Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Zucchini Sticks and a Smile

Six years ago, my good friend paid $50 for a man's boxers at a flea market. At the same flea market, another young woman paid $100 for his g-string.

Who was this sensation whose underwear earned such a pricetag?

Broadway star and rising film star, Mr. Patrick Wilson.

Four years ago, after hearing my friend rave about what a beautiful and talented fellow he was, I met Mr. Wilson on a warship. I was interning with a Broadway public relations company (you may recall this story, which occured during the that same summer...http://dianagolightly.blogspot.com/2007/06/oh-it-will-happen-some-day.html)

Since my boss was Tommy Hilfiger's agent, he planned the release party for Tommy (can I call him Tommy?)'s movie, PROUD. It was a World War II movie about a bunch of sailors, and the party was on a warship.

I was in charge of checking people in. I did my best to act like I was completely used to dealing with the rich and famous and powerful. I joked around with some important-looking lady about how lucky we were to have curly hair in such windy weather (on a party on a warship, of course.) When a family introduced themselves as the Hilfigers, I told them they weren't allowed in and we all shared a chuckle. I saw President Bill Clinton walk by, then Kim Cattrall, the chickie from The Sopranos, the "Dude! You're getting a DELL!" guy (BIG celebrities, I am telling you).

Monica Lewinsky HAD been on the guestlist, but I think was a no-show because that Clinton fellow came instead.

Celebrities breezed past me, press tailing them, people whispering.

I was perfectly fine and not starstruck in the slightest.

Until he walked in.

Patrick Wilson.

Now, even though Patrick Wilson is one of the most handsome men in the world, he also has a slightly common look to him and if you go walking in the street at any given time, you will most likely do a doubletake and think that you just saw Patrick Wilson. (At least, that is how I am...not sure about you.) I even think my cousin Eric slightly resembles him, if only because they have the same forehead.

As he got closer, I grew more sure that it was indeed Patrick Wilson, especially when the friend he came with said to somebody else, "Do you know Patrick Wilson?" (That usually casts the dye.)

When he came over to be checked in, I smiled (the smile I HAVE been told could light-up the Grand Canyon) and said, "Oh...you're...Patrick Wilson, right?" He looked slightly surprised, and I told him we had a mutual friend...that girl who paid $50 for his boxer shorts once. (No, I didn't say that.)

He joined the party, as did I after everybody was checked in.

(I also might have hid under the table to call my friend, the owner of his boxers, and left a crazy voicemail.)

Nobody else cared that Patrick Wilson was there! I guess that is bound to happen when former Presidents and TV stars are in a room (or on a warship)...the handsome star of The Full Monty and Oklahoma is overlooked!

I took this as a chance to chat it up with Patrick Wilson and become best friends with him. He was perfectly sweet to me when I approached him, asking what I did, why I was there, and what exactly this party was FOR. (See, he didn't even know...!)

My fellow intern wandered over to us...she had zero interest in Broadway (I'll never understand how she ended up at that place, because there were times I was quite miserable, but my love of the New York City stage kept me going) so when I introduced her to MR. PATRICK WILSON, I made sure I did so in a way that wouldn't clue him into the fact that she had no idea who he was.

"This is Mr. Patrick Wilson...you know, the Tony-nominated actor from Oklahoma and The Full Monty,soon to be starring in the movie version of The Phantom of the Opera!

She smiled and said, "Oh! So, do you have a good voice?" Patrick squinted, I giggled and said, "Nope, he just gets by on his good looks" (which he very well could do) and Patrick shrugged and said, "Well, it IS how I make my living!"

When Patrick helped himself to a plate of mozerella and zucchini sticks, he offered me some. I wasn't hungry, but I took some anyway...because when Patrick Wilson offers you finger food...you TAKE it, darnit.

I noticed something going on on the top deck, and turned my head up to watch. Patrick was standing a foot away from me, facing me, and he thought I was gazing up at him dreamingly or something (why would I do something like THAT?), and gives me a big meltworthy smile. I got very embarassed and stuttered, "Oh! I wasn't looking at YOU!" Now it was Patrick's turn to get embarassed, as he apologized to me (for smiling at me.)

I doubt that story will ever get old!

We talked a bit more, and when the evening came to an end, I shook Patrick's hand and said, "It was so nice to meet you!" and he said, "It was SO nice to meet you!" (And yes, there was emphasis on the "so".)

Ever the gentleman, he waited with me for exactly 5 seconds until I got a cab (sadly, cabbies never go on strike when you actually WANT them to.)

I smiled to myself and shook my head, calling my friend to recount the night and every last detail to my friend.

When I saw The Phantom of the Opera on the big screen the day after Christmas, 2004, I couldn't help but internally sigh and go, "I shared zucchini sticks with that guy once!" whenever Raul was onscreen, and any time he'd smile lovingly at Christine, I'd remember when he gave me a similar smile (well, it wasn't a loving smile, but a "hey, kid, I am humoring you!" smile) and how I told him I wasn't looking at him.

He's going to tell that story on Letterman one day...I just know it...he's going to say, "Yup, I was starting to get a following after I had starred in two Broadway shows...and one night, I met this young girl at a party, and she was gaping up at me, and I smiled at her, and figured that smile would make her lifetime...however, she only shook her head and said, 'Oh! I wasn't looking at YOU!' Nothing has ever kicked my ego as much as when she said that to me...It took me years to recover, really..."

He might be starring in big movies with Kate Winslet and Meryl Streep and Glenn Close and Jude Law now...

But to me, he'll always remain that kind soul who offered a dorky and starstruck intern zucchini sticks and a smile four years ago.

Congratulations on all your success, Mr. Wilson.

