Thursday, April 18, 2013


It's hard to think about anything beyond explosions and horrific injuries.  I know I've mentioned this before but my dad had some great quips.  Took me years to understand their meaning.  With age comes wisdom?  I hear his voice over and over again.

"Life turns on a dime, Annie."

(Yes, he called me Annie and he's the only person on the planet who did so.)

There are lots of people facing lots of really lousy things right now.  There are people in my personal life, family and dear friends who are dealing with some fairly serious things .  Some are really high on the serious scale and I am destroyed and angry.  I listen, I hold hands and I cry.  I get angry.  I cry some more.

Then, there will be more biopsies but I must respect the privacy of others.  I'll just say this.  One of the things that drove my surgical decision wasn't a recurrence of the cancer.  I recall reading observations about second cancers twenty years later.  I recall thinking, "Do I want to be doing this again in twenty years?"  It happened to my mom and now, it happened to another woman who is near and dear to my heart.  Nineteen years after the first cancer, "something" looks suspicious on a mammography.  I will be with her for the needle biopsy.  Surreal.

Monday started out as a great day.  I was watching twitter, reading what my friends were saying on the steps of the Supreme Court, enjoying the photographs.  The transcript was posted and I began to read.  I wasn't quite finished when I left for yoga at 2:30.  By 3:25, my phone was chirping.  My son.  He is my information compass.  The text said, "two explosions at Boston marathon."  I didn't see the text until 4PM, came straight home and my week pretty much ended on Monday.

Tonight, I am watching horror in Texas.  I heard explosion, Waco, fertilizer and my mind went to April of 1995, Oklahoma, truck bomb, fertilizer.  There is absolutely NO basis for those thoughts except to say it surely is an odd coincidence after a deliberate attack in Boston that an unrelated accident should have such eerie similarities.

I'm drained.  Yesterday did me in.

I do want to acknowledge the good in people and in HUGE companies.  Son was in Chicago for a quick business trip.  When I arrived home, my daughter announced, "Flight cancelled, stuck in Chicago, just called."  Helicopter mom sprang right into action.  I jumped on the American Airlines website while simultaneously dialing the phone to see what was happening in Chicago.  I turned to twitter and immediately saw there were serious weather issues in Chicago and over 300 flights were cancelled.  I was trying to book him on any other flight.

As I was jumping on and off websites, I saw that American Airlines had a system wide problem with computers but that was on Tuesday and it was a bigger issue in Dallas.  Not so fast.  Apparently, in addition to the extremely severe weather in Chicago, there was another problem with AA's computer system.  Those who aren't in the twitterverse: Are you beginning to see how valuable twitter can be in circumstances like these?

Plus, I was multi-tasking!  Kid on the phone, checking every website for alternate flights, calling airport hotels and frustrated as all hell at the lack of information in the information age.

I tweeted:

Shortly after, I followed it up with this:
Immediately, I received messages from two "strangers" except they aren't strangers. They are part of my social media crowd.  Each of them was prepared to put him up for the night.  I don't even know how to describe the overwhelming gratitude I felt when I saw those messages.  And then, I saw this:

Bottom line? As I was putting this post together, I went to find that tweet and what I saw was the perfect use of social media in an evolving and what was surely complete chaos at the American Airlines offices.  Based on the sheer number of messages they sent, I doubt a single tweet was unanswered.  They couldn't control the weather, they couldn't control a computer snafu but they could respond in real time and I call that a big win and an exceptional use of social media.

Major props to American Airlines.  Not too sure the sentiment will be the same from the young man who slept on a cot at the airport but I'm thankful for the information, the exchange of messages and a willingness to help in whatever way they could.  Well done.


  1. Every day you amaze me! Thanks, Kathleen

  2. It's just incredible what can be done with social media. I'm so glad the airline responded, even if they couldn't get him home immediately. And I'm sorry to hear people you care for are having trouble. I'll think of them and you when I have my nightly chat.

  3. dear annemarie,

    what a phenonmenal example you are to your children, and to all your readers. backing up your extraordinary capacity for deep compassion that sends you into action mode to solve problems and galvinize others to do what they can - absolutely outstanding!!! and that's why you have so many people who have your back, like those wonderful souls who offered a place for your son to stay. social media makes lots of these scenarios possible - but the catalyst was you!

    i will keep you and your dear ones who are having troubles close to my heart, and send out all the positive energy i can muster for comfort and healing.

    love, XOXOXOXO,

    karen, TC


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