Archive for the ‘Paris’ Category

6/17/19, Sunny Days After The Storms

Posted on June 17, 2019

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good, healthy, happy, fun, productive week since I last wrote to you.

 

It turns out that my last blog to you was somewhat prophetic. It’s funny how timing works that way sometimes—when you read something or hear something that is exactly appropriate to whatever is happening to you at the time. My last blog was about the resilience of palm trees in a storm, how they bend right down to the ground sometimes, but always bounce back without breaking. It’s a good reminder that we bounce back from stormy times too. I’ve had a bit of a stormy week myself, with some fun times, and a really nice work party in my honor, given by one of my publishers, which was a warm fun evening I really enjoyed. And I also had my share of storms last week too, events beyond my control, which were less fun than a party in my honor!! Life happens, with the mix of good and bad, fun and not fun, and happy surprises, and less happy ones. Nothing serious in my case, just the stresses of daily life in a busy life. A close friend’s son is in the hospital—-those are the real storms in life, not the minor stresses that worry us. And none of us are exempt from the big and small storms in life.

 

Other than that, it’s been a busy week.  I’m lucky enough to be able to spend two days with one of my daughters this week, which is a real treat for me. We always have a good time together, and I’ll be seeing my other children soon, which is a real joy for me.

 

My British publishers are coming to visit me this week, which is always fun and exciting for me. They do a wonderful job for me in the UK!!! The books are beautiful, with great covers and do very well, and I love working with them!!! My American publishers are fabulous too, and I’ve just renewed my ongoing ties with my long term publishers in France—just like with Random House in the US, I’ve been with them since my second book, so we have a long, close relationship. And under new ownership and management, my French publishers have gotten fresh energy and ideas, and new people on their team. I’m very lucky to work with so many truly nice, hardworking, very creative people who are a joy and pleasure to work with. So that’s one of the happy spots in my life.

 

My new hardcover “Lost and Found” will be coming out in a week, which is exciting too. I hope you love it. It’s about a woman who, jarred by a minor accident (a broken ankle), some dissent with her adult children, and inspired by a box of old love letters she finds at the back of a closet, she takes off on a cross country road trip, from New York to California, to rethink her life and visit the three men she didn’t marry many years ago, and wonders if her decisions were right. She decides to see them for the first time in years and check it out, and she makes many discoveries about them, and others, and herself in the course of the trip, and the new people she meets along the way. It’s about finally putting the past to rest, and moving ahead in one’s life, free of the past at last. I like that idea and hope you do too, and that you enjoy the book. And of course, as usual, I’m working on new ones for you.

 

So here’s to a peaceful storm-free, stress-free week ahead. A REALLY good week, which we all deserve. A peaceful one with some happy surprises in it!!! I’m expecting good news and happy days for you and for me, for all of us!!! Here’s to sunny days after the storms!!!

 

Have a GREAT week!!! love, Danielle

 

4/22/19, New Book Coming: “Blessing in Disguise”

Posted on April 22, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is well with you. The Easter Bunny has come and gone, and both Easter and Passover provided warm festivities for many. I enjoyed a really nice Easter Brunch with half of my children, who were in the same city with me. I’m always grateful for holidays we can spend together. And I actually took 2 days off from a mountain of work. I have been buried in outlines for new books, a first draft of a new book, and some re writes and editing to do. It has definitely been busy!!!!

 

I enjoyed doing an interview with Glamour Magazine, for their online magazine, with a very nice interviewer and lots of interesting questions. And I really enjoyed having some downtime, even if it’s only a weekend!!! These days, non-work weekends seem to be rare for me!!!

 

Paris is still reverberating from the shock and sadness of the terrible fire at Notre Dame a week ago, but people are already focusing on restoration, with an astounding amount of contributions, some as large as 100 and 200 million dollars from major French luxury brands. I was told that Disney contributed 5 million dollars, which is generous and amazing. The damage to the Cathedral is immense, and it will undoubtedly cost as much to repair as people are contributing. I hear that the donations are close to a billion dollars, which is heartwarming. Notre Dame is probably the most important, most beloved and most precious of France’s national monuments, with deep significance to so many people, whether religious or not, and it will be comforting to see the restoration begin on the 12th century church which went up in a roaring blaze last week, and shocked and saddened all of France, and people around the world. The church is really at the heart of the French spirit and culture. Some important moments in my life happened in that church too.

