15 Years Ago Today ...

... the World Trade Center was bombed.

At 12:18 p.m., terrorists detonated 1,500 pounds of explosives in a rental van in the parking garage of the World Trade Center, blasting a crater five stories deep and half a football field wide. While the terrorists fled the area after lighting the bomb's fuse, they left behind six victims, including a pregnant woman, and one thousand injured people.

The National September 11 Memorial and Museum at the World Trade Center will also memorialize those killed in the first attack in 1993. I invite you to join me in supporting the memorial through the the Gardeners for Recovery cobblestone campaign I started:
Gardeners for Recovery recognize the importance of gardens and gardening for individual, community, and global healing and recovery.
Check out the Gardeners for Recovery widget near the top of the sidebar on this blog. There you can get more information, track our progress, or contribute. We've already raised $300. I will match the first $500 contributed toward the $1,000 goal: every dollar you contribute is worth two.

Related Posts

Announcing the Gardeners for Recovery Cobblestone Campaign, September 2007
on 9/11
on Ground Zero
on Recovery


The National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center


Greening Flatbush a success!

Update 2008.02.25: News12 has an extended segment on Greening Flatbush in this morning's lineup. Catch it now before more important news pushes it off their schedule! I didn't get to see the whole thing, myself.

Also, see the Links section at the end of this post to follow up on yesterday's event, learn how to stay informed of future events, or get involved to help us plan them.

Greening Flatbush 2008
Greening Flatbush 2008

We had about 50 people attend Greening Flatbush this afternoon. This was the inaugural event for the Gardening Committee of Sustainable Flatbush, and we're all pretty pleased with ourselves.

Na'eem Douglas of News12 Brooklyn, our local cable news channel, covered the event. They started airing the segment around 5:45 this evening.

Greening Flatbush 2008

Greening Flatbush 2008

We got underway later than we wanted, around 1:50, but everything went smoothly after that. We started with a panel of speakers with quick introductions of themselves, their experiences, and the resources they had to offer. We held question until after the break, and kept most of the time available for unstructured and joyfully chaotic milling around, meeting neighbors, questions and answers, and so on.

We had presentations and experts on hand for container gardening, composting with worms, tree identification, Asian Longhorned Beetle/Anoplophora glabripennis, and GreenBridge, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's community horticulture program.

Container Gardening

Container Gardening

Container Gardening

Container Gardening

Container Gardening

Trees NY

Asian Longhorned Beetle

Talking Trees

Talking Trees

Talking Trees

Tree ID

Tree ID

Talking Trees

Asian Longhorned Beetle

Brooklyn Compost Project

Talking Worms

We Like Worms!

Thar Be Worms!

Fun With Worms!

BBG Greenbridge

BBG Greenbridge Table

BBG Greenbridge Table

BBG Greenbridge Table

BBG Greenbridge Table

Related content

Flickr photo set
Brooklyn Compost Project, one of the programs of BBG's GreenBridge
Flatbush CSA
Gardening Committee (Note: This is our Google Group for planning our events. If you want to help us plan, great! Just request to join through the link on the group page, or send an email to greeningflatbush [at] gmail (dot) com and let us know you want to join. If you just want to be informed of future events, join the Sustainable Flatbush mailing list.)
GreenBridge, Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Sustainable Flatbush
Trees NY



Update 2008.03.15: Added follow-up post: Coda, Spot.
Update 2008.02.25: Added a rare photo of me and Spot together.

My partner, John, with our cat, Spot, taken two nights ago in an examination room at the vet's. She died in my arms earlier this evening around 6:30pm.
John & Spot (Black and White)

Spot found me in the garden, in the backyard of my apartment on 5th Street in Park Slope:
A beautiful young black cat found me at the end of my day in the garden. He started going for the container I'd just planted. He was friendly, but when I realized he was licking up some organic fertilizer I'd spilled I realized he/she was starving. (It does smell good, like the original MilkBones [dog biscuits]). So I gave him a bowl of milk. He/She was purring so hard his tail was shaking. Only a white spot on his chest, otherwise black. I named him "Spot". I'll look for him tomorrow. If he's around again, maybe I have a cat.
- Diary entry, November 11, 1993, Veteran's Day, F Train en route to dinner
I didn't realize it at the time, but she represented, or embodied, a peak of synchronicity in my life. I was three and a half years into my recovery, and less than eight months sober. In therapy the previous night, I had mentioned that I was thinking about getting a cat, or two. After this first encounter with Spot, I was off to see a dance performance that evening which explored the connections between veterans of war and survivors of sexual violence. The following Monday, I was starting my first session of a gay men's therapy group.
Spot moved in with me on Saturday. I spoke to Jonathan [my landlord] Friday at work to ask him if it would be okay if I got a cat. Saw Julia [landlady] working in the garden Saturday morning. While we were inspecting and talking, I saw a black form moving behind the fence.

