Tales of a wandering lesbian

Posts from — September 2009

Oatey goodness

My awesome neighbor (one who comes over for covert s’mores) left a couple of wonderful little cookies and a well-worn cookbook on my counter the other day. So, I fully agave-ized the recipe and made a batch tonight. Here’s the converted recipe. Enjoy!

No-Sugar Oatmeal Chocolate-Chip Walnut Cookies

-1 1/2 cups rolled oats
-1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
-1/4 teaspoon sea salt
-1/2 cup agave nectar
-1/2 teaspoon maple flavor
-1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/3 cup chopped walnuts (remember, these are bad for pets)
-1/3 cup grain-sweetened chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine oats, flour and salt in a bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together agave, maple flavor, butter and vanilla.
Add wet and dry ingredients together and mix well.
Stir in nuts and chips.

Wet your hands and form 3-inch cookies. Place onto lightly greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 15-20 mins. until edges begin to brown.

To make vegan, sub margarine for butter and use vegan chocolate chips.

This recipe makes 12 3-inch cookies, or you can make 24 2-bite cookies.

No-Sugar Oatmeal Chocolate-Chip Walnut Cookies

I’m eating one now…yum.

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September 21, 2009   No Comments

Can I sell out now?

As you may have noticed, there are now ads appearing on MidLeap.  No, the site was not hijacked.  I just want to be prepared when my site goes viral.  It would be a travesty not to have Google ads up and running when the hordes arrive.

For those of you who don’t know how bloggers make money, here it is:  advertising.  Companies pay Google to place their ads on websites, and Google pays the websites to actually host the ads.  The payments come for one of two things.  Some websites get paid for each click.  If a reader clicks on an ad, the hosting website gets paid.  Other websites get paid by the view – usually they get paid less for a view than a click.  For every reader who views an ad, the website gets paid.

This means a couple of things.  First, there is now content on MidLeap that was not written or designed by me.  Second, I have not put a stamp of approval on any individual ads.  That means I don’t personally endorse any of the products or ideas portrayed in the ads. This will be come quite evident…

Google is very secretive about how it matches ads with website content – but it does try to match these two things.  Makes sense, right?  Tell people who are reading about the Italian language that they can purchase language instruction.

Chinese Ad

But why Chinese?

And, I understand that I’m writing about a lot of food in the Portland category, but seriously?

Weight Loss Ad

Not so sure this is my audience, guys.

And this.  This is perhaps my favorite.

ObamaCare Ad

For real?  This is the ad placed in the “Politics” category?  Wow.  Yeah.  So, let me reiterate the fact that I have not approved, nor do I endorse these ads. I do, however endorse and approve of Google ads, as they will soon be paying me.

I haven’t clicked on any of these ads – I think I’m under contract not to – and I’m not supposed to ask you to click on the ads (I know I’m under contract for that).  Fotrunately, my mom clicked on one, thinking I’d put some new fun link on the site, so I got a full report.  That was before this post and before I’d put the qualifying “Ad” above the little ad box.  Not sure how I’m supposed to trick people into clicking now.  I’m sure as heck not relying on the ads to be matched with the content…

Hiker Ad

I mean really.  How does this relate to working?  Then again, maybe I should cut Google some slack.  I’m not sure what kind of ad I’d match with articles about superhero dress-up and getting bit by a parrot.

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September 20, 2009   No Comments

Second chances

Lately, I’ve been taking some time to consider what I’ve learned from the pieces of my life that I’m leaving behind.  Both from the successes and from the failures.  It really is the failures that teach the most.   I try really hard to learn from situations that I could have handled better, and I’m grateful when I’m given challenges that afforded me the opportunity to test what I’ve learned.    This week I had a couple of those challenges – and and I found that I chose different ways  to handle them this time.  Yay for me!

Today, I started scheduling out my last week of work.  I sent out an email to the office letting folks know that, if they had anything they would like me to do before I leave, they should schedule with me asap, as it will really be difficult for me to address requests on-the-fly next week, and I am determined to leave my position with as little clean-up left as possible.  I set boundaries for the new work I could take on and communicated it.  That prompted my boss to question what, exactly, I would be doing with my time next week.

This was the first challenge – the first opportunity to see what I’ve learned.

There was a time, not long before I left my last office job, when my then boss asked for a similar accounting, wondering why I wasn’t making as many phone calls as he wanted, and asking if, at the end of the campaign, I would be able to say that I did everything possible to advance the cause.  Now, given that I had left my job as a lawyer, thereby giving up my health insurance and retirement benefits, and incurred significant consumer debt in order to advance the cause, I didn’t appreciate the question.  I believe I started shaking so violently that Leigh came from across the room to try to settle me down.  Over the phone, I responded with something to the effect of “who the hell do you think you are.  Don’t you EVER question my commitment or loyalty to this issue.”  That only led to a very strict accounting of my time at the end of every day.  That didn’t so much make me happy.

When my boss today asked me what I was doing with my time instead of (incidentally) making phone calls, I flashed back to that moment at my kitchen table five years ago when I wanted to destroy the person questioning me.  Then, I took a step back, took a deep breath, and calmly responded with my schedule for the week.  True, I’m leaving soon, but it was nice to recognize that I can respond to a question that I don’t like without seeing it as a personal attack.  It might sound easy, but it hasn’t always been.

