Friday, September 28, 2001

Office Moving Day

Another 2 entry day. You must think I'm a demon on the keys. Yeah baby! She's out of control. Well, I had written my entry that you just read last night at home while it was all fresh in my mind. It all just sort of flowed and today needed a little bit of tidying up spelling/grammar wise, and message wise. I normally never edit myself. It's a bit of a censorship, taking back things that I write when I feel those things at that time. But I think I got a little too anti-Christianity at one point and pulled a paragraph out.

The concept of me being like Jerry Garcia meeting the Pope is pretty much true with me meeting and dealing with someone who is a die hard super evangelical. As mentioned, I went to a Christian College. I hated a lot of the students there. The dean of chapel while I was there refered to a lot of students and their sentiments as "Pink Fluffies" cute, cuddly, not a lot of substance. Most of the girls in the education program at my college would wake up at 5:30 am to work out, do a devotion, iron their dresses, put on all their makeup... and be there pert and bushytailed for their 8am classes.

I, on the other hand, when I actually MADE it to my 8am classes, was usually exhausted after staying up until 4am making out with my boyfriend or cramming for a test. I wore sweatpants to class. I rarely showered for a first period class, but would wait until around lunch time to slither back to the dorm to either nap then shower or shower then eat.

I am not your typical evangelical woman. The 700 Club makes me nauseous. Some of the women I went to college with had never had their faith tested at that time, whereas I believe mine was tested on a daily basis through high school. But that is neither here nor there. I don't hang around with Pink Fluffies. Oftentimes you get a "Your God isn't big enough" smug assed kind of attitude from them when you're experiencing strife, and watching some of them actually HAVE to deal with crisis is too funny, er, painful to be in close proximity.

So that's the thing with me and Evangelical Culture. I'm not in it. I don't dig it. I go to church, but it isn't a crazy church. I'm an Episcopalian, commonly and jokingly refered to as "Whiskyopalians" (thanks Scott in Chicago) or "The Frozen Chosen."

But that isn't why I'm writing again today.

I'm writing again because I honestly have nothing else to do today. They are moving our department to the first floor in this building, and there is a lot of movement and chaos surrounding this event... and all my stuff is boxed up and gone, save for this PC upon which I click away with my chubby digits. The rest of my office mates are running around, acting silly, being kind of like office versions of Pink Fluffies and it's pissing me off. And, on top of all this, I am losing my office. I am moving into

...a cubicle.

Fuck !!!!!!

I hate cubicles. Especially now that I have spent nearly 7 months in an office of my own with the ability to slam my door shut when someone is playing Christina's Retarded Remake of "Lady Marmelade" and singing in the hallway. I had never had my own office before and am now officially spoiled completely by the ability to self-isolate at anytime.

And I knew I would feel this way when it came time to relocate.

And I knew this day was coming.

Our department was at one time about 40 people. We are now down to 15, mostly through self-atrition. People just left, at a rate of one a week at one point, over the course of this last year... And the space established for upwards to 50 was an echoey canyon with a long hallway of very dark and empty offices.

Seeing as most of the people who left were higher up the ladder in the group, they had offices. These offices were vacated. My boss lobbied to have our group in the department move into these offices. The Executive VP of our department was against it, but she couldn't see having us sit crammed in a corner in cubes when there were these nice offices going unused.

And, on top of that, no one thought anyone worked up here anymore. They'd come into our office area, and they'd have to walk down this long, lifeless hallway with offices dark and dreary. It was depressing.

So he relented, we got offices. It was the happiest, most glorious day of my life, the day I moved in here. Little did I know my joy and freedom would one day bring ever so much sorrow onto my little heart... my office gave me the ability to listen to music without headphones, to have personal phone conversations without the rest of the fucking company listening in. My office gave me the chance to start and successfully live in this journal, to surf crazy assed webpages higledypigeldy all damn day if I felt like it. Now I am losing it. Sniff. Sigh. Weep.

I have to go back to a cubicle, much smaller than the last cubicle I had here because they are cramming our happy asses into a smaller workspace. My cubicle downstairs doesn't have room for someone to pull in a chair and sit in it to work with me. This totally sucks... What is even worse than not having a good collaboration space, is now I have to sit with my back to the rest of the office. So sitting and typing my thoughts and feelings at the office is short lived.

After lunch I'll go down and start unpacking. It'll be noisy as hell. I'm way to used to peace and quiet of being able to sit here alone. Barf.

What is all this talk about God?

I have been asked by (challenged by) a reader to expound on my faith.

Seems he's sort of put off by my "overt expressions of Christianity." I think I'm psyched to have a reader other than Smitty or Scott in Chicago! Woo hoo! Thanks for finding me, my brother!

I totally understand. I'm put off by "Christianity" on the whole also.

So before anyone is overly offended by my mentioning that I believe in God or that I prayed with someone in my office, let me just say that just because I've accepted God into my life and I actually believe in Jesus, doesn't mean I want to force, cajole or pressure you to do so as well.

I read a lot of journals by people who aren't into God at all or who are outright angry or against any organized religion (one of my favorites is actually comedian Joe Rogan who went on a TEAR about Christianity recently. I found it kind of gross, but he's got great and valid points! I'm all for those points being expressed!)

No more than I would want to forcibly convert someone, I firmly hope others will be as respectful and not try to convince me that God sucks, or berate me for thinking he doesn't. I believe that if you've heard the message and have chosen not to believe, it isn't my place to try and win you over to our team... It isn't my place to be a "tool" for God to make you see the benefits of salvation. You've heard, you've rejected, or you aren't sure... whatever. It's all good.

if you change your mind someday and want to talk, let me know. Otherwise, it is what it is and you're okay by me...

After all, religious and social intolerance seems to have gotten us into a jihad with some Muslim dudes. I'm not trying to convert anyone. My faith just is what it is. I'm not trying to witness and say "oooh, you need to believe because God loves you! You're going straight to hell otherwise! Accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour Now!" If you've heard it and it doesn't jive with you, that's quite alright. Okay?

A little background on where my head is it while we are here, while we're on the subject. I went to an evangelical Christian college. I was there from 1984 to 1990 (it took me 6 years to achieve my BA because of lack of money... it was an EXPENSIVE evangelical Christian college). Before college, and the reason that I chose to go to a Christian college, I'd been a few years in an intervarsity group called Campus Life/Youth For Christ. I got invited by a girl named Kate Falvey, who I always thought was just a rich snob, like all the people I knew because everyone WAS rich in comparison to me. But Kate was in my homeroom, she thought I was bright and funny (really? what ??? you're joking!), and invited me.

