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“What Did You Learn in School Today?” Pete Seeger (Tom Paxton)

September 3rd, 2010

note to the PPS school board… Don’t Even Try to Stick It In My Eye

June 16th, 2010

“i say to my friends/
well, they can kiss my ass…”

– NWA

My kids are little taekwondo masters now, quite good. Not black belts, but they should get there within a few months, is my guess. Here’s their mantra:

“i will obey my parents, sir/
i will respect my parents, sir/
i will be faithful to my spouse, sir/
i will respect my brothers & sisters, sir/
i will be loyal to my friends, sir…”

well, that last line (all of it resonates for me, but esp. the last line, lately) just gets me. I love my friends, I love my community, and just because we had to leave North Portland, for circumstances beyond our frickin’ control, don’t think that we love Jefferson High School any less today than we did 10 years ago. (Or in my case, thirty years ago. Cuz I loved Jeff even when I was going to high school at Madison. Any time I got invited to a party or a dance with Jeff students, I’d be all, yes, yes, yes.)

So, the school board is trying to make some bad decisions right now. Really bad decisions.

But no one’s going to let them.

Remember what they say in North Portland? “Why don’t you stick it in my eye and then I’ll be able to see that you’re fucking me.” Yeah, that’s a good one. Is it already time to re-run this? Yeah. I guess it is. Again.

The End.

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

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

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.

i wrote something

January 26th, 2010

it’s over at PPS Equity.

– wm

i’m not doing a year-end retrospective

December 31st, 2009

because i don’t wanna, that’s why. start with January 2009 and read away, if you feel so inclined. I am now fighting 2 (two!) infections with 2 (two!) kinds of antibiotics because the little dose they slipped into my IV was not enough and the first round i took last weekend was not enough either. Drama queen over here, as always.

Ouchy Owie Wacky Mommy.

i will tell you that i’m excited that 2010 will be Year of the Tiger because I like tigers. Meow. Here, kitty, kitty. And that this year, finally, oh for the love of God will they ever just commit and do it, that we move to the west side. (The UrbanMamas — or as I prefer to call them, The Pioneers Who Saved the Ghetto — in unison, Oh thank God I hate that bitch.) (Honestly. Cannot believe that someone said “circle jerk” and they never pulled the comment. You kiss your babies with that mouth? hahahahaha.)

We’ll be closer to Steve’s work, we’ll get out of the asthma-fest that is North Portland and hell yeah, we won’t have to deal with the school b.s. anymore. Hell. Yes.

This will be the first time in 10 years that we have moved. That’s a lot of Legos, i’m just saying. Also, due to the fact that all four of us have too many hobbies (writing, music, gardening, art, for starters), we have a lot of junk.

So wish us luck on the whole packing thing. First up? The classroom guinea pig. We’re sending her a-packin’ next week, back to school.

thank you and good night. hope you have a grand, glorious, peaceful and healthy new year.

– wm

school politics

November 30th, 2009

Steve’s latest story, a magnum opus, no less.

Dear, dear Terry Olson, rest in peace

October 18th, 2009

Our political associate and friend Terry Olson passed away on Oct. 15th. His notice ran today. I am so sad over this. That should read, I am so sad inside of this. Terry was the coolest dude — great husband, father, grandfather, teacher, activist, dog-dad and friend. He fought cancer for so long, so hard. I have never seen anyone fight a disease the way Terry fought his.

Here is my first “real” post that I ever wrote about school politics — the inequities, the unfairness of it all, the effects of poverty as they relate to education. Honestly, I didn’t know what I was doing, I just knew I wasn’t happy with the status quo.

Terry was always quietly supportive of Steve and me. He would also bang on the table with his fists, as necessary. He loved that post, and sent me a note that said, in effect, forget about the recipes and all that, just focus on being renegade. So I did. (OK, I only wrote about food half as much after that.)

He also loved this post, and that thrilled me, that he stamped my work with a big gold star. (For the longest time, when you did a search on “wacky mommy,” Terry’s post popped up at the top of the list: “What Set Wacky Off?” haha.)

Terry was, first and foremost, an excellent teacher. I learned so much from him. (I learned to forgive people, for one thing.)

Love and peace to you, Terry. Love you. I am sorry I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to you, but I didn’t want to say goodbye. Peace to your family, besos y abrazos. You lost a great guy. I am so sorry.

ps — Terry, thanks for outing me, all those years ago, on your blog. Someone needed to do it. (hugs.)

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