Archive for the ‘Getting Along’ Category

1/17/22, Lonely

Posted on January 17, 2022

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Well, we’re two weeks into the new year, and hopefully you’re off to a great start, and good things are already unfolding. I’ve already had one terrific surprise, in the past week. I learned that my new book “Invisible”, in hardcover, determined after only five days of sales, will be Number 1 on the New York Times Bestseller list this coming Sunday, and my new paperback “Neighbors” will be Number 1 on their paperback list. And I have another paperback still on that list, “All That Glitters.” That definitely gets my year off to a VERY happy start!! I hope you’ll have time to read it, and will love it.

 

Today is a very important day, Martin Luther King Day, one of the great historical figures of our times, and an extraordinary man, a great and inspiring religious leader who had a tremendous political and historical impact on the battle for desegregation in the United States at the time. He was an inspiration to all, and left the world a better place for having been here, and his murder was a tragedy for the world. He will be remembered and admired forever in our history.

 

I find that January is always kind of a bleak, dreary month. The weather is bad almost everywhere. Life is always slower after the holidays. And this year, we’ve begun the year at the height of the peak of another wave of Covid that has hit the world hard, with the Omicron variant. There are a myriad theories about it, that it’s less severe than earlier variants, but more contagious, that it’s a good sign that the virus is weakening, and then contradictory opinions. We are all eager to see the end of the virus altogether and the sky high numbers of new cases around the world are discouraging and frightening. I long for the time when this is all behind us, and life returns to normal again, and every day is no longer a challenge of testing, masking, distancing, vaccinating, boosting, and worrying about Covid. Let’s hope that this year it will finally disappear from our lives, or at the very least become no more dangerous than the common cold. Wouldn’t that be nice!!!

 

In the holiday letters I received, and conversations I’ve had, two words have caught my attention. Words that people don’t speak often or admit to, and are now talking about openly. The two words are ‘lonely’ and ‘disconnected’. I can’t remember a time when people said to me openly, or wrote in a letter, “I’m so lonely” or “I feel so disconnected.” In a way, I think it’s actually a good thing that people are actually saying it now, if that’s what they’re feeling. In the past, I think people were embarrassed to admit it, but it’s out in the open now. It has been one of the great impacts of Covid: isolation, solitude, either from quarantines, from being sick, out of fear of getting sick, from working at home remotely, or not being in school, millions of people have been affected, separated from their loved ones. Adult children have not seen their elderly parents in order to protect them, College kids haven’t seen their friends or been able to make new ones. Curfews, lockdowns, fear, and good judgement have isolated all of us from each other. I spent fifteen months of the last two years separated from my children, which was unimaginable to me before Covid. And even now, travelling to visit them, which I did once a month before is much more challenging and travel is often dangerous, or just before you’re about to see someone, they have been exposed to someone with Covid and are in quarantine and isolating. It is MUCH harder to see people now, and nearly impossible to have a social life. Going to parties isn’t wise, even if vaccinated, you think twice about inviting anyone to your home, and people are just tired of the cautions, restrictions and dangers, and it all becomes too complicated, so people wind up staying home alone.  It takes real effort and consideration to maintain connections with people. I think we’re all beginning to realize that solitude does take a tremendous toll, and we do need to make that effort to stay connected to others, we need to see our family and friends, those connections are important to all of us and our wellbeing, and I think we all need to make that extra effort so we aren’t lonely. The emotional and psychological effects of the pandemic are just as dangerous as the physical ones. It’s something to think about and be aware of as we start a new year. A promise to ourselves to stay connected to other people, so that the word lonely is no longer the first word we think of to describe ourselves and how we’re feeling.

 

I’m starting the year off working on two books, which is usually how I start every year: writing. It’s a good month to stay home and write. Writing is always isolating because you have to stay home alone to do it. But I am going to make more effort now to see people between books, as part of my own commitment to stay connected!!

 

My daughter Beatrix sent me a terrific quote today of Robin Williams. He was a lovely man, and I was lucky to know him. His son and my daughter dated all through high school, and my family has remained friends with his ever since. Robin was as funny in private as he was on screen, but the side of him I loved and always impressed me was that he was an absolutely wonderful father and adored his children. The quote my daughter sent me was “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always”/Robin Williams. It’s a good thing to keep in mind. Life is a daily battle to stay on course and keep your ahead above water, and in the pandemic, you have to fight that much harder.

 

I hope you have a wonderful, easy week, full of good news, good surprises, good times, and blessings.

