Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Gem

There are little coffee shops and restaurants all over Seattle that will transport you to Europe, you just have to find them first. Right now I'm sitting in a gem of a coffee, wine, beer and panini shop called Geneve Cafe in Fremont. I'm sipping a light German beer and listening to great salsa and jazz music. The place is empty and quiet, the reds and browns fold me into their warmth. Right now, I am far away from Seattle, which is often too big and overwhelming for me.

This reminds me of being in Munich, which felt like home. The people looked like me (I'm part German), the food was delicious, the beer perfect. David and I walked down the cobblestone streets, through a farmer's market full of meat, and landed at a "breakfast" place. It was 10am, and people were drinking beer with their sausage and potatoes. David and I did the "un-German" thing and had coffee, but as the afternoon ticked by, couldn't help but join the Germans. We went to the brauhaus, where the only size beer you could buy was a glass that probably held 3 pints. We sat amidst the raucaus Germans, and even though it was only 2pm, the place was PACKED. Germans would break out in drinking songs, laugh and talk loudly as men in liederhosen played the polka. They'd smile at us and talk in thick accents. It felt so jovial there, free of worry and care. So what if we're drunk at 2pm, it's Germany, they thought.

I miss Europe, the way time seems to stand still. I miss the happy faces, the relaxed body language. I miss the food, the cafe lined streets, the produce stands. Just being here in the Geneve Cafe reminds me of that other world, and for an hour, a moment, I'm transported overseas.

Friday, August 29, 2008

America the beautiful

Never before have I been so into politics. I've been glued to the television set this entire week. Speeches at the Democratic National Convention brought tears to my eyes, and decisions by the Republican Party left me speechless. Despite the issues our country has right now, I am in love with the United States of America. "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, for thee I sing." I love that finally, it's not a parade of white men into the White House. I love that there is a black nominee for President and a woman nominee for Vice President. I love that people across the country are standing up in a wave of hope, and are seeing a bright future. I love the idea of patriotism - of helping each other and feeling proud to be a part of something greater than ourselves.

I love that Obama said,

"The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and Independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America they have served the United States of America."

I love that President Clinton said:

"People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power."

When I traveled to Denver, I felt so happy to be an American. Anywhere I go in this great country, I am understood. We all speak the same language, have the same dreams. I revel at the beauty of the mountains, the plains, the rivers, the oceans, the cities, the hard-working people. I am thankful to be in a place where I have liberty and freedom, where I can wear what I want and say what I believe.

Thank you America, for being a great country. I am proud.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ferry Classism

I'm sitting on a beat-up piece of crap ferry right now, because I'm taking the Bremertun route instead of Bainbridge. The sides of the boat are rusted, and lines of rickety, yellowed chairs line the main passenger cabin. With rough waters, I wouldn't be surprised if the chairs slid all over. It looks more like a Greyhound bus station than the immaculate ferry I'm used to. The galley is tiny and stifling hot, the benches short, and I can't find a power outlet anywhere.

This is a common complaint of people who ride the ferries. The Bremerton ferry is seen as expendable, since the people who ride it don't have the means or will to complain. I think the ferry system is worried about upsetting all the Bainbridge doctors and lawyers by taking THEIR boat out of service, by making THEM ride a boat that is in disrepair.

I also notice a surprising difference between the clientelle. I can tell everyone on the Bainbridge boat is professional, with expensive briefcases and suits. They all hold Starbucks cups and scan the newspaper beneath bifocals. Many have perfect hair and their fingers dance across laptop keyboards. Here on the Bremerton boat, people wear sweatpants that are too short, heavy makeup, and beat-up tennis shoes. Pencils scribble in notepads on tables; there aren't many computers in sight. They are probably mostly military, or hold trade jobs.

The only nice thing about taking the Bremerton ferry is the gangway, with new white cement and glass walls. It also has good beer, although hardly anyone on this boat is drinking.

I'm just amazed by the differences I see between these two routes. Why isn't everyone treated equally?

The wisdom in teeth

Eric's posts about teeth remind me how much I hate going to the dentist. I visited the dentist two years ago, and that was the first time in 5 years. Yes, I had a lot of cavities, and yes, I still haven't had all of them filled. I moved to Seattle after my dentist did half of my mouth, and the other half is still waiting. I have a feeling my teeth will start rotting and falling out before I visit the dentist, that excrutiating pain from an eaten nerve will force me to pick up the phone.

