Portland Update - November 2014

- by Martha Grover

This month was the mid-term elections in the USA. The Republicans swept the elections, mostly because people are disillusioned with federal politics in general. Democrats, dismayed by the results of this month’s elections, should remember that next time around the pendulum will probably swing the other way. For myself, I am quite in line with mainstream America in that I am also disappointed by our politicians. I think most of them are out of touch with mainstream America or else merely paying lip service to the increasingly shrinking middle class.

On a bright note, local politics are where true change seems to be happening – whether bad or good, you be the judge. While the senate and congress can’t seem to get much done, states and cities across the U.S. are passing laws regarding the legalization of Marijuana, gay marriage, gun laws, immigration issues, and food labeling.


Bernard and I went to Mt. Tabor last weekend to draw trees. 

Bernard and I went to Mt. Tabor last weekend to draw trees. 

Dude – Marijuana is legal in Oregon! Oregon's government has just made a press release that even though the law doesn’t go into effect until this coming summer, they will not be prosecuting any Marijuana infractions starting now. It’s really quite hard to believe it has been legalized even though we’ve all seen the writing on the wall for several years now. When I think back to my adolescence, much of it is colored by the vague anxiety that smoking pot induced in me. Even the occasional marijuana user can stop being paranoid - about the cops anyway.  I have still applied for my medical marijuana card because of my fibromyalgia. To think that I don’t have to worry about it anymore comes not as a relief, but something else – something for which I don’t have a word yet - A sadness for all the grief and suffering that the prohibition on Marijuana has caused others. 

I woke up to a windstorm today. In my part of the world, in the winter, when it’s not overcast, a blue sky usually brings high winds. I live in Gresham, near the Columbia River Gorge, and we always get hit the hardest by the east wind.

On the way into Portland, traffic was horrible. It slowed down to a crawl on I-84 as a mess of pink puffs of fiberglass insulation flew across the three lanes of traffic. The insulation must have blown off a truck and it look like cherry blossoms or sea foam skittering across the pavement. I hoped none of it would fly into my open window.

It reminded me of that time when I was about eight, that I got a piece of fiberglass insulation in my eye and my eye oozed and puffed for several days. The day that it happened my step-grandfather and dad were building our playhouse.  That night the Corbett homeschooling group we belonged to, had a meeting at another member’s house. One of the children did a presentation on the science of light. They used prisms and colored light bulbs and candles to show us the wonders of the color spectrum. I mostly remember the dark autumn night, the east wind on Crestview Lane and my splintered vision and weeping eye.

I got off the freeway early because of the bad traffic, but the side streets were no better. Along 47th street several lights were knocked out and people were driving like maniacs, speeding through intersections without stopping, even though it was obvious that the lights were burned out.

I needed to stop by Bernard’s house to turn on his crock-pot for dinner tonight. When I opened the door and walked into the kitchen, the lights wouldn’t turn on. Then sure enough, the fridge stayed dark inside. I guess there would be no pot roast for us tonight. I was supposed to drop off some zines and books in the mail at the post office. I drove over to my post office on 7th and Taylor and kicking through a pile of leaves against the front door, I tried the door and it was locked. I grunted in frustration and then it dawned on me that today was Veteran’s day and my mailings would have to wait for another day.

Now I’m holed up at my friend Kate’s house writing this update.

I saw this on my walk the other day. 

I saw this on my walk the other day. 

In reference to TJ’s last update from Xian and how the student protests are being portrayed as “disruptive” in the media, I am reminded sadly of the recent student protests in Mexico.


Imagine the outrage if 43 students went missing in the US! It is outrageous to think that something like this is going on just south of our border, and yet somehow I think the protests in China garnered more attention because they were “pro-democratic.”

I think the US media likes to focus on unrest in China and other communist countries because we can always point back to communism as being the root of the problem - not corruption of uneven distribution of freedom and power. The problem in Mexico definitely derives from corruption and ultimately, to the drug trade – unbridled capitalism in its most pure form, free from regulation, and practiced by those who broker in brute force and intimidation.




I was turned down by an agent this month but I continue to work on my memoir. I slowly work towards getting my real estate license, and my other goals – which include loving my boyfriend, doing my artwork, Tad’s Storytelling Night, going to the gym, losing weight, and eventually starting a podcast. 

Photo by Mike Grover

Photo by Mike Grover