Remembering September 11

This is a reblog of my post from last year. I tried to rework it a bit, but I still get too emotional. 
 

I don’t often take this blog to serious places, but it is difficult to ignore September 11 as anything other than a serious date. 

On 9/11/01, I was at a conference in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. The day was beautiful. Bright blue skies beckoned outside of our conference room, and a group of us planned to head into D.C. that afternoon. It was my first trip to the area, and I couldn’t wait to take in all of the sights in our nation’s Capitol.

Our group was engaged in a lively discussion, but then, in the middle of the conference session, cell phones began buzzing. We laughed at first. It seemed amusing that we’d all get calls at the same time. Then one of the presenters stepped out to take her call. When she returned to the room her face was devoid of color, and she said we were adjourning to the lobby of the hotel.

There, we gathered around a television and watched footage of a plane crashing into one of the World Trade Center buildings. A coworker began sobbing. Her parents had a business next to the building and she excused herself to try to call them. We stayed focused on the screen and watched in disbelief as yet another plane crashed into the side of the second building. 

The dawning comprehension that this was not an accident registered immediately. Some cried. Some cursed. Some prayed.
My room was on the first floor, just around the corner from the lobby. I felt the urgent need to be alone, so I went to my room and got down on my knees. I prayed for the families of all those on board the planes. I prayed for those inside the buildings. Then I prayed fervently for those who had perpetrated this unimaginable act to be forgiven.

When I emerged from my room I began hearing all sorts of stories: the Pentagon had been hit, the White House was under attack, another plane had crashed in Pennsylvania. I wasn’t sure what was real and what was rumor. 

I tried to call my Studly Doright who was en route to Houston that day. When I finally got through he was frantic. He knew how close my hotel was to the Pentagon–15 minutes by Metro.
He’d had an intense day. Studly and eight of his coworkers were traveling in a white rental van from Kansas to Houston. They’d planned on playing a few rounds of golf on their trip. When they received a call from their company’s vice president to find a spot to convene a conference call, they found a bank in a small Texas town. The bank had locked its doors and required Studly and his coworkers to present picture i.d.s before admitting them to the building.

Their Houston meeting was cancelled, so they turned the van around and headed to their respective homes.

I’d never wanted to be home as much as I did that day, but all flights were cancelled. Colleagues began trying to rent cars, but those were hard to come by. One of my closest friends urged me to stay put. The hotel said we could stay at no expense until we could arrange for travel and our company promised to take care of us until we could find a way home. So for three days we stayed in the hotel, checking flights and watching the news. On Friday morning we headed to Dulles, hoping that our flights would be cleared.

I’d never seen lines that long at an airport–around the terminal and out the door. People were beginning to feel a sense of desperation. First we were told our flight to Dallas was cancelled. I was ready to give up and head back to Tyson’s Corner, but again my friend urged me to stay put. 

That advice paid off when a gentleman came through our line to gather those of us ticketed for the Dallas flight. We boarded the plane and then sat on the tarmac for two hours. No one spoke. The silence was more unnerving than anything I’d experienced in the previous three days. 

Finally, we were cleared for takeoff–the first plane to depart Dulles after 9/11.
When we landed safely at DFW a palpable feeling of relief surged through the cabin. One of the flight attendants broke into tears. I cried with her. I had to catch another flight to Amarillo, TX. 

The flight attendants gave us instructions on fighting off attackers. Use anything you have they told us. Purses, pillows, wallets. The whole experience was surreal.
When I made it to Amarillo and to my car I sat and cried in the parking lot for a long time. I still had a four hour drive in front of me, and I remember very little of it. When I pulled into my driveway in Dodge City, Kansas, Studly came out to hold me.

Peace, Please People!

Delayed Gratification

In college I took enough psychology classes to make me annoying (ok, more annoying) to my friends and family. I loved reading about experiments and studies into animal and human behavior.

