Wednesday, September 24, 2014


I love baseball. I love to read about it; listen to it; watch it; play it. It has been a passion of mine since I learned to play the game at age 12. I played until I was into my 40's -- the last few years being the only player with teenage children at the backstop yelling, "Good hit, Mom!" One of my cherished memories includes an unassisted triple play I made while playing for an employee team in an industrial league while living in Illinois.
My mitt

I love going to baseball fields -- park district, Little League, college, semi-pro, big leagues. I love the sights of the game and the sounds of the game. I am a vocal cheerer and a yeller at games. No player or umpire is safe. I love the game! I love the fundamentals, the nuances, the strategy. I love people who also love The.Game. I have often said that I believe that if you live a good life, you go to Heaven and God lets you play baseball every day and He doesn't care that you're a girl.  
Yankee Stadium 2014

I love movies about baseball -- Pride of the Yankees, Angels in the Outfield, Bull Durham, Field of Dreams... I couldn't have agreed more when Terrance Mann says in Field of Dreams,  "The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It's been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again."  

Baseball has not only marked the time for our Nation, but for me... from a grade school girl learning to play on a softball field in Roseland to high school in Wheeling to industrial league fields in Illinois and New York and Little League fields of Monroe, Nanuet and New City, NY. Baseball memories are seared in my brain, including one son pitching a LL All-Star game...

My Yankees Sign
and another standing at bat with the post-season on the line, down a run, with two out and two on in the bottom of the 9th... the son who had not had even one hit all season... wondering how I would console him... when he smacks a triple to the left field fence and was carried off the field by his teammates (every child deserves to be a hero like that at least once in their life!) and one son outgrowing his mitt in the middle of the season so I loaned him mine... and when another boy said, "Hey! Nice mitt!", a kind of odd pride that filled me when my son replied, "Thanks. It's my mom's..." 

While I lived in Chicago, I cheered for the White Sox and the Cubs -- cutting many a day or afternoon of high school with friends to get to a Cubs game. When I moved to New York in the Fall of 1978, I became an INSTANT Yankees fan because, well, they were IN the post-season which, if you're from Chicago, you know rarely happens. People couldn't believe I had only lived there weeks the way I cheered. After an emergency surgery in 1980, I actually awoke and asked who won the game! I attended at least one Yankees game every single year I lived in New York and multiple games many years. Good years (there were many) and bad (there were a few), I cheered my Yankees.
Yankee Stadium June 2014
I have never been to Yankees Stadium (old or new) that I didn't say, "Man, I LOVE this place!" When we lived in New York, I would walk into Yankee Stadium and say, "I gotta get me a job here!"
I would stay up late and wake the house with my exuberant yelling when the Yankees scored... even today, I still cheer loudly when I'm listening to or watching the Yankees. When we retired to Arizona in 2004, I signed up for MLB Gameday and have listened to Yankees games every chance I get. When I bought my last car, I made them throw in the XM Radio subscription so I could listen to Yankees games wherever I was in the car. This year, I have MLB.TV for the last of the season just to be sure that I could see the season's final games.

Signed DJ Baseball
I have a small Yankees "shrine" in our library. I have a Derek Jeter signed baseball... a Yankee Stadium replica... and a Stadium music box/snow globe. A signed Derek Jeter baseball. I have a picture of Joe Torre and I chatting at a charity event in 1998.
Me and Joe Torre 1998
When someone asked him about Derek Jeter, he said that Jeter was "the oldest soul in a young man's body" he had ever met and that he was more impressed with Jeter as both a player and a person than he had been by any other person in his life. 

I even have dirt from the old Yankee Stadium. 
Historical Yankee Stadium Dirt

Unused Yankee Playoff Tix
 I have a large collection of UNUSED Yankee playoff tickets -- always having tickets to game 4 or 6 when they took it in 3 or 5. The only year I had early tickets it was a DAY GAME (the first in 20 YEARS!!!), couldn't get out of professional commitments so I sent a son and his best friend -- who, of course, called me from the game to tell me what a great time they were having!! That best friend is now a NYC Detective who routinely takes paid details at Yankee Stadium (and texts me pictures like this LOL).
Detective Removing Rabble

Which brings me to this emotional season in baseball... the last for my favorite player, Derek Jeter. And I didn't sign on to the Jeter camp late in his career. I have been privileged to watch and cheer for "Jeets" his entire career. I have loved watching him not just because he is a handsome and talented baseball player but because Derek has always played hard and he plays to win. It's the only way to play the game (and LIFE!)
Jeets June 2014
It has always been for Derek about the game and about The.Team. Even now in his final season and his final games, no matter how long the crowd chants his name, he will not reappear from the dugout because it is a distraction from the game and the team. 

Of course (!) there have been personal accomplishments and financial rewards for Jeter, but they are the frosting on his cake. This past summer we routed our vacation through New York so that I could attend a game in Derek's last season.

Derek Jeter has played for the New York Yankees for HALF of his lifetime. At 40, he has played baseball there... in NY... for half of his life. And what a career it has been!!! The only player to ever be named MVP of both the World Series and the All-Star Game in the same year. An AL All-Star 14 times. Yankees Player of the Year 5 times. Five Golden Gloves and Silver Slugger Awards. 1996 Rookie of the Year. 

