Archive for the ‘Paris’ Category

5/11/21, Together Again

Posted on May 11, 2021

 

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’ve had a good week. I’ve had a couple of really busy weeks, and I didn’t have the time or the calm to write to you peacefully. After more than fourteen months, a huge moment happened in my life. The Covid numbers came down just enough in France, and in the US, and with many people vaccinated, I decided to brave the trip I have put off for fourteen months: I was scared of the health risks, but I took the bull by the horns, and was reminded of one of the sayings on my office wall: Courage is not the absence of fear or despair, but the strength to conquer them. So, with great trepidation, and real fear, I packed up fourteen months of papers and things to bring my children, and unsure until the very last minute, I made a run for it, with my French nephew to help me with ten suitcases and three dogs on the trip from Paris, where I have been for fourteen and a half months, back to the US.

 

People had told me that airports were empty, and planes less than half full, and travel was easier than I feared. (I feared most of all catching the dreaded virus on the way. After all those months in safety and seclusion in Paris, it seemed insanely stupid to catch it on the way home. But I couldn’t stay away from my children any longer. I felt that I was letting them down, and owed it to them to be brave, and as careful as possible and go to see them in California and New York. And the numbers had not been good recently. But when would they be? And how much longer could I wait?)

 

The reports I’d had weren’t entirely true. The airport wasn’t jammed but it was full, and busy with international travelers, leaving Paris for other countries. There are only two flights a week from Paris to San Francisco, but people are moving around. The airport was not deserted, although the flight was one third full. Equipped by one of my children, I had plastic covers to put in the security bins (a really good idea), which made me feel a little safer. I wore an N95 mask, which was too big so it floated around on my face, but I had been told it was the best. I brought a visor, but didn’t wear it, and used a seat cover, and disinfected my hands frequently. And once on the plane, I began to relax. The crew was attentive, and the air supposedly well filtered and pure. It was the same worry we have all had for more than a year: an invisible killer virus is lurking, but you can’t see it, and don’t know if you do the wrong thing, or stand next to the wrong person. A PCR Covid test was required for the trip.

 

It was a very long flight, one I never take. I prefer to break my trip to the West Coast with a stop in New York, which avoids jet lag. I was too tense on the flight to watch a movie or sleep, so I read, and talked to my nephew, and the eleven-hour flight went surprisingly fast, and we landed an hour early. And I had a strange sensation on arrival, that I was suddenly back in the US, had travelled halfway across the world, and was allegedly home, but it didn’t feel like it, everything felt strange and foreign and unfamiliar. And I kept reminding myself that I had made the trip to see my kids, which made any degree of fear worthwhile. I had a reason, a purpose, and a need of my own, to see the children I had missed so much. We had never been apart for more than a few weeks in their entire lives, and I hadn’t seen them in more than a year. Unimaginable, and yet the time had flown. There were some hard, lonely times, but always a sense that we were doing the right thing, staying where I was. it was a sacrifice for them and for me, and it hadn’t all been painful. There had been some wonderful moments in France in the year, and often a sense of peace, and some lovely moments with friends. Some of my friendships had deepened, others had faded away when friends disappointed me, which happens to us all.There were frightened times, and peaceful times. But my family is a vital part of my life, and was always missing. It took enormous strength and faith to be away from them for so long.

 

I made my way through immigration and customs, and trumpets didn’t go off. A brass band didn’t play. No one congratulated me for coming home. And we drove into the city, and got home. San Francisco looked bright and shiny, the sun was shining, people had told me the city looked grim, but I saw no sign of it on the way. And at last, I was home. I have led a divided life for a long time, as a child between France and the US, and again as an adult once my children grew up. For the past 16 years, my life, and my year, and my friendships and my heart have once again been divided between France and the US, with homes in both places, but the ‘mother house’, the family house my children grew up in, and my children, are all in the United States, so like a homing pigeon I always come back, even though eventually I fly back to France again. But my return to the US is always sure, my kids are here. My worst fear for years, or one of them, is that there would be a war, and I would be separated from my children particularly if I had a different nationality from them—-which is exactly what happened in Covid. It exploded while I was in France, rapidly became too dangerous to come back, and my kids were in the US. They were incredibly brave and tolerant and supportive of my remaining safe there, in fact frequently they advised me not to come back yet, and to wait, so I did. But a year? How could that be?