The very first youth group meeting I attended was at the home of Jenny Higgins, another girl who I believed was just another wealthy girl who would never be my friend. I couldn't believe I was sitting there in her house! Another long time friend, Mare Hemli, was in this group too, so I was surprised to see her. I had no idea she was part of this.

The Higgins Family had a baby grand piano in their living room. They had two staircases in their house. I had a bedroom that was 7x8 in dimension, and lived in a co-op project in the "station."

Nuff said.

If it wasn't so far from my house, I think I would have walked away. But I stayed. The people were really friendly, the discussion turned God related, I started to panic. I turned to someone sitting beside me and said "what's this some kind of Jesus group or something?" Um, yeah. Duh?

I was kind of mad. I'd been suckered into a youth group meeting. But I kept coming back. Eventually I made the leap of faith so many teenagers do and committed my life to the Lord and I've believed ever since. (See below for the belief thing)...

Some say that's how cults work. They pull in the stupid rejected poor kid and brainwash them into believing stuff. Sure. It is true. But I was being offered something I needed, which was a group of friends, and salvation. No one had really spent the time talking about God in any way shape or form with me, so I'm glad this was an on the level group instead of the Heaven's Gate people or something. I'm a lucky gal.

When you are fifteen you are touched on a more visceral level by God than you are as an adult I think. I "accepted Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior" and was fully involved with the youth group. And through life I've faced a LOT of challenges and crisis, and I honestly believe my faith kept my head on straight and kept me from wigging the hell out and flying off a cliff.

On the scale of 1 to 10, I am probably in the 3 to 4 range for what you'd "expect" a "christian" youth to be like, especially a girl. I am into the Grateful Dead and a lot of British art rock music instead of Amy Grant and Keith Green. I am brash. I don't go out to convert the heathens. I was satisfied with the level of faith I had achieved personally, I knew then as I know now that most of the people surrounding me already had been offered the same option of serving the Lord through their lives and actions, so I knew any conscious attempt at me "saving" them would be an out and out fraud.

When I told my fellow Campus Lifers I was going to aforementioned expensive evangelical college they all laughed. They said it would be kind of like Jerry Garcia going to the Pope to offer him a bong hit.

Not so.

I met a lot of people who were really far to the left, and a lot of people who were fanatically conservative. It was at college that I realized how middle of the road I was in my religous faith, and I was really happy with that.

I liken my Christian experience to the history of the band U2. You all know I'm a great big fan. If you listen to their earlier albums, there is a lot of sincere, youthful, very religous content. Over time, they grew and their faith is still there but not in your face.

I think their strongest faith statement comes in the song "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" when Bono sings:

"I believe in the Kingdom Come
hen all the colors will bleed into one, Bleed into one.
But yet I'm still running.
You broke the bonds and you loosed the chains,
Carried the cross and all my shame. All my shame.
You know I believe that.
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for."

I think there is still a lot out there that is unanswered. I believe at the core of my being that I hold very few things to be unalienably true, so one might actually classify me as an agnostic...

I believe in God.
I believe in Christ.
I believe in the Spirit that moves among us.
I believe we are all born into sin, and no one on this damn planet is truly innocent. I hence believe in the New Testament, the New Covenant. Christ was born, Christ Crucified, Christ risen.

And that's the hard core, non-negotiable ground level foundation of my faith.

Other beliefs that grow out of the above mentioned are:
I believe that God also has other methods of communicating with and challenging people on earth. I accept people who believe in alternatives: I think that it is better to believe in something as opposed to nothing. If you are into Wicca, Space Aliens, survivalism, Islam, homosexuality, whatever... That's fine. As long as you've put some thought into where you are and are kind and grounded, I'm happy to meet you.

I think that faith in anything is much better than a lack total absence faith, and I believe on the whole that people who have some connection to something other than this mortal coil have something good going for them.

And if you want to sit and break bread with me, be you a Gay Methodist minister, a divorced Catholic woman, a searching for something Chinese national, a Jew, a Buddhist -- come on over. I've got some nice sourdough and wine here. We can also eat cake or a pizza. Whatever you like. It is what it is. And I'm glad to know you. I think that even though I'm politically conservative on a lot of levels and yeah, that whole Christian thing, I'm still open. I was open at 15 when I accepted, and at that time I never closed my mind.

If after reading all this (and congratulations to you if you've made it this far and haven't wandered off or gotten pissed at me or something) you think that I'm some sort of hypocrite because I swear, or I drink, I've got news for you. I'm human. I've got blood that runs through my veins, I have a emotions, sometimes negative, and a kind and giving heart. I think that overall my deeds and actions are good, although I may say something here that may contradict what YOU think a good Christian is. As I mentioned before, that's been the perception of me all along. Like Jerry Garcia meeting the Pope and offering a bong hit. Jerry Garcia had his flaws, but overall, I think he was probably a really kind guy. Better than any overtly zealous biggoted Christian, and I'd rather hang out with him (if he weren't dead) any day instead of Jerry Falwell.

Joe Rogan writes in his journal that "There are three kinds of people in this world: Morons, Assholes and People You Want to Hang Out With." I hope I find myself in the later category for most of you. I know I'm all set with God. For you to accept me, I shouldn't have to wear certain clothes, act a certain way, drive a particular car. If you don't like me, that's all fine and good. But if you've made it this far into my diatribe, I guess you're at least interested or care and for that I thank you. Welcome. Glad to know you.

Wednesday, September 26, 2001

Why do kids lie?

This weekend Jessica did something that I don't understand. I am sure all kids lie at some point. The lying with her just started... This weekend in Maine, everyone was getting readied up to head to the Common Ground Fair, and life was good. Jessie showed me her wrist, where her little wrist "ankle" is, and it was bleeding.

"I bumped myself on something I guess..." she said when I asked her how she hurt herself.

I also noticed a long streak of missing hair in a trough of shaved clean flesh running from her elbow down to this little cut.

It was pretty damn obvious what happened. I asked her why she shaved her arm, and she got indignant. "I didn't shave my arm! I bumped it on something," she pretended to be hurt that I would accuse her of such a thing.

Uh, yeah. Bumping always cuts a nice little nic on your body. Flesh just splits open all the time people they bump body parts on something. Sure... I'm buying THAT!

I knew she was lying and asked her why she insisted on lying. Doug looked at her wrist and asked her why she was lying. She insisted again and again that she wasn't.

This went on for quite a while. Then, the evidence started rolling in: white blonde hair on Michelle's razor in the shower (Michelle was grossed out, saying "I don't have ANY blonde hair ANYWHERE on my body!"); bloodied toilet paper in the bathroom; blood on the inside of the shower curtain; blood on the soap on the bathroom sink. She was so overwhelmingly evidenced out, and super busted, and she knew it but she kept up the lie.