One that has stuck in my mind is an experiment that I believe B.F. Skinner, known as the father of operant conditioning, constructed. Now I tried to google the experiment, but never hit on the exact study I was looking for, so maybe I made it up. Please, if you know of the study correct my errors.

As I recall, in the study some rats were given a treat every time they pressed a lever, while other rats never received a treat, and still others received treats at random. Understandably, the rats receiving no rewards soon gave up pressing the lever, and the rats who always received a treat became complacent. The rats that received treats only now and again, though, were the most eager to press the lever. 

Hmmm. I get this dynamic now; whereas, in college I did not. Let me illustrate:

Once, many years ago, I arrived home from a business trip to find Studly Doright standing outside our home in Melbourne, Florida, with our motorcycles loaded for a trip. He told me to get ready for a weekend ride and to grab anything I might need for a weekend of fun. He refused to tell me where we were headed, just that I might need my swimsuit.

Unbeknownst to me he’d booked us the attic room at the Seven Sisters Inn (A Historical Bed and Breakfast) in Ocala, Florida. It was wonderful and romantic, and ever since that time I’ve fantasized about another such surprise. Had he never treated me to that trip I’d never even entertain the thought, but he did and now, no matter how often I push the button I receive no reward. Well, at least not THAT reward.

Sigh. Better to be the rat that never got the treat? You decide.

 

Seven Sisters Inn
 
Peace, people!

My New Fitbit

  
Apropos of nothing last night my husband, Studly Doright, suggested I purchase a Fitbit. I pretended I had no idea what he was talking about.

Me: What’s that?

Studly: You know, it tracks your steps.

Me: Oh, it’s a pedometer?

Studly: Well, kind of, but it talks to your cell phone and tells you how many calories you’ve burned.

Me: Are you saying I’m fat?

Studly: Well, no, but you’re always talking about losing weight and, well….”

Me: (pouting dramatically) You’ve really caught me off guard. I guess, if you want me to buy a tool to keep me from getting fatter I’ll do it to make you happy. 

Studly: You’re such a knothead.

Me: Yep. Let’s find me a Fitbit.

I researched, a.k.a. surveyed my Facebook friends who by a large majority recommended I buy the Fitbit Charge. I went ahead and got the HR model that also tracks heart rate. My mild technology anxiety fluttered in the back of mind when I contemplated the barriers I might have to deal with in order to get the device synced to my phone, but it was a breeze. 

I’d go walking, but at 7 p.m. it’s still 95° degrees F in my part of the world and super humid. If I can hold out for another hour it’ll drop to 90°, and I might venture out. So far I’ve journeyed to and from the bathroom and clocked 173 steps. I have a feeling I won’t be reaching the pre-set goal of 10,000 steps on my first day of Fitbit ownership.

  
Peace, people!

Home Sweet Laundry

My cats were glad to see me when I arrived home Tuesday afternoon after a week on the road. Studly Doright was, too. I could tell by the way he purred when I rubbed between his ears. 

Today has been devoted to laundry. It could’ve been much worse, but Studly took it upon himself to do his own. I did a happy double take when he told me that he’d successfully pushed the appropriate buttons on both washer and dryer. He even took the time to learn how to properly use the Tide pods that I’m so fond of. 

Studly has always claimed he didn’t know how to do the laundry. Now, this is the man who taught me the difference between a two-stroke engine and a four-stroke. He’s the same one who made sure I knew how to check my own oil and to change a tire. And yet somehow laundry mystified him until this past week. 

Well played Studly. Well played.

Peace, people!

  
He’s really good with the grandbabies, too. No instructions necessary.

Peace, people!

When You Gotta Go…

I let my 12 year old grandson help write my blog post for today. He picked out this meme:

  
I picked out this one:

  
Both are fitting for the start of my long journey home, because this

  
Is so very true.

