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okay i need to put up a new post

March 31st, 2010

we’re doing everything for the last time over here.

last time cleaning the bathroom.

last time cleaning the other bathroom.

last time taking out the trash/recycling/yard debris. (i mean — we’ll leave it all by the curb when we drive away, but i’m counting right now as the last “real” time.) (whatever. i’m not getting nostalgic about garbage over here, for cripe’s sake, i just am checking it all off on the check list in my head.)

last time i’m looking in these bathroom drawers again, i mean it. how many hairbrushes does one family need, anyway? two of us refuse to even brush our hair. (One kid/one adult. You guess who.)

i hope i remember to take my wedding dress out of the hidey-place where i stashed it in the closet.

i’m pretty sure that the people who are buying our house have found our blogs. it’s not like we’re incognito or something. how weird would that be, to you, to read what is basically the online diary of the former owner of your house? I don’t think i’d want to know. i think i’d sidestep that one and not spy on them.

i am really discombobulated because the effin’ tivo is not working and how am i supposed to record “Modern Family”? damn. the whole thing is crashed and it won’t even boot.

also, i can’t remember where half my things are. I am having one heckuva time memorizing our new address because it is Long Fancy Address. So i wrote it on my hand, and i made my daughter memorize it, so when I forget it she can tell me what it is. When you ask our son what the new address is, he sings NAH NAH NAH NAH and stuffs his fingers in his ears. When you ask him what our OLD address is he does the same thing. He is mommy’s boy.

(he and i are the ones who refuse to brush our hair.)

moving is weird.

– wm

saying “buh-bye” to North Portland, PPS Equity and Urban geedee Chickens and Their Mamas

March 28th, 2010

Steve and I are shutting down PPS Equity. You like apples? How d’ya like them apples? It has to be done, we’re moving the kids out of the district. And the Grant parents are kind of harshing what was left of my mellow, no offense to S, Carrie, Dave or Neisha.

Gotta blame it on something.

The rest of ‘em are all wah, wah, don’t shut down our school! Don’t make us go to Jefferson, it is a bad school, and only bad parents send their kids to bad schools! Etc. All over the blog. You start talking about school lunches, taxes, whatever, they’re gonna bring it back to Grant somehow.

“And if they close Grant? Where will the kids have their school lunch, huh? Huh??? And why am I paying these high taxes, anyway, if I can’t send my kid to Grant?”

They need their own blog. Maybe one of the real estate agencies would host it for ‘em. And no one on our blogs, that I can recall, has said that about bad parents/bad schools, but I’ve sure as hell heard it a bunch in private conversations. Also (my personal favorites), “You have to send them to Alameda! You can’t send them to (Beach/Vernon/Ockley/Rosa Parks/King)…” or “I don’t want them to be the only white faces in the room!” Blech. Christ. People, just don’t talk that way, you make yourselves look stupid. And country. You just sound like some assbackward country idiot when you talk that way.

When you gush on and on about how you “love the diversity!” of North and Northeast Portland, yet you don’t have any friends who don’t look eggsactly like you, white, “bright” and uptight… what’s diversity mean to you, anyhow? Just sayin’.

Also, the chatter-chatter about “paying a premium price for our house to get into a good school” reminds me of the parents who have for years been saying messed-up things like, “We can’t go to a game at Jeff, we’d get shot,” or “They should burn Jefferson down.” (My beloved Jefferson High School.) (And hello, have you heard of the KKK? Why don’t you go join up, I think you’d fit right in. Oh, great, already with Godwin’s Law? This post has hardly begun… Well, I’ll slow it down a bit.)

Here, I’ll do a question and answer with my own self, and wrap things up, how’s that? Comments will not be open, this is a one-woman show. Go get your own damn blog if you have something to say.

I love a good Wacky Mommy Q&A, don’t you? Especially when it’s about dirty sluts. Steve wrote his own post — this is just me talking here.

Q: Why can’t you just send the kids to Grant or Lincoln?
A: Cuz I’m a Senator, Madison alum. Break out the red and the blue. Shoulda Been a Demo. Break out the blue and the gold, state basketball champions, ladies and men, take that, baby. (Sorry, Dad.) (He was a Grant General, my mom, my sister and I were Senators, my dad’s bro was a Demo.) (Goddamn, people are loyal to their high schools in this town. I get that. We have lots of alums around here, going back decades. I remember my mom at one point innocently asking, Why can’t the kids go to Grant? Daddy went to Grant, and I was all, oh my GOD they can’t go to GRANT, woman!)

Q: So why can’t the kids just go to Jeff?
A: Because the out-of-control open transfer policy in this district has sent a bunch of the schools (including my own dear Madison, Jeff, Marshall and Roosevelt) into a slow and agonizing death spiral, and that is not going to turn around in time to do my own kids any good.

