Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Longest Sentence So Far

The Lone Star Baby said her longest sentence so far on the weekend. Of course, it was tattling:

Sissy went and eated a piece of MY ba-gel!!!

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Mother of Mother's Day

More herstory for May 27th! Today is also the birthday of Julia Ward Howe, peace activist and the founder of Mother's Day, although she probably would not recognize it now!

You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer!

Today is the birthday of Amelia Bloomer, the first wave suffragette for whom "bloomers" are named, as she promoted that form of dress as less restrictive to women than the prevailing fashions of the mid 1800s. There is a wonderful children's book entitled You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! which I highly recommend. Far too often, children learn only about men and wars, with few exceptions, as history. It is up to parents to make sure that they get plenty of herstory, as well.

Busy End/Beginning of School Time

Thursday was the last day of the school year for the Lone Star Girl and Friday was the last day of school for the Lone Star Baby. I was able to go have lunch with the Lone Star Girl at school all week and go to her picnic on Thursday and was able to go to the Lone Star Baby's end of school dance on Friday. Then the Lone Star Girl had an end-of-the-year Girl Scout party on Friday night where she got her badges and cookie prizes and we all had a lot of fun. It was a pleasant week. The two weeks previous were filled with my night classes and the flu (in May! The actual Influenza B!) for the LSB and I and we also had a visiting relative so things were pretty crazy. I enjoyed getting to spend more time with the girls last week. Now the girls begin their first Daddy Summer and I am thrilled that they will finally get a no-daycare season. I start my day classes on Tuesday and still have plenty of homework to do before that. Busy, busy!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

It's A Girl: Women Writers On Raising Daughters

Today I am a reviewer for the Blog Book Tour for It's A Girl: Women Writers On Raising Daughters. This book, edited by Andrea J. Buchanan, contains thirty wonderful essays in which women writers explore a variety of issues that they have faced in raising, or preparing to raise, their daughters. The essays are interesting, well-written and often enlightening; I would highly recommend this book to both women and men who are raising daughters, as well as to anyone interested in good writing about the parenting experience in general.

An overarching theme of this book is that, while raising sons is sometimes experienced as an adventure into the realm of "Other" for mothers, raising daughters is often about dealing with issues of "Self". Some of the the essays explored the ways in which mothers looked forward to sharing with daughters things that they had enjoyed or wished they had been able to enjoy...only to find that their daughters had their own ideas about what was enjoyable and were not, in fact, reflections of their mothers' desires, no matter how much it often felt, out in the world, that people judged mothers by what they saw in daughters. Some essays explored the ambivalence, and even dread, that some writers felt at the prospect of raising daughters - having intimate knowledge of what women face in our world and knowing that, in raising a daughter, they would be forced to confront all the things in their lives that they had run away from and stuffed down into the unconscious.

I enjoyed the essays in which mothers were forced to contend with the ways in which their daughters' interests sometimes irritated their feminist ideals. There were a number of essays about the pink, princessy world that so many little girls tend to fall for despite the best efforts of their egalitarian mothers and the need to eventually understand that pink, fluffy princesses can be strong, tough women, too. Miriam Peskowitz' essay, Cheerleader, was mainly about how she came to terms with her daughter's cheerleading-fantasy phase as well as her general passion for all things "girly", and came to realize that these things did not mean that her daughter was not independent and strong. What struck me the most about the essay, though, was a creepy underthread...when the boys, kindergarteners at a Quaker school, attacked a cheerleading doll with a weird violence. Raising daughters makes us remember how all of that works out, too. It makes us fear for them.

One of my favorite essays was Andrea's own, Learning to Write, in which she shares the way that her daughter's anger at her finally tipped the scales and caused her daughter to do something needed that she had been afraid to do before. How often it seems that our daughters must hurt us to grow.

