Monday, June 28, 2010

Hurricane In the Gulf

In June.  Crazy Stuff.  The girls and I were headed to San Antonio tomorrow to catch a dinosaur show along the river before heading onto Austin for the TCEQ meeting Wednesday, so I think we're going to go with that.  Afterwards, we'll see.  Good luck, everybody.
 
xxoo

Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Column up at We the People News

Please read it -John Marez At The Crossroads.

No Las Brisas!

The air permit for Las Brisas Energy Center is on the agenda for the June 30th TCEQ meeting (Wednesday)  in Austin.  If you haven't asked the TCEQ Commissioners not to issue it yet, please ask them now. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Convention Mama

We had great fun at the State Democratic Convention, which was held here in our beautiful, sparkling city by the sea this weekend, and I have high hopes for November. We are turning Texas blue, people!  Blue-green. 

Our little family started our participation (this week - I suppose you could technically go back to when we voted!) when the girls and I spent a couple of hours on Wednesday folding t-shirts and stuffing bags with other volunteers in preparation for the Convention.  LSP took the girls to their respective swim lesson and swim practice that night while I went to an informational meeting about the Convention at the courthouse.  We took Thursday pretty much off to take the girls to their various activities (library volunteering, swim lesson, swim practice).  I did pop over to the Progressive Center for a few minutes in the evening to drop off food for the kick-off party there, but only in between swim practice drop-off and pick-up.

On Friday morning, LSP and I got up super-early and headed off to the convention center to get credentialed.  We let our elder daughter get her younger sister dressed and ready while we went so they wouldn't be too rushed.  LSP and I were alternates to the Convention (though we got elevated to delegates today when there were some absences in the delegation).  We then picked up the girls and headed back to the convention center.  We took the girls around looking at all the booths set up by organizations, vendors and candidates.  We attended caucus meetings.  The LSG took a shift helping at the Texans for Peace/Texas Drought Project table where the Clean Economy Coalition was also passing out information.  It was great fun.  We left when it was time for the LSB's swimming lesson.

Today we went to the LSG's swim meet in the morning and got to the Convention as it was going back in session.  The LSG and I tried to walk down to McGee Beach for the Hands Across The Sand event, but it was much further than I remembered and crazy-hot.  We arrived just as it was ending and caught a ride back with a nice college student.  We met LSP and the LSB on the floor and stayed for the rest of the Convention. There was some excitement about approving the report of the Rules Committee as there is much disagreement over the Texas Two-Step process and people feel very strongly about it.  There also were these delegates who kept making motions to stop the reading of the resolutions approved by the Resolutions Committee and just have them decided by the SDEC or the Resolutions Committee (two different motions).  This was odd because it was quite obvious that the majority wanted to hear and vote on the resolutions, but they kept bringing it up an getting voted down.  If they had just been in a hurry, I think they would have just left, so I'm not sure what their issue was.  The Party voted to approve a moratorium on any future coal or pet-coke plants in Texas and voted to approve a resolution against Las Brisas - woo hoo!

I got to see Representative Elliott Naishtat from Austin who I worked for as a Social Work Intern and later LA when I was in graduate school.   

We got to help collect the recyclable trash for recycling at the end, too, because we were a green Convention(:


It was so great to participate in this process, especially as a family.  I love seeing our girls learning how to be involved citizens and having so much exposure to the process.  It thrills me.  I think we are doing a really good job teaching our kids about how democracy works.  It was also very grounding to be participating around the girls' activities and to work to balance it all.  We put a lot of effort into striking the right balance for our kids.  I don't really believe there is a "right" balance when you come down to it, though - it's really about the trying.  It's just good for the soul.


Expect many candidate posts and issue posts in the near future! Buenas noches!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wings

There are a whole lot of hours and days in this season of Teen Raising in which the verbal exchanges between the LSG and I are far from pleasant.  She is wholly a wonderful girl - it's just that Attitude.  I have honestly never been the kind of Mommy who responds to her offspring in that June Cleaver sing-song in moments good or bad.  We keep it real around here and real isn't always pretty.  Especially when the Girl is all touchy and hormone-ridden and I am, too.  But....

