Saturday, June 30, 2012

Yay For The Libraries!

The Texas Library Systems' Advisory Board has reconsidered and recommended accreditation to the Corpus Christi library system.  We had been losing our accreditation because of City budget cuts to libraries, but we are getting another chance.  That means we will still be able to use the databases that accreditation gives us access to, which would be awful to lose.

Girl Art

Pieces for the first show she has entered:

Bottle Lilies


Texas Republicans Oppose Critical Thinking

The 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform is a scary, scary thing.  You can link to the Republican State Convention here and then click on the platform document.

Lone Star Ma will be discussing some of the reasons, found in this document, why you should never, ever vote Republican over the next few days.  

Here is one reason, a direct quote from the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform:

"We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student's fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority."

Wow.  Texas Republicans oppose teaching critical thinking.


Think about it.

Al Armendariz Will Still Work To Protect Texans

I'm glad that Al Armendariz will still be protecting us from the ravages of coal-fired power plants in Texas, although I wish he were still doing it at the EPA.

Not too long ago, Lone Star Pa and I were in line at a restaurant that had a television running and I saw coverage of the years-ago poor choice of analogies that, just discovered by right-wingers, thrust our hero into a conservative bashing-party that led to his resignation as head of the EPA in our region.  This was really upsetting to me, because he has seemed at many times to be the only force standing between my kids and plants like Las Brisas.  I hope the EPA can soldier on without him - I wish he was still there.

That said, it is good to know that he will still be fighting for us.  He has been hired to head up the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign in Texas.  I can think of no one better for the job.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Health Care Law Stands!!!!

Today the Supreme Court (read:  Supreme Court) upheld almost all of the Affordable Care Act in a 5-4 vote.  

Woo hoo!  Health care for all! Those of us who happen to be the parents of children with chronic conditions like asthma, which could someday affect their ability to be insured without this Act, can all breathe a sigh of relief -  for a little while, at least.

There were only two parts of the Act that the Court did not uphold:

1.)  The Courts state that the individual mandate is constitutional under Congress' ability to raise taxes rather than under its ability to regulate commerce (fine by me).

2.) The Court took away the Act's ability to take away existing Medicaid coverage from states that refuse to comply with their part of expanding Medicaid coverage.  This is actually a good thing in Texas since we have a crazy Governor who would consider the loss of existing Medicaid coverage a blessing rather than a punishment and would totally go for it.  I'd love to see Medicaid coverage expanded, but the President and Congress do not always understand how crazy people are down here.

Victory, victory,victory!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Good News For Texas Children! (In Spite of Our Senators)

Senator Inhoje's attempt to block the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standard was defeated last week when 48 Democratic Senators and five Republican Senators voted down his Congressional Review Act resolution, S.J. Res 37.  The MATS will require coal-fired power plants to dramatically reduce their emissions of mercury and other toxins into the air, saving the lives of many children and elderly in the United States, as well as helping people who suffer from respiratory ailments like asthma.

Forty-one Republicans and five Democrats in the Senate voted to put corporate profit over public health, including our own.  Our Texas Senators voted to block protections for our children and let Big Coal do what it wants with the air we breathe.  Fortunately, they were in the minority.  

We need to get rid of them.  

In the next election - remember.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Happy Birthday, Title IX!!!!!!

Today marks the 40th anniversary of Title IX, the law that bans sex discrimination in schools that receive federal money.  Today, women can be found in every profession and sport.  Soccer teams and basketball courts and kickball fields are full of little girls all over the country and women's professional sports leagues grow daily.  More women than men graduate from college, even, something that would have been unimaginable to the authors of Title IX. 

It is with tears of gratitude that this forty-year-old mother thanks the forty-year-old Title IX for the fact that her brilliant daughters will never be held back from getting the educations they deserve because they are girls and that they can swim and play soccer and do all the things the boys can do at school.

Thank you.  So much.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

In Which Spanish Bananagrams Kicks Our Bottoms

Spanish Bananagrams is really hard.  We played it tonight.

Was it the Lone Star Baby, the only person in the family who is actually fluent in Spanish, who won? 

No.  She had a K - when there were too few letters left for pelando or tirando -  and there are no real natively Spanish words that contain K, just foreign-derived words, so that was very hard.

Was it Lone Star Ma, the person who graduated  from college with a minor in Spanish, who won?

No.  She had a W - when there were too few letters left for pelando or tirando -and there are no real natively Spanish words that contain W, which was not even in the Spanish alphabet at first, just foreign-derived words (and only a very few), so that was very hard.