I told her plain and simple that I didn't mind if she was experimenting with a razor, that I was sympathetic that she cut herself and whatnot... that didn't make me mad at all. What I was mad at was her lying to me. Boldfaced. Straight in the eye against all evidence. Lying.

We called her Jessica Clinton. She didn't like that.

Jessica Condit didn't make her happy either.

She held fast to this lie even though we assured her that she wasn't going to get in trouble or be punished at all...

We just wanted the truth, so we decided to go a different route.

We told her that I was going to stay home with her, and she was going to stand with her face to the kitchen wall until she was ready to just simply admit what she did and apologize for lying for hours... and making everyone late for the fair. Everyone went to get into the car, I sat down to read a book, and she finally turned to me and said "Mom, I lied. I cut my arm using Michelle's razor. I'm sorry I lied."

That was a relief. Why was it that hard to tell the truth. I mean, we're good parents (see below for a contradiction... ha!) and we have never beaten her for doing anything wrong, even if it was stupid.

I wasn't mad that she did it. I remember when I was a little older than she is now I took my dad's razor and shaved my legs. I cut myself very badly in the shin, (start cringing now as I describe...) folding a stretch of flesh up like an accordion on my left shinbone. It hurt like hell. I was in the shower and it bled like a slaughtered cow. It burned, it sent shock waves of stinging, paralyzing death pain up my leg. It was over 20 years ago and I still can FEEL it.

It was a stupid mistake. I covered it up a lot better than she did though... I put a big bandaid on my shin and wore pants. I'm not sure if my parents ever knew.

But seeing that she got caught red handed (no pun intended) I am not sure what compelled her to lie to me. She rarely gets in trouble when she does something stupid if she's got a good answer. But lying or saying things like 'I don't know' when she gets confronted with an issue is a new phenomenon for her. She used to justify everything she did with an arguement as to why she did it and why she was right to do it. I always thought she'd make a good lawyer. Now she'll make a great politician.

I told her to get in the car, we went to the fair. I explained to her that I was disappointed in the lying because it has got to stop. I told her that nothing hurts me or makes me more out of control angry than lying, and assured her that as long as she's honest with me, even if she does something heinous, she's all set.

The truth should set everyone free.

I'm hoping that honesty is something she can start using. I think we are incredibly honest with the kids, and with each other right in front of the kids (no lying about "yeah that dress makes you look real skinny!"), and we try to give great role model stature to the kids. Not sure whether we're letting her watch too much nightly news where she gets to see that lying sometimes gets people pretty far.

I have a feeling we're in for it with her... we shall see.

Speaking of Seeing... My eye is doing okay, thanks to all of you who've emailed me and asked how it went with the doctor.

By the way, this isn't a picture of MY eye. it's an eyeball I found online and I made it look like mine. Brown with nasty red lines. I didn't want to take an actual picture of it, so I am expressing myself through Art.

I got a tetanus shot (my doctor jokingly pointed out "hey, you don't need another one of those until you're 44! Isn't that great!" Shut up, Curt!) and he put some crazy blue dye in my eye and looked at it with a blacklight. It showed I had a "defect" in the eye, and another small surface scratch. So Doc prescribed an eye drop antibiotic which I'm supposed to put into my eye every 3 hours... of course I forgot to bring it to work with me today so I have only had 2 doses of it. It feels infinitely better than 24 hours ago though, when I thought my eye was going to fall right out of my head. Even after just a couple of doses it feels SO much better. Huzzah!

I stated earlier that I believed Doug and I are pretty good parents. For the most part... yeah, I truly believe that. But stupid things happen. So far no one has suffered bodily injury from our stupidity, but day after day I wonder when that will actually happen.

Yesterday Doug took a nap and Geoff took that time as opportunity to flood the bathroom by stuffing bathroom items into the sink and turning the water on. Jessica sat on the couch, with the bathroom in full (peripheral) view and solid earshot (except that the TV tunneled her vision and hearing to its magic brainwashing spell, preventing her from seeing the carnage happening in the commode area).

So when I got home, Doug was freaking out, water was everywhere, Jessica had been sent to her room for once again ignoring the doings of her brother, and, Geoff was grounded for life. I can't help but think Doug shouldn't ever EVER take an after work nap, but he does it daily and something always happens. This was the worst ever. And I wanted to say 'Hey, dumbass. Don't leave The Boy unattended, and DON'T trust a 9 year old who lies about shaving her arms to be in charge of paying attention to said Boy when Spongebob Squarepants is on. When are you gonna learn, damnit!"

But I held my tounge and cleaned up while he whipped dinner together. He had to be somewhere at 7pm and I didn't want to get his blood pressure up before he had to go sit for 2 hours in a meeting.

Our floors are nice and clean though. I used all our clean towels to mop up. Looks pretty good...

And as for me, I admit I screw up sometimes. Geoff and I both slept a little late this morning and Doug was still getting ready for the day. Normally Doug takes Geoff to preschool, but because I knew Geoff wouldn't be ready in 15 minutes I offered to take him. We got ready at a leisurely pace, and I put Geoff in the car to leave. I was driving along, and when I was nearly AT MY OFFICE, Geoff asked if we could listen to music instead of the news.

Note the Bold CAPITALIZATION above. Where am I right now?

Not at preschool... I'm at my office, in completely the opposite direction from the preschool. I am with my kid who is supposed to be at said preschool.

Holy mother of mergatroid. I totally forgot my kid is in the car.

I put him in the vehicle. I watched as he buckled himself into the middle seat... I drove to work. What the heck?

It isn't like I've got a lot on my mind or something, it is just so routine of me to pull out of my driveway and proceed to the office and not to preschool.

And the real ass kicker in this is that Geoff is a backseat driver. Normally he immediately tells me which way to turn when I pull out of the driveway. He gives me directions to daycare. "Turn that way, mom." "Yes Miss Daisy."

This morning he sat quietly... and didn't say a damn thing. Sometimes I might take a slightly alternative route to get somewhere, like the grocery store or something, and he starts yelling. When I turned the wrong way, I have no idea what stopped him from yelling "Hey, not this way!" the way he normally does. Amazing. So his teacher was surprised that he was so late... I told her and she laughed, at least someone finds me amusing.

I got to work at like 9:00 instead of 8:30...

At least I realized my mistake before I made it all the way to the parking garage, and I didn't leave him in the car. I now totally understand parents who are normal humans who screw up and forget their kids are in the car. I used to think they were retards (I still do when their kids die from heat stroke...) I'm lucky it wasn't one of those days when it was so hot and I'm lucky he said something. Things could have been a lot worse. I got an extra half hour with the Boy this morning and we listened to "Drive Like Lightning, Crash Like Thunder" by Brian Setzer Orchestra three times driving back to where we were supposed to be.

