Monday, September 19, 2011

September Grass

Today's post is more of a photo essay, than a written one. Because I think the pictures tell the story.

I went for a run along the immediate shoreline this afternoon and was struck by the amount of work that still needs to be done to get things back to normal after Irene. We know about hard-hit places like East Haven's Cosey Beach. That neighborhood may never look like it used to look. But there are plenty of spots that are still trying to bounce back, more than three weeks after the storm.

Dumpsters filled with pieces of a family's life - from furniture to a satellite dish
Tree trimming crews cutting broken branches and cleaning yards
Piles of twigs, branches, stumps, and even small trees
There used to be tennis courts under all that sand
Roads are covered with sand in some spots, washed away in others
Shouldn't September grass be more, um, green? 
We may all have our power back on... and the news may have moved on to the next big story... but for plenty of people, Irene is anything but old news.

Today's Title: James Taylor singing about soft, green grass..

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Miami 2017

You will see (or have seen by now) thousands of blog entries, newspaper articles and television stories pertaining to the 10th Anniversary of 9/11. We each have our memory of that day. We've each been affected differently. This is what stands out to me.

I found out about the attacks like so many other people -- with a phone call. My wife was already at work. "Turn on the TV," she said. I was sleeping in that Tuesday morning -- a day off after what had already been an emotional weekend for my family. We buried my grandfather on September 10th.

I sat on the edge of my bed watching Good Morning America. I watched the live pictures as smoke rose from the first tower that was hit. I listened to Charlie Gibson and Diane Sawyer try to figure out what was happening. I watched as a plane slammed into the second tower.

I rushed into work -- ready to do whatever they needed me to do. First stop -- Tweed-New Haven airport, where police were blocking the entrance. My photographer and I listened on the radio, as one of the towers fell. Then we heard Connecticut Limo was going to shuttle firefighters and EMTs from Connecticut to New York. So we rushed to Milford to go along. But they started shutting down the entrances to the city -- so that didn't happen. I ended that long day in Windsor Locks reporting live from outside Bradley International Airport, where it was eerily silent. No planes flying in or out.

It wasn't until I got home -- well after midnight -- that I really got to "see" what had happened. I'd been on the road all day listening to radio coverage. It was even worse than I'd imagined.

When I think of 9/11, I think of the horror of the day. I remember being afraid that this was just the beginning. I still feel overwhelming sadness for the loss of life -- for the families that lost moms or dads, sons or daughters, brothers or sisters. When I think of the victims of 9/11, I think not just of those who lost their lives on that day, but the recovery workers who spent so much time in the rubble at Ground Zero they will never be the same mentally and/or physically. And I think of the Troops who lost their lives in faraway battles related -- directly or indirectly -- to what happened that morning.

But I also think of the way this country came together afterwards. I think of the national pride that swelled -- that sense that we will survive, we will rebuild, we won't let anyone destroy our way of life.

I think of the crowds that gathered along the streets that led to Lower Manhattan to applaud the rescue and recovery workers.

I think of the way we recognize those first responders as the heroes they truly are.

I think of the first moment that made me know it was okay to cheer for sports again.

I remember the Concert for NYC at MSG.

They were the moments -- big and small -- that began to reassure me that we would, eventually, be okay.

Today's Title: "I've seen the lights go out on Broadway, I saw the mighty skyline fall.."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I Ran

I ran.. even though my body was trying to tell me not to. I ran... even though my wife encouraged me to sit this year out. (She was probably right, but don't tell her I wrote that.) I ran.. because I'm stubborn. And man, today I hurt.

That's the frustrating story of the 2011 New Haven Road Race for me.

Laboring over the finish line

I'm not a "serious" runner, but running has kind of grown on me over the last couple of years.  I may do 3 miles or so, 3 times a week. I only do 3 races a year -- the YMCA/Rotary 5K on Thanksgiving Day, the 5-Mile Branford Road Race on Father's Day and the 20K New Haven Road Race on Labor Day. But I look forward to those races. I look forward to competing -- not against the field of runners, just against myself.

That's what makes this year's New Haven Road Race so frustrating. Last year, I finished in just under two hours. I was proud of that time. It was only my second time running that distance -- about 12.4 miles. I was hoping to be around the same time this year. And for the first half of the race, I felt good -- had a good pace. But around mile 8, my calf seized up... my hamstring tightened... and my toe throbbed with every step. My body was (figuratively) collapsing like the Mets in a September pennant race.

But I finished. This Labor Day, I labored over those final four hours. There were a few times I wasn't sure I'd make it to the finish line. But I did -- on my feet and not on the back of a NHFD golf cart. And, as I've gotten used to saying when it comes to the Mets, there's always next year.

Today's Title: Awesome 80's hair

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Power

Six days without power was long enough. I know others were without electricity for longer, after Tropical Storm Irene. I know others got it back within a day. I know some never lost it. I also know some people lost their homes. With that in mind, I know it could've been worse.

We got our power back late Friday night. And it's true what they say -- you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone. We take so much for granted, no doubt. The trick is appreciating it a little more after you get it back.

So, I'm going to try to focus on what I've learned in the last week. For example, I don't always need to turn on a light every time I walk into a room. Quiet - no TV or music - is quite nice. And my kids actually can play with their toys together without killing each other. Most of the time. They don't need television or Wii or anything else that needs to be plugged in. I really hope that lesson sticks with my family.

Perhaps once a month, we should have a 'no power day'... just as reminder to be a little more thankful for some of the things that are so easy to take for granted.

Today's Title: Some guys rockin' the fade -- 1990 style.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Happy New Year!

I know, I know.. just because I took a month off from blogging, doesn't mean it's a new year. But, I've always seen September as the real beginning of the year. I'll explain that in a moment. In fact, I meant to post this yesterday. But first...

I've been a little busy. Oh, and I haven't had power at home all week. But a lot of us in Connecticut have been in that position. Hopefully by the time you click on that link, things will be back online. I think being in the dark (literally, not figuratively) helped me do my job this week. I'm lucky, my house wasn't destroyed. It wasn't even damaged. But as the week wore on, I could certainly feel the frustration of the hundreds-of-thousands without power in the state. Let's hope we don't have to go through this again.

Now back to the regularly scheduled blog post..

When you're a kid, the beginning of the school year - usually around Labor Day - was how you learn to measure a year. You're in third grade now. You're starting Middle School. You're a High School Freshman. For some reason, that mentality has always stuck with me. September means the end of summer vacations and new beginnings. The new television season starts. (At least the traditional network television season.) Football season begins. And Pumpkin Spice Lattes and muffins are back at Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts. Doesn't that just scream new year to you?

Anyhow, in that spirit, I'm wishing you a Happy New Year -- whether or not you subscribe to the school calendar theory or not. And speaking of new beginnings, my New Year's Resolution is to post on my blog more frequently. Maybe just a paragraph or two... maybe just a picture or two. But I'm going to use this space better.

And thanks, as always, for reading.

Today's Title: The Earth, Wind and Fire classic