Q: But at least they’re doing something, right? Isn’t that what you guys wanted?
A: Too little, too late, although I do appreciate the district’s efforts. Also, I miss Terry. It is hard to fight this fight without him. And I work for the district, as you may or may not know. That makes it a tiny bit awkward, at times. Steve Buel has been asking us for years when we’re going to figure out something for the kids, for middle and high school. So we did.

Q: Where are you moving?
A: West side suburbs (not Portland), for the next 10 years, ’til the kids are out of school. Then Santa Cruz, Calif., or L.A. Or perhaps B.C., depending on who gets their way, Steve or me. (Guess who’s pushing for Hockey Land, Canada?) For your amusement, here’s this beauty, from Oct. 2007, when Steve and I first talked about moving to away from PDX and almost had to invoke Godwin’s Law when things blew up.

Q: Why the suburbs?
A: Too many white people moving in over here. And chickens. And self-proclaimed “urban pioneers.” They’re all gonna, you know, save the crackheads from themselves. Right after they evict them from their houses and “clean up the street.” They’re all gonna, you know, save the neighborhoods! Save the children! Etc. I’m always being misconstrued. People think I’m one of them. But I’m not. I’m my own girl.

Q: Aren’t the suburbs whiter than Portland?
A: Nope.

Q: Does anyone give a shit that you’re moving?
A: No, I don’t think so. That’s alright. Some reporters have wanted to interview us: Wacky Family Flees Urban Living! After Years of Accusing Others of White Flight, They Succumb! Or something, I don’t know. I’m not giving interviews — I’m referring those calls to my publicist and celebrity spokesmodel, over on the CASE website. (Communities for Alternatives to Starbase Education.) (Yes, I do have a publicist and celebrity spokesmodel. About damn time ;) Naw, they won’t want to talk about why we’re moving, but they’d love to talk with you about some more pressing issues.

Q: You want to talk about racism?
A: Sure. How about this post? I would refer you to a whole bunch of other posts, but I had to mark them private. Steve and I have put ourselves and our family out there a little too damn much over the years, and I’m tired of it. So if you’re looking for something you remember reading here and can’t find it, that’s probably why.

Q: You closing down shop here, too?
A: No. And I’m keeping my library blog up and running, too. But for this one, I want to focus on domestic issues, and book reviews. The library blog is for my students and for book lovers who may or may not be my students.

Q: Are you going to miss North Portland?
A: No, and you’ll see why here, here and here. And yes. No and yes. We’ve been here ten years, and I grew up in Northeast Portland for 18 years. And lived there for another 5 years or something, as an adult. I’m looking right now at pictures of my late, great, twin aunties, Tiny and Dell. In one, they have on freshly-pressed white pinafores, with white bows in their hair. The picture is circa 1912 or so? They’re standing on a wooden bench, looking so sweet for the camera. In the other pic, they’re wearing matching black coats with ruffled black hats, black stockings and little black boots. There is a clown doll on a chair in front of them, and Tiny is pointing to him like, What the heck?

They lived across from Peninsula Park, in those little brick apartments on the west side of the park, for years. We used to have our family picnics over there, Kentucky Fried Chicken and rolls, coleslaw and mashed potatoes. We’d admire the sunken rose gardens and play by the fountain. I have good memories of my Dad being there, being so happy hanging out with us. He worked over on Columbia Boulevard for awhile, at a place called Voit. It was a factory job, he wasn’t too happy with it, but he went, anyway. I remember cruising around the neighborhood, taking him to work or dropping him off. He and I loved the Paul Bunyan statue.

My dad’s first house, when they moved out here during World War II, was over on Stanton Street (where Emanuel Hospital is now). They tore it down, one of the times when they were tearing the neighborhood apart (to put in the freeway, the hospital, to put up the Memorial Coliseum, Lloyd Center… on and on, the tearing apart and rebuilding of North/Northeast). I remember him being bummed out that it was gone.

Both of my grandfathers worked over here — one installed draperies, the other sold paint. Before Paramount Draperies moved (it’s now a Lucky Lab brewpub), I stopped by with my kids and they gave us remnants galore. They remembered my grandpa, how professional and kind he was. When I was a kid, my dad and I went to basketball games at the University of Portland (where I also danced in many ballet recitals), and much later, when I was in high school, I used to go to dances at Jeff sometimes. We partied all over the city, Mt. Scott, North Portland, up and down 82nd, all around Lloyd Center, we were teenagers. You know. No going to the west side, though, uh-uh. We would go downtown, but that was it. Why would we go to the west side? It was all hills, and the streets didn’t make any damn sense. The streets over here? Killingsworth, Failing, Going, Haight. And numbers, that went in order — 12th, 13th, 14th… Over there? Fancy names. Lobelia, Alice, Marigold. One of my roommates said, You never see the names of any of those streets in the newspaper, associated with any crimes or anything.

