Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Henna Head, Henna Hands

The Lone Star Girl wanted me to henna her hair, somewhat for Halloween, but also just to do it, so I did - last night. Her hair is now very red. It's much more red than mine got when I did it in college, because we used the "bright red", fearing that the "red" would be too subtle on her darker hair. This is not subtle. She loves it. I have stains on my hands which I hope will not last as long as her hair.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Adventures-In-Democracy of Liberty Girl, Part Three

Today, the Lone Star Girl gave a speech about Obama to her school (well, one lunch shift of her school) as part of their Mock Election process. Obama Mama is so proud.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


For those who are wondering what I think about last night's show, I didn't watch it. Here are some things I think, though:
  • I don't buy the pica story. I've interviewed a lot of parents of hurt children in my day and didn't feel that rang true.
  • I think that even if you are a loving parent who is only trying to raise a godly child, if your discipline results accidentally in death, you are still responsible. That's why corporal punishment is so wrong - it is just too dangerous.
  • I wrote an article in the July issue of We the People News that addresses my feelings on tragedies like this one.

Project Undercover

This is the time of year when our Girl Scout Council rolls out Project Undercover, their drive for underwear, diapers, wipies, socks, etc. for local foster children, seeing as how undies aren't the sort of thing one usually thinks about when making donations. The girls have been doing this for so many years now - it gives me a warm feeling every time they do it, though. They have pretty much given up on the collection boxes they used to put out at their schools when they were Daisies and Brownies because the kids at school have stopped filling them, but the families all get stuff to donate, which is something, at least. This year, in the theme of underwear, their Leader planned a pajama party. They came in their pajamas with their donations and catalogued them all for DCFS. Then they had snacks and played telephone pictionary. And generally drove the adults crazy. Our girls are wild children.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Early Voting

Early voting started Monday in Texas and I voted today!

October Preschool Pick: The Ramona Books by Beverly Cleary

When the Lone Star Girl was three years old, I started reading Beverly Cleary's Beezus and Ramona to her. She had a good attention span and the picture books we were reading didn't seem to be enough anymore. She wanted to be read to for a good hour at night before she was ready to go to sleep. I had enjoyed the Ramona books as a child and knew that Ramona was only four in Beezus and Ramona. Since the Lone Star Girl's intellect was definitely up to speed with most four-year-olds, I decided to give it a try. She loved the book. We got through it in just a few days and she begged me to read the next one. Within a few short weeks, we had read the whole series and heard that another was due out that August, even though the original set had been written ages and ages ago. That summer, when we were evacuating due to Hurricane Brett, I picked up Ramona's World in Austin and we read it in the motel room. The Ramona books were a wonderful introduction to chapter books for the Lone Star Girl and the start of a lovely tradition for us - we read a series of good chapter books every year after that until the Lone Star Girl was ten and preferred to read her annual Christmas series on her own, so she could get through it faster.

Last year, I tried to start reading the Ramona books to the Lone Star Baby, but she really didn't have the attention span for it and we didn't get very far. Our read- aloud relationship has been a lot more spotty than the one I had with her sister. I think this is partly because she doesn't like listening for as long, but also partly because we are so much more busy these days and have less time for reading. We tried again in the spring and now she is into it. We have read through the first books and are now reading Ramona Quimby, Age 8, after which there are two more. The Lone Star Baby has really enjoyed them. I have found reading the Ramona books to her to be even more special than it was to read them to her sister because, at three, the Lone Star Girl was a very sweet and pleasant child who was rarely any trouble (but look at her now!). The Lone Star Baby is our spunky gal, just like Ramona is her Daddy's spunky gal. I love the sensitive way that Cleary portrays the little handful that is Ramona, showing her goodness and always respecting her. I highly recommend these books for preschoolers who are beginning to be ready to listen to chapter books, most especially the spirited ones.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Almost Teen-Aged Drama Queen

The Lone Star Girl is all about her theatre arts class. She auditioned for the school play which will run in November - Alice In Wonderland - and will play the doorknob and sing (quietly, I hope) in the chorus. She is busy making props and costumes during her class and rehearsing after school a couple of days each week. She has really found her tribe, which makes me very happy. I am a little surprised that I can handle it, given that I was quite serious about acting as a teen - I even attended a special magnet high school for the arts in Dallas - and did not think I would ever want her exposed to that world. It's her thing, though, and she is so happy with it. I am happy for her.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Montessori Baby

The Lone Star Baby has been working hard at school. She drew all of these sea creatures and labeled them in Spanish. Her teacher said she worked on it for over an hour. We are so proud of her.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Adventures-In-Democracy of Obama Mama And Her Almost Teen-Aged Sidekick, Liberty Girl - Part Two

The Lone Star Girl and I originally planned to phone bank much more, but the business of life has intervened, as usual - not to mention minor obstacles like a Democratic Party Headquarters which seems to move around a lot - and we have only phone banked for Obama the one night. We got a phone call asking for more assistance the other night, so tonight we got Lone Star Pa to agree to taking the Lone Star Baby to "ballet" and story time and planned to go phone bank after I picked the Lone Star Girl up from her after-school rehearsal.

That was the plan.

We arrived at the office of a local attorney where we had done phone banking before to find it occupied only by a different attorney, a woman and some police officers. It was kind of weird. They assured us that there was no phone banking there and that they did not know where it was, so we left. We drove somewhat aimlessly down the street that the Party Headquarters supposedly, according to their website, had moved to, although we had tried this before without finding it at the street number that was on the site. I had a hunch that it might be at a particular shopping center owned by some folks with political interests on that street, even though that shopping center was pretty far from the alleged address, so we checked there and it was sure enough the place. The Party Chair was there but she didn't know where the phone banking was. She suggested that it might be at a local state representative's office and was gracious enough to call that office, but the nice lady who answered said there was no one there phone banking and she would take a message. I left one.

