Sunday, November 30, 2008

I, Marmee

The Lone Star Baby has started talking about wanting a baby brother. She says she wants a complete family, meaning that she feels like we are missing a part of what her version of a proper family is - she has a mother and father and a sister, but no brother. As obvious as that world view makes her luckiness, her desire for a baby brother still pulls on my heartstrings.

My heart ached to provide a younger sibling to the Lone Star Girl during all the years of her childhood when she was just desperate for one. We needed to wait until we wouldn't have two in daycare, and, more importantly, until Lone Star Pa had a stable and decent wage. In reality, we discovered that we couldn't really afford a baby when we did go ahead and have one, even after our waiting and planning, but we are muddling through. Now, I know that I will probably be too old to have children before we are in a financial and practical place to have another (37 is really already too old, if we are being practical, anyways). I know that the Lone Star Baby will probably not just have to wait too long for her little brother - she probably won't get one at all. That does make me feel sad for her.

I also feel guilty when I consider the fact that in my dreams of more children - which I definitely, impractically have - baby brothers for the Lone Star Baby are notably absent. I never really wanted a son. All my dreams are of daughters. Although I long for a larger family, I like having a cozy house of little women. This reminds me of an essay on Marmee's anger that I read and really related to - read it here if you like. Of course, I am really nothing like Marmee. I have not her calm or her capableness or her virtue. I have her anger, though. And her joy in raising little women. My cozy house of little women.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Writing In Fits And Starts

Toward the end of last school year, I started to smell summer and my writing really picked up. I made a lofty list of target market goals - places I wanted my work to be accepted by before 2009. None of them were crazy markets for me to aim for or anything, but actually progressing in getting one's writing out there does require a certain sustained effort....and my sustained effort bit the dust as soon as school started again this fall. Being a decent middle school teacher and a decent mother of a preschooler and a teen at the same time seem to be more jobs than I can handle without dropping dead from exhaustion and/or toxic levels of caffeine on most days. There isn't time for writing or anything else and this is not a happy thing for me. I have met only one of my target market goals so far and think I am going to have to recycle the list as markets I want to be accepted by in 2009 rather than before 2009. Sigh.

That said, I did get some writing done during Thanksgiving Break. I sent off three essays and a poem. I also wrote another essay, am preparing a couple of more things to send off, and did some research for my next column. Not too bad. I would really like my writing productivity to be less erratic, but at this point, I don't really see how that will be happening in the near future, except during school breaks. Some people need less sleep as they get older, I have heard, but that has not been my experience thus far. In fact, my nurse-midwife-health-care-person kind of chewed me out about the fact that I need to be sleeping more at my last annual, even though my mom has always said that sleeping is over-rated. So I don't really see how more time is going to appear. I just don't.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Peace On Earth Begins In The Toybox

The Lone Star Girl and I got up very early this morning to start our day with a little over an hour of standing on a busy street corner along prime shopping routes with signs protesting war toys. Witnessing for something I believe in starts my day off right!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Melamine - It's Here

Now melamine has been found in trace amounts in U.S. -made infant formula. If I wasn't such a Quaker, pacifist, type, I think I'd be calling for taking the Nestle folks and the other formula makers out behind a children's hospital to be shot or something. But I'm not calling for that. We have to use our words. And our wallets.

It sort of serves us right, I suppose. It has always been the U.S. that stands up for the formula companies when they are committing atrocities to infants in Third World counties - now they are tainting our own babies' food supplies. What did we really expect?

