Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goals for 2016

2015 was kind of a rough year in which family health concerns and stepping up to cover things during turn-over at work over-shadowed everything else. I made very little progress on the resolutions, so hopefully 2016 will be much better.

Family:

I still need more individual and group bonding time with husband and daughters and better routines.  I still need to provide emotional support to family members' endeavors. 

Work:

Now that we are better staffed, I need to get more deeply back into the core functions of my job and not be distracted by too many other things that need to get done in the program because there are other people who can do those things, too. I want to get my focus back on developing excellent placements and being an excellent teacher.

Health

Still need to lose more weight. Still need to spend more time outside.
 
Community

I need to spend more time with friends - at least one outing each month - preferably more.

Keep up with Girl Scouts and citizenship and the girls' schools as best as possible but be kind to self about not being able to Do All The Things. 

Writing

Submit one poem or essay each month, starting in January (I did in December, too!)
Finish Baby Moon
Work on Seven Settlement Workers
Publish Issue 11 of Lone Star Ma.


What are your goals for 2016?  Please post some in the comments section.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Help for North Texas Tornado Victims

Our prayers are with the people of Dallas, Rowlett and Garland and those others affected by recent tornadoes.

Here is a good article from KERA that delineates lots of places people who were hit by the tornadoes can go for help.

Here is a link to donate to the Red Cross to help.

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Black Children Matter

No words.

 
Primary and Lower Elementary 
  • If A Bus Could Talk:  The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold
  • Ruby Bridges Goes To School:  My True Story by Ruby Bridges
  • Sister Anne’s Hands by Marybeth Lorbiecki
  • Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold 
  • Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
  • A Pocket For Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in The Sky by Faith Ringgold
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
  • More More More, Said The Baby by Vera Williams
  • Just Us Women by Jeannette Cains 
  • Sit-In:  How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson  
 Upper Elementary
  • One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams Garcia
  • Junebug by Alice Mead
  • Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
  • The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine 
  •  Double Dutch by Sharon Draper
  • Moses:  When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
  • From Slave Ship to Freedom Road by Julius Lester
 Teens
  • Like Sisters on The Homefront by Rita Williams Garcia
  •  Tyrell  by Coe Booth
  • Kendra by Coe Booth
  • Fast Talk On A Slow Track by Rita Williams Garcia
  • After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
  • The Hoopster, Hip Hop High School and Homeboyz (a series) by  Alan Lawrence Sitomer
  • My Mother The Cheerleader by Robert Sharenow
  • Al la Carte  by Tanita Davis 
  • Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Patillo Beals.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

No Justice

I am praying today for the family of Tamir Rice as they are faced with this terrible blow of no justice after already losing their baby.

I will not just pray.  There is work to be done to turn the tide of racism in law enforcement, our justice system, and our world.  I commit to that work.

Monday, December 28, 2015

SDG Mondays: Gender Equality

Today we focus on the fifth of the United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals:  

"Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls."

This SDG has 9 associated targets:
 
 What do you think of this goal and its associated targets?

What do you think you can do to help achieve this goal? Please post your ideas in the comments.

For me, I will continue to try to help girls grow up with courage, confidence and character through my involvement with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

I will also work hard to defeat political candidates and policies that seek to limit women's reproductive rights and work hard to support political candidates and policies that seek to encourage and support women's participation in the workplace and public service.

 
 
 

Friday, December 25, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Caroling, Cookies, the Force and Kris Kringle

Night before last, the Episcopal Church in our neighborhood was organizing Christmas caroling in the neighborhood and the Lone Star Girl and I went along.  Our Friends Meeting actually meets in the oratory of that Church so, while we are not part of the congregation, we kind of do go to church there, as well as it being part of our neighborhood.  I could not get the Lone Star Baby and Lone Star Pa to  come, but I hope it can be a family tradition for the Christmas season in the future - it was fun.  

For days now, we have been making Christmas cookies for the neighbors and local kin - gingerbread,  orange cardamom, cocoa chile, snicker doodles, jam thumbprints and chocolate pretzels. We are still working on them because we are also re-watching all the Star Wars movies before going to see The Force Awakens, which we are not doing until after Christmas, so no spoilers please.  When we are done baking cookies, the Kris Kringling can begin!

We also need to catch up on our Advent calendars tonight because we are way behind.

Traditions new and old, and all this holiday bustle!