Was it the Lone Star Girl, who diligently studies Spanish as her Language B in her IB school, who won?


Was it, perhaps, Lone Star Pa, who speaks no Spanish at all, really, just the basic words you could not help but know if you lived three hours (max) from Mexico, who won?

Why, yes - it was.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Ghost Pepper Mother & Child

I've been feeling restless today,  needing...something...but not knowing what.  Finally, when Lone Star Pa suggested that we make pasta for dinner, it came together for me:  I knew what I was going to do today!

I went out to the yard and picked the last red ghost pepper from my plant.  I was very excited when I bought my ghost pepper plant this year - the hottest pepper in the world!!!!!! - but it took quite awhile for the peppers to grow and ripen and, once they had, I was having that GI bleeding incident, so I decided not to eat any just yet.  I gave a couple away but left one waiting for me on the plant. 

Tonight was the night.

After the pasta was ready, I took my portion and put it in a skillet with chopped tomatoes, capers and (drum roll, please) the finely chopped ghost pepper.  I cooked this up for myself while the Lone Star Girl served regular, bland old pasta to everyone else.  Then, when we were all seated, I announced my adventurous intention and...ate some.  It was very spicy, but delicious.  I started singing my Ghost Pepper Woman song - very proud of myself, you know...and...the Lone Star Baby said she wanted to try some. 

We've been talking about these ghost peppers for awhile, so she knew what she was getting into.  She insisted.  She had her watermelon ready if needed. 

I gave her a piece of pasta that had been cooked with the pepper and she ate it and wanted to know what the big deal was.  She ate several more pieces of pepper-infused pasta.  She ate a sliver of the pepper itself.

She didn't even need her watermelon.

Methinks that Ghost Pepper Woman has been upstaged.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Gangly Girly

The Lone Star Baby is spending the summer in shorts and skorts so short on her that they look like underwear - just butt covers.  It's embarrassing, but almost everything that looks long enough to be decent falls right off of her skinny behind.  I did find two pairs of what I believe were supposed to be capri pants for three-year-olds that fit her quite decently as shorts, but that is  it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

MamaAction Alert: Support Mercury And Air Toxics Standards

The EPA has finally set standards that protect children and not just healthy, non-pregnant adults! The new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards include regulations on air toxins produced by power plants that burn coal at levels that protect children who, with their still-developing lungs (and generally more time spent being active outdoors) are more susceptible to air toxins than are most adults.

Senator Inhofe, however, has sponsored a bill to stop the enforcement of these standards and continue to leave our children vulnerable to the diseases caused by air pollution.  He must be stopped.

Please call your U.S. Senators and tell them to oppose Senator Inhoje's attempts to block the EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards with his Congressional Review Act.  

The Capitol Switchboard number is:  (202) 224-3121.  For Texans, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison's number is: (202) 224-5922 and Senator John Cornyn's number is (202) 224-2934.

The vote is Wednesday, Mamas!  Hurry!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The President Is An Inspiration To Youth Who Dream

Here in South Texas, I know quite a few Dreamers - young people who were brought to the United States illegally as children, and who have grown up here, knowing no other home at all.  They are generally hard-working and loyal American youth who want only to study hard, work hard and make a place for themselves in the world, a place here, in their home, Texas.

Congress has abandoned these children, refusing to pass The DREAM Act that would allow them to become citizens.  Congress apparently wants these children, who grow up into contributing, if frightened, members of society, to live always with the shadow of deportation over their heads, never allowing their talents and hard work to raise them to a place where they may become noticed, no matter what the lack of the full, unhidden use of their skills costs America.

Congress is treasonous like that these days:  always trying to push people who the Republicans view as "Other"down so they they are too hungry or sick or uneducated or scared of deportation to help America as they would if they were healthy and cared for and safe.  If everyone's contributions were valued, we might by now have ended world hunger, cured countless diseases and found clean solutions to our energy needs.  Republicans don't really want America to be strong, though - they just want their bank accounts to be bulging.

The President, though - the President wants to encourage young Americans to do their best.  I think he wants that more than any President in my adulthood has ever wanted it.  I can tell by the stupid, lukewarm letters my teen used to get back from past Presidents when she was little compared to the amazing, inspiring letters that my Youngest's Brownie troop gets back from this President today, the way he encourages them to work hard for America.  I can tell by the way he respects all Americans, not just the ones who are straight or male or like him in other ways.

