9/11 – If Only In Their Dreams

September 11, 2011

Back in 2006, when I was pregnant with Carter – I would blog to relax.   I was asked by one of my blog friends to view/read about Project 2996.  Once I read about the project, I thought it was a wonderful idea and I had to join.  So, I emailed Project 2996 and requested a name from the 2996.  Not to long after – I received a name.  Little did I know how much this project would touch me.

William E. Caswell

I have read and read and read about him. I have worried myself to death about what exactly I was going to write about someone I really didn’t know. I had no clue how to put my words into text.  I struggled and struggled.  This past Wednesday I finally found the words – well, they found me in my dreams…

I sat in the fog outside a little cafe off of a stone street that looked like what one would see in a painting. You know – the paintings with the little cafe, people sipping on their coffee as the water colored blob people walk down the street going into little shops along the way. It seemed I knew where I was and that I knew who I was waiting for, although I really felt I had no clue (does that make since?)  Out of the cafe came a handsome man. Salt and pepper hair, glasses and a stature of brilliance gleaming around him. I stood up and waved as if I knew him.  He didn’t hesitate; he waved back and started walking my way.

I said something of the sort “Thank you for coming. I am so excited to finally meet you. I feel as though I already know you.”

He smiled with a little goofy grin and said “I enjoy having visitors.”

As I took a drink of my coffee I looked at him.  He had a look on his face as if he had so much to tell me but didn’t know how.

I asked “What is on your mind?” as I sat my coffee on the table.

“My life, my life” He whispered.

“What about your life?” I curiously asked.

He looked me dead in the eye and a chill came over me as he softly replied “Did I make them proud?”

“Who Proud?”

“Them.” He blankly stared.

“Yes, you should read everything that has been written about you, my friend. Your family and friends have made it well known what a brilliant, funny, loving man you were. That is why I just had to meet you. You were amazing.” I quickly responded.

He leaned back in his chair and spoke with every bit of dignity he could manage to come out through the tears in his voice “My dear, they are the ones that are amazing. My mother, my father, my sister, my wife, my step-son, my daughter. My entire family – my friends are the ones who are amazing for letting my legacy live on. I have never been so humbled as I am each time I hear any words being uttered about me through them. They have not forgotten – they have not forgotten me.”

I didn’t know what to say except “No one will ever forget. No one that loves you or ever came in contact with you will ever forget”

With that being said, he and I both stood up and leaned in over the table as if we were going to hug each other.  I heard a faint whisper echo “I enjoy having visitors… if only in their dreams.”

I suddenly awoke  crying and confused.  I realized through my dream –  I met him.

Maybe my dream was just a fluke because I have been thinking about this man I didn’t know for over 2 months now.  Maybe it is because of the baby within me is making me have crazy dreams. Maybe he just wanted me to visit him. Whatever the reasoning behind our encounter –  I’m honored.

 William E. Caswell

William (Bill to his friends and family) was a third-generation physicist. He worked for the US Navy as a senior scientist. He received several navy commendations on his work, one of which cites his role in a “highly successful top priority Chief of Naval operations project of unprecedented technological complexity – developing a profoundly new capability for the US Navy.

” His work with the Navy was so classified that half the time his family knew very little about his job. His family didn’t know exactly why he was headed to Los Angeles on the American Airline Flight 77 on September 11. His mother stated “It was a trip he often took. We never knew what he was doing there because he couldn’t say. You just learn not to ask questions.”

One of the most interesting facts I read of William was from Physics Today

Bill was born on 22 June 1947 in Boston.  He received both of his degrees in physics: his BS from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 1968 and his PhD from Princeton University in 1975.  Bill’s thesis contained the first calculation of higher-order renormalization group quantities in non-abelian gauge theory. He was a third-generation physicist: His grandfather, Albert, received one of the first PhDs in physics from Stanford University, and his father, Randall, held an MIT physics PhD.

William came from a long line of genius.

Putting aside his career, he was a beloved son, brother, husband, father and friend. From everything I read, before he parrished, he and his daughter, Jennifer who was 17 at the time of his death, were looking into colleges for her. She too, was headed in the same direction as her father in the world of science. Her education was one of his top priorities.

His wife Jean, step-son Sean, his mother Jean and father Randall, his sister Julia, and his brilliant daughter Jennifer… were a very warm and close-knit family. Every word I have read of him makes me long to have known him.

“He loved everything about life. He played pool and Go and bridge and racquetball, and tennis with [daughter] Jennifer. He liked folk dancing, too. That’s how we met.” — Jean Caswell, wife

“He was happy, very happy in this world. It is a shame to lose him,” said his father, Randall Caswell, 77.

