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September 14th, 2011

9.11

September 5th, 2011

This Sunday it will be ten years since 9/11 happened. I wrote this on 9/11/2006. It’s worth a re-run. Cuz things are worse in this country now not better.

Tears.

Tears and anger. I’ll say it because a lot of people aren’t: Right now America is at war with Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. By “at war” I mean, “our country is bombing the shit out of these countries, just for the hell of it.” (video babies go boom boom boom, it’s not real, right? It’s real.) Writer and peace activist Grace Paley called it, “wars that men plan for their sons, our sons.”

We need to pull out, we need to end the wars and the bombings, and we need to work for peace. They need to stop planning wars for my children, our children.

Maybe we would have money for jobs, to build up the economy, to pay for schools, to help subsidize health care, if we weren’t spending money on a bunch of war toys, bombs and planes. Then the vets come home and they have post-traumatic stress, their health problems are out of control, and they’re committing suicide at record rates. Then the U.S. government says, PS that was a pre-existing condition, we’re not gonna pay your health insurance anymore. PS there is no GI Bill and we’re not going to help you put a down payment on a house or pay tuition for school (that is, if you’re healthy enough to be in a position to buy a house or go back to school).

PS thanks for the help, U.S. Government. Thanks for a whole fat lot of nothing. PS Wacky Mommy loves and supports our soldiers; i want them to all come back home right now. Oh, I’m sorry. I meant to say right fucking now.

If, after 9/11, we had all, as Americans, collectively grieved, buried the dead, given aid and love and support to the survivors and families, imagine (john lennon imagine, remember?) (do you remember that at all? i do), imagine that we had all said:

Enough deaths. Enough.

Imagine we had learned from the bombings and the deaths. Imagine we had never retaliated. Imagine it had all been taken to the Hague, instead, and dealt with by international authorities.

The way it stands, I feel that everyone died in vain. eyeforaneyeeyeforaneye.

And now? I can’t talk about it anymore. Cuz it takes me down, it brings on my fierce anger and my tears and I, I want to lash out, too. I can’t. I have work to do.

Peace work.

Amen.

— wm

Portland news — homeless activism

June 9th, 2011

If you’re in Portland, Oregon, check out Pitch a Tent for the Right 2 Survive.

Cuz we all have the right to survive, and be safe.

Peace.

— wm

thoughts on pulling up stakes: one year later

April 12th, 2011

So, just about a year ago we put our house on the market on a Monday. By Friday, we got an offer and that was that. Sold to a young couple from Oakland who were picky and fussy and kept bitching about this and that. Yeah, that’s precious. Have fun, kids. Maybe you should start a blog? Call it “This Old House is 100 and Fussy as Hell Just Like Us.” Put a bird on it, it’ll be fine.

The decision to sell came after years of… this and that. Go read the archives under “School Politics,” “Pets, Stupid” and “Remodelling” if you’re interested in trippin’ down Wacky Family Memory Lane.

We found a new house, it had just gone on the market that day. Made an offer, snapped it up, off we went. (Now I’m thinking we didn’t move far enough away — working on the next ten-year plan and am thinking out of state, or country, even. Really fucking sick of the rain. But it is sooooooo nice to be closer to Steve’s work.) We moved over Easter weekend and our son’s birthday, and everything for the last year has honestly been one big blur. April to April, and I realize I haven’t written much about what the transition has been like, how things are for us. Geez, I have about four readers now (hi, lovies!) so this is more of a diary entry than a blog entry, ha.

Good, is how things are. Good and good. Yeah, people drive like maniacs on the west side, but it’s “car culture” that is more L.A. than crazy-ass North Portland, so that’s alright. They mostly stop for pedestrians in cross walks. They mostly follow the rules, good enough.

Culture shock? Little to none for Steve and the kids; a whole lot for me. I’ve never really been around middle-class and upper-middle class people in my life, it was lower middle-class and poor people up until now. I have friends from grade school, high school, college, various jobs, The Internet, neighbors… so there is no shortage of socializing, if I want it. I’ve made good friends over the years, I am blessed.

I do miss my old world, but you know? I never fit in with a lot of ’em. A number of our friends had moved away, and even the ones who were still in town? Good luck finding time to see each other, especially with everyone at different schools, with different schedules, different sports teams. None of us on our block and the blocks surrounding us went to the same schools. My daughter had one buddy down the street she went to school with, that was about it.

My son is supposed to be writing an essay for school: “Tell about an experience you had visiting Portland.” I told him to write about the SWAT teams and the sharp-shooters who wouldn’t let us go home cuz there was a bad guy in our driveway, and about the pitbulls and the drunk neighbors who used to play YAHTZEE!!!!!!!!! all night long and… yeah. Portland! Wow! Portland is rilly rilly fun and put a bird on it, why doncha? Right away!

When we went to a birthday party (years ago), and all the grandparents were my age, and were making drug references that ha! ha! they were so sure that the kids weren’t getting. Yeah… that didn’t work for me. Grade school, high school, fights and messes and people burning their houses down for the insurance money and almost killing their kids in the process, and having to learn how to drive when you were 11 or 12 because if your parents were drunk, or the dad you babysat for wanted to drive you home and he was loaded, you did not want those people driving you around, fucking give me the keys and I’ll drive. “I know how! It’s OK, give me the keys. Thanks.” That was my neighborhood, growing up. Put a bird on it!

People bragging about their guns, their fucking stupid dogs and their stupid dog parks (“He is like my child!”), their wildass, tattooed, branded and pierced lifestyles. Mmmmmmmmmmmmm, how avant garde you are.

