A bicycle adventure, season-turning trees… and more kitties


It’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote. I’m feeling much better, thanks to many supportive friends and a change of scenery.

And… it’s a new season now! Fall is always bittersweet for me; the leaves are beautiful, but I mourn the loss of the warmth and light. Hence my plan to head south, in just a few weeks; I’m looking forward to California!

As I do my best to wrap up my time here in Portland—where I’ve been back for a year, as of September 17th—I’m feeling mostly good, but some of my medical appointments may require me to come back briefly in November or December. I’m not looking forward to the cost, weather, nor logistics of this, but it is what it is, and I’m choosing to move forward and enjoy California as much as I can, starting on October 12th.

Meanwhile, around here I was generously gifted a ride back from Bend (thanks again, Raven!) and then a ride across the Columbia River into Vancouver, Washington (thanks, Lindsay, if you’re reading!) to care for an adorable little orange munchkin named Clementine.

Clementine lives near some lovely parks, and I went out several times to enjoy the late-summer sunshine and beautiful trees.

My ride back to Portland, though, fell through. I had assumed that bicycling back would be more challenging than I wanted—even at only 11 miles—with my rig. I had biked the I-205 bridge once before, years ago (on my old bike, no rig) and remembered the uphill and headwind on the bike lane (in the middle of the freeway) though to be fair those were mostly on the northbound journey. But this day was to be 90 degrees (32 C) and I had just given plasma that morning, including a one-hour round trip bike trek to and from the plasma place.

I can’t take my rig on a bus, though. And when I thought of ordering a Lyft, I worried that drivers might be loath to allow me to put all my (sometimes grungy) traveling components into their car.

So, I figured, why not just do it? Yes, plasma, yes, 90 degrees, yes, some hills… but it’s 11 miles! Don’t be ridiculous! You can do this.

And… I could, and I did. I admit I felt a bit wilty and tired in the heat at times, but there was some lovely scenery, and I took a few rests.

And at the end of the day, I arrived in SE Portland to my new cuddly and vocal charge, Lavender!

I spent several days enjoying his snuggly energy, and then it was time to move on to a more regal kitty, in SW Portland, named Quinny. She gives the most deluxe kitty boops I have ever experienced; I have dubbed them “Quinny boops.”

Arriving here to Quinny’s abode did involve a hill challenge: right at the last leg of the journey, there is an 80-foot climb in a one-block stretch. I cannot bike that angle, with or without a rig! So I hoofed it, remembering similar “hikes” from my year’s travels, including one in San Francisco and a gravel one between San Jose and Santa Cruz.

I’ve got one more night here with Quinny, and then tomorrow I’ll be staying with a bicycle friend in NE Portland for a few nights.

Happy fall to those of you up north here with me, and happy spring to those in the southern hemisphere!

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Bend, Oregon


Two years ago yesterday, I set out on a life-changing journey. I bicycled south from Portland to Salem, in the first day of a year’s worth of travel around the US and Canada.

Now, I’ve been back in Portland almost exactly a year, and I’m preparing to embark southward again in about a month.

But right now, I’m finishing up a six-day cat sit here in Bend, in central Oregon. Despite having lived in Portland since 1990, I had never before visited Bend. I’ve never owned a car, and passenger rail doesn’t run here. There are intercity coaches, but I never felt enough of a motivation to visit here, despite having heard that it is a pleasant—albeit very fast-growing and gentrifying—little city.

So, at the beginning of this summer, I promised myself I would do a week-long sit each in Eugene in Bend. As you may have recently read, I completed the one in Eugene a couple of weeks ago. The smoke sadly trapped me there, for the first three days, but here I was very fortunate to arrive just a couple of days after weeks of severe smoke had cleared out of the area. It started to creep back in this afternoon, but luckily my (modest) explorations of the area were complete.

I managed to catch a ride with my friend Raven (hi, Raven!) from Portland, so that made the travel even easier than traveling by bus. We will be returning to Portland tomorrow.

The two cats here, Scout and Luna, are very cute. Unfortunately, though, I found the sit to be rather stressful overall; I was “off my game” a bit and made a couple of mistakes (which I considered pretty minor, in the scheme of things) but the cats’ person was having a stressful time herself, and did not react very well when I told her by phone. Her responses to me triggered my childhood traumas around being scolded or shamed by adults, which then set me perpetually on edge, ironically making me more likely to make future mistakes. (I’m very thankful that this sort of feedback loop happens very seldom in my life these days! This week gave me an opportunity to practice gratitude for that.)

Meanwhile, however, Bend itself was lovely, with perfect weather, beautiful bike trails and tunnels, ponderosa pines, junipers, and yellow rabbitbrush shrubs everywhere.

I had the chance to visit a few friends here, too, including my friends Ed and Wendy (and their adorable tabby cat Simba, whom some you may recall I had sat for a couple of times this past winter before they all moved to Bend). I also met for lunch and a farmers market stroll with my longtime vegan-community friend Donna. And, today I did an OsteoStrong session at their Bend location.

I’ll leave you with some photos of this week’s kitties (Scout is the black one, Luna black and white) and also with this hilarious TikTok video about pet sitting. (Apologies if it won’t let you watch the video without signing up for TikTok; I’m not sure about that.)

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a free, no-strings one-hour phone or video call with me!

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Smoke, stress, and beauty in Eugene


Happy September, all!