For active players he is ranked FIRST: number of at bats, plate appearances, runs scored, assists at short stop, hits, singles, double-plays turned... and for his career in the top ten of all those categories. More than 1,300 RBIs and more than 1,100 base on balls. His baseball achievements are staggering. 

They don't have statistics (just video) of all those OHMYGOD!! Derek Jeter moments: the leap into the seats to make a play... the jump 'n' turn move... the run across the infield, snatch the ball on the 1st base line and heave it to Jorge at home plate for the out... the home run in November... so many. 

Jeter School Folder circa 1995


I will miss Derek Jeter on so many levels. I know in my lifetime we will never see the likes of Jeter again -- on or off the field. He is how I'd want my child to act. To work hard, try hard, try for success, play to win, maintain his dignity. He never showed up the umps.
The Captain June 2014

He never showed up his teammates. He tried to maintain his friendships and not speak unkindly when controversy swirled around other players. He taught the younger players. He led by example -- acts and deeds. And to know that's true, you only need look at how his teammates, other players and the fans have treated and acknowledged him this year.

To paraphrase Bud Selig on Jeter's career and his lasting impact on the game, "You couldn't have written a better script." 

So tomorrow, if the rain holds off or stops long enough and they get the game in, I will be teary-eyed for sure and I may actually weep -- and I certainly will be cheering -- for Derek Jeter during his last game at Yankee Stadium... and Sunday when he plays the last game of his career. 

And while Derek Jeter loves to thank the Good Lord that he was made a Yankee, I would like to thank the Good Lord, too, that He made Derek Jeter a Yankee!! 

And I want to say to Jeets: Thank you, Derek, for a lifetime of memories and for the baseball. Thank you!

(and if the Yankees know what's good for baseball AND the Yankees, they will hire him immediately -- AND sell him a stake in the organization -- no one does the Yankees better!!)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

An Update (sort of)

I have had a number of emails recently asking if everything is ok... for an update... wondering where I am and what's happening. Life is what's happening LOL... and here's who's keeps us busy... Thanks for asking!

our new Mz Catie

our little Mz Emery
and her Dad ;-)

our wonderful Tom Terrific!!!

Family... says it all...

our pups

not much else to say or do. one foot in front of the other. day to day. day by day. ups. downs. good days. bad. making memories. but nothing to blog home about... 

Remember to Support Our Troops.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

6 Years... and a Heartbeat Ago

We will not forget. We will speak their names. We will tell their stories.

6 years.. and a heartbeat ago.

Rest in Peace.

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Friday, September 09, 2011


I arrived at my job at a midtown Manhattan law firm about 7:30 that brilliant Fall morning. With the first reports of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center, I tracked down the firm’s technology manager with the key to the big screen television in the largest of the firm’s conference rooms. The screen flickered on just moments after the second plane had hit. We ran out and into the offices of others that worked early that morning and soon the few of us that first stood in shock in that conference room swelled to virtually the entire staff by mid-morning.

I called my husband at his suburban office across the Hudson River when the radio in my office reported the first plane hitting. Being a retired Naval aviator, he said perhaps the pilot of the small plane (as initial reports indicated) had suffered a heart attack or other health crisis since it was easy enough to miss the massive towers and go for the water beyond. When the second plane hit, he knew immediately -- as we all did -- that it was not a small plane and that it was no accident.

I had telephoned my twin sister after the first plane hit the Towers, waking her with the two-hour time difference. She, like my husband, assumed it was a small plane and had drifted back to sleep -- until our youngest sister had called her just minutes later tearfully asking if she had heard from me and describing the second plane hitting the second Tower. While Manhattan telephone service was overwhelmed at the instant the second plane hit, I did have internet access and couldn’t have possibly known when I responded to an email inquiry from a high school friend and Navy vet, “Life as we know it will never be the same. It has forever changed.”

A number of the stores and banks that had initially opened in the early hours to serve the “arriving for work” crowd had closed, but before they left staffs had wheeled television sets into the windows of their establishments and turned the volume high so that those on the street could follow the unfolding story. People in my office told stories of being on buses traversing the Manhattan streets and gazing out and wondering about the clutches of people gathered around shop windows, and not believing the unfolding story after alighting from their buses.

Gary, a legal assistant, was a runner and ran to work every day over the Brooklyn Bridge. When he arrived breathless that morning, he told us how he was half way across the span adjacent to the Towers when he became aware of the sound of an airplane in the vicinity -- planes could not approach any of the area airports via the airspace over Manhattan -- and pulled off his Walkman headset to locate the source of the sound. A number of other people walking over the bridge had also stopped to watch the plane coming across the sky, all believing that the pilot would divert to the water at the last minute, and the screaming that followed when it did not, and the sense of panic that enveloped the crowd as police ran onto the bridge yelling for everyone to “Get off the Bridge!!”

By mid-morning those in the firm that had made it into Manhattan before it was locked down crowded into the conference room; tears were abundant as the images of people falling or jumping from the buildings flickered across the screen and estimates of ten thousand dead filled the airwaves. All of us knew people in the Towers: family, friends, former co‑workers, adversaries. There were small screams and loud gasps when the Pentagon was hit as the reality that the United States was under attack rudely pummeled us. Standing on the inside window ledges of our 28th floor offices we could see the smoke rising from what would later become known as “Ground Zero”. Cries of “No! No!” echoed through the room and many simply stared in utter disbelief when first one, then the other, of the Towers collapsed. To the man (and woman), there was not a New Yorker that ever believed the Towers could or would collapse no matter the disaster. Except that we were attacked, it is still the most incomputable part of that day for me.

