Saturday, December 31, 2011

Lone Star Ma #10 Is Live!

Hours early and pretty good for a first try at the whole online thing, I think!  Please read it and let me know what you think!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Cutting Down On Resolutions

I still want to get healthier, do more writing, be a better wife, mother, teacher, citizen and all that, but....I am lowering the bar in a big way this year.  I need a retreat from "shoulds" this year, a sanctuary of mind and heart in which to grow strong amidst the chaos, so I have only two resolutions:

1.  Take good care of my daughters.
2.  Survive.

That will be quite enough.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Crush

I don't know how to get Blogger to do it, but I have totally fallen for American Typewriter font - just so you know.

Arms Full of Daughters

Another doctor's office waiting room and the sixteen-year-old is tired and hungry after waiting an hour there.  Her head nestles into the hollow of my neck and shoulder - she is slouching so that works because she is really taller than I am - and I rest my head on hers as we wait.  My mom, thinking it weird when I go into exam rooms with the Girl at her request, says I'll have to cut the apron strings eventually, but even at sixteen this daughter tells me that I can come live with her and my future grandchildren when I am old enough to want a retirement I will never be able to afford.  I will make her go away to school because she must stretch her wings, but that's not the same as a bunch of differentiation hogwash.  And I know that my twenty-three-year-old sister still climbs into bed with my mom whenever there's a space available so there is no need to worry about what my mom says about such things. 

In the night, I hear my seven-year-old cry out from her room and I rush in to gather her up and snuggle close.  She only wants snuggling after nightmares, whispering an inaudible account of her dream but settling back quickly to sleep in my arms.  Her hair still smells like baby, her tiny limbs like a bag of sticks, the march of years so hard to fathom.

Channeling Grandmas

Mentioning motorcycles (I believe after the grossed-out Girl said that in retribution for having to watch her father and I kiss, she would get a boyfriend and bring him home to make out with him in front of us all the time - I thoroughly approved of this plan and asked if his name would be Scar and if he would be a biker), I reminded the Lone Star Girl that her Grandmama is so not overprotective and the two safety rules she had after working as an ICU nurse were:

No motorcyles
No trampolines.

LSG:  Everyone thought it was so weird that you wouldn't let me get on trampolines.

Me:  You know that if my mom says it is not safe, it is not safe.

LSG:  How come you are so overprotective when she's so not?

Me:  I think it skips a generation - I'm more like my grandma that way.



Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sleeping, Crafts And Trees For Boxing Day

I spent almost all of Boxing Day in a benadryl-induced fog, sleeping cozily beneath piles of blankets with my mucous.  My few waking moments were very nice, though.  I ambled out to the kitchen for some cereal in the mid-afternoon and found that the table was covered in drying art work that the Lone Star Baby had done with her new Christmas art supplies and that the Lone Star Girl was busy weaving with her new butterfly loom.  

Lone Star Pa got me my long-desired Mexican lime tree for Christmas and he offered to plant it, as well as the loquat tree that I won at a craft fair drawing awhile back.  He and the Lone Star Baby worked industriously at planting the trees while I puttered about the garden weeding and re-potting and fussing over the succulent nursery.  It was ever so nice.


I read the first chapter of The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe to the Lone Star Baby for a bedtime story -  Santa brought her the Chronicles of Narnia.  Late at night, I watched a couple of episodes of Dr. Who with the Girl, in honor of Boxing Day, but then she was too scared to go to sleep alone (Don't Blink) so I tucked her in to her sister's bed and they always look so sweet when they are snuggled up asleep.  


Written like that it seems like a great day, not a lost day.  Maybe I should spend more days under the covers.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Castle

The Lone Star Girl's castle project for World History (the towers, the tallest parts, come up to my seven-year-old's nose in height - my Girl thinks big):








Tuesday, December 20, 2011

One For My Blog

That's what Lone Star Pa said when he reported to me  a conversation he had with the Lone Star Baby today:

Lone Star Pa:  What's your favorite thing about America?

Lone Star Baby:  That Rick Perry isn't President yet.

Christmas Cards

I got Christmas cards mailed today -  yay!  

I know it is probably too late for anyone to actually get them by Christmas, and I know that I am probably missing about 30 people from my address list to whom I would have liked to send Christmas cards and, well, the paint was still a little wet on some of them so the envelopes may look artistic indeed...

...but it's done!  And anyways....

Season's Greetings to All, whether or not I can find your address!  May Love and Peace be yours, now and always.

Monday, December 19, 2011

First Day School: The Glorious Impossible

Although I have gone to Meeting by myself with the other adults a few times in the interim, yesterday was the first time I've held First Day School for our youngest Quaker since some hardships sort of floored me in the summertime, experiences I've been very slowly recovering from ever since.  

I am sure I would have forced myself to get with the program sooner had the Meeting had children other than my own to worry about, but my kids are the only ones and most of our tiny band of members and attenders have had a rough year, so my lapse was not all that remarkable, except for it being mine-  as I am certainly the member with the vested interest in First Day School.  And I am not proud of neglecting the religious education of my children for two seasons, or of falling down in my commitment to fellowship with my Meeting, but...we all have to treat ourselves as gently as we can during hard times and I, as well as other members, have needed lots of rest.

Now we are pulling things back together.  I managed to do the Glorious Impossible lesson for my "little Friends/Lower El Class" of one yesterday and it was so nice.  Being there always reminds me of all that I love about First Day School.  I also love the fact that that particular lesson points out that angels are messengers of God and they are scary.  So I have always felt since the first words out of their mouths are always "Fear not!"

I aim to be a better Quaker parent as the rest of the year unfurls.  I'm still going to be gentle with myself, though.

Christmas Pageant




The Lone Star Baby insists that hers was not a Christmas Pageant - perhaps having a negative association regarding the other kind of pageant - but it was full of sweet child pageantry as far as I'm concerned and thus - her Christmas Pageant. 