Lazy Mom's Fake Veggie Scotch Eggs

I had never heard of Scotch eggs until reading a recent post on Fertile Ground, but the post sparked my interest and I started googling recipes. While real sausage isn't going to happen in my house, veggie sausage choices abound, so the veggie part was easy. The recipes also involved things like creating flour mixtures in which to roll sausage-encased eggs and I knew I would not be doing anything that complicated, so I thought ... puff pastry! Yes! Puff pastry is a lazy mom's friend. I bought a tube of veggie sausage that looked sticky, hard-boiled some eggs, defrosted some puff pastry and we were good to go. For the couple of "authentic" ones I tried to make, I stuck veggie sausage around the hard-boiled eggs and then encased them in puff pastry. I knew Lone Star Pa and the Lone Star Baby wouldn't go for that, though, so I also made a bunch without the soysauge. I baked them at 400 degrees until the puff pastry puffed.

My assessment - eh. The veggie sausage we used wasn't really very good and we ended up picking it out for the most part. I think it could be good with a veggie sausage that tasted more like the MorningStar Farms brand Breakfast Patties, but I don't know how you'd get that to stick without having to use a blender and all kinds of crazy junk like that, which would not be happening here. The ones with just egg and pastry were fun and the Lone Star Baby and the Lone Star Girl really enjoyed the novelty of it. I don't think I'll be doing it often, though.

Call for Submissions - Mamaphiles #4: Raising Hell - Deadline: 1 March 2009

Mamaphiles is seeking submissions for issue #4, with the theme of "Raising Hell," from mamas and papas who are currently producing their own zines.

Previous themes were "Birth," "Cutting the Cord," and "Coming Home" it's time to shake things up! Raising children is hard work and revolution in motion. From rabble-rousing to rampaging toddlers--feel free to interpret the theme wildly.

We are interested in essays, photos, cartoons, or anything else you can come up with!

Because of space limitations, written submissions should be 1500 words or less. Please include a short bio and ordering information for your zine (these will not be part of the word count).

Contributors are asked to edit their own work. Submissions may be spell-checked and reformatted for consistency. Contributors are given the chance to okay any proposed changes before production.

Mamaphiles is a friendly and inclusive project whose goal is self-expression and mutual support. All submissions are accepted. Contributors are invited to join in the collaborative effort, and are asked to assist with marketing and/or production of the zine when possible.

Deadline for submissions: 1 March 2009

Written submissions: Email as a Word attachment to the submission editor, China, at china410 (at) hotmail dot com. Feel free to ask questions.

Visual submissions: Email high-resolution images (300-600 dpi) in .jpg or .tiff formats to both china410 (at) hotmail dot com and the layout designer, Connie, at anarchohippypunk (at) riseup dot net.

For all submissions, please indicate that it's a Mamaphiles submission in the subject line of your email message.

Want to know more about the project? Visit the Mamaphiles site, or visit the zine scene forum at

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More from The Evil Empire

Apparently, Nestle has owned Hot Pockets since 2002. Lone Star Pa just noticed. Good-bye, Lone Star Pa's occasional Hot Pockets!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Guinea Pig Outdoor Exercise Day

Persephone and Pandora in their pen in the front yard...

And with that scary kid...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Our Busy Teen-Ager

On Thursday night, we went to see the Lone Star Girl in her school production of Alice In Wonderland. They had been performing it for elementary school kids and their fellow middle schoolers at school several times throughout the week, but Thursday was the evening performance for parents. The Lone Star Girl was in the chorus and played the Doorknob. She was adorable. She has enjoyed being in this play so much - the rehearsals and the excitement and the performances. She has really been loving her advanced theatre arts class immensely this year. They made the sets and props and costumes for the play and are preparing for a speech tournament. After living the seedy theatre life myself as a teen, I hadn't really thought that I would want a child of mine involved in such things, but school theatre at any rate is really her niche at this stage and I am so happy for her. It has also provided bonding opportunities as I page through my battered old copy of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare with her, showing her appropriate pieces to use as monologues and duet acts. The only downside is that she is much more interested in practicing her theatre work than in doing her other school work, which has slipped a bit deeper into B-student territory than we would prefer (since she starts getting some grades that go on her high school transcript next year). Still, I am thrilled that she has found her tribe at school.

