Where Were You?


Throughout our lives we have milestones that we share with our families and friends like weddings and births.  It is very rare to share a day with the world that we will remember forever.

September 11, 2001 is a day I will never forget much like everyone else.  It was a beautiful and clear Tuesday morning when my alarm clock went off at 9am.  I was still a student at Kutztown University sharing an apartment with my three friends.  My alarm, set to Howard Stern on WYSP, slowly woke me up and I heard about a building being hit by an airplane.  I literally thought it was a joke.

I quickly turned on my little TV with a built in VHS and there it was.  A plane had hit one of the towers and my mouth just dropped open with no words.  I ran into the TV room where my roommate, Dawn, was sitting and watching.  We looked at each other with great fear and confusion.  We immediately got onto our Nokia cell phones with green screens to call our families.

Her brother, Teddy, worked for the mayor of Philadelphia.  My mother worked at the Monmouth County courthouse just 45 miles south of the World Trade Center.  We begged them to go home because we didn’t know what was next.

The remainder of the day was sitting on the couch watching the day unravel.  We cried, we questioned and we wanted to be home.  Every year on this day I text Dawn and tell her I’m thinking of her just like I did this morning.


Dawn and I in front at our apartment about a month after Sept. 11.

In the days ahead the campus came together to support each other.  I had never seen so many American flags around town.  People were nicer and more forgiving.

As I tear up writing this I wonder how I can prevent this from happening again.  I think it’s important to remember those days following September 11.  While our lives have moved on for the most part we are all still humans trying to lead happy lives.

I hope when I have my own children they do not have to live in fear.  I have come to hate being in a crowd because I’m not sure how to get out.  Elevators are another fear.  More importantly, I don’t ever want them to experience another September 11.

Today I will help remember those we have lost by running the September 11 Memorial Run in Belmar.  We will stop at the memorials along the way with a little ceremony.  I imagine it will be quiet, respectful and there will be tears shed.  Keep those who lost their lives and their loved ones in your thoughts today.


Neighbor Drama


This is a little off-focus from my blog but I thought I would share it anyway because it does share the same principles as my journey.

As we all remember Hurricane Sandy ruined our shores and many people’s homes.  About two weeks after the storm I took a vacation to Jamaica and so many people there asked us about the storm.  This was worldwide news, in case you needed reassurance at how bad it was.

At any rate, I came home to new neighbors living below me.  I found out that they were displaced due to the storm and basically had nothing with them.  While I felt badly for them, my sympathy quickly faded.

That Sunday night before going back to work my neighbors, a man and woman, were fighting.  It lasted a good hour and I finally got up at 11:30pm and went downstairs to ask them to be quiet.  I knocked on the door and this is how it went:

  • Me:  Hi, I’m Liz and I’m your neighbor upstairs.  There’s been a lot of noise and I was hoping you could keep it down.
  • The Gentleman (and I use that lightly): He opens the door a bit.  We don’t have any furniture which is why it’s               probably loud.
  • Me: Ok, well, welcome to the neighborhood!
  • The Gentleman:  This is quite a welcome!  You walk loud in the morning and you woke me up!
  • Me:  Ok, Great.  And I walked away.

This was the beginning of the drama.  This was my fourth neighbor to live below me and never have I heard anything like this!

After several months of this going on, several calls to the management office, I was told to call the police next time.  Just great!  Just what I want!  The cops involved.

I have yet to mention his girlfriend.  Let’s call her Baby.  The reason I call her Baby is because she speaks like one eventhough she’s atleast 50.  Supposedly (her mouth is like a waterfall of information to my nosey neighbor who tells me EVERYTHING!) she was in a bad accident which prevents her from working so she collects disability checks and is expecting a settlement while she rides her bike and walks several miles a day.

It also came to light that they were on the verge of being evicted because they couldn’t pay their rent since he was out of a job all the time as a car mechanic.  I’m not a mechanic but you don’t get laid off from jobs like they since they are always in demand.

In other words, I have two deadbeats living below me who don’t want to work and manage to screw the people of New Jersey for money.  Did I mention they just bought a miniature Australian shepherd from a breeder!?!

But I digress…. The real story is that while I was leaving for work today, she stopped me and gave me a big apology for her boyfriend being a loud drunk.  She admitted that we got off on the wrong foot and that she was leaving him today.  Her ex-husband and her son are coming to pick her up today and bring her to her home state of Illinois to get away from him.  She also apologized because he doesn’t know she’s leaving and she doesn’t know how he will react.  AKA, he may get violent so lock your doors.

While I don’t agree with her work/disability situation, this is a woman who put herself in a bad situation with a man who is clearly abusive.  I give her a lot of credit for leaving him (much later than she should have) and hope she doesn’t go back to him.  I can imagine it is difficult since she’s grown accustomed to this behavior but I hope she survives.  It takes a strong person to do what she’s doing today.

Inspiration: Take 2

Who inspires you to push yourself further than you thought you could?

Maybe that means overextending yourself to a neighbor, disciplining your child eventhough you’re so tired you’d rather give in, or pushing your body to the limits for your health.

Over the last severeal months I have read about people who have pushed themselves beyond anything that has been done before such as Diana Nyad.  Imagine rising victoriously out of the warm Key West waters conquering a dream you have been determined to achieve for 35 years.  She failed four times before but she kept going!  Sure she’s not looking so pretty with a swollen tongue from jellyfish stings or a major case of raisin skin but WOW!

  diana nyad

Now imagine reaching your dreams.  It’s probably a smaller, more attainable fete but what makes you think you can’t do it?  Failure?  Fear?  What is stopping you?

Usually for me, it’s the fear of failure.  Ugh, I don’t want to go run today because what if I don’t make it through today’s intervals?  I don’t want to go to yoga because Suzy Show Off does a better plough than me. 



I have learned that instead of focusing on the negative I need to focus on the positive.  I imagine how I feel afterward which is way better than I felt before I do it.  Yes, I get tired and sometimes I don’t want to do it but I never regretted it afterward.  My only regrets are not doing it.

So, I take great inspiration from people around me who have accomplished amazing things.  I know people who have completed marathons, triathalons, IronMan, building their own business, and have great kids because they took the time to teach them right and wrong despite wanting to give up.  The key is never giving up and keep pushing yourself to be greater.