some of whom, many even, are older and more vulnerable. All of which spells Lockdown for the rest of us. We’re under Lockdown for a month now, until December 1st, to be reviewed then.

 

One of the big struggles worldwide is to salvage the economy, while protecting the people. The lockdown which protects the people is a threat to the economy. If everyone is locked up at home, they are not out spending money, buying things, going to restaurants, or doing the things that support small and large businesses. So the rules are a bit softer this time, in order to respect businesses as best they can, although many will still take a hit, particularly at this time of year, with the holidays coming up, when restaurants and stores need sales. Bars are closed now, period, because it’s where people congregate in close quarters with their masks off, face to face, so they’re out. Restaurants are closed now, but can prepare takeout food, so they will have some income. Most stores are closed, but many are being allowed to take phone orders and deliver, and ‘essential’ businesses are open: food, alcohol, tobacco, anything to do with technology or phones, opticians, essential repairs, the construction industry is fully functioning, work is encouraged, remotely whenever possible, but in person if you can’t work remotely. Schools are open (they weren’t during the March/April/May lockdown), and are being kept open now so parents can go to work, day care is open for the same reason. It’s possible that the lockdown will be less effective, because the rules aren’t as severe, but it is the government’s attempt to keep business and the economy alive and not shut everything down. One of the things they have tried to stop is social gatherings. It sounds crazy, but even though we were only supposed to have no more than ten people visiting at home, or 6 at a table in a restaurant, and at one point only four, I do know of people who were giving big dinner parties, and gathering a lot more people than was allowed. It always annoyed me to hear about it—when the rest of us are battling to keep the virus in control, and following the rules, how irresponsible is it to give a party for 20 people, with masks off so people can eat and drink, which makes a gathering like that dangerous. I have stayed away from the people who weren’t respecting the rules. And I think the holidays will be challenging for everyone, trying to find a safe middle ground so families can be together and not risk getting everyone sick. I have gotten braver about asking employees, and even friends to have a Covid test before we see each other, and I’ve had tests too. My son came from another European country, and visited me with his wife and kids, and we all had Covid tests before we saw each other (the first family member I have seen in 8 months), and we all plan to do that before we get together for Christmas. I think following the rules right now is essential to get control of the situation, and get the numbers down to something livable again, so we are all as safe as we can be right now—and wearing masks of course.

 

One funny thing I’ve noticed is that during the March thru May lockdown you could ONLY leave the house to buy groceries, see a doctor, exercise for an hour, or walk your dog. Suddenly, overnight everyone in Paris had a dog, and was walking them day and night. The dogs looked exhausted and had this look of “Oh God, not a walk again”. The streets were crowded with people walking dogs. I don’t know if they begged, borrowed, or rented them, Paris was swarming with dogs, many of them very cute. By the end of May, with lockdown over, the dogs literally disappeared. I have no idea where they went, but the poor things were lucky if they got out at all. Now, looking out my window yesterday—-the dogs were back!!! Everyone I could see had a dog on a leash. I’m not sure if the dogs are happy or not about this situation, but everyone is out there walking a dog again.  I happen to have 3 two pound Chihuahuas who are so small they hate going out, they sit down, glare at me, look pitiful and want to be carried, so I can’t get away with using my dogs as an excuse to go out and get some air, unless I carry all three of them, and nowhere in the rules does it say that you can go out for an hour to carry your dog—-you have to fill out a form to do so, which says that on your honor you are going out to walk your dog, see your doctor, or buy food. But the dogs are back in any case. I’m sure some of them haven’t had a decent walk since May, when everyone went back to normal life again. The dogs look pretty happy to be out so far. And if I want to leave my house, I’ll either have to buy groceries, go to my doctor, or convince my dogs that taking a walk really isn’t so bad. I didn’t leave my apartment for 77 days last time, which I think is unhealthy in other ways (not seeing other people, and not getting enough air and exercise. And isolation from other humans is really depressing).During lockdown last Spring, I sat on a tiny balcony to get air, it was a window ledge meant for plants, and walked around my apartment for a mile every day to get exercise. I think this time I will take a walk regularly to stay sane and get some air (maybe I can borrow someone’s dog??), and at home, I’m going to be doing a lot of writing again, and I’m going to start wrapping Christmas presents. And I can’t wait to be out again on December 1st.

