Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hidden Cove

There are so many secrets on Bainbridge Island, just waiting to be explored. One that David and I have found is called Hidden Cove, a tiny park and dock that extends out into Port Madison. And it's only 1.7 miles away from our house!! We brought my Dad and Kathleen there, and set up chairs and brought our dinghy. I think I have found a little piece of heaven on Earth, surrounded by trees and glassy water, and wildlife. While at Hidden Cove we saw a deer and her fawn, an otter, and a great blue heron.

In the picture below, my Dad broke the paddle after slamming it into the water, like they do on white-water rafting trips. He had to paddle back "manually". hahaha.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Dad's in town

I'm so excited that my Dad and his girlfriend are visiting Bainbridge Island from Portland this weekend. It will be his 5th time up here in the two years I've lived in Washington. He loves riding the ferry with me, and my everyday commute turned into a tourist adventure. It's fun to see the ferry through different eyes, to stand outside on the deck and witness all the beauty of Puget Sound. I'm proud to share this place as my home.

After the ferry ride we got home to a wonderful spread that David prepared. On our buffet table was artisan cheese, a plate of crackers, shrimp sauteed in butter, an assortment of olives, and tomato pesto soup. That was the appetizer.
For dinner we had steamed halibut and barbecued steak with garlic bread. Amazing meal! My guy is getting to be quite the cook!
After that we talked, danced (I taught my Dad a few salsa steps), and played all sorts of percussion instruments. It was great fun, and now I have to decide what to do today in this beautiful weather!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

When we Met

I met David for the first time in July of 2006, inside Beso del Sol. It was the first night I could go out for salsa dancing since moving to Seattle. I worked at 4am most days, so it was a fluke that I got to come in late on Friday.

I took a salsa group class, and then David asked me to dance immediately afterwards. We were a bit awkward together, but turned around the dance floor as best as we could, without stepping on each others feet. I remember his luminous smile and kind eyes, and not being able to tell whether he was Mexican or Indian. We talked at the bar nonstop that night. I was surprised at how easy it was.

"I'm not dating," David told me, saying he wanted to wait a year after a difficult breakup before getting involved with someone new. It was then we became fast friends, and he handed me a card with his phone number.

Two weeks later I called him, and we went dancing at Triple Door. After that we started taking private latin dance classes three days per week at the Washington Dance Club. We were inseperable, dancing, going out to eat, learning about Seattle, talking on the phone. It was wonderful being friends those first few months, before starting to date officially in October of 2006.

It's been almost two years, and I'm just as happy as ever. Our feet move in time now, and so do our minds and hearts.

How did you meet your significant other?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Texas, Part Two: Austin Sightseeing

Behind us is the capitol of Austin, Texas. Apparently, it's the second biggest Capitol behind Washington, DC.

Me inside the rotunda in the Capital.

Below is us inside the legislative chambers.

Behind us is the Driskall Hotel in downtown Austin. Beautiful!

Below is 6th street. The place is covered with bars, restaurants, and outdoor patios. I wish I could have gone out there for the nightlife - maybe next time!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Texas, Part One: Castillo Family Party

I am finally back in Seattle after a whirlwind Texas trip. Just looking at the water, mountains and trees here is like breathing fresh air. I had a great time on vacation, but am so very glad to be home. This vacation was centered on being with family, and not as much about the sightseeing. On Saturday was the big family reunion at David's Dad's house in Austin.

Below you see a delicious pico de gallo salsa and black bean dip. We also had tostadas margaritas, sangria and for dinner brisket tacos.

David experiencing his Mexican roots, and I'm joining in! Below that picture is me with one of David's sisters and his stepmom.

It is also a family tradition to play volleyball every reunion. It's a lot of fun, except for the grass in Texas is full of STICKERS. Everyone kept telling me not to bounce or roll the ball.

Here is David enjoying the newest member of the family. Cousin Caleb is only 4 months old and didn't cry the entire picnic.

Below is a picture of me with David's family. His four sisters are above, and his Dad and stepmom sitting next to us.

Another picture of me and the sisters. From left is Linda, Marjorie, David, Me, Grace and Mona.

Coming up later in Texas, Part Two...I'll show you some of the limited sightseeing we did in Austin.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Packed and Ready

I just finished running around the house, scouring my closets for tank tops, skirts and shorts. I don't think I've looked at these articles of clothing for a year. And bathing suits? What are those? Luckily I found a couple faded ones and threw them into the suitcase. I'm actually looking forward to 95 degree days and warm nights, where I can eat Mexican food and sit along the riverwalk in San Antonio. I can wear dresses without feeling cold, and without carrying a jacket around.

