Jonathon's Closet

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Time to take a breather!

The last few days have been Run! Run! Run!

Thursday night swim meet: I placed 1st in the 50 meter free, 4th in the 200 meter backstroke (never competed in backstroke before, but I like it) and, as my Mom would say, UGH!-15th out of 16 in the 400 meter free. Looks like Coach has decided to have us do 3 events earlier this year. Somehow, I wasn't in the relays this time - not sure why. My Mom usually helps out - she's a timer. It's kind of nice, I can hear her cheering for me because she's right on the pool deck.

Friday night football game: It was fun - cold, wet, long, and boring - but still fun. I hate football, but I was there with the band. I played bells on one song, tambourine on one song, and snare on all the cadences. My Mom didn't go (she hates football too!) but she watched the half-time performance on TV.

I was supposed to work for this guy today - he's really cool, he's a Doctor and we have good talks! and he owns a farm just outside of town. I work on the farm with him, and he pays good too! But it's COLD and RAINING today, so we'll probably wait til tomorrow. My Mom says I need to clean my room today anyway, so it'll all work out fine. I think I'll borrow her "UGH!" again!

I'm so sick of it being cold inside - hope we hire an electrician soon!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

While driving to work today ...

I got up this morning needing a tomato! Just wanting a tomato so much that it became more than just a "want" - it became a "need"! So I stopped at the Farmers Market, and headed for Bill's booth. Do I know Bill? Not really. He is a vendor at the Farmer's Market, always friendly, always smiling. Always so very kind. Bill never fails to remember my name or my son's - and often greets Jona with the words "so how's my favorite young man today, Jonathon?". Bill's booth always has the BEST tomatoes, so of course that's where I was headed.

Bill is gone. His booth sat empty. Well, empty except for the bouquet of flowers placed in the middle with a handwritten note that says "We regret to inform you that Bill passed on Sunday, Sept.24 This booth will remain empty for the remainder of the season, in memory of Bill."

I didn't get a tomato. I don't know why. Many other vendors at the market have tomatoes. But it just wouldn't have been the same.

Every day I drive past a large funeral home - the funeral home, uh - yeah, that one -where my husband and daughter - umm, you know. Today the hearse was out front, 2 limo's lined up behind, all bearing orange flags, ready for today's procession.

I don't know if this was for Bill. I don't know if there is a Mrs. Bill, her heart shattered. I do know that I cried the rest of the way to work today. I cried for my own losses, I cried for Jona's losses, and I cried knowing the pain of all families who have lost a loved one. And I cried for Bill.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Baby it's COLD outside! And inside too!

It's a little early for the house to be playing Halloween tricks, don't you think?

Yesterday when I left for work, everything was fine. When I got home, the phone didn't work - no dial tone. So I went to a neighbor's house and called the phone company. They verified that the account is paid up to date and they did not disconnect service, and transfered me to the repair dept. Repair ran a check on the line, said everything was fine, that sometimes a line "jams" and just needs to be reset. They told me to unplug every phone in the house, leave them unplugged for 10 minutes, and then reconnect them. I did, and it worked!

So of course I'm thinking everything is ok, right? I go into my bedroom and hit the light switch - and NO LIGHTS. I'm trying to figure out how the 4 bulbs in my ceiling fan could have possibly all burnt out at once as I turn on the hallway light. NO LIGHTS. I walk across the hall to my little office room, the computer is on and the ceiling fan is running, so obviously I have electricity.

We check the breaker box - no tripped breaker. We check fuses - all appear fine. We start checking the rest of the house and


NO POWER in the kitchen (that's right - can't cook and all the food in the fridge/freezer is going to go bad!)

NO POWER in the living/dining room - which is why I fell over the coffee table last night in the dark!

NO POWER in MY room - no alarm clock!

NO POWER in 1/2 of the basement - no clothes dryer (although the washer works fine!) and NO FURNACE!!!

The power in my little office, in one bathroom, and in my son's room works fine.