I knew a bunch of kids from this neighborhood cuz in the ’70s they tried to force integration with Portland Public Schools and they bussed a lot of African-American kids from the neighborhood over to my neighborhood. I’ve written about it a lot, you can go dig through my archives if you’re interested.

As for the last ten years? My daughter was 10 months old when we moved here. This house is the only house she’s ever remembered. We brought my son home from the hospital 8 years ago next month. We have a lot of happy memories here. So yeah, I’ll miss it.

I’ll miss it a lot.

But for now? Gotta go, Spocky. I’ll catch you later. Go do some good work in the world, why don’t you? Just remember — there’s enough beans and rice to go around if you skip the cake and goodie bags. I don’t quite get the whole stripedy thing, the whole trip of hauling the entire family around on one bike, but whatever. To each his (or her) own is where I’m at right now.

Peace, love, and Bobby Sherman,

– Wacky Mommy

hello dear lovies

March 26th, 2010

we were at the beach all week! what an irresponsible girl, I should have been home packing up. thank you for the inquiries/requests/parcels of books, etc. Yes, we’re still moving, in fact, we sold our house last Friday and bought a new one today! we get the keys in a week.

Steve just wants to party and have a few drinks, but I’m making him pack up Legos and blocks right now, so let’s hope this work frenzy lasts for awhile. (kidding — he was home dealing w/ contractors, packing, cleaning, while the kids, Mom and I were at the beach. He only got to be there half the week.)

okay, gotta go Spocky, but i promise i’ll write more this weekend.

xo

wm

R.I.P. Alex Chilton

March 20th, 2010

“Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton when he comes ’round/They sing ‘I’m in love. What’s that song?/I’m in love with that song.’” — the Replacements

yeah, yeah, yeah, there goes my youth. again.

Steve, on the biggest assholes he ever did sound for: “The Replacements. No, the Del Fuegos! No, they were both assholes, it’s a tie.”

The nicest guys? “The bigger the star, the more gracious the are. Billy Bragg — super-nice guy. Nicest bloke you could ever meet. I asked him, ‘What do you want in the monitors?’ he says, ‘Just the vocals, mate!’” And all the Chicago blues guys — Willie Dixon, Koko Taylor… all good. You know, Al Collins was just always nice, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Taj Mahal, John Lee Hooker…”

You know what I want? I want to say a big f.u. to politics and I want to write again. Really write — here, and fiction, too. I’d like for someone to publish my damn book, cuz it’s good. It’s the story of a girl, and there’s a lot of suicide, not by the girl, and art, some by the girl, and some by other people, and funny situations.

“Well, that was just a situation.” — my Dear Granny, when she didn’t want to give up details

It’s not chick lit, but you’d like it anyway, ha. I want to finish my Dear Granny’s cookbook, too. I want to concentrate on my kids, and my students, my library work and the flowers and vegetables in my garden. I want to plant some asparagus and a kiwi vine at the new place.

And I want my husband getting back to music. He hasn’t played sax in I don’t even know how long. We’ll have space for a studio for him, at the new house. The piano can go in there. And we’ll have a library/studio for me. Also an office for both of us to share. And the new kitchen? Righteous. So we can cook up all the vegetables we grow in the garden.

“plant a little garden/eat a lot of peaches/try and find jesus/on your own.” — John Prine

happy first day of spring, y’all. here’s to some goodness for all of us, and some art, in the new season.

– wm

movies on parade…

March 15th, 2010

Watching this week:

We’re also watching “The Tournament” again, my second favorite hockey program (after, but of course, the Paul Newman classic “Slap Shot.”). Whew, we like hockey over here! Of course, I won’t let Steve go to any more games this season because hello, I need help packing.

We’re moving in less than a month, wish us luck.

– wm

Sunday Book Review: “Time of My Life,” “Wondrous Strange” & “Darklight”

March 14th, 2010

Reviewing this week:

I’ve been spending a lot of time at our brand-new neighborhood library with all 20,000 of its brand new books, DVDs and CDs and this makes me even more happy than you’re probably guessing. I grabbed a copy of a new book by Allison Winn Scotch (“Department of Lost and Found” was her first novel; this is her second). It’s called “Time of My Life” (Shaye Areheart Books, 2008, 286 pages, $23). I’ve had the theme to “Dirty Dancing” stuck in my head ever since I brought this book home, but that’s alright. It’s a great book — really enjoyable. Jillian Westfield, one of those mommies-who-has-it-all, doesn’t. She’s lives in the suburbs, she’s horny, her husband is out of town all the time, she’s having trouble bonding with her baby girl and she doesn’t have a boyfriend. She doesn’t have one, that is, until she goes back in time, to find herself hungover and in her ex-boyfriend’s bed.

