Square Life Round World

I'm navigating through this round world while living a square life, and it fits exactly as it should.

Remembering 9/11 Through Facebook

I struggled to think of a way to properly address today.  The events of 14 years ago still leave me just as speechless today as they did then.  That’s why I shared a single photo of the 9/11 Memorial on all my social media channels today.

9/11 Memorial

9/11 Memorial

I had planned to leave it at that since I just couldn’t find the words.  However, sometimes the words find you.  I found inspiration on Facebook from a few of my friends, and I had to share.  With permission, here are a few of my friends’ stories.

Aimee

Aimee

Aimee: “This morning, as I do on every September 11, I asked the boys what today is and why it is significant.  Gavin told me he has to wear red, white and blue and asked if I got today off like the 4th of July.  Brendan said it was when the bad guys drove airplanes into buildings, and Declan said it was when the first responders saved as many people as they could from dying because of terrorists crashing into the twin towers and that some people were able to save the President by taking over a plane before it could crash.

No matter how they remember, I am glad they do.  Our country needs to remember, and our kids who were not even born in 2001 need to take this memory to their children.  As I told my boys, we remember three things: 1) those who lost their lives and the families who miss them; 2) the heroes who did all they could, many losing their own lives in the process; and 3) the bad guys–let’s not forget them because we need to remember that they are out there and that if we don’t do all we can to work toward good, the bad guys are out there waiting for a chance to do harm.  We have to remember them, too, and do all we can to make sure good wins.”

Jennifer

Jennifer

Jennifer:  “So it’s been 14 years and I feel ready to tell this story.  Apologies in advance if this is long or too horrible to read.  I won’t be offended if you don’t.

On the morning of September 11, 2001, I took the PATH train into the World Trade Center on my way to work.  My company was in the Woolworth building, across the street from the WTC.  I never went to work early but that day I was there to catch up on some school work before the day began.  We felt our building shake when the first plane hit the World Trade Center but thought nothing of it.  Then we got a phone call from some colleagues who were supposed to be at the Top of the World for the Oracle conference that day, that something awful had happened.  We put on CNN and were watching when the second plane hit the WTC.  At that point, we knew that this was not an accident and that we were under attack.  The Woolworth building is the third tallest building in NYC and we did not feel safe staying put so we all decided to leave.  I called Paul who told me to stay put but, of course, I didn’t listen.  That was the last he heard from me, since all cell and phone landline signals went out afterwards.

Leaving the building was total chaos, and on the street it was even worse.  There were people standing in the street crying and screaming.  I remember one woman in particular who was inconsolable because she calculated that the airplane was sticking out of the building near her company’s floor and she thought all of her coworkers were probably dead.  I grabbed a colleague who was visiting from Japan and had no idea what was happening, and we started to walk uptown.  We tried not to look back because if you did, you saw a complete horror movie.  The one time we stopped, we could see people jumping from the buildings.  And all of the pieces of paper and building floating down looked like confetti against that sky.  Along the way, people were truly helping each other.  Taxis that couldn’t move anyway pulled over and opened their doors and windows and blasted the radio so we could get updates on what was happening.  We kept a man company who was very disheveled.  He had escaped from one of the towers when the plane hit.  He couldn’t believe that he survived the first WTC bombings and now this.  He vowed never to go back again.

Finally, we made it up to NYU, where I was attending school at night.  The staff let everyone in and made the computer labs and the study labs open to whomever needed them.  I had lost track of all my colleagues, except the woman from Japan. By now, all cell service was gone, and we were only able to check in via email or AOL Instant Messenger to make sure everyone was safe.  That was when Paul finally heard I was ok.  We watched the plane hit the Pentagon on the TV at NYU and watched the buildings fall. I was so glad that I didn’t listen and left the downtown area.

A friend of mine got in touch and graciously invited us to her apartment where I stayed for a very long day until we got word that the PATH trains were running and I could go home.  Those PATH train workers probably lost quite a few friends that day but they were heroes, getting the service running again so people could finally go home to their loved ones.  That colleague from Japan came home with me, since we thought her hotel was probably destroyed.  She had to stay for almost a week until NEC chartered a flight to bring all of its employees home.

