Thursday, October 30, 2008

Why women's clothing is like a torture device

Today I decided to wear tights since I am going out to a show tonight after work, and wanted to wear a skirt for a change. I now feel like a chorizo sausage, trying to bust out of an second skin. How do black tights make a person who is not overweight feel like she needs to lose 10 pounds? I think the equates a torture device, but I'm going to have to grin and bear it. It means I can't eat too much for lunch, or my stomach might break a hole through this outer sheath. So ladies, what do you do? Do you pull the thing up to your armpits in hopes it flattens your stomach, or push them down to make a gigantic bulge in the hips? Choices, choices.

I'm just glad I don't live a couple hundred years ago, where it was common for women to wear corsets. Sometimes these corsets were so tight they'd rupture internal organs, or women would pass out due to their compressed lungs. Or I'm glad I don't live in Asia where women had to wear tiny shoes to stunt the growth of their feet. Or where women go through painful bone-lengthening procedures that involve breaking the thigh, inserting screws, and slowly pulling the bone apart. Yes, this happens TODAY in some countries, because some women think being tall equates beauty.

High heels are also an interesting phenomenon. I wear heels for a couple reasons - sometimes its for looks, sometimes it's because all my pants are too long, and require high heels if I don't want to ruin the cuffs. High heels are another torture device, completely unnatural, but I've gotten so used to walking in them I don't even notice. And they are perfect for dancing, since Latin dance requires women to move on the balls of their feet.

The good thing about all these torture devices is that we live in a country where we can CHOOSE to be uncomfortable, its not a way of life, or forced upon us. If we want to wear sweats and tennis shoes, no problem. If we want to look like Gothic creeps, no problem. Or if we want to wear high heels and tights and torture ourselves all day long, no problem. At least I'll be dressed for the show!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What are you going to be for Halloween?

I haven't dressed up for Halloween for years, nor carved pumkins. I haven't even had any trick or treaters.....EVER. I think I'll get more into the Halloween spirit someday when I have kids, and can see their delight when they become someone or something new for the night.

This year, though, I'm contemplating celebrating this strange holiday, where people become unrecognizable. How do we decide who to "be?" What drives us to want to change for one night? Do we feel like we can be more risky if we're not ourselves? I notice a lot of women use Halloween to suddenly become sexy vixens. I tried on one costume that was so short, I embarrassed myself even though I was alone in the dressing room. At the costume store yesterday, many of the costumes for women look more like they belong in a strip club than out on the cold, wet streets.

Maybe David and I could dress up as partners in something. He could be Captain Picard and I could be Counselor Troy. Hmmm. No. Or he could be a doctor and I could be a nurse. Too cliche. My favorite is him being the Phantom of the Opera and me being Christine, but he doesn't want to do that one. I'll probably just put on some of my own vintage clothes, my own vintage hat, some long gloves, and a brooch, and then buy a platinum blond wig and be Marilyn Monroe. I've always loved that old Hollywood glamour.

So tell me, how do you choose what to be for Halloween? Why do you like to dress up?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Working early is a waste of everyone's time

My blast of energy tends to come in the evening, at 6 or 7pm, when we normally play tennis. After that I'm revving to go, and stayed up until 1030pm last night playing the Wii Fit. Then I couldn't fall asleep even though earlier in the day I was exhausted. I'm a night owl. I prefer the evening, and like to sleep in until a "decent" hour, which is 7am or 8am. This marks the second night in a row that I've gotten 6 hours of sleep, which just doesn't cut it in terms of productivity.

I got to work at 8am, and 2 hours later, I'm still trying to wipe the cobwebs from my brain. I've booked a few interviews, did one interview, and now I'm just reading newspapers from around the country looking for story ideas. I am working, but its just going at a very. slow. pace. I keep forgetting what I'm looking at or why, or that I'm even writing a blog post about my lack of ability to write and concentrate. What was I saying? Hmmmm. Long day ahead.
Luckily next week my hours are shifting one forward. I'll be here from 9am to 5pm, yes, I know I'm EXTREMELY lucky to be working "bankers hours" in radio. I would die if I had to work at 2am, 3am, or even 4am, like so many people do.
I just think its best to tap into everyone's strengths. I'm highly productive when I'm awake and kicking, not when I'm slowly trying to wake up by reading USA Today and the New York Times over and over again.
The fog this morning doesn't help. It's hugging all the buildings, creating the "caccoon effect." I wish I could crawl into bed, and hybernate for the next 6 months.

Monday, October 27, 2008


My Grandpa is one of my inspirations in life. Whenever I think I don't want to exercise, I think of him. He's about to turn 91-years old and takes no medications, and is healthier than a lot of 65 year olds I've met. He tells me the key to longevity is to keep the body moving, to not let the joints seize up or the muscles lapse. Him and my Grandma still love to sing together, her on the piano and him on the yukalele. They still dance to music from the 40's, and after 60 years of marriage, still treat each other with love and respect.