We arrive in San Antonio tomorrow night, where we'll most likely eat along the Riverwalk, then hopefully go salsa dancing in town. Saturday we'll explore the city, then head to Austin by 5pm. The family reunion is at David's Dad's house, and about 30 or more people will be there. There will be Mexican food aplenty, volleyball, and lots of games. I hope to visit lots of lakes and rivers, and lie by the pool during this trip. Sunday we are going to a salsa club in Austin that's right on Lake Travis, which huge decks and live music. I'm so excited! I'll be sure to post pictures of my journey along the way :)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Card Me, Please

When I was growing up I remember how excited adults were when they got carded. Yippeee, the'd squeal, I must look YOUNG today. They'd tuck those strands of gray behind their ears and remember more vibrant days.

Me, on the other hand, was pissed off at being young. I wanted to order a beer or glass of wine just like the adults. I wanted to get carded, to prove that yes, I'm 21, thank you very much. I wanted to get carded so badly that I ran out to the nearest bar at midnight on my 21st birthday, proudly showing off my driver's license. I partyed until I could party no more that night, then went out the next night. I finally felt like an adult.

I've reached the ripe old age of 27 years old. I don't know what it is, but I don't get carded anymore. I can order a beer on the ferry, at a club, at a jazz club, at a restaurant, and I hardly ever get carded. Now I'm surprised when they ask for me to pull out my ID. What is it, I wonder. Is it the crinkles next to my eyes when I smile? Is it a look of wisdom and experience sparkling in my eyes ?(I like this one) I don't know when I hit the turning point, but it really doesn't bother me. I like being an adult and I like the person I have become. I finally feel comfortable with myself, and have no need to be that 21 year old girl again. Now I look back, and wonder why those adults were so excited about being carded?

If it were up to me, I'd never have to take my driver's license out....EVER again.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Fiber - It's nature's Broom

Today, I got a large gift in the mail at work. Fiber, fiber and more fiber. I got boxes of powdered fiber in pink lemonade and iced tea flavors - just add water - and even fibrous bars in apple and strawberry. What did I do to deserve all this fiber? I stacked it on a filing cabinet to try to get rid of it. People picked gingerly at the boxes, some giggled as they thought about "what fiber does" to the body, others cringed, others took loads of the stuff for "energy."

Eventually I took a taste of "iced tea flavored fiber." It was thick; some of the powder stuck on the bottom of Colleen's water bottle. It tasted remarkably like tea, but with a heavier consistency, like Ovaltine. Just a few minutes after gulping this fiber down I heard a rumbly in my tumbly. Uh-oh. I wonder what kind of magic is happening in my body pumped full of synthesized fiber.

I can just imagine the entire newsroom running to the bathroom at once, pounding on stall doors as nature's broom sweeps out the body, ounce by ounce, bar by bar.

Next time I'll just eat an apple.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Hello, Kitty

Say hello to my kitty, Lexi. I found this cat at a humane society and it was love at first sight. She pressed here mangy body against the cage and purred like she'd never purred before. She's my favorite cat in the whole world, and lovingly goes by the name, "kitty". I don't remember the last time I called her Lexi.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Goodbye, Trees

We moved to a wooden house on two acres of land when I was 5 years old. Beautiful, tall trees stood like sentinals on the property, perfect for stringing a volleyball net, or just sitting in their shade on a hot day. Part of our property was grass, part of it woods, and another part wetlands. I used to take the video camera, my dog, and a blanket and lie on my back, watching the tops of the trees sway in the wind. I'd hug the trees, smell the trees, and lie on a hammock strung up between two of them. Sometimes I'd sit on our deck reading, looking out at the tall points of trees scraping the sky. I lived out in the country, among the woods and wild animals. It wasn't uncommon to hear a Great Horned Owl cooing in the night, crickets and frogs a cacophony among silent stars.

As I grew up, plots of land around us sold, making way for McMansions. A forest at the end of our formerly dead-end street turned into gigantic estates. Flowering fields with one red farmhouse and ancient oaks turned into developments called Iron Woods, or Bauer Woods, even though there was no longer a tree in sight. I'd mourn the loss of these open spaces over the years, marveling at greed and how it transforms the land.

