Archive for the ‘Communication’ Category

7/6/20, Let’s Save America!!

Posted on July 6, 2020

 

 

Hi Everyone,

Okay, Guys (or girls), straight talk, from me to you. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were told in France NOT to wear a mask, it was ‘not necessary’ and masks were in short supply, and we were confined to home anyway. At the beginning, no one knew a lot about the virus, research was just beginning, and doctors and scientists have learned a lot since. Now we are told that 3 things are essential to reduce contagion and SAVE LIVES, our own, and everyone we’re in contact with: Wash hands (or gel) as often as possible, WEAR A MASK, and Social distance. All 3 are equally important, it’s not multiple choice with options. WE HAVE TO DO ALL 3. The virus hit harder in Europe first, and now the United States is at the epicenter, while Europe and Asia are deconfining, and the numbers get lower every day. And now the US is blazing, with terrifying numbers. All of Europe was strictly confined, whereas in the US, many States were not confined, only some were, so the virus continued to spread at a rapid rate, Social distance was ignored in many cases, people continued to congregate in large groups (on beaches, in bars, etc.), and don’t ask me how—and I don’t care, but masks were considered optional and became a political issue. Suddenly whether you wore one or not indicated what political party you vote for. WHO cares? Meanwhile the virus is killing people, and 17 states have now been black listed and you have to quarantine for 14 days if you’ve been there. In EVERY country scientists agree now that MASKS ARE VITAL for YOUR safety, and everyone you see or meet. You will save lives if you wear one. The virus does NOT care who you vote for, but your not wearing a mask could cost someone’s life, yours or someone else’s. Please, please PLEASE wear one. We will never get the numbers down, and life safe again unless we follow these 3 vital steps. And yes, even if they look goofy, so what? It’s a lot worse to kill someone, or get sick yourself. Foreign countries won’t let Americans in right now, with the numbers so high in the US. I have not seen my kids in 4 months and miss them terribly, and it’s too dangerous to go home right now. I want to come home and see my kids. Please wear a mask so we can stop the contagion in the States, lower the numbers, save lives, and so I can see my kids.

 

These are the masks I wear, as soon as I leave my house, when I’m out in the street, in public, running around, doing errands. I take it off when I eat out. I wear it when I meet friends, or go into a store. My daughters gave me the beautiful lip one, by a fancy British designer, a friend gave me the polka dot red one that looks like Minnie Mouse, both are fabric which are a little harder to breathe in. And the easiest to wear, for me because I have a small face, are children’s paper medical masks (Mickey Mouse and Goofy are on mine, I also have one with pink dinosaurs), the children’s size fits perfectly if you have a small face, and regular surgical masks are cheap and fit normal adult faces, for men too (or black fabric ones if they want to go James Bond/Darth Vader). I wear reading glasses, and they don’t fog up, you can wear your glasses too. The mask must cover your nose, don’t stick your nose out over the mask. I promise, you’ll still look cute, or sexy—you are doing the entire world a favor if you wear a mask. Let’s save America and the world, and each other by following the rules!!! Please wear a mask!!!

 

Have a great week, love, Danielle

 

6/30/20, Daily Life in the time of Covid

Posted on June 30, 2020

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’ve had a good week and that things are going well where you are. Getting the virus in control seems to be a bumpy road, with some places faring better than others. And much harder dealing with an entire continent, than dealing with individual countries in the rest of the world.

 

I’ve been keeping busy with editing and re-writes, and new books, and I hope you’ve had time to read “Daddy’s Girls”, the story of a father and his three very different daughters should be good distraction from all we’re dealing with!!

 

And I’ve really been having fun puttering around my house, replacing some things I’ve meant to replace for a long time. (A flood in my kitchen, which drowned two rugs, gave me a good excuse to buy two new ones. I bought one on line from Ikea and I love it, a bright red!! And bought two orange rugs for one of my daughter’s bedroom, and an orange chair!!). And fixing other things I haven’t had time to get to until now. Seeing my publishers, an occasional lunch outdoors on a terrace with a friend. The confinement and the stress that we’re all under has been a test for some friendships. It’s interesting to see who comes through, and who doesn’t, and who our real friends are. And I bought some pretty flowers for the house in interesting colors, brown, yellow, and dark purple.

 

I’m anxious about the virus blazing in the US, which is alarming on the news. And anxious to see the numbers go down, and the borders open again, so people can come and go freely again, and for it to become safe enough to go and visit my children. I hope things improve in the next few weeks. We all need some peace after the harrowing months we’ve had. And life has begun to seem more normal, getting used to wearing masks and social distancing. It will be wonderful when the need for them is over. I am sorry to see the wearing of masks become a political issue—if it is for our health and safety, and a necessary factor in getting the virus in control. It’s a matter of health, protecting ourselves and a courtesy to others—-not politics.

 

I hope that all is well with you and you have a fun week ahead. And whatever you do, stay safe, protect yourself and those you love, and let’s get this virus in control!!! Have a great week!!