Someone called the local hospitals at everyone’s insistence that we should go give blood, only to be told that we should check back in two days, as they couldn’t accommodate the line of people that already stretched around the blocks.

Shortly after the attacks, entry to and exit from Manhattan by vehicle was stopped and we were, effectively, “locked in”. Hotels in Manhattan quickly filled and those of us that lived in the suburbs made arrangements to sleep that evening under desks, on office couches, in office chairs if necessary. Those staff members that lived in other boroughs of New York City began the long journey home on foot. Later that week, they told stories of how people set up impromptu transport spots -- where people with vans and cars would shuttle people from corners in Manhattan to various river crossings and drop them to continue their walks. How people on the other sides of the various bridges would then fill their cars with weary walkers and move them to other spots along their journeys. Other people told stories of how strangers had invited walkers to stop and sit and rest on front stoops of buildings while passing out water and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to the tired travelers.

We had no idea how long we would have to remain in Manhattan, so I ventured out of the office late in the morning to stockpile some food from the delicatessens that remained open for those of us that might have to remain. Upon exiting the office building that sat adjacent to Grand Central Station, the first thing I noticed was the unnatural quiet in the city. There were few buses and even fewer cars on the streets that normally harbor bumper-to-bumper traffic virtually 24 hours a day. The few stores that had opened and remained so had radios or televisions blasting so that the sounds of the news coverage carried to the street and radios blasted from passing cabs that had the windows open on the warm day. There were people on the streets, but so few that it might have been late at night rather than midday on a workday in the largest American city.

As I stood in front of the Fox News studios, I managed to get a cell phone call through to my husband. He was anxious that I was out on the streets of Manhattan and no longer ensconced in the relative safety of an office building. As we talked, I watched two fighter jets roar over just above the tops of the skyscrapers, followed moments later by the deafening sound of their engines as it ricocheted between and off the many buildings.

“Hold on a minute,” I said, “there are fighter jets passing overhead and I can’t hear you.”
When the sound had passed he asked tentatively, “Are they ours?”
“Well, yes, they’re ours.” Thinking what an odd question that was.
“How do you know they’re ours?” he asked.
“Well, I can see the insignia on them.”

After we ended our conversation, it settled on me that at that moment we still did not have any idea who was attacking us, or why or when the next attack might come.  I also managed to speak with three of our four children, including the sailor who had returned to the United States on a temporary duty assignment from his overseas post just two days before and who would insist a few weeks later on traveling to New York from Norfolk, VA to witness the devastation for himself and for those with whom he served.

I wandered for a while up 6th (the signs say Avenue of the Americas...), through Rockefeller Center, and eventually made my way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue to stand with the mobs that sought solace in their God that day even if they weren’t Catholic.

I returned to the office to find it mostly deserted except for those of us who lived in the northern suburbs further up or across the Hudson River. Early in the afternoon, Grand Central Station had opened, only to be quickly closed again after a number of bomb threats. Late in the afternoon, we received a report that GCS was again open, and a few us decided to attempt to get home -- or at least closer to our homes.

Although our office building was adjacent to the great Grand Central Station complex, it was a two-block walk to the train terminal portion of the underground complex by cutting through the lobbies of the buildings that lay between the terminal entrance and us. That day, the walk was many blocks longer as buildings that sat above GCS had closed their lobbies as a security precaution; we were forced to wind our way with many others around the maze of buildings that comprise the Park Avenue area. While there are many transportation hubs in -- and many entrance/exit points to -- Manhattan, that day, GCS was the only one re-opened. And while there are many entrances to the terminal, there was only one open.

As we turned the corner onto 42nd Street from Park Avenue, we involuntarily stopped and held our breaths as we were greeted with a view of multiple emergency service units, National Guardsmen with automatic weapons and canine units that filled the street. The voice of a policeman standing next to the building urged us on and assured us that all was safe. The throng of people shuffled forward shoulder to shoulder through the doors.

Again I was struck by the utter silence that greeted us inside this massive and grand structure as we slowly advanced on the famous Information Booth. Because it was the only open exodus from Manhattan, the terminal was filled with people as far as the eye could see, and the most prevalent sound was that of shuffling feet. The eerie silence was broken only by people calling out the names of their desired train stop and the faceless voice that called back the track number of the train. Another voice occasionally called out that no tickets were needed and advising travelers to proceed directly to the tracks. There was no idle chatter. No laughing. No crying. I remember the conflict I felt between the sadness and the sense of safety upon seeing the armed National Guardsmen and their canines posted at each of the tunnel entrances and dotting the terminal and gate areas.

The trains had twice as many cars as usual and were standing room only by the time they left the station -- three people sitting willingly wherever possible in seats designed for two. Once again, absent was the usual noise and chatter that accompanied a trip out of Manhattan at the end of a day. No idle talk. No cell phone conversations. Quiet. Reflective. Thankful. There were a number of passengers painted in the thick cake flour dust of the World Trade Center. Faces that had been hastily wiped of the dust still bore the tracks of tears from eyes that wept from dust and that wept for humanity lost that day.