Diana Rissetto

Monday, July 30, 2007

A heartwarming tale for your Monday morning...

Gather around for a Chicken Soup for the Soul Story brought to you by Diana...

My cousin Kristy got married last night, and my sister was a bridesmaid. At the rehearsal dinner the night before, the bride's dad, my cousin Johnny, pulled my sister aside and handed her a dollar bill and told her it was for good luck for her own wedding. (In September)

(If you need a visual, Johnny looks just like Billy Crystal...he actually got star treatment at Blue Man Group because one usher thought he was Billy and spread the word.)

So, he hands Andrea a $1 bill...and my sister is slightly confused and goes, "Okay...thanks?"

And Johnny tells my sister a story...

When my dad died 8 years ago, he was buried in the city, but we had everybody over to our house in NJ, mainly to cut out people that we weren't too close out so we'd just have our closest friends and family. It was my mom's idea, since we were all so drained and didn't need a big crowd.

More people than we thought ended up showing up (guess my dad was more loved than we thought :)), and we didn't have enough beverages.

Johnny went to the store to pick some up, and when he paid, the cashier gave him his change, including this $1 bill...

This $1 bill had the name "Andy" written on it in in big letters twice...

Andy, of course, was my dad's name...

It is a federal offense to write on money, of course. :)

Johnny figured it was a sign. (See, I'm not the only freak in my family who finds "signs" in everything!!!!!)

Johnny saved this dollar bill for over eight years until he could give it to one of us on a special occasion.

We had a very good cry over it, then told some of our other cousins at Kristy's wedding last night and they all had a really good cry too. I'm glad he did it on on Friday instead of waiting for my sister's wedding day, because Heaven knows we'll all be crying enough that day...

Maybe it's looking way too deep into things, but I think it's hitting us how hard and sad my sister's wedding is going to be because it's just another special milestone that my dad is missing...so that dollar bill made us all smile (once we were able to stop crying for thirty seconds.)

Of course, the story would have been more touching if my dad's name had been Severus.

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, July 28, 2007

It's a city of strangers.......................

This city...I kiss the ground of it...some day...I want to get dressed up all in black...black dress, black shoes, black hat...everything black...and go to some bar...and sit at the counter...and drink...and cry...that is my idea of honest-to-God sophistication! That is New York!

The above is a quote from the Broadway musical Company.

I sat next to my friend Laura when we saw this show (courtesy of free tickets from my former company and her current company).

When Marta said those lines, Laura and I looked at each other with wide eyes and we were both thinking the same thing...

"WE HAVE TO DO THAT SOME TIME!!!!!!!"

(We still haven't. And it's been a while. However, I'm sure we'll get around to it. The closest I have come to that was back a few months ago when I went to a Purim festival dressed as Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. The party wasn't far from Tiffany, and I walked past it in my black dress, hair swept up, long black gloves and sunglasses, and gazed up at Tiffany longingly. The tourists didn't look twice at me, and I was really disappointed nobody asked if they could take a picture with me...maybe that's because the tiara was in my purse. Even I have my limits. However, I think that any girl who says she doesn't secretly dream about walking past Tiffany dressed as Holly Golightly is a liar.)

However, we are now planning on doing something else out-there and New York with some kind of a costume...

Yesterday, as Laura and I and another friend were roaming around Times Square after work (one exciting moment? When I thought I saw Prince William walk by on a cellphone...because I thought if it HAD been him, I could go over and knock into him or walk beside him long enough to be photographed, and soon everybody would be talking about that mysterious girl named Diana who has been spotted with Prince William, leading me to landing a spot on Dancing with the Stars! )

As we walked, we started discussing what a girl could do with a wedding gown if she has a failed engagement. (Weddings have been on our minds lately. Everybody around us is getting married. I have a wedding tomorrow, and maid-of-honor duties for my sister in September.) You could never wear that gown again if you marry another guy down the road...you could sell it on Ebay (my cousin's fiancee bought a wedding dress off of Ebay though, and was very disappointed when she got it)...you could pack it away with all its lost dreams (stuffed in a trunk with old love letters and potporri)...or...(we suddenly thought)

You could use it as a social experiment. You could put it on and walk into various bars and restaurants and gauge the reactions of people when they see a girl in a big wedding gown breeze in.

I think it would make a great book. I am envisioning 50 chapters, one for each state (so we could see how differently you are treated in various areas. Which states are the friendliest? Which looks at you like you are insane? Or, which just simply ignores you?) or just focus the whole book on New York City (which is doable. It is one nutty city.)

It would also make an amusing movie, and the last scene could be the girl either meeting another random girl in a wedding gown in a bar and realizing she's not as insane and unique as she THOUGHT she was, or finding a guy in a tuxedo and buoutteniere.

Or just walking off into the city night in her wedding gown with "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" playing. (I don't know, it seems like a song that is always playing in movies.)

I have already chosen the wedding gown I am going to use for my experiment.



(Isn't it pretty? I am going to look lovely in it as I run around and conduct my social experiment!)

(Come to think of it, maybe being "the crazy girl who wears a wedding gown and goes into different bars to note people's reaction" can be my claim to fame which will get me onto Dancing with the Stars!)

Are you listening to me, ABC?!

Diana Rissetto

Thursday, July 26, 2007

"Shall we dance...dum dum dum..."

I don't really like reality TV, but there is one show which is TECHNICALLY a reality TV show that I just cannot get enough of.

Dancing with the Stars.

I really really love Dancing with the Stars.

I didn't really become a fan until last year, when I joined midseason and caught Joey Lawrence walking in a pumpkin patch with his wife and baby. Anything which featured Joey Lawrence pushing a baby carriage around a pumpkin patch is quality television! (Joey won me over once again on one of the last episodes, when he wore a 1940's sailor suit with his grandfather's name on the pocket and dedicated his swing dance to his grandparents. That Joey Lawrence is a class act.)