Then there’s the truly harsh stuff. The desperation that comes with poverty. The neighbors who don’t look out for each other. The sadness of realizing that no matter how much time and money we threw at the neighborhood public schools, it wasn’t going to help. All of the work we did. All of the money we raised, grants we wrote for playgrounds and everything else. Whatever.

There are a whole lot of well-to-do families in the Portland Public Schools district who count on the “generosity” (ha. a bitter, bitter ha.) of the poor kids to finance their kids’ education. Cuz if you only have so much to spread around, well. They think they deserve it all and they just fucking take it. Take it and run and say mean, crappy things like, Sucks to be you, doesn’t it, poor people? Here is what I say to them: Backstabbers.

It’s different out here, in the suburbs, miles and miles from where I grew up, from where my son spent his first eight years and my daughter spent her first ten.

It’s equitable, for the most part. The schools do their funding differently — the rich parents can’t all get together and “buy” a music teacher (or any other teacher, for that matter) cuz then… you would have the haves and the have-nots, and the rich schools would have all the goodies. Hear that, PDX? So it’s sauce for the goose/sauce for the gander, so to speak.

It’s ethnic (Oregon, overall, is white as hell, so that’s not saying much, in any part of the state), but it is diverse. There are 90 different languages spoken out here. That is a trip to me.

As far as the flora and fauna… It’s nature preserves and greenspaces and rec centers that are clean and up-to-date because people pay their taxes to keep ’em that way. And signs that say NO DOGS and when I see those signs I say, Ah, good.

So to people from that part of town who ask (snotty, always snotty), “Don’t you miss the diversity?” i say, It’s more diverse out here than in my old neighborhood.

“Oh, the ‘burbs, your nice little bubble…” (that’s another comment I hear, from time to time.) It’s not a bubble. You take your demons and your dreams wherever you go, don’t you? My writing, my kids, my lover, my gardening, my nightmares, my fears, my tears and sweat — those are with me for the rest of my life. (“You can run/but you can’t hide.” — anon.)

Radiated Japan, the wars in Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq… the embarrassment and shame I feel as an American, knowing that we’re spending billions on bombs and rockets, and cutting billions on education spending and healthcare, food stamps, pre-natal care, Planned Parenthood and… everything. Our priorities are all fucked up in this country.

That goes with me wherever I go, it haunts me. Yeah, maybe Canada, next, if they’ll have us.

My daughter left a school, started a new school, graduated from that school and started middle school. My son left one school and started at a new one. I left the school I was working at, started at a new school, started grad school, quit both. That has been a lot of upheaval and again, harder for me than for the kids.

“Flexibility is a lifeskill!” — anon.

I need to focus on the writing, the kids, Steve. We are liking it. I have my own library now; he and Wacky Girl share a music studio.

The kids both love their new schools (Steve and I do, too), they’re happy. They have music, band, art, friends whose houses they can walk to, bowling, pizza, sushi and the mall, movies and starry, starry nights, choruses of frogs… all kinds of stuff. Lego Robotics and swimming lessons and hikes where we look for mink and beavers and deer — and see them. We’ve seen deer on our street, how crazy is that? (We’re not far from the woods, any direction we go.) My daughter has started skiing and my husband has taken it up again. They love it.

Everyone out here is really, really, really into sports. Maybe it’s cuz Nike has such a big presence, who knows. We’re into hockey, swimming and nature walks, that’s about it. Ducks or Beavers, Ducks or Beavers? We’ve been asked that, I dunno, twenty times a week since we got here.

OK, Beavers it is. My son’s teacher is over the moon about it, YES!!

“It’s a different world/from where you come from…” is the song most likely to be running through my head, on any given day. I miss my friends, I miss my family, but I don’t miss all the bullshit. I don’t miss so-called friends stabbing us in the back and leaving snotty messages on the blogs, on other websites, on e-mail and voicemail. Someone actually left us a message once (the person wanted a favor, was the funny?? part), saying, You seem like the kind of Republicans who would…

Whatever. I mean, WTF? I’m Socialist, do you not get that? Marxist Feminist, thanks. But… whatever.

So. How is it out here?

Walking home from school with my son about a half hour ago, we saw a hawk, swooping and gliding and putting on a show, just for us.

It’s good.

How’s it with you?

re-reading “The Stand” on my Kindle

April 2nd, 2011

“I feel like I’m prayin’ into a dead phone, and this is a bad time for that to happen. How have I offended Thee? I’m listenin, Lord. Listenin for the still, small voice in my heart.” — Mother Abagail, “The Stand,” Stephen King

This book rocks, always, but especially now.

peace.

me

kooooooooooook fight!

April 20th, 2010

Right here. (As you may recall, I’ve been blogging about this for a little while.)

Y’know, if I wasn’t so busy helping the kids with homework, starting dinner, trying to get the rest of our house unpacked so I could get at least one of the vehicles into the damn garage… I would respond to this crap.

Instead, I think I will celebrate NAWACOTID, one day early.

Cheers!

— wm, your favorite little radical

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.)

Starbase & Portland Public Schools

February 19th, 2010

Noted anti-war activist S. Brian Willson spells out why the school board should stop selling the US military access to elementary school students.

love you, Dr. King

January 18th, 2010

we lost a blogger

January 16th, 2010

Goodbye to Molly in Haiti. Rest in peace, sweetie. Her blog is really touching — I started reading through her archives. University of Portland grad who arrived in Haiti last June. (Thanks, C, for the link.) Then i realized that all of the sweet kids in those photos are most likely gone, too, and that did me in.

peace, Haiti. so sorry about… everything.

— wm

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