Tales of a wandering lesbian

Posts from — August 2009


One of the best dirty Italian exclamations I’ve learned is “cazzo!” It literally means “dick” but is used anywhere we’d say “shit!” It’s pronounced “catso!” It’s super handy. I always think of cats when I say it.

It came in handy this week. I’ve been sleeping on the sofa-bed, which means there is no bed-side table, or lamp. The closest lamp is a floor-lamp about 6 feet from the bed. This is very inconvenient for my night time ritual, which is reading Harry Potter until I’m drooling, and then reaching over to turn off the light.

This weekend I tried a new tactic: headlamp. It works perfectly when camping, so I thought I’d give it a go at home.

All was well for the first couple of minutes. I could read the book, and aside from blinding Libby, everything seemed cool.

Then I noticed one of the cats, Juniper, staring at me. Cat owners will know that this is not odd cat behavior. What was odd was that her head started swaying and she moved toward me on the bed.

Then I saw the bug.

A little green bug, attracted by my headlamp, landed on my chest and then darted up toward the light on my forehead.


Fortunately, I realized what was about to go down just before Juniper lunged. I tossed the headlamp and got out of bed to turn on the floor-lamp.

Better to have my face than to have convenience.

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August 18, 2009   6 Comments

It’s in the stars…

Okay, it’s true confessions time.  I read my horoscope.  I do.  My favorite is Susan Miller’s AstrologyZone.  She posts a detailed horoscope at the beginning of each month.  I find them fascinating, and eerily accurate.

At the beginning of August, I logged on, read my scope, and took note of one date in particular.  Susan doesn’t usually go in for the doom and gloom.  It’s one of the reasons I like her the best.  This month, however, she had a pretty specific warning:

“One of your toughest days of the month will be when Mars will be in very hard angle to Uranus on August 18. Your sister or brother seems to be on your mind. Be careful what you say – be good to your sibling on this day, and don’t argue. (Alas, this aspect has a plus or minus of one whole week, so you’ll have to be careful. It may, alternatively, have a physical manifestation. Protect against falls and keep bones of the shoulders, arm, hands, and wrist safe.)”

So, I put a little note in my calendar for tomorrow, Tuesday the 18th.  It reads simply, “be safe.”  Evidently, I missed the part about this being longer than just one day.

Yesterday, Sunday, while walking Libby, Leigh and I ended up walking behind a guy who had one dog on a leash and was calling another dog (a jack russel looking thing) that was running amok.  This dog – herefter referred to as “bastard dog” – ran across traffic in front of a car to menace us.  The guy hollered “will you grab him,” and being friendly dog owners ourselves, we obliged.

Now, I probably shouldn’t have to say this, but I’m going to anyway.  Never pick up a dog that you don’t know.  I KNOW, I KNOW.  I said I shouldn’t have to say this.  I don’t know what happened in my brain, but I had the following conversation with myself in the course of about 5 seconds:

“Grab him.  How?  He’s little.  Pick him up.  Really?  Yup.  Ouch.”

The ouch came when, as I brought the dog off the ground, he screamed like I was stabbing him in the eye, started kicking and evidently biting with everything he had.  I put him down as gently as I could and decided not to look at my hand and arm that were stinging.  I will say that it was an effective way to get him to return to his owner.  Unfortunately, at this point, the other dog had escaped his collar and come to say hi to Libby.  This was a nice dog.

By the time the guy came over I’d looked down and realized that the bastard dog had done some damage.


I had a few scrapes on my arm and wrist.Hand bite

And a nice sized laceration on my hand.  Bastard.

Now, I’d learned just the day before from Leigh, who is travelling to Buhtan and had to get a rabies vaccination, that you can get rabies from a dog that licks its paws and then scratches you.  Funny how random information comes at opportune times.

“So, is your dog up to date on its rabies shots?”

“Oh did he bite you?”

Seriously?  Did he bite me?  No, the blood running down my arm is body art.  (Don’t worry, Mom, he was up to date with his rabies shots.)

To be completely fair to the dog, there is no reason that I should have picked him up.  No reason whatsoever.  If someone I didn’t know picked me up without warning, I’d probably bite them too.

Regardless, I got home, cleaned myself up and remembered my horoscope.  I’m hoping it’s as accurate about August 21:

“There are several cycles going on in your chart, all pointing to home-related changes that will help you to find the right solutions to any plans you have now.”

Please, oh please, let it be time to sell my house.

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August 17, 2009   3 Comments

Free is Good

Portland is a giving city.

