A Life Saver

Resolve Pre-Treat from Spray and Wash. I could not find my OXY-Clean and so when I passed out after some intense ritual and prayer in my white priestess robe and menstruated all over it, I borrowed a friend’s pretreatment (two days later because I procrastinate) and followed the directions, and hit some old wine spots too while I was at it, and voila, perfectly clean. Simply amazing! Highly recommended!

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The Man on the Train

Riding the train to Raleigh last week, I was reminded that you have not heard the rest of my Coast Starlight adventure. That started when we were most of the way home, and here is my log of the occasion as submitted by me to the Eugene Police:

Attempted theft

Backstory that may be involved in a crime or attempted crime:

I was awoken in Sacramento when a man boarded and needed the seat next to me. I noticed a hispanic man in red baseball cap and jacket and other people of varying ethnicities boarding. I noticed him because he was in red and behaving drunk or high. He could have been returning from the lounge or just boarding. There may have been another man with him, African-American, wearing black. But I was sleepy and cannot say for sure.

I woke up in the morning around 7:45 and checked my email and Facebook, like I do. The man in red was stumbling about asking if people had a cellphone or hot spot. I palmed my phone, rolled toward the window and fell back asleep for around 30 minutes. I woke up for the day.

Sometime between Klammath Falls and Eugene I saw the man in red standing in front of seat 60, car 13, leaning over a gentleman with a laptop case on his tray in seat 59. I commented to the man next to me how rude that was and the guy in 59 got sick of it and asked him to back off motioning as if he were going to unpack and use his computer.

In Eugene, I decided to stretch my legs and luckily turned around toward the North and watched the man dressed in red coat and hat, who had been drunk or high all day and possibly all night, was carrying my bag with its shiny new PSU luggage tag and open, unzipped front pockets, which is how I prepared it to make it easy to identify in baggage claim, into the Eugene Station. I went inside and confronted him and took it from him and headed back to the train complaining loudly that he had taken my bag. He had a second bag of multiple colors, perhaps a paint splattered or paisley pattern, I did not really look. He followed telling me it was an accident.

He then walked up the track and asked a conductor (the closest one about two train cars up) where you pick up your bags. I boarded, replaced my bag on the shelf near the exit, and headed up to my seat. He went to the outdoor baggage claim line near the same door.

I looked outside to see what he was doing and saw him signaling someone on the train on the lower level with the classic don’t do it/knock it off/cut it out, hand across the neck signal. I took the Hispanic man’s picture from upper level. I returned downstairs to monitor my bag and wait for a conductor.

Attempted luggage thief

When he saw me, he again from the outside claimed that it was an accident. A white man with a round face in his mid-40s, of medium large build but around my height, was also down there when I tried to speak to the conductor and made a point of telling me that was why he came down there, to watch his bag, after he saw what happened to me. The conductor I mentioned the guy taking my bag to, ascertained that I had my bag, and apologized, the other man interrupted me talking to him about it, so I did not show, though I tried, the picture I had taken of the man. A woman asked if it was the guy in red when I mentioned he was drunk or high, and I agreed. The conductor seemed busy and I was not sure if the white man was involved so I returned to me seat.

I started to look for the conductor, because the more I thought of what happened, the more I became sure this was intentional. I started to go look for a conductor, but decided to return to my seat, watch my stuff and make this log. I pulled the call button before beginning, at around 12:55pm.

It is now 1:12pm and I shall keep writing.

I have two pictures of this man, taken through the slightly dirty, rain dropped window. I decided to call the Eugene police nonemergency line, and am presently on hold. While I was speaking with the police a conductor walked by but did not respond to my pull light.

We just stopped in Albany.

The Eugene police are going to have a desk officer call me in within two days. Yeah, they are going to find the guy. I am going to report it to Amtrak security when I get to Portland.

I do not believe Amtrak uses the call system any more or it is limited to one car and the conductor was in another car when I rang the bell. My call light has since gone out. Maybe they came when I ran down to get my suitcase after we left Albany because I got paranoid it would be stolen again.

Asked a woman near by to watch my stuff while I went below. Cafe was closed. I returned to my seat. On the way, I saw the African-American man in black with red logo and black raiders hat beside him, in the front west aisle seat, and took his picture. He is also in pic 2 of the Man in red. (Which I shall not post as there is no evidence he is involved, only hat there is an accomplice on the train and he behaved suspiciously).

