Thursday, September 28, 2006

Lone Star Facts on Fridays

Port Lavaca has the world's longest fishing pier. It was originally part of the causeway connecting the two sides of Lavaca Bay, but the center of it was destroyed by Hurricane Carla in 1961 and now it is just a really long fishing pier.

Ancient One

Today is my birthday. I am 35. Shut up. Thank you. Sorry. I'm ...grr.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bye-bye Booster

Last week, after years of hearing her griping and other people's incredulity that she was still using it, I finally let the Lone Star Girl ditch the booster seat in the car. In Texas, we only have a law that says kids need to use a carseat/booster until they are 4 (or 40 lbs.), so booster seat use is not nearly as common as it is in states with 6/60 or 8/80 laws. You almost never see school -aged children in boosters at all here, much less ten-year-olds. Even in the group of ultra-conscientious parents that I like to hang out with in the rare moments when I have time for friends, several of whom did extend booster seat use well into the elementary years, I was definitely the last hold-out . Of course, I used to work with someone who was on the child fatality review team locally and had to hear all the stories about the buckled-up eight-year-olds who were flung from their cars and died because seat belts don't work on children that size. According to experts, most kids are around eleven or twelve before they are big enough to pass the five-point test that means they are safe in a regular seat belt. The Lone Star Girl is a bit of an early bloomer and is about that size now, so she has finally passed the test (she is long-bodied rather than long-legged and passes it better than I do - I should probably use a booster!) - so it's bye-bye, booster. She's quite relieved, as you can imagine.

Monday, September 25, 2006

International Day of Peace

Thursday was the International Day of Peace and I went to a local church after work and walked a labyrinth they have for meditation which was very soothing after my very not-peaceful day at work. I am going to have to try to go back there often. The family met me there and then we all went together to an event at the local community college where representatives from a wide variety of faith traditions spoke out on behalf of peace and we sang songs and had a light vigil. It was very nice, very peaceful. Then the Lone Star Baby had a major freak-out fuss and my nerves were as jangled as if it had never happened. I am needing some serious work on peacefulness.

Working and Breastfeeding Meeting

On Tuesday night, I sort of led a La Leche League meeting. I am not a LLL Leader or anything but it was a special enrichment meeting and anyone can lead one of those. This one was about working and breastfeeding and they asked me to lead it since I have some experience in that area. I made little half-sheets with LLL's local phone number, the number of our local Medela pump sales/rental people, good books and online resources, took copies of books to show, loaded up the Lone Star Baby and headed out. We talked about pumping and sleeping and other issues related to working and breastfeeding. I hope I was helpful, but everyone seemed to have a good handle on things as far as I could tell and the real Leader was very helpful. It was kind of neat, though.

Friday, September 22, 2006

I Love Rock 'n' Roll

Today is Joan Jett's birthday. Rock on, St. Joan.

Lone Star Facts on Fridays

With 38,000 rose bushes representing 500 varieties of roses set in a 22-acre garden, the Tyler Municipal Rose Garden is the world's largest rose garden.

Sunday, September 17, 2006


The Lone Star Baby is working on opposites, too. She wanders about murmuring:
The opposite of up is down. The opposite of in is out.

And so on.

She is also working hard on who is a boy and who is a girl, although it still requires a lot of thought on her part and I think she is just memorizing what we have told her in other conversations - I don't think she really recognizes a difference on her own yet.

Office Depot Moment

I was at Office Depot the other day, making a purchase for my students. After I paid, the clerk told me to have a good day and be sure to visit them online. I smiled and thanked her and took my bag from her hand. She then repeated, with a light but somehow frenzied emphasis, the part about remembering to visit them online and I found my gaze travelling from her frozen, faux-encouraging grin to the nearby manager. I lied a bit loudly that I would and thanked her with more obvious and perky gratitude and left feeling uncomfortable.

Sharks and Dolphins

The Lone Star Baby is very into drawing lately. She will proudly bring us a storm of multi-colored scribbles and proclaim them sharks and dolphins. She is so cute. She has added to the artistic menagerie in the last couple of days; now she says her portraits are sharks and dolphins and dinosaurs.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Honoring Ann Richards

On Thursday, the people of Texas lost Ann Richards, our second woman governor, who governed Texas in a more hopeful time, before our current president held the position and stamped out most traces of Ann's New Texas, which she had populated with the best and the brightest women and minorities in top positions and a taste of optimism about our collective future.