Her tiny bilingual, Montessori home-schoolish school rents its space from a church that was having a Christmas program and they invited the school to be part of it.  The children sang Noche de Paz and Feliz Navidad.  In between, the Lone Star Baby performed a poem in Spanish about the true meaning of Christmas.  She was great!  I think my favorite part of the performance, though, was during the singing, when she kept her hands on the shoulders of a three-year-old classmate standing in front of her, taking care of him and keeping him on track - so sweet!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Collective Nouns of Tacos

I am writing a poem that involves a surplus of tacos.  The title will be "A (Collective Noun) of Tacos".  I spent a pleasant piece of time going through lists of collective nouns and thinking of which ones I think would be a good fit.  

This is the sort of thing that tickles a wordsmith.  

The following is a list of collective nouns that are being seriously considered:

superfluity
bloat
exaltation
pandemonium
tiding
ostentation
plump
mustering
zeal
hurtle
gulp.


Which do you like best for the purpose?  Have you others that I should consider?  Please discuss.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Feeling A Little Overwhelmed By School Christmases

The presents and field trips and parties and cards and practices and bake sales and ... just a few more days to fit everything in and then...rest and family time.  It will come.  Joy to the World.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

What It Takes To Make It Out There As A Gingerbread Girl

I have been looking for a Gingerbread Girl cookie cutter for years, as I am tired of just making Gingerbread Boys.  I finally found one last week and was so happy.  

Our house has been full of giant papier mache castle parts for several weeks now, as the Lone Star Girl works on her World History project (photos soon) and today they have finally been somewhat cleaned up, preparatory to taking them to school (in stages, as few of them will fit in the car at once) next week.

Now the Girl is filling the house with gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies for the Invisible Children bake sale their club is having and for holiday presents for friends and teachers.  My cookie cutters came just in time ... or so I thought.

I asked the Girl a few minutes ago if I could have a Gingerbread Girl that was cooling on the counter.  Her reply:

"Yes, but I gave them pants so they could survive in the business world."

Friday, December 09, 2011

Scary

Last night, Lone Star Pa and I went out for dinner while the Girl minded her sister for us.  They didn't call us or anything, but as we turned down our street coming home, we could see that, further down, on our block, the street was lined with firetrucks, police cars and an ambulance.

Oh, my heart.

Thankfully, they were not there because anyone had been hurt at our house (or anyone else's house).  We got home to find both girls charmingly asleep in the Lone Star Baby's bed, quite unaware of the commotion outside.  The emergency was at the house of the new-ish neighbors who had recently put up some fabulous Christmas decorations in the yard, winning our eternal admiration.  The fire was not from the decorations, but the heater (heaters are so scary) and everyone is alright, heavens be praised.

Too much excitement.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Last night, the girls each put a shoe under the Christmas tree and this morning they each found a gift from St. Nicholas inside their shoe.  The Girl got a tiny bacteria-growing kit and the Lone Star Baby got a littlw gravity-goo science kit.  Experiments!

I hope you are having a lovely St. Nicholas Day!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Harbor Lights

I had a nice time this evening taking the girls to Harbor Lights with my mom and my sweet baby sister!  The Lone Star Baby decorated a reindeer bag in the craft tents and then we hurried off to watch Santa arrive in his motorcade and to watch him light the tree.  Then we watched the illuminated boat parade.  It was lovely.  It is becoming an annual tradition for my mom to visit for Harbor Lights each year and it is so nice.

Friday, December 02, 2011

December Writing Goals

Again, a little bit, every (day or) night.  Hopefully, I'll do better this month.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Poetry Published!

My poem Strange Grandmother is published at Vox Poetica today! Please read it here.  Tomorrow it will be on the poemblog.  What do you think?

November Writing Goals Progress: Week Four

This past week was no better than the week before for tenacity - I have been far too wrapped up in another matter to write.  Today, though...the week's missed opportunities sort of caught up to me in a mad burst of productivity, and even creativity.  I wrote four good poems and submitted my chapbook.  Not bad for a week, and great for a day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving



I am grateful for my girls - so grateful - and for every moment that I am able to provide for their needs.

The Squash Mariah is Prepped

I have cut the acorn squash and scooped out the seeds and pulp (tossed them in one of the container gardens hopefully, although I seem incapable of actually growing squash).  I put the squash halves, flat sides down on a baking sheet and baked them for about 50 minutes at 350 degrees while I chopped up three big apples.  Set the squash cut-sides up in a baking dish and sprinkled the scooped out part with cinnamon sugar, then put a little pat of butter in each.  Then stuffed each with chopped apples and covered again with cinnamon sugar and dabs of butter.  Into the fridge.  Tomorrow I just have to pop them back into the oven until the apples are baked in the buttery, cinnamon goodness and the squash is toasty again.  My signature Thanksgiving dish.

November Writing Goals Progress: Week Three

I'm even a half week late posting my progress, as it has been fairly non-existent.  Poor state of mind = falling off writing wagon.  I did get one story out of the notebook and onto the computer and write two poems.  That is all.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hospitality

When I went to the Girl Scout National Conference in Houston, I stayed with my brother and sister-in-law (and their sweet little dog) who live in Houston.  It was the first time I had been to their home. They were so very nice and welcoming.  I was a little shocked by the gorgeousness and un-cluttered-ness of their apartment - it was pristine but also very warm and welcoming.  There was a guest room and everything.  It was perfection.

I could not stop thinking of my husband's poor aunt who was coming to stay at our house at that very time, in the Lone Star Baby's just-barely straightened up room with the Dora and the Madeline coverlets.  I want to be hospitable to visitors and to make them feel welcome like my brother and sister-in-law made me feel welcome, but I just don't have as much space or elegance to offer.  My house is always completely full and cluttered and there are usually a million Girl Scout supplies spilling out everywhere (two troops - small house) and some mammoth papier-mache school project taking shape in the public areas of the house.  Also, the bathtub is held together by duck tape.  And not everyone likes guinea pigs.  Not to mention the papers to be graded and all that.  And the resident peoples pile things up in every area that I clear out almost instantly. I am defeated.  And humiliated.  I hope people want to visit anyway.  SIGH.

Anyway, I had a lovely time visiting with my brother and sister-in-law.   I am so glad he found her - she is just wonderful.  I had totally spaced on the fact that our grandparents' graves are in Houston - I have not been there since we buried my grandma.  They took me to visit them and it was so nice.  I put pictures of my children and my sister's children on grandma's grave as I know she'd want to see them.  I knew they'd blow away right away, but it was like a hug, just nice.  Then my brother took us to the restaurant - The Dinner Bell -  where we ate after the funerals to buy cookies at the bakery it has.  I had forgotten that, too, but remembered when he showed me.  It was lovely.


