Monday, September 30, 2002

Yes, I know, another entry into my online journal and so close to the last one. I'm sure there is someone out there who's saying ... "surely you jest". Nope, not this time. Let us not dally to long on minor fibbles and swing into the real news.

I live on a relatively quiet Brooklyn street. Not much goes on from day to day and that suits me just fine. This morning, however, was a different story. At about 5:15am I was jogged out of a deep sleep by my upstairs neighbors frantically walking back and forth in their apartment. Sounded like cattle on a stampede. I tried to block it out and go to sleep again, as I had another 45 minutes. But it persisted and then I heard, as well as saw [window open] flashing lights outside my livingroom window. I'm like ... what now ... damn firetrucks. Next thing I know its 5:30am and my landladys grandson John is banging on my door. He's yelling for everyone to evacuate the building. I live in a three floor, six apartment, building and I'm on first floor. Thats when I smelled smoke drifting into my livingroom window. I was like ... what the f--k?!?

Well folks, this gal sleeps in the buff, so I just grabbed some gym clothes [ie: long grey sweatshirt & black leggings] to throw on. [Did I mention that I forgot to put on sneakers or sandals? Anyhow.........] Picked up my wallet and keys ... closed and locked my door. Hey, I live in NYC, don't want anyone breaking in to rob me. So I run out of our building and see my landladys daughter Colleen on the sidewalk. Find out the fire is in the basement of her building, which is right next door to my building. We get to talking and try to comfort each other, all the while I'm combing my hair with fingers. Must of been nerves, as well as trying to look halfway decent. Two firetrucks are already there and entered Colleens building. A sigh of relief thru the crowd upon hearing that everyone [ie: residents] is out of all three buildings. My building was evacuated, as was Colleens and her mothers [my landlady]. I talk with several of my neighbors and watch the scene unfold before me. More firetrucks show up, an ambulance and two cop cars. So much for a quiet residental street in Brooklyn.

The firemen do their job in the building [ie: breaking windows & hosing everything down] and on the roof tops. We see greyish/white smoke coming out of the roof of Colleen's building, as well as her mothers. At one point this chap from down the street starts chatting with me. [Not a bad lookin chap and pretty decent. Until his Mum drags his butt home.] I've seen him around the 'hood ... but usually don't pay much mind. I guess you could say I live in that 'hood, but not really apart of the community. I feel more attune with my gyms neighborhood. Yeah, I know, I'm abit odd. Then the firemen go into MY building and I'm thinking ... "oh s--t don't break down my door". But they didn't ... instead went into the apartments next to Colleen's building. Whew!

It was cool out this morning about 58 degrees and no wind. Amen! Finally the firemen finished their work and it appeared that one of them hurt his ankle. He was helped to the waiting ambulance for treatment. One of my neighbors [John lives on top floor of our building] found out that we could go back into our building. I was very thankful for this and needed to get ready for work. Noticed by the clock that it was 6:30am. I checked my emails, had breakfast, called Mom, showered, dressed and left for work at 8:20am. Before heading into the office I called to leave a message on my bosses voicemail. Explained the situation and said I'd be in around 9am. And there you have it!

Time to sign off ... take care of some office things before heading out to get a manicure/pedicure. Ciao!

Sunday, September 29, 2002

Since my last entry I finally finished the book I'd brought with me on vacation. I've since started to read "Lord of the Rings - Fellowship of the Ring" and then dig into "The Two Towers" before the movie comes out in December. Yeah! In November the second Harry Potter films will be released and I can't wait.

Anyhow, back to the book I enjoyed reading while on vacation in Cape May. First of all, I highly recommend it to everyone. Its called "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. I'd never heard of this writer before and one of my E&Y co-workers recommended it to me. Thanks Lisa! Last year, while on vacation in Cape May, I read "Me Talk Pretty One Day" by David Sedaris and I highly recommend that one too.

Let me quote the back cover of Bryson's book and you all can take it from there. You won't be disappointed!

""Back in America after 20 years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100 mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes and to a write with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings. For a start, there is the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz. A buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Depsite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. A WALK IN THE WOODS is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful, but fragile trail, and he tells its fascinating history. He makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness. An adventure, comedy and a celebration.""

The Boston Globe said ... "A Walk in the Woods is an almost perfect travel book" and I agree with them 100%.