Last night, the Girl Scout troop went to help serve dinner at Loaves and Fishes, a local soup kitchen that is part of a larger ministry to the homeless in our community. The girls handed out drinks and utensils and cleaned tables. They weren't quite as awed as I would have hoped - I overheard them having quite normal conversations with each other about school and their usual topics. I was hoping they would be more struck by how lucky they are and how many people need their help in this world, but I guess you never can tell how the minds of adolescents will work. I am glad they helped out, just the same.

Meanwhile, I am dodging teen-aged mood swings and trying to instill responsibility as usual. Busy, busy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Twilight Poster - Courtesy of the Lone Star Girl


(Insert book cover picture here)

The best book I’ve read all year! – National Wife Beaters Committee

This book really showed a good set of values that all young couples should follow!
– Misogynist Today Newsletter

What an excellent book! Bella and Edward function like a good American couple! Every woman should be willing to give up everything for a guy! Males are the dominant gender after all. – Patriarchal Times Magazine

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Cadette Girl

The Lone Star Girl and her Girl Scout troop bridged to Cadettes yesterday afternoon. We met in a park and they each walked across a little bridge and got their new vests and then had dinner and played. It was nice. They are such grown-up girls! I remember when they were little Daisy Girl Scouts!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Soccer Pa and Soccer Girl

Lone Star Pa is the coach of the Lone Star Baby's soccer team, the Yellow Jackets. He is a very sweet coach. There are eight Yellow Jackets - five boys and two girls. They are one of the very youngest under-6 teams in their league and most of the kids just like running up and down the field together. Two of the little guys, however, are really World Cup material (the Lone Star Baby looks around for one of them whenever the ball gets near her in a game). They are so sweet.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Carpool Pa

Lone Star Pa teaches in a neighboring town and it is a bit of a commute, though not a bad one, though the way gas has been until recently - well. This year, he formed a carpool with another teacher who lives here but teaches there. Thought of it all his own self. I'm proud of that resourceful Lone Star Pa - he has his own way of being green.

Ready Baby

The Lone Star Baby came from school on the day before yesterday full of information from the Ready Bee's visit to their class. The Ready Bee promotes disaster preparedness and wears a bee costume. She had a coloring book about safety plans and colors that the Ready Bee had given her. After we got in the door and I put away our lunch boxes and my purse, I found her unrolling a roll of duct tape and eying the peep hole on our front door.

"There's a hole in that door and we need to duct tape it," she said. I explained that the hole was so we could see who was knocking on our door and that it was not to be taped. She went scurrying off, muttering "White duct tape's for windows, silver duct tape is for doors..."

A very surreal moment.

Monday, November 10, 2008


That, by the way, is a sound of joyful excitement.

GUESS what Michelle Obama's First-Lady-pet-issue is?

Work-Life Balance!!!


Unhappy In My Lipstick

It's a good thing I'm happy with the President-Elect, because I am surely bummed about my lipstick. I am not much of a make-up wearer, but I wear a little for work - some cover-up for my blemishes, some powder as a base for my icky complexion, and a bit of lipstick. For years, I have worn Revlon Gold-Dipped Rose. Now it is nowhere to be found. I had to get Silver-spun Rose which looked closest but is not the same. The trials, the trials...

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


The Lone Star Girl went into the Lone Star Baby's room this morning when she heard her stirring and told her that Barack Obama won. The Lone Star Baby had been watching the results with us last night with an electoral votes map and crayons to color the red and blue states, but she fell asleep. When she heard the news this morning, she started jumping and squealing "Barack Obama winned!" over and over again. On the way to school, while I was looking at the newspaper in the drive-through line for tacos, she demanded the paper and had her sister tell her about the pictures of Michelle Obama and the beautiful little girls who will be moving into the White House soon. Then she and her sister argued over possession of the paper until I took it away. She finished coloring her map this evening. We are just so excited.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Blog The Vote

Lots of people feel pretty disconnected from the democratic process and do not believe that their votes can change much in the world. Voting does matter, though. It matters to all of us.