This brilliant, humble, family man past from us on 9/11/2001 aboard American Airlines Flight 77 which crashed into The Pentagon.

At a Memorial event in Rockville, Maryland, William’s sister, Julia, brilliantly stated “He was a bright star…”

Thank you, William –  for letting me get to know you and seeing a glimpse of the “bright star” you were  – if only in my dreams.


Time Line for American Airlines Flight 77

Memorial Book for William


Really Sad…

September 29, 2010

It is really sad that I went through my “blogger roll” and had to take down lots of old blogger friends.  Some I didn’t have the heart to take down.  Most of my old blogger friends are no longer blogging.  Is the blogging world coming to an end?

…and the music plays on or does it!?!


What’s Eating Me?

September 29, 2010

You tell me which of the following  “stories”  you hear about/know about more than the other…..

As of August 31, 2010, there have been 1,985 coalition deaths in Afghanistan as part of ongoing coalition operations (Operation Enduring Freedom and ISAF) since the invasion in 2001. In this total, the American figure is for deaths “In and Around Afghanistan” which, as defined by the U.S. Department of Defense, includes some deaths in Pakistan and Uzbekistan and the deaths of 11 CIA operatives

In addition to these deaths in Afghanistan, another 28 U.S. and one Canadian soldier were killed in other countries while supporting operations in Afghanistan. Also, 62 Spanish soldiers returning from Afghanistan died in Turkey on May 26, 2003, when their plane crashed.

During the first five years of the war, the vast majority of coalition deaths were American, but between 2006 and 2010, a significant proportion were amongst other nations, particularly the United Kingdom and Canada which have been assigned responsibility for the flashpoint provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, respectively. This is because in 2006, ISAF expanded its jurisdiction to the southern regions of Afghanistan which were previously under the direct authority of the U.S. military.

With 512 Operation Enduring Freedom and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) deaths 2009, has been the deadliest year for foreign military troops since the U.S. invasion in 2001, continuing the trend that has occurred every year since 2003.

In 2009, there were 7,228 improvised explosive device (IED) attacks in Afghanistan, a 120% increase over 2008, and a record for the war. Of the 512 foreign soldiers killed in 2009, 448 were killed in action. 280 of those were killed by IED’s.



In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, Lohan gave fund-raising assistance to the British Red Cross in March 2010 to provide aid for the country. The same month, Lohan commenced legal proceedings in which she sought $100 million from financial services company E*Trade for a television advertisement that Lohan claimed invoked her likeness without her permission. She appeared on British comedy chat show Alan Carr: Chatty Man on March 11, 2010, during which she spoke about her fashion work and her fascination with Marilyn Monroe, and refused to answer questions from host Alan Carr about her sexuality.

In April 2010, producers announced that Lohan was cast as adult-film performer Linda Lovelace, star of Deep Throat, in the film Inferno, scheduled to be directed by Matthew Wilder and produced by Chris Hanley. Filming is scheduled to start in late 2010. Lohan has defended herself against criticism of the role, saying that the film will not be pornographic. She gave an interview to the Sydney Morning Herald in which she said “the way that Matthew [Wilder] wants to shoot it is not vulgar. It’s not about the raw sex and the shots of her fully nude. It’s more about getting into her psyche and seeing how scared she was. That’s what I want to show most in the film. She went on to tell the interviewer that she had “never played someone’s true-life story before. A lot of the other movies I did were just brainless for me. So it’s nice to play something where I’m able to experience all these different emotions.”

In May 2010, Lohan did not appear for a scheduled DUI progress report hearing. The judge issued a bench warrant for Lohan’s arrest, but rescinded the warrant after Lohan’s representatives posted bail. Lohan’s lawyer said her passport was stolen while she attended the Cannes Film Festival in France. At a rescheduled hearing on May 24, 2010 Lohan was ordered to attend weekly alcohol education classes, wear an alcohol-monitoring bracelet, refrain from drinking alcohol, and undergo random weekly drug tests to remain free on bail. The judge scheduled a hearing for July 6, 2010 to determine whether Lohan had violated probation by not having attended the required number of classes to date.

In June 2010, Lohan made an appearance on the Bravo television series Double Exposure. She also gave an interview to The Sydney Morning Herald that month, telling the paper “I’m still young and I’m still learning but that doesn’t mean that what they say is true, that I’m getting messed up and all this crazy stuff and that I’m constantly partying or whatever.”

