All Hands on Deck

#SOL17: Gobsmacked*

#SOL17: Gobsmacked*

I could have titled this post “Learning By Happenstance,” because I happened on an announcement about a town hall regarding education cuts in Oregon and decided to go. It was an eye-opener, to say the least, especially for someone trying to make sense of a completely new education system. What I learned: Two pieces of Oregon legislation dramatically changed the course of the public schools, beginning in […]

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Discards

Discards

When I told people I was moving to Portland, OR, I received pretty consistent reactions. “Oh, I love Portland.” Or, ” Ohhhh, I have always wanted to go to Portland.” Or, “Ha— I’ve seen Portlandia. I’ve heard it’s just like that.” But it would be a mistake to reinforce the impression that PDX is an idyllic hipster haven. Yes, there are independent bookstores, coffee shops on every block, […]

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Learn. Make. Watch. Why? A Response In Two Parts

Learn. Make. Watch. Why? A Response In Two Parts

I. I’m learning that when a glorious day comes in Portland OR,  you drop everything and head outside. Saturday was one of those days: azure sky, crisp spring air, new leaves bouncing in a light breeze. Me,  I headed indoors and spent my afternoon in a dark, windowless space, staring at a screen. I had snagged one of the 20 spots in a workshop at The Northwest Film Center […]

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#SOL17: In Which I See The Obvious

#SOL17: In Which I See The Obvious

I miss my desk. I miss my books. I think I miss my books more. For two months, my things have sat in storage, waiting to be summoned to the new house. Poor house, with its listing foundation pillars and rotted sill plates, its mold-infested basement and muddy crawlspaces, its sewer conjoined illegally to the neighbors’, its cracked ductwork with traces of unmentionable inhabitants. It […]

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#SOL17: W&GOT, an Alt-LOL Exploration

#SOL17: W&GOT, an Alt-LOL Exploration

What is W&GOT? In this newly alt-world, it’s my alt-LOL; it stands for Wailing and Gnashing Of Teeth. Because in a stunning frenzy of whatever-the-f$%k-you-want-to-call-it, Betsy DeVos has made it out of committee and is headed to a confirmation vote by the full Senate. It was, by all accounts, procedural insanity at its finest. Here’s how NPR education reporter Cory Turner summed it up– apologies […]

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Action Report #5: Self-Care for the Resistance

Action Report #5: Self-Care for the Resistance

It’s been a tough week for action. My husband and I flew to our new city for an inspection on our (we hope) new house the Sunday after the Women’s March on NYC. While we were there, I learned, among other things, that it is hard to call east coast legislators from a west coast time zone– by the time I was ready to call, offices had been […]

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#SOL17: “In a house of this age….”

#SOL17: “In a house of this age….”

My husband and I spent about five hours yesterday in the inspection of a 90 year-old house, the house we are hoping to buy to begin the next part of our life adventure. If we heard it once, we heard it a dozen times: “In house of this age…”; “In a house this old….”; “It’s what you would expect in a house…” etc. The house is yellow […]

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#SOL17: Talk Less

#SOL17: Talk Less

“Talk less. Smile more….” For those of you not as obsessed with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Alexander Hamilton as I’ve been, this is the advice Aaron Burr gives Hamilton early in the play. I’m not giving anything away if I say this advice doesn’t work out so well for Burr in the end. But it is good advice for me, in this hour, on this day. Silence is a way […]

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Action Report #4: Facts Don’t Matter. Shift the Frame!

Action Report #4: Facts Don’t Matter. Shift the Frame!

The Personal, the Political The most important personal-political action I’ve taken in the past two weeks is to read George Lakoff’s Don’t Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate. Lakoff, a cognitive scientist and linguist, has spent a lifetime studying how our brains construct meaning. Lakoff argues that progressive folks keep turning to facts to argue against the swelling conservative movement and facts don’t matter. What […]

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