Another thing I love about my Grandpa is his sense of humor. He doesn't care what anybody thinks of him. One time he danced in jerky, spastic movements to African music at Saturday market in Portland, worrying some of the people walking by. One woman grabbed his arm and said, "Sir, are you all right?" He just laughed and kept on twitching.

My Grandpa is also very easy-going, it takes a lot to get him angry. He says if a person is being rude or annoying, he just ignores them.

Grandpa Paul is a World War Two veteran, and avid golfer, a musician, and the patriarch of my family.

I'm blessed to have such wonderful role models in my life, and hopefully someday, I will be like them.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Bloedel Reserve

Yellow leaves are falling like rain outside my window, pasting themselves to the dreary gray of the gravel road. We got back a little while ago after walking around the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island. It's 150 acres of beauty, with half of that developed with trails. David and I became "members" today, which means we can go back anyday for free, and I will have to take advantage of that. I'm going to try to take a cue from my blogger friend A-C, at and do a little bit of photographic poetry....just on a few pictures.

Trees, sentinals
Guarding my way on the path of life
Roots holding me in place
Yet I travel, I go
Knowing I'm always safe

is art
We can never cease to learn
from ourselves

Don't think it's impossible
to cross a chasm
Just hold the handrails

What better place to find peace
Than looking at water?
It doesn't die, or disappear
It is our lifeblood
It is unsurmountable beauty
In leaves, our hearts dance
In color, we live our lives

Fairytale colors, divined by maples
Entralled by nature
I stand ready for anything

Peace, in a Japanese Garden
I could shut my eyes here
and sit against a tree

Friday, October 24, 2008

A night in Mexico

I have such fond memories of Mexico: the purple bougenvilla that cascade like waterfalls down stucco, the taco vendors on the street, the music, the hot sidewalks, the booming discos, the people who welcome you like a long lost family member. Last night I was able to revive my love for Mexico, and practice my ever failing Spanish.

I met Mireya one year ago on, a place where people can get involved in social groups. She is a slender, dainty woman, beautiful, who used to be a ballerina in Mexico. I wanted to practice Spanish and she needed to practice English. We hung out a few times but I lost touch after moving to Bainbridge. This week she wrote me out of the blue on Facebook, and we decided to meet at Twist in Belltown, with another Mexican woman, who's currently a disc jockey on an AM Spanish station in town.

The first hour I spoke little, and mostly listened and asked simple questions. I understood the majority of the Spanish, which made me happy, but when I tried to speak my brain couldn't quite communicate with my mouth. The words felt like thick, cotton puzzle pieces, heavy and awkward. I couldn't roll my "R's" like I used to, or speak rapidly and with confidence. It changed a bit after two Cosmopolitans, but I know I need to practice. Luckily, now I have reconnected with these wonderful Mexican women, who I hope to see once a month or so.

After that, I met up with David's sister and we went to see Linda Ronstadt, who is a quarter Mexican and was celebrating los "Canciones de mis padres," or songs of her parents. There was an incredible mariachi band, complete with sombreros and tight pants. Mexicans at the Paramount Theatre behind us whistled and sang loudly, as white people turned and glared, hissing "SHHHHH". Like we can't let these Mexicans enjoy their own songs in Seattle. I didn't give a rats butt if they sang out loud like that. We were all having fun. I wonder what those crotchety ladies would have done if I started whooping and hollering in Spanish. Trust me, I was tempted.

I had a lovely evening, which reminded me how much I connect with, and love the Latino culture. David's family is Mexican (Tex-Mex), but it's a bit sad that none of them carry on the traditions, or even speak Spanish. Back in the day, his parents were ridiculed for speaking their native language, so they never taught it to their children.

Someday, I want to learn Spanish well enough that I can teach my own children to speak, and they can whoop it up to mariachi whenever their heart desires.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Just to lighten the mood

Ok, that last post about missing the boat is just too depressing, and it's really not *THAT* big of a deal, I just talked to David and he's feeling OK about it and did catch the 7:55am ferry.

I heard an interesting exchange on the bus I wanted to write about:

The man on the bus was probably in his late 30's or early 40's, skinny, with a bird-like nose and booming voice. He started talking about fertility and ovulation, throwing big words out there that no one understands. One of those words was "doctor", and I could see all the women on the bus sizing him up out of the corner of their eyes, trying to see if this "doctor" was attractive.

Soon it became clear that he was talking about his and wife's difficulty in having a child. He's recounting stories of doctor's visits, speaking to one woman but really telling the entire bus his personal business.