I am so grateful for my family.

Monday, November 21, 2011

On Scum - Fact And Fantasy

I walked in during the middle of a TV program that the LSG was watching tonight in which a dog of a guy who was experiencing the desire to be a father went to see a woman he had the hots for to be told that she was pregnant.

Me:  He kind of loves her, though, right?
LSG:  Yeah.
Me:  But he's still a scuzz, right?
LSG:  Yes - but maybe the pregnancy thing will change that.
Me:   That's not usually how it happens - just so you know.
LSG:  Not in real life - just on TV.

Glad she has that distinction down.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Girl Scout National Conference

We had so much fun!


Lone Star Pa took the day off to deliver the Lone Star Girl to the Girl Scout Leadership Institute (GSLI) in Houston on the evening of Wednesday the 9th, stopping along the way to tour Rice which made a huge impression on our Biology Girl.  She had an amazing experience at the GSLI - the time of her life - and learned so much.

I drove out after work Thursday and stayed through Sunday when it was time to bring the Girl home.  I stayed with my brother and his lovely wife while the Girl stayed with the other GSLI girls at a hotel.  It was so wonderful to see family and they were so nice.

It turned out that the other girls in my Senior troop did not show due to busy-ness for one and some last minute problems for the other, so I did not really need to go at all, but I am so glad that I did get to go.  The Conference was very inspiring, with information on girl-related topics that I will be posting about for some time.  It was also really fun to see everything at the Hall of Exhibits.  I quite enjoy the feeling of being "alone" in a crowd - such a special, relaxing little vacation.  I also got to spend some time with other mamas from our Council at the 100th Anniversary Celebration Saturday night.  It was wonderful.

I will post more in the days and weeks to come.  We have a lot to do to create a world where all girls can reach their full potential and make their contributions to humanity.  

2012 is the Year of The Girl - get ready!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

November Writing Goals Progress: Week Two

Totally fell off the writing wagon with all the bustle and travelling, but I did manage to:

  • Make a good many notes for several poems and stories and posts
  • Write a poem
  • Request some submission guidelines

Monday, November 07, 2011

Vote Against Proposition 6

Tuesday is a voting day on numerous constitutional amendments in Texas.  Please vote no on Proposition Six, which would allow more principle to be withdrawn from the Permanent School Fund.  Our education system need more investment, not less.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

November Writing Goals Progress: Week One

  • Quite a bit of Lone Star Ma author correspondence and calls for submission updates
  • Sent off contract for my piece, Lactivists Do it Better, which has been accepted into the coming soon anthology Don't Leave Your Friends Behind
  • Two poems written
  • Two other poems submitted

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Lone Star Ma #10 - Deadline Extended! Please Submit!

Submissions

Call For Submissions - Lone Star Ma #10
Please see the general submission information below for guidelines and please consider submitting to our various departments.  Issue #10 of Lone Star Ma:  The Magazine of Progressive Texas Parenting and Children's Issues is our very first issue in an online format (which we've been driven to like a fracker to solar power by the unaffordable cost of printing and mailing - oh, wait - frackers don't care about unaffordable costs - never mind.)

For this issue, we are looking for feature articles on Texas education funding, Texas education funding and did I mention Texas education funding?  We are also looking for articles on the effects of lax enforcement of environmental standards on children in Texas.  We are also looking for articles on social services funding in Texas.  We might be looking for articles on the Texas State Board of Education.  We do accept articles on other themes as well if they strike our fancy, so send whatever you think we should consider and we will ponder it.  Things are bad for the women and children of Texas these days, folks.  We need to spread the word and save our kids' futures from the likes of those who only care about the wealthy and the powerful.  Not on our backs.  Not on our children's backs.  Not now.  Not ever.  We will stop them.

Lone Star Ma wants poetry.  Lone Star Ma wants mama fiction.  Lone Star Ma wants brilliant articles. What have you got?
The deadline for submission is December 15th. The issue goes live on New Years' Day.

Raise your voices. 

xo, Lone Star Ma




Submissions


Lone Star Ma is a reader-written magazine covering topics of progressive Texas parenting and children's issues.  I totally cannot pay you for your submissions, but if I like 'em, I'll print 'em.  We need to get our voices out there.  To submit an article or poem to Lone Star Ma, please send it in the body of an e-mail to submissions(at)lonestarma(dot)com.  E-mails with attachments will not be opened.

Please include working contact info., including a mailing address, phone number and e-mail address, if possible.  I may print a submitted article in a later issue than you had in mind, so if you don't want it printed after a certain date, please say so.  Published work may be archived on the website unless you ask to have it removed. Please include with your submission a bio-line, such as "Radical Rae is the mother of 4-year-old Joey and works as a social worker in Houston."  Thanks.

In addition to features, mamafiction and poetry, Lone Star Ma accepts submissions for the following regular departments:

Letters

We Love them!! Please write!!!  Attn:  Letters.

Longhorn Lactation

If you have lactation news, information or action alerts, please submit them, attn:  Longhorn Lactation.

Vegetarian Vittles

is your place for recipes and resources for vegetarian families. If you have vegetarian recipes, news, alerts or stories to share with fellow parents, please submit them, attn:  Vegetarian Vittles.  (Recipes with nuts ain't welcome in these parts.)  Please send recipes attn:  Vegetarian Vittles.

Yellow Rose Reviews

Is where you review exceptional children's toys, books, magazines, music and educational products that you might not hear about in more mainstream venues.  Please send reviews attn: Yellow Rose Reviews.

Educatin' The Young 'Uns

If you have education news, information or action alerts, please submit them, attn:  Educatin' The Young 'Uns.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

On Earworms

In the car last night, I started singing the adverb song (Lolly, lolly, lolly) and the Lone Star Baby asked me why.

Me:  I don't know.

LSB:  I get songs stuck in my head, too.  What's really annoying is when I am singing the same short verse over and over and over again because I don't know the rest of the words!



