Posted by: didyouseethis | September 11, 2015

Yvonne E. Kennedy….Project 2996

Reposted from 2011…NEVER FORGET.

Project 2,996 is an effort to remember the victims of 9/11 through individual memorials. Starting in 2006 bloggers from all over the world began posting tributes to those that lost their lives in the attacks of September 11, 2001. Over the years some of the links have gone dead . If you would like to help keep the memory of one of the 2,996 alive you can go here.
I chose someone on the list of broken links who was the age I am now. Yvonne E. Kennedy. Rather than paraphrasing the many articles I’ve read about her, I’m just going to repost her biography from the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial.
Yvonne Estelle O’Prey was born to Jack and Mona O’Prey on the 29th of June 1939, in the Western suburbs of Sydney, Australia. Seven years later her brother, Barrie, was born.
Yvonne attended Glenfield Primary School and furthered her education at Liverpool Girls High School, where she completed her Senior Certificate. Yvonne began working as a secretary and bookkeeper for ES&A Bank in Sydney. She worked for both the South Sydney Council and the Sydney City Council.
Even at this early stage in her life, Yvonne was smitten by the travel bug and lived for a time in New Zealand. On returning to Sydney, she met the love of her life, Barry Leigh Thomas Kennedy. They courted and were married on the 16th of January 1972.
In 1973, Leigh James Charles Kennedy was born and in the following year, Simon Paul Kennedy arrived. They grew together as a family and built the family home in the Sydney suburb of Toongabbie. Yvonne and Barry commenced their own successful business and traveled the world with their two boys.
With two active boys constantly getting into mischief, Yvonne realized the importance of having knowledge of first aid and, consequently, in 1976 Yvonne joined the Australian Red Cross as a volunteer and First Aid instructor, reaching the rank of Commandant.
On the 10th of May 1985, Barry tragically died, leaving Yvonne to care for the business and their two boys alone. Yvonne’s parents, Jack and Mona, moved to Toongabbie to assist her, and as the years went by, Yvonne tended to the needs of her aging parents and cared for them until their deaths.
In 1990, Yvonne began her career as a full-time staff member at Red Cross. Her work involved developing the Voluntary Aid Detachment and Training and Coordinating First-Aid volunteers. The Australian Red Cross became Yvonne’s passion; she continued her work there until her retirement on the 15th of December 2000 and, of course, once again became a volunteer.
Yvonne was awarded the “Australian Red Cross Distinguished Service Medal” in May 2001. In July 2001, she was elected Executive Officer of the Corps – a position she would never have the opportunity to fulfill.
Yvonne proudly attended the wedding of her eldest son, Leigh, to Tracey Kathleen in New Zealand in March 2001.
Her interest in travel never subsided. Yvonne decided to have the adventure of a lifetime – a tour of North America, Canada and the Arctic. She set off for her dream holiday on the 4th of August, due to return home on September 15th. Yvonne never made it home. Her trip was cut short by a tragic chain of events. Yvonne passed away happy, living her dream.
She was the strongest pillar of her family. Her door was always open to those in need and those who wanted to see a friendly face. She was loved, respected and admired by all who knew her. She will be sadly missed by her family and friends. Her determination and her spirit will be with us forever.
Like Nina Patrice Bell, I think I would have liked Yvonne. She was a strong, accomplished woman with a sense of humor and adventure. I’ve read articles about her son who has said that his mother was not a hero, she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. That is true. …only….I think from reading about her, she was much loved and respected… she was the hero of her own story. A mother a son could be proud of, a human being we could all aspire to.
Posted by: didyouseethis | September 11, 2015

Nina Patrice Bell…Project 2996

Reposted from 2010…NEVER FORGET


Nina Patrice Bell from the NYT

Nina Bell was every inch a fighter pilot’s daughter — slender, athletic and looking even taller than her 5 feet, 8 inches. Born in the Netherlands, the first stop in a nomadic Air Force childhood, she grew up confident, smart, “the It girl,” as a friend once put it. A bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Colorado at Boulder led her to become a manager of information systems and, most recently, into project management.

But to her friends and family, there was also the side that was not all business. Ms. Bell’s notebook had a bumper sticker that read, “Mean People Suck.” With her brother, Lowell Bell, 40, she kept up a private banter, sometimes based on the dim Canadian duo, the Mackenzie brothers, from the 1970’s television show, “Second City TV.” “Hey, hoser,” she would call him.

