Melanoma: My Public Service Announcement.

Recently, I celebrated a milestone birthday which made me make some more grr2017 2
conscious health resolutions.  Completing my second Gate River Run was one of these resolutions.  And, although I did not beat my time from 2016, I did complete the race within mere minutes of my previous time. Ya me!

Other resolutions I have made involve eating healthier (a no brainer for all of us!) and taking better care of my skin.  As a lifelong coastal resident (both left and right, or right and wrong coasts depending on your view!), I have been guilty of deeply bronzing my skin. I was a St. Johns County Lifeguard in the late 1980s before spray tans existed.


Now, I am motivated to take better care of my skin including removing dark spots and wearing sunscreen – something I have never been very good at doing!  I urge the both the young and old to protect their skin and inspect suspicious spots or moles. Melanoma is a serious cancer that can both be prevented and halted. For more information on Melanoma, click the following link:



Gaslighting & other forms of ABUSE

I have had so many people ask me about this blog post.  Once upon a time, I was in an abusive relationship. If you know me and know how accomplished and successful I am, this fact may amaze you.  I have also been married to someone who had co-parenting responsibilities with an ex-spouse and communication was not always easy.
PHYSICAL ABUSE is not the most common form of abuse. Nor are abusers all MALE. Abuse is gender neutral. I am a master at seeing red flags now and hope I can shed some light by sharing this interesting post I found –
Note- Gaslighting and emotional abuse affects men and women!   For men, see:

#InternationalWomensDay Think On This!

Suppose you are in a staff meeting filled with engineers and technicians working on projects. Now, suppose two engineers, vying for a promotional position, clash over a problem project in front of a new leading director.

The problem project managing engineer, upset over having an independent engineer review his work, lashes out at the independent engineer. The independent engineer stands up for his comments regarding the problems with the project. The managing engineer later follows up with emails to the new director. The independent engineer offers to meet and discuss the problems in the project, but he is ignored.

Now, suppose you know that a junior technician had asked the independent engineer to review the managing engineer’s project because the technician’s concerns were not being heard or addressed by the problem project managing engineer. Suppose, instead, the managing engineer accused the independent engineer of overstepping his position. Suppose that the new director did not do a review of the problem project. Later, the problems, not being addressed, do indeed affect the project negatively. The independent engineer’s comments would have resolved problems and saved the project.

In this scenario, do you side with the independent engineer?  The independent engineer was attempting to help a concerned technician communicate problems that would derail the project. The independent engineer is the HERO, right? Did the director show good leadership judgment by letting the managing engineer not address the problems and review the project?

Now imagine that the independent engineer is a female and of a higher level than the problem project managing engineer and equally likely to get the promotional position. Who is the hero now? It should still be the independent engineer whom attempted to solve constructability problems and save a project, shouldn’t it?

16832309_749831081872916_7132290927926339381_nUnfortunately, this is not always the case. And, as a matter of fact, this exact scenario happened to me. A junior, male engineer lashed out at me during a staff meeting with a new director for speaking up regarding problems in his project which his engineering technician presented to him and was ignored. The managing engineer made a scene. But, was I considered a HERO? No, the new director considered me “unprofessional” because I stated my professional opinion that the project had problems. I have to wonder, on #InternationalWomensDay, would I have been the project hero if I was a man? I think so.

Until we resolve these gender disparities and discrimination, we will continue to suffer problems!

Post Script. The problems in the project were not discussed or resolved. The problem project manager did not get promoted. He eventually retired and moved overseas. The problem project engineer and I have resolved our differences and respect each other. I also did not get the position. I resigned to pursue better opportunities.

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Use the DUCK Jar!!!

duck bestOnce upon a time, I had a reputation for having a rather loose mouth.  I worked in a male-dominated, construction-related field where everyone kind of had a loose mouth. Of course this is no excuse. I was known to throw an F bomb just as fast as the next guy. However, let me clarify that I was never one of those angry people who would curse at someone or make a scene in public. My cursing was usually just to vent some frustration or as a joke to get a laugh.

In 2008, my daughter pointed out that cursing really wasn’t funny (or smart) and she challenged me to stop cursing. She said, “We need to suck the violence out of your vocabulary.”  (That’s a great line.  Don’t steal it because I am using it in a screenplay one day. More on that later. )  She highlighted one word, since I really didn’t curse with the exception of one word I used to vent frustration.  You know the word.  It rhymes with ‘duck’ but starts with an anger-releasing Fffffffff and ends with a definitive CK!  Just saying it feels so satisfactory, kind of like how Mark Twain’s character Tom Sawyer curses over Aunt Polly’s rules.

cropped djSo as a New Year’s resolution in January 2009, I challenged myself, under pain of Cameron, to clean up my language. We had what we called a “duck jar.” Starts with D and rhymes with something I can’t say. Every time I slipped and said the ‘duck’ word, a dollar went into the jar. At the end of the year we were going to use the money from my slips to go to dinner, or something.  I joked that we would have enough to go on a ‘ducking’ cruise (OK, we live in Florida and have very inexpensive cruises!)  To make me honest, I was forced to tell those around me the rules. This included my closest associates at work. Trust me. They enjoyed keeping me honest!

It was extremely difficult at first.  I would slip up and notice it (or have it pointed out to me!) immediately.  I was super conscious about it. I realized I had to improve my descriptive vocabulary!  Cameron was right. Cursing was a lazy man’s lack of vocabulary skills! Soon, I could see the word in my mind and stop myself from saying it. It made me speak slower as I grasped other adjectives…or nouns, as the case may be.

By the end of 2009, my language was cleaned up. However, I still suffer some of the reputation of being able to sling words like the guys on my construction projects.  I’m not proud of that. And, people I have known for many years forget that I no longer curse and have not since January 2009. But people I meet now know that I don’t swear. Good thing, too, because I no longer work in construction, where it is “acceptable.”

I have been in the middle of construction jobsite fights where a contractor, red-faced screaming and cursing with spittle flying out of his mouth, harangued me to get at my client. On that jobsite fight occasion, I calmed the situation with jokes (about having CPR certification!). For many of us who curse, we know it’s just a way of venting frustration. However, it is simply not taken that way. In the face of misunderstanding, it’s better not to curse.

In my defense, I never cursed or verbally attacked a person. I am not an aggressive, confrontational person.  I think I cursed as a way to get a rise out of people, particularly as a female working in a male dominated and rugged field. Perhaps when I was young, much like teenagers act out, I realized cursing was the one thing that could get a rise out of my mom (since I was pretty much a perfect child. Ask my mom!  I swear it’s true!)  I was usually joking, but as my daughter Cameron pointed out (So smart! Score Momma!), it was NOT cool.

Cursing gets attention, but not the kind of attention you want. Trust me. Now, when I hear someone curse, I cringe. I agree with my daughter.  It IS violent sounding, even if it’s not directed at a person.  If you follow Dr. Wayne Dyer, perhaps you will recall his expositions regarding the sinking energy effect of violent, foul language.  Something to think about.  Very rarely do I let F bombs fly and when I do I’m extremely conscious of it. I’m also aware that something is frustrating me which leads me mindfulness practices.  I practice mindfulness and meditation now to improve focus and clarity and I recommend it to everybody.

So I challenge you put that duck jar next your coffee machine, tell everyone what your costadelmarchallenge is, and see how you do. I swear (pun intended), the duck jar works!

By the way, my daughter and I celebrated by going on a cruise in February 2010. The memories of Belize, Roatan and Mexico will forever replace the pain of the duck jar.

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Lesley Davidson