 

I’ve been so busy writing that I haven’t had time to do much else lately. And I suspect this pace will keep up until the summer. I always feel a little out of touch when I’m so deep into my work. The few chances I’ve had to stick my nose out the door, it feels like Spring (which makes it even harder to stay in and write), but it’s nice to feel warmer weather, and see Spring outside my windows.

 

I’m beginning to dream of summer, and taking some time off, my kids visiting me in France for our annual vacation together (one VERY precious week), not writing for a little while, having the time to read other books than my own, and just relaxing and doing fun things, seeing friends.

 

I have a new book coming out at the end of this week, “Blessing in Disguise”, about a woman with 3 adult daughters—-each one by a different father, and how different these young women are from each other, how each one’s relationship to their mother is entirely different (often true, even with the same father. All 9 of my children are VERY different from each other), and the challenges they face in their own lives and with their mother. It seems like a very appropriate Mother’s Day gift!!! Mother/Daughter relationships can be so challenging, and bumpy at times, but we grow from the hard times too, and learn a lot about ourselves—–and our mothers!!! I hope you read the book and love it, and that it feels like the perfect Mother’s Day gift to you!!!

 

Have a great week, and I hope you get to do some fun things this week!!! (We all need that!!!)

 

 

love, Danielle

 

4/15/19, Notre Dame

Posted on April 16, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

I hope that all is well with you.

With the greatest of sadness I am writing my blog to you, after watching Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burn today, its spire fall and its roof collapse. It is an exquisite iconic twelfth century Cathedral, symbolic of Paris, and France, and dear to most French people’s hearts. As I learned of the fire, I was flooded with emails from Europe, from the States, from Mexico, Hawaii, Paris, from people I barely know, from close friends, from my bankers, my children. It was truly a world shattering tragic event. The images were heartbreaking.

In this holy week before Easter, I am reminded again of the Resurrection, of the idea of Renewal, new beginnings of rebirth. Notre Dame Cathedral has had her crucifixion and trial by fire, and I can only pray that this deeply symbolic and beautiful church will rise from the ashes and have a resurrection of its own, with the help of all who love her, and honor all that she represents. Her spirit continues, and hopefully will continue for many more centuries once she is restored.

all my love, and may you have a peaceful week.

love, Danielle

 

3/18/19, Dazed but not confused

Posted on March 18, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is well with you. Yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day, which I can lay no claim to, having no Irish relatives at all.  But if it’s your holiday, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

 

The riots in Paris are continuing and getting worse again, with stores destroyed, vandalized and looted—innocent stores like women and children’s clothing stores and the Disney store on the Champs Elysees. The city continues to live in fear on Saturdays, and the destruction continues. Violence is never the answer to anything and is disheartening to see.

 

I have done nothing but write for the last 10 days, and I’m happy with what I’m working on. I was working very closely on two books, and have really had fun with them. I hope you’ll love them too once they’re out.

 

My new book, Silent Night, is out and doing well, about Brain Injury. I hope you’ll read it and love it too, there’s some very good research in that book.

 

And when I work this hard writing, I work straight through most nights until 5 and 6 am, then I don’t do much else and am just on a constant cycle of writing, a few hours’ sleep, and then more writing—-so I’m not very interesting when I come up for air, and am a little dazed.

 

I saw my God children last night, which is always fun for me. And I hope to see some friends for lunch and dinner this week—-and to catch up on some fun things to tell you. In the meantime, take care, stay safe, work hard and have some fun!!!

