Sunday, September 10, 2006

Capt. William O'Keefe

Capt. William O'Keefe
Originally uploaded by sthrngrace.
Five years ago today, Captain William O'Keefe of the New York Fire Department went to work. His alarm probably went off early, maybe he went for a quick run, or maybe he simply ate breakfast, kissed his daughters and wife "good bye" and left for work. But I am quite certain he never realized it was to be the last time such mundane things were to happen.

It was like most any other day--the sun rose, the sky was blue, the birds were singing in the park... Unbeknownst to any American, though, the horrific plan radical terrorists had been plotting for years was finally to come to fruition.

Below is a tribute that I have blatantly borrowed from the "Fallen Brothers" website.

Wednesday, September 26, 2001

The little things mattered most to William S. O'Keefe.

Running at sunup along the beach at Sea Isle City on the Jersey Shore with his daughters, Tara and Kaitlin. Working out a folk or rock tune on his acoustic guitar. Doting on his two beagles, Lucy and Desi.

Promoted to captain in the city Fire Department in May, the 48-year-old Eltingville resident lost his life responding to the World Trade Center terrorist attack on Sept. 11.

"He was a wonderful person, a completely devoted father and husband," said his sister-in-law, Barbara Weimar. "And a very brave firefighter."

A lifelong Staten Islander, Mr. O'Keefe was appointed to the Fire Department in April 1979. He worked his way through the ranks, spending 15 years at Engine Co. 224 in Brooklyn and seven years at Engine Co. 154 in Travis.

Following his promotion to captain, he was assigned to Division 15 in Brooklyn.

"He was very proud of the promotion," said Ms. Weimar. "His family was very proud."

Dedicated to his wife, the former Ginny Sheehan, and his daughters, Mr. O'Keefe relished the family's annual summer treks to the Jersey Shore. They recently returned in July from Sea Isle City, where he would rise at dawn to run along the boardwalk.

Mr. O'Keefe also enjoyed watching his girls' track meets. Tara, 19, and Kaitlin, 16, have both run for St. Joseph by-the-Sea High School. Mr. O'Keefe was an avid runner himself, participating in a number of long-distance events and firefighters' races.

He enjoyed golfing, and loved playing the guitar. Handy with a hammer and saw, Mr. O'Keefe also liked renovating his home.

His family said he had a terrific sense of humor, joking and keeping the mood light. "He was a very funny and amusing guy," Ms. Weimar said. "We all loved him."

Mr. O'Keefe was born in Tottenville and moved to Great Kills with his family as a 5-year-old. He settled in Eltingville in 1982 following his marriage.

A graduate of Tottenville High School, Mr. O'Keefe earned his bachelor's degree from the former Richmond College in St. George.

He was a parishioner of St. Clare's R.C. Church, Great Kills.

In addition to his wife, Ginny, and his daughters, Tara and Kaitlin, surviving are his father, John, and three brothers, Robert, John and Timothy.

I am privledged to have the honor of setting up this memorial post on this day. None of our fellow citizens, taken in such an egregious manner should be forgotten, but the heroes of that day; the members of the community whose lives were lost in an attempt to save others, hold a special place of honor.

Thank you for your sacrifice. May God bless and keep you, the family of Captain William O'Keefe.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

See ya later, Blogger...

Jaime n Nick hike
Originally uploaded by sthrngrace.
The time has come to say good-bye. See ya...ciao...adios...hasta la vista, baby. You get the picture.

I finally got tired of battling blogger every time I wanted to post--regardless of length or content.

So...'Ive moved over to

Y'all stop by some time, ya hear? :)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Sherlock Grace

I used to smoke. I was among the population who thought their sense of taste and smell was never affected by the fact they smoked. But I'm here to tell you how misguided I was. :) There is a smell in my house that only I can smell. NO ONE else in my house can smell it. The neighbors can't smell it (unless they're just being polite). My mom can't smell it (and she's never smoked). But this smell is driving me NUTS. When I wake up at night, I smell it. When I come out of my bedroom I smell it. When I first walk in the house, it overwhelms my senses. It is not a pleasant smell. I am getting headaches from this smell! It kind of smells like when you leave damp clothes in the washer overnight. But there's nothing there. It's a cross between mildewy and moldy. I've taken everything out from under the sink. I've gotten down on my hands and knees and personally smelled under my refrigerator. I've sniffed around the washer. I've sniffed the dishwasher. I've sniffed the drain. I'm completely obsessed with finding the reason for this odor. All I need is my little cape, hat, and pipe and you ,might confuse me with Sherlock Holmes. *wink* I CAN NOT FIND THE SOURCE OF THIS ODOR AND I'M GOING NUTS. Tomorrow I am going to solve this mystery if it's the last thing I do. Wish me luck... and wish my family patience and understanding. :)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Saying "Thanks"

I'm not really a political person. I won't generally discuss my views. Not because I don't want to argue, but just because they're mine. And I like it like that. So, don't think I'm implying anything in one way or another by posting this. "It is what it is." Kristine? Shaun? Everyone? Are you cringing yet? LOL I cringed when I typed it, but that statement sums up what. this. is. It's not a political thumping. It's not a pro-war shout out. It's not an anti-war slam. It's not anything more than wanting to share with you something that you can do that is...nice. If you go to the web site you can pick out a thank you card and Xerox will print it and it will be sent to a soldier that is currently serving in Iraq. You can't pick out who gets it, but it will go to some member of the armed services. This isn't about whether you think the war in Iraq is right or not. It's not about whether you like President Bush or think he did the right thing. It IS about supporting our troops and making sure they know, no matter the circumstances, that you support THEM--as human beings doing a job they volunteered to do. And it's about thanking them...and letting them know that it's not only their families & friends who think about them and pray for them and hope they come home alive and well. It is FREE and it only takes a second. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the soldiers received a bunch of these? I sent mine, now you send one too! And here's the link to a sister-site:

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Firsts & Lasts

Here we have the TaterTots on their very first official first day of school as a group--

(taken on my first day back to work after the Lil Guy was born)

And here they are today--Their very first official First Day of School with all of them as students!

(taken today *sob*)

I guess I did something right. Lil Guy walked into class today like he had done it a thousand times. He hugged and kissed me, reminded me to "pick him up later", gave me a high-five and turned around to go join the other 4 yr olds in his class.

I waved and blew a kiss to a retreating backside. His teacher smiled indulgently and reassured me this child she'd only met the night before was in "good hands" and that he would "be fine". She's not a mother. She is clueless. But I left him in her care anyway.

No, this wasn't the first time I'd done this, but it was the last. My baby is no longer a baby yet he will remain so for the rest of his life. I'm not much of a gusher or sentimental "fool" but this hit me hard. Lil Guy is great. And I'll be fine...

(PS: And if they screw him up, I'm gonna hurt someone!)


I got lots to say and no time in which to say it. Today is the first day of school and I have three kids and myself to get ready and out of here within a shorter-than-humanly-possible time. I am wasting 10 minutes drinking coffee and blogging! Running on 4.5 hours of sleep. LONG day ahead. Details and hopefully a picture of the FIRST time ALL THREE of my boys GO TO SCHOOL. YIKES! to the races again :)

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