"I'm not going to put another woman's egg in her uterus!!"

"Yeah, I'd consider adopting, I was adopted."

"I try to keep positive, but this is private stuff."

PRIVATE? The ENTIRE bus was listening and responding. The woman next to me groaned in sympathy. I saw flickers of smiles, eyes darting over to him. I didn't pick up my book for the entire ride because the subject matter was both fascinating and embarrassing. This conversation was anything but private, since he has a naturally loud voice.

When his friend got off the bus, suddenly everyone fell silent. I think that's when the man realized how loud he'd been talking, and he quickly switched seats, to move closer to the comfort of the window.

I feel awkward for him. The things people say on the bus.

A bad ferry story

I guess I don't know how to ride the ferry as well as I thought. I feel terrible; it was my fault David missed it today. He's taking the car across the go to Microsoft to attend a conference and present over the next couple of days, and needs to be there by 9am. This morning, he wanted to leave at 630am to be sure to get there on time, but I just couldn't get ready. Pack lunch, pack the overnight bag (we're staying at his sisters in Redmond tonight), get dressed (which takes way too long), find work out clothes, locate shoes, blow dry my hair, get phone, makeup bag, etc. I was running around as fast as I could, and didn't even get fully ready. I ended up throwing a bunch of clothes in the car loose. David was frantic, pacing around and got the car packed by 620am. He even had time to make a banana pancake, but still, I just couldn't get my butt out the door.

Then, we got stuck at a light and watched about 15 cars go through ahead of us. That's when David said, "I think we're going to miss it, look at all those cars on the road." We hurried toward the boat anyway, and when we got there, sure enough the parking lot was full. He said, "It looks like we won't make it, huh." and I said, "yup, I'm so sorry." He drove me around to the passenger drop-off, and I boarded the boat. Once onboard, I looked back toward the parking lot, and they're LOADING MORE CARS from the line. I bet if he stayed in line he would have made it. I SUCK.

David isn't the angry type, but I tell he's feeling annoyed I didn't get out of there on time. He won't say anything or reprimand me, which makes me feel even worse. This is an important conference for him, and if he takes the 7:55am ferry, he'll get to Seattle by 830am, which *might* leave him enough time to get to Redmond, park, and get into the conference. I do know it will all work out just fine in the end, but that doesn't stop me from feeling bad about it.

And to add insult to injury, I forgot my lunch, which probably cost him the boat. I hope this isn't a clue to how the rest of the day works out!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Running for Dear Life

I felt really bad today for one woman, as the last group of ferry riders hurried down the ramp to make it to our boat. It was 7:02am, plenty of time to make it, so no one was even running. Who wants to run while carrying a hot cup of coffee and carrying a 30 pound pack?

I walked down the chute, nonchalant, when I heard heavy breathing behind me, the telltale stabbing of a cane against the floor.

"Did they already do last call?" she asks.

"Yes," another woman answers.

"Dear God!" The woman's voice breaks in a high pitch squeal, the cane stabs faster as she hobbles down the ramp. I try to walk slowly, carefully, so she can see that I am not worried about missing the ferry. Woman, there is no need to be frantic. Please don't have a heart attack right here and now. Everyone else is going slow. You will be FINE.

The woman operating the ferry walkway must have sensed this woman's panic. Now her breathing is heavier, raspy. It sounds like her lungs might not hold out.

"It's OK," the ferry lady says calmly, "I'm not going to close the ramp. I'm watching you."

The lady with the cane makes a strange sound as she finally boards the boat, I can't tell if she is laughing or crying in relief. I feel sad for her. I wonder where she is going in Seattle that is so important. Is she sick? Does she have a loved one who is sick?

I feel like everyone on this boat is part of a tribe. We are all working together, watching each other get to our destination. It makes me sad when people who share my journey feel panicked or hurt. I remember one older man who fell while trying to get to the boat before it left. He boarded breathing hard, his nose scratched up and bloody. I wish all my tribesmates would just slow down, the ferry won't leave you behind.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Election Day in the Newsroom

There's always an electricity in the air as election day draws near. I can tell everyone in the newsrom is buzzing; this is what being a journalist is all about. We're planning the schedule, waiting to see the programming clock. I want to know which rally I'll cover. Democrat or Republican? Governor's race or legislative? Maybe a Presidential watch party?

This is the first election in my career where I'll be out and about in the field. I covered a watch party during the primary, and I loved mingling with people, seeing their excitement, asking them how they're feeling, describing the scene live to my audience on the other side of the speakers.