 

much love, Danielle

3/11/19, Gentle Winter, Sweet Farewell

Posted on March 11, 2019

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is well with you. I’ve been crazy busy, with re-writes, outlines, working on new books for you!! I thoroughly enjoyed a two week visit from my 3 daughters who work in fashion, and it was sheer heaven having them under my roof for two weeks, overlapping each other, while they worked on fashion week in Paris. They worked hard and so did I, and I had a two day photo shoot for the photographs on the back of my books. We do a new photo for each book, and put a lot of thought into it. The shoot itself was a lot of work, with a wonderful French photographer (who does all my book cover photos), her big team, my hairdresser and makeup artist, my two assistants to keep everyone fed and organized, and one of my daughters helped me pick what to wear, and helped on the set of the shoot. We all had fun, even though it’s exhausting getting it all right.

 

And I had a VERY special experience last week, which moved me deeply. As many/most of you know, I go to all the Chanel fashion shows, both ready to wear and Haute Couture. It is a joy to see the talent of Karl Lagerfeld, the designer for Chanel, on glorious display with a parade of gorgeous models walking down the runway in his fabulous creations. And the sets designed for each show are amazing. (I’ve told you about the rocket ship, which appeared to lift off after one show, the iceberg that was flown in from Sweden for another show, and flown back to its natural habitat after the show, beach scenes, and tropical gardens, a ‘Supermarket” which was great fun, an old style Paris cafe. )It is always exciting and fun to see what the setting will be at the newest show.

 

As I mentioned to you, Karl Lagerfeld passed away recently, less than two weeks ago, at 85, after a brief illness, and he worked to the very end. He was, without question, a genius, he designed all the Chanel collections every year, also designed for Fendi, and for his own label, and was a professional photographer. He was like a volcano or an avalanche of talent, spilling over, with wonderful ideas, a never ending flow of inspiration, and a man of huge energy and unlimited creativity. I admired him so much, and everyone’s reaction to his passing, whether they knew him or not, was one of great sadness. He is a tremendous loss to the world of fashion, and the world.

 

Although he couldn’t have suspected it when he designed his last show, that he would no longer be among us, when it was shown on the runway—-the clothes were particularly beautiful, and almost ‘serious’, with a lot of black and white, beautiful tweeds and checks, some beiges, a great fuchsia outfit, and the end of the show was a series of beautiful white outfits, which somehow reminded me of doves flying into the sky, or angels. And the setting for the show (of clothes for winter 2019) was equally perfect: a ski village in the Alps, an exquisite snow scene, with cozy wooden ‘chalets’ lining the runway, with smoke curling from the chimneys, and snow EVERYWHERE, and photographs of the mountains under a blue sky. Everywhere one walked, when one arrived for the show was covered with ‘snow’, it looked and felt like snow, except that it wasn’t wet, and was some sort of finely cut artificial substance, which looked exactly like snow all around us, on the ground, on the wooden houses, in the trees. It felt like snow when you walked on it and somehow seemed like the perfect scene for Karl Lagerfeld’s last show. The winter of his life, his final presentation to his admirers and adoring fans and clients, deep in pure white snow, with the mountains around us, and a bright blue sunny winter sky. It was absolutely gorgeous, and so were the clothes. And as I said, the clothes were serious, beautiful, a fantastic final gift and memory from Karl.

 

