Tag Archives: NYC

Snowglobe: Winter Wonderland?

I can’t remember the last time I shoveled this much snow. Nor can I remember our last white Christmas. It even snowed last night in Dallas, giving my sister’s boys their own white Christmas.

When we first moved to D.C. from Texas, I loved the snow.

Everything felt so fresh and clean — a heavenly do-over every time the skies dusted us with snowy white. Like a snowglobe! My girls loved spending time sledding and building snow creatures. I even made snow ice-cream by mixing snow with vanilla flavoring.

Such a magical time for us…in the beginning.

Tree @ Rockefeller Center

Tree @ Rockefeller Center

I’m not so crazy about the snow these days. Seems a WHOLE lot of work. This year’s snowstorm found us in NYC for my daughter’s birthday. It followed us there after blanketing Northern Virginia. The weather kept people away from the City, I think. We’d never had so much room at the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center.

The snow hit town on the evening of our Broadway excursion to see White Christmas. Fitting, don’t you think? We came out of the play to white-out conditions. We sang the song, “Snow,” all the way back to the hotel:

White Christmas on Broadway

White Christmas on Broadway

“Snow. It won’t be long before we’ll all be there with snow.

Snow. I want to wash my hands, my face and hair with snow.

Snow. I long to clear a path and lift a spade of snow.

Snow. Oh, to see a great big man entirely made of snow….”

Fortunately, our hotel was only a few blocks from the theater. We arrived at the front desk coated with wet snow.

NYC seemed absolutely magical covered in snow. Talk about snow-globe-like! Really. Lovely, that is…until the snow turned to brown slush. But, we’ll stick with the image of clean, white city streets. Here are a few of our pics from the trip.

NYC: Snow Ornaments

NYC: Snow Ornaments

NYC: Snow-covered trees

NYC: Snow-covered trees

NYC: Tree Lights

NYC: Tree Lights

NYC snowman

NYC snowman

NYC: 5th Ave Store Window

NYC: 5th Ave Store Window

NYC: Times Square

NYC: Times Square

Not so much fun coming home to several feet of snow and snowdrift. Picture us with shopping bags and luggage stepping into knee-high snow drifts to get into the house. My daughter made her way to the front door first, and stepped on a FED-ex package under the snow at the door. Surprise.

Lots of shoveling awaited us.

My car

My car

Sloveled Sidewalk

Sloveled Sidewalk

After a few really snowy winters here in the D.C. area, I’m really, really TiRED of shoveling. I’m still scarred by one snowstorm years back, when the snow was so high that, when it melted, icy water spewed into my basement through tiny fissure. Underneath the top layer of knee-high ice and snow outside, I discovered a fast-flowing river of slushy ice water that topped my snowboots. I worked for 8 hours with a pick-ax and shovel (and slush-filled boots) to dig an ice-water gulley that led AWAY from my foundation from the back of my house to the hill out front.

Think water under surface of icy moons.

After almost 20 years in this area, I’ve decided realized that snow is fun for kids and those who get to sit inside and look at it. For those of us forced to move the wet, icy white stuff — not so much fun.

But, what if I lived in a real snowglobe?

The scenery is always pretty. The snow never melts. It just flutters around with a shake of the hand. And, it’s the ultimate no-shovel zone. That’s my kind of winter wonderland. Maybe I’ll ask Santa next year….

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Filed under Earth, NASA

INaction Heroes for Girls?

In the mid-1990s, I accompanied a small team from NASA to the New York City Toy Fair to explore ways to shape NASA’s brand through product licensing. The delegation included NASA’s current Deputy, Lori Garver, who was the head of NASA’s Policy and Plans at that time. (The old Code Z, Land of Misfit Toys…for those of you around NASA at that time.)

On the trip, Lori posed this question:

“Why doesn’t NASA have more female executives?”

We’ll get back to that question later.

We met with brand management and licencing experts, and toured the toy fair. My first time at this event, I was surprised to discover the toys were separated by gender: toys for girls on one side, toys for boys on the other.

Toys for Girls: Wall-to-wall dolls. Barbie dolls. Big dolls. Little dolls. Doll accessories. Our host was quick to point out the new features for dolls, such as hair combs that instantly change doll hair color, jogging outfits to keep Barbie looking good and fit, and a newer version Ken doll for Barbie to date.

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink Barbies

The girl section was the very vision of Pretty in Pink. “Every girl’s dream,” so the toymakers wanted us to believe.

Yet, the very pretty pinkness of it all screamed out to me:

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!

As the mother of two daughters, I was horrified by the subliminal message:

  • You are for display only.
  • You must look pretty and change clothes often.
  • You must speak only what your master says.

Pretty. Pink. Passive…

INaction Heroes for Girls!

In the interest of full disclosure, I never really got the whole Barbie thing, though my sister and one daughter did. I hated having to come up with things for Barbie to say. And changing her clothes? What a total pain. I preferred playing outside. (And still do.)

Now, let’s move on to the boy section of the Toy Fair.

Toys for Boys: A virtual wonderland of cool racing cars, rocket ships, science gadgets and more. Lots of noise and frenetic energy.

I felt totally at home. I wanted to play with everything!

The very fact that a wall separated the girls from playing with all the COOL toys — literally walling them off from exploration and adventure — made me angry.

Do you wonder why we don’t have more female executives at NASA?

Are you thinking, why this blogpost? Why now?


Pottery Barn Toy Vacuum

I just received a Pottery Barn Kids catalog in the mail. I opened it up to find cooking utensils, kitchen appliances, irons and ironing boards for purchase for girls. EVEN today! Gifts for boys: yep, action required.

WHY oh WHY would ANY kid select a toy vacuum cleaner over a spaceship, if given a choice?

Color them pink, if you want, but PLEASE offer adventure toys to girls.

So, I wonder: how many female astronauts played with dolls? How many didn’t? I don’t have the answer. Just curious….

Think before you buy this gift-giving season. Give girls a chance!


Filed under culture, leadership, NASA, space