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gratitude day 19: in support (again) of Occupy Portland

November 19th, 2011

grateful that no shots or tear gas was fired by Portland Police in riot gear who we saw this afternoon, just before dark fell. not saying that they’re not mixing it up as we speak, but they weren’t hurting anyone right when we saw them. we were driving home from my mom’s (Northeast Portland) back out to west side, and there they were heading east over the Burnside Bridge. a whole van of them, hanging off both sides of truck, and inside was full, too.

full riot gear. to me, they looked excited. their body language and all but how can you you tell when someone looks like this.

reminded me of the stormtroopers and made me sick to my stomach. only they’re even more suited up, nowadays.

peaceful protesters need to be left alone. we are peacefully, respectfully telling the government that the U.S. healthcare system is a mess, the banks are on the take, the schools are sinking down, we’re sick of the buy-outs (and criminals walking free who should have been jailed for their crimes), we are tired of war, and the money spent on wargames, bombs and guns.

we want the babies fed, we want to be able to get the bills paid, and we would like to go back to work, please, if only there were jobs out there for us. (jobs that pay a living wage? oh, i’m sorry, is this too much to demand? am I being too demanding? would you like to tear gas me? yeah, i bet you would.)

my note to the Portland Police in Riot Gear, and their Mayor, Sam Adams: it’s like I used to tell my old, drunk friend J when we were out at the bars: if you go out looking for a fight, you’re going to find one. you don’t need to mix it up. please just hear what we are saying, and help.

we have the right to peacefully assemble, and we do have freedom of speech.

Sam, call off your dogs.

— wacky mommy

ps silent vigil tonite at 10 p.m. in front of City Hall, Portland, Ore.

pss this good news showed up about an hour after I posted last night. and then there’s this, too. peace, nancy

gratitude day 18

November 18th, 2011

grateful for photographic and written documentation.

gratitude day 17: qotd

November 17th, 2011

grateful today for the wisdom of others.

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.” — Lin Yutang, writer and translator (1895-1976)

gratitude day 16

November 16th, 2011

I am grateful that my hissy, bitey tomcat, Baby, seems to be recuperating from the icky head wound he wound up with (wound/wound, get it?) after yet another CAT FIGHT. God he was sick.

the vet’s office called today to check on him. “How is that big, handsome boy, Baby?” me: “He’s high as a kite on the pain meds you gave him.” office lady: “Isn’t it lovely? Enjoy it!”

oh my wacky cat, I love him so. he gets to live in our room for two weeks. he is wearing one of those crazy cones around his neck.

and while i am not grateful that Panda, our one remaining hamster, died last night… I am grateful that she wasn’t in pain and miserable, in the weeks leading up to her demise.

damn pets.

— wm

Gratitude: Day 15, plus… The Tuesday Book Review: “My Name is Elizabeth!” “Motion, Magnets and More,” “Look at That Building!” and… Cookies! From Kroger’s!

November 14th, 2011

Grateful on Tuesday for things people send me in the mail.

This week I’ll be reviewing another batch of books from Kids Can Press (ages 4-7 looks like the target audience for these three titles), and reviewing a batch of cookies, too. Yes, it’s a rough life here at Wacky House, what with all the reading materials, cookies and writing. Plus, I get to do all this in my pajamas and take a nap whenever I want. #mydreamjobthankyou.

First of all: I like this publishing house. They have some great titles. (I knew this already, but they sent me an impressive catalog along with my stack of books and man. Good selection.) I want to get a copy of “Ankylosaur Attack,” by Daniel Loxton, with Jim W.W. Smith, and perhaps “Biomimicry,” by Dora Lee and Margot Thompson. (Cool things from the natural world and the human inventions that have been inspired by them.) And you know I’m crazy about anything by Melanie Watt (the Chester books, Scaredy Squirrel, etc.).

“My Name is Elizabeth!” by Annika Dunklee and Matthew Forsythe, is a sweet book about a little girl with a big personality. Elizabeth! There is a queen named after her, even. She is not Betsy. Not Liz. Not Lizzy. Not Beth. Got it? Is anyone gonna listen? The art is reminiscent of some of my favorite kids’ books from the ’60s. (Forsythe did the illustrations with pen and ink, gouache and digitally.) Fun — his work looks vintage and brand-new at the same time. The story is engaging and I loved how it clipped right along.

I’m keen on science books for kids, especially for younger kids. They crave science and often don’t get enough opportunities to do experiments at school. Adrienne Mason and Claudia Davila’s “Motion, Magnets and More” (subtitled “The Big Book of Primary Physical Science”) is a compilation of four books: “Move It!,” “Touch It!,” “Build It!” and “Change It!” Lots and lots of info on materials, mass, structures, solids/liquids/gases, and… what science book would be complete without experiments and projects. Kids can learn to make their own ice cream, paint with salt, have races with Ping Pong balls and lots more. This book will be fun for kids, parents and teachers alike.

Scot Ritchie dedicated “Look at That Building! A First Book of Structures” to his dad, “Ross Ritchie, one of Canada’s great architects.” Aww. I mean, c’mon now. Awwww… So right away that tells you two things: 1) This guy loves his dad and 2) He’s going to look at architecture through the eyes of a child. Sally, Yulee, Martin, Pedro and Nick have a project in mind: a doghouse for Sally’s dog, Max. Along the way they learn about foundations and floors, walls, beams and frames, shapes and columns and even green roofs. Instructions are included for making a “Mini Doghouse” out of craft sticks, construction paper, glue, tape and marshmallows. That brings me to treats.