Amen, Sister.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Swim Mom

Yesterday, I got up very early so I could swing by the store and buy Much Fruit for the Hospitality Room at the swim meet before getting the Lone Star Girl to the swim meet by 8:30am.  Then I worked concessions at the meet all day except for brief breaks to watch the Lone Star Girl's heats and one errand for the coach to get more lunches for the team when there was a miscount.  The meet didn't end until 5pm.

I also worked concessions the last time it was our team's turn.

I think I am making up for being a bad swim mom last year whose only volunteer contributions were attending the mandatory meetings and bringing stuff to sell for concessions.

But probably I shouldn't say that lest the swim parent gods strike me down for my arrogance.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Shedding

Remember how, after you had a baby, the thick lusciousness of hair that you had grown during gestation would fall out in clumps to form little hair tumbleweeds that blew into eddies among the piles of laundry while you sat nursing?

My hair is falling out like that, but I'm forty and haven't had a baby in more than seven years.  What is this about?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Poetry Published!

My poem, Thirsty Elbows, has been published on Vox Poetica today!  Please read it here and tell me what you think!  After today, it will be archived on the poemblog at Vox Poetica.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Autumn Gardening and Peace

More and more lately, I am relying on gardening as a sort of first aid for my mental state.  It soothes me more than anything except the sea and my responsibilities do not often give me time to sneak away to the beach.

I have added two lettuces, an arugula and a watercress, along with a replacement cucumber to the salad garden - and marigolds, of course.  It seems like a proper salad garden now, although the tomato plant is turning brown.  Plenty of tomatoes, though.

I have added a replacement zucchini to the vegetable garden - I have had no luck with zucchini so far.  My last few plants grew teeny, beautiful zucchini before shriveling up.  The sweet potato vines I planted have quite taken over the vegetable garden but I am uncertain as to whether there are actually sweet potatoes under there.  Soon it will be time to see.

After some perhaps questionable behavior on my part involving purple flowers, pollen and cotton swabs, my old eggplant plants are finally growing some lovely eggplant.  I guess eggplant growing is for grown-ups.

I planted two lovely boxes of marigolds for Love.

I planted another herb container - this one with two kinds of parsley and some dill.  Mainly because since the basils took hold in my other herb pot, they seem to want to be alone with the rosemary.  No parsley makes it in there anymore and even my once super-prolific oregano seems to be struggling.

I am also working on a little project that I am thinking of as the succulent nurseries.

It will never be Eden, but I come as close as I can, sheltering a little patch of urban Wild that also shelters me.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Sleepy Listener

Last night I was reading to the Lone Star Baby in her bed and she touched my arm.  

Me:  Yes?
LSB:  I'm listening to the story and I'm really sorry but I want to know the story and right now I'm really sleepy so I can't understand what you're reading anymore.


So then I marked our place in the book and just snuggled with her as she drifted off.  Little sweetie.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Writer-Mama Update

The bad news:  My chapbook submission did not advance in the contest so I need to find a new place for it.  I'm bummed because it really is wonderful and full of my heart.

The good news:  I submitted eight poems across the ether today and am working on some Lone Star Ma stuff.

Write hard, die free.  I carry on.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Little Maestra

I have a minor in Spanish from college but am not by any means fluent.  It's very hard to become fluent in another language as an adult, especially when one has never had an immersion experience.  I can think only a few words in Spanish first and have to translate the rest from English to Spanish in my head which is very slow.  I can often tell you how something is said but that is very different from being able to keep up in conversation.

The Lone Star Girl had some very inadequate Spanish instruction in elementary school and started taking Spanish classes in middle school.  She takes Spanish seriously and has learned a great deal, but still is nowhere near fluent.

The Lone Star Baby, with her Spanish immersion schools since the age of 18 months, is pretty fluent in Spanish. 

Lone Star Pa is from North Texas and does not speak any Spanish at all.

He and the Lone Star Baby decided to do something about that.  She has been giving him Spanish lessons.  She is quite the amazing little teacher, too.

The other evening, he expressed an interest in learning what the Spanish words from her weekly spelling list meant.  She told him maybe later - that they were having a lesson on articles first.  She then proceeded to explain the difference between definite and indefinite articles to him and to teach him each in Spanish.  It was really something.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bienvenidos Otono

I finally took down the summer decorations.  We put up the fall wreaths and fall decorations, including many of the Halloween variety (though we still have the hard-core Halloween decorations on hold), and changed out the nature table.  Autumn is so very welcome to me this year.  May it bring many blessings to be harvested.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Happy, Hard-Working Girl

The Lone Star Girl's sophomore year has gotten off to a good start.  She mostly likes her classes, is learning a lot, and is enjoying a whirlwind of clubs.  She enjoys doing the announcements at school and having a free eighth period to work on her homework or have adventures with her friends.  Girl Scouts has started and she is looking forward to the Leadership Institute at the National Conference in November.  She has moved into a faster lane at swim practice and did great at her meet today.  They got their first class ranks as sophomores on Friday and she was all about finding hers out.  She expected to be in the top 20 kids and would have been (silly Girl) very upset not to be but she did not expect the rank she got - 6 out of 532 kids.  She was so happy she about cried.

She is happy and hard-working and sweet.  I am one one lucky mama.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Week Ahead In Evenings

Monday:  Open House at Lone Star Girl's high school.
Tuesday:  College Night with Lone Star Girl.
Wednesday:  Allergy Shot for Lone Star Girl and shopping for mum supplies.
Thursday:  Middle Years Program Parent Meeting at Lone Star Girl's school, 
                   soccer practice for Lone Star Baby.
Friday:      Senior Girl Scout meeting.




And some extras:

Lone Star Pa is taking off Tuesday to take the LSG to the dermatologist and the LSB to the dentist and will probably turn some GS registrations in for me on the way.


On Saturday, the Lone Star Baby has her first soccer game and the Lone Star Girl has her first swim meet and the Lone Star Girl has a car wash for math club and a birthday party to go to (there was also a beach clean-up but even she had to admit that being three places at once was not going to work for her).


Fall in full swing.  I need to change out our seasonal decor- summer is definitely over, in spite of the heat.

Flu Shot Mama Strikes Again!

Lone Star Girl:  Check.
Lone Star Baby:  Check.
Lone Star Pa:  Check.
Lone Star Ma:  Check.