I don't mind going to the doctor, but the dentist is another story. Something about having my mouth stretched so wide that my lips crack while someone saws floss between my teeth is just unbearable. Then after my gums are hacked to bits by the hygienist, the dentist comes in with that pokey stick and jabs it in all the crevices in my mouth. Sometimes, when I have a cavity, it hurts. I also have a horrible gag reflex so all the while, I am gagging on the dentist's latex-sheathed hand, trying not to breathe in his face, and feeling my lips peel apart. Then I walk out with all this nasty grainy stuff all over my teeth from the flouride. Yeah, bad, bad experience.

Now, I'm afraid I may have to go back to the dentist, and he'll tell me that yes, I have cavities, and yes, my wisdom teeth are rotting and need to be pulled. Another thing I hate is having teeth pulled. I've had 7 pulled in my life, and remember being 14 years old and gargling hydrogen peroxide and stuffing tissue in holes that never seem to heal. EWWW. YUCK. SICK!

Luckily, we have a family friend in Portland who is an artful oral surgeon. My sister just got her wisdom teeth pulled and said it wasn't that bad. He is the only one I trust to dig around in my gums and jaw bone, but before I let that happen I will tell him one thing.

"Please, Charlie, put me on laughing gas and give me enough Valium to last a year. Knock me out so I'm delirious for a week."

I'll need all the pain-killers I can get if I don't get those cavities filled. Ahhh I'm not looking forward to all this.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I never thought Seattle was muggy until I visited Denver. When I arrived last night, I immediately felt a slime land on my skin, that hasn't left since. The air feels so moist and thick, and smells delicious, of salt water and pine. When I went to bed last night, I had a hard time sleeping since my sheets felt sticky and wet. I think it's all the humidity caused by the drizzle these past few days, and I'm just not used to it. It is good to be home, I'm on the ferry and it's absolutely stunning right now. Fog hugs the land, and the tips of trees point out from the top. Everything is painted in shades of yellow and blue as the sun rises.

Now, let's go back to Denver and remember the 90 degree days, and the sight-seeing. I can't believe it's 30 degrees cooler here!

These cows are outside the art museum, which is an incredible building made out of titanium.

Obama-mania below. Tents and performers filled up the entire park near the Capitol Building.

We then moved to Laramer Square, a popular street with bars and bistros, where we watched "important people" escorted by secret service and FBI agents.
I was sitting eating my lunch when a woman stopped a man and I heard this exchange.
"Governor! This is the Governor of West Virginia!"
"Hello, how are you doing?" The Governor says.
"Great!" says the woman, "I just saw Senator Biden down the street. He was eating a pork sandwich".

It was painful for me to leave Denver, as a reporter. It's like pulling a bandage off an open wound. The excitement, the activity, I was blocks away from all the major delegates from our state, just BLOCKS away from that, and from the Pepsi Center, where all the speeches have been held. I'm cringing as I watch the DNC on televison now, and I can't help thinking, "I was there. I would have covered it for FREE."

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Blogging Convention 2008 - Craziness in Denver

Denver is a hotbed of activity right now, and just to be "up to the moment", I need to upload these photos now. We're sitting at a Starbucks on the 16th street mall, and this place is protestors and police galore. I am itching with every ounce of my being to be a reporter right now, so I'll do it with my camera. This is so exciting here right now.

Colorado Springs

Being from the Northwest, I thought I new what "overcast" meant. I learned a new meeting of the word on our day trip to Colorado Springs. The day started nice enough, crystal blue skies punctuated by fluffy cumulus clouds. But soon after lunch, the sky grew angry and gray, ominous clouds eating the expanse of blue. We then drove to Garden of the Gods, as lighting cracked in the distance and the clouds grew darker still.

And here we are holding Balanced Rock, which is a 700-ton chunk of sediment.
And finally, the group of friends and family, where we all hung out and drank margaritas.

Friday, August 22, 2008


The first thing I noticed about Denver was the air. It's thin, like my lungs are trying to grasp at the small amount of oxygen. I'm so used to breathing the thick, marshy Seattle air, full of oxygen and sea salt. Here the air speaks of desert, it's hot and dry. I went on a walk yesterday and noticed my body laboring harder at each step. A 15 minute walk felt like 5 miles.