 

I walked through my front door and nothing had changed, the house looked the same. it was as though I had never left, and yet I had, and we had been separated for a year. We had faced hard times alone, holidays and important life moments. But we had survived, no one had died. We had made it. Four of my children were in San Francisco, the others in other cities, and I will visit them soon. The elderly dogs I had left in San Francisco, too old to travel, had died during the year, and the house seemed empty without them. But I felt as though I had been either thrown back a year, or air lifted ahead. It was like flying through space. And within hours I saw the children I had missed so much—cautiously, we kept our distance, wore masks, some of them are vaccinated, some not, and I’m not, due to severe allergies that make it questionable, so even more caution and wisdom is required. We didn’t hug, but we glowed with joy and relief when we saw each other, and got as close as we dared. I had another Covid test several days later, which was negative. They had tests before they saw me. The distance of six feet didn’t matter, we had been six thousand miles apart for more than fourteen months, and we had survived it, we had come through it, Love had fueled us and kept us going, and there were many dark hours in the year apart, but bright ones too. They had grown more independent, and I had to fill my time without them, although I had been surrounded by my children since I was nineteen. It was a learning experience, and an act of faith for us all. And somehow, I’m not even sure how, we did it. I don’t think we will ever be as affected by being apart for a while. We did it, and it was hard at times. Christmas alone, without them was the hardest of all for me. But even that painful memory faded once I saw them in front of me.

 

I felt like a ghost in my own life for a while. I had come back, and their lives had gone on without me, and my life had moved forward too. I was eternally grateful to the people, a precious few, who had gotten me through it. Strong bonds had formed during the pandemic, like in wartime, which will stay with us forever and last, never to be forgotten.

 

For several days, I woke up in the morning, or at night, unsure where I was. Paris or the States? Where was I? Which country? Which home? And then I remembered.

 

So often I was overwhelmed with fear during that year, that I would die and never see them again, or that something would happen to them. Miraculously, nothing terrible did, and we came through it unscathed. Our worst fears never happened, and we are together again. And I will see the others soon. I will always remember that time apart, and be grateful for the love that carried us through, along with the people we love and who love us, who helped us along the way. it was a remarkable journey, and living proof of what I believe, as trite as it sounds, that Love conquers all, distance and fear and darkness and anxiety, and no matter how many miles we are away from our loved ones, we can never really be separated from those we love. Love truly does conquer all, and transforms us on the way. And no matter how difficult or frightening the experience, there are blessings in every situation that carry us through. And wherever we find ourselves, we are where we are meant to be. I am grateful for every moment of the last fourteen months, and to be with my children again. Home is wherever we are, with the people we love. And I am so grateful for the people who gave me comfort, support and love for the past fourteen months. It has been a blessing and a miracle, and even though so hard at times, an incredible gift to be together again.

Have a great week!

Love, Danielle

 

4/12/21, Finding Ashley

Posted on April 12, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you had a good week, things are a bit dreary in Paris, another cold rainy day. I don’t know what’s wrong with the weather this year, last year at this time, I was perched on my little balcony, getting a suntan in the spring sunshine. It made the long lockdown a bit more tolerable. Last year, in the lockdown we weren’t allowed to go outside, except for an hour a day with a permission form filled out (for medical reasons, groceries, an hour of exercise or to walk a dog). This year we can go out all day until 7 pm, but go where? It’s too cold and rainy to want to go out, and cozier at home. It feels like December, not April. It was supposed to snow last week, but it didn’t in the city, only in the country around it, and in London. So, it’s reading, writing, getting work done, and watching series. And I think most people are pretty much series and zoomed-out. Human contact would be ever so nice, a walk with a friend on a sunny day, lunch at a restaurant, on a terrace (no stores or restaurants open). Spring will come, and Covid will get better and eventually disappear. We just have to be patient, I guess.

 

I remember one year, I was on my way to the Caribbean, and changed flights in New York for 2 hours, and in those brief two hours on April 15, there was such a huge blizzard that they closed the airport. So I guess cold weather happens in April.

 

The vaccine roll out is still slow in Europe, and impressively efficient in the US. I heard yesterday that 25% of the population is fully vaccinated in the US, and 50% have had one shot and are waiting for the next one. That really is amazing.

