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In 2006, to commemorate the five year anniversary of 9/11, I joined The 2,996 Project - a project designed to remember the victims, and celebrate their lives. Each victim was assigned a blogger. Each blogger will write about their assigned victim. Not having known our victims, we rely on the memorials, tributes and stories posted around the internet. We hope to memorialize the beauty of each individual life, and celebrate the people we will never have a chance to know, nor could ever have known we would want to.

My assignment was - and remains - Kenneth Alan Simon. Today, all these years later, I remember him and think of his family. I pray and send them thoughts of healing.

Kenneth was a 34 year old equities trader who worked on the 104th floor of the North Tower for Cantor Fitzgerald. He was married, and had one adopted daughter. He lived in Seacaucus, N.J. He loved baseball, learning, and walking his dog, Bailey.

According to his wife, Karen, Kenneth had a passion for learning. He spent his dog-walking time memorizing baseball stats and triva (sounds like my husband!!). He remembered important dates like when he got engaged and when he got married by associating them to Yankee's milestones. Before he died, he was teaching himself to play the piano, and was working on "Yesterday" by The Beatles (I'm jealous!!). He was also an accomplished chocolate chip pancake cook (now I'm really jealous!!!).

Kenneth had a passion for his family, and for being a father. He took his four month old daughter, Maya, to the South Street Seaport, just so she could see where he and her mother got engaged. Karen said he was constantly taking Maya out for walks, and taking cuddly naps with her on the couch. His wife says the moment he laid eyes on Maya, he looked into her big brown eyes and was lost - he fell in love with her. Kenneth and his wife were working on building their dream home, a five bedroom house, which he planned to fill with adopted children. This was obviously a man who loved with a passion - a "family guy" who loved his wife, and looked forward to raising his children. A father, in every sense of the word...something there are far too few of, these days.

Karen describes Kenneth as a sweet, grounded, generous man...her soul mate. She feels blessed to have had him in her life, and even if she had only had him for one day, she would have been grateful for the time that she had by his side. I have a husband like that, too, and I can totally relate - sometimes, I want to strangle him. Sometimes, we struggle. But I know what an incredibly lucky woman I am to have someone who loves me as deeply as he does...and I know how devestated I would be if, in the blink of an eye in an act of unthinkable, senseless violence, he was taken from me. I can imagine Karen's torture.

Both Kenneth and his father, Arthur, were lost to their families on 9/11. In the crashing of a single plane into the north tower, his family suffered a double crushing blow that they will never forget. His mother lost her loving husband, and her first born child. His wife lost her devoted husband, and her father in law. And his daughter lost her grandfather and her father. Three generations of women were left permanently wounded, and they will never be the same.

Kenneth is remembered by his family for his joy for life, for the radiant glow that lit his face when his wife or daughter entered a room, and for his desire to always keep growing. He is remembered by me as the very real face of a very sureal nightmare. I hope his family knows that when we mourn this collosal tragedy as a nation, we are also mourning the earthshattering tragedy that happened in their lives, too. They will all be in my prayers.

Rest in Peace, Kenneth.

Hmmm.

Why can't I figure out how to post my playlist on the side bar of my journal? Is it possible, using the style I have? If so, will someone kindly help me with it?

Merci beaucoup! *kisses the tips of your noses*








Beth Theve's Dewey Decimal Section:

077 Newspapers in eastern Europe; in Russia


Class:
000 Computer Science, Information & General Works


Contains:
Encyclopedias, magazines, journals and books with quotations.



What it says about you:
You are very informative and up to date. You're working on living in the here and now, not the past. You go through a lot of changes. When you make a decision you can be very sure of yourself, maybe even stubborn, but your friends appreciate your honesty and resolve.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at Spacefem.com

Copied from my MySpace blog

One good thing about proposition 8...it will very quickly bring to focus the people who should not be friends with me, so I can remove them from my list before any permanent damage is done.

Let me explain to you why a straight Christian woman who has never actually been gay, thinks that it is a travesty and a streak of willful, violent ignorance that allows people continue to vote to ban gay marriage.

I have heard the argument that marriage is between man and woman. Well, see, Webster's dictionary doesn't define it that way. NO dictionary defines it that way. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say the reference point for that argument is the Bible. Well, guess what, folks? The Bible is a religious reference point. It is based on your faith, your religious faith. And was our country founded on the belief that we should all adopt one religion, and force it down every one elses throat? That people should be persecuted and punished if they don't agree with/fit into that religion? Was it? I don't think so. I think it was founded on the idea of religious FREEDOM. The idea that all religions would be acceptable, and that there would be separation of church and state and no ONE religion would be forced on ANYONE. Right? Well?! Am I right???