In 2004, I remember solo anchoring the primary election results. It was a mess. I would run frantically from the editor's computer in the newsroom, to the studio to give results live. Id' have to check in with our single reporter in the field. No editor was helping. I just about blew a gasket, but I was having the time of my life. During the 2004 general election, I helped gather numbers in the newsroom, and that is one of my favorite duties. I love refreshing the page on the secretary of state's website obsessively, and hear the excitment in the anchors voices as they read from the sheet I put together.

This time, I will be out and about on my own. I'll have to recognize dignitaries and get their take (always tough since I work in radio, and hardly ever watch TV). I'll have to put together concise, balanced reports, no matter which party I'm covering. I won't be able to jump for joy or comment if MY CANDIDATE gets elected.

I can't WAIT for election day, and I think I speak for most of my colleagues as well. Let's kick some radio butt!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Power (cord) Struggle

I must be riding on an 18th century Amtrak train right now, complete with steam coming out of its whistles and ladies in fancy hats. The reason I say this is because I've never been more hard pressed to find a power cord in the year 2008. I've wandered the train, scanning booths and seats for those two beautiful openings in the wall. Come to find out, there are four power cords available to coach passengers on this entire train. One down in the lounge, and three up in the "viewing" car. I sat next to one of them like a hawk for an hour. Yes, I entertained myself reading sections of the LA Times and USA Today, evidence of this train's journey up the West Coast. I read my book about food, the ate the most disgusting dinner I've had in eons. Pizza, in a plastic bag, heated up in the microwave for thirty seconds. It tasted like roasted cardboard with pork by-products on top. The only good thing about the meal was the Corona beer.

I walked back up stairs to the "viewing car", and the woman leaves the outlet! Yay!! She's gone! Then a guy in Army fatigues who's been lurking nearby swoopes in, plugs his phone charger, and stands scrunched against the wall speaking rapid Spanish. So much for finishing "Volver" on my latpop. I'll just sit here and listen to this man speaking Spanish over the phone. At least I don't have to read subtitles.

Then, another power cord opens up! Look, lunge, SCORE! Two power cords are in a standing only section of this car, an area normally reserved for train attendants. Right now I am standing on the train, my laptop perched precariously on an old, steel bar. Nearby another man is obsessing over his laptop.

Oh, the joys of travel. You all must now think I am obsessed with electronics, but I only wanted to finish watching my Spanish movie. Tomorrow I'll be back on my trusty ferry with outets on every seat, a ferry for the 21st century.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fiction - The Horses

I'm going to try to do something a little different with my blog once in awhile. Instead of writing about my life and observations, I'm going to dabble in fiction a bit so I can practice. Here is the first passage that I wrote today on the ferry:


The surging horses weave a tapestry of sorrel, black and dappled gray. The dew from gold grass darkens their forelegs as specks of sweat glisten on their necks. They run as one, moving together, dodging the small creek that splits the meadow in two ragged pieces. The bordering trees are the loom these horses use in their playful dance, as the tapestry comes together, then moves apart as they buck and nip.

This is the only place the woman finds solace, and she walks quietly with a camera draped around her neck. One misstep, one tumbling rock will alert the wild horses to her presence. She crouches in dirty jeans and a plaid shirt by a tree, camera poised on a tiny tripod. Click, click. The exposure set at 9 seconds. The horses are blurry, blending together in a sea of color. The mountains and trees static in the distance. She only dabbles in photography; it’s something in her life she can actually control. Exposure, F-stop, all complex and most of her photos turn out poorly.

The woman in the cowboy hat sits for a long time beneath that tree. The horses are calm now, grazing in the mountain meadow. She loves the black mare with the wild mane and crooked blaze down her face. It reminds her of the time she used to be wild and free, too.

She wants to get closer to the herd, away from the shadow of the trees, so she can capture the look in this mare’s eyes. The hill is steep and she picks her way around rocks and bushes. Suddenly, she trips, sending rocks cascading, bumping into each other, echoing loudly like gunshots.

Heads pop up below. Nostrils flare. Eyes roll wildly, and with a steady rumble the horses pick up speed and are once again a work of art. They run faster, away from her, away from the meadow and the loom of trees. The woman is once again alone, but she doesn’t mind. Her camera swings low in her hand.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


It's Thursday again, Friday Eve. I'm on the ferry again, traveling to the beautiful, distant city of Seattle. Soon it will be the weekend, soon it will be Monday, soon it will be the next weekend. Soon it will be the holidays, then my birthday, then summer (which I look forward to all year.)

I feel as I get older time blends together. Why is this? Is it due to the sameness of the days? My routine? The fact that I'm at work for 8 hours, commute for 2, and so have just a little bit of leisure time? How does an entity that's supposed to be so static, change so much?

