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meet-up was fun

January 26th, 2008

We met, we hung out, admired the kids, Lelo’s cool aprons (skulls and pom-poms and flames), Melissa’s cool books (her name is on the cover)… it was great. I want to do it again soon. Some very awesome people showed up and we had some good talk-talk. The revolution will not be televised, Gil Scott-Heron was right about that, but it is coming over the Internet.

Then I got take-out, came home, had the house to myself for a couple hours (whoa), TOOK A HUGE NAP, then woke up to my husband saying those magic words: “Dinner is ready.”

Now we’re watching the original “Parent Trap,” I’m knitting little snugglies for both kids, and we’re just kickin’ it.

This is my idea of a perfect day.

Meet-Up Tomorrow… Don’t Forget!

January 25th, 2008



Don’t forget our “meet and greet” tomorrow SATURDAY JANUARY 26TH!!!, from 10 a.m.-noon at Ladybug Organic Coffee Company, 8438 N. Lombard St., here in bee-yoo-ti-ful Portland, Oregon.

Lelo is bringing aprons to sell; Melissa will sign and sell books; I have a case of kids’ books to give away FREE; and… we will drink coffee.

Hope to see you then.


ps — wondering how Lelo made those cool signs? RedKid.net is how.

UrbanMamas, I apologize (sorta) for calling you names.

January 24th, 2008

UrbanMamas, I’m sorry I called you a bunch of pussies and bitches. Also, since I posted that, we’ve decided not to move across town, so here I am, baby.

What I meant to say was the following: By transferring your kids hither and yon to go to school, you are being socially regressive. Also, you’re not expressing with your full capabilities. I heard from ProtestMama that you’re having a panel discussion about school choice options. Neither of us was invited to be on the panel, oddly enough. That’s fine, I get ya. I am working for Portland Public Schools now, doing community outreach, and I’ve heard you don’t really want to have PPS on the panel. ProtestMama does not work for PPS, she just knows her shit, but whatever. I’m sure you had your reasons. But you are saying that parents and others in the audience will be able to add their two cents.

I’ll probably add four cents, possibly nine cents, we’ll have to see. ProtestMama and I are planning to attend, if we can make it. Which brings me to my first question: Are we welcome at the table? Uh, no. Are we welcome in the room? I hope so. You have indicated that we are welcome, it is a public meeting and all.

Anyway. The discussion will be held at noon, next Wednesday, January 30th, 2008, in the U.S. Bank Meeting Room at Multnomah County Library’s Central branch, 801 SW Tenth Ave. My second question: We both do work outside of the home, as do many other mamas. Why noon? On a weekday? Ah, catering to the stripedy crowd, with their cunning hats and their stay-at-home UrbanMamas? Is that it? I would suggest holding another discussion, in the evening, and not downtown.

What would I like? I would like you all to please support your neighborhood schools, walk through the doors, tour them, give ’em a couple of years and a chance before deciding to transfer out (and I hope you do not transfer out, I hope you invest in your neighborhood schools). I want you to meet the teachers, administrators and staff. I want you to volunteer, so you get a true idea of what the school is about.

But most of all: I want you to please help us fight for equity for all of our students. If you want to know how you can help, go leave a note on my better half’s blog or e-mail one of us. A whole lot of us want equity for PPS students. You can start now, right this second, by e-mailing the school board, the superintendent, your neighborhood school’s principal. You can talk to your friends.

I thought it was telling that the little picture on the announcement for the panel discussion shows two suburban-looking ladies, gabbing at the back fence. Those “back fence deals,” (Should we fly? Should we stay?) those deals make and break our schools. Birds of a feather flock together and all that.

I started getting pretty involved in school politics the day I had two PTA moms, both white, in my home office. We were going over the books, figuring out fundraisers for the year. My daughter was entering kindergarten. They had older boys who were going into sixth grade, and both had decided to send them to a west side school, across town (loooooong train or bus ride) because they “couldn’t” go their neighborhood school.