Now that I have achieved this height of autumnal maternal awesomeness, may I go to sleep for a few months?  Thanks.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Roads

The Lone Star Baby's new school moved to a yet newer location over the Labor Day weekend - we helped some with moving and setting up the new site.  Her teachers are thrilled about the new, bigger space and it is really nice.  It is also a whole lot further than the old-new location, though.  Lone Star Pa and I have had to experiment some with various commutes there and back, but there is no magic shortcut - it's just far.  We can't complain, though - the school itself is magical - such a wonderful opportunity for her.

My school is losing a couple of teachers due to over-estimating our (still considerable) enrollment increase.  Many schedules will change day after tomorrow and I'll return to sixth grade social studies after having seventh at the beginning of this year.  I like sixth so it is fine for me, but I know it will be an unsettling week for many.  We are just so lucky to work in a district that has fought so hard to hold onto its teachers.

One of our guinea pigs, Pandora, died on Friday.  We buried her in the yard by the mice and the hermit crabs.

The Lone Star Girl has joined a lot of clubs at school, as if she had time for that.  She is enjoying them, though.  She finds Algebra II quite difficult.  Her butterfly stroke, on the other hand, has improved a lot.  A girl who can swim fly is quite an asset.

Lone Star Pa will start coaching Marigold's soccer team again this next week and our Brownie troop will be starting up as well.  I am reading submissions for the new (first online) issue of Lone Star Ma. 

There have been a lot of changes this season, but I have so much for which to be grateful.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sophomore








      School started for the Lone Star Girl on Monday and she had a good week.  She's taking Swimming, Spanish 3, Algebra 2, World History, English, Chemistry and Sculpture.  Because Swimming is zero period, she gets the last period off, which should help with the homework load.  She has asked to help film the announcements and was told that she could.  This is the last year of the IB Middle Years Program.  Next year, she enters the IB Diplomate Program and the classes become more different than your normal high school classes.  We are proud of our sophomore girl, who is remarkably patient with her sappy, picture-taking mother.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Today's Pearls From My Awesome Girls

Lone Star Girl:  Ramses is a really bad name for a condom because Ramses the Great had over 160 children.


***

Lone Star Ma:  What's with all these wet tissues I keep finding?
Lone Star Baby:  I like doing...experiments.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Second Grade!



      
      Wednesday was the Lone Star Baby's first day of second grade.  It was also her first day at a new school.  That may be a surprise to some, as she started a new school last year for first grade and we adored it, so allow me to explain some recent and relevant events:

    From the age of 18 months through kindergarten, the Lone Star Baby attended a Spanish-immersion Montessori school.  It was a wonderful school, but only went through kindergarten.  Also, we would not have been financially able to keep her in a private school beyond kindergarten anyway - we were without car payments during all of her daycare years except the kinder year (when we finally had to replace Lone Star Pa's car) and that allowed us to just barely afford her school.  It wasn't something we would have been able to keep up even if the school had more grades, which it did not.

      For first grade, we got the Lone Star Baby into a (free) dual-language, Montessori charter school.  (Actually, the whole school is Montessori but only the Lone Star Baby's one classroom was dual-language.)  She had a simply wonderful year.  The teacher and assistant in her class were a perfect fit for the Lone Star Baby and she truly thrived under their instruction.  By the end of first grade she was reading at level 4.5 (fourth grade, fifth month) and multiplying fractions - and best of all, she was happy and confident.  The only slightly discouraging thing was that, with mornings in English and afternoons in Spanish, Spanish time was often interrupted by other worthwhile activities like art, music and P.E.  The school was very taken with the Lone Star Baby's Spanish fluency, but we could see that she was starting to lose some of it.  Lower elementary classes in Montessori schools are mixed-age classes of first through third grades.  One of the best things about her school was that she was to have the same wonderful teachers for second and third grade also.

But...

At the end of the school year, the Lone Star Baby's teachers quit the school to start their own private Montessori school, one that would be sort of a home-schooling environment, located in a little house and having a maximum fifteen students ranging from kindergarten through the eighth grade.  One that would be about ninety-percent Spanish-speaking.  Well.  They told me to check it out and I did to be nice but I knew we couldn't afford a private school.  It was lovely, and they really wanted her there, but I knew we couldn't afford a private school.  It was a school that would allow her to hold on to her Spanish, but I knew we couldn't afford a private school.  I heard disturbing things like the charter school had replaced her teacher with a teacher who did not even speak Spanish and an assistant who did, but we still could not afford private school.  

And then...

I can't share the details, because our benefactor wishes to remain anonymous, but it turns out that she is now getting to go to the new private school with her wonderful teachers at no cost to us.  So she is going.  There are eleven kids there now and she is one of three second graders.  Several of her friends are there as well.  It is lovely.

Such blessings!






Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer Starts On Fall Gardens

Although I started back to school with a staff development day today, the weather is still screaming SUMMER loud and clear.  I know that we still have at least a month of insanely hot temperatures to get through until things start to feel like fall - and probably more.  Nonetheless, fall vegetables are coming in at the nurseries and I know they will not linger long, so I am trying to get started on fall planting.  With lots of watering, hopefully I will have some success.  

I planted some begonias yesterday, for Love.  

This evening, I planted eating plants:  one cucumber plant in the erstwhile salad garden.  I will add two nice tomato plants I picked up on Saturday later this week and then I will really have a salad garden again.  I planted one zucchini in the vegetable garden.  I planted some more basil in my herb pot.


I love my tiny little container gardens.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Moment of Sweetness

The Lone Star Girl and I were shopping for school jeans at our favorite thrift store last week (4 good pair for under $25 - yes!).  I noticed that a woman and man who were shopping together had some very pretty items in their cart.  They were seriously conversing about each of the items the woman found.  At first, I thought the husband might be some sort of weird control freak who had to pick out all her clothes for her, but I kept coming across them in the store and it seemed less and less likely that this was the case as I observed them.  He just was trying to be really helpful. 

I ended up waiting outside the fitting rooms for the Lone Star Girl to try things on at the same time that this man was waiting as the woman tried things on in the other fitting room.  The woman kept coming out and asking his opinion, which was always positive, on the clothes she was trying.  He enlisted my help to encourage her that the clothes looked good on her.  He was very sweet.

