Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

7/15/19, Precious Days

Posted on July 15, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’re having a good summer so far, not too hot, not too busy, with some real time off to relax and take a break. I had my annual week’s holiday with my kids, and now it’s back to work for me. I’m working on three outlines, have a book to edit, and will start a new book soon. So the real vacation is over for me, except for a long weekend in August with my kids. I spend a week with my five youngest children in July every year, which I look forward to all year, and is the only real vacation I take. I have to admit that I miss the days when I spent the whole summer with my children, not working at all, but with their jobs and busy lives that’s not possible anymore, and I am grateful for the one precious week we share now. This was the first year that one of them couldn’t come, and it was an adjustment and we all missed her. I even take my three dogs, Minnie, Blue and Lili on holiday with us!!!

 

We spend the vacation in France every year, and the days pass too quickly. One of the things I love on our vacation every year is that I go to a tiny beautiful little 11th century church, tucked away, on top of a hill, with an incredible view of the sea. It’s a very special place, and miracles are said to happen there, or as a result of prayer there. It has a wonderful peaceful feeling, and I make sure to visit it every year.

 

Everyone swims a lot, relaxes, and meals are an important part of the day, where we get together and talk and laugh (and eat too much!!!). We play lots of Scrabble, liar’s dice sometimes, cards, and added dominoes this year, which was really fun. It’s interesting to share thoughts and opinions and different points of view, they keep me up to date on a Millennial perspective on life, and we all make suggestions that are sometimes very helpful with whatever we’re dealing with at the time. My children are ALL very different from each other, so it’s a whole range of thoughts and philosophies on life. Those who have them, bring their partners, which broadens the perspective too, on everything from health to politics, to the wishes and dreams we all cherish, or the disappointments they’ve recently gone through, or challenges in their jobs. They are all very generous with their opinions and advice, which is sometimes challenging, but always well meant, and most of the time helpful. The week we spend together is a wonderful break from the pressures of “Real Life”. Their jobs are as different as they are, so we all learn something about the fields in which they work (fashion, startups, sports, finance, and my writing).

 

I’ve mentioned before that I collect favorite quotations, and have since I was in my teens. I’m currently thinking of putting together a book of my favorite quotes (some from famous people, others anonymous, and even some by children). If I do it, it will come out for Christmas this year. It’s fun going through my favorites, trying to decide which to share. They inspire me in my life, and I thought it would be fun to share them with you!!!

 

Whatever you’re doing this summer, I hope you have a break for some relaxation and fun, on your own or with favorite people, travelling, or even close to home.  We all need a break from whatever we do, although I’m always excited to get back to work even after a short break. It energizes me to take a little time off. I miss my kids like crazy after our vacation is over…..but back to work, which keeps me busy!!  Have a great week, and I hope your summer is off to a wonderful start!!!

 

love, Danielle

 

 

7/8/19, Summer Vacation

Posted on July 9, 2019

 

Hello Everyone,

 

I hope you’re well, happy, busy, and maybe already enjoying some time off on vacation. And I hope you had a great 4th of July!!!

 

I have been in and out of some breathtaking heat waves in the last couple of weeks. Some record breaking temperatures (without air conditioning!!!), and I was working on a book in dizzying heat, but managed to get through it, though slower than usual!!!

 

I’ve been enjoying a series on Netflix, “The Bletchely Circle”, about a group of women spies in England, right after World War II, solving mysteries for the police. Really a fun show. And I have a stack of books to read when I take a break, although I’ll be starting another book soon. And my new hardcover has been out for 2 weeks, “Lost and Found”, about a road trip to revisit old loves—it seems like just the right book for summer.  I hope you read it soon when you have time!!!

 

I’m currently on vacation with four of my children (that’s half my kids), my youngest ones, with their partners, which is really fun. Good meals and some lazy hot summer days. Just a brief week, which is all we can manage together now, between their demanding jobs and mine. But I’m grateful for every day I get with them. I look forward to this time with them all year. This week and a long weekend in August will be my only time off all summer/all year. Not a lot of time together, but wonderful. Lunch and dinner together every day, some swimming and sunning, lots of good conversations. I feel very lucky, and very grateful to have this time with them.

 

I hope that you’re doing something fun too, and get some time off for vacation soon!!!

 

I’ll be back at work soon, and the vacation will be a dim memory. It does make me long for the days when I took the whole summer off with my kids, and we had more time together. But I’m grateful for whatever time I get!!!