Raising daughters is as complicated as they are and as we are, as well. It truly is a journey into Self...often into it and out of it and into it all over again, for the rest of our lives. It makes us face all the things we do not want to face and fight things we never thought we would be brave enough or care enough about to fight before. It's A Girl is a wonderful exploration of many facets of this journey and I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Summer Good-Bye to PJ storytime

Last night was the last pajama storytime at the library until September. Wah - I have become spoiled and I will miss it. Fortunately, since this will be teacher Lone Star Pa's first summer home with the kids, it only means that I will not be able to go to storytime during the summer; he can still take the Lone Star Baby during the week. I'm very glad about that, even though I will miss it - I am highly neurotic about it being her inalienable right to attend storytime. There is lots of summer reading club stuff about to start at the library next week. The Lone Star Girl decided that she was too old for all of that last summer and I think that the Lone Star Baby is really still too young - she doesn't care about listing her books or getting her name on the wall with little stars beside it. Next summer, when she is turning three instead of turning two, will be the time for her to be a "Little Listener", I think. I may have Lone Star Pa take her to the kick-off party, though.

off our backs: the feminist newsjournal

We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog for a word from the shameless plug department:

The current issue of
off our backs is out and I have two features (Incomplete Revolution and Naming Them) in it! Two! Yay, me! This is the first time I have been published in off our backs and I am so excited and proud to be able to participate in such a great publication. I am even more excited because this is the Feminism and Mothering issue and I am in some great company! A whole bunch of the Mamaphonic mothers have features in this issue as well - great features about being mothers and feminists in our culture. It is really a wonderful issue.

Please hurry out and go get a copy if you can and read our stories and let me know what you think! Thanks!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Tooth Fairy

The Lone Star Girl lost a tooth last night. I guess I had thought she was already finished with her baby teeth, but she wasn't. I wonder if this one was the last one.

When the Lone Star Girl first started losing teeth, the Tooth Fairy had to seriously consider the best form of compensation that she could provide in exchange for the teeth of a child in our family. A lot has changed, you see, since I was a child and the Tooth Fairy generally paid around fifty cents per tooth. These days, the going rate is often $5-$10 per tooth. Inflation, perhaps. Or scarcity due to soda; I don't really know. The Tooth Fairy knew, however, that our family would not want such high rates paid to a young child with little concept of the worth of money, so she pondered a way to suit our family's values while still doing something special for the Lone Star Girl. I think she came up with a great idea. For every tooth that the Lone Star Girl loses, the Tooth Fairy leaves the Lone Star Girl one gold Sacagawea dollar. It is not an excessive amount of money, but it is so special that extra money is not missed. Those Sacagawea dollars are so cool with little Pomp on his mother's back - the Lone Star Girl likes them. I hope the Tooth Fairy does the same thing when it is the Lone Star Baby's turn to lose teeth!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Pet Peeve

Through most of the Lone Star Girl's childhood, Lone Star Pa was the typical "involved father" of our culture, meaning that he spent lots of time playing with our daughter, he changed diapers and helped with the things I asked/told him to help with, but that the real responsibilities of parenting, the management aspects of the job, fell to me. I made sure she ate balanced meals and got her shots and got registered for day-care and had clothes to wear, got her homework done and had school supplies, etc. Even then, plenty of idiots would coo over what a great father he was and how lucky I was to have someone who was so involved. Knowing how unequal our arrangement was - we both worked full-time outside the home, after all - it pissed me off that men got so much credit for so little. Still, he did do a lot more than many men I knew - it was a culture-wide problem, obviously, and it was hard to blame him for not being better at equal parenting than every other father I had ever met (except one - I do know one father who is a primary caregiver). Ever since the Lone Star Baby was born, though, Lone Star Pa has stepped up to the plate. She was such a demanding baby that he finally realized the necessity somehow and has been a fairly equal parent ever since. He has come a long way in a short time in a culture that does not ask him to and I am very proud of him. I am still really annoyed by the editorial comments from folks in the culture outside of our home, though. We are not very good at housekeeping stuff - our lives are so crazy-busy - and I often feel judged when people visit my home, little comments that imply that I do not do enough. Lone Star Pa, on the other hand, always gets comments of massive praise for his involvement - how hard it is to work and be such a good daddy, too - how lucky I am. I have never heard anyone tell him how lucky he is that even though his wife has carried the family financially over most of its existence, she has still been such an involved mother - all that breastfeeding and Girl Scouts and First Day School and Room Mother stuff - wow. It pisses me off that the culture praises dads to the high heavens if they make an effort to juggle things but has only criticism for mothers who cannot manage to do everything and have a house that looks like the ones in the magazines, besides. We still have so far to go. It really pisses me off.