Gotta jet ... must swing on over to my webpage and update that too. Remember to keep rocking in the free world!

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

I usually don't like being pressured into doing something, but recently had no choice. I belong to a fun Yahoo Group called IRWT and its all about Pearl Jam. Well, for the "Song of the Month" the monitor of the site said we had to come up with a Pearl Jam song and change the words. I'm not really creative when it comes to this sort of thing and I kept putting it off. Yeah, I know, I'm such a procrastinator. Finally, last evening I snapped abit and said "alright, I'll give it a shot". Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

The PJ song I chose was "Nothing As It Seems" ... originally penned by PJs Jeff Ament [my fav band member, followed closely by Mike McCready]. Here are some of Jeff's lyrics followed by my version. Don't laugh ... never said I had any talent in this area. Oh well ... what the hell ... right.

Don't feel like home. He's a little out.
And all these words elope. It's nothing like your poem.
Putting in. Inputting in. Don't feel like methadone.
A scratching voice all alone it's nothing like your baritone.

It's nothing as it seems. The little that he needs. It's home.
The little that he sees. Is nothing he concedes. It's home.

Hasn't felt like home, we're been thrown about.
The spirits have all elope, no regard for prayer.
Seeping in and in, where is that methadone.
The voice scratches all alone, no regard for tone.

It's not quite as it seems, little sanity we need, its gone.
Bits of light we perceive, nothing to concede, its gone.

Later all.........................

Friday, September 20, 2002

Greetings All From Sunny Cape May, NJ!!

I've been down here since Sunday, September 15th, enjoying myself and even getting abit sunburnt. Later on today I head back to NYC and then work on Monday morning. Hope all went well while I was gone. Will find out soon enough...............

This entry won't be too long, as I'm using the computer/Internet at Cape May Library and we're only allotted 1/2 hour time frames per day. So I handle my emails on Hotmail and Yahoo, swing over to my fav Yahoo Group [IRWT] to chat and then if I have time [Ha!] surf the Net.

My vacation started out abit wet on Sunday afternoon and into Monday morning. The weather during the rest of the days has been sunny, breezy and usually around 75 to 80 degrees. Love it! Took a few tours, visited a neat museum exhibit on teapots, hit the shops, ride a rental bike, paint, sketch, take pix, brisk walks on Promenade, eat some good food, drink wine and of course, get sunburnt. Whats a visit to a pretty Victorian seaside town without getting a little sunburnt. Right? Thank you lord for the local pharmacy where I picked up aloe vera gel. Amen! I'm staying at a terrific B&B called Twin Gables on Columbia Avenue. Charming place, prices are decent [$110 to $130] in the off season, hospitality is wonderful and the breakfast[s] are delicious. I've been coming here every year since 1998 and I recommend it to all. Not only visiting Cape May, but staying at Twin Gables, which is run by Harry & Regina. They also have a lovable 3-year old golden retriever named Brandy. He's precious! While staying at B&Bs one gets to meet other interesting guests and engage in fun or stimulating conversations. Never a dull moment!

Can't chat too long, as its time to hit the shops and purchase some gifts. Oh yes ... Cape May has lots of neat shops and restaurants too. Plus all that Victorian architecture ... delightful! Yeah, I know, this is a short entry, but will write more soon. Peace!

Friday, September 13, 2002

Okay ... okay ... I know ... another whole week [seven days] has gone by with no updates to journal. Sigh! I've been soooooo busy with work, getting things ready for my upcoming vacation [Cape May, NJ] and observing [in my own fashion] the one-year anniversary for 9/11. What I'll be talking about in this entry ... is just that ... 9/11/01.

Those of you who know me very well are aware that my office is roughly seven blocks southeast of South Tower [WTC]. We're on Broad Street and only a stones throw from NY Stock Exchange. Yeah ... we're close to "ground zero". From our 25th floor windows we could only see the South Tower and the North Tower was hidden behind it.

That day started out just like any other for me. I had to be at the office by 8:15am to let in the caterer. As there was an all-day meeting being held in our large conference room ... the breakfast buffet needed to be ready by 8:30am. People started arriving for the meeting between 8:30am and 8:55am. A few made comments that they'd heard talk of a "bomb" going off at WTC. At the time we thought nothing of it. Don't think we're heartless, cause we're not, I guess New Yorkers are immune to some things, but not all.