I have other stories that I could tell but your opinion of me as a human and as a mother would greatly deteriorate, and you'd call the DYS to have my kids taken away from me, so I won't bother confessing them here. Especially one of them, which also concerns Geoff and a car. But we'll leave it at that. Whew!

Okay! Gotta get to work... My honesty is embarrassing me right now and on the borderline of incriminating me...

Monday, September 24, 2001


It crossed my mind this morning as I drove to work that the year is 3/4 over. 75% done. The autumnal equinox pretty much came and went. And we marked the weekend with a visit to Aaron and Michelle up in Maine there. We didn't do anything special. We didn't even go to church, but my little marking of the event is a thankfulness to God that we're living day to day, whether or not the year is 1/4 or 7/15 over. It's been an interesting year.
So aside from my sudden sadness that 2001 is more waning than waxing, here's a recap of the events and some of my thoughts on the state of the world.
As mentioned, this was the Autumnal Equinox, or Equirox as we called it. We try to name our gettings-together with Aaron and Michelle because they are special events. And because naming shit is fun!
When we went to visit them in May, it was Lobstercaust weekend. Many (6) lobsters died. And a feast of remembrance was held for them. Plus a lot of wine and barbecued stuff consumed. It was a blast. Equirox was established before the events of September 11, and those events have kind of mellowed or bummed the collective four of us out, so we needed a fun get together. Doug and I also referred to this weekend as "Operation Northern Justice" to kind of make fun of that whole naming military actions thing... It was not as cool as Equirox though.
We got there on Friday night, about 9pm. Settled into watching the celebrity "event" for the world to see that they cared about America and they wanted us to care too and give money. I thought it was cheesy, poseurish, and annoying, so we sat and mocked it. I did feel sorry for Muhammed Ali, having to defend his faith, and I thought Julia Roberts was going to cry her ass off at one point. The little celebrity storytelling vignettes between the songs did nothing for me except seethe, thinking to myself that Hollywood just always has to jump on the bandwagon. ugh.
The majority of the music was great though. Seeing Neil Young perform with Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam (love the haircut Eddie!), Sting's soft and tender rendering of "Fragile" (although I would have preferred his Christmas song of "Gabriel's Message" for that moment in time), and Wyclef Jean's presentation of Mr. Bob Marley's "Redemption Songs" were the highlights for me. I hate Celine Dion. I didn't care at all for stupid Sheryl Crow or the majority of the folks they chose... so it was fun mocking them. Horray! Hollywood people care! Woo hooo! I feel SO MUCH BETTER KNOWING THAT!!!!!!!!!! man alive.

I also wonder how many people called up during the 2 hour happy fest thinking they were gonna get to talk to Goldie Hawn or Cuba Gooding, Jr., or any other celebrity manning the phone bank... only to get some girl in Houston Texas at the 'real' phone bank. All those celebrities were talking to their agents. Check out Tom Cruise here... I can almost hear him now...
"Hey, Morty, It's Tom. Yeah. I know. Hey, I gotta question, are you watching? Yeah. Okay. So, do I look like I'm really into this... Oh, you think I should pretend to write something down.... No shit, really? yeah, what a great idea! Okay, I'm nodding and looking sincere... Pretend to write something... yeah. Got it. Okay..."
(notice, Tom brought his new girlfriend Penelope, she's sitting there not knowing how to take down a credit card number, or knowing what a credit card number is for that matter. Man is she ugly. Nicole was MUCH cuter).

So after a hearty mocking, we went to bed. 

The next morning we got up and went to a country fair. Not just any old run of the mill country fair, but the Maine Organic Farmers and Growers annual "Common Ground" fair. The fair really cool, even though I personally don't agree with a lot of "political action" content that comes with this scene... I mean, hey, farm and be free to be organic but don't make it married to Friends of Castro and Falun Gong content all the time.
Organic farming is cool. I'm all for free range cattle raising (there was a lot of organic meat there, even though I at first feared it'd be kelp burgers under the communal tarp), and I'm all for food that has no radiation content. I'm all for "heirloom" vegetables, which my husband had to explain to me, I'm all for chicken without hormones injected in them.
But I really don't feel connected through that to the far liberal end of other things, like lobbying congress to get our policies regarding Cuba changed, or the Green Party in its full rolling glory, or anti-science stuff. I'm okay with testing on animals for the most part as long as they aren't being overtly tortured. Aaron's mom is alive today because her breast cancer treatments were animal tested. I am okay with that. It's kind of too bad, and perhaps stuff doesn't need to always be tested on animals, but I understand why it needs to take place.
I like farming when it's just farming and there isn't stuff tied to it that is all political and has strings attached. It makes me uncomfortable to be around people of that ilk. And if they knew I was a conservative Christian republican chick, they'd run me out on a rail.
I used to be kind of into the whole co-op granola scene in college. The older I get the more convinced I am that it's just too goofy, and for all it tries to liberate, it just constrains life further. When what I put into my mouth is tied to someone else's opinion, it makes me want to go to Burger King or something. So I tried to look past the overtly over the top liberal tree hugging anti-war stuff to see the cool stuff that was there.
There were really cool artisans there who had awesome furniture and clothing and arts and crafts. I was impressed by the handiwork. And blown away by the prices.
There were a lot of booths of tractors and farming equipment on display, which I thought was cool, and they were situated right beside a guy selling scythes. Yup. True organic farming I guess. 12th century style farming. Farming as it's done in some places under the Taliban regime farming. May as well go all the way if you're going to do it! Doug and I joked around that we should buy one and he can dress up as the grim reaper for Halloween, and trim the grass along people's walkways!
Aaron wants to build a geodesic dome house, it's his life long dream. So he was in his glory looking at solar panels, dome constructing booths, alternative furnaces and the like. He hung out with the organic toileting folks, and had a groovy time of it all. I'll look forward to hanging out in his geodesic dome house someday... he'll get it done once they have the money and the land they need. And it'll rock.
So the fair was overall really fun. For dinner after we were sufficiently beat to exhaustion, the boys went shopping for foodstuffs (hunter-gatherer types that they are) and I made a chicken parmesean that couldn't be beat. At least not this side of Italy. It was a great meal to cap off a day.
Sunday morning at about 7:30 Aaron & Michelle's dog, Gonzo, and Kinger were playing with the kids. I was trying to sleep and the chaos was happening right next to my head. Playing usually deteriorates to Geoff irritating Gonzo or Gonzo just getting over stimulated and the chewing on the child begins... so I rolled over to take ahold of Gonzo's collar at the first sound of trouble, and when I did...