I repeat:


Monday, September 25, 2006

On Sept. 25th ... a long time ago

If only we could capture the beauty of autumn and hold it in our hearts all winter long. They say it’s the season for wisdom, heralding a season of death to come.
We met in the autumn, on the campus of Eastern Michigan University. I was chatting with friends in the student union when I glanced up and saw him talking and laughing. We met a few days later, introduced by mutual friends. I wasn’t looking for a relationship. Didn’t want one. But he was persistent! And fun! And romantic! And I just couldn’t resist!
We had ten years together; ten autumns walking hand-in-hand, hearing the leaves crunch underfoot. Ten autumns filled with brilliant colors and mellow sunsets and crisp fall air. Ten autumns of leaf-fights and apple picking, pumpkin patches and Halloween bashes, and snuggling close under the stars and sharing hopes and dreams.
Autumn is so empty now, serving only as the prelude to cold bitter winter winds. The magic of our autumns together is gone.
Today is our anniversary. Not our wedding anniversary; the anniversary of the day we met. September 25, 1987. That beautiful autumn day I first heard the sound of his laughter. We were young. We were foolish. We knew nothing of what lie ahead. And for that, I am thankful.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Do you remember pressing brightly colored leaves between sheets of waxed paper to preserve their colors? It's one of those experiences of life no one should miss. Here's how you do it:
Place autumn-colored leaves between two layers of wax paper. Choose fresh leaves with the brightest colors. You don't want fallen leaves that already have started to dry.
Cover with an old towel or cloth rag.
Press the fabric with a warm iron, sealing the wax paper together with the leaf in between.
Cut the leaves out, leaving a narrow margin of wax paper around the leaf edge.
Preserved leaves make a great fall table decoration, and they’ll look great on a bulletin board too!
Take some time with the children in your life. Go out and collect some of the treasures of fall. It's a memory they'll treasure for the rest of their lives. I know I have.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Just Guess! ... and the Big Splash update!

Foods that help fight stress: bananas, fish, baked potatoes, avocados, chicken and dark green leafy veggies.

Foods that help fight fatigue: iron-rich foods such as red meats, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, dried beans.

Well it's grocery shopping day... and I'm going to buy bananas, fish, potatoes, chicken, broccoli, whole grain bread, beef... wanna guess how I've been feeling lately?


Mid-town swim meet: I took 2nd place in the 100 free and my relay team took 4th place in the 400 free relay. The coach only allows us 2 events per meet until November, then it goes back up to 3 events per meet and I'll start competing in breastroke again. Or wherever they need me, I guess! But they sure don't want me on butterfly - I know that's right! I wish we would put together a 200 medley team, but coach says not til next year.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Friday Night Big Splash!

We spent this evening at the pool. Not unusual, Jona’s at the pool at least 5 nights a week. But tonight was the spirit rally for the season kick-off! Jona’s been on the swim team for 4 years now. He loves it! The coaches all know him well, and his swimming has much improved. Jona is now our #1 freestyle swimmer, and #3 breaststroke swimmer.

Although he has practiced with them for 2 years, this is Jona’s first official year with the dive team. Tonight I learned that the dive team coach isn’t exactly familiar with our situation. The coach joked about how usually the diver tries only to make a SMALL splash, but at the mid-town meet tomorrow those little splashes are going to make a BIG splash! One by one, the coach introduced each diver and called for the parents to come down and throw their diver into the pool. Jonathon, as the newest member of the team, was last. I saw the all-too-familiar look of pain on Jona’s face as his name was read and the call for his parents was heard over the loudspeaker. I knew what he was thinking. I knew what he was feeling. I could see the pain in his eyes.

As I walked across the pool deck, I thought to myself “Now how am I supposed to throw this kid who is as big as I am into the pool?” I was hoping he’d just jump in! But I needn’t have worried. As I approached Jona, two of the swim team coaches came off the bench grinning, grabbed Jonathon and effortlessly tossed him FAR into the pool!

On the way home, Jona confided “I was going to pull you in with me, Mom!” to which I laughingly responded “You’d have been walking home, you know that, don’t you?” and he replied “Yeah – but it would’ve been worth it!” and as he grinned at me I realized that in that moment he looked and sounded just like his Dad.

All said, it was a good night.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I miss him...

“I miss him,” Jona simply stated, and in an instant so many thoughts flash through my mind.