At one point, while the woman was in the fitting room, the man and I had the following exchange:

Me:  I never saw a husband help his wife shop the way you are before.  You're cool.
Him:  Thank you. (Pause.)  Actually, I'm still trying to convince her to marry me.
Me:  Oh.
Him:  (smiling) I'll be the same after we are married, though.  (Pause.)  There's already too much machismo in the world.  Thanks for the compliment.


I felt a warm and fuzzy happiness for humanity for like a whole five minutes.  It was nice.




Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Monday, August 01, 2011

Flower Girl Duties & Fun

My middle brother married a lovely lady on Friday, the biggest reason for our journey to the wilds of North Texas.  I really enjoyed meeting her and getting to spend time with my brother, my other sister-in-law-to-be, my cousins, my sister, my oldest brother, my mom, my stepdad, my uncle, assorted relatives and friends of the family - you get the picture.  It was very wonderful to see them.  I am so happy for my brother - his new wife is sweet and smart and funny.

The Lone Star Baby and the Lone Star Niece and the Lone Star Niecelet (of Cousin Camp fame) got to be little flower girls and they were, as you can imagine, utterly adorable.  After stopping in at the reception, the Lone Star Baby got to have her first ever sleepover with her cousins and she had a blast.

It was a great visit and now we are all home safe, trying to get ready for the start of school.

Mas College Visits

On Wednesday, we loaded up the car and drove up to Austin for a tour of UT with the Lone Star Girl.  She was impressed with the libraries.  That night we drove on to Lone Star Pa's mother's house in Denton and, in the morning, toured Texas Woman's University with the Lone Star Girl.  She kind of didn't expect to be impressed with  TWU, but she was.  She liked that the campus was not so sprawling and she liked how much cheaper the dorms are than UT's dorms.  She has quite liked all three campuses she has visited so far, and there are more visits in her future.  So many options! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Girl's Reputation

Much to the Lone Star Girl's dismay, she has had a summer reading assignment on Anthem by (shiver) Ayn Rand.  She insisted on covering the book with a book cover whenever she was reading it in public as she did not want anyone to think she was reading such a book.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Girl Home

Drove South to pick up the Lone Star Girl from camp today and bring her home.  It is so wonderful to see her thriving self.  We stopped in her favorite "trucker convenience store" in Riviera on the way back and we stopped on the side of the road so she could pick up stray bits of cotton and put one foot in Kingsville.  She and I share a joy in small adventures that is such a pleasure and a comfort to me.  

However did I get so lucky as to be the mother of this wonderful young woman?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Seneca Falls Convention

Happy Anniversary of the Seneca Falls Convention, my sisters!  On July 19th and 20th in 1848, we started a new chapter in our long work.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Girl, Thriving

I am so deeply, shiningly proud of the Lone Star Girl.  She grows and grows into the most amazing person.  It is a precious  privilege to have her in my life.

I have missed her this week.  She has been down in the valley, in her first year as a counselor at the  Girl Scout camp.  She spent the week taking care of the youngest Brownies at resident camp and she loved it.  The first session ended Friday afternoon and she reported for duty for the second session Saturday night, so she stayed on at camp between.  We drove up yesterday morning to spend the day with her.  She was gorgeous and glowing and happy as camp always seems to make the girls.  Even more so now that she is a counselor.  She was full of stories and I could tell how wonderful she had been with the little girls.  I am so proud.  What a wonder my life has been that I could raise this amazing young woman.

We took her to brunch and then to the University of Texas at Brownsville.   UTB is one of the colleges she is interested in so I had called them and scheduled a tour.  We got there early and got to walk around some of the gorgeous grounds on our own before waiting for the tour.  Then our guide showed us all over the campus in a golf cart.  It is a lovely campus and the Lone Star Girl adored it.  She is considering a number of universities but I know that the "feel" of Brownsville is a huge draw for her.  She was super-excited to see a huge brick sculpture of a strand of DNA, the tree of life, in front of the biology and life science building. 

She can hear the future pounding in her blood and it thrills her - I'm so happy for her at these moments.


We drove around Brownsville for awhile and had dinner and then took her back to camp.  


It was such a wonderful day.  I am so full of gratitude.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Call For Submissions - Lone Star Ma #10


Call For Submissions - Lone Star Ma #10
Please see the general submission information below for guidelines and please consider submitting to our various departments.  Issue #10 of Lone Star Ma:  The Magazine of Progressive Texas Parenting and Children's Issues is our very first issue in an online format (which we've been driven to like a fracker to solar power by the unaffordable cost of printing and mailing - oh, wait - frackers don't care about unaffordable costs - never mind.)

For this issue, we are looking for feature articles on Texas education funding, Texas education funding and did I mention Texas education funding?  We are also looking for articles on the effects of lax enforcement of environmental standards on children in Texas.  We are also looking for articles on social services funding in Texas.  We might be looking for articles on the Texas State Board of Education.  We do accept articles on other themes as well if they strike our fancy, so send whatever you think we should consider and we will ponder it.  Things are bad for the women and children of Texas these days, folks.  We need to spread the word and save our kids' futures from the likes of those who only care about the wealthy and the powerful.  Not on our backs.  Not on our children's backs.  Not now.  Not ever.  We will stop them.

Lone Star Ma wants poetry.  Lone Star Ma wants mama fiction.  Lone Star Ma wants brilliant articles. What have you got? 


The deadline for submission is August 5.  I know it is some short notice, but I will be forty at the end of September and I think I might survive that if it came with Lone Star Ma #10.  We shall see.


Raise your voices. 

xo, Lone Star Ma



Submissions


Lone Star Ma is a reader-written magazine covering topics of progressive Texas parenting and children's issues.  I totally cannot pay you for your submissions, but if I like 'em, I'll print 'em.  We need to get our voices out there.  To submit an article or poem to Lone Star Ma, please send it in the body of an e-mail to submissions(at)lonestarma(dot)com.  E-mails with attachments will not be opened.

Please include working contact info., including a mailing address, phone number and e-mail address, if possible.  I may print a submitted article in a later issue than you had in mind, so if you don't want it printed after a certain date, please say so.  Please include with your submission a bio-line, such as "Radical Rae is the mother of 4-year-old Joey and works as a social worker in Houston."  Thanks.

