Sunday, September 11, 2011

Taken just after September 11, 2001 near Ground Zero. Photographer unknown.

I woke to my alarm blaring at me, not because I had to get to work, but because I had a therapy appointment early in the morning. I had already quit my job and was in the beginning of a downward slump into a major depressive episode. My cousin had killed himself six months earlier on March 1, 2001. I was the last person in our family to have contact with him. We spoke over Instant Message, and he seemed okay. The next morning, my stepmother called me and asked me if I was sitting down. She then gave me the news that he had taken his life.

That morning, on September 11, 2001, I was about to get another rude awakening. After silencing the alarm, I turned on the radio. I always liked to listen for a few minutes before rising to a morning show in Los Angeles. The first thing I heard was a man saying, "Everyone is in line for the payphone because cell phones don't work. My friend worked on the 100th floor," he said, his voice cracking, "All I can say is God bless him."

My first thought was that there was a fire in downtown Los Angeles. A bad one. I got out of bed, knowing it would be on the news. I turned on the TV to see one of the World Trade Centers on fire, and a huge plane slamming into the other one. I was seeing a replay. It was just past 7:00 AM in Los Angeles and the second tower had just collapsed. They showed people jumping, I heard a woman sobbing, "Oh no they're jumping." Next cut, the first tower collapsing, then the second. I collapsed next, onto my knees, my face in my hands, my forehead on the floor. "Those poor people," I said. "My God those poor, poor people." I looked up at the television, a graphic across the bottom read, "Plane crashes into Pentagon." For the first time ever, I was terrified in my own apartment. When I saw the footage of the planes crashing into the towers, I could tell they were commercial jets. I also knew that no pilot, even if there was a gun to his head, would have willingly flown his airplane into those buildings. They would have fought them to the death first. And that's exactly what had happened.

My phone message was blinking, and then I remembered hearing my sister's voice while still in twilight sleep, saying something about being okay on my answering machine. She's a flight attendant for Delta, and when I played the message, realized she had called to let me know she was fine. I went to therapy, and was the one to break the news to my therapist that the second tower had fallen. She had been getting the news piecemeal from her patients and people in the building. After my appointment, I learned about the plane in Pennsylvania.

It's hard to believe it's been ten years. I've been watching the specials on National Geographic, History Channel and others because still, it's hard to grasp that it happened. And, to be honest, because part of me, the one that wants to believe in fairy tales, is hoping for another ending. For a long time, not even having been in New York or Washington DC when it happened, I suffered from what I can only call a mild post traumatic shock syndrome. I'd stay up all night, while in bed, glued to the radio. Or, get up and watch TV, trying to find out anything about what had happened. I quit looking for jobs entirely and merely existed. I was terrified to sleep for fear of waking up to something that horrible again. However, I will say that I never gave up on breaking through it. I was lucky to have not been one of those 2977 people who lost their lives that day. I always kept that in focus, that I would honor them by embracing life, even if it took some time, losing almost everything, a move across the country and completely starting over to relearn how to do it. And, that's exactly what I did and am still doing. Every time things got bad, I thought of those poor people, who weren't given a choice, and pushed through. God bless all the innocent souls who lost their lives that day. We have not forgotten. I will never forget, especially on my bad days. I remember what you lost and had to face. And then emboldened, I push through.

These are some of my posts about September 11, 2001.

December 12th, 2004 My Visit to Ground Zero in 2004. Includes picture of me there.

September 11th, 2004 America, Interrupted.

September 11th, 2002 One Year Later, and a tail of hijacked mail that got delivered.

September 8th, 2002 Before the first anniversary, thoughts of Them.

July 4th, 2002 Independence Day.

May 1st, 2002 An Unwelcome Companion.

April 1st, 2002 A Fireman's Daughter's Tales From Ground Zero.