Father-Daughter Frustration

With the onset of the moodiness of puberty, plus some stresses from Girl World at school, the Lone Star Girl is not the easiest person to live with these days...high drama is the norm and it is quite exhausting at the best of times. I have been surprised, though, at how badly Lone Star Pa is coping with this season. The Lone Star Girl has always been the center of his universe, but now...well, he is not really transitioning well to life as the father of an adolescent girl. He and the Lone Star Baby - who would have little to do with him in her high-need, mommified first year and a half or so - have done some serious bonding in recent months and it is almost like we are trading kids. After a long time when he was mainly taking care of the Lone Star Girl while I was overwhelmed with the Lone Star Baby, now he is taking care of the Lone Star Baby alot (except for when she wants her milk) and I am welcome to the alien who has taken over his older daughter. I guess he never did live with a growing girl - no sisters - but I wish he would get with it. The Lone Star Girl can't really handle what she perceives as rejection - she thinks she's the same person, even if she does not seem like it to him. And it is only going to get worse after all, much worse before it gets better - she's just ten and a half. I wish I could get him to read some books or something.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Rehab Queen

I went for a one-month follow-up with the ortho yesterday. He said that my x-rays looked beautiful and I wouldn't need any more x-rays when I go back in a month. I was sort of concerned that I still don't have a completely normal range of motion along one trajectory after a month, but he reminded me that it takes two months and said that I was doing way better - like twice as well - as most folks are doing by this point. So I rock at rehabing elbows...it 's good to have skills.

Lone Star Facts on Fridays

State Fiber: Cotton

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Changing Gears

Well. Friday was my last day at work and now I am officially unemployed. I have entered an alternative certification program to become a social studies teacher for middle or high schoolers. I have started my evening classes and will start day classes at the end of May. I will be in classes full-time through the summer during which time I must also find a teaching job for the fall. Then I teach all year while taking Saturday classes and studying for my tests, I take my tests in December and February and, if I do well, am fully certified by the end of the school year. It is a scary change to be making. I have not been unemployed since getting my first professional job out of college. I look at a picture my daughter made in first grade that says "When I am older, I hope to follow in the footsteps of my Mom because she helps children. She is a social worker." and I want to burst into tears. I remind myself that, as a teacher, I will still be helping children. I will also eventually be helping my own children more as, after this year, we will all have summers and winter breaks off together as a family - more time than we have ever had together in our lives and a much better way to live than the crazy rat race life that my career has given us thus far. It is best for us, and I will be a good teacher, one who understands the hardships my students face and can respect them where they are at . . . but it is still hard to do this. This year will be at least as crazy-busy as life has been thus far. The program is demanding and the social studies composite test is hard so I will have to study like crazy...plus being a first year teacher will be no walk in the park, either! The thought of this year keeps my stress levels up, but afterwards . . . next summer . . . it will be good. Please wish me luck in my new adventure!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Happy Mother's Day

"Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. "

-Julia Ward Howe
Founder of Mother's Day, a holiday created for peace activism

Friday, May 12, 2006

Love That Line Graph

The Lone Star Girl's class did an exercise in graphing in which they had to create a graph of something. Most chose to graph things like the colors of shirts people were wearing in class. The Lone Star Girl chose Minimum Wages Through History. She thought that up all by herself. I love that kid.

23 Months: That Montessori Stuff Takes

Last night, the Lone Star Baby pointed at our crumb-strewn kitchen table and pronounced it sucio.