I am back in Portland, between last week’s sit in Eugene (100 miles south of here) and my upcoming week’s sit in Bend (125 miles southeast of here). I’m loving these mini-excursions within Oregon this summer. It will be my first time in Bend, and I’m excited about that!

Eugene’s trip was rewarding, but not without its challenges and stressors.

First, the smoke.

This was at least my third time in Eugene when the smoke was severe enough that it was inadvisable to be outdoors. (Mental note: visit Eugene in early summer, not late summer.)

I was pretty disappointed about that, because over the years I’ve never had more than about 2-3 days in Eugene at a stretch, and this was to be a full six days. I was looking forward to settling in a bit and getting to know the place better. With the smoke, though, I only got about the last 2-3 days of that, once again. Oh, well; I made the most of it.

The house sit was challenging, too.

I arrived at the house—having bicycled about half an hour from the train station in air deemed unfit to even sit still in, let alone exert oneself—to find that the key code the host had given me for the door did not work. I tried it many times, on all doors, and the locks would not budge. I texted the host, and received no reply.

So, I sat an additional half hour on the front step, inhaling yet more smoke into my lungs. (Fortunately, I do not have an extra lung sensitivity, like many people I know do.) Finally I decided to try calling the host, and luckily I did reach her and she gave me a different code. That code didn’t work either, though, so she surmised the lock must have been jammed somehow. She walked me through getting the emergency key from its hiding spot in the backyard, and eventually I did make it into the house.

The two orange cats, Cayenne and Ancho, were adorable, so that softened the blow.

The next day, though, I took a shower in the master bath, and despite the host’s instructions to “be careful” to make sure the faucet was vertical when turning it off, and my best efforts to do so… the faucet would not turn all the way off. I stood in the shower for probably an extra thirty minutes, struggling in every way I could think of to turn off the water. This was during the last few hours of the earning week on Cambly, and I really needed to make my weekly quota.

As I stood dripping and exasperated in the shower, I texted back and forth with the host to try everything to turn off the faucet. (She had already indicated that the previous sitter had struggled so much that she thought she would have to call a plumber. In this case, the host herself wondered aloud if she might need to do that… but it was a Saturday, so he probably couldn’t come until Monday. I cringed to think of all the water—and power, since it was warm water—that might be wasted in such a scenario. The host was very eco-conscious, too, so I cringed on her behalf as well.)

Finally I took a break, dried off, and did a half-hour Cambly session. Then I went back into the shower to struggle anew. After about fifteen minutes, I somehow magically unlocked the power to turn it off. (I still don’t remember what it was that finally solved it.) Hallelujah!!

After that, the rest of the sit went pretty smoothly, and after another day or two the smoke cleared up. I got to go out and explore Eugene’s vast network of wooded riverfront bike paths. Breathtaking!

I also enjoyed the classic Sundance Natural Foods, the new Acorn Vegan Café, and my stalwart favorite vegetarian Morning Glory Café, right next to the train station as I departed.

I also got to see my friends Mike, Gordon, and Karen, and even got in a long riverfront walk with Mike around the golden hour.

All in all, a worthwhile week!

Upon my return, I did a repeat sit for my friend Celine’s cutie-pie kitty Moxie, who enjoys surveying the landscape of Celine’s gorgeously abundant backyard garden.

I’m staying with my friend Sandi and her kitty Lima for last night and tonight.

And tomorrow, Bend!

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a free, no-strings one-hour phone or video call with me!

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California plannin’


View of downtown Portland from the Morrison Bridge bike ramp

Happy August to all! I hope those of you in the northern hemisphere aren’t sweltering too much. We did have a string of three or four 100F+ days (37C+) last week here in Portland. Fortunately, I was in a very pleasant air-conditioned apartment taking care of a wonderful kitty named Drogo (photos near the end) so I just stayed inside for a few days.

But, it’s time for me to start thinking ahead to the fall! And that means heading south to follow the sun.

From the Amtrak network map

I have taken my first leap in that direction by booking a two-week cat sit in Carmichael, just outside of Sacramento, for the second half of October. I think I will really enjoy the gig. I enjoyed my first visit to Sacramento, back in October of 2019 immediately after I got my Brompton—that was my first trip with it!—and Carmichael is within easy cycling distance to the suburb of Rancho Cordova, where there is an OsteoStrong gym.

That is one of my three main priorities as I look for sits going forward: 1) Is it reasonably near an Amtrak station? 2) Is there an OsteoStrong within about an hour by bike or transit? and 3) Is the area/neighborhood relatively flat, not too hilly for me to lug my rig up?

My general plan is to spend the fall in California, following Carmichael with November in the Bay Area (especially near San Jose, since that is the closest gym in the area) then early December around Santa Barbara and possibly a short stint in LA, then late December in the San Diego area, especially around north county spots like Carlsbad and La Jolla where the gyms are. (But I love the Hillcrest and Ocean Beach areas of San Diego, so I hope to be able to spend a week or two around there as well. I may also be willing to stay in the San Diego area into January, then possibly head toward Tempe, Arizona.)

If you know of anyone in any of those areas who might be interested in hiring a cat sitter (who now has a full year of experience, and 20 5-star reviews!) I would love your help in sending them this link to my cat sitting page.

