Dana's Dailies

Dailies for 05.31.2007

Foul Play

Dana @ 5:00 PM | Filed under: General

Does it really matter that you follow the LAW if —

you’re the one with the power to change the law and — you do?

If you are the one with the power to change the law, and you do, keep changing the law to suit your own needs driven by your own personal agenda; if you keep changing the law to avoid breaking it, shouldn’t you still be considered a BAD man even if you are abiding by “the law”?

I mean, just because something is legal -

doesn’t make it right…

Dailies for 05.28.2007

Hot Air

Dana @ 5:41 PM | Filed under: General

The other day a friend of mine was telling me about an acquaintance who always refers to herself as -


As I empathized with my friend’s irritation, I was reminded of a good piece of theatrical advice that I had gotten from a college professor:

It was my junior year and I had been working on a monologue. It was to be my big moment in the final play of the season. The spotlight would be on only me and I was to have the stage all to myself. The stage direction dictated that I cry during my delivery and yet my professor, who was also the director of this play, insisted that I only bring myself to the brink of tears but -

“Don’t cry”.

He directed me not to cry because he felt that if I cried then the audience would have no reason to. While on the other hand, if I just almost cried, then my audience would be left to cry, my tears, on my behalf.

Today that piece of theatrical direction serves me well because it extends for me far beyond the stage and always leaves me contemplating the consequence that results when one toots one’s own horn.

When you repeatedly toot your own horn, then you rob other people of the opportunity to do that for you. When you do that work for them you risk leaving them uninspired.

When the spotlight is on you allow yourself to be -


Bring your audience to the brink while you graciously unfold. Let them figure out how GREAT you are. Inspire the people who are watching you to identify themselves in who you are. Then, they’ll no doubt make beautiful music and –

on your behalf.

Dailies for 05.25.2007

Funny As In “He Makes Us Laugh”

Dana @ 7:16 PM | Filed under: General

We love him but…

Sometimes Jake is “somethin’ else”.

For instance –

He has this obsession with Claude.

He craves Claudes attention and will do anything to get it, from crying and whining, to dropping large objects like bones, so that they fall to the floor with a bang —

“Here I am! Remember me?!”

Jake is a study. Jake is needy.

I take Jake to his little dog social group, recently, and he keeps snatching and running off with this other dog’s toy. This other dog, being less confident and obnoxious than Jake, just sits back timidly while Jake keeps showing off for the other dogs by running laps past this dog with this dog’s toy in his mouth. This is fun for Jake because he knows that he has something that somebody else wants.

Jake only ever wants what he thinks someone else wants.

“Jake is a funny guy”, comments another dog owner. I agree and then I share with her how Jake worships our cat Claude , but how, at the same time, with Claude, Jake is really petty, competitive and jealous.

Later that night when I was sharing the toy snatching thing with Auguste, we agreed that:

Although we love Jake and although he might be a funny guy indeed, Jake is definitely the guy –

you don’t wanna be…

Dailies for 05.23.2007

Land Of The Giants

Dana @ 12:34 PM | Filed under: General

I continue, everyday, to try to increase my capacity to be mindful of how I treat people; everybody – always. I know that one word or a single glance has the power to profoundly impact someone, especially a young someone. Because it is impossible to ever know the full extent of the effect that our words and behavior might have on someone else, it has become increasingly important for me to keep myself in check…

I was flipping through an issue of Vogue this past Friday morning when I stopped to read an acknowledgment about the passing of a popular socialite. She was described as being beautiful and funny, devoted and loving. I am sure that she was all of these wonderful things, but the article brought to mind an encounter that I had had with her years ago…

I had just recently arrived in New York as a graduate student at New York University and I had registered at several temporary employment agencies in order to make ends meet. My very first temp assignment was also my very first job ever in New York City so it symbolized a very important rite of passage for me and I showed up on my first day with a tremendous sense of fulfillment; like somehow, now, I finally really belonged here in the place where I had dreamed of living for most of my life. In other words -

this was a big day!

I was assigned to work at the Museum of Modern Art and on the day that they were hosting the King of Sweden. As the receptionist and the first point of entry, I was given very specific and detailed instructions. There were all of these security considerations and all of this protocol to follow and I was being very serious about all of it.

