Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Abundant Anniversaries

Those who forget history may be doomed to repeat it, but how about those who wallow in history? Are they doomed to become trapped in it, like Bruce Springsteen's classmates in his song "Glory Days"?

Like so many other things, moderation is the message of the day. Keeping a firm eye and focus forward, while not forgetting how you got where you are, is to me a very healthy approach. Living up to those words can be something entirely different, however.

With this in mind, this past Sunday marked 5 years since I started this blog. A lot has changed in my life since that day, but it feels like surprisingly little has changed in the larger scheme of things. I'll elaborate a little further down the page.

In the meantime, here are some personally significant observances that might strike a chord with you as well. Or not. In no real particular order:

Sewickley Bridge

Yesterday marked the 100th Anniversary of the opening of the first Sewickley Bridge. Larissa Dudkiewicz of Sewickley Patch made me think about this when she posted a picture of one of the original bridge's finials on the Patch website. Curiosity and Wikipedia did the rest.

Having grown up in this area, and as the child of small businesspeople, I was aware but not fully cognizant as a teenager of the tumult surrounding the deterioration of the original bridge to the point where it was barely safe for any sort of traffic. The present span, along with the previous one, is a linchpin for the local economy, public safety, and transportation infrastructure.

This coming October 21 will mark 30 years of service for the current Sewickley Bridge. As is seemingly the case with so many issues related to transportation, some of the same issues that created the need for a new bridge in the 1970's are still with us today. These include present and future challenges related to the safe and efficient movement of traffic and its relationship to the vitality of the Quaker Valley area.

Some of these challenges include the impending closure of the nearby Ambridge-Aliquippa Bridge, and the impact up and downstream; the ramping up of drilling activity, and the increased presence of rig equipment and water trucks on our roadways; and the need to improve traffic movement through traffic signal synchronization on the Sewickley side in response to both factors.


Last week Leslie and I marked 6 months of marriage with a simple dinner at what seems to be our favorite restaurant. We are continuing to put things together in the face of multiple challenges, deadlines, and the pressures of work, including a new job for me that I'll have more to say about later.

In the snapshot of today, things are going well. This includes the fact that since I got here in March, there's about 35 pounds less of me. Feels good. Gonna try to keep it up.

The Hits Just Keep On Comin'

Those who have read my blog regularly know of how things have gone with me. Judging from the traffic stats I get, there's not many in that group. Since I moved to Pittsburgh, the number of hits on this blog site is about half of what it was in Grand Junction. Still, there are some individual posts that continue to generate traffic from all over the place.

This blog also has a presence on Sewickley Patch. I've no idea how many hits my posts get on that site, but it seems like people are reading. I promised myself to write for me and not anyone else, and it seems that my life now is taking me a little bit away from writing. A new family will do that to you. I'm fine with it.

I looked over the past year or so of traffic stats, and found some subjects and images that get consistent hit traffic in response to search engine queries. This is probably the best way that I know to give a thumbnail picture of the first 5 years:

In October 2006, a young reporter for Grand Junction TV station KJCT had the local media atwitter with a "gotcha" piece about how people and school administrators would respond to an unattended backpack inside Grand Junction High School. Jonathan Vigliotti left GJ (voluntarily) not long afterward.

Five years later, Mr. Vigliotti has worked his way through Milwaukee and Miami, and now works for WNBC in New York, the number 1 media market in the country. A nice transition upward from working in market number 187 back then. I get almost daily hits from searches of his name. Nice to see that he's doing well.

In May of 2009, I compared the pattern of annexation by the City of Grand Junction to the way a spider spins a web when it's exposed to stimulants or depressants. The illustration I used for Spiders on Caffeine still gets lots of image hits.

Other things that get lots of hits are memory quilts, Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass, Johnstown Flood dam pictures, and the Uniden Home Patrol scanning radio.

It's been an interesting but satisfying 5 years. I'm hopeful for many more.

September 11

One other thing that I wrote five years ago was a reflection on the events of September 11, 2001. I thought about this a lot - one reason it took until the week after to get it down - and even after that I found that the way I feel now really doesn't really differ from the way I felt then:

Things aren't as different for some people as perhaps they should be, but for me the 9/11 experience has been a decidedly mixed bag. Professionally, many things that I have believed in and worked for most of my career in public safety have come much closer to large-scale acceptance. Things like unified Incident Command and interoperable communications are big deals, and they're happening now. This is a good thing.

The price we've had to pay as a society for the loss of personal freedom, increased suspicion, lack of trust in one's fellow man and the nagging effect of fearmongering, hype, and conspicuous consumerism on our collective national psyche has at times been difficult for me to stomach. One must have a finely tuned B.S. filter nowadays, firmly placed inside the protective cocoon of faith, humility, and dedication to one another, regardless of our ideological differences.

Leslie and I went to the memorial observance in Leetsdale, which despite the rain was fairly well attended. The time was also used to honor and remember those served in the emergency services locally who had passed away since 9/11/01.
There were lots of familiar names and faces on that list.

The quiet procession from the Leetsdale Borough Hall to the Memorial site was perhaps the most poignant display for me. Public safety personnel from all disciplines, walking together. A good thing, and something we can all remember as necessary whenever we think of the past, present, and future of our society.

We are all in this together.

Have a good week ahead.

Photo credit: Sewickley Valley Historical Society (1911 Bridge Poster)

1 comment:

Jenny said...

You do so much better about keeping up with blogging than me! :) Congrats on 6 months. I remember Bob and I's first year felt kind of like a bomb or a hurricane. LOTS to get used to in living with someone else. Especially when those two people are stubborn and/or used to independence. I'm glad to hear things are going well. Curious about your new job! I was wondering about you the other day.
We attended the 9/11 tribute here. Looked like a smallish crowd. I hear there were about 1,000 so not too bad considering the only advertising they did was one day in the Sentinel.