Archive for the ‘Getting Along’ Category

11/30/15, Shopping & Parenting, a Work in Progress Forever

Posted on November 30, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I’m busy writing. With a 6 book a year publishing schedule, I have LOTS of writing to do!!!

I had an interesting experience recently, when I went through New York to see my daughters there, we went shopping together, which is always fun for me. And also challenging!! With all 3 working in fashion, they have a keen eye for what works and what doesn’t and strong opinions about what I should wear—–and never wear!!! My perception of fashion is a little different than theirs, I’m older and can’t get away with every trend that comes along, but I also like a touch of humor sometimes, and don’t always want to wear serious Mom-clothes. Fashion needs to be fun too. Sometimes I regret those flights of fancy, and sometimes I really enjoy them. And sometimes I make some lulus of mistakes!!! And my daughters keep me in line. They’re a tough fashion committee to get by sometimes!!! As all daughters are, even if they don’t work in fashion. (You’re going out in THAT??? How many times have we all heard that from teen age daughters? And then they steal it from our closet and wear it themselves!!)

And I guess I wasn’t in a very serious mood the day we went shopping. At the first store we went to, I picked a big red and black checked purse that went with a few things I own. As the girls pointed out, I didn’t “need” it, but thought it would be fun. I got a resounding NO!! on that one, by all 3. I tried on a pair of navy blue patent leather lace up boots that I also thought would be fun. No again, and their verdict was that I looked like an 18th century school teacher. So with some regret, I said no to those. At the second store, they picked out a pair of beautiful sparkly black very high heeled evening shoes which they said I’d wear a lot, and I realized they were right, so I bought them and will probably wear them for years. They are very elegant and grown up, and I’ll probably wear them on Christmas Eve when we dress up for dinner. I also picked out a pair of platform flat shoes and got an instant No on those, and….tried on a pair of high heeled boots with flowers painted all over them that I thought were really fun. The committee voted those down too, but I tried them again and loved them, and bought them anyway. They may be right, and I may never wear them, but they looked happy and fun, so I gave myself a treat. And a moment of defiance of their sometimes stern fashion rules!! The boots are probably silly, but why not? » read more »

11/23/15, Thanksgiving

Posted on November 23, 2015

Hi Everyone,

Wow….how did it get to be the holidays so soon? It was January the last time I looked, and as it does every year, it whizzed by. One minute the year is beginning, you’re planning what you’ll do, and suddenly it’s spring and then summer, and then summer ends and it’s fall. A bunch of kids show up on Halloween, and Zap, it’s Thanksgiving. In five minutes it will be Christmas, you put the lights on the tree, admire it for a minute….then someone is singing Auld Lang Syne, and then you start all over again. So here we are, and here comes Thanksgiving.

To me, Thanksgiving is about gratitude and about friends. Although it is theoretically about family, it is a holiday to welcome friends who have nowhere else to go and might be alone, and to be thankful together. I always think about that phrase from the Bible, “God places the solitary in families”. It’s nice to be the place where people come, and to host it, and also nice to go to one’s friends if one is alone. And this is a good time of year for me to practice what I preach, and remember to be grateful for my family, my friends, (you my readers, and the people I work with), and the many blessings I have. I mean it, and it sounds good, but holidays also get hectic, life gets pressured and stressful, real life doesn’t stop on the holidays, and it’s easy to get worn out, stressed out, and sometimes even upset, and forget to be grateful. Sometimes the problems seem bigger than the blessings.

People in families worry about family battles and family members they don’t get along with. People without families are sad because they’re alone. People who are cooking the turkey and feel like they’re cooking for an army feel put upon (“Why do I always have to do it?”), People who have no turkey, no family, few friends and maybe nowhere to go feel deprived. It’s easy to focus on what’s wrong instead of what’s right. Very few people have a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, where the turkey is golden, the kids all behave, and the relatives are well behaved and adorable. People are stressed and short tempered over the holidays. There’s a lot to do and take care of.