 

Otherwise, the world seems a bit slow at the moment, I have a new book coming out two weeks from tomorrow, which is always exciting. “Finding Ashley”, about a reclusive writer who lost her son to cancer, and her marriage, and is quite solitary, and estranged from her only sister, who is a nun. The writer gave up a baby at a Mother and Baby Home in Ireland when she was fifteen. And when the two sisters meet again, the one who is a nun takes a leave from the convent, to try and find the baby girl that her sister gave up. The writer has regretted it all her life, and her sister wants to help her find peace about it.  All the convent records were intentionally destroyed, so none of the mothers and adult children can find each other now. The search for the little girl her sister gave up becomes a journey of self-discovery, revealing truths and long hidden secrets in both their lives, and it renews the bond between the two sisters, and what they discover during the search for the baby the one sister gave up. It’s about mothers and daughters and sisters, and the bond between women in one family, no matter how different they are. It’s about looking for someone you loved and lost, and finding yourself. I hope you love it!!! And because of the subject, it will make a wonderful Mother’s Day book!!!

 

I hope you have a wonderful week, with lots of happy surprises—–and warm weather, and a hint of spring!!

 

lots of love, Danielle

 

4/7/21, Stolen year

Posted on April 7, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’re well. Saying that has new meaning these days, doesn’t it? It’s such a relief to know that our loved ones are well, and that we are. And how often we have heard of people we know catching the virus in the past year, or have been in contact with it and didn’t catch it. It is such an unpredictable disease. Whole families I know have caught it, while one single person in their midst doesn’t. Or one person gets it, and no one else in the family does. In most of the couples I know, if one got it, the other didn’t. And who gets it and who doesn’t seem to be entirely unpredictable. And we all have to be careful.

 

And I think most or all of us feel that we have lived with constant anxiety for the past year, worrying about getting it, getting tested, waiting for results, worrying about jobs, losing loved ones, or salaries, and constantly guarding ourselves with masks, and gel and distance. Every time you feel an ordinary twinge, have a headache or a runny nose, you think “OMG, do I have it?” I’ve had a few nights myself when I convinced myself I was sick and was terrified, only to feel foolish in the morning when I was fine. I’ve had some long anxious nights myself, or lonely ones away from my family, and our fears inflate like balloons at night. So many people I know have complained that they’re not sleeping well. How can we, with the anxiety we cope with every day, while still trying to lead normal lives, and sacrifice ourselves to keep our loved ones safe if they are particularly vulnerable. No one knows who will catch it and who won’t, why some catch it and others don’t. Our social lives have suffered (and are a thing of the past for most of us), in Europe we’ve had no restaurants in France for nearly six months, with no idea when they will open again. We’ve lived with 6pm curfews, or total lockdowns, for five months out of the last thirteen. It takes a lot of fortitude to come through all that unaffected. And young people and old people are the most sequestered and are battling depression, relationships are impacted, kids aren’t in school and get on their parents’ nerves and are missing their friends. We have been running a marathon of stress for the past year. Personally, I miss seeing people freely, and going to a restaurant for a relaxed meal with friends. Wow, wouldn’t that be a nice change!!! I’ve seen more of the inside of my apartment than I want to see for a long time. Some days it’s okay, and some days it’s not. And that’s hard to predict too. I lost twelve pounds in the first 3-month confinement, others have gained.  And now, in many places, it’s a struggle to get the vaccine. And which one do you get? Will there be a reaction? How bad? Stress, stress, stress, stress.

 

I was speaking to someone the other day who was complaining that we have lost a year out of our lives, that it was ‘stolen’ from us. And perhaps it was. And I know blessings from it too, parents who have come to know their children as they never did before, bonds that have formed, relationships that have flourished, while others have ended in divorce. Some people have gotten married, and babies have been born. Good things have happened too, but the noisier things are louder.

 

I don’t like the ‘stolen from us’ theories. We haven’t been robbed. And although on the surface we can easily see the losses, but there were beautiful things that emerged too, for each of us. If you are reading this, you are probably healthy. I think we need to take this year and use it well, use it like balm on the wounds we suffered, turn it to good use, treat it as a learning resource, sift out the precious moments, like gold in a pan. Because there have been precious moments and good times. We have to hold those moments high, like a banner to wave to encourage others.

 

The year wasn’t stolen, we still have it in our memory bank and always will. I would like to view it as a valuable learning experience, a historical moment, a gift of some kind, a valuable lesson, and a blessing that first appeared to be a punishment, but then the winners emerged. We have been part of history, we have proven theories, we are still standing, which is a victory in itself. Personally, I have written almost incessantly all year. No one stole my year, it is here in my memory box, it wasn’t easy, but that makes the victory all the more impressive. You should get a stripe on your clothes, epaulets, a badge, a medal, a symbol to show that you were there, we all were, whatever country you were in.

