Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: A Is For Activist and Counting on Community

Good morning!  This installment of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features board books for babies by Innosanto Nagara.  

Mr. Nagara's A Is For Activist is a board book for babies in the style of alphabet books for babies everywhere, but with a twist - each letter stands for a word that is part of the vocabulary of activism and citizenship - "G is for grassroots", etc.  It is quite the favorite among activist parents.

Even better, in my opinion, is its more recent companion book, Counting on Community. This board book for babies by Mr. Nagara is a counting book that invites children to count people in their community ("urban farmers") and things they all share (bicycle helmets, chickens).  While A Is For Activist includes a lot that parents are going to enjoy more than kids will, Counting on Community is right on a little one's level and can probably be gifted to your nephew without annoying his mother, irregardless of her politics.

Both books are excellent additions to your subversive baby's library.

Election Results

So...Texans sadly passed all of the constitutional amendments on the ballot yesterday.  Bye-bye, school funding.  I honestly think people don't understand about constitutional amendments, because they almost always seem to pass in Texas.   

Amending our constitution is a really big deal. A much bigger deal than just passing a law. 

It should never be done lightly.  It should not be done often.


We need more government and citizenship education.

Also, while I am talking about election results, I must say this: 

I am very disappointed in you, Houston. Go to your room and stay there until you learn how to care about the civil rights of your brothers and sisters. Think about what you have done.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Houston Be A HERO!

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, known also as Prop. One in The Houston City Election and as HERO, is on the ballot in Houston on this Election Day.

This very important ordinance prevents discrimination against LBGTQ persons in employment, housing and public accommodations.  It needs to pass.  Marriage equality is a wonderful thing, but, in most places, people can still be fired and denied housing for being gay.  The good people of Houston have tried to change this, but bigots are spending their money turning it into another spurious "bathroom debate", rather than discussing the serious discrimination faced by our LBGTQ brothers and sisters all across this nation.

Every Houstonian can be a HERO by voting for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance today.

Election Day!!

Today is Election Day, Texas!  Go and vote on the constitutional amendments!  Remember, please, Mamas,  that a constitutional amendment is a thing more permanent than a mere ordinance or bill.  I think it behooves us not to enshrine anything in our constitution that limits the rights or the future of our citizens.

On that note, please do not vote to increase homestead exemption from school taxes.  Vote against that first proposition on the state constitutional ballot that steals money from our children's education and therefore their futures and takes away the choice to put the money back later.  Far too much funding has already been taken away from Texas schools.  Our children need well-funded schools. Our democracy does.


Monday, November 02, 2015

SDG Mondays: End Poverty

Welcome to SDG Mondays!  Today we are featuring the first of the United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals: 

"End Poverty in all its forms everywhere."

This goal has 7 associated targets:

What do you think of this goal and these targets?  

What can you do to help the world reach the targets?

Please post your thoughts in the comments section.

For me, I feel like one thing I can do is to try to help disenfranchised people register to vote and encourage them to get to the polls.  Maybe if a more diverse electorate actively voted, people who cared about these issues would get elected more. 

I also hope to raise awareness about the very idea of sustainable development and these goals and targets in Texas and in the United States, where I live.


Sunday, November 01, 2015

November Is For Writing

I am not trying to write a novel but I have countless other manuscripts in various stages of incompletion and November inspires me as a time to make some (small, steady) progress on writing. So I shall strive to do so. Do any of you gentle readers have writing projects simmering?  Or, like mine, congealing for want of attention?

Box Tops and Baking

Tomorrow is the postmark deadline for the fall check to schools from Box Tops for Education, so I spent most of today counting and bundling Boxtops and packing them up and submitting them online, so that I can mail them all off on the way to work tomorrow.  I managed to get the grocery shopping done and now am baking pumpkin bread and banana muffins for the week, so the house smells good. 