 

Take Care. love, Danielle

1/3/22, Homage to Betty White

Posted on January 3, 2022

 

Hi Everyone,

 

A new year has begun, and I am really hopeful for 2022. 2020 absolutely sucked from March onwards. And 2021 ,as we figure out how to live with Covid, and put our lives back together again, has been kind of an up and down process, with Covid spikes, cancelled plans, businesses still precarious, and the discovery that the vaccines usually keep people from dying, but they don’t keep people from getting sick. I think most people have been incredible good sports about rolling with it, and making the best of a difficult situation, which isn’t over yet. We want it to be, and I believe we’ll get there, but we’re still wrestling with Covid. I am REALLY hoping that 2022 will see the last of it as a major threat. Hopefully, it will either burn itself out as some viruses do (like the Spanish Flu), or it will shrink from dragon size, to something more human scale, like an ordinary flu. I am betting heavily on 2022 being a good year, even a very good year. We deserve a break after a very tough two year battle.

 

And as we move forward, I want to pay tribute to a remarkable woman, a legend, an icon, and from all I hear from others, she was an extraordinary, wonderful human being. Betty White, the actress, who died last Friday, and would have turned 100 in two weeks. I only a few days ago mentioned her and how much I admire her. She worked right up until the end of her life, when others retire and disappear years earlier. She stayed front and center, and kept working, and was successful until the end. And I have always heard that she was a lovely person. She truly became an icon and a legend, as a human being, and she was a very fine actress and wonderful comedian. I loved her in the movie “The Proposal”, and other parts I saw her play on TV. (The Golden Girls was one of her best roles). She even hosted Saturday Night Live and was the oldest person ever to do so. (And she didn’t look old. She was amazingly pretty even at her age.) She had a delicious sense of timing and a wicked wink. And acting is no easy business, even less so as actors get older. She just stayed in there, right up until the end. I admire Honesty, kindness, integrity and hard work, and she won on all counts. She made me laugh hard in all her comedic roles. And there is nothing so fun and therapeutic as a good laugh!!

 

I wrote my first book at 19, and Agatha Christie was an icon and legend then, and she also kept writing wonderful books until the end of her career. I admired her greatly as I started my career. The French singer Charles Aznavour was my teen age idol, and he too, worked hard until he passed away in his high nineties a year or two ago. I saw him in concert when he was about 92, and he was as talented, amazing, and wonderful to watch and listen to as he always was. He performed for two and a half hours onstage, never took a break, and was on his feet for the entire time. You really have to admire and celebrate that kind of dedication. I truly admire hard work. I think it keeps people vital, engaged in the world, and alive. It’s also a matter of good luck to have good health. But if the body and mind allow, I enormously respect people who stay creative and hard working.

 

I hope to be one of those people one day, to go on writing forever, until the end. I’ve pretty much only done two things in my life: raise children and write. My children are well on their way now, so that leaves writing, and I don’t ever want to stop. I can’t imagine what I would do with myself if I stopped writing. I am a lousy cook, I don’t have a green thumb and have no interest in gardening, I haven’t played golf since boarding school (and only took lessons because the golf teacher was very handsome. I don’t think I ever learned to play the game). I love to play poker, but never learned to play bridge. I love doing needlepoint but couldn’t make a full time job of it. And my knitting is terrible, with holes all over the place. I used to draw, and went to design school, but had no great talent. I was never a good tennis player. Hiking bores me. So that leaves writing, and I hope to keep on writing forever, far into the future, as long as I can sit in a chair and pound on the keys of my trusty typewriter. I think I want to work forever, I just can’t imagine doing anything else, or ever stopping. I need to write, like I need to breathe air.

 

And I read recently that Betty White said she attributed her long life and good health to never eating anything green, and I’ve always said that the only thing green I like are emeralds. (I hate most green vegetables, after being forced to eat large quantities of them in my childhood. I much prefer chocolate).

 

It is a great gift to be able to make people laugh. Betty White made me laugh often and hard, and she did it so elegantly. She seemed like a lovely person, and I have always admired her from afar.

 

So I bow to Betty White for a life well lived, right to the end, which must have come swiftly, and hopefully gently, since she was giving interviews on turning 100 just last week, and on Friday she was suddenly gone, perhaps gently in her sleep.

 

Godspeed, Lovely Lady, for a life so well lived, and a graceful exit after her final bow. She gives us something to aspire to with her shining example. I can still imagine her winking at me now.

 

Have a wonderful week, and I hope this brand new year is off to a fabulous start!!!

 

love, Danielle

12/31/21, Bye bye 2021 and Auld Lang Syne

Posted on December 31, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Well, we made it through another year, a challenging one—not quite as terrifying and devastating as 2020, but anxiety causing and pretty damn scary at times nonetheless.

 

2020 was a lonely year for me, locked down in France, far from my family for every holiday, in confinement most of the time, and isolation. I was alone for 10 months of 2020 and another 5 months into 2021. It was a huge challenge for me, having always been very close to my children, and away from them for a long time for the first time.

 

2021 was a lot happier, I got to see my kids again, and travelled to the States to see them four times, and was able to spend nearly five months with them, in the midst of their busy lives. I wrote more books in 2020, since I had nothing else to do, and was in solitary confinement for most of the year. But 2021 was less stressful and happier since I got to see my kids, and I did plenty of writing too.