I can tell by the way he has decided not to deport DREAMers anymore - to encourage them to work hard and do their best and know that their home - America -  will stand with them just as they are standing with America.

The President wants us all to work together to make America strong.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day To The Good Daddies!

Recent acts of good Daddyhood by Lone Star Pa:

  •  Clearing out half of the garage to make an art studio for the Lone Star Girl.
  • Taking the Lone Star Baby swimming even though he really does not like to get into the pool.

 Lone Star Pa says we are celebrating Father's Day with a Star Wars marathon in a little while.  Sounds fun.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Texas Democratic Party Platform 2012

Please follow the link to read the Party Platform passed by the Texas Democrats at their State Convention.  Then try telling me that party does not matter or that you vote for the person, not the party, etc. etc.

Party matters.  The platforms of the parties guide what they do.  The party that believes in this platform is the party that I want in office:


Thursday, June 14, 2012

Call For Submissions - Lone Star Ma #11

Call For Submissions - Lone Star Ma #11

Calling for submissions for Issue #11 of Lone Star Ma:  The Magazine of Progressive Texas Parenting And Children's Issues!!!
For this issue, we are looking for feature articles on the effects of lax enforcement of environmental standards on children in Texas.  We are looking for articles on how the Right-Wing War on Women affects mothers and children.  Specific other topics we might be interested in:  social services funding in Texas, education in Texas, urban farming for busy families, the Texas State Board of Education, libraries, sex education, breastfeeding, safely avoiding insect-borne tropical diseases.  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.

Please see the general submission information below for guidelines and please consider submitting to our various departments. 

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 July 31st. 

Raise your voices. 

xo, Lone Star Ma


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:


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.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Beginner's Reading List For People Who Need To Stop Listening To Right-Wing Ideologues About Welfare And Learn Some Real Facts

Poor Support by David Ellwood

In The Shadow of The Poorhouse by Michael B. Katz

The Undeserving Poor by Michael B. Katz

Pitied But Not Entitled by Linda Gordon

Flat Broke With Children: Women In The Age of Welfare Reform by Sharon Hays

One Nation, Underprivileged: Why American Poverty Affects Us All by Mark Robert Rank

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

8th Birthday Fun

On Monday, the Lone Star Baby's actual birthday, we got up early so she could open her presents before Lone Star Pa went to work.  She named her favorite present Clover:

 Clover is a Campbell Russian Dwarf hamster.  She's quite adorable and sweet and full of curiosity, which surprises me, what with her brain having to be much smaller than a pea, I expect.  The Lone Star Baby is twitterpated.

After presents, the girls and I went out to breakfast and then for a quick jaunt to the beach.  After we got home and Lone Star Pa got home, we went out for linner (I see no reason why this should not be a word if brunch is a word) and then had the grandparents and Jazz over for cake and ice cream.

It's the season of many cakes around here in June.

The Lone Star Baby tried to stay up until 11pm, the time when she was born, but she sacked out a bit after ten - it's been a busy couple of days.

Happy Birthday, Baby.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Happy Birthday, Lone Star Pa

An extremely non-exhaustive list of things that have gotten hotter about Lone Star Pa as he has gotten older:

  • Being willing to kindly do things that are difficult/strenuous for his daughters
  • Being willing to kindly do things that are difficult/strenuous for his wife
  • Joining AFT (soon)
  • Sending his comments on the Las Brisas waste water permit to the TCEQ
  • His butt
  • Lots of other stuff that I won't mention here...

Saturday, June 09, 2012

First Birthday Slumber Party

The Lone Star Girl had several slumber parties in her younger days, but Friday night through this morning was The First Slumber Party for the Lone Star Baby, if you do not count Cousin Camp, which I don't, because, as the Lone Star Baby says, that's family, and if you do not count backyard camping, which I don't, because that's Girl Scouts.  The Lone Star Baby has attended one slumber party (more of a sleepover since it was her and the neighbor siblings, not a whole mess of kids)  with the neighbor kids before this one, but this is her first time hosting.  It was also the first slumber party attendance of many of the guests, so there were worried mamas, but they all did great (mamas and girls).

There was playing outside and making their own English muffin pizzas and birthday cake and a sundae bar (chocolate raspberry sauce, chocolate mint sauce, caramel sauce, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, sprinkles - I completely forgot about the whipped cream sitting in the fridge).

