Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

11/19/18, Apocalypse

Posted on November 19, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you are well, happy and SAFE!!! And getting ready for a lovely Thanksgiving.

 

I’ve had a crazy week. I’ve been writing pretty much day and night for the last 6 weeks, working on new books. Locked up in my office, and working even harder than usual so that I can take a few days off and enjoy the holiday with my children.

 

And sadly, the terrible fires in California have been a huge concern, and a distraction, and source of great anxiety to us all. So many lives and houses lost, so much loss, in both Northern and Southern California. Particularly awful since the North end of the state was already so devastated only (exactly) a year ago, in Napa and Sonoma counties. Whole towns were razed to the ground. I have several friends who lost their homes last year. And now, here we are again, in both Northern AND Southern California. I’m sure you’ve seen it on the news. Horrifying pictures of entire areas in flames, houses collapsing, the fires raging uncontained. Last year, the smoke reached dangerously unhealthy levels, and traveled more than a hundred miles, at times planes couldn’t fly, ash fell on San Francisco like snow, 80 miles from the fire. This year, with the fires raging more than 100 miles from the city, the smoke has reached new, unimaginable levels of toxicity. The city has watched the air quality numbers rise to staggering heights. The numbers sailed through the dangerous ‘red’ zone, to purple, which is EXTREMELY dangerous, schools are closed, many offices, people in the city are being told to stay indoors, do not open windows, do not walk their dogs, the cable cars have been shut down as it would be too unhealthy for passengers to be in the open air, the ferries have stopped, everyone is told that they must wear masks if they go outdoors even for minutes. The masks suitable for the ‘purple’ level of emergency have a rubber seal and make it nearly impossible to breathe, but are essential for one’s safety with the highly toxic air. The bay has vanished beneath a lethal looking cloud of smoke, you can’t see anything beyond your house, the sky is black at all hours of the day, an eerie dim light shines looking like a midwinter evening at mid-day. It is frightening, and worrisome, people feel cooped up in their homes, and everyone is anxious about the fires, and worried now that this will not be a once in a lifetime catastrophic occurrence, but an annual event. Meanwhile, the fires rage on, and the fog continues to envelop both ends of the state. Yesterday, San Francisco was declared the #1 city in the WORLD with the most dangerous air: more so than Beijing, Bangladesh, all of the industrial cities in Mainland China, and cities in India and Taiwan. It looks and feels like the end of the world, like a science fiction movie, with everyone running around with masks, and the streets fairly empty as people try not to go out. How long will it last? No one knows. An ‘inversion’ has settled over San Francisco, keeping an atmospheric ‘lid’ on the smoke, and trapping it over the city. The hope is for rain sometime later in the week if the wind comes up, and it rains, but for now, nothing is moving as the numbers referring to the danger level of the air quality continue to rise to a shocking degree. Many people feel the effects. It is a truly catastrophic event for anyone in the affected areas, which are extremely large. And hundreds of people continue to be unaccounted for. Droughts every year set the stage for these terrible fires. At this point residents of the affected areas can only pray for relief soon.

 

Many people have tried to get away from it during the past weekend, to areas where the air is slightly healthier, hotel rooms were impossible to find, planes were full. It truly is a shocking natural disaster, and my heart goes out to all of those who have lost homes or loved ones.

 

And in the midst of it all, Thanksgiving will be in a few days. We all have many blessings to be grateful for, and I hope that you will be spending your Thanksgiving with family and/or friends. There are so many blessings I am grateful for, and I hope that the fires will end soon, and the state can begin to heal again.

 

May you have a blessed Thanksgiving, and a safe, healthy one, with all my love, Danielle

 

10/29/18, Trick or Treat

Posted on October 29, 2018

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week last week, and that this week will be more treat than trick for you!!! (Treat being lots of dark chocolate or whatever makes you happy!!!)

 

I worked REALLY hard last week, writing 20 hours a day, so I am definitely back up to fall speed and my winter writing schedule. And I finished what I was writing on Friday, so I treated myself to a fun day on Saturday (after Xeroxing everything I’d been writing, since I type it on a typewriter and don’t use a computer). After the Xeroxing, I did some Christmas shopping….and of course a few treats for me!!! I’m having my Godchildren for a Halloween dinner, and they’re still young enough to really enjoy it!!