When I was little I remember how slowly time seemed to go. Christmas and Halloween and my birthday were always enternities. I'd get home from school around 2 in the afternoon, and figure out ways to entertain myself. I hardly ever watched television. I'd write short stories, read books voraciously, play with my plastic Breyer horses, train my dog, roam through the trees and forest of my yard. Every day felt so distinct, so pure. Maybe it was because I was constantly learning new things, and had no real responsibilities.

I always hear from people, "Where did the time go?" ...or...."It's been twenty years since I graduated high school. WOW, the time really flew by." ....or..... "Time just goes so fast when you're an adult."

Is there any way to slow time for us? Maybe living in the moment will do it. I realize time goes by slower when I travel, because I'm constantly enjoying the moment, enthralled by what I'm seeing, learning new languages, experiencing new foods and culture. When I'm at work, I'm enjoying myself for the most part, but I'm always looking toward the next hour, toward "time to get off and go home."

Time is all in the mind, it' s only perception. It marches forward, at the same speed, our entire lives. It's one of the only things we can't control or manipulate in the scientific world, we don't understand it at all. But maybe time is really elastic, more than we realize. Maybe our brains shape time rather than time shaping us. Let's slow it down, relax, take in the sights and sounds and enjoy each day we have.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ferry Language

This morning I was sure I'd miss the ferry because we left the house at 6:52am. That usually means certain ferry death.

"It all depends on the lights," David said, "and that slowpoke in front of us."

Sure enough, the lights changed in our favor and we made it to the final light in 8 minutes, it usually takes about 12 to get to the ferry.

Then came the homestretch: the ramp and parking lot outside the ferry terminal. My eyes quickly scanned the crowds. People leisurly walked down the hill, some even still standing at the coffee shop.

"Oh GOOD, " I breathed in relief, "I'll MAKE it."

The ferry people move like a herd, or like a school of fish. If one person runs, we all run. If one person who looks like he's done this a thousand times walks slowly, we all walk slowly. If he's confident, I'm confident. Maybe someday I'll be that confident person who people watch.

Then there's the person who refuses to run, even if everyone else is making a mad dash to the boat. This person drives others insane, and they weave and dip around this walker like a running back on a football field, only this time, the brown paper lunch is the ball.

I know it's time to get off because people start moving to the front of the boat. The "early getter offers" like to stand out on the bow like Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic. The closer you get to the railing, the sooner you'll get off. I've never understood that mentality. I'd much rather get off a little later than stand in the freezing cold with my hair blown around. To each their own.

My final ferry thought today is about this supposed "high-speed" Internet that I pay a sum of money for every month. Sometimes it takes me 10 minutes just to log on. Other times it doesn't even work, and I sit here thinking bad thoughts about the blank screen in front of me. If I'm going to PAY for it, ....then it BETTER work.

I'm glad to be on the cattle car this morning, the sunrise was stunning. I knew because everyone turned to look at it, poking each other and pointing. Us commuters never get tired of the beauty.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

My Backyard (sorta)

Yesterday I took the 10 minute walk down to Fay Bainbridge State Park, which is a waterfront sanctuary a half mile from my house. The park is touseled with the old bones of dead trees, the sand pitted with the ghost of raindrops. I laid down on a log, and just listened to the waves rolling in and out, and felt the sun upon my face. Yachts floated in the distance, and the tips of the Seattle buildings stretched above Magnolia Hill. The air smelled of salt and seaweed, and it was one of the most relaxing parts of my day.

I went there with my camera, wanting to capture this place and share it with you all, but alas, I only took two pictures when the silly camera died. Here are those two, and hopefully I'll be able to capture more before the rains take over for the next 8 months.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Along came a spider

When I was little, I hated spiders. I hated the way they crawled quickly across the floor, their 8 legs moving in hyperspeed. I hated them in high school in the shower, where I'd look above the nozzle to see an arachnid dangling in mid-air, its daddy-long legs swaying in the steam. One time I threw a towel at the spider, and flung it all the way across the bathroom. I hated how they'd hang from one of the three rafters in my bedroom, above my bed, building a web. I think they were just trying to tease me. My stepdad would run to the rescue, and carry that spider out by one leg, and throw it on the deck. Boy, I hated spiders, but they didn't deserve to die.

Friday night, I noticed a big, black spider, just chillin' in my bathtub downstairs. My heart skipped a beat, but then I breathed, and noticed the thing only flinched when I turned the light on, but otherwise stayed still.

"GROSS!!!!!" I screeched at David, "There's a SPIDER in the tub!!!"

"Do you want me to kill it?"

"No", I lamented. Then I went to bed.

Every time I've used the restroom since then, I've looked for the spider first. As soon as I see him perched beneath the shower curtain, I feel okay. At least he isn't running somewhere on those creepy legs of his. I just had to remember he was in there before I took a shower.