Meanwhile, I’m still thoroughly enjoying the Portland summer. Since my last blog post, I have sat for two sister tuxedo cats in a condo overlooking the Willamette River; two sister tabby cats (my third time with them!); a gorgeous Bengal cat; and my current charges: three cats and a pondful of koi! (Sorry for the less-than-optimal photo of Max, the gray cat at the bottom here—who is still scared of me, so that is as close as I could get—and the lacking photo of Darryl, the outdoor kitty who is hard to photograph.)

Bird TV for Dora and Acorn
Drogo welcoming his new subject
Requesting a drink from the faucet
After his thirst has been thus slaked
Making biscuits
Being adorable
In his lair
Bowie exploring the new person
Max skeptically regarding the new person
Koi greeting the new person

During these various sits, I have also done my best to enjoy both the nature parks in the area and all the beautiful urban bridges. This place is so lovely in the summer.

Tualatin Hills Nature Preserve
Steel Bridge framed by roses of Sharon
Steel Bridge at dusk
Steel Bridge at night
Steel Bridge from below
View of downtown from the Steel Bridge
View of downtown from the Steel Bridge

I’m loving my life, and looking forward to its future unfoldings!

Broadway Bridge
Under the Broadway Bridge
Under the Fremont Bridge

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a free, no-strings one-hour phone or video call with me!

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Jubilant July


Wow. How did an entire month go by??

After the vulnerability of my last post, maybe I needed a bit of a rest… or, maybe, life just gave me a rest. The month of July has been full of impossibly adorable cats and impossibly beautiful trees and nature walks. I truly do seem to be living my best life these days, and I am so grateful.

I did also go to a naturopath, to talk about a couple of issues, and she suggested that maybe it would be good for me to take a rest from the plasma, to avoid “depleting” my body. Fair counterpoint to my last post, I suppose… so I’m now doing that, and trusting that another source(s) of income will come flowing joyfully and easefully toward me so that I can continue paying for my weekly bone-gym sessions. Sure enough, a few more paid cat sits do seem to be falling into my lap for the coming month. Two of them will be repeat clients, and the third is for a couple of acquaintances of mine with three cats and a koi pond!

And the other day, I built on this momentum by finally adding an official cat sitting page to my website! If you know of anyone who might be looking for a responsible and reasonably priced cat sitter, please feel free to send them my way.

I’ll end with some photos of the kitties and the trees. A bit of explication:

For the first half of July, I cared for a welcoming orange kitty named Booker. Within 15 minutes of my arrival at his home, he had hopped up into my lap on the couch. Our time together continued in that vein for the remainder of my stay. Every time I would return home after an absence, he would run up to meet me at the front door, and flop happily at my feet.

That house also contained a blueberry bush in the back yard, which had just begun producing when I arrived. Booker’s people had encouraged me to eat as many as I wished, and they even left some almond milk in the fridge for me.

My next—and current—sit, for the second half of July, is back with Marcel and Bertrand, the stunningly photogenic kitties you may recall from last February. I cannot get enough of these two. Bertrand, in particular (the lighter one, who often looks comically grumpy in photos) is actually so affectionate that on several evenings I have declared a “love fest” (and encouraged Marcel to join in, but he usually eyes us from a safe distance) where I kneel on the floor and Bert rubs back and forth against me—coating me in his fur, as is right and good for cats—for about ten minutes, purring loudly.

I am really going to miss these two again, when I leave on Sunday. Perhaps I’ll have the chance to return again some day.

The back yard in this place is also beautiful, and the tomato plant on the front steps also happened to begin producing exactly as I arrived. It has given me one beautifully ripe fruit each day since I have been here.

I love summer!!

Yesterday, after my bone gym appointment in Clackamas, I biked over to the nearby Mount Talbert Nature Park. It was my third time to visit this place, in as many years, and each time I have been struck by the absolute enchantment of the forest. The photos (including the one of the bridge at the beginning of this post) don’t completely do it justice.

My upcoming sit on Sunday, for about a week, will be for two littermate sister cats in a condo right near the train station! I’m so excited to experience this particular location.

I hope your summer (or winter, in the southern hemisphere) is going wonderfully as well.

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a free, no-strings one-hour phone or video call with me!

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The poignance of my plasma practice


This has been a challenging post to write. I’ve been dreaming it up, yet putting it off, for days. It’s after midnight now, and following another six hours of active procrastination, I’m going to take a stab at it. It feels somehow important for me to share, but also vulnerable, as well as difficult to convey. I’ve actually been thinking I’d like to write more “meaningful” posts like this, but the amount of cognitive and emotional energy they take to create (relative to journal/travelogue-style posts) is daunting, to say the least.

Anyway, here goes. This will be imperfect. That’s OK.

I’ve been selling my plasma, off and on, since February. (They call it “donating,” presumably for legal reasons, but they pay you for it, which is why most of us do it, so… it’s selling.)

Doing so has opened up many new worlds for me. Some have been painful and some have been wonderful.

To start with, I was scared. I don’t like to have needles stuck into me. And what if my body could be somehow harmed, or weakened, by doing this?

And… was this what my life had come to? Reaching the end of one’s financial rope to this point carries a certain stigma. In fact, I still remember the remark of my boyfriend of the late 1990s, commenting on the advertising choices of the plasma centers who advertised with placards inside city buses at the time: “Give red blood! Get green money!” (The ads—drawings—showed red “love hearts” next to fists holding green dollar bills.) He was making a commentary about how advertisers attempted to reach people in poverty. I remember thinking, at the time, about how desperate people must be to open up their veins for cash.