Many places have community gardens.  There are lots of cities where people put their old furniture and appliances on the curb with a “free” sign.   Portland, it seems, takes it a step further.

Like a lot of places, Portland is experiencing a renaissance of home vegetable gardens.


One of my co-workers brings in tomatoes from her garden, another brings in basil.  Another brings in squash and cucumbers from her family’s garden.  We share produce and recipes and the things that we make.  One of my co-workers even lives in a neighborhood where they share produce in a community overflow box.  Whatever overflow a family has from their garden, they put in the box, and other families trade for produce of their own.  Brilliant.

Just down the street from where I live, there’s a funky house that uses almost every square foot of its yard to grow food.  Sprinkled in the beds are children’s toys and ceramic figures.  In the strip of dirt between the sidewalk and the street sits a box labeled “FREE,” where the owners of the house place all manner of useful items.  Depending on the time of the year, the box holds shoes, gloves, blankets and coats.

Free Box

It’s a little box of humanity, allowing those in need to help themselves, without having to knock on a stranger’s door and ask.

This week, when walking to dinner, I happened upon this.  If free is good, why not take it a step further and give someone their own door?

Free HouseFree house

I mean really, why not?

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August 16, 2009   No Comments

Masters in Humility

I thought that my strangest day of work as a fundraiser would be last year when I was bit by Zeus, the parrot.  I may have been wrong.  That was the strangest day of last year’s event season.  This year’s strangest day of work was probably today when, dressed in spandex and a trash bag, I was stabbed repeatedly, in the neck, with a foam sword – by a grown man.

prematurity villain

That was around the same time that a volunteer asked me if she needed a degree to apply for my job.

The funny thing is that, officially, you do need a degree to apply for my job.  I happen to have a law degree.  I think, however, I missed the day where they taught superhero attire, and how to get the shit beat out of you by a volunteer with a foam sword, while keeping a smile on your face.  That, it seems, isn’t something you can teach.


When I took this job, I wanted to learn how to fundraise.  I wanted to develop the skills that would allow me to make major gift asks, and the skills that would allow me to train others to raise money.  I wanted to conquer my paralyzing fear of cold calls.  I wanted to plan events.

Three years later, I’ve done all of those things.  I’ve gotten everything from the experience that I wanted when I started – and I picked up a little something else along the way.

Through the ups and downs, I’ve realized how useful a sense of humor and humility can be.

This isn’t just the case in strange, themed events.  It holds true with co-workers, when driving, while on the phone with telemarketers, on conference calls, in elevators, and pretty much anytime I have to interact with other people.

About the time I was getting to my knees for an adorable 5-year-old to beat me about the neck and head, my volunteer said “you have a Masters in Humility.”  I hope she was right.  If I take anything with me, I hope it is that.  I also hope that I never get bit by a parrot again – that really sucked.

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August 13, 2009   1 Comment

Berry Bowl!

Summer, to me, means fruit salad. I look forward to melons, cherries, plums and other lovely things.

This summer has been the summer of the “Berry Bowl.”

Berry bowl

Of all my friends, Mr. Dave McCall (aka “McCool”) best understands my eating.  Every time I hang with his awesome family, I learn something new about what I’m eating, and about how it could be better (that’s a compliment – really!).

McCool gave me the base formula for the Berry Bowl.  Last time I saw him, he saved me from the sugar.  While everyone else was having brownies, he made me my first Berry Bowl.  Here’s what’s in the version I’m eating lately:

  • Oats – just raw oats – the kind you’d use to slow cook oatmeal
  • Watermelon – cube it up and toss it in
  • Strawberries – that’s my least favorite part, but if you like ’em, use ’em
  • Blueberries – I prefer frozen, and you can get a great deal on some lovely organic ones at New Seasons
  • Cinnamon – get the good stuff in bulk (bulk spices rock!)
  • Nuts – sliced almonds or chopped walnuts are great
  • Agave/honey – McCool uses honey.  I prefer light agave.
  • Milk/yogurt – I use soy milk.   If I’m eating it for breakfast, I’ll substitute vanilla yogurt.

Use a big bowl and stir it up.  I didn’t think the watermelon and milk would go at all, but they’re excellent together.  The watermelon is the perfect crunch.  I love the way the soy milk freezes between the blueberries, and makes the oats soft.

Some days I’ll have a Bowl for breakfast and one for dessert after dinner.  I’ll fill up a Tupperware (R) and pack it to work.  It’s a powerful thing to start your day slurping and crunching.  I find it makes my little office a happy place – a sticky place, but a happy place.


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August 12, 2009   3 Comments