Magi Probs

I'm really concerned about the Magi.  They are following someone I just don't trust.  I am afraid he is going to get them to get the Baby Jesus registered.

 

Wednesdays with the Subversive Children's Book Club: Peace on Earth

The Winter Holidays always make me think of that Wild Star's promise of Peace, so at this time of year, you get another edition of the Subversive Children's Book Club with themes of Peace.  Peace on Earth, Mamas. Enjoy.  

For the Primary and Lower Elementary Set:
  • Our Peaceful Classroom by Aline D. Wolf
  • Sitti’s Secrets by Naomi Shihab Nye
  • Rumpelstiltskin’s Daughter by Diane Stanley
  • Seven Brave Women by Betsy Hearne
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: an adaptation for children 
           by Ruth Rocha & Otavio Roth
  • Cain and Abel:  Finding The Fruits of Peace by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
  • The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter 


For the Upper Elementary and Teen Set (several of these are pretty heavily Quaker-influenced):

  •  Crash by Jerry Spinelli
  •  The Arrow Over The Door by Joseph Bruchac
  • Summer’s End by Audrey Couloumbis
  • Quaking by Kathryn Erskine
  • The Eye of The Heron by Ursula K. LeGuin.

Monday, December 21, 2015

SDG Mondays: Education

Today we focus on the fourth of the United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals:

"Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning."

 Also, its ten targets:

 What do you think of this goal and its targets?

What might you do to help achieve this goal?

 

 For me, I think I will continue to try to raise awareness about the importance of inclusive curricula and textbooks and gun-free schools.  Also, I need to finish some books I started long ago that could add to more gender-inclusive history materials.

 



Sunday, December 20, 2015

Solstice Poem

Unseasonal Gift


Citrus for Christmas
Suns in the cold
Bright globes to fight oldness and night
The darkness gets shorter but creeping so slow
Juices of life to remember the Light.

Bluebell Bye

My fellow Texans have seemed giddy with excitement in recent weeks as Bluebell ice cream has returned to store shelves.

Bluebell was delicious and all, but I don't get it.

The investigation showed that Bluebell knew about the listeria in their plant but continued selling their poisoned ice cream and endangering their customers' lives.  Why would anyone ever eat anything they sold ever again?

Alarming Assemblage

For many years, our work-a-day routine has begun with Lone Star Pa awakening with the alarm and then showering and then waking me. Due to this routine, I stopped hearing our alarm clock long ago and it lost all power to wake me.  A few weeks ago, though, our alarm clock ceased to function and my husband bought a new one.  

Much to his delight, he found an Avengers alarm clock.

It goes off every morning with Cap yelling "Avengers, Assemble!" and then, if you don't turn it off, an assortment of Avengers check in ("I'm Iron Man!").

This does wake me up.

He really likes it so I am trying not to give in to my baser instincts.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas-y Day

We got all decorated and set up and ready for Advent on the day after Thanksgiving when the Girl was home.  We put up the "tree" and all the ornaments and decorations the girls have made and our little nativities and Advent calendars.







We haven't really kept up with the Advent calendars since, though, or done anything very Christmas-y at home; we have all been so busy with school.  Today was a very Christmas-y day, though.  We took the Girl Scouts to the nursing home to do their bilingual caroling, which they do every year and it was great.  Every year, the girls get braver and more independent and kind.  It is so wonderful to watch them grow!

At home, the Lone Star Baby actully helped me make these Christmas cards for a little while.



Then she got us caught up on the Advent calendars (ours involves little books that tell parts of the Nativity Story) and we wrapped some presents.  It was nice.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Winter Holidays

In honor of Advent, Hanukah and other winter festivities, this edition of Wednesdays with the Subversive Children's Book Club features books with  Winter Holiday themes.  Enjoy!

  • Three Wise Women by Mary Hoffman
  • Lone Star by Barbara Barrie 
  • A Dozen Silk Diapers by Melissa Kajpust
  • Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto
  • The Winter Solstice by Ellen Jackson
  • A Full House by Madeleine L’Engle
  • The Gifts of Kwanzaa by Synthia St. James
  • What Child Is This? by Caroline B. Cooney
  • The Winter Gift by Deborah Turney Zagwyn
  • Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas by Madeleine L’Engle

Monday, December 07, 2015

SDG Mondays: Health

Today we are featuring the third of the United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals:

 "Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages."