 

Take good care!! and have a great week, love, Danielle

6/10/19, “Storm Warnings”

Posted on June 10, 2019

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’ve had a good week, as summer gets underway, and I hope you’re making plans to do something fun this summer, and will be able to enjoy some time off.

 

I’ve mentioned to you before how much I enjoy the writing of Joel Osteen, a pastor from Texas, and I’ve been fortunate enough to meet him and his family, and I find him a truly remarkable person, a lovely human being, and his family warm and delightful. I love his books, and he has a short daily thought on the Internet, which always gives me a boost, and I often share with my children. His little positive messages get my day off to a good start. They always seem to apply to daily life. In a recent one, he talked about the palm tree, and how it bends all the way to the ground in big storms, and doesn’t break or fall over—-and how after a big storm, where a palm tree is stretched to its absolute utmost, instead of uprooting it, its root system actually becomes stronger. I found it to be a fantastic reminder of our lives.

 

We ALL encounter storms, big ones and small ones. Sometimes they come in clusters. And no matter how carefully we lead our lives, things happen!!! It’s inevitable, things you really don’t expect, and can’t avoid. And sometimes the bigger you are, the bigger the storm, and how hard it hits you. A financial problem that comes out of left field and shakes you up, a problem with your job, a nasty health issue, a dispute with a colleague, a disappointment, a betrayal by a trusted friend, and no matter how much we love our children, sometimes we have a clash with them too. I’ve had some big storms in my life, and I’m sure you have too. Sometimes we even have a run of them, you just get over one hurdle, heave a sigh of relief, and Wham!!! You get hit with another, or even several, and you feel like a human punching bag. I found Joel’s reminder of the resilience and strength of the palm tree really helpful, and it’s so true. Sometimes those battles we run into, didn’t expect and can’t avoid make us stronger when the storm is over, like the roots of the palm tree. You learn lessons from the hard times, even though those hard times aren’t enjoyable, unexpected blessings often come from those hard times, and we learn a lot from those storms, about ourselves, and the people around us, and often about those we love.

 

So I’m sharing that thought with you. We don’t enjoy those storms, but often we have greater strength and resilience than we know. The storms don’t break us, they make us grow. So if you’re going through a storm right now, remember that you will bounce back, no matter how big the storm, or how hard and loud the wind blows. I was grateful for the reminder!!! Sometimes those storms are damn scary and impressive, and you may look and feel like you’ve been shipwrecked right afterwards, but when the wind stops blowing and you pick yourself up again, it’s surprising and comforting to know that we survived it and we’re in better shape than we thought we would be after the storm.

 

I wish you sunny days and easy times, and a storm-free week (and life), but if you’re going through a storm, as happens to us all——remember the palm tree, and that you’re more resilient than you think!!!

 

love, Danielle

 

5/13/19, Wake Up Call:Real Life

Posted on May 13, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week and a lovely mother’s day, whether you’re a mother, or a son or daughter, a grandchild, or just a good motherly friend to someone who looks up to you.

 

Sometimes I have something I can’t wait to share with you, something I’ve seen or done or a pet peeve or immense joy. At other times, I grope around and can’t think of a single interesting thing I’ve done all week that might entertain you. There are always the fashion shows at certain times of year, the holidays, or a new book out. And I DO have a new book out, “Blessing in Disguise”, which came out last week, about a woman with three adult daughters, each one with a different father, and how very different they are, and how separate and distinct the mother’s relationship is with each of them. I hope you love it!!!

 

But since I spend about 95% of my time writing, there are times that I just haven’t seen or done anything except work, which gets boring for you to hear about. Sometimes I don’t leave my house (or office) for weeks at a time if I am working intensely on a book. And at other times something I want to share with you just leaps onto the page. I was travelling this week, which gets more and more complicated with increased security measures, and less and less fun, and there isn’t much to say about it. I didn’t do anything exciting this week, and then yesterday I got an email updating me about my incredible, remarkable, wonderful niece, Bea. And there it was, real life, staring me right in the eye, putting everything else I do or worry about into perspective.

 

Except for rare instances, we all share the same problems and deal with the same challenges to varying degrees in daily life. Worrying about our kids, the petty aggravations of daily life, (I am currently dealing with 2 winter leaks, hardly fascinating for you to hear), or we have a falling out with someone, or get irritated with our kids (the same ones we worry about!!), or just when you get your budget in semi-control you get a whopping bill from the plumber, or for your car, or from your dentist, and it blows your budget all over again. Whatever it is always seems monumental at the time (or really is with health or job or money or kid worries). And then suddenly you hear of something, or see it, which puts it all into perspective and reminds us of how small our problems are compared to that.