 

After Christmas shopping on Saturday (I went to a really cool store that is ALL men’s socks in a million different rainbow colors—–great stocking stuffers for the men on my list!!)—after that, I did something I never do. I NEVER go to restaurants alone, I’m not a big eater, wouldn’t enjoy being in a restaurant alone, it always looks weird to me when I see women alone in a restaurant, or people alone generally, and it’s no fun without someone to talk to. If I’m out doing errands, I just plow through until I get home, and I always have a bar of dark chocolate in my handbag if I get hungry, and it doesn’t hurt to skip a meal. I’d rather do that than go to a restaurant alone. And I’ve only done that once in my life. But Saturday, I decided to spoil myself a little after a week of hard work, and spotty meals. I tend to eat food that’s easy to eat and I don’t have to pay attention to when I’m working. Like hard boiled or scrambled eggs, the occasional sandwich, and waaayyyyy too many cookies!!! But Saturday I stopped for a late lunch, I had truffle risotto and calf’s liver (I love liver—-I know, no one else does). It was yummy, I was on an outdoor terrace, having a ball watching the people go by, sitting in the sun, feeling lazy and spoiled and enjoying it thoroughly. It was a fun restaurant I go to a lot, so they know me, and the kind of place where families and couples go, and all kinds of people so I didn’t stand out alone. And the people watching is superb there. Lots of foreigners, on my right were two Chinese women who looked like they were having a good time. They took photos of each other with their phones. to my left were two young Americans, maybe about 18 or 19, a boy and a girl, talking about college and exams, and how awful their parents are (I tried not to laugh at that. The boy said he had to take a trip with his father and said “Erghk!! How Sinister is That!!”) And beyond them was a beautiful Russian woman with what seemed to be her boyfriend. Lots of people came and went in some wild outfits. It’s a restaurant where a lot of people go in the fashion business, and some models, actors and actresses sometimes, and people who want to see and be seen. There was a Chinese actress posing for photographs in front of me, and some crazy outfits: one couple had on matching suits with Bermuda shorts, and she was wearing Mickey Mouse ears. It was a fun interlude for an hour, and at least I had a decent meal after a week of eating snacks nonstop.  I did some more errands after that, and went home and listened to some music and answered some emails.

 

I still haven’t figured out a Halloween costume, I have a pink sweatshirt with Miss Piggy on it, and may settle for that this year. I hope you have a GREAT HALLOWEEN!!! Whether in costume or not, and I hope you get lots of treats!!!

 

I learned something VERY unusual this week by the way—At least I think it is, a social event popular with the Millennial generation (late 20’s to early 30’s) Apparently the big trend is for “Gender Reveal” Parties. Clearly, I’m from the Dark Ages because I’d never heard of it before, although all my children knew about it when I checked. It sounded extremely sexy, but apparently isn’t. Here’s how it works if you don’t know about it either. When a Millennial is having a baby, instead of having the doctor tell her and her partner or spouse the sex of the baby, the doctor writes the baby’s sex down on a piece of paper, seals the paper in an envelope and the future Mom takes it to a party planner and a baker, and they throw a party, which will either have a pink or a blue theme, they invite all their friends, and when they go to the party, they discover the sex of their baby, along with all their friends, from the pink or blue balloons. I have to admit, I was stunned, I can’t imagine wanting to share that discovery with 50 or 100 friends or even two. In my generation, it was a very private moment to share with my husband and not discover at a party. But apparently, Gender Reveal Parties are a big deal now. You learn something new every day!!!

 

 

Trick or Treat!!!

 

love, Danielle

 

10/22/18 “Night Owl thoughts”

Posted on October 22, 2018

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’re having a great week, and had a great last week. I’ve been very, very busy, with a heavy writing schedule, as usual this time of year. I settle into the winter, and hibernate for a while, writing new books, and working on new ideas. So it’s writing time for me.