This goal has 12 associated targets:


What do you think of this goal and these targets?  

What can you do to help the world reach the targets?

Please post your thoughts in the comments section.

For me, I feel like some things I can do to try to help are to continue to advocate for a sustainably breastfeeding-friendly culture and for the use of a less invasive, less surgical model of childbirth in the United States, as well as continuing to advocate for vaccination and universal health care.

I also hope to raise awareness about the very idea of sustainable development and these goals and targets in Texas and in the United States, where I live.
 
 

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Book Arts: Library Field Trip

The Girl Scouts are working on their Book Artist badge and on Saturday they had a field trip to the library.  The dear, patient children's librarian, who is probably getting quite tired of our troop's frequent library doings, told them all about book bindings and covers and how to repair books (and books on CD) and they all got a turn at trying it.  Librarians are the best.  Then I sent the girls on a bit of a scavenger hunt through the stacks to find books with colophons and to share with each other the publishers, imprints and colophons they found.  At our next meeting, they will design a colophon for the publishing imprint they would start if they started one.  

Book arts sometimes seem fated to become lost arts in the not-too-distant future but librarians and Girl Scouts will keep them alive!

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Vote Out The Gun Freaks

So...mere hours before the San Bernadino massacre, a group of doctors delivered a petition signed by over 2,000 physicians, urging Congress to end the decades-old ban that prevents the CDC from conducting public health research on gun violence.

Today, Democrats in the Senate tried to pass a measure to require background checks on people purchasing guns at gun shows and online....it was blocked by Republicans.

Also today, Democrats in the Senate tried to pass a measure to block people on the Terror Watch List - people about whom the FBI have Concerns - from buying guns.  Republicans blocked this as well.

How much clearer does it have to get, Mamas?

Find out where candidates stand on gun control before you vote and if they do not support measures to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, people with criminal backgrounds and toddlers, then do not vote for them.  No matter what.  No matter what. We can vote in sensible gun reforms if we make it a top priority. Get registered to vote, look up their records and vote the gun freaks out of office. NOW.

Vote, Mamas. Vote.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Saving The Earth

In honor of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference going on in Paris, this edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club returns to feature once again children's books with environmental, nature and vegetarian themes, themes our children will need to embrace if the Earth is to survive and continue to feed and shelter us. Enjoy!


Primary & Lower Elementary:


  • A Prayer For The Earth: The Story of Naamah, Noah’s Wife by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
  • The Big Big Sea by Martin Waddell
  • I Love Animals by Flora McDonnell 
  • Three Days on A River In A Red Canoe by Vera B. Williams 
  • Madeline and The Bad Hat by Ludwig Bemelmans
  •  Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • Pond Year by Kathryn Lasky
  • Wangari's Trees of Peace:  A True Story of Africa by Jeannette Winter
  • How Droofus The Dragon Lost His Head by Bill Peet  
  • Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey 

 Upper Elementary and Teens:

  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
  • Exodus, Zenith and Aurora by Julie Bertagna
  • Flush by Carl Hiaasen
  • Girlwood by Claire Dean
  • Scat by Carl Hiaasen
  • Crash by Jerry Spinelli
  • Chomp by Carl Hiaasen
  • The Wheel on The School by Meindert DeJong
  • Owl In The Shower by Jean Craighead George
  • Skink - No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen
  • The Carbon Diaries 2015 & The Carbon Diaries 2017 by Saci Lloyd.
  •  Standing Up For Mr. O by Claudia Mills
  • The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Honoring Ms. Parks

Today is the 6oth anniversary of Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat to a white man on an Alabama bus.  Nonviolent civil disobedience in the cause of social justice. Let's remember.

World AIDS Day 2015

We must work towards ending this terrible disease.  The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has a wonderful AIDS Badge that girls of all ages can work on in their Girl Scout troops, with different activities for different levels.  Check it out.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Prayers for The Earth

May our spinning world's leaders, meeting in Paris for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, be wise and strong enough to set us on a path to healing the damage we have done and sustaining our Earth and its creatures, including all of us, as we learn to do better.

SDG Mondays: End Hunger

Today we are featuring the second of the United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals:

"End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture."

This goal has eight associated targets:


What do you think of this goal and these targets?  

What can you do to help the world reach the targets?

Please post your thoughts in the comments section.