My Mom and stepdad split up when I was 20 years old, and he became the master of the land. He remodeled the house, and I remember making him promise never to sell my beautiful trees to a developer. Please don't become like everyone else, I'd beg him. A year or so ago, he broke his promise, and raked in a cool 1 million for the property.

Today I learned that my trees are dying. A neighbor called my mother, saying he was sitting by his fire pit, watching with horror as gigantic yellow arms rip trees from the ground. Bulldozers crawl like aliens, massacring my ancient forest.

Soon a road will pave the way for more millionares to buy houses crammed together on tiny lots. The pavement will plow through the place where my hammock used to be, right through our old volleyball court, through the brush and 300 year old trees. Today they are dying, and I mourn their loss with silence. I'm sorry, I tell them, I'm sorry for greed.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Beer, Wine and Books

I've stumbled upon a gem tonight. It's hidden in brick along Post Alley, a block down from The Pink Door. If I hadn't been looking hard enough, I wouldn't have seen it. The facade is all windows, but brick columns and planter boxes hide the door from view. Right now I feel like I'm in Ireland. I am writing on top of an old wooden door and sitting on a wine barrel. Book shelves stretch from floor to ceiling, a Western saddle is a wall ornament, and an assortment of low-key people sit at the bar or in red letter chairs, chatting. There are only about 7 people in this entire place, so I have this entire wooden door table to myself. Almost everything in here is red and white, the colors of the British flag.

I'm happy to find quiet spots like this, where I can drink a glass of red wine alone and just think, and write. Sometimes I get lost in the hustle and bustle of crazy Seattle. David is on the Bremerton ferry, and I will be meeting him soon, but I had some time to kill, so I wandered, and found a place that will actually permit me to have thoughts, a rare thing in my frantic life of deadlines and news stories.

For me, its important to have solitude. It's the time when I really get to know myself, and feel comfortable with myself as company and a friend. I don't have to write this blog post for 7pm, or for thousands of ears. I can just let things flow, without worrying about quotes and short sentences. Right now, the thoughts are a little stagnant, but this I know for sure: I want to be a writer. All I need is a topic and a little bit of time.

This story makes me SO MAD

Man arrested after river tragedy leaves soldier, mother childless
A mother's decision to take her young sons boating with a male stranger on the swift-running Nisqually River on Thursday has left the 5-year-old son dead, the 9-year-old son missing and their father - a soldier serving in Iraq - with no children. The man who operated the boat was arrested.


I'm sorry, but what mother in her RIGHT MIND would put her two small children into a boat on a swift running, freezing river with NO lifejackets, with an absolute STRANGER who's been DRINKING. How many children have to die because of the senseless stupidity of their parents? Sometimes I wish there was a parenting license just like a driver's license. Stories like this break my heart. These deaths are tragic and unnecessary, and will case pain to many, many people. This mother will also blame herself for the rest of her life, and will live in agony.

I am literally steaming right now. The news biz is so dang depressing sometimes.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Why do I laugh?

I feel like such a horrible, evil person when I laugh when someone falls. I don't know what about it strikes me as funny. I don't laugh when a child falls because its expected. But when an adult, dressed up for work, ends up splayed pancake-style on the floor, I have to cover my mouth and think about depressing things so I don't appear callous and rude.

It happened at work today, while the 4'oclock news was on TV. One moment this person is talking and joking with me, then next minute all I see are his black-polished shoes waggling in the air. He scrambles up and smiles with a sheepish grin, but there's really no way to recover from a fall across a TV wire.

I also laugh at myself when I fall. Like the time I was carrying an armload of books at the University of Oregon and decided to eat pavement in the middle of an intersection. Or the time when my butt made a washboard out of the school bus steps. My tailbone was bruised and I had to sit out of PE for 6 weeks. I also fell in the lobby of Fisher Plaza about 6 months, but luckily I was past the security guards (and this was after I tripped TWICE in the newsroom).

Do you laugh when people fall or am I just a horrible person?


When I first stepped into Babalu in Wallingford, I felt like I'd taken a step back into the 1950's. Huge crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling, mirrors plate the wall, and the entire place is bathed in diffused orange light. There are circular booths and two golden bars crowding an already tiny dance floor.

When the live salsa music began I was suddenly transported to Cuba. David and I got up to dance, claiming our 2 by 2 slice of the dance floor. All around us people shook their hips and threw their hair, each trying to outdo the other for more space on the dance floor. I felt sweat on my forehead as I moved in my tiny space, concentrating on making perfect turns, tucking in my elbows, smiling joyously. The music shakes the core of my being and I can't stop moving, even if I try. I banged into other dancers, a thrown heel here, a bumped hip there.