In addition to features, mamafiction and poetry, Lone Star Ma accepts submissions for the following regular departments:

Letters

We Love them!! Please write!!!  Attn:  Letters.

Longhorn Lactation

If you have lactation news, information or action alerts, please submit them, attn:  Longhorn Lactation.

Vegetarian Vittles

is your place for recipes and resources for vegetarian families. If you have vegetarian recipes, news, alerts or stories to share with fellow parents, please submit them, attn:  Vegetarian Vittles.  (Recipes with nuts ain't welcome in these parts.)  Please send recipes attn:  Vegetarian Vittles.

Yellow Rose Reviews

Is where you review exceptional children's toys, books, magazines, music and educational products that you might not hear about in more mainstream venues.  Please send reviews attn: Yellow Rose Reviews.

Educatin' The Young 'Uns


If you have education news, information or action alerts, please submit them, attn:  Educatin' The Young 'Uns.

Lone Star Ma Magazine Is Online!!!

The new website for the new online version of Lone Star Ma :  The Magazine for Progressive Texas Parenting And Children's Issues is online!  Check it out here!  Please read through our pages and consider submitting content if you want to!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bad Budget and Bad Education Bills Passed: Get Ready For 4 Very Bad Years

The bad stuff all passed.  The only good news is that Representative Diane Patrick got an amendment on for Sunset in 2015 (she wanted sooner but it did not fly) so the changes do not have to be permanent, but we are looking at 4 very bad years -

  • 4 billion in cuts to education over the next two years and more in the two years after
  • The right to furlough teachers for up to six days and the destruction of the teacher pay scale (no floor)
  • Destruction of due process in teacher terminations
  • Destruction of the ability to use seniority when laying teachers off so that now teachers approaching retirement, who have spent their lives education our kids,  can be laid off to save money...
It's bad.  Corpus' own Senator Hinojosa was one of two Democrats who broke rank and voted with the Republicans on this horrible budget.  I will never vote for him again.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Action Alert: Stop Senate Bill 8!

Senate Bill 8 is still rolling around the special session on Texas education funding.  Its purpose is to gut class-size limits and contract protections for teachers in order to provide "flexibility" to school districts to "save money".  

Do you want your kid's school district to have the "flexibility" to pack 40+ kids into the classroom like sardines?  I certainly don't.

Also, will it really save money when teachers have to sue school districts that choose to fire them for getting pregnant or marrying someone of whom the district does not approve instead of having reasonable contract protections and a reasonable arbitration process in place?  I assure you - it will not.


Please contact your state senator and state representative and ask them to oppose Senate Bill 8.  You can leave a detailed message on the weekend - don't wait!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Nice Things My Dad Gave My Childhood

Darla
Guppy traps on the beach
Caves
Art
Birds
Clouds
Sunrise Mall visits for Trixie Belden & Nancy Drew books & mountains of nachos at      Chelsea's Street Pub
Magic Isles
Riddles
Magna-Doodle
That weird detective game
Disney World & the rest of that Florida vacation
Fun times wandering the grounds at Harper's Corner
Monterrey House
Chess


A Bad Dad Story For Father's Day

I try to control the sexism that living in a patriarchy tends to stir up in me - truly, I do - but many things (about men trying to make laws controlling my uterus, about our society's incessant bullying of women and children) make this a challenge.  I am especially ticked about the way society judges mothers as if they should be able to control everything that ever happens in the world or pay for it dearly (kind of the way society has been treating teachers lately, but moms have been getting it for even longer) yet praises dads to the high heavens for "babysitting" their kids, even if they don't even know key details like, oh, the name of their child's teacher or doctor.

People are always telling stories on moms who are just trying to do the best they can - women who are there in the trenches with their kids, day in and day out, who have the unmitigated gall to be less than perfect or to possess no omnipotent control over the economy/illnesses.  Personally, I'm not about judging parents who are there doing the day-to-day work of keeping their kids safe and healthy and educated without hope of help or reward. 

Somehow, I don't feel quite the same about the sort of parent who thinks he deserves a medal for that one time he grudgingly took off work when his kid was sick.  A few months ago, I witnessed the following tableau in a doctor's office, while waiting to pick up some lab orders for my daughter:

Dad is at the front desk with a child who might be anywhere from six to eight  - big enough for eight but a face and manner that suggested she was probably younger - skittering around him while he talked to the receptionist. 

Dad:  I don't know.  I'm not the one who usually brings her to the doctor.  I'm just doing her a favor because she couldn't do it today.  Do you have it on file or something?

Receptionist:  We have to see the insurance card at each time of service.  That will be $60.

Dad:  She didn't give me any money.

Receptionist:  Do you think you could call her and see if this insurance information is correct?

Dad:  (sighing in annoyance, talks out cell phone and Hands It To The Sick Little Girl)  Try to call her.

Sick Little Girl, who apparently has had to deal with Useless Dad before, calls mother and gives phone to dad who gives it to the receptionist as she is a woman and apparently is more responsible for working this out than he is. He and kid sit down.

By this time, I was hoping I had misinterpreted things,  Perhaps he was not the child's father, but  some helpful neighbor who got called on in a pinch and was in over his head, having no children of his own and no knowledge of how the offices of doctors function.  Then the child commenced climbing all over his lap and this hope died - he was the father.

That man deserves no Happy Father's Day.  He deserves a kick in the pants for thinking he is somehow less responsible for getting his kid to the doctor than is the child's mother.   To all the dads out there like him, please spend this Father's Day learning how to get over your sexist self and be a responsible parent.

To the fathers who do share equally in parenting their children (know any?  I'm thinking really hard, but...I have read about quite a few, I just don't think I've met them - my daughter does have a friend who was raised by her father, but I have actually only met that child's mother at school - hmmm - still I'm told her dad is the responsible one and the mom is a total flake), Happy Father's Day.  You rock.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lone Star Baby!

Not such a baby anymore - she's seven! 




Our tradition on birthday mornings for the girls is that they follow a ribbon from their room to their birthday presents, so the Lone Star Baby did that this morning. The big surprise waiting for her was an easel, well packed with supplies.