And here I am, now.

I had spent an amazing year traveling exactly as I had dreamed, around the US and Canada, by train and bicycle, seeing beautiful sights, meeting amazing people, and reveling in beautiful weather, for an entire twelve months. I financed it with my savings, with an awareness that those funds would probably only last for that one year. Before I left—and as I traveled that loop—I would sometimes say to people that I was taking a leap of faith into the unknown, and that doing so would somehow “catapult” me into whatever the next phase of my life would be. After 18 years at an unfulfilling job, I was ready to leave the 9-to-5, hopefully for good.

Upon my return to Portland last September, though, I still wasn’t entirely sure what that next phase would be. I began living as a full-time cat sitter, first for no pay but just in exchange for places to stay, and now incorporating paid sits wherever I can, to supplement the income. I’m still doing some life—and now travel—coaching, though I now often offer these for free or by donation, since I believe they are a big part of my life’s calling, and that method seems to feel better to me than the traditional pay-for-service model.

In the spring, I began tutoring English online, for Cambly, which has definitely added some stability to my income, despite its rock-bottom pay rate of $10.20 per hour. (And recently I have found that I can’t always count on calls to come in when I’m logged in. The past three weeks have been painful in that regard, with my earnings roughly two-thirds of my budgeted projections.)

I’m still receiving donations from well-wishers, whether one-time or ongoing via Patreon (huge thank you to all my Patreon supporters!) and I’m still inspired by my idea of fairy godfunding, and believe that more of that may flow my way, as I use my newfound time to practice becoming the best, healthiest version of myself, and take whatever opportunities I find to pay it forward via emotional support to people whose visions and projects inspire me. I truly believe my best and highest use of my limited life energy is to give freely of that wherever I feel called to do so, and to trust that the money I need to live will come to me in some way.

But plasma has been an important part of my financial “planning” this past winter and spring, too, and I’m coming back to it now in summer, after a brief hiatus. The special bone-strengthening gym I have begun attending costs $149 per month. That is nowhere in my current budget, so I decided to prioritize my osteoporotic bones by going back to the plasma center three or four times per month, to cover this cost.

Some of the unexpected benefits of doing so have been the beautiful parks I have found in and around the Portland suburb of Vancouver, Washington where the plasma center is situated. Just the other day, I found some breathtakingly enchanted scenery in a small, nondescript park that was barely on the map, as I pedaled past it on my way to a larger park I had chosen to explore after plasma.

Sitting on shady benches in beautiful parks like this on sunny days is one of my top priorities in life these days—which I crystallized for myself almost exactly a year ago, in Montreal on the 4th of July—so I’m always delighted when I find new local parks to enjoy.

As I continue to experience life in more and more beautiful and creative ways, I continue to lean into visual metaphors. (I hope to turn some of these into visual art soon, and I also have a dream of becoming a muse to a talented musician—ideally a progressive rock musician—who can turn some of these beautiful themes of humanity into powerful music that can reach a segment of the population. But I digress.)

One such metaphor is that of a being of love and light, reclining in the curved, contoured plasma bed (use your imagination to visualize a plush Victorian fainting couch, or something similar from a Renaissance-era painting) simply relaxing and being, without hustle or stress… while blood—the fluid from the actual, physical human heart—makes its way out of that being’s body and into a metaphorical healing pool for the human collective.

I mean… wow.

“Give red blood… get green money,” yes… but also… this. (It beats the hell out of typing up helium invoices.)

It’s all in the perspective.

One motivator for me to write this post happened the other day, as I was reclining in one of those beds.

While you’re hooked up to the machine, you have to squeeze your fist a good deal of the time, to keep the blood flowing. This can be uncomfortable, especially for someone like me with mid-length fingernails. The plasma techs often offer to bring you something to squeeze. What they give you is the cardboard core of the Ace bandage tape that they use to wrap up your elbow when you’re done. My first time, I appreciated this, but I soon discovered that after only a few minutes of squeezing, the cylinder collapses and becomes markedly less helpful and comfortable. Still, I always request one, because it’s better than going without.

When I asked for one the other day, I was amazed when the tech handed me a hand-made “deluxe” version: someone had stuffed two additional, collapsed, cardboard cores into it to provide structural integrity. (In fact, it called to mind the rebuilding of bone that I hope is happening during my OsteoStrong workouts.) In addition, they had left on a few layers of the Ace bandage, giving the whole contraption a better grip and cushion.

My mind was kind of blown.

As the plasma drained from me, and my mind grew mildly fuzzy as my blood pressure dropped slightly, I mused on this.

Someone had realized the limitations of the traditional squeeze object.

That person had taken it upon themselves to design and engineer a significantly better “product.”

Then they had taken it upon themselves to actually make one or more of these, using the materials at hand, during their incredibly minimal downtime.

The unexpected human ingenuity and kindness of it nearly made me tear up.

When another tech came by to check on me, I realized I could also put my gratitude into practice by commenting on this “product.” I told her I’d like to thank whoever made it, partly to show gratitude and partly to encourage whoever had made it to continue doing so.

The tech suggested that I take it home with me, so that I could use it again next time! (“Or you could ask the person next time to make you another one like it.”)


That never would have occurred to me, but it made perfect sense. I pocketed my new treasure at the end of the session, and used it again the next time.

But my “plasma practice” hasn’t all been rosy.

I have noticed that it has brought up a certain amount of fear and shame, too.