It wasn't until the next season, however, when I became completely entranced by the show...and there was one factor which helped this newfound obsession...

Three words...

Apolo Anton Ohno.



He was my favorite from the first episode...he'd wear amusing costumes, make funny faces at the camera, and his partner, Julianne Hough, was only 18 and the two of them together were just the cutest thing on earth. They clearly loved working and dancing with each other. When Apolo and Julianne took home the trophy, they held it in the air and Julianne cheered, "Happy Birthday!" (It was Apolo's 25th birthday. We are the same age!)

(There was a contest on NBC's Extra to win a date with the bachelor of your choice. Apolo was on the list...however, I'd never do something as silly as entering that contest...not me...nope nope nope.)

One of my other all-time favorite Dancing with the Stars moments was the finale of last seasons, when Jerry Springer was dancing with Emmet Smith's little daughter when they were all celebrating Emmet's victory. (Who knew Jerry Springer had such a lovely grandfatherly side! He's still not my favorite old man named Jerry, though...that title is reserved for Jerry Stiller, with the late great Jerry Orbach being a close second!)

One day, all my lifelong ambitions came to a halt when I realized what my one true goal in life was:

To do something that would get me just remotely famous enough so I could quality to be a star on Dancing with the Stars.

I accept that when this DOES happen, I will definitely not go in with the fame that Joey Fatone or Drew Lachey or Apolo Anton Ohno or Joe McIntyre did. I accept that I will be the token, random "Who the heck IS that girl and why is she on this show???" contestant. (Others who have worn this title: Willa Ford from the Emmet Smith year...although I DID clearly remember her "I Wanna Be Bad" song from years ago...and the Former Miss USA or Former Miss Teen USA or whoever she was from this past season's...I was quite sad to see her go though, because her partner was supercute and looked like a young Frank Sinatra.)

These token contestants usually get voted off very very early, since, sadly, no matter how talented they are, they aren't going in with much of a fan base.

I will be that token girl! See, the beauty of Dancing with the Stars is that even if you get voted off the first or second week, they keep your smiling face in the opening credits for the rest of the season AND you could even go on the tour if you want to. I can reap ALL the benefits of being on Dancing with the Stars, without the hardwork and criticism.

I've brainstormed various ways that I can become JUST famous enough to be on Dancing with the Stars . Get Famous Quick schemes. I don't want to be rich. I just want to be on Dancing with the Stars.

Some ideas...

-I can start dating Prince William. I think if I ever even just became FRIENDS with Prince William and we were photographed arm-in-arm at a party, people would start whispering about me and how intriguing it was that William was spotted with a Diana..
.who IS this American girl Diana?! What is her story!?


-From this blog. Not very likely...but people have gotten famous from their blogs before. (Example...Jen Lancaster!) I think I'm amusing! I'm unusual! If I was a contestant on The Bachelor, I think lots of everyday girls would be rooting for me and my oldfashioned quirkiness!

-I watched Joey Fatone's new gameshow The Singing Bee the other night. That show would be a lot of fun to be on. Even if you mess up, if you dance around and sing your little heart out, people will still clap for you and remember you. I can be a contestant on The Singing Bee and do something very very memorable. (Not sure what that is yet.) And then when Dancing with the Stars lists me as one of their celebrities, everybody will know me as "that kooky girl from The Singing Bee! Gosh, I just LOVED her!"

I am open to more suggestions.

Diana Rissetto

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I am very very proud

Lately, I have been getting multitudes of google alerts linking me to websites geared towards homosexual men because of my pal, Cheyenne Jackson's, name.

The boy has been named among the hottest of the hot by two popular websites.

What an acheivement.

Way to go!


http://www.afterelton.com/people/2007/7/hot100?page=0%2C7

http://www.queersighted.com/2007/07/25/my-top-five-list-of-hunky-broadway-boys/

Diana Rissetto

Monday, July 23, 2007

I feel like I need to make an official statement...

...regarding the very last Harry Potter book.

Because it's what everybody is doing.

I worked at Barnes and Noble for about 43 years, so I had the distinct honor of dressing up as Hermione for more than one Harry Potter Midnight Madness release party.

(I wasn't ordered to. I really, really just WANTED to be Hermione, and as the only staff member with long, curly brown hair, I rocked that costume. I brushed out my hair to get it as frizzy as can be, donned some knee socks and made several phonecalls to my male friends asking if any had an orange necktie I could borrow. As people walked behind me at the store, they commented, "You REALLY look like her from the back!!!!")

I was the best Hermione ever. And I like to think, at Friday night's release party at my former workplace, there was a horrible void where myself and my Hermione attire once stood.

Harry Potter release parties are dangerous, dangerous, DANGEROUS events.

Looking back, I consider it a small miracle that I have survived to tell about them.

However, I am thrilled to see people...kids...grandparents...whoever...getting excited about BOOKS.

I picked up my copy of the seventh book on Saturday morning, and I did what I think MANY people did (but won't admit to...)

I read the last chapter first.

And it made me smile!

(Spoilers ahead.)

Because the ONE thing I have wanted from the Harry Potter series for the last several years has finally come true.

Hermione and Ron have declared their undying love for one another!

(It's moments like these when I realize that I really really need a life, because I have gotten WAY too caught up in the love lives of fictional teenagers.)

Hermione and Ron have been my favorite part of these books since Day 1.