As my train exited the underground portion of the terminal, all eyes were drawn to the break in the landscape that permitted a brief but horrific view of the flames and smoke that rose from the site of the attack. We rode in silence to the first stop. As people rose to exit the train, other passengers called out to their departing brethren who had been complete strangers moments ago, “Safe journey.” “God speed.” It was a ritual that was repeated at each of the many stops made that evening. It would be the only sounds that would invade the silence of the train ride beside the squeak and squeals of the train’s wheels that sounded more like the wails of the grieving.

After exiting the train at the Tarrytown, New York station, those of us that had to cross the Hudson River for Rockland County boarded buses for the trek across the Tappan Zee Bridge. The bus approached the bridge just as the sun was dipping below the horizon and we could see the southbound lanes of the bridge had become a parking lot of vehicles trying to enter New York City, which remained closed to inbound traffic. I could see people perched on the hoods and roofs of their cars as we passed on the northbound side; some were talking on phones, some were apparently napping.

As we approached center span, I and everyone else on that bus gasped as we caught an unobstructed view down the Hudson River to the smoke that glowed a fierce crimson red at its base and the upper reaches of which were brilliantly backlit by klieg lights that now lit the search for survivors at Ground Zero. I would recall that sight each of the too many nights that others and I turned in our bus seats to look back at Ground Zero as we exited the Hudson River tunnels into New Jersey... all the nights through the winter months that the ground glowed and the smoke billowed at Ground Zero

Our bus dropped us off at the commuters’ parking lot and I was dismayed at the number of cars that were still there at the late hour. I am still haunted by the memory of the cars that remained unmoved through the remainder of that week and through that first weekend until they were towed or removed by family -- windshields covered in sympathy cards and notes from people saying that they were praying or that they hoped the people were ok.

We lived just 20 miles from NYC... and our county and our town were havens for many NYC police and fire department members. Every day -- every day! -- for more than 13 months after 9-11, a column ran on page 3 of our local paper that carried the legend, "The following remains of victims of the World Trade Center have been identified:" For the five weeks following 9/11, there was at least one funeral a day in a church somewhere in the smallest county in New York State. In the 3 weeks immediately following 9/11 there were often two funerals per day just in our town and the heavily Irish neighboring town of Pearl River.

Like most New Yorkers, we had no desire initially to visit Ground Zero. It was not a tourist attraction -- it was hallowed ground where the business of searching for the dead was ongoing. However, over the Columbus Day weekend in early October, our Navy son traveled to New York for the purpose of visiting us and witnessing the devastation of Ground Zero. Reluctantly, we accompanied him and our two other sons to the site where the North and South Towers had once stood… the place where I had first visited Windows on the World and experienced my first taste of Steak Tartare prepared at table side and had looked in wonder at the city below. Where I had on many occasions fought my claustrophobia riding the elevators that never failed to make me queasy and to make my ears pop every few floors.

On that October morning, we walked around a number of blocks of rubble at Ground Zero. Again, although there were multitudes of people walking around the site, the relative quiet of the scene was noticeable and sticks in my memory. There was little talking and there were quite a few people weeping quietly. My only reaction -- having been at the Towers so many times before -- was a whispered, “Oh, my God,” at each turn. The only real sound that day was the sound of the heavy equipment working the mountains of debris and the occasional direction from the New York National Guard members who guarded the site and blocked access to, “Move along.” As we had walked along blocks adjacent to World Trade Center, it was impossible not to notice the caked dust on all the facades of the buildings and caked in the rungs of the fire escapes that are fixtures on the outsides of the older buildings... the dust making the gargoyles on the buildings more garish and menacing as we passed. The dust was not "dust" as you and I might find in our homes or offices -- but a thick grey residue that had the consistency of cake flour... compact, moist, thick.

It was nearly impossible not to stop every block to turn and stand with our mouths agape. The sheer magnitude of the devastation could never be captured in film or on the little screen of the television. I compare it to seeing the Sphinx or the Great Pyramids or the Grand Canyon: no picture can ever capture the depth and breadth of the scene that unfolded. After having witnessed that scene, it became -- and remains -- my opinion that had we not had the need to recover the remains of the murdered, Ground Zero should have been left as it was on 9-11 until every person in the U.S. and everywhere else in the world that cherished freedom and representative government had witnessed and experienced the horror that was Ground Zero. I took many people to Ground Zero over the years we remained in New York. It's impact on me did not diminish with time or the stages of debris removal. I have never been to GZ without tears.

The other image that has stayed with me from the period of time immediately following 9-11, was the NYC Columbus Day Parade that year. I know there was great debate about whether to hold the parade, as had Major League Baseball and the National Football League… seeking the balance between grieving the dead and celebrating that the attacks on our country had not dimmed the American spirit. Many businesses in Manhattan are closed on Columbus Day, but not the law firm for which I worked. The Columbus Day Parade is a boisterous celebration of Italian Americans and is one of the premier parades during the year along with the more famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

As I walked that day from 6th Avenue and 42nd Street through the city to 45th and Park Avenue, my path crossed the staging area of the parade floats which were parked along both curbs. As it was just past 7:30 in the morning, and given the holiday, the streets were mostly deserted. I remember it was a particularly brisk morning for that early in the Fall and I could see my breath as I walked. As I turned down one street, I noticed that the empty floats were each guarded by either a National Guardsman or a New York City policeman. As I walked, I closed upon the only other pedestrian on the entire block -- an extremely well dressed gentleman in his 50’s with a smart hat and cashmere coat. In one hand, he held the handle of a stylish attaché and balanced on his left arm and held with a glove-clad hand was the lid of a box that held 10-12 cups of steaming coffee from the local bakery. I stopped briefly to watch as he made his way to each soldier and policeman on this cold morning dispensing coffee and creamers and offering his thanks to each one. To this day, I regret not having my camera to snap the picture of this solitary man and these guardians on that lonely street. It captured for me just one of many ways in which we all changed on “that day”.