 

For those of you who don’t know, 3 years ago, my then 17 year old niece Bea was at the Brussels airport during the terrorist attack. You read about those events in the papers, and you never expect them to come close to home. She lost both her legs, was badly burned, her body filled with shrapnel. She was one of two survivors of one terminal, and was thought to be dead when they found her. She spent 7 months in a military hospital, and underwent more than 40 surgeries, and she will always have shrapnel in her body from the bombing. Unimaginable. She is an astoundingly brave and remarkable girl, with wonderful parents who got her through it. And she has more courage and guts than anyone I know. When she got out of the hospital, she finished high school and graduated. She did over a year of rehab with the Navy Seals. (She is half French and half American). She is now in college in the States. Her passion was horseback riding, and she was hoping to be in the Olympics. She is now training for the Paralympics, and sat on her beloved horse Deedee before she was even out of the hospital. The reunion of her and her horse was heart wrenching. Her horse Deedee was led out of its trailer, as a surprise for her, on the first day Bea was allowed to go out to the hospital garden. Deedee raced across the parking lot, and into the garden, went straight to Bea in her wheel chair, put her head on Bea’s shoulder, and licked her face. Bea began making a strong recovery from then on, and the love affair continues, as Bea now attends college and trains daily for the pre-Paralympic qualifying competitions. She had a recent setback for two months, which required more surgery for an infection. She’s on the mend now, and will be back in training again soon.

 

When I got the family update on her yesterday, it woke me up again. What Bea deals with every day is unthinkable to the rest of us, to come through something that immense and turn it into a positive life, and refuse to be defeated by a catastrophic, cataclysmic event so huge we can’t really even imagine it. It makes all my daily problems ridiculous by comparison: the suitcase that didn’t make it onto the plane with me 3 days ago (but eventually did turn up), the car repair, the bills that seem to multiply before they get to me, the harsh words exchanged with someone when I was tired, some minor disappointments. It shrinks to nothing when I am reminded of what Bea faces every day, and how brilliantly and bravely she has dealt with it, and her determination to lead an amazing life, and she surely will with her positive attitude. She is 20 now, and truly an extraordinary person.

 

So I’m sharing the wakeup call with you. Some people are dealing with such enormous things, and so successfully, that it shrinks my ‘problems’ to nothing. Bea is an inspiration to all who know her, and many who don’t. It makes me grateful for every waking moment. She is a blessing to us all. She didn’t just survive the attack, she met the challenge positively with immeasurable strength in every possible way, and still is. She is the definition of courage, in one totally amazing young girl.

 

Have a fantastic week—–and may all your challenges be small, and easily overcome!!!

 

with much love, Danielle

 

Bea’s Website:   https://www.beaparathlete.org/

 

 

Ps. And to Mary Dixon, who asked if I’ve written any short books. The answer is yes. About 20 or 25 years ago, short books became fashionable for a short time (under 200 pages). They were VERY challenging to write, much more so than longer books, because in short books you have about half the time and space to tell the entire story in depth. During that time, I wrote a number of them: among them, “The Gift”, “Five Days in Paris”, “Second Chance”, and “Special Delivery”, and a few others. You might want to check them out. love, D.

 

5/6/19, April Showers/Mother’s Day

Posted on May 6, 2019

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’ve had a good week, and are enjoying decent—-even Springlike!!!!—-weather somewhere—-not where I am, unfortunately!!! It’s freezing cold and rainy, a chill wind, temperatures in the 30’s last night, and a hail storm yesterday battering my windows!! No sign of Spring here!!!

 

The bad weather has given me an opportunity to stay home, and work on 4 outlines for new books, refining them, and working on them in different stages. I’ve been working on them for a while, and I’m excited to get started on the books!!! I work very hard on the outlines before I start the books, and try to get them all polished up smoothly and ready to go!!!

 

I’m looking forward to Mother’s Day at the end of this week, my favorite holiday, other than Christmas, and will be celebrating it in two different cities with my kids, over the course of 3 days. I feel very spoiled on Mother’s Day, and love celebrating it with them. (Presents, and I don’t have to get any older—-a fantastic deal!!!). My kids are very sweet to me on Mother’s Day!! My own mother is no longer here, and it’s surprising to me that she’s been gone for 13 years. We weren’t very close, and I didn’t grow up with her, but you only have one mother, and it’s a special role in one’s life. And we were very different. The great blessing in our relationship was that my somewhat distant relationship with her made me even closer to my own children, wanting a very different (much closer) relationship with my children than I had with my mother. And I am indeed very close to them, and am very blessed that my children include me in their lives even as adults. So there is much to celebrate and be grateful for.