Where were you on that day? Click on the time stamp (right next to "Posted by Anne") below to leave a comment.
It's been so long since I've posted that Blogger has changed their interface. I like this one a lot better. Much more room to write an a cleaner interface. We're having one of those gorgeous September days. Blue sky, spotted in areas with a thin layer of high clouds. Perfectly warm with a gentle breeze. I scored a table outside, where an older foreign man is talking to a younger Japanese kid in his 20s about the ills of society. I can't tell the where the man is from by his accent, but have spoken to the Japanese kid before. He's a student at the New York Film Academy, which has sort of turned our little area of Toluca Lake into an artsy college town. And I mean sort of. I've lived in college towns before. But, the students are always walking by my window on the way back and forth to the school and their apartments, and they are always filming their projects.Two groups of them live in my apartment building. One was the victim of the building psycho's torments about parking his bike next to her illegally parked big stupid scooter.Speaking of the psycho, she came into Starbucks a few days ago when I was here. I quickly turned away from her when I saw her walk in, all crazy-eyed and suffering from stage four bad hair day. Clearly having seen me, she struck up a conversation with the girl behind the counter, attempting to achieve a veil of sanity. (See?? Other people think I'm normal!!!) all while not knowing that I'd shown the picture of her rambling note and shared stories about her psycho behavior to the very barista she was talking to. Inside also was another man the psycho had accosted inside this Starbucks about where he was sitting. When he blew her off, she took his photo and posted nasty things about him on her facebook page. Of course, since she didn't have her privacy settings set correctly, I was able to access it and print it out. I gave him a copy the next time I saw him, just so he would be aware that a nut had her ray-gun eyes trained on him.

She thankfully moved out of our building months ago, which means that enough time has passed for her new neighbors to realize what a nut she is. Unfortunately, she's only a couple blocks away, but luckily, this Starbucks is the only time I've seen her since then. Hopefully it will be my last.

A couple months ago, I bought my dream chaise from a guy on Craigslist. I had first seen the chaise almost ten years ago at Kreiss furniture in West Hollywood. I've sort of held other chaises to those standards since I saw it, and couldn't believe it when I saw someone selling it online. I was able to talk the guy down to $450, because I could see from the picture that it had been through its share of wear. And, because I could tell that he really wanted to sell it. Considering the chaise new was well over $2500 ten years ago, that was a super deal. This is one of his pictures that I copied from Facebook, and there are other shots of it on my Flickr account. As you can see, the upholstery needed a good cleaning. Beautiful Kreiss Ares Chaise I bought on CraigslistHe delivered it to an upholstery cleaning place, Bobcat Carpet and Fabric Care, that I'd found on Angie's List, and I paid him for it right there. He was a really nice man, and it's always interesting to see the faces from behind the Craigslist advertisements come alive. He was happy to be rid of it, because his fiance was moving in with her furniture and he needed the room. I on the other hand, was thrilled to finally, have my dream chaise. Well, about a week later, I got a call from the upholstery cleaning place who said that the material was in much worse shape than they'd first thought, and during cleaning it had ripped. This was not their fault, it was just that the micro fiber had begun to disintegrate. It was also nothing that the man who sold it to me could have known. We were all right there when I inspected it. Bobcat recommended a reupholstery company, Roman Upholstery, a long-term business colleague of theirs, and kindly worked out a deal for me with them to only pay cost for labor. They have been in business for three generations and were experts at high-end pieces.

The upholstery I chose for the chaiseSo, I took a couple hours off work, drove down and chose the fabric. Now I'm sure that this will come as a complete surprise to anyone who has been a regular reader of this blog, but I'm incredibly picky. However, after perusing through at least 20 fabric books and reminding myself that a chaise of this size should not be of an opulent-patterned fabric, I decided on this warm color pictured at right. Luckily, they had the chaise in their workshop, so I was viewing everything in natural light. You can see the gorgeous color, grain and craftsmanship on the wood. There's not a scratch on it.

About a week ago, I got it back and am now finishing this blog post on it while Atticus lies beside me, sacked out. It is drop dead gorgeous. They did an absolutely phenomenal job and totally nailed it on every level. Flawless. I got new pillows so it's basically brand new. Total cost of the reupholstery was $1500, which also includes the fabric. Worth every penny, and it's a total solve for where to sit while I write. I did an entire freelance writing job on it, and had ample space to spread out the paper work...not to mention a couple cats who joined me. I've done away with the desk, which now has my TV on it, and have adopted the chaise as my wonderfully comfortable writing space.

I have fabric that I'd previously bought from a high-end fabric shop, and am going to have an accent pillow made from it. I laid it down on the chaise and it's absolutely stunning. I haven't been able to take a picture of the finished chaise that does it justice, so that will be coming.

Hopefully, having a comfy, relaxed and luxurious place to write will aid in my blogging more regularly.