I took a flying high-speed paw right to the left eyeball. Mother of GOD! That hurt. Oh man. More pain than I remember in a long time, localized right in my one tiny little rolling eyeball nestled in its little orbit.

Gonzo was jumping up onto the futon where I was sleeping, right where my face was. And his front right paw, claws and all, went right into my eye. I've got a bruise under my eye, and the white of my eye is about 50% red all along the left side of the eyeball... and it is really starting to hurt, so I just called the Doctor to go in and have it checked out. It's getting redder and more inflamed. Stupid Dog! Ouch! Damnit! 

That kind of put a damper on the day for me on Sunday, so we sat around drinking Irish coffee, chatting, eating, chatting... until it was time to go. We got home at about 9:30, got the kids to bed, and collapsed.

I need a weekend from my weekend, again!

Aaron and Michelle are coming down to see us next in about 2 weeks. We'll probably go to Boston to see Jon Svetkey play out. He's a musician I used to be really close to back in the day, and he's doing his first solo gig in over 4 years at Club Passim. If I can find a sitter.
I'm off to the doctor to get the eye looked at. I've got more stuff to chat about... but it'll have to wait.

Thursday, September 20, 2001

Gayle to the rescue...

I decided this morning that I needed to have a little fun. My sister ragged on me for not finishing up some grandma stuff, but that's like a whole site, and I only really had a couple of minutes this morning to make myself feel better and give myself a good hearty laugh.

Everyone is convinced we're going to die. Everyone is convinced the coming war will be long, protracted, hard, and will impact our nation like no other war we've seen. Our president, I do wish him luck, keeps using the word "crusade" in his speeches, which is a huge mistake considering the Muslims are still pissed from the "crusades" to irradicate them back in the day, so they now have a really good excuse to defend themselves. Muslims are only supposed to kill if they or their religion is under direct attack, which is the definition of a crusade against them from way back when. So here we go. Osama's gonna say "see? I told you so! Now fight with me" and One Billion pissed of Muslims are going to try and kick our asses. Not good.

So I asked myself: Self, what would make us feel better? I had a dental appointment this morning, got the old chompers cleaned and it all looks super good in there. I'm feeling confident that my own personal little space is okay as long as I don't get laid off, and even then, we have enough to make ends meet, we have gorgeous children, and Canada is only 4 hours away if we need to book it. So on top of feeling pretty okay, I began to feel inspired. What this world needs now is a hero. And that hero is Gayle.

I know I should be kind in this day and age, none of these are mean in any way... Linda, these are for you. I love you. Hope they make your ass fall off as you laugh yourself into an aneurysm and thanks for waiting on the grandma chapter I still haven't completed.

A secret meeting resulted in Gayle agreeing to go out and help. She can handle it! Cheney said that Gayle is "our nation's only hope." (sorry the graphic was corrupted... but the message comes through). cg -6/4/05

She thinks the Sausage Fingered One is too big for his britches, but realized she needed to get her message to a wide audience. So she did his radio program and Howard Stern, but hasn't sent out any pictures from that stop on her media tour. I guess Howard only wanted to talk about her panties and whether or not she's had any girl on girl action since dating Osama... Gayle got mad and left the studio.

Gayle met with bin Laden in a secret but very big library in Afghanistan. He agreed to all her requests and even let her have a picture taken with him even though he was upset that she wasn't dressed right. He normally doesn't like to be around women who aren't in full robe and veil... the day is saved!

Upon her return, a gayle-la (ha ha, get it, instead of gala, it's gayle-la... I know. bad.) celebration was thrown and celebrities came from all over the world to festival with Gayle.

I later found out the man in this picture is Latin singing "sensation" Marc Anthony and he isn't gay. He could have fooled me though.

Pete Sampras showed up at the gala festival, Gayle congratulated him on his victory over the Australians, and he congratulated her on her victory over evil.

Andy Dick attributes his new clean and sober lifestyle to Gayle's help. Man! She's a help to everyone! A true friend and true patriotic American. yay!

Tuesday, September 18, 2001

Heroin and the One Ring

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them
One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkenss bind them,
In the Land of Mordor, where the Shadows Lie.

I have a friend who has been gripped in a pretty hard core heroin addiction for over 2 years. He recently lost his job, lost his residence, has been in detox several times. Now he's got two options: go to a long term recovery program for 3 months and stick with it, change his life; or go into the whole long term heroin thing with law breaking, robbery, pimping, stealing to support his habit.

He has chosen the former.

I can only pray for him. Give him my support... like my country to make right decisions, but I can't impact the bottom line for either when it truly comes down to it. I can for my friend. My best friend.

We gave him a ride to the detox center this weekend. I can only say that it irritates and disturbs me deeply that someone would do this to themselves, someone so bright, so talented, so well liked and loved. That he'd throw his whole life away and for what... nothing in return.

I'm re-reading "The Lord of the Rings" again, for the umpteen millionth time so I have it all fresh in my mind to criticize the movie when it comes out.

The thing that is most apparent and striking to me right now is the power of the One Ring... it is a lot like what the hold of heroin is on someone.

Bilbo couldn't part with it and just had to walk away, fighting with his best friend Gandalf... Frodo lives in constant temptation to use it, even though he is in awareness of how evil it is. Destroying it in the Cracks of Doom is the only option.

It isn't as if you can hold it in your hand and not want to use it, or just possess it and say you can live with it and control it... but no, it controls you and rules you. Having it in your possession means you'll use it and fall under its control. The longer you use it, the harder it is to break that connection. Gollum is the perfect example of someone so ravaged by the possession of the ring, that he returns to the Enemy, the ring's maker and informs him of it's existance.

I think it's often funny how literature, music, art, take on different meanings based on different states I find myself in. I'm not surprised that I see LOTR as connected to heroin, especially because my friend is a big Tolkien fan... How we don't see that which controls us and ruins us until it is too late... that's sticking with me right now.

I wish him the success of Frodo and his merry hobbit friends.

Shower the people you love with love...

Driving to work this morning, I was scanning around the dial and got to WBCN, to the Howard Stern Show... I don't normally listen, but...

There was an interesting echo to the quality of Howard's voice and I could tell it was the end of the segment, but they were getting ready to play something special. It sounded like something that was recorded live on a soundstage. I recognized the second in studio voice immediately as James Taylor's, and he and Stern were setting up the song JT was going to play, as JT strummed a few notes.

He then launches into a sweet guitar intro, immediately recognizable by the chords as the opening of "Shower the People." He sings it with such sweet earnestness. He changed some of the lyrics, saying "things are going to work our righteous if we only will..." in the refrain.

