Wednesday, September 30, 2009

5th Blog-o-versary

Today marks the 5 year anniversary of my very first blog. I know I have said this many times, but I cannot believe that I have stuck with this for 5 years. I haven't stuck with anything for 5 years. I am pretty certain this little imaginary space has kept my car from driving off the proverbial cliff more than once in the past few years. It has also helped to get out some creative energy when I have felt trapped in my self inflicted cave.

I have fallen slightly off the groove as I normaly do this time of year, so once again I am going to have an anniversary celebration and challenge myself to a month of blogging. That's right.... the whole month of October - a blog a least that's the plan.....

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where were you? (Re-Post)

I wrote this back in 2006. I re-post because this is one of those days that should never lose value in our history:

9-11 is to my generation what Kennedy's assasination was to my parent's generation. It's the "Where were you?" moment you are always interested in hearing from others. Here is mine:

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

I was living in New York. My husband and I had an apartment in Queens with a beautiful view of Manhattan. The morning of 09-11-2001 began as it usually did, My husband got up way before me and left for work and I got ready and headed to the street for my morning commute. I was standing at the bus stop, reading my book. Had I looked up, I would have seen the 1st plane hit the tower. I continued my commute from bus to subway. As I walked into my building at 35th and 7th, the security guard hollered after me as I entered the elevator:
"Did you hear?"
"A plane clipped the World Trade center"
"Holy Shit!"
"Yeah, wierd, huh?"
...and the elevator doors closed....
As I rode up to the 14th floor, I remember thinking a prop plane must have clipped the antenna on the top of the tower. Sucks to be that guy... he is going to be in a lot of shit for that one....
The doors opened again and I see our receptionist scrambling to answer phones, in between each ring and "Please hold" she yells at me... "You better call your family!"
Oh my God, something happened... one of my grandparents died... someone was in a car accident... my mind raced as I flew to my department which was still dark. No one had made it in yet and the message light on my phone was blinking red and the phones were ringing at every extension. I pick up my phone.
"This is Rebecca..."
"Are you okay... is Mike okay?!?!" my mother asked in a panicked voice.
"Yes, I am fine, what's going on? Are you guys okay?"
"Becky...didn't you hear?!?! Two planes hit the World Trade Center!"
At this point people have heard my voice in the office and are coming in screaming, "... there are more planes... they think one might hit the Empire State building!" (Which was 2 blocks away)
"Mom, I gotta go... I'm okay...I gotta get a hold of Mike... I will call you back."
I try calling Mike's cell but get a rapid busy signal which means there are no lines available.
"Isn't there a TV in here??"
"Uhm, yeah... over here..but it has shitty reception, we gotta move it to the window"
"They have shut down Manhattan... nothing in or out"
"I got it...I got it...."
Our entire office crowds around a small black and white screen for more information,
for what seems like forever, listening to commentary saying nothing but to stay put.
We all try to call out but nobody can get a line....
Damnit Damnit Damnit.... I gotta get a hold of Mike....
"Oh my God... they are jumping!"
Then suddenly... rumble, rumble, rumble.... the Tower 2 collapses.... inaudible gasps followed by shrieks and sobs....
My mind kept racing....
"There were people in those stairs... THERE WERE PEOPLE IN THOSE STAIRS TRYING TO GET OUT!!!"
Panic... pure panic as the streets fill with smoke and debris.... and it hits me... OH MY GOD... MIKE PICKS UP HIS TRUCK FROM DOWN THERE!!! He is trapped... he is trapped under all that debris.
I continuously speed dial and redial between my husbands cell and his work, praying for an available line.... I get through to his dispatch. They tell me they haven't gotten a hold of anyone because all the lines are busy, but he can assure me that Mike already got his truck and was uptown before the tower collapsed.
"Do you swear to me?!?!"
"Yes, ma'm... I assure you he is fine"
Rumble, rumble, rumble... tower one ... gone.... tumbling like blocks and sand.
I gotta get a hold of my family... dial/redial... mom cell...Karen cell....Karen cell....
"Hey it's me"
"Are you okay... are you okay?"
"I'm okay..."
We exchange "I was so scared" and "I was so worried" about a thousand times. Someone in my office realizes that I have gotten a line out.
"Can you have your sister call my parents and let them know I am okay?"
So my sister then uses her home phone to call my co-workers' familes and let them know we are okay.
"What are you going to do?"
"I don't know... there is no way in or out of Manhattan. The subways/tunnels/bridges are closed. I guess we stay here until we are told we can leave."
"You can't get on the subway...what if they bomb it"
"I don't know... I don't know...."

Around 4 o'clock we hear they are letting people get out of Manhattan. I gather my things and head down the elevator. I took the eerie walk to the subway. There were no cars... not one. The streets were empty except for people, dust and debris. I got on the subway and exchanged "can you believe it" looks with total strangers on the train. As the 7 train came up from the river to its elevated above ground tracks in Queens, an entire train car of people crowd the windows facing West to view the empty hole with rising dust and smoke where the Twin Towers used to stand. The only words spoken were, "Oh my God...."

