Monday, May 28, 2007

Baby Sister

I am the eldest of six siblings, plus hundreds of foster siblings who came in and out of our lives and enriched us immeasurably. Our well spread out stair-steps go: me, sister, brother, brother, brother, sister. My youngest sister was born when I was seventeen years old and she was always like my own baby, in a way. My mom made a rule that I was not to carry her around in public if it could be helped because people always assumed she was my baby, an assumption my mother did not much appreciate. I used to sing my baby sister to sleep with the same three songs every night and I always loved her the best. I went away to college when she was just about five months old, but I didn't go very far...close enough that I was home on weekends to baby sit and home a couple of weeknights a week to babysit once my folks got me a car so I could. Also, I lived at home during the summers and watched the kids full-time so my mom could work in exchange for college money - I was like the wife. My baby sister and I stayed very close. When I moved to Austin for a year to get my Master's Degree, my folks moved the family from our home in Dallas back to Corpus where I and my other sister had been born. I was pleased. I spent that year alternating weekends visiting Lone Star Pa in Denton and the fam in Corpus and when I finished graduate school, Lone Star Pa and I both moved to Corpus, marrying a few months later. I got pregnant right away and then...the fam moved back to Dallas. It was a little late for me to follow them again and I was devasted, needing to stay employed and take care of my unborn child but torn to bits by the thought of living so far away from my baby sister, who was six when they moved away. It never really got any easier.

My baby sister and I stayed close over the years by her spending many stretches of her winter, spring and summer breaks visiting me in Corpus. I plotted to have her eventually move back to go to college here and dreamed of that for years. When my sister hit her mid-teens, though, she got busy with her own social life and stopped wanting to visit so much. I missed her a ton and my dreams of her living here someday pretty much evaporated. When she recently decided to go to college here, it was like a dream come true. I am looking forward intensely to having her here in the fall.

When I graduated from college, my baby sister, then four, was made to wear a dress, something very not-her and which she protested loudly. I would not have cared one way or the other, but the parents bribed her into it by telling her we (mom and sisters) would wear boy clothes to her high school graduation if she did. Over the years, this evolved into wearing tuxes. Well, by the time the baby sister's graduation came along, everyone else was wiggling out of the tux promise. I could not afford to rent a real tux, but I cobbled together a reasonable facsimile from a ruffly white shirt, black pants, a scarf cumberbund, a black suit jacket of my stepdad's and one of my brother's bow ties. I intended to keep my promise. My sister was in a different place, though, and turned red when she saw me. She made me change into a blouse and skirt. Ah, well. I tried.

My sister is so grown up and beautiful now. She graduated with all kinds of honors in the top 5% of her class. She's an athlete and a hard-worker and cares about God and her family and friends. She's going to major in kinesiology. I'm so proud of her.

Friday, May 25, 2007


My new baby niecelet is gorgeous! I got to meet her on my visit. She has huge, alert eyes and is quiet and brilliant and gorgeous and fuzzy!

Last Weekend on The Road

My baby sister graduated from high school last Saturday. I didn't have any days off left what with all my kids' bugs and a couple of their school programs the past year eating them all, so we could not take Friday off to drive. We drove out to Austin Friday night and stayed just North of Austin in a Red Roof Inn in Round Rock overnight, then started out early and drove into Dallas on Saturday morning. We made it in plenty of time to visit and get ready before the 5pm graduation. After the graduation, we stayed for the party and then, when my baby sister left for the real party, we drove out to Denton and spent the night at my in-laws' house. Lone Star Pa's mother made us a lovely breakfast on Sunday morning and we got to visit a bit with her and his brother and his brother's partner before we piled back into the car and drove all the way back, getting in pret-ty late on Sunday night, with school the next day and everything. It was a pretty tiring trip, but very wonderful!!

I Heart Alice Cooper

School's out for summer! Whether or not it's out forever, we'll just have to see, but it's definitely out for now! I have my certification complete and am supposed to teach both 6th and 7th grade social studies next year as we lost a position - yikes.

I have lots to post about, but a slow computer and I am muy exhausted, so please be patient with me! Thanks!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

What I Am Reading These Days?

Here is a pleasant meme from Alkelda the Gleeful at Saints and Spinners. I tag Veloute and Gojirama to try it next.

What am I reading these days?

The Future Generation by China Martens: Now we can read years of the original punk parenting zine from the original mama zinetress! Best book ever!

The Mother-Daughter Project by SuEllen Hamkins and Renee Schultz: seems appropriate for this season in mi vida.