I think he was angling at some sort of political statement, refering to the squeaky wheel as "he's alway's getting his grease..." which may be pointed at someone who may be... George W. Bush (my guess, not sure of the context of when the recording was made...). Regardless of his political stance, hearing him call out to everyone to "Shower the people you love with love, show them the way that you feel. Things are gonna be much better if we only will..." just made me start crying my heart out.

I think he, JT, may be of the mindseat that the "people we love" are the folks who blew up the WTC and the Pentagon, and that we should shower them with love and peace instead of missles and liquid fire. Perhaps turning to what is basically a true Christ-like stance toward the attackers. I'm not sure I think we can or should do that, but taking the context of what I normally held as just a normal schmaltzy 70's love ballad and making it a call for global peace and forgiveness dopeslapped me hard on the way in today.

JT is a well known limousine liberal, as more-enlightened-than-the-unwashed-masses rich people types who believe in giving everyone's money away normally are. I'm not sure I fully agree with a truly passive act of diplomacy in this context, because terroristic behavior isn't going to stop no matter how many open conversations and round table discussions or diplomatic summits we have with the Taliban or any other fringe hate-group. It's just not going to stop, we can possibly slow it down by a military strike, but it will never go away.

But you know how music impacts me. So much music lately has changed meaning for me.

So I'm listening to JT. I am showering the people I love with love right here. I am examining my behavior with my kids, my co-workers, my friends. I am trying to not let other people and their hate stop me from turning to others around me and just letting them know I love them. I'm going to be more helpful.

Shower the people.

I spent the morning in a 2 hour long meeting. Wolfed down a lunch. Went to another meeting. Came back to finish this entry... and prior to doing that, I looked at the Boston Globe. Big mistake.

They have published a series of online photo galleries, and the most recent is of refugees who are trying to escape Afghanistan.

There is a picture of two little kids in a cart, one is a sleeping infant, the other a small child, probably 2 years old, who is crying. And they are in the cart on a road on their way to hopefully get to the Peshawar in Pakistan.Their mother or father is probably begging somewhere off camera.

Their bodies are so cute and brown, and they are so small. The one crying probably has just been punished for trying to get out of the cart, or he's hungry, hurt... I'm having a hard time imagining that in a few days these kids and a score of others could very well be casualties.

As awful as it is that what the terrorists have done to us in NYC and Washington, I can't help but have a small part of me that wants the killing to stop.

To just fucking stop already. Can't there be some other option? God, would you please tell me?!

I want the cells of terror broken up. I want Osama Bin Laden and all his worms brought down. I want justice for the thousands of murdered people who just wanted to make a living but just didn't fit in with what the world view of an Islamic fundamentalist is.

But I know that if there is an out and out war, a full force, hard-core military strike, I know full well what these men do.

These "heros," the brave men of Allah, just hide behind children just like these kids. They cower behind a curtain of civilians, and then point the finger of blame at us when we come after them, saying we are murderers of their women and children. It's far different than what we try to do, and what 'normal' cultures try to do in hiding the kids, protecting the children... and it is something I just can't grab hold of in my mind.

This picture honestly sends me into convulsions when I look at it.

I want to grab these kids from the street. I want to put them in clean clothes and show them Veggie Tales and Toy Story 1 and 2. Let them know they are safe. To get them out of the cycle of violence, out from under the wretched jurisdiction of the Taliban, a government that twists its religious founding of Islam into something that is a total bastardisation of what that religion really IS. Shower the people...

I want them to have true freedom to grow up and be sassy and goofy, to just have the freedom to grow up. That's all.

Instead I have to keep pretending in my mind I never saw them. It's the only thing I can do. Because I know what's coming. I know what is coming. But I honestly hate knowing it.

For as upset as we were as a nation that Timothy McVeigh viewed the children who died in the Murragh Building as "collateral damage," how can we honestly feel comfortable knowing that kids like this are going to also end up as "collateral damage" in a military strike against Afghanistan.

Someone please. Shower the people, the children, with something other than death from above.

Friday, September 14, 2001

So very tired. But have nothing to bitch about when it really comes down to it.

I've watched a lot of TV.

I'm very drained. Listening to the talking heads, trying to keep abreast of what the situation is, where our nation stands, if there will be a counter strike, will that counter strike glean nothing more than another sneak attack by Osama Bin Laden or some other organization... What would Jesus do/think here? What should I think or do here? What is up with Jerry Falwell blaming all of this on gays? I mean, it isn't like any Jews were in New York for the Muslims to strike at. So it's all the gay people in America's fault. Oy.

It isn't gay America's fault. It isn't the Jews "fault". It isn't any one person or group's fault we got attacked per se. There are so many reasons, so many variables.

Our very soft borders.

No "racial profiling" when looking for enemies of the state.

Our law enforcement system which lets people go even when there's sufficient evidence.

Flaws in our foreign policy, which funds terrorists when they suit our needs. For instance, we bankrolled Bin Laden when he was fighting aganist the Soviet Union, and we bankrolled Saddam Hussein when we wanted Iraq to kick the crap out of Iran. Yet when they turn on us we're upset. What? What did we expect?

The fact that we gave the benefit of a doubt to people who wanted to go to flight school and the fact the flight school instructor heard the "students" complaining they "didn't need to learn how to take off or land, just how to fly..." Uh, hello? Red Flag? Sirens? Didn't any of those go off?

The fact our airline industry has cheap flimsy doors and little or no inflight security measures.

The fact that no matter what there are going to be crazy people with desire, drive, and a willingness to die to destroy that with which they do not agree, in the name of whatever.

The fact that God has a big plan for all of us, whatever it is, and it just happens. Perhaps this will bring a lot of people together. Perhaps it will just drive further into our hearts a desire for isolationism. Whatever the reasons, investigate them, prevent them as best as possible in the future and try and get on with living.

I think Bart Simpson here sums it up nicely:This does both suck and blow.

I'm glad I've got a little part of me that enjoys a good laugh at this time. And Bart makes me laugh. None of this is any fun, but, it is kind of important to take all of the situation and try to find something to laugh about. Bruce Springsteen sang "Someday we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny..." but I honestly doubt that applies here, none of this will ever seem funny. Pearl Harbor isn't funny. But if we get enough distance between this event, we can find some gems in it. It may take about 500 or so years, but as a culture we can find something to mock.

I keep getting email from people with stories from Nostradamus, or numerology lessons pointing to the last days. On the whole I enjoy debunking the emails, finding out that the author didn't write the sentiments the other day but actually wrote them in 1973 and has been dead himself since 1984 (the Canadian article by Gordon Sinclair is that one... he wrote it about something else, and ... well. Someone felt it fit today, once it was edited down and references to 1973 removed)...