 

I’ve also been very lucky that in the course of my life, 2 or 3 really wonderful women, old enough to actually be my mother, took me under their wing, at various times in my life, and became lifelong friends. They provided motherly advice, enormous encouragement and praise. And I have a theory that even if you don’t have an ideal mother, or a poor relationship with yours, one finds people on one’s path that fill that role—-even better than our own mothers. I think women like that come into our lives when we need them—-so we are not left “comfortless”, or without an older woman in that role. So I’ve been blessed on that score too. And we in turn, at some later date, can provide mothering to someone who needs it and isnt our child. Those substitute relationships are sometimes much more rewarding and warm than the real mother/daughter relationships by blood. Not everyone is cut out to be a mother, and some people really do fall short in that role. But a motherly person in one’s life can be a great gift!!!

 

Mother/daughter relationships can sometimes be very challenging, for a multitude of reasons. Either we’re just too different from our mothers—or sometimes too much the same, so inevitable clashes and differences of opionion occur, which can be painful for all concerned So I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day with your mother, and that the relationship you share is a warm, loving, cozy one. But if not, maybe there are other women who can bring you comfort in that role. And maybe you are providing mothering to someone you love that you didnt give birth to. You don’t have to give birth to someone to love them, want the best for them, want to help them, and wish them well. And I hope that your Mother’s Day will be easy and happy, either with your mother, or stand in mother, or with your children. I hope they love and cherish you, and celebrate you on Sunday.

 

And I will share an excellent piece of mothering advice that someone gave me years ago: Never lend your car keys to a person you gave birth to!!!!

 

Happy Mother’s Day, and have a wonderful week!!!

 

much love, Danielle

 

4/29/19, Hudson Yards and May Day

Posted on April 29, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week last week. I was on the move again, and spent a couple of days in New York, with two of my daughters. (Always fun for me!!) And I visited a really fascinating new area recently opened and still under development, with lots of construction going on. It’s fun to see new and different things!!!

 

The area is Hudson Yards, possibly the biggest shopping mall in the country. it’s an area that goes for about five blocks on the West Side of New York, in the 30’s (from 30th to 34th Street), and is about as wide, near the Hudson River. It is built above the train tracks running under ground, and is a vast area of really beautiful new buildings, housing apartments, offices, and a huge complex of stores. There is also a fascinating structure, a GIANT sculpture that looks like a honeycomb, with stairs and people walk up and down and all through the structure. (I’m guessing that it was about 10 stories high, possibly more). The buildings were all strikingly modern and beautiful, none of them identical, but each one remarkable and different, and yet all together they were a harmony of the best of modern architecture. (And we checked out Neiman Marcus briefly, which was fun too!!!) Although even new structures can be somewhat uninteresting at times, I found the whole grouping of buildings REALLY beautiful. It’s a very impressive development, with many buildings still under construction. It covers 28 acres, and 18 million square feet. It’s really worth seeing if you’re going to New York. I was enormously impressed.!!!

 

Other than that, my new book “Blessing in Disguise” is out, about a mother and her three adult daughters (by 3 different fathers) and how different they are—just as different as their fathers were. It takes a close look at mother/daughter relationships, how challenging and rewarding they can be. I hope it will be the perfect Mother’s Day Gift for anyone on your list—-and a good read for you any time!!!

 

This week I will be celebrating May Day, on May 1st. It’s a big national holiday in France, and is actually Labor Day. But it’s considered a very special lucky day. Street vendors everywhere sell sprigs of lily of the valley on that day, which you give to people for good luck!!! The air smells delicious all day with the scent of lily of the valley everywhere!!! It’s a particularly special day for me because it’s the birthday of my late son Nick. It was a perfect day for a birthday. I invite friends to dinner every year on that day, just close friends, for a quiet dinner, to remember his birthday and what a very special sweet boy he was. I loved the fact that he was born on May Day. And we’ll have lily of the valley on the table at dinner.

 

I hope this is an especially nice week for you, with happy things happening and fun things to do.

 

Have a great week!!

 

love, Danielle

 

4/8/19, “I had a blast in LA!!” Again!!