No one’s holidays are perfect or very few. Sometimes big things are wrong, or only small ones. We remember those who are no longer with us and miss them more acutely.

My older children who are married usually go to their in laws, although one of my older married children will be with us this year, which is rare. My five younger children are coming home, but they have busy lives and stressful jobs, it’s a hassle to come home from far away, their lives aren’t perfect either, but we will be grateful to be together. Gratitude will be very important for all of us, to remember that we are lucky to have each other, no matter what our situations are at the moment. I’m very grateful that my kids are coming home for the holiday. And I know it will be busy and crazy, we will miss my son Nick who is no longer with us, and I’ll just be happy to have my kids home.

And if it gets crazy or too hectic, or things don’t work out perfectly, or if there are hassles at the last minute, I’m going to take a deep breath, and remind myself of how blessed I am, how thankful I am, and how very, very many blessings I have in my life, starting with my kids. I hope your Thanksgiving is blessed and wonderful, your relatives well behaved, your friends kind. And if it starts to get crazy, try to be grateful, even for a minute…..we all have something to be grateful for wherever we are, whatever we’re doing, and whatever our circumstances. I send you all my love, and Happy Thanksgiving!!!

love, Danielle

10/26/15, Bloom Where You Are Planted

Posted on October 26, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope you’ve had a good week, with lots of good things happening, or at the very least a peaceful one. I’ve had another crazy busy week, but am hoping for some quiet time this week to do some writing. My writing times are always a quiet refuge for me, and often a great escape from the headaches of ‘real life’, while I focus on the story I’m writing. But this was a go go go week for me, with a lot to do, and a lot of real life to deal with. Not unpleasant, just Busy!!! I had a friend come to visit for 4 days, which was a lot of fun. We had dinner with friends every night, to introduce her to new people, went to an art fair, visited a fascinating new building which was a wonder of architecture, and did some shopping (a girl can never have enough shoes, which is nearly impossible to explain to a man, “But you already have black shoes”—–yeah, whatever. Don’t even try to explain it to them). I did some Christmas shopping, which I always try to do early, to avoid the crush of shoppers in December. I had a wonderful visit with my God children, and tried to keep up with my work. And to add some spice (and worry) to my week, one of my children was on a business trip to Mexico this week, just when the hurricane was heading there, and I was seriously worried about her. She was just far enough away from the worst of it to be safe, but I watched the weather reports with great concern. (One of my daughters lost her home and almost everything she owned in Hurricane Sandy in New York 3 years ago, so the word ‘hurricane’ terrifies me). » read more »

10/5/15, Shootings

Posted on October 5, 2015

Hi Everyone,

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

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

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

7/27/15, Green Eyed Monster

Posted on July 27, 2015

Hi Everyone,
Before I share this week’s blog with you, I want to tell you how touched and totally bowled over I was by your loving and heartfelt messages about Sam Ewing. As of this moment, there are 146 messages from you about him, and you really, really touched my heart, and his wonderful mother has read them too. I can’t begin to tell you what it means to all of us. Thank you for your incredible kindness and beautiful words. With love from all of us.

And now for some more mundane thoughts!! I hope that all is well with you!!!

I hope your summer is rolling out smoothly and nicely with fun times, some relaxing days, and maybe even a great vacation you’ve been waiting all year to take. I love these summer days.

The Green Eyed Monster I’m talking about is jealousy, and I think it’s a REALLY important subject, for all of us. It is the seen and unseen evil in all of our lives, no matter who or where we are, at whatever level or stage in life. And it can wreak havoc in our lives, and often does.

I read a comment to my blog recently, from someone having trouble at work. I hear it from friends, my children at their jobs, and experience it myself every day. It may come in the form of a small snide comment from a co-worker, or even a boss, that takes you by surprise, or it may even take the form of some truly wicked planning by someone who is out to do you harm. And jealousy often comes from unexpected quarters, from someone you just can’t even imagine would be jealous of you. Some jealous people go to great lengths to hide it, others unabashedly go after you in some way. But whether hidden or overt, jealousy is one of the most corrosive, potentially dangerous elements in all of our lives. I have long since had a great “respect” for just how dangerous other people’s jealousies can be.