I miss him teasing me about “in like a lion, out like a lamb” – he always said that phrase referred to me when I was angry!
I miss him trying to cheer me up when I've had a hard day.
I miss his singing. Oh, I miss his singing!
I miss his sense of humor.
I miss him telling me a million times a day how much he loves me.
I miss cuddling with him on the roof – yep, the roof – and looking at the stars.
I miss his great big lift-me-off-the-ground bear hugs.
I miss his kisses.
I miss his laugh and his smile – the smile that you could even see in his eyes.
I miss him bringing me the most beautiful cards & flowers & jewelry – Don had great taste!
I miss cooking for him.
I miss his doing the dishes – I never once washed a dish the entire ten years we were married!
I miss his company.
I miss my running partner!
I miss the huge parties we used to throw.
I miss walking hand in hand.
I miss the way he held me at night, so strong and close.
I miss his friendship.
I miss having someone who understood me completely.
I miss the pride in his voice when he would introduce me to his colleagues at business functions.
I miss the life we had together and the contentment I felt in that life.
I miss him……………………………

I miss Dad taking me to the library every Saturday morning.
I miss Dad taking me to buy a newspaper and Fig Newtons every Sunday.
I miss Dad lifting me up to pick apples off our trees.
I miss Dad every time I go on the computer!
I miss riding on his shoulders.
I miss him holding my hand at the farmer's market.
I miss the way he would tuck me in at night.
I miss him at swim meets.
I miss him at band concerts.
I miss him making me feel safe.
I miss having a guy to talk to.
I miss him every single day.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

What a Great Kid!

“Awww, you’re having one of those days again,” he stated flatly as he came in the front door. Then he gave me a hug. “I love you Mom”, he said as he took off down the hall. “Gotta hurry, gotta get this homework done before swim practice.”

How did he know I was having “one of those days” again? He could hear it! On “those days” I often listen to recordings of my husband singing – and on “those” really bad days it’s usually the song “Amazing Grace” set to repeat over and over again; Don on main vocals, and me on backup vocals and acoustic guitar. Soft, soothing … some days, it’s just what I need.

A short time later he emerged from his room with his swim gear. “I’m ready to go, Mom – can I have a ride?” he asked. As we headed to the car, he turned and softly said, “I wish I could sing like Dad”.

Ok, now if you ever heard this child sing you would PAY HIM TO STOP! You've heard the expression "can't carry a tune in a bucket"? Well, Jona couldn't carry a tune with a bucket, a backpack, a wagon, and a Ford F 250! He does NOT have the ability to sing anywhere close to on-key – this is why he plays the drums! But as he shared his wish with me, the only thought that came to mind was “Me too, Jona. Me too”. And I didn’t even get the chance to share it; he grinned and headed to the car, saying, “but I’m good at lots of other things that Dad was good at, right Mom? Can’t be good at everything!”

What a great kid!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Value of Time

To realize the value of ten years ... ask a widow.

To realize the value of five years ... ask a son growing up without his father.

To realize the value of one year ... ask the wife of a deployed soldier.

To realize the value of one month ... ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.

To realize the value of one minute ... ask the person who would give anything to have just one more minute with a loved one now gone.

To realize the value of a friend or family member ... lose one.

Life is short; treasure every moment.

Monday, September 18, 2006

We're Baaaack!

Well, we spent the better part of a week visiting Project 2996 bloggers and I am so impressed by the beautiful tributes so many of my fellow bloggers wrote! Wow! But it took it's toll - I went down with a sick headache and spent the majority of a beautiful weekend in bed. Too much death - too much pain - too much to handle.

Now we are getting back to "normal" and trying to decide what Jonathon will wear for school picture day on Thursday. I'm a little surprised that my opinion was asked for! We'll have to dig thru the closet tonight and find something good!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Robert Levine of West Babylon, N.Y.

I wonder what he looked like – and realize that it doesn’t matter, because somebody misses his smile every single day.

I wonder if his voice sounded like my Dad’s – and realize that it doesn’t matter, because somebody misses his voice every single day.