Today, I was watching television when I noticed David dashing out the front door from the bathroom, holding a piece of paper. He was saving the spider's life, putting it outside.


"How did you do that? He just CRAWLED on that piece of paper?"

"Yes, I put it next to him, and he walked right on."

"I'm so glad you didn't kill him."

"I wouldn't have killed him, unless you asked me to."

Yes, we are good together. I'm glad he wouldn't kill it, snuff the thing's life out, just because of hatred. I hate spiders, but they deserve to live. I know in the long run, they do things for us we coudn't even imagine.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The ferry is like marijuana

Right now, I feel surreal. I am floating upon dark, choppy water, waves highlighted peach from the setting sun. The ride is smooth, hypnotizing, the lull of the engine soothing my turbulent insides. We are plowing toward magnificent peaks, how could they be something other than that? Their hunched, craggy shoulders rising like beasts out of this ocean of water, hiding the sun from view with their giant hands. Orange and pink clouds are striations upon the sky, and I see another ferry in the distance. It's white against the purple waves, lights a yellow beacon.

I noticed the splendor of Seattle today, as I decided to walk to 1.68 miles from my work to the ferry terminal, with a 30 pound backpack. I noticed the little things, the way the reddening ivy clings to the legs of the Alaskan Way Viaduct. I walked beneath trees that are beginning to sleep, leaves of red and gold scattered across the spit-covered sidewalk. Even the sun itself looked cold, cloaked behind pale clouds, casting a yellow glow on buildings and people's faces. I think people look so beautiful in that light, fresh and illuminated.

An incredible calm settles in my soul as I sail toward those distant mountains. This is home. This is beauty. How am I this lucky.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Why don't we vacation more?

In the United States, it seems we are obsessed with work.

"What do you do?" is one of the most common social questions there is. Sometimes when a person asks me that, I want to say, "I read books, I salsa dance, I play tennis." Why does it matter what I "DO", and why does what I "DO" always have to mean WORK? I think our professions help people pigeon-hole us, figure us out. I'm proud that I'm in the news business, but will share that fact with a person when I want.

I remember one evening when I was just getting to know David we were sitting at a bar packed with insecure men. They joked and poked each other and turned to David.

"What do you do?" was the first question out of their mouths, or should I say it was more like a sneer.

"I ride the bus," he replied, not wanting to get involved in their I'm-better-than-you-because-what-I-do games.

Work slaps me in the face every day I ride the ferry. Everyone on here is packed together like sardines, heading to what they "DO" every day. People in our culture feel guilty taking a day off, don't know how to be bored, don't take their vacation. I think when you head overseas, you'll find people to be more relaxed. People in Europe don't have days more vacation than we do, they have WEEKS more, and know how to enjoy leisure time without feeling guilty.

The man who wrote the Last Lecture, Randy Pausch, once said that we focus too much on what's "Urgent, Not Important", than "Not Urgent, Important." He said we should spend more time ditching email for books, ditching business lunches for massages. We should spend more time on ourselves, making our lives rich, because what we "DO" and the money we make won't really matter in the long run.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Great Debaters

David and I decided to watch the debate at a Bainbridge Island bar, to see if we'd catch any commentary from locals. One woman sat down in a cloud of smoke next to me and said.

"If he says "my friends" one more time I'm going to kill myself."

"I think we should count how many times he says it, " I told her.

"You know, it would be a good drinking game to take a shot every time he says "my friends."

No, I didn't go that far, but the phrase did annoy me. I don't think of a Presidential candidate as my friend. I want this person to be my superior, with their intellect, passion, vision and experience. I want to look up to this person, have them be my guiding light, a role model for the common people. Maybe this person does think of the American public as his "friends", but he said it so often, that both David and I found it to be condescending. What did you think about that?
Another joy of watching a debate in the bar is the draft beer. My eyes wandered behind the bar, and there are clowny caricatures of Obama and McCain, nozzles for beer. McCain smiled grandly in his navy uniform, Obama stood on a "soap box" with a crown. It was great, and I cracked up, but chose the nuetral beer, Pyramid Hefeweizen.

Okay, there are people sitting in my "ferry bench" that are taking about the presidential race and feminism and Sarah Palin and I'm totally trying my very hardest not to completely freak out and deck someone. DO NOT VOTE FOR SOMEONE BECAUSE SHE HAS THE SAME ANATOMY, PLEASE!!! That's like me voting for Obama because he's black, or McCain because he had skin cancer 25 times.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The two things that keep me up at night.