The second thing I noticed about Denver is the media frenzy. The excitement in the air is palpable, I can feel energy like its static electricity. We walked near the Pepsi Center, and there is more media than I've ever seen in my life. Entire news operations set up shop under giant white circus tents. The Washington Post, Cnn, Fox News, international media. Everyone has big blue and red credentials, "Democratic National Convention." I am so jealous of them, to be a part of one of the biggest events of the year. I want to wear a press pass and interview Senators and Governors. Oh, I wish how my boss would have let me cover the convention!! Oh well, I can enjoy it for now as a spectator.
David and I spend four hours walking around Denver last night, and ate at the outdoor Paramount Cafe at the 16th street mall. This city is so conducive to walking. The entire mall district is for pedestrians only, and a couple of free transit buses. There is no congestion downtown and no homeless people, but I think the city is in tip top shape due to the convention here.
We poked our heads in a free jazz club, dimly lit with candles on tables, and watched an awesome band for a little while. They even played a Radiohead song, for my friend Andrea :)

The night ended with the most amazing alcohol beverage I've had in my ENTIRE LIFE. Imagine the most succulent gelato, mixed with booze. I had what's called "Death by Chocolate," which is rich, creamy gelato with vodka and kahlua. Absolute heaven on earth.

I am having a great time. The weather is perfect: sunny and in the 80's, the people here are wonderful, and later today we are going out to the Rocky Mountains to spend the night in Breckenridge. I'll try to post more pictures soon!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

No Ifs, Ands or Butts

I am tired seeing bare butts when I pull into the parking garage at Fisher Plaza.

I don't like that I feel compelled to avert my eyes. I don't like that when I do look in that direction, I get an eye-full of a bikini bottom. I don't like that the new sexspresso stand by the Space Needle has a glass ceiling, and glass walls. Even from blocks away, those bobbing booties are attracting men, even men who are trying hard not to look. I'm tired of seeing police officers sitting right behind the stand, of men with dirty smiles standing in front. I don't like women are using their bodies to attract attention and tips, like somehow that is OK.

It's one thing to wear a bikini at the beach, where its considered appropriate beach attire. It's one thing to wear a skimpy outfit behind WALLS at Hooters, which people can avoid it if they feel uncomfortable. It's ANOTHER to just let it all hang out, where it's the least expected, where you are the only half-naked bimbo for miles around.

How do women get this way? Why do they think their only asset is their ass? It partially sickens and partially saddens me. They are like this because our country consumes it, pays for it.

What are women supposed to think when they see their half-naked bodies everywhere? In magazine ads, on billboards, at Seahawks games. Women are constantly objectified, yet we are surprised when they choose to objectify themselves.

I wish we could raise women who developed their brains more than their bodies, who could make money with their clothes on, who valued dignity and self-respect.

I hope the bikini baristas someday realize that.

Election Day

I try to live my life as a graceful person: letting people go before me, waiting for people to finish speaking before I cut in, driving slowly and politely. All those efforts go out the window when I'm a reporter.

I tackled my first election party last night - this one for Governor Chris Gregoire. I scanned the packed room like a hawk, looking for victims. A photographer from TV pointed them out, and I pounced. Congressman Jim McDermott was in the hallway, talking to a woman. I waited patiently for just a moment, then almost tripped the woman in my haste to get to the Congressman. I leapt to his side, rather ungracefully, and stuck my recorder in his face.

I also had to be live on the radio every half an hour, which meant all the people standing around, drinking and laughing, were obstacles. I cut in front of people, tripped yet another guy on my stampede to the computer. Never mind that I stole a seat from a table meant for election volunters and campaign supporters.

I love putting on the "reporter face", and being assertive. I just hope in the future, I learn not to step on so many toes.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fall is in the air

The first nip of fall covers the land like a blanket. Cool temperatures hug the trees, the air smells like aging flowers and browning leaves. I can tell by the way I shiver a little in the morning, that I pull the windows shut, that I need a sweatshirt. It's another life cycle coming to an end, the trees that burst so beautifully with greenery are preparing to dream. I think of hot apple cider, pumpkins, dark evenings curled up with a blanket and a book. I think of steaming baths, red wine and candles, a fireplace flickering with forgotten memories. It's comforting, the way the world turns and the seasons change. It's been happening for centuries, millenia. It's comforting to know that when everything dies, it's not the end, that in a few short months, the air will once again smell of dandilions and sunshine, of life's first breath.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The ferry and I are fighting

I feel like I've just been let down by a really good friend. Every day, I step on this wonderful boat and enter oblivion. I look at the charcoal waves, the jutting strips of land, the trees scratching the sky, the tall buildings of Seattle slowly inching toward me. The ferry is my sanctuary, my time to relax after a hard day or prep for a new one. But yesterday, the ferry let me down, after I'd put all my trust in her.

