Thursday, November 23, 2017

Holiday Squash

Every Thanksgiving, I make a holiday squash recipe as our signature Thanksgiving dish.  Here is the recipe (serves eight):

Ingredients:  Four acorn squash, 8 apples, butter, cinnamon sugar.


  • Cut the acorn squash and scoop out the seeds and pulp. Plant the seeds and pulp in the garden.
  • Put the squash halves, flat sides down on a baking sheet and bake them for about 50 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Chop up the apples.
  • Set the squash halves cut-sides up in a baking dish and sprinkle the scooped out part with cinnamon sugar, then put a little pat of butter in each.  
  • Stuff each squash half with chopped apples and cover again with cinnamon sugar and dabs of butter.  
  • Pop the stuffed squash back into the oven until the apples are baked in the buttery, cinnamon goodness and the squash is toasty again. 
  • Enjoy!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am so grateful to be spending the holiday warm and cozy with my sleepy Lone Star Girl, with lots of good food in the oven.  We have learned a lot about gratitude for the small wonderful things in life since she has been ill and am so happy that we get to share them.  

I hope that you all have many things to be thankful for today and always.

XXOO,
Lone Star Ma

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving

Today's edition of the Subversive Children's Book Club is a good choice for families who may tie Thanksgiving traditions to teaching their children to care for animals as winter nears - Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey.   

This funny little picture book tells the story of a class of schoolchildren who visit a turkey farm, make friends with the turkeys and then discover the turkey farmer's terrible secret.  They manage to sneak the turkeys away for safe Thanksgivings in their homes where they can be dinner guests and not dinner  served.  It is funny and sweet and perfect for vegetarian children.  I highly recommend it.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Nightmare On Tax Bills

The House just passed a horror story of a tax "reform" bill.  Please call your Senators and tell them not to sell out the sick and disabled and students and teachers and the elderly like their colleagues in the House did, Mamas.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Vote!

Tomorrow is Election Day, Texas! Constitutional Amendments.  If you did not vote early, you need to get out there tomorrow and vote.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Gulf Frittillary Reserve

Something that has given me much joy in the past year is gulf fritillaries.  I let some volunteer passion flower vines that had shown up in my yard take over the front of the house on both sides when I learned that they are what gulf fritillary caterpillars eat.

I have enjoyed many moments this year inspecting their little rumpled-leaf cocoons, watching their science fiction-y caterpillars crawl about and, most of all, watching the gulf fritllatries flying about my yard and lighting to fan their wings on the vines and on our lime tree, which they also seem to like when they are in butterfly form.  I have self-desginated my house to be a gulf frittillary reserve and plan to keep it that way.

After the hurricane, though, I could not find any more butterflies,  No rumpled-leaf cocoons.  No weird caterpillars.  I thought they had all died.

But....one is back this week!  Maybe two!  I am so glad! I am hoping they will fill my yard with orange tapestries of flight again soon!

 


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Staying afloat in the descent of a nation....

Times are tough.

Our family has been struggling to find some new balance in the past couple of years due to the Lone Star Girl's health issues and meanwhile, of course, the other regular troubles that will come to every family in one form or another still come to us.  Like all families, we often have enough on our plates just keeping our own little ship afloat, along with its own particular set of challenges.

Putting that in the context of these times, though....

To be trying to support a disabled daughter with a serious chronic disease in a time when our "leaders" continually try to steal her health insurance and her civil rights is really difficult. 

And then there are white supremacists running around everywhere, emboldened by the president's behavior, the president who says some of them are very good people.  

Climate change brings us more intense storms (and a bad season for avocados!) and we try to pay medical bills while feeling guilty that we are not doing more for our neighboring communities that had their homes blown away, counting ourselves very lucky that we only lost some siding, a refrigerator of food, a window board and a few days' electricity and productivity.

The free press is under attack and the president and attorney general say more fascist things every single day and most people want to just pretend it isn't happening.

People who used to seem reasonable and nice remain unoffended when their friends spout blatantly racist and otherwise (sexist, homophobic, ableist) bigoted screeds but will call out people who try to speak out against those screeds, or who just try to work hard to fight fascism, or for health care or for civil rights.

I have no idea what is going on wth that equifax thing and my information.

New terrible mass disasters and tragedies happen every day until we cannot even keep up with them all, much less give each the meaningful attention they all deserve.

I work to be a good mother, a good worker, a good wife and friend and citizen.  I work to keep my family afloat and still think of others.  I am trying but these are tough times.

Sorry the blog is so irregularly maintained.

xoxo, 
Lone Star Ma
 



 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

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

International Day of The Girl

Happy International Day of the Girl!  This year's theme is about giving all girls a K-12 education.  Our whole planet needs what educated girls can do!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club; Honoring Hispanic Heritage

To honor Hispanic Heritage Month, this edition of the Subversive Children's Book Club features books about people and events in Latino 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 26, 2017

Action Alert: Keep Calling: Defeat The Graham Cassidy Health Care Bill

We have to keep calling every day, Mamas, until after September 30th when the bill will be finished without a vote.

We have to defeat it before it takes the lives of people with life threatening illnesses and disabilities.

Please call your Senators today and demand that they vote no.

Please call Senators Murkowski, McCain and Collins today and ask them to please vote no.  Keep them strong on this.

Every day.

Call, call, call.

National Voter Registration Day

Are you registered to vote?

If not, get registered and never neglect to vote.

If so, get deputized and register other voters.

Voting matters.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Protect Texans with Disabilities

Tell Senators Cornyn and Cruz to be as brave as Senator McCain and to vote no on the Graham Cassidy Health Care Bill!

Banned Books Week

Read subversively.

Defeat The Graham Cassidy Health Care Bill

The Graham Cassidy Health Care Bill would allow states to remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions in a number of ways....by allowing them to be priced out of insurance or out of insurance renewal, by allowing states to decide that the health care they need to survive (prescription drugs, chemotherapy) does not have to be covered by health plans, and by allowing health plans to re-instate annual and lifetime caps on coverage.

The bill is opposed by every major medical organization in America, by every major disability rights organization and even by insurers and a bipartisan coalition of the nation's governors.

For people with life threatening illnesses and disabilities, this means death.  It is once again playing politics through genocide.  It must be stopped.

The bill's sponsors are trying to make it more appealing to swing vote Senators by stuffing it with extra funding for their states but that does not help the people with pre-existing conditions at all.

