The immediate crisis in NO seems to be resolving (no thanks to the governor, Blanchard - what is it with female Democratic "leaders" in a crisis - do they feel genetically compelled to live up to every stereotype of the bumbling, helpless woman?). Ophelia is lurking on the East Coast waters, but poses no immediate threat to us in SC. And, with the attention on NO, the media types have taken themselves to a place where they can't bother the rest of us, which suits us just FINE!

I'm only a week away from the big test, and I'm feeling oddly calm. Not a deserved calm, I must note, but I'm not all jangled with tension, so I'm OK with that.

The Roberts fight-to-the-death confirmation hasn't started, yet. When it does, no doubt I'll have something to write about it, but, for now, I'm happy to ignore the Gathering Storm (note the Winnie reference?).

I've decided to rent a small house in Hampton. That saves me from having to decide on a purchase right now, and gives me some peace and quiet. Maybe TOO quiet - it will be the first time I've ever lived for any length of time completely on my own. Hope I don't start getting eccentric - yes, I said, START!

My major goal for the next few months is to set up a budget, and beginning mapping out a plan for debt reduction. I'm using Quicken, which isn't totally my favorite program, but it's here and handy.

I took off the keyboard of my laptop today, and sprayed it liberally. It's working fine, no problems with the SHIFT key. I also checked with my son-in-law, and he said, if it happens again, get a replacement for the keyboard from HP.

This may all seem boring. In fact, it IS a little boring.

But, remembering almost four years ago, I'll take boring.

That day, I was preparing for classes to start 2 days later, when my husband came into the room. He had a strange expression, and he was tearing up.

"Planes hit the World Trade Center," he abruptly announced. I literally didn't know what to say. I remember asking him to repeat it, as I wasn't sure I heard right.

Initially, terrorism didn't even occur to me. I thought of accidents, equipment failures. When it was clear that the incident was deliberate, I started worrying. Two of my children were in the armed services. The third, a Franciscan sister, was in South Bend. I called, and was relieved to hear from the two girls within a short time. I had no phone number for my son, in the Navy in San Diego. Then I thought of the Internet.

Sure enough, my son had dashed off a short note to my Yahoo account, assuring me he was fine, but would be out of contact for a while. I sent an answer, but didn't expect to hear from him anytime soon.

At the school, the staff all gathered by the sole TV. One of the teachers was married to a helicopter pilot, just a few months short of retirement. She had taken a job, and planned to have him join her in a few months. Goodbye, retirement. Like most long-term military spouses, she was calm and making plans based on the new situation.

Others worried about friends and family in NYC. We sat around the TV most of the day. Much of the city was evacuating, as initial reports indicated that Cleveland might be at risk. We sat tight. Not only would we not have to deal with the traffic, but, located as we were some distance from the center of the city, we felt our safety was not compromised.

In fact, my husband and I left after 7 pm that night. We had no children to go home to, no family to worry about. We did, however, have each other.

We were the lucky ones.


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