The place was filled with phenomenal dancers, and equally phenomenal people-watching. One barrel-chested man with a big face wore a sport coat the entire time, and when he took it off, I realized he had a negative butt. Another woman looked like a beautiful African Queen, with short curly hair, and clothes that draped over her body and moved along with her swaying hips. Every person I saw was stunning.

I love live music. The drums, the cowbell, the keyboard. When I dance the salsa I feel like I'm home.

(too bad I am REALLY tired today since David and I didn't realize there was a ferry at 10:55pm, and we ended up stuck on the 12:15am ferry)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Beautiful Sonnet by my favorite Chilean Poet

Love Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were a salt rose, or topaz
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
So I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Spanish Version - it's so much prettier in this language if you understand it.
No te amo como si fueras rosa de sal, topacio
o flecha de claveles que propagan el fuego:
te amo como se aman ciertas cosas oscuras,
secretamente, entre la sombra y el alma.

Te amo como la planta que no florece y lleva dentro de sí, escondida, la luz de aquellas flores,
y gracias a tu amor vive oscuro en mi cuerpo
el apretado aroma que ascendió de la tierra.

Te amo sin saber cómo, ni cuándo, ni de dónde,
te amo directamente sin problemas ni orgullo:
así te amo porque no sé amar de otra manera,

sino así de este modo en que no soy ni eres,
tan cerca que tu mano sobre mi pecho es mía,
tan cerca que se cierran tus ojos con mi sueño.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fluer de lis

When I first saw the sorority recruiters at the University of Oregon, all blond and perky and tan, I thought "there is NO WAY." I judged sororities and the women who joined. "Rich snobs" "Sellouts" or "Buying friends" were terms that abounded on campus. Why I went to the recruitment meeting is beyond me, and why I followed through the motions of rush is beyond me as well.

I was herded into house after house, talked to women who's faces blended together, drank cucumber water, raspberry water, blackberry water, banana water, plain water. I was asked about my interests, my grades, my background. Most of the women seemed fake to me, until I reached Kappa Kappa Gamma, a blue and white house on the corner of Greek Row.

I remember Bethany, a short, brown-haired girl with a smile that spoke volumns. She sat quietly on her bed and listened and laughed, and she felt like someone who I could truly be friends with, who I could look up to. I remember sitting at a table across from her during the final night of rush, watching her interact with her sisters. Everyone at the table was so happy, so bonded, and all shapes and sizes. They joked and acted silly. They didn't have fake tans or perfect teeth. Wow, the girls at this house are real, I thought.

Being in a sorority has its ups and downs, just like any relationship. Some years were great fun, others were harder as people joined cliques and started changing. But I am so thankful that I met two of my best frieds from that house, Annabelle and Deborah. I LOVE these women like sisters.
That is why I joined Kappa Kappa Gamma, and am proud to be an alumni today. One of our symbols is the Fleur de lis, which I was delighted to find growing in the front yard of the Bainbridge house. It's a sign of my college days, of friendship, of trying new things.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


I can't sleep tonight, and don't really know why, but Eric's post about collections inspired me to post a small collection of radios David found at a garage sale here on Bainbridge Island. They remind me of when radio was in its peak, when people would gather around this talking box in groups to listen to the latest news or radio drama. Radio was an art, the blending of sounds and storyline....aka...Edward R. Murrow. I feel nostalgic for those days, when radios were prized entertainment and information, not just installed in vehicles where people are starting and ending their hectic days.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Everyone's Doing It - Travel Photos

This is Cologne, Germany. There church there is magnificent.
Onto the crazy streets of Amsterdam for one night and part of a day.

The on to my favorite city, Paris. The Notre Dame.

I think above is the French Parlaiment Building.

Can you spot the model posing behind me?

The Sacre de Coure.
The Arce De Triomphe.

Lovely Parisian street.

After Paris, onto Munich on an overnight train.

I love Munich. Especially the beer halls with massive beers, hot dogs, and men in Liederhosen.

Land of the Free, Home of the Brave

"From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever."
-Chief Joseph, Wounded Knee
How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us.If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them?Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. We are part of the earth and it is part of us. The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man --- all belong to the same family.
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.
Man does not weave this web of life. He is merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
-Chief Seattle
I've only read the first chapter of this book, wow, some powerful stuff.
Has anyone else read it?