This September, Ms. Bell, 39, had settled in Manhattan, in a new apartment on the Upper East Side and in a new job as a project manager with Marsh & McLennan. In an e-mail message to her friend Lorraine Davis on Monday, Sept. 10, at 2 p.m., Ms. Bell wrote, “I am so very happy.”

Nine years later, here I sit, “remembering” a young woman I never knew. A young woman who was a member of Mensa, having scored in the top 2% of the general population on a standardized intelligence test. Who loved her Yorkshire Terrier. Who was adored by her sister, as shown in an entry in Nina’s Legacy Guest Book.

January 07, 2002

there may be words enough to express the loss of my sister but I don’t have them. if you knew her at all, you have an idea how great the loss really is. if you didn’t know her – you missed a good one…

please think of her often. it keeps her close. and finally, try to take the counsel offered in her tag-line

!love!laugh!play! – nipabe

Dutch Bell,
Boston, Massachusetts
I read through the 21 pages of the guest book and I think how much I would have liked Nina. What a loss to her family, and her friends, and the world. Every night I light a candle in my memory garden. Tonight it burns in memory of all that was lost nine years ago, especially Nina Bell.
Posted by: didyouseethis | September 11, 2015

Glenn J. Winuk …Project 2996

This was originally posted in 2009…all I can say tonight is…NEVER FORGET.

How do you “remember” someone you never knew? That was the question I asked myself as I thought about signing up for the 2,996 Project. I signed up and decided to figure out the “how” later. I’d read a lot of the profiles done in previous years but was still intimidated…especially after beginning to read about my assigned name…



A name, and my memory of 11 September 2001, was what I started out with. “What is a name?” The answer, I am still discovering, is many things. As I began my research I realized I’d been assigned a hero…in the truest sense of the word. A man who ran into the danger.


Mr. Winuk had been a volunteer firefighter for 20 years with the Jericho, New York Fire Department. On that tragic morning of 11 September, Mr. Winuk was in his office at Holland & Knight a block away from the World Trade Center. After helping evacuate his own workplace, his first instinct (a hero’s instinct) was to do what he could to help.

“Glenn was last seen outside the recently evacuated New York office at approximately 9:30 a.m., donning some simple emergency gear — a mask and gloves,” Robert R Feagin, managing partner, and William J. Honan, executive partner, said in a statement.

He had also been involved in the evacuation of the towers after the 1993 bombing.

I thought about a poem that was sent to me after my mother passed away. It is called The Dash. I began to do the same thing I’d done with my mother, making a list of descriptors…words I could almost “see” between the dates…the essence of “who” that is represented in the dash. Reading the Guest Book for Mr. Winuk, the words of people who knew him stood out on the pages.


hero…special…intelligent…sterling example…funny…selfless… kind..caring…

good..integrity…helpful…gentle…giving…good hearted…substance…warm…

generous…compassionate…hell of a guy…calm…honorable…strength…




wall_038c The 343 and Glenn J. Winuk

Just four days before the 8th anniversary of 9/11 Glenn Winuk has posthumously received the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor.

From Newsday:

For Seymour and Elaine Winuk, having their son posthumously recognized with the 9/11 Heroes Medal of Valor Monday was bittersweet.

Just four days before the eighth anniversary of the terrorist attacks, the Winuk family gathered at the Jericho park named after Glenn Winuk to receive the recognition they had long been seeking.

“We’re sorry we lost him,” said Seymour Winuk, 78, of Jericho. “But he’s getting an award that is well deserved for many reasons.”

A 19-year volunteer firefighter for the Jericho Fire Department, Glenn Winuk was hailed Monday for his willingness to put himself in harm’s way to rescue people. He responded to the crash in 1990 of Avianca Flight 52 in Cove Neck and three years later to the bombing of the World Trade Center.

And on Sept. 11, 2001 when the first plane hit the North Tower, Winuk, an attorney in a law firm nearby, helped evacuate the building he was working in, then rushed toward the chaos.

Winuk, 40, died when the South Tower collapsed. Six months later, his remains were found next to those of other would-be rescuers.

“He was always running to help people,” his father said.

Because Winuk had not been an active member of the fire department since 1998, the Department of Justice refused to recognize him as a qualified rescuer who died in the line of duty.

I think it is appropriate to use the paraphrased Gen. Patton quote used every week in the Wednesday Hero posts.

We Should Not Only Mourn The Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived


Posted by: didyouseethis | January 18, 2015

Balance…In So Many Ways

Found this at American Digest.  I want to do this.

Posted by: didyouseethis | January 1, 2015

Meet The New Year…Same As The Old Year

So…2015 has arrived.