 

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, inside or out, locked down or free, have a GREAT week!! The good times will come again, and there are even good times now, we just have to remember to notice them.

 

Take good care, and stay safe, love, Danielle

 

10/26/20, “Expect a Miracle”

Posted on October 26, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Another week in this crazy year. I hope things went well for you in the past week. It’s time for things to start going right, instead of this crazy roller coaster ride we’re all on. I had a very interesting and exciting business meeting, and did some writing. I’m keeping social activities down somewhat and going out less than previously, in honor of the higher Covid numbers. It seems smart to be careful. France is currently wrestling with the ‘second wave’, things look deceptively normal, but the danger is out there. The government imposed a 9pm curfew, to keep nighttime social activity down, and people are afraid of getting confined again. This long period of uncertainty is stretching out, we just have to try and live it day by day until the storm clouds clear.

 

I am VERY excited about my new book coming out this week, on Tuesday. “Expect A Miracle”. I chose the title two years ago, but it turns out to be the perfect title for the book right now. It’s a very special book, and a first for me. I have collected quotations all my life, since my teens—-quotes of famous people, anonymous ones, things I’ve seen in magazines, on greeting cards, read somewhere, saw on walls as graffiti. I love reading those quotes to boost my spirits, give me hope, make me smile, or laugh out loud, to make me think, or apply to the challenges of life. Very often, I frame the quotes I love and hang them on my walls (in my office in San Francisco, and in my dressing room in Paris—-places where I see them every day).That book has been a lifetime in the making, and we’ve been working on it for 2 years, sifting through the quotes, verifying the source whenever possible, working on the lay out, and picking designs to go with them. I wanted the book to be handy and pretty, easy to pick up, and open to any page and find a quote you’d love. It’s divided in 5 ‘chapters’, Road Map to Life, Courage, Faith, Laughter, and Love. But you can open the book anywhere, and hopefully find whatever you need at that moment. I REALLY hope you love the book as much as I do. It’s small, and shiny red, and would make a great gift, and I hope those quotes accompany you now, and give you as much hope, comfort, joy, and strength as they have given me. That book is straight from my heart to you.

 

I really really really REALLY hope you love it!!!

 

Have a great week and I hope wonderful things happen to you!!! Even during this challenging Covid time, terrific things can happen!! I wish you many of them!!!

 

love, Danielle

10/19/20, Before the Dawn

Posted on October 19, 2020

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Well, here we are again. As I write this, the week begins, and every week I try to think of fun things to tell you, reports of where I’ve been, and as the saying goes “all roads lead to Rome”, back to Covid. I’m not going to fashion shows to report to you. I’m seeing them on video, with my hair a mess, wearing jeans and an old sweater, and the only spectators I am watching them with are my 3 Chihuahuas, who are no better dressed than I am at the moment. I am not eating at indoor restaurants, only on outdoor terraces, or open air restaurants, and it’s getting chilly at night, so I’m not dining out often. I haven’t been shopping lately, or been to a museum, or a movie (I’d rather watch at home). I haven’t flown anywhere since February (or seen my children, ugh, still, but travel still seems daunting.).  I didn’t take a vacation this year, because my kids couldn’t come to Europe and it was dangerous to go home, so I couldn’t write about “My Summer Vacation”, and I’m seeing fewer friends and having lunch out less often than I’d like, and not entertaining at home, except for a few friends. For the moment, Covid seems to be running our lives. It is challenging scientists, politicians, religious leaders, and ordinary people like you and me. It invades our thoughts, our lives, cancels our plans, and makes ordinary activities a life and death decision. The only thing I am doing is writing more than ever before. And re organizing my closets. Again.