I remember him walking by me after we left Eugene and before Albany with a bag in front of him, and a slightly piney scent, moving the bag from above a different seat a row or two behind me (I am in 53 aisle) to above his seat.

I also noted that the white man who had come down when I tried to speak to the conductor was the very same man who is in seat 59 east window, and had shooed the man in red away from his seat earlier.

I just overheard a conductor telling the man in black that he thinks his connection is train or track 28.

Now headed to the cafe again, since they just reopened.

I attempted to speak with security in Portland. Guy I found was building security, so I went to Amtrak info and asked for security and told them I wanted to file a report. He did not know that to do, so went and asked an older gentleman and returned with a TSA see something, say something bookmark. No shit, a bookmark. Decided I would call when I got home, was overwhelmed and dulled by my arrival home, and forgot to call.

Heard from the police rep two days later and gave my report and pictures. She discussed seeing someone pulling luggage from the station on a previous day on rounds and said she would look into it.

I am very grateful still that I caught him with the bag. All it contained was my Gnostic Mass vestments and tools and that loss would have devastated me.

Naughty Me

Pardon my cross-posting, but I cannot contain my excitement… Today my first erotica story was published in an anthology from Sybaritic Press, called From the Four-Chambered Heart: In Tribute to Anais Nin.

Cover art

Here is an excerpt to tease:

We found each other in the elevator behind a mass of manly, ex-marine types in office casual. She was pressed back, stepped on my toes, and I yelped. She turned and I was lost in her stunning green eyes.

“My book thief,” she teased. I managed an apology as she shifted around to face me, bosom to bosom.

“I will forgive you, if I may pick it up tonight. I won’t go another night without love,” she spoke huskily, breath warm upon my skin. I nodded, barely able to extract a key-card from pocket. “I’m going to order room service and draw a bath,” I whispered, “room 418.”

Her face lit up like an angel, but there was something of the devil in her eye, and I wondered what I had done.

- from “Concentrate on the Poetry” in the now published, From the Four-Chambered Heart: in Tribute to Anais Nin

Available here in trade paperback:


And soon to be in e-book!

So, how can I tie this in to Portland living? If it were not for the love and support of my PDX people and the easier and cheaper way of life. I would never have made the time and effort to write it. Thank you, my friends!

Coming Into Los Angeles, Bring In a Couple of… Suitcases Actually

This is not strictly-speaking a PDX adventure, but it began and ended there, so close enough. I had the pleasure of taking the Amtrak Coast Starlight ($$$,****) to and from Los Angeles earlier this year. I chose to go this way for a few reasons, incuding the need for some solitude to get some work done, the need to relax and enjoy something like a vacation, and the desire to see what lies between Portland-Sacramento-Los Angeles, three of the four cities I have been to on the West Coast since moving to PDX April ’12.  I have also been to Seattle, which is where the Coast Starlight originates, but I took it from right next store at Portland Union Station.

Twenty-five minutes to train time, I strolled over to board my train.  I checked my bag and my male bestie and I waited in line 30 minutes, as the train was late. This was good, as unlike normal, when I do not sleep the night before I travel and spend all my time prepping, I went to sleep for six hours, and woke up in panic mode and thus forgot things. So, my dear flatmate was kind enough to walk forgotten things over to me while we waited, arriving right before I boarded (thanks again, Jack!).

Then, we were off. We left in the late afternoon and by the time we hit Salem, OR, we had made up some time and I was settled in and knitting away, instead of working, and was rewatching Game of Thrones on my laptop in preparation for Season 3. I figured I had 30 hours each way, so I had time to work. Yes, thirty hours! The Coast Starlight is not the way to go if you have to conserve time. It is for those who want to leisurely get to their destination or are afraid of flying or Big Brother Security Checkpoints.

Here was my opportunity to see parts of Oregon I had not yet seen, and boy were they lovely. Vibrant, dense rain forest, snowy mountain peaks, rolling hills…it was magnificent.  Here is a random window shot.


I had picked up a neighbor in my row somewhere shortly after leaving PDX, but he was nice enough, and spent most of his time elsewhere on the train, including setting up a mat and blanket in some room downstairs in a train car, so I had my peaceful trip still, though I did get him totally hooked on Game of Thrones, even though he could not hear it and only saw some of the episodes while I was watching and he was in his seat.