With deep respect from all of those who were lucky enough to be invited, the show began with a long moment of silence. And after that, over the loud speaker came a brief conversation with Karl during an interview. It was touching to hear him speak, his voice so clear and decisive, so distinctive, and then the show began with serious music, and all of us riveted to hear his voice, and see the show, and it was all so beautiful on a crisp winter morning, with artificial snow beneath our feet and all around us which seemed totally real. At the end of the show, the models came back down the runway, as they always do, but without Karl this time. I was at the last Haute Couture show only a month ago, which was beautiful too, and it was the first time Karl didn’t appear to take a bow, which shocked and saddened us all, and now only a month later, he is gone. It seemed unimaginable. People stood to applaud the show, the memory of Karl, and the collection. It got a standing ovation, as the models cried as they walked down the runway, and so did most people in the audience (including Naomi Campbell, and Claudia Schiffer, the famous models), and so did I. It was so beautiful and so incredibly moving. We all continued applauding for a long time, even after the models had gone backstage. We stood there in the snow, each of us knowing that we would never forget that moment, or the show, or the snow everywhere, as we stood in front of the little chalets, under a blue sky, remembering a man who will never, ever be forgotten, and has left a legacy that is beyond understanding, with such enormous genius and talent. It was a perfect send off in the beautiful set, with his beautiful clothes on the runway, for his last collection that he designed. And then slowly, finally, we left the snowy white winterland which is where we said our last goodbye to him, each of us taking our memories with us. I will never forget that show, or the times I met him. None of us will ever forget the final goodbye to him in the snow, and many people were still crying as they left, and so was I. It was incredibly touching, so gentle, and so right on that sunny winter day in the snow….we bid our last farewell to Karl, and will treasure the memories he left us. May he sleep in peace forever, after all the joy he gave us…..it was a sweet farewell to an amazing man. I will remember it forever.

 

 

Have a great week, beloved friends, love, Danielle

 

 

ps. I just did a Podcast interview with Barnes and Noble—–here’s the link in case you’d like to listen to it.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/review/danielle-steel-podcast

love, Danielle

1/28/19, Rainy Sunday: Boundaries

Posted on February 4, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope January went by pleasantly and productively, and now we’re off to February—-and Valentine’s Day—-don’t get me started on that. If you’re madly in love, or even moderately in love, New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day can be terrific—-if not, and love is not big on your agenda at the moment, watch out for those two nights. Alone, and in the wrong frame of mind, they can really suck. So much for that (I solve both by working if Love is not on the horizon. It works for me. I forget where I am and what I’m doing, and what day it is. Kisses and romance are certainly more fun, but work is okay too).

 

The riots are continuing in France, after three months now. The violence is not as extreme as in the early months and weeks, but the destruction and a certain degree of violence continues, it’s more contained, but stores are still being burned and looted, even if to a lesser degree. (In the first month, the rioters broke into a jewelry store, destroyed the brand new store, stole a million dollars’ worth of jewelry and vandalized and set fire to the place. They are a little more moderate now, but have caused billions of dollars of damage. It’s heartbreaking to see, in a city as beautiful as Paris). And just last week, one of the rioters clashed with police, lost an eye, and is still in a coma. No political opinion or cause seems worth that to me (other than a real war where you are defending your family and your home). Several people have died, both rioters and police. And it continues. An American friend commented to me the other day that it is hard to understand how the riots can happen once a week, by appointment on Saturday, with real savagery, and even loss of life and injury, and then go about their business like civilized people the other 6 days of the week. It makes no sense to me either. I was thinking today , as I have for these 3 months, and have seen some REALLY frightening days with entire streets on fire, whole blocks of cars burning, and stores and homes—–no matter what the cause or the reason, I abhor when it turns to violence and wanton destruction. (Some people even came from other countries (Spain, Italy, Belgium, Germany) to join in the ‘fun’, when they have nothing to protest about daily life in France, or government positions. It’s not their country. The reasons for the protests/riots have shifted and grown, it started with gas prices, went on to taxes, retirement pensions, complaints about the rich, the minimum wage, and like water it spread and became more free form. Anyone who had something to complain about, even if they had valid points on certain issues, put on a yellow jacket, and got busy. Not all the protestors were violent, but too many were. I hate violence, we all do. It just seems to me that once people lose control to that extent, they not only lose their effectiveness, and sympathy, but it just seems profoundly wrong to me. Even on a tiny personal level, when I lose my temper and get really angry, which is rare for me, I always feel diminished and as though I have lost something important of myself. One should be able to solve problems without losing one’s temper, saying hurtful things, and certainly without violence. Among the many shocking statistics floating around are that the electronic monitors on the highway, to monitor speed and send tickets later, were ALL destroyed in many areas around Paris. To replace those machines now will cost half a Billion dollars. And what about the rest? The stores, streets, houses, monuments, bus stops, and private and public property that were destroyed. Inevitably, taxes will be raised to cover the expense of repairs, which defeats the purpose of the protests. They wanted lower taxes, and did so much damage, that now taxes will be raised to pay for it. Everyone loses once violence happens, and even more so on a personal level.