The other thing that came up was a little broader in scope.  The issue of volunteer leadership is a big one for a community organizer.  That’s what I’ve been, in different capacities for the last 5 years – an organizer.  When you’re relying on volunteers for the work that you do, it’s hugely important to have a core of dependable, loyal, committed volunteers.  What I learned is that the who and what they are loyal to really speaks to whether or not I’ve done a good job.

When I worked as a GLBT organizer in Salem, I depended on a crew of about 100 volunteers to do some incredibly difficult things.  I asked people to knock on doors in conservative neighborhoods, come out to whomever was at the door and then talk with them about how they felt about gay people.   And my volunteers did that – for almost a year.  A group of us sat outside the capitol building every morning for a month, talking with legislators as they drove into the parking garage.  I asked people to make thousands of phone calls to people who called them names and told them they didn’t believe in my volunteers’ rights.

And they did it.

I was a good organizer because I believed deeply in the cause – and also because I believed deeply in my volunteers.  I paid attention to why each of them was there, and I made sure they got what they needed in order for them to keep showing up, whether that was a meal, something to believe in, or someone to talk to.  I was loyal to them and I knew they were loyal to me.  That’s a pretty excellent feeling, to know that people are showing up to do really hard work, in part because you are the one asking them to do it.   It’s a great feeling, but it’s not leadership.

When I left that position, I knew I had failed.  My volunteers had done some really amazing work and had come together as a true community.  But it wasn’t sustainable.  Despite expressing my concerns to my bosses, trying to identify potential volunteer leaders, encouraging volunteers to continue the work, and even handing the torch publicly to a successor, I knew many of the volunteers wouldn’t continue, because of their loyalty to me. They had done everything I had asked of them, and yet the momentum we had gained would be lost.  And that was my great failure.

But now, this time, as I’m handing over my files and my contacts, I know that I have succeeded as an organizer.  I know that my volunteers are intact. No matter how much they like me, no matter how much they wish I was staying, or how much they couldn’t stand me, they will return.  Their loyalty is to the cause.  And, because their loyalty lies with a cause and not with a person, the work that I did, and that we did, is sustainable.   It will carry on.

That’s pretty cool.

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September 19, 2009   1 Comment

That’s it!

Things are starting to wind down for me at work.  Not that they’re getting any easier or that there’s any slowing of the work.  It’s just that the end is in sight, and now I’m starting to reflect a little.

I remember the final day of my last office job.  When I left , it wasn’t under the most smiley of circumstances.  In fact, I’m still not sure, almost five years later, what happened.  Still, my last day had one especially humorous moment.  It was someone else’s birthday, and I think someone must have realized, part way through the afternoon, that it was my last day, too.    When we gathered to celebrate, it became an impromptu going away as well, complete with cake.

When I first saw the cake, I laughed out loud.  Someone had scrambled to find some frosting and converted the birthday cake into a going away cake.  Because it was freehand and last-minute, I thought (as did other staffers) that the wobbly writing read “That’s it Kristin!”  I read it out loud and laughed.  It was deliciously apropriate.  Once the cake was on the table, we realized that it said “Thanks Kristin!”  But  the damage was already done.  We still refer to it as the “That’s it! cake”.

Tomorrow, my office is having a going away lunch for me.  It’s very sweet.  When I walk out the door next Friday, I’ll be leaving them 3 and a half staff members short.  And they’re making me a party.  Well, I’ll let you know what they make me, exactly.  We’re having a staff meeting directly before lunch where the other staff members will find out which of my job duties they will be taking on.  I’m hoping to escape without someone throwing something at me.

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September 16, 2009   4 Comments

New friends are fun!

When is the last time you ran into someone, and knew almost immediately, that you would get along famously?

It happened to me last night.  A woman across the table from me at the dinner before a volunteer gig said, “are you Kristin Flickinger from Sun Valley, Idaho?”  I am, in fact.  Turns out she grew up in the same small town in Idaho that I did (it’s Ketchum, actually), and although we had friends in common, we never knew each other.  She asked me this while playing with my cell phone, which I’d left at an empty place setting, and abandoned once I saw that there was space next to my co-workers.  I wedged myself between two people I knew, because I wasn’t feeling particularly social.  And, now here was some random woman with my cell phone in her hand asking about where I’d grown up.

Oddly enough, she knew who I was, not because she recognized me from Idaho, but because she’d been working a volunteer fair a couple of days earlier with someone who did know me, but wasn’t sure it was me when I walked by (probably because I was totally scowling that whole day).  Too funny that, two days later, we were volunteering at the same event – and sitting at the same table.

I reclaimed my phone, and we started chatting – and laughing.  After a few hours of volunteering and making each other laugh, she decided to sign up to volunteer again the next morning – today – so we could hang out a bit more.  We swapped-out our volunteer partners, and ended up monitoring a hole-in-one prize (it was a golf tournament).  We spent five straight hours laughing, talking about growing up in the Wood River valley, and giving each other a raft of crap.

I think it’s pretty awesome to be able to meet someone Monday night, and by Tuesday afternoon have inside jokes that made us both laugh uncontrollably.  It was a nice reminder that I don’t know how I’ll get along with a person when I meet them.  (I know.  I sound like Forrest Gump.  It’s still true.)  Everyone has the potential to be a fast-friend -or even someone I grew up next to and never knew!  The only way to find out is to take the opportunity.  Next time I’ll try to sit next to the person I don’t know – even when I’m feeling antisocial.

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September 15, 2009   5 Comments