Tales of a wandering lesbian

More Voting

So, after our exciting day of horses and dogs, we went voting – again.  The ladies joked that I’m starting to look more and more like a spy.  Too funny that I would hit elections both times I’m here.  Last time it was the local races, as well as the EU election.  This time, it was a party election for the secretary of the Democratic Party.  (I think.)

This time, we went voting with Deb’s family in Barga and then in Fornacci with Sandra.  This is the same area Sandra ran for city council in last time I was here, and it was fun to recognize some of the people.  (I wonder if they recognized me  –  the stranger who never speaks and only shows up at election time.)

There were some differences this time.

1.  They had to pay 2 Euro each to vote.


Fascinating.  Something like 2.5 million people voted (you didn’t have to be a member of the Democratic Party to vote), so the party made a cool 5 million Euro.  It was a record turnout for a minority party, which is interesting to political types.

2.  I wasn’t nearly arrested.  I wasn’t wearing a political button, but I did take some pictures.  I didn’t want to make people nervous, but Deb said it was fine, so I busted out the camera.  (Seriously, these people have to wonder what the hell I’m doing there.)

FlagsPicture 081Select your secretary

After voting, we headed to dinner with Deb’s family and some friends of theirs who are in town from England.  I swear I’ve met more people who are primary English speakers than Italian.  We had dinner at Caffe Capretz, a place that serves excellent pizzas.  While I was voting with the ladies, Deb’s sister ordered me this amazing masterpiece.  (Funny side story – like there’s a main story – when she told the owner that she wanted a vegetarian pizza he said, “okay, I’ll put some speck on it.”  This is something my grandfather would say.)  Deb had the “smiley” calzone.   Dessert was panna cotta with amarena (winter cherries)

Capretz pizzaCapretz calzonePanna Cotta Capretz

At dinner, Deb’s youngest nephew, Andre, who is maybe 1 and a half, made friends with Bepe, the owner.  By the end of the night, he had learned his name, and Bepe brought him a special mandarin orange.  It reminded me of when my family traveled to Greece and the head of the kitchen used to bring my sister a bowl of special Queen Anne cherries.  When Andre saw Bepe this morning, he called out “Bepe!” and ran over to see him.

Pepe i Andre

On the way home from dinner we had one of those great moments where we were all talking and laughing, and Sandra was enjoying it so much that she asked Deb to keep driving so that we could keep enjoying.  As we snaked through the roads of a town above Fornacci, Debbie came to a stop, with the headlights illuminating a wondrous thing.


Deb suggested that I must take a picture.  Well, yes, of course, but as I looked at the table I was overcome.  Tommy and I hopped out and reassembled the parts.  How could we not?  I’m like a 14 year old boy, and he IS a 14 year old boy.

Foosball assembly

There was even a ball!  Sandra and I tested it out.  Our hands flew, and the players whirred as they spun around.  The ball just rolled lazily around.  We had re-assembled the table, only to find out that the reason it had been abandoned was that the deck was so warped that the players could no longer reach the ball.  No worries!

Artists at War

The table came off the ground as we wrestled the table through the air.  Sandra labeled the experience, “artists at war.”  Fantastico!

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October 27, 2009   Comments Off on More Voting

We’ll take you voting now…



“We’ll take you voting now, if that’s alright.”

When I walked into the shop with the stools, I never imagined I’d end up in the house of a local political candidate, let alone going to vote with her.

“Yes, that’s alright!”

I’ve actually thought about taking vacations to be an international poll watcher.  Super-geeky political dork, I know.

The day started with visions of visiting the thermal caves of Bagni di Lucca.  When we found those closed, the local who had adopted me decided to take me to see her cousin.  It just so happened that her cousin was running for the city council.

Are you kidding me?  Could this be any cooler?!  No, no it could not.

After spending an hour in Sandra’s home with her lovely partner Deb and their super-cute dogs Hollywinter and Pimpa, I was ready to make camp in the garden and never leave.  If it wasn’t for the worst rainstorm in 30 years, I might have.

As it was, I had a lesson in local Italian politics, the voting process, and was leaving with sample ballots and voters guides tucked into my backpack.

As we walked out the door, Lara, my guide, picked up a political button for Sandra’s slate and handed it to me.  Of course, I proudly pinned it on and walked out ready to see democracy in action!

The next two hours were spent in two different precincts as Sandra and Deb cast their ballots.  Sandra’s mother came to vote for her daughter.  I nearly cried.  Lara showed me her middle school.  And, in a moment of panic, I was told that I would have to remove the political button or risk being arrested by the armed police that were monitoring the site.  Awesome!

Seriously, I could go to Italian jail for wearing a political button?  Yes, and also for the picture I almost took of Sandra casting her ballot.  Good to know!  I did manage to snap a picture of the chart they fill in to determine who has won.  It was divided by political party, precinct and gender of voters.

Barga Voting 6.6

After voting we headed into Barga for a debrief in Sandra and Deb’s art gallery, where we talked about GLBT politics, religion and art, and the “can generation.”  When I left, these amazing women gave me art to take home.  Yes, in addition to being awesome political operatives, they’re also amazing artists.  I love Italy!

I headed home the next day and wore the button for a week.  Now it lives on the sun visor of my Prius – right next to the Obama button.

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July 8, 2009   3 Comments