 

Covid has definitely given 2020 a bad name, and will be a bad memory for most people, and a tragic one for some. If you look more closely into each of our lives, some good things have happened, but the drumroll of Covid always in the background drowns out some of the happier sounds. For instance, in our family we’ve had 2 weddings since the beginning of the year. One, immediately pre-Covid, with dancing, touching, laughing, kissing, 150 guests, and everyone was carefree and had a ball. The second one, during Covid, postponed 3 times until the bride and groom finally gave up and got married alone with 2 strangers as their only witnesses, and no guests, and no family by their own choice. But they’re married now, and we’ll celebrate next year. One of my sons and his wife are expecting a baby. And we have two new puppies in the family (a miniature dachshund and a tiny teacup Yorkie. Lucy and Coco Monkey). Everyone is healthy, which is the greatest blessing of all. So some good things have happened, even with Covid going on. But there is no question, it’s distracting and scary as hell at times. And the daily uncertainty of what will happen next is unnerving us all. The sudden rise of numbers of cases all over the world is disconcerting to say the least. I try to keep everything as normal as possible, but some days are harder than others, especially far from my family, who have always been the mainstay of my life. It’s weird and a challenge to be on my own.

 

Family and friends in other cities report that their cities aren’t the same, look different, some sound grimly depressing. In Paris, one sees the opposite: everything looks normal, especially on beautiful sunny days, people are busy, the city is unchanged, but you know that the virus is out there lurking, a constant threat if you’re not careful, and everyone you see is wearing a mask (except teenagers who don’t care).

 

In a more religious vein, I am reminded of Bible stories, of Daniel surviving the lion’s den, of the Hebrew boys thrown into a blazing fire and came out of it, alive, unscathed “without even the smell of smoke on them”….David and Goliath. We will beat this in the end, ‘without the smell of smoke on us’. Nothing lasts forever, not even Covid. We just have to do our best to stay safe and wait it out, be sensible and not careless, mindful of others, and have the best life we can under the circumstances.

 

I write almost all the time, I have started needle pointing again, I have the neatest closets of anyone on the planet. I see friends when I can, in the safest possible circumstances. We can’t stop living, being, hoping. We have to keep our spirits up and reach out to others. We have to KNOW and believe that we will make it through this, and the current spike will go down again, and Covid will no longer be a threat one day.

 

I found 3 tiny butterfly costumes in a closet this weekend, and dressed my dogs up for Halloween. I’ve made a few forays out for Christmas shopping. I move paintings around in my apartment. I read and watch series on TV, but most of the time I write. This has gone on longer than we expected, but it will end. With darker colder weather, and shorter days, it makes things seem a little more grim, but as they say, “The night is darkest before the dawn.”

 

All I can tell you is that we know that dawn is coming, there will be an end to all this. Life goes on, even now, with its high points and its joys, its unexpected blessings and good news.

 

We have to join hands across the world and get through this, and fight to stay on top of the waves, and get back up when we get knocked down by a big wave. This storm will pass, and the sun will shine again. It is shining even now, we just have to look a little harder to see it. But all the good stuff is still there, love and hope, and babies are being born, and some wonderful treasured moments with the people we love.  And sometime in the coming months, I’ll be telling you about a fashion show, we’ll be going to parties and weddings again, and family gatherings, and hugging each other, and not standing 6 feet apart with a mask on. The dawn IS coming, maybe sooner than we know, and I am clinging to the belief that the best is yet to come. We are going to enjoy normalcy SOOOO MUCH after all this, ordinary pleasures will seem like miracles to us. Life is a miracle, even now.

 

And in the meantime, I send you happy thoughts, as we hang on tight— Have a GREAT week (and to hell with Covid)

 

all my love, Danielle

 

10/12/20, “Over it!!!”

Posted on October 12, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that last week was a good week for you, and that some good things happened. I had a bumpy week last week, with some ups, some downs, some goods, some bads, which seems to be the order of the day these days, as we learn to live around Covid, as carefully and responsibly as possible. If we’re healthy, and our loved ones are too, we’re ahead of the game. I’m still in France, and missing my kids. The new cases per day numbers went up dramatically all over Europe, which was discouraging, and even alarming. The good news is that the death rate in most European countries (and the US, I think too) is much lower than at the beginning of Covid, so people are still getting sick, but much greater numbers are surviving. And the doctors seem to have much more effective treatments to deal with the disease.  And to borrow an expression of my youngest daughter, I am “Over It”—–we all wish that this nasty virus would go away. And in the meantime, we follow all the measures we have to, to stay healthy and safe (masks, social distancing, and hand washing as often as possible. I’ve developed an allergy to Gel, so it’s alcohol wipes and soap and water for me).