Posted on April 8, 2019

Hi Everyone,

 

I just had the great pleasure of spending a weekend in LA with one of my daughters, to celebrate her birthday. Unfortunately, with my rushed life of travelling between the two cities where I live, between writing deadlines, and another city where I spend about two months a year, I only get to LA about once a year, for my daughter’s birthday (and I see her in the cities where I live the rest of the year). Each time I go to LA, I remember what a fun city it is, and how much I enjoy visiting my daughter there, and I promise myself to visit there more often. But somehow with publishing 7 books a year, and all that goes with it, I never manage to get to LA more often—but wish I did. What a fun, lively, exciting happy city it is. The weather alone is enough to cheer you, when it’s still dismal winter everywhere else. I love the way the city looks, and the people always seem upbeat to me.

 

San Francisco has a certain casual austerity to it. Maybe it’s the weather, with gray foggy weather and a chill wind so much of the time. And New York is brutally cold so many months of the year. I love the way cities have a look, feel and personality all their own. LA just seems like a happy place to me—or maybe that’s just the fun I have with my daughter, which predisposes me to loving the place. The restaurants are great, and people REALLY try to look great—-maybe that’s due to the proximity of the film industry—but there are an awful lot of pretty people there. Lots of jeans, but bright colored shirts and clothes, women in sexy high heels running around town (and not just flip flops, or Uggs, or heavy snow gear, or just functional running shoes and yoga clothes all day long/ did they REALLY go to the gym or just wear the clothes?.) Lots of glitz and glamour, a lot of younger women with carefully done wild colored hair, many shades of pinks, some gorgeous mauves and purples, occasionally blue. The women wear makeup, and the men seem to pay more attention to how they look too. I always end up shopping there, and often buy things I can’t wear in very, very casual San Francisco, serious New York, and which they’d never understand in Paris. This time, I bought a wild shocking pink dress, a giant black suede purse, a great pair of combat boots I can wear in all my wintry cities, some good jeans (with a strawberry on the back pocket!!), and I wore a pair of light blue iridescent sequined jeans I haven’t been able to wear in any other city. The shopping is great in LA—the cultural side of life too. I had some interesting meetings, exploring film and TV options for my work. And the meetings in LA are fun too, and very creative.

 

I’m fascinated how different the cities are from each other. Las Vegas is a source of absolute fascination, with great shows and all the excitement around gambling (I’m not a gambler, but the people watching is unique!!). I’ve only been to Boston a few times, and liked it, it seems very traditional, historical, and solid. Miami always seems like a combination to me of LA and Las Vegas, double fun. San Francisco was long ago a very conservative, formal city, but The Flower children in the 60’s changed all that, and now it’s the most low key, informal city I know, and it’s still home for me for a few months a year. I’ve been to Chicago twice and loved it, it seemed like a mini New York, very chic and sophisticated and cosmopolitan. Washington DC has the underlying current and electricity of politics in a beautiful little city. I do love L.A.,  it seems light hearted (except for some very serious film work and opportunities there!!) and at times it feels like Disneyland for adults. And there is so much hope there among young people working in the film industry, or hoping to get in. And it is very different from Paris.

 

There are so many parts of this country that I haven’t seen and would love to visit. I’ve never been to Texas and would love to. I’ve only been to the South a few times, other than Miami. I have a deep love for Wyoming where I used to go with my children every year, the mountains there are magical and deeply spiritual, it is powerful and peaceful in a very special way.

 

I hope I get back to LA again soon. It was a very, very fun three days, and energized me to start a new book!!!

 

Have a great week, wherever you are!!!

 

much love, Danielle

 

4/1/19, Fragments and Renewal

Posted on April 1, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Today is one of those silly days that my kids used to use to torture me—-every year!!! April Fool. When they were little, their pranks and April Fool jokes were appropriately small scale, and as they got older, the jokes got worse, MUCH worse—-and I fell for it every time. When I’m working on a book, I’m usually so deep in the book, that I don’t even know what day, month or season it is, and am all wrapped up in the timing in the book. So it’s easy for me to forget, or not even know, it’s April Fool—-and my kids took full advantage of it. (If it’s Christmas in the book I’m writing, and it’s July in real life, when I finally get my nose out of the book, I’m surprised that there are no Christmas trees anywhere…..oops. And it’s really embarrassing to say to someone near at hand—uhhh, excuse me, what month is this? Or what year? I dated a check to the pharmacy 1914 once, while working on a book about World War 1. So I’m a prime target for April Fool jokes, with no idea that that’s what day it is!!) As my kids got older, they called to tell me they were in jail, got fired or kicked out of school, just got married at the Elvis Chapel in Las Vegas (to someone totally unsuitable of course, that they had only met hours before), or were pregnant (and not married. I fell for that one every year, much to my children’s delight). They got me every time. But I’m braced for them this year—-and I know what day it is!!! Ha!!! So there!!!

