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One year ago today I created this blog. It’s been a surprising year. I’ve met some of the coolest people there are and I’ve discovered that some people are fucked up beyond all comprehension. But I wouldn’t trade in those experiences for anything because that’s what life is all about, huh?

Some of you have supported me more than friends I’ve known for decades. I’ve been happy, sad, pathetic, jealous, bored, stupid, loving, and anything else you can think of. As for my love life, strange but I’m right back where I was last year, except I’m walking with no illusions. I had them last year.

I’ve quit smoking, started working out, and have lost weight. I’m getting noticed the way I used to in my early 20s. I’ve found the confidence to know that I am quite beautiful. I am constantly learning what my limits are, how much of myself I will compromise for another. I finally am at a place where my self-worth is strong enough to know that I deserve everything I want and I will not settle for something less. This blog has helped with me that.

But it took a while to get started…

For those first few months I didn’t know what I wanted to write and only had one reader. I almost gave it up. But, I stuck with it even though I knew what I was posting was trite and wasn’t the best stuff out there. The Happy Bunny’s? The Gary Glitter picture? If anyone of you were reading during that horrible time in the evolution of Fresh Air Lover, than I want to say thank you for staying with me.

And then February came and I read my whole blog. Sheesh, I was embarrassed by it. There was hardly a sign of me. The real me. It wasn’t real life, it was fluff. I decided to make this blog something I would be proud of. I made a promise to myself that I would totally honest about life. Every part of it. Even if my stomach hurt from how personal a particular post was. I wrote about my personal life because I knew that I’m not the only person that’s ever felt pain or shame or humiliation or joy. And the blog has turned into a form of therapy for me. I’m so proud of what I’m doing with this blog and where I want to go with it. I’ve found I need this blog. It’s my release from whatever is on my mind or going on in my life. It’s my medium to say the things my conscience won’t let me say out loud sometimes.

Well, it also turns out that when I started being honest more people read the blog. I still can’t believe that all of you read what I write. I’m so grateful and I love you all. It’s awesome.

So now, a look back at the first year of Fresh Air Lover so grab a cub of coffee and get comfortable because there are lots of memories….

  1. I told stories of my childhood and hijinks with my sister.
  2. I recalled stories of some of the most ridiculous dates one could ever sit through.
  3. There were some strange occurrences in Philly.
  4. All of the work stories. Too many to link and most are ongoing areas of aggravation and irritation.
  5. My Friday Public Service Announcements that I didn’t keep up with.
  6. I’ve been through some painful and scary moments this past year, but I made it through.
  7. You all met Stella Marie.
  8. I was with the Pilot, broke up with the Pilot, had a weird night with the pilot, fell for someone else but it didn’t work out, met someone else but there was no spark, and have come full circle back to the Pilot.
  9. I’ve told you some personal tidbits about myself.
  10. I’ve had a naked picture of my breast stolen off of this blog and posted on someone else’s. And I didn’t kill him. (I have since taken the picture off this blog)
  11. And some absolutely ridiculous, but funny, things have happened to me.
  12. Some of my favorite posts are the ones I researched and that had a lesson to be taught.
  13. I took Lozo’s advice and got drunk and blogged.
  14. I’ve talked to or met HotDrWife, Laurie, Sage, Liz, Judy, Tanique, and J personally. And they are awesome. This year I’d like get to know more of you personally.
  15. I’ve created two other blogs, The Home Cook and Coquettishly, and hope to make them as successful as this blog in the coming year. I’m still waiting for more questions…foot tapping.
  16. I have joined MySpace and have it reaffirmed my belief that most people out there are fucking degenerates. If you want to laugh, go read my profile where I state who I’d like to meet. Believe me, I had to specify those things.

I want lots of comments, so come out all of you lurkers. It would also be cool to find out how you found my blog.

Thank you all so much for everything.

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I‘m honoring James A. Giberson of Ladder 45. He was last seen entering Tower 2, 10 minutes before it collapsed. One of the more moving stories I’ve read about him was that for about a week after 9/11, a woman would stand outside of the firehouse just staring. One of the firefighters asked her f she was okay and she said that was looking for one of the firefighters. She didn’t know his name, but they exchanged hellos every morning. The firefighter showed her some pictures and she pointed to Jame’s picture and said that she always thought of him as her personal firefighter…

James A. Giberson like to get to the firehouse early, get his coffee, and drink the coffee while sitting in front of the firehouse watching the city get started on the day, often exchanging greetings with all that walked by.

He always wanted three daughters. He made sure his wife, the former Susan Nordgaard, knew it when they were dating in the early 1980s. The couple married in 1984, and by 1992, he had his wish — and they were his truest joys. The girls, 12-year-old Erika, 11-year-old Kari and 9-year old Sara, inherited their swimming prowess from both their parents, and Mr. Giberson always accompanied them as they swam competitively throughout the Tri-state area. He often missed golf or fishing outings with his buddies to spend the day swimming with his girls, or cheering them on at a meet. For Mr. Giberson, 43, nothing came before them, and all of his friends knew it.

The Huguenot resident observed his 20th anniversary with Ladder 35 in Manhattan on Sept. 5, only days before the Trade Center attacks. He was last seen entering Tower 2. It collapsed a short time later, and Mr. Giberson remains among the missing firefighters.

Mr. Giberson had spent the previous Saturday with his daughters at the Great Kills Swim Club, where he was on the board of directors. It was the last weekend the pool was open for the season, and Mrs. Giberson is especially grateful the girls spent that time with their father. “He was very involved in their swimming,” she said. “The girls’ swimming achievements brought him so much pride and joy.”