They bickered, they sparred...but deep down, we all just KNEW how much they really cared about one another. I remember a scene in one of the earlier books. Ron and Harry are fighting, and Hermione is very upset about it. When the boys finally make up, Hermione throws herself into Ron's arms. He awkwardly pats her on the head. In the 6th book, as Hermione is sobbing at Dumbledore's funeral, Ron holds her and strokes her hair. I loved this! Loved how they evolved. And throughout this very last one, we see them getting closer and closer. Ron is constantly putting his arm around Hermione when she is upset about something, and finally finally FINALLY they are together, 19 years in the future.

(As pathetic as this might sound, every single other character could have met horrible deaths, but as long as Hermione and Ron were together, I wouldn't have cared. Okay. That's not true. But pretty close.)

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I want this to happen to me!

I just read a book.

This is not news, since I read many books...however, this particular book, although it DID make me laugh a lot (out-loud...to myself...on the train...), it also depressed me.

The book?

Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?z=y&EAN=9780451217608&itm=1

Jen Lancaster and I have a great deal in common. Like myself (and many other people) Jen was laid-off from her job. Perhaps our similarities end there. Jen was a driven businesswoman, making six figures and had people working for her. I was new to the workforce, eager and enthusiastic and determined to do my best at my job (answering phones for a powerful theatre company). I was far from being any kind of a businesswoman...much more like a flighty artist just happy to be working "in the industry". Jen worked in Chicago...I worked in New York City. Jen is a blond...I am a brunette.

Like myself, Jen went on a million interviews after her layoff. She started applying to absolutely everything, just like I did. (Except Jen applied to repair airplanes. I applied to assist puppeteers!)

Jen and I both had some fabulous interviews for jobs that we were perfectly qualified for, and then never heard from the places ever again.

(I'd like to now remind you of that interview I had...in that office that plans awards ceremonies for advertising...when the woman shook my hand, said, "Welcome Aboard!" and didn't hire me.)

Frustrated, she began to keep a blog, which gained her a following, and eventually, a book deal...now she'll never have to go on another job interview ever again and can pursue her writing.

She is OFFICIALLY a writer now!

THIS is where I start to get depressed.

Why can't this happen to me?!

I want to be a writer! That is all I have ever wanted. When I was in the 4th grade, my teacher signed my yearbook and wrote, "I hope if you ever use a penname, you will let me know who you are so I'll know to buy all your books." I feel like I am letting down multitudes of people because I CANNOT officially say that I am a writer. I just don't know what to do! What is the next step?

Oh, Jen Lancaster. You set out to inspire and entertain, but you have only given me a mirror to see what a failure I have become!!!!!

I did appreciate part of the subtitle as well...Why You Should Never Carry a Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office.

When I went on unemployment (after I got laid-off!) I had to go to an orientation at the Department of Labor building on 54th Street. I had a job interview later in the day, and needed to look my professional best!

However, my mom scolded me when she saw me in my Ann Taylor dress and pearls.

Mom: You CANNOT go to the unemployment office dressed like that!!!!

Me: Why not???

Mom: Because then they'll think you have money and don't need unemployment and will take it away from you!

I am pretty sure that is not true. I think I could have pulled up to that office in my Rolls Royce, in a fur coat (in May, whatever), throwing diamonds around and they STILL wouldn't have been able to take away my unemployment insurance.

I am no longer on unemployment.

I have a job now.

But when do I get to become a writer?!

Diana Rissetto

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Signed...sealed...delivered...

I began writing letters at a young age, and it would quickly become an important part of my identity.

I think my first fan letter was to Jim J. Bullock. (Remember him? Perhaps not. He was a regular on my favorite show, Hollywood Squares. And Too Close for Comfort, another one of my favorites, even though there was NO way that show was appropriate for children. My mom and dad didn't censor much in our home...it's a miracle I turned out as wholesome and old-fashioned as I did!

The letter is still in an old photo album. My parents never mailed it. I wrote him a short paragraph about how Hollywood Squares was my favorite show. I watched it every night, and he was very very funny in it.

(I guess my affinity for funny gay men began at a very young age.)

I wrote on the wrong side of the lined paper, too.

Years would pass...and I would write letters...lots and lots and lots of letters. To EVERYBODY. (And when I say "everybody", I am including the people who ran the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum in Missouri.)

There were several standouts...

-Harry Connick, Jr. I met him at a CD signing when I was in the 8th grade. I gave him a pillow for his new baby (that I made, with her name "Georgia" on it) and a nice card. Three weeks later, Mr. Harry Connick, Jr. CALLED ME ON THE PHONE to thank me, and his lovely and wonderful wife Jill sent me a card.

-Nick Clooney. "Who is Nick Clooney?" George's dad, among other things, and he used to host movies on AMC, which was my favorite channel when I was a child. (It's just not the same anymore!) He sent me a very nice note telling me that my address brought back fond memories of when he was a youngster vacationing by the Jersey Shore and met his first love, Lorraine.

-Paul Anka. He sent me a signed photo saying, "For Diana...the one and only!" (Since one of his biggest hits was "Diana."

-Tina Sinatra. (http://dianagolightly.blogspot.com/2007/06/there-is-surefire-way.html)

-Tom Brokaw. I sent him my school's literary magazine when I was in high school, because I wrote of the "Greatest Generation". Two weeks later, my sister got the mail and said, "Okay, I don't even want to KNOW why you're getting a package from NBC Studios." It was a signed copy of Tom's newest book, in which he inscribed "To Diana...who understands...Tom Brokaw." It is one of my most-prized possessions. It now sits in a protective vault, and Tom Brokaw remains number 1 on my "to meet" list, and if I ever DO meet him, I will most likely cry and beg him to adopt me.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a long overdue letter to Maria Shriver.

If you might remember, I met Maria Shriver two years ago.