If I think about it, there are so many other things "on my list", but I am trying not to think about it.  This fall needs to slow down some for our family and give us a little more shelter in each other, so I am going to try to keep the list as manageable as I can. 

November blessings to you and yours.

Saturday, October 31, 2015


Happy Twentieth Birthday, My Goblin Princess!

It was twenty years ago, today... that our Lone Star Girl was born on Halloween.  What a couple of dumb kids Lone Star Pa and I were back then, but we must have somehow gotten some things right because she is the most extraordinary young woman I know today.

Happy Birthday, Lone Star Girl!  We love you so much!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Between The World And Me: Read It

I read Ta-nihisi Coates' Between The World And Me over the summer and earliest fall.  It's a short book that would generally have taken me the idle ends of a day (lines, coffee drive-throughs, meals) to finish but it took me weeks, because I had to read it a little bit at a time and think. We all need to think about racism in this country.

As someone who has taught in an inner city school and knows what impossible expectations are put on teachers- both by others due to the testing mess and by ourselves due to the urgency of our desires to get children through school so they may have a chance of getting out of poverty - the truth that Mr. Coates speaks about our schools hurts me.  We do tell children that getting through school is their way out when so often it will not be. ..when so often it will not be enough to battle institutional racism, when so many fine, first-generation college students are crushed by law enforcement officers, when it is just so much more complicated than that.  We do contribute, in our desperation to be able to teach the students who are listening, to the school-to-prison pipeline.  It is hard to manage a class when a youth takes his rage at the system out on you because you are its representative in his life.  It hurts our feelings when we just want to teach some history and be a helpful adult in the lives of kids.  The system of discipline in the schools does not possess the options that any of us need, but it is ultimately our youth who the system destroys.

Just read it.  We have to understand.  We have to do better.  We have to be thinking if we are ever going to find solutions, so start.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Auvi-Q Recall

So the cool, almost flat, talk-you-through it epinephrine auto-injectors called Auvi-Q (that we were bummed that our insurance would not cover) are apparently not so cool after all.  Massive recall.  Scary.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: El Dia de Los Muertos

I believe that sharing cultural traditions is both beautiful and inevitable when you live in borderlands, but it is important to understand and respect the traditions of the people around you, not just to try to grab them and make them fit your own traditions and ways.  As the Latino population in the United States grows, many aspects of the cultures of different Latin American countries are making their way into mainstream pop culture.  It is important to teach our children that El Dia de Los Muertos is a much more serious holiday than the Halloween celebration with which so many white Americans associate it. I think it can be shared but only if it is shared with respect and understanding.  This edition of the Subversive Children's Book Club features children's books about El Dia de Los Muertos.  Enjoy!

  • Rosita y Conchita by Erich Haeger and Eric Gonzalez
  • Festival of Bones by Luis San Vicente
  • Uncle Monarch and The Day of The Dead by Judy Goldman
  • Maria Molina and The Days of The Dead by Kathleen Krull
  • I Remember Abuelito - A Day of The Dead Story by Janice Levy and Loretta Lopez

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Back, Front & Totally Three-Dimensional

I have been too busy to have any creativity or even quasi-journalistic impulses left in me hardly at all these past months.  Work has kept me busier than busy and I am still dwelling in that little walk-up apartment North of Whelm, but I do want to get back to posting here.

The red tide is waning with the Harvest Moon, thank goodness, and the weather has a touch of cool in the mornings that makes folks here in South Texas giddy and sweater-prone, even though it still gets up to the highest of eighties.  That is how fall rolls down here and we are grateful for it just as it is.

The Lone Star Baby and I picked out two respectable pumpkins at the pumpkin patch run by the church that runs the daycare she attended as a wee small bairn.  We got small pumpkins at the grocery store. I have more small pumpkins for the Girl Scouts to paint. Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins, as it should be.

I hope to bake this autumn.  To garden.  To write.  To rest.

A cake is cooling in my kitchen.  

We'll see.