It’s been such a fun week with the grandkids. We went bowling, played laser tag, and video games, feasted on junk foods, and acted out scenes from Frozen until I had ice shards shooting out of my nose.

My plan is to reach the southeast side of Nashville on Monday afternoon and maybe relax in the pool for a few minutes. A bit of relaxation might be in order after all the fun. I’ll miss these guys, but Studly Doright is ready to see me. 

Grand Children

How wonderful are
the children of my children?
They are grand, indeed.

Smart, sweet, and sassy;
loving, amusing, and kind.
Cute beyond belief.

I’d tell everyone
that the kids take after me,
but I’d be lying.

That’s me in the middle, holding our youngest grandchild and surrounded by my husband, kids, and grandkids.

Cooking for Studly: July Update

As July 2015 fades into history I must confess that I have faded as a cook this month, as well. I’ve relied heavily on frozen entrees these past 31 days, blaming my lapses in the kitchen on a number of worthy excuses:

  • Time spent working in Studly Doright’s shop 
  • Oppressive heat
  • Menopause
  • Humidity
  • Blogging
  • Travel
  • Cat videos
  • Politics
  • Sinus issues

I’m running out of excuses, and once I return home from visiting my daughter in Illinois I’ll need to either start cooking again or come up with some better evasive tactics. I’m open to suggestions.

  

Peace, people!

38 Plus One Reasons Why

Last year at this point my blog was just a newborn. It has grown and so have I, physically, emotionally, and mentally.  

This was my post one year ago today, with an additional reason tacked on at the end.

On the eve of our 38th wedding anniversary
I thought it might be interesting to challenge myself to list 38 reasons I’m happy to be married to Studly Doright. 

1. He thinks I’m smart.

2. His sense of humor. It’s corny and quick and keeps me on my toes.

3. He’s a great mechanic. That ability has been ridiculously valuable throughout our 38 years together. No matter how broke we were we always had reliable transportation.

4. He is handsome. Much better looking than I deserve.

5. He’s honest in his dealings with others. His golf buddies refer to him as the Boy Scout. He never cheats. Never.

6. He can admit when he’s wrong.

7. He isn’t afraid to show emotion.

8. He loves our kids fiercely.

9. The grand kids have compared him to a jungle gym. And he would do anything in his power to make them happy.

10. He is loyal, sometimes to a fault.

11. He treats his mother like a queen.

12. He is generous and big-hearted.

13. His laugh. Oh, wow, his laugh. Sitting through a funny movie with Studly is one of the best mood lifters in the world. I highly recommend it.

14. He is a really good kisser.

15. He is an incredible leader.

16. Have I mentioned how smart he is?

17. He will dance with me if he has had enough to drink.

18. He is a good driver.

19. He taught me to ride a motorcycle without wringing my neck.

20. He likes to hold hands.

21. He does everything in his power to make sure I’m happy.

22. Studly loves our cats as much as I do.

23. He is consistent. That might sound boring, but he’s the perfect counterpoint to my Inconsistency.

24. Punctuality is important to him.

25. He makes kick ass obstacle courses.

26. He is a decent amateur auctioneer for our family reunion fund raisers. What he lacks in speed he makes up for in witty repartee.

27. He is really good at mental math. I never need a calculator when he’s around.

28. My parents loved him.

29. He insisted that Daddy move in with us so we could care for him after Mom passed away. The two years we had with Dad before he died were some of the best of our lives.

30. He never lets me take myself too seriously.

31. He doesn’t worry.

32. He respects my opinion and listens to my points of view.

33. He sees me as an equal partner in our marriage.

34. He can cook much better than I can.

35. He can laugh at himself.

36. Studly has a stellar work ethic.

37. He knows how to enjoy life.

38. And, he loves me. He really, really loves me.

39. No matter how crazy his work becomes, he never brings it home.

I made it! Truth is I could’ve gone on and on, but I probably lost most of my readers half way through. That’s ok. This one’s for my husband.

Peace, People.