 

love, Danielle

 

6/1/20, Peace and Justice

Posted on June 1, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week last week. There was good news in France, the numbers continue to go down. There are no more ‘Red’ spots on our map, the entire country is ‘green’ on the map, with only a very few small ‘orange’ spots—–the distinction being where the virus is under control or even non-existent, and the red spots being where it is still blazing, so it no longer is in France. As a result, we got some more privileges in our steady ‘deconfinement’ and easing of the rules, some more liberties for summer vacations. You can now go further than 100 miles from your home, and the most warmly received news in Paris: the re-opening of outdoor restaurants, which are always a big feature in Paris. And now every restaurant that can will have outdoor dining with social distancing. Slowly, slowly we return to normal. I’m grateful for any freedoms we have. It remains super important that we wear masks and maintain social distance. It seems a small price to pay for our health, to protect others and being able to pursue a relatively normal life in the crisis.

 

These are unquestionably troubled times. It seems as though every time I sit down to tell you something silly, or talk about spring weather, or find some degree of normalcy in very abnormal times, some other major event happens which upsets us all, takes our focus and/or tragedy strikes. I would rather not dwell on unhappy times when I write to you, but at times there is no way to avoid it. As the Pandemic began to take hold, it was no longer appropriate to chatter about fashion shows and parties. And now, here we are again. Even far away in France, all of Europe has eyes on the riots in the US, and the tragic reason for them, and as an American, it makes my heart ache to see the country torn up again. Will it never end? We barely struggle through one enormous challenge—and are faced with another. We need a break, and happier times! And we need what the Declaration of Independence promises: liberty and justice for all.  And peace in our land.

 

Looking at the riots on the news, I am reminded of the “Yellow Jackets” in France a year and a half ago—-their cause was initially an honorable one: higher salaries, lower taxes, an earlier retirement age, and better pay for medical personnel. The demonstrations that were meant to be peaceful erupted into violence, blazing fires, destruction of property, theft and vandalism almost immediately—-entire streets of cars on fire, EVERY store on the Champs Elysees (80 of them) destroyed. Beautiful historical monuments decimated. Every single Saturday for 9 months, store fronts were smashed, restaurants were set on fire, violence, tear gas, destruction. The entire country was paralyzed every weekend, and everyone suffered. What I was saddest to see were the small businesses people had built for a lifetime, wantonly destroyed, and those small business owners would never be able to rebuild and lost their businesses and livelihoods forever. A high price to pay for a good cause. And very upsetting, when arrests were made, it was often discovered that those causing the violence had come from other countries and cities just for the day, young hoodlums, arrived just for the day just for the entertainment value of the violence and destruction, and to loot the stores. And almost comically, the destruction happened every Saturday from early morning until dinner time. Then everyone would go back to wherever they came from, and show up again to destroy the city the following Saturday. Billions of dollars of destruction, countless injuries and a number of deaths were caused, the destruction of beautiful monuments, people’s livelihoods lost forever, and a blow to the economy the country hasn’t recovered from yet. And for what? The good cause that was intended degenerated into uncontrollable violence. On a December Saturday, every single car on my street was set on fire. Clouds of tear gas hung over the entire city. Police tanks lined upon city streets. It looked like a war. The damage was caused by people called “Breakers”, who came to break everything in sight. They arrived with sledge hammers in hand to do the job.

 

What is happening in the States now is far more serious, and the cause a tragic one. And yet, despite the enormous seriousness of the cause, and the good intentions and aching hearts of the demonstrators——-there is an element of people who come on the scene, regardless of the cause, to break and burn and pillage and loot—-which entirely disregards the seriousness of the situation, and in their frustration disrespects it. People who come to exploit the situation, often once again from other cities—-and there is no way that breaking, destroying and looting and stealing sunglasses, leather jackets, expensive purses and microwaves and name brand running shoes is ever going to help the noble cause. The violence born of anger, anguish, compassion and frustration, which rapidly degenerates into theft and looting disrespects the very seriousness of the cause, and the tragic circumstances which lights the fuse to the stick of dynamite, and a mob mentality takes over.

 

I hope our country will find peace again, that our ills are cured (far worse than any virus), that justice prevails, that violence and injustice can be stopped, that peaceful voices with a powerful message will be heard, without violence. The sound of the mob drowns out the voices that speak up for justice, and peace and safety for all. I hope that the strong voices of peace and justice will be heard, and that violence will no longer be the first weapon people grab, the first reaction to heartbreak. I hope that the violence will end soon and that the changes that need to happen will happen swiftly and smoothly. I pray for peace in our troubled world. When hearts are broken and raw, violence is not the right answer. I hope we find the answers we need soon.

 

With love to you for a peaceful week, and I hope that the sorrow in our country heals soon.

 

 

love, Danielle

 

5/18/20, Dazed and Confused

Posted on May 18, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

How are you? Hanging in, I hope, whether confined, or liberated, under serious lockdown, or finally easing out of it, depending on your country, city or state. I hope you’re finding ways to keep busy and keep your spirits up. These are challenging times. We will get through it, but there are definitely better and worse days.

 

And particularly now, as some places start to de-confine, the difference in rules, even between neighboring counties, is REALLY confusing, often contradictory and in conflict. My closest knowledge is about San Francisco, and France. San Francisco, which confined the earliest of many states and cities in the US has done the best, and gets a gold star, with incredibly low numbers of sick people and deaths (fewer than 100 deaths). And they seem to be planning to de-confine slowly, starting on June 1st on some subjects, if all goes well.