 

And now here we are, we made it all the way through the year, with ups and downs, a year of vaccines for many, and hope for the world in this crazy unbelievable pandemic that has brought the entire world to a shrieking stop for nearly two years. How lucky we were not to live with this constant menace before. I believe that we will reach normalcy again, and it will have been hard won. But it has brought its share of blessings too.

 

I have never been a big fan of New Year’s Eve, people try too hard, expect too much, it’s dangerous on the roads, it’s usually rainy and cold and no fun to go out. I’ve always spent New Year’s Eves at home, either quietly with my husband and kids, or having friends in to dinner, a few years of poker parties I gave, which were a lot of fun, and in recent years, I’m always working on a book, after my kids leave after Christmas. I forget what day (and year) it is and get lost in the book.

 

And this year, I’ll be home with two of my daughters, enjoying a quiet evening at home. We can’t give big gatherings, and dont want to go to any, worrying about Covid, and rushing to get a test the next day.

 

The world is definitely in fragile shape, and we are living history that people will talk about for centuries. With the Covid numbers soaring beyond belief, it rattles me when I read them, and it scares all of us. But somehow, as we move on to a new year, I am grateful for the blessings that have happened to me in these turbulent years, the special friendships I have made in these two years, the people who have come into my life, and I have come to love, who have supported me through the lonely, scary times, and made me laugh and brought me comfort when I needed it most. I’m grateful for my old friends, my family, my homes. I am grateful for the hope buried deep in all of us that even dark times can’t extinguish. I am grateful for the good times that will come again, the happy days that lie ahead, and the healing of body and soul.

 

May this new year be an exceptionally great one for you, full of new adventures, unexpected blessings, true happiness, great good fortune, and good health. May this year make up to you for the pain and fear of the pandemic, and bring you solace, and enormous joy.

 

Wherever you are, whatever you do on New Year’s Eve, be safe, be warm, I hope you feel blessed and at peace. I’m grateful for my faithful readers, my children, my friends, all those I love—-thank you for the joy you have given me this year, and I look forward to the good times we will share in the year ahead. I feel certain that we will, and that good surprises are in store for all of us. Take good care and cherish the happy times!!!

 

Happy New Year, and all my love,

 

Danielle

 

12/6/21, STOP!!!!

Posted on December 6, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

19 more days until Christmas, barely more than two weeks. I hope your plans are shaping up as you want them to, that your family can get together safely, and most of all I hope that you are safe and well. As I used to say when my kids were little, safety first, then happiness. I hope you will be able to achieve both during these upcoming holidays.

I think an important issue is being overlooked. For the 21 months of the pandemic, I think many of us have been shocked and dazed by the reality of the entire world coming to a dead stop around us. Businesses closed, working from home, masks or not, vax or not, which have become hot political topics in the US, and are only considered safety and health issues elsewhere. We have worried about our families and ourselves, in some cases our jobs and incomes have been impacted by the pandemic, or our businesses have folded. Everything we relied on before seems shaky now, which makes us feel anxious and insecure. And a frightening element has crept in with the basic safety and health issues, and the job issues, an element that has snuck up on us like a thief in the night: violence, and what appears to be the breakdown of our very morality, and an important human element.

 

According to statistics, violence and crimes have increased in every country in the world during the pandemic. There is an underlying tension. A law passed in California last year that theft (from a store) of under $1,000. will no longer be prosecuted. As a result, people are simply walking out of supermarkets, drug stores, and other stores with whatever they want to take, with no risk of being prosecuted. What is basically theft is now common place, and the shelves in many stores are bare, with items being stolen, and managers afraid to put merchandise on display. People are stealing without a second thought. And it appears that the people stealing are not unemployed parents stealing food for their kids, the door has been opened wide to petty criminals, who are stealing for profit. In theory, these are small crimes which have led to bigger ones.

 

From the theft of toothpaste, snacks and toilet paper in grocery stores or at Walgreen’s, there has been a huge leap to what is now called “Smash and Grab”. Luxury stores and department stores have now become the victims of looters who smash windows, enter stores, grab whatever expensive merchandise they can and run, in order to sell it later. Sometimes at night, and sometimes in broad daylight. In other stores, armed thieves enter, terrorize the customers, grab what they want and run, expensive things they can sell. When I was in San Francisco for 2 weeks last summer, armed robberies (of Louis Vuitton and Neiman Marcus) were committed across the street from where I was standing. I didn’t go downtown again. Three months later, when I was again in San Francisco, 7 luxury stores were broken into and looted in one night, including 80 looters who attacked a Nordstrom’s, and stole whatever they could lay hands on. Maybe some amateurs, but mostly professional criminals who are stealing to resell, adding theft and violence to our woes while Covid still rages on, and people argue about why they should wear a mask. In the meantime “Smash and Grab” has become an ordinary daily occurrence, which is theft on a massive scale.