The ferry is hardly ever late. Yesterday, it was 30 minutes late, which equalled disaster. My friend Andrea from Portland was in town, and needed to catch a train on Sunday.

"Sure, we can take the 1:10pm, that gives us 40 minutes to get to the train station."

We waited, and waited and waited. We chewed our nails and watched the horizon frantically. Finally, the boat pulled in, and we waited in nervous silence as the boat CRAWLED across Puget Sound.

On the other side, we raced for the taxis, but TWO drivers refused to take us to the train station. We pleaded and yelled, to no avail. Finally, we get in a cab and its 1 minute until the train leaves. We race for Tukwila, only to miss it by 3 minutes. We head to the airport, to find out a rental car is $169 for one way. She buys a Greyound ticket leaving from Tacoma, we head there and find out the bus is FULL. Both of us are on the verge of a breakdown, when I call Amtrak. There are TWO tickets left out of Tacoma, and she snags one, after about 5 hours of frantically trying to find a way home.

The entire thing is the ferry's fault. This piece of public transportation that delivers me to work and home right on the dot every single day, let my friend and I down when we needed it the most.

Today, the ferry is trying to make it up to me. I can't help but feel relaxed by the lulling vibration of the engine, the wide expanse of water, the oil painted sky. But I'll never trust her to deliver me on time again.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Pick your Poison

I have a confession: this is the second time this week I've bought a beer on the ferry. There's something to say about sipping a delicious (expensive!!) microwbrew amidst the hustle and bustle of the "galley". All around me, people have picked their poison. Some hold beer hidden in white Budweiser cups, others have glasses of red and white wine.

Usually I try to avoid buying expensive beer on the boat, but this week it's been different. I woke up at 4am for three days straight, anchored the news on two radio stations, and drove all over town for stories. I admit it, beer is a drug, and I relish the way it feels slipping down my esophagus, numbing my body of stress. There are better ways to beat stress (I know miss health repoter), but none of those feel this good!

That's where the danger comes in. When I'm stressed out, do I really need to plug 150 calories of liquid poison into my veins? The answer is "no", but dang, I do enjoy it.

Happy sipping all my ferry friends!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

There are black people on Bainbridge - really!

People started gathering in the waterfront park as David and I played tennis last night, smoothing blankets over the grass, opening lawn chairs, diving into picnic baskets. It was Wednesday: concert night. I was about to volley a shot over the net when I froze. Deep, booming, soulful voices burst in perfect acapella from the boat-shaped stage.

"Lean on me, when you're not strong!" The harmony shook my soul and sent joyful vibrations up my spine. I actually ran to the chains on the side of the court and jumped on them to get a better look.

"And I'll be your friend, I'll help you carry on."

Four black men in fancy suits stood on the stage, one of them in purple with a matching fedora. I saw the sweat glisten on their bald heads as they belted out the beat, no instruments necessary. It was INCREDIBLE.

"For, it won't be long, till I'm gonna need, somebody to lean on."

I feel that different cultures are what brings us together as humans, and that is what I miss on Bainbridge Island. This is a very white community, everyone fitting the same demographic. How can we learn when everyone is the same?

I've always been one to explore different cultures. In high school, I advocated for a black history class until they put it on the curriculum. I was in the multicultural club and hung out with a table-full of Asians all speaking a foreign language. I was the one who talked in Spanish to all the Mexicans in "C" hall who everyone else was afraid of.

I took African drumming classes, and learned to play the Native American Cedar flute. I also learned some Celtic dance steps, and salsa of course.

I thoroughly enjoyed that concert at the park last night, where a little bit of culture forced its way onto Bainbridge Island. I loved seeing the adults and children in the crowd, moving with the beat, clapping their hands. We can all lean on each other, no matter what race.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Eight Things

Here is a blogging game that will get you thinking. I'll post my answers, and if you want to try, feel free to post on your blog. This is on a bunch of blogs right now, so I'm doing it partly to be cool (dorky) and partly because I'm stuck in a room all by myself and need to reach out.

