Thursday, November 20, 2008

All over the place lately!

One of my favorite guys, Cheyenne Jackson, that is.

Here is Cheyenne singing a sweet and inspirational song on The Today Show this morning.

People always tell me that I am too nice...

People always tell me that I am too nice...however, I really don't think that I am.

There are many times a week when I think I've said something out-of-line or rude, and I'll apologize for being so, and the other person will look at me, completely confused, and ask what exactly I said that was so nasty. People tell me that I couldn't be a bitch if I tried. (I really don't think that's true. I know I have an evil streak...we all do!)

Me: I am so sorry I snapped at you before!
Other Person: When did you snap at me before?

I often take in strays...people who start confiding in me all their problems, and I have never once thought to say, "Please leave me alone. I hardly know you." Because I would feel bad doing that...because maybe I really AM too nice...and then I'll start obsessing, "What is the point of being too nice if you're not using your niceness to truly better the world?"

There are these people that collect for the homeless on just about every street corner in midtown Manhattan. Lately, I've been walking around them because I don't like them calling me out. ("You! In the red coat! People are going to bed starving! Donate what you can!") Maybe I should throw some coins in every time I walk by...but I don't!

If I really was too nice, I probably would be doing that.

Every time I walked by a table.

(Can I be honest? I usually DO give to the Salvation Army whenever I pass them. Is that wrong? Is it because I usually get overcome by the holiday spirit...and they're always ringing bells...)

Now, one thing I will never grow immune matter how many years I spend in New York seeing homeless people living on the sidewalk. I have this memory of Christmastime when I was a kid, and I was bouncing along and in a lovely mood, and then I saw a woman in the street, hugging herself and shivering. That image stuck with me forever.

And, yet, what am I doing for these people? I never give money to homeless people. I'm a 5'0 female walking by myself...perhaps I honestly don't feel safe whipping out my wallet and handing-out money. Or maybe it's something else. Maybe, deep down, I just feel like the problem is so great that me giving a dollar to a person a day won't make much of a difference.

I became a donor for Saint Jude's Hospital a few years ago. (Mainly because I got to the point where I couldn't turn away from those infomercials. They are truly heartbreaking.) I give what I can every month...and every month, I get a thank-you note from Marlo Thomas, along with a photo of another little Saint Jude's Hospital patient, and an envelope to send more money in. It makes me really upset! NOTHING makes me sadder than seeing or hearing about a sick child. But, seriously, Marlo Thomas! I'm giving you all I can afford!

I work with the youth group at my church. I used to think that I only liked little kids. I taught Sunday School for 1st and 2nd graders throughout high school, and I love that age. However, I've been with the youth group for a while, and these 5th-8th graders have really grown on me. Yes, I'm volunteering...yes, I'm doing something good...but then again...these are nice, well-adjusted children from good families who voluntarily hang out at church every week. If I really wanted to make a difference, wouldn't I be working with children who didn't have families who really needed some kind of a guiding light? Am I making any kind of an impact in these kids' lives?

Do they really even NEED me?

Am I doing ANY good?

However, we do service projects with these kids, and with every successful book drive or bake sale, I have come to realize maybe it's every bit as important to install in these kids that they really CAN make some kind of a difference and that they WON'T be twelve years old forever. Maybe that is my purpose right now, and my contribution for the time being.

Diana Rissetto

Wild about Harry...

I have been a great fan of Harry Connick, Jr. for years...partly because he's a spectacular entertainer, but also because I learned, firsthand, that he is also a spectacular person, as learned by this experience, copied from my blog from a year ago:

I believe in karma/What you give is what you get in return-Savage Garden

I have always wanted to be some kind of a celebirty...just so I could have some kind of I could be nice to them and make their day...just by being NICE. I like to consider myself a nice person...but I don't think it means too much to people.

When I was a kid, I was a huge fan of Harry Connick, Jr. (Well, I still am a huge fan of Harry Connick, Jr...but am now able to listen to him and talk about him without shrieking like a banshee.) He is probably the first entertainer I ever became a fan of on my own (as opposed to Frank Sinatra, who I grew up thinking was a member of my family.)

Let's go back to 1996...

I was an awkward, goofy 14-year-old kid and my favorite star in the entire world…the first entertainer I was ever a fan of…the first person I hung on my bedroom wall and up in my locker at school…the first albums I ever bought with my own money…called me on the telephone and I am yet to forget just how much that meant to me.