*sighs*

I know, it hurts, but go ahead and admit it. Yes, I am right. Excellent! Glad we have that out of the way.

If I am right, that means that you do not get to take definitions from your religious reference and force them on other people. Heck, let's go wild and crazy while we're at it, and point out that it ALSO MEANS that those self-same people should be protected by law from harassment, persecution and violence, even though they do not have the same moralistic beliefs as you. Know why??

That's RIGHT!

Because this country is based on the concept of RELIGIOUS. FREEDOM. And they have a right to not only believe they will NOT go to hell for falling in love with someone of the same sex, but also to believe in a God who wants them to be happy and live a long and fulfilling life in a committed and responsible relationship. Or to believe in NO GOD, and not give a shit what anyone thinks of them being in love with someone of the same sex. Or to believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster who created midgets and pirates. Whatever floats their boat. Religious. Freedom.

If you want to ban gay marriage in your church? You just go right on ahead and take care of that, my friend! Make a big sign: GOD DOES NOT MARRY GAYS IN THIS CHURCH. I'm feeling pretty strongly that there won't be a line of gay people standing outside demanding entrance into your intolerant little knot of followers anyway, so it's all good. Practice your religion, enjoy it, have a long happy life and prosper.

BUT.

When a gay person walks into a government office - like, say, a Justice of the Peace? And says, "Well, hello there! I am in love with this fine person by my side, and would like to declare to my community and my government that we are a couple and will be spending a lifetime side by side." - they should not, for any reason whatsoever, be turned away because your church doesn't like the idea. Because see....we're separating church and state. This over here? This is your church. And this over here? This is a government run agency handing out government certifications and licenses. One based in religion, one free of religious bias. That is how it is SUPPOSED. TO. BE.

And to be honest with you, how you can see it as any different to tell a person, "you, sir, may not marry that man because you are the same sex and my God thinks that is icky" than to say "you, madam, may not marry that man because he is white and you are black and my God says to keep the races separate" is beyond me. It just absolutely boggles my mind that you can see the prejudice in one situation, and miss it in another.

I digress.

I have heard the comment, "do you think it's right that my poor, innocent CHILDREN are being exposed to this inappropriate and disgusting display of open gay and transgendered sexuality, and that they are being forced to think about and understand these types of sexual situations?!?" And to me, this begs the question...how is seeing two gay men kissing any different than seeing a picture of Brad and Angelina draped all over each other? What is the difference between two women holding hands, laughing and in love, and any one of the romantic situations in 7th Heaven, Hannah Montana, The Cheetah Girl movies, or any other damn thing your child watches on TV? Why does it matter if the man in a couple is dressed as a woman? Why does that necessitate a different answer than "Well, they're holding hands because they're in love, sweetheart, and that's what people who are in love do." Why does there need to be ANYTHING "disgusting" or "inappropriate" discussed at all?

If you see a straight couple kissing in the street, do you explain the details of fornication to your five year old? No? Well then why the holy f^ck does that need to be different if the couple isn't a man and a woman, but a man and a man? WHY?!? Explain this to me, because your anti-logic is BAFFLING me!

And to further expound on that argument, do you know what? Hold on...sit down, hold on to your socks, because this might just knock them right off your feet. YES, I DO think it's right that my children be exposed to love of all different shapes and colors and mixes and styles. I not only think it's right that it's they're exposed to it, but I ENCOURAGE it and make sure that they see that I am open to and accepting of any healthy, loving relationship. Do you know why? Let me tell you.

Because when one of MY children gets old enough to have examined his/her sexuality and realizes...."Hey! I've never really been into the opposite sex. I've kind of always had a thing for the same sex!"....they will never have to worry that their mom is going to reject them, disown them, stop loving them. They will never have to worry about a God who is going to send them to hell for loving someone, unless they themselves have come to that conclusion in their own spiritual journey. They will not for a moment have to feel dirty, or ashamed, or like they have anything they have to hide or that they must now live in constant, daily fear and torture themselves with a secret truth. MY children will be able to love themselves for who and what they are, and know that *I* will love them for who and what they are, and that it's OK to be happy in life and to go for what makes you happy, and that God is not going to damn them to eternal suffering for doing what they thought with a pureness of heart was the right thing to do!