I got what I thought was a funny email with a reconstructed tower in the shape of a hand with the middle finger standing up (pictured left).

A great big New York Fuck You to the world.

That made me laugh.

I thought, yeah, that's just the thing. New York at it's finest... once again looking for that shred of humor. I sent it to a bunch of people that I thought would agree that it was funny.

One friend wrote me back and told me it wasn't very Christ like to have that attitude and he asked me not to send him anything else about the WTC.

Well, seeing as that isn't very Christ like, turning your back on someone and dropping them as a friend, I emailed him an apology and explained that I agreed wholeheartedly that sure, I know that it isn't very Christlike to take an F you attitude to the world.

Perhaps I should have thought it through, before sending it.

But I'm not Christ. I'm all but too human, and all but too angry.

Aside from being angry, I'm hurt. I wish "I had a rocket launcher so I could make somebody pay," to steal from Bruce Cockburn. I thought that it was essential to express anger in acceptable ways, rather than running into the streets and looking for anyone who looks vaguely Arabic to kick their asses, or throwing rocks through business windows of people I suspect are Muslim. And you know that is going to happen, and that breaks my heart.

I wanted to send an e-mail to the Islamic Center of New England to tell them that I love them... that I don't blame them and wish them safety and comfort through this time. But they took their website down. They were getting so many threats, and so much anger.

So while a big Fuck You to the world wouldn't be Christ like indeed, it's all I got.

While the picture above isn't Christ like, what's in my heart overall is. I've got it written on my heart that I want people who didn't do the deed to go unharmed, in as much as possible, as our nation faces its options...

I know there will be innocent people who will get hurt, who are being hidden behind by the perps, there will be bombs or strikes that will probably kill kids. But I think that overall people here who are minding their own business... living their lives, I have no issue there.

He wrote me back understanding my feelings. He's been examining pacifism over the last several months, and this incident is pushing him to rework his stance on many issues and actions. He wants us all to weigh Justice with Vengance and come out on the right side, in the best and least harmful path. I pretty much agree. But we've lived that way for quite some time now. No one takes this nation seriously as a power with which to be reckoned. And it's time to stand up instead of being blown up.

I told him that since I had kids a lot of those sentiment have slipped away in my life. The desire to have goverment pay to support people here to do nothing... and the feeling that our military is unnecessary. Once I had kids though, I wanted that strong army. I wanted people to get off the dole and get to work, just like me. I may soften some of my stances as I age, become more passive, but for now, I know what I believe and hope my government can protect me and my kids while I work to support me and my kids. Do their job so I can do my job.

He hasn't written back.

I've gotten some really rude emails, and some that are so stupid. But I'm not making a federal case out of anything. I just delete them and move on. My mother in law often told me when she disagreed with me "You're entitled to your incorrect opinion." And she'd leave it at that.

My friend has a point though. I won't be quick to be rude, or stupid like Jerry Falwell and err on the "holier than thou" end of things (what a dope he is... ugh). Henceforth I will try and be more... Christlike. I won't run around with a "we're going to go ninjitsi on your ass!" attitude (not that I was in the first place). I promise I won't lose my edge, which I was born with thanks to the location of my birth, but I will be a little more careful. And I'm hoping everyone who knows me well will let me know if I'm doing a good job.

Thursday, September 13, 2001

Thankful for good music

I was driving in to work today, and I haven't tuned into a music station since last Friday on my way home from work. In the morning I usually listen to the local Boston News Station, WBZ 1030 AM to get headlines and traffic. I listen to the traffic reports so I can laugh, because my commute takes me through the back woods of towny New England rich towns, past golf courses, through woods... it is quite pastoral, and I enjoy listening to reports of traffic being backed up beyond the tolls on the Tobin Bridge.

In the afternoons I usually listen to Howie Carr on the way home unless he's being just too stupid for words. Mondays he has on one of the senior hot-shots from TV guide, Max Robins, so that's always fun to listen to.

So since Friday, there hasn't been music on in the car.

This morning I got in to drive and just didn't want to listen to the news anymore. They weren't going to tell me anything new. Right now we're playing the collective waiting game as a nation to see if our government is going to make a really big parking lot out of the middle east, or, they find some people alive in the rubble someplace. The latter isn't going to happen anytime soon.

So I put on the FM stations to listen to music. They must have heard the playlist I needed in my heart. I heard Bruce Cockburn, Counting Crows, BNL (oh you know it's my favorite!) and U2 singing "Beautiful Day."

I'm a pretty big U2 fan, as you've seen in past entries on my experience in the southwest, but I didn't think I'd ever want to hear this song again:

The heart is a bloom
Shoots up through the stony ground
There's no room No space to rent in this town
You're out of luck And the reason that you had to care
The traffic is stuck And you're not moving anywhere

You thought you'd found a friend
To take you out of this place
Someone you could lend a hand In return for grace

It's a beautiful day
Sky falls, you feel like
It's a beautiful day
Don't let it get away


You love this town Even if that doesn't ring true
You've been all over And it's been all over you

It's a beautiful day Don't let it get away
It's a beautiful day
Touch me Take me to that other place
Teach me I know I'm not a hopeless case

See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light

And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out


What you don't have you don't need it now
What you don't know you can feel it somehow
What you don't have you don't need it now

Don't need it now ...

I felt like screaming SCREAMING the end. What you don't have you don't need it now. Lifting my hands up. Offering the situation to the Lord. Asking him to take it. Giving him dominion over it all. And it is also kind of a prayer for the people who have lost so much over the past few days. Let it go. Let him or her go. Let the whole damn thing go.

So once I got into the office I realized just what I needed. I needed music. Not the crap played on the radio. Not the crap my officemates play at their desks. REAL music. Loud music. Music that kicks. Music with a pulse generated from hands against instruments instead of drum machines and remixed stolen bits of other people's talent.

I am listening to my MP3 collection right now and so much of what I love is forever changed just in the past 2 days. So many songs are different from here on in... this is my soundtrack for today.

  • Jim Infantino singing to me "Somewhere over NYC"
  • Indigo Girls doing Paul Simon's "America's Tune,"
  • October Project's "Dark Times"
  • Stevie Ray's version of "Little Wing"
  • Monty Python's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" (listening to that right now. Now that's an edifying, soul lifting song. I'm laughing my ass off right now. The end of the song cracks me up, when Eric Idle is saying, "you come from nothing, you return to nothing. what do you lose? nothing! now give us a smile you buggah!)
  • Fell on Black Days, Soundgarten
  • No woman, no cry -- Bob Marley
  • REM - End of the world as we know it
  • Master of Puppets, Metallica
  • Let the Day Begin, by the Call... that's a great anthem for us all to just get out there and sing at the top of our collective lungs.
  • U2's 40 (I waited patiently for the Lord, he inclined and heard my cry... he brought me up out of the pit, out of the mirey clay. i will sing, sing a new song...)
  • The night they drove ole dixie down... by the band.

