Thoughts on Roe v. Wade Overturn

Dear women of the US,

We have every right to be angry – every shred of anger, disgust, betrayal… all of it, is valid and justified. 

Yes, SCOTUS has done their thing. Women’s bodily autonomy has never been widely practiced nor guaranteed – our government forced sterilization for a long time with Indian women and girls. Trans and gay women have long suffered in our country. Systemic poverty has denied women of color healthcare and childcare for generations. There are many examples – and I will say that I am less surprised that our government made it “official” that women lose bodily autonomy rather than guarantee it. 

As we embark on our fight – please continue to learn how the loss of bodily autonomy and the government has oppressed women long before (and now after) Roe v. Wade and help fight that fight too. It doesn’t stop at healthcare – it reaches across images in the media, fashion, product design, marketing and countless other places. When it comes to our bodies our government and society has told us how we are supposed to see it, think about it, present it, dress it, feed it, move it, clean it, take care of it, pleasure it, love it, see it, talk about it, and feed it. Its been long that time women decide to own our bodies and make choices for (and only for) ourselves. Make this your fight and ours too. 

As you express  yourselves on social media and in conversations I invite you to keep going…

  • Challenge status quo (hint: “just because” is a terrible answer) and push back.
  • Ask about policies and laws that determine things about bodies (i.e. dresscodes, schedules, pain medication…) and work to change them. 
  • Go slow and be deliberate with your actions – pick one or two things at a time and work them all the way through. 
  • Remember that we’re challenging a design that was created for this – redesigning and changing it won’t be easy. As we win, we will fail many times along the way but the momentum will be there. That’s really going to piss ‘em off.

I have confidence that the Patriarchy’s time is up and that we, the women and our allies of 2022 and beyond will come together, figure out how to beat it and bring it down.

Pride Events and the Stakes.

In Keizer, the organizers of their Pride event called it off (and rightfully so!) because the pastor of The River Church who hosted the Reawaken America tour earlier this summer at Volcano’s Stadium attended a prayer breakfast with the mayor a several weeks later. Redmond, OR refused to host the event — but Keizer welcomed them. Idaho seems pretty far away (it isn’t, you can get there in 7 hours, maybe less) – but Keizer is just a few blocks from us. When the mayor, who oversees the chief of police, who did NOTHING at the Reawaken America tour except keep the hate safe – I honestly don’t blame Keizer Pride for cancelling – and I wish more people took these kindof ties and actions by civic leaders more seriously.

Here’s the stakes Pride Organizers are up against – Saturday June 11th, 2022, Coeur D’Alane police arrested all 31 people in a box truck who were heading to the town’s pride event. The people in the van were all part of a hate group who had planned to riot downtown during a Pride Event. Had someone at a hotel who saw them all piling into the truck the police wouldn’t have been tipped off. The 31 people were uniformed, organized and armed and ready and came from multiple states. Props to the Coeur D’Alane police for responding and arresting – and not using the “free speech” or the “we can’t do anything until someone gets hurt” excuses.

I don’t feel confident that the Keizer Police would’ve arrested a van of 31 people w/ riot gear. I don’t necessarially feel like the Salem Police would either (based on their actions during the BLM protests – a whole other topic).

The Keizer police, who’s chief reports to the mayor, who invites a local pastor to a prayer breakfast WHO INVITES a rally (that only a stadium can hold) of hate w/ advertised speakers Mike Flynn, Mike Lindell, and one of Trump’s kids. Redmond had the sense to say no – why didn’t Keizer? Its hard for me to believe that Keizer police will be led to keep its citizens safe when their leaders are interested in keeping hate safe.

Citizens Presented with False Choice over Incinerator Plant or Landfill.

SJ Article

Let me outline this.

Marion Co’s household garbage gets trucked to an incinerator plant and burned. The heat from that fire boils water and that steam is turned into power that the plant sells. It burns everything and carbon is emitted. The plant argues that the percentage of carbon emitted from the burning is miniscule compared to what rotting garbage in a landfill would cause. Less space in a landfill, energy created.

If the waste isn’t burned and the incinerator plant isn’t used – then the space of our waste in a landfill is gigantic, no energy is created and carbon is still produced from the decomposition of the waste. We’ll have to create more landfills and we’ll be overrun with garbage with no place to go.

The incinerator plant is wants renewable energy status for the incentives.

We are being presented with a false choice — it really doesn’t boil down to if we want a landfill or an incinerator plant — the choice that we have to make is if we want to continue to consume w/out any regard to the waste it produces and let someone else deal with the problem OR if we want to change the way we consume and take responsibility for our ability to produce less waste so we aren’t faced with the problem or how we dispose of it. Trash isn’t a renewable energy source – it is something that people willingly create. That’s our choice.

Salem Keizer School Board Members Dissapoint with Equity Lense they Never Seem to Use.