 

On a more serious note, sometimes I do some religious reading, to clear my head, or help me find the answer to some problem I’m struggling to find a solution to, or an answer that eludes me. It’s not for everyone, I realize, but it helps me to problem solve when I’m really stumped. And recently, I was reading some passages that I find meaningful in The Bible. Some of the passages are particularly meaningful to me, and seem applicable to our ordinary lives. And while doing some reading, I came across the story about feeding a crowd of five thousand, with five loaves of bread and two fishes. Now that is a major culinary feat even greater than feeding my own small army of nine kids!!! What always jumps out at me in that story is the word “Fragments”, pieces. They didn’t even have five neat loaves of bread, and two whole fishes—they had fragments of them. Just pieces. It reminded me of my own life at times, when I have ‘pieces’ of what I need, but not the whole answer or solution to a problem. You sit there pondering your life, and think—-now what am I going to do with this mess?? With not enough of anything you think you need. For me, the story is about making do with what you’ve got, and somehow making it work, if at all possible, with not enough money, or not enough time, or just no obvious answer to a problem. It’s about being ingenious and somehow making it work. In the Bible, they fed five thousand people with ‘fragments’ of too little that they had in the first place. And how often are we faced with having ‘fragments’ of what we need, and not enough whole anything to go around? It happens to us all in some way, we desperately want a promotion, and a raise—-and we get one or the other, or neither one. They offer you a terrific new title, but no more money. Or the money, and not the glory of the new title you deserve. Or we’re looking for a new home, with our own set ideas and real needs, we need so many bedrooms, have definite ideas about what neighbourhood works best for us, and is okay, maybe a garage or some parking space, and then we add the cherry on top in our dreams, and would love to have lots of light so it’s cheery, and maybe we throw in a fireplace, and a view. And of course we only find part of what we want, and less than what we think we need. The place you find is bright and cheerful and light, but doesn’t have enough bedrooms, or is in an iffy neighbourhood, too far from where you work. Or there is a view, but the kitchen is smaller than a phone booth, and so few bedrooms you’d have to give up half your kids (just kidding). Or only one bathroom for all of you. We get fragments of what we need, and have to figure out if we can make it work, and what really matters to us, and what can we give up, and if we want to. It happens in relationships too, the person you love has some fantastic traits, but also some really unfortunate ones. Can you make it work with that combination of traits? Do they have only fragments of what you need in a partner, enough to make a life with them? Should you settle for less than what you want (and need)? Can you make it work? Fragments or the whole deal?? Life seems to be a series of compromises, and I don’t know about you, but more often than not, I have been faced with fragments of what I hoped for, and have to figure out how to make that work, or if I can. But it has been very rare in my life to get the whole enchilada on a silver platter. (Once in a great while, but not very often!!!). I like the reminder of the image of having to make life work when you only get fragments of what you wanted, or thought you couldn’t live without. Sometimes you can make some amazing adjustments to make the ‘fragments’ work and it turns out to be enough in ways you never expected, and sometimes you just can’t pull it off and shouldn’t even try. The challenges we all face one way or another.

 

The other concept that comes up in Christian religions at this time of year, which is my favorite, is the idea of “Resurrection”/Rebirth/Starting fresh/Starting new. The roof crashes down on us all at various times in our lives, we have a bad year, or even a bad run of years, the failure of a marriage, a business, a major loss, a huge disappointment, or a string of smaller ones, or bad health, or financial troubles. There are times when we have just been pummeled by life and feel as though we’re at the bottom of the barrel and will never get up again.  We feel dead. The idea that we can start again, start fresh, recover and be ‘resurrected’ gives me so much hope—that we can come out of those bad times and be ‘reborn’, maybe with some scars, but we are back in the game again. That idea has kept me going through some very hard times. Resurrection, more than any other religious concept, which applies to our lives, I really love that one.

 

So those are my deep thoughts for the day. I hope that you survive April Fool’s Day with a minimum of trauma—-and that your children are much less mischievous than mine!!!

 

 

Have a great week!!!

 

love, Danielle

 

Filed Under Family, Holidays | 6 Comments

3/25/19, School Days. Golden Rule Days.

Posted on March 25, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

I hope that last week went well for you, and that some good things happened…..some nice surprises!!! I did one of my usual standard marathon times, travelling six thousand miles in three days to visit my children, dashing through three cities, from one of my home cities to the other. Fortunately, I sleep on planes, (and catch up on movies). Travelling can be very challenging, and I’m always grateful when it goes smoothly, without cancelled flights, long delays, or lost baggage.