I know people who are far better writers could express some big life lessons that came out of this experience.  I never truly felt safe after that day.  Things do change in a heartbeat, and everything is temporary.  I am grateful that all of my friends and colleagues made it through the day, and I am grateful to have these 14 years to get over this experience.  Oh, and the other lesson learned is to listen to your gut and do what makes you feel safest.  And if you wear heels to work, bring sneakers to change into.”

Please share your 9/11 thoughts in the comments.

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Weekly Recap

I missed last week’s recap so today you get a two-for.  It’s been a very busy 2 weeks for me, and not necessarily in a good way.  BUT I have a new mantra!  I read it yesterday, and it really resonated with me.

My new mantra

My new mantra

It makes me feel so much more ready to tackle the world!

Here’s what’s been happening on the blog for the last couple of weeks.

I hope you all have a FABULOUS week!

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That One Time I Went to New York City on a Whim

Do you have a really cool friend?  I think we all do.  You know, the one who lives a pretty awesome life and seems to always be doing really cool things.  I actually have several like that but one in particular goes to NYC every six weeks to get her hair done.  If that’s not cool, I don’t know what is!  She would say it’s really no big deal, cheap direct flights, good hotel deals, fly in one day, out the next, etc.  Still, I say it’s pretty cool!

Back in December, I was ogling her pics on Facebook, ooooing and ahhhhing over them.  She told me she was going back in January (about 4 weeks later) and asked if I wanted to tag along.  She was planning on seeing Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden, too, and even had an extra ticket.  Of course she did!  Because that’s how she rolls!  So I checked my airline miles balance and with little hesitation, a short while later my flight was booked.  I had never been to New York before.  It was on my top 10 places I wanted to visit so to say I was excited was an understatement.

The time passed quickly, and before I knew it, I was on the plane headed for the bright lights of the Big Apple.  New York in January is cold, people!  It was even snowing when I landed and snowed off and on for the next 2 days.  Did I mind?  Not one bit!  Being in NYC after wanting to go for so long was surreal!  

Arriving at the hotel was so exciting!  We stayed at the Hilton Midtown. 

Hilton Midtown NYC

Hilton Midtown NYC

She had already checked us in and snagged us a great corner room with 2 windows!  We could even see Radio City Music Hall from one of them! 

Room with a view

Room with a view

As soon as I dropped my bags off at the hotel, we headed straight for Rockefeller Center, then to Times Square. 

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center

Times Square

Times Square

Doesn’t everyone?  Pretty soon it was time to get ready for dinner and a night out.  We ate at Capital Grille.  I’m still craving the lobster mac and cheese!  Then we had tickets to see Pippin, which was fabulous! 

Pippin

Pippin

We capped the evening off with, what else?  Cheesecake!  We were going to go for Junior’s but it was totally packed, so we opted for Lindy’s instead. 

Strawberry cheesecake from Lindy's

Strawberry cheesecake from Lindy’s

It was so creamy and delicious!  It was also much lighter than I was expecting but the slices were HUGE!

The next day began by meeting some of my Princess Posse friends who live in the area for breakfast at Maison.  

Breakfast with Princess Posse friends at Maison

Breakfast with Princess Posse friends at Maison

I loved being able to introduce some of my BRFs (best running friends) to one of my oldest childhood friends (old as in number of years we’ve known each other, not old in age, obviously).  Then, it was off to the Top of the Rock.  The city was so pretty from way up there! 

View from the Top of the Rock

View from the Top of the Rock

The elevator ride was pretty cool, too. 

The Top of the Rock elevator had a glass top so you could see it going up.

The Top of the Rock elevator had a glass top so you could see it going up.

After that, a shopping trip to Macy’s was in order, followed by a trip to the 9/11 Memorial.

Macy's

Macy’s

 

9/11 Memorial

9/11 Memorial

It was so cold that one of the fountains was frozen so it was turned off.  The other fountain looked like it was just before freezing, too.  Being there was a very somber experience.  We then headed to Little Italy for dinner at La Mela. 

Little Italy

Little Italy

I had the largest piece of Chicken Parm I’ve ever seen in my life! 

Chicken Parm from La Mela in Little Italy

Chicken Parm from La Mela in Little Italy

It was one of the best, too!  After that, we really wanted Junior’s Cheesecake still, so we got some to go and headed back to the hotel for an early turn-in.