As a famous person, people in the outer circle of our lives see the outer trappings (all of them perfectly manicured and dressed up for your viewing pleasure) of a public person’s life. You see how handsome their children are, how big their house, how nice their clothes. You’re told how successful they are, how much fun they’re having, and shown how fabulous they supposedly are. In most cases, you don’t see how troubled one or more of their children may be, how stretched their finances, how bad their marriage (except in the tabloids), you don’t see them crying over the griefs in their life, or on a bad hair day, or with stomach flu. In a way, we are set up to be jealous of them. And they in turn, as famous people, are set up as an open target for other people’s envy—-which is a scary situation to be in. I’ve had my share of threats, and nasty jealous hate mail too, for all those reasons, and have also experienced other people’s jealousy at close range, from people I know. Jealousy almost always comes as a surprise, and it can be a powerful negative force against us.
» read more »

7/6/15, I’m Fine!!!???

Posted on July 6, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a good week, and that good things are happening. School is almost out, if you’re in school, always a glorious moment, waiting for freedom all summer. Or if you have school age kids, lots to plan to keep them busy all summer!! And hopefully lots of fun things to look forward to!!!

I had a funny experience recently, a conversation with a friend, which made me think about how we react to some of the unpleasant things that happen to us. Good manners and pride lead us to minimize some of the really yucky stuff we go through, and the people around us minimize it too, perhaps to make us feel better about it, or maybe they don’t know what else to say. There is some good in that theory, because we can’t sit around moaning all the time. But you fall flat on your face (or on your hands and knees) on the sidewalk, and with bleeding knees, embarrassed beyond belief, with torn stockings, and seeing stars, you assure everyone of how “fine” you are….no, really, it’s nothing…I’m fine. Really?? When you feel like you’re about to throw up and want to crawl into a hole and put yourself back together without 14 strangers staring at you??? Your boyfriend dumps you, or you break up mutually, and everyone assures you that you’re better off, and you’ll find a MUCH better guy in no time, and it’s a blessing in disguise. (As one of my friends says, I’m looking for a blessing that’s NOT in disguise!!). You get divorced, and your heart feels like it’s in a million pieces, or you lose someone you love some other way, and you assure everyone you’re fine—because it’s too embarrassing or painful to admit that you’re sitting at home crying every night, for a while anyway, and feel like your world will never be the same again. And every one will tell you that it’s better sooner than later, and a great thing that you didn’t lose more time (possibly true, but a miserable experience nonetheless). You lose a job, and again everyone says you’ll find a much better one that uses all your hidden talents, and once again we say we’re fine—-while you’re really thinking, how the hell am I going to pay the mortgage, or the rent, and feed the kids? Dignity induces us to assure the world and ourselves that we’re “fine”, and that’s not entirely a bad thing. Because the world doesn’t come to an end, or shouldn’t, every time something bad happens, and hopefully something good will happen after that. And after the storm, the sun does come out again, and that’s a good thing to remember. But most, or many of us, rarely admit how really shaken up we are by the bad stuff, or how upset we were