 

October is always such a lively, energized, exciting month, with all the fall activities in full swing, after the summer, and the holidays to look forward to. This year, things are looking somewhat uncertain. Many offices are still not open, people are still working from home in some industries, which can be lonely. And the rules we are meant to live by contradictory and confusing from city to city and country to country. I’m always stunned by how different the rules are in the US and France. Quarantine in Europe now is 7 days in most countries with the belief that that is long enough, and still 14 days in the US. Protocols of what to do if you’ve been exposed to the virus, when to test, and when you can go back to work if you caught it, are also very different. No one has found the perfect answers yet, and scientists disagree. Who to believe? And which set of rules to follow? In a single city in the US, you can have as many as 4 conflicting sets of rules.

 

One VERY good piece of news is that the California fires seem to be slowly getting in control, and the smoke invading huge portions of the State is dissipating. In San Francisco and the surrounding area, they have been living in confinement, with masks, limited activity, windows closed, and toxic air for nearly two months. I’m sure they are ‘over it!’ too!!

 

For myself, with the Covid numbers rising, I’ve reduced a lot of my activities, haven’t seen friends in a couple of weeks, and am staying at home more (but going out to do minor errands)—why take a chance?—, and writing virtually constantly to keep distracted and busy. I’ve been working on outlines, editing, adding research, correcting galleys, and wrote an essay for a magazine. Writing fills my days and nights, and brings comfort, solace, hope and peace—-and hopefully to my readers when they read the books.

 

We just have to hang in, and keep going, knowing that there is light (and health and a world without Covid) at the end of the tunnel we’re in, even when we can’t see the end of that tunnel yet—-but we’ll get there!!! Hopefully soon!!!

 

So we may be over it, but we just have to keep going, step by step, day after day. The good times are coming!! Have a GREAT week!!!

 

I wish you good surprises and good health this week, love, Danielle

 

10/5/20, A little of This and a little of That!

Posted on October 6, 2020

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week, even a great one with some lucky breaks.

 

It’s gotten chilly in Paris, and the Covid numbers have gone up in Paris, and all over Europe. I personally think it’s still the fallout of the people who were cavalier about safety measures this summer, and hung out on beaches, too close together, in bars WAY too close together and without masks. And it got us headed in the wrong direction again.  We can’t afford to be careless, and ignore the safety measures. I like eating outdoors, and haven’t eaten indoors yet at a restaurant. But as the weather gets colder, it’s too chilly to sit outside, or it will be soon.

 

They announced new health measures today: they are closing the bars for 2 weeks so people can’t congregate, and restaurants are under scrutiny to decide if they are safe enough and need to close too. It’s definitely a hard time for small businesses. And the tourist industry has suffered the most.

 

My answer to the problem is simple, when the numbers are high, I stay home and write. I get a lot of work done that way, and it keeps me out of dicey situations, like being around people who don’t wear masks.

 

I haven’t done anything interesting lately, I’ve been working on a book, several in fact, as I usually do.  Halloween is coming up, and it brings back such happy memories of my kids.

 

I was supposed to go to the Chanel fashion show tomorrow, with 200 spectators, and I LOVE those shows, but I just didn’t dare take a chance. It just didn’t seem Worth the risk.

 

 

So it’s been a quiet week, more writing in store. Have a GREAT week!!!

 

much love, Danielle

 