BzzAgent sent us a delightful package this week. Cookies! Two boxes of them. The DVD of Harry Potter 7, Part 2, that we pre-ordered showed up today, too (under separate cover, of course). Really, this was a banner day over here. Here is our take on the cookies:
1) “Very tasty with my coffee au lait.” — me
2) “Good. Like Chips Ahoy, but not as crunchy.” — Steve
3) “They were good. Yummy!” — Wacky Girl
4) “They were so good, but kind of dry. I need more!” — Wacky Boy

So there you have it, folks.

(PS — Please see my disclaimer.)

gratitude: day 14

November 14th, 2011

Grateful today for movies, music (working on Grandma’s memoir/cookbook today, so I’m listening to her music, not mine ;), poetry and books.

How about you?

— wm

gratitude day 13: Occupy Portland

November 13th, 2011

sending gratitude and support to the Occupiers in downtown Portland. (on Facebook and Twitter too, of course.)

some of the coverage:

CBS News

Huffington Post

Christian Science Monitor


gratitude: day 12

November 12th, 2011

i’m glad for music.

“I’m glad to be back in Folsom!” — June Carter Cash, on “Folsom Prison Blues.” And she meant it.

gratitude: day 11

November 11th, 2011

Feeling a little more grateful today, especially since Steve has the day off, too. I saw that it was 11:11, and, as always, yelled, It’s 11:11 make a wish!

Steve: It’s 11:11 on 11/11/11!

Woot. So that was a very cool moment for our entire family, as we are geekier than geeky.

Grateful today for: Steve (who understands me, even as I’m being a baby and accusing him of not understanding me). The kids. Our three crazy cats. Nutella Cake (thank you Debi and Gabriele, you hazelnutty kids you), the new Rosie O’Donnell show on OWN (Phyllis Diller at 94, Mrs. Brady tells all, Debi Mazar!!! and a funny, funny interview w/ Turtle from Entourage), the weather (not too rainy, for an Oregon fall).

And last but certainly not least — I’m grateful for the Occupy movements that are happening all over the world, including our very own Portland, Oregon. To those of you who are calling names, saying that Occupy is a pack of dirty hippies, “They should get jobs! Dirty hippies!” etc. Here is my question: Do you have a job? Because I don’t. Not one that pays, anyway.

I have been the following, since 1998: unemployed, underemployed, half-time employed, on contract, and/or temp, with no benefits, or with inadequate benefits that I paid through the nose for, with a disappearing 401k that was tiny to begin with.

1998 was almost 14 years ago.

Meanwhile there are a lot of people in this country taking advantage of a bad situation, and bankrolling. In the spirit of my daughter’s first-grade teacher, they’re keeping all the Crayolas stashed in the cupboard and telling you to go buy your own. What Crayolas? We have no Crayolas here, close the cupboard! You are a loser if you can’t afford your own.

At the same time, there are a whole lot of people worse off than my family, believe me. We’re fine. Steve has a job, our medical insurance is all right (thank God, because we have chronic asthma and thyroid issues over here — no medical insurance is not an option). I didn’t “work” for years because it put us in the red, every time I did. (Paying for daycare, aftercare, beforecare.) Now that the kids are almost ready to solo… guess who’s rusty? My advice to mommies now: Don’t quit your job. Go in the red, pay for daycare, juggle your sked w/ your partner, other moms, family, roommates, whatever it takes, but don’t get off that treadmill, little hamster. Cuz once you do? Good luck getting back on.

I’m so grateful for my two kids — I love them to infinity and beyond. I don’t want them to have to make these kinds of decisions, when they’re older and perhaps having families of their own. Whose career to sacrifice. Deciding who’s got the “more important” job. Whose work is “less critical” when it comes to sick days, school holidays, spring break, etc. I don’t want them to be constantly in the red.

You want to know a secret? I like to work. I find it satisfying. I like being part of a team. I like a schedule, and wearing grown-up clothes. I really adore getting that paycheck every week or every other week or every 30 days. Whenever it shows up is fine with me. I just want it to show up.

I would like it if our country somehow found it in ’em to help pay for daycare, or subsidize it, or something, so we weren’t so desperate for a schedule, any schedule, and a fee schedule, along w/ it, that doesn’t kill us. I would like if the work of a teacher was valued in a monetary fashion. (I’ve also worked as a social worker, freelance writer/editor, and in a ton of clerical positions. Never the big bucks; once in awhile the “cool bucks” — but those don’t pay for groceries.)

I interviewed for several jobs this fall; didn’t get any offers. I actually had my hopes up for a job that was 1.5 hours a day (something, anything, to get my foot in the door). Didn’t get a call back. OK, that’s all right.

Saw the job posted again (it was actually three positions, all temp). They had reduced it to 1.2 hours per day. One point two. That’s what, an hour and 10 minutes a day? I can’t even count that low. (And it was clerical scale, so the hours weren’t the only thing low about it.) Didn’t get a call. So I remain “retired” and writing, hoping to sell some words, at least. It could happen.

Occupy, if you’re reading this? Thanks.


gratitude: day 10

November 10th, 2011

Um. Grateful that I am never ever ever again going to give Abercrombie & Fitch any more of my family’s money. Boycott is on.

Here’s to that.

And this cup of coffee.

That’s all I got, peeps.

— nancy

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