For me, I feel like some things I can do to try to help are to continue to advocate for a sustainably breastfeeding-friendly culture and for eating plant-based diets that leave enough land for food to be grown for everyone, not just the rich, and also to advocate for environmental practices that mitigate climate change.

I also hope to raise awareness about the very idea of sustainable development and these goals and targets in Texas and in the United States, where I live.
 
 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thankful

When Dolores Huerta came to town to speak in October and, in the course of her keynote address, happened to mention that she is a vegetarian, my eleven-year-old threw up her fist in the audience and yelled "Viva!"

I think I'm just going to focus on blessings like that one.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: A Is For Activist and Counting on Community

Good morning!  This installment of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features board books for babies by Innosanto Nagara.  

Mr. Nagara's A Is For Activist is a board book for babies in the style of alphabet books for babies everywhere, but with a twist - each letter stands for a word that is part of the vocabulary of activism and citizenship - "G is for grassroots", etc.  It is quite the favorite among activist parents.

Even better, in my opinion, is its more recent companion book, Counting on Community. This board book for babies by Mr. Nagara is a counting book that invites children to count people in their community ("urban farmers") and things they all share (bicycle helmets, chickens).  While A Is For Activist includes a lot that parents are going to enjoy more than kids will, Counting on Community is right on a little one's level and can probably be gifted to your nephew without annoying his mother, irregardless of her politics.

Both books are excellent additions to your subversive baby's library.

Election Results

So...Texans sadly passed all of the constitutional amendments on the ballot yesterday.  Bye-bye, school funding.  I honestly think people don't understand about constitutional amendments, because they almost always seem to pass in Texas.   

Amending our constitution is a really big deal. A much bigger deal than just passing a law. 

It should never be done lightly.  It should not be done often.

Sigh.

We need more government and citizenship education.

Also, while I am talking about election results, I must say this: 

I am very disappointed in you, Houston. Go to your room and stay there until you learn how to care about the civil rights of your brothers and sisters. Think about what you have done.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Houston Be A HERO!

The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, known also as Prop. One in The Houston City Election and as HERO, is on the ballot in Houston on this Election Day.

This very important ordinance prevents discrimination against LBGTQ persons in employment, housing and public accommodations.  It needs to pass.  Marriage equality is a wonderful thing, but, in most places, people can still be fired and denied housing for being gay.  The good people of Houston have tried to change this, but bigots are spending their money turning it into another spurious "bathroom debate", rather than discussing the serious discrimination faced by our LBGTQ brothers and sisters all across this nation.

Every Houstonian can be a HERO by voting for the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance today.
 

Election Day!!

Today is Election Day, Texas!  Go and vote on the constitutional amendments!  Remember, please, Mamas,  that a constitutional amendment is a thing more permanent than a mere ordinance or bill.  I think it behooves us not to enshrine anything in our constitution that limits the rights or the future of our citizens.

On that note, please do not vote to increase homestead exemption from school taxes.  Vote against that first proposition on the state constitutional ballot that steals money from our children's education and therefore their futures and takes away the choice to put the money back later.  Far too much funding has already been taken away from Texas schools.  Our children need well-funded schools. Our democracy does.

Vota!

Monday, November 02, 2015

SDG Mondays: End Poverty

Welcome to SDG Mondays!  Today we are featuring the first of the United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals: 

"End Poverty in all its forms everywhere."

This goal has 7 associated targets:


What do you think of this goal and these targets?  

What can you do to help the world reach the targets?

Please post your thoughts in the comments section.

For me, I feel like one thing I can do is to try to help disenfranchised people register to vote and encourage them to get to the polls.  Maybe if a more diverse electorate actively voted, people who cared about these issues would get elected more. 

I also hope to raise awareness about the very idea of sustainable development and these goals and targets in Texas and in the United States, where I live.

 

Sunday, November 01, 2015

November Is For Writing

I am not trying to write a novel but I have countless other manuscripts in various stages of incompletion and November inspires me as a time to make some (small, steady) progress on writing. So I shall strive to do so. Do any of you gentle readers have writing projects simmering?  Or, like mine, congealing for want of attention?


Box Tops and Baking

Tomorrow is the postmark deadline for the fall check to schools from Box Tops for Education, so I spent most of today counting and bundling Boxtops and packing them up and submitting them online, so that I can mail them all off on the way to work tomorrow.  I managed to get the grocery shopping done and now am baking pumpkin bread and banana muffins for the week, so the house smells good. 