 

And now, the deterioration of our moral fiber has gone a step further. In Northern California, ‘Smash and Grab’ has become a booming business, and the new ‘sport’ has become ‘Home Invasions’ in Southern California, where criminals break into homes, hold everyone at gun point and steal what they can. A horrifying example of that was the invasion of the home of a well known couple, in the music business, and the 81 year old wife, a remarkable woman greatly respected in LA, was shot and killed in cold blood during the event. So wholesale theft has led to armed robbery, and now to murder. In my own peaceful residential neighborhood in San Francisco, three women have recently been beaten to within an inch of their lives by men who stole their purses, another was beaten savagely while walking her dog, and her attackers stole her dog, and two very young children were kidnapped in the course of a car jacking. On the shopping street two blocks from my home in my neighborhood in Paris, where it was fun to walk, and window shop, or buy chocolates or pastries, we are now advised not to walk anymore, because hoodlums and criminals are mugging people, stealing purses, and ripping watches off their victims’ arms, and jewelry off their hands, ears, and necks.  What is happening to us? Where will it end? What makes it okay to steal toothpaste in one location, expensive handbags in another, beat up old women, steal people’s dogs, tear a necklace off a woman’s neck, or shoot people in their homes? That’s not a ‘home invasion’, that is murder plain and simple. And a young woman I know took an Uber in a normally safe neighbourhood in Paris a few days ago, and was savagely beaten and raped. How? Why? How did this appalling threat to our physical safety, and mental balance enter our lives unseen, and settle in as some kind of offshoot of the health crisis we are already living through. While those who govern us argue about wearing masks, roving groups of random criminals are looting, shooting innocent people, and stealing whatever they can lay hands on with no regard for human life.

 

Violence has become a way of life. I was told not to wear a purse if I go out in San Francisco. You can’t walk down a street in any city now, without fearing for your life. Bad enough that we are faced daily with the Russian Roulette of Covid, praying that we and our loved ones wont get sick or wind up in a hospital,  and now we get to worry about being caught in a shoot out at the grocery store, or in a store like Neiman Marcus, or we could be beaten to a pulp while walking our dogs. WHAT is happening to our moral fiber, where are our lawmakers while they look the other way, and allow people to steal up to a thousand dollars worth of what doesn’t belong to them. Where is the respect for human life that shooting an 81 year old respectable remarkable woman has now become commonplace. This is not a video game, this is our real life, while civilization as we know it is crumbling around us, and unthinkable, immoral, illegal acts are given clever names like ‘Smash and Grab’ and ‘Home Invasion’.

 

No!!! A thousand times NO!!! We all need a wake up call, we need to be profoundly shocked, even horrified by the violence happening around us that we seem to take for granted now. The pandemic has been like living through a war, where our lives are on the line every day. I have a hard time believing that during the Blitz in London, where countless people died daily from the bombs—-I can’t imagine other people shooting the survivors in their homes, or looting stores, while bodies were being removed from the rubble, and others were taking refuge in bomb shelters during an air raid.

 

We need to stand up, we need to wake up, we need to do EVERYTHING we can to stop the violence, end the criminal acts, and take a stand against the violence that impacts us all, and we are beginning to take for granted as a common occurrence. It could be our own homes that are invaded next, for a handful of money, or our loved ones or ourselves are shot randomly. We are fighting for our lives with Covid, there should be no room in our lives or in our world for violence as well. Living through the pandemic is hard enough without being mugged, beaten up, raped or killed as well. Enough. And those in government need to take a strong stand against it. Even the police are afraid of this tidal wave of violence we are facing. It needs to stop, before we have no safety, no moral fiber, and no respect for human life left at all.

 

 

Have a great week, and a safe one!!! love, Danielle

 

10/11/21, “Busy Bumpy and Beautiful”

Posted on October 11, 2021

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week, even a great week!!! Mine was busy, bumpy, and beautiful. I write that after sitting here thinking for a minute, asking myself ‘How was last week?’…Not bad, pretty good…no actually, I think it was a good week. Sometimes time slips away from me, and I get swallowed up by the million tasks of real life, of working, having kids, dealing with crises and ordinary stuff, like calling the plumber, but with kids and a busy job of deadlines, the days are full. Most of the time, I don’t have time to ask myself how I am, I just rush along at full speed, trying to get each day’s tasks done. I had a lot of catch up to do this week, including a ‘text proof deadline’ (the very last chance to make corrections before a manuscript goes to the printer to become a book). So, I had that and a lot of work to do, after having fun and playing hooky with my daughters last week.

 

I just read back through your comments and messages on my recent blogs, you touch my heart—the regulars, the recurring names, some new ones. You warm my heart. You can’t imagine how much I appreciate your comments and messages. You always touch me, you give me back tenfold whatever I am able to give to you in my books and the blog. Thank you with all my heart for your responses, they truly mean the world to me, they feed my soul, as you say I feed yours—it is a fair and good exchange that I am so grateful for!!!