Despite my desire for quiet and solitude, I made a reservation for dinner in the communally-seated dining car. I had a lovely time with a vibrant, passionate, 76-year old environmental activist; her impatient, bored, but well-behaved granddaughter; and a very nice younger gentleman who turned out to be Mr. Isaac Marion, author of the book Warm Bodies, then also a new major motion picture. Surprise! The grandma asked him some excellent questions about his process from writing to publishing, and I took many mental notes. Now I wanted to read his book, think on those mental notes, and also provide some feedback for him, as he mainly hears from young people. He told us, true to form, that the movie was not all that the book was, but seemed overall happy with what they did with it (or at least expressed no bitterness).

My Amtrak disappointment #1 was that their menu claims that you can get an alternate sauce for the steak (instead of the mushroom sauce), but they don’t have that any more. I had the BBQ pork ribs special instead, and it was yummy, though not as tangy as I would make mine, and I ended up dropping some of it on my white old navy shirt and only had a wool hoodie to change in to, so spent rest of time a bit warm.

Tip: Remember to bring clothing in your two allowable carry-ons, but I skip ahead.

Dinner over, I headed back to my seat to change, settle in, and knit. In addition to the dining car, there is a cafe beneath the observation lounge where you can buy cheaper foods and have them microwaved, cookies, candy, diet and regular sodas, milk, cereal, beer and wine.

Amtark disappointment #2 came when I began menstruating earlier than expected with only three emergency tampons in my bag, no drugstore products in the cafe anymore, and no stops where I could run in to the station to buy some. Bad planning, Amtrak! (Bad planning, Hattie!)  I finished season one and decided to go to bed… still in Oregon! Having last lived in Puritan New England, I am not used to the size of the states in the West. Remember that I was spending thirty hours to go from the middle of one state to the southern part of the next, with no states in between. I used to take the train from Boston, MA, to Providence, RI, in about an hour or in two hours if I left from my home in Salem, MA. and had to transfer downtown.  I did not get a sleeper room, and slept fine in my chair, though I could have used a second pillow (I forgot my travel pillow), but I think that when I have money, I will start taking the train with a sleeper, as it looks more comfortable and those passengers get some preferential treatment, with a whole second dining car/lounge to themselves and wine tastings each day. I woke up at the Oakland station, and said good morning to California with only ten hours to go (laugh at the word only).

Here was an amazing stretch of avocado farms, llama ranches, and scenic ocean overlooks, including sunset, of course, though I did not watch the entire thing as I distracted myself at some point and then it was dark again.


Here my anticipation started building again and I couldn’t focus on my writing, so I headed to the dining car for dinner. Who you are paired with is luck of the draw, unless you have three for dinner, and I gotta mixed bag this time. I ate dinner with a overly talkative retired guy, who monopolized dinner conversation, a woman with a sleeping car (is her food included?), and a very nice gentleman who got on in Oakland and was headed to LA on his birthday weekend to test to become a fireman. He was very nice and I hope he did well. I was nonetheless happy to return to my seat and get away from the loquacious bore. Oh, I had the herbed chicken and substituted garlic mashed potatoes for the rice (prior to my new paleo days, obviously), because they offered, but Amtrak disappointment #3, they had no dinner rolls. Overall, a minor inconvenience, and I scored the last no sugar added vanilla pudding for dessert, which I took back to my seat for later.

One of the things I have not mentioned is that there are vast stretches where you cannot electronically access the outside world. I have AT&T iPhone and Verizon iPad… sometimes both worked, sometimes only one got signal, sometimes both were dead. Amtrak disappointment #4 they claimed to have basic wifi (Amtrak Connect), but I was never able to use it. They warn you right up front it does not have the bandwidth for streaming, but I should have been able to surf on their dime instead of mine, but no such luck. They’ll need to work on that. Rumor has it that someone got one bar in the observation lounge, but I didn’t hang out in there as I was interested in peace and quiet and there was a lot of talking going on between tables in there. Maybe next time.

So, I departed Thursday at 3pm, arrived Friday at 8:42pm (18 minutes ahead of schedule, giving me time to buy feminine products before meeting my friends and heading to baggage claim) and did the reverse, departing Monday at 10:10am (on the dot) and well, I hadn’t arrived in PDX yet when I started this post, but expect to around 3:30pm that day.


Speaking of pictures, Amtrak disappointment #5 here I was on this amazing scenic trip and I was taking pictures as we sped by amazing forests, waterfalls, rivers, and lakes, and I was taking pictures through a dirty, spotted window. Could have used some spot remover :-D

I think next time I will sit on the eat side of the train, as I had to look over other passengers to see some amazing valleys and vistas, resevoirs, dams, and waterfalls.

