Thursday, September 30, 2010

Coffee-Requiring Day "Off"

School conference for eldest.  Fielding phone calls from eldest's allergist office (during conference) and again after conference. Drove in the duct tape car on library field trip for youngest.  Pediatrician phone calls.  Girl Scout errand.    More phone calls to try to arrange transportation for various doctor appointments.  Picking up youngest.  Picking up eldest.  Doctor appointment for eldest.  Meeting my old man at doctor's appointment to hand off youngest for soccer.  Dropping eldest off at home.  Informational meeting on IB program at eldest's school.  The field trip was lovely, lovely, lovely but I am tired, tired, tired.


Yesterday morning, we were parked in the parking lot at the Lone Star Baby's school.  I was waiting for her to finish her breakfast so we could go in when another car - a big one - backed right into us. The important thing is that we are a-okay.  It freaked me out to get hit with my child in the car!  I even hugged a random dad from the school who is pretty much a stranger to me when he came over to make sure we were alright - I was a bit freaked.  

The car was technically drive-able.  I got the other parent's insurance information and drove to work.  I called the police just to find out if it was legal for me to drive in the daytime without the lights I no longer had on one side (brake light, turn signal) - they said no, of course.  So...I got permission for a half day off and when my sub. arrived mid-day, I made the insurance calls and went to a mechanic who was fortunately able to replace the brake light bulb and the turn signal bulb for under $30, making me legal to drive.  Now it is just incredibly ugly and sharp, the latter of which I have very slightly ameliorated with duct tape (ah, duct tape).  According to the other parent's insurance, they are taking full responsibility and will fix everything - we shall see how long and arduous that is, I guess.

May I just say here how much I love Staples Automotive?  I highly recommend them if you need to get your car fixed.  They are the place that replaced the bulbs.  They are just so nice there, and so understanding of the financial and time limitations of real, working people.  I heart them.  They won't be able to fix the rest of my car because they don't do any body work, but I still heart them.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I am not at all thrilled to be this close to 40, but I still am having a very nice birthday.  My students were wishing me a happy birthday all day and my family took me out to dinner tonight.  The Lone Star Baby and the Lone Star Girl both made me lovely presents of their art - paintings and drawings from the Lone Star Baby and bottle cap art from the Lone Star Girl - and Jazz (who already took me out to dinner over the weekend!) and Lone Star Pa both gave me games I had been wanting for a long time - Banana-grams and Creationary.  The Lone Star Girl made me a lovely cake which we enjoyed.  Birthday greetings have been tendered from near and far.  I am grateful to have such lovely people in my life.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Boxtops Queen

I am the new volunteer Boxtops for Education Coordinator at the Lone Star Baby's school.  

There is a requirement, you see,  that parents volunteer 20 hours per year and, what with all the half days for this and that when there is not after-school care available and the field trips they need parents to drive on, and ... well, it becomes hard to meet the expectations of this sort of school while holding down a job, you know?  Somehow the great schools always seem to expect you not to need to be employed.  

So I made sure to snag this Boxtops gig right away since most of it can be done at home and it can get me the hours I need.  I've been working hard getting it organized this week and have already put in five hours.  I have it all set up and all the information sent out to teachers and set up to go out to parents in the Friday folders.  Gonna rock the Boxtops, people.  Gonna be the best Boxtops Queen ev-ah.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Daisy Girl Scout Garden Service Project

At our last meeting, the Daisy Girl Scouts planted two flat container gardens of squash, eggplant and tomatoes (with some marigolds to ward away bugs) and decorated a watering can and made little popsicle stick plant markers that they stuck into the soil next to the plants.  They voted to do the planting for the Mother Teresa Day Shelter for which they have previously collected toiletries and harvested grapefruit.  We had planned to deliver the little gardens last weekend but the weather was too bad on Sunday, so we re-scheduled for today and , after soccer today, they delivered them to the Mother Teresa Day Shelter.  Proud of my girls.