And more than that...when YOUR poor child comes to the realization that they have always been someone different than who they look like on the outside, and when the shame and fear of you and your religious views drives them to a suicidal level of depression, I can rest peacefully in the knowledge that MY child is not going to shun them. My child will not reassert their feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or make them feel sick about themselves. My child will reach out, tell them it's ok, hold their hand and be there to accept and love them. My child will encourage them to feel comfortable in their own skin, and to live life in a way that makes them happy. My child, unlike yours, will already have the knowledge of what unconditional love is truly about.

Gay marriage is not about porn. It's not the dirty XXX theater hidden in some seedy corner of your hometown. It's not about having butt sex on your front lawn. It's not about double headed dildos as the give-away toy in your box of Cheerios. It's not about assless chaps, bondage, leather, wearing women's underwear or a strap on, for f^cks sake....GROW UP, PEOPLE!!! Don't worry about what's going on in people's bedrooms which is none of your f^cking business anyway. Be proud of two people who have found each other, and like each other enough to want to commit a lifetime to one another, and to making one another happy.

It's not the gay people making it something taudry and dirty...it's YOU. And maybe...maybe? You should look a little closer at why you feel the need to do that. What secret little thought or fantasy lived in your heart, before someone made you think it was disgusting and dirty and you repressed it so far that if anyone else shows any sign of it, you have to become loud and abusive in order to distract anyone from seeing that you might just understand what it's like to want something that is outside of the "norm". Remove the plank from your own eye, before you remove the speck of dirt from your brothers. Just sayin'.

Oh, and hey...that last bit is a Biblical reference. For serious. Look it up. See, but I can do that because this is my BLOG, not a GOVERMENT POLICY BOOK.

PS: Just so you know...not every Christian God believes gays are going to hell. For what it's worth, the Catholic catechism says that people don't decide to become gay, they are born gay. Why? Because God has his reasons. Now, I will grant you...it does say gays are called to a life of chastity. But keep in mind that this is the Catholic church, and according to them EVERYBODY who is not trying to procreate is called to a life of chastity. Anyway, the catechism says the rest of us are called to be loving and supportive of gay folks, because their lives are especially trying and difficult.

*CALLED*.

How are you going to explain to God why you ignored His call? Hmmmm?? Think on *that* a while.

Hello, hello! :)

Updating from work, not because I have anything of interest or import to say, or because I LOVE typing on the ittttty bittttty keypad of my Blackberry Curve, but because I am bored and tired and if I drink one more cup of coffee or pop to allieviate the boredom, I am going to literally begin bouncing off the walls. It would be like a giant ball of rubber bands, only not as cool.

Tomorrow is my birthday, as my lovely sistahs Candle and Elle remembered. Yay for both of you! I will be 28 again, and I'm fine with that. I don't expect it will be all that thrilling of a day...very few people ever send card or gifts or anything like that, because I'm a thousand years older than sand and get bajiggity if they sing the birthday song (yes, it REALLY freaks me out!). But my Brian is going to make me a cake, and says he has a small gift for me...and I am inordinately happy about that. The rest doesn't even matter, really.

Tonight I am going to be the minister in my friend, Mae, vow renewal in SecondLife. I'm almost never there, but I go in for special occasions, and this counts. Especially because Mae has been there for me a trillion times, including buying out the clinic when everything went bad when I moved to Youngstown. She and this fella will have been married in SL for a year now. They've met IRL, but one is in Louisiana, and the other is in the UK, so they've got a bit more time apart before they can make it real there. Anyway, Brian is going to watch over my shoulder, and it will be the first time he's experienced SL so it will be fun.

Killed 20 minutes so far! Only 70 more to go till I'm freeeeeeeeee!

Oh, Elle asked me why there aren't pictures up of my new place yet. The answer is - I hadn't thought of it, because I'm a big dummyhead! So I will try to get some tonight, and post them. It's nothing exciting, and my good bedspread is at Brian's, but it's mine so I love it. :). It's in an interesting neighborhood in which I am definitely a minority, but I've never felt so safe. I really like it there. I sleep well at night, which is saying a lot!

I need a better cushion for the futon that serves as my couch, though, if anyone local has one laying about. Thin futon cushion + metal frame = sore butt. Ow!