And this all happened:

http://dianagolightly.blogspot.com/2007/06/when-maria-shriver-speaks.html

I decided..."I am going to WRITE a letter to Maria Shriver! I am going to remind her of our exchange at the Rockefeller Center Barnes and Noble and tell her that I am still rather frustrated with my life and hold her wise words close to my heart because I KNOW Maria Shriver would never lie to me."

She was going to LOVE this letter, I decided, and call me immediately and offer to help me in any way she could.

"Any way" would just might include introducing me to literary agents, letting me move into her New York City penthouse apartment which she and Arnold never even use (I'm not sure if they actually have one...but I bet they do), or even doing something as simple as hooking me up with one of her cute Kennedy cousins. There's about seventy-thousand of them...shouldn't be too hard.

Alas, I seemed to have lost my magic touch for letter-writing, because today, I got this letter in the mail:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


A form letter from Maria Shriver.

She didn't even read my letter!

She doesn't even know that I still think back to her telling me, "Everything is going to be okay!" in the bookstore that day and how I never, ever forgot it!

Instead, I just got the same old letter every other random person sent her that day.

Let this be a lesson, I tell myself. When I start receiving multitudes of fan mail, I will respond personally to every last letter and will fix people up with my hot single cousins when the situation sees fit!!!!!

Diana Rissetto

You know what I loved when I was a kid?

I loved the Baby-Sitters Club.

Loved them.

One of the (many good things) about having a big sister is that you get introduced to a lot of things a few years earlier than other girls your age. Books are among these things.

My sister was never as big a reader as I was (still isn't...although she DID think the Sparknotes for Wuthering Heights were pretty good) but I did inherit many childhood classics from her...Judy Blume (I have no idea how I possibly could have gotten through childhood and adolescence without my Judy Blume! I have also have reread Judy's adult novel, Summer Sisters every single summer since I was 16. I was recently stretched out in the sun with it, and my sister commented, "Haven't you already read that book?" "Ah, yes," I responded. "I reread it EVERY summer." My sister gave the typical response..."DORK." )

Then there was the Ramona Quimby series...and Charlotte's Web...which inspired me to give up meat at a very young age...The First Four Years, which hooked me on the Little House books, and, of course, The Babysitters Club.

I was hooked.

I believe I began reading them in the second grade, and continued until I was in the 6th...when I was far beyond the reading level (fourth grade, I think) but just couldn't bear saying goodbye to the girls of Stonybrook.

They felt like old friends by then. Ann M. Martin pumped out a new book every month...sometimes more than that...there were Super Specials and Mystery editions, and then there were even books told from Logan's point of view! (Logan was Mary Anne's boyfriend...he was a boy babysitter, and a bit of a social pariah because of it. However, Logan learned not to care about being made fun of by the other boys in the neighborhood, because Logan, like MOST 13-year-old boys, was extremely mature and secure. Yup.)

In the first of the series, Kristy's Great Idea, the girls are in the 7th grade. When you are 7, 12-years-old sounds infinitely old and mature. They would eventually go on to the 8th grade, where they would remain for the next fifty-seven years.

These books made me extremely excited to one day turn 12 or 13. I was sure that I would be able to run the world by then. Kristy, Mary Anne and the gang lead extremely exciting, romantic lives. They got to go on trips to New York City all by themselves (I was a child LIVING in New York City at the time and I wasn't even allowed to walk around my neighborhood by myself), they would go on sailing trips (in one edition where Claudia, Dawn and a bunch of their babysitting charges got stranded on an island), and babysit infants. (I watch infants NOW. And I can tell 'ya...it really isn't easy! I doubt I could have handled watching three kids under 5, AND a newborn, at the age of 13!)

They also had boyfriends...ALL of them had boyfriends...even tomboy Kristy and painfully shy Mary Anne. (Who would date Logan for 54 of those 55 years of the 8th grade. They actually broke up once, but found their way back to each other. 8th grade romances really ARE that strong.) Now, when I was 12 or 13, I really had no interest in boys in my class. If I could have chosen a boyfriend back then, I would have chosen Chris O'Donnell...or Harry Connick, Jr.

Even Jessi Ramsey and Mallory Pike had boyfriends, and, as any fan of the series would know, they were "junior" members of the club and they were only ELEVEN!

Heck, when I was eleven, I was still dressing up my American Girl dolls.

The Baby-Sitters Club were jetsetters. I was convinced that junior high was going to be the most exciting time in my life. I would have officially ARRIVED, and life would be grand.

But then it wasn't!

And looking back, I can honestly say that the Baby-Sitters Club had much much MUCH more of lives at 11-13 than I do at 25.

I am not kidding, as I spend my evening watching Lifetime movies, trying out new face masks and conditioners, and knitting sweaters for dogs.

(Yup, still not kidding.)

I recently read a quote from Miss Natalie Portman that I found amusing:


I loved reading the Baby-sitters Club series. They had all types of girls -- the really smart one, the really girly girl, the earthy crunchy girl -- but it confused me. I was like, "Oh, my God, I'm no one. I'm not a type. I don't know who I am." One of the major shifts I felt coming into adulthood was the understanding that there's no such thing as types.


Right on, Natalie. Right on!

I still don't know what type I am...and I'm pretty sure my life never WILL be as thrilling as Stacey McGill's.

However, those books gave me some fabulous memories and hours of entertainment, and I am sure many girls my age feel the same way.

I remember six years ago, I was working in Barnes and Noble, and a college-aged girl came in and said, "Do you have the very last Baby-Sitters Club book? I need to have it! I just NEED TO KNOW HOW IT ALL TURNS OUT FOR THEM!"

Don't we all, young lady. Don't we ALL.

Diana Rissetto

Sunday, July 15, 2007

And the theme from "One Day at a Time" starts to play...