First Game of the Season

Thanks to last week's cancellation due to inclement weather, I was able to make the Lone Star Baby's first game of the season.  Her team is the Sharks, this year, and it is her first year in the U8 (Under 8) division, as opposed to the U6 division.  As near as I can tell, this means that each team has five players on the field instead of three.  Lone Star Pa is coaching again and a couple of his players from last year came back.  There are more girls on the team than ever before - five.  I don't think her previous teams had more than 2.  A great game and a nice morning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Flu Shots: Check

The health department started giving out flu shots this week and they were opened until 6:30pm on Monday.  Lone Star Pa took the Lone Star Baby to get hers, so now we are all vaccinated.  Mama is happy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bill White For Texas: Phone-banking

I really, really want Bill White to be our next governor and Linda Chavez-Thompson to be our next Lt. Governor - so very much.  Naturally, I want to help them and other Democratic candidates get elected this November, but it's very hard for me to find the time to make scheduled times when the campaign is holding phone-banking nights or block-walking mornings, etc. - I have so much work to do, and then there are the soccer games and swim meets and Girl Scout meetings and First Day School and fighting Las Brisas - I am way, way, way over-extended all the time.

Fortunately, the campaign understands this.  They happily provided me with a phone-banking list of a swing precinct to call and a block-walking list of neighbors to go talk with - on my schedule, as I can get to it.  Their flexibility allows me to help the campaign around all my other work and I am so grateful.  It would, of course, be more fun to be going to all the campaign events and socializing with the other activists and feeling all part of things that way, but what I am doing is just as effective and works for me.  I'm thrilled to be doing my part.

I finished my phone list tonight and hope to get started on my block-walking list this week.  

Do you want to help Bill White get elected?  Call or drop by the Democratic H.Q. in Hamlin Center and ask about volunteer opportunities.  If they are flexible enough to provide ways for me to volunteer, they will be able to work with you, too.  Together, we will turn Texas blue this November!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Of Swimming And Soccer Games

Today was supposed to be the Lone Star Girl's first high school swim meet and the Lone Star Baby's first soccer game of the season.  I had elaborate inter-dimensional schemes for making both (and they involved my sister), but I did not end up needing the schemes, due to the soccer game being rained out.  Lone Star Pa and the Soccer Girl were very disappointed, but I was a little relieved, being somewhat concerned about the effects that my plans might have on the time-space continuum.

The Lone Star Girl loved her first high school meet and I enjoyed attending it (except for the loud whistles).  I could not help noticing how extremely touchy and flirty all the wet, swimsuit-clad teens were with each other, even the ones who I knew had no real interest in, shall we say, courting.  I was reminded of the behavior of young people in the theatre when I was all ripe and young like that.   I felt like writing sociology papers about teen swimmers.  Or just about teens.  High school is indeed upon us, people.  It is.

After the meet, the Lone Star Girl and I ran some mildly frivolous errands together and then decided that it was raining too much to continue and came home before running any of the truly practical errands.  I mulched the Daisies' garden service project for tomorrow.  We hung out on the couch.  All in all, it has been a rather peaceful day, really.

'Night, Scouts.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Interrogation Envy

Every day when I am reunited with them in the evening, I interrogate my children about their day.  I found out a long time ago that it was a mistake to believe they would volunteer the information I needed/wanted if not asked - although certainly they talk endlessly about the parts of their day that they want to talk about without being asked, being little girls and all.

I generally start with the Lone Star Girl's first class or activity of the day and then ask her about each one in order - to much eye-rolling, as you may imagine.  In the days of the children's house, I would usually allow the Lone Star Baby to just tell me what she wanted to tell me, but the interrogations have become mandatory for her, too, now.  I'm often too tired at this point in the day to relish starting the interrogations any more than they do, but it's my duty and has often proved important so I try not to skimp on it.  It usually becomes wonderful for me to hear about their doings once we get into it.

One day this week, I was particularly busy and tired and they seemed fine and on top of things, so I did not make the effort.  I was trying to get other things done.  Both girls immediately commenced following me around and interrupting each other and whining that they were trying to tell me about their day (in order, activity to activity) but"she keeps interrupting"  and "don't you want to hear about...?"