“We’d be in the minority there!” one of them said.

“I know!” said the other.

My response: “I don’t give a shit about that — why do you?”

Blank stares. Blank. As blank and one-dimensional as those two women in the little picture on that post you ran.

“If we stayed, I mean, if we all stayed, we could make it better,” one of them ventured.

But they didn’t.

Did you know kids who transfer out of their neighborhood school are more likely to drop out? Feel like fishes out of water? Feel unwanted, and out of place, when the students who “belong” there let them know, You are not from our neighborhood?


I have the good fortune (or in her case, she might see it as bad luck. Ha.) to have a friend who is also a mom in the neighborhood. I’ve known her and her husband for more than twenty years. They’re not right in our neighborhood — they’re up the street a ways. But their kids dip in over here for a charter. The point is — we’ve been having some good discussions about what it will take, what PPS needs to commit to, what parents and community need to commit to, what changes need to be made in order to get people back to their neighborhood schools. To end the segregation in this town, the starving out of low-income children and children who are not white, to get as many of the goodies to as many people as possible. Complicating factors: The district’s radical open transfer policy. No Child Left Behind (will the Democrats rid us of this crippling legislation, if they get into office? I remain unconvinced). Classism. Racism.

She is going to start, in her own life, by volunteering at our neighborhood high school, Jefferson. Go, Demos!

I’ve finally started telling a Certain Group of Parents — let’s call them the, “We Are the World/We Are the Parents!” parents — that they are working against the greater common good by taking their little sweeties out of their own communities, where they live and (possibly? not often enough) play. The social fabric of our larger community is being damaged by all this me, me, me attitude. When you make sure your kid is getting a big enough hunk of whatever, and helping to ensure that other kids get a small hunk, or no hunk at all — you’re hurting kids.

I noticed this syndrome first at birthday parties, right around the time Wacky Girl turned nine months old. The chaos! The fancy cakes! The bounce houses, cotton candy machines, expensive, elaborate decorations and gifts. The kids, once they got a little older, weren’t as intent on playing and socializing as they were on something bigger: The Goody Bag. When would it come out? Where was it hidden? What did it contain? What if the parent forget to give them out???

If you are a parent who does not Give the Goody Bag, you feel shame. (I have been guilty, myself, of Goody Bag Overcompensation.)

Life, thank God, is not a birthday party. Education is not a birthday party, although it has become, as one of our local principals said, “A case of the haves and the have-nots.”

It’s about more than cake and goody bags. We’re talking about people’s futures, their healthcare, their livelihoods. Their self-esteem, the way they find (or don’t find) a place to fit in in the universe. It is important to me that we help our kids, our future, our collective national pride, that we help them however we can so they do not end up:

1) Shattered.
2) Addicted.
3) Abused.
4) Incarcerated.
5) Dead.

That’s important to me, for our children. They are our children, not just mine and hers and his and yours. Ours. I claim them. Do you? Because if you don’t, for real — and all you’re caring about is that goody bag and hunk of cake — you are a pussy.

Peace, yours in equity,


Thursday Thirteen Ed. #129: Thirteen Things I Have Used as Security Blankets Over the Years

January 23rd, 2008

Dear, dear neglected Thursday Thirteeners and All You Usual Suspects,

What’s going on? Should I dare to try to write a Thursday 13 list, even though I don’t have a brain in my head? (Long month. New job. Much going on with piano lessons, Girl Scouts, swimming and etc. Plus it’s cold. I am shivering. Too many excuses, sorry.) I say yes.

Thirteen Things I Have Used as Security Blankets Over the Years: (more…)

hello, you foodies. Debi Mazar and her guy, Gabriele Corcos, love to cook.

