Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Shaken, Smoothed, Poured Over Espresso


Today is smoke-free day 470, and time for Heads or Tails.
Today is HEADS - Shake.

I thought about telling you all my crazy earthquake stories, the first earthquake in particular, but consider this an IOU for that while I wait until I have time to tell it the right way. Yes, I'm being totally lame like that.

For now, though, I can share with you something I haven't tried but something that sounds so *very* good this time of year, at least probably to those just like me who absolutely love pumpkin (if that's not you, don't bother - you'll hate it) and who also love shakes (these are both low-ish in calories, too!):

Pumpkin Shake Recipe

or, similarly

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Smoothie*

*the recipe calls for honey, which some vegans consider not vegan, a debate I'm not bothering to enter, but I also don't want hate mail, and if you didn't know, now you have something interesting to ponder, discuss or just forget - your choice.

If you do give one or both of the recipes a go, could you please let me know how it is? Until I get around to trying them, I'll be hitting Starbucks for the Pumpkin Spice latte that I love this time of year, though I may just have to try this Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (Copycat) Recipe because the real deal is too spendy to indulge as often as I dream about it.

Mmm...pumpkin. Shaken, stirred, smoothed, poured over espresso, pumpkin is all just mmm...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekly Winners Sunday 9/28/08

Weekly Winners, hosted by Lotus.

Click pics for better looking larger images or take a peek at the entire album and/or watch as a slideshow at this link.

Carrots and Onions and Celery
(wait, it gets better)


Lentils
(closer to better)


Plain Lentil Soup (Vegan...and low fat too!)
(yep, it was pretty good)


Home
(home is where I hang my Cubs hat - and other stuff)


Treasured Memento
(1000 Cranes, made for me by my students before I left Japan)


Obsession Overgrown
(and in need of weeding)


Old Favorite, New Light
(Tom is in Tulsa - there is an update, realized on Friday night that the movie version of The Outsiders was filmed in Tulsa, and thinking about that, I dug out my old school copy of the book Saturday morning...)


Page One, Final Chapter
(...and was startled at the coincidence that it begins with mention of Paul Newman, who I'd just learned had died.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Haiku Friday 9/26/08

Haiku Friday
俳句の金曜日

Where have they all gone?
All my black socks, the good ones?
Those I bought last year?

Autumn in the air
sandals give way to loafers
cold toes love warm socks.

My sock drawer is full,
but it's full of old ass socks,
holes, stretched out, ugly.

I don't understand.
Did I think I would darn them?
(Darn them to hell then.)

White socks with black shoes
offend my sense of fashion
(even hopeless me).

There were a few gems
black socks that would do just fine...
but most weren't matches.

Where did the mates go?
Not back from summer vacay?
What in the Sam Hill?

Guess it's all good, though.
I'll have time to buy some more.
Autumn's been delayed:

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursday Thirteen 9/25/08 - 32nd Edition



13 Things I Wish Happened Automatically

  1. All things related to the cat box - I don't mind filling at the start, but it all goes to crap from there.

  2. Vacuuming - working up a sweat and still having fuzz on the floor is heart healthy, but not good for my mood. I hear Dysons are good. I may need one.

  3. Matching pairs - trying to find the other black sock with the same exact pattern and not the other close but no cigar pattern annoys me.

  4. Groceries getting into the house and put away - I actually kind of *like* grocery shopping. And cooking. And eating. Not so much the rest.

  5. Dishes - yes, I know that a dishwasher is automatic, but when it can load and unload itself I'll be even more impressed.

  6. Travel - it's nice to take a Sunday drive or do a road trip, but sometimes it would be nicer to just teleport (is that what it's called?). The sci-fi set isn't all wrong at all.

  7. Checking out - I think some places do this or are working on it where you roll your cart full of that which makes you happy through some sensor thing that calculates it all. Then you'd have to bag it, though, still, I guess. That should be automatic, too.

  8. Fashion - when I leave the house looking wrong wearing a fanny pack because it's convenient, having something try to talk me out of it and physically offer, maybe dispenser-style, a suitable alternative, would go far towards solving my fashion problems. Until then, oh, yes, sometimes I really do rock the fanny pack. You think I'm kidding.

  9. Money - some folks love to work and feel a sense of whatever it is they feel, but I think I'd do OK with automatic money and could learn to feel a sense of accomplishment at perfecting the art of leisure. I would be *so* good at perfecting that.

  10. Decluttering - if I haven't worn it, used it, seen it or thought about it in a few years, poof!, all gone. I'd want an exception button for a few random things, but mostly this would be so very useful.