 

And special greetings to one of the readers who responded to my last blog, —- clearly a soul mate, whose tech skills are on a par with mine, and can’t find the apostrophe on her laptop. You’ll notice that I am lazy about apostrophes too!!! Her daughter tells her she doesn’t even TRY to learn—-I hear that all the time. And as much as I love my ridiculous ancient Nokia cell phone with the disco lights when I get a message, texting on it is a nightmare, since it’s the kind where you have to press several times on a key in order to get the right letter, and if I get it wrong I have to start all over again. So I keep my texts VERY short. Anyone over 30, not to mention 40 or 50, is of a very different generation from current texters, who would rather text, than call or talk, and the words just seem to flow from their fingers. The only thing I do on my IPad is play solitaire, and I see 2 year olds in their strollers happily working their IPad, and I want to hire one of them to show me how!!! If I ask someone in my office to call someone for me to leave a message—-they respond immediately, “I’ll text them right away”. It doesn’t even occur to most people to call anymore, they only text, and don’t even bother to answer their phones. And I guess it is true, that I don’t even try to learn new technology. The day will probably come if I am very old one day that I won’t know how to work the lights in my bedroom, turn on the TV, or open the curtains—-everything happens on an IPad or some form of ‘device’ these days. And as soon as you do learn something ‘techie’, it becomes obsolete immediately, and you have to learn all over again. I’m going to have to start hiring 5 year old consultants in my office who are up to date on all the latest technology. It does seem a shame though that everything is so high tech now, it definitely cuts out the human element in communications, it’s also a perfect way for people to dodge giving you straight answers, and avoid a simple question, like “where are the kitchen chairs I ordered 6 months ago?” And there is an App for everything now, none of which I have on my phone, or would know what to do with if I did.

 

I’ve always been a night owl, it runs in my family. My father and grandmother stayed up very late, and needed very little sleep, and in some ways I’ve been lucky to be like them too. It allowed me to manage 9 children AND a writing career (I wrote at night when the kids were asleep when they were young), and get by on very little sleep. I still do. I’d go to bed late (around 2 or 3 am, after writing for many hours), fall asleep the instant I hit the bed, and wake up ready to go 4 hours later—–a real blessing at times!!! I still go to bed late, now that my kids are grown up, and still get by on very little sleep, and write until the wee hours, but now I wake up earlier, and often wake in the middle of the night, and then my mind starts racing, and I think about all the things I should be doing, have to do, or should have done. I sometimes get the best ideas during those sleepless hours, but I find that I worry more about silly things in the middle of the night. I’ve made a lifetime career of a fertile imagination, and I sometimes get ideas for new books in those late night wide awake hours. And then of course, there is the silly stuff—like I just remembered the Halloween table cloth I ordered in August, which never came. This time of year, I lie awake thinking about what to get people for Christmas, I haven’t worked out my Halloween costume yet…..and I am working on several books at once, which gives me plenty to think about in the middle of the night, as I work out the plots or search for a title. If I lie awake for long enough, I get up and answer emails (which come in at all hours from all over the world)….and….true confessions, my one concession to High Tech: I have discovered online shopping, and I can get up to some real mischief with that!!! I notice that with all the complaints (in my family and office) about my lack of computer skills, and offers to bring me up to date, NO ONE has offered to teach me how to shop in the Internet, and I pretty much figured it out for myself with very little help. And I have some real fun with that sometimes!!! For someone who likes to shop, which I do, internet shopping is a huge temptation, and I have gotten some really fun stuff!!! It’s so easy that it feels like it’s free at times (it’s not!!), and I feel like a kid in a candy store….I want that and that and that….and that!!….and oh wow!! Look at how cute this is…..It’s a very dangerous sport, but can be a lot of fun. And they make it very easy, even for non-techies like me!!! So now I can shop in the middle of the night if I can’t sleep. Uh oh!!!

 

I’m including a photo of something very fun I got recently. I saw it in a shop window, as a display item, and tracked it down. It’s a company that makes furniture made with teddy bears and other toy stuffed animals. You can either get it with the teddy bears over the whole surface of a chair or bench, or just around the edges. It’s easier to sit on with the teddy bears just around the edges, so I went with that. I love it, it’s so fun, and super comfy to sit on. I ordered it with little white polar bears, but you can have it with any kind of toy animal you want: monkeys, camels, bears, dogs, cats, swans, flamingos. It’s a silly fun thing and I love it.