I met Ann Richards once in Denton, when I was campaigning for her as a Young Democrat in college. I worked as a legislative aide for the Texas House of Representatives when Governor Richards was in office and was impressed with her vision. One of the first presents my husband ever gave me, when we were just starting to see each other, was a t-shirt from Governor Richards' 60th birthday bash that said Ann at Sixty and fit me like a dress. Now, I cannot fit in it at all and the Lone Star Girl sleeps in it at night. I will always remember the optimism of those days and try to work toward their return. Governor Richards will be missed.

The following is one of my favorite Ann Richards quotes, which shows how much she understood the ridiculousness of things:

They blame the low income women for ruining the country because they are staying home with their children and not going out to work. They blame the middle income women for ruining the country because they go out to work and do not stay home to take care of their children.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Lone Star Facts on Fridays: Women Governors of Texas

Texas has had two women governors in its history (herstory!) thus far:
Miriam "Ma" Ferguson (1923)
Ann Richards (1990)

Monday, September 11, 2006

The Return of PJ Storytime

Today was the first day since before the beginning of summer that the library had PJ (evening) storytime again. I took the Lone Star Baby and it was nice to have a little Mommy-Baby time together with all the long hours I have been having to work. PJ Storytime was well attended and the Lone Star Baby was very into keeping up with all the hand motions in the songs. It was fun.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

September Herstory: Jane Addams

I've been so swamped with school that I neglected to mention that Wednesday the 6th was the birthday of Jane Addams. Jane Addams is my primary hero/role model (besides my mom). She was the mainstay of the settlement house movement in the United States in her time, the founder of the social work profession, a Quaker by birth, a feminist and a peace activist and a founder of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom as well as a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Hull House was a nexus for the start of many other social movements as well - public health, child labor laws, the juvenile justice system - it was an amazing time and Jane Addams and the network of activist women she formed and nurtured over the years were amazing women. I have fallen so far short of my desires to walk in her footsteps. Thinking of her always reminds me that I must do more.

A Word on my YA Picks

Since becoming a reader of Fuse #8's blog (she is an amazing children's librarian - check out her link on my links menu), I have come to realize that many of the books I review as YA Picks are not really YA books at all. Fuse #8 adamantly avoids YA, reviewing only books in the children's collection, and those are often the books I am reviewing as YA Picks. So. I am going to continue calling all the children's novels for kids that are approaching or in adolescence YA in order to distinguish them from stuff that younger kids who are good readers should read, rather than just calling the older teen stuff YA as would be proper. I am, alas, not a librarian, so I can do amateur things like that. I just wanted you to know that my system is not really correct. Thanks.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Lone Star Facts on Fridays: Old Cowhead

Cabeza de Vaca actually walked across Texas naked to find the rest of his expedition.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Bye-Bye, Breastpump

The Medela Pump-In-Style that I used to obtain milk for the Lone Star Baby while I was at work during her first year actually belongs to my sister, passed down from a lady she used to nanny for - so it is one of the older ones. It served us very well in our pumping season, but although the Lone Star Baby still nurses, I haven't used the pump since she turned a year old a little over a year ago. Now my sister is pregnant with her second child, so when they came to visit this weekend, I cleaned up the pump and passed it back to her. I have to admit that even though I do not use it anymore, it makes me sort of uncomfortable not to have it around, just in case we needed it for some reason. It was just such a crucially important part of our lives that year. I sort of miss it.

Go, Katie!

Earlier this evening, Katie Couric made herstory by being the first woman ever to anchor a major big 3 network news show without a male co-anchor.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Drinking Inequality At The Breast

It is honestly extremely hard for most anyone to manage pumping milk for their babies in the Western work culture, but women in white collar jobs have it tons better than do other women who want to keep breastfeeding. At my old job, I had a private office and that helped a lot. A woman who worked as a clerk in the little court next to us pumped in the bathroom until I found out and offered her my office. There were women with private offices at the court - a judge and an attorney and a court supervisor - but none of them offered. It is far too often like that, and worse.

On Friday, the New York Times printed the following article on this important topic. I am glad that someone is paying attention.

On the Job, Nursing Mothers Find a 2-Class System

Friday, September 01, 2006