Okay, you guys are idiots — and I mean that in the kindest way! 😉
After seeing some of the guesses, I was ready to award the win to a guess that mentioned some sort of volunteer work of any kind, but none was made. The winner was a difficult choice, not because they were so close, but because they came nowhere near the mark. Okay, here’s what I did on my birthday 10 years ago, 9/11/2001:
Like I mentioned before, I didn’t want to deal with black balloons and tombstone cake at work, so I took a vacation day instead. I’m an amateur astronomer, and we were near the peak of Solar Cycle 23. There were several sunspots visible to the (protected) unaided eye, so I took my solar viewer glasses to K’s elementary school and was a guest lecturer at the science classes, giving views of the sunspots and answering questions about stars and the sun.
sunspot activity leading up to 9/11, particularly active region 9608
animated image from spaceweather.com (a great website)
As it turns out, it was a great way to help for a moment to take my mind off the devastation happening in NYC, at the Pentagon, and in Pennsylvania. It was also a way to occupy the children with something besides the scary information that they had managed to pick up that morning, too.
Since he was the only one to make any mention of my family in his guess, I’m awarding the win to Erik L of Manupatches & Chrome Scratches. The fact that he shares my birthday (but several years after mine) is only icing on the cake — pun intended. Congrats Erik, and thanks everyone for the entertaining guesses!