- Jonathon, age 13

Quilt Square by Kim Monins (Jersey, United Kingdom)

In a solemn ceremony in Central Park on Monday October 1, 2001, thousands paid tribute to the more than 700 employees of Cantor Fitzgerald who were lost in the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center. Cantor occupied floors 101 and 103-105 of the 110 story North Tower. They lost every New York employee who was in the building — more than 700 of the roughly 1,000 who worked there.

One of those employees was Robert Levine.

Robert Levine, age 56, of West Babylon N.Y. Robert was a husband, father, grandfather, son, brother, cousin, friend, and neighbor.

We know that words cannot fill the hole left behind when Robert left this earth. Yet today we offer our words in rememberance, as words are all we have. We are thankful for Robert and sorry that he was taken too soon.

"Bobby Levine loved his family very much and was completely devoted to his wife, his daughter, and his grandchildren. He loved people, he loved his friends. He was a very hardworking, friendly, honorable, religious man. He was very very sociable, always talking to people. I never heard him say anything bad about anybody. He was a great guy, and it was a terrible tragedy what happened to him and the other 3,000 people that died that day."
Raymond, cousin of Robert, Garden City, N.Y.

“You will be missed and prayed for with love. God Bless You and Keep You!”
Cathy and Paul, former neighbors, Sandy, Utah

“Dear God, Shine your light on this wonderful man, Robert Levine of West Babylon, N.Y.
May his soul rest in peace with God and his angels, and may God bless his family and friends.”
Anonymous message left at

Dear Robert,

May you know no more sorrow.

Jonathon's Closet

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Where was God on 9/11?

Today I heard the question "where was God on 9/11?"

I know where my God was on 9/11. God was in the presence of his people on earth.

God was present in the passengers of Flight 93, giving them the strength to overcome the hijackers.

God was present in the President quoting Psalm 23.

God was present in the bagpiper piping "Amazing Grace".

God was present in the sanitation workers stopping by their makeshift chapel.

God was present in the chaplains comforting the grieving loved ones.

God was present in the third-graders from the state of Washington who sent homemade cookies to the workers at Ground Zero.

God was present in the couple from Michigan who drove to Home Depot, bought $700 worth of shovels, and hand-delivered them to New York.

God was present in the fire fighters from Chicago who jumped in a car, headed east and got picked up going 108 M.P.H. in Indiana.

God was present in the Indiana state trooper who listened to their explanation and responded "Well, let's try to keep it under 90" and gave them a flashing-light escort to the border.

He was present in the many acts of bravery, charity, and selflessness performed on that sad day and the ones that followed.

And when the World Trade Center and Pentagon building and 4 commercial airliners went down, my God picked up 2996 of His children and carried them home for all eternity.

And He wept.

My God was everywhere.

Although 9/11 may be without a doubt the worst thing we may ever see, we can see God's presence on 9/11 if we just look for it.


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Red White and Blue

Jonathon’s Closet respectfully reminds citizens to fly the flag of the United States of America on Monday, September 11th in memory of the fifth anniversary of 9/11, considered by many to be this country’s worst tragedy.

Flag flying has greatly diminished since the period after that tragedy when patriotism was running so high. Fly an American flag in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.

Jonathon's Closet is proud to be a part of Project 2996, honoring the victims of 9/11. On September 11, this blog will honor Robert Levine. Please visit us on that day to help us pay tribute to Mr. Levine and all the others who were lost. For a complete listing of the 2996 victims and the bloggers assigned to each, please click on the 2996 link on the sidebar.

In the face of this evil, America remains strong and united. Fly your flag on Monday, September 11th as a reminder to all that we have not forgotten.

“… and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the Earth.” Abraham Lincoln, words from the Gettysburg Address

Friday, September 08, 2006

This Child's Perspective

A few days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks I received a call from Jona’s art teacher asking me to please stop by to discuss his behavior in art class that day. Jona loved art class and the art teacher as well, and never had any kind of behavior problem in art. I was confused.

When I arrived at the school I found myself walking down hallways lined with children’s drawings of 9/11. I met the teacher and she took me to where the pictures made by Jona’s class were displayed.

“You know I think Jonathon is just the best!” she began.