  11. Laundry folding and getting put away - I really excel at the part about throwing clothes into the wash, sometimes even drying them on racks during my random boycotts of the dryer, but it's when I get to that last part that I have to do the reminder speech to myself that I'm an adult and that adults fold/hang/put away clothes. Life is to short for such hassle. How do you people in houses of more than one person even cope? And since you are likely good at it, will you do mine?

  12. Gas filling - sure, I live in Oregon, so it is practically automatic (yes, by law we can't pump our own gas, yay!), but wouldn't it be easier to just have it never even get low, maybe regenerate itself in the tank? Think what greatness could be done if we had back all those minutes lost sitting at the pump!

  13. Stink shields - I'm all for stinky people having rights to be out and about and all that, but if a little invisible stink protector shield went up around them, all quiet like without it making a scene, my feelings wouldn't be hurt. Since quitting smoking, my sense of smell is way keen, and that's kind of a good news/bad news thing, depending on whether I'm standing by the scent of lavender or the scent of ass.

Today is smoke-free day 465, and I'm still counting.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Apartness: An Update, Kind Of

Today is smoke-free day 464, and I have an update of sorts. For most of you, anyway.

See, things are starting to shake, rattle and boogie on the "apartness" front, but pretty much all of it cannot be said publicly just right now because, well, it just can't. No, it's not even terribly juicy or anything, but for the time being I am telling that chapter elsewhere, separately from this my main blog, and I would love for you to join me if you have any desire to know that which will eventually appear here on my main blog before too terribly long anyway.

The catch is that because of how Blogger does things, the supplemental blog can only be kept private if done by email invitation, so if you care to read it, please just shoot me an email at maggies.mind@yahoo.com, and boom, I'll add you the next time I check my email.

(I can't see it being an issue, but there is also a limit of 100 I can add. If it does turn out to be an issue, I'll figure something out and kiss all of you. Maybe on the lips. Er, k, just cheek, face cheek, just to clarify. But I'll love you forever and ever.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Talkin' Baseball

Today is smoke-free day 463, it's Monday, and my mind is on baseball.

If you saw my Weekly Winners on Sunday, you already know how I feel about my Cubbies winning on Saturday the last game standing between them and being in the playoffs. If you missed my post on Sunday, please go, and also watch the quick but cute video (yes, that's Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins in the video - huge Cubs fan, huge!) that captures the spirit in a way that even non-fans will understand - go on, I'll wait, we've been waiting on them for 100 years, so a minute and a half ain't nothin' but a thing to me.

Welcome back. Cute and making you wanna hope and cheer with me, wasn't it?

Here's the deal, shorthand-style:
  • The last time the Cubs went into post season two years back to back was in 1907 & 1908.
  • The last time the Cubs won the World Series was in 1908.
  • Last year was 2007; this year is 2008. 100 Years. It's. Time.
I can't imagine a more perfect year than this one, can you ? I know we long suffering Cubs fans say it all the time, but seriously, I think this will be the year, and every corpuscle in my body hopes fervently while every fiber of my being is wills it be so. Even my eyes and ass cheeks are crossed. (Please, Cubbies, please?)

I also witnessed this past weekend a refreshing and good for my happy heart kind of unusual intermingling of fans who would normally be all hateful at one another, too.

I actually saw a comment on another Cubs-related YouTube video (this one, yes, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam is a Cubs fan, and he has a new anthem for the 2008 Chicago Cubs), a comment from a Sox fan wishing the Cubs well. You all just know what kind of asshats people often are when commenting on stuff like this, and with the Chicago Cubs/Sox rivalry, this kind of comment generosity never happens, even when hell is frosty (which it gets in Chicago in winter). Some people still have class, even on the onlinewebz, and it makes my heart smile.

Then, too, I found my own thoughts turned to Yankee Stadium (this also never happens, my thoughts being on the Yankees, with or without references to hell), as the last game was played at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. The last game at such an historic (a historic, you pick) ballpark saddened me. I never got to see it, and now I never will. It makes me ponder the idea that all over places in Europe and Asia and elsewhere there are structures and buildings and statues and monuments and goddamn *history* still standing that are a bazillion-jillion (give or take) years old but that we run around tearing down something so special - even for me as the almost exact polar opposite of a Yankee's fan, I still get it that it's totally special being the House that Ruth Built and The Cathedral and so many big moments in baseball and all - a stadium that was just built in 19bloody23 for goodness sake (15 years after the last time Cubs won the World Series, just sayin' in case you are keeping score at home). It also makes me shudder thinking that someday it could be my beloved Wrigley Field, and just the mere thought injures something in my core...

I can't think about that now, though. Right now it's all about October, baby! Go Cubs Go!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weekly Winners Sunday 9/21/08

Weekly Winners, hosted by Lotus.