 

I salute you all. Thank you for being there, for sharing the experience, for the kindnesses you did, for the gestures you made toward others, for the respect we showed each other, thank you for being part of this year. I stand proudly beside you. We did it, we made it, we’re still struggling, but we will come through it in the end.

 

Have a great week!!!

 

love, Danielle

 

3/22/21, Confined Again, Round 3

Posted on March 22, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

So, how was your week last week? Mine was busy doing the usual errands, writing, and trying to catch up on my desk after a book, which takes a while. And the big news in Paris this week is that we’re in confinement again, which is definitely an odd confinement. The reason for it is that the hospital beds are full up, because unfortunately they have not added more beds in the past year, so with rising numbers of new cases again, there is a shortage of hospital beds and the Paris area and the South of France have been put on lockdown, while the rest of France has not. The confinement from March to May last year was of the strictest regime in all of France. Total lockdown, you could only leave your house for an hour a day, for an essential reason, within a short distance of one’s home. Offices and businesses, restaurants and schools were closed. The entire country was shut down for two months, with disastrous economic consequences to the country. The President has become determined to avoid lockdown as much as possible. And in spite of that, we were back in lockdown from the end of October until the end of November, and that time restaurants were closed (and still are since then), but shops were open for business, but you had to order and pick up outside, schools stayed open, and offices, and eventually a 6pm curfew was set in place. The idea was that you could work or go to school, but there were to be no social gatherings, no going out in the evening, and nowhere to go. And now here we are again, Round 3, with restaurants still closed (till May or June, they have taken a brutal hit, being closed since October), offices open with people urged to work remotely where possible, shops open for order and pick up but not shopping in store, schools are open, hairdressers are open and have been deemed ‘essential’ (I second that), and the new twist this time is that everyone can go outside as much as they want and are encouraged to, until curfew at 7pm. The weak spot there is, that encouraged to go outside, suddenly there are big groups of people picnicking together in the parks, (without masks while they eat and drink), playing sports, lining the river, filling the streets on the weekends. It is hard to believe that those rules will bring the numbers down. Vaccination continues at a snail’s pace, after a 3 day hiatus (with concerns about blood clotting possibly being related to the Astra Zeneca vaccine,from Britain). And in all forms, modified, local, or general, people are generally fed up with the confinements and regulations, lack of a social life, no restaurants. It has definitely been a long year, and everyone is hoping that the vaccines will return life to a semblance of normalcy. I hope too that things get more normal soon. People are worn out by the hardships, the risks, the uncertainties, the lack of ability to plan anything, the lack of a social life. It WILL get better, and the virus will eventually go away, but it’s a long road getting there, a lot longer than anyone knew a year ago. I hope that we see the last of it soon.

 

Meanwhile, I am writing and talking to my kids. It’s still wintry cold, with many rainy days. We need a big dose of good cheer, and good news, and hopefully the vaccines will be part of that, and with Spring will come new freedoms, and fewer people getting sick, and the hospitals less crowded than they are now.

 

I am reading and writing, and I hope you’ve had time to read my new book “The Affair”.

 

We just have to keep going until we reach the end of this long road. The current confinement will be under review in a month. And let’s hope this will be the last one. We will certainly remember this past year, and I hope the months ahead are a vast improvement. Hang in!! And have a great week!!!

love, Danielle

 

3/8/20, The Affair

Posted on March 8, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

Wow, if you follow me on Instagram at officialdaniellesteel, you saw that it was a crazy busy week for me. My new hardcover book “The Affair” came out on Tuesday, and some wonderful opportunities came my way to highlight the book. The book is fun and intricate, about an affair, with a husband who has fallen in love with another woman, and all the people it affects, the wife, of course, the other woman (a sexy, very young starlet, not exactly wife material, but very appealing to him, although his wife is lovely too), and her family. Her mother (head of a major fashion magazine) and three sisters rise to the occasion to support and advise her, and in the end, she must decide herself what to do about her marriage. Her sisters are all interesting characters, all totally different, who each give her completely different advice: the very relaxed Bohemian sister in LA who is a TV chef, and doesn’t believe in marriage, the sister who is a Superior Court Judge, extremely conservative and judgmental who tells her to divorce, but has some dicey long-buried secrets of her own, and the sister who is happily married with three kids, is a fashion designer, and advises her not to make any sudden decisions, and really think if she wants to divorce or forgive her husband and go back and try again. I love the book, and the characters in it, and I hope you do too.