Sometime around 9am we heard a huge explosion and then our building shook. I kid you not! Felt like a mini earthquake. We all jumped up from what we'd been doing and raced to the windows. Looking out the northern end of our floor and upward we couldn't believe our eyes. A huge, gaping hole in the south tower with smoke, debris and fire coming out of it. Debris was flying everywhere ... even around our building. Bits of papers, fax sheets, reports, etc. Unbelieveable!! I went back to my desk and called my Mom right away. Once I got her on the phone I said I was okay, but to turn on the telly to find out whats going on. She related to me that it was two commercial airlines and not a bomb. We talked for abit and I said I'd call her later for an update. Then everyone went back to work. Yep, you heard me, back to work and the meeting. I made other phone calls, especially to my friend and ex co-worker Anni, her office is across the street from South Tower. At 9:15am her office was evacuating and I prayed she'd get away from the scene okay.

My boss, Ron G, showed up at office five minutes before South Tower collapsed. Said the action out on the streets was like insane and out of a movie. Unreal, but not, yah know? Before Ron showed up, four of my co-workers made it back. Amen! They'd been in south tower at a meeting on 80th floor when plane hit north tower. They'd gotten down the stairs to 30th floor when second plane hit their tower. I was so happy to see them back at office. Gave them bottles of water and the first aid kit. When the south tower collapsed it sounded like another explosion and our building shook again! We ran to the northside windows and couldn't believe what we saw. We were all freaking out at that point. Even tho our windows were closed, we could still hear the screams of people on the street below as they ran in terror. The clouds of grey, black and brown smoke/ash were moving with force over buildings and down streets. Next thing we know our whole building is covered in the stuff. It got dark and you couldn't see out at all. My poor nerves were really jumping at this point. Then the building manager came over the PA system and told everyone to go down to the lowest level for shelter. Which we did ... after making a few quick calls ... one of which was to Mom. I went down the elevator with Ron and two other co-workers [Joe & Igor]. We stayed downstairs in a kind of fallout shelter until 11:45am. Some people were able to get their laptops running and access to the Internet. Slowly we were getting bits of info on what the hell was going on that morning and it wasn't a pretty picture. I mostly hung out with Ron, Joe and Igor or checked out news on peoples laptops. We were finally allowed back up to our offices, but management told us that if we left the building, they wouldn't let us back in. Yeah, like we want to stick around here. NOT!

Ron told the three of us to collect our things, make a few phone calls and then we'd hoof it out at 12 noon. I called Mom to tell her I was okay and about to head home. She sounded very upset over the phone and I couldn't blame her. She said the news and film footage on the telly was horrible. Mom had to take half a valium just to calm her nerves. Before we left the office, which was deserted except for us four, we grabbed bottles of water and small damp towels. We headed out the back of the building where we were met by perimedics handing out surgical masks. Amen! What a sight to meet our eyes out on those streets. It was like being in a city after a war. Everything was covered in that nasty soot, debris everywhere, abandoned cars & stores, as well as people like us walking east. Away from the disaster and horror. Unfortunately I was wearing clogs that day on my feet and boy did my feet/legs suffer. To this day I still suffer occasionally from shin splints. Ron and Joe walked ahead of Igor and I. Sometimes we talked, but mostly we looked around in disbelief. It was like a mass exodus! By the time we got to the Brooklyn Bridge it was closed off to pedestrians. So we walked past and further north to next one, which was Manhattan Bridge. By the time we reached that bridge the air was clear and we took off the surgical masks. As we crossed the bridge we looked back south ... it seemed so surreal ... like it was a Spielberg film and the credits would roll any minute now. But it wasn't a film, it was all too real and frightening. One thing I was thankful for ... it was a nice, sunny day. I didn't give a damn if I got sunburnt or not. When we reached Brooklyn our first priority was bathrooms and then subways. At the subways [only in Brooklyn, Queens & Bronx were running not in Manhattan] I said goodbye to my co-workers and we all wished each other a safe journey to our respective homes. Ron, Igor and I live in Brooklyn, but poor Joe had to get back to the New Jersey shore. He stayed at Ron's place that night and got transport the next day. As for me ... it took two subways for me to get back to Greenpoint.