Even though the Lone Star Baby will always be my baby, I believe that seven is the end of being a baby in terms of development, the real beginning of childhood, when one's mind is no longer so absorbent and one starts filtering and choosing ... and so we have a little Blessing Way.  The Lone Star Baby stepped over a braided ribbon this morning to symbolize leaving her babyhood and stepping into childhood and accepted a golden dragon doll to symbolize the magic of childhood that she is entering.


Then it was time for presents and brunch and more party preparation.  The Lone Star Baby had a fun-in-the-sun themed backyard party with her friends, featuring water relay races and water balloon tosses and water balloon races and lots of running in the sprinklers until the yard was a lovely oozy mud pit.  There were popsicles and ice cream and cupcakes with little umbrellas in them.  I do believe that a good time was had by all.  Even the parents seemed happy enough to have their children returned to them wet, sugared up and covered in mud.  It was really fun.

The party was followed by showers.  Then dinner at a restaurant, a family board game and a family viewing of a TV show that the seven-year-old had requested that we record for her while we were out.   
Our girl said it was her best birthday ever.

These activities brought us to past the time at night when this sparkling girl (whose mama loves her so much) was really born seven years ago, and so, after a little reading and back scratching, she has now been tucked asleep in her bed. 

Happy Birthday, Lone Star Baby.  So many Happy Birthdays.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Amazing Grades of The Lone Star Girl: First Year of High School Averages

The Junior Woman gave me permission to brag on her final averages for Freshperson Year:
 
    • Swimming:  100
    • Spanish 2: 98
    • Biology (PreAP): 99
    • AP Human Geography: 98
    • Theatre 2: 98
    • Art 1: 98
    • Geometry (PreAP): 94
    • English (PreAP): 98
    • Technology(Honors): 100
    • Health: 100.
Also, commended performance on both TAKS tests. She's rather impressive that way.

Action Alerts: Keep Amendments to Use Rainy Day Fund For Education!

It's a calling day, Texans!  Call your state representatives (toll free from AFT - 888-836-8368 - just ask for your rep./senator by name) and ask them to oppose the removal of Donna Howard's amendments to use the Rainy Day Fund.  We want that fund used!

The Answer to Life, The Universe And Everything

Happy Birthday, Lone Star Pa!!!

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Call Your State Legislators And Save Our Schools

CCAFT is taking lots of teachers to Austin tomorrow if you can go and they are having press conferences and things in the afternoon.  If you, like me, need to be at work, tomorrow, though - you can still make a difference. Call your state senator and state representative and tell them to oppose bills that cut money from our schools, hurt teachers and gut class size-limits.  Tell them to use the Rainy Day Fund instead - it's raining! - and to look for additional sources of revenue like that soda tax they were talking about awhile back.  There is no excuse for cutting education - not ever.

Also, tell our legislators to oppose any measures that weaken or eliminate Texas' guarantee to fund our public schools at a level that will provide an education for all.  That's what is at stake.  These people who do not believe in public education must be stopped.

First Day School: Friends' Meeting For Worship

The Little Friends/Lower El lesson today was on Friends' Meeting for Worship, using some materials from Faith "N" Play.  I love the "deep calls to deep" text - thank you, Philadelphia.  The Lone Star Baby drew a lovely picture of flowers leaning into a blowing wind to show how the Presence of God feels to her.

First Day School: Fundamentalism/Cults

Today's teen First Day School lesson was about absolutes - fundamentalism and cults. We have just begun the unit but it already sparked some very interesting discussions about the best definitions of the words religion, sect and cult and about the most common aspects of fundamentalism and about some of the dangerous cults that have abused children in Texas in the past few decades.  More next time!

Friday, June 03, 2011

Plates & Pyramids

I like the USDA's new MyPlate graphic and agree that it is more user-friendly than Ye Old Pyramid, but I still find all the news stories from the "can you imagine a busy mom looking at that pyramid when she's trying to plan her family's meals" angle about it to be muy condescending.  Busy parents are quite capable of understanding the stupid pyramid - thank you very much.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Second Grader

The words make it seem like there's no baby around here anymore!

The Return of Lone Star Ma!

       Lone Star Ma:  The Magazine of Progressive Texas Parenting And Children's Issues is coming back...online!     
      Lone Star Ma #9 came out about four years ago when the Lone Star Girl was about to enter middle school and the Lone Star Baby was three years old.  They have since completed ninth and first grades, respectively.  There was a LSM#10 in the works for a while, but the money for printing never materialized and I had to let it go.   
      For a long time now, I have been telling myself that while I know that I cannot afford to produce Lone Star Ma anymore - I never really could by any sensible standard – I am just not ready to officially let it go yet.  Hopes and dreams, mamas – they are hard to let go of, for certain.   
      Just this spring, though, I have come to another realization  – I cannot let Lone Star Ma go.  I am Lone Star Ma and Lone Star Ma is me and if there was ever, ever a time when progressive Texas parents needed galvanizing, mamas – that time is now. 
      Things have never in my lifetime been worse for the women and children of Texas than they are now.  Our greedy governor and Republican-controlled Legislature are raping education and social services funding, not to mention the kind of scary science fiction bills that they are passing about issues that affect women.  We have a lot of work to do if we are to stay afloat and we need to pull together.
      I spend an awful lot of time just trying to keep my family afloat myself so this little magazine is never going to be your number-one source for Texas political news or anything, but I think we do provide an important venue for voices that often go unheard in our state.  I think we are needed. 
      So ... we are coming back.
      I do not believe that I will ever be able to pull off another print version of Lone Star Ma due to the expense, but I am going to learn how to produce a simple online magazine.  I do not know for sure how long the learning will take me and I do not know how often I will be able to put out new online issues, but I am going to do my best.  I hope to get up to four issues per year eventually, but we may have to settle for two per year for a while.  
      I will, of course, need you, gentle readers to write the stories and gather the news.  This is a no-pay gig, but I hope to help us get our voices heard, those of us who want better for the children and parents of Texas and the world.  A Call for Submissions will be posted soon.  Stay tuned here, please, and on our brand, spanking new FaceBook page and gather your thoughts and voices.
    
 xoxo ----  Lone Star Ma