I called out: psss-psss-psss ... Spot leapt to the top of the fence (or climbed) and walked along the top directly to me. I took her into my arms and she (female, confirmed) started purring. I left her with Julia while I went inside and prepared the can of food Renah [a work colleague at the time] gave me Friday at work.

Bought everything for her on Saturday. Saturday night discovered she had fleas, so wouldn't let her sleep with me. Gave her a flea bath, changed bed-sheets and clothes, dusted the rug. She was not happy about the bath, but remarkably cooperative. I came away with no scratches or bites.

Remaining health concern: diarrhea, foul-smelling, and may be caused by her fondness for milk.

Long day today: first session of the group (first for me) is tonight. I won't get home until after 9pm probably. Spot will freak?!

Need to make up "FOUND" posters for the area, just in case someone's looking for her.
- Diary entry, November 15, 1993, Monday, Subway, en route to work
Later that evening, around 8:30pm, riding home on the F train:
Home to Spot. Incredible what an emotional anchor she is for me right now. Anchor is not the right word. Alternatives: focus, tether, center ... ballast ...

I'm not going to put up "Found Cat" signs tonight. I don't want anyone to answer. I don't want to give Spot up. She's just a cat I've known for only four or five days. I just want to go home to her ...
When John and I began exploring relationship together, Spot adopted him as well. She was a great comfort to him as he dealt with his mother's terminal illness, and especially after her death. John called her a medicine cat, an apt description.

She found me in the garden, and Spot always wanted to go outside. She often accompanied me when I was out in the garden. Here she is in the backyard of my apartment on 5th Street in Park Slope. This was in May 2002, the last set of photos I took of the garden I was leaving to move with John to our new apartment.
Spot in the garden on 5th Street in Park Slope

Here she is on the deck of our apartment on 6th Street in Park Slope, where John and I first lived together.
Spot the Cat

Here she is in the backyard of our new home two years ago, acting like she owned the place, which, of course, she did. She was skeptical at first, but eventually allowed that she was pleased that we bought her a big, old cat house.
The Backyard

Outside yet again, on the front steps here. I have several shots in this series, trying to get her to look at me. This is the closest I got. Note the tail curl. She wasn't having it.
Spot on the front steps

This is the earliest photo I have of Spot. This is from 2001, in the 5th Street apartment.
John and Spot

This is a typical posture for her. She spent a lot of time lying on John's chest, close to his heart, while he was himself prone on the couch or bed.
Spot and JohnSpot and John

Here's a rare photo of me and Spot together. (Only at John's insistence.) Rare not only because I'm usually the one behind the camera, but because she wouldn't often settle down on me. In this photo, she's wedged into the the nook between me and the sofa cushion. We're also playing one of our games here. If one of us stopped petting her before she was done, she would reach out with her paw, cup it around the edge of our hand, and pull it back toward her face. I would often respond by "squooshing" her paw, as I'm doing here, and telling her how evil she was. You can see from her face how that upset her.
Spot & Xris

I'll close with this photo of her. She's sitting on the floor of my tree house, the second floor back porch on the back of our house. Her tail was the most expressive part of her, and I recognize the little curl at the end of it visible in this photo.
Spot the Cat

You can see more photos of her in my Flickr set of Spot.

She followed me across 15 years of recovery, healing, and growth. She was so much a part of my life, and John's, and of our life together. We will have other familiars, but none like her. The house is empty without her. I miss her terribly.

I'm open to comments. I especially invite anyone reading this who met or knew her to leave a comment with a memory or reminiscence about her. John and I both will welcome that as a way of memorializing her.



This is why I don't cut everything to the ground in the fall. This is a non-heirloom grass in my front yard garden.

Update 09:00: My waking estimate of 3" was conservative. After shoveling my steps, walkway and 250 square feet of sidewalk, I think we already have 5 inches on the ground.

More of the front yard:




And the backyard:


This is the Gardener's Nook in the corner. You can see the Winterberry in the container still has lots of berries on it.