 

I hope you have a fun week ahead. Halloween is approaching, and I haven’t figured out a costume yet. My favorites over the years were as a ‘ghost writer’, with a white face and white wig, dressed in white with a necklace of pens around my neck, Cruella de Ville, and my famous/infamous whoopie cushion costume, undignified but funny….maybe I’ll just be me this year. One of my daughters dressed as me for Halloween a few years ago, and looked exactly like me, in a black turtle neck sweater (my uniform because I’m always cold), black jeans and black loafers, red hair in a long pony tail, glasses on her head, and lots of bracelets on both arms. I laughed when I saw her, and she put on my serious “I’m thinking about a new book” face. I hope you have something fun planned for Halloween. You still have time to figure out a costume!!!

 

 

Have a great week!!! love, Danielle

9/3/18, “In His Father’s Footsteps”

Posted on September 3, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Happy Labor Day!! I hope you’re enjoying the long weekend, and can catch a last few days of vacation before life gets serious again, and the summer is officially over!!! I’m happy to be spending it with three of my daughters.

 

To get the Fall off to a good start, I have a new book coming out tomorrow, “In His Father’s Footsteps”, about three generations of a family. The book begins with the liberation of one of the concentration camps in World War II, the first camp liberated by the Americans, and among the survivors are a young man and young woman who met while in the camp, Jakob and Emmanuelle. Both managed to survive, and had lost their entire families. In the days after the camp is liberated, they try to figure out where to go next, having lost everything during the war (he is Austrian, she is French. He was from a wealthy family in Vienna, who lost everything, she is the daughter of a seamstress in Paris), their friendship blossoms into love, as they help each other get their bearings and regain their health after their shocking experiences. With the help of an American refugee organization, they marry and immigrate to New York, where they are sponsored by a man who owns a garment factory, where they are given jobs, and a tiny apartment on the Lower East side. They arrive in New York with nothing, and work hard. They are ultimately exploited by their sponsor, struggle to survive, get better jobs, and are determined to make a good life for themselves in America, and they have a son, born in New York. With some good breaks, and the fruit of their labor, they meet a kind man who gives Jakob a good job as a runner in the wholesale diamond market. With time, hard work, integrity, and diligence, Jakob carves out a solid career, eventually owns a business, and provides a good life for his wife and son Max. They are cautious, sensible, persevering people, deeply affected by their wartime experiences and all that they lost, and serious about the solid, successful life they have built since. Max grows up in more fortunate circumstances, thanks to his father’s hard work, and he in turn is affected by his parents’ view of life, and he wants a very different, all American life, and to take advantage of the opportunities and education he has been fortunate to have. A Harvard graduate, he builds a successful business of his own, and leads a fast track life, very different from his parents’ lives, who are cautious and always concerned that another war could sweep everything away again. A visit to the camp his parents survived, and where they met, gives him new respect for his parents, and better understanding of what they’ve been through and how far they have come. Max’s own life choices in turn affect his own children, who want to make choices very different from his, and have yet another perspective than their father’s and their grandparents’ view of life. It’s about family ties, about how each generation differs from the last, but with a common theme of hard work, integrity, and the importance of family, as they strive to leave their own mark on the world, each in a different way than the generation that came before them. It’s about how we evolve, and what we learn from our parents and grandparents, and how we come to understand them as we mature, no matter how different we are.   I hope you enjoy the book, and each generation in it as the story unfolds.  I’m excited about the book and hope you will be too. I always love the poignancy and compassion of family sagas, as we watch a family build and grow, as each generation tries to improve on what was achieved by those who came before them.

 

I hope you have a wonderful Labor Day, and that you have some wonderful memories of the summer to carry you forward into the fall. Have a great week!!!

love, Danielle

 

7/2/18, Happy Fourth!!!

Posted on July 2, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope your summer is off to a great start, and that you’re getting ready for a festive, relaxing Fourth of July. It does bring back happy memories of the Fourth of July parties we gave when my kids were little, which eventually became barn dances with line dancing. It was lots of fun, the guests were all ages, old and young, with dozens of children running around, lots of yummy food, games for everyone to play. It was a real, old fashioned Fourth of July.