 

I chose the title on the blog today, because I think we are all dazed by the whole situation, worldwide, and how quickly it happened. 3 months ago our life was entirely normal, with vague distant rumors of some unknown flu ravaging China (which couldn’t affect us, right? Now they say it was already in the US in November and we didn’t know it, and thought it was just regular flu season) Less than 3 months ago, I was dancing at my son’s wedding and having fun. And there were vague rumors too a few weeks later, that people in Italy had the flu. And then ZAP!!!Fast forward a few weeks, and Holy Sh—!!!! What the hell happened? Two months later, we’re locked up, and it’s a pandemic. I never even knew that word 3 months ago. And I think we’re all confused by the constantly contradictory information we hear, some of it real, some of it well meant but inaccurate, and some of it just rumors that people spread, scare you to death, and turn out not to be true. The truth is scary enough, and I absolutely detest the people who spread rumors with delight, just to upset us. “Have you heard THAT…..”and then they tell you some horror, and you/I can’t sleep all night. What’s the point of that??? It’s irresponsible and vicious.

 

But even if you try to stay informed through allegedly reliable sources, newspapers, online, doctors, etc, what you hear is confusing. There are rules, laws and suggestions, not to be confused!!! In France, the chain of command is simple. You get the word from the President, with solemn pronouncements on TV, telling us we’re locked up for X number more weeks. For slightly less solemn announcements, the Prime Minister delivers that message. Until now, the rules have been the same for the entire country. Simple. You may not like the message, but you know what it is.  Now, in France, we have red zones and green zones, the green zones don’t have Covid, the red do. About 2/3 of France is green, without Covid 19.The US has 6 times the population of France, the country is huge, and the ‘rules’ are made city by city, county by county, state by state, by mayors, governors, and in some cases, the President. And many of the rules conflict and are contradictory, about the disease itself, and about what you’re allowed to do. From what I know, more than half the states are not under lockdown, some cities aren’t, others are locked down tight. Some cities are beginning to loosen up, others (like LA this week) are tightening up and slamming shut. Who is right? What’s the rule? In some places masks are required, in other places they aren’t, in some places they don’t wear them at all. What is safest for us, not to get sick? Wear a mask or not? Where and when and with whom? The directives between some of the US and France on that are completely opposite. Who’s right?

 

Hairdressers were forbidden in the beginning in France, now they’re allowed. All hairdressing salons are open. But in San Francisco, they are strictly forbidden. BUT in San Francisco anyone who does cosmetic procedures on your face is allowed: like Botox and all those shots and procedures that are so popular now. So it’s okay to mess with your face, at VERY close range with the person doing it—-but don’t touch your hair. (Personally, I’d rather get my hair done!!!). That makes NO sense to me at all. Gardening was forbidden in SF (Am I really going to get Covid 19 from my gardener, when they work out doors, usually far from people, and work alone?). Gardening is okay in France, and the ban on gardening has just been lifted in SF. (To me that seemed an unnecessary economic cruelty to gardeners who couldn’t work and make a living, weren’t dangerous, and were harming no one). One doctor in France told me to always wear a mask when you leave the house now. Another doctor in France told me don’t bother, not necessary. And I believe they are required in San Francisco now—-or ‘suggested’. There’s a difference. I think the root of a lot of the confusing directives is that they really don’t know. ‘Take your shoes off when you get home’ or, ‘Take off all your clothes and disinfect them and shower the minute you get home.’  (in the East of the US), don’t bother (in France), ‘the ventilation system will kill you and the air conditioning’ (said in the US), I haven’t heard anything about it in France. And why will seeing the hairdresser almost surely kill you in San Francisco, when it won’t hurt me in Paris? Who’s right? Hair salons are open now in France, but my hairdresser came to the house, he was wearing a doctor’s surgical gown over his clothes, something to cover his own hair, he wore a mask, a plastic visor over his face, eye guards, and rubber surgical gloves, and he insisted that I wear a mask and gloves too (he looked like an astronaut ready for a walk on the moon). So they’re not casual about it, although he may be more careful than most. In French stores at the moment, sales people are wearing masks and gloves, but clients don’t have to wear a mask. Why not? If they are, I should be too. I wore a mask on a walk yesterday, but almost no one else did (I saw 3 masks in all), and I looked like I was going to rob a convenience store. I don’t mind the rules, and I’m willing to follow them, but I wish they made more sense and were more consistent, and that you had the feeling that the people making the rules really know what’s best for us. And then there are whole countries doing things differently. Sweden has no confinement, Switzerland and Austria have reopened. France is starting to. I wish I knew what is really right and safest, so we can protect ourselves intelligently, wherever we are. Our world is confusing right now. And I don’t object to rules, and will follow them, but I wish they were more consistent and made more sense. (Several people I know in the US spend 2 hours washing their groceries when they come home from the store, they remove wrappings, take everything out of cartons, it’s a big production. But no one does that in France).

 

Some people say our world has changed forever (I sure hope not), others say it is temporary. No one knows the time duration. Maybe it will disappear as suddenly as it arrived, or maybe it will linger. I think it’s the uncertainty, of what will happen, what we should do, and how long it will last that is so anxiety producing. Some people love video conferencing, others say that their video meetings are lifeless and dead and much less productive. I find it MUCH harder to write, and to concentrate, in the constantly stressful atmosphere. But I hope and believe that our world will return to normal again. Some countries are almost there. It just feels like a very long time, but in the scheme of life, this has not been so long, only 3 months. And maybe 3 months from now, things will be immeasurably better, or even nearly normal again. It will certainly have been a very strange time. And in some ways it forces us to reconsider what matters to us, what is really important, and who we care about most.