Oh, I started my new job 3 Mondays ago. I really like it, too. I may have already posted that information...I can't remember. In case I have, I'll stop there. If I haven't, I'll update later. ;)

I guess that's about it, really. I've got some drama going on with one of my best friends that just, really, could have been better timed...and I have a lot to say about it, because I think what's been said is hurtful and shortsighted. But, rather than say anything, I'm going to be silent and let the storm pass. A Buddhist proverb I read recently says "Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care, for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.". If I say something angry, or speak my frustration or disappointment, it might cause her to do the same, and create negative energy. So instead, I'll let it disappate.

Another proverb I'll leave you with, before I go in search of 4pm coffee dregs. "Because a life of luxury cannot protect us from the inevitable experiences of sorrow & death, the search for LASTING happiness is essential."

That is exactly where I am right now. Precisely my thought and focus. I love it.

Ok, that's it for now, my little chowder heads! More soon. :) love you!
The New York Times was first published on this day in 1851. How important is print news to you? Does the internet render circulation obsolete, or will print never die?


Why, Beth, are you doing this Writer's Block assignment, when you have more on your mind than could fit in the Grand Canyon and are supposed to be working?

Well, beloved reader, the reason is simple. I'm sick to death of both worrying and fretting. I'm taking a damn break. So if this is disjointed, it's because I think as I write...whether or not print dies is nearly the furthest thing from my mind at the moment. Nearly. Second only to speaking like a damn pirate for a day. >.<

So, how important is printed news to me? I HATE newspapers. Sorry, writers of newspapers, but it's true. I mean, I hate most organized news sources of any kind, because I think they tend to be extremist, elitist, and purposely get everyone all worked up over what is probably minor. But printed newspapers are messy, build up quickly, get all over the place. They are one more piece of litter to come into my home and have to be gotten rid of. There's no way I can quickly and easily find information I want...I kind of have to dig through, or hope I see a tag line advertising what's going to be found in that section. Basically...I hate newspapers.

There are some news sources I like, mostly online, that just report the news without interpreting it for my weak, pathetic little mind. I love them. No lean, left or right, just the facts of what happened. I will also say that in newspapers I have read in the past, as well as magazines, there are writers that I adore and would love to read more of. If there was going to be any value in a newspaper for me, that would be it. Articles about general life, written by people with flair for words and intelligent and interesting viewpoints, that I can't find online.

That said, as much value as those have to me ... I don't subscribe to a newspaper, and haven't for at least 8 years. Nope...not even for coupons.

Oddly enough, I think 9/11 opened my eyes to how much useless, junk paper we keep around in our lives. Little articles here, headlines there, piles of coupons there, a box of yesterday - or last weeks' - news. I think seeing the paper flowing endlessly all around the city, just flying everywhere....that changed me. It just piles up around us - paper, paper, paper. Fliers, junk mail, nonsense and mayhem left littering every flat surface, creating massive amounts of dust and garbage to handle. Ever filled a trash bag with that crap and then tried to lift it and were unable, or tried to lift it and had the bag rip??? Who needs all that in their life?!?

Why, when there's digital media that weighs nothing, is gone as soon as it's come, but is always available in archive without creating dust? When rather than sorting through 50 pages of all the junk that's been paid to be printed I can sit, type six keywords, and have what I wanted to know at my fingertips? And if I don't absorb the written word as well from the computer screen as I do from the page, I can print the article - ONE piece of paper, to read and throw away. Not fifty. Yay, me.

I don't know if print will die...but I kinda feel like it will. Honestly, I don't know how newspapers manage to get any sales anymore at all. Which makes me kind of sad, actually, and makes me worry about the people employeed by printed news. But the times, they are a changing.

Part Two

Stolen from lolavavoom, you're supposed to bold the ones that are true about you.

Self:
- I am 5'4 or shorter.
- I think I'm ugly.
- I have many scars.
- I tan easily.
- I wish my hair was a different color. ((Pffft. I chose this color carefully.))
- I have friends who have never seen my natural hair color.
- I have a tattoo.
- I am self-conscious about my appearance.
- I have/had braces.
- I wear glasses.
- I'd get plastic surgery if it were 100% safe, free, scar-free.
- I've been told I'm attractive by a complete stranger. ((Just last night by the drunk guy in front of me at the grocery store. What a compliment! O.o))
- I have had piercings in places besides my ears.
- I have freckles.