 

And I’m in the category of ‘Beware of what you wish for’ right now, in the midst of a heat wave. It’s sweltering, and was chilly only a week ago, but at least it feels like summer!!!  My summer has gotten off to a busy start, with 3 of my children visiting me for 2 weeks, and lots of running around with them. And four more arriving tomorrow, with friends, for another 2 weeks of my children visiting. They’ve been coming in shifts this year!!!  And between the two ‘shifts’, I just had a ‘grown up week’ to myself. As much as I adore my children, and am grateful for every moment I spend with them, it’s nice to have some grown up down time too. I had lunch with a friend almost every day, which is rare for me, since I work through lunch most of the time and don’t go out for lunch, but I indulged myself. I had lunch out every day, with leisurely opportunities to chat and catch up. I had dinner out once with a very interesting friend, a psychiatrist who is also a writer. And I had a group of women for dinner, whom I try to see once a month. We laugh a lot, and also talk about some serious things. I caught up on some reading, did a couple of writing projects, went shopping on Saturday, and am ready for the next group of visitors. The best thing about summer for me is spending time with my children, and although I love it when we’re all together, I also enjoy it when they come in smaller groups, which gives me time to focus on each one of them, and spend some individual time. We’re a big group when we get together!!!

 

Without getting involved in the political issues, my heart has ached recently for the children who have been separated from their parents, due to immigration issues. It always saddens me deeply when children become the victims of adult actions, and are in precarious situations. Children in jeopardy is something that is dear to my heart. As I understand it, there are 3,000 of those children, separated from their families, in limbo at the moment, while adults attempt to solve the situation. It breaks my heart when children pay the price for adult actions, whatever the reason. Childhood should be an innocent, protected time, in a perfect world, which is so often not true, starving in ravaged areas, or the victims of wars, living homeless on the streets in our own country, or even children of ‘good homes’, being abused by their parents. And often there is so little one can do to help and protect them. I hope that those 3,000 children are rapidly reunited with their families. Children are so often at the greatest risk, in every country, even ours, ravaged by poverty, disease, or neglected by irresponsible parents. Children are always at the mercy of the adults in their lives.

 

I hope you’re busy making summer plans, and will get some vacation this summer. My vacation is the time I spend with my kids, we’ll spend a week at the beach, and as soon as they leave, I go straight back to work. I don’t know what to do with my free time when I’m not shepherding kids!!! Old habits die hard, and I’m grateful that they spend time with me!!!

 

Have a wonderful Fourth of July. And between the hot dogs, hamburgers, Southern Fried chicken, and apple pie with vanilla ice cream, it’s good for us all to remember and be grateful for the immense freedoms we have in this country, and all the advantages.

 

We are very lucky!!! Happy Fourth!!!

 

And much love, Danielle

 

 

Have a GREAT week!!!

5/7/18, May Day

Posted on May 7, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,
 

I had a sweet day last week, which was a double header for me. May Day. When I was a little girl in French schools, we used to wear a little wreath of flowers around our heads, and dance around a Maypole. It sounds pretty silly, but I thought it was fun. May Day is Labor Day in France, so it’s a National Holiday. And lily of the valley, the flower, are the symbol of May Day, and happen to be my favorite flower. I love their delicate scent. In France, everyone exchanges sprigs of lily of the valley on May Day, as a symbol of friendship and good luck. There are street vendors everywhere selling lily of the valley, for people to give to friends, coworkers, children, grandmothers. It’s such a pretty holiday, and a lovely thought.
 

May Day also happens to be my late son Nick’s birthday. I loved that he was born on May Day. So it’s a bit of a double edged sword for me now, with happy and bittersweet memories that flood into my mind. Memories of him as a little boy, and when he was born, and as he grew up. He was an amazing person, and passed away at nineteen. So I love the day, but I also miss him enormously on that holiday. I usually invite friends to dinner that night, so as not to be alone, and I did the same this year. Twelve friends joined me for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. Before that, I spent a quiet day, reading, and thinking of Nick.
 