"Uh-huh”, I acknowledged while scanning the drawings of airplanes and fire trucks, towers and flames, and not finding one with Jona’s name on it.

“You won’t find it,” she informed me. “It’s not there. I don’t know what happened! He just refused to do the assignment! He kept saying, ‘Mrs. N, I AM drawing 9/11’ but look! Here is what he did!”

She looked very frazzled as she thrust the picture towards me.

When Jona joined us, he insisted “Mom, I DID draw 9/11” and the art teacher threw her hands in the air.

“Ok", I acknowledged, looking carefully at the rows of people he had drawn and noting that every person in the drawing was crying. “Tell me about it.”

Jona looked up at me stone-faced and quietly said, “Those are all the children whose parents died.”

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Where Were You on 9/11/2001 ?

I was in Mrs. Cramer’s 3rd grade classroom. The principal came in and said to turn on the TV. I don't remember what we were doing before that - it doesn't seem important. Right as we turned it on, we saw the 2nd tower get hit. We all just sat there in shock. Some kids started to cry. I felt confused and sick to my stomach. Then I felt anger and sadness, both at the same time.

It was a beautiful autumn day in Michigan ; the perfect mix of gorgeous blue sky, downy white clouds, and crisp fall air.

I was in my office located just off the trading floor, a very loud place with dozens of phones ringing constantly and buyers and sellers hollering back and forth. In an instant, all phones fell silent.

Everyone was looking around, puzzled. Someone yelled that a plane had just hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center . A voice recalled the time a B-25 hit the 79th floor of the Empire State Building . Someone had turned on a radio and we all stopped to listen to what we believed was an accident.

As a group we moved to the conference room and stood in front of the TV. CNN was displaying a picture of the skyscraper with a huge gaping hole in the side. And then the second plane hit the South Tower . Shockwaves went thru the room. This wasn’t an accident; we were under attack. For the longest time, we watched silently with tears running down our faces.

Suddenly in the back of the room someone was saying the Lord’s Prayer. Another voice could be heard reciting the 23rd Psalm. “Pray for the victims”, someone quietly suggested. “And pray for their families”, I whispered in response.

We stood together as if frozen in time. We stood in disbelief as the South Tower collapsed and as the next plane hit the Pentagon. A few soft murmurs of prayer were heard as we learned of the crash of Flight 93. We watched as the North Tower tumbled to the ground. No one spoke aloud for the longest time.
- Kate

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

2,996: A Tribute to the Victims of 9/11

Jonathon's Closet is proud to be a part of Project 2996, honoring the victims of 9/11.

On September 11, this blog will honor Robert Levine.

Please visit us on that day to help us pay tribute to Mr. Levine and all the others who were lost.

For a complete listing of the 2996 victims and the bloggers assigned to each, please click on the 2996 link on the sidebar.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Good Start

Well, I'm just sitting here listening to the thunder rumble and feeling relieved. The school year is off to a good start.

He finally got himself prepared the night before (organization is not Jona's strong point!). Well, mostly prepared. Just one little problem. "MOM! I can't find my drumsticks!" And since I wasn't the last one to use them, I felt real comfortable in replying "then look harder!".

A little bit of difficulty getting out of bed (Jona's not a morning person either!) but he managed. We've been working on getting up when the alarm goes off all summer long. I have no problem with this; unfortunately I'm usually up long before the alarm rings at 6. But Jona is another story - he would sleep to noon if he could!

I thought of him while I was at work today, and wondered how things were going. But then I got busy and forgot all about school. I thought of him again when he wasn't home at 3:00. The bus is supposed to drop off the kids about a block from here at 2:40. But at 3:10 I heard the bus and he showed up at home just 3 minutes later. The bus was a little late and now that I think about it the bus is usually running late on the first day of school.

Jonathon came in the front door with the words "I love ALL of my teachers! It's gonna be a great year" and then spent about 40 minutes telling me about his day. He is separated from his best friend in all classes except band, but this doesn't seem to bother him.