If I think about it, there are so many other things "on my list", but I am trying not to think about it.  This fall needs to slow down some for our family and give us a little more shelter in each other, so I am going to try to keep the list as manageable as I can. 

November blessings to you and yours.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween






Happy Twentieth Birthday, My Goblin Princess!





It was twenty years ago, today... that our Lone Star Girl was born on Halloween.  What a couple of dumb kids Lone Star Pa and I were back then, but we must have somehow gotten some things right because she is the most extraordinary young woman I know today.

Happy Birthday, Lone Star Girl!  We love you so much!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Between The World And Me: Read It

I read Ta-nihisi Coates' Between The World And Me over the summer and earliest fall.  It's a short book that would generally have taken me the idle ends of a day (lines, coffee drive-throughs, meals) to finish but it took me weeks, because I had to read it a little bit at a time and think. We all need to think about racism in this country.

As someone who has taught in an inner city school and knows what impossible expectations are put on teachers- both by others due to the testing mess and by ourselves due to the urgency of our desires to get children through school so they may have a chance of getting out of poverty - the truth that Mr. Coates speaks about our schools hurts me.  We do tell children that getting through school is their way out when so often it will not be. ..when so often it will not be enough to battle institutional racism, when so many fine, first-generation college students are crushed by law enforcement officers, when it is just so much more complicated than that.  We do contribute, in our desperation to be able to teach the students who are listening, to the school-to-prison pipeline.  It is hard to manage a class when a youth takes his rage at the system out on you because you are its representative in his life.  It hurts our feelings when we just want to teach some history and be a helpful adult in the lives of kids.  The system of discipline in the schools does not possess the options that any of us need, but it is ultimately our youth who the system destroys.

Just read it.  We have to understand.  We have to do better.  We have to be thinking if we are ever going to find solutions, so start.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Auvi-Q Recall

So the cool, almost flat, talk-you-through it epinephrine auto-injectors called Auvi-Q (that we were bummed that our insurance would not cover) are apparently not so cool after all.  Massive recall.  Scary.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: El Dia de Los Muertos

I believe that sharing cultural traditions is both beautiful and inevitable when you live in borderlands, but it is important to understand and respect the traditions of the people around you, not just to try to grab them and make them fit your own traditions and ways.  As the Latino population in the United States grows, many aspects of the cultures of different Latin American countries are making their way into mainstream pop culture.  It is important to teach our children that El Dia de Los Muertos is a much more serious holiday than the Halloween celebration with which so many white Americans associate it. I think it can be shared but only if it is shared with respect and understanding.  This edition of the Subversive Children's Book Club features children's books about El Dia de Los Muertos.  Enjoy!

  • Rosita y Conchita by Erich Haeger and Eric Gonzalez
  • Festival of Bones by Luis San Vicente
  • Uncle Monarch and The Day of The Dead by Judy Goldman
  • Maria Molina and The Days of The Dead by Kathleen Krull
  • I Remember Abuelito - A Day of The Dead Story by Janice Levy and Loretta Lopez


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Back, Front & Totally Three-Dimensional

I have been too busy to have any creativity or even quasi-journalistic impulses left in me hardly at all these past months.  Work has kept me busier than busy and I am still dwelling in that little walk-up apartment North of Whelm, but I do want to get back to posting here.

The red tide is waning with the Harvest Moon, thank goodness, and the weather has a touch of cool in the mornings that makes folks here in South Texas giddy and sweater-prone, even though it still gets up to the highest of eighties.  That is how fall rolls down here and we are grateful for it just as it is.

The Lone Star Baby and I picked out two respectable pumpkins at the pumpkin patch run by the church that runs the daycare she attended as a wee small bairn.  We got small pumpkins at the grocery store. I have more small pumpkins for the Girl Scouts to paint. Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins, as it should be.

I hope to bake this autumn.  To garden.  To write.  To rest.

A cake is cooling in my kitchen.  

We'll see. 


Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Autumn

In honor of October and all things pumpkin, this edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features children's books with fall themes.  Enjoy!

  • Child of Faerie, Child of Earth by Jane Yolen 
  • Alice and Greta by Steven J. Simmons
  • The Autumn Equinox: Celebrating The Harvest by Ellen Jackson
  • Apple Picking Time by Michele Benoit
  • The Pumpkin Blanket by Deborah Turney Zagwyn
  • Pumpkin Fiesta by Caryn Slawson Yacowitz
  • Pumpkin Circle by George Levenson 
  • The Apple Pip Princess by Jane Ray.