Family/Home life:
- I've sworn at my parents.
- I've run away from home.
- I've been kicked out of the house.
- My biological parents are together.
- I have a sibling less than one year old.
- I want to have kids someday.
- I have children.
- I've lost a child.


Embarrassment:
- I've slipped out a "lol" in a spoken conversation.
- Disney movies still make me cry.
- I've snorted while laughing.
- I've laughed so hard I've cried.
- I've glued my hand to something.
- I've laughed till some kind of beverage came out of my nose.
- I've had my trousers rip in public.
- I've had stitches. This summer!
- I've broken a bone.
- I've had my tonsils removed.
- I've sat in a doctor's office with a friend.
- I've had my wisdom teeth removed.
- I've had serious surgery.
- I've had chicken pox.

Traveling:
- I've driven over 200 miles in one day.
- I've been on a plane.
- I've been to North America.
- I've been to Niagra falls.
- I've been to Japan.
- I've been to Europe.
- I've been to Africa.

Experiences:
- I've been lost in my city.
- I've seen a shooting star.
- I've wished on a shooting star.
- I've seen a meteor shower.
- I've gone out in public in my pajamas.
- I've pushed all the buttons in a lift.
- I've been to a casino.
- I've been skydiving.
- I've gone skinny dipping.
- I've played spin the bottle.
- I've crashed a car.
- I've been skiing.
- I've been in a play.
- I've met someone in person from the internet.
- I've caught a snowflake on my tongue.
- I've seen the northern lights.
- I've sat on a roof top at night.
- I've played chicken.
- I've seen the rocky horror picture show.
- I've eaten sushi.
- I've been snowboarding.

Relationships:
- I'm single.
- I'm in a relationship.
- I'm available.
- I'm engaged.
- I'm married.
- I've gone on a blind date.
- I've been the dumpee more than the dumper.
- I have a fear of abandonment.
- I've been divorced.
- I've had feelings for someone who didn't have them back.
- I've told someone I loved them when I didn't.
- I've told someone I didn't love them when I did.
- I've kept something from a past relationship. ((I don't know what this means, so I don't know how to answer it.))


Sexuality:
- I've had a crush on someone of the same gender.
- I've kissed a member of the same gender.
- I've had sex with someone of the opposite gender.
- I've had sex with someone of the same gender.
- I've had sex with more than one person at the same time.
- I am a cuddler.
- I've been kissed in the rain.
- I've had sex outdoors.
- I've hugged a stranger.
- I have kissed a stranger.
- I have had sex with a stranger.

Honesty/Crime:
- I've done something I promised someone else I wouldn't.
- I've done something I promised myself I wouldn't.
- I have lied to my parents about where I am.
- I am keeping a secret from the world. ((Everyone is - we all have personal things that belong only to us. Those are secrets.))
- I've cheated while playing a game.
- I've cheated on a test.
- I've driven through a red light. ((Just yesterday, actually, but it was totally an accident.))
- I've been suspended from school.
- I've witnessed a crime.
- I've been in a fist fight.
- I've been arrested.
- I've shoplifted. ((Ok, shutup, you. I was like 13, and it was a peer pressure thing.))

Drugs/Alcohol:
- I've consumed alcohol.
- I regularly drink.
- I've taken painkillers when I didn't need them.
- I take cough medication when I'm not sick.
- I've done hard drugs.
- I've been addicted to an illegal substance.
- I can't swallow pills.
- I can swallow about five pills at a time no problem.

Mental health:
- I have been diagnosed with depression.
- I shut others out when I'm depressed.
- I take/taken anti-depressants.
- I have an eating disorder.
- I've slept an entire day when I didn't need it.
- I've hurt myself on purpose.
- I'm addicted to self harm.
- I've woken up crying.

Death:
- I'm afraid of dying.
- I hate funerals.
- I've seen someone dying.
- I have attempted suicide.
- Someone close to me has attempted suicide.
- Someone close to me has committed suicide.