 

Your messages are often very profound, I love the beautiful quote from Corinthians to the effect that “Love faces whatever comes along and doesn’t give up.” Wow, that’s a good one and a tall order. I believe it, and sometimes it is so hard not to give up, to keep on going through every storm. But every time I do that, the rewards are enormous. But it certainly isn’t easy sometimes. And it certainly is good advice.

 

I faced a challenging situation this week. I always tell my children, and have always told them, “Stand up for what you believe in, even if you stand alone.” Great motherly advice!! So noble, so strong, so honorable—-easy to say and sometimes so incredibly hard to do. I found myself alone in an unpopular position this week. And standing up for what you believe in can cost you: a job, a friend, someone you love. It’s all very nice if everyone agrees with you, but when you take a hard position, based on principle, or your profound beliefs, or you know what’s right, there can be stiff consequences, and wisdom may dictate not to stick your neck out and rock the boat. If you do it at work, you can lose, and we all have responsibilities. It’s easy to take tough, unpopular positions if you have nothing at risk. In any case, I found myself unexpectedly in an unpopular position this week, with a stand I knew I had to take. I truly felt I had no choice. I anticipated heavy criticism, and got some, and the potential for a major storm was great. I wound up alone on the firing line, stuck to my guns as politely as possible, and in the end I had one ally at my side to support me (but an ally who didn’t agree with me). I took my position firmly…..and much to my amazement, the roof didn’t fall in, no major explosion happened, the ‘other side’ had thought it over and agreed with me, and everything fell into place quietly without a battle. Wow!! But I had the guts to take a stand on what I believed to be principle, and I’m so glad I did. Even if you appear to lose from doing that, it’s the right thing to do in the end. It was a good reminder that what I’d always said to my kids was right….but it was scary as hell for a while!!! Doing and saying the right thing is always the right thing, even if it’s hard. I stuck to what I believed in. At every age we are faced with the same questions, the same battles, the same challenges, to test us, and make us stronger. But it’s definitely not fun when it’s happening. It’s a good feeling though, standing for what you believe in.

 

Other than that, I missed my kids, was grateful for their recent visit, did a little more Christmas shopping to cheer myself up, and had ‘tea’ with a friend. (He had tea, I had my favorite drink of recent years, a Virgin Mojito—sounds fancy, tastes great: lime juice, a little sugar, fizzy water, and mint. I love it!!!). I went to a funny little antique shop, and the owner claimed to know my husband years ago, and gave me a gift, which was kind but embarrassing, and appreciated. So, it was a week of challenges and some sweet unexpected moments. Just like life.

 

So hang in, dear friends. Next week will be full of surprises, and hopefully not too many challenges. I wish you an easy week, with joy and good surprises in it, and as few bumps as possible.

 

with much love, Danielle

 

9/20/21, Beloved Nicky

Posted on September 20, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

I hope things are rolling along, and it’s turning out to be an interesting, lively productive September.

This week is off to a hard start for me, predictably.  September 20 is the hardest day of the year, every year, for me. It’s the anniversary of the day I lost my son Nick to suicide, as many of you know, from this blog and the book I wrote about him, “His Bright Light” (published by Random House). It’s a portrait of him throughout his life, as an exceptional, gifted child, later a talented performer/singer/lyricist musician. The exciting and often fun life he led, and his lifelong battle with mental illness in the form of Bipolar Disease. His victories and his challenges, he was a very special person, and a beloved son. He died at nineteen, and took his family’s hearts with him. But we’re all still here together, remembering him and loving him, every day, and trying to help others in his name (through the Nick Traina Foundation).

I first realized that Nick was ”different’ when he was about 18 months old, in a fuzzy yellow sleeper, with feet, and probably even before that. He walked at 8 months, and talked at 8 months. When people asked his name, he answered “Incredible”, because that was what people said about him, and he thought it was his name. He spoke in clear sentences in two languages at a year old, and had serious conversations with me. He loved music, and grew up to be the lead singer in a band, composed music, wrote lyrics and sang, and toured with a band that was becoming successful. In the end, the tours did him in, and were more than he could cope with physically, which were ultimately part of the end. And he fought a valiant battle against Bi Polar, and had a full life he enjoyed in spite of it. He was essentially a happy person, and was up more than he was down, but the downs were ferocious. And he was born and lived at a time when the psychiatric norm was not to diagnose or treat Bi Polar (manic depression) until patients were in their 20’s. Today, they treat and medicate three and four year olds for bi polar. By the time Nick was 4, it was absolutely clear that he was Bi Polar. But he wasn’t medicated or treated and no one would believe me, until he was 16, and by then he was too ravaged by his illness for the meds to be enough to save him.