Click pics for better looking larger images or take a peek at the entire album and/or watch as a slideshow at this link.

Never Promised You an Herb Garden


Deviled Eggs Gone Eastern Rim
(yes, I've posted these in the past, but they were good, again, and they are healthy-ish, too!)


Hope, Revisited
(It's been 100 years since the Cubs last won the World Series, and this year again we are headed into post season play for yet another chance, in my lifetime, though my mother and grandmother never saw a World Series win in theirs. I do believe they will be watching from afar - or while I sit with picture propped in front of the TV, so let's not screw it up this year, please? It's. Time.)


Not a picture and not my own video, but in the spirit of the Cubs and just in case you don't get it, maybe this helps explain just why:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Recipe for Yumminess


Today is smoke-free day 457, and time for Heads or Tails.
Today is HEADS - Recipe.

Anyone who has visited my blog for awhile, especially on Sundays for Weekly Winners when I often post food pictures, knows that this topic should be a breeze for me because I am all about the recipes. Some of you know that I'm not a toss it all together and wing it kind of girl because it rarely works out for me, but I do pretty OK with following a recipe (if you are curious about me and cooking without a clue because I quit smoking and needed a hobby - it's all part of my Make Believe Cooking Show that I did way back on another Heads or Tails Tuesday). All that said, I'm finding it near impossible to just pick out one or two recipes to share with all of y'all like I'd intended because there are just scads of them. I love to cook. I love to eat. I love all of you for reading, and you look so scrumptious today with that cute little grin.

So, instead of twisting my head to squeeze out a recipe or three, I'll share my public cookbooks of recipes mostly by others but that I've personally prepared and have also reviewed (almost all of them) that I keep over on Recipezaar. I've posted the link for my "I Made It Cookbook" in the past, but I've recently added a "Favorite Healthy-ish Recipes Cookbook" to help keep my ass from getting too big to fit through the drive through and not even wanting to because there is so much that is yummy that also happens to be healthy-ish.

If you wonder (skip this if you don't, I guess - it's not like I'll know) my definition of healthy-ish is that the recipes are either already healthy as written or can be made so, such as substituting chicken sausage for pork sausage or using skim milk instead of whole. What's healthy on my diet might not fit yours, but I hope there are at least some good ideas in there to inspire adaption to whatever makes your tummy and your tushy happy. I never feel deprived while I'm eating better because when I do my own cooking, I can adapt everything to meet my goals and still feel like I'm having whatever I want. I'm like a three year old mostly, so it prevents cranky pants tantrums this way.

Without further ado or blather, here are the links (the cookbooks also allow sorting six ways to Tuesday, which kind of gets me a little giddy):
I am constantly updating these as I try new recipes, and I am also taking suggestions. Anyone have a healthy-ish recipe to share with me? Looking for help with a good idea?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weekly Winners Sunday 9/14/08

Weekly Winners, hosted by Lotus.

Click pics for better looking larger images or take a peek at the entire album and/or watch as a slideshow at this link.

It was a slow picture week here, and since last week there were no food pictures, I guess this week it's mostly food pictures (and in this case, mostly beans). I believe in balance. And good eating.

Almost Natto Sushi
(my first attempts at rolling sushi at home - let's just say there are no pictures of it rolled because it takes practice, and also that natto, fermented soybeans, are not for everyone, but I've fallen back to madly in love all over again)


Quinoa Black Bean Salad
(my first time trying quinoa, a grain that's a yummy source of protein and also high in fiber and gluten free - and of course I added extra cilantro to the recipe)


Chickpea Curry with Yogurt
(oh, how I love thee, chickpea/garbanzo bean of love)


Cottage Cheese, White Nectarine and Toasted Sliced Almonds
(the perfect midnight snack now that I'm back to being good, and toasted almonds are like heaven - I just toss them into a dry pan on medium and mix around until toasty and happy)


Saturday Morning Steamed Perfection


Perfection Perfected Further Over Espresso


Cooking for an Audience

Friday, September 12, 2008

Haiku Friday 9/12/08 - Epilogue

Haiku Friday
俳句の金曜日

Previous Installments:
Prologue-Boo!, Part One-Leaving, Part Two-"Adults", Part Three-"Freedom",
Part Four-"Epiphany", Part Five-"Audacity", Part Six-"Axl/Axles"
Writing About Writing This


(curious? see wordle. you're welcome. k, now on with the 'ku.)

Epilogue
2 Years Later: Enough


Letter in the mail.
The moment of truth was here.
Would it be enough?

Back a couple years,
I had run away from home,
and I'd learned some things.

Gone, I learned enough
to know I wanted better,
and could have it, too.

Newly determined,
out of fear and gratitude:
what if I'd stayed gone?