Monday, October 05, 2015

SDG Mondays: Exploring The Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development goals (or SDGs) in a summit meeting in September that will replace the previous eight Millennium Development  Goals that were the world's former road map for eliminating extreme poverty and which expire in 2015.  The new Sustainable Development Goals are goals to guide us, the people of Earth, in improving the lives of people all over our world.  They include 169 targets, most to be met by 2030 but some sooner, that provide concrete ways of achieving the seventeen goals.

Here is a brief list of the seventeen SDGs from the United Nations website:

"1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all
9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation
10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss
16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development."

For the next few weeks, when possible for me, Mondays will be SDG Mondays and will each feature an SDG and its targets.  Discussion in the comments thread in these features is welcome, always depending on the quality of the discussion.


Sunday, October 04, 2015

First Papaya

  
I have had my little papaya tree for a few years now, but it never fruited before.  For months now, it has had its first two tiny green fruits on it, but they stayed tiny and green. Today one of them was suddenly yellow!

I ate it.  It was tiny but still ripe and delicious.

I am saving the seeds for my dad in case he wants to plant them.



Another Mass Shooting

Thursday's tragedy should remind us not to vote for the people who pass laws that allow guns to be accessed so easily by so many.  The U.S. leads the world in mass shootings...this is not something in which we want to lead the world.

 I am praying and I am also voting.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Banned Books Week: What Are You Reading?

Did you know that September 27 - October 3 is Banned Books Week?

This year, the theme of Banned Books Week is Young Adult fiction. Here is a link to frequently challenged or banned Young Adult fiction in 2014-2015. 

Keep reading!  Knowledge is power!


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Hispanic Heritage

To honor Hispanic Heritage Month one more time this month, this edition of the Subversive Children's Book Club features books about people and events in Hispanic history and culture.  Enjoy!

  • Harvest of Hope:  The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull
  • Dolores Huerta:  A Hero To Migrant Workers by Sarah Warren
  • Side by Side/Lado a Lado: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez by Monica Brown
  • Si, Se Puede!/Yes, We Can!: Janitor Strike in L.A. by Diana Cohn 
  • Separate is Never Equal:  Sylvia Mendez and her family's fight for desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
  • Tomas and The Library Lady by Pat Mora
  • Frida by Jonah Winter
  • Diego by Jonah Winter
  • Sonia Sotomayor:  A Judge Grows in The Bronx by Jonah Winter.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Go Pink or Go Home: We Support Planned Parenthood

The Lone Star Ma Blog is pink today to show our support of funding for Planned Parenthood.  Planned Parenthood provides vital health care and cancer screening for thousands of Americans, men and women, too.   You cannot pull out a major health care provider's funding because you disapprove of something else they do that the government does not fund at all without grievous consequences for the people who depend upon its health care funding.

Congress has threatened to shut down the government rather than pass a budget that includes funding that might go to Planned Parenthood.  None of this funding is used for abortions. Tell your Congressperson that you support Planned Parenthood, Mamas! Women need access to reproductive health care and screenings.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Boehner's Resignation

I find it very disturbing that Congress is chuck full of Republicans who thought this man was not conservative enough.

These are scary times, Mamas.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Yankees

It troubles me when people in states that do not border Mexico write about things like guacamole and burritos because what they say is usually such, such travesty.

Sorry, but it is.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

National Voter Registration Day!

Today is National Voter Registration Day, Mamas!  Get out the word to get out the vote!  We cannot enact policies that create a caring nation, state and community for our children if we do not vote!

If you are not registered to vote, go down to your county clerk's office and do so today!  

If you have moved and need to change your voter registration to another county, go down to the county clerk's office and do so today!  

Spread the word to other people to get registered to vote!

Everyone needs to be registered!!!!

Monday, September 21, 2015

International Day of Peace

Pray for peace.

Happy Autumn Equinox!

Now it is time for apples and pumpkins and other squash. Time for growing tomatoes and peppers. Maybe time for a sweater eventually, but let's not go too crazy.  Happy Autumn!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bridging - A Junior Girl Scout No More

  
Today our Girl Scout Troop, after trying for some time to get everyone's schedules together, had our long-delayed Bridging Ceremony. The Lone Star Baby, with several other of our girls, bridged to Cadette Girl Scouts and received her silver key, which means she is - sniff! - an "older girl" now.