 

On Monday, I was on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts, whom I love as an incredibly special person, and a dear friend. I was on Zoom live from France, which was somewhat technically challenging, and my first Zoom. And I loved being on with Robin, as I always do, although I missed our hug at the end!! It is always an enormous privilege to be on the show with her.

 

On Tuesday, the book came out, which is always exciting.

 

And on Friday, I was part of collaboration with the amazingly talented designer Jonathan Anderson, for Loewe, the fashion brand. Like all fashion shows right now, it could not happen with an audience, so they cancelled the show, and printed a newspaper of their own showing the collection, to be distributed with major newspapers, in major cities all around the world, translated into the language in each of about 20 countries. And as a ‘surprise’ with their newspaper, were the first 25 pages of my book “The Affair”, also translated where necessary. It was really great, and fantastic to be included in such an innovative concept. As a result, I was interviewed by Vogue.com on Friday night.  And Jonathan and I did a podcast, where we interviewed each other alternately, which was really fun. I hope you have a chance to hear it.

 

So it was a very exciting week. I hope you had a great week too, and that you have a wonderful week going forward—-and a chance to read “The Affair”.

 

many thanks, and much love,  Danielle

 

 

3/1/21, Good Morning America with Robin Roberts

Posted on March 1, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope the last week was a good one for you. We’ve had better weather, and some sunny days, which cheered everyone up!!! And today is a VERY exciting day. Tomorrow my new book, The Affair, comes out, in hardcover. And today, I am appearing on Good Morning America, with Robin Roberts, who is one of THE nicest people I know, and an amazingly talented, wonderful (very beautiful) woman, whom I am honored to consider a friend. I am a huge admirer of her talents, her intelligence, her poise, her charm, her kindness to guests on the show. Being on the show with her is an honor and a privilege every time, when she has me on the show. This time will be new and different, I won’t be seated next to her, I will be three thousand miles away, in my own living room in Paris, on Zoom, joining the show live. And I’m somewhat behind in technology—it will be my first Zoom!! I will miss giving Robin a hug at the end of the show, but in the pandemic, the show is put together with appearances by Zoom, although Robin will be in the studio.

 

I’m usually very shy, and VERY nervous before TV appearances, particularly Live ones, but Robin makes it a wonderful experience every time, highlighting the books and being incredibly kind to me, which puts me at ease. I am so thrilled to be on the show with her, and we’ll add a clip of the show to the blog so you can see it too, in case you missed it on TV. Robin is just a spectacular person, and I know you’ll enjoy watching her.

 

Have a great week, full of happy surprises, great opportunities, fun moments, and good news!!

 

love, Danielle

 

Here is a link to my interview:  https://bit.ly/3uLv366

2/22/21, Why Not?

Posted on February 22, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

How are you? Hanging in, I hope. Despite the challenges, the sometimes alarming news, and learning to live with masks, curfews, reports of contagion and mutations of Covid 19, and living our work life on Zoom, our family life on Face Time, and having no social life at all (with restaurants closed, and a 6pm curfew in Paris), we’re all struggling to maintain a semblance of normalcy in our lives, and explore new avenues. I’ve been working a lot and doing some fun things related to the work front, some great promotional opportunities that keep life interesting. And meanwhile, I have a new book coming out on March 2nd, The Affair. It’s a fun, slightly racy book as the title suggests, and I hope you love it!!

 

I’m scheduled to appear on Good Morning America on Monday, March 1st, which is always the high point of my year. Robin Roberts is one of the most amazing women I know, someone whom I admire enormously and have a deep affection for. Being on the show with her is always an honor, a privilege, and a heartwarming treat.  As a guest on the show, she makes you feel very special, and like a Queen. This time, I will miss out on giving her a hug in person, but even being on the show with her on Zoom is exciting. I’m the least high tech person I know, so a small team of people (Covid tested before) are coming to help man the equipment, and the person who does my make up for TV is in New York, so I am trying someone new. The Thrill of it for me will be being on the show with Robin, as always. We’ll be talking about my new book, “The Affair”.

 

That same week, I am very honored to be included in an exciting promotional event by Loewe, the luxury fashion brand that make gorgeous clothes, and I’ve been invited to join their very talented designer Jonathan Anderson for a special event—-full of surprises, and a very exciting opportunity for me. They are wonderful people to work with, and Jonathan Anderson is an incredibly talented designer.