Random:
- I can sing well.
- I've stolen a tray from a fast food restaurant.
- I open up to others too easily.
- I watch the news.
- I don't kill bugs.
- I hate hearing songs that sacrifice meaning for sake of being able to rhyme. ((Oh, God, that's a MAJOR pet peeve.))
- I fucking swear regularly. ((Hell fuckin' yeah, booyah!))
- I sing in the shower.
- I am a morning person.
- I paid for my mobile phone ring tone.
- I'm a snob about grammar.
- I am a sports fanatic.
- I play with my hair.
- I have/had "x"s in my screen name.
- I love being neat.
- I love spam.
- I've copied 30 CDs in one day.
- I bake well.
- My favorite color is either white, yellow, pink, red or blue. ((My three favorite colors are all in this list.))
- I don't know how to shoot a gun.
- I am in love with love.
- I am guilty of tYpInG lIkE tHiS.
- I laugh at my own jokes.
- I eat fast food weekly.
- I believe in ghosts.
- I am online 24/7, even as an away message.
- I can't sleep if there is a spider in the room.
- I am really ticklish.
- I love white chocolate. ((I like it, but I don't love it.))
- I bite my nails.
- I play video games. ((Although not as much anymore.))
- I'm good at remembering faces.
- I'm good at remembering names.
- I'm good at remembering dates.
- I have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life.
- My answers are totally honest.

Writer's Block: Perks of the Job

In this economic climate, not all employers are able to give raises. What perks would make you happy in lieu of a raise?
Golly. Perks. That's the best topic for 8:30 in the morning on a Saturday that I've ever heard! And I could go on forever...

First, there's all the other things we'd love but that would cost companies money, so they will never do.
  • How about if they pay for our insurance, rather than making us pay for most of the monthly premium - hello, we already pay copays!
  • How about increasing the matching amount they put into 401K's?
  • How about offering a "mental health day", that employees can use up to one a month of? They don't have to accrue or anything, but if you just need ONE day off, there it is, without a hit in the paycheck.
  • As long as I'm being silly, how about massaging desk chairs?
  • Not making people get foot rests approved by a bitter Office Manager?
  • Free box lunches?
  • Working with company partners to provide free admittance/special events to local family/fun spots - ie "Free Day at COSI for all WonderCompany employees and their families!"
  • Profit sharing??
  • Offering a partial reimbursement for services used to stay in contact with work when you're not there, like cell phone bills and internet connection?
  • Discounts on the product/service the company actually provides for employees?  Not bullshit 25% discounts...I mean free to like 80% discounted.
  • Quarterly or annual productivity and attendance rewards for every employee, not just commissioned ones?  Might I suggest gas cards as a suitable reward?
  • Managers who take a required dose of Prozac, are adequately trained not to be Napoleon-like dictators, and are actually qualified for the positions they've been hired into??
*waits a second for the last line to catch you, then laughs with you till tears roll down her cheeks*  I know...I know.  Qualified management.  That's pretty amusing, eh?  Oh, hey....got those TPS reports for me yet?  Didja get the memo about the fax covers?

Ok, seriously...how about telecommuting a few days a week, to help employees save on gas? Most employees maintain high-speed internet in their homes, and phone lines or cell phones to be used for communication. To make it even nicer, employers could give telecommuting employees laptops to use instead of desktops, so that the work can easily be taken from office to home. And there's no reason to limit telecommuting to sales associates and VP's. Data entry clerks can work from home. With phone lines forwardable, secretaries can work from home. Network admins can even work a couple of days a week from home, given the remote access tools available...if you can make me get desktop support from some dude in India, I'm pretty sure Bob the Network Guy being 20 minutes from the office won't be a big deal.

Flex-schedules are good too - four 10 hour days, for example, instead of five 8 hour days.  But even better is to make that flexible so that if I need one week of 4-10's, and two weeks of 5-8's, I can do that.

How about a more casual work environment - allowing jeans for any position that isn't right in front of the customers, and even in front of the customer as long as they are jeans as a part of a business casual outfit.  Most people are smart enough to know how to dress up denim, and even if they aren't, there are a bajillion websites to pull from to define guidelines.

How about having a nicely decorated or landscaped room or garden, and allowing 20 minute "de-stress" times for people to recharge their batteries?  To be used whenever they want to, but I know a 20 minute nap around 2pm would keep me a whole hell of a lot more productive for the rest of the afternoon - I'm prediabetic, and for some reason, lunch seems to be a high carb meal for me.  I'm always crashing at 2 or 3pm.  My friend at Children's, on the other hand, needed a "power walk" whenever she got stressed.  I noticed the nicer the place we "power walked", the more she was able to relax and the faster she got back to work.  There is benefit in having people get up and walk away.