At Lohan’s July 6 probation revocation hearing, the judge determined that Lohan had indeed violated the terms of her probation and sentenced her to 90 days in jail, starting July 20; in addition, the judge ordered Lohan to check into an inpatient rehab program for three months after her release from jail. On July 20, Lohan appeared in court and was taken into custody to begin her jail term. She was released on August 2 after serving 14 days of the sentence. The short term served was due to a policy of early release of non-violent offenders to reduce jail overcrowding. She was immediately taken to an inpatient rehabilitation facility where she was expected to stay another 90 days. However, on August 24 Lohan was released after only 23 days. Her lawyer stated that “the treating doctors at UCLA felt she had done everything required of her there.” Lohan will continue to undergo mandatory outpatient therapy but will be able to resume work. She was ordered to submit to random drug and alcohol screenings and attend psychotherapy and behavior therapy twice a week, as well as five 12-step sessions a week. Any failure to attend the sessions or to pass the drug tests could result in a 30-day jail sentence.  Lohan is also required to remain in Los Angeles until November 1, at which time a new hearing is scheduled. Lohan’s mother said in early August that Lohan intends to move back to New York once she finishes drug rehabilitation. Following media reports on September 17, Lohan confirmed via Twitter that she failed a drug test. She said she is “prepared to face the consequences”. After a hearing on September 24, where the judge ordered a preliminary revocation of Lohan’s probation, she was denied bail and sent back to jail. Later the same day, after Lohan’s lawyer filed an appeal, another judge granted her bail on the grounds that she had only committed misdemeanors. Lohan was released from jail after posting $300,000 bail. A probation revocation hearing is scheduled for October 22. Until then Lohan is required to wear a SCRAM bracelet and “stay away from establishments that primarily sell alcohol.



You really do not have to give me your answer – I already know which one you hear/know more about.  It is very sad that we (I say we –  the press/news) is more concerned with ONE – ONE – ONE – pitiful… lost… actress/singer/socialite/whatever else she is known  for –  individual.  I would love to see the paparazzi over in Afghanistan – lets see what kind of “money shot” they could get over there.  I guarantee you most would put their camera down and never pick it up again.  There is big difference between getting pictures of troops fighting for their lives     vs    snapping a picture of a drunken celeb.

It is sad that our society has become this.   We are so absorbed  in learning about the lives of  celebutards that we have turned a blind eye on things happening around us – in our communities, neighborhoods, cities,  states…. around the world.

You tell me the last time you heard a wonderful and heartfelt or sad and horrible story of our military men and women….  yeah, that is what I thought.  It’s been a while….

So you ask – Shayna, what is eating you?  Now you know…

…and the music plays on!



May 9, 2010

This morning my son woke me up with the yelling of “Mama, Mama… ahhhhh Mama, Mama”… the usual way I seem to wake up these days. I noticed my hubby was no where in sight… When I opened the door to my son’s room there my beautiful angel stood in his bed holding something…

“What do you have, sweetie?” I questioned.

I grabbed the object out of his hands and that is when I received the most wonderful gift I think I have ever received. It was an “I love you, mom” magnet with my son’s picture in the middle. It was some sort of art work he had made in school (or should I say his teachers made for him)… but it still was beautiful. My hubby planned out the whole ~me waking up and finding the magnet in my sons hands~ idea. PLUS- my hubby gave me a gift card for a shopping spree… WOOOO HOOOOO! He gave me a big wet kiss and hugs.

I went to church today…I always feel better after going to church.

After returning from church I changed out of my black top/gray skirt and my “to die for” black heels and changed into my khaki shorts, brown top and flip-flops…

My hubby said today was my day and I should do whatever I pleased… SOoooooo…. I went outside and cut six pink roses off my rose bush… my beautiful rose bush that once was my grandmother’s… and I made a small bouquet with the roses.

Around 2:00 P.M. (after putting my sons down for their nap and leaving my husband to baby-sit) I got into my vehicle and drove to a place I hadn’t been since November 11, 2002.

As I pulled into the driveway and parked my car, butterflies were in my stomach. I just sat there looking down at my steering wheel and tears came to my eyes.

“Get out of this car right now!” I yelled to myself.

I reached over and picked up the small bouquet of roses, I had put together earlier in the day, off of the passenger side seat. I opened the driver’s side door and slid out and onto the rocky driveway. As I walked off of the rocky driveway and onto the grassy patches of land I was surrounded by flags flying, balloons floating, stuffed animals smiling and the most beautiful flowers I have ever seen.

I finally reached my destination.

I paused and stared at my feet…

I finally looked up and faced what I should have done a long time ago…

“Hello, It’s been awhile.” I softly stated with tears in my eyes.

The wind blew silently through the warm air… and I… I sat down on the small grassy knoll beside my grandmother. I told her of my life since I last saw her.

“I have 2 sons now, grandmother. Can you believe I am a mother?” I chuckled.

After many minutes of my chatter I placed my hand above my grandmother and whispered “I miss you each and every day.”

I sat there for what seemed like an eternity and I eventually got up enough nerve to say “good-bye” to my grandmother.

