Friday, September 11, 2009

You were on my mind

As I rode the train in this morning, through the shadow of Sears Tower, past Marina City, to my office more than 40 stories up in the Aon Building, today's date took on an ominous meaning and I was frightened again -- remembering what happened 8 years ago at that very hour, and wondering if "they" were going to try it again, but this time in Chicago.

I love downtown Chicago and it pisses me off that the very structures that are so beautiful against the bright blue sky that they take my breath away suddenly look dangerous. How dare those frigging terrorists do that to me! I can only imagine the rage New Yorkers must feel.

9/11 pops into my mind, unbidden, every day. I suddenly see cops patrolling Millennium Park, or police with dogs standing near trash cans on the el platform, or police boats under the tracks in the Chicago River, and I know there's "chatter" out there and the City is trying to keep me safe. If I'm in an office building that requires an ID not only to get in but to leave (or like this one, to enter the restroom), and I remember why. If I leave my home on a cloudy/foggy morning and can't see Sears Tower from my porch, I imagine that's how New Yorkers feel every day when they look for the World Trade Center.

So New Yorkers, here's to you. Your spiritual sister in The Second City can only imagine your pain, anger and pride today when you look over to where these towers once were.

September Fitness Challenge

Day 11. 100 lbs.! I worked out for a good, challenging 40+ minutes today -- 32 devoted to cardio. Then I moved on to do 12 reps each on a trio of machines. Being 5'2, I spend a lot of time adjusting and readjusting the seats. When I got to the leg press, I was so focused on getting the seat right that I didn't even check on the weight, I just started moving my legs. It was hard, to be sure, but it felt good, too. I looked at the weights and saw it was set at 100 lbs.! I didn't realize I had become that much stronger (if not slimmer) since I've been taking all this more seriously. I'm really very proud of myself.

"Maggie Poppins"

This summer, one of my least favorite coworkers was on maternity leave and the agency replaced her with an independent contractor, Maggie. She was terrific. Not only did she more than fill the new mom's shoes professionally, Maggie was like a balm for the creative team here. She was so easy to work with! She took the time to listen to me regarding the new mom, who Maggie has known for years. She then explained that the new mom is defensive and nervous because she's very young to have risen to the position of Account Director. It's not even a job the new mom wanted yet, it was offered to her. Maggie assures me that she's really very nice, just insecure.

I decided to keep Maggie's insights in mind and, when the new mom returned to work, treat her like a new employee. Tabula rasa.

Yesterday the new mom and I were together for about 5 hours, some of it with the client, much of it just the two of us. I believe we got along very well! She was less defensive and respectful of my contributions and responsibilities when it came to the presentation, so I suspect Maggie may have given the new mom some insights about those of us on the creative team, too.

Life is easier and more pleasant when there's less tension in the air. So even though her assignment here is over, I send a thank you through the cosmos to Maggie. She's like a marketing Mary Poppins, landing in an agency, healing the rift between account and creative, and then, just as suddenly, flying away to help others in need.

September Fitness Challenge

Day 10. Good choices. Yesterday morning I rode Amtrak down to the client's offices. I got there just in time for a quick meet 'n' greet with our client before The Big Presentation. We sat in the company cafeteria. Both she and my coworker/copresenter had salads. I really wasn't hungry but hadn't eaten anything all day and was worried that my stomach would make an unattractive rumble during the song and dance. So to stave off rumbling, I reached for a bag of chips. And put it back, instead opting for a low-fat raspberry yogurt.

My healthy wisdom didn't end there. Last night I stubbed my toe (I am a klutz) and sustained an interesting but unacceptable break on my right toenail. Part of it just chipped away and it looked like the eye of a hook-and-eye pair. I have plans Friday PM and all day Saturday so I decided I would just have to get a new pedi over Friday lunch ... even though I had planned to use that time to work out.

"Wait a moment!" I said to myself. "Does anyone really have to get a pedi?" So I actually grabbed the nail clippers and emery board and took care of it myself. Just like the pioneer women did! Thereby preserving time for my workout.