 

After mulling all that over (with no conclusion) on this rainy Sunday, it made me think of boundaries and how important they are. I’ve been in relationships without them, which eventually bit the dust and died, for lack of them and other problems—-but EVERY relationship, whether parental, familial, boss and employee, mother and child, or between lovers, friends or spouses, and even between roommates—-EVERY relationship needs good boundaries, or regrettable things are going to happen. Someone younger than I asked my advice this week about a blow out that had happened in their romantic relationship, where one of the partners went off the deep end, said and did things they shouldn’t have, and wanted my advice about it. (People always assume that if you’re older than they are, you’re smarter, which isn’t always true. Older people can be just as confused as younger ones, they just look more grown up!!). But the incident related to me was clearly a terrible lack of boundaries. Some people assume that you can do or say anything in an argument, no holds barred and say “Sorry” later and it will all go away. That just isn’t true. Some words and some actions should never happen and can never be undone. My suggestion in this case, which is one I’ve tried to use myself, with good advice from a therapist, is to sit down at a good time on a good day (not at 2 am in the midst of an argument), and agree to some mutual rules of fair fighting, based on what’s important to each person, and stick to them meticulously in future—-No breaking the rules. Because the horrible things you say or may do (breaking something precious to the other person, insulting them so deeply you can never take it back, saying awful things about their families or kids (if their kids aren’t yours), frightening them or threatening to abandon them, threatening to end the relationship if you don’t really mean it—–those things just can’t be taken back are never forgotten and ultimately destroy the relationship, and do irreparable damage to the other person and the relationship. None of us can afford to let loose like that, nor should we allow ourselves that liberty or want to. I first heard about ‘boundaries’ in a group therapy session I went to….and I left it thinking “what was that B word again?…barnacles….beautiful? Uh, what was that?” it was boundaries, and I have learned the importance of that since.  I see it all the time when people don’t have good boundaries and let loose on others in ways they never should, and may not even mean (and even worse if they do mean it). But once you say it, it’s out there, or do something awful to the other person (not even physically, but emotionally). And watch out for people who DO intend to hurt you, and go as deep as they can to hurt you. Run like hell when you run into one of those!!! I find that I never feel really emotionally safe with people with bad boundaries, you don’t know what they’ll do or say, or how much they’ll hurt you.

 

So that’s my thought for the day: Boundaries. They really are important. Laws are a form of boundaries imposed on us, and we respect them so we don’t get in trouble and break those laws. Boundaries are just as important so we don’t break someone’s heart!!!

 

Have a great week!!!

 

much love, Danielle

 

1/28/19, No Karl

Posted on January 28, 2019

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is well with you, and you’re chugging along, and life is happy. As I write this, it has been snowing for two days, not the gorgeous “Winter wonderland” kind of snow you see on Christmas cards, just cold and wet and blowy, pretty for a minute as the snowflakes fly through the air, and then it turns into a mess on the ground, while the wind whips around you, and no matter how you hold your umbrella, you get wet anyway. Ugh. The temperatures are freezing, and people are getting snowed in all around the country. From Boston to the South, friends I’ve called have lost phone service and are in the midst of heavy storms. This is about the time of year when I get fed up with winter, and tired of being cold, and start wishing for Spring, which is still a long way off, in any place I live. So as usual, I’m busy working/writing.