  
The girls are currently swimming in their new vests because these vests get worn throughout Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors and a girl does a lot of growing in seven years.




  
She also received her Bronze Award, the highest award a Junior Girl Scout can earn, and which I had been holding onto until the ceremony, for the project she and two other girls in the troop did last year.  They researched, developed and put on a Community Service Fair at the Library to teach kids lots of different ways they can volunteer to help their community in different ways.

  
I used to call this troop my "Little Girl Troop", when I still had the Lone Star Girl's "Big Girl Troop", but now these girls are growing up so fast!  I am so proud of them!


Saturday, September 19, 2015

Flu Shot Mama

The Lone Star Family all have gotten their annual flu shot.  You go get yours, too. Quadrivalent, preferably, for also covering that sneaky late spring/early summer B strain.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Happy Constitution Day!

We the people!  That's us!  Remember, Mamas!

Speaking of Racists....

Most people have heard by now about the bright fourteen-year-old boy who invented a clock, took it to school to show to his engineering teacher, and then got arrested because his racist school and the racist police department in Irving, Texas thought it might be a bomb (maybe their bomb squad needs some more training?).  That people are still targeting Muslims with all of this nonsense is so horrible.  I am so glad that the President and people like FaceBook CEO Mark Zuckerberg have stood up to encourage this child before he completely loses all love of learning.  It was so sad to me to hear his school and school district officials defending their actions instead of thinking about him.

GOP Debates, Round Two

I got home really late last night and did not end up watching much of the Republican debate, but I saw a little and I think those Republicans had some nerve talking like that on Diez y Seis, or at all, of course. Ick. Bunch of racists.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Feliz Diez y Seis de Septiembre!

I'm not celebrating the war, of course, but I certainly understand the sentiment, even if I do not agree with violent means of revolution.  There definitely still seem to be a few things left to yell about, though....

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Hispanic Heritage Month

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, this installment of the Subversive Children's Book Club spotlights books about Hispanic characters for older kids and teens.  Enjoy!

Upper Elementary and YA:

  • Confetti Girl by Diana Lopez
  • The Tequila Worm by Viola Canales
  • Taking Sides by Gary Soto
  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Ask My Mood Ring by Diana Lopez
  • Trino's Choice by Diane Gonzales Bertrand
  • Finding Miracles by Julia Alvarez
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz



Sunday, September 13, 2015

Kernel by Kernel

The Boy Scouts are out and about selling their (over-priced, not nearly as good as cookies) popcorn these days.  Go and buy some, please.  That is what I did (even though I need to give it away now because it is cross-contaminated with tree nuts, a thing not welcome in our home, but that's not their fault) on Saturday.

I bought a bag of the popcorn from a sweet little Cub Scout and then found his leader and told her:  I never would buy anything from the Boy Scouts before, but now that you have decided to stop discriminating against people, I will.

She heard me.  You go buy something from them, too, Mamas, and let them know why you will now.  This is how people learn.

Water or Bust: Basic Services Are A Must

On Friday night, one of my Girl Scouts asked for a drink of water.  I nodded my head to the paper cups I keep for their use since, as they grow, we are more and more into them being able to do things for themselves, and I told her she knew where the cups were, to let her know to go ahead.  As she turned the faucet on, another girl said "what about the water thing?" and I told her our neighborhood was not included in the advisory, and we continued on with our whole courage, confidence and character thing that we do.

I thought about it later, though.  

I have not been greatly inconvenienced by this boil water advisory since my neighborhood is not part of it but I was greatly inconvenienced by the summer one  that only lasted a couple of days.  

This one has been going on for over a week now.

The people who live in the affected neighborhoods and the businesses in them must be struggling a great deal.  I feel guilty for getting so busy that I have not been making an adequate fuss about it.  This is ridiculous. We need to get completely rid of the real estate cabal that is "governing" our city and replace them with folks who will make sure our citizens have basic services.  

Every single permit for the construction of new neighborhoods and business zones needs to be denied until the city is ensuring proper services to the neighborhoods that already exist.  Water first.  Proper sewage and storm water systems.  Safely maintained streets.  Public safety.  Parks and recreational opportunities as well.  Arts, culture.  If the Council cannot afford to take care of "Old Corpus", they should not be allowed to profit from "New Corpus". 