 

And I had one of those “maturity-challenging” experiences, when I had dinner with my best friend, and he brought his puppy, an adorable little dog, and we were talking animatedly (with the puppy and one of my favorite purses I’ve had for years, wear often, and love, were under the table, and a man at the next table said, “Excuse me, the dog under the table is eating your purse”. Ugh. Sure enough, the puppy was happily chomping away on my purse, and when I rescued it, I saw that the puppy had made two holes in my purse. Boo Hoo!!) I know it sounds silly, but I was very sad about it. If that’s the worst that happens to me, I’m a lucky woman!!! I’ve had worse of course, we all have, but I do like that purse a lot. It’s a favorite (and I’ve managed to keep my daughters from stealing it for years!! They like it too!!). The next day, I went to four repair places, hoping to get it fixed, but they all told me it was irreparable. I love my friend dearly, like a brother, so I wasn’t mad at him, and the puppy is so cute, so it was just one of those things you have to be a good sport about. I wasn’t mad, just REALLY disappointed—-so if you ever see me wearing a green purse with two holes in it, and think ‘what’s wrong with her?? Why is she wearing a purse with two holes in it? You’ll know why. I was very grown up about it!! I didn’t cry, I didn’t get mad at the friend or the puppy. Things happen. Occasionally, the price of friendship—-and new puppies—is high!!! But my friend is much more important to me than an old purse, and the puppy is just a baby. Oh well……

 

Last week was an important week for many kids and parents in the US. A VERY stressful week for kids seeking to enter private high schools, and all universities, when acceptance letters landed in trembling hands. An important turning point for kids and parents alike. Setting aside the current college scandal in the US—–which in a distant way, I can understand people’s desperation to help their kids faced with the academic pressure cooker and high anxiety of a situation you are helpless to make better for them—-but losing their ethics, creating a situation where you break rules and laws, and ultimately sacrifice your child’s well being, set them an appalling example, and some parents have been arrested and will go to prison—-that I do NOT understand, nor the people who made money preying on those parental anxieties and misguided efforts to help their kids. (It has been recently revealed that some parents with a lot of money, paid dishonest well placed employees at some universities to falsify records, and manipulate results, so that some college applicants were able to get into colleges they couldn’t have been able to get into fairly. The whole sordid scandal has been exposed in recent weeks. Those kids won’t get into the desired schools of course, and both the parents involved and the people who took the money at the schools, are being prosecuted, and many will go to prison). In most cases, or maybe even all, the students had no idea what their parents had done, and wound up as the victims of terrible judgement and ethics on the part of their parents. It must have been a crushing blow to the kids. The whole thing is terribly wrong, and really sad, for the kids mostly, and the whole thing is really shocking.

 

But back to ‘normal’ kids and families who spent last week waiting for admission results to high school and college, for those who went the traditional, honest route to get in. Getting into school at any level is fraught with tension and uncertainty these days. It always was, but with fewer places available, and more students, there is tremendous competition now for everything from kindergarten to college. Parents can think of nothing else, futures are decided and affected by the results, and kids are nervous, stressed, and groomed, tutored, coached, helped, encouraged, threatened, and desperate to get into their first choice schools, and often convinced their lives will be ruined forever if they don’t get in. They take extra classes to help them pass standardized tests, and there is just an incredible amount of stress and tension waiting for the results, and a huge amount of pressure on the kids. And last week, all of those 8th grade and High School seniors got the results, some with shouts of joy, others with tears and sinking hearts. Some were wait listed at their favorite schools, which will prolong the agony for several months, maybe with good results in the end.

 

I have a theory about those results (first of all, that many parents put way too much pressure on their kids. There are lots of people who are successful in their lives, have great lives and careers, who did not get into their first choice colleges—-and some who didn’t go to college at all, or not particularly great schools. Your life is what you make of it, and what school you do or don’t go to isn’t everything in life. It matters, but not always as much as we think, and sometimes not at all.) My theory about it is that we are always, or almost always in our right place. The school we think is The Only One, and the right one sometimes isn’t, and sometimes NOT getting into that school is a bigger blessing—what the French call ‘un mal pour un bien’, a bad thing which turns out to be a good thing, even a great thing. We don’t know the blessings that will unfold, or the unexpected circumstances we can’t foresee, which turn out to be absolutely the best possible result that could have happened (which you may not even realize until years later, looking back). There is fate involved here, destiny, and things we just don’t know. So if you, or your child didn’t get into the high school or college of your choice last week, it could turn out to be the best possible thing that could have happened. So what looks like a disappointment could turn out to be the greatest opportunity of all!!!