 

I did emerge from my winter cave briefly last week to attend the Chanel haute couture show—-the fashion show of clothes that are all made by hand and are a real art form. The stage setting for the show looked like an Italian garden, in contrast to the snowy blustery weather outside. The show was beautiful as always, and the clothes exquisitely made, worn by gorgeous models. All went as usual, in the glamourous atmosphere of an haute couture show (and Chanel’s are always so gorgeous!!!)—-until the very end, where traditionally, after the final model had come out in the wedding gown (we all wait to see what spectacular bridal gown the designer has come up with. And they sell for a fortune)—-in this case, Karl Lagerfeld is the designer of Chanel and has been for several decades, and he is truly a genius of the fashion world, and deservedly a legend. His hair is snow white, he wears it tied back in a neat ponytail with a black ribbon, high collars, often tail coats, with a dignified, elegant style, and he walks around the runway, with the bride on his arm at the end of the show, to thunderous applause from the audience. This time, the bride did her turn around the runway, solo, as always, after all the other models had strutted past. The bride in the show, the very last one, has the runway to herself, and when she finishes the entire circle, Karl Lagerfeld, the designer comes out, takes a bow, and does one more walk around with the bride on his arm. Wearing an unusual and somewhat startling bridal ensemble (of a rhinestone covered bathing suit, with matching rhinestone covered bonnet (in the shape of a bathing cap), with a long veil trailing behind her, the bride completed her tour around the runway, and the audience waited for the stage door to backstage to open and Mr. Lagerfeld to come out….nothing…..We waited, and no one appeared. In recent years, he has appeared to be more energetic on some years than others, even to the point of looking frail once or twice, although he still works at a furious and productive pace, but he is well into his 80’s, and still works harder than most people half his age. Somehow, one assumes that he is eternal, and hopes that he will be with us forever, working at full steam. After a few moments of surprise, as everyone waited to see him at the end of the Chanel show (which was gorgeous as usual!!!), an announcement came over the sound system that Mr. Lagerfeld was very tired today, and sent us all his greetings and would not be appearing. There was a long, long moment of shocked silence. No one spoke, and everyone feared he might be more than ‘tired’, since it was the first time in his entire history that he did not appear after the show to take a bow. there was total silence in the enormous Grand Palais, as everyone digested the information, glanced at each other with worried looks (thousands of us), and left the hall in total silence, out of respect, admiration, love and fear for him. It was a shocking dose of reality that one day time affects us all, and claims us, that nothing goes on forever, even remarkable talent. We all hope that he is only tired, and will bounce back, and that we will see him again at the end of another show. It left me, and I think all of us, with a great sense of sadness, after a truly beautiful show, which was yet another tribute to his talent. It sobered me and saddened me for the rest of the day. It was a shocking reminder that we are all mortal, and even people with huge talent are vulnerable, especially at a great age. We all want him to go on forever. He is a unique talent in fashion, and an icon, and we all wish him well. His absence outweighed the excitement of the show, and thousands of us left the Grand Palais in total silence, no one said a single world. We just left, and stood outside in the snow, looking lost. His absence was sorely felt by all.

 

Have a great week, stay warm, wherever you are.

 

much love, Danielle

 

12/3/18, Paris IS burning

Posted on December 3, 2018

 

Hello Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week, that you recovered from Thanksgiving, and are heading peacefully toward the holidays.

 

I am overwhelmed with sadness today. I don’t know how much it is reported in the States, but one of the ways that the French express their displeasure with governmental policies is to demonstrate, gather in the streets, to protest policies and conditions they don’t like. Demonstrations in France are usually peaceful, but not always. They can be noisy sometimes (or not), and rarely result in violence.  For the French, demonstrations are a form of freedom of speech. In the States, I think demonstrations tend to be bigger and less frequent, on a variety of important subjects. We should all have the right to let our governments know how we feel about things, hopefully peacefully without injury to property or people, nor destruction of any kind. Some people do it by writing letters to their legislators, others prefer to do it in a march, or a demonstration. It’s a show of hands for new and different policies, which seems fair to express those opinions.

 

The French people are generally unhappy about a variety of subjects at the moment. The economy is not doing well, there are certainly injustices that need to be corrected, and problems that have not been addressed, as with any government in any country. And to bring current problems to the government’s attention, a group of citizens applied to demonstrate for several consecutive Saturdays, beginning two weeks ago, for what was meant to be a peaceful demonstration in a number of cities in France. Since the issues are important and heartfelt by the demonstrators, the demonstrations became heated, erupted in destruction of property a week ago, and as a precaution stores were ordered closed in many areas, this past Saturday for the third demonstration.