We did finally get yard signs and bumper stickers. And I made it to story time after all. And there were several phone messages about phone banking waiting for me when we got home.

October YA Pick: Exodus

Exodus, by Julie Bertagna, is a science fiction story in which floods have ravaged the earth due to global warming and much of the knowledge of earth's technology has been lost by survivors who cling, isolated, to hamlets of high ground that are rapidly disappearing. Fifteen-year-old Mara convinces her village to take to the seas in boats before their town is swallowed by rising waters and to find the cities in the sky that she believes exist. Her people do find one such city, but when they do, they realize that the sky cities are only for a privileged few, protecting themselves savagely from earth's refugees. Mara has to find a way to infiltrate a sky city, form alliances and find a home for her people. This book is written in a simple, reluctant-reader sort of way, but the story is scary - hitting close to home. Young people should read it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Autumn is here at last, even if my keyboard isn't equipped for Spanish. There is a cool breeze in the air and I am starting to finally feel the harvest spirit this weekend, just a little.

We took the girls to the pumpkin patch yesterday and got some pumpkins for the porch and the kitchen. Our autumn wreath is up and I got a fall windsock for the porch with apples on it. Today, Lone Star Pa and I cut out some black and orange construction paper for future Lone Star Baby crafts and he is going to take her to a fall festival after Meeting this afternoon. I got ingredients for making pumpkin bread and picked up a couple of frozen pumpkin pies. Slowly, we are getting into the spirit of things.

I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed lately. People I care about have been going through terrible things. School has been taking all my time and energy and still wanting more and I just had to combine two of my classes last week into one huge class and take on a seventh grade class, which means that things will just be busier and harder. My own kids are very busy with school and activities and we are all exhausted and crabby with each other.

I'm going to try to get my act together and enjoy the cool breezes that are making shy appearances and the waning childhood of my eldest and the waning babyhood of my youngest. I'm going to try to bake and do crafts and spend time outside. And somehow find time to write as well, as these creative slumps really give me the blues.

Autumn blessings to us all.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ballet Blues

The Lone Star Baby really enjoyed the ballet class we signed her up for this past summer and her teacher was the same amazingly fit woman who was my teacher when I was four, a woman who really knows what she is doing in regards to music and movement for young children. I could immediately see a difference in the Lone Star Baby's vestibular issues and knew that signing her up had been a great thing to do. Then came fall registration. The classes being offered for her age group in the fall are on weekday afternoons - far too early for us to be able to make it after work. No evenings or weekends for her age group. I was so disappointed. I knew we'd be able to go back in the summer and that next fall it is likely that the next older age level will be in the evening, but that still leaves this school year.

To bridge the gap, I signed the Lone Star Baby up for the little TippiToes class at our neighborhood recreation center. I knew she wouldn't learn any real ballet in it and that it wouldn't be good for her in the way that the other class was, but I figured it would keep her happy until we can go back. This company mainly takes these little "dance" classes to daycare centers and recreation centers and I thought it would be just all in good fun. It meets on Monday evenings right before we go to PJ story time at the library, so we rush out at the end and she goes to story time in her ballet clothes instead of her PJs. That part would be okay.

The class is scary, though. The two women who run it really seem to enjoy themselves and they are as sweet and as patient as can be with all the little girls, but...oh...my...heavens. The perkiness and the pinkness of it all just about drives me to homicide. I'd need duct tape if I was taking the Lone Star Girl along. The teachers basically play kiddie music and demonstrate - with great enthusiasm - a variety of motions to the music that the kids try to emulate. It sounds innocent enough, but it is scary. Really scary. They sit around in a circle and take turns saying who their favorite princesses are sometimes. The teachers get scared because an alligator is coming as an intro to one of the songs, but it's okay because it is a pink alligator. There's a song about putting on their make-up. They are all about sparkles.

Pretty much it makes me want to puke.

My feminism has silent screaming fits throughout the entire 45-minute period. I look around to see if the other parents are scared and they look charmed and happy. I feel guilty for not just enjoying the fun that my daughter is having. I feel guilty for exposing her to all that perky pinkness. I don't know how to feel.

I can't wait until summer when we can get back to the ballet school. They had better have a 6pm kinder dance class next fall...I can't take much more of this.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Not Exactly The Kind of Socialism I Had In Mind

I meant health care and childcare. If we are going to nationalize the banking system, could we please have national health care and childcare systems, too?

Thursday, October 09, 2008


This morning as we were gathering ourselves to get out of the car at the Lone Star Baby's school, she said: After you leave my school, but before you go to your school, go and vote for Barack Obama.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

I'm An Extremely Honest Person

As I placed my purchases from Target (where I had ventured alone but for my busy four-year-old to forage for my family) in the trunk of my car today, I noticed an item that was beneath something large that had been in the cart...an item I was not 100% certain that I remembered paying for...and not 100% sure that I didn't remember paying for, either. I was thinking that it might have been unseen under the box and forgotten, but I wasn't sure and the receipt was not itemized. It was the sort of busy day at Target where going back in would mean a rather grueling game of dodge-car across a large, super-crowded parking lot with the four-year-old and I didn't want to make the unpleasant trek back to the store. No one would ever know - even I would never really know. And the item only cost $1.99. I took a firm hold of the child and went back in and checked. I hadn't paid for it so I forked over the extra $2.08 and left with a clean conscience. Don't I rock?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Banned Books Week

Read something subversive.

Financial Crisis

Looks like this whole capitalism thing hasn't really worked out. And, what with the lead paint and all, we can't even grow our own food here.