 

Things are loosening up, or will soon in some places, the death tolls and numbers of sick are coming down in most places, after months of confinement, the curve is flattening….what lies in store beyond that, we just don’t know yet. We just have to keep plodding on, and hope that the rules and directives and laws and suggestions are the right ones to keep us safe. And that people follow them.

 

So if you’re dazed and confused, me too. We all are. And hopefully, we will come out of this unscathed. With no major losses. The light is there at the end of the tunnel, if I squint I can just barely see it up ahead. I’m not complaining, Paris is de-confining, and I went for walks in the fresh air this week, I saw a friend, and will see a few more next week,  confinement in isolation for so long was really tough. The sun is shining, I’ll go out later for a walk….and when I do, do I wear a mask??  Hang in, and have a great week!!!

 

 

love, Danielle

 

4/27/20, The Wedding Dress

Posted on April 27, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’ve had a peaceful and not distressing week sheltering in place, and are finding ways to keep busy. Series, movies, reading, cooking, needlepoint, baking, house repairs, exercise, letters to friends, playing with your pets, or working. It’s a challenge to help speed the time along until we are free again. But in the meantime, staying confined is important to save lives, and keep us safe and healthy.

 

I just finished a book, and a re-write while in lockdown confinement, so I’ve been keeping busy.

 

And exciting news: I have a new hardcover novel coming out tomorrow, Tuesday 28 April, “The Wedding Dress”, in time for Mother’s Day. I LOVE this book and hope you do too, and it’s a great escape to distract us from our very unusual circumstances right now. The book begins in the 1920s, and covers some important events in modern history, it’s about a beautiful wedding dress made in Paris, and worn by 4 generations of the women in a San Francisco family. Each of the women is very unique and different, and each of them have interesting lives, typical of their time in history, from before the Crash of ’29, to the Second World War, the Flower Power days of the hippies, right up to the tech days on the Internet in current times. The book is a celebration of those 4 brides, in 4 generations, while encompassing some very interesting times in our history. I hope you love it. There is something very special about a wedding dress which accompanies 4 different generations of brides!!! And I think the book is very special, and I hope you’ll think so too. It might be the perfect antidote to our current confinement.

 

And this Friday will be May Day, May 1st. It’s the day when everyone in France gives friends, loved ones, coworkers, family members a little sprig of lily of the valley, to show love and wish people good luck. Paris smells delicious on May 1st, with street vendors on every corner selling little bunches of lily of the valley. I don’t think they’ll be out this year, but it’s a time honored tradition in France, and the lily of the valley stands will be back next year. And in the meantime, Happy May Day!!!

 

I hope you have an easy week, I wanted to share the news with you about the book in case you’re looking for something new and fun to read. And I hope that soon, we’ll all be out, enjoying the Spring weather, free again, with these challenging times behind us.  Take good care, stay sheltered in place according to the rules in your area—-and have a GREAT week!!!

 

 

love, Danielle

 

4/20/20, Keeping Hope Alive

Posted on April 20, 2020

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Well, I don’t need to ask you what you’ve been doing this week, or if you’ve had a great, fun week, or tried something new. We’re all doing the same thing, around the world, sheltering in place, social distancing, I’m hoping that you’re not sick, and that neither you nor anyone dear to you has been affected. Right now, if you’re not sick, you’re a step ahead. I hope that’s the case!!!

 

I’ve never run a marathon, but I imagine it must be like what we’re doing now. You start out at a steady pace, maybe saving your energy for later, and then you run and run and run, and at some point it gets really hard, and you think you can’t possibly make it, it’s going to kill you, and if you have the endurance, you somehow make it to the end, and no matter when you cross the finish line, it’s a victory, even in last place!!!   I think we’re in the hard part now, the ‘Oh my God how long will this go on, I can’t do this’ part….. except you do, and you wake up another day (like Ground Hog Day), and do it again, and keep going, till the end. Childbirth is like that too, there comes a point when you think you REALLY can’t do it, you’re going to die. But you don’t and there is a HUGE reward at the end of that: A Baby!!! And the hard part doesn’t last long, some hours, a day, and you get your big prize!!! This is a lot slower, and longer, and the prize is that we will save lives by being confined.  It sounds like it’s easy to stay home. It’s not. Isolated, alone, or in small quarters, with family tensions, uncertainty, living with fear day after day, with NO idea when it will end, or if you or your loved ones will be affected, this is tough, and it takes a toll on us all.

 

I’ve been confined for 6 weeks, I got a head start by about a week. I have not left my apartment in 6 weeks. I have not jogged, gone for walks, been in the fresh air, seen my loved ones, family or friends, I’m isolated and alone far from home. I’m working and finding it incredibly difficult. Sometimes I’m scared, sometimes I’m okay. After I watch the news, I’m anxious for days. I wake up in the night and don’t sleep much. I talk to my kids a lot. I’m worried much of the time about my kids. I pray. I walk in the house and try to keep busy, I cry easily and am not a crier usually.  And it means the world to me when I hear from someone I love. This is HARD, for everyone, and for some people more than others, depending on the circumstances they are confined in. There are reports of domestic violence and child abuse. I’m comfortable, I have food, I can’t complain, but no matter where you are, this is tough, and it is stretching out with no idea for anyone when it will end.