Lone Star Facts on Fridays

State Plant: Prickly Pear Cactus
State Shrub: Chinese Crepe Myrtle

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Currently Reading...

...The Traveling Death and Resurrection Show by Ariel Gore. Good Gracious Goddess! Ariel is going to have a bestseller on her hands with this, her first novel (and it's great!). Ariel has always been the star of our movement of alternative-ish writer-mamas...but, in our world, the stars get published by small, progressive presses and make very little money...this book could be a blockbuster! I really think she's done it! Oprah's Book Club is going to want to read this - just watch! I see a movie in the future, even! Yay, Ariel!

Monday, May 08, 2006

First Day Schools Peace Quilt

The Lone Star Girl and her fellow First Day School student, a very cool thirteen-year-old girl, are working on the neatest project! Our Quaker Meeting is part of South Central Yearly Meeting and it was my idea that they might want to do a project that would get them in touch with other First Day Schools in SCYM, since they are the only Quaker kids in Corpus Christi - unless you count the Lone Star Baby, who is not really thinking that much about religion yet. I was thinking postcards or a poster they could all contribute to or something similarly tame and small. They had a much better idea.

They have sent out letters or e-mails to all of the First Day Schools we could locate in SCYM with a request to send them a quilting square (and specifications about the square) that depicts something about the sender's First Day School and the theme of Peace. When the squares are in and they have done their own square as well, one of our members has agreed to turn all of the squares into a quilt - a SCYM First Day Schools Peace Quilt! Then, if they get permission, the girls want to raffle off the quilt at the 2007 Yearly Meeting next spring to raise money for the American Friends Service Committee! I am so proud of these wonderful girls!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Work/Life Arrangements from 10

One night, when the Lone Star Girl and I were watching Commander In Chief, the episode included a subplot in which the President's mother moved to the White House to help care for her children (a job that just didn't seem to do it for the First Gentleman) while she was busy leading the free world. I told the Lone Star Girl that when she is President, I will be happy to come to the White House and help out with my grandchildren.

Really? she asked.
Absolutely, I replied.

Now, every now and then, seemingly from out of nowhere, she stops and asks me if I will really come live in the White House and watch her kids for her when she's President, to which I always reply in the affirmative. Seems she's making plans.

Lone Star Facts on Fridays

State Fruit: Red Grapefruit
State Vegetable: Sweet Onion

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


A few months ago, I checked a copy of Serenity out from the video store and Lone Star Pa and I watched it. I was hooked and very eager to watch Firefly, the cancelled TV series it sprang from, but it wasn't at the movie store. I wanted (badly) to buy it but managed to restrain myself and finally, a little over a month ago, the movie store got it - 4 DVDs that add up to the 14 episodes. We have checked out and watched 3 of them so far and they so totally speak to my condition. That song! That song is like my life recently. I love it! I love Firefly!!!

Lone Star Pa asked me last weekend why I did not check out the fourth one and I told him because then it will be over.

What I Love About Texas

Alkelda The Gleeful asked me what I love about Texas, in a call for an ode. It is a strange thing to answer because it is a strange affection. Texas is a state in which poverty is rampant, education is poor, violence and guns and beef are epidemic, oil is King, tolerance for differences is scant (except in Austin) and the social safety net is riddled with bullet holes and cruelty. Anything I say I love about it can easily be refuted, and the opposite of anything I say I love about it is likely true...but life is strange that way, isn't it? Just because the opposite of a good thing is true, it does not mean that the good thing isn't also true. Sometimes it does, but not always. So, with full knowledge of and sorrow for its shortcomings, and full awareness of the ironies inherent in some of the following statements,

I Love TEXAS Because:

My children were born here
I was born here
Of the green Gulf of Mexico, teeming with salt life
Of the beautiful sound of Spanish in my ears
Of bluebonnets and mesquite trees
Of Tex-Mex food
Of cowbirds and whooping cranes
NASA is here
Of bats and caves
Large parts of it stay fairly warm all year
Texans are friendly
Texas is really big
Its flag is pretty
Texans are tough
Texas is my home.