I think I've got them.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First Violin Lesson

The Lone Star Baby had her first violin lesson after school yesterday (they are at school, during the aftercare time, thank heavens).  She was super-excited when I picked her up - she loved it!  She showed us at home how she holds her bow and "plays" Mississippi stop-stopShe loves it!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

High School Drama Girl

The Lone Star Girl got a part in her school's first show of the year - she's going to be the telephone operator in Isn't It Romantic?  We're so proud of her!  

(And so terrified of her schedule...)

Flu Shot Mama Continued

While getting Girl Scout supplies for the Daisy troop's garden service project at Target, I asked them about their flu vaccines - they also said 7 and up.  And they informed me that Texas law says that retail places can only vaccinate kids aged seven and up, information that saves me some time checking.  It's back to the doctors with their late-arriving shipments now.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A Weekend Lost To Television

I kind of gave in to what I always said I'd never do today - I got cable.  Not cable cable, mind you - just the sort of super basic cable that allows us to watch local TV channels again.  

When we moved into this house, it was hard to get TV reception without cable, but Lone Star Pa got a basic outdoor antenna and we were good. I enjoy a little TV but never wanted the sort of TV watching that I think would happen with all those cable channels.  I am frankly not sure I could resist SyFy myself.  When the TV channels went digital, we got one of those free-after-rebate converter boxes so we could keep watching our local TV channels without cable or an expensive digital TV.   The box didn't work great, but it worked well enough.

Sometime during the summer, though, it just stopped working at all.  Lone Star Pa was fine with being Tv-less, but I was sad that there was no summer PBS kids for the Lone Star Baby and I do want to watch V when it comes back and the occasional late night Roseanne rerun ... but it was not a huge deal.  The kicker for me, though, has been not having convenient access to the local weather reports on the news.  You can get them all online but it takes all this searching and loading and it just isn't convenient.  I feel more secure if I can watch local news reports when things, especially storms, are going down.

So...I called around.  Grande doesn't service our area and besides them, only Time-Warner seemed to have a small local channels package, so I went with them.  It costs more than I like but it costs a whole lot less than what most people seem to consider "basic cable".  The cable guy came today and installed it.

And...surprise, surprise...we have all the channels that come in what most people consider a basic package - not just the ones we paid for.  To much distress from the other members of the household, I ran outside to catch the cable guy before he left.  He said that it would be like this for a little while, probably and then someone would come out and restrict the channels.  Oh.  

So the kids are having a predictable Disney Channel marathon.  Sigh.

First Day School: The Flood

I forgot to post about our lesson last Sunday.  The Lone Star Girl wasn't feeling well, so no Young Friend class.  The Lone Star Baby had a Noah lesson, in the style of Godly Play, with thanks from me that the materials do not emphasize the gruesome parts of that story, but the hopeful ones.  She chose some Adam and Eve materials for her work, as well as making a bookmark on the lesson.  We also read three related midrashim from Does God Have A Big Toe?  and the book's title story about Babel.  Best of all we read A Prayer For The Earth:  The Story of Naamah, Noah's Wife.  I really love Sandy Eisenberg Sasso's books.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Flu Shot Mama

Last Saturday, Lone Star Pa, the Lone Star Girl (even though she was sick - the doctor said to go ahead) and I got flu shots (now including the H1N1 vaccine!) at Walgreen's.  I had called around a bit.  They were only giving them to people ages 9 and up.  I checked with the Lone Star Baby's pediatrician's office and they said they don't expect to get theirs until October.  I checked with the Health Dept. and they have no idea when they are getting theirs.

The Lone Star Girl, with her allergies and asthma, is the one I worry about the most so I am very glad she has gotten her shot, and that we adults have, but I still want to get one for the Lone Star Baby sooner than October.  The kids I see at school are already getting sick a lot.  I saw that H-E-B was giving them so I called them and they said only seven and up - sigh.  I will keep stalking it...