January 23rd, 2008

Do you love Debi Mazar? I do. I’ve loved her since waaaaaaaaaaaay back when she did Madonna’s make-up (how do I happen to know this little tidbit, about her humble beginnings? Why did that alert me to who Ms. Mazar was? I have no idea), before Entourage, before Civil Wars, before Spike Lee. I love that girl. She and her husband, Gabriele Corcos, love to cook. You’ll find them at Under the Tuscan Gun

They’re adorable.

Bon appetit!



January 23rd, 2008

“The soul should always stand ajar, ready to welcome the ecstatic experience.”

— Emily Dickinson, poet (1830-1886)

Dear Internets,

I wish I had time to blog. What’s new with you? Later, gator.


ps don’t forget our PDX meet-up with Lelo in NoPo, Melissa Lion at me meet-up, this Saturday at Ladybug, 10 a.m.

Happy Birthday, Dr. King

January 21st, 2008

My political ally J just sent along this note:

Excerpt from “Letter from Birmingham Jail”:

“In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self-purification; and direct action.”

Let us honor Dr. King’s memory by staying the course.

(And the story I referred to here came from The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr. )


January 21st, 2008

Mallory in the Middle rated me excellent. How sweet is that? Thank you, Ms. Mallory. May you blog long and prosper. Now I’m supposed to cut and paste the little icon, which I don’t know how to do, and award some other bloggers.

I say… I need to think this one over for a little bit, cuz there are a lot of bloggers I am cuckoo-crazeee for.


Ladybug Meet n Greet, with North Portland Bloggers… Melissa Lion, Blogger to the Stars; the whimsical, political and crafty Lelo in NoPo; and Wacky Mommy, Your Go-To Girl

January 20th, 2008

Do you want to meet the extremely sassy Melissa Lion, the inimitable Lelo in NoPo and me in person? I know you do. Lelo in NoPo, if you don’t read her blog, is this extremely awesome cook, gardener and apron-maker who also kicks major political ass in lobbying for gay rights. (Equals “equal rights.” Equal rights = good. Just in case any of you out there were wondering.) She is currently undergoing a reinvention and practicing her Spanish. And she, her girlfriend and cats are pretty cute.

And if you don’t know who Melissa is (fiction & freelance writer, blogger at large, cheerleader for North Portland who pretty much singlehandedly convinced us not to move to Beaverton damn this sentence is long), anyway. She’s great. Also her Steve and kid are pretty cute.

Go look at her blog — she’s just as adorable in person. Plus extremely funny and nice and is helping me with my remedial knitting.

(Also, those of you in North/Northeast Portland who knit? We’re hoping to get a knitting circle going at Jefferson High School. If you’re interested, send me an e-mail. The kids want to learn to knit! Who knew. And by the way, did you know there is no Home Ec. — now called Independent Living — or Shop offered at the school? Don’t you think you should e-mail the PPS school board and tell them we need these classes back again? E-mail the super, too.)

Enough school talk; more about us. If you’re in or near Portland, Oregon, here is your chance to have coffee, just like we bloggers are so fond of doing and hang out with us. We’re holding what is known in political circles as a “meet and greet,” this coming Saturday, Jan. 26th, from 10 a.m.-noon at Ladybug Organic Coffee Company, 8438 N. Lombard St.

Lelo is bringing a fresh stack of aprons to sell; Melissa will sell books and sign ’em, too; I have a case of kids’ books to give away FREE; we will drink coffee; we will answer all your questions, as in: Why do you think you’re so hot? Do you ever stop talking politics? Who does your hair? Is it too early to plant my garden? etc.

Kids, partners, parents and neighbors welcome, natch. Bring your checkbooks and/or cash — we like money. But if you don’t have any, stop by anyway. Looking forward to meeting y’all.

See you then!


Reading List for Kids (and Babies, Too!)

January 20th, 2008

Have I ever run this reading list before? (If I did, I can’t find it on my site.) I love it. Friends shared it when Wacky Girl was a baby — I printed it out and for years carried it in our library bag for our weekly trips to story time.



The following is a list of books for kids that we really enjoyed. (more…)

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