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Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Short Day

We have sun in Chicago on this Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. There are plenty of empty seats on the Metra train to the Loop today - many folks have begun their holiday break. I plan to try hard to be productive - it will be a challenge. I sometimes believe that the hardest part of working is trying to make it happen when you are distracted, bored and tired. This is what I am today.

At 4:48 A.M., my alarm clock began to grind. I stumbled into my workout clothes and made it to the McGaw YMCA at about 5:13 am. As I walked in, the desk guy, Tom, handed me a Christmas card. Now this is a guy who is at that Y desk every day by 4:15 am. He is unfailingly cheerful, greets everyone by name, and usually has a clever/amusing comment to toss our way as we trudge through the turnstyles. Tom is a paunchy guy with meager white fringe on his head and a luxurious white beard. He shaves his beard about once every 4 months - it is a terrifying to see his naked face. Tom brings light into many lives without thinking about it.

So I lifted weights today. Fifty year old weightlifters suffer quite a bit more than twenty-five year old weightlifters. My lats ache and my bones are tired. I have bought into the theory that exercise is the fountain of youth. Maybe this is true. But I feel quite aged after I have pushed myself through the weight routine.

I had to turn away from today's news - push it away. The horror, the horror! We are coming up on the birthday of Jesus Christ, and people are dying in large groups in many locations - 24 Americans in Iraq today. I am not a political idealogue; I listen with amazement at my liberal and conservative friends and their firm positions. George Bush may be wrong; he may be right. But right or wrong, the suffering is very hard to bear. And the Iraqis take the heaviest blows - murdered by their fellow Iraqis. Sadam's evil spirit still is creating havoc in Iraq. There is hard pounding going on - who can pound the longest?

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