Friday, November 11, 2011

11/11/11

What a fascinating time to be alive.  I feel so fortunate to have choices and to have the luxury of time to reflect on my many blessings. 
    
Today, 11 November 2011, at 11A , my daughter and I lit two candles, placed our heart-felt hopes, wishes, & dreams in an angel box – a very thoughtful gift given to me by a friend, shared our thanks and gratitude for the bountiful, nourishing things and loving people in our lives, and then we meditated.
    
We're going to begin a new tradition of taking a moment to give thanks each solstice and equinox.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

women in art


-->

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 – reflecting

It's been ten years since 9/11. I've never written about it. Reflecting and writing about it now feels like one way of remembering and honoring those whose lives were taken that day.

I've been thinking about how my life has changed since then. On that day, I was a flight attendant working for Delta Air Lines, based in Salt Lake City. I flew in August, then took vacation the first half of September. My next trip was scheduled for September 12th.

School had begun a couple weeks before and there was that renewed sense of purpose, of orderliness that comes with the start of each new school year. You could feel the excitement and hope of the changing season in the air.  The sun was still high in the cloudless sky and summer lingered.

At about 7:20am my phone rang. It was my Mother telling me to turn on the television, that a plane had just been flown into the twin towers. Uncomprehending, I scrambled to turn on the television and watched in disbelief. Shortly after, my nephew, who'd moved from New York to Berlin a few years prior, phoned me saying he'd heard the news, asked if it was true, and wanted to know what was going on.

When my daughter, who was ten-years-old and starting fifth grade, finished getting ready for school, I drove her there. Back at home, I felt so vulnerable, I thought, "My God, we're under attack. They may target the schools next." So I jumped in my car and drove back to the school to bring her home.

When I arrived, I sat, my head on the steering wheel in the old green Corvette, and struggled with my thoughts.  I decided she'd be much better off at school than at home with me coming undone.  I drove back home.  Once there, again, overwhelmed with a sense of urgency, I thought, "My God, I'm crazy to leave her at school when we're under attack!" and headed back to get her.  Again, when I arrived I decided it was the best place for her and headed back home.

My baby sister was flying for United based out of Chicago. She phoned me from a jetway. She was part of a 747 crew flying to San Francisco that morning. The pilots asked the flight attendants if they wanted to take the trip. One of the stipulations of flying is that if you refuse to fly a trip the captain has deemed safe because you doubt his judgment, you'll be fired. The pilots weren't saying the flight was safe, they were giving the flight attendants a choice. The senior flight attendants agreed to fly, the junior ones didn't want to, they still hadn't come to a consensus when she called me, crying, saying she didn't want to go, but didn't know what to do. I begged her not to get on that flight. She abruptly said she had to go.

Several minutes later she called from the stew lounge.  It was so crowded with flight attendants the fire department ordered those who were based in Chicago to go home.  She told me they weren't taking the trip. I felt grateful and relieved.

By then, Washington, D.C. had ordered all planes grounded. She called me from the parking lot on the way to her car and told me it was eery, that the national guard was arriving in the parking lot and that many passengers in the terminal didn't know yet they were going to be stranded there.  They were beginning to gather around the television, while there was a mass exodus of flight crews from the terminal. We speculated about whether the John Hancock tower would be targeted next.

The following week I spent too much time lying on the couch crying in front of the television as I watched in alternating horror, grief and disbelief, trying to make sense of the recurring images of the burning towers.

Delta was very good in their dealings with employees. They managed to provide all their flight crews transportation back home. I heard United crews weren't as fortunate, some had to find their own way back home. The skies were eerily quiet for the next few days. I remember being very alarmed the first time I heard an airplane in the sky, not knowing the ban from flying had been lifted. In the weeks following, Delta said those that didn't want to fly didn't have to, and those that did could pick up as much overtime as they wanted. I chose not to fly.

Soon Delta came up with a plan to try and prevent any lay-offs from occurring due to the reduced flight schedules. They offered one, three, and five-year, voluntary, leaves-of-absence. I took a five-year leave, during which time I was able to keep my flight benefits.  Although, the last thing I wanted to do was get on a plane. Unfortunately, some layoffs were still necessary.