About a year and a half ago, I was in the middle of my very very famous Nightmare Jobhunt of 2004-2006. I was working the same retail job I had been at since my first year of college, going on interviews whenever I wasn't at the bookstore, and becoming extremely frustrated.

One Sunday morning, I sat down to do one of my favorite pasttimes ever...

Make fun of the couples in the New York Times wedding announcements. I'm not making fun of them for being rich or having Ivy League educations...they are just sometimes really really funny. Seriously. Try it some time.

I came across a familiar name, and recognized the bride in one announcement as Karmine Alers, who was in the Broadway company of Rent for several years. I loved Rent, and felt a special kinship to Karmine ever since that day I was working with Students, Live and a girl came up to me after the workshop and performance to say, "You were really good!"

(Because ALL petite girls with curly hair look alike, don't they?)

I actually clipped out Karmine's wedding announcement and highlighted a part of it, and promised to think like her...

And by googling "Karmine Alers New York Times wedding announcements", I was able to find the exact quote I am talking about...


Unable to pay the rent on her basement studio, she moved back to her parents' apartment. When growing up there, she and her two sisters had sewn matching skirts with fabric her father brought home from his job as a cutter in the garment district. In them they sang backup while he belted out his favorite oldie, "The Great Pretender."

Ms. Alers decided she, too, could be a great pretender. "I said, 'I'm going to pretend that I'm happy and my life is good and singing in a wedding band is everything I ever wanted," she remembered.

After that her luck changed. Tenacious as Madonna, her idol, she auditioned 15 times to step into the starring role of Mimi in "Rent," the Broadway musical, which opened in 1996. She went onstage in January 2001.


After I read that, I told myself that I was going to do the same thing as she did, and tell myself that Barnes and Noble was the GREATEST place in the world to work, and that there was nothing I wanted more than to scan books and clean up after 3:00AM Harry Potter parties and deal with kids asking for SparkNotes for Judy Blume books because they are too freaking lazy to read something on a 4th grade reading level.

My friend Mike from the bookstore was also frustrated with his current working situation. I let him in on my great secret of how I was going to change my whole life by thinking positively. He told me, "But what if you really DO convince yourself that you love it here and you never, ever leave Barnes and Noble?"

I thought about that for a second.

And worried that he might be correct.

It became a joke between us at work. I'd go, "So, how are you doing?" and Mike would reply by putting on a huge grin and saying, "AMAZING! Because right now, I'm going to take THIS stack of books...AND PUT THEM ON A TABLE OVER THERE!"

We'd laugh.

It did make things a big brighter.

I started a new job last week, and tomorrow is my first Monday. Although the environment seems very nice and the people warm and lovely, I am going to keep Karmine's story close to heart in case I ever become frustrated again. I am going to go in every day and do my best. This position is not the greatest of careers, and I still have no idea what I am going to end up doing with my degree or, for that matter, my LIFE.

When I was in the 6th grade, we had to make "future books." We had to pretend we were thirty-five. We had to cut out pictures of houses, husbands, children and dogs, discuss where we went to college and what our daily lives were like. Looking back, I think that was a really pointless assignment, and I would love to go back and tell little 12-year-old Diana that you can't plan your life out like that and nothing is ever going to turn out the way you think it will.

Heck, if I was following my Future Book Life, I would be married with one of my four children by now! Not to mention, I'd have already written several bestselling novels!

I am okay, though. I am going to keep reminding myself that I am exactly where I am supposed to be "right now" and things usually have a miraculous way of falling into place.

This whole Quarterlife Crisis thing is FUN.

Diana Rissetto

Friday, July 13, 2007

Yes, I do indeed love theatre people. They ARE spectacular.

I always have. I think it all started on that very rainy day when I cut class (third grade) to go uptown (we lived on Fulton Street) to see the Wednesday matinee of Peter Pan with my dad. It was my first Broadway show, and I will never forget how I felt when Peter Pan (played by Cathy Rigby, of course) flew right over my head. When I saw Mary Poppins last year, and Mary and her umbrella floated over the audience, all I could think was, "Somewhere in this audience is a little girl who will love theatre for the rest of her life because of this moment..."

Over the years, I have had enough internships and jobs "in the industry" to get used to things, and know how you are supposed to act and not act. I mean, last year, I served coleslaw at a party to some very big names in the theatre community and I did so without letting out a single squeal. (Actually, I didn't really SERVE them coleslaw...it was more along the lines of me walking around with a big tray of coleslaw, and the performers looking at me and crinkling their noses and saying, "Coleslaw? Why are you serving COLESLAW?" (A recap of another tale that illustrates my pure admiration of theatre people...http://dianagolightly.blogspot.com/2007_06_08_archive.html)

Yes, I do indeed love theatre people. They ARE spectacular.

Just four years ago, watching Bernadette Peters eat a bagel from across the room was the most thrilling site I could imagine. Today, I would give her a casual glance, think to myself, "WOW, how does she get those curls so perfect?" and go on my way...but I am still in awe of her, as she is Bernadette Peters, one of the most beautiful and talented ladies in the WORLD.

I can't sing...I can't dance...I will never be up there...making my admiration for these people all the more strong.

Yes, I do indeed love theatre people. They ARE spectacular.

On Tuesday night, I was invited to my very first Broadway show opening night party. The show...Xanadu (a show I want to see every night of my life...what a wonderful time!) I have a friend in the cast, and I know he included me because he thought it would make my week. (It did!)

However, I was extremely disappointed that they all didn't read the reviews out loud and get all nervous and cheer for the good stuff.

(I guess they only do that at opening night parties in the movies.)

Yes, I do indeed love theatre people. They ARE spectacular.