 

And I can’t let today go by without mentioning that last Friday, March 22nd, was the third anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Brussels airport, where thirty two people died, and an enormous number injured. It was a family event for us, my nephew’s daughter was at the airport on that day, was nearly killed, and lost both legs at seventeen—-as you may remember. I can tell you now that after close to a year in the hospital, and many, many operations, and wonderful rehab, and the fact that she is an Incredible Remarkable, Fabulous girl—-since that day, she has graduated from high school, is attending college now, had rehab at the Navy Seals rehab facility, as  the victim of a terrorist attack (and her mother is American)—-and she is back in training (she was an Olympic class rider, which is her passion), and she is currently training and qualifying for the Paralympics, on the Equestrian team. She is mind-blowingly brave and fabulous, with more courage than anyone I know. So I had to acknowledge that date. It’s a day we will never forget, and should be remembered, for the brave people who survived it, and those who lost their lives.

 

So have a great week, a safe, healthy, happy, fruitful, fun exciting one!!!!

 

all my love, Danielle

 

 

PS, Dear Christine thank you for your beautiful comment about your mother, and the passage from my book, which meant so much to her. Thank you with all my heart for sharing it, it means a great deal to me, and I’m glad the book meant a lot to her. Our journeys are all dark at times, it’s the nature of Life. We live for the good times, and live through the hard times and survive them. And dark things happen to us all. I’ve had my share of them too. Somehow we get through them, and they make us deeper and better—not easily but they do, and the good times are more powerful than the bad. I’m so sorry you lost your Mom, and thank you for reading the piece of my book.

 

And to Patricia, my very deepest sympathy about your son. Whatever age we lose a child at, it’s an almost unbearable loss, that somehow we have to live through, and still find meaning and joy in life. My heart goes out to you. I lost my son Nick at nineteen. He will be forever missed, loved and remembered. I often laugh when I think of him now, and remember some of the ridiculous, silly, and funny things he did (he did a lot of them). I hope that time will be gentle with you, and you will find some peace and meaning in the loss, from the love you shared with him. I send you both my love.

 

Please know that I cherish your comments and messages. I read them all, even if I usually don’t comment on them. My blessings, love, and prayers to you both.  D.

 

 

Filed Under Family, Friends, Kids | 4 Comments

3/4/19, Rainy Sunday

Posted on March 4, 2019

 

Hi everyone, I hope it was a good week for you!!!

 

I’ve been running in ten directions all week, occasionally riding the wave of fashion week!! I went to two fashion shows this week. Everyone in the fashion world is talking with great regret about the passing of Karl Lagerfeld, the legendary designer of Chanel (please see last week’s blog!).

 

I went to two fashion shows in the last week, each of them VERY different from the other. One was for a brand called Altuzarra, which was very fun and kicky and young, with soft feminine clothes, lots of printed chiffons, with leather jackets, and some pretty coats. It has a jazzy, sexy flavor to it. And the other was at the other extreme, very, very very chic, elegant beautifully designed clothes by Hermes. Altuzarra was more playful, Hermes deals with a different customer, and the clothes were just beautiful, a lot of coats, and leathers since Hermes is primarily a leather craftsman, and there were gorgeous suedes and leathers in the show, in natural earth tones. It was very elegant. And both were in interesting locations. Altuzarra was at the Potoki  Hotel , an absolutely beautiful structure, (previously a home), I kept staring at the moldings, high ceilings, and all the details of what was once a spectacular home.  And the Hermes show was at the horse guards’ stables, and the show was very dramatically lit and impeccably organized. And the models were unusually beautiful!!!

 

I had fun at both shows. And the Altuzarra show was special for me, since one of my daughters organized it. Paris had beautiful spring weather this week. I’m sure we’ll get another blast of winter before it’s all over. Spring can’t be over this early, although I’d love that. I’ve been enjoying time with my daughters, although they’re very busy, working.

 

You must think that going to fashion shows is all I do—-which isn’t the case, I still have to work, a million hours a day (and night), working on the books. But I must admit, it’s fun fantasizing about the pretty clothes, and some really knock out looks. Watching the video of a fashion show is great distraction when I finish some part of a book and finish my days at 4am.

 

The rest of the time, I’ve been working. So, see you next week when I have lots more to report on.

 

much love, Danielle