About That Shaking

Sometimes, when it’s quiet in my house, which is not very often because the dogs bark and the children bark at each other and sometimes I bark, too, but sometimes, when it’s quiet in my house–my sturdy house made of sturdy stuff–I feel a gentle shaking. I wait a minute. I pause. I assess. Is it shaking? Like, real shaking? Or am I just shaky. Like, is my bloodsugar low? Am I having an anxiety attack? And when I decide it is real shaking, as in external shaking, extrinsic shaking, objective shaking, I wonder next if it’s the Cascadia earthquake. The Big One. The 9 on the Richter Scale. ...  read more

Carey Martell Lies About and Threatens Newberg School Employees and Is Publicly Thanked by Board Chair Dave Brown

Dearest Friends,   If you follow me on the socials, you know the battle we’re fighting for integrity, transparency, and fiscal responsibility on our local school board. You also know I and the Facebook group I started, Newberg Equity in Education (NEEd), have been called a cult, a mafia, and violent mob instigators. It seems ridiculous to have to explicitly state that those are lies. Nevertheless, here we are. We are not a cult. We are not a mafia. We have never instigated a mob, violent or otherwise.   I will tell you, though, that it has been a real struggle to know when and how and whether to address the legion of false accusations. They are so ludicrous that I’d like to count on folks having common sense to see through such transparent efforts to defame individuals and our group. They are so absurd as to be laughable. And yet…AND YET, friends…if we’ve learned nothing since 2016, I HOPE we’ve learned that lies repeated often enough are accepted as truth. It’s a deceptive AND VERY EFFECTIVE tactic. We know that silence in cases of injustice benefits the oppressor. But we also don’t want to give attention to the liars, right? We don’t want to amplify their message. They can do their own work tearing us down; helping them do it seems stupid.    So that’s the struggle. That’s the push-me/pull-you of the past many months. There is one individual who’s declared himself a reliable authority (while being neither) and has spread falsehood after falsehood about NEEd, its members, and myriad engaged community members who’ve spent countless hours and days and weeks and years building up our little town. Personally? If it was just me he was slandering, I’d ignore it. I’ve been slandered publicly before. Whatever. However, it’s not just me. And he has gained a following and traction among a subset of our community. And that means there’s a group of voters who believe his rewriting of this narrative. There’s a group of voters who believe his vitriol. There’s a group of voters who believe our schools are actually under attack from our teachers, staff, and administrators who he (and folks affiliated with him) claims are “indoctrinating” our students rather than educating them, teaching our kids to subscribe to far-left, Marxist ideology rather than learning critical thinking.    And it is SO DISHEARTENING to watch the morale of the employees of our school district plummet. Everyone who knows teachers know they require an enormous amount of education to become educators themselves. They take out loans. They study. They become experts in their field because they care so deeply for our children. They take jobs where they’re likely to be grossly underpaid compared to their peers with similar levels of education. They teach in increasingly difficult circumstances with a lack of funding and now a plague. They’re overworked and underappreciated. And now, in Newberg, they’re accused of indoctrination. It’s just…stunning to watch these passionate, selfless humans being degraded day in and day out.   But the OTHER reason I’ve been reluctant to speak out against the lies has been that THERE ARE JUST SO DANG MANY OF THEM. Like, this dude writes an enormous amount of content full of a neverending cascade of misdirection and untruth, and–I mean, kudos to him–it’s truly overwhelming to know which lies to tackle while also feeding and clothing my children, running to appointments, navigating a plague, fundraising for kids in Kenya, organizing Secret Santa for the internets, promoting the NEEd clothing and supplies drive run by my friend, Tai, who’s been vilified by the dude again and again. Like… WHERE DO YOU EVEN START? Especially when I’m unwilling to give this guy any more real estate in my brain. Especially when I choose to use my time and energy for more proactive JOY-BRINGING than reactive lie-dispelling.    You hear me? It’s like trying to decide when and where and how to deep dive into a sewer to unclog the pipes. You know the crap is gonna keep piling up, but you really don’t want to submerge yourself in it with no guarantees of solving the problem.   All of which is why I was SO GRATEFUL to hear from my friend, Elaine Koskela, because Elaine, an employee of NPS, has taken the time to write an exposé on this dude which holds him accountable for a select few of his lies and unpacks his ties to our school board chair. She wrote to me, in part, “I am thankful to be working with an amazing team at Catalyst High School in Newberg. Having said that, I have never seen morale so low and do not believe I can continue working for this district if the board continues in the direction they are heading. This is true for many of us. I’m also so tired of the attacks. So I, who hate writing, have written this to try to shed light on one small area that has had a huge impact on morale in the district.” Elaine has also filed a more comprehensive version of this as a formal complaint with the Newberg school board.   If you live in the Newberg Public Schools district, I do hope you’ll read Elaine’s piece below and consider it when deciding how to vote by January 18th. And I hope, too, that you’ll VOTE YES so we can restore integrity, transparency, and fiscal responsiblity to our schools.    