I was a little concerned when he proudly told me he has been "hired" as a lunch room worker. The kids "apply" to work the first 10 minutes of their 30 minute lunch hour in exchange for a free lunch. As great as this sounds (it either saves me about $12.50 a week or the bother of packing a lunch each day and shopping for things to put in that lunch) I was worried about him not getting time to hang out with his friends, something he loves to do. But I was worried for no reason - Jona's best friend is a lunch room worker too!

I'm going to just relax this evening and listen to the rain. I love thunderstorms.

Sunday, September 03, 2006


My Mom mentioned normal in her post yesterday. What is normal?
When you’ve lost a parent, there is no normal anymore.

It is not normal to miss a week of kindergarten because your Dad died.

It is not normal to not be allowed to join Tiger Scouts because your Dad is gone and your Mom has to work all the time just to pay the bills.

It is not normal to have your Mom “be your Dad” at all the Father-Son events (but thanks Mom, ‘cause I’d rather go with you than miss out! You’re an ok Dad!)

It is not normal to be the only one on the soccer team without a Dad at the awards ceremony.

It is not normal to have only a Mom at parent teacher conferences.

It is not normal to have your Mom cross you over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts when every other boy has his Dad there.

It is not normal to see your Mom sitting alone at band concerts when everyone else looks like they are sitting with family.

It is not normal to not have Dad around to talk to.

It is not normal to not have Dad at your swim meets.

It is not normal to know that parts of your Dad’s body are alive and helping someone else. (But it is kind of cool!)

My Mom could probably make this list a lot longer. I could too, but you already see what I’m saying. Normal doesn’t exist anymore. Not for me. Normal disappeared a long time ago. People don’t realize this. They just assume that your life is like their life. But it’s not. And it never will be.

*Mom's note: While Jona is correct (normal is gone) it is also correct to say that families rebuild a "new normal". What is normal in our home now is certainly different than it used to be, but we do have our own "new normal" - it's just not what most people think of when they think of normal!

Saturday, September 02, 2006


I've been neglectful. (hanging head in shame) I've completely ignored this place all week. It's been a hard week.

I haven't been feeling well this week. No big deal, just not feeling well. Mostly due to some changes in my arthritis meds. Like I can't afford them, so I'm not on them. But that's another story. Hard to type when your hands are seriously uncooperative (along with the rest of your body!) and shreiking out in pain at each attempt. Working thru it, but it's slowing me down.

But Jona - now that's a complication! One of the results of losing Dad, baby, and Grandpa in such a sort time is a child who is ultra-sensitive to illness. When I am sick (even just the flu) it pushes this kid's panic button. He is concerned. No, not just concerned. He is frightened.

"Are you ok Mom? Can I get you anything? Are you sure you're ok? Do you need me to go to the store for you? I can go to the store, you know. Here, a cool washcloth for your forehead. Mom? Are you really ok?" etc. etc. etc.

Sounds ok, right? I mean it's good that he demonstrates concern, I know. But he isn't just demonstrating concern. He is panicked. And that causes him to act out in other ways.

In between the expressions of concern are behaviors that are unacceptable. (It is NOT ok to yell at Grandma when she calls because she is bothering your mother and YOUR MOTHER IS TRYING TO REST!!! - This pisses off Grandma to no end, who insists that you put your mother on the phone and launches into a 20 minute lecture on "I don't know what's wrong with you, but you should get off your lazy ass and do something, it'll make you feel better")

He also retreats into his books, which is ok when not carried too far. He carries it too far. He becomes so engrossed in his books that he does not hear me when I call, he forgets to feed the dog, he becomes upset if he is asked to go outside and get the mail - you get the picture. Do not interrupt this child when he is reading. Even if he is reading when he is supposed to be feeding the dog.

And he won't sleep when he's worried about me. He keeps coming into my room and checking on me. Which wakes me up. Grrrr. When he does doze off, the nightmares return. Bits and pieces of scary dreams in which his father is dying. Over and over again. Sometimes an accurate replay of that morning, sometimes a weird dream-like death. Sometimes he substitutes Mom in Dad's place in these dreams. Great.

Sure am looking forward to school starting - maybe he'll be so involved with his homework, swim team practice, Science Olympiad Team, etc. that he won't even notice how I'm feeling - and then things could get back to normal around here!

Oh, wait - I forget - WHAT IS NORMAL???