As the morning went on I found myself relaxing and enjoying myself very much. The museum staff was appreciative of the job that I had been doing and my ability to follow the instructions that I had been given. I had no reason to suspect that the temperature was about to literally shift, as my ability to follow instructions was about to be tested.

She stormed in and she commanded everyone’s attention. As she flung herself passed me, I excused myself and asked her to “please sign in”. She turned her head slowly and glared at me. Steadfast, I explained that because of events and ceremony that were taking place, I would need to call upstairs and have someone come down and escort her into the museum.

While I don’t recall what she said word for word, what I do remember is that she asked me if I knew who she was and that if I didn’t, know who she was, that I should. All I did know is that she was fast becoming someone whom I was certain I would never forget. Her words dismissed me then, as someone who didn’t matter. I remember that.

I do believe that it is honorable to contemplate the best in people when they have passed away, like the poetic bit in Vogue Magazine. But for me, a “nobody” to her, I just remember being very nervous and sweating as she was yelling and screaming in my face…


reading the acknowledgment of her death and replaying that encounter, made me more than a little bit uncomfortable as I confronted myself about the way that I know that I have treated people on occasion, people who were unlucky enough to cross my path at the wrong place and time — justified because I was busy or late or “IMPORTANT”.

I had one last recollection as I closed my magazine:

I was ordering a cappuccino at the counter of a café in an office building in downtown Manhattan. I was paying the girl at the register when without warning, the temperature shifted — ever so gently. The three girls behind the counter stood frozen, mesmerized by whatever they were looking at and so I turned around to see. Standing there trying to order a coffee was John F Kennedy Jr. His kind smile instantly gave the girls permission to relax and be in awe of him. In fact, his graciousness made it O.K. for everybody else in the café to do the same.

I watched him walk through the lobby with his coffee and his briefcase. I kept watching as he bought a newspaper from the guy at the newsstand. I was profoundly impressed. His graciousness inspired.

John F. Kennedy, Jr. died just a few months after that, and the thing that I remembered during all of the tremendous coverage about his death was…

how he smiled so warmly at those three girls…

Dailies for 05.16.2007


Dana @ 10:39 PM | Filed under: General

They have this tradition. They call it Sweet Friday.

Every Friday they put together a casual spread of cakes, cookies and whatever sweet goodies that they might pick up at the market on the way home from after a busy week.

They put a table cloth on the table. It doesn’t matter that the table cloth is often wrinkled. They surround the center piece with the tasty treats. The centerpiece always coincides with the time of year – a pumpkin, a wreath, a vase filled with flowers – and then they welcome friends and neighbors to stop whatever it is that they are doing for just thirty minutes or so to come and have a little something sweet.

I heard this story on NPR the other day and it touched me. I love little rituals and I’m faithful to my own traditions because I like being able to look forward to things. But that’s not what touched me about this story.

What touched me about this particular story is that -

A mother of four kids, ranging in ages from four to ten, working to put herself through medical school while going through a painful divorce, would carve out time every week so that she and her children can make happy memories.

What touches me about this story is that what those children will remember along with the hurt and confusion of their parents splitting up, what they will remember along with the tears that they shed late at night, is that on Fridays -

there was always cake.

Dailies for 05.15.2007

Just Doin’ My Job

Dana @ 2:18 PM | Filed under: General

I was hanging out with Gussie the other night — she had invited me to watch one of her favorite shows with her. When one of the contestants on the show was standing before the judges insisting, in the midst of being critiqued, that she had done the very best that she could do, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to try and impart a little home spun motherly wisdom:

“When your best is not enough it’s not so smart to say that you have done your very best. When you’ve fallen short of the intended mark, it’s not smart to persuade that you can’t really do any better than you did; in fact, it’s actually not even really true.

None of us knows the full extent of what we are capable of when we are willing to keep putting ourselves on the line.

If we’ll be intent upon raising the bar, as opposed to being content with where we are now –

then the sky is the limit Gussie Roc!”