I stood up and laid the bouquet of roses beside the angel… the stone angel my sister had placed by my grandmother’s tombstone the day we buried her, November 11, 2002.

“These are the roses from your rose bush, grandmother. I know how you loved that rose bush and thought… well, I thought I would bring a little something to you that you enjoyed.”

As I began to walk away, I touched her tombstone and with tears rolling down my face I cried “Happy Mother’s Day”…


My tears… my tears were not of sorrow… they were of happiness… of memories that my grandmother and I had shared together. This, to me, was the best Mother’s Day. I faced something I should have faced a while back… my grandmother has left this earth… but she will always remain in my heart.

Visiting her today was my gift to me….

…and the music plays on!


…wind beneath my wings

March 6, 2010

“As I put my pen to paper I was instantly struck with the difficulty I was having in referring to my Grandmother, Ruth, in the past tense. Her strong presence is still so vibrant, so alive. My Grandmother was a passionate woman. She was passionate about everything. She worked passionately, disciplined passionately and loved passionately. She was a simple woman with grand tastes and grand desires. She died with the family she loved so dearly, by her side.”

These are the words I wrote and read at my grandmother’s funeral. It’s been EIGHT years and it is still hard to think of her in the past tense. The disease that took her life was a type of lung cancer. This disease effected my life deeply. I lost my best friend. She had NEVER smoked a day in her life.  My grandmother fought this disease for 7 years… 7 of the hardest years of her life. The last 2 months of her life she spent in the hospital and nursing home. I spent those 2 months with her… almost every moment. I gave up my job, my personal life… she was all that mattered. I saw this disease take the most beautiful woman in the world and turn her into a pile of bones.

“When I conjure up a vision of my Grandmother, I see a beautiful woman… a lady. Even just a few months ago, although visibly more frail, she was still a very lovely, gracious, and beautiful woman. As she proudly showed off her silver collector spoon my husband and I brought her back as a souvenir from our honeymoon in Charleston, SC. Her intense will to live, was astoundingly evident. She showed me all of her prized possessions. She walked me down her hallway and pointed to the pictures on the wall. As she pointed to my grandfather, my dad, my uncle, my mom, my aunt, myself ,  my sisters and my cousins she stated, “These are my best gifts of all.” As I awed all the marvels of her endeavors, I couldn’t help being struck by the sheer will of this woman… my Grandmother.”

There is one moment that will not stop echoing in my mind. It was a week before her passing, she was going out of her mind. She was tearing the clothes off of her body and I was trying to stop her. She looked me dead in the eye and said “Please help me, Shana, please.” I have never felt so helpless in my life. I did things for my grandmother that I never thought I could do for anyone. I gave her a bath, I fed her, I helped her to the rest room, cleaned her mouth, combed what she had left of her hair, cleaned her opened sores, cleaned up her vomit. I loved her and never thought twice about doing any of those task because I knew she would have done the same for me.

I witnessed her last breath… and to this day it still haunts me.

“I’m reminded of her sense of humor. An inner hilarity not always appreciated by those around her. As I’ve grown and matured, it was my Grandmother’s humor that
I most enjoyed about her. She always teased me about staying out of trouble. She would state, “I know it is hard but try.” So, in her dying day I teased her the same. I told her to try to behave and stay out of trouble and she would reply with a beautiful smile on her face, “I know it is hard but I will try.”

Here I am, twenty-five, a breath ago a child myself, and I feel as if I barely knew her. All my memories are kaliedescoping in my minds eye. How I wish I had many more years with her to share so many more memories. But… the memories I have are joyful and full of glee.”


“I think what I inherited most was her passion and that’s not so bad. Her passion for life, for music, for friendship, and for family.

I’m sad that her great grandchildren will never know her and will forevermore miss all this amazing and wonderful woman had to offer. I’ll miss her eyes, full of love and compassion, her youthful exuberance in playing the piano; I’ll miss her saunter, I’ll miss her appreciation of the finer things, I’ll miss her joy over a great bargain, I’ll miss her genius of things too numerous to count…of things wiser women and men study years and still never grasp. I’ll miss the warm, soft, tight grip of her hand intertwined in mine.”

I am a supporter of RELAY FOR LIFE. I have done a number of walks. There has to be a cure out there… Please help spread the word!!!

“Two years ago, my Grandmother asked me to sing at her memorial. I just agreed because I new she was not going anywhere. Now that day has come and I can’t bring myself to utter a single note. But, I will say the words that I would love to sing to her, Did you ever know that you are my hero? You are everything I would like to be. I can fly higher than an eagle, because you are the wind beneath my wings. Grandmother I love you so… you are now with the angels… teach them how to fly.”

and the music plays on….