My heart was broken. I couldn't believe it had come to this. As a student of Middle East studies, I'd often wondered why people in Israel/Palestine or other war-torn cities stayed, why they didn't leave, how they could live in such an uncertain, violent environment. I was about to learn. I tried to imagine what kind of loss, pain, and despair a person would have to have endured to engage in such acts of destruction and violence.

In the weeks and months that followed rumors flew regarding Al-Qaeda's possible strategy. The rumor that most disturbed me, was that they would lure our troops out of the U.S. then target us with biological warfare. Along with online sales of U.S. flags, gas-mask sales skyrocketed.

In March, when Bush declared war, I felt like the only one in the world adamantly against it. Even then, it was apparent Iran wasn't the culprit, that Bush was using 911 to justify the attack. I never heard on the news, not even on NPR of anyone that opposed it. I imagined molotov cocktails being thrown through my front-room window if I were to post a sign against the war in my front yard.

Several weeks later, driving home from the airport after having dropped my daughter off to fly to see her father, I finally heard, on NPR, about a couple in Seattle who had begun making anti-war banners. I felt so relieved, like there were other sane people out there. But, I also knew there was no one and nothing that could stave off this eager war machine.

Over a year later, I nearly lost my house to foreclosure. The disdain my daughter felt towards me was palpable. When she was thirteen she went to live with her father and I moved to Portland.  Although I was able to prevent the sale of my house, the foreclosure papers had already been filed and recorded. By the grace of God and the internet, after I moved I sold the house – by owner, no less.  When she was sixteen, to my delight, my daughter came to Portland to live with me.

I watched an anniversary program on television last night. Some of the women who lost husbands to 9/11 are remarkable. I can't even compare my sorrow to theirs, yet they were able to find what appears to be happiness as well as new mates, new lives.

My current work schedule is very similar to the schedule I loved so much about flying, but I get to sleep in my own bed every night, which is a beautiful thing. I'm very grateful to be employed.  I've since obtained my undergraduate degree, but, so far, the pay is no better for it.



Here's a short youtube video I made in film school before 911 about flying:

-->

Thursday, August 4, 2011

salmon with sesame and orange-ginger relish


From the Kitchen of: epicurious.com
Here's What's Cookin: Salmon with sesame and orange-ginger relish
Serves: 8

Ingredients
• 1/3 cup dry white wine
• 1/3 cup fresh orange juice
• 2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1 2 1/2-pound salmon fillet

• 3 large navel oranges

• 1/2 cup matchstick-size strips red pepper
• 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
• 2 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
• 2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
• 2 teaspoons grated orange peel
• 1 teaspoon oriental sesame oil
• 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
• 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

• Vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted

Preparation
Whisk first 3 ingredients in small bowl to blend; transfer to 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Place salmon, skin side up, in orange juice mixture; cover with plastic and chill at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours. Bring to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking.
 
Using small sharp knife, cut peel and white pith from oranges. Working over bowl, cut between membranes to release segments into bowl.

Mix red pepper and next 7 ingredients in medium bowl to blend. Fold in reserved orange segments and any accumulated juices. (Can be prepared 1 hour ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with foil; generously brush with vegetable oil. Place fish, skin side down, on prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake until fish is just opaque in center, about 20 minutes. Using large spatula, gently loosen salmon from foil. Using foil as aid, carefully lift salmon from sheet and allow salmon to slide from foil onto platter.

Mound orange relish down center of fish, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve.


And a basket of fruits and vegetables.

Monday, July 11, 2011

pix patisserie – *update: sadly, this NoPo location no longer exists

Amelie – mmm...

The Royale – deee-licious!

Pix Patisserie, one of P-town's many gems.

-->

Saturday, July 9, 2011

biking owies


My bad... :( Thanks, D, for graciously taking it in stride.






And a tat...