More sleeping in cars,
more pain than necessary,
much more of much less.

I shuddered thinking,
worked hard to redeem myself,
buckled down at school.

I worked hard enough
to undo the first two years
with those last two years.

Cheeks wet with sheer joy,
laughing, dancing, rejoicing.
Kitchen. Me. My mom.

They'd sent a letter!
My dream college wanted me!
It had been enough!

The moment sweeter
since it seemed impossible
just two years prior.

All connected then,
the person I'd become now:
past, present, future.

How could I have known
just how much that day would mean
once my mom was gone?

(And sadly, that loss
would be within a few years,
while still in college.)

Every joy or pain,
any time I've needed her,
my mom has been there...

...I had no idea
how rememb'ring that embrace
would be just enough.

The runaway stuff
made the moment what it was,
sort of bittersweet.

I wouldn't change it,
knowing what I know today.
It's a part of me.

All the big moments,
and even some little ones,
the pegs of my life...

...something like string art,
intricate and connected
by my life, the thread.

The big picture's mine,
mine to craft by how I choose
to connect the dots.

My threads wrap me up,
my mom's arms around me still,
prodigal daughter.

(The. End.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tom's Cat - An Open Letter

Dear Little Miss Meow Face,

Since your daddy reads my blog and hates when I say anything even remotely not full of worship for all that is you with the pointy ears and whiskers, I know I'll be in trouble for this, but the world needs to know of the injustice.

First, let's review. You came to us with a sob story involving suburban rednecks with rifles instead of hearts, but it was on a temporary basis because there was no more room at the kitty inn already occupied by those who would become your brothers. Then Tom fell in love with you, and I was no longer allowed didn't have the heart to find an alternate good home for you. Plus, you were super cute (still are - remember this picture?), and you'd captured my heart, too.

When you do not get along with other cats or randomly bite me when I pet you, I try to remember the rednecks with rifles. Tom reminds me often that you had a bad, um, kittenhood, so I cut you some slack. At some point, though, we are responsible for the person we choose to become - er, OK, that's only for people. Never mind that bit.

I buy you special and expensive fat girl food, encourage you on your diet, love you sweetly and gently as if you've never bitten me, admire your gorgeous colors, sing special songs made just for you with love by me and do my level best to make sure you are happy and content and feel well-loved, especially while Tom is gone in Tulsa during the apartness.

The last big peeing incident, I did a haiku, knew it was you, was chastised by the kitteh daddy for automatically assuming it was you, took votes (most agreed with me), nanny-cammed your ass (same post), caught you in the very act and posted for all to see. (Oh, but you were not done yet, not even close, and so I gave up on my makeshift futon and now sleep in a big girl bed again.)

This time, there is no video evidence, but I still know what you did last summer this morning.

I woke many hours earlier than I damn well felt like just so that I could prepare for another day of work since that's how I continue to provide your kibble and a cozy home. I placed my clothes just outside the bathroom door while I showered, just like every morning (my little routine - then I go from there into the computer room to get dressed with the Internets and all of y'all that email me or are on Plurk and whatnot along with my morning news).

This morning, somebody peed my pants. And it wasn't me. I was in the shower. It was you. I know it was you.

You are on notice.

I love you, I love your daddy, but this is not acceptable. Last night your daddeh guessed that I'd soon be sending another little care package because I called him from the Target asking certain revealing questions about sweets, but if you don't shape up, I may poke some holes in the box and ship your furry little ass to him. Since you would take up the space where the yummies would be, I guess I wouldn't be able to send them to him after all, and I'd have to eat them myself. In a pee-free home.

Alternate option? I'll send you to Lou because he's commented a time or two about kitty being the other, other white meat, or something, and you would make for a mean kitty Fricassée dish.

Just. Stop. Peeing. On. My. Stuff.

Love,
The Mama-Kitteh

Jean D Roger Lived Until September 11, 2001 (Reposting)

Last year I did a tribute to Jean D Roger as part of Project 2,996.

This year I'm re-posting the same because Jean is still gone and because it is still important to never forget.

"May you have love, happiness, and peace of mind because really, in the end, everything else just comes and goes." - Jean D Rogér
Jean D Rogér
June 28, 1977 - September 11, 2001

We all know what happened on that profoundly tragic day already 6 years ago [8 years at the time of this re-post]. Even for those of us who didn't know a single person who died that day or didn't even know someone who did lose someone, the sense of loss was, and as I write this still is, just overwhelming beyond belief.

Thanks to D. Challener Roe’s Project 2,996, and especially the efforts of those involved last year, tributes have been made to many of those 2,996 individual people who lost their lives due to the events of that grim day on September 11, 2001. It's important to remember that each of the huge 2,996 number represents people, real people, with families and friends, and hobbies and things like favorite foods or movies and everything else that makes us individuals.