With love and hope,

Carey Martell Lies About and Threatens Newberg School Employees and Is Publicly Thanked by Board Chair Dave Brown

by Elaine Koskela

I am writing this as a private citizen to share my perspective and thoughts around the Newberg School Board. These are my personal thoughts, and not as a representative of the Newberg School District.

Carey Martell, a former Newberg resident and vocal supporter of Newberg School Board members Trevor DeHart, Renee Powell, Dave Brown, and Brian Shannon, is a self-described journalist and blogger on a mission to take down anyone supporting the recall of Brown and Shannon. He has been using social media to spread conspiracy theories for months, with claims so ludicrous many have chosen to ignore him.  ...  read more

Dave Brown says “let’s just talk.” Here’s what it’s like to try.

It has been both distressing and disturbing how often in the past 6 months Newberg Public Schools have been in the local and national news. In May, a far right majority was elected to our school board. In June, they took office. Their first actions? To ban Black Lives Matter and Pride flags and to rescind the Anti-Racism Policy established by the board the year prior. When the BLM and Pride flag ban failed to pass muster as constitutional, the board majority changed it to a ban of all “political, quasi-political, and controversial” symbols other than the U.S. and Oregon flags. “Political, quasi-political, and controversial” to be defined by themselves on a case-by-case basis. That move alone cost the district tens of thousands of dollars in rescinded academic and athletic grants and attorney and lawsuit costs. ...  read more

The Longest Night

I don’t know. The older I get, the more I’m enamored with…in tune with…drawn by…the passing of the years. The impotence of the days. The importance of the seasons. Maybe this is what it is to get older. To speed up and slow down at the same time. To understand how quickly time passes and the constant of change and the way things stay immovably the same. Or maybe this is what it is to be human. Maybe this is what it is to become real like the Velveteen Rabbit, trading shiny, new make-believe for worn and weary truth but somehow, via mystery and magic as old as time, more beautiful for it. ...  read more

I Am A Balloon

I am a balloon. 

I’ve tried and tried (and tried and tried) to find words that apply in this After Time. Which is to say, I’ve tried and tried (and tried and tried) to find words that apply to this Life. The era in which I exist is just a conceit. An important one, I think, for the After Times is an era of chaos and uncertainty and triumph and tragedy and looking for the helpers and being disappointed and uplifted, sometimes at the same time, but a conceit nevertheless because if we were honest we’d just admit Life has always been thus and thus will always be.  ...  read more

How I Give Them Up: Why I’m Not Keeping the Kittens

OK, one thousand people have asked me if I’m adopting any of the Q or L or Weed kittens. Or the mamas. Are you adopting the mamas? PLEASE ADOPT THE MAMAS. And my answer is no. BUT WAIT. Pull up a chair for a minute and let me tell you why.

Once upon a time, I fostered Golden Retriever rescues. I will do that again someday when I’m off the kitten bent. And it was Very Hard giving them up to their furever families. Very, Very Hard. But the Hardest of All was Nikki. ...  read more

Free Parenting Advice (I know. I know. But hear me out.)

FREE PARENTING ADVICE:

(I know. I know. But hear me out.)

Perhaps the Single Most Important Thing I’ve learned about parenting in my 23 years working this shtick is HOLD YOUR PARENTING STYLE LOOSELY. Try something. If it works, FANTASTIC. Pat yourself on the back. Give yourself a high five. Because Things That Work don’t come along every day, and also Things That Work morph like gremlins in water to Things That Definitely DO NOT Work faster than a toddler to the cat box. Faster than a baby to a knife. Faster than a teenager to I Was Only Going to Light Off ONE Firework in My Hand. 🙄 FAST, in other words. Lightning, friends. ...  read more