That night the only sound you could hear were the jet planes racing over head continuously. I remember asking Mike if it would be okay if we slept with the TV on that night. I needed to hear the TV in case an emergency broadcast signal came on for real.

The next day I became dizzy reading the scroll on the bottom of my TV. I was glued to every image played and re-played, every new theory, every new expert. I called our best friends, Todd and Allison.
"I can't watch anymore"
"Neither can I....let's go get a drink..."
We met them for dinner to escape the constant news on the TV, and walked into a resturaunt with TV's in every corner. As much as we wanted to escape it, it was comforting to have them on in case anything new came on.
Todd saw both planes hit.. he was a stock broker with a perfect view of the World Trade center from his window. When the second plane hit, he flew down his building and caught the last train out of Manhattan before the city was closed. He watched the towers fall from the platform of the Queensboro Bridge stop.

There was a great urgency to do something... to just head downtown and start pulling debris and helping with the search. It was very clear from the TV that unless you were a professional, you would be turned away. Late that night in the bar, the front doors opened up as two very dusty and very worn firefighters walk into the bar. There was a mad rush in the resturaunt to thank those two beaten men and fights to pay for anything they wanted. They humbly bowed their heads, shook off any praise and retreated to a corner for some space to clear their heads.

Thursday morning, we were told not to let the terrorist win... head back to work with our heads held high. I walk into my office, put my things down, and head to the bathroom.
The alarms go off.... I come out of the bathroom and look around at all my colleagues standing in the hallways looking at one another for someone to decide what to do. At this point the emergency exit opens from the outside as a security guard calmly but sternly asks us to leave the building.
"There has been a bomb threat at Penn Station" (which is across the street)
Panic...PANIC.... we head to the emergency exit stairs to crowd into the hundreds of people flowing down from floors above us.
Floor 14
Floor 13
Floor 12
(Oh my God this was what it was like for all those people)
Floor 11
(I realize a friend is having a panic attack and stumbling down the stairs in her heels)
"Take your shoes off"
"I can't"
"Hold on to me... we are going to get down the stairs... HOLD ON TO ME"
Floor 10
Floor 9
(We are not moving fast enough... dear God....dear God... please please)
Floor 8
Floor 7
Floor 6
(Will we know it when the bomb goes off? Will we feel it?)
Floor 5
Floor 4
Floor 3
Floor 2
Floor 1....
"Ladies... please head North towards Times Square... everyone...PLEASE HEAD NORTH!"

We follow their instructions and head North. As we are quickly moving in mass uptown, we are hit with a crowd of people heading downtown. After pushing and struggling to get further uptown, I stop and ask someone where they are coming from.
"There is a bomb threat at Times Square!"
"There was a bomb threat at Penn Station!"
I turn to a cabbie sitting in his car parked on the side and ask him what is going on and he informs us there are bomb threats everywhere... Penn Station, Times Square, Grand Central, you name it.

I find a large group of my co-workers and explain what I have been just told. My boss turns to us and says, "Ladies... that's it... go home and don't return until all this settles down... nothing is that important and I won't jeopardize your lives until we know more." We all hugged and smiled and got teary eyed because we were all scared to death to get on the trains and head home. We couldn't get back into our office for safety and we surely weren't safe on the streets. I prayed every step down the stairs to the subway and every breath until I was safely off the train in Queens.

The events of those days will never leave me, but they cannot compare to the pain and anguish suffered by those directly affected by this tradgedy. I hate the fact that those events caused a predjudice in me causing me to stare at every Middle Eastern man who got on the subway with a long coat or back pack. I asked for forgiveness the moment the thought would cross my mind, but could never fully let my stare go....

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lean on Me....

So was that the President's address on healthcare reform last night or the national multi-network airing of "Lean On Me"? Did anyone else get the feeling like Congress High School was getting their ass whooped by the principal last night? All I could think of was Principal Joe Clark and his bat - "People - things are broken and they will be be fixed - come hell or high water, they will be fixed!" The Republicans sitting there with their looks and glares like the slacker kids that have no ground to stand on (remember - the ones being thrown out in the beginning if the movie?) Hollarin' out, acting all cool, when the truth is... everybody knows better.
Once again, as an adult I was appalled, and as a lover of human nature and avid people watcher, I was fascinated!!!!! I was appalled that adults had sunk so low as to act like their teenage children and grandchildren in front of the most powerful person on the world - rolling their eyes, twittering on their cell phones, making faces. It was embarrassing.
Now I am not - let me repeat - I am NOT sitting here on some liberal high horse drinking kool aid and saying right wing politicians should all burn in hell - I think all politicians should burn in hell - I think the whole thing is one big game and the balance of power rests on a terribly thin hair stretched over a gully, being held by pieces of tape. One wrong move and that hair line balancing act comes tumbling to the valley of death, filled with the feeding frenzy of CNN, FOX, & MSNBC field reporters - not to mention religious zealot picketers, maniacal socialists, and every other extremist who "knows" their way in the only way.
I do not like politics. I do not like the game. But I am conscious that things have gone horribly wrong and are spiraling out of control like the tornadic swirl of water from the bath tub goes down the drain. Well folks, there are parts of our society that are quickly going down the drain. And I honestly - HONESTLY BELIEVE - that President Obama wants to stop that. I truly believe that in the core of his being he is recognizing that things are wrong and someone has to stand up and say - STOP! I am not saying all his ideas are right or wrong... I am not saying any one's ideas are right or wrong. I am begging, pleading for reason.
The LEFT / RIGHT.... YES / NO.... MY SIDE / YOUR SIDE crap has got to stop.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I am pissed.....