A couple of weeks ago, I sat onstage for Xanadu (they have onstage seating! You get to sit onstage and everybody's rolling skating around you! It is quite possibly the most wonderous thing in the world). As the houselights went down, my friend ran onto the stage and grabbed my ear as he did so. I got oddly starstruck over this person I have known for several years, thinking to myself, "You just grabbed my ear and seconds later, you are performing on a Broadway stage!"

And, sadly, that happy feeling was followed by a sad feeling...because I will never be able to make a friend's day by grabbing their ear as I rush off onto a Broadway stage! (That is perhaps the oddest thing I have ever said in my entire life...and that is saying quite a bit!)

The New York City theatre community is a very special one, and while I will never be a direct part of it...for now, I am quite proud just to spend money I really don't have in order to watch them make the world a better place by singing and dancing on those stages.

Diana Rissetto
It's really weird how certain songs automatically provoke certain memories.

I absolutely adore Carly Simon, but don't listen to her CDs as much as I used to, because her songs remind me of the year my dad died. (I went through a complete Carly Simon period in high school...belting out "Jesse" and "You're So Vain" when I was along in my room...daydreaming of becoming best friends with Carly's daughter, and then eventually Carly would use her pull at Simon and Schuster to get me published...ah, yes...") She and my dad were also both battling cancer at the same time...I think that also made me feel a kinship towards her. Towards the end of my dad's life, he was in a great deal of pain, and would scream sometimes. I'd hide in my room, playing Carly Simon's albums, and wishing I could just transport myself into another life and make everything just go away. Carly would eventually release an album called "The Bedroom Tapes", all songs she wrote while she was recovering from cancer. Maybe I should revisit that album soon...

There's also that song, "Ooh, Child" (is that the name of it? Does that song even HAVE a name?) Sometimes I don't really realize how much of an impact my dad's death has had on my life or how hard it was to go through until I really think about it. I remember a day a few months after he passed away...I was very drained, and sad, and came home and stretched out on my bed and started to cry. The radio was on, and started to play that song. "Ooh, child...things are gonna get easier...ooh, child...things'll get brighter..." Years later, when I was going through my nightmare jobhunt (which I might have previously mentioned once or twice) a friend from the bookstore told me a story to cheer me up...how he worked at WaaWaa (are there too many a's in that?) for years, and became extremely frustrated, and as he drove home, "Ooh Child" came on the radio...

My mom bought me a Des'ree album, and told me to listen to "You Gotta Be" over and over. (Crazy enough, this was also around the time of my dad's death.) When I lost my job in March, and drove home from my train station hysterical crying, I turned on the radio and heard "Listen as your day unfolds...challenge what the future holds..." It's almost as though 106.7 KNEW.

Just tonight, I put on the radio (I had the AM station on from this morning, when I was listening to "Sinatra at Six") and that "Hey Sylvia...yes Mickey...how do you call your lover boy...come here, lover boy"...came on, and I remembered my senior year of high school, and how Dirty Dancing was on television about three or four times a DAY. I especially remember baking muffins on a snowday and watching the movie in my mom's kitchen. WHY was I baking muffins? I apparently went through a muffin period that year. My good friend gave me a muffin cookbook for Christmas, and I found great joy in watching those things rise. My friend and I started planning how we would sing that little song Baby's sister sings in the movie for our school's luau that year. As I said before, I have never claimed to have been a cool child.

Diana Rissetto

Tuesday, July 10, 2007




And I wish Mr. Cheyenne Jackson and the very talented cast and crew of Xanadu a blessed opening today.

Diana Rissetto

Friday, July 6, 2007

If you have spoken to me...

...at all over the past three years, or even just read this journal, odds are you know that jobhunting has taken up a great deal of my energy since I graduated college. For the past three years, I have let my jobsearch issues, more or less, take over my life and dictate my moods and how I felt about myself. Because of this jobhunt (or, two jobhunts, as it turned out), I have had many crying spells, sleepless nights and days when I don't even want to get out of bed. An interview which felt successful left me bubbly and hyper...a phone call or email rejecting me made me slam my door and flng myself onto my bed and sob.

(That sounds very pathetic, doesn't it?)

My first jobhunt lasted two years. I began it bubbly and excited, with my first interview being with Scholastic...if I wasn't tailor-made to work for Scholastic, who was? I had spent three years working in the children's department of Barnes and Noble. Children books were my "thing". My plan was to write them, and then eventually get a television show based on them. (We would teach grammar and manners. And have people dressed in animal suits. And I wanted my friend, Broadway actor Cheyenne Jackson, to play the magical mailman who sings and dances.)

But I didn't get that job.

Nor did I the next...or the next...or the next...fifty or sixty. Finally, in March 2006, I was offered a position with one of the biggest names in the Broadway industry and I understood why my hunt had been so frustrating. I was truly grateful for this little job in this big industry. I gave it my all. I took every demeaning order with a smile on my face...and then I got laid-off almost a year after I began the position.

(One of the duties of my job included buying birthday cakes and cards for my officemates. I found JUST the right card and cake for everybody. Then they fired me just a week before my own birthday, so I never got my own cake or card. I think that sucks, and I will most likely be bitter over that for the rest of my life.)

I went head-first into Jobhunt Round 2, and I have already been on about 20 job interviews since the beginning of April.

Nobody's hiring me.

I don't get it.

There was one job I wanted very much, and on Tuesday, the office left me a message to call them back. In my experience, they never leave you a message to call them back so they can say, "Hey loser! You didn't get the job! See 'ya!"

I was convinced the job was in the bag. I took a deep breath and called them back.