Arrived into my neighborhood at 3pm and walked to my friend Larry's place. Wasn't sure if my phone or telly would be working, but somehow knew Larrys would be. I called Mom from Larry's place while watching the events of the day unfolding on the telly. Couldn't believe what I was seeing, so upsetting and I kept on saying "OH MY GOD". On top of all that I was exhausted emotionally and physically. Once I got to my apartment I found that I could use my computer, phone and only got Channel 2 on the telly. I returned phone calls to family and friends who were concerned. Plus returned emails to many wonderful e-pals who were also concerned about me. I thank you all for your kindness and thoughtfulness. Made me feel soooo good and blessed. Didn't know work was closed the next day, but I still trekked into our midtown office. While there I made phone calls and found out that Anni was alright but had suffered a bad asthma attack. From there I went to get a manicure and then had lunch with Debbie in Brooklyn. Yep, the subways were running once again in Manhattan. On thursday I went back to E&Ys midtown office to help out, sort of like doing temp work. Then my Administrative Manager gave me Friday off as "excused leave" and the following week I enjoyed my vacation time down in Cape May, NJ. By the time I came back to work the downtown area was open [relatively speaking] and it was business as usual at E&Y.

Overall I thought I was fine, but for several months following 9/11, I suffered from strange dreams and nightmares, plus bouts of depression. One heard many different stories from friends, co-workers and still to this day. Just last week I heard the story from a co-worker [she usually worked out of midtown office] how she managed to get down to her apartment on John Street that terrible day. What an ordeal! Her apartment, two blocks from WTC towers, was practically destroyed. On the day of the one-year anniversary I took a vacation day from work, as did many staff in our downtown office. Since May my telly died, so I listened to the ceremonies on the radio [1010 WINS]. And like last year, I went and got a manicure. I think the professionals would call it ... getting on with life. Its not easy, but with every day we do better and better. Tho the war with terrorism isn't over yet and probably never will be. Anyhow ... its late and I'm still here at the office. Time to check out and go buy my bus tix to Cape May at Port Authority, then go home to relax. God bless ... Peace!

Friday, September 06, 2002

Good heavens, has it been a week since I last logged onto this web site to do an update?!?!?!? Well ... the Labor Day holiday weekend got in the way and I didn't get back to NYC until Tuesday evening. On top of that work has been very busy these past three days. OMG! Working thru lunch and eating my food quickly at desk inbetween projects and/or in-house meetings. Plus setting up meetings for my bosses, dealing with their travel arrangements, office duties, new employees, etc. The good thing is I got free lunch three days in a row. Whenever there is a lunch meeting at my office there is always leftover food. Usually green salad, pasta, bagels, sandwiches, fruit and bottled water. The caterers we use make this one wrap sandwich that I just love. Its got avocado, cucumber, sunflower seeds and sprouts. Delicious! Next week in-house lunch meetings on Monday and Friday. Yeah baby ... free food! Anyhow, enough about work and its almost 5pm. Quitting time!

Labor Day holiday weekend ... Left NYC early Saturday morning via Trailways bus out of Port Authority. Usually an uneventful ride that takes about 2 1/2 hours to get to Albany, NY. From there Dad picks me up and we drive 50 minutes north to the homestead. Weather was abit better upstate then it was in NYC. Not as much rain, but still abit overcast with occasional sunshine peeking through. Dad let me borrow the car Saturday and Sunday while he worked at the golf course in Greenwich, NY. Yeah baby ... wheels! Mom and I went shopping over to Vermont, as well as hit a few garage/tag sales. Sunday morning I took her out to brunch [celebrate her 65th b-day] at the local hotel that does a very nice spread. Monday Dad got the car, so Mom and I hung out around the house. I watched a music video on the Seattle Grunge scene called HYPE!, as well as the Harry Potter film. I did some watercolor painting [plus pastels] and watched US Open tennis on the telly. Overall a nice, relaxing weekend. My neck and back are doing much better. At my Wednesday evening chiropractor visit my doctor gave me the green light in going back to the gym. Go slowly and gradually work up to level I was at before. Mentioned the news to my personal trainers and have an appointment with one on September 21st.

Would love to chat more ... but one of my bosses is requesting some last minute stuff. Damn!