I am pissed and embarrassed at my country. I cannot believe that I am moved to angry tears over something so insanely ridiculous as the following topic.

Today I received the following letter in Max's folder:

I cannot believe that we have come to a point in our society that we cannot agree to disagree. I cannot believe that we have come to a point in our society that we do not respect the office of the President of the United States of America regardless of our political affiliations. I cannot believe that we have come to a point in our society that we are CONSTANTLY COVERING EVERYONE'S ASSES with ridiculous letters and policies and "Plan B's" to accommodate closed minded bullying horse shit!! That's right... I said horse shit... because that is what this is.....

Tell me - PLEASE - how is this any different than any other President, First Lady, or any political official that has ever gone into a school, read a book to a group of kids and said "STAY IN SCHOOL!! Get a good education! Make a difference!" I'll tell you what's different....THIS president is utilizing modern technology to not just reach a class of 30 kids- but rather to reach 30 million kids!!!

There used to be a time that when the President spoke - everyone and everything stopped. You may have debated or disagreed with everything he said, but he spoke FIRST and we listened. I cannot believe that people would actually use their children as political pawns vowing to take their children out of school if they are "forced" to listen to the President speak - telling them to make the most of themselves. Since when did we decide that the best way to deal with differences is to stuff cotton in our ears, tape our eyes shut, and refuse to listen to all sides of everything before we make an opinion for ourselves.

Sad.... sad.... sad.....

Enough, people...... ENOUGH!!!!!!

For those of you who don't understand what I am ranting about here - this is a good article telling BOTH sides of the opinion - I read the whole thing - ya know - even the parts I disagreed with - because I am an open minded respectful adult.....

Really, people.... REALLY?!?!?!?!

Oh no.... no no no...
Brian Williams, tell me it ain't true.
Last night, I am taking a moment for myself prior to cooking dinner (okay so I heated up hot dogs - it still counts as cooking)... anyhoo... I am flipping through channels and settle on Brian Williams' adorable anchor face on NBC - looking crisp is in his finely pressed button down shirt and khakis - surrounded by soot from the LA fires - when he starts the lead in for the next segment - light bulbs. More specifically the debate on the incandescent vs fluorescent debate.

Well guess what people - Europe is hoarding the incandescent ones - buying hundreds at a time. Wanna know why? Because as of 2012 - they will be o-u-t-l-a-w-e-d!!! That's right - stores will no longer be able to sell those warm soft glowing lights that we have been using since light bulbs and electricity were invented!!! And ya wanna know something else?? In 2012 America will begin the phase out - transitioning all stores, manufacturers, etc to fluorescent only bulbs.

NOOOOOOOOO!!! I am sorry - I know we have bigger fish to fry in this country and I am well aware of the fact that these new bulbs are more efficient and the use of one bulb could save enough energy to power the sun, blah blah blah..... but .... well.....THEY ARE UGLY!!! They create an awful cold wet blanket of light on everything. They make the most lovely and inviting home look like an office with cubicles. If you have a wondrous vibrant full of life color painted on your walls, these bulbs turn it into that grey-filmed horribleness that looks remarkably like your walls need dusting or your house was once used as a prison institution.

I am not okay with this - I am just not okay with this. I understand the value of going green - just not going grey. Make a better product before you demand that it be the only thing I am allowed to use.

I know a lot of you are thinking, "Really, Becks? Aren't you being a little ridiculous about this?" Well - yes and no - this is kind of like the old Jiff vs. Peter Pan debate = for some people peanut butter is peanut butter - but for those who love the PB and all the magical creations you can make with it - the debate can turn into bloody warfare similar to the scenes in "Gangs of New York" (and for the record Jiff is best). I enjoy making my home pretty - I am enjoy making most things in my life pretty. I use a lot of time and energy getting things to be just right. My husband - following the green economically & environmentally efficient band wagon - bought these bulbs, replaced a few in our house and instantly everything looked different - and not for the better. I have a background in theatre and I value the use of up light, down light, color, tone, hue - and what the slightest tweek of one of these features can do to make something pop. The only think popping with these new bulbs is the glass as it is crushed under my feet.

So I will - for the first time in my life - become one of those people. The Elaine's of the world who buy up all the discontinued sponges and hoard them for "special occasions". The crazy people who stock pile things in their basement in the event dooms day really is around the corner.

Please don't take way my pretty warm light - PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!!!