Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Grace and Generosity


Another guest post by Dana


One of the things I love about the holiday season (loosely defined as the week before Thanksgiving through the New Year) is the abundance of grace and generosity.

It seems that, with few exceptions, grace and generosity become almost common place during the holiday season.

People give, unconditionally, to others - even strangers.

Judgment is replaced with empathy.

People think of others a little more, and themselves a little less.

I hate to see it end.

What a different place this world would be if, for the other 46 weeks of the year, we practiced grace and generosity just a fraction as much as we do during the holiday season.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Ya'll!

Hope your Christmas is Merry and Bright! Or warm and sandy!

Monday, December 20, 2010

FROZEN Sardines in NYC!

Okay, first off...DAMN it's cold up there! But after you get past that, it was wonderful. Thanks to Vinny, we had the best pizza in the city at John's!

We saw Wicked and Jersey Boys on Broadway, where my Southern Belle Mom learned some new words. And she loved it even though it had some "language" in it.

We rode for an hour in a horse and carriage in Central Park and for thankfully few minutes from Broadway back to the hotel in that bike contraption up there. We asked him 14 times, "Are you SURE we can all fit in there?" "YES, just turn your knees out, and you scrunch in" and poof we were in there under a nice warm blanket with a heated seat! That dude had to be sore the next day after hauling us around!

We bought staggeringly expensive matching Christmas ornaments on 5th Avenue. Talked to tons of super sweet cops and natives for good eating places and directions. Honestly, I didn't meet the first rude New Yorker. Everyone was beyond nice and as friendly as they could be!

But most of all, I'm so grateful that I could make a dream of my Mom's come true. She's always wanted to go to New York for Christmas!

P.S. I'm lucky that I have the best bosses in the world that said, "GO! Take her and take off as long as you need." They paid me even though I was out of vacation time, bonused me triple what my old job would have, gave me the next two weeks off AND told me that they LOVE me and are grateful that I work for THEM! Wow, am I blessed!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Men Don't Make Passes


Another guest post by Dana


I picked up my new geeky-chic glasses on Saturday.

They are a stretch for me.

They scream, "LOOK AT MY FACE!" and that is terrifying in my world.

I changed my blogger, twitter and facebook avatars to the new look and got very positive, complimentary feedback. I allowed myself to feel good about the new look - maybe it really was OK to be me.

Then it happened.

A direct message* from someone I know. Someone I care about. Someone whose opinion matters to me:

"Tell Dana to change her picture. It's cute, but the lighting makes it look like she has a mustache"

Let me share a secret with all of you. Any time I hear "[Insert favorite compliment], BUT [Insert critical statement]" what I hear is "Blah, blah, blah ... Dana has a mustache."

I was hurt (still am or I wouldn't be writing this). I looked at the picture - a picture I was comfortable with (a HUGE accomplishment for me) and all I could think was that everyone had been lying to me - laughing behind my back - saying, "Dana thinks she looks cute but it looks like she has a mustache. Let's not tell her so that we can keep laughing at her."

When I communicated my hurt, I got:

"And let me tell ya Mizz Thang...How many people saw the same thing and didn't say anything...c'mon you know me better than that"

Ahhhh ... confirmation! Validation! ... and people think I'm crazy.

Now, in all fairness, I know (without a doubt) that this conversation was meant to be helpful. This wasn't someone who was trying to cut me down, trying to make me feel bad about myself.

It was constructive criticism. It was like the friend who tells you about a glaring grammatical error in your post because they don't want you to be embarrassed. It was meant to be helpful.

I took it far too personally. It hurt like hell.

I airbrushed the photo. I softened it. I played with the highlights and low lights. I adjusted the shadow. I did everything I could in hopes everyone would stop laughing at me behind my back. I tried to make it "acceptable." **The picture shown is the "fixed" photo**

I sold out ... and I hate that I am not confident enough to say, "Screw you! I'm fine just the way I am!"

Maybe some day.

*These messages were private messages, not sent to a public forum. I reprinted them (as written) here, but out of context. I didn't do this to make the person look bad, but to help you understand how my brain heard them.


Thursday, December 9, 2010


Yesterday, I was planning a trip for next Christmas. Just me and my mom. She's always wanted to go to New York to see it decorated for Christmas. Neither of us have ever been.

As I was sitting at my desk talking to my Dad, my uncle came in and heard what I was planning for next Christmas. "Lisa's going next week and doesn't have anybody to go with her. Why don't you two go with her. She has VIP tickets to the Nate Berkus Show."

We leave next Wednesday! New York wasn't even on my radar for places to go, but frankly, I get excited going around the corner.

Anybody got any suggestions of shows, places, stuff not to miss?


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

All I Want For Christmas


Another guest post by Dana


Do you remember writing that annual letter to Santa? The magic of wanting a single gift - more than you wanted anything ever before - and having it appear under the tree Christmas morning?

I was a Lego kid. Back in the day (40 years ago) Legos were at the top of the construction toy heap, with Erector Sets and Lincoln Logs (yes, they used to be wood) following close behind.

My mom desperately wanted a pink, frilly dress, princess-like little girl. Instead, she got me - a little girl who wanted nothing more than her carpenter daddy to be proud of her. A little girl who spent hours and hours building homes and neighborhoods with Legos.

I still love Legos. If I see them I must build.

Legos have come a long way since the traditional red, yellow, blue and white cubes I grew up with. I came across this while doing a little on-line Christmas shopping.

Yes, I am actually considering buying this and putting it under the tree ... for me!

What childhood toy did you love? Is there one that could still make you smile from ear to ear if you found it under your tree on Christmas morning this year?


Friday, December 3, 2010