 

I just finished an article for a major American magazine, which is fun to do. And am editing two books that will be coming out soon. So I’m keeping busy, and the work challenges of the pandemic make us all come up with new, different and creative ideas and ways to do business and share our work in new ways. High end restaurants are doing take-out, that would never have considered it before, people are making films, documentaries, writing books and articles in spite of the challenges we’re all facing. It’s a learning experience to do new things and brings new elements into our work. It’s teaching us all creativity and flexibility, with a “Why not? “attitude. In fashion, without the traditional Fashion Week shows, they are finding new ways to show us their collections, and we’ve all adapted to shopping on line. The secret is to keep businesses and industries alive, and make them better than ever. It’s a time of exploration, serious thought about new avenues, and inventiveness. It’s a benefit of these unusual times. People are discovering new talents, and interests, they’ve never thought of before and didn’t know they had. So if you’re tempted to do something new, try it, do it!! You may find a whole new world opening up to you with a talent that has lain dormant all your life. I think “Why Not?” is the right answer right now. What have we got to lose? Try something new, a painting, a hobby, something you haven’t had time to do before. Stuck at home, you have more time to try new things. (And no, I am not learning to cook, that might be asking a little too much of my limited talent in that area. But anything relating to writing or art seems like a great idea to me. And I’m very excited to be invited into the world of fashion by Loewe.)

 

My youngest daughter started a tie dye business and is having a ball, my artistic daughter in law is doing paintings for commissions, and my daughters who work in fashion are expanding their horizons too, as is my son in his field. And I have several friends starting new businesses, not easy, but well worth doing if you can. It’s a time for entrepreneurs, and brave, creative people. And when the pandemic finally ends, it will leave us with newly developed talents, new interests, new connections, and new friends, along with the ones we had before.

 

So why not? Whatever you’ve been mulling over and hesitating to try, give it a whirl, you may open the doors to a whole new opportunity and some fun, even if it’s doing a thousand piece puzzle, watching shows you’ve never seen before, learning a new language,  painting, baking—-even making money doing something you love to do and never thought of charging for before. The possibilities are endless.

 

So I’ll see you on Zoom, and let’s have some fun with what we CAN do, rather than mourning what we can’t do right now and think we’ve lost. And when this is all over, we’ll have found a new talent. Why not?

 

 

Have a great week, I send you a virtual hug and lots of love,

 

Danielle

 

2/15/21, Love

Posted on February 16, 2021

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope that all is going as smoothly as possible for you on the roller coaster ride of the pandemic. The numbers seem to be coming down in a lot of places, and then you read about the “mutations” and it scares you all over again. I hope we’re all being as careful as we can be, and being as safe as we can, without missing out on life entirely. It’s a fine line to walk, following all the rules, and not getting totally isolated, and missing out on life entirely. And lots of people are trying to figure out how they feel about the vaccines.

 

People are social animals, and it’s really hard to be deprived of the company of others and our loved ones. I always feel better when I get out and see people. I REALLY miss seeing friends at restaurants. The restaurants in Paris have been closed since late October, and there is talk that they won’t open again until April and May. I see a few friends at my home, with plenty of fresh air and a respectful distance, but there are only a handful of people I see now. I can’t wait to give a party when this is all over!!! I can hardly wait for that.

 

Valentine’s Day turned out to be really lovely. I talked to all my kids, and they spoiled me as usual, and a very dear friend came by for a visit. It is soooooo nice to talk to a friend, share opinions and just relax, and have a good laugh. And the day before, two other friends came for a visit. So it was a pretty nice weekend.

 

It has been very, very cold in Paris, and icy-scary-slippery on the streets, and it snowed twice. I spent some time with my son and daughter in law on Face Time helping them move things around in their home, to make more room (I swear by Ikea closets, and have them everywhere!!). And it was really fun, being part of it. I am a great ‘space maker’, with nine kids, and always a house full of people, with a ton of stuff—and five daughters who have a lot of clothes, I’ve been figuring out how to create space for ‘stuff and people’ for years. Give me a measuring tape, a note pad, and an Ikea catalogue and I can create miracles. I had a walk in closet with a window once, and turned it into a tiny cozy bedroom. It worked well for several years!!!

 

I’ve been doing some writing and editing. Sometimes I feel that I am slower at getting things done in the pandemic. There is always an underlying anxiety, which is distracting, and I don’t whiz through things as fast as I usually do. I don’t like putting things off till the next day, but some days I just have to.

 

And I was reading your comments to this blog tonight. Thank you for your wonderful messages.

 

I’m going to share something with you that I have on my desk. I have it framed and it inspires me. I’m not sure where I got it, but I framed it so I can see it every day, right next to my computer. Maybe it will inspire and comfort you too.