Please call your Senators today, Mamas, and demand that they vote no.

Please call Senators Murkowski, McCain and Collins today and ask them to please vote no.  

Please email the Senate Finance Committee at GCHcomments@finance.senate.gov before 1pm today and tell them you oppose the bill.  Please call the Senate Finance Committee at 202-224-4515 before 1pm today and express your opposition to the bill.

Please.

Thank you.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Brink

The Fall Equinox is the brink of darkness in a way, the last day that everything is balanced between light and dark before the days are more dark than light going into winter.

What with the storms and the earthquakes and health issues and threats of nuclear war and threats of another dismantling of our health system, I really do not like to think of more dark than this.

I will strive to remember the Light.  Will try to be the Light.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Power On

We left Corpus early on Thursday morning to move the Girl back into college because it looked like the then-predicted "Tropical Storm" Harvey would make travel difficult on Saturday when we had planned to move her in.  She had also been ill for a couple of days and we were concerned about her being stuck here with possibly minimal access to emergency health care in a tropical storm and with possibly no refrigeration for her medications if we lost power.We meant to drop her and her stuff off and drive back that night and get back in time to board up and ride out the storm. I was worried to leave her there when she had been sick, but it seemed like the best of several less than ideal choices when we decided to do it on Thursday morning.

Well.  Once we arrived in the RGV late morning, the forecast had changed from "strong tropical storm to minimum Category 1" to, um Category 3. So we stayed in the Valley.  We were pretty sure we would be homeless by the time it was said and done.

By Saturday, we were realizing that Corpus had mostly dodged it and it might not be so bad.  My dad (I tried to get him to leave - really) had stayed and he went and looked at our house and said it looked good.  We came back on Sunday and the water boil was lifted (hallelujah!) before we even got home.  There were downed trees and fences and flimsier structures all over town, few streetlights and little power, but our home was mostly just fine besides some torn up siding and such very minor things.

We were so lucky. 

Rockport was not so lucky.  Port Aransas was not so lucky.  They are about gone.

Houston has been a continuing horror story this week.

Our prayers are with all who have suffered.

Our lights just came back on.  

Corpus is recovering fine but it will be a long time before some of the affected communities recover.  Donate, if you can,  to the Red Cross.  To Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies.  To the Texas Diaper Bank.  There are so many doing God's work and they need our help.







Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Action Alert: Email Today & Council Meeting Tuesday: Tell City Council To Save The Juvenile Assessment Center

The Corpus Christi Crime Control and Prevention District has voted to adopt a budget that completely eliminates funding for the Juvenile Assessment Center.




Please contact the Mayor and your Council Members and tell them to vote no on the Corpus Christi Crime Control and Prevention District's budget until it restores funding for the Juvenile Assessment Center. The Board should either use its reserve fund for the JAC or make across the board cuts that do not eliminate the program.

Please attend Tuesday's Council meeting if you can and speak during public comment telling Council to vote no on the Crime Control and Prevention District budget unless it restores funding for the JAC.  It is item 14 on the regular agenda, which could occur at any time,  Generally public comment can also be made during the public comment period at noon but not then and when the the item comes up.

The sales tax the District levies has not produced enough funding to continue funding all of the District's projects at current levels, so the District decided to cut all projects except for the 60+ police officer positions it funds instead of making cuts across the Board, to police positions and youth prevention funding, and instead of dipping into its reserve funds as all other city programs must do when things are tight.

The Crime Control and Prevention District was primarily created to fund the Juvenile Assessment Center, which a wide coalition of social service agencies across Corpus Christi supported.  The program was wildly successful, decreasing juvenile delinquency rates in the city, assessing youth in trouble and connecting them to all of the services they needed, providing case management to make sure that services worked...it became a national model of prevention that was used in creating countless programs in other communities.

Its effectiveness has been hampered over recent years by continued cuts to its funding so that the courts and police could have more funding. Now the District plans to eliminate it altogether so they can protect all of the police positions for a few more years.

I think the citizens would rather have 50 police positions funded (as was the original plan - the JAC plus 50 officers)  and keep youth prevention services.  There will never be enough police officers to bring down the crime rate if the city does not prioritize its youth.  We know that prevention works.


#SaveTheJAC

Friday, August 18, 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Gregor the Overlander

This edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features the Gregor The Overlander series by Suzanne Collins of The Hunger Games fame.  In these books, eleven-year-old Gregor falls down a ventilation shaft after his baby sister and finds himself in the Underland, where humans live altered by life underground in a maze of alliances and enmities with giant bats, rats, cockroaches and other creatures.

Gregor is embraced as the prophesied Warrior of the Underlanders but as the story unfolds, Gregor learns a lot about the horrors of war and the importance of peace.

These sweet books contain a lot of bloodshed and fighting but ultimately teach a lesson of peace and respect instead.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Save The Juvenile Assessment Center

The Corpus Christi Crime Control and Prevention District has voted to eliminate funding for the Juvenile Assessment Center from its FY 2017-2018 budget.  There is a public hearing on this budget during Tuesday's City Council Meeting (Item M on the agenda).  Please turn out and tell your Council members to keep the "prevention" in Crime Control and Prevention District and to save the Juvenile Assessment Center!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Blue Jeans and Back To School

This is the tax free weekend so we went school clothes shopping for the Lone Star Baby, who has grown out of all or her pants and worn out her sneakers.  Target and Payless for the win.

Trump's Amerikkkan Horror Story

Not only do we need to worry about nuclear apocalypse, we have Nazis marching with torches through college campuses and streets killing people and a highly placed white supremacist and former Republican governor and presidential candidate talking on the news about how they are fulfilling Trump's promises for America.

All true patriots need to wake up and work against this tide of fascism and emboldened white supremacy.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Pray for Peace

Hard.  And start electing people who value it.

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

I had a totally different post in mind for today but given what is going on in the world this week, I think we need to go back to a serious focus on peace. Peace on Earth.  All over it.  We only have just this one planet we can live on at present, folks, and we need to keep it safe from nuclear apocalypse.  This edition of the Subversive Children's Book Club features books about peace, which we need to raise our children to revere.