-->

Thursday, July 7, 2011

jambalaya



The best defense against onion tears. ;)


From the Kitchen of: Darren
Here's What's Cookin: Jambalaya
Serves: a lot

Ingredients:
4 chicken thighs – with skin and bones
8 oz. Of Andouille sausages cut in half the long way, then sliced into ¼ thck half circles. (I buy the 13 oz Adelles' sausage package from Albertson's and just use the whole package. It's pronounced 'an-do-ee').
1 lb raw shrimp
1 med onion
1 rd bell pepper, chopped
5 med garlic cloves, minced (I just buy the jars of minced garlic and use at least 3 tsp – but I love garlic, still 3 tsp isn't that much for this recipe)
1 ½ C of long grain white rice
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes – don't drain the juice
2 cans (14.5 oz) chicken broth
1 (8 oz.) bottle of clam juice (If this bothers you, leave it out. It adds to the flavor, but no one will know “clam juice” is in it. It can be found by the canned tuna.)
¼ tsp thyme
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne – depends on how much heat you like. Taste the sausage first because it's spicy, too (Don't worry, sausage is pre-cooked.)
2 bay leaves

In a big pot, heat a little oil (med high) and cook the chicken skin-side down for 5 minutes til golden brown. Turn over and cook for 3 min. Remove the chicken and place on paper-towel-lined plate. (Yes, there's a lot of fat in the pot. That's flavor!)

Reduce heat to med-low. Add all the vegetables and garlic to the pot and cook 4 min stirring occasionally and scraping up the good stuff thats stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Add:
the rice
the tomatoes and juice
the broth
the clam juice, if using
the thyme, cayenne and bay leaves
the sausage back to the pot

Stir to combine everything.

Remove and discard the skin from the chicken (yes, do it!) and set them on top of everything.

Increase heat bring to a boil and reduce heat to low and cover. Cook 15 minutes then give it a stir. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes remove chicken to a plate.
Stir in the shrimp, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, take two forks and shred the chicken and discard the bones. Add the chicken back to the pot and your done!

Yes, it would be easier to buy boneless, skinless chicken, but browning the chicken with the skin on protects the meat and puts flavor into the pot and the bones keep the meat from drying out. If the skin is left on, the skin will end up soggy and nasty. It is worth the extra steps plus the chicken is cheaper.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

biking in the chehalem hills


One of my very favorite bike routes, introduced to me by my good friend, Ray.







Looking north towards Portland, too hazy to see Mt. Hood.



We are sooo lucky...





to live in the beauty of the northwest.



I love the gorgeous clover fields abuzz with bees – can't imagine the world without them.



My favorite hill to fly down, can reach upwards of 40-50 mph, depending on how fast your bike is – what a panic!

Find more Bike Rides in Hillsboro, OR


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

rainy Portland day






Friday, May 27, 2011

best freakin mac-n-cheese EVER!

epicurious
Gourmet, Aug 2007
Macaroni and Cheese
(Best, freakin ever!)

yield: Makes 20 servings
active time: 35 min
total time: 1 1/4 hr

The toasted crumbs on top have a cheesy crispness, and the pasta beneath is creamy and rich. Kids will appreciate the individual servings, but the... more ›

Ingredients:
For topping
    •  1/2 stick unsalted butter
    •  2 cups panko (coarse Japanese bread crumbs) or 3 
       cups coarse fresh bread crumbs (from 6 slices firm 
       white sandwich bread)
    •  1/4 pound coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (1.5 
        cups)
    •  1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

For macaroni and sauce

    •  1 stick unsalted butter
    •  6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    •  5 cups whole milk
    •  1 pound coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (6 cups)
    •  1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
    •  1 pound elbow macaroni

Make topping:

Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle.
Melt butter, then stir together with panko and topping cheeses in a bowl until combined well.

Make sauce:

Melt butter in a heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat and stir in flour. Cook roux, stirring, 3 minutes, then whisk in milk. Bring sauce to a boil, whisking constantly, then simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. Stir in cheeses, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper until smooth. Remove from heat and cover surface of sauce with wax paper.

Make Macaroni:


Cook macaroni in a pasta pot of boiling salted water (2 tablespoons salt for 4 quarts water) until al dente. Reserve 1 cup cooking water and drain macaroni in a colander. Stir together macaroni, reserved cooking water, and sauce in a large bowl. Transfer to 2 buttered 2-quart shallow baking dishes.

Sprinkle topping evenly over macaroni and bake until golden and bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes.

Cooks' notes:
Topping can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. 
Half of dish can be baked in 10 (6- to 8-ounce) ramekins for children (with remaining half baked in a 2-quart baking dish for adults).

Monday, May 16, 2011