And with past as prologue…this new year begins with car trouble.  $1,200 worth.  No surprise.  We were cursed by cars from before we were married.  In the past I could defer to DH on all things automotive.  Many he was able to repair on his own.  Now, I am at the mercy of mechanics who may or may not be “Mr. Goodwrench”.

Having gone over the numbers and figured out how to pay for the repairs and had a good cry….I have been sitting here trying to find a way to put a positive spin on it.  It didn’t take long…though I’m kind of ashamed I had to think about it at all.  Yesterday,  after pulling in to the parking  lot at work and wondering if the car would hold out long enough to get to the mechanic after work (God bless them for being open on New Year’s Day) my phone rang.  It’s the doctor’s office…a small panic….why are they calling me today?  Well…not quite long story short…the call was to tell me the tests from my 3 month check up were absolutely normal!  Yay! Thank you…thank you. Panic over…breathe again.

Better the car than me?

Anyway…a toast to the new year.  To present company and very absent friends.

But mostly a toast to The Daughter and The Boy….the pleasures of my life.

Love, Mom


Posted by: didyouseethis | December 21, 2014

The Longest Night Of The Year 2014

It is the longest night of the year.  I have had thoughts of this on my mind now for weeks.  Once upon a time it was a happy thought.  Here it is, the longest night.  Tomorrow the days will grow longer.  The lengthening days bringing spring/summer closer.  “Sweet Summertime” as Bob Seger would sing.

But no more.  I still do look forward to the lengthening days and the coming of spring.  But overriding those thoughts tonight are thoughts of the past decade.  10 years of change.

21 December 2004.  Mosul, Iraq.  10 years.  Many families were irreparably altered that day.  For our family…well…we got serious about supporting our military.  We made friends and lost friends in these 10 years.

21 December 2010.  DH had surgery confirming what we already knew.  It was cancer.  (So much for “World Class Care“.)  We spent that longest night in the excellent care of Metro Health.  DH was still pretty angry with me for the permissions I had given the docs.  He pretty quickly came to realize they were necessary and “forgave” me.  Four years ago tonight I sat at his bedside and while he dozed I read.  It’s always fascinated me the things that stand out at times like that.  I remember going through his bookmarks on the Mac…reading his daily reads.  News and politics and gun blogs.  That night I read William the Coroner’s post on the longest night of the year.  And…as I’ve mentioned before,  neither DH or William the Coroner would live to see the next Solstice.

So very much is gone that was so very important to me during these last 10 years.  DH is gone.  Home is gone.  Lots of “stuff” is gone.  Friends are gone.  But…some things remain….“Strength in what remains…”  The Daughter, The Boy, The Grandson…they fill me with a joy that sometimes takes my breath away.

The song says “let the candle burn all night”.  10 years ago tonight I went out into the Memory Garden and lit the first candle for the Soldiers lost in Mosul.  Every night since, a candle has burned for our military….for family…for friends…for peace.  Though the Memory Garden is gone the candle still burns all night ….though now it is an electric candle in a small window.

And while I no longer have seven Christmas trees to light this darkest night…I apparently have…

…something that resembles hope.

I stopped everything I intended to do last night…and built…this….

2014 Book Tree

The candles (real or electric) burn for the past, the present and the future  Tomorrow I will welcome back the light.



Longest Night of the Year

They say that spring will come again–
No one knows exactly when.
Still the suns a long lost friend
On the longest night of the year.

We stare into the firelight
While December beats outside
Where the darkest hearts reside
On the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight
Let the candle burn all night
Tomorrow welcome back the night
It was longest night of the year

I used to think the world was small
Bright and shining like a ball
Seems I don’t know much at all
On the longest night of the year

We press our faces to the glass
And see our little lives go past
Wave to shadows that we cast
On the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight,
Let the candle burn all night,
Tomorrow welcome back the light.
Twas the longest night of the year

Make a vow when Solstice comes:
To find the Light in everyone
Keep the faith and bang the drum
On the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight,
Let the candle burn all night,
Tomorrow welcome back the light.
Twas the longest night of the year

So keep me safe and hold me tight,
Let the candle burn all night,
Tomorrow welcome back the light.
After the longest night of the year

Read more: Mary Chapin Carpenter – The Longest Night Of The Year Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Posted by: didyouseethis | November 30, 2014

The Way Out Is The Way Through

(This was originally written at the beginning of September.  Why I left it sitting ing drafts all this time….I can’t say.  But I am happy to have found it today.)


My day arranged itself so I was in the neighborhood of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word Labyrinth.  It is a Chartres Labyrinth that has always brought me great joy and peace to walk.

