I am having a much needed break this week on a family vacation, I hope you have a great week!
Posted on August 10, 2021
I am having a much needed break this week on a family vacation, I hope you have a great week!
Posted on December 29, 2020
I hope you had a beautiful Christmas and were able to be with your families. My family and I made a brave decision this year, very brave, to follow the guidelines and suggestions not to celebrate together this year. For us, it would have meant all 22 of us getting together, 12 of us flying in and under one roof, 8 households united, arriving from 6 cities in 3 countries. To be together this year would have been flying in the face of wisdom and disregarding all expert medical advice. So we agreed to stay where we were, in smaller units of my children, well within the rules, and in the musical chairs of Covid, I wound up entirely alone. I spent almost all of Christmas Day on Face Time, and Christmas Eve on the phone. And somehow, despite distance and missing each other, we managed to open gifts together, and spend a lot of time together. it’s not the same as being together in the same room, but it was an adequate substitute in the circumstances, and left us all feeling we had spent time with each other, and it was the right decision, even though it was very hard not to be together.
I never do anything very special on New Year’s Eve, so I’m much less sentimental about it than Christmas. Long ago, I used to give big dinner dances when I was married, with an orchestra, and I love to dance. Eventually, we spent quiet evenings at home with popcorn, watching old movies. And once divorced, I gave poker parties on New Year’s Eve that were really fun. And in recent years, I neither give parties on New Year’s Eve nor go to them. They just seem like too much trouble and are usually disappointing, the roads are dangerous, and I’m happy to stay home. Now, in the year of Covid, the whole world is dangerous, and everyone and everything is dangerous wherever you are. So I’m even happier to be at home. But what I long for now is a world where Covid is gone and long forgotten, my loved ones aren’t at risk, I don’t have to remember to wear a mask, or ask my friends what they’ve been doing lately, or panic if I was in contact with someone who came down with it, or get tested regularly. Covid has become a full time part of our daily lives now, and we have to constantly remember to be responsible. It will be wonderful when it will no longer be part of our lives, and I am fervently hoping that 2021 is the year we see it depart, just as 2020 was the year we saw it arrive, and had no idea what was in store for us on New Year’s Day last year, and what lay ahead for us all, with lock downs and curfews, and tragedies over lost loved ones.
So my hope and my prayer for the New Year is that 2021 is the year that Covid will end, that it will disappear into the mists, we can throw our masks away, and not worry if we caught it going to the grocery store or from a friend. Here’s to the end of Covid, and welcome 2021. I hope this is going to be a very, very, very good year. And I wish you happiness, health, peace and prosperity in the coming year. May all your wishes come true in the coming year, and all of our wishes that this will be the year that the Covid 19 virus disappears.
Happy New Year!! Happy 2021!!! Have a beautiful New Year!!!
Posted on December 21, 2020
“Twas four days before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse…”
Hi Everyone, just four more days until this controversial Christmas that has everyone stressed out, trying to decide what they should do responsibly, what their families expect of them, and what their neighbors will say…or just do whatever they want. And even the people who truly believe they are responsible, and work hard at it, make concessions here and there. Even people in government and the people who are supposed to set an example have made some flagrant mistakes, and broken their own rules.
