Sunday, September 11, 2011

I can't help but remember

For the last 10 years, I tried to pretend that this day was a day like all others. I almost succeeded today, but the news coverage has been more overwhelming than usual. Every channel I turned on this morning had the memorial on. I went out for breakfast and everyone there was talking about it.

Since I can't escape it, I choose to think of the aftermath. Not the angry, "get those bastards at any cost" mentality that came out of some. I choose to think of the outpouring of love. The feeling of solidarity. That the attack was an attack on all decent human beings. That only a monster could do what they did. 

The following is an article I recently read on the Mental Floss website, titled "We Are All Americans: The World's Response to 9/11," written by Haley Sweetland Edwards. This is how I choose to think about today.
A decade ago this week, people all over the world stood shoulder-to-shoulder in mourning, solidarity, sympathy and friendship with the people of the United States. Here are a few of those international reactions, both organized and spontaneous, that occurred in the days following September 11, 2001. 
In London, the Star Spangled Banner played during the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, while traffic came to a standstill in The Mall nearby.
In Beijing, tens of thousands of people visited the U.S. Embassy, leaving flowers, cards, funeral wreaths and hand-written notes of condolence on the sidewalk out front.
In Moscow, women who spoke no English and had never been to the U.S. were captured on film sobbing in front of a makeshift tribute on a sidewalk, and every single church and monastery in Romania held a memorial prayer.
In France, a well-known newspaper, Le Monde, ran a headline reading, “We Are All Americans.”
In the Middle East, both the Israeli president and the Palestinian leader condemned the attacks, and made a show of donating blood.
Kuwaitis lined up to donate blood as well. Jordanians signed letters of sympathy.
In Tehran, an entire stadium of people gathered for a soccer match observed a moment of silence, and in Turkey, flags flew at half-mast.
In Berlin, 200,000 people packed the streets leading to the Brandenburg Gate.
A thousand miles south, in Dubrovnik, Croatia, schoolchildren took a break from classes to bow their heads in silence.
In Dublin, shops and pubs were closed during a national day of mourning, and people waited in a three-hour line to sign a book of condolences.
In Sweden, Norway and Finland, trams and buses halted in tribute, and in Russia, television and radio stations went silent to commemorate the innocent dead.
In Azerbaijan, Japan, Greenland, Bulgaria and Tajiskitan, people gathered in squares to light candles, murmur good wishes and pray. And in Pretoria, South Africa, little kids perched on their parents’ shoulders holding mini American flags.
Firefighters in Hungary tied black ribbons to their trucks, firefighters in South Africa flew red, white and blue, and firefighters in Poland sounded their sirens, letting loose a collective wail one warm afternoon.
Cubans offered medical supplies. Ethiopians offered prayers. Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan offered their air space, and dozens of other world leaders called the White House to offer their support.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Canada, Albania and Sierra Leone marched in the streets in shows of solidarity, and mosques in Bangladesh, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya and Sudan trembled with clerics’ condemnation of those “cowardly” and “un-Islamic” attacks.
Lebanese generals convened to sign letters of sympathy, and in Italy, Pope John Paul II fell to his knees in prayer.
Albania, Ireland, Israel, Canada, Croatia, South Korea and the Czech Republic all declared national days of mourning, and the legendary bells of Notre Dame echoed throughout Paris.
In Italy, race car drivers preparing for the upcoming Italian Grand Prix silenced their engines, and in London, hundreds stood quietly during the noontime chimes of Big Ben.
In Belgium, people held hands, forming a human chain in front of the Brussels World Trade Center, and seventeen time zones away, strangers in Indonesia gathered on a beach to pray.
In India, children taped up signs that read, “This is an attack on all of us,” and in Austria, church bells tolled in unison.

Read the full text here: --brought to you by mental_floss! 

If you get a chance, also check out the Mental Floss article about Gander, Newfoundland, and some of the many unsung heroes of 9/11.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The power of positivity

At my last job, one of my coworkers was an almost impossibly positive person. My work bffs and I referred to her as Sunshine because it seemed as though nothing could get her down. She was a genuinely happy person. If it rained, she would talk about the delight of walking in the rain. If it snowed, she talked about going home and building snowmen. She was the master of looking at the bright side of life. At first, I thought it was an act, or sarcasm, but she was genuinely a positive person. As a sarcastic East coast girl, I did not understand. It made no sense. She's... happy? Like, all the time? She... finds joy in everything? I didn't know people like this existed!

Thinking about her, I realized that I had a lot to learn from her way of thinking. I've struggled with depression for most of my life. I've been medicated. I've been to therapists. But it's my way of thinking that's been my main problem. I realized that I had to change.

When faced with something new, I don't want my first reaction to be negative. It's been hard to retrain my brain. I have mental battles when I want to be mean, but I force myself to be nice. It's been working. Instead of being unwilling to accept a situation, I've made an attempt to find the good in whatever it is I'm faced with. It's reformed my whole outlook.

I have lots of things in my life currently that I can be down about, but I choose to look at what I have to be happy about. Yes, the problems and the crappy stuff will be there even if I ignore them, but I choose to stay positive. And that choice keeps my head above water. I have my bad days, and I do allow myself a good cry every now and then. But after that, I go back to positive thinking. I remain me, just a happier me. Haydia 2.0, if you will.

It's a big change, and it seems to be working. I feel happier. I'll report back on this in a few months.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Maya cat

Maya turns 6 today!

A former coworker was a volunteer at a shelter. One day, she came to work with a story about a kitten the PSE&G guy had found in a dumpster and brought in to the shelter. She said the tiny kitten was a little snuggler and wouldn't stop talking. She showed me a photo and I fell in love. The next day, she brought the kitten in and we hid her in an empty office the whole day until I could take her home. That was 6 years ago. Maya is still a snuggler and still won't stop talking.

When I introduced Maya to my niece Hannah, Hannah was 2 years old and I had only just stopped being her full time nanny, so she was insanely jealous of Maya. She insisted that I call her Hannah-Maya and she would crawl around and purr and meow. She still does.

I am an unmarried, childless, unemployed, 31 year old, cat loving woman. What does this mean? This means that I am a crazy cat lady with too much time on my hands. So I have planned the ultimate hypothetical 6th birthday party for Mai Mai!

Guest list:
Steve (he's a CCM* but almost didn't make the cut due to allergies)
My sister's 5 cats
My 2 nieces
Steve's inside cat
Steve's outside cat

Fancy Feast (my baby only turns 6 once)
Pitr Pats
Tuna water (oh yeah!)
Cat nip, but only for the adult cats

I considered a bouncy castle, but with the claws, it would have been a disaster.
Instead, boxes. Lots of boxes in all shapes and sizes, scattered around. Maya has a serious box habit.
Also, laptop stations for butt warming.

Goodie bags will include:
Sparkle balls
Cat nip puffs
Crumpled up balls of paper

Happy birthday, baby. Mama loves you.

*CCM: Crazy Cat Man
I am a CCL: Crazy Cat Lady. Together, we are a CCC, or Crazy Cat Couple.