I had two unpleasant experiences recently, I was let down by people I trusted profoundly. And the other was an upsetting, unnerving experience that really upset me. And in both situations, I dealt with them sensibly, and calmly, and worked hard at appearing un-upset by it, although I was. I shared both experiences with a friend recently, in a very matter of fact way, not wanting to make a big deal of it (and seem like a whiner or a sissy), and she looked at me in amazement and said “Oh my God, that’s HORRIBLE!!!!” She totally ‘got’ how upset I was, maybe even more than I did. And all of a sudden, it felt okay to admit it, and acknowledge it, and not just try to be ‘grown up’ and polite about it. (I come from a very uptight European background, where you just don’t admit how upset you are, and you deal with it quietly and politely). My friend looked at me and said “that SUCKS”, and I had to laugh….because it did suck, and it was horrible, and all of a sudden I didn’t need to reassure everyone that it was really okay, and I was “fine’. I am fine, but I was damn upset for a while. And sometimes that’s okay. We don’t ALWAYS have to be polite and tell the people closest to us that we’re fine, and what they did wasn’t really so awful. It was liberating to hear her validate my feelings and the experiences….. She was absolutely right, it sucked!!! Sometimes things that happen are horrible, and it’s okay to say that. And hearing someone I respect say that made me feel so much better. So my conclusion is that we don’t always have to say we’re “Fine” if we’re not. (And maybe the people who upset us should know how much they upset us, and be accountable for it). It’s okay not to be fine sometimes. And I suspect that admitting it when things are lousy, even if for a moment, helps us to be really fine in the end, and maybe a lot faster, if we say “this sucks” instead of “I’m fine”!!! It was an interesting insight for me!!!

love, Danielle

6/22/15, The Weaker Sex

Posted on June 22, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is going well for you, and that life is treating you well.

I had one of those Hmmm…..moments today, when I ponder one (or several) of the mysteries of life, or the differences between men and women, or I just contemplate my life and question what I think. One of the differences between men and women that I’ve always noticed, other than the obvious ones, is that you can vent to a woman friend sometimes for hours, share what’s bothering you, and she’ll listen. She may make some suggestions, or just listen, but it’s rare for a woman to impose a solution on another woman. She may tell you how she handled a similar problem, which can be helpful, or offer her thoughts, but it’s rarely done forcefully, a woman friend will remind you of the options, but most women figure that the solution is your decision. But if you tell a man your problems, in just the same way, at the end of what you tell him, he will tell you what you should do in very definite terms. I’ve rarely known a man to be tentative about his suggestions. And most men seem to believe that you are telling him, not just to get his advice or opinion, but so that he can tell you what to do. Most men seem to feel totally frustrated if they can’t suggest a positive action, and his thoughts may be relevant, but not necessarily adapted to your style. And most men also seem to feel slighted if you don’t take their advice and put their plan into action immediately, just as he outlined it. It can create some very awkward situations, where you don’t want to hurt his feelings or insult him, but his suggestion may just not be what you want to do. Most men do not seem to ‘get’ that you may just want to whine, complain, or vent for a bit, and you’re not asking anyone else to solve your problems. It can be a real dilemma between men and woman, and I’ve been in some awkward spots myself, where I really didn’t like the male advice that was offered. I thanked them for their concern, but went on to solve the problem in a way that worked for me. This may be why a lot of women talk to other women about what’s bothering them. There are no ruffled feathers or hurt feelings if you don’t take their advice, or modify it to suit you. Men are more solution-oriented but in a very male way that doesn’t always suit us, even if their advice is full of good intentions, and male solutions. (“Just tell your kids (or husband) they can’t, or should, or have to….etc.” Good luck on that. Just ‘telling’ one’s kids, or husband, or ordering them around is rarely a viable solution for us. It takes a lot more psychology and finesse than that, in my life anyway). And I know I’ve really annoyed some male friends when I didn’t take their advice and follow it immediately, just as they outlined it to me. » read more »

6/1/15, Rising Above the Clouds

Posted on June 1, 2015

Hi Everyone,

How are you?? All is good with you, I hope!!!