 

There is a really grim side to this, I wake up every morning and check the “numbers” in the countries and cities where I have loved ones, of how many people are newly sick, the overall total, and how many died. We read it like the stock market or baseball scores. Numbers of deaths have become common place. It’s like a war. But someone’s loved ones are in those numbers. And if the numbers go down, it means we are beating the pandemic, and one day we will be free again. My heart sinks daily when the numbers go up.

 

In the beginning, I got floods of some of the funniest jokes and videos I’ve ever seen, and some cute ones. I notice that now I have not had a single funny joke email in a week. The initial laughter and good humor has stopped. I’m hearing very little, if anything from friends. People have stopped writing and talking, and in the past few days, everyone I’ve spoken to sounds down and discouraged, or on edge. On average, most people have been confined for a month now, and it is wearing on everyone. The hardest part of the confinement has begun as it stretches out. The part where you really have to use all your strength to keep your courage up to stay in it.

 

News from our governments, state, local, or federal, and pronouncements, is either delivered every 2 weeks or every 4. We wait for those announcements, hoping for good news, and release, like children wait for a reward.  In France, where I am confined, we waited desperately for the President’s speech a week ago. We had been fully confined for 4 weeks, our numbers (of newly sick) had gone down significantly, and I think everyone was hoping for an easing of confinement in the next 2 weeks. We had “done our homework” and were hoping for the reward. And instead of a gold star, we got a “That’s good, now try harder”, when we had already tried so hard. We didn’t cross the finish line, the marathon got extended. We got hit with another full month of confinement, and no reward. It hit everyone hard and discouraged everyone. The borders remain closed, and we remain fully confined at home. And we got an additional stern ‘punishment’. The President announced that “All ‘Elders’ will not be included in the ‘De-Confinement’ when it happens’. Period. That’s it. Done. An entire segment of the population will not be released when it finally ends. All ‘Elders’ were just disqualified from the marathon. Technically, ‘Elders’ (‘Seniors’) are anyone over 60, who at this moment are not allowed to leave their homes, can have NO visitors, see no family, even if they’re sick, and cannot go out. So a week ago, that entire segment of the population was told that they will not be released from confinement, indefinitely. It wiped out all hope for anyone over 60. And 60 year olds are being viewed as the same as 85 and 90 year olds, with other serious illnesses in old age homes.  People fully engaged in active life, running businesses, in good health were instantly condemned to become shut-ins indefinitely. There has been a huge, powerful reaction, from lawmakers that it is unconstitutional, ageist and discriminatory, from doctors that it makes no sense and is unnecessary, from psychiatrists claiming that it will cause a tidal wave of suicides. I suspect that plan will be dispensed with, but the mere announcement of it sent the country into a tailspin of additional depression, along with everyone getting an additional month of confinement.

 

In addition, people being notified by their employers that they have been fired, or had their salaries reduced long term not just for the confinement, by anywhere from 25 to 75% in the US, as the confinement extends, has added another layer of depression, and fear about the future.

 

One of the hardest things I have found are the rumor mongers. Since no one knows anything for sure, there are always a battalion of people anxious to pass on the latest terrible rumor as fact, and to forecast bad news. The truth of the pandemic is hard enough to swallow, without the bad rumors. There are several people who call me regularly to tell me the worst news they’ve heard, just in case I wasn’t worried enough already. They serve no useful purpose, and only make people more miserable. What’s the point of that?

 

Then there are the friends who have simply vanished, who assured one “you can count on me, I’m here for you!!” never to be heard from again, and don’t return a phone call. And in balance to that, the people you haven’t heard from in years, who call out of the blue to see how you are, which is really touching. And I appreciate the faithful friends who HAVE called and stayed in touch and reach out to me regularly mean more to me than they will ever know. They and my kids are what keep me going.

 

So, Friends, we’re in the hard part now. The lonely part. The endurance part.  The part where you think you’ve run as hard and as far as you can, and you find out that you have to run twice as far as you thought, over rough terrain, with obstacles that look insurmountable. But there’s no turning back now. We can’t give up. We just have to keep going, like childbirth or a marathon or anything really hard.  And we WILL get to the finish line!!! This will end at some point.

 

We can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel yet, and it looks dark as hell out there, but at some point there will be a turn in the road, and we’ll be blinded by that bright light at the end of the tunnel, and we’ll be at the finish line. I have always found the saying to be true: “The night is always darkest before the dawn”.

 

The night is dark, the road is long, but we’re getting there, even if it’s grueling. And we WILL get there and cross that finish line, in every country. And let’s hope the dawn comes soon. Until then, we will continue on this marathon, and keep Hope alive. I particularly loved the Easter message from Queen Elizabeth II of England who assured us that this pandemic will not break us, and we will prevail. She said that her message was “to people of all faiths and none”—–so that’s all of us. So hang in, dear friends, and join hands in Keeping Hope Alive. We CAN do it, and we WILL.  Each one of us is tougher than we thought we were. And no matter what happens, or whatever the news, Have a GREAT week!!!