Final thought: what does it say about me that I brought more electronic devices than pairs of pants or socks on my adventure? Laptop, iPad, iPhone, and (as of then untouched) Kindle

Take It Off. Take It All Off.

Over the last few months I have had the opportunity to but dip my toe into the veritable sea that is the Portland Strip Club Scene, and I have enjoyed it thus far. It all began when a friend visited from Puritan New England and he and my flatmates discovered that I had inadvertently moved us into close proximity of the local Gay Ghetto, a section of downtown Portland with gay clubs of varying flavors, and had chosen one in particular as the place to go, Silverado ($$, ***-1/2), a gay club with men stripping. It is not a strip club per se… You don’t belly up to the rail in a chair, doling out the ones, with the men’s private parts in your face, but instead hang with your friends at a remove, walking over to the stage or cage to tip a dancer. I won’t bother to go into detail on the decor, as they have apparently doing a bit of remodeling and my memory has faded, but I liked it, dark yet bright, filled with men, some of them naked. I might like it more if it were a bit more strip clubish, with stage-seating and music actually geared toward the dancers but I think the go-go dancers are intended as an addition to the scenery and thus an experience within the evening, not the focus of the occasion.

I discovered a few things here:
1. you can see more of the men than you can in many parts of the country – friends visiting from the heartland remarked on this during their visit, in fact,
2. the brtenders mix an excellent Cape Cod (or Cape Codder as it is known in Massachusetts,
3. I did not actually like to watch male dancers as much as I thought I might, and here at least here I think that might be okay.

I love men and their form, especially when they take the time to sculpt it just-so, but they are not dancing for women here, they are dancing for men, and I imagine as such they approach it differently, consciously or no. Many I saw didn’t dance so much as pose majestically, perhaps throwing in a shimmy here, a body pump there, but again it is aimed at the male customer, so movements reflect simulated male on male action, and while I am not above taking a temporarily-affixed phallus to a man, nor in watching some excellent man-on-man, the simulation of this movement just did not do it for me that night. I was impressed when one bloke placed his leg behind his neck quite comfortably while maintaining the suggestive motion of his dance and was sure to tip him on my way out. I didn’t stay too long as I had had quite a bit to drink at Hamburger Mary’s, as may possibly be detailed in a future blog post or a past Facebook post my friends may remember.

A couple things worth noting: I am told by my friends that the lounge food here is superb and that women are horrible tippers. Shame on you ladies! At least men are generous with the money when admiring women; we owe the same courtesy. As with all strippers, the money is in the lap dance, and here they set their own rates, one dancer I am aware of has a scale based on the guaranteed awesomeness of the dance to be provided (awesome literally, as in inspiring awe in those who observe). The music seemed easier to dance to and harder to strip to in many cases, but overall I liked the lighting and ambiance and the site of the dancers, like statues of gods, moving in their artful ways.

I hope to make it back soon to see the changes made and see if my personal assessment was simply the mood of the day.

Missed you!

Hello friends! Sorry I haven’t posted in a couple of months. October kicked my ass and November was spent in recovery. I have five or ten posts started and I promise that you will have one of them when you wake in the morning or before you go to bed if you are a night owl. Hoot!

Trust, Respect, and Service

No, I am not referring to the O.T.O. US Lover’s Convocation I attended this past weekend, though I could be judging by the title. Nor is this one of the three or more blog posts I have in process that I may have discussed with you during the weekend. This is a review.

Accidentally showing up a week early for a doctor’s appointment because I forgot to move it on my calendar, I decided to make the best of the moment and searched out the nearest hardware store to make a spare key I have needed for two months.

I found the Pearl Ace Hardware (****, $) a few blocks away and headed over on my walk home. At first, I was struck by how clean it was and then by the fact that they sell housewares in addition to general hardware things you would expect to see, instantly reminding me of the hardware store I used to go in Puritan New England (Economy True Value, Maasachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA, ****, $$), where Harvard and MIT students could buy everything they needed for their dorm or new apartment.

I wandered back to the key aisle and did not see a key machine (which, by the way, the Ankeny hardware store, **, $, at SE 11th and Stark in the Buckman neighborhood did not have. No keys made in Buckman). I was instantly concerned that this would be one of those weird PDX things where life is completely different here and I would just not be able to get a key made without going to some giant, freedom-hating, national chain, like Home Depot, where they drug test employees before they will let them mix paint and cut keys because if you smoke pot in your spare time you obviously will do it at work thus endangering us all.