I think Nick would say that he led a good and full life in spite of his illness. He crammed more into it, experiences, talent, victories, a professional music career, many girlfriends (!!!) than most people manage in 60 years. But his illness was always with him, lurking in the background. When I read his journals after his death, he began contemplating suicide from the age of 11, which I didn’t suspect then. He made his first attempt at 18, and in the next eleven months, he made four attempts, and succeeded on the last one, at 19. We tried everything before that, therapy, medication, a few hospitalizations which I tried to keep to a minimum, they only made him worse, an outdoor survival camp with therapeutic help. We tried innovative treatments and classical ones, different doses of a myriad medications. We never gave up. And in addition to practical help, we just loved him. He had 8 siblings who adored him. And we did everything to keep him happy, safe and alive. It was a hard battle to lose. He was an extraordinary human being, loving and talented, with an outrageous sense of humor. When I think of him, he was always laughing.

Like cancer, and just as serious, MANY people survive and live good lives with Bi Polar Illness, and some don’t. Just because Nick didn’t survive doesn’t mean that everyone with Bi Polar will die, but some do, and it needs to be taken seriously. Medication is vital, and often when Bi Polar sufferers feel better and ‘normal’, they stop taking their meds, and then it becomes a high-risk situation, that can have disastrous results. My message to people with Bi Polar Disorder reading my blog is “Stay On Your Meds!!!”Please!! and Get Help.

Suicide is such a sad waste and a huge loss for everyone who loves the person who commits suicide. It is a loss for us all, of talented people, good people, young children, old people.

Suicide is the 2nd most common reason for death in young people under the age of 25. (Road accidents are first). Children commit suicide as young as 6 years old, although some states won’t allow the cause of death to be listed as suicide under the age of 13, but they do it, and write suicide notes in crayon. You have to be alert as a parent, a teacher, even as a friend if you sense that someone is at risk for suicide. Every single life matters, and even if you feel unloved and alone, there is someone who cares about you, and will be devastated by your death.

So, Monday Sept 20 is the hardest day of the year for me. I have mostly happy memories of Nick, because he was such a busy, positive, strong, and loving person—-and so funny!!! And he is no more ‘gone’ on that date than he is on any other day. But no matter how long it has been, or whatever I do on that day, aside from all the happy memories I have of him, the memories of that day flood me on the anniversary and nearly drown me sometimes. Grief is a sneaky thing, you think it has gone away, and then it leaps out at you when you don’t expect it, and squeezes the air out of you. But with every loss comes a blessing and a gift, the joy of their lives, the love that you shared, the things you learned together, the laughter, the love.

When Nick died, my doctor gave me a Dreidel, a little wooden Chanukah top with Hebrew letters on it, and he said that the letters said “A great miracle happened here” I thought he was crazy, but he was right. Great things have happened even since his death. We started two foundations to fund organizations that provide hands on help and therapy for people with mental illness, and thousands of people have been helped, all because of Nick.  Nick’s life was a miracle for us, and for me. And he never leaves us.  We cannot lose the blessings he shared with us, they are forever.

And however hard it was to lose him, or however hard the anniversary is every year, no matter how great the loss, Nick was a miracle in our lives. I got a letter last week from a woman who met him when he was 3, and told me how much joy he gave her. He lives on in so many hearts, and I will love him with all my heart forever, every hour of every day. His siblings and I share even more love because of him, and the joy and love and courage he shared with us and taught us. And I will always be grateful for him.

Have a peaceful week, and cherish those you love.  Celebrate Joy, and Life, and laughter and love because that’s what Nick did, and the lesson Nick left us.  Life is to be celebrated, shared and enjoyed. Don’t waste a minute!!!

 

with all my love, Danielle

 

9/5/21, A helping hand

Posted on September 5, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’ve had a great week. I had a really fun week last week with three of my daughters in New York. They worked hard on their professional prep for Fashion Week, for their jobs, and saw me in the little spare time they had (which I am ALWAYS grateful for!!), and I worked a little in the daytime, and shopped and had fun, and met up with my daughters at night, after their work. I didn’t go to the big stores I love, because I’m trying to be careful, and stuck to small shops that weren’t crowded, and when we ate in restaurants we only ate outdoors. And I wore a mask everywhere, though many people around me didn’t. I wore mine indoors and outdoors to be safer.

 

I thought of something while in New York, and when I was travelling. I had a little spare time, and always try to read something inspirational and uplifting when I do, sometimes daily or several times a week. And every time I do, I am always amazed at how much it helps me. We all have our own ways of coping with stress that works for us, exercise, or reading, meditation, praying, talking to a friend, or a glass of wine at the end of the day. There is built in stress in my work, with constant deadlines. My job is like being in school forever, with exams to prepare for. Every time I write a book, it’s a challenge, and every time a book is published, it feels like a pass or fail exam—-and how will I be graded. And having many children is a great joy, but fraught with anxiety too, worrying about them. We all have stresses in our lives, whatever they are.