After 9-11, like others that traveled there every day, I became used to entering the tunnels under the Hudson River being guarded by police officers with side arms, but exiting in the evening guarded by Guardsmen with automatic weapons in response to some threat or other. We learned to take it in stride when our path on the city streets was blocked by armor-vested patrolmen responding to a threat ‑‑ simply detouring around a corner without a second thought. It was not unusual after 9-11 to have people look up to track the path of a low-flying police helicopter to determine whether we needed to change direction or move in the direction opposite whatever trouble the helicopter might be navigating towards. But New Yorkers went to shows and concerts. Traveled. Conducted business. Reveled on New Year’s Eve. New Yorkers, like most Americans, were on guard -- became more vigilant -- but could not be stopped from the American way of life. And while we remain on guard -- and at war -- we will not be deterred from the mission. We will not be defeated nor subjugated nor deterred.

9/11/11. Nothing will ever remove nor dull my horror or rage of that day. Not one day... not 10 years... not some act of the president nor of congress. People murdered... slaughtered. Nothing could dull my memories. Nothing should. I will not forget. I will not forgive.

originally published 9/11/06. All rights reserved. Some Soldier's Mom.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Happy Alive Day, Son.

We are so happy to be able to celebrate this day!

We make no effort to forget that day, but each new day takes us further away. And that is good.

We love you more than you know.

Friday, July 01, 2011

You Can Be a Hero for Wounded Heroes

Just weeks before our son, Noah, was wounded in 2005, our much-loved friend Chuck Ziegenfuss was also wounded. From bad things, good things sometimes come. In this case, it is Project VALOUR-IT (Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops). This is the only fund raiser I participate in all year.

From Chuck Z:

In 2005, I was wounded. For some months, I was unable to use my hands. They were simply too badly damaged from the blast, and the surgeries to make them usable again left me unable to do anything for myself. 

Then came Soldiers Angels, who gave me a laptop, and paired it with special software that allowed me to control the computer, using only my voice! Imagine, being able to do anything you can do with a mouse and keyboard, using just your voice. For me, it allowed me to do one thing that I could do before I was wounded.

That one thing when everything --feeding, cleaning, scratching, everything -- had to be done for me... that one thing I could do for myself that allowed me to connect to my soldiers, friends, and family. That one thing... that one thing began a long road to recovery. It gave me hope that I could learn to do other things like I did before.

That one thing is only possible if people like you care enough to help. We have provided thousands of these systems since 2005, but the needs for these systems is still increasing. I visit military medical facilities and meet with wounded troops, and know that there are ways to help them... and right now, I have to tell them to wait because we need funding.

Should our wounded have to wait for something that can help them heal, take their mind off their pain, or bring them a little sense of self?

Please help us raise $100,000 between July 1-14 to keep us in the business of providing for our wounded. It seems like a lot of money, but every single dollar helps. Every dollar donated goes to the troops. None of the VALOUR-IT donation goes to administrative or other costs. You'd be hard pressed to find any charity that does that, but it was a stipulation I made when we set it up. That number seems huge, insurmountable. But you know how you eat an Elephant? One bite at a time. Give what you can, please. I know times are tough. Times were pretty tough for me, too, and are pretty tough for young men and women learning how to use prosthesis, getting skin grafts, having wounds washed out...

Donate if you can, please share the message with others. Get your friends to give what they can. Write about it on Facebook and twitter. Call in to a radio or TV show. Spread the word. Spread the love. Spread the hope.

Thank you.

This year DH and I are supporting Team Navy (it's just a friendly inter-service competition -- but ALL money goes to ALL wounded regardless of service branch!!)

For you with smart apps, here's the QR -- just scan and go!!

Please give what you can. EVERY dollar helps.  (and if you just can't bring yourself to give via TEAM NAVY, there are links to Teams Army, Marine Corps, Air Force on the page as well.

PS If you are still just THINKING about a donation, consider this: you just read this on a computer, using your hands... imagine how isolated you might be if you couldn’t.

Feel free to copy & paste this message to friends, families, co-workers... share the links... share the images. Good to go!

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gary Sinise Launching Foundation

borrowed from Gary's Fb page

I have been a fan of Gary Sinise -- personally and professionally -- for a long time. I LOVES me some Gary Sinise. He is one of those people who uses his notoriety and personal resources for good in the world. Closer to my heart is that his favorite cause is the military -- active, veterans, the wounded. With this announcement, he takes another piece of my heart. As the wife of a veteran, the mother of a wounded veteran, and the mom of an active duty sailor, Thank you, Gary, from the bottom (and the corners) of my heart.


