12 September 2011

Shocked & Angry

The peace and hope I felt yesterday was short lived.

I was perusing Facebook today and came across a post by a college friend of mine, describing an experience of another college friend of ours.

Please read it.

First off...I am so glad she is ok. That she is safe is the only good thing I can find in this story.

It saddens me, this type of thing. That we have so lost control of our perspective that we find mundane things "suspicious" just because someone looks like they may be of a different ethnicity (even if they are American citizens, born & raised here); that these same citizens can be held without being told why, then humiliated with strip searches and further held JUST BECAUSE THEY LOOK DIFFERENT...well, it sickens me.

I get that there are bad people out there. I also know they come in all shapes and sizes. While the terrorists that hit on 11 September were middle eastern, Timothy McVeigh, also a terrorist, was white. This type of profiling proves that the terrorists are still winning, that we are still in a state of constant and often ridiculous fear.

Reading this story felt much like the book Zeitoun, and I was compelled to share. It is easy to distance ourselves from this problem, from the racial profiling that goes on every day, all around us (generalizing groups as terrorists, or illegal immigrants, or thieves just because of how they look)...stories like this remind us that there is a real human element behind these generalizations, and how easy it is to lose grasp on reality.

Peace be with you, Shosh. And thank you for sharing your story.

11 September 2011

10 Years...

Last 24 August was not the first time I realized that life can forever change in just an instant.

I first truly realized this on 11 September 2001, as I sat in a conference center hearing news of some planes slamming into the World Trade Center of NYC, the impenetrable (or so I thought) Pentagon, and a field in rural Pennsylvania. This was a world before Twitter, before Facebook, before true smartphones. Information was spotty, at best, and rumors ran rampant.

It's hard to believe this was 10 years ago. Over the years, I've often thought about my experience on 9/11, as I am sure all other Americans have. Would my experience have been different had I been here in San Francisco? I would have just been getting up when the first plane hit, and the TV would not have been on yet. But, I likely would have seen it all happen far earlier than I did that day -- because I was already working and didn't have access to a TV, I didn't see the footage until much later that day.

Would I have gone into work? I am not sure what happened here, if people were sent home, or they toiled away for the day, but what would have happened?

Would I have felt safer or more connected? This is probably the one I wonder about the most. I was across the country, with some coworkers. I was far away from my friends & family, and wondering how I would get back home, and when. We had no clue what the next hours would bring us, much less the next few days (rumor had it that Atlanta, where I was, was also a target due to the CDC being there... looking back, I think it may have been one of the safer places, since CNN was just blocks away and these terrorists knew they needed the media to truly accomplish their mission).

All I knew at that point was that I was scared, & felt small and far away from everything.

Everyone's experience on that day was intensely personal, yet we are all connected by it. We went through a collective grieving process; the roller coaster of fear, denial, anger, and acceptance was one ridden by all. And here we are, 10 years later, and the ride has not ended. We continue to battle with our fear and demons, every time we get on a plane we wonder...

I wish we could recapture the spirit of unity that really glowed in those desperate days. Strangers were kind to one another. When I finally did get to go home several days later, despite the security line being almost literally a mile long, it was quiet and no one complained or was rude. I met a local firefighter who had travelled to Ground Zero and helped in the recovery efforts; he carried the spirit of giving back with him and bought the homeless dude in the Mission a pizza at 2am. We had perspective, 10 years ago.

Amazing how things change. Someday, I hope, we will get back there. I'd like to have faith that we will.

Never forget. #911

08 September 2011

Yum: Chickpea and Roasted Red Pepper Salad

Though summer has yet to arrive here in San Francisco, it seems to have done so in other parts of the state, enough so that our Farmers Markets are teeming with the good stuff. I visited one this weekend, and left with bags of fresh, lovely fruits & veggies.

After my recent success in roasting red peppers, I felt inspired to do so again, and, with a different recipe. I visited my favorite cooking blog, Smitten Kitchen, and found this yummy-looking recipe for a light summer salad with chickpeas. I just happen to have a bag of Rancho Gordo garbanzo beans in my cupboard, waiting for the perfect recipe, and off I went. While this is in no way a cooking blog, I know I always like finding recipes my friends have used, so I thought I would share!

I have to agree, fresh beans are the way to go in a recipe that features them. But, this recipe can also be made with the canned type.

Chickpea and Roasted Red Pepper Salad
adapted from Smitten Kitchen

2 large red peppers
~3 cups of garbanzo beans, rinse if they're from the can
1/4 cup fresh parsley (I used Italian)
~2 tbsp fresh mint
~2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 dashes of sea salt
3 tbsp capers, rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
~2 tbsp olive oil

Roast the red peppers. Let cool, then peel. Cut into thin strips.
Mix peppers, beans, mint, parsley & capers in bowl.
In separate bowl, mix remainder of ingredients. Pour over bean/pepper mixture. Let sit in refrigerator at least one hour (longer is better to let the juices really set).

This is a great main salad or a side.

05 September 2011

Putting the labor back in Labor Day

It was Labor Day weekend...which for me has always signaled the end of summer, as it's the last weekend we get up at the River.

Last year was extremely difficult, and I couldn't wait to get through it.  This year, however, it couldn't last long enough!

We started off Saturday with another run around the loop. I thought we had gone quite a bit faster...but I was wrong. I think. The final time was the same, but we had one slower mile than last go 'round... there was one point where B & I were going at around a 9.30 and that felt awesome.

The pain in my leg? Not so awesome. In fact...pretty much the opposite of awesome.

Once I got back to camp, it was time to take down the site. This may sound easy -- after all, camping is just a couple of tents, right? But no, at our campgrounds, the sites are like outdoor cabins, and include all the accoutrements of one. Tarps, tents, refrigerator...all needed to be cleaned, moved, stored. It was a good little workout. 

Such a good workout that floating down the river sounded like a good way to cool off. Boy was I wrong. This float lasted FOREVER, since the river was almost running backwards. Instead of floating, we had to paddle most of the way. At least I earned my many, many drinks that night (and burnt off even more at the dance).

Sunday meant a 2 hour walk, including a trip over to our rival park on the forbidden trail. We felt like teenagers sneaking back there, as none of us have been there since we were told not to go. Of course, the minute we exited the trail, someone caught us, and we all reverted back to our 15 year old selves. It was pretty humorous to me! After we arrived back to our park, I was extremely exhausted!

It was a great last weekend to an interesting summer. And we made it...through a whole year of a roller coaster ride.

Every day I'm shufflin'...