This is the view from the second floor tree fort. This is a lot more open than in past years. Over the winter, our next-door neighbor had to take down their old maple in the middle of their backyard, and the apple tree which reached over the fence. Sad, but necessary.


Woke up this morning to find everything covered with a couple inches of snow.

And it's still falling. I'll try to get some pictures.

The National Weather Service is calling for 1-3 inches for my area. Yet they also have a winter storm warning in effect predicting 5-7 inches. Local news services are estimating 5 inches total, which seems more likely. It looks like we already have 3 inches on the ground.

Related posts

My Flickr photo set of this morning's snow


Reminder: Greening Flatbush this Sunday

Update 2008.02.25: Read about this event.

Just a reminder that this Sunday, February 24, from 1:30 to 4:30pm, the Gardening Committee of Sustainable Flatbush is hosting Greening Flatbush: Garden Where You Are at the Flatbush Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at 22 Linden Boulevard [GMAP]. We've got a great lineup of speakers, demonstrations and workshops on a range of topics, including community gardens, gardening in containers, composting, street trees and community-supported agriculture.

The event is free, but space is limited. There are still openings available. To register, email greeningflatbush@gmail.com.

Here's the press release we put together for this event:

Brooklyn, NY -- Sustainable Flatbush sponsors "Greening Flatbush"
Sunday, February 24

On Sunday, February 24, residents and other members of the greater
Flatbush community can learn what they can do to beautify and improve
the environment of their neighborhood.

"Greening Flatbush: Garden Where You Are" is an afternoon of short
lectures, demonstrations, and workshops on topics ranging from
planting and caring for street trees to composting with worms in your

"Garden is a verb," says Chris Kreussling, co-chair of the Gardening
Committee of Sustainable Flatbush, which is sponsoring the event.
"It's not just a place you visit. It's something you do."

"Hearing about what others are already doing can inspire people to
work with their neighbors to take
action," says Kreussling, who also authors a local gardening blog,
Flatbush Gardener. "We want to build community through gardening."

Greening Flatbush is Sunday, February 24, from 1:30 to 4:30pm at the
Flatbush Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library at 22 Linden Boulevard.
The event is free, but space is limited. To register, or if you have
questions about this event, please email greeningflatbush@gmail.com.
For directions, see the Flatbush branch web page on the Brooklyn
Public Library Web site, http://www.brooklynpubliclibrary.org/.

Sustainable Flatbush provides a neighborhood-based forum to discuss,
promote and implement sustainability concepts in Brooklyn and beyond.
For more information, visit http://sustainableflatbush.org/.

It felt weird to quote myself, but hey, a girl's gotta do and all that. I don't know to whom "Garden is a verb" can be first attributed, but I'll acknowledge here that I cribbed it from the sidebar of those rockin' gals at Garden Rant.


Japanese Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, February 16, 2008

On Saturday, I visited the Rock Garden on my way to the second meeting of the newly forming Brooklyn Community Gardens Coalition. I visited the Japanese Garden after the meeting.

Japanese Garden, BBG

The Japanese Garden seemed even emptier than a month ago. There was more color on Saturday. Despite the frozen water, hints of Spring, or at least the end of Winter, were there for the eyes hungry to see them. It was lovely.

Soon, soon.
Pieris japonica "Dorothy Wyckoff", Japanese Garden, BBG
False Cypress? Japanese Garden, BBG

This is one of a handful of entrances to the Japanese Garden. This is the view on the approach from Magnolia Plaza.
Entrance, Japanese Garden, BBG
Bamboos at entrance to Japanese Garden

The pond was really, really frozen. Here are several views from different vantage points as I walked around.
Frozen Pond, Japanese Garden, BBG
Frozen Pond, Japanese Garden, BBG
Japanese Garden, BBG
Japanese Garden, BBG
Japanese Garden, BBG

The red arch in the pond is called a Torii. It signifies that a shrine is nearby. It's surrounded by evergreens; even at this time of year, it can't be seen unless you ascend the hill path and turn onto a short path leading to it.
Shrine, Japanese Garden, BBG

Several lengths of the hill paths are lined with these beautiful stone gutters.
Gutter, Japanese Garden, BBG

Beneath the ice, the Koi and carp moved slowly, like dreamy ghosts. This one was big enough, colorful enough, and close enough to the surface to get a shot of it. He's at least a foot long.
Ice Koi, Japanese Garden, BBG
Ice Koi, Japanese Garden, BBG

Related posts

First Crocus
Flickr photo set
Brooklyn Botanic Garden, January 2008.