However, it was just a very nice rejection. After I hung up, I ran into a guy I knew and could barely get out "Hello" before I burst into tears. The rejection and disappointment have all just become so familiar and frustrating.

I don't think it's possible for me to count how many times, over the past three years, I have said, "What's WRONG with me? Why won't anybody hire me?"

The other night, I sat on the beach to clear my mind and I started thinking, "What IS a job, anyway?" It doesn't matter what you do. It matters that you're a good person, and pursue your dreams. When I worked at the bookstore, I used to get embarassed when people I knew from high school and college would come by...I hated admitting I was still working my afterschool retail job when they had moved on to bigger and better things. Looking back, that was a stupid way to think. I had nothing to be ashamed of. Whatever job I have ever had, I have always done my best, and that is what matters. I also realize that if I really do want to call myself a writer, now is the time to o after that. Nobody can write for me!

Last week, I walked past the Scholastic headquarters building...I looked up at it, and the Harry Potter and Clifford decorations and remembered how excited I was when I went to my very first job interview there. I had been so happy, and was so certain that I was going to get that job. I wonder what would have happened if I HAD gotten that job and hadn't had to go on 34,565 interviews over the next two years. Did those two years make me a stronger person? Or am I just further behind because I did not get on a career track sooner? I guess that's something I can't really answer, because, well "who knows"?

I have always, unfortunetely, been somebody who plays "what-if" a lot. One thing I often associate "what-if" with is my father's death. If my father hadn't died...how differently would things have turned out for me? My grades probably wouldn't have dropped my junior year, and I probably would have been able to have gotten into a really great college. I could have made connections. Maybe I would have met famous writers or editors. Heck, I could have had a book on the bestseller's list right now, instead of writing on blogspot. I probably wouldn't have some of the emotionally screwy issues I have that one often aquires when losing a parent when they are a child (all that detachment stuff...) But...once again..."who knows"?

A job is a job is a job is a job.

It's 8 hours out of a 24 day.

When I was laid-off in March, I sunk into a pretty bad depression which I am still not pretty sure if I am 100% out of yet. But I am trying...because I know what really matters...

Diana Rissetto

Monday, July 2, 2007

Delta Burke's Bathrobe

Seriously, who doesn't love Delta Burke? If you weren't moved by tears by the episode of Designing Women when Suzanne was dieting because she wanted to be thin for her high school reunion, went to the high school reunion, was ridiculed for gaining weight, and then met a little starving Ethiopian boy who told her she was beautiful and she realized she was worried because she had TOO much to eat...then you just have no heart at all.

And, she gained my eternal respect several years ago when she was in Thoroughly Modern Millie. She went on Regis and Kelly and said in front of the whole world that Sutton Foster was an amazingly talented woman and that she is somebody everybody that should be a huge star and should know the name of, and not Joe Millionaire and the likes. Right on, Delta Burke. RIGHT ON. We all know my feelings towards Sutton Foster, and Delta Burke immediately became a kindred spirit when I heard her say that.

Four years ago, at the Broadway Flea Market (my favorite day OF the year) Delta Burke was in the celebrity booth. Wouldn't it be funny, I thought, if I got a photo with Delta Burke and put it on my fridge?

(Well, to me, anyway.)

Because then people would come over my house and see my fridge and go, "Is that a picture of Delta Burke and yourself?"

"Yes, it is," I'd say.

So, I got on line and gave a donation to BCEFA and took my picture with Delta Burke.

Delta chewed my ear off.

She stared at my Celtic cross and told me it was beautiful and asked me if I was Irish. She wanted to know if I was an actress, and I told her I was a writer (well, I am). She wanted to know what KIND of writing. She told me I was just lovely. She told me she always dreamed of having a girl just like me play her daughter in a Lifetime movie. (Maybe that's not what she said. Maybe I misunderstood that part.)

The photographer yelled at her to stop talking to me so much.

We were holding up the line.

She put her arm around me and tilted her face against mine and we smiled. It is a lovely photo.

At last year's flea market, I spent lots and lots of money on things I never knew I wanted.

I got an All Shook Up martini shaker. (Shook...shaken...get it?)

An original Fantasticks playbill (from 1960! With Jerry Orbach's name in it! I almost began weeping in the middle of Shubert Alley.)

Masquerade fans from Phantom. (I have an ever-growing collection of odd Phantom memorbilia...including beads from the ORIGINAL CHANDALIER and signed toe slippers.)

A beach towel with this past year's logos on it.

Stuff I needed.

Stuff I really really needed.

And then I saw it.

A Steel Magnolias bathrobe.

Hmmm.

It was only $10. Long, white, soft. How often do you FIND a bathrobe that is only $10?

And then I heard those magic words:

"Delta Burke wore that bathrobe backstage."

SOLD TO THE PSYCHO WITH THE CURLY BROWN HAIR!

A Broadway star wore this as she sat in her dressing room and had her makeup done. HOW AWESOME IS THAT!

And what makes it even MORE awesome is the fact that that Broadway star was the one and only DELTA BURKE!

The only way it could have been better was if it had been worn by Valerie Bertinelli in a Lifetime movie.

I didn't know what I was going to do with this robe.

I thought of washing it in bleach so it was nice and clean and wear it after showers. (But that would involve washing off Delta's blush stains. Delta's essence would be gone.)

I considered blowing up the picture of Delta and myself and framing it and hanging the robe over it.

Or I could just wrap the robe around my clothed self a couple of times and watch Designing Women reruns every night.

Whatever happened to that robe, it just goes to show you how magical the Broadway Flea market is.

One moment, I didn't have Delta Burke's bathrobe. And now, I can't imagine life without it .

I wear my Delta Burke robe often.

Maybe her shoes will be on sale at the next flea market!

Diana Rissetto