So Happy May Day to you, and I hope that Spring is now officially here. And soon it will be full-on summer!!! Get ready for it!!

 

 

love, Danielle

2/12/18, Happy V Day

Posted on February 12, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,
 

I hope your weeks have been going well. I’ve been busy writing, which usually keeps me happy and out of trouble.

And I guess we need to mention the holiday looming this week: Valentine’s Day. It’s a day of hope and expectations, excitement, joy, and sometimes disappointment if your Valentine hopes don’t quite measure up. I hope your Valentine’s Day will exceed all expectations and turn out even better than you dreamed!!!

My own Valentine’s Day experiences have been varied, from the sublime to the ridiculous, with some real highs—two marriage proposals on Valentine’s Day, one for a marriage that lasted nearly twenty years, and remained a great love (the father of eight of my nine children), and the other was a bumpy road but someone I loved a lot nonetheless, and we also stayed very close. I’ve had some terrific dates on Valentine’s Day, and some less than terrific dates, and some years alone. It’s one of those days, like New Year’s Eve where people pin their hopes on everything they wish, and it’s sometimes/often hard for reality to measure up. My children have been my best Valentines over the years, and still are!!! We used to set a terrific table with lots of candy hearts, and funny little party favors, walking hearts, Peeps of course (my favorite), lots of chocolate, T shirts with hearts on them, fun jewelry that lights up, and a BIG pink heart shaped cake at the end of it. We do a small version of that now for my daughter who still lives at home, but she usually goes out and has more exciting plans than a heart shaped cake at home!! But it was a lot of fun when all my children were little and still at home.

I hope you’re planning to do something fun on Valentine’s Day, and I hope that someone gives you flowers and chocolates—-even if they don’t propose. If not on Valentine’s Day, maybe they will soon!!! My youngest son’s birthday is four days before Valentine’s Day, so he was a GREAT Valentine’s Day gift, the best ever!!! We celebrated his birthday last week with a family dinner, which included some of his friends.

I hope that your Valentine’s Day plans turn out just the way you hope, and you have a fun, romantic day and evening, full of love, and maybe even the excitement of a new romance, or the warm comfort of an old romance. The possibilities are endless—-and anything is possible. So Happy Valentine’s Day!! I hope it will be a great one!!!

 

much love to you,  Danielle

1/8/18, Golden Years

Posted on January 8, 2018

Hi Everyone,

I hope that 2018 is off to a great start for you, and that the year has begun smoothly. Getting through the holidays is something of a mad dash, and then there seems to be a lull at the beginning of the year, when things are quiet for a while, and nothing much happens.

I’ve never liked new year’s resolutions, and making promises that are hard to live up to, I may not keep, and probably won’t. And I almost always ignore the flood of jokes, wisdoms, and ‘clever’ things that people send me from the Internet, although some of them are very funny. But a friend in Europe recently sent me a list of suggestions of ‘rules to live by’ for one’s golden years, from the Internet, that I actually liked a lot. 20 suggestions that caught my attention, and actually sounded like wise advice, at every age, so I’m passing them on to you. I don’t know the source, but I really thought the list worthwhile. I’m not sure when the ‘golden years’ begin, or how golden they really are. It’s an art to age gracefully, to be a good sport as one watches one’s kids grow up and fly off to their own lives. But suddenly one day, the kids are grown, and you wonder where the time went, and how life has gone so quickly. Some people get crabby about it, or sad, or bitter, while others face it admirably with energy and grace. I always admire older people who are busy, active, and have a positive outlook on life. Good health is a vital part of it, but a good attitude about whatever stage of life one is at seems essential. So for what it’s worth, I’m passing the list on to you. I really liked it.

RULES FOR OUR GOLDEN YEARS. Things to think about.

1. Use the money you have saved. Use it and take advantage of it and enjoy it.
Don’t save it for those who have no idea of the sacrifices you made to earn it. Take advantage of and enjoy the present.

2. Stop worrying, about your children and grandchildren. You’ve taken care of them for many years. You gave them an education. They are responsible now for themselves.

3. Maintain a healthy life, with moderate exercise. Eat well, walk, respect your sleep, since its harder now to stay in perfect health. Stay informed about your health, without excess.