 

with all my love, Danielle

 

 

PS: Hours after I wrote this blog, and 5 days after it was declared, the French government cancelled the rule that had been proposed a week ago that No One over 60 would be allowed to go out, leave their home, or have visitors, even family, for an indeterminate amount of time, after Lockdown Confinement ended. It caused untold angst after it was announced, and Lawmakers, jurists, doctors, psychiatrists and the general public set up a general outcry that it would be illegal, unconstitutional, discriminatory (and inhuman/cruel) to uphold it. I am delighted to say that the proposal has been rescinded, and the rule cancelled. So when we finally get out of confinement in France, EVERYONE will be free, at their own discretion as to whether they go out or not, depending on their health. Freedom!!! I can hardly wait for that day!!!)

4/6/20, Resurrection

Posted on April 6, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you are doing okay in confinement, “sheltering in place”, quarantine, and all the necessary restrictions we are living with right now. Those restrictions are our gift to each other, and ourselves, to prevent further spread of the virus, and save lives. It is vitally important that we all follow the rules in our areas, stay safe, and stay home.

 

This coming Sunday is Easter, with Good Friday two days before. Easter has always been a holiday that my family has loved. Although it has much more serious religious connotations, in a lighter vein, it’s a happy holiday that we have all enjoyed, with Easter bunnies, and dyed Easter eggs, big chocolate eggs, Easter egg hunts, lots of jelly beans and Peeps (marshmallow bunnies and chicks in fluorescent colors). When the children were younger, and still had Easter vacations in school and college, we went to Hawaii every year. It was our tradition, and we had a terrific time.  We did Easter brunch, and everyone wore bunny ears, even the adults. And more recently, with all my kids grown up, we still have brunch (and still wear bunny ears), decorate the table, and enjoy the day together. (This year we will all be in isolation, separately, around the world, and visit with each other on Face Time.)

 

But beyond the more light-hearted more commercial side of the holiday, there is the religious side, with some serious introspection on Good Friday, to honor the death of Christ on the Cross, and a jubilant religious celebration on Easter Sunday, to honor the resurrection. Religion is not for everyone, but that is the essence of the religious aspect of the holiday. And in the Jewish faith, Passover comes this Wednesday, which I believe is a joyful holiday.

 

My very favorite religious concept, whatever one’s faith, is the one of Resurrection: of rebirth, a new beginning, a new chance, a new life, an opportunity to rise from the ashes, and whatever sadness or disappointment in our life.  There is no question whatever our faith, or none at all, there are times when life just beats us down, when bad or sad things happen, when we are overwhelmed by loss of some kind, the loss of a loved one, a marriage, a partner, a relationship, a child, a job. The loss of happiness, and even the loss of hope. And no matter how far down our spirits plunge, or how devastating the losses, the idea that we can Resurrect our hopes, our life, our trust, our faith in life and mankind—-that we can come back from the deep dark black hole we have fallen into, the idea that we can come back and recover and start fresh is vital to our survival and the quality of our lives. It is the rebirth of hope and joy that is so important, and what we celebrate on Easter, along with the Easter bunnies and jelly beans and peeps.

 

If ever there was a time when we need to cling to the idea of Resurrection, of rebirth, and starting fresh and starting over—it is now. This virus that has traveled the world, claiming lives across every continent and every border has knocked the wind out of us, and left us flattened, isolated, frightened, even terrified. And I am so grateful for the reminder of Resurrection right now, when we need it most. Resurrection is the rebirth of Hope, of Life, of trust, and of Love. We have to hang onto the belief that we will come out of this, alive, and better and stronger. Our countries will recover, most or all of our loved ones, and our hearts. We WILL bounce back!! We HAVE to. We MUST!!! And we WILL.

 

I send you all my faith and love. I have my dark, frightened moments too, we all do. But beyond that, and so much bigger is my faith in mankind and human nature, in my fellow man and his/her ability to endure and to survive, and surmount the obstacles we encounter—–and this is a big one. But we are bigger than this virus, and bigger than these dark times. I believe in the resurrection of our hopes, our dreams, our lives, our economies. We will not be down forever.  This has been our moment on the cross….but after that comes Resurrection. That is what I am placing my faith in. In every country, every language, we will overcome.

 

We will rise from the ashes. And each of us in our own way, will experience a resurrection, a rebirth.

 

For Christians, this is a Holy Week…..and this year, may be it be a week of blessings, hope and resurrection for the entire world.

 

 

with all my love, Danielle

 

3/30/20 Life in Confinement

Posted on March 30, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’re staying home, staying safe, social distancing, and sheltering in place/in confinement.

 

This is certainly FAR from easy, for any of us, as the virus circles the globe, frightening data surrounds us, the daily numbers of the ill, and the fatalities, cause all of us endless anxiety. This is surely the scariest time in my life, and probably in yours too. In my case, made infinitely worse by being a continent away from my children. I probably couldn’t do much for them if I were nearby, with all of us separately in confinement, or in quarantine, but it would be nice to know that I’m there, close at hand. But all of us, around the world, have to do our best in the circumstances, and above all follow the rules of safety to avoid the Corona Virus.

