My Parents: Dot and Bob Lyday

My biggest fans and supporters! My Dad was a B-26 Bomber Pilot who flew 64 missions in WWII and then worked in the telephone business. My mom was a ceramist and founder of Dot Enterprises. If you have a ceramic piece with the word "Dot" on the bottom, then you have one of my mom's ceramics. She also makes the best ribs, peach cobbler and sweet potato souffle'.

This is the menagerie of my animals.

Sophie is the happiest Cocker Spaniel I've ever seen. Mouse is a
ferel cat who adopted me and won my heart. Chelsea came in my life
January 2005 at 11 years old with one of the best dispositions I've ever
seen in a dog. Chelsea is currently in love with Mouse.

If I Were a Carpenter...

Many people ask me how I got my start in home improvement. In the 80's, I went through a 4 year apprenticeship program through the carpenter's union school in Manhattan. At the end of our 4th year we had to take a written exam in order to graduate to become a journeyperson or master carpenter. I did so well on the test, I was entered in a contest and won a Golden Hammer. Because I was the first woman in NYC to win, I was asked to teach at the school and became the first woman to teach carpentry at the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. The photo to the right is me receiving the Golden Hammer Award. Notice the short hair. I cut my hair to remove the "girliness" and to be taken seriously by the guys. It worked.

Usually, I was the only woman on the job. I learned my trade through some amazing craftsmen from Ireland, Germany, Italy and the States. Most were from Local 608.

I worked in a hundred buildings in Manhattan. Below is a photo of Battery Park City in the beginning stages. I would take the E train to the World Trade Center and walk across the street. The photo to the right is a bunch of us having our coffee break.

I often worked in the World Trade Center. I remember hanging doors on a high floor in a winter storm. The building was built so it would sway 18" on each side. Needless, to say, hanging a door was a challenge! My plumb bob would swing back and forth until I put it in water to stop it from moving. On another job, I was on the 86th floor and my foreman, Dennis Currier and I, would eat lunch and watch a hawk that nested above us. When we looked out the window we could see a huge area of dirt. Landfill. At the time, it was used as a parking lot, and some guy used a piece of land to build a boat. Later it became Battery Park City--a lot of buildings and a lot of jobs!

On a beautiful September 11th morning,

I went out of my apartment to walk my dog, Sophie, and get a cup of Starbucks. I saw about 7 people gathered on the street corner (7th Avenue/11th St.) looking up. Seems like everyone in Manhattan is always looking up at something. This time I stopped to see what they were looking at. To my horror, I saw the North Tower with a big diagonal gash in it and a bunch of smoke. "It" must have just happened. This one guy said he thought a plane had crashed into the building. I rolled my eyes, thinking "what a nut!...that's impossible." I quickly rushed back to my apartment, dropped Sophie off and grabbed my camera. I took a series of pictures capturing the events. I held one hand over my heart and one hand over my stomach when I saw the 2nd plane approach. That guy wasn't a nut afterall! Like everyone else, I had to helplessly watch in horror my Manhattan landscape be taken away from me. I will never forget the fire fighters and police officers, who rushed to the scene that day, nor the innocent people in those buildings--all who lost their lives that day. I used to work in both of those towers as a union carpenter and knew the inside of those offices, elevators and loading docks. Those buildings and people will forever be in my heart. That day will forever be in my mind.