4. Always buy the best and most beautiful elements for yourself. The main objective is to enjoy your life.

5. Don’t insist on the little things. You’ve overcome many things in your life, today is important, it’s the present. Don’t let the future frighten you.

6. Independent of age, keep love alive. Love of everything, of your family, of your environment, of your country.

7. Be proud, as much about your inside as your outside. Don’t stop going out. Take care of your body, you’ll feel better and stronger.

8. Don’t lose sight of fashion trends for your age, but keep your own sense of style.

9. Read the papers. Watch the news. Listen, read, make sure your message machine or voice mail is working, and try to use some form of social media. You’ll be surprised by new encounters and new people you meet as a result.

10. Respect younger generations and their opinions. Give advice and not criticism, and try to remind them of the wisdom of the past which applies to the present.

11. Never use the words “In my day”. Your Day is NOW!! You were younger once, but you still exist now. Have fun and enjoy life!

12. Embrace your “golden years”. Spend your time with positive, joyous people, they’ll rub off on you and your days will seem much more agreeable.

13. Resist the temptation to live with your children or grandchildren. They need to live their lives, and you need to live yours.

14. Don’t give up your leisure activities and hobbies. If you don’t have any, organize/plan some hobbies. Find something that you love and spend some good time, have fun.

15. Even if it doesn’t always thrill you, accept invitations. Baptisms, parties, birthdays, marriages, conferences. Do It!! The important thing is to leave the house from time to time.

16. Talk less and listen more. Don’t tell long stories unless you are asked to. Use a courteous tone, and try to stay positive.

17. If you’ve been offended by others, forgive them. Someone said “Holding a grudge against someone is like taking poison.”

18. If you have a strong belief/conviction, keep it. Don’t waste your time trying to convince others. Be faithful to your beliefs and choices.

19. Laugh. Laugh a lot. Laugh at everything. Convince yourself that you are among the luckiest. You succeeded at having a life, a long life.

20. Don’t pay any attention to what others say. Be proud to be yourself, proud of what you have accomplished. There is still a lot of happiness to take from life, so grab it!!

I really liked the reminder to keep up with the news. It’s so overwhelming at times, that it’s tempting to ignore what’s happening in the world. I liked too being reminded to accept invitations. It’s easy, at every age, to turn down invitations that sound dull or boring or just plain tiresome. But almost every time I accept an invitation that I was dubious about, I end up meeting someone really interesting, or have a much better time than I expected. It’s good to get out there, get dressed up and meet new people. It gives us a new perspective on life. And worrying less is always good advice for me, I worry too much about the people I love, and most of what I worry about never happens. Staying positive about life can be a challenge, but it’s so important, at every age. I know some young people who have a dreary, sour, defeated attitude about life, and some old ones who are incredibly positive and cheerful in their outlook on life. Who would you rather be around? The positive ones, or the angry, unhappy people who feel cheated by life, complain all the time, and bring you down?

I really liked the advice in these suggestions, and it reminded me that life can be ‘golden’ at any age. It all depends on how we view it. So I pass this on to you.

Have a great week!!

love, Danielle

1/1/18, Clean Slate

Posted on January 1, 2018

Hi Everyone,

I hope that Christmas has been joyful and peaceful for you, and happened the way you wanted it to, with some happy surprises!!

Mine has been a family Christmas, which is how I like it, with my children around me, and I’ve been very lucky that my 5 younger children and their significant others all came home for Christmas, and my three older ones were nearby too. It’s been a lovely Christmas.

It’s a nostalgic time, when inevitably you think of Christmases of years past, when they were all here, living at home, we hadn’t lost anyone, and life was easier than we realized then. It’s easy to spot the blessings as you look to the past, and sometimes not as easy to recognize them in everyday life, while we’re all occupied with the business of daily living. The past seems infinitely precious now, but so is the present. I’m very grateful to have had my children with me this Christmas. And we can all heave a sigh of relief, the presents are all given out, the rushing around is all done. We pulled off the holidays for another year, and the mad rush that impacts all or most of us between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

And now inevitably we take stock of all that happened in our lives this year, as it draws to a close. I am very grateful for the many blessings of this year, which in retrospect outnumber the bumps—-and there are always bumps in all our lives. But the blessings were many and very sweet.