Eight Things: A Theme

8 things I am passionate about:
*The News
*Portland, Oregon

8 books I’ve read and enjoyed:
* My Sister's Keeper
* Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee
* The Horse Whisperer
* The Kite Runner
* The Da Vinci Code
* Animal Dreams
* Eat, Pray, Love
* Dead by Sunset

8 words/phrases that I say often:
* KOMO 1000 Newstime
* I don't have any story ideas
* Do you want to play tennis?
* Hi sweet kitty
* Whatsup
* We have to leave in 2 minutes!
* I'm hungry
* I'm tired

8 things I want to do before I die:
* Get married
* Be a mother
* Write a book
* Live in a foreign country
* Travel to the Middle East (Jordan, Dubai, Egypt, Israel)
* Work on a documentary
* Fly an airplane
* Own my own business

8 things I’ve learned in my life:
* Not everyone is a good person
* It's OK to not be perfect
* Everyday joy and beauty is in the small stuff
* It's not scary to have a blog
* Being at home with a loved one is the best activity there is
* Empathy is key to relationships - with significant others, friends, family and coworkers
* Writing is my true calling
* Love every minute of life

8 places I want to see:
* The Parthenon in Greece
* The Hoh rainforest in the Olympic Mountains
* Mount Denali in Alaska
* Tahiti
* New Zealand
* Rome
* My cousin's farm in Wales
* Machu Piccu in Peru

8 things I currently want/need:
* Sleep
* A raise
* A vintage red Mercedes convertible from the 50's
* Blogging fame, haha
* A VACATION (coming soon)
* Glasses or contacts (i'm so blind right now)
* A glass of good wine
* A new dance instructor

My Back has Her to thank

I saw it in their eyes as I walked into the bank yesterday.


The two women sitting by the door were perfectly manicured with their styled and dyed hair, makeup, clothes, and I felt their eyes watching me as I withdrew money.

"That girl needs a lesson in COOL."

I laughed to myself, and tightened the strap around my waist even more, so my 30 pound pack could sit on my hips. Yes, I know it looks extremely unfashionable to wear the waist strap on a pack, and heaven forbid should I tighten the chest strap. I see people everyday lugging these huge backpacks that pull on their shoulders, waist strap dangling. I got tired of killing my poor back.

One day at work I complained about my sore back, when Colleen spoke up.

"Do you wear the waist strap?"

"No, it wouldn't look good with my outfit."

"Girl, I used to walk around the U-dub, and pulled that waist strap as TIGHT as it could get."

If Colleen could do it, I could do it. My back has her to thank, and I really don't care that I look dorky. I'm OK with myself. The dork in me is proud.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sometimes I forget.......

That when I'm anchoring, there are actually people listening to me. It seems so solitary, sitting in this dark booth with soundproof walls, talking into a big metal appliance. Sometimes people come in to visit, but most of the time yesterday, it was just me. I only realized people were listening when I did a contest, and saw the phones light up. It distracted me, and then I goofed on the air.

I've loved playing with sound as long as I remember. I still have the beat up "vacation" tapes somewhere,....with me and my trusty tape recorder. I "interviewed" my parents, described what I was seeing, even rubbed my recorder in kitty food to see what it sounded like. I have many of these tapes with my squeaky voice, and have loved the art of radio and recording ever since.

In high school and college I loved journalism. To me, journalism is finding the truth and bringing it to people via the airwaves or newsprint. It's being an advocate for the masses, holding politicians accountable, informing people so they can make decisions about their lives. It's tugging on people's heartstrings so they feel compelled to help others. But sometimes when I observe the mass media, this idea of journalism is long gone. Now its laced with opinions, blood and guts, sensationalism.

Today, when I'm anchoring and talking to each and every person sitting in their cars, I hope that my voice informs and provides companionship. I want each person to know they are not alone, and that someone out there is advocating for them.

What does journalism mean to you?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Wedding Day!

The wedding was a huge sucess, with amazing brunch, a espresso bar and a full service alcohol bar.

But first, the dress, which took 30 minutes to put on.

Then, off the to Salish lodge by 930 for pictures. Below is Abby and all her flower girls, which are her nieces.

Then, the bride walks down the aisle and gets married!

Then, time for dancing and the very green cake!!

My friend Deborah and I!! We had a great time dancing!

My Mom and her boyfriend, Dana. They stayed at the house with us after the wedding and we had a blast dancing and playing music.