Presidential Citizens Medal Winner, Actor Gary Sinise Launching Foundation

Los Angeles, CA. (June 15, 2011) – Award-winning actor Gary Sinise will launch the Gary Sinise Foundation July 4th, 2011 to honor the Nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need. The foundation will provide and support unique programs designed to entertain, educate, inspire, strengthen and build communities.

Some of the many programs include relief for wounded warriors, entertainment for service members and their families, school supplies for children where U.S. troops are deployed, and scholarships for veterans. The foundation will also support and promote several quality organizations, some of which include The United Service Organization (USO), Operation International Children, Snowball Express, Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, American Veterans Disabled For Life Memorial, Fisher House Foundation, People to People International, Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, TAPS-Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, The FDNY Fire Family Transport Foundation, Hope For The Warriors, The Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund, The Navy Seal Foundation, and Disabled American Veterans.

The launch will coincide with the release of Jonathan Flora’s documentary “Lt. Dan Band: For The Common Good”. During the 30-day online release, when people stream the film at, one out of every four dollars will go to the Gary Sinise Foundation to support its programs.


ABOUT GARY SINISE:In 2008, he received the Presidential Citizens Medal, the second highest civilian honor awarded to citizens for exemplary deeds performed in service of the nation. He is only the second actor, and one of only 110 people in history to have received the honor. Other awards include The Medal of Honor’s Bob Hope Excellence in Entertainment Award, The Spirit of the USO Award, The Ellis Island Medal of Honor, The Harry S. Truman Good Neighbor Award and the Heart of a Patriot Award from USO of Illinois. In April 2011 he received the USC School of Social Work’s Crystal Heart, the school’s highest honor for his outstanding community service, and the university established the Gary Sinise Endowed Scholarship in the School of Social Work in his name to support further education in the area of military social work.

Sinise has done hundreds of personal appearances and concerts with the Lt. Dan Band worldwide, mostly for military related organizations. He has participated in more than 40 tours and made more than 150 appearances for the USO alone, and traveled to bases in Alaska and throughout the US, and overseas to locations such as Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan, Germany, Belgium, The UK, The Netherlands, Italy, UAE, Qatar, Korea, Singapore, Diego Garcia, Okinawa and Guantanamo Bay, raising the spirits and boosting morale of hundreds of thousands of troops and their families.

As a result of Sinise’s first two trips to Iraq, he started Operation International Children with Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand, which has worked with schools in the U.S., corporate sponsors and People to People International to supply the military with well over a quarter of a million school supply kits, along with more than half a million toys and thousands of blankets, backpacks, pairs of shoes, Arabic-language books and sets of sports equipment to provide to children in conflict areas.

Sinise serves as the spokesperson for the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, traveling the country to raise funds to build the memorial to honor America’s three million living disabled military veterans, which broke ground in 2010. He was involved in raising funds for The Pentagon Memorial located just southwest of The Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, where one can find a permanent outdoor memorial to the 184 people killed in the building, and on American Airlines Flight 77. He also helped raise funds to build The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance in KeySpan Park, to honor the first responders, those fire, police and emergency personnel from across the nation who raced to the sites after the terrorist attacks, risking their lives in service to others.

“The Foundation is a strong, dependable resource to spread the 'give-back goodness’.” That’s what Gary Sinise wants his Foundation to do, “provide opportunities for people to give back.”

Currently, Sinise stars as Detective Mac Taylor and is also a producer of CBS’ highly successful “CSI: NY.”

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Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Between Two Worlds (Redux)

More than five years ago I wrote the following blog post... despite the fact that there is so little news from the front, there are still two theaters of operation... and good men and women are being deployed daily and leaving behind wives, children, parents, siblings and friends to wait. wait. wait. and worry. So it is worth reminding those who do not have loved one's in harm's way -- those who live in THIS world -- what that is like.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Between Two Worlds

I have recently come to the conclusion that when you have someone deployed, you live in two worlds: "This" world and "THAT" world. In This World, everything goes on as normal. You go to work (for those that work), do the laundry, clean the house, pay the bills...… You know -- all the things "normal" people do.

But we're not normal. We also live in THAT World -- the world where the telephone ringing in the middle of the night is normal 'cause it's morning over there. The world where news is everything and vague reports of improvised explosive devices can raise your heart rate 10 beats a minute and unconfirmed reports of soldiers' deaths can cause you to inhale involuntarily. The world that can fall apart in an instant when the caller ID says it's Fort _____ or there's a knock at the door and the chaplain is standing there.

In This World, holidays are a day off or a reason to shop. In THAT World, holidays are markers of time passing... merely milestones until homecoming. First we got through Valentine's Day,… then Easter (telling ourselves that they'll be home next Easter), then Memorial Day (oh how we'll celebrate next Memorial Day!), Independence Day (we'll have the best barbecue next 4th!), Labor Day, Columbus Day...… just marking time in THAT World... the World where you live between goodbyes and hellos until it's goodbyes again.

In This World, birthdays and anniversaries, the births of children, the marriages of friends and family are celebrated with a degree of sadness because your soldier is not here... your soldier is in harm's way. Can you ever truly celebrate in This World when your heart is mostly in THAT World? We do but only because we are forced to live in This and THAT World.
We live in This World where the ringing phone is just a ringing phone -- an annoyance, an interruption... but we are forced to also live in THAT World where we curse because the phone does not ring often enough or can bring unhappy news... where 21st century technology is a tether to That World but which we curse in blackout or busy times when we are plunged into unwanted silence.