As mothers, it is impossible not to care about the world in which we are raising our children. We care. We do the things that we believe we can do to build a good future for our babies.

We try lots of things: eating healthy when we are pregnant, nursing, cloth diapers or not, immunizations or not, different educational choices - we are always weighing the pros and cons of millions of daily decisions and trying to decide what will be best for our children. Often, we find ourselves facing choices between options we do not like such as leaving our infant to go to work or doing without health insurance for that same infant. We may want better choices, but we choose, knowing that our choice really matters, right or wrong, and that we have to keep looking for and working for better choices.

Voting is one of these choices that we make for our children.

We may not always love the choices we are given, but we have to choose because we know the outcome will affect the kind of lives our children will lead. It will. We may need to keep working for better choices than the ones some elections offer, but we still have to choose each time.

We have to vote for our hopes and dreams...for the world we want for our children.

If you haven't yet, please go vote tomorrow.

A round-up of voting posts can be found at Chasing Ray.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Trick-or-Treating for UNICEF

The Lone Star Girl decided to trick-or-treat for UNICEF instead of candy this year. We got the little donation box at a local hallmark store and she was good to go. I didn't think it would really go very well, as we didn't get around to preparing the neighbors to have change on hand if they wanted to or anything, but she plowed ahead with it and she did great! She collected $21.52, and we added some to make $25, which is enough to feed 12 hungry kids with some left over to get them clean water. We sent off her donation today. I am so proud of that 13-year-old girl!

Halloween Insects

I mean, besides the lice.

The Lone Star Baby had to be something "alive" and "real" for school at Halloween. If we'd known sooner about her little friends, we might just have let her go as one of those, but she chose to be a bee.

She did not really want to be a bee for Halloween, though. She wanted to be a faery princess, which would not fly at school. We went with the faery princess thing for trick-or-treating, but then she started telling everyone she was a butterfly faery. Whatever. She had fun.

Best Laid Plans

Thirteen, especially on Halloween, seems like a very important birthday to me. We wanted to make it special for the Lone Star Girl. We considered big party options - like a dance at our house with boys, even - but she decided she still wanted a slumber party. I allowed her to invite a truly insane number of girls for our tiny house and we bought all the black decorations with skull motif that her little goth heart could want.


On Thursday, I picked the Lone Star Baby up from school, intending to take her to the Lone Star Girl's school for the Halloween festival that the Lone Star Girl's theatre department was putting on as a fundraiser. However, in the bright sunlight of the playground, I stuff. In the Lone Star Baby's hair. I had seen debris of this sort before. Last year - when she brought home lice. EEK!!!!! I took her home and treated her with Nix and combed through her hair with the nit comb, only finding debris, but it was that sort of debris. We treated the rest of us and picked through our heads late into the night, finding nothing that was not ambiguous. We hauled all the bedding, etc. out to the garage for washing and drying in high heat. We lysol-ed the cars.

We canceled the party.

Even though we were careful and even though we did send the Lone Star Baby back to school for her Halloween carnival the next morning after treatment and combing (with full disclosure, of course), having a bunch of girls sleep in and around our furniture that soon after an outbreak seemed to be asking for trouble. I felt just horrible about it and I know the Lone Star Girl was sad, but she was very sweet about it. We tried to make the weekend as special as we could for her, given that large portions of it had to be taken up with extreme laundry and with the daily combing out of everyone's hair, just in case we missed anything.

There were presents on her birthday morning and there was pizza for supper and later trick-or-treating with the neighborhood kids and erstwhile neighborhood kids and one came over for cake and sorbet afterwards. On Saturday, we took her out to lunch and her auntie took her out to a movie and we watched a DVD at night after the combing rituals. Today, I fixed a special brunch and took her to the mall to get a second piercing in her ears.

I still feel bad, though. She really deserved a better birthday.