Yup, you guessed it. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, and tennis. Every day this summer, David and I played tennis after work, went grocery shopping, barbecued, and watched a little something on TV. My world has now come crashing down, along with the Dow, now that I can't play tennis in the evenings. When I get on the ferry, I curse the rain, and practically jump out of my skin on the way home because I have so much energy that hasn't been expended. There is something so satisfying about slamming the ball home, hitting the perfect shot after dashing full speed across the court, swinging the racket in perfect form. We got pretty good during the summer days, and now I can feel the tennis muscles in my legs beginning to atrophy. It's been a week and a half since we played, and already, I'm turning into a couch potato.
Yes, this was something that woke me up at 3am. Images of myself gaining weight and losing muscle. My brain weighing the options. Expensive tennis club? Or no tennis? Will we use it if we join? Will we be able to secure a court on a regular basis? Will David feel comfortable there? Will I like the people? Maybe I should just take a workout bag and exercise at the Fisher Plaza gym every day. No, I don't want to be at work longer than I have to. Plus, are you kidding yourself? Tennis versus a treadmill is no competition. These were the thoughts swirling in my brain that I couldn't stop, so I did what any reasonable woman would do, I woke up my boyfriend.
"David I can't sleep."
"Neither can I. I'm thinking about work. You?"
"Tennis????" He says incredulously.
"Tennis. I really, really, really miss playing and can't stand the thought of not playing for 8 months cause remember last year we couldn't play until June and now I feel my legs atrophying and I have so much energy and I can't stand it."
"You could go downstairs and play tennis on the Wii."
"Well, we could join the club if you want."
Ok, well, after that was settled, David and I began talking about the economy, yes, to get my mind off tennis. Then the economy started worrying me way too much. We talked about how the world stock markets are crashing, how the Dow was down 800 points and 10,000 somethings and whatever the hell that means, but yes, it sure is bad because it hasn't dropped 10,000 somethings since 2004, and that is BAD. We then started talking about how this could affect our lives and maybe someday we won't be able to buy a house, and how violence will go up because people are poor and angry. Finally, we both drifed off the sleep with the Dow and Tennis on our minds.
Luckily, this morning I'm feeling pretty good, even though I was awake for about an hour in the depths of the night. I know it will all work out, this crazy life, and if I need to play Wii tennis to sleep at night, so be it.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Just another manic (steamy) Monday.

No not steamy in a good way, like McSteamy or McDreamy, in a bad, hot flash type of way. This boat feels like everyone's sweat particles lifted themselves from people's bodies and decided to have a party in the air. I feel like I'm in a tropical rainforest, a steam room, a sticky locker room after a football game, minus the hot guys.

Sometimes I get frustrated by the 7:05am sailing to Seattle because it's so jam packed, and I'm very picky as to who I sit by, or across from. I pass by bench after bench, deciding in a flash whether a guy is "too creepy" to sit near. I don't know what it is about him that makes me decide this. I bypassed one guy in a low baseball cap and stringy beard, stuffing his face with yogurt. I did a full loop on the boat before I found a "decent" place to sit. It has to have a power cord, and of course, people who don't look scary. I prefer sitting by women but it seems like they all know each other and stick together in groups like a school of fish. I just need to get in the "in" crowd, and find some "benchmates".

It's also very moist outside today. What people don't understand about Seattle is the fact that it does not rain here, it mists. The mist fills the sky and air with a murky gray, and sticks to my skin. Many cities in the United States have higher rain records than Seattle, since there are DOWNPOURS and thunderstorms, which result in many inches of rain. Mist is so light that it could mist every day of the year, and still not rain as much as Atlanta. I'm on the ferry right now and can't see anything out the window, it feels like we're plowing through a gigantic misty curtain.

It's Monday, a day slow to wake up, a day where I might need an extra coffee. I'll relax into my week soon, and get back on my routine with David again since he is (finally!!!!!!) back and I am very thrilled. He got in at 940pm last night so I didn't feel like I got to spend much time with him before I jumped on the ferry again. Anyway, Monday will soon be over, and I'll get to go home and barbecue some salmon, and relax. Happy first of the week everyone, drink coffee and stay strong!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The blogosphere feels like an old friend

I've learned a lot about blogging over the past few months. The first time I left a comment on Eric Slocum's blog, I thought he would answer me at work the next day. I was surprised when he didn't mention anything about my comment. Then, I signed back onto his blog, and realized he'd answered me ON THE BLOG. That was my blogging "it" moment. Then Colleen gave me her blog, and told Dan and I that we had to "comment" if we were going to read it. Suddenly I understood what comments meant: a discussion, mini-dialogue, feedback on the writing. Since then, I love leaving comments and getting comments. I'm learning that its fun to leave comments on my own blog as a way to interact with people.

It's interesting that humans are such social creatures, that we have to relate on one level or another. All of us are probably sitting alone in our worlds, able to learn about each others lives through the world wide web. It reminds me of when people lived in small towns and communities, and would meet at a diner or coffee shop to talk and gossip. Now, we live in such big metropolisis, there's really no outlet for social interaction, so we've turned to the blog.