I hope you had a good week as we lead up to Christmas. Only four more days, and I do find people anxious and stressed out at the moment. But who can blame them. Our own family faced a minor dilemma. For all of my children’s lives, Santa Claus has made an appearance at the end of Christmas Eve dinner, usually at dessert, and by then some wine has been served now that they’re all adults. We hear the bell ringing, and a minute later, there is a resounding Ho Ho Ho!!! outside the dining room, and then there he is. Large and Round, in a red velvet suit trimmed in white plush, with his wide black leather belt and boots, white mustache and beard very convincing, his hat and his sack, and he enters the room and circles the table, stopping at each member of the family to make an appropriate comment about how did that car work out for you, and do you like the boyfriend I sent you last year…..how’s your cooking coming…how’s the puppy I brought you two years ago. And for those moments, no matter how old we are, we really believe he’s the real deal (if he does his job well. That does not include the Santa several years ago that we now refer to as The Communist Santa, who saw us living and eating well, nicely dressed for Christmas eve, and gave us a very stern and surprising lecture about what kind of people were we that we didn’t give away everything we have, and live more simply while working to free oppressed people around the world. We didn’t have him back. The message was a little heavy for Christmas Eve). And always at the end of Santa’s tour of the table with knowing comments, we take turns sitting on Santa’s lap, for photo ops, no matter how old we are (me too), and ask him for the impossible, hoping that by some miracle we’ll get what we ask for, a new house, a better job, a husband, a wife, a baby. We all enjoy a warm moment with Santa. But in this year of Covid, even he is having to work remotely. We took a family vote, and Santa got voted out both times, the conclusion was that the visit from Santa on Christmas Eve just isn’t worth the risk, even though we’ll all miss him. Only my three children spending Christmas together would have had the visit, everyone else will be in their own homes, to keep Christmas small and risk free this year. Their other siblings and I won’t be with them, they’ll be in their own homes. And I guess Santa will be at home at the North Pole this year, and Rudolph will deliver all the gifts on his own with the other reindeer. So No visit from Santa for us this year. The origin of the at home Santa visit was so that I didn’t have to stand on line for 3 hours at some department store with nine young children, while all the other children coughed and sneezed, and mine inevitably caught the flu from them. And we’re dealing with a MUCH bigger flu now. But our tradition of the Santa visit has lingered, and hopefully will be back next year. We are sad not to be seeing Santa this year, but it’s one more change due to the Coronavirus.
There will be a lot of changes this year for all of us, some families not together to celebrate, college kids who can’t travel home, grandparents whom everyone is trying to avoid seeing in order to keep them safe. And hopefully the changes will be enough rules respected to really make a difference and help us to get a handle on the pandemic, bring the numbers down, and not wind up with another huge spike which throws us back into confinement after the holidays.
One thing truly shocks me, is how many people are planning major trips during the holidays. Many people in Europe are planning to visit Swiss ski resorts, since the French and Italian ones aren’t open, and it is strongly recommended not to plan ski holidays. Others are escaping to warmer weather in Morocco and even in Dubai, where life more closely resembles what we knew before the pandemic. Some Europeans are going to Spain, which has lower numbers than its European neighbors. Given how we have all been urged not to travel, all around the world, I don’t understand how people can plan these trips, knowing the risks they are taking, and that the fallout from them is liable to worsen the already dangerous situation we are in. And many Americans, as well as Europeans, are not heeding the pleas not to travel, and are planning to do it anyway. It is painful to hear about those holiday plans, knowing that we will pay dearly for those trips later, just as Thanksgiving travel has created the bleak numbers we are experiencing now in the U.S. a month later. I hope that somebody plans to follow the rules and the advice not to travel. Right about now, the pandemic is seeming endless to all of us, and we are all sick and tired of the rules we have to live with, the confinements, the lack of ability to have a ‘normal’ social life, and for many of us, the chance to spend Christmas with our loved ones. Some people are making big sacrifices, while others blithely choose to ignore the rules. We can’t hide from the reality of the pandemic anywhere in the world. And the numbers of people getting infected with the virus, and the death toll are harsh wake up calls.
Four days before Christmas, many countries and cities are in full lock down, while others are in a modified version of it. We’re trying to cling to our traditions, and adjust them as best we can, or shelve them for another year. In San Francisco, one of my daughters saw a group of 25 carolers without masks, in a highly populated neighborhood, singing their hearts out, although singing is particularly said to be a dangerous spreader of the virus and is strongly discouraged. Some people just don’t want to listen.
ALL of my Christmas will be virtual this year, which makes me particularly cranky about those not following the rules. There will be no Christmas dinner with family, no chance to hug my children, no midnight mass, none of our cherished traditions. I will be alone on Christmas this year, for the first time in my entire life, because it was just too dangerous to travel to be with my family. We opted for caution and safety, and it was a very hard decision to do so. And as hard as it is, I hope that others will be reasonable this year too, at least to some degree, even if they don’t give up celebrating it completely. The more serious we are about the holidays this year, the better and safer and healthier they will be next year, and hopefully we will be able to put the pandemic behind us, all around the globe.