So many other times, other hours and days,  I sort of wake from my mundane mind to realize the miraculous beauty of what is happening - my daughter talking a mile a minute about what she has been/is experiencing, thinking, feeling...to me!

I am not sure I knew before what the old phrase "my heart takes wing" meant, but I surely do now.  My heart takes wing!  It does!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Meeting for Eating

Our Friends Meeting theoretically tries to have quarterly Meetings for Business at around the times of the solstices/equinoxes, but we often sort of forget since we rarely have any business to speak of, and we are trying to do better.  This Summer Solstice evening, we met in my backyard.  We didn't really have any business so it was really a Meeting for Eating, but...I think that counts.

Party Like Progressive Democrats

The Corpus Christi PPC will be hosting a kick off party for the State Democratic Convention at the Progressive Center on Waco at 7pm on Thursday.  Unlike other kick off parties, this one is free - just bring a dish to share.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Don't Leave Your Friends Behind

Two of my mama-writing she-roes, China Martens and Victoria Law, have been working on the issue of support for family/childcare issues in radical communities.  To that end, they have been producing zines on the topic and Issue Three of their zine includes a piece by yours truly titled Lactivists Do It Better.  Click on the link in this post to read my story in the zine.

Also, there is a call for submissions for Issue #4 - read more about it here.

Bad Food Allergy Portrayals In Books

I just read Every Soul A Star by Wendy Mass and I really enjoyed it overall - it is an excellent story about three young adolescents and their families.  One thing sort of ruined it for me, though - the dangerously erroneous portrayal of the management of a child with anaphylactic allergies.  

There is a young child in the book who is sent off under the care of an older boy for a bit and the older boy is not informed of the child's allergies.  The child finds licorice and eats it and volunteers to the older boy that he can eat licorice, just not peanuts and fish.  When the little boy's mother hears of this very dangerous behavior, she greets it casually as if just eating some random piece of candy without checking the ingredients when you have deadly peanut allergies is okay - it is not.   When you have dangerous food allergies, it is not okay to eat anything without checking ingredients.  Seriously, people.


Then later, the little boy goes into anaphylactic shock from eating a cookie with nuts in it and must have an epi-pen administered.  Although it was not used promptly because it was not where it was supposed to be and the child already seems to be going into a coma or about to die by the time he gets it, he is immediately fine upon its administration and does not go to the ER but just goes on about his merry business.  This isn't the way it works, people.  While one can hope, it is not a good bet that an epi-pen will be able to make a kid immediately "fine" if his reaction has gone that far - epi-pens need to be used promptly to work like that, and don't always work that way even when they are used promptly.  Furthermore, if you have to use the epi-pen, you have to go to the emergency room.  Period.  No ifs, ands or buts.

So many people refuse to treat serious food allergies with the care that is needed to keep our kids alive, and misinformation like this really doesn't help.  I really think that if an author is writing about a life-threatening condition - fiction or not - they should do the research to get it right.  

Edited to add that I contacted the author about this matter and she seemed sincerely concerned that her research did not yield accurate information and wants to try to fix it.  Yay her!

Happy Father's Day to Lone Star Pa!

We love you!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

SPICE

There's been a lot of buzz lately on the Quaker blogosphere about what some people view as the inadequacy of the modern Quaker testimonies of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community and Equality.  Some people feel that these are watered down versions of what they came from - that Simplicity and Plainness are not the same, that Peace is a wishy-washy form of No Outward Wars and Integrity is a pale version of Truth, Equality too warm and fuzzy for our abolitionist roots.  I see their points, I guess, but I don't see the testimonies as warm and fuzzy or wishy-washy and I don't see the modern wording of them as revisionist.  Certainly people can be very wishy-washy about anything if they want to be, but that was true when we used older words as well.  These five testimonies are enough, to me, to encompass all that they meant in the days of George Fox as well as our expanded understanding of their importance in modern issues of which George and Margaret probably never dreamed.  When I speak of Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community and Equality, and when I listen to the Spirit speaking of them to me, they are not wishy-washy or warm and fuzzy.  They are more terrifying and incriminating, really, because I know how far short I fall of their demands.  I'll be working on the SPICE thing all my life.  I don't expect to have time to do much else.