In This World, shopping is a normal every day activity, but because we also live in ThHAT World, it is a lifeline to our soldier: shopping for the things they need...… the things they like..… the things that tie them to home -- to us...… tie them to This World and learning that soft toilet paper or their favorite brand of salsa may be more priceless than gold in THAT World.

In This World there are 24 hours in a day, but because we also live in THAT World, we live a parralel 24. As we progress through our days in This World, we are calculating the time in THAT World and conjuring up pictures of what our soldier is doing at that moment. When we eat we wonder if they had a hot meal today...… when we shower we wonder if they had hot water for a shower or whether it was a water bottle rinse off...… we wonder if the mail even got through today. In This World, "Where did the time go?" is a simple phrase. In THAT World, it is a blessing that the hour or day went quickly because in THAT World time passes excruciatingly slow --… especially those last few days until that plane touches down and the senior officer yells, "Dismissed!"

In This World, you are brave, tough, and supportive and you dare not admit to many that in That World you are also weary, frightened, worried sick, and lonesome for your soldier and sometimes you cry about it for him and for you.

In This World, you smile politely when someone asks about the yellow ribbon pin or the purple ... bracelet you wear... and you smile broadly when they ask you to thank your soldier for their service in That World.
In This World you wonder why people clap when David Letterman or Jay Leno say hurtful things about the War while your soldier fights nobly in THAT World for their right to say it. In This World you find that you talk back to the television a lot and that you stop watching or listening to Senators and Representatives and clueless celebrities who can't seem to put aside their partisanship long enough to see the effect some of their mindless statements have on those that live in THAT World and are fighting That war. In This World you wouldn't dream of challenging someone demanding that we cut and run, but because we also live in THAT World, we have no qualms about telling them that they don't know their butt from an indentation in the Earth's surface and thoughtfully answer all their rote mumblings about oil, lies, wealth, WMD -- and when they spout "We support the troops" -- we don't hesitate to ask them to prove it!

Before this deployment, I thought that once our son -- once Our Guys -- were home, I would return to living in just one world -- This World. However, now that the deployment is over, I have come to realize that a part of me will always live between the two worlds. That World is now an integral part of This World for me... as it is for many others.

In This World, your friends are those you know in your neighborhood and from the PTA or Lions Club meetings. For the families of those deployed, our friends in This World include everyone that understands all too well THAT World: friends that are serving, those that have served, the families of those that are deployed, have been deployed or are deploying and the people that really do support them... always ready with a helping hand, an encouraging word, a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold in good times and bad. THAT World is a big world inhabited by a large family of which I am proud to be a member and for which I will forever be grateful.

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Memorial Day: Honoring Those Who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice for Freedom

Mansions of the Lord

To fallen soldiers let us sing,
Where no rockets fly nor bullets wing,
Our broken brothers let us bring
To the Mansions of the Lord.

No more bleeding, no more fight,
No prayers pleading through the night,
Just divine embrace, eternal light
In the Mansions of the Lord.

Where no mothers cry and no children weep,
We will stand and guard though the angels sleep,
All through the ages safely keep
The Mansions of the Lord.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

The Death of Osama/Usama bin Laden: A Personal Reflection of My Journey from There to Here.

The death of bin Laden earlier this week brought a sense of elation that surprised me. I suppose it was catching the enthusiasm in the voice of the youngest son -- the one wounded in Iraq -- who called with the news: "The motherfucker is dead! They got him!!" Surprisingly, the list of who the "motherfucker" might be was short. After dismissing the one U.S. citizen on my list, I knew it was the mass murderer bin Laden. (BZ ST6!!)

I recall to this day the thunderbolt that hit me the moment I -- as well as all the world -- realized our country was under attack. I suppose only a few did not immediately suspect it was Islamic terrorists; after all, the United States and all Western interests had been under attack by these nut cases for decades (DECADES, people!)  When I responded to an email from a high school friend that morning from my Manhattan office, "The world as we know it has changed forever", I could not have imagined how the events of that September morning 10 years ago would so intimately affect me and the members of my family. 

Of course, there were the immediate impacts on our daily lives: the seemingly endless stream of funerals and memorials in our close knit suburban New York community for those who were murdered that day; the barrage of news reports; the sensory assault of the flames, smoke and ash from the World Trade Centers that continued for months on my daily commute; the ghastly, haunting visit the entire family made to Ground Zero just weeks after 9/11 -- at the insistence of our eldest son home on leave from his overseas posting with the Navy who declared that he must be a witness for his fellow sailors.

The more lasting impacts of that day: the insidiousness of increased security at transportation hubs and the continuing invasion of privacy; the too politically correct environment foisted on us by the very monsters who shield the class of persons committing these grave acts of  violence under the guise of "tolerance" and the suddenly-abhorrent practice of profiling;  the media's incessant drone of "too much" and "too little" or "too soon" and "too late"; politicians' looking to blame someone for something or everything syndrome and their annoying whining; the plague that is the media and politicians that makes intelligent people mistrust and disbelieve the spin and any words that emanate from our so-called representatives and those cupcake news anchors of the world; not to mention how we have come to stare with more bewilderment than bemusement at the holier-and-smarter-than-you COMEDIANS and ACTORS who don't, have never and never will. 