 

The third demonstration two days ago became a nightmare of mob brutality and wanton destruction in Paris. However valid or not the complaints may have been, the expression of them got out of hand. Cars were burned, homes were set fire to, businesses and stores were destroyed and vandalized, bonfires were set in the streets, flaming bricks and rocks flew through windows setting fire to homes once inside, people were frightened, important monuments were graffiti-ed and severely damaged, trees were burned, entire streets were destroyed, smoke was heavy in the air from all the fires, and the acrid smell of smoke from tear gas bombs, water cannons were turned on the crowds by police. By noon, it looked like the city was in flames, over a hundred people were injured, both law enforcement and civilians. And observing it at close range, one sensed the frenzy of the crowd, a frightening excitement to destroy anything at hand. By nightfall it looked like there was snow on the ground which was a carpet of broken glass from all the destroyed cars, windows, bus stop shelters, etc. In an economy already suffering, in the weeks before Christmas, there will be fewer purchases with stores that will take months to repair (or closed forever for shop keepers who can’t afford to repair them), and people afraid to leave their homes for something as benign as Christmas shopping. Even sadder, the small independent shops and businesses who are the livelihoods of people who own them and work there, small grocery stores, dry cleaners, book stores, florists, which they can’t afford to repair and will not reopen. Big fancy stores as well as small ones were looted, vandalized and set on fire. Fire fighters couldn’t get from one fire to the next fast enough, and in some cases, an entire street of cars were burning. The destruction of property of all kinds was extreme, as shocked Parisians watched their city burning.

 

In the past few weeks, I have seen the shocking cataclysmic destruction by nature with the fires in California, with homes and businesses and lives lost, a true tragedy and natural disaster……and now to the kind of destruction Man is capable of when emotions run high, and get out of control, even if with the best of intentions. In either case, the results are tragic and immeasurably destructive.

 

And just as I was heartbroken for the tragic immeasurable losses to the fire in California, I am deeply saddened now for the destruction in Paris, and all the people who will suffer from it. In its own way, it is tragic too, to see a beautiful city looted and pillaged and in flames, and so many people affected by it. When Nature or Man get out of control, we are all losers in the end.

 

Have a great and peaceful week, and I hope the holiday spirit prevails and begins to grow in all of us.

 

love, Danielle

 

PS. Elaine very correctly said that she read that “professional rioters” have joined the Gilets Jaunes (the yellow vests, because that’s what they wear to identify themselves) demonstrators in France. The Gilets Jaunes began by demonstrating peacefully, and a group informally known as the “Casseurs” (the breakers, the people who break things) infiltrated their ranks, and are wearing the same yellow vests, making it impossible to tell who is who. The Casseurs have added the violent element to the demonstrations, and turned them into riots more than peaceful demonstrations. It’s a tremendous dilemma, because the yellow vests they wear (the same ones), make it impossible to figure out who’s who. I don’t think the Gilets Jaunes ever intended for the demonstrations to become violent, and the Casseurs have appeared at other demonstrations in France. And the end result now is some tremendous damage that will be very costly to repair, graffiti on many important monuments, windows broken, shop windows smashed and the stores looted and vandalized, cobble stones hacked out of pavement, and thrown through windows and used to smash cars. Some of the professional rioters use sledge hammers to destroy cars. And with the added element of experienced rioters, violence has erupted. Everyone in Paris hopes that it will stop, stores are suffering from lack of business, not just big fancy stores, but small independent stores, grocery stores, dry cleaners, neighbourhood florists, people who depend on their business to earn their livelihood, and now their stores have been vandalized. The big luxury stores have been attacked and looted, and are able to recover more quickly. Everyone in Paris is affected in some way. And the situation Elaine described is exactly the problem, and once violence is added to the mix, it’s very hard to calm it down again. I hope that solutions will be found soon that will be acceptable to all, so Paris can recover, tourists can return, and people can move around the city safely. D.