Why did he call me on the telephone?

I have always been crazy with the yarn. I love making things for people. The majority of people that I know and love have some kind of crocheted article of clothing or Christmas ornament from me.

Harry Connick, Jr. is no exception.

When I went to meet Harry at the Star Turtle CD signing, I gave him a pillow I made for his newborn baby, Georgia. (It was pink and white and had her name on it!) I included a card.

Three weeks later, I came home from the movies (I was actually seeing Independence Day, because Harry was in it, of course, even though he died in the first fifteen minutes) to my sister telling me that, "You are going to freak. No, really, you are going to FREAK. Harry Connick, Jr. called you to thank you for the pillow. He said he'd call back..."

And call back Harry Connick, Jr. DID.

I picked up.

Diana: Hello?
Harry: Hello, is Diana there?
Diana: Yes. This is Diana.
Harry: Hi, Diana, this is Harry Connick, Jr. How are you?
Diana: I am good. How are you?


Honestly, just the nicest, lovliest man.

We talked for a few minutes. He told me that Georgia LOVED her pillow and that she snuggles with it, and he was sure that when she learned to talk, she'd tell them how much she loved it.

A few days later, I got a thank-you note “from” Georgia, which I can only assume was written by Harry's wife, Jill. (I can’t imagine anybody but a mommy writing a note from a baby and signing it “love and kisses”). I became a fan of Jill’s right then as well. Whenever I see pictures of the Connick family, which now includes three little girls, I smile. What a beautiful family.

Now, I don’t know if Harry could ever understand how much that meant to me. To Harry, he was just doing something simple and polite…calling somebody to thank them for giving you a baby gift…something you would do for anybody. However, it was so much more than that to me! After that experience, I wanted to be some kind of a performer just so I could make some random kid as happy as he made me with a two-minute phone call.

I remain a devoted fan of Harry Connick, Jr. I listen to his Christmas album on repeat during the holidays, and I saw him in concert back in April. (Georgia and her little sister Kate got up and danced with him on stage that night!) He is the best live act I have ever seen...just BRIMMING with charisma and personality and it is so clear that he just loves what he does so, so much. He really just lights-up like a little kid when he's up onstage, and it is a pure delight to witness.

He will have a fan in me, as a performer and as a person, for life.

(Remember that episode of Growing Pains when Ben discovers that his music idol is a real jerk and cheats on his wife? And he realizes that it is possible to be a fan of somebody's work, even if they're not a great person? Well, I am happy to have found a wonderful entertainer AND human being in Harry Connick, Jr. He absolutely deserves everything that comes his way, professionally or personally.)

What a guy!

(As I was writing this, I popped in the Pajama Game cast recording.)

Two weeks ago, I discovered that you don't need to be a celebrity to be nice to people and have it really mean something.

I had a trauma, and I was hysterical crying in an elevator.

And we are talking HYSTERICAL.

And then an extremely kind woman who I barely said two words to in my life noticed me (it was hard not was a small elevator...and did I mention I was hysterical crying?). She took me into her office, she calmed me down, and then she walked me about fifteen blocks and helped me get to my train. She even called my mother to tell her what happened.

Like my Harry Connick, Jr. experience, I will never forget this woman's kindness. She doesn't have two Grammys and a Tony nomination, but she does have a great deal of class and kindness to share. I will forever be grateful to her for being so kind to me in my hour of need.

So...while it would be nice to be a star...and have fans...I have discovered that it isn't really necessary...being nice to people really DOES pay off sometimes, and can really make a difference, no matter what the celebrity status of either one.

From now on, I'll just be on the look-out for crying people in elevators.

Diana Rissetto


Love Harry.

Love love love Harry.

And if there's anything I love more than a new Harry Connick, Jr. album, it's a new Harry Connick, Jr. CHRISTMAS album!

His third one was just released, and I picked-it up yesterday, and have listened to his "Winter Wonderland" about twenty times.

He sings with his daughter, Kate, who, shocker, was always destined to be one talented and beautiful girl, thanks to her talented and beautiful parents.

Harry starts to sing the song, and then tells Kate to sing. She goes, "Sorry, Dad, but your version put me to sleep...HIT IT FELLAS!" and then this big band starts and little Kate starts belting like a 9-year-old Judy Garland and it's the cutest thing EVER.

Definitely worth adding to your holiday music collection!

Diana Rissetto