Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

We also had a happy Halloween! Lone Star Pa took the day off of work and he went to the Lone Star Baby's Halloween parade at school. The Lone Star Baby had made it clear to us for some time that she intended to be a bombera - a firefighter - for Halloween, so it was great that the school decided that its Halloween parade theme would be careers. From what I hear, there were a lot of bomberos. The Lone Star Baby had a great time and was still really excited when I got home.

After dinner, the Lone Star Firefighter suited up again and her sister applied blue make-up and a tiny plastic skull to become Mystique. She really did look like an evil mutant. We went trick-or-treating with the neighborhood kids, though their numbers are sadly dwindling. This was the first time the LSG really took charge of her sister house-to-house and that was sweet. It only lasted a few houses, though, as the LSG really only likes to trick-or-treat for a few. Then she went home and Auntie Jazz and I helped the LSB keep up. The Lone Star Baby loves trick-or-treating. She also really loves giving out candy to trick or treaters. She is so cute.

Candy for lunch tomorrow...


At 7:40 in the morning on October 31, 1995, my Lone Star Girl was born - ten days before her due date and after a long labor. She weighed in at 8 pounds and 5 ounces and stretched to 20 and a fourth inches long. She was a sweet and beautiful baby.

Now she is twelve years old. She is a bold an beautiful young woman. I can't truly remember her little baby face without mixing real moments with is amazing how fast it goes, until the years are like a fuzzy dream gone by.

This morning we woke her with a yarn to follow to her presents as is our custom. We gave her a couple of DVDs and books and a spiderweb pillowcase and a small giftcard and a towel for drying your hair. She was very excited about the Kiki Strike book I got her as she had not known the second one was out.

The Lone Star Girl is having a slumber party this weekend. Today, I stuffed her lunchbox with cards and stickers and Lone Star Pa, who took the day off, had lunch with her at school. I picked up her favorite fast food on the way home from work, and Auntie Jazz, my dad and stepmom came over for ice cream cake after trick-or-treating. It was nice.

Happy Birthday, Baby. My Grown-Up Girl.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Storytime was fun tonight, as it usually is. The Lone Star Baby's favorite parts are always the fingerplays - the little rhymes done with small finger motions. She's in a particpating mode right now but has had long spells before when she would not join in most of the singing, dancing and hand motions. Even in those times, she was always drawn to the little fingerplay rhymes...always since her earliest toddler days. She loves them.

There is one fingerplay that is almost always done at the PJ storytime we go to, about a baby taking a nap. The index finger is used as a baby...everyone, including the librarian, has always used the index finger. Except my Lone Star Baby. She always holds up her pinkie finger for the baby and gives me a superior look. Occasionally she mutters something about that being the baby finger. She just knows she is right. It is so cute.

Getting Ready for Halloween/Scouting for Future Sons-In-Law

Yesterday was a getting-ready-for Halloween sort of day. We used a Mr. Potato Head kit of plastic parts to turn our lumpy, bumpy red-orange gourd "pumpkin" into a Pirate Pumpkin (argh!) and carved a simple jack-o-lantern out of our more normal orange pumpkin. The Lone Star Girl scooped the guts out of the pumpkin and then did a very thorough and grown-up job of preparing the pumpkin seeds (but for a few we scattered for growing) for roasting - sadly, I accidentally burned them.

In the evening, the four of us went to a multicultural Halloween/Day of the Dead festival at the local Unitarian Church which was very nice. I keep trying to convince the Lone Star Girl that the absence of nice Quaker boys in our city means that she will need to meet some nice Unitarian boys eventually (there being no Mennonite or Brethren boys around that I know of either). She says she plans to meet boys at Star Trek conventions. Sigh. The joys of the season.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Parade of Mammals:The Imagination of The Nursing Three-Year-Old

The Lone Star Baby's imagination runs to animal families of late. I will be solemnly informed like this:

LSB: We are bears.
Me: We are bears?
LSB: Yes. We are bears. Rahr.
Me: Rahr.
LSB: I am the Baby Bear and You are the Mama Bear and Daddy is the Daddy Bear and Sissy is the Sister Bear.
Me: Rahr.

But there's a catch. The Lone Star Baby will start to look a little worried. Then she asks the all-important question:

LSB: Do bears drink mama milk?
Me: Yes, bears are mammals.
LSB (relieved): We are bears.

It is different animals on different days. Bats. Giraffes. The dinosaur thing didn't work out for obvious reasons. The whale and dolphin things really tickle her funny bone since she knows that actual fish are not mammals. Monsters were complicated.

LSB: We are monsters.
Me: We are monsters?
LSB: Yes. We are monsters.
Me: Rahr.
LSB: That's what bears and dinosaurs say!
Me: And Monsters. Rahr.
LSB: Rahr!
Me: Rahr!
LSB: I am the Baby Monster and You are the Mama Monster and Daddy is the Daddy Monster and Sissy is the Sister Monster. Rahr.
Me: Rahr.
LSB: Do Monsters drink mama milk?
Me: Well...gila monsters don't. They are reptiles. Some monsters don't. Maybe furry monsters can, since mammals have fur. Are we furry monsters?
LSB: Yes! And we have milk!

Now she uses the word mammal herself as she asks the all-important question (Are antelopes mammals?), and every day there is another mammal family into which to transform ourselves. A parade of mammals. Rahr. It's fun.