 

It’s titled “Love”

 

“There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer; No disease that enough love will not heal’; No door that enough love will not open: No gulf that enough love will not bridge; No wall that enough love will not throw down; No sin that enough love will not redeem.

It makes No difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, How hopeless the outlook, How muddled the tangle, How great the mistake; A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. If you can love enough, you would be the happiest and most powerful being in the world.”

 

 

I hope that helps you. It does me. Stay safe and take care, and have a fantastic week!!!

 

all my love, Danielle

 

11/9/20, Bag Story

Posted on November 9, 2020

 

Hello Everyone,

 

AMAZING story: 2 weeks ago, I had lunch at a favorite restaurant with a terrace, before the new confinement. Fun lunch. Happy day. I was wearing a favorite handbag I love a lot, a big black leather bag with a bright red lining. I put it under the table at my feet. End of lunch, I reached for my bag: gone. Vanished. Stolen. A first for me. In Paris, there are cameras in the street high up on posts, to fight crime. 5 hours at the police station, stolen bags a common occurrence (all my credit cards, ID, phone, address book etc. in it). It’s an expensive one of a kind bag, and the likelihood of ever seeing it again was zero. Back to the police station the next day for another 4 hrs. And then, luck was with me. The police had the whole theft on video from the street, the case was referred to a special theft unit, and a fantastic senior officer took an interest in the case. 12 days later after some incredible police work by the Surete Territoriale, they arrested the thief, and a miracle: he still had my bag, hadn’t sold it. I never, ever thought I’d see my bag again. I am SOOOO GRATEFUL to have it back, and the detectives of the special unit are OUTSTANDING. They handed me the bag, and it was a very happy ending for me. I’m thrilled and the French police were truly amazing!!! Wow!!! I posed for a picture with the detectives of the Surete Territoriale, to celebrate the return of my bag and their incredible police work!!

Have a great week!

 

love, Danielle

11/1/20, Back in Lockdown—the dogs are back!!!

Posted on November 2, 2020

 

Hi Everyone,

 

I hope you’re doing okay, and that you’re finding ways to keep your spirits up, even during Covid times with the inevitable restrictions—which in the US seem to vary from city to city and state to state. It seems very hard that there is no uniformity of rules and guidelines in the US, and there is everything from total freedom to total lockdown, with and without masks. In France, the President calls the shots and makes the rules. One person delivers the message, which applies to the entire country: the President, and I personally think he has done a good job, been responsible, and is very presidential, although he is a relatively young President. Right below him is the Prime Minister, who reinforces what the President said and spells out the details, like what stores and businesses will be open, and what won’t, parks and gardens are open, and places that gather big crowds aren’t (gyms, theaters, movie houses, etc.).  With the rules coming from those 2 people, it’s a bit like having a Mom and a Dad. And the rules are clear. And although they tried hard not to, they put us back in confinement again last Friday, which was disappointing, but the rules are less rigid than the total lockdown of March, April and May. People were more panicked then, I think they are less so now, we’ve been living with Covid for 8 months now. I think what set off the sharp increase of cases now were all the people who went on vacation and partied all summer, on beaches, in bars, restaurants and nightclubs, inevitably spread the virus, and then went back to their home cities with the same free spirit and made everyone else sick. The increase in cases was dramatic in September and October, so they put on the brakes, and put us back in lockdown again. It was disappointing, but I think it was wise. We need to get things back in hand, so it doesn’t get totally out of control. It doesn’t feel as ominous as it was in March, where our whole world was caving in at a rapid rate. Since then, we’ve been confined, we know many people who have had Covid and survived it, so it doesn’t sound like an automatic death sentence, which it does not have to be. And we’ve had 5 months of deconfinement now in France, which was really very livable, and heaven compared to three months locked up at home. There are also better treatments now, easily accessible testing (in France), and everyone is wearing masks. The one big uncontrolled element are young people, teen agers, adolescents, high school and college students, who have been the hardest to control and convince to be careful. They party, they kiss, they hug, they congregate in big groups glued together, they don’t wear masks, and at one point half the people getting Covid were under 24. I think our current lockdown was in great part due to their refusing to follow the rules, and the adults who partied like crazy over the summer months and threw caution to the winds and ignored the rules. The young are convinced that they won’t get it, and if they do, it will be mild, which isn’t always true—-but their flaunting the rules and getting even a mild case makes the people they meet sick, some of whom, many even, are older and more vulnerable. All of which spells Lockdown for the rest of us. We’re under Lockdown for a month now, until December 1st, to be reviewed then.