Somehow in last year's project, Jean D. Rogér, beloved daughter of Tom & Eileen Rogér, little sister to Jimmy Rogér, sweetheart of Kevin Dowd, and good friend to many upon more many, Jean didn't receive tribute. This year I'm giving tribute because Jean's beautiful smile compelled me to find out more about who she was and share her life with others, even if I didn't know her. About that smile, the CBS article that really helped me to get started in finding out more information has this to say:
"Even as a baby, she's always had her smile," says Jean’s mother Eileen. "When she walked in a room, she smiled, and just lit it up."
Others noticed Jean's smile, too, whether or not they knew her. Jean's page at Legacy.com covers 7 pages (!), and here are just a couple of comments about that special smile that also drew me in:
I am a Flight Attendant for Continental Airlines....from the moment I saw Jean's picture posted on the AFA website's memorial board, something in her smile drew me to learn more about her. She seems like she was a wonderful person, full of everything that is good. My mother and father are both deceased, and I say a prayer quite often to both of them to look out after Jean until she can be reunited with her loved ones one day. Pam (FL)
Never met her, never knew her, but looking at her smile, I feel I have. God Bless. Andrew Mackey (Weymouth, MA)
It's not nearly as important just how Jean died as it is so very important just how Jean lived, and from everything I can gather, right up until September 11, 2001, Jean Destrehan Rogér did live - and then some, packing plenty into her short life, though she couldn't have known it would end at 24 years young.

Jean graduated from Longmeadow High School in Longmeadow, MA in the Class of 1995, and she was involved in both golfing and swimming. Today the high school's pool bears Jean's name in memory, and such tribute sounds more than appropriate considering this comment below by someone whose life was touched by knowing Jean as a fellow swimmer:
Jean and I swam together for a few years at Longmeadow High School. I remember so well how she supported me, the lonely freshman on the freestyle relay. She was so kind and an extraordinary leader. Her smile will live in my heart forever. Though I was not extremely close to her, I do know that she was a genuinely warm hearted person with a wonderful, supportive family. Jean, you will always be remembered. Leah Halsey
Of course, it does sound from a friend of a best friend of Jean's that Jean knew how to have some fun, too, not just beam that smile or run around being all good, all the time:
I had heard so much about [Jean] through Anne, hilarious stories of them growing up, sneaking cars out, and other silly adolescent stories etc ;), that when I finally met her I feel as though I knew her! Ashley Miller (Alexandria, VA)
Jean seems to have had just as much fun and made just as much of an impact on those fortunate enough to have been around her during her 4 and a half years at Penn State. Jean was a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, was known to some by the nickname Beano (or Jeanbean to others), and provided good pep talks and plenty of fun, according to another visitor who signed one of Jean's memorial guest books:
Two years later and the memories are so vivid from this day in September. However, the 4 years I was able to spend time with Jean and live alongside her in Cooper Hall at Penn State will be cherished forever. I just remember the wild and crazy days we all had together and the times that Jean would give me a pep talk or just convince me to go out with her if I was having a bad day. Beano, I'm sorry that I didn't have a chance to spend time with you after our days at school, and to her family-you did a wonderful time in raising Jean, and I feel blessed that I God allowed our paths to cross. Jennifer Shipe
Other college friends have similar thoughts about Jean, too:
Dear Roger Family,
My thoughts and prayers are with you today as they have been on countless days over the last five years. Jean and I were great friends in college. She was truly one of those special friends who I felt bonded to my soul. I try to remember to live with the same kind of fun-loving, laid-back joy that she had every day. Her sincerity and kindness made everyone feel like the most special person in the room. Miss your smile and the good times Jeannie. Devon Lee Tanweer (Mount Laurel, NJ)

