I Didn’t Mean to Write About a Big-Ass Chair and Justice, But That’s What Happened

Today is Sunday, February…I have to check my watch…27th, and the sky is dim, and the air is damp, and I’m sitting criss-cross on the big-ass chair at my half-circle desk, and when I say big-ass chair I don’t mean the chair is huge, I mean the chair was designed with big asses in mind which is a nice thing to find at an antique store for $50 because when I envision the vintage days I envision slim women in tailored pencil skirts who could perch quite comfortably and with plenty of room on a soft-boiled egg. ...  read more

On Candy Canes and Existential Dread

I have a method for eating candy canes, and it’s not good but it’s mine and I’m keeping it.

Objectively, I understand the best, tidiest, most prolonged way to eat a candy cane is to start at the bottom of the shepherd’s crook–where the cane would strike the earth were it used for walking rocky hills searching for green bits and water. You cut the plastic there with scissors if you’re civilized or tear it with you’re teeth if you’re a savage and unwrap enough to suck slowly, twisting the cane in circles to create a spear. You test the point again and again until it’s a shiv, and then you stab whoever’s stupid enough to wander close even though they can see with their own eyeballs that you’re eating a candy cane. Then–and only then–you can crunch the tip between your teeth, unwrap a bit more, and begin the process anew. The tricky bit comes, as it does in life, with the change of direction. The turn. The bend.  Because the circular suck is impeded by your face. Here is where you’re allowed to veer from the Best Way and express your own creativity. Dealer’s choice. ...  read more

On Conjuring Energy From Nothing…Because Of Course. And Always.

Last night at 8:17pm, my son hollared “DAMN IT” and slammed his door. 

Right before that we replied, “Oh, no! So sorry! No. We forgot.”

And right before that he asked if we remembered the Thing He Wanted to Do which was at 7:30pm.

And right before that he said, “SHIT. I forgot the Thing I Wanted to Do at 7:30pm and now it’s 8:17 and I’m TOO LATE.” ...  read more

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