 

One of the big struggles worldwide is to salvage the economy, while protecting the people. The lockdown which protects the people is a threat to the economy. If everyone is locked up at home, they are not out spending money, buying things, going to restaurants, or doing the things that support small and large businesses. So the rules are a bit softer this time, in order to respect businesses as best they can, although many will still take a hit, particularly at this time of year, with the holidays coming up, when restaurants and stores need sales. Bars are closed now, period, because it’s where people congregate in close quarters with their masks off, face to face, so they’re out. Restaurants are closed now, but can prepare takeout food, so they will have some income. Most stores are closed, but many are being allowed to take phone orders and deliver, and ‘essential’ businesses are open: food, alcohol, tobacco, anything to do with technology or phones, opticians, essential repairs, the construction industry is fully functioning, work is encouraged, remotely whenever possible, but in person if you can’t work remotely. Schools are open (they weren’t during the March/April/May lockdown), and are being kept open now so parents can go to work, day care is open for the same reason. It’s possible that the lockdown will be less effective, because the rules aren’t as severe, but it is the government’s attempt to keep business and the economy alive and not shut everything down. One of the things they have tried to stop is social gatherings. It sounds crazy, but even though we were only supposed to have no more than ten people visiting at home, or 6 at a table in a restaurant, and at one point only four, I do know of people who were giving big dinner parties, and gathering a lot more people than was allowed. It always annoyed me to hear about it—when the rest of us are battling to keep the virus in control, and following the rules, how irresponsible is it to give a party for 20 people, with masks off so people can eat and drink, which makes a gathering like that dangerous. I have stayed away from the people who weren’t respecting the rules. And I think the holidays will be challenging for everyone, trying to find a safe middle ground so families can be together and not risk getting everyone sick. I have gotten braver about asking employees, and even friends to have a Covid test before we see each other, and I’ve had tests too. My son came from another European country, and visited me with his wife and kids, and we all had Covid tests before we saw each other (the first family member I have seen in 8 months), and we all plan to do that before we get together for Christmas. I think following the rules right now is essential to get control of the situation, and get the numbers down to something livable again, so we are all as safe as we can be right now—and wearing masks of course.

 

One funny thing I’ve noticed is that during the March thru May lockdown you could ONLY leave the house to buy groceries, see a doctor, exercise for an hour, or walk your dog. Suddenly, overnight everyone in Paris had a dog, and was walking them day and night. The dogs looked exhausted and had this look of “Oh God, not a walk again”. The streets were crowded with people walking dogs. I don’t know if they begged, borrowed, or rented them, Paris was swarming with dogs, many of them very cute. By the end of May, with lockdown over, the dogs literally disappeared. I have no idea where they went, but the poor things were lucky if they got out at all. Now, looking out my window yesterday—-the dogs were back!!! Everyone I could see had a dog on a leash. I’m not sure if the dogs are happy or not about this situation, but everyone is out there walking a dog again.  I happen to have 3 two pound Chihuahuas who are so small they hate going out, they sit down, glare at me, look pitiful and want to be carried, so I can’t get away with using my dogs as an excuse to go out and get some air, unless I carry all three of them, and nowhere in the rules does it say that you can go out for an hour to carry your dog—-you have to fill out a form to do so, which says that on your honor you are going out to walk your dog, see your doctor, or buy food. But the dogs are back in any case. I’m sure some of them haven’t had a decent walk since May, when everyone went back to normal life again. The dogs look pretty happy to be out so far. And if I want to leave my house, I’ll either have to buy groceries, go to my doctor, or convince my dogs that taking a walk really isn’t so bad. I didn’t leave my apartment for 77 days last time, which I think is unhealthy in other ways (not seeing other people, and not getting enough air and exercise. And isolation from other humans is really depressing).During lockdown last Spring, I sat on a tiny balcony to get air, it was a window ledge meant for plants, and walked around my apartment for a mile every day to get exercise. I think this time I will take a walk regularly to stay sane and get some air (maybe I can borrow someone’s dog??), and at home, I’m going to be doing a lot of writing again, and I’m going to start wrapping Christmas presents. And I can’t wait to be out again on December 1st.

 

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, inside or out, locked down or free, have a GREAT week!! The good times will come again, and there are even good times now, we just have to remember to notice them.

 

Take good care, and stay safe, love, Danielle