I knew Jean in college. While I may not have known her as well as many of you who have written entries, she is very much remembered. She had a presence - she could make a room brighten up and her personality just shined. I enjoyed our friendship and enjoyed being with her. I always think of Jean and especially on this day. Julie Morse Kenney (Glenside, PA)
Here, too:
I consider myself blessed for every day I knew and spent with Jean in college. I even more so consider myself blessed for the lessons she taught me that I will carry with me forever. I am a better person as a result and will forever keep her in my daily thoughts and prayers. You are all right about her smile...and that was only the beginning sign of what a great person she was. We all love you and miss you Jean! Stephanie Mohr (Boyertown, PA)
Yet again, here, too:
I knew Jean years ago while at Penn State. She truely was as caring and as fun as everyone says she was. I was deeply saddened to learn that she was lost in these horrific acts. My thoughts and prayers go out to her and her family. [sic] Dan Meehan (Arlington, VA)
Jean had earned her degree in environmental science from Penn state, but she was a people person with an adventurous spirit, and being a flight attendant seemed perfect, and so even after completing that degree, Jean pursued this flight attendant dream of hers, too. I get the idea that Jean was just as determined as she was smart and caring, so it's really not terribly surprising that she went after her dreams and shined brightly while doing so. According to one of Jean's instructors (and Alejo says plenty more, but this is just a snippet):
Shiny is a word that it could describe her, she shined thru the training, she shined with her eagerness to fly, she shined with evry question she asked, she shined the day we pinned her wins in Dallas in 2000 and the will always shine in my heart and in many peoples hearts from heaven. [sic] Alejo Larocca (Buenos Aires-Argentina)
Aside from shining so bright as a student, once again, those who knew Jean during flight attendant training or work have also commented on just how much fun Jean added to their lives, a theme I keep finding no matter where I turn in finding out more about the person behind that smile:
Jean- I still think of you all the time. I will remember you always;and will never forget that beautiful smile and your love of life. God Bless you and your family. Amy D. (Decorah, IA)
The previous entry before mine is from a Dear Friend that was also in Jean's training class. I was a class behind them, but, Amy and I still keep in contact and Jean is always on our minds. I had the pleasure to meet Jean through training and when we were based together in Chicago. What a fun, vibrant person Jean was and such a joy to fly with. I don't think a day goes by that I am not thinking of her and the other friends and crewmembers we lost on that dreadful day! To the Roger Family, you have always been in my prayers even though I haven't had the opportunity to say so. Hilary W, Former AA Flight Attendant (Hopewell, VA)
And from another fellow flight attendant:
My heartfelt sympathies for you Jean's close friends and her family. I attended flight attendant training with Jean and her smile and laughter helped us through many days. I also had the opportunity to fly some trips with her when she got to move back to Boston to be home again. She was so wonderful. I always looked forward to working with her. I thank you for sharing her quote that she left her sweet boyfriend in his b-day card. I read it often and think of her, and how she is smiling down on all of us. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. God Bless you and God Bless Jean. My Thoughts and Prayers, Amy D.
The quote from the birthday card mentioned above is one of those things that has haunted me, in a good way, and has stayed in my mind as I found out more about the life of Jean Rogér and have let her smile and her spirit enter my own heart. Again from the CBS story, Jean's mom, Eileen, had this to share:
In the days leading up to Sept. 11, Jean was surrounded by her family. “We had a really nice family weekend. We played golf with her boyfriend. And actually, she and I beat the guys that day. She took great pride in that one. Our family has always been very close. And she was here. And we were delighted in every bit of it.”
Just knowing that Jean spent what would turn out to be her last days in the warm embrace of family would bring some sense of solace in the face of such sad tragedy, but somehow Jean managed to take her legacy even further, not even realizing the impact that her words would have on those who knew Jean, those who loved Jean, and even on those who had never even met Jean.

You see, September 10, 2001 was an important day in Jean's life because it was the 30th birthday of her sweetheart of 2 years, Kevin Dowd, and Jean took him out to celebrate and to enjoy spending time together in Boston where Kevin worked. From a New York Times article via Legacy.com, we know this about that night, September 10, 2001:
That night Ms. Rogér gave Mr. Dowd a card that, he said, summed up her general life philosophy. "She wished me to have love, happiness and peace of mind because really, everything else just comes and goes," Mr. Dowd said. Despite a late night, the following morning "she went to work with a smile on her face," Mr. Dowd said. "She was happy as could be."
Since Jean had only been flying about 18 months, her assignments were typically last minute while on the stand-by list, and it was early morning on September 11 that Jean arrived at Boston's Logan International to find out where the day might take her if asked to fill in on a flight. According to Jean's dad, Tom, this kind of crazy and different everyday schedule was something Jean enjoyed, and Jean was happy to be assigned to this flight, American Airlines Flight 11, headed to Los Angeles that she knew had such a great crew.

Sadly, this was the first plane to crash that cruel day, flying into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46AM, alerting the world that everything had changed. Forever.

And yet, Jean Rogér's smile will never leave my mind, and her words ring so very true in my heart that they are worth repeating again:

"May you have love, happiness, and peace of mind because really, in the end, everything else just comes and goes."

My goal has been to share what I've been able to learn about Jean Rogér from whatever sources I could find, and I do hope that I've not only told a part of Jean's story that will touch others as it has touched me to write it, but I also do sincerely hope that I've not stepped on any toes or feelings along the way and that everything I've written is accurate and a fair representation of this beautiful person named Jean. If I have erred, please do contact me (link to my website will take you to my email address, or you may simply leave a comment since I do read them) so that I can make right anything that isn't exactly as it should be.