Most importantly for those who do GET.IT is the nagging crick in the back of our brains that pricks at us often: when and where will the next attack come?  It's not a matter of IF. It is only matters of time and place.

I have said often that the events of 9/11 were one of the reasons we retired when we did. Both DH and I had good careers and we could have worked for many more years. The events of 9/11 three years earlier, the grind of a long daily commute and the seemingly endless security status changes, together with changes at our work places, caused us to look again at our priorities. And at the back of our minds was the knowledge that our youngest son WAS deploying to either Iraq or Afghanistan in the [then] near future.. We simply decided one day to "get where we are going".

bin Laden's attack on the U.S. also sealed our youngest son's commitment to military service. Having two brothers and a parent with military service (all Navy), Noah had already indicated his interest in enlisting; 9/11 gave him a laser focus on it and no admonition to consider all his options -- college, ROTC, military academies -- swayed him. He likes to tell people that we were opposed to his Army enlistment, but nothing could be further from the truth.

His unit's deployment was inevitable and we prepared for it like most other parents of children in the military: with trepidation and constant reminders to remain upbeat and to not focus on the dark side (yes, young Luke, there really is a dark side...)  We may have been more familiar with the military, but we were as apprehensive and as worried as any other parents... although our son's willingness to keep us in the loop (sometimes to complete distraction) was apparently not the norm for most parents. That said, however prepared we might have been to the idea of deployment, I can say unequivocally that it was no easier on me than on other moms and, because of his two tours in Vietnam as a Navy pilot, was probably harder on Dad. 

The idea of blogging my experience of having a child at war didn't dawn on me until weeks before the deployment as I began searching for information on what my son would need, want, experience, what services available and maintaining contact with him and his unit. It became clear in those early days of the Iraq war that the perspective of a parent -- especially of a mother -- was lacking. After a young sergeant in Noah's unit told me that information to parents was really an after thought because, after all, I was just some soldier's mother got me thinking about writing the stories not yet told.

I blogged regularly through Noah and his friends' ("my Guys") deployment; the send off; the waiting; the many deaths in his unit; our son's wounding; the deaths and funerals of some of his closest friends; on most of Noah's recovery (when he would let me say), his marriage, divorce, and the birth of his son, young Tom Terrific. I even posted the video of the bombing in which he was wounded.

I have blogged on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD ) and on the link to traumatic brain injury (TBI), the perceptions and the efforts to address the issues -- including the steps and missteps of the services and government and its agencies and efforts at redress.

Noah's medical discharge from the Army, together with the transfer and relocation of some of my Guys, end of service commitments, and the adventures and misadventures of others, meant my connection to the Guys' subsequent deployments and their lives in and out of the Army became tenuous and my blogging slowed. Eventually, I felt there was little of interest to blog about to which I felt a connection -- the connection that enabled me to write with conviction and vigor.

Added to the lack of material for which I felt a passion to write is the constant stream of requests from commercial enterprises to promote their products or web sites, from a million self-proclaimed "support the troops" or "veteran-friendly" organizations and enterprises, from the military services to participate in telephonic conferences or round table discussions of meaningless and uninteresting topics (pleas for topics more interesting than the new DoD energy policy falling to nearly-deaf ears...), the outright self-promotion of some bloggers and their patent dishonesty, made Some Soldier's Mom (the blog) seem more and more like unpaid work;  the serious affection I had (have) for telling the human side of service waned. I blogged less and less.


Add to all of this the very fact that there is life "after". Life after children at war. Life after wounding. Life during and after recovery. Six years at our new home and in the community, we have many friends and we enjoy their company often. We are involved in volunteer work. We have hobbies -- sewing, poker, pottery, metal detecting, reading, spending time together... We are involved with family: our eldest continues his career with the Navy. Our daughter continues her medical residency. One son continues to search for meaningful employment in a horrible economy. We have three grandchildren and are looking forward to the arrival of another granddaughter this summer. We travel. We entertain old friends and family at our home (we had so many over the Easter weekend that we had to break out the sofa bed and inflatables!!)

My Men

Tom Terrific & his Dad
Noah -- the impetus for the blog -- has completed courses of study for two careers and is gainfully employed. He is a single Dad in a committed relationship. He is probably as "recovered" as he will ever be. His life "after" -- physically and emotionally -- is significantly and profoundly different than he or any of us could ever have remotely imagined. He is vigilant in his care and follow up, but his extremely busy life doesn't leave a lot of time to dwell on the life "before" and often allows little time even for medical appointments; his life now is full of NOW and today... not a lot of time to dwell on any day before the list of what must be done today  (except for sometimes in the dark hours of morning and on the anniversaries of the darkest days). Every day is a new day. Every day, that is a good thing. 

Opa & Tom replacing batteries in a toy

That is where we are. This is where I am. So although we have arrived at "where we are going" our journey through life continues. It just doesn't currently include much blogging. If something catches my eye or peaks my interest, I'll be here. My email is still active (and I regularly answer many mothers' pre-service and pre-deployment emails.)  My posts on having a child deployed, on pre-deployment items, care package and holiday package suggestions still are accessed/read often. I still hope that they are helpful to people facing or in the midst of deployment. I hope some day they will all be unnecessary and simply historical "footage" of a time of great (but necessary) madness in our world.

We still think of and pray for our Sheepdogs every day. And we pray for peace. Every single minute of every single day, we pray for victory and peace.

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