Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Eleven Years Ago

I had quite a debate with myself about whether or not to post anything today.  It seems that in the eleven years since the World Trade Center was attacked everything that can be said has been said.  Repeatedly.  It doesn’t seem that I could possibly have anything meaningful to add.  However, posting anything else today seems a little…shallow, selfish, or just ill-mannered.  How do you ignore something like what happened eleven years ago? 

I was curious as to what approach my fellow bloggers would take today: would everyone post their memories of where they were, post some sort of tribute for the first responders, or just keep quiet?  In perusing blogs today it seems that most people are choosing to keep quiet, though I have come across a few folks sharing their memories of where they were on September 11, 2001.

As I’ve sat here reading other people’s memories of that day, with a clear view from my office window of lowered flags, it occurs to me how connected we all are.  We may not agree on politics, religion, or much of anything these days, but we’re all deeply affected by what happened that day.  We all grieve for the people who died that day, and the families left behind.  We all know what we were doing on a day that, under different circumstances, would likely have faded into thousands of other days. 

Instead of asking where you were, or what you were doing when you first heard the news, I’d like to know how your perspective of what happened has changed over the years, or if it has changed at all.

I think my perspective on what happened has changed a lot over the years.  I was 19 years old when I watched the second plane hit.  I grew up in a very small town.  It took a while for me to even grasp the enormity of what had happened; the biggest office buildings I had seen were maybe five stories.  I thought my parents and grandparents were being a little dramatic whenever they talked about things like knowing exactly what they were doing when Kennedy was shot.  I couldn’t imagine an event that didn’t personally involve you making such a lasting impression on your life.  Now I know exactly what they meant all those years. 

I had no idea that eleven years later I would be married to a man who volunteers as a firefighter.  At 19 I thought about how brave the first responders who died were, how their families at least had the comfort of saying that they died heroes.  Now I can’t imagine how their families felt.  I don’t want to; just thinking about it makes my stomach drop and my heart feel like it’s stuck in the back of my throat.  I can’t imagine the agony of waiting; of knowing a loved one was there and not knowing if they were okay. 

I think a lot about the families, and how their grief has been intruded upon.   I can’t imagine what the families have felt like for the past eleven years with the entire nation watching them on every anniversary.  I used to hope for some sort of retaliation for them, something to make it alright, but now I think that nothing can ever make that kind of loss alright.  Now I hope for them to be allowed to grieve and remember in whatever way is best for them.  I hope they’ve somehow been able to put their lives back together. 

I also think about how kind people were that day: you heard stories of people handing out bottled water, giving people rides home, helping other people try to find loved ones.  People cried and grieved for strangers.  We were nice to each other.  People set aside differences and realized that we’re all human beings. 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Greetings From The Dark Side

It’s not better here, and they don’t have cookies!  I posted earlier this summer about my new Kindle, or at least being a co-owner of a new Kindle, and how I was a little hesitant about it.  It turns out that I was right.  I’m just not a Kindle kind of girl.

I’ve read exactly one book on the Kindle, and that’s because I ran out of books from the library over the weekend.  See what poor planning gets you?  It wasn’t a book that was even available at the library (I guess that might be the one positive in this – I did get to read a book that I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise) so once I started on the Kindle I was stuck. 

The Kindle doesn’t seem to be the right size for my hands; one hand gets cramped and I drop it when I try to press the button to turn the page, two hands hide the screen.  I also managed to get it stuck on Spanish a few times, which was annoying.  It took me about three times as long to finish the book as a hard copy of similar length usually does, and just wasn’t an enjoyable experience.                                             

So I am leaving the dark side.  I am back to actual books with real pages that you can turn, and that don’t have to be charged.  Real books are the way to go as far as I’m concerned.  I won’t say that I’ll never use the Kindle again, after all there are still some Louisa May Alcott books on there that I haven’t read and can’t find anywhere else, but it’s definitely going to be a while before I attempt them.  The Kindle will be reserved for times when I run out of reading material, and I’m not going to let that happen any time soon. 

Has anyone else given up on the Kindle?  Anyone else with me on actual books being the way to go?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Playing Catch Up

I’ve been a bad blogger and a bad follower lately.  My deepest apologies.  I wish I could regale you with exciting tales of what I’ve been doing while I haven’t been blogging and commenting, but I really don’t have anything very interesting.  I haven’t found the cure for cancer (not that I expect to, since I don’t work in the medical field), published the next Mastering the Art of French Cooking, or been to exciting places.  So here’s what’s new in the land of Sweet Tea :
My grandparents are in an assisted living facility.  It’s a nice place, and has taken a lot of pressure off of my parents.  My grandfather has reached the stage (that everyone says is common) in Alzheimer’s where he’s being really mean to everyone.  It’s not pleasant, but the staff at the facility has been great about everything.
In an incredible stroke of good luck my sister and one of her friends took both of their cats, instead of my husband and I ending up with at least one of them.  (They were allowed to keep them, but for reasons unknown to the rest of us chose not to.)  Don’t get me wrong, I love cats, but these cats don’t like dogs (we have one) or most other cats (we have four).  Based on the stories my sister is calling me with this is about the same level of good fortune as winning the lottery would be. 
My mom broke her arm.  Not good!  When she called to tell me what had happened the story didn’t make much sense at all.  I actually made the comment to my husband that if anyone else was telling me what she was I would swear that copious amounts of alcohol had been involved.  Definitely not the case with my mom! 
She somehow (this is where I get my clumsiness from) tripped over nothing in their carpeted hallway.  What should have been just a minor annoyance resulted in a broken shoulder (and possibly more damage depending on what today’s MRI shows) because my mom now has a raging case of osteoporosis.  The doctor she saw yesterday told her that at this point pretty much any fall will result in a broken bone. 
My mom is only 56, so that’s a little scary.  She’s on some pretty serious pain medication right now, so I’m not very clear on what can be done to help with this.  I did get a lecture on the importance of calcium, from Mom and my husband.  It turns out that my yummy gummy vitamins (seriously, they’re like gummy bears, not vitamins) don’t have calcium.  So now I have to add calcium to my daily pile of vitamins. 
I took food to my parents’ house on Monday since my dad doesn’t cook.  My sister and I agreed that I would be mostly in charge of keeping them fed and she will be mostly in charge of dealing with care giving if my mom ends up needing surgery on her arm.  It works for us.  My sister doesn’t enjoy cooking and surgical sites make me queasy. 
I had forgotten just how far my dad’s not cooking goes.  Keep in mind that he is of that generation of men who has a mama, a wife, and daughters, so the men don’t cook.  They cut the grass, change the oil, and take the trash out, but they don't cook.  I brought a few casseroles and dinners to freeze.  I had them clearly labeled and was explaining to my dad what each one was and that he would need to decide in the morning what they wanted to have for dinner that night and take it out to defrost, then just heat it up for dinner. When I finished my spiel my dad looked at me with panic in his eyes and asked “Do I have to cook each one?”  It was so funny.  I then explained the difference between cooking and reheating.  He was very relieved. 
I won a giveaway!  Linda Jackson, of Writers Do Laundry Too, had a giveaway on this blog, and I won a copy of Chicken Soup For The Soul; Here Comes the Bride, which has one of Linda’s stories in it.  I confess I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’m looking forward to it, and it was very exciting to win something.  I don’t think I’ve won anything since I was about 13.
So what about you?  How have the past couple of weeks been for you?