Friday, September 28, 2007



International Baccalaureate Continuum

On Tuesday evening, I went to a meeting at the Lone Star Girl's old elementary school (yes - it was nice to be there!) on the International Baccalaureate program that our school district is applying to gradually become part of over the next few years.

At our school district, kids test for the "gifted" program, called Athena, in kindergarten (kids in private kindergartens like the Lone Star Girl attended can also elect to be tested, but they have to score higher to get in). Kids who test in attend a special school for elementary school, and they all attend the same middle school together, although there they are a "school within a school". The program is quite good in terms of advanced academics and enrichment, but there is really nothing set up for the kids in high school - at that time, they just scatter and make do with the somewhat questionable honors classes that are offered. This International Baccalaureate program would provide a strong high school component as well. It is supposed to be inquiry-based , very community service focused and is supposed to focus on making sure kids understand global cultures as they will be living in a global world. It sounds good to me, but we didn't really get any hard information.

A number of parents seemed...concerned....about that whole global cultures component. Sigh. Could we be any more xenophobic in this country? I really don't think they need to worry about it. Considering.

Does anyone have any experience with this program they would like to share?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Autumn Equinox

Today is the Autumn Equinox, one of the two days of the year when the day and night are of equal length...a good time to think about balance, as well as what we've harvested this year. An author I can't remember who I was once reading wrote of this time of year that our children are our most important harvest and that one day soon they will claim their own power like Persephone when she became Queen of the Underworld, so we should hold them close now. That certainly resonates with me. I can see my Lone Star Girl growing from the Spring Maiden of this past transformational year into that darkly beautiful power every day, just a bit. Last night, I Iet her go with a friend and her mother to a night-time drum circle at a funky little head shop/tea room/gathering place. I was nervous about not going with them, but proud of myself for letting her go. I watch my Lone Star Baby and remember how fast it went with her sister...our days together are short, from here the days grow shorter still...

It's time to turn away from the warm fruits of summer and inward to what we've stored - time to eat pomegranates, apples, pumpkins, squash, beans and corn and to prepare for winter. Today we are all dressing in autumn colors and, at breakfast, I lit a candle and read a story about Persephone's journey as we ate apple pie and pumpkin empanadas. We have a birthday party to attend for a little girl in our Meeting today and then we will have a supper of beans and cornbread. My life is all too hectic and I rarely take the time to connect with the earth, but that is not the harvest I want for my girls, so I am trying harder.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

International Day of Peace

Yesterday was the annual International Day of Peace and I was able to attend some evening events, by actually leaving work on time.

First I went to the Peace Walk at the Labyrinth at All Saints Episcopal Church, which I am sure I mentioned last year. Walking the Labyrinth last year was such a good experience for me that I intended to do it often, but, of course, did not make it back for the full year. It was wonderful again, though - very much the introvert's paradise in a lot of ways even though one is not truly rather feels like the gathered Meeting to me. My meditations kept coming up with a very feminine image of meiosis. I am sure that understanding will come.

I then went home to meet the family and we all went to Cole Park where there were speakers from a number of faiths and other representatives on peace topics and a choir and candlelight vigil. It was very nice.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

An Open Letter to On The Logo Controversy On The Black Breastfeeding Blog

I am a member of but this makes me think. When first started, I was disturbed by the lack of credit given to the decades of work on mothers' rights issues by the welfare rights movement, but I tried to be satisfied with your responses and I do truly believe that your lack of attention to the activism of poor mothers was unintentional. I also believe that your lack of attention to how the Rosie logo would make women of color feel excluded was unintentional...and that I could have made the same mistake...but it still needs to be fixed.

We bear the responsibility for our ignorance when we build a mothers' movement that makes mothers who are not middle class and white feel excluded. We should know better and it is wrong when we do not. I hope that you will choose to correct this mistake, as I am trying to correct my own ignorance. We could take this opportunity to open a dialogue about what sort of logo and communication would make all mothers feel represented in the work of I hope we will do so. I can see that I have a lot to educate myself about and hope that the mothers' movement can resolve together to be the inclusive movement that we all need.

Pygmy Goats?

So Loki went missing just a few days after we let him have the run of the yard. He seemed to be happy and thriving and to know which yard was ours and we found no tragic remains, so I expect he just went home with someone else, being too small to wear a collar. It is too bad, but we aren't crushed or anything...just petless.

Yesterday we saw a family on a walk with two pygmy goats! Strangely enough, I have often wondered about having a pygmy goat as a pet. They were way, way adorable and she said they were very sweet and affectionate and got along well with her two-year-old and were fine in the backyard (they can't get over a fence like kittens can). She said their only drawback as pets is that they really don't potty-train. I asked her if they need as much attention as dogs do, because we work and all, and she said to get two and it would be fine. She said she has friends who are getting out of goat farming and have babies to sell cheap.