Statesman Journal Article

Marty Heyen, the chairmwoman of the Salem Keizer School District Board expressed sadness over the students volunteering their testimony of examples when they have felt the district’s equity lense is bullshit (that’s my word – all the children and young adults who stood up were incredibly well spoken). Heyen stated that the board doesn’t get involved with behaviors and disciplinary actions – that the board is meant to set direction for the district and try to lead by example.

Here’s the example that Heyen set for the students who testified at the last school board meeting – she said that they need to report the problems immediately to their principal and that, “reporting it a year or more later doesn’t help resolve the issue.

The time has come for victims to stop being condemned for not reporting when it happened. There are many reasons why people wait, and they are almost alwasy met with blame and counter-accusations by the same people they hope will help them.

I’m proud of the students and parents who stood up at the meeting and testified. I wasn’t there, but I did watch the video of the meeting. Unfortunately – some of those elected on our school board will have responses like Heyen’s – where they blame and then counter accuse. It is none of these children’s fault and the actions they took in reporting are not up for judgement.

These problems are the school district’s fault and thus it is the school board’s fault. Lead by example – an example of community service with a passion for making our community better for everyone. Pay special attention to the problems you don’t quite understand – and then learn from them. Work especially hard to solve problems that are experienced by others who are different from you.

Thank you to the people who testified. They are brave in coming forward and for setting a good example for their peers – so that others may become brave enough to come forward (on their own timeline, not anyone else’s).


Daisy Jones & The Six — Review

“Art doesn’t owe anything to anyone.”


Daisy Jones & The Six was a nice inside look into what it takes for a band to be successful – the personal dynamics, the technical aspect, recording – I appreciated that and felt like I learned some. The story is fictional but feels well researched. There seemed to be a lot of parallels between the DJ6 album and Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors.
DJ6 is brutally honest about how hard love is and that keeping it going depends on choices made along the way and forgiveness. A favorite passage – one that I marked to refer back to for writing this review – was something that Daisy said, “ And Billy saw me the way I wanted to be seen. There is nothing more powerful than that. I really believe that. Everybody wants somebody holding up the right mirror.”
The seven people in DJ6 get their mirrors shattered and stop trying who they think they should be, who they think everyone wants them to be – and learns to live for what/who they want to be. This theme has been done before many, many times – even in the context of a rock n roll band – but Reid did in a unique and genuine way by telling it through interview excerpts that were being used for a tell-all book (not yet published) that it WORKED. It was a fresh way to take in a story – I understand why it was a hot book of the summer.

Shrill – Thoughts of mine after watching Hulu’s first episode of the show based loosely on Lindy Wests’ book

I just watched the first episode of Shrill – Hulu’s produced show based (loosely) on Lindy Wests’ book and I cried. Nothing was really that sad – although it all was – because just in the first episode it took almost every self-hating, loathing thing that I’ve been taught to feel towards myself and showed it to me.

So much of what women feel about themselves is influenced by commercialism. People make a lot money making fat people willing to buy products they believe will make them lose weight (but won’t). Models of cute clothes are only shown on skinny women when in actuality those same clothes would look just as cute on plus sized women. It pains me to type plus size. I’m a size. We are all a size. Plus this. Plus that. Fuck plus.

The costume designer for the show, Amanda Needham, had to make many of Aidy Bryant’s clothes from scratch because, “once you get to a certain size, people kidnof want you to disappear.” Needham had to make cute clothes for Bryant (who in real life is a size 18) because they simply did not exist. A pipe dream of mine has been to own a clothing store called “Finally” that specializes in cute and adorable plus-sized clothes. I no longer wish to own a retail store – but I wish there was a store that sold cute clothes for sizes about 14. Better yet – I wish that stores would just sell clothes and not separate sections into misses and plus (now they call it women’s). Just call them clothes!

The lesson here is to be comfortable with ourselves and who we are, and not what other people think of us. The only person that I have to please is me – I want to be a great mom who teachers her boys to love life and other people, I want to be a good partner to my husband and I want to be a positive member of my community who helps make it better. NONE of those things need to be within a certain dress size in order to happen. I know I am these things no matter what size my pants are.

Waste Matters.

I was on the radio today – a 30 minute show called “Waste Matters” hosted by Marion County Public works. I was on with a co-worker, Rob, and we talked about Marion Polk Food Share’s mission and how we work it while paying mind to the greenest practices we can and minimize waste. I learned there are different tiers to waste – 1200px-waste_hierarchy.svg

I work at the top of this pyramid- to prevent and minimize. We take our meal counts really seriously and strive to have as few meals left over at distribution as possible. Food waste doesn’t go into the dumpster, it gets fed to pigs thanks to a farmer who’s willing to come pick up the scraps. Finally – energy recovery… our plastic trays (which used to be recyclable but not anymore) are being switched to fiber based ones that will compost rather than fill up a land fill. We use tableware instead of paper plates – dishes, silverware and glasses are washed and ready for next use.