I've tried to reference well within the post itself, but here is a list of links I found useful while learning about Jean:
Jean Roger - September 11 Memories
Guest Book - Jean D. Roger
Jean D. Roger Legacy.com
The Untold Story of Flight 11 Part One and Part Two
September 11, 2001 Victims Jean Roger, 24, Longmeadow, MA
Jean Roger - September 11 Memories
The Longmeadow Information Network for Kids - .pdf meeting minutes
In Memorium
Jean D. Roger
American Airlines Flight 11

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Boxes

***Quick Update: Remember on Friday when I asked folks to help sign a petition started by Veronica so that beautiful but sick little girl could get the treatment she needs? IT WORKED! IT WORKED! Please go take a look. The power of love in the blogging community restores my faith in humanity.***


Today is smoke-free day 450, and time for Heads or Tails.
Today is HEADS - Box.

Boxes of memories
pared down with each move
to make room for more
boxes of memories.

Each box a place,
each place a chapter,
and for you, just for you,
a peek inside my table of contents.

Here's where I grew up.
A baby book, report cards, a hospital band,
my first doll, a special blanket, bad poetry,
yearbooks and the last letter from Gran.

Here's where I went to college.
Research papers with red scribbled margins,
a petty argument chronicled in 4 photobooth pictures,
a black cap and gown, a diploma, mom's obituary.

Here's where I went to Japan.
Plane ticket copy, old lesson plans, Hello Kitty everything,
loose photos, albumed photos, letters from students,
endless chopsticks, 10,000 hopeful yen (~US$100) for a return trip.

Here's a few moves while back to the States.
Mementos of dashed hopes and changes of plans,
tokens of a new love and the sweetest words written to me,
plus a little empty to fill the page if I move again.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Congrats and Hotness, Too!

Today is smoke-free day 449, and I have just a two tidbits (OK, three if you count that I dyed my hair dark brown and that now it looks almost black, which looks odd on pale little ol' me, but my dark roots were showing from my first coloring a at the end of June, so I didn't know what else to do but to try to dye it back close to my natural color, but got much darker...).

First some congratulations and then an invitation of sorts related to becoming totally hawt(ter).

Congratulations!

A few of my fellow Chantix bloggers have hit the year mark, and I'm delighted. I've mentioned a time or two that a lot of us have not made it, so those that have are kind of a big deal. One of these days I'll update my Linky Loos to kind of set aside at the top those who have reached a year (it's not like I don't have time, but it's almost 1AM when I think of it, like now), so for now please think of this as an installment. If you are considering quitting smoking using Chantix, the experiences shared by these folks may be of some help to you:
  • My Chantix Experience - Chris' blog. I've had the honor of meeting Chris after reading his blog back in the earlier quit days, and I'm thrilled that he reached a year smoke-free on 8/31/08.

  • Bay's Travail Blog - Bay's blog. Bay struggled at the start but like the best kind of success story, she made it to a year on 8/20/08.

  • Chantix User Blog Updates - Jen's blog. I'm not sure what happened to the previous entries, and I'm hoping they will make a return, but Jen made it to a year on 8/20/08.
Updated to add - Oops! Almost for got this one:
An Invitation to Be Hot!

I gained about 20 pounds when I quit smoking. Then in March 2008, I started making a conscious effort to eat better and move more, and I lost 15 pounds doing what isn't a diet but is something that works for me (and includes free days and my own rules). Then summer happened, and visitors happened, and I allowed myself to put about 5 of those pounds back on because I knew that right around the corner on September 8 (yikes! today!) I'd be joining Hot for the Holidays anyway, an awesome weight loss challenge hosted by one of my favorite bloggers, Christie O! Christie makes it fun and even hands out prizes. Cool ones. Sometimes coffee related ones. Last time there was a Wii Fit. I shit you not. I still care more about coffee-related prizes, if you wonder.

I totally shy away from talking about my weight stuff here on my own blog for my own silly reasons, but I will be talking about it over there in comments. On Fridays, possibly other days. I've used the comments sections of Christie's blog posts as my own personal confessional in the past, and it's likely to happen again, so that's where you can stalk check in on me if my becoming hotter in time for Santa trips your trigger. Otherwise, my ticker will be running over there on the side, and I'll update it every Friday. If you want to make Santa melt with your hotness, too, please head over there to sign up and join us! If you win something coffee-related, though, you have to share with me. Kind of like finder's fee. Or something. I jest, I jest (I jest want your coffee prize!).

Hot for the Holidays

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Weekly Winners Sunday 9/7/08

Weekly Winners, hosted by Lotus.