 

I try to read from the Bible once a week, and read religious articles when I can, and the writings of Joel Osteen ALWAYS inspire and comfort me. On a stressful day, when I read his work, even a page of it, or a few lines, it suddenly brings peace and sanity into my life, and hope, and I feel ready to cope with the day. And the writings of Mary Baker Eddy help me too, but require more concentration. And when I’m rushed and stressed, with pressure coming from all directions, a quick hit/a few lines of something inspirational, like Joel, works wonders!!! I was thinking today of how much it does help to have some source of comfort to turn to, a helping hand in the darkness, while you struggle with a decision, face a dilemma or a heartbreak—sometimes something even as simple as a flat tire or a broken refrigerator, or much bigger issues. the little things can get you down too, if there are enough of them. And the fallout from these weird times of Covid have been challenging for many of us, worrying about health, money, jobs, loved ones.

 

I’m so grateful every time I find a resource to sustain me. I am the official Head of my family, and have been for a long time. My children’s father passed away ten years ago, so I am their only parent, and we were divorced long before that, although we remained close and good friends. I have no siblings or parents, no senior relatives, and am the only child of only children, so for me, “The buck stops here,” as they say. I am the only major decision maker, and the responsible person. My only family are my children, and the big decisions affecting us all are mine. It’s an awesome responsibility at times. And at every age and stage of life, there are hard things we have to face. One of my daughters just had to postpone her wedding for the fourth time, due to Covid. It just wasn’t safe to hold a big gathering, with the current variant on the loose. And it was a huge disappointment for her. Big or small, we all have our problems. And on a tough day, with enough balls coming at you fast enough, even small problems can seem overwhelming, if there are enough of them.

 

I think it’s really important for our own health and sense of wellbeing, to have outlets that help us, or people who are a great support system in our lives, or some form of activity that gives us a sense of peace, that we can face another day, and another avalanche of problems. Sometimes it feels like a hail storm raining down on us, and it can make us feel hopeless. A little break, and a helping hand in the dark can make all the difference, and put some bounce back in our step, and make us feel strong again.

 

Whatever it is that gives you peace and encouragement, embrace it. Whatever it is, whether it’s a game of golf, or a hot bath, or a long walk, or something religious, talking to a friend, or just a cup of coffee with them, or playing with your dog. Be good to yourself, and grab that helping hand wherever you find it. We all need that, especially now, with the daily challenges and the uncertainties we are facing with Covid.  And as frivolous as it sounds, when I have the time, and my budget isn’t too stretched already, I love to go shopping. it always cheers me up and relaxes me. Whatever it is that you enjoy and can find time for, go for it!!! It really will make a difference in your day and your outlook!!!

 

Have a great week, hopefully with some moments to yourself when you can take care of YOU!!!  Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Things will look better when you do!!!

 

love, Danielle

 

8/2/21, Enough already!!!

Posted on August 2, 2021

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Boy, I’m sure tired of Covid, and I’ll bet you are too. Up and down, first wave, second wave, third wave…arrghk!!! The vaccine seemed like an easy solution when it appeared. And it certainly appears to be an improvement, if it prevents cases requiring hospitalization, or fatalities. But there are hitches to that deal that require reason, caution, discipline and good judgement. You have to read the owner’s manual before you can just zip off into the sunset in a new car. In most cases, they tell even vaccinated people to wear a mask now, with cases surging everywhere Although the mask rules were lifted weeks ago.

 

For a minute there, everyone celebrated!! Yippeee!!! It felt like it was over, but it was not. What we are coming to understand is that even vaccinated people can catch Covid, they will just get a milder case, AND they can carry and transmit Covid- to others, whether vaccinated or not–if they give it to a vaccinated person, they will have a mild case, but if they infect a non-vaccinated person, they can do them some serious damage. Non vaccinated people remain vulnerable and have to be reasonable about how they move around in the world. In the past few weeks, some vaccinated people are getting sick, and in many places mask mandates have been reinstated.  My personal view is that some vaccinated people celebrated a little too exuberantly socially, and put themselves at risk again. And the large group of unvaccinated people are keeping us as a whole from achieving herd immunity.  I am not saying you should get vaccinated, or not, only you and your doctor know that. And we are all learning as we go, about the disease itself, and how to live comfortably around it. Wearing a mask seems like a small price to pay, for greater freedom. And I think people will adapt to it. For me, politics just don’t enter into it. Just safety, and protecting myself and my loved ones.

 

So be smart, be safe, let’s get rid of this anxiety and move on. Onward and Upward!!! have a great week,

 

love, Danielle

 

7/26/21, A prayer for the world

Posted on July 26, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is well with you, and that you’re getting some relaxing down time. It’s a little shocking that the summer is already half over, it has flown by. I’m looking forward to some time with my kids soon, and my first vacation in 2 years!!!

 

What is grabbing my thoughts these days are the rapidly climbing, exponentially multiplying Covid numbers, heading for the sky again. It’s discouraging, with so many people vaccinated. But restrictions were lifted around the world in June, and I think many people are so tired of 16 months of restrictions that in many cases, they threw caution to the winds. And in many places, they were told “the coast is clear”, with the lifting of rules and restrictions. Some states are backtracking now, and parts of California are urging masks indoors and out. In fact, we have nothing to lose, if masks do make a difference. I don’t care about the look, my ‘freedoms’ or anyone’s politics. Whatever will get us out of this black hole of Covid is fine with me, the sooner the better.