Fear and shame. The ever-present foes, always seeming to lurk under the surface of even the most joyful times, which most of my life is these days.

But it’s good to have opportunities to transmute them. And I have been doing so.

I have had fears of bodily harm. More than once I have felt woozy after donating. On one occasion I mentioned this to the tech when they asked how I felt at the end, and they seemed to take my comments alarmingly seriously, calling over a nurse who stayed by the bed with me for ten or fifteen minutes, taking and re-taking my vitals and showing alarm at my pulse rate and blood pressure, and then finally releasing me after making me eat a snack and drink a bottle of Gatorade, after which my vitals returned to normal.

I wondered if there was something wrong with me. Was I too small, too frail somehow…? (They check your weight ahead of time, so I wasn’t too small. But after my year of travels, a sense of diminishing physical strength had seemed to creep up on me, and a quiet sense of alarm and dread began whispering to me from the depths of my psyche. Was I somehow starting to waste away, in some kind of permanent decline?)

I had shame, too, about having “come to this.” Shouldn’t I be more successful in life? How could this be me at age 50? (My preteen self would have imagined me at this age as a successful psychotherapist in private practice.) Wasn’t my epic journey supposed to catapult me into doing something orders of magnitude more enjoyable—and laudable—than this?

The fear and the shame seemed to reach a joint climax one day in April.

I had a day to myself, and no pet care responsibilities for a few days.

I decided it was time for a conscious psychedelic experience.

I don’t use psychedelics often, but I like to use them at times for mind expansion and a sense of tuning into larger “messages.”

I had been feeling good in my life—on an upswing—and believed that this springtime psychedelic experience would be a positive one.

It turned out to be pretty challenging.

One of the phrases that began going through my head at the beginning was “human frailty.” I found this odd, but allowed myself to repeat it out loud a number of times. It didn’t feel personal; it felt like just a musing on human frailty in general. I began to feel a bit teary as the concept permeated my consciousness.

A few hours later, I found myself experiencing some mild paranoia. I paced around the room and reflected on my life. That day I was wearing the one warm sweater I had worn all winter, which had started out white and fluffy but was now showing some signs of pilling and grunginess. It had a large pocket in front where you could put a hand in each side, and touch your hands inside. As I did this, and paced in front of the bay window, I was reminded of Elton John’s haunting classic, “Madman Across the Water.” (“Get a load of him/he’s so insane … but is it in your conscience that you’re after/another glimpse of the madman across the water?/argh…”)

In my altered mental and emotional state, I wondered, Am I the madman across the water? Do the people walking on the street outside see me and think there is something wrong with me?

My train of thought continued, as my gaze fell upon the prick mark on my left ring finger where they had recently tested a sample of my blood before allowing me to donate that day.

My skin had been blemished by this practice! I then pulled up the sleeve on my right arm, to view the scab on my inner elbow.

Sadly… mournfully… I heard myself saying quietly, but aloud, “Everyone will see that I have opened up my vein… for the purpose of commerce!”

It seems comical to me from this distance… but at the time I felt so low. Such shame. How could I have opened up my vein—for others to see!—for the “purpose of commerce”??

A few days later, I had a bit of a health scare, when I started to feel very lightheaded while making dinner, and worried that I might pass out. It concerned me enough that I made an appointment to see a doctor.

I was greatly reassured when I went to the doctor and he said that my blood pressure was very low, and that was what had caused the faintness. He ordered a few tests (which came back fine) but said not to worry too much about it, but just to continue drinking plenty of water but also add salt to my diet, to make sure that the water could do its job in my body. (Dehydration can aggravate low blood pressure.) He also suggested electrolyte drinks like Gatorade, especially before and after plasma.

This doctor’s appointment gave me the opportunity to ask him about plasma donation in general, and he helped to alleviate my fears. It appeared that the main problem was my blood pressure, and he gave me the tools to address it, while reassuring me that giving plasma is a generally safe thing to do.

After that appointment—and after adding salt to my diet, and going to the bone-strengthening gym every week—I am feeling physically stronger, and that has alleviated a lot of the lurking fear I had been barely aware of, but which was affecting many areas of my life.


I also decided to confront the shame head-on.

It’s OK that this is where I’m at in my life at this time! Although my income is extremely low, I am living my life on my own terms to a degree that I have never done before, and the sense of self-actualization and empowerment that brings me is immeasurable. I feel gratitude for it multiple times a day.

I don’t know what is coming next in my life, but I’m loving every day that I bicycle around, snuggle kitties, and sit on shady benches in sunny parks. I’m having deep and meaningful conversations with people all around the world, and they reflect to me the blessing that my presence and connection provides them.

This is it. This is my dream life. And plasma is part of it, at least for now. It is a powerful practice, if I choose to allow it to be.

The weather has recently warmed up, and I’ve been choosing to allow my elbow scars to show on my bare arms. It’s nobody’s business where they come from… and, as the saying goes, it’s also none of my business what anyone else might think of me.


This afternoon, as I pedaled back to my friend Sandi’s place after plasma, the last song that popped up on my iPod—which contains seven days’ worth of music—was Madman Across the Water.

“I can see… very well…”

Thanks for reading. Thanks for following my journey—including the internal one—along with me.

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a free, no-strings one-hour phone or video call with me!

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Yamhill County is gorgeous!!


Wow. It’s been a week and a half since my last post, and a lot has happened!