A novice golfer, Mr. Giberson played at several charity events, one for the last 10 years with his fellow firefighter, Michael Kotula, also of Ladder 35. Mr. Kotula played last with his friend on Mr. Giberson’s 20th anniversary. “He was a happy guy and he loved the game, but he wasn’t really good at it,” Mr. Kotula said of his friend. “His handicap was that his hands were so big, they almost took up the whole club. He had to get extra long grips. If he grabbed you with one hand, you weren’t getting away.”

“But what made him happiest was spending time with his girls,” he added.

Mr. Kotula also gave into his friend’s request to join him on a day of fishing this past summer. “I think is was the quiet and calm nature of fishing that he liked,” he said. “As opposed to the hustle and bustle of his other work.”

Mr. Kotula, who had worked with Mr. Giberson at Ladder 35 for the last 19 years, recently moved to the South Shore, where he was closer to his buddy. “Jimmy and I spent a lot of time together, especially the last few years. My kids are older, but we talked about certain situations he was starting to experience as the his girls grew up,” he said. Mr. Giberson was also a talented wallpaper hanger, something he did on the side, according to Mr. Kotula. “I tried to help him work on my home once and he told me the only way I could help him was to get out of his way,” he said. “He had the job done in a couple of hours.”

Mr. Kotula said Mr. Giberson probably helped most, if not all, of his firefighting brothers the same way, and never accepted a dime. “I tried to pay him once, but he just tore up the check,” Mr. Kotula said.

A lifelong Islander, Mr. Giberson was a dedicated athlete. He played for the Mid-Island Little League as a boy, and spent many years in the Staten Island Touch Tackle League — the way he met his wife. She had been dragged to a game by a friend, and met her future husband for the first time in an after-game celebration in the team’s sponsoring restaurant.

“The Fire Department was a great part of his life,” said Mrs. Giberson. “He never wanted to leave Ladder 35 or his friends there. He did talk about retiring, not unusual after 20 years of service, but I don’t think it would’ve been soon.” According to his wife, Mr. Giberson was also a great cook. His daughters loved his chicken parmagiana, but chicken cordon bleu was one of his specialties. “Nobody made it like him,” she said.

I found the following on a message board. It was written by his oldest daughter, Erika.

Wow dad its been 2 ½ years today 913 days I have not seen you, laughed with you, talked to you about the weirdest things. Within thse 913 days you have missed so much of my life…you would be so proud of me. It’s been so long.

I miss your big bear hugs.

Hobbies & Interests:
I know your still here
You’re the wind in my hair.
The smile on my face
The tears that I cry
I miss going to 6 flags and seeing how excited got just to be with me kari and sara on the craziest of roller coasters
But most of all I just miss you
I am so lost without you

RIP I love you
and miss you so much

Obituary:

GIBERSON-James. (F.D.N.Y.) Of Huguenot, Staten Island, on September 11, 2001. Loving husband of Susan (nee Nordgaard). Devoted father of Erika, Cari and Sara. Beloved son of Harold and the late Geraldine. Dear brother of Nancy DiCostanzo, Robert and Richard Giberson. Also survived by 10 nieces and nephews. Friends and family are invited to gather at Casey McCallum Rice Funeral Home, 30 Nelson Avenue, Staten Island, on Thursday, October 4th, 2-4PM and 7-9PM. Memorial service Friday, October 5, at 1 PM at Christ Lutheran Church, 125 Cleveland Ave., Great Kills, SI. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the Memorial Fund of Christ Lutheran Church or UFA Widows and Children’s Fund, 204 East 23 St., New York, New York 10010.

To read more tributes to the innocent victims of 9/11, please go to 2,996, We Will Never Forget.

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I’ve made some changes to my blog. I’m quite happy about them. Here’s what’s happened:

  1. You will notice that I break up the blogs I’m linking into two categories. The first one contains the blogs I read everyday, even several times a day. The next contains blogs I read, but only once a week or so…whenever I have time. You see, there are too many blogs for me to read everyday so I had to break them up for my sanity. If you don’t find your blog on one of these lists and you would like me to link, let me know (either by email or comment) and I’ll link you.
  2. I’ve once again added my email address to my profile. I hope no motherfuckers email me, but I like the idea of keeping the lines of communication open.
  3. The dropdown menus. I like these. They keep everything in order.
  4. My whoring buttons. Yes, I broke down and added the buttons and shit. I’d like some more traffic.

I’d like to thank a special someone who helped me with my template because I’m an idiot with html.

Enjoy your weekend!

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First things first, head over to Green Apple Martini’s to see what Laurie, Dark Damian, Fyrchk, and I have been up to the past couple of days while HotDrWife has been away. Tune in tomorrow too for a great story byFyrchk and Howard.

I have nothing to say. I’m really tired. I didn’t sleep well last night. So I apologize for this lame post.

I walked 18 blocks, actually 36 blocks if you count both ways, to get a burrito at El Fuego. It’s the best in Philly and it was sooooo worth it. I used to work 2 blocks from the place until my company moved to a different part of town. I’ve been thinking about their burritos for weeks now. I can’t eat this burrito without making noises and moaning and closing my eyes because it is so damn good.

I’m watching History of the World Part 1 at the moment (they’re singing The Inquisiton–fucking funny) and I’ve noticed something about movies from the 1980’s. There’s a lot of synchronized swimming going on. What’s up with that?

I finished the 6th Harry Potter book last night and I cried. I didn’t see that coming. Wow. I couldn’t bring myself to read the last chapter at first because I was so sad. After chastisting myself for crying over a children’s book, I made myself finish it and now I’m nervous to read the 7th book. I’m so jealous of Rowlings storytelling ability. She has created the most amazing and complex world and it’s wonderful that children are taking the time to read about it.

I’m really in the mood for my apple turnovers right now. I serve them hot with vanilla ice cream and caramel and, sometimes, slivered almonds. God I love food.

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