St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised By Wolves by Karen Russell: I guess I never figured one could get stuff like this published, but apparently one can as this author is only in her twenties. These are stories that make me wish I had written down every weird idea I ever had...I really identify with them! They have made such an impression that they may even turn me on to writing fiction again. Alkelda, you must read this interesting collection and tell me what you think, please!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day, Everyone!

Viva La Revolucion!

Greek Day

I took Friday off of work to be with the Lone Star Girl at the big blow-out that her school always has towards the end of the year for the fifth grade class...Greek Day. The GT program in our school district is known as the Athena Program. The LSG's school is all Athena Program and she will be in Athena classes at the middle school she starts attending next year, with all the same kids. So, the last six weeks of fifth grade is saved for a look at Greek mythology, a favorite interest of the LSG anyway. They each had to choose and research a character to be for Greek Day and dress up as that character on Friday. The LSG had been planning all year to be Circe (that's my girl), but Circe wasn't on the allowed list so she chose Medusa. We gel-ed her hair well and braided it in lots of tiny braids on Thursday night and sprayed it thoroughly. Then, on Friday morning, we sprayed it green and attached little rubber snakes to each braid, She wore a green toga made from a sheet and green face paint - Medusa. On Friday, the kids had a parade in their costumes, a pageant, the taking of individual and group photos, the showing of the Greek mythology claymation DVDs they had made, performances of Greek dances by each class, the performing of the Greek mythology commercials they had written in small groups and a fancy Greek feast. A big day! Her school has been wonderful. We are really going to miss it.

The Future Generation

In 1990, China Martens was the mama of a two-year-old. She was also devoted to the punk culture of liberation from oppression and was having a hard time with the fact that mothers weren't being supported in her subculture, just as they weren't supported in the mainstream culture. In an effort to build community and support among mothers living outside of the value system of mainstream America, and to support more liberation for children, China started her zine, The Future Generation. The Future Generation was truly the first mama zine, the one that inspired the movement. Mama zines are everywhere now, if you know where to look (try , but this was not the case before China spoke out for mamas and children. Her amazing zine is still coming out with new issues today, now containing stories about life as the radical mama of an independent young woman, rather than an independent toddler-girl. It still inspires. And now, you can read excerpts from every past issue in China's new book The Future Generation, an anthology of the original punk parenting zine's evolution and more, published by Atomic Books! I could not stop smiling the day that the mail carrier handed me my autographed copy...go, China! As the Mother of Mama Zines, no one deserves this success more than China. Buy the book! No matter what kind of mama-culture you embrace, China is an inspiration!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Toddler Time

The Lone Star Baby, however bright, still operates on that strange universal toddler time concept where all things past are "last night", no matter when they were.

Toddler Puzzle Genius

Early on in this school year, the Lone Star Baby's teacher told me that my young two-year-old had mastered inset puzzles and was beginning to work on composition puzzles in case I wanted to support that work at home. My take on composition puzzles, the kind that make up pictures, was that they seemed mighty hard for such a young child and that it was probably just those nutty Montessorians with their no-fantasy-until-six-start-doing-composition-puzzles-at-two ways, but I dutifully bought the simplest-looking composition puzzle I could find, a wooden dinosaurs-at-the-water tableau with 24 pieces, and presented it to the Lone Star Baby. She was quite interested and has ever since enjoyed working the puzzle with the help of a parent or her sibling, gradually needing ever less help over time.

Recently, I learned that the composition puzzles they do at school have only 9 pieces. Oh. Last night, though, the Lone Star Baby, a bit more than a month shy of three, put the whole 24-piece puzzle together herself without even a verbal hint from any of us older folks. We, silly enamored folks that we are, actually clapped and she was so proud of herself she had to hide her face while she squealed. Then she told us that one dinosaur was worried that the blue dinosaur was going to eat his water. I'm proud of that little puzzle girl!

Saturday, May 05, 2007


Friday, a week ago, was the annual fundraising festival at the Lone Star Girl's elementary school...her last one as a student there! As well as being her last year (sob!) in elementary school, it is also the school's 30th anniversary, so this festival was a big one. It was fun. The most interesting part, though, was that a former classmate called the LSG a few days before and asked if he could meet her there. And they did meet. Yep. It has begun.

How To Become A Famous Writer Before You're Dead

Ariel Gore's new book includes interviews from famous authors and many encouraging tips on how to become a lit star. Highly recommended reading for aspiring writers!

(By the by, please help me become a lit star. Step One: I need more of a Web presence...lots of comments would help!)