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
  • Gregor the Overlander (series) by Suzanne Collins

Monday, August 07, 2017

Pumping At Work: Breast Pumps

Let's not mince words:  pumping breast milk for your baby while you work is really hard.  It takes discipline and a whole lot of effort and is largely going to be the main thing on your mind while you are doing it, after the baby herself and any other children you may have.   It takes dedication, good equipment, preparation, and the courage to advocate for yourself and your baby.  

Pumping is not for wimps.

That said, it is completely and totally worth it. 

The health benefits your infant receives from breast milk cannot be overstated.  This is particularly true when your infant is hanging out in group childcare while you work.  You go nurse your little one on your lunch break or at drop-off and pick-up and you be sure to play with all the other babies in the room and get huggy with the childcare providers as much as possible.  That way, you get exposed to every germ they have, you make antibodies for those germs that get distributed in your milk and your baby stays healthy.  It's a gorgeous system.  Nursing also makes you healthier, makes your baby smarter and keeps the two of you quite necessarily close and bonded.

It's worth it, but it is hard.

Be sure to have a plan.  Discuss your needs (nursing breaks in a private space with an outlet:  not a bathroom) with your employer ahead of time and get a good pump.  

Let me be clear about good pumps.  

If you are working anything approaching full-time, you need a Medela brand double electric pump.  There are several versions and I cannot keep up since my children are weaned with what is the latest as those gorgeous geniuses at Medela are always coming up with better and better models, so do your research, but Medela is the way to go.  Medela does not pay me anything, I promise, and I am telling you the truth here:  do not get any other brand.  Other breast pumps can be good for date night, taking a class, occasional part-time work.  Only Medela will do for full-time work.  Don't play.  I'm serious.  It will be hard enough with the Medela.  Eat beans and rice or whatever you have to do, but get the Medela.  

Is that clear?

Good.

The Affordable Care Act now requires that insurance plans cover the cost of breast pumps but it does not say what kind of breast pumps and many plans may not cover Medela double electric pumps.  Most plans require that you get that pump from a covered DME provider. Some may be willing to let you pay the difference between what you want and what they cover.  Do your homework.  Bureaucracy is hard but this is good practice for dealing with the fun stuff like pediatric hospital billing departments and university financial aid offices which are certainly in your future.  

Good luck!!  Be strong!!  You can do it!!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Breastfeeding: An Important Tool In Emergencies

In addition to being vulnerable to hurricanes, my community has had real problems with maintaining a reliably uncontaminated supply of drinking water.  I remember last winter when industry contaminated our water, I was looking for bottled water with the other people lucky enough to be in a position to buy it at the crowded grocery store.  Supplies were dwindling for that morning and I saw a large jug of water on a shelf.  I reached for it and then saw that it was distilled water and I left it there.  We didn't need distilled water - our kids are older now- but the formula fed babies in town might really need it.

When disasters strike, every bit of preparedness helps.  Formula-fed infants are at risk of starvation and illness when disasters cut people off from supplies of formula and when clean water is not available for mixing formula or sterilizing bottles.  Breastfed babies have a clean and immediately available source of safe food and hydration during emergencies.  Breastfeeding also provides considerable protection to infants from the many diseases that can flourish in disaster situations. 

 Breastfeeding can be an important element of disaster preparedness for your family.  Be ready.


Saturday, August 05, 2017

Breastfeeding Reading List

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, here is a list of books that I found very helpful and informative:
 

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding  (a bit precious but very informative)
by La Leche League International


Mothering Your Nursing Toddler

by Norma Jane Baumgarner


Mother’s Milk: Breastfeeding Controversies In American Culture

by Bernice L. Hausman


Milk, Money, And Madness: The Culture and Politics of Breastfeeding

by Naomi Baumslag and Dia L. Michels


Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives

Edited by Patricia Stuart-Macadam & Kaetherine A. Dettwyler


The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding

by Sheila Kippley


Nursing Mother, Working Mother

by Gale Pryor


Hirkani’s Daughters: Women Who Scale Modern Mountains to Combine Breastfeeding and Working

Compiled & edited by Jennifer Hicks (including a story by me!)


The Milk Memos: How Real Moms Learned To Mix Business With Babies – and How You Can, Too

by Cate Colburn-Smith and Andrea Serrette.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Breastfeeding Duration

Know what the normal biological continuum is for breastfeeding duration in humans? 

Two and a half to seven years. 

This means, on a curve, that a small percentage of developmentally typical children will be ready to wean at two and a half (not before) and a small percentage of developmentally typical children won't be ready to wean until seven (not after), but that pretty much all developmentally typical children are ready within that window and that most developmentally typical children will be ready to wean between four and five years. 

Know how long most American children nurse? 

Less than six months. 

Food for thought. Rather literally.

Lone Star Facts on Fridays: A-Town

State Capital:  Austin.

Austin is super fun to visit except for the scary traffic and scarier legislators.  Too expensive to live there to my way of thinking but they have loads of vegetarian cuisine and amazing independent bookstores. 

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Breastfeeding and Working: Time, Space, Support

Time, space, support.  Getting good support is an essential component to successfully pumping breast milk for your baby while you are working outside the home.  Find a support system that works for you.

The following are some excellent books that offer great information and support for breastfeeding mothers who are employed outside the home:


  • Nursing Mother, Working Mother by Gale Pryor
  • Hirkani's Daughters: Women Who Scale Modern Mountains To Combine Breastfeeding And Working by Jennifer Hicks (Lone Star Ma has an essay in this one)
  • The Milk Memos by Cate Colburn-Smith and Andrea Serrette.
I highly recommend them! 
 
It is important to tell our stories.  The personal is political.  We support each other more than we ever know when we share our stories.  

I think I may have pumped breastmilk in almost every public building in this city that has been around for longer than 10 years - probably not really, but it sure seems that way!  I always had jobs where there were lots of meetings in those years and the challenges were many, but we pulled it off.  

Do you have any pumping stories to share?  Please share them in the comments section!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: World Breastfeeding Week 2017!

Today's edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features children's books that include breastfeeding.  The ubiquity of artificial feeding in our culture robs children of the experience of seeing breastfeeding as they are growing up as normal, which sets people up to have a hard time feeding their own children.  We need to teach our children about breastfeeding early if we want them to be successful. Enjoy!


  • Maggie’s Weaning by Mary Joan Deutschbein
  • Michele, The Nursing Toddler by Jane M. Pinczuk
  • We Like To Nurse by Chia Martin
  • Mama’s Milk by Michael Elsohn Ross
  • I’m Made of Mama’s Milk by Mary Olsen.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Happy Birthday, Medicare and Medicaid!