9/28/20, Four Seasons

Posted on September 28, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

How are you holding up? Whether locked down in the state or country where people live, I’m beginning to hear people’s wings drooping a little. I don’t think any of us expected the pandemic to go on for this long, or what it would feel like. From friends and family in New York, I’m hearing that it’s “okay, but weird” and not the New York they know. Some places where life seems almost normal with restaurants doing a booming business, and other areas where the city seems dead and the streets are deserted. Big companies haven’t opened their offices yet, like Random House my publisher, their office buildings are deserted, smaller companies (like my agent) are starting to open and people are returning to work, which is encouraging. I think the two things that make people feel ‘normal’ again are being able to go back to work in their familiar surroundings and function more normally, and being able to see people socially again. One thing I have learned from this whole experience is how much people need to see and be with other people in order to feel happy and well balanced. Those who have been isolated, especially for extensive periods of time, like San Francisco which remains still heavily confined (with toxic air quality from the recent fires), people sound morbidly depressed when I talk to them. You can only isolate people for so long, and then other/psychological issues begin to take hold, which seem almost as damaging as the virus. Long term isolation (7 months now in San Francisco) and deprivation ultimately seems to cause depression, understandably, and other problems. The numbers (of sick, deaths, etc.)are impressively low in San Francisco, but at what price glory, if the entire population is depressed from being deprived and isolated. I haven’t spoken to a single person there whose spirits weren’t at the bottom of the barrel. It’s sad to hear, and favoring the numbers and statistics at the price of the population’s morale and emotional wellbeing seems a high price to pay for those statistics. People speak only of how shut down the city is, stores boarded up, business not getting back on its feet, and the homeless roaming everywhere, looking as depressed as those who have been confined at home for too long. And things aren’t back to normal in LA either, according to friends and relatives there. Normalcy is hard to achieve anywhere these days, around the world.

 

In Europe, ever since the abandon of those who went on vacation all over Europe this summer, crowded together on the beaches, didn’t wear masks, spent their nights in bars and illegally opened discos, have caused the numbers to soar, in France, Spain, the numbers are up in England, Germany, Austria. Some countries are starting to confine certain areas, and the general population is beginning to worry that there will be a general lockdown confinement again. Moderate measures are being re-instated, with the threat of worse to come if people don’t get serious again and the numbers don’t come down. In France, and probably the rest of Europe, the young (from adolescents to 25) steadfastly refuse to wear masks and social distance, and are putting themselves and everyone else at risk, and refuse to listen to the warnings. It’s frustrating to see them in big groups on the streets, hugging and kissing, laughing with their arms around each other, and not a mask in sight. No one seems to be able to get them to listen, to their parents, or the government, in any country, while the numbers continue to rise daily.

 

The uncertainties of the situation are giving everyone anxiety. About jobs, their health, their families, the economy. It’s hard to guess where the safest place is to be now, with ups and downs, and how to get there. I miss my kids fiercely. Restrictions are being put on the European borders again, with quarantines being enforced, and there is no sign at all of the US borders opening, or any reciprocity of open borders between the US and other countries. Americans are still barred from travelling to other countries, except for Croatia, Brazil, and some African countries. We just have to hang in until things return to normal again, or start to get better.

 

In France, summer stopped abruptly and turned to instant winter, with chilly days, cold nights, and weeks of gloomy rainy weather. It suddenly made me realize that this is now my Fourth season in the midst of Covid. It began last winter, we deconfined in Spring, went through a hot summer (with too much self-indulgence in France, we are paying the price for now), and now here it is Autumn, our fourth season of Covid. I just celebrated the my fourth child’s birthday on Face time, virtually, when I had never missed a single one of their birthdays before, with another one due in the next few weeks, and I celebrated my own birthday on Face Time with them this summer. I can’t wait to celebrate birthdays again for real with hugs and kisses, opening gifts and blowing out the candles together. That will be a happy day.

 

Let’s hope that things start to improve again soon, without any more spikes in the numbers, despite gloomy predictions I hope won’t prove to be true. We deserve some good news. And let’s hope that people stay serious about this, so the numbers come down, and we have something to celebrate!!

 

In the meantime, Fall is here, which is usually an invigorating time of year. We just have to stick with it. I just started a new book, and I’m sending love and prayers to all of you. I’ve run out of Mickey Mouse masks, and am now wearing pink ones with Pandas on them. And after that, I have pale blue ones, with little dogs on them.  Let’s hope things improve radically before I have to wear the ones with the multi colored dinosaurs on them. Have a great week, wherever you are, we’re in this together and we will make it through, hopefully before the start of another season, or we miss too many more birthdays and events of our loved ones. I missed a major family event last week, which was an all-time low for me. Onward, and Upward!!! Hang in!!!

 

So much love to you,   Danielle