9/11 – Looking Back

US FlagFor me, the miracle of 9/11 is that I only recognized two of those 2,976 names. You see, I lived just across the river in northern NJ and, up until June 2001, had been working in the financial industry for about 15 years.

In late August 2001, a bunch of my former co-workers and I had gotten together for lunch, for what we knew even then would probably be the last time. We had been a close-knit and congenial group, but since being laid off in a merger, we were slowly but surely going our separate ways. A few of us were still gainfully unemployed, others were moving on to new jobs, most in the booming NY Financial district.

We were all happy that Scott made it to the luncheon. Scott used to sit across the aisle from me – he had a wickedly-funny sense of humor and was great at his job, but the love of his life was his family, especially his two children.

Well OK there was another … he loved cars too. Scott was a walking database of car facts and trivia, and could talk car-talk for hours on end. He made some extra income detailing and selling peoples’ old cars. At least 3 of us in our workgroup had sold a car through him and in every case, even after taking his cut, Scott somehow delivered top dollar. We all joked that he could have had a brilliant career in car sales!

But if it came down to the cars vs the kids, it was no contest – those boys were his universe. His desk and walls were covered with pictures and it seemed every morning he had another story to tell about them. You couldn’t help smile, not just about the stories but because he was such an enthusiastic, proud and devoted dad.

That day, Scott had some great news: he had just landed an awesome new job which he would be starting in a couple of weeks. It was a job as a disaster recovery manager – which meant a big step up the career ladder for him, a big increase in pay to support his growing family and an equally big office with a fantastic view. Best of all, they had agreed to let him work 8-4 so he could get home early enough to spend quality time with his sons.

It was the perfect storm.

So that’s why on Tuesday, 9/11/2001, at 8:46 AM, Scott was in the office early – celebrating his birthday and his first full day on the new job in his bright, new office with a beautiful view of the Hudson river, on the 93rd floor of the North tower. I have no doubt that the first things he unpacked and put on his desk that morning were pictures of his boys. I like to think that they were the last thing he saw.

About a week after 9/11, the rest of us got together one last time. We didn’t speak much of Scott – we were all still in denial, certain that he would turn up in a hospital somewhere … or perhaps be found wandering around dazed in some used car lot. I don’t think any of us could have held it together had we known otherwise. Instead, we talked of the miracles. Of the many colleagues who worked in the towers who were not in the office that day. Of the ones who had been there for interviews just a few days earlier. Of the ones who made it out. Of the woman who caught that last NY Waterway ferry –the one where the captain put the pedal to the metal as the towers fell and headed for NJ as fast as that boat would take them. Faster than it was meant to go!

And we talked to Eddie – who weathered 9/11 across the street – hunkered down with his new co-workers in the Federal Reserve building, wondering all the while if they were going to be the next target, and witnessing things no person should ever have to see. Eddie was our touchstone that evening – his presence after the ordeal a spot of hope amidst unbearable sadness. Hope that we would all eventually pick up the pieces.

And despite the scars, life would go on.

Gardening – FAIL!

Epic Gardening FAIL

So much for my “grow a potato from a potato” experiment!

OK – you can stop laughing now.

No really – Stop laughing!

It’s A Girl

Look Familiar? She should – this is Cassie from Outside. She’s now Cassie from Inside.

How the **** did this happen? Good question!

With the eye of hurricane Irene headed straight for us, I was afraid for her safety outside, so I brought her indoors, fully intending to put her back out again when the storm passed. But things didn’t go as planned – one day turned into two, three, four, a week as I agonized over what to do with her.

Keeping her in won out by very a slim margin.

On one hand, I HATED taking her from the outdoor “home” she’s known for 8 years and certainly didn’t NEED another cat (or the extra litter, food, vet bills and cat squabbles that would come with it.) And I totally appreciated her keeping the mouse and mole population down (I had to deal with a lot of icky “presents” over the years – just proof of a job well done.)

On the other hand , with her inside I would no longer have to worry about cars, coyotes, hawks, frostbite, heatstroke, rabid wildlife, cat-hating people, parasites, or freaky-big spiders. Not to mention I wouldn’t have to coax her out from under my car every time I wanted to go somewhere, could paint my porch without risk of little painted kitty tracks all over, and the dogs could go out again without having a CAT rubbing up against them while they were doing their business (I have no clue whatever posessed her to do THAT!)

She loves the dogs, she and Hat used to lick the rain off of each other’s fur when they were outside together. Biki’s probably her real sister … or her half sister. The adjustment won’t be easy, but been there, done that, we’ll manage – somehow. We’re her family, she belongs here.

Four cats? Four litter pans? ARGH!!! I think this officially pushes me over the edge to “Crazy Cat Lady!”


So after days and days of dire warnings, battening down the hatches, and making all kinds of preparations, hurricane Irene turned out to be pretty much a non-event at my house. Lots of twigs and branches down and intermittent power outages (the longest of which was about 12-15 hrs) for a couple of days afterwards because the flooding took out a power substation, but that was about it. Not a DROP of water in my basement. Oh wait, I lied: I accidently forgot to bolt the basement door and it blew open in the wind Saturday night, so a little rain-spray blew in through the open doorway – does that count? But elsewhere, not a drop.

I think I can now safely claim that my house NEVER floods!

The picture shows the river of water running through the dogs’ potty area and down the 17′ “cliff” behind my house. One of the rare times living in a hill is A Good Thing!

But others didn’t fare so well! Just a couple of blocks from me and on lower ground there was
some MAJOR flooding. And the complex that includes Skyline Agility‘s Garnerville training site also suffered severe flooding, including structural and roadway damage. Unlike these poor folks, we don’t think the water reached us on the 2nd floor (nobody’s allowed in to see), but the bridge in front of our entrance was washed away and given the extent of the damage all events/classes at our building are cancelled for the “forseeable future.” Time to put up that temporary fence on my little grass patch!

Hurricane Irene did indirectly affect the life of my little porch cat, Cassie, but that’s a long story and another post in itself.

Crop Circles – Mystery Solved!

You’ve heard of crop circles, right? Those circular shapes that mysteriously spring up in fields throughout the world?

Lately, I was finding a bunch of little mini-crop circles right here in my own yard!

Then one day I caught the circle-maker in the act! Guess what they are?

They’re CAT BEDS! Mystery solved.


Bryce at 13 - 7/10/2011

In 2008, when Bryce was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma,
I was thankful to be able to celebrate his 10th birthday.

In 2009, I was delighted to be able to share his 11th.

In 2010, I was so very happy that he had made it to 12.

… all the while, thirteen was beyond my wildest dreams!

Happy 13th Birthday, to a very VERY special little guy!