The girls loved them. I'm intrigued. What do you think?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Republicans for Voldemort

So apparently this Fred Thompson guy is entering the presidential race because Mr. Torture-Is-Okay-Guiliani is Too Liberal for many Republicans. They scare me.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Creeping Independence

The whole bus independence thing being a success for the Lone Star Girl, today we went another step.

I frequently grade papers at a large corporate monolith of a bookstore on weekends and the Lone Star Girl usually accompanies me to wander its vastness and read. Today when we went, we took a friend of hers, too, and had dinner in a restaurant across the parking lot. I had originally intended to stay at the corporate monolith myself, give the girls some money and (gasp) let them walk over and have an early dinner alone. Lone Star Pa's expression was uncomfortable when I discussed, this, though, so I went to the restaurant, too, but sat alone in the patio-seating area while the girls got to be big, independent girls alone inside at their own table. Then they wandered the bookstore while I graded stuff in the bookstore's cafe.

I am almost at the point, I think, where I would be comfortable dropping the Lone Star Girl and a friend off there for a bit in the daytime, except that I always need a place to grade anyways, my home being under the thrall of a certain demanding small person. I remember such an independent night out to dinner and a movie with a friend when I was much older than the Lone Star Girl, probably sixteen even, and what an extravagant privilege it seemed to me...I want my girl to have some fun in her life.

I have another clear memory of sending a nine-year-old Jazz into a convenience store with money to buy the slushy drink she wanted while I waited in the car with a sleeping toddler of a Lone Star Girl. I clearly remember my uncertainty as to whether nine was really old enough to let her go in alone with me in the car and thinking that I was about nine when my mom started sending me into stores while she waited in the car with sleeping babes. I was unsure, though, and relieved when my sister returned calmly.

Deciding on when the right time is for various small freedoms is no easy or clear-cut task. I continually stress to the Lone Star Girl that she must demonstrate more responsibility to gain more independence, but our perceptions of these things are often different. I almost always feel she should show more responsibility than she does show and she always feels that my constraints are unjust. Creepingly, though, we make our way. One day I will look up, and she will be out on her own, and it will still seem like yesterday that she was a petal-soft baby...


This has been a time of adjustments for us.

The bus thing is working well for the Lone Star Girl and I am starting to calm down about it. She is doing well with the beginning of middle school in terms of seeming to have plenty of friends to hang around with at lunch and P.E. That would have been my main worry about middle school, so I am pleased for her. She is still discontented, however, as she does not much like most of her classes and it is not in her nature to accept the whiff of prison that is somewhat necessarily in the air at large middle schools.

After a happy week or so in her new class at school, the Lone Star Baby started having some very rough mornings at drop-off. Although I know she loves her class, being with all those "big kids" all day is doubtless a bit exhausting still and she wants her mommy. She has been mostly placated now by a program I call Better Mornings Through Hashbrowns - I am stopping for papas at the Whataburger drive-through on the way to her school and that happily absorbs her.

I am teaching at the same place as last year. I kind of frittered away my summer trying to find a better way...but we are just not there yet. I came rather close to accepting a pay-cut of half of my salary to take a para job working with parents at the Lone Star Girl's school on the principal's expressed hope of the greater funding they expect for next year...but I had to face that we really don't have the money...and I really don't think they will next year, either. I am teaching two grades instead of one this year, which means even more work, although I find that I really enjoy the sixth graders best after all. I so prefer Texas History that I thought I would always want to teach seventh out of the three middle school grades but, if I had a choice of just one, now I would pick sixth.

Lone Star Pa is as enthusiastic as ever about his seventh graders in a small neighboring town. His only adjustment is that having us around means he cannot immerse himself in his job the way he naturally would if he could.

Auntie Jazz is getting used to college life and having her here is the best of all the adjustments we have had to be sure...she adds great richness to our lives with her presence!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Submissions still needed for Lone Star Ma #10!

We still need some! The deadline for submissions is September 15th!

Submissions should be e-mailed (body of the e-mail) to

For features, I am looking for essays on the mothering life and advocacy pieces on family and children's issues. Things with a Texas emphasis are always best, but the universal is also fine. I still need:

1-2 feature articles

Maybe 1 mama-poem

1 mama fiction story

Yellow Rose Reviews: a review of a great, out-of-the-mainstream baby/children's book, toy, etc.

Longhorn Lactation: a breastfeeding advocacy piece

Thanks! More information is available under submissions at