She got annoyed with me for interrupting her show…

Dailies for 05.14.2007

Excuse Me, I Was Just Breathing!

Dana @ 9:13 PM | Filed under: General

It was a sobering glimpse into the future…

This past Friday night Auguste and I sat outside of a Starbucks in Brooklyn Heights, waiting patiently while Gussie was living it up with her friends at the ice cream shop down the street. Parents were forbidden, you understand, to come within 100 yards of this party, celebrating closing night of the school play.

The week had been extra long and taxing for us because, being the loyal, devoted and supportive parents that we are, we had seen every performance; we had attended every night. Now, it was about 10:00 pm and tired, I would’ve given anything to be home on my couch.


there we sat…





outside of that Starbucks for what seemed an eternity while Gussie celebrated down the street. We could hear the kids talking and the laughing and we reflected on our own youth while we sat there feeling about as relevant as yesterday’s news. We waved at the other parents who wandered aimlessly up and down Montague Street, careful not to be seen by their kids for fear they’d get the lecture on how not to be embarrassing —

We had all been given the same mandate.

When we finally got tired of yawning and waiting, Auguste, glancing at his watch, wondered out loud if Gussie would one day appreciate this night when we reminded her of it in a couple of years.

Just then a teenage girl, leaving Starbucks with two of her friends, remarked loudly:

“The other thing that makes my Dad such an idiot is…”

At which point Auguste turned to me and concluded:

“Probably not…”

Dailies for 05.04.2007

Give Me Strength

Dana @ 5:19 PM | Filed under: General

I figured that the logic was transferrable.

Gussie had to go straight from school to ballet class and as always, I made her a snack to eat on the way — a delicious turkey sandwich with swiss cheese on a croissant, a couple of brownie bites and a ripe piece of juicy fruit.

Half way through through her sandwich, Gussie begins to wrap it up in its napkin, her intention being to throw it away. Like I said, it is a really good sandwich and I am not about to let it go to waste.

As I take the sandwich from her, I wonder if her hands are clean — correction — What I wondered is just how dirty are her hands.

I weigh my risk of getting sick and decide to eat the sandwich anyway because I rationalize that what I am doing is strengthening my immune system. I convince myself that eating a dirty sandwich is in fact good for me because it will build up my tolerance for the dirtier stuff later.

Last night —

I decide to watch the Republican candidates debate on MSNBC. As I grab the remote control to turn the television on, I wonder if I will end up frustrated, annoyed and disappointed by what I will hear — correction — What I wonder is just how frustrated, annoyed and disappointed I will be.

I weigh my risk of getting sick and decide to watch the debate anyway because I rationalize that what I am doing is strengthening my immune system. I convince myself that watching the Republicans debate last night was in fact good for me because it will build up my tolerance for the dirtier stuff that is sure to come later…

I wonder –

How clean are those hands?

Dailies for 05.01.2007

Yeah, But How Much Can You Bench Press?

Dana @ 4:20 PM | Filed under: General

You can not make this stuff up…

Last night Auguste agreed to go with me to a dog run that I frequent so that Jake (our dog) could excercise and play with other dogs.

I was carrying an oversized purse which made it hard for me to carry Jake in his dog bag (Jake is the guy that you do not want on a leash if you are at all in a hurry — he’s nose-y and easily distracted).

Auguste agreed to carry Jake, which may not seem like a big deal unless you understand that this is a man who carried his infant daughter, around for a couple of years, like a football because he refused to push a stroller. So, when he agrees to carry Jake, in my fashion conscious dog bag I am a little bit surprised.

So, we’re walking back from the dog run and I run ahead to the market while Auguste stops to pick up Gussie from ballet class. I notice a friend of Auguste’s, a testosterone kind of sports-y guy, walking his —

pit bull.

When I look back, I see that this guy has stopped to talk to Auguste.

Later Auguste shared with me that the guys pit bull was so pre-occupied with whatever was slung over Auguste’s shoulder that he had no choice but to come clean –

to this guy –

this guy with the pit bull –

that he was harboring –

a dog –

(but not just any dog)

a “yorky” –

in his –


You can’t make this stuff up.

Head back to the top.