In the meantime, I hope that you will have special moments with family or friends, that the spirit of Christmas will shine in your hearts, that you will reach out to those who need to be remembered and may be alone this year. It is a year in which joy will take many new and different forms and creative expressions, when we need to count our blessings, respect others, and work together toward a healthy world again.
I wish you joy and peace and good health and love in the coming year, and may all your holiday wishes come true. Please be safe, as best you can, every moment and every gesture of caution counts, for all of us.
May you be blessed in every way this holiday, and may you be a blessing to others, with all my love, Danielle
Posted on November 16, 2020
I hope you had a good week, restrictions seem to be tightening around the world, to try and get the numbers down and get a handle on Covid before the holidays. Moderate measures and varying degrees of confinement seem to be in place in many cities and countries, to get a grip on it, lower the numbers, but not impact the economy too badly. It’s a delicate balance.
And I have just had a REALLY fun few days binge-watching various series, and even took a class, to help pass the time and stay at home. Books are always a wonderful way to spend confinement, getting lost in the story, the ultimate form of escape. Reading books (and writing them!!) helps pass the time incredibly!
And in addition to writing (my main activity in or out of confinement at all times), and reading, I have had some real fun with series. I was lucky enough to follow a religious class for half a day, which is only given once a year. It really helped ground me, and feel peaceful, in the face of the pandemic. And after that, I indulged myself. I loved The Queen’s Gambit, on Netflix, 7 episodes. And I am LOVE LOVE LOVING Season 4 of The Crown which started on Sunday, also on Netflix. I think it’s the best season of all so far. And I know I will watch the whole thing again, after I watch it for the first time. I like watching things for a second time, I see all sorts of things I didn’t notice the first time.
AND THIS TUESDAY MY NEW BOOK ALL THAT GLITTERS COMES OUT!!! So between binge watching, I hope you enjoy my new book, for yourself and as a gift for the holidays, and my little book of quotations “Expect a Miracle”, which came out 3 weeks ago.
The distraction is good for us all!!!! Have fun watching and reading, and have a GREAT week!!!
Posted on July 6, 2020
Okay, Guys (or girls), straight talk, from me to you. At the beginning of the pandemic, we were told in France NOT to wear a mask, it was ‘not necessary’ and masks were in short supply, and we were confined to home anyway. At the beginning, no one knew a lot about the virus, research was just beginning, and doctors and scientists have learned a lot since. Now we are told that 3 things are essential to reduce contagion and SAVE LIVES, our own, and everyone we’re in contact with: Wash hands (or gel) as often as possible, WEAR A MASK, and Social distance. All 3 are equally important, it’s not multiple choice with options. WE HAVE TO DO ALL 3. The virus hit harder in Europe first, and now the United States is at the epicenter, while Europe and Asia are deconfining, and the numbers get lower every day. And now the US is blazing, with terrifying numbers. All of Europe was strictly confined, whereas in the US, many States were not confined, only some were, so the virus continued to spread at a rapid rate, Social distance was ignored in many cases, people continued to congregate in large groups (on beaches, in bars, etc.), and don’t ask me how—and I don’t care, but masks were considered optional and became a political issue. Suddenly whether you wore one or not indicated what political party you vote for. WHO cares? Meanwhile the virus is killing people, and 17 states have now been black listed and you have to quarantine for 14 days if you’ve been there. In EVERY country scientists agree now that MASKS ARE VITAL for YOUR safety, and everyone you see or meet. You will save lives if you wear one. The virus does NOT care who you vote for, but your not wearing a mask could cost someone’s life, yours or someone else’s. Please, please PLEASE wear one. We will never get the numbers down, and life safe again unless we follow these 3 vital steps. And yes, even if they look goofy, so what? It’s a lot worse to kill someone, or get sick yourself. Foreign countries won’t let Americans in right now, with the numbers so high in the US. I have not seen my kids in 4 months and miss them terribly, and it’s too dangerous to go home right now. I want to come home and see my kids. Please wear a mask so we can stop the contagion in the States, lower the numbers, save lives, and so I can see my kids.