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

 

10/1/18, The Rose and the Thorns

Posted on October 1, 2018

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’ve had a good week. I’ve had a long crazy one, travelling again, and my travel day this time consisted of TWO, not one but TWO cancelled flights, and 7 hours in the airport between them (with my 3 dogs), only to go nowhere and go back home that night, unable to get a seat out for another 2 days. It’s fairly typical travel hell nowadays, but it sure isn’t fun when it’s happening. And I think cancelled and delayed flights happen a lot now. In the end it took me 4 days to get home, instead of one. It’s all part of the complicated landscape of travelling now, and challenging at best. I was exhausted by the time I got home.

 

Two hours after I got home, I celebrated my daughter’s birthday with her, and some friends. It was a really fun evening, and her birthday was the reason I came home. I would have swum home if I had to, not to disappoint her.

 

And the next day, I had some sad, bad news. A friend had gotten sick a few weeks ago, seemed to be coming out of it and recovering, and this morning at barely 60, he had cardiac arrest and died. I was stunned when I got the call. It just didn’t seem reasonable or possible. We had spoken only a few days ago, and emailed regularly. He was a wise, intelligent, extremely kind person who had been very helpful to me, always willing and quick to go the extra mile to help. He was a truly lovely man, with strong protective instincts. I always felt safe when in his presence, as though nothing could harm me when he was around, which is a rare feeling. I met him many years ago, and our paths crossed again earlier this year. The friendship picked up then for the past several months. I saw him twice this summer, and as usual, he was wonderful to me. We exchanged some emails, just chatting, and three weeks ago, I learned through one of my children, he was ill in the hospital, and wanted to hear from me. So I sent him an email, and we began talking. He was suffering from the illness he had, but he was determined to beat it. And he assured me only days ago that he would. While he was ill for the past few weeks, our correspondence became voluminous and intense, as I tried to encourage him, and hoped he would get well soon. I sent him some prayer cards, and some religious things, including a medal from a convent near my childhood home in Paris, and some books. And our email exchanges were fun too. I was always happy to hear from him, and he was grateful for the support. The thought that he might not get well seemed remote and unlikely, and he said that he was confident that he would. We spoke a few days ago, and he was “confident that he was getting better”. And then one morning a few days ago, that terrible call, that he had died suddenly, and was gone. It left an instant void, and an overwhelming feeling of sadness, and I was stunned all day after hearing about it.

 

The concept of birth and death has always been a mystery to me. It always struck me when I was having a baby. One moment you are X number of people in the delivery room, and minutes later, there is one more person in the room. How did they get here? It is utterly remarkable to me that a person can be added or subtracted at a moment’s notice. And similarly, death makes no sense to me at all. People you love and care about and know, see regularly or once in a while, and suddenly that person no longer exists. Game over. The person you loved or knew is nowhere to be found on this planet, you can’t talk to them or see them, and never will again. Vanished. Gone. Whatever they were doing before, and in all the places where you used to see them, they are no longer there, and you will never hear their voice or see their face again. It seems incredibly cruel, especially with our loved ones. Now you see me, now you don’t. And we are left with the memories of time shared with them.

 

I’ve often said that some books are shorter than others, and it applies to people too. Some lives are shorter, and they are not meant to go the whole long distance. But for those of us left with our memories, and not with the person we loved, it’s hard to understand why this happened, and what it means to us.  I will miss talking to my friend, and reading emails from him, the exchange of laughter, the comfort and the reassurance of his emails. Why destiny chose to make our paths cross again this summer for these few months, I don’t know. And I know even less how such a lovely person, anxious to help anyone he could, should die so young. I’m grateful to have known him, I will cherish the memories of who he was and what he shared, and the example he set for kindness in this world. He always went the extra mile for anyone.  I will miss his smiling face, and so much about him.  He said to me the last time we spoke, that he preferred to focus on the roses in life than the thorns. He was certainly a rose in many lives, and I will long remember and cherish his friendship.

 

Have a great week!!

 

love, Danielle

 

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