There was decorating pillowcases with fabric markers and getting into jammies and laying out sleeping bags and voting on a late-night movie to watch (The Lion,The Witch, And The Wardrobe) and popcorn.

After a really long time, there was sleeping.  After a really short time, there was waking up, getting dressed and packing up. 

Then there was Big Sister's pancake bar - chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, syrup!

Then games - Elbow-tag, Sardines, Dragon's Tail, Little Sally Walker, Dragon's Egg.  Then opening presents.  Then more games - Super Awesome Magic Ninja Unicorn, Telephone.  Then lots of strange chemistry with ground-up sidewalk chalk and water in the backyard. Then cleaning up and little girls going home.

Then I took a four-hour nap.

Many thanks to the Lone Star Girl and Lone Star Pa, without whom this would have been a whole lot harder to pull off.  I think the Lone Star Baby and her friends had a lot of fun!

Friday, June 08, 2012

Arms Full of Daughters Redux

So gradually that I barely noticed, both of my girls have grown to always call me "Ma".

I love it.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Craft Budget

I am working the Lone Star Girl hard this summer.  She has a lot of activities of her own to do, but I am also making her help me a whole lot with her sister and the house.  The plethora of Girl Scout things she is doing will probably prevent anyone from actually wanting to hire her to do anything - few jobs that teens can get want you to be gone every weekend and most of July, especially when you are a lifeguard - so she has no real money of her own.  She is very involved in making some really Large (think, the size of your bathroom and the height of an eight-year-old) art projects, some of which she is trying to get into galleries and shows.  And paint and such does cost money.  I decided to give her a summer craft budget of $50 on a gift card to Michael's, her favorite craft store for painting stuff.  Fifty dollars is not much for the amount of work I am asking her to do at home, but it is a lot for us to spare right now.  She will need more cash when she goes to Chicago this summer and for various swimming things, school things and school clothes and stuff so it is not all she is getting for all her work at home - but it is all of the craft portion.

I like the way giving it all to her and making her work out how to spend it with the knowledge that she would not be getting more craft money until her birthday is working, though.  She really stressed over the paint she needed but she found the best deal.

I may do the same sort of thing for school clothes and supplies this year.  Maybe. 

The Wild Woman Summer Enrichment Program For Gifted Girls

While this week seems mainly to be about errands, catching up on sleep and preparing for the (scary music, please) Slumber Party (!!!), I have explained to the girls their responsibilities in the Wild Woman Summer Enrichment Program for Gifted Girls, most of which don't start until next week, though some have already started.  They are as such:

Lone Star Girl:

Read Joan Slonczewski's Elysium cycle
Finish reading Bible
Do her summer homework from school
Do her Girl Scout and art stuff
Help me get the house organized

Lone Star Baby:

Daily Geography or Science coloring assignment
Daily violin practice
Summer Reading Club
At least 25 minutes of reading each day
Get room organized


Several times per week beach
At least four days per week swimming
Lone Star Girl teaches Lone Star Baby computers
Daily Just Dance song.

Monday, June 04, 2012

I Heart Alice Cooper

Now I can drink lemonade and stay hydrated and pause in whatever I am doing to go to the restroom whenever I want for a couple of months.  Such amazing luxuries!

Friday, June 01, 2012

Third Grader

Wednesday was the Lone Star Baby's last day of second grade.   I really cannot believe that she's a third grader now and that she is about to turn eight. 

She does not seem that old to me - eight! -  at all - not at all.  Age for age, she has always seemed younger to me than her sister was - she has always seemed so young to me.  Not at school, though.  

We are very proud of our little scholar.  She has already finished the third grade ELA materials at her school and will be starting on the fourth grade stuff when she goes back at the end of  July.  She finished up the second grade math materials, which interest her a lot less, just in time, but her school's idea of grade level seems a bit out there to me.  I certainly wasn't multiplying and dividing huge long numbers and fractions or using exponents in second grade like they do (and the word problems!).  I am so grateful that the Lone Star Baby has the opportunity to go to a school where they can keep her hungry little mind so busy and challenged.

Lately, she says she wants to be a diplomat when she grows up, so she can use her Spanish and help countries get along.  Also an artist.  And possibly a translator if she has time.  You wouldn't know it from watching her run around outside all the time like any red-blooded child or from watching her vegetate in front of the Disney Channel - her true primary caregiver - but she's got a pretty special take on things most of the time. 

I will continue to work hard to stress kindness in the hopes that she will use her powers for good.  I think she will.