I turned, looking confused, and was immediately approached by an Ace employee wanting to help me. That is right, I did not have to wander the store looking for someone with a clue. He came to me. “May I get a key made here?” To which he replied, “Of course, head to the end of aisle 16 and I will meet you right there.” I did and he did and he made me a key in 31 seconds or something like that.

I noticed a sign on the counter for a knife sharpening service and excitedly announced that I would be back soon for this much needed and totally inexpensive service (size-based but most of my knives fall in the $5 range). He told me about the ease and speed of the process, welcoming my return.

He then handed me the key and thanked me for coming. I held the key looking confused again and he smiled and said that I could pay up front on my way out. No unnecessary paper bag with key model written on it, no escorting me and the key to the register, just here you go, pay as you exit.

I went to the front where he really didn’t follow me, and paid $1.99 for my key (ok, that is like $0.40 more than I am used to, but they are in the pearl district and the service was exceptional).

I told the cashier that I needed to pay for a key which she asked to see so she knew what to charge me and I commented on how at Hone Depot even if they had let me wander up with my bagged key to pay on my own, which some have, they would have a door person to check my receipt against what I was carrying when I leave.

She laughed and smiled and said simply, “we trust you here”. What an amazing statement in an age of RFID-chipped merchandise, receipt checkers, and sales associates who will meet you at the register with your purchase.

By the way, Home Depot does not sharpen knives and recommended that I try an Ace Hardware when I called to enquire, and even more amazing, the key from Pearl Ace Hardware worked perfectly on the first try. That hasn’t happened from the Despot in years, and I think that last time was when I was in the Badlands or Jesus Land, so at least a decade or more of key making for home, office, and temple.

I guess we know where I will be getting my screws, dowels, keys, and canisters henceforth.


Single Ladies (Put a Ring IN It)

Two days ago I headed up to the Westover Heights Clinic (****, $$$) to discuss my birth control options as a sexually active, single, adult, non-breeding woman.

I lucked upon Westover Heights Clinic as a new resident of Portland. The staff has been tremendously understanding and supportive of my needs and decided lack of reproductive goals, and sometime tardiness or changing work schedule.

It is the small details where they really excel. I have tiny, hard to find veins and have had trouble my whole life with being manhandled and bruised in the oft repeated attempt to gather my blood. They have had no problem finding and using one vein, and I did not leave bruised and sore.

I am without insurance temporarily, living off what I managed to squirrel away on my HSA card in three months at my former employer, and they have worked with me to make my visits less of a burden, even giving me samples to tide me over until my insurance starts.

We discussed all my options, my past experience with birth control, the varying sec of my partners, the possibility of numerous partners, and my true commitment to the use of condoms plus another form of birth control, condoms being known to break sometimes. I also got a neat lecture on the history of the pill and its diminishing levels of estrogen over the years.

I decided against the pill. To benefit from its near perfection you must be rigid in when you take it, everyday. I don’t even remember to take my tummy pill everyday and I sometimes need it to feel good.

When I have insurance I will pursue being fixed, but now I am too poor but at least finally old enough people aren’t afraid I will change my mind about it. I have known since I was fourteen, but now that approach forty people take me seriously.

So, the pill was out and IUDs tempting but they have no idea how the copper one works and it is a bit expensive for a minimum wage worker.  It is also mildly dangerous for someone with multiple partners, as it acts like a wick for bacterium.  Since I am a bit irresponsible for timing the pill and on a budget, she recommended the vagina ring, which you insert and forget for three weeks, then you can take it out and bleed regularly or leave in the fourth week and bleed more lightly, eventually stopping as your body acclimatizes. She says that she has flight attendants who use it because they never remember the time to take the pill, crossing all those time zones. So, I inserted my ring and put a four week reminder on my Google calendar. The timing was perfect because you have to do it between day one and five of your cycle and my appointment happened to be on day five. Remember those samples I mentioned? A three month supply :-)

Everyone, and I mean everyone, in the office is cheerful, pleasant, and just a joy to be around. I won’t be going anywhere else.

Oh, and the wallpaper is covered with vagina flowers. Lol. Love it.