I was tickled to have the chance to perform at the Alberta Rose Theater for Mortified! which was a wonderful experience. The two Saturday night shows represented the fifth and sixth time I had performed this teenage-diary material onstage, and the two audiences were amazing. The early-show folks, in particular, seemed to eat up every sentence that I, and my fellow five performers, read. It was wonderfully gratifying.

One of the other performers took a photo of us all in the green room after the shows.

That night, I stayed in SE Portland with a dear friend—having completed my grumpy-cat sit that morning, although the kitty did finally allow me to pet her during the final hour of the sit—and my friend and I had wonderful deep conversations, both in the afternoon before the show, and then into the wee hours afterward.

The following day, Sunday, another dear friend picked me up from the house—with my rig—and drove me out to our other friend’s annual outdoor strawberry party at her family’s farm in Banks, far out to the west of Portland. The party—an annual tradition for more than 15 years—had sadly been canceled the previous three years due to COVID, so it was wonderful to get back and see so many old faces, and enjoy a beautiful, perfect-weather day.

After the party, I bicycled right before sunset along a beautiful ten-mile stretch south of Banks into Forest Grove, where I stayed the night with yet another friend—who had also attended the strawberry party—and I had some nice conversation with her and her housemates before collapsing onto the couch to sleep.

Then, Monday morning, it was time for my big adventure: bicycling 25 miles south of Forest Grove to McMinnville for a two-night mini-vacation.

I had visited that charming burg more than 30 years ago, when my college friend Laurie drove us out there to Linfield College to visit her friend Tony. Having recently discovered a three-day gap in my cat sitting schedule, I decided it was well past time for me to make another visit.

The ride through rural Yamhill County—including the small towns of Gaston, Yamhill, and Carlton—was hot (87F/30C that day) but beautiful. It felt good to be back out on the road, like I was during my year of travels.

When I arrived in McMinnville in the late afternoon, I was greeted by my wonderfully warm and hospitable Warmshowers hosts, Steve and Robin. At 70 years old, Steve had bicycled the entire span of the continental United States last year, from Washington, DC to Portland. (Except for the last little stretch—he got COVID in Cascade Locks, Oregon, and sadly had to bow out at that time.) He and Robin have a beautiful house, with an amazing pollinator-friendly back yard. They showed me birds and many kinds of insects, amongst the copious honeysuckle, strawberries, lettuce, and much more.

One of the highlights of my two-night stay with them was my guest quarters: a tiny house in the back yard, complete with a composting toilet, basin sink, and outdoor shower! (And electricity and wifi!) It was one of the most charming spaces I’ve had the privilege of occupying.

Another highlight was a small-world moment, when Robin and I went to get a drink at the McMenamins Hotel Oregon downtown. We sipped our beverages on the outdoor rooftop seating area, and during our conversation, discovered that we had both been living in Canberra, Australia in 1981. What are the odds??

Steve and Robin are also vegan, and they shared some delicious homemade meals with me while I was there. It was lovely to meet them, and I even managed to introduce them to another friend of mine—and fellow strawberry-party attendee—who recently bought a house in McMinnville and is wanting to create a pollinator-friendly habitat in her own back yard.

While in McMinnville, I visited three different nature parks, and basked in the lush green that filled all of them. What a magical place.

On Wednesday, I reluctantly packed up and said goodbye, and began my 32-mile return bike trip, this time through Forest Grove all the way to the MAX light rail stop in Hillsboro. I then took the MAX train all the way into Portland, then biked the final half-hour or so to my next cat sit in the Johns Landing neighborhood of SW Portland.

That 32-mile ride back was absolutely breathtaking. All the mint-green fields (wheat, I think?) completely mesmerized me. There is nothing like that view, especially with the sunlight dancing on the fields.

In the evening I reached my new sit, and was delighted to reacquaint myself with Nala, one of the first cats I sat when I began this new lifestyle last fall. She is one of the most affectionate cats I’ve ever met, which was a nice change after the couple of cold-shoulder kitties I’ve recently cared for.

I’ll be sad to say goodbye to her again tomorrow, although I’ll be heading back to my friend Sandi’s house in north Portland, to care for her cat Lima. Lima was the very first cat I sat, upon my return last September. So, lots of things are coming full circle.

And, today I met up with a new friend, Stuart, who is a fellow car-free nomad, having recently arrived in Portland from Hawaii. After hitting up Voodoo Doughnuts, where I enjoyed my standby vegan Portland Crème filled confection, we visited the Lan Su Classical Chinese Garden, which was beautiful as usual on this summery day.

What a packed week! I’m excited for what the coming week will bring, although I also hope it will include some rest and downtime.

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a free, no-strings one-hour phone or video call with me!

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Cats, Alberta, Pedalpalooza, and Mortified!


Another week and a half has gone by! It’s feeling very summery here in Portland  (high of 90F/32C today). I am loving the sunshine, and things are getting busy here in the summer! I’m even planning to take a mini-vacation to a small town southwest of here next weekend; I’ll report on that next time.

For now, I’ve been spending my time building my bones at the OsteoStrong gym; talking to people all over the world via Cambly; watching the Japanese Netflix show Terrace House; having magical meetings with friends near and far, in person and via video chats; and sitting with more cats!