I've become quite fond of the blog, and meeting new people, and keeping in touch with old friends. Here's to many blogging months ahead!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Back on the ferry

It's been two days since I've been home, and I'm so happy to be on the ferry again. It seems like in the past 48 hours the seasons have changed dramatically, but maybe it's because I'm not used to taking this late boat home. It's so foggy and dismal outside that I feel like we're plowing through gray soup, to never-never land. I can't even see Bainbridge Island in the distance. It feels like I'm back together with an old friend, though, and I love this 30 minutes I have on the ferry to blog and enjoy beauty and just think about life.

I've noticed this week how much I hate driving. I had to take the car across early yesterday morning because I missed the bus outside my house by about 30 seconds. I was stumbling up the dark driveway in low heels and a backpack with my flashlight wagging, but still, missed the damn bus. Driving cost me 30 dollars roundtrip, but I didn't want to be late for work. Driving just aggravates me. I have to worry about missing lights and avoiding other drivers. I have to navigate traffic, which typically stresses me out. Today I didn't think I'd even make the boat because traffic was just crawling on Alaskan Way. It's so much easier to hop on a bus, and know it will deliver you safely, exactly where you need to be.

I'm feeling very calm and happy to be able to spend the night at home tonight; a date with myself. When I get to the island I'm going to grab some dinner to bring home, and a bottle of wine, and rent a girly movie. I'll just cuddle with my fat cat on the couch. There's something so comforting to being at home by myself (unlike earlier this week.) I think I need a little brain space after interviewing 10 people today about the economy and the bailout packages. Whew!! I am glad I understand it thought, it just felt like I was on hyper-drive the entire afternoon.

I hope all my blogger friends have a great weekend, whatever you end up doing!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I'm going to go jump off the deck now.

Just staring at that cup of coffee is making me salivate. I think any moment now, I might pick up my computer monitor and lick the screen. I have to fast to go to the doctor today, which means (gasp!) no caffeine, no food, no coffee, did I mention NO COFFEE! Apparently, the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal warrant this being fit into a psychiatric disorder. How I feel now definately fits:

-Headache, the most common symptom, which affects at least of 50 percent of people in caffeine withdrawal
-Fatigue or drowsiness
-"Unhappy" mood, depression, or irritability
-Difficulty concentrating

I keep stuttering during interview, and I'm not able to concentrate enough to put stories together. I accidentally published this post before I was done writing it, so now I'm editing before anyone reads it. I feel moody, and am going to bite off anyone's head who tries to send me to "unbreaking" news. JUST GIVE ME MY DAMN COFFEE.

I wish the photo on this blog was a scratch and sniff sticker.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ok, another reason I love Bainbridge

Since David is out of town, I had to take the bus home tonight. This bus doesn't operate like any bus you can imagine. First of all, when I get on the bus, the driver is nowhere in sight. He just TRUSTS his customers to drop in the right amount of change, or carry a bus pass. He never asks to see proof of payment. Second of all, this bus flies like a bat out of hell through beautiful scenery. The first time I looked up, we were driving on a road that twists and turns through woods. The next time I looked up, I could see Puget Sound in the distance. Also, this bus doesn't have normal "stops". I heard riders just call out where they wanted to get off.

"The bank of mailboxes right there!"

"Just go down this hill and its the house on the right."

The riders laugh and joke with the driver, as he calls out streets merrily. Then it was my turn, and I inched my way to the front of the bus.

"Puget Bluff, please!"

"YOU GOT IT!" He smiles at me.

I walk down my driveway and am home. I love it here, as you all know.

Home again, Home again

I wish I was a good photographer so I could capture the beauty of "magic hour" on Bainbridge Island. This is the time when the sun is beginning its descent. It makes colors vivid and defines the lines on buildings. Trees are glowing fire red and orange against a shockingly white sky. Clouds are brushstrokes, flowers sigh in the breeze. I always want to get the camera out and take pictures of the entire panorama, but I know if I was to photograph it well, I'd focus on small things. Maybe the dying red flowers flanked by grassy tassles. Maybe the way the melting sun hits the bark on a maple. I love it here so much, and am so glad to be home. I'm sitting at a cafe near the ferry, just enjoying the vast sky and a glass of red wine, waiting for my bus ride home.

Last night I stayed in another beautiful place: North Bend, Washington. I love seeing Mount Si tower over the small town. I love the scent of the trees and winding river, and of course, I love seeing my wonderful friend Abby. We went out to eat and talked for three hours, and the next day I wanted to go hiking instead of drive to work. It's such a gift to live somewhere with such visual splendor.