Hmm.

Chaos and wedding planning — and the fiance is not her husband, by the way– ensues. This book is not at all what it first appears to be, and I mean that as a compliment. Now, I’m turning this post over to my kid…

“Darklight” (by Lesley Livingston, HarperTeen, 2010, $16.99, 312 pages) came in the mail as a review copy. But it was the sequel to “Wondrous Strange” (HarperTeen, 2009, $16.99, 327 pages). So, I put the first book on hold at the library and when it came in I read it.

It was a good book. It’s about a girl named Kelley Winslow, who meets this boy named Sonny and it turns out that he is a mortal trapped in a fairy world. She is… okay, that is a surprise, you’ll have to read it and see.

Well, Sonny is not trapped, but taken away by the fairies. Kelley is an actress who acts in Shakespearean plays. (They have themes about fairies and otherworldly places in Shakespeare. In the sequel, she’s acting in “Romeo and Juliet.”) In “Wondrous Strange” she is acting in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

I’ve started the sequel and am on page 45. It’s good, too. I like how they weave the fairy world and the real world together — one chapter is about Kelley and one chapter is about Sonny, it alternates. It’s kinda like “Twilight,” but with fairies, and the books are shorter. I would say these books are good for ages middle school and up. There’s a lot of cussing in there. — Wacky Girl

dirty hippies :)

March 5th, 2010

for steve, cuz home really is wherever i am with him. looks like it’s all coming together with the houses, we’re pretty thrilled.

– wm

peace PEACE peace PEACE peace RALLY, 6 p.m. March 8 at BESC

March 2nd, 2010

What better way to celebrate spring and International Women’s Day than to throw a nice little peace rally over at the Portland Public Schools World Headquarters? So my friends and I are doing that, next Monday, March 8th at 6 p.m. in beautiful North Portland, Ore., at the BESC, 501 N. Dixon (2 blocks from the east end of Broadway bridge).

My friends, and the rally’s supporters, include (but are not limited to) a bunch of exceptionally cool and smart moms and our friends (yeah, as a matter of fact, they blog, too), Jobs with Justice, Whitefeather Peace House, Students United for Nonviolence and the Oregon Peace Institute.

Also the American Friends Service Committee’s Peace Building Program is endorsing our rally.

And the vets are speaking out, too.

(Add to the list of supporters: Recruiter Watch PDX; War Resisters League, Portland Chapter; and The Military & Draft Counseling Project. And my husband, Mr. More Hockey/Less War, himself.)

Everyone? Thank you for the support, it means a whole lot to me. Dear readers, I think it’s important to have friends and allies who love peace as much as I do, y’know? You want a little speech? OK, ready? I think that peace is something that people shouldn’t just want “in theory,” I think it’s something that people should practice and fight for every day, even if it’s just a little bit. And yes, I see no small amount of irony in “fighting for peace,” i mean, how ridiculous is that? I will, though. I will fight for peace.

I will also light my candles every day for our soldiers, both abroad and at home, and pray that they come home safely. I want us all safe.

So for me, “fighting for peace” sometimes means nothing more than raising my hand and saying, Our country is at war, children should not be on military bases.

I really don’t think it’s smart for anyone to try to get between mamas and their babies. A person could get in trouble doing that. Just sayin’.

So… so, so, so. It’s not enough I’m fighting my own demons, now i’m fighting other people’s demons, too. Wacky Mommy, Super-Hero at large. Uh, yeah. What are you scared of? Don’t be scared, hon. Work it on out.

Seriously? Yes. Seriously. I am upset about Starbase, about the need to throw a little peace rally/protest, it kind of pisses me off. I think it’s nice that it will be on International Women’s Day, but that isn’t, like, a comfort to me. I think it’s bullshit that women have to keep saying, No you can’t have our sons (and daughters, nowadays, too), no you can’t have access to the children. That is the bullshit that’s been going on since time immemorial, no?

Also, I’m speaking out in honor of my late friend, Terry Olson, who was just the coolest dude; my late father, who was a big ol’ 6 foot 4 pacifist (my mom jokes that he didn’t have to fight, “He just stood up and that ended it”); and my late friend David Johnson, who signed up to be a cook in the Army and instead died being a gunner in Iraq.

God rest all three of their amazing souls.

Anyway, if you are in or near Portland, Ore., USA and would like to join us, please do. Send me an e-mail or leave a note in comments if you want more details.

Peace, always, peace, love, peace,

– WM

(For more on the military’s recruitment of our students, see this article by David Goodman in Mother Jones.)