On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law, providing a safety net for vulnerable Americans needing health care.  

That is what we mamas call a step in the right direction.

Happy Birthday, Medicare and Medicaid!

Cautious But Happy Gratitude

We must keep our eyes closely on the Senate until the Republican majority is out, but Friday was a giant victory for American health care, and a giant win against the genocide of people with serious illnesses and disabilities.

We must keep watch and stand ready to fight further but we did a great job resisting the terrible GOP health care bills.

The very highest credit must go to the activists of ADAPT who, more than any other protestors, risked their lives to resist these bills.  They are the true heroes.

Credit also goes to all the people who kept the pressure on their legislators with visits, calls and emails and to the Democratic Senators who never waivered and the sprinkling of Republican moderates, like Senator Collins and Senator Murkowski, who stood up for their constituents instead of their cruel party.

We must keep watch, but I am happy we have these good days.

Thank you, Mamas.

XO

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Paul's Repeal Amendment Voted Down

The Senate voted down Paul's attempt to repeal in two years without replacing, so that is good.  

Keep calling, though. 

The real problem is that if they pass anything, even something that seems much less bad like just getting rid of the individual mandates, they then can go to Conference with the House and put all the really bad stuff right back in.

The only real way to win. here, given the House's willingness to pass all the bad provisions, is if the Senate passes nothing.

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Disability Rights

In honor of today's 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, today's edition of Wednesdays with the Subversive Children's Book Club features books about characters with disabilities, because representation matters.  Enjoy.
 
Mama Zooms by Jane Cowen-Fletcher
Moses Goes To A Concert by Isaac Millman
Six Dots by Jen Bryant
Ed Roberts:  Father of Disability Rights by Diana Pastora Carson
The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B by Teresa Toten
When We Collided by Emery Lord

Action Alert: More Health Care Votes This Week: Keep Calling

God Bless Senators Collins and Murkowski for voting no on the motion to proceed yesterday.  Unfortunately, Capito and other moderates caved and the motion passed.  

Fortunately, the horrible BRCA Bill, with Senator Cruz' even more horrible amendment, did not pass.

More versions will be voted on this week.  All of them will be bad.  The first may well be a total repeal without replacement bill.  Failing that, Republicans are discussing a "skinny repeal" but have not been extremely forthcoming on what it will include.  The Senate may call votes on many versions of repeal without giving us much or any chance to review the amendments they are adding.

Worse, even if they pass a very watered down version of repeal, the idea is to then go to Conference Committee with the House and figure out something between the horrible AHCA House Bill and whatever the Senate may pass, that they can both agree upon.  Depending on who is on that Conference Committee, that is where everything the moderates took out for the better, could put put right back in for the worse without the full Congress even getting to vote on it again.

And that is why this still looks pretty bad.

If you, my out of state friends, have Democratic Senators, please call them daily and encourage them to use the parliamentary process and call points of order on everything that the GOP tries to get past that is not really a budget matter.  The reconciliation process is really for budget matters and that is what  they can do with a simple majority.  If the Senate veers too far into policy matters, they need a 60-vote majority to be filibuster-proof.  Don't let them get by with reconciliation.  Have your Democratic Senators call points of order whenever they are out of bounds.

Texas Mamas and others in states with Republican Senators, keep calling every day and please tell your Senators to vote against final passage of the health care bill.

This will not keep until next week.  It may not keep until tomorrow.

Please call now and every day.  We are almost out of time.

#ADA27: Celebrate the ADA

Today is the 27th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which brought freedom and equality to people with disabilities in schools, workplaces and communities.  It is one of the most wide reaching pieces of civil rights legislation in American history and its impact on the lives of Americans with disabilities cannot be overstated.  The ADA was achieved through the tireless efforts of disability rights activists who continually put their lives on the line to demand equal rights, alongside legislators and organizers who hammered out the bill and the votes needed to pass it.

Today, people with disabilities face an Administration that wants to role back many of the protections of the ADA, along with the health care victories for people with disabilities that came with the Affordable Care Act, allowing many to survive past the expiration dates insurance companies used to put on their lives.

Tell Congress that we won't go back.

#NoLifetimeLimits




Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Tell Your Texas Representatives: Support Speaker Strauss

Some group has begun cold calling residents with Republican Texas state representatives and bashing the Speaker's efforts to resist Patrick's bigoted agenda.  This group is asking Texans to call their Republican representatives and tell them to oust Strauss as Speaker. 

I am asking you, Mamas, to do the opposite.  

If you live in a district with a Republican state representative (I do - Hunter), please call your state rep. and ask them to support the Speaker.  Tell them how much we mamas appreciate the Speaker.  Tell them we wish they could be less cowardly and more like the Speaker.

The Speaker is a Republican, too, but he has something of a moral compass. Imagine that.

Blake Wishes He Could Duel Women Senators Who Oppose Genocide

Once again, I am humiliated by my Congressman.  This week Blake Farenthold called Senators Collins, Murkowski and Capito, who said they might vote against BRCA "repugnant" (because apparently listening to your constituents and not wanting to kill hundreds of thousands of sick and disabled people is repugnant to him) and added that if they were men, he might settle things with them "Aaron Burr style" (does the Congressman admire Aaron Burr?  Really?).

While I am pretty sure I would get a visit from the FBI if I said something like what the Congressman said, he is totally offended that his comments got a ton of negative attention in the media and has now said he was obviously being tongue-in-cheek (ew)  and that the comments meant nothing.

But he also said the President's pussy grabbing remarks were just "locker room banter" and meant nothing.

I wish my community would help me elect an actual adult to represent us in Congress.

Action Alert: Health Care Vote Today - Call Your Senators And Tell Them To Vote No!

The lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans with serious illnesses and disabilities are on the line today.

The Senate votes any minute now on a motion to proceed on the health care vote.  If that vote passes, as it very well might, they will vote on the horrible BRCA health care bill which would take us back to the days of lifetime limits on coverage, limits which, prior to the ACA, resulted in the deaths of people with serious illnesses very frequently.

If their BRCA vote fails, they may vote on a straight repeal of the ACA with no replacement which would also take us back to the days of lifetime limits.

