Tag Archives: Melissa Favara

What better time of year for us to list our ‘grateful

melissafavaralogoweb by Melissa Favara, Contributing Columnist

So, we had a spontaneous deep bedroom cleaning today. We sorted clothes for Goodwill and hand-me-downs for little Maret down the street; we excavated year-old New Yorkers and dust cattle from beneath our bed; we even found a dusty pacifier down there — as our Ramona, the owner of the pacifier is now six, that’s evidence that we were in sore need of a clean. We got so enthusiastic that we skipped lunch, and then Ramona turned into the Tasmanian Devil and tried my patience by hurling clean laundry all over her bedroom floor and I almost wanted to strangle her.

I am grateful that I have a partner in this project who tagged me out, stepped in, and made the kid a waffle while I turned down my internal temperature enough to prevail over my temper. In fact, this Thanksgiving week, I am mightily grateful that Marshall — Number One Dad — and I have each other to compensate for our deficits. Continue reading

Making discoveries and rediscoveries all over again

By Melissa Favara, Contributing Columnist

Forty-five minutes into the English Department subcommittee meeting on drafting a grading rubric for the English 101 final essay assignment, I folded up my notebook and made an announcement to my colleagues: “I’m sorry, but I have to go paint a ceramic owl.”

My colleagues on this committee are all non-breeders; most are younger than me and have great shoes, hip eyewear and are lovely people. They were accepting, if disappointed in my bailing early. I shrugged and said simply, “I chose to reproduce.” Continue reading

The kindness of strangers, and the wisdom of a child

It’s been a weird few weeks. Starting with a raccoon and ending with Peter Pan, Ramona and I have been plugged into the karmic wheel from every angle — and it’s been quite a ride.

It all started with a trip to the in-laws’ in Ashland. A fine Sunday night walk before Labor Day, the fading blue moon over the great trees in the pioneer cemetery on East Main Street that turned dark when a raccoon leapt out of the bushes and charged Vera, our dog. Ramona screamed, my husband tried to pull the leash away and succeeded in slipping the dog’s collar off and landing on his own tail in the shrubs while the raccoon jumped, clawing and snapping, on Vera’s back. My father-in-law shouted, the dog cried, and just then, an SUV screeched to the curb. Continue reading

Neither too big nor too small, this family is just right

Neither too big nor too small, this family is just right.

I don’t remember where I read it, but I recently encountered an article that discussed a new and disturbing phenomenon: People are getting depressed by reading old friends’ Facebook pages and comparing their own lives to the evidence of “bigger, happier lives” in cyberspace. I’ve been thinking about that study a lot, as seemingly everyone I knew in high school is having a second or third child. Bright faced babies and grinning parents festoon my news feed daily in silent, delighted accusation, as though pointing right at me and asking, “Why didn’t you get on that, already? Betty has a baby brother, and so does Amalia, and so does Iris — Do you care nothing for Ramona’s desire for siblings and her joy in life? Continue reading

Through the eyes of a child, an old scene is new again

I don’t know if it’s the aging process or just evidence of how great my neighborhood is that I’m finding it increasingly difficult to leave it for any reason. Evenings and weekends, the kid, the husband and I can typically be found on or near Mississippi Avenue, if not in our actual house three blocks away. We have restaurants, parks, food carts, a bodega, the Rebuilding Center, and the greatest neighbors I’ve ever had. According to my husband, the 10 blocks surrounding us is the most diverse census block in the state of Oregon, and we like that just as much as we like our easy access to Thai food and Unthank Park. We’ve been here 12 years, and though the demographics have shifted in those years to include many more ironically mustached hip twentysomethings on the street and more SUVs parked at the curb, there seems to be, between the newer folks and the families who have been here decades, a vibe of living and letting live that saves our increasingly hip little Mississippi from feeling too precious. All of my neighbors say hello in passing, and all of the baristas and shop owners know my kid by name. Continue reading

On the edge of age six, a challenging persona arrives

Way back when I was Very Pregnant in the early summer of 2006, my charming husband Marshall and I spent the evenings dreaming of who the person we would soon be living with might be. We knew she’d be a girl. We knew, from her frequent calisthenics in utero that she’d be energetic, even feisty. Beyond that, we went between wishing and worrying as we talked and thought about what it would mean to be shepherding a brand new human through Life.

“I hope she likes sports,” said Marshall.

“I hope she digs literature,” said me.

“Kids can be cruel. It’s going to suck when some kid is nasty to her,” said Marshall. I agreed. We came together on hoping that she wouldn’t be bullied overmuch. Continue reading

Cautionary tales can have happy and fearless endings

By Melissa Favara, Contributing Columnist

When I was 7, I listened up when my mom told me about Adam Walsh, the little boy who was abducted and murdered in Florida, and I never strayed from her at the grocery store. I believed my fifth grade teacher when he told our class that Len Bias tried cocaine one time and his heart exploded; I never dabbled in the white powder drugs. When my mom told me at 12 that if I had sex I would get pregnant and drop out of high school, I believed that for a very long time; when I finally stopped believing it, I believed my high school teacher who told us we would get AIDS if we ever had sex without using condoms once, and I used condoms. Religiously. Continue reading

Extra! Extra!

It’s going to be a great weekend, the weatherman says, with a 100 percent chance of Street Roots coming to a neighborhood near you. Pick up your copy tomorrow morning and share a sunny smile with your friendly vendor. Here’s what’s rolling on the presses now:

Shocked and reloaded: And interview with ’80s icon Michelle Shocked who returns to the stage in Portland this month, sharing with her style of folk with fans, old and new.

Life after war: Photographer Jim Lommasson’s “Exit Wounds” documents the stories, heartbreak and hopes of American veterans returning home from war. His collection of photographs is coupled with his current speaking tour, and is soon to be the subject of a new book.

Making right from wrong: An interview with Fariborz Pakseresht who takes the helm of the Oregon Youth Authority, overseeing the state’s troubled and incarcerated youths.

Write makes might: Davonna Livingston uses writing to help victims of abuse and trauma not only tell their stories, but take back their lives.

The State of Housing: City Commissioner Nick Fish lays out the nuts and bolts of the state of Portland’s housing agenda.

Plus, new commentaries by Melissa Favara, Robin Hahnel and the Partnership for Safety and Justice. And a look at the cash mob movement in St. Johns. This issue is packed! Thank you, and enjoy a beautiful weekend!

Fate puts us in unexpected places; we’re on our own from there

By Melissa Favara, Contributing Columnist

I’ve been lucky enough for the last five years to write a monthly documentary column on my ever-changing kid Ramona for Metro Parent Magazine. Basically, it was a parenting column by a non-expert parent who was (and is) going at it blind, but with good intentions. Recently, I had the opportunity to move here to Street Roots, where I’ll be moving from What to Do With Your Kid this month to talking through trying to raise a socially conscious child, among other things.

To start, I’d like to talk about a recent trip to New Seasons. Yes. The grocery store. Maybe the last place you’d connect with a philosophy of life and parenting, but it’s an important place. When I was a young, unattached, drifting, and quite depressed person and not nearly yet a married, fairly happy, college-English-teaching mother of one, a friend connected me to his own mother — an 80-something suicide-attempt survivor who gave me two pieces of sage advice: One, get used to the idea that you don’t like yourself, and maybe you won’t have to react to it so much. Two, when feeling lost, go to the grocery store. Sometimes it’s about finding the right place to be. Continue reading