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Unexpected Leg-Up

Today, when I arrived at my school, it was very, very hot.  Also dark in a lot of places.  We have a very closed floor plan and few windows.  This state of affairs seemed...troubling.  (It is a middle school, you know.) Fortunately, we were allowed to get the kids off home and leave before mid-day so that no one had to melt utterly.  This presented wild opportunities - what to do?

I did and turned in Girl Scout paperwork.  Also bought guinea pig bedding.  Picked the Lone Star Baby up right after school and took her to get dinner and get started on her spelling homework before the PTO meeting.  Now I don't have to go to the Girl Scout office tomorrow so I can pick the girls up, allowing Lone Star Pa more time to get to his coaches meeting.  

I have made lunches and received the run-down of each girl's day now and the LSB is in the bathtub.

I feel a few milliseconds ahead of the game.  Yay!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Rolling With It

I have never been anywhere near as good at providing those warm, safe routines that provide a framework for family life as I would like to be.  I have always made endless resolutions about family dinners and bedtime routines that never actually seem to play out.  I thought that last school year, with both kids involved in several extra-curricular activities, was really frantic.  

The beginning of this school year, however, has shown me that the level of routine held in our previous lives was infinitely higher than any level we will probably ever reach again.  

Every night so far in the last two weeks has had something or several somethings going on for someone and most of the girls' activities haven't even started yet.   Somehow we have muddled through so far and even had some very warm family moments where both girls have been spread out on the floor doing homework or taking turns telling us about their schooldays over "dinner", but the key to this has seemed to be a certain attitude of suspended control - just living in the moment and rolling with it.  Any attempt to think about long-term plans and schedules threatens to just bring it all crashing down into panic and chaos.  So we had better not do that kind of thinking, I guess.

This coming week includes the following, which I am sure is just the tip of the iceberg:

Tuesday - PTO meeting at LSB's school and auditions for the LSG
Wednesday - I need to turn in more stuff to Girl Scout office right after school and LSP has a coach's meeting for the soccer team he coaches for the LSB (soccer starts the following week) and more auditions for the LSG
Thursday - mandatory swim parents meeting at LSG's school at same time as Open House at my school
Friday - Girl Scouts for the big girls (also a peace education speaker at the LSB's school, but I think we'll have to miss that).

Roll with it - that's my new motto.  It is also important never to actually sit down or exhale that tired breath or any such thing, because once you once let yourself wind down at night, there is no getting started again.  Have to keep rolling....

Happy Labor Day!

Time to pause and appreciate unions - the folks who brought us weekends!!
(Don't know who to attribute that quote to, but I love it!)

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Firsts And Fish Tanks

The Lone Star Baby had her first spelling homework this past week, culminating in her first spelling test (even though they don't give grades)  Friday.  She loved it.  Wanted to do more homework than assigned.  Filled her need by reading a couple of extra chapter books this week.  I hope she is always just as motivated as she is these first weeks of first grade.

There is a fish tank in the front of the school filled with coral, anemone and a few fish.  It is really something.  We  stop to check it out every morning on our way into early care.  After a few days, she told me that there are little baby starfish - lots of them - in the tank.  I was skeptical, but she showed me.  It's amazing.  Little green starfish about the size of a fingernail cling to the coral.  In different places every day.  Super cool.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Swim Mornings!

Real swim practices have started for the Lone Star Girl in the mornings, so she is getting up at 5:15 every morning to throw on her swim suit and pull back her hair and grab her stuff before 5:45 when Lone Star Pa takes her to meet the bus at her school.  The bus takes them to the Natatorium to swim and then back to school before school starts.  Early mornings! 

Las Brisas hearing Delayed Until October 18th

The SOAH Judges have delayed the Las Brisas hearing until October 18th due to sad circumstances.  For more information, check out the Texas Green Report.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Possible Delay For Las Brisas Hearing

Word on the web (Sierra Club) is that the Las Brisas hearing has been delayed until October by the SOAH judges.  More when I know more.

Silver Award Paperwork: Check

Today I hurried out of school after 4:15 to make it to the Girl Scout office before they closed.  I turned in the paperwork for the Lone Star Girl's Silver Award project and for the project of the other girl in our troop who has finished her paperwork.  Now - they wait for approval.