People need to hold them accountable at the polls.  I know I will.



Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Labor Organizing

In honor of Labor Day on Monday, this installment of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features, for a second time, books about labor organizing.  Solidarity forever!
  • Harvest of Hope:  The Story of Cesar Chavez by Kathleen Krull
  • Dolores Huerta:  A Hero To Migrant Workers by Sarah Warren
  • Side by Side/Lado a Lado: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez by Monica Brown
  • Si, Se Puede!/Yes, We Can!: Janitor Strike in L.A. by Diana Cohn
  • Click Clack Moo:  Cows that Type by Doreen Cronin
  • Woody Guthrie:  Poet of The People by Bonnie Christensen
  • Mother Jones and The March of The Mill Children by Penny Colman

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Childcare Centers Harassing Nursing Mothers?

I have heard some internet grumbling among some young moms in Weslaco whose childcare centers have tried to pressure them to start bringing formula for their babies instead of breastfeeding them.  The moms have said that the centers used phrases like "it isn't appropriate at his age" to shame them into bringing formula, while mentioning that they really think the childcare centers just want to be able to make the same bottles for all the babies and not have to trouble with breastmilk.

This is horrible.  

It is also illegal.

I remember how hard to was to keep providing breastmilk for my babies when they were in childcare.  It was mainly hard because pumping just is hard, but the ignorance and occasional attitudes of childcare workers certainly did not help.

I can remember a childcare center requiring me to bring a note from a doctor that my exclusively breastfed daughter's stools were normal and not diarrhea because they were ignorant about what exclusively breastfed babies' stools looked like - which cost me time off work and having to pay for a doctor visit to get the note.  I can remember a childcare center requiring me to provide documentation to back up how long I had told them breastmilk could be kept in the freezer and refrigerator respectively, because they did not know themselves and apparently felt the need to question me.   I remember a childcare center trying (unsuccessfully) to get me to nurse my baby in a separate room so that other parents and babies did not have to see us. I remember the constant struggle to get the childcare staff to feed the baby on demand rather than on a schedule that bore no relationship to when she was hungry and which wasted precious milk.

It wasn't easy.

Childcare workers really need to be trained better about breastfeeding.

I never had staff dare to try to pressure me to stop, though.  If they had, they would have quickly had trouble with childcare licensing.  If your childcare center ever does that to you, please call childcare licensing and make a complaint immediately.  Childcare centers who find it too inconvenient to provide the infants in their care with the protection of their mothers' milk need to be shut down. No excuses.



Monday, September 07, 2015

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Happy Birthday, Mama Jane!

Happy Birthday, Jane Addams!

Jane Addams, a founding mother of the social work profession, was born on September 6th, 1860. She co-founded Hull House, advocated for equality for all, an end to poverty, increased public health, an end to child labor and for peace - she was sometimes called "the most dangerous woman in America".

We should all follow her fine example.


Sunday, August 30, 2015

Move-In Weekend: Sophomore Girl

This weekend we drove the Girl down to college and moved her in to her new dorm, which is much more like an apartment, really (in my day, all the women on our wing shared a bathroom down the hall and the tiny room I shared with my room-mate had no air conditioning - Bruce!).  We also did the necessary provisioning at Target and H-E-B, of course.  Some of her friends helped her and her room-mate get unpacked - so nice.  

The Girl's classes don't start until tomorrow but she has homework already and is also busily recruiting new progressives to her causes.

We are so proud of that Girl.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Corpus Realtor Jokingly Threatens to Masturbate on Breastfeeding Mothers In Comedy Skit

A Corpus Christi businessman who does comedy on the side recently posted a comedy sketch of himself on his toilet criticizing mothers who breastfeed in public and comparing it to masturbation.  As horrible and not-funny as that is, the big problem was when the skit went on to say that he would masturbate on mothers he saw breastfeeding in public.  Doing this would, of course, be sexual assault and local mothers have been outraged by his skit, complaining to local news outlets and spreading the word on social media.

Yesterday, he apologized for his skit going too far on KZTV but I personally still found his apology rather fraught with excuses, especially when he claimed he was getting death threats.  I have no way of knowing if that was true, but seeing as how his comedy skit threatened to sexually assault women, I am not sure he has any room to complain.  I believe that he meant it as a joke and not an actual threat as he says, but there is nothing funny about either sexual assault or about persecuting nursing mothers.