My playlist is about as all over the map as my emotions are right now. From Metallica to Bob Marley, I'm swinging between euphoria and absolute rage.

Seeing the presence of God in the hands of the workers, the volunteers; and the darkness and hatred toward the Islamic terrorists and how I just want us to wipe the region off the map. How can I balance these and come up with good, righteous anger?

more later. I need to get some work done.

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

It was a long night last night...

I left work early. I wanted to get home before Jessica because I didn't want her to turn on the TV and catch any news. I didn't get home before her, but, in only a world where Jessica lives she managed to turn the TV on and immediately switch it via remote to Cartoon Network and she didn't hear word one about what was going on. So she was oblivious when I broke the news to her.

Her response: "Let's kick their asses now!"

Uh, that's not what I expected from her. She was kind of joking around about revenge and bombing the crap out of "them." I told her it is hard to do when we don't know where "they" are hiding or even to some degree which "they" they are.

I don't think any of this has sunk in, nor is she taking it seriously. I tried to explain to her that in life sometimes things happen that you'll never forget where you were or how old you were. I'll never forget the Challenger explosion. I'll never forget John Lennon's murder. I'll never forget the US Hockey Team beating the Soviet Union in the Olympics. My mom's generation will never forget where they were when JFK was assassinated. Before her birth, Pearl Harbor was the standard of measurements. Where were you when you heard...

I told her this was her Pearl Harbor. It will change the way her country and her fellow citizens act. It will change the way people look at one another. It will change all of us whether we want to or not.

We talked about it for about 20 minutes, then Doug came home and turned the TV on so he could see the situation. And we all watched it. She thought the plane hitting the WTC tower looked cool, and if it was a Hollywood special effect, yes, it would have been "cool." But it is so real. So real. And I don't think that has sunk in yet for her.

I'm numb from watching that plane over and over again, and numb from watching the towers crumbling, the soot and dust and debris flying down the streets. That's my city. That's a part of my life there. What!

Tonio K. once sang that New York is a "filthy concrete bitch without a soul," and I often laughingly agreed as a biter, sarcastic, jaded former child of the area. But over the 24 hours the bitch's soul has revealed itself. She has been tested. She is rising to the ocassion in the form of heroes and volunteers. This is just astounding, and I'm not sure I'll ever be able to look at the city again the same way.

I included the picture above because it makes me LAUGH! I find it amusing and absurd and am honestly laughing when I look at that. Those are English words, right? I recognize them, I speak them, I say them aloud. They make sense on their own. Put them together though and ... they just do not register. They do not compute. New York City never closes to traffic or anything else for that matter. How is New York City CLOSED. This boggles my feeble little mind and shakes my soul.

I mean, it's one thing to drive down the highway and see one of those orange and black light-up signs saying an exit/ramp is closed. Something like "Exit 34 is Closed Seek Alternate Route." Or even what we have now in Boston. Massport has a sign up saying "Logan Airport is Closed." That's hard to believe, but that happens once in a while. Weather usually is the culprit. But NEW YORK CITY??? Closed. Closed to Traffic. Man. I have to shake my head two or three times to clear it and let those words fly around inside. Closed.

"I wanna wake up in a city that doesn't sleep, to find I'm King of the Hill, Top of the Heap..."

That sign is all the way the hell in Buffalo. Buffalo. They're giving motorists a lot of notice.

I wonder what is going to happen to all the trucks trying to get to Long Island to deliver goods to the stores. I wonder what is happening for commerce trying to get through to that area so it can procede to other areas. I think it's going to be messed up for a while.

Speaking of being messed up for a while, I know people who think they have lost someone in NYC. I know my mom is exposed to kids who may have lost one or both of their parents, who as of yesterday afternoon had no idea where their folks were. They are going to ache for some time to come.

My sister says she feels "uncomfortable in her skin," sort of the same way she felt when she came out of the theatre after seeing "Seven" with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. She feels completely revulsed, completely ill. I feel nauseous, as if I am coming down with the flu. I feel like I have a fever, but I don't. I feel like I'm going to puke any second now. I think I'm going to feel this way for a while.

Stories are coming out of the rubble that folks are being found alive. A man rode the building collapse down from the 82nd floor of one of the towers. Like surfing a wave. These stories of unbreakable survival usually make me smile, I feel excited, happy for these people who make it. But I know there are thousands under them, crushed or slowly starving or dehydrating, who may be alive in a pocket of air right now, but won't be for long... and that takes my breath away and makes me shake.

A friend of ours sent an email last night out to all of his friends and relatives. I thought I'd include it here to share with you. It expresses some of what I'd hope to share with you all. I don't know how many people read this journal, probably just a handful of folks and most of you I know... I doubt there are strangers out there who discovered my journal in its listing on ... I never get any feedback from strangers. Most of you who have written me in the past few months are friends. So I have no fear in letting you know, dear reader, that I love you.

Here's from "Smitty." It says what I want you to know... And I'll leave it at this for now and try to get some work done. I love you all.

"I've sent a similar letter to my family. Now I'm sending a letter to my friends. It's tough after a day like this to find something positive to say. It's still very shocking.

I took a walk on City Island this afternoon... with a friend whom is receiving this as well. For those of you who don't know what City Island is, it's an Island in the middle of the Susquehanna River that's very active and geared towards family entertainment. The Harrisburg Senators (minor league baseball team) play there as well. The sky was blue with a few clouds. It wasn't too hot today. From the Island you can see the Harrisburg skyline. And there's a walking bridge linking the Island to downtown Harrisburg. On a typical day that bridge is filled with people rollerblading, people walking their young children in baby carriages, young couples simply taking a walk, and business men and women returning to or coming from work. Looking north you can see up the river with mountains on either side. It is a very pleasant view. And while I obviously could find something positive on this day, this beauty is one that I take advantage of. I take for granted that nothing will ever happen to my place.

"Sadly it could, as we all found out today.

"I feel the need to embrace the things that I love. I also feel the need to embrace the people I love, too. And please know that I do love all of you. You all mean something to me and have somehow impacted my life in one way or another. In a positive way. Thank you. I love you all. And I'll talk to all of you soon I'm sure.

"Love, Smitty"