Monday, June 14, 2010

First Day School: Anabaptists/ Finishing Parables/Summer Plans

The "teen" class didn't do that much this past Sunday, as it was just the LSG and I and we were running late.  We sort of planned visits to the local Mennonite Church and a nearby group of Amish to finish our study of the Anabaptists and talked about what we'd like to ask, but we haven't actually talked to the congregations yet.

The Little Friends and Lower El "class" (again, just us) finished up our use of the parables for now with some "parables about parables" (as opposed to actual parables of Jesus) - the Parable of Parables and the Parable of The Deep Well - both really good lessons. There are some good parable synthesis lessons but they are really for older kids so we are moving on to a limited selection of  Old Testament story-based lessons next, still with an emphasis on God's presence in everyone and all around us.


We talked about how summer First Day School would be a little different from how it has been this school year - with more lessons and stories and less materials work.  We also introduced the idea of "junior meeting" - basically an effort to practice being quiet and still for a few minutes in the hopes of working on those skills for Meeting.  


I'm planning on doing Creation and Adam and Eve (I really like the Adam and Eve enrichment lesson and have some good midrashim too) at our next lesson, Noah at the first July lesson, The Great Family and the Ten Commandments at our second July lesson, and the Prophets and Books of the Bible (just a little intro.) in August.  Then I'm going to be finished with this whole Bible story thing for awhile as I move on to the Quaker Testimonies for next school year.  The Teen class is covering Unitarians and secular humanists (and Quakers, etc.) next.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Activity Grrrls

The Wild Woman Summer Enrichment Program For Gifted Girls is in full swing already!

Last week, before school was even out for all of us, evening swim practices started for the Lone Star Girl and the Lone Star Baby attended one of the library's Summer Reading Club Kick-Off programs (with the Daisy troop).  We had a Daisy field trip to the Fire Station on Saturday as well, which was a lot of fun.

This week, the Lone Star Girl started volunteering at the library in the afternoons, helping with the Summer Reading Club and shelving books and such.  Two of her friends volunteer there a lot so she is really enjoying it.  She is supposedly reading The Lord of The Flies and To Kill A Mockingbird as summer reading for high school, but she's mostly reading a bunch of fluff from the library as far as I can tell.

The Lone Star Baby's swim lessons started today and she had a great time.  She is also filling up that reading log for the library, going to craft time there and having fun doing art projects and playing a pizza math game at home.  Next week, she may attend a morning sign language camp.

Meanwhile, we are trying to get the house at least somewhat ready for the Saturday birthday party of a little paleontologist in training who turns six on Friday (Six!).  (We won't say how old my old man will turn on Thursday.)

Friday, June 04, 2010

Lone Star Ma Says Write Even More Letters...

Please write to the TCEQ Commissioners some more and ask them to both not issue the Las Brisas waste water permit # WQ00049110000 and also to hold a public meeting in Corpus Christi on the permit.  Thank you!  xxoo

Addresses:

Buddy Garcia, Commissioner
TCEQ
P.O. Box 13087
Austin, TX 78711-3087


Bryan W. Shaw, Ph.D., Chairman
TCEQ
P.O. Box 13087
Austin, TX 78711-3087


Carlos Rubinstein, Commissioner
TCEQ
P.O. Box 13087
Austin, TX 78711-3087.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

I Heart Alice Cooper Again

Summer!!!!!!!

In Between Days Juggling

Lone Star Pa's last day of classes was the 27th with a workday on the 28th and his first (work) day of summer school was the first.  The Lone Star Baby had Kindergarten Graduation on the 27th and her last (half) day of school on the 28th.  The Lone Star Girl and I had our last days of classes on Tuesday and I had a workday today.  So....I took off the 27th and 28th (the carnage!  the carnage!) and attended to end-of-school things for the Lone Star Baby as well as medical paperwork for high school for the Lone Star Girl.  We were all home together on Monday for Memorial Day.  Then a neighbor down the street who runs a registered day home kept the Lone Star Baby Tuesday and Wednesday and we employed the Big Sister Babysitting Service while I was at work today.  And now I am home.  Whew.