Incarnate Word Labyrinth 2

Monday was no exception.  The sun was shining warm and summery but it was comfortable and breezy in the shade of the trees surrounding the labyrinth.  I walk and say my rosary and try to let go of everyday stresses.  When I reach the “heart” of Chartres I take three deep breaths and thank God for all that is in my life.  The good and the bad.  Then…I turn and begin the journey out.

“The way through is the way out”.   I first read that in a book by Thomas Tryon.  I believe it is truth.  Many people see the labyrinth as a metaphor of life.  On this day I felt a connection to my own labyrinth that is lost to me…but instead of great sorrow…I felt a kind of joy.

Memory Garden Labyrinth

Bill Whittle talked about not letting politics become the be all and end all of your life.  To not let it burn you out (Andrew Breitbart).  I tried to find the Stratosphere Lounge where he talked about it but so far no luck.  He said when he’s stressed…closes his eyes and imagines his most perfect beach.  When the world gets to you…stop…and go to your perfect beach.

This is my beach.

So often these days I find myself thinking….and sometimes saying out loud…”I don’t want to be here.”  Sad to say….it’s an awful lot of the places I must be

For now, this is where I want to be…find a place I want to be.

It connects me to a place….state of mind I’ve thought lost to me forever.



Posted by: didyouseethis | November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving Gratitude

WHAT IF… woke up tomorrow with only the things you thanked God for today?

We decided to try a new tradition today. Instead of the stress of a huge dinner and house full of people…..WE WENT TO THE ZOO! It was wonderful.



For this day and this family I thank God.

Love, Mom & Amma



Posted by: didyouseethis | October 3, 2014

Home Sweet Home The House That Built Me

Home Sweet Home The House That Built Me

Looking through a magazine this afternoon I came across a quote that stopped me in my tracks because I knew it belonged with the painting my father did of the house he dreamed of building.  He did build that house.  It pretty much looked just like he dreamed it.  It was our family home for 64 years until (long story short) I lost it.  I will always be connected to it.  It still speaks to me in my dreams and tells me stories.  It teaches me lessons about loss and love and grief and regret.  I move on…and forward…and dream.

Love, Mom

Posted by: didyouseethis | July 24, 2014

Epiphany 1 and 2

*Wordpress has decided to make the first part of this post one big paragraph and will not let me change it.  Bah.
Confession time:  I am not a cat person.  There…I’ve said it.
Cat F you
I think it started Monday when I went to the big Labyrinth ( trying to write a post…but I keep distracting myself).  Sometime that evening I thought about when Karma cat came to live with us.  The Boy had broken his ankle…had surgery…plates and screws…and drugs.  A “friend” of his brought/snuck Karma in and she never left.  That was 2002.  Six months later Zen cat came to live with us (some relative of Karma’s….her mom was a slut cat).  Zen died in January 2006.  (Things might be different if that hadn’t happened.)  A few months after that The Daughter brought Calvin and Hobbes home.
So…it’s 12 years later.  Calvin’s dead. DH is  dead.  (Things might be different there too.)  Leo’s approach may work for a lot of things.  But I have faked it but not made it.  I don’t hate cats like I used to.  I can even appreciate some amount of cuteness factor.  But if someone came to the door and promised to give Hobbes a great life and all the kitty crack he could devour….he’d be gone as soon as I could  catch him and get him into the carrier.  He does not help my BP.  He bites me.  He does not snuggle.  He tracks litter all over my room.  Everything I own is covered in hair.  Hell, he even “pushes *Little Cat down the stairs.)  (I totally don’t blame him for that.)  He’s an asshole.  To a certain extent I admire him for that…he’s his own cat.  But he gives me very little pleasure and a whole lot of stress.
*The cat owned by the person I am living with for the time being.
I am not a cat person.   I realized quite a while ago that while I love dogs….I was not meant to have one….and probably not a cat either.  Nothing good has ever come of our having any kind of an animal.That was epiphany 1.  Kind of a relief.
Epiphany 2
I find myself saying over and over….mantralike….”I don’t want to be here.”  Name a place…I probably don’t want to be there.So…Monday…while sitting on the lovely English garden bench at the Labyrinth.  The thought came to me…”I WANT to be here”.   And that started a four day train of thought.

My new mantra is…”I want to be somewhere I want to be.”

Long time ago…somewhere read…”What you believe becomes your world”.

So….I believe…maybe….kind of…possibly….there could be…

somewhere I want to  be.

Maybe I will find it before I am too senile to recognize it.

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