Now we have one last hurdle to get over, before we can close this year, and get on to a new year, with all its challenges and happy, exciting moments. New Year’s eve, it’s never been a night I love. I always thought that people tried too hard, and I’ve spent it giving parties for friends, dancing on some years, giving poker parties once I was alone (which was REALLY fun!!!), I have spent it romantically, and alone, and in recent years, I really don’t want to go out and party on New Year’s eve, or even give a party (I’ve done it with fancy food, and fast food—and the fast food and curly fries and burgers and corn dogs was actually more fun!!). For the last two years, I spent New Year’s Eve writing, and I really enjoy that. My kids have left after Christmas by then, and rather than looking back at the past wistfully in a quiet house, I’d rather be deeply engaged in a new book, all wrapped up in the characters and the lives I create for them. It’s fun for me, and is a great way to spend it. I don’t need to figure out who to spend it with, or what to wear, or risk my life on the highway in bad weather going somewhere. I stay cozily at home, writing. For now, anyway, it’s my favorite plan, and how I plan to spend it this year. And however you decide to spend it, with lots of friends, a few good ones, among strangers, or alone, I hope you have a great New Year’s Eve, doing what you like to do best.

And today is a new beginning, a brand new year, a clean slate. Whatever last year brought you, whether disappointing or fabulous, today we all get to clear the decks and start again, filled with hope and plans, wishes and dreams, promises to ourselves about what we will do better, or try not to do again. You could meet the person of your dreams, wind up in a new job or home by the end of the year, or get out of a bad situation, or improve an old one. You can do almost anything you want, and start fresh today. I love the idea of that. We are all brand new today.

So let’s look ahead together, at what this New Year may bring us. And my wish for you is that it will be The BEST year ever. The Best is yet to come. Happy New Year. Happy New Day…..I want it to be a great one for you, and for all of us….that’s my wish for you. Happy Clean Slate, as we leave the past behind us, and forge ahead.

Happy 2018 !!! and all my love, Danielle

12/25/17, “Twas the Night before Christmas…”

Posted on December 25, 2017

“Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. The stockings were all hung by the chimney with care…..”

As I write this, it is 3 am on Christmas eve, and not a creature is stirring, not even my 3 Chihuahuas, who are snoring softly, waiting for me to come to bed. I just finished filling the Christmas stockings of my many children and their significant others, and writing them all letters from Santa, which I’ve done since they were children and still do—-congratulating them for what good people they are, and what they’ve done well all year. (Santa is very pleased with them!! And me too).

Our Christmas is all about traditions. We go to a church service at 5 pm, which is how our Christmas eve begins. It’s a children’s service, which they still enjoy, where we went every year in their childhood, and all the familiar Christmas carols are sung. Then we come home, hang out for a while, and dress for dinner. We have a formal dinner, with the table set nicely, and a good meal. Afterwards, we play a game, and after dinner the siblings exchange gifts. I give them mine the next morning (which was when they used to open the presents from Santa). We enjoy our rituals and familiar customs, and it’s a joy to spend it with my kids. I’m very grateful that they all come home for Christmas. And one of my daughters turns the tables on me every year, and fills a stocking for me and leaves it on my bed, which I open with delight before I go to bed: This year, two beautiful embroidered handkerchiefs, two little porcelain dishes with sayings I love on them: one of them says “The best is yet to be”, and 2 books I can’t wait to read, some cookies, chocolates and chocolate covered pretzels—-and a letter from Santa to me, urging me to be ‘naughtier’ next year!!! Now there’s a fun invitation!!!

And at the end of it all, before I go to bed, I am writing to you. I hope that your Christmas is unfolding gently and lovingly, that it met your expectations and fulfilled your hopes and dreams. Above all, I hope it was peaceful and that you shared it with people you love, and weren’t alone. You are in my thoughts, and I wish you again a very, very happy Christmas. And in the chaos of Christmas tomorrow, I will be thinking of you too. I hope it is a wonderful day!!!

Merry Christmas!! love, Danielle