L, M, N, O, P is for Pizza Schmizza

I was up in the Alphabet District, at the bottom of the heights, the other week and invited a friend along to try out some pizza.  I come more recently from a place with BAD PIZZA (Salem, MA), so was excited to journey out for a slice.  As Ken’s Artisan Bakery in that area did not actually serve pizza, at least that day, we wandered on and found the Schmizza Pub and Grub (321 NW 21st Avenue, ****, $$, pizza restaurant, pub, pool table, daily specials).


Pizza SchmizzaTheir sauce had a good flavor, tangy and sweet, the dough was light with a little salt, and the day’s special was crazy good. Spaghetti and sliced meatballs with chunks of tomato on a slice of pizza.  Mmmmm.

I thought that I could have used two more slices of pepperoni, but no more than that; my friend Endymion felt the same about his pineapple  The atmosphere was nice and quiet on a weekday afternoon.  When the music was playing, it reminded me of Guitar Hero, in a good way.  Service was friendly and fun, and on Mondays they have free pool, though I did not get to play due to my own schedule.

A slice of pepperoni and a slice of the day's special the Schpaghetti and Meatball.

A slice of pepperoni and a slice of the day’s special the Schpaghetti and Meatball.

It made for an excellent afternoon, which we finished off with Coffee, Coffee, Buzz, Buzz, Buzz around the corner and slightly up the hill at:

Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry’s (39 NW 23rd Place, Downtown Portland, $, **, ice cream parlor), which was a mixed bag.  I was pleased, as always, with my coffee ice cream with espresso bean fudge chunks (made with Fair Trade Certified™ coffee and now only available in B&J’s locations).  The server was even young, cute, and perky, but the store was dead and kind of a mess.  The tables were dirty, but the shake I had sealed the meal.



Home is Where the Heart Is, Not Necessarily Where You Keep Your Hat

For nine years I visited Portland, first for long weekends then for a week, finally for a two week vacation when I came to meditate on actually living here, to have Thanksgiving with my chosen family, and to celebrate fifteen years of not being a waste of space junkie waiting to overdose or be saved from myself. I have mentioned in a previous post how I came to feel like a Portlander-in-exile. This was the first sign I should live here and not back in the Boston area. I didn’t catch it right away, though.

Spending time in reflection is absolutely key to knowing yourself and where and what you should be doing. I was too busy filling every making moment with work, social activities, the O.T.O., and later still the New England Leather Alliance. Overworking led to days off sick, which led to contemplation, which led to realization of discontentment. I could have continued on autopilot as a blissful workaholic, unaware that I had deviated so dramatically from my chosen path. I thrive on activity and being needed; it was easy to follow one job to the next, and suddenly I looked up a former counterculture hedonist, somehow become a safety and security professional working for a government defense contractor.

Looking back through my journals I see list after list sprinkled through them of what I wanted to do with my time or my future or what I would do if I had al the money I needed. Over all these years, the lists were the same, and they matched the one I made as a teenager full of hope.

  1. Study philosophy, literature, history, anthropology, and language
  2. Travel the world
  3. Write about my studies and my adventures
  4. Teach others

So, how did I end up with an associates in chemistry and genetics and a security clearance? A series of well-meaning decisions while chasing after the dollar. There I was, thirty-eight years old, in Puritan New England, my work was becoming more and more stressful and unsatisfying, and soon to move to where I could not commute via public transit, and I was as far from my personal path as I could imagine, except for my work within the Order, which was completely on path.

One IM conversation with my bestie later, and I was set free… I would move to Portland. Then I had to figure out to do, but that was easy because I had a path laid out years before… School, travel, write, teach. So, here I go. I have been accepted to Portland State University as a Philosophy Major, which will become what it really should be by the time I graduate.

Why Portland? Because I felt like I was in exile from my home here for the last three years. In May 2009 e.v., I came and catered my bestie’s wedding at the Lodge. There was a horrible heat wave, I spent days cooking without air conditioning, and just being amongst my friends, pouring my love into the food, and it was like a switch inside me. When I flew back to Boston that trip, I cried on the plane leaving behind the people I love so much, going back to a cold, conservative land, with its serious people, pretentious intellectuals, and neopuritans, and yes the small bastion of freedom lovers and sexual deviants that brought me solace in that land.

Now, I sit in the middle of nowhere in Oregon on my first extra-Portland adventure since my move, and I am uplifted in the presence of my friends and family. But this joy is not limited to this place. I wake up every morning and look out my window at the beauty of my new city. I go to bed each night my heart filled with joy. Classes start in seventeen days. I’ve begun blogging about my adventures and I travel for my church and personal pleasure.