How about letting employees cross train on other employee jobs?  Like, say Betty is a receptionist, but has always been interested in management.  She's been here three years, is as high in administration as she can go.  How about if you give Betty eight hours a week to cross train with Bob, your best manager?  She can shadow him, take notes, and eventually even pick up a few management duties....which trains her, and also gives Bob a break.  In the meantime, pull Joe the data entry clerk making 18K a year, and let him train for eight hours a week with Betty, so that when Betty is ready to move up, so is Joe, and BOTH feel honored and appreciated and like they're growing and improving themselves?  Radical thought, I know.

I'm back to silly now, I think...cuz I keep thinking of things like a policy requiring the immediate dismissal of anyone who wears patchouli oil ever, or "Bring your Cat to Work day" and "Pick your own Paint Color" for cubicle walls, which come on...you KNOW would rock.

But seriously...*takes a sip of her coffee*  Got those TPS reports yet?

I remember the day...

And will have my memory saved for posterity, because I was in front of a computer, on LiveJournal, and started typing.

"9/11/2001:

This world is fucking insane. I just sat here and watched an airplane fly into one of the Trade Towers. I watched both of them fall to the ground - all the people who might have survived the original blast fell to their deaths. All the people in those hijacked planes. All the people on the ground who were hit with debris, suffocated under massive piles of dust. The Pentagon. The State Department. We are a nation under siege. We are facing an event three hundred times the magnitude of Pearl Harbor. We are a nation of the brink of fucking war. I am terrified.

I'm thinking right now, perhaps selfishly, of Joey. I hope to fuckin' God she wasn't on any plane that crashed, that she's safe at home or somewhere far away from all this bullshyt. She's the only person I know who is on planes all the time, and I hope to fuckin' God she's ok.

All those people....so many people to pray for. I can't believe the horror."


Sounds dramatic, seven years later. It was only a couple of planes. Only three buildings and a field. Only a few thousand deaths. Right?

Wrong.

The day was terrifying. Those of us not at the attack sites sat at home and helplessly watched people die - thousands upon thousands on live TV. Reporters stood, in utter shock and disbelief, covered in the ash of buildings and paper and people, unable to speak or move or make a cognizant thought come out of their well trained lips. Camera crews ran for their lives. No one at the networks pushed a button and pulled us back to the clean, pretty, calm studios. We watched the devestation, broadcast live. We trembled in fear of where it might strike next. I cannot begin to imagine what the people witnessing it first hand felt - I would never presume to attempt to put it into words.

I know that the loss of one life was too many. In 2006, I wrote a memorial to one of the victims - Kenneth Alan Simon. A man I never knew, would probably never have known in my life, made the horrific loss of that day even more real to me that watching it unfold before my eyes did. Kenneth's death was one too many. Every innocent victim, every heroic rescue worker, every family member wandering the streets, searching for their relative, screaming their names. It wasn't just the dead who died that day - it was the hopes and dreams of all their families and friends. It was the senselessness of an enormous, collective loss - death without meaning, death that gave no peace to the Turning of the Circle.

And the loss can't be measured by body count alone - it has to be measure in the loss of the feeling of safety, of normality, of naivete, of life free from the fear of what's happened, what it means, and what's coming. It must be measured by our staggering, teetering economy, in having to wear shoes that can be slipped on and off if you're flying, in second guessing the communications you have with people in certain areas of the world over the internet, in suspicious looks and glances over your shoulders, in secretive acts of violence committed in the name of revenge, ignorance and fear. It's measured in the deaths of the men and women who continue to fight now, today, on foreign soil, in the name of ensuring that it doesn't happen again.

Whatever your political beliefs, whatever you think of the events of 9/11 or the war we fight now, the bottom line is that a horrible, horrible thing happened on this day seven years ago. Innocents across the world were affected, and even today, innocent hearts continue to bleed. People are confused, torn, skeptical, lost. I'm asking you all to take a moment to send up a request for healing and blessings to whatever higher power you believe in, for all the world. And then...

Remember what happens when people are ignorant, angry and violent.


Take action to keep it from happening again, even in a small way. Serve someone with kindness and understanding today, just to make them feel good. Dedicate one minute to tolerance not because you have to, but because it's the better thing to do. Smile when you'd like to lash out, because you have the mental alacrity to be a bigger person.

My prayers of healing go out to each and everyone affected, even if only by the memory. Be well today, my friends.

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