Junior's Red Velvet cheesecake

Junior’s Red Velvet cheesecake

We had a really early wake up the next day because we were heading to the Today show. 

Us at the Today Show

Us at the Today Show

It was still pretty cold so there weren’t that many people on the Plaza.  We were part of the opening shot of the show and one of her friends was able to get a pic of her TV with us on it! 

Us on TV

Us on TV

How fun is that?  Two other highlights were Matt Lauer waving to me and Al Roker posing for a pic just for me. 

Al Roker!  I know him!

Al Roker! I know him!

After a few hours of standing in the Plaza, we found a tiny diner for breakfast.  Then it was time for her hair appointment so we said our goodbyes for a few hours.  I headed back to Times Square to do some shopping at, where else?  The Disney Store! 

Times Square Disney Store

Times Square Disney Store

My people!  Then I set out to find the famous Serendipity 3 Frozen Hot Chocolate. 

Serendipity 3 Frozen Hot Chocolate

Serendipity 3 Frozen Hot Chocolate

On the way, I got a little lost and walked by Bryant Park, which I totally didn’t mind at all. 

Bryant Park, getting ready for Fashion Week

Bryant Park, getting ready for Fashion Week

I also stopped in Dylan’s Candy Bar and tried to find Bloomingdale’s. 

Dylan's Candy Bar

Dylan’s Candy Bar

I know I was in the area but I never saw it.  Strange!  I also meandered through Central Park for quite a while.  

I heart Central Park

I heart Central Park

Ahhhh, I heart Central Park!  There was still snow covering the ground and it was so gorgeous!  I headed toward 5th Avenue and saw the famous Plaza Hotel. 

Plaza Hotel

Plaza Hotel

Afternoon tea there or maybe even just a cocktail is definitely in order next time!  Then I found Trump Tower and walked around there a bit. 

Trump Tower

Trump Tower

It was then time to meet up with my friend again.  I must say she looked fabulous!  We were both starving, so she suggested we go get burgers.  I kid you not, this girl knows all the cool places!  She led us to Le Parker Meridien Hotel where there’s this red curtain in the lobby.  It looks pretty non-descript, and you would never know unless you know, which she did, that there’s a burger joint behind the red curtain.  Who knew?!  After that, we went back to the hotel to freshen up for dinner and Billy Joel.  Dinner was at Max Brenner, a restaurant famous for all the chocolate.  All.  The.  Chocolate. 

Max Brenner

Max Brenner

Dinner turned into more like a shared appetizer and desserts.  Yes, plural.  I had a chocolate martini, hot chocolate, and a plate full of chocolate desserts. 

All the Chocolate

All the chocolate

Then it was off to Madison Square Garden. 

Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden

Her excited face

Her excited face

Billy Joel was fabulous!  The man’s voice is amazing, and he sang for about 3 hours straight. 

The next morning we headed out to Battery Park.  Since we weren’t doing a harbor tour to the Statue of Liberty, this was the only way I was going to get close enough to her to see her at all.  

Lady Liberty from Battery Park

Lady Liberty from Battery Park

There was so much ice in the harbor, I really don’t think they were doing tours out there anyway.  Then we went to the Empire State Building. 

Empire State Building

Empire State Building

It was intensely cold that far up!  I actually liked the Empire State Building better than the Top of the Rock.  I liked being higher than anything else around me. 

View from the top of the Empire State Building

View from the top of the Empire State Building

It wasn’t too terribly crowded, either.  After that, we headed back to Rockefeller Center for lunch at Rock Center Cafe.  There was one, lone, ice skater out on the rink. 

Ice skater, Tara Lapinski, maybe?

Ice skater, Tara Lapinski, maybe?

It was obvious that she was someone who knew what she was doing.  She was being photographed, too.  Another one of my friends later identified her as former Olympic Gold Medalist, Tara Lapinsky.  He said she was rehearsing for her Jimmy Kimmel appearance being filmed later that day.  He showed me video evidence that she was, in fact, on Jimmy Kimmel, so we’ll go with that.  We had just a little bit of time for some shopping in Rockefeller Center before I had to collect my belongings from the hotel and head back to the airport to come home.

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree marker

Rockefeller Center Christmas tree marker

Sadly, all good things must come to an end.  It was a trip I will never forget!

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