I said goodbye to the fluffy and high-spirited Laszlo on the 31st, and made my way up to NE Alberta Street to care for a mellow and incredibly affectionate fellow named Zu. I hope you’ll excuse all the photos; when I get to stay with a snugglebug like that, I soak it in! (His shy-but-adorable white-mittened neighbor, Naya, would sometimes come over around feeding time, hoping to find a stray morsel. But then she would catch a glimpse of me, and scurry out again.)

During those five days, I got to go out for several strolls along the iconic Alberta Street.

And, my next–and current–sit is actually just about a mile and a half west on Alberta as well. This kitty, named Cat, is not snuggly, unfortunately. In fact, she reminds me a lot of Libby, in both appearance and demeanor. Cat is 16 years old, but spry enough to meow, hiss, swipe, and even attempt to hold me hostage in my own (guest) bedroom! Fortunately, as with Libby, the house is plenty large and comfortable for both of us, and her people have let me know that the best way to handle her surliness is to simply avoid her as much as possible, just quietly providing food when needed.

Fair enough.

Meanwhile, Pedalpalooza—Portland’s annual 3-month summer bike festival with dozens of themed rides—happened to hold its kickoff ride in Alberta Park this year, less than ten blocks from where I was staying. I took this as a sign that I should definitely attend this year. In years past, I have tended to participate only in the World Naked Bike Ride, while intending to partake of the other rides but never following through, and then feeling slightly disappointed in myself.

This clearly was to be the year to change all of that. I had been gone—on a bike adventure, no less!—during last year’s Pedalpalooza, but now I was back, and summer was here, and the kickoff ride was practically in my backyard.

At the appointed time, I pedaled over to the park, which was teeming with cyclists arriving from all directions.

I recognized a half-dozen people I knew, all in different areas. But I felt strangely shy, and didn’t engage with any of them.

After standing around for about five minutes, it slowly dawned on me: I don’t actually enjoy group bike rides! That was why I had never been motivated to do them in years past!

I had to chuckle at how long it had taken me to realize this fact so clearly… but there it was. And my path was clear: I needed to get out of there before the ride started!

So I did. I went back to the house and sat on the porch, enjoying the warm evening.

And everyone else had an awesome time on the ride. Win-win.

Then today, a cool opportunity fell into my lap: I’m going to perform at Mortified! again.

This is a hilarious (and sometimes heartwarming) live show that has been taking place around the country—and even overseas—for more than 15 years. It is a show where adults get up on stage and read from their teenaged journals. I first performed in 2009, and had a blast. I reprised the material several years later. And now I’m going to do it for a third time! (The theater is right on Alberta as well!) I’m assuming this will be a new audience, of folks who haven’t seen me before. But even if some of them have seen me, I hope they will still enjoy it. I have attended dozens of Mortified shows over the years as an audience member, and sometimes I would get excited to see a repeat performer on the docket, if I remembered having enjoyed their reading the first time.

So… that’s my life right now! It’s awesome!

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a free, no-strings one-hour phone or video call with me!

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Cats, more cats, and the promise of summer


Wow, where has the time gone? It’s been three weeks!

I haven’t had too much to report, honestly. Life has been lovely, but mostly unremarkable. I haven’t gotten back out to do the What Is Your Dream Event… we’ll see if I pick that back up in the next few weeks. I’d need to get chairs for it again, if I were to do it in the same spot.

I’ve been attending to various medical appointments (nothing serious, but checking all systems, as it were, while I’m in Oregon and covered by my Oregon-specific health insurance.) I’ve also started rebuilding my osteoporotic bones at a bone-specific gym near here that I just discovered. Cool!

But, as always, I have taken some photos I’d like to share, so here they are. First, all the cats!

You may recall Libby, the kitty who hissed and swiped at me and had no interest in being friends. I’m sorry to report that this dynamic changed very little during the week I spent at her house. She never once let me touch her. The best she offered was—once, four or five days in—to make sure she was in my line of sight, and then flop down happily on the floor and roll on her back, about 15 feet away from me. On another occasion, on Day 6 or 7, I believe, she allowed me to get close enough to capture this photographic evidence of her dour countenance.

Such is life, eh? But the house was absolutely beautiful, and the location was wonderful.

From there I stayed with friends for a few days, one of whom lives with this chess grandmaster kitty, Cora. She was nice and snuggly, a balm for my ego after the cold war with Libby.

Then I sat for my friend Celine’s sweet and cuddly cat Moxie for a couple of days, which also was lovely (and the back yard was a garden wonderland!)

And now… I’m spending a week just off Hawthorne (perfect location!) sitting for this character, Laszlo. He is a force to be reckoned with, and often quite photogenic.

This is my favorite season. Late spring/early summer… everything is lush, bright, and full of unsullied promise. Just walking the neighborhoods feels magical.

One of my favorite recent outings was to the incredible Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. It was at its peak, and in fact I took advantage of two free-admission Mondays in a row. The first day was sunnier, the second cloudier, so I was able to get good light for the photos.

I hope you enjoy.

Meanwhile, I’ve been reveling in the richness of my life, having some magical meetings, connecting with friends, dreaming up possible future local travel for the summer, tutoring English on Cambly, and loving this weather!

I hope things are unfolding beautifully in your worlds.

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a free, no-strings one-hour phone or video call with me!

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Beautiful trip to Corvallis and surrounds


What a full week! It’s actually been more like a week and a half, I think, so there is a decent amount to report, and also more photos than usual to share. Spring is so lush and beautiful here!

