Friday, September 16, 2011

FlashBack Friday-The College Years

Its been a while since I did a flashback Friday, but I find myself with a few minutes to indulge myself.   I am traveling back to my college years, I probably could do a whole month on college.   Seems fitting to do this now, as so many of my younger cousins and even some friends children are heading off to college just this week.  Such exciting times, but boy oh boy, just thinking about Phoenix going off to college makes me go into a fit of anxiety.  One of my Aunts commented to a cousin regarding her daughter going to college, "at least you are not there to know what she is doing, Ignorance is Bliss"...heck no..ignorance is not bliss...I am an admitted control freak, and well quite frankly, I've been there, and I want to know everything, but I do have a few years to overcome my control issues and let go.

So anyways, I went University of Florida and majored in Environmental Engineering. I did not arrive to UF until 2 years after high school, and I really had not known or kept in touch with any of my high school classmates who ventured to UF after high school, so I arrived, alone, not a friend in the world (yeah, ya hear it?..woe is me).  I lived off campus.  I was soo excited to have my very own place, until  some crazy man decided to murder and mutilate 5 students. I think that was  still the most scared I have ever been in my life,   not knowing anyone, living alone in a strange place, but I got through it.

Now I know, some of you will not believe this, but I was kind of shy being in that real big place not knowing anyone except my boyfriend when he finally arrived,  so I concentrated on studying and working those first few years.  But those last two years came,  I came out of my shell.  Probably something to do with attending class and being involved in activities with the same group of people over and over and over again.  There was a core group of us that seemed to do pretty much everything together.  Those are the years I remember the most, really good times and really good memories of Gator Football Games, Wine and Cheese Parties, Softball, pizza with no cheese (please don't ask),  a wastewater design competition, even a St. Patricks Day Party at my place, the yielded me in the emergency room the next morning to get a  tetanus shot (that's what happens when 20 people crash at your place and you get up to tinkle and step on that part of the belt buckle that goes in the hole of the belt) and some really good memories of some really good people of which most I have lost touch with.

So I have a smathering of photos from that time, I lost many of them in my divorce so many years ago, but I still have a few.

We (actually I think it would be proper to say Dave) formed a intramural softball team one year.  I remember this game well, because my best friend Elaine and I singlehandedly saved the game with our uncanny and amazing softball skills.  So let see from left to right that's Dave , Jamie, me Kevin, Greg, and Elaine (in the top picture).  In the bottom picture thats Dave and Kevin.

A few pictures from Gator Stompin (probably best I don't include all of them).  So Gator Stompin occurs the last week of school, you buy a ticket or a wrist band (the details escape me) that entitles you to a a free drink special at all participating bars along University Avenue.   I cannot name half these people anymore, but, soo much fun that night. My favorite memory of this night was crashing a non participating (that happened to be entirely empty until we showed up)  bar to drink and dance...

Below, Me, Dave, his buddy, and Elaine before the  Gator Stompin Activities. 

Random photo from that night. 

So where we got all the money to do all we did, I have no idea, but that last year I swear it seemed like a typical  night consisted of going out to eat every night (third pict below) followed by either a night of dancing, playing pool or drinking.

My friends Chrissy, Dave and Me. 

Chrissy and me out to dinner.

 I would go back to those years, but I would not trade those years for anything either!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I will never forget...

It hardly seems fitting to let this day go by without commenting on it.  You know, as much as I really believe in documenting our life, the events surrounding our life, current events, culture etc, I have never been able to bring myself to create anything regarding that day and have decided this year I will be adding a page to the appropriate album regarding 9.11.01 and the days that followed.

I was at work the day the planes hit,  Phoenix was five months old, we had just sold our condo, our house was not finished being built and we were to be moving to a hotel until the house was complete.

I was working on my computer engrossed in a project when a coworker yelled from an adjacent office,
"Tracy just called and said a plane hit the World Trade Center".   Both of us dismissed it as an innocent accident and we both assumed it was probably a small plane that somehow got off course.   When Tracy called the second time to tell us of the second plane we knew something was terribly wrong.   Other people in the office started receiving calls from friends and family and before we knew it a spouse had brought is a TV and we all (it was a small office) gathered around the conference room table and watched in complete horror the events unfold that morning.  As we got news of each additional plane I realized I had no idea where my father was, and could easily had been on any of those planes, the horror I felt was unimaginable.   I called my brother and asked him if he knew what dad's schedule was, and he said he did not.  I called his work and got a hold of his assistant.  I had never met Debbie before, bit I no sooner said this is Sho...and she blurted out, he's here, he's safe.  But he had the unfortunate task of telling a class of New Yorkers he was teaching the terrible news.

We had already though we had seen the absolute worse that could happen and all watched in disbelief as that first tower came down.  It never occured to any of us (and I was in room of structural engineers, just imagine the conversations) that the second tower could come down, and when it did, many of you were feeling as you watched, the feelings and emotions and palpable feel of that room was indescribable.  I know I sat there thinking, we are for all intents and purposes under attack, and the feelings of uncertainty and of what would come next was the absolute worse I have ever felt.  Nothing, with the exception of the events in New Orleans when the levee breached, has ever come close to the feelings I had not only that day but for the months that followed.

Although the feelings of horror and helplessness was so prevalent for so many months there were times I felt ever so proud to be an American.  When the story of passengers on United Flight 93 unfolded, I was amazed, and full of pride, and often felt myself wondering as a new mom what would I have felt or done if I was on that plane.   The selfless unrelenting determination of the first responders and rescuers moved me to tears every day, but not just them, the stories of the clean up crews at ground zero who hadn't been home in weeks, hadn't seen their families, and said they would not go home until they were done moved me to tears.  Even the news media profoundly affected, I cannot imagining having to uphold the highest level of professionalism, and objectivity, as they had to cover one of the most horrific events in American History, and I guess as I watched the news every day I never realized how hard it must be for them until a CNN reporter broke down in tears as she was reporting from the street, she had went down there to cover one angle, but once she got there and she realized the story of the people was more important and urgent she changed her plans, and it obviously deeply affected her.

As I mentioned above, we had to move into a hotel.  Can I tell you, that was the worse time to not have a place to call home, not to be grounded.   It was awful, and uncertain it was miserable.   We moved into our house in November and we were relieved more than anything.

I had decided to create a time capsule for Phoenix's first year, it quickly turned into a 55 gallon tote, we put every newspaper, magazine, pictures we took around town in that tote..her time capsule.  I've never opened back up, bust as she gets more curious as she gets older I suspect we will go through it.

America lost so much that day, and so many families are still sacrificing as they send their sons and daughters oversees to fight to protect us and our ideals in the middle east.

I'm grateful to the amazing brave service men and women and other law enforcement personnell who have kept us safe the last 10 years.

I am also proud to be an American and proud how we come together when we need to despite our differences!