Click pics for better looking larger images or take a peek at the entire album and/or watch as a slideshow at this link.

Oregon City, Oregon

Did you know that the wagons were too bumpy to actually ride in and that the settlers actually *walked* most of the 2,170 miles (3,500 kilometers) along the Oregon Trail, walking beside the wagons filled with just a handful of only the most treasured possessions because the wagon had to hold 6 months worth of food and provisions?

Bumpy Ride

(Yes, I posted this same shot earlier in the week.)

Calling the Most Courageous


Tough Decisions
(so much had to be left behind)


Sustenance


Oxen-Power
(we were lucky to visit when they had the special exhibit with real live oxen, just like those who would have pulled the wagon; horses were almost never used to pull the wagons.)


The Rest of My Week...

New Favorite
(Asahi Super Dry from Japan)

International Beer Drinking Experiment, Take Two
(Moretti from Italy was pretty yummy!)


Last of Summer


Just Around the Corner

Friday, September 05, 2008

Haiku Friday 9/5/08 - Part Six

Real quick, before or after the totally unrelated haiku, could you please go here to read about and help a beautiful 2 year old little girl named Ivy by signing the petition? So easy to help!

Haiku Friday
俳句の金曜日

Previous Installments:
Prologue-Boo!, Part One-Leaving, Part Two-"Adults", Part Three-"Freedom",
Part Four-"Epiphany", Part Five-"Audacity"
Writing About Writing This

Axl/Axles

I was all done now,
Cincinnati's lessons pack'd,
time to circle home.

Boarding the Greyhound,
big girl emotions spinning
in my teenage mind.

Seven hour trip,
smoking allowed in the back
(smoke didn't waft then).

Shared smokes with some guy,
believing Axl Rose was
really his cousin.

(Turns out he *is* from
Lafayette, Indiana,
which *was* on our way...)

Spent some hours thinking
how I had turned the tables:
my return = my terms.

Guess I had shown them.
They'd been all, "please come back home,"
when I'd said I might.

I'd make my own rules.
I'd do as I damn well pleased.
Chicago, I'm home!

Something was not right.
My family looked older,
eyes with dark circles.

My grand homecoming,
with hugs and tears of happy?
Did not go like that.

While we drove back home,
I rolled my Zippo, lit up,
and slowly exhal'd.

Within a second,
that cigarette and its pack
had been snatched from me...

...tumbling in rear view
along with my delusions
that I was queen shit.

Old rules upended,
tolerance for my bullshit
would now be lower.

As I would soon learn,
all I would have left was in
my bag in the trunk.

What I'd left behind
had been wheeled out to the curb
while I'd been absent.

(to be continued)

~*~*~*~

The final chapter
has been written for next week.
'Til then? Here's Axl:



Thursday, September 04, 2008

Thursday Thirteen 9/4/08 - 31st Edition



13 Thoughts Dashing Through My Mind at 1:15AM on Thursday
  1. Ooh, when I wake up, it will be Thursday.
  2. I usually do Thursday 13.
  3. I have zero clue what kind of a list to do.
  4. Maybe pictures.
  5. Nah, far too involved.
  6. I mean, it is already 1:15AM.
  7. Curr-rap.
  8. I need to take off my make up. Why did I bother wearing it anyway?
  9. Gawd, why can't tomorrow be Friday already. All this silly working late stuff is frying my mind.
  10. Short weeks are soooooo loooooooooooong.
  11. I'm kind of hungry, but I'm too tired to think of what to eat.
  12. Having to think about two things at once is exhausting.
  13. I may have to go to bed snackless and topless, er, topicless. Whatev.
Today is smoke-free day 445, and I'm still counting.

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Beer, Sushi, Friendship and Goodbyes


Today is smoke-free day 443, and time for Heads or Tails.
Today is TAILS - List three things from any category.

My Category:
Things I Learned This Weekend While My Friend Visited from Tokyo
  1. I like Japanese beer (in particular Asahi Super Dry) perhaps more than any other because of its smoothness, and it goes best before hot o-sake and then with a whole mess of favorite Japanese foods. And with a friend rarely seen.

  2. I've been dipping my sushi in soy sauce the wrong way all these years. The rice itself should not touch the soy sauce, and you can use a piece of sliced and pickled ginger to kind of "paint" it on top as one option. (How did I miss this all three years living in Japan?)

  3. Knowing you may never see a friend ever again because of distance and opportunity just feels bad, but I still wouldn't trade any of the friendships I've made. Also, people have been saying goodbye forever, like the folks whose stories of leaving everyone and everything were told at the museum we took the time to visit:

End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center
Oregon City, Oregon