I noticed a cat sit in Corvallis a week or two ago, and thought it might be the perfect opportunity for a low-cost local “vacation.” I’m so glad I did it!

I had several friends in Corvallis, and was especially looking forward to connecting with Judy and Jeff (who, as you may recall, hosted me not once but twice, starting almost two years ago.) Sadly, after I confirmed the cat sit, I learned they would be in California celebrating Judy’s birthday, so I missed them this time around.

I did meet up with two other Corvallis-connected friends, though, and also met some great new folks.

I stayed with a lovely Servas couple, Hector and Carole, who hosted me in their comfortable “garage suite” behind their house. We shared several wonderful meals, and talked about life, travel, dreams, writing, and many more topics. These are the sort of people I love to meet wherever I go!

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

On the way down, I had a wonderful train journey of about an hour and a half on the Amtrak Coast Starlight.

I had an engaging seat partner, a young man named Dylan on his first-ever train trip. Then later, in the lounge, I met a really cool young German man named Sven, who was just finishing up several cross-country train trips via his Amtrak USA Rail pass. He was heading to San Francisco for the last part of his US travels, looking for inspiration from locals to help him decide how he may next want to proceed in his life of Effective Altruism (EA). This was a new term for me, but it seems to mirror almost exactly my own life’s goal!

He really impressed me when he told me that he had arrived in the US—after having traveled around Europe for some months—via a sailing ship! I had no idea that was a thing one could do, unless one happened to be Greta Thunberg. He said the Atlantic crossing had taken about a month and a half, and he was hoping to be able to return in the same way, albeit via a different route.

I introduced him to my wonderful East Bay friends (and hosts from my year’s loop of travels) Mimi (and her partner Steven) and Thomas, who also happens to be German. The four of them ended up meeting up for a dinner to talk about EA, living car free in the US, and similar topics.

I love connecting people like that!

I disembarked the train in Albany, Oregon, and hopped on my rig for a bike ride of about an hour to Hector and Carole’s place on the east edge of Corvallis.

During my time with them, I also found a few hours to set up my What Is Your Dream/Free Listening stand downtown, along the lushly beautiful riverfront bike path.

As usual, I found that I didn’t have many people stopping, and in this case that was partly because there wasn’t much foot traffic on the path, compared to Portland’s relatively busy Eastbank Esplanade.

However, toward the end I did get two “takers.” One was a young man who skateboarded by to let me know he had an “ecological dream” of people collaborating globally—similarly to how computer programmers collaborate globally—to solve various ecological problems.

The next person was an older man who shared a variety of stories from his life, as well as some information I hadn’t known about local Oregon flora and fauna. Specifically, he told me that he kept local snakes and lizards as pets. I didn’t even know that there were lizards in western Oregon, but he said there are alligator lizards here(!) I had only known of those from the America song Ventura Highway, and assumed they only lived in southern California’s desert climate. Not so.

He also told me about a snake called a rubber boa (a boa! A boa constrictor! In Oregon!) It is a small/short snake. I had never heard of it, and was shocked to learn that it also makes its home here.

When I mentioned this new herpetological information to my friend Karen over dinner that night, she further surprised me by sharing that when she and her siblings were growing up in Corvallis in the 1970s, they also kept both rubber boas and alligator lizards as pets!

Mind. Blown.

The next day, I bicycled three easy miles over to the apartment where I would be doing my cat sit for the next three nights. The host, Courtney, met me ahead of time to show me the ropes and give me the key, so I was familiar with the cats when I arrived.

Those two cats—a tortie named Piper and one of the most beautiful, sleek black cats I’ve ever met, named LeeRoy—were two of the sweetest, most affectionate cats I have cared for. They were an absolute delight, and I felt so sad when I had to leave three days later.

But pack up and leave I did… and the journey back to Portland couldn’t have been more beautiful.

I retraced my bicycling route back to Albany, but the northbound train—which originates in Los Angeles—was running two to three hours late. So, I had plenty of time to stash the trailer at the station and take off on my bike to explore several nearby hiking and biking trails. The weather was incredible, and all the lush green of the foliage filled my senses with bliss.

With spring having arrived, I feel like my life can begin again!

(I haven’t even mentioned my Corvallis jaunts to Central and Avery Parks, which were also filled with beautiful spring trees and flowers, as these photos illustrate.)

The train ride back from Albany to Portland was pretty uneventful, but I made sure to once again enjoy my traditional Amtrak cocktail of sweet tea and vodka—paired with the café car’s vegan blue corn tamale—while taking in the Willamette Valley scenery from the observation car.

We pulled into Portland while it was still light, and I pedaled about three miles to my current cat sit, with a kitty who unfortunately is not happy with my presence. It was a bit of a rude awakening—after Piper and LeeRoy’s affections—to be met at the door with hissing and a swipe, but I’m giving her a wide berth, and crossing my fingers that at some point this coming week she will warm up to me.

Meanwhile, I began an exciting online symposium today about animal communication—perfect timing, it would seem! I’m hoping to learn from animal communicators all around the globe who are also attending.

I hope that the spring—or autumn, if you’re reading this from south of the equator—is treating you well!

Do you have your own dream or project, and would like some support or collaborative brainstorming about it? Use the green “contact” button above to schedule a free, no-strings one-hour phone or video call with me!

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Want to support my vision financially? You can make a one-time or monthly contribution, or even become a Fairy Godfunder! (Heartfelt thanks to all my patrons, contributors, and godfunders!)