These are the masks I wear, as soon as I leave my house, when I’m out in the street, in public, running around, doing errands. I take it off when I eat out. I wear it when I meet friends, or go into a store. My daughters gave me the beautiful lip one, by a fancy British designer, a friend gave me the polka dot red one that looks like Minnie Mouse, both are fabric which are a little harder to breathe in. And the easiest to wear, for me because I have a small face, are children’s paper medical masks (Mickey Mouse and Goofy are on mine, I also have one with pink dinosaurs), the children’s size fits perfectly if you have a small face, and regular surgical masks are cheap and fit normal adult faces, for men too (or black fabric ones if they want to go James Bond/Darth Vader). I wear reading glasses, and they don’t fog up, you can wear your glasses too. The mask must cover your nose, don’t stick your nose out over the mask. I promise, you’ll still look cute, or sexy—you are doing the entire world a favor if you wear a mask. Let’s save America and the world, and each other by following the rules!!! Please wear a mask!!!
Have a great week, love, Danielle
Posted on May 11, 2020
Working on a book, check back on Wednesday, and stay safe, love, Danielle
Posted on May 4, 2020
How are you doing in confinement? Hanging in? Chafing at the bit? Cabin fever? Or doing okay and settled in? I find that there are ups and downs and some days are better than others. The rumors and the doomsayers make it much harder. And talk of some deconfinement eventually gives us hope that life will return to normal again. Being out in the world again sounds a bit tricky, and obviously not as safe as full confinement, but full lockdown has its challenges too. We will just have to learn how to protect ourselves when we are out in the world again. The masks, which they told us we didn’t need at all in the beginning and were supposedly useless, have now become mandatory (in France anyway), so people are scurrying to find them, and they are nearly impossible to find in France. It still stuns me to realize how fast the world unraveled. 10 weeks ago life was still normal, a week later, the roof fell in around the world, and now we’re all locked up at home. I hope you’re holding up, and having Face Time, Zoom and Skype with absent family and friends, doing puzzles, reading, watching videos and movies, cooking, exercising, and doing whatever you can to relax from the stress and stay occupied. I think people the world over are getting very tired of being locked up, but for now it seems what we have to do to stay safe and protect others. This will all end eventually. Soon, I hope.
This week is a big deal, with Mother’s Day at the end of the week. It will be the first time EVER (since I was 19, when my first daughter was born), that I will not be with my children, any of my children, for Mother’s Day, which I have to admit will be REALLY hard. We will Face Time for sure on that day, and we will celebrate it at a later date when I get home. Mother’s Day without them won’t be a celebration. My mother has been gone for 14 years, so I’m used to not having a mother’s day with my mother, but I have never had one without my children. And Mother’s Day is my favorite holiday, since I get celebrated, and presents—-and I don’t have to get a year older!!! What a perfect holiday!! And my children always spoil me!!
My new hardcover “The Wedding Dress” came out a week ago, and I hope that it seemed like a good Mother’s Day gift for your mothers and grandmothers. And I hope you have time to read it too. It’s a four generation saga about the four very different women in the family who wear the same dress, in each generation.
Weddings are a delicate subject now too, since all the April, May, and June weddings (and even July perhaps?) have had to be postponed, because of the pandemic, which is an emotional disappointment too. Dates in late summer, the fall, next winter and even next year have been chosen, and I know many brides, and even one in our family, who are sad to postpone their weddings, but what is happening in the world is even bigger, and it just can’t be helped. Weddings have to take a backseat to the pandemic, and people’s lives and safety. So we are all trying to be flexible and optimistic about changes of personal plans. This is definitely a crazy time in the history of the world.