 

It is incredibly difficult to maintain a sense of normalcy, in such abnormal circumstances, with so many unknowns. The best and most hopeful examples we have now are from Asia, where they got it first, confined before we did, and now we see them recovering, and coming out of it, the restrictions lifted—-so we know that will happen for us eventually. It seems to have taken them about 3 months in Wuhan, where the virus started. Some other Asian countries seem to have recovered faster, like Japan. We have lessons to learn from all of them. Whatever will work in this time of crisis. And washing hands, social distancing, and confinement at home appear to be vital to avoid the spread of the disease.

 

What are people doing to keep busy and keep their spirits up while stuck at home? Taking care of small children confined with you is a full time and challenging occupation. Many people are working from home, remotely. Others are doing house repairs, reorganizing their homes, cooking, baking, reading, watching TV, series and movies. Yesterday, I heard about some people dancing, and listening to music. Lots of people are exercising with and without Skype (I am walking laps around my apartment for 45 minutes every morning). Some are jogging outdoors or walking their dogs (the dogs are exhausted!!). I get lots of funny emails, some are really priceless. I talk to my kids on the phone many times a day. Needlepoint is relaxing and productive, and maybe knitting. People confined in the country are gardening. Social media, calling friends. Playing with our dogs (mine just want to sleep and are happy I’m stuck at home!!). I’ve been editing books and doing re-writes, and am thinking about an outline for a new book, but haven’t started it yet.  It’s not easy to concentrate with the worry and tension we’re all experiencing, but if you can find something to do, it sure helps pass the time and the days. I’m alone so there is no one to “play with”, but I imagine families confined together must be playing games like Monopoly, Scrabble, Dominoes, cards. And I’m sure young people (and even grownups) must be playing video games.

 

Psychiatrists warn about not watching too much news (some say maximum 30 minutes a day, others say no more than 5 minutes), which causes too much anxiety. And the thing I find the least helpful, and seriously upsetting are the people who spread rumors, who offer worst case scenarios (most of us can come up with those all by ourselves with no help from outsiders), who tell us again and again that our governments are lying to us, that the numbers are worse than we know, that we’ll be locked down for a year, that the world is coming to an end. They don’t know any more than you and I do, but they sure love to scare us!!! I find those people thoughtless, unkind and irresponsible. We all know them. I don’t want to hear from those people anymore or at all. This is hard enough without people we know making it worse with unfounded rumors and their own worst fears projected on us, especially ‘friends’, or relatives.

 

I’ve tried to call people I know who are alone, and must be frightened, with no one to distract or comfort them, or keep them company.

 

We KNOW and must hang on to the fact that there will be an end point to this. We’ve seen other countries come through it and come out the other end. If we’re careful, stay home and follow the rules, if we’re serious and lucky, we won’t catch it. If we do, there is a very great chance that we’ll survive it. And hopefully in a reasonable amount of time, this will all be behind us, as a dark experience we came through. As a side bar, it’s giving us a time for introspection, to think about what really matters to us, what we want to change in our lives when this is over, who matters most to us, we’ve had a chance to reconnect with old friends we may have lost sight of, or strengthen our bond to our families and friends. As hard as it is, it’s a time to be grateful for the blessings we have—-despite the fear and anxiety we are living through now.

 

And eventually, life will return to normal, economies will recover. And hopefully a vaccine and medical treatments will be developed, which will take time. But long before that, we have each other, our shared strength, and being wise and careful and staying confined will hopefully end this faster.

 

Be safe, Everyone, take extra special good care. A huge thank you to all the medical workers in every country, being heroes to help us.

 

And for all of you, try to have a peaceful week, hang in, and I send you all my love and prayers,

 

Danielle

 

 

3/23/20, “Lockdown”

Posted on March 23, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Being confined, locked down, and isolated, and in many cases, entirely alone, is an enormous new challenge for all of us experiencing it. It affects us all, in every country, in every walk of life, from every kind of background, in every kind of job. This virus respects no one, and affects us all. Being in solitary confinement is a very new experience for me, and has turned my favorite place into the biggest challenge of all. My work as a writer is solitary, but there’s a big difference between choosing to be solitary to accomplish something, than to suddenly be isolated in a lock down situation, and being deprived of the people and places and activities which we enjoy and so easily take for granted. We have to sacrifice those things now for a short time, for the safety and health of the entire world. We take both our freedom and our health for granted—until suddenly we lose them, or they are seriously at risk, as they are now.

 

I realize when I think about it, that I have never lived alone. I married at seventeen, and went from my father’s home to my husband’s. My oldest daughter was born two years later, and from then on, even once I was no longer married, I was never alone again. I always had my daughter for company. And when I married again, and eventually over time during an 18 year marriage, became the mother of nine—there was never a moment of solitude—far from it!!! And with a house full of kids, ranging from teenagers to infants,  there wasn’t a chance that I would live alone for a long, long time. One by one, they grew up and many left, to college, jobs, and other cities. And I’m lucky enough to still have my youngest daughter living at home. So pretty much since I was seventeen, I’ve never lived alone, and by some weird quirk of fate, I wound up a continent away from all my children during this pandemic, and now under lock down, I find myself alone. The hardest part of the confinement is—-of course, worrying about my children, and the threat of illness for us all—-but a huge challenge has also been facing a hard experience with no one to share it with, to talk to, to bolster and reassure me, or my being able to take care of and reassure them. The solitude makes it a thousand times harder, and the worry about my kids. And for the first time ever, I am resoundingly alone. My kids are in other cities and countries, and the country which has given me a happy second home for so many years is now the location of my greatest fear, solitude and loneliness. It gives me new compassion for people who live alone, even when we are not in a pandemic. And perhaps the lesson I needed and will learn now is how to live with that solitude with grace, and be better because of it, when this is all over. Maybe each of us will learn something during the crisis that we needed to know, and would never have learned otherwise.