Or they might vote on....anything.  The Freedom Caucus, which seems determined to enact genocide on disabled Americans by stripping all protections, could add any amendment they like to make this horrible legislation even worse.  They could vote without our even being able to see the legislation first.

Please call your Senators right now, Mamas, and tell them to vote no today!!

 

Monday, July 24, 2017

Wall Endangers Butterflies

News accounts report that the director of the National Butterfly Center in Mission, Texas found workers clearing brush on their property without informing her that they would be there first.  It appears that the workers were sent by the Feds.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Action Alert: Ramp Up The Health Care Calls This Week

McConnell has spent the days since he delayed the health care vote promising Senators things that their constituents need and the President has spent a good deal of time, according to a Congressional staffer, making it clear that legislators who do not vote with him do not get federal funding for regional projects they need.

Even the Republican moderates who do not want to vote for this monstrosity of a bill are under a great deal of pressure to do so.

The Senate is going to try to vote again this week and we have to stop them, Mamas.  Please call your Senators and tell them to vote NO on BRCA, the Senate Health Care Bill.  Call first thing in the morning and every single day.

Also, if you know anyone in Maine, Alaska or West Virginia. please ask them to call their heroic moderate Senators (Collins, Murkowski, Capito) and tell them to stay strong and vote no.

We can't go back, Mamas.  Please keep the pressure on.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Vaccines

Thanks to the dangerous ignorance of the anti-vaxxers there has been an outbreak of mumps at UT.  These outbreaks get scarier and scarier as our vaccination rates dip.  We have to get rid of ths scourge of ignorance that is endangering our babies.

In the spirit of vaccine promotion, this installment of the Subversive Children's Book Club features children's biographies of Jonas Salk, American Hero.  Do not get pulled in by the dangerous pseudoscience, mamas - vaccinate your children!  Enjoy!



  • Splendid Solution:  Jonas Salk and the Conquest of Polio by Jeffrey Kluger
  • Jonas Salk:  Conquering Polio by Stephanie Sammartino McPherson
  • Jonas Salk and The Polio Vaccine by John Bankston
  • Jonas Salk:  Creator of the Polio Vaccine by Salvatore Tocci
  • Jonas Salk and The Polio Vaccine by Katherine Krohn

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

#ProtectOurCare - Keep Calling

Never underestimate the wickedness of the GOP-controlled Congress.  Without the votes to pass their genocidal health care bill, they are floating a yet more genocidal idea - to just repeal the ACA without a replacement.  Such a strategy contains no mercy for the people with serious illnesses and disabilities who could die without health care. 

I would like to believe we have had a victory in defeating their bill and that they will not drum up enough votes for anything this draconian...but I just cannot underestimate their ability to do genocidal things to the poor and the sick.  Please do not you underestimate them either.

Keep calling your Senators.  Tell them no repeal unless we get a much, much, much  better replacement that truly protects people with preexisting conditions.

Please call every day, Mamas.

Thank Strauss, Ask Him To Keep Up The Good Work

Lone Star Ma does not generally have a lot of respect for the political behavior of Republicans but Speaker Strauss showed a lot of backbone in the recent Session of the Lege and stood up to a lot of bad things that Patrick has been pushing hard.  

We can be sure that Abbott and Patrick and the little Texas tea party of homophobic white supremacists who like to call themselves the Freedom Caucus have some unpleasant political consequences in mind for the Speaker's insistence that the House of Representatives is not their...well, you know.  It cannot be easy for him to keep standing up to so much pressure within his own Party, so he needs some support to keep doing it. 

Please call Strauss a bunch this week, Mamas, and tell him how much we appreciate him standing up and insisting that the House represents the people and not Patrick. Please tell him we really want him to keep doing it.

Positive reinforcement.  You know it works, Mamas, and he needs some.

Special Session Starts Today

The Special Session of the Texas Legislature starts today and it is has all sorts of nasty things on the agenda as you can imagine.  After the way the Regular Session went, I fear that our legislators may hurt each other if they have to be around each other more.

 Some legislators got worse and worse about going along with Patrick's reprehensible agenda (cough - Hunter, cough - Lucio) during the Regular Session and some who we could always count on to represent vulnerable Texans with their votes surprised us with a bad vote here and there (cough- Chuy), so all bets are kind of off.

Call your Representatives and let them know what we will have and what we won't have, Mamas. 

Y'all Means All.

Wall Endangers Ocelots

Trump's border wall would cut through the Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, endangering efforts to bring the ocelots of South Texas back from the brink of extinction.

Tell Abbott Our Representatives Work For Us

Governor Abbott said this week that he is keeping a list of legislators who oppose his legislative agenda, implying that there will be consequences.

Where does he get off threatening the Representatives of the people?

We elect our legislators to represent our agenda, not Abbott's agenda.  He does not get to threaten them for doing  our will instead of his.

Please keep the Governor's phone line (512-463-2000) busy making sure he knows that today, Mamas.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Wages of Pseudoscience

There is an outbreak of mumps at UT.  I wish the anti-vaxxers would get the hell out of my state.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Read The Bill. Call Your Senators.

The Senate released its new version of the health care bill yesterday and it is not better.  Well, it does include more money for opioid addiction and that is better, but it is the same (massive cuts to Medicaid) or worse (endangering coverage for people with preexisting conditions even more) in every other way.

Please read the text of the bill and call your Senators. Please ask them to vote no.


Lone Star Facts on Fridays Returns

Soon, the Special Legislative Session will flood us once more with a whole mess of unpleasant facts about the Lone Star State...things like our having the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world and our increasingly high number of unvaccinated children and the way our foster children are not even allowed to be vaccinated anymore and are about to be subjected to the horrible child abuse of gay conversion therapy...it just does not even seem bearable that we must endure a Special Session of Wickedness here while still dealing with a Congress of Wickedness as well.  But such is our reality.  

You, Gentle Readers, know that I am not one to turn my face from reality and choose pleasant distractions over action for social, economic and environmental justice.  I do not recommend that you cover your ears and lose yourself in adult coloring books and Pinterest, for instance.  We must face reality.  We must pay attention.  We must act.

That said, there is nothing wrong with simple pleasures and diversions in reasonable measure and, at a time when there is so much about Texas to fear, it is nice to be able to think of some things about us that are simply fun and interesting as well.  To that purpose, I am bringing back a long ago series on this blog as a bit of a re-run if you will (since most of these things have not changed in a decade):  Lone Star Facts on Fridays.  This series brings you a tiny factlet about the Lone Star State's geography and symbols each Friday - the names of our rivers, our state insect - tiny tidbits of that sort. 