 

Vaccines seem to be the fastest way out, and millions have been vaccinated in all countries—but apparently not enough to achieve herd immunity anywhere. So we are ‘vaxed’ even double vaxed, but not enough people are, due to fear, politics, or their own personal reasons. And we are now being told that even vaxed people can get Covid, just to a lesser degree and they don’t die. But they get it, they can even get it twice, and they can transmit it to others. So, it is not the perfect solution that we hoped, but it seems to be the most effective one we have for now. They make not being vaxed sound like an automatic death sentence, and I hope that’s not true. Covid has wreaked havoc with our lives for almost two years now.  And we are all in need of psychological and physical relief from the stress and the risk.

 

What distresses me, and others, is that in the past 3 or 4 weeks, due to the Delta variant, and others, the numbers are shooting sky high again. Countries that were heavily vaccinated (the US, UK, Israel, Australia) are now in trouble again, with the US in the lead with the highest number of new cases daily, and we are back in the same soup we were in a year ago, although the death rate is lower due to the vaccines. But Covid is still out there raising hell with our lives and peace of mind.

 

I can only hope that the numbers will come down soon, that people will be truly careful, and observe whatever rules seem necessary. We have to beat this. The situation is worldwide, every country is affected, and our lives along with it.

 

May somehow this terrible plague leave us in peace at last, and may we be strong and wise in the meantime. Every aspect of our lives is threatened until it’s gone, our loved ones, ourselves, our down time, our jobs, our wellbeing, our health, our incomes. May the pain, danger, and anxiety end soon for us all. And in the meantime, I hold you close in my heart and my prayers.

 

Have a peaceful, careful, healthy week!!!

 

with much love, Danielle

 

7/19/21, Storm Warning

Posted on July 19, 2021

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope all is well with you, and you are enjoying the summer and getting some time off to relax.

 

I’m in both France and the US this summer, and I am growing concerned. When recently in New York in June, there was a vast fiesta atmosphere, with everyone immensely relieved that the restrictions were literally gone, and due to vaccines, the Covid numbers were lower. I found myself in stores, outdoor restaurants, and elevators, in huge crowds, body to body, people shouting, talking, drinking, no masks, no distancing as though Covid had never existed. It made me nervous.

 

When I got back to France, the numbers were greatly improved from before, although the vaccine rate was low, and people were still being careful. Outdoor dining, masks, there was an atmosphere of cautious enthusiasm, but still awareness. And among young people, total freedom and no caution at all, crowded restaurants and bars, lots of kissing and hugging, a party atmosphere in the streets. Last year, before the vaccine, the complete disregard of rules caused a huge surge of the Covid numbers and landed us back in Confinement, with high numbers and a lot of people sick, which was definitely not fun.

 

In the last week, due to the Delta variant, the numbers are sharply on the rise in every country globally. The UK which was the most vaccinated now has a huge surge and the worst numbers in Europe. Spain and Portugal are right behind them. Israel who vaccinated everyone has high numbers again. Australia. The numbers in the US have gone up, and in France, Italy, Germany. It is discouraging without question. We thought we were well out of it, and it turns out that we aren’t. Medical advice is that even vaccinated people need to be careful, even if the risk of death is lower for them. Even vaccinated people can still get Covid, though hopefully less severely. And neither the US nor France have achieved herd immunity, although heavily vaxed.

 

The French president, Emanuel Macron made a televised plea to citizens this week, to be more careful, to still follow rules, wear masks, distance. It is not over yet. The medical experts in the US have said the same. The numbers in Europe have doubled daily for the past week. The Delta variant is said to be 3 to 6 times more contagious. The President said that if we don’t stop this sudden surge by our behaviours, we are going to be in a worse place a month from now than in the entire pandemic. It’s a wake up call, for all of us. To be careful. We are not out of the woods yet. We still have to walk before we can run, and be careful.

 

I know that in the US, the wearing of masks has strong political connotations, which doesn’t make sense to me.

 

Whether or not people get vaccinated is a personal decision, dependent on their health, their pathologies, or even allergies. But whether or not people are vaccinated, we can all be careful, and mindful that Covid is not gone yet, in fact is getting stronger again with this variant.

 

The very simple bottom line for me is that I don’t want to get sick, I don’t want my kids to get sick. I don’t want YOU to get sick. And I would like all of us to reach a point of health and safety, where going to the grocery store, or a restaurant, or walking down the street is no longer a life-threatening risk. It may mean not being as close to others on the beach this summer, or not being in a crowded bar, or not going to a nightclub. But I would love all of us to be careful enough, and sensible enough that in time, we can do whatever we want, and live normally again without risk.   And I really don’t want to spend another year in and out of lockdown.

 

I just hope we will all be safe and sensible this summer, for just a little longer.  Have a great week!!!

 

love, Danielle