 

For everyone’s sake, I hope that everyone will comply with the rules of their confinement, and follow them, I pray that people will be safe and rapidly regain their health all around the globe. And I hold out my hand and my heart now to all of you living through this hard experience alone, with no one to talk to, or make you smile or laugh, or reassure you that things will be okay. Things WILL be okay, We will survive this, and we will learn the hard lessons and the easy ones from this. This won’t last forever, and we will be free again and reunited with our loved ones, the people we cherish, our loved ones, families and friends. And until that sweet reunion, even in the silence or loneliness of the confinement, it is for the good of all, to deprive the virus of the connections and contacts it needs to make us sick. Let’s starve the virus out of existence and stand strong. And from now on, I will have even greater respect for people who live in solitary confinement in normal times. I wish you grace and peace wherever the confinement finds you, for the lock down that goes so against the grain, since as people we all need ‘connection’ with people who are like minded, whom we love, can talk to, and make us laugh.   Give us the strength, to get through this hard, frightening time, with patience, courage, wisdom, perseverance and poise. We CAN do it, and we will. May God bless you, and all of us, at this very challenging time.

 

love, Danielle

 

3/16/20, “Stayin Alive” (like the song)

Posted on March 16, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Wow, it’s been a long week, and not due to fashion shows, jet set travel, or first drafts of a book. We all know what’s going on in the world, with the world wide epidemic, the Pandemic, that is circling the globe. It is a frightening situation, and so much of it is new to all of us, including the medical community. Predictions abound, with no idea of their accuracy, as with any worldwide crisis, we stay glued to our televisions and computers to get the latest news, some rehashed, some edited, some accurate, some not. The one thing I think we can be sure of is that no one knows exactly what will happen, when it will end, or how long it will go on. It is the uncertainty that is so stressful and anxiety-producing. I have exchanged texts and emails with friends in the middle of the night, as we struggled with anxiety about how this will turn out, who it will touch, and will our families be affected. No one knows.

 

It is clear by now that this is a very, very, VERY serious situation, in every country around the globe. Some World Leaders in government tell us that they’ve got it covered and we don’t need to worry so much, others tell us that we have only seen the beginning, and it hasn’t reached its peak yet. What is true? I wish I knew.

 

I find that with something as enormous as this, with such far reaching consequences, my world gets very big and very small, all at once. Very Big, as I watch world news on TV with grids, and graphs which confuse me further, with contradictory data. And at the same time, my world gets VERY small, and breaks down to acute concern for my children. My children live in four cities and two countries, while I live in yet another city and country. It is one of the few times in my lifetime, maybe the only time when I want to put my arms around them, dispel their fears, and hold them close, and no matter what I do, I can’t protect them. And worse yet, with the risk of contagion on flights and associated with travel, I was advised not to try to join them in any of their cities, and I am stuck far away from them, staying home myself. And even if took the risk and traveled to one of their cities, I could not be with all of them. We are just going to have to sit tight, and follow the rules until we can be together again.

 

From everything I’ve read, heard from medical people, and seen on TV, it appears to be absolutely CRUCIAL, to follow ALL the rules, about staying home, social distancing (keeping at least 4 FEET APART from each other!!), no touching, kissing, shaking hands, wear gloves when we go out, wear a mask if we ourselves are sick, stay out of crowded places, no restaurants or stores, or large gatherings, etc,travel as little as possible or not at all, stay away from the elderly so we don’t make them sick, and from children if possible, who can be carriers. The main directive is to wash hands as often as possible, disinfect all surfaces, and limit the number of people we’re in contact with. And beyond that, pray that we don’t catch it, transmit it, and that we and our loved ones survive it if we do catch it. It is this unseen, deadly menace that has turned our lives into a terrifying science fiction movie. We just have to ride it out, and follow ALL the directions we’re given to stop the contagion and turn this around as soon as possible.

 

And on another serious note, this Sunday will be the anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Brussels Airport four years ago, which claimed lives and caused major havoc. My personal tie to that event is that I have a niece who was one of the survivors of one of the terminals. She was seventeen at the time and lost both legs. After many surgeries and many months in the hospital, she has made an extraordinary recovery. Since then she has graduated from high school and enrolled in college, and after much rehab work (with the Navy Seals), she has made incredible progress. She was training for the Olympics when it happened, on the Equestrian team. And she got back on her horses as soon as she was able (before she left the hospital), and has been training and competing avidly, winning several first prizes, and is hoping to compete in the Paralympics this summer on the US equestrian team!! She is an astoundingly brave girl with a fantastic attitude, at twenty one now. She has turned a tragedy into a Victory.

 

May we be as brave now, fighting the Covid 19 Virus, and let’s hope that our collective efforts to beat it and end the contagion are effective. And may God be with you and protect you. Have a safe week, and please be careful, and follow the rules and directives in your area.

 

with all my love, Danielle