Take good, good care of yourself, stay safe and follow the rules in Lockdown, as we make our way through these unusual and often scary times. We will get through this, and in the meantime, I’m thinking of you and send you much love, and I hope it’s a peaceful week, and a Wonderful Mother’s Day, even if it’s on Skype, Zoom or Face Time. Have a great week!!
lots of love, Danielle
Posted on April 13, 2020
Posted on February 18, 2020
I hope you had a good week. I’m in whirlwind mode at the moment, working on a book and an outline, some family events, and publishing schedules for this year and next. Keeping busy!!
Valentine’s Day has come and gone. I think I used up my Valentine’s Day tickets years ago—-I had 2 marriage proposals on Valentine’s Day (not on the same year!!), which was very romantic, I said yes to both!. This year I went out for burgers with one of my daughters who was free, and a friend. And I had a very good time!!!
But for those of you ladies who didn’t get what they hoped for on Valentine’s Day and were disappointed, take heart—you have a second chance!!! This is Leap Year, and the tradition for Leap Year is that it’s supposedly the one day a year when a woman can propose to a man, and it’s considered quite acceptable!!! So 12 days from now, you can turn the tables on the man (or woman) in your life, if they’ve been slow to propose, and as a woman, you can propose!! I’ve never tried it myself, but why not, if it feels right to you. I think I’ve heard that it’s originally an Irish tradition, but it seems to apply worldwide. There’s a cute movie about it called “Leap Year” with Matthew Goode and Amy Adams, it’s not new but it’s still around (It turns up on Netflix from time to time). So get ready, get set!!! Personally, I’ve always wished I had a Leap Year birthday, then I would only be a quarter the age I am now—-you’d miss out on birthday gifts that way, but it might be worth it.
So maybe this year Leap Year will be your big moment. Don’t miss it!!! Or you’ll have to wait another four years!! Have a great week!!
Posted on November 18, 2019
I hope you’ve had a wonderful week, and that things are rolling along peacefully toward Thanksgiving, and you have plans you’re looking forward to. And I hope that all of you will be with people you care about for the holidays, whether family or friends.
I took a day off yesterday, on Sunday, to indulge myself, and I binge-watched Season 3 of The Crown, on Netflix, which came out (the whole season) yesterday. My only concern about it was that they had wonderful actors in the first two seasons, whom we all got attached to in the stories about Queen Elizabeth II of England and her family and history—–and they announced at the end of the last season that rather than ‘aging’ the current actors with makeup, as the Queen gets older, they were using an entirely new cast in the upcoming seasons. They spent two seasons getting us attached the old cast, and now we would be seeing an entirely new group of actors. And as I feared, the change of cast didn’t work for me. I love the stories and the history, and the glimpses into significant events in the Queen’s personal life, but the actors they chose were much older than the Queen’s actual age on screen at the time. They had actors in their 50’s portraying the Queen and Prince Phillip, her husband, when they were still in their thirties. At 38, they have her portrayed by an actress in her 50’s, or who looks that way. The acting was flawless, but the discrepancy in age was disturbing and distracting. And they could so easily have used the original actors, Claire Foy and Matt Smith, in Season 3. They were fabulous in the first two seasons, and the change of cast was jarring and disturbing. I wonder if others will feel the same, and if the series will be less successful as a result. It seems like a very poor executive decision, particularly when actors and actresses are so successfully aged on screen —– Meryl Streep has done so many roles that portrayed her well beyond her actual age, and different from her real looks, and it was brilliantly done. I’m sorry they didn’t do the same with the original cast in The Crown. I really missed Claire Foy and Matt Smith.
But other than that, I still enjoyed watching the series. It’s beautifully written, and the actors are very good, even if not the ones I would have preferred to see. Claire Foy and Matt Smith were so touching and endearing in those roles, and the new cast’s performances, while dramatically excellent, were not warm.
It’s fun to get hooked on a series, and I love binge-watching, and seeing the whole season all in one day. It was a great way to spend a cold, rainy Sunday. Because of the change of cast, the Crown only got a B+ from me, but it’s still very good and worth watching. If you enjoy seeing modern history brought to life, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the show very much!!!
Have a great week!!! And if you’d rather read a book than watch a series, you can always read my new book, Child’s Play, if you haven’t read it yet!!!