Look for our first addition of this second run on Friday, a week from today.  I hope these morsels help to keep your spirits up.


Xoxo,
Lone Star Ma


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Orthodontic Woes

The Lone Star Baby got her braces yesterday and she has not been a happy camper.  In addition to the usual soreness which comes with braces, she got a TPH appliance on her upper palate and it caused her a lot of trouble that the office really did not warn us about at all.  It made it hard for her to swallow, even liquids, and tore up her tongue.  Of course, the office was already closing when we got home.  I called them this morning and took her in and much to my surprise, the main orthodontist in the practice, who had not been the one to look over things yesterday, had the appliance re-made and re-adjusted several times until it was in a position that was more comfortable for the Lone Star Baby.  She really went to a lot of trouble to help my little one out - I was surprised and grateful.

The Lone Star Baby is still quite uncomfortable in general and sick of soft foods and unhappy with her speech and appearance...the regular woes of new braces.  Hopefully she will feel better soon.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: A Wrinkle In Time

Today's edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle.  I re-read this classic, which I have read numerous times just to myself as well as to several siblings and both of my own children at different times, recently when I encountered some publicity about the coming movie and it definitely stands the test of time.

Equal and The Same are two different things.

Love prevails over hate.

Love is the true magic...the true power.  Always.

Timeless.




Thursday, July 06, 2017

Standing on Sidewalks with Signs

Mostly the people honk and wave and give you thumbs up as they drive by

You on the sidewalk with health care signs 

Especially all the people with disability placards on their cars
 
Some few cars with Trump stickers give you a thumbs down 

Or a crude gesture

But the teens in their backseats wave secretly, letting you know

A better day is coming 

If you can just survive this one

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Artist Girls

 The Art Center's abstract show opened today and the Lone Star Girl and the Lone Star Baby both had pieces in it, so we went to the opening.


The Lone Star Girl with her piece, Size Exclusion Chromatography:
 




The Lone Star Baby with her piece, Bloom:
 




The Lone Star Baby with her piece, Seratonin




The Lone Star Girl with her piece, Electrophoresis (the top one):




And...the Lone Star Girl's  Electrophoresis got an Honorable Mention!




I am so proud of the girls for being so creative and for being so brave to enter the show.

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: She Persisted

In honor of Independence Day yesterday, this edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features Chelsea Clinton's homage to the persistence and resistance of American women (and, possibly, Senator Warren and her own mom) - She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed The World.  The book is diverse and intersectional and bursting at the seams with herstory- quite enough to inspire persistence in the next generation of American girls. 


Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Happy 4th of July - Keep Moving Forward

We found the origins of our democracy in Athens, an ancient Greek city-state with the earliest records of such a system.  Theirs was a direct democracy and thus suitable only for small populations, so we took on the idea of a republic, a representative democracy, from ancient Rome when we formed our own.  As in our own democracy, the Athenian model fell short of a true egalitarian government because votes were only for Athenian citizens and only certain genders and heritages and circumstances were deemed worthy of citizenship.

Here in the United States, we did much of the same.  We have denied the full rights of citizenship to multiple groups of people upon whose backs our nation has been built.

But the long arc of progress is a true curving towards the recognition of all peoples - we cannot really grow without each other.  We have made progress.  We have extended the rights of citizenship to groups we once oppressed, recognized the rights of people we once scorned...not perfectly, too slowly, not without struggle, but we arc ever towards a more egalitarian world.  

Each time we move forward in a jump towards a truer democracy, the shock of change pulls out the backlash, the clinging of those who are afraid that if others gain, they will lose.  Our democracy becomes, as it now is, more tainted with the fascism of the grasping.

The ideals of democracy are what is right about this country, but only when they apply to everyone.  We can't be a nation worthy of those ideals while we continue to leave so many behind.  To be true patriots, we must commit, every day, to resist the powers that would restrict the equal participation of all people in the American Dream.  We must commit, every day, to the expansion of equal rights under the law and equal access to both the work of and the fruits of democracy, for each of us...to this struggle we who are patriots must "mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."


Saturday, July 01, 2017

Portrait of the Artist At 13


This Is A Good Weekend To Write A Letter to The Editor About Healthcare

This is a good weekend to write a Letter to The Editor to your local paper about your Senators needing to vote no on the Senate Health Care Bill, which would cause 22 million Americans to lose health insurance. The Fourth of July is coming up and protecting the right of the American people to health care is the patriotic thing to do - nothing would promote the general welfare more at this point. Our Senators are coming home for the 4th of July recess and they need to hear from us.

Writing a letter to the Editor can take less than 15 minutes but makes a big difference as a Senator will have a staffer who reads every piece of media with that Senator's name in it...so be sure to include their name.  Your local paper will probably have an online form through which you submit letters or an email address to which to submit them.
 

Some tips from the Lone Star Girl:
 
  • keep it around 250 words
  • include both the name of the Senator and the issue for which you are advocating in the title; example- Senator Murkowski must protect Alaskans with disabilities
  • paragraph 1- explain your issue and give a little background; use last sentence to call out Senator by name to act on the issue
  • paragraph 2- explain your personal connection to the issue, how the issue is important to you and your state
  • paragraph 3 - urge readers to make their voices heard by contacting their Senator; include the phone number and in-district office address of their district office closest to you.
 
 Go ahead and take fifteen minutes to make sure every paper in the country has a call-out letting the Senators know they will be held accountable for what they do to us.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

June Reading

I have mostly been reading health care bills and reports on their progress, but I have also indulged in some summer fiction and memoir.
 
I have enjoyed some Cassandra Clarke Novels this month - Star's End and Our Lady of The Ice.  My favorite science fiction writers always seem to be women.

I read an excellent YA novel called Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

Lilli de Jong by Janet Benton was kind of a masterpiece of a novel about women and mothers and oppression and society.

I have just started a memoir of/by Gail Sheehy called Daring: My Passages.  I originally picked it up thinking my mother might like it as I remember her liking Sheehy's other writing, but so far it is reading like something I should pass on to my newspaper editor friend instead, though maybe that will change as the book moves on to other seasons of the author's life.

What are you reading this month?


Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns

This edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns:  A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan.  This is a beautifully illustrated book with charming rhymes that tie each color to an aspect of a little girl's Muslim faith and culture.  It is one of the most engaging books about colors I have read and includes a glossary so parents and children who may be unfamiliar with some aspects of Muslim faith and culture can learn what different words mean. It is a sweet addition to any child's library, made even better by the fact that there is so little representation of Muslim culture in most American children's literature.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Not Looking

Reviewing other times of great turmoil and change in history, such as the peace movement during the Vietnam war and Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, it is alarming how the average American who wants to be decent but clings to their privilege and tries not to think about the harm inherent in the status quo seems to have become more hardened to information that should be transformative than was true in the past.

When the television brought the atrocities going on in Vietnam into American living rooms, it made comfortable people uncomfortable and eroded support for the war.  When television brought images of African American children being tear gassed and attacked with hoses in the streets, it made comfortable people uncomfortable and support for segregation and voter suppression eroded. The really monstrous people were unchanged, but large majorities of Americans started to change. The humanity of the protesters and the inhumanity of those attacking them shamed people into trying to do better, not that those efforts are simple or fast or complete.

For a long time, in many different situations of bigotry, the remedy was so often exposure.  Most people who had accepted a bigoted narrative could not hold on to it so harshly once they personally knew someone who was hurt by it and could see that the person was a human just like them.  Separation of races and classes and gender roles promoted bigotry, but integration and exposure promoted progress.

Today, that seems to have changed. 

People watch videos of polite and compliant African Americans getting gunned down by police during a traffic stop with children in the backseat and convince themselves that they see something else and exonerate the police officer.  People watch news footage of disabled Americans risking their lives to protest bills that will take them back to the days when their survival was threatened and their ability to work and be independent in the community was non-existent - they watch a senator have those peaceful protesters dragged out out of their wheelchairs and improperly transported to jail with no care for their respirators or feeding tubes and they claim it is fake news.  People ignore the evidence of their own eyes and are only made uncomfortable by those who keep insisting that they see - not by seeing, which they seem to have figured out a way not to do.

I think it may have to do with the vast amount of media with which everyone is saturated today and the way many people no longer really take in credible news anymore because the right wing has become so good at convincing people that spin is facts - a combination of information overload and a lack of critical thinking skills, however willful.  Certainly this Age of the Web is a new era for humanity and it is understandable that we have been a bit destroyed by the pace of change, but we are going to have to find a way to hold on to our humanity within its onslaught.  So far, we are not doing that.

When exposure does not help anymore, and only really results in the vilification of those who say "look!", we are entering more dangerous territory than I think we have yet seen.

Monday, June 26, 2017

CBO Score - 22 Million Would Lose Health Insurance Under Senate Bill

The Congressional Budget Office score on the Senate Health bill is out and it estimates, based on the best data available to anyone at this time, that 22 million more people would be uninsured under this bill than are insured today.

Unacceptable.

Please call your Senators and tell them that you expect them to be more responsible than the House, which ignored the CBO score of its bill and tried to undermine the CBO's credibility for political purposes.  Please tell them you expect them to heed the data and vote no on BRCA until it protects vulnerable Americans and does the job of making health insurance more, rather than less, available to all.

Call Your Senators, Mamas

The Senate could vote on the health bill at anytime, Mamas.  Because of its deep Medicaid cuts and the horrible waiver to essential benefits that it contains which undermines all protections for people with preexisting conditions, this bill would be a disaster for American families, most especially for our children and family members who have serious illnesses and disabilities (which could happen to anyone at any time) and for the elderly (who we all will become if we are fortunate).

We do not have much time, so please call your Senator right away today and tell them to vote no!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Wild Woman Summer Enrichment Program For Gifted Girls






Throw in the little one's Red Cross Babysitting Certification Class (check), her volunteering three times a week at the library and probable Cousin Camp and Girl Scout Camp later on, and I think I am providing a decent enough summer of enrichment.

Action Alert: Key States! Alaska, Maine, Ohio, Nebraska, West Virginia!

Alaska, Maine, Ohio, Nebraska, West Virginia: You five states are key. Your Republican Senators do not really want to vote for this travesty of a bill, but they are under enormous pressure from their party to do so.  Please call them and let them know you want them to vote no! Please tell them that you, their constituents, want a bill with no waivers to essential services.  

Help them stand up for you.  They want to but they are afraid.  Call.  Email.  You can do it.

Here is a link from the Friends Committee on National Legislation to help you find their contact information:

https://act.fcnl.org/act/senate_medicaid?_ga=2.91823322.1975578181.1497882527-1681525579.1472658210

Action Alert: Stop The Senate Health Care Bill

The Senate has finally released their previously super-secret health care bill and I dare say it was not worth the wait.

Don't even get me started about the deep harm it will do the elderly and people with disabilities through its draconian cuts to Medicaid.

While neither the House nor the Senate Bill technically allows insurers to refuse to write policies to people with preexisting conditions, and while the Senate Bill further removes the House Bill's waivers to allow states to price people with preexisting conditions out of coverage, none of these protections are worth anything because of what the Senate bill left in:

Annual limits.

Lifetime limits.

The Senate Bill leaves in the provision for states to be able to seek waivers from having to provide essential services.  That means states can just opt not to require insurance plans to cover the costly medications and treatments - many more costly than any but the Gates family could afford without health insurance - that keep many little babies and other people, like my daughter, who have preexisting conditions alive.  Or the plans can cover them up to an annual limit...up to a lifetime limit...

This bill gives expiration dates for people with preexisting conditions who require costly life-saving treatment.

And
That 
Is 
Not 
Okay.

We won't go back.  We won't go back.  We won't go back!

Please email your Senators tonight and call your Senators first thing tomorrow morning and tell them to vote no on the health care bill if it includes waivers to essential benefits!  Lives depend on you making these calls and emails so please make them - there is not much time.

If you live in Alaska, Maine, Ohio, Nevada or West Virginia, your calls and emails are the most important of all. Your Republican Senators do not really want to vote for this travesty of a bill, but they are under enormous pressure from their party to do so.  Please call them and let them know you want them to vote no!  Thank you, Brothers and Sisters!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Taking the "Prevention" out of Crime Control and Prevention District

This evening, the Corpus Christi Crime Control and Prevention District voted to adopt a budget that completely eliminates funding for the Juvenile Assessment Center.

