Monday, September 08, 2008

I can't do that, but I can do this

The anniversary of September 11 is almost upon us. It occurs to me as I write checks, or when I pass specials on the flights or the World Trade Center that air on The History Channel.

I cannot watch the shows. I just can't. I don't have to "remember" 9/11 because I think of it nearly every day. It's not a maudlin obsession, the way some people read and watch everything they can about The Kennedy Assassination. Nor is it the result of a bitter, aching heart, because I didn't personally know anyone who was killed that day.

But it changed my life in ways I'm reminded of each day. I can see the Sears Tower from my front steps unless it's very cloudy. On those rainy or foggy days, the thought pops into my head unbidden, "I bet this is what it's like for people in New York who won't ever see the World Trade Center again."

While I don't work in the Sears Tower, my office building is nearly as tall and has very tight security. After my young nephew and I went to his very first ballgame in Wrigley Field this summer, we stopped by my office to use the bathroom (again). The kid found it fascinating/annoying that we needed my key card to get through almost every doorway, even the bathroom. "Why would anyone steal anything out of the BATHROOM?" I explained, as lightly as I could, that the security guards are more worried about bad people sneaking in to leave dangerous things in the bathroom, so the key cards are really a good idea.

Recently the Blue Angels flew past my office on the 37th floor. They were rehearsing for the weekend's Air and Water Show. The sound of those jets echoing among the skyscrapers scared me to my bone marrow.

As I ride through the Loop each workday, it's not unsual to see cops with dogs on the el platforms on one day, gone the next. Or police boats in the river in the morning that are gone in the afternoon. Or police on foot, standing near trash receptacles on Michigan Ave. We all know what it means -- the police dept. heard whispers about terrorism. It's great that they are out protecting us and I appreciate them, but still, it's a sobering reminder of 9/11.

And, of course, there's air travel. Let's not even go there. After all, I was a white knuckle flier before 9/11.

So no, I don't have to watch documentaries or listen to speeches to recall what happened that day 7 years ago. Yet I need to observe it somehow.

So I'm sending a check to Windows of Hope. This wonderful organization has been providing, and will continue to provide, medical care, financial assistance and scholarships to the families of those lost in
The Windows on the World Restaurant on the top floor of the
World Trade Center.
Many of those workers only made minimum wage,
had little if any insurance,
and left a total of 150 children.

This charity has been a success, helping these families recover (at least in part) from their losses not only with financial aid, job training and English language lessons shortly after the tragedy, but they have continued to provide financial advice, preventive healthcare, and college tuition. For example, if the son of a bus boy was 4 in 2001, today he's 12 and might need braces; the now 19 year old daughter of a waitress is ready for college or a career. Thanks to solid management, Windows of Hope is still there for them.

Windows of Hope continues to do their work quietly, efficiently and successfully. If you would like to send a donation, here's the address:

Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund
c/o Bloomberg LP
731 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10022

I find that celebrating their good work helps me take my mind off what we all lost that day.

Just because I feel like it #2

A fantasy to brighten this cloudy day. Ah, Don Draper!

Just because I feel like it

It's raining here in Chicagoland today. It's raining in Key West, too. So I am posting the photo of the Simonton Street motel in Key West where I'll be spending New Year's because I need a little future-focused pick me up.

DAY 08 -- September Fitness Challenge

I worked out -- 30 minutes of cardio, leg lifts (8 on each leg) and 8 hip lifts. (After I click "publish post" I will update my workout counter at the bottom of the page.)

Because it was raining, I took the pedway that (eventually) connects the health club with my office building. By avoiding the precip, I also avoided many of your more evil fast food places and stopped instead at Subway. I substituted the Dannon yogurt for chips.

It all feels good. If I didn't have a fabulously dumb meeting at 2:00, I'd be a completely happy camper.

My mom and her doctor

My mother's gastrointestinal specialist called her yesterday afternoon when I was there visiting. At first she was frightened -- how bad must her test results be for him to call her on a Sunday? She quickly went from tense to downright giggly. Seems the doctor's wife and kids were off at his in-laws and he went into the office to clear off his desk, and one of the things on his "to do" list was call my mother.

Her test results were informative but not disturbing. She needs to take a different/additional antibiotic and hopefully she will feel better.

But more than discussing the results of the call, she wanted to talk about the caller. Her doctor is "so cute!" She wonders why someone so good looking would be so interested in bowels and intestines! He has dark ashes and dark hair but light skin and blue eyes. My 70-something mother was completely gushing.

"You make him sound like Ricky Nelson," I observed. "Yes!" she responded enthusiastically.