I was honored to be on the show – I’ve never viewed my work much through the lens of waste reduction and now I’m excited to see my work in a new way.

Here’s a link to the show – it will be available on Friday January 11th.

Mel on Waste Matters

Temperance Creek, by Pamela Royes (Review)

Nearly 13 years ago my husband I and spent part of our honeymoon camping trip to Wallowas, Eagle Cap, Imnaha Valley and Hells Canyon. There’s something unique and special there and I couldn’t ever describe it in a way that did it justice – that turned out to be Royes’ job. She describes the land in a way that engages all 5 of your senses – just like you’re there. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I reached for the cider jug too (you’ll know EXACTLY what I mean when you read Temperance Creek).  Two things about her book have had immediate effect on my life – I made a batch of sourdough starter and I regularly order a biscuit with “a tidal wave of butter and jam” in restaurants. I also mentally checked out of my livingroom each time I sat to read leaving my husband and 2 boys to fend for themselves – I was busy herding sheep with Pam and Skip.

Royes’ memoir is about her life as she trusted herself, the land to provide, the people around her (or wisely not trusting them in some cases) and accepting that life is a journey. Her life was a result of her willingness to make decisions about what felt right, listening to her heart and then forging forth accepting the good with the bad in the scope of the bigger picture. It blew me away.  Royes’ knew she was bucking against her upbringing, her faith and maybe her better judgment – but she wanted what she wanted (Skip) and went for it. When it got tough, she hung in there knowing not everything always goes the way you want it – but you can decide in large what you want and accept the pitfalls along the way. She tells of an observation that Skip made early on in their relationship – that with all the interrupted time they’ve spent together – no distractions like phones, cars or job – their relationship is further along than most. That’s compelling – that people who are together and depending on each other nonstop for basic needs and survival (honestly – it was that dire in some cases in their life in the canyon) form a life lasting bond in a rather short period of time. Perhaps that rang a little bit also in when Skip talks about his service in Vietnam and some of the men he was with, I know I’ve heard my dad say similar things about the men he was with there.

Temperance Creek is also about how people, animals and land work together. There’s obvious gripes in here about government land management and I briefly (very briefly) thought maybe there was some insight here into why the Bundy’s helped organize a standoff with federal lands in Southern Oregon. After all, some of Pam and Skip’s friend’s lost their lifestyle because of government land leases and regulations. I’ll just say that the Bundy’s made poor choices how to handle it – no need to get into Malheur here.

What makes Royes’ memoir special and unique is that while her journey and life in the canyon with Skip was an amazing adventure – it is her and Skip’ spirit, not the land, that makes everything special.

Sourdough Starting.

I’m reading Temperance Creek by Pamela Royes, and nearly every breakfast in that book involves sourdough starter – pancakes or biscuits with “tidal waves of butter and jam.” I can’t handle it!

When I was 19 and living back at home with my dad after mom passed away and figuring out what to do with myself (spoiler alert: I didn’t figure that out until about 27) I met a boyfriend’s grandpa who gave me his wife’s 1962 Better Homes and Garden cookbook. I still use the cookbook today. I even crossed paths with him many years post-breakdup and he asked it I still had it and he wanted it back. I told him I’d drop it off at his mom’s house before I left town but I didn’t. In the book was a handwritten sourdough starter recipe. I tried it but never kept it going, plus I didn’t really have access or time enough with a kitchen to nourish it. Royes describes a relationship of patience and trust that has to evolve between the baker and the starter. Ok. Sounds a bit romantic but I’m in search of a new hobby and OMG I love fresh baked bread, especially sourdough. Don’t think I kept the book because I wanted to keep the sourdough starter recipe – I kept it because I didn’t want to give the book back back, and I didn’t want to endure the conversation of telling him I was keeping it. This guy wasn’t my friend anymore – I didn’t owe him anything.

Tonight, at 7:48pm on Saturday October 21, 2017 I started the starter again. Lets see what happens – if it goes well I’ll be sure to tell everyone about it. If it doesn’t, honestly, you’ll probably never hear me bring it up again. It’ll be an adventure.

I’m about halfway through Temperance Creek and its something special. I love Oregon history and this book is plenty of that (Nez Perce and Basque) and its and outdoor adventure story set in Eastern Oregon Hells Canyon, Eagle Cap Wilderness and Wallowas. I’ll review it here when I’m done.

Life is a garden, dig it!

Highland gardens

The Highland Community Garden is on a great plot along Hazel Ave, NE — just blocks from our house. Please join me,  my neighbors, in helping MPFS rebuild and design a garden that will be unique to the Highland Neighborhood. We’ve got an opportunity to start fresh and build something new – don’t miss out! Its important to MPFS that community gardens be special to the neighborhood they are in and serve the area’s individual needs. Be a part of something beautiful and long-lasting!