The sales tax the District levies has not produced enough funding to continue funding all of the District's projects at current levels, so the District decided to cut all projects except for the 62 police officer positions it funds instead of making cuts across the Board, to police positions and youth prevention funding.

The Crime Control and Prevention District was primarily created to fund the Juvenile Assessment Center, which a wide coalition of social service agencies across Corpus Christi supported.  The program was wildly successful, decreasing juvenile delinquency rates in the city, assessing youth in trouble and connecting them to all of the services they needed, providing case management to make sure that services worked...it became a national model of prevention that was used in creating countless programs in other communities.

Its effectiveness has been hampered over recent years by continued cuts to its funding so that the courts and police could have more funding. Now the District plans to eliminate it altogether so they can protect all of the police positions for a few more years.

I think the citizens would rather have 50 police positions funded and keep the youth prevention services.  There will never be enough police officers to bring down the crime rate if the city does not prioritize its youth.  We know that prevention works.

Please contact the Mayor and your Council Members and tell them to vote no on the Corpus Christi Crime Control and Prevention District's budget until it restores funding for the Juvenile Assessment Center. 

#SaveTheJAC

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Summer!

In honor of the Longest Day yesterday, this edition of the Subversive Children's Book Club features books about summer and travel and family visits. And!  And!  I found one about raspas! Perfect!



  • The Battle of The Snow Cones/La Guerra De Las Raspas by Lupe Ruiz-Flores
  • Beach Babies Wear Shades by Michelle Sinclair Colman
  • Three Days In A River On A Red Canoe by Vera Williams
  • Just Us Women by Jeannette Caines
  • My Aunt Came Back by Pat Cummings
  • The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
  • The Raft by Jim Lamarche
  • The Sea House by Deborah Turney Zagwyn
  • One Crazy Summer & Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams Garcia
  • Revolution by Deborah Wiles

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Happy Longest Day!

I realize it is the Solstice in the late evening and experience a frequently-felt sort of mother guilt associated with not having planned a lovely core-memory-forming activity for the offspring surrounding this seasonal holiday.  I tell myself I will try to remember next year.  It occurs to me that we may never be home all together on the Solstice again.  More guilt.  More day. More sunshine.  Tomorrow there will be more guilt and more night, no doubt.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happy Juneteenth!

We must never forget and never stop working to make things better.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Call Out Your Senators In The Local Newspapers on The Health Care Bill

Today is a good day to write a Letter to The Editor to your local paper about your Senators needing to listen to the American people as they craft their health care bill.

This can take less than 15 minutes but makes a big difference as a Senator will have a staffer who reads every piece of media with that Senator's name in it...so be sure to include their name.  Your local paper will probably have an online form through which you submit letters or an email address to which to submit them.
 
Some tips from the Girl:
 
  • keep it around 250 words
  • include both the name of the Senator and the issue for which you are advocating in the letter; example- Senator Murkowski must protect Alaskans with disabilities
  • paragraph 1- explain your issue and give a little background; use last sentence to call out Senator by name to act on the issue
  • paragraph 2- explain your personal connection to the issue, how the issue is important to you and your state
  • paragraph 3 - urge readers to make their voices heard by contacting their Senator; include the phone number and in-district office address of their district office closest to you.
 
 Go ahead and take fifteen minutes to make sure every paper in the country has a call-out letting the Senators know they will be held accountable for what they do to us.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Action Alert: Health Care Vote Looms - Contact Your Senators!

Now is the time to be calling and emailing your Senators (and visiting them if possible) daily about the health care bill.  

They are planning a vote before the July 4th recess and it really could be any day - there is no time to wait.  They need daily calls and emails about the bill.  

They need to know that what passed in the House is not acceptable and that the waivers allowed in the MacArthur Amendment are deadly to people with pre-existing conditions in a way that no dinky risk pool could ever fix.

They need to know that it is not acceptable for them to pass a bill that the American people have not had a chance to vet.  Legislation that so drastically affects the American people should be crafted with total transparency.  The bill should be released so the public can read it, there should be public hearings and our Senators should listen to us about what will and will not work for Americans and adjust the bill accordingly.

Please tell them to vote no on any waivers to the definition of essential services which would send us back to the days of annual and lifetime limits.  

Please tell them to vote no on waivers that would allow the sick and disabled to be priced out of coverage.

Please tell them not to vote on a bill without allowing the CBO to score it and public to read and comment on it.

Contact them daily, at all of their offices and leave messages with everyone.  Email their staffers who deal with health care (beth_nelson@cornyn.senate.gov and joel_heimbach@cruz.senate.gov in Texas) and let them know what we need, Mamas.  What our children need.  If they don't hear from us en masse, they will do what they want, which is getting rid of our health care - Cornyn already said he plans for the bill to be around 80% of what the House bill was, and we know how deadly that bill would be.  They will only listen if they know they have to and they know that when their constituents are calling and emailing every single second.  So call.  Email.  Let them know they will never hold their seats if they do not listen. We can save our children.  Now do it, Mamas- please.

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Democracy!

While I like to save this list as a patriotic post on the 4th of July, we are in some desperate times when citizens need to step up and I do not think we can wait.  

Because your children need you to call your Senators every day about the health care bill and insist on a bill that will protect them if they are or become sick or disabled, because your children need you to protect the safety of the air they breathe and the water they drink, because your children need you to stand up for their friends who are so hurt when people treat them badly because of their race or ethnicity or faith....this edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club is about citizenship and participating in the democratic process.  Save our democracy and start modeling citizenship now.

Primary and Lower Elementary:



  • Click, Clack, Moo:  Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
  • A Is For Activist by Innosanto Nagara
  • The Streets Are Free by Kurusa
  • Si, Se Puede!: Janitor Strike In L.A. by Diana Cohn
  • You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! by Shana Corey
  • Sit-In:  How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • If A Bus Could Talk:  The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold
  • Ruby Bridges Goes To School:  My True Story by Ruby Bridges
  • The Ballot Box Battle By Emily Arnold McCully
  • Wangari's Trees of Peace By Jeannette Winter 
 
Upper Elementary and Teen Books:



  • The Landry News by Andrew Clements
  • The Loud Silence of Francine Green by Karen Cushman
  • Crash by Jerry Spinelli.
  • Standing Up to Mr. O by Claudia Mills.