The week has been insanely busy yet again. The bats flying in the windows are not quite as large, but it’s the tennis game of life, where a problem heads at us, we hit it to the opposite side of the court, it comes back at us again, and back and forth it goes, until eventually it’s solved, but sometimes that takes time. Also, if you have a big life, with a lot of people in it, inevitably, a lot of “stuff” happens that you have to deal with every day. I wear many hats in my daily life. I’m an employer, and also an employee of sorts, since I produce work for a publishing house, several of them in many countries and they pay me, so that makes me an employee and they make the rules, as employers do. I work with and for many people, with different personalities and opinions. I am the mother of eight adults, who are wonderful people, but I worry about them at times, as mothers do, and we don’t always agree either (although they are extremely reasonable and nice people!!). But there are bound to be bumps in our lives. And then there are the people in the outer circle of one’s life who are difficult, or jealous, or not always honest, who can really make our lives miserable if they work at it. It’s a lot of balls to keep in the air. And even if you’re a Mom at home, driving car pool for three kids, and trying to get them to school on time, and their soccer games, and make sure they do their homework and are doing okay in school, you have your hands full. We all do. And there are plenty of opportunities for challenges every day. If you live alone in an apartment you haven’t left in 10 years, have one single artificial plant, and a plastic fish, your life should be pretty simple. But anything more than that and you’re going to be dealing with difficult things at times—-and also opportunities for great things. But life moves fast these days, and most of us do wear several hats and we have to switch gears constantly, as partner, parent, employee, employer, friend. Just keeping up with texts and emails takes a lot of time out of our day. And some days, I feel like I will never catch up, and probably you feel that way too. Not to mention the people who encroach on our lives, don’t wish us well, intrude on us, and really put some energy into messing up our day, and there are people like that in all our lives too. (I wish they would find something else to do!!! and stay away from me!!). » read more »

5/11/15, Lovable

Posted on May 11, 2015

Hi Everyone,

You know my love for and fascination with words. The words ‘love’ and ‘hope’ always resonate for me, and for most of us. But ‘lovable’ is a word I discovered later in life, and never realized the importance of it for a long time. We talk about being loved (by someone), or loving someone or something. We LOVE ice cream, chocolate, sunny days, vacations, (shoes!!), our friends, our children, and hopefully the person we are married to or dating. We tell people how LOVED they are. We talk about certain people being very LOVING. But we seldom talk about, or think about being LOVABLE. And that’s a real stumbling block for some. We want to be loved, who doesn’t—–but do we believe, truly believe, in the depths of our gut, that we are lovable? Do we believe that we are lovable, and worthy of being loved? We focus on our flaws, and sometimes our loved ones are quick to remind us what they are, we don’t do this or that right, we forget to take out the garbage, lock the front door, or walk the dog. We make a mess here and there. Some of us come from deeply critical families, whose favorite sport is tearing others apart, or comparing us unfavorably to others. Unhappy mates tell us everything that’s wrong with us, and blame us for what goes wrong in a relationship. We don’t do as well as we plan to in life, didn’t get the promotion we want, or don’t feel we are paid enough (and make less money than our sister, husband/wife, best friend or neighbour). We haven’t had a date in 6 months or a year, or our boyfriend/girlfriend dumped us, or we got divorced. And what that all adds up to is that somewhere in our heart of hearts, we feel unlovable: undeserving of the love we want and hope for and need to thrive. We secretly believe we are second rate, or tenth rate, or no rate, and everyone else seems lovable, but us. » read more »

5/4/15, “The Sun Will Shine Through Rain” (Nick Traina)

Posted on May 4, 2015

Hi Everyone,

I’m sorry I was a no show last week, I was busy writing, and am very happy with what I’ve been working on, and I hope you will be too. Writing is often where I take refuge from real life, and my own problems, it’s a world where I am comfortable, feel at ease, know how to solve the problems in the story, and sometimes when the writing soars, it is pure joy. After doing it for a long time, I still thoroughly enjoy what I do, even though it’s hard work and challenging at times, and even exhausting when I work 20 hour stretches on my old typewriter. Sometimes it’s almost like flying, as you rise above the clouds, and see things more clearly, about life, and intricate situations. And I always fall in love with the characters in the book, and they become real to me, just as they do to you. It’s probably because they do seem real to me that you feel that way too when you read the books. The characters I write about are always fictional, because it would be too limiting to base them on real people. So I’ve been having a great time writing, and I hope you like the book when you read it. (I never tell the story or the title beforehand. It’s more fun to keep it a surprise!! But I think you will love this one, as I do!!) » read more »