Lone Star Girl Undercover

The Lone Star Girl did a good job with Project Undercover this year, and largely without parental assistance, which was nice for me. Our Girl Scouts always participate in Project Undercover at this time of year, as part of Make A Difference Day. They collect underwear, diapers, socks, etc. for children in the care of Child Protective Services. When they were younger, they usually made and set out donation boxes at their various schools and gave out fliers and had the drive announced at school, but donations were always kind of hard to come by. Once, more recently, they participated in a big event with their service unit where the cost of admission was a donation to Project Undercover.This year they did something a little different. They took bags, with attached fliers, to teachers and neighbors and such and asked if the teachers/neighbors/such might be willing to fill the bags with Project Undercover donations before they returned to collect them later that week. Many people took bags and the girls collected quite a lot of underclothes and diapers for foster children. I was very proud of them.

Pod Person

Our next door neighbors have a rain tree in their front yard. I am accustomed to thinking of it as a bit of a nuisance since its seed pods are highly effective harbingers of life and little tiny rain trees come up all over the place and are very hard to get rid of, this time of year, it is a thing of great beauty. The seed pods change colors in an exquisite way that we don't see too much of down south and then blanket the ground like a bed of flowers. I don't know why I don't call them flowers, as I suppose all flowers are seedpods and these are very beautiful, but their mostly closed three-sided nature makes me say pods.

The Lone Star Baby likes them.

For the last couple of days we have been collecting them in envelopes and buckets and using them for art projects and botany lessons. The Lone Star Baby is all about the lovely little pods. She is a joy to behold in the cool, crackling outdoors with the sunshine on her hair, talking about how boooo-ti-ful the pods are.

Another Busy Week!

It is really hard for me to get to the computer during the week much these days! It's been pretty hard even on weekends. Things are just busy. It has been an interesting week, though.

Our first "cold" snap of the year (cold enough to wear long sleeves anyway!) came on Monday and we have been trying to enjoy it as much as we can. It feels so nice outside and everything is so beautiful.

On Monday, when I got home from work, there was a message on my answering machine from someone at Good Morning America saying that she had read one of my articles and wanted to know if I could help her with a story she was writing. I called back and after a little phone tag, she got back with me (during storytime!). It turned out that I really couldn't help her with what she needed but it was a little exciting just the same!

I also spent some time running around this week acquiring things the Lone Star Girl needed for a skit in her theater arts class on Friday,and things for her upcoming birthday party. They are sort of at an awkward age for goody bags but the child mentioned them and I aim to please - I got little nail polishes and lip glosses and emory boards and candy to put in skull bags for them. These are the contradictions of Twelve.

On Friday, I took a half-day off work to take the girls to get their flu shots in the afternoon. A friend from Meeting had her baby boy and I got to go pick up her daughter who is the Lone Star Baby's age from daycare and keep her with us Friday night. It was a fun visit and the little girls made pictures for the baby by gluing seedpods to paper and coloring. They also colored pumpkins for the baby. Mostly, though, they liked to roll all over the front yard - very cute to watch!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

No Children's Health Insurance Program

Congress did not override the veto. There is, of course, talk of a compromise - but the original bill was already a very bipartisan compromise. Whatever lesser thing comes will be sure to keep even more of America's children uninsured and unsafe.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Writing Up A Storm

As busy as things have been, I have been getting a lot of writing done lately. Since July, I have had a parenting/mothering piece published in each issue of a local alt. monthly called We The People News (I just found out you can read them online!) and I have also been working on potential articles, stories and poetry for several other venues. I feel exhausted and behind on everything (especially cleaning), but, productive, too. I am a cipher!

The Seeker: The Dark is Rising

New post at Daughter And A Movie

CHIP Update

The vote to overrride the veto is this Thursday, the 18th.

The Wages of Nursecution

Last night, I was grading papers at a corporate monolith bookstore and, at a nearby table, a young mother and father were doing college work with their tiny baby and another man. The baby looked to be three or four months old, was very, very skinny, and started out brightly interested in his surroundings. The mother was clearly the study partner who knew what she was doing, confidently explaining the work to the two men. After awhile, the baby got hungry. He began fretting and the parents started the bouncy-dance, moving into finger-sucking and pacifer manuevers well past the point when they would have pulled out a bottle if they rolled that way. The baby was not a loud fretter so he wasn't disruptive to anyone but his mother who obviously knew what the baby needed but wasn't going to ante up...and the baby did not look to me like he should be missing any meals.

It took about all I had in me not to go over and whisper to the mom that I nursed there all the time and that it was perfectly fine to do so. If I had felt certain that doing so would have made the woman feel supported and confident about doing what she doubtless wanted to do, I would have. I thought it all too likely that it would have made her feel more scolded than just the experience she was having probably already made her feel, though, so I didn't. The baby fretted his skinny self to sleep and the grown-ups got their school work done.

What was going through the mother's mind, I wonder? That she should have kept him home and not tried to be part of a study group? That she'd have to start him on formula so she could get stuff done without starving him? When she was tutoring the men, she had seemed confident and strong. When it came to feeding her baby, though, our crazy culture had her cowed into thinking it was inappropriate to meet her baby's needs in public. It made me feel sad. It's so wrong that nursing mothers have to put up with so much shit that we start second-guessing ourselves.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Delays and Opportunities

Well! Lone Star Ma finally has one real-for-true part-time independent contractor selling ads for the zine and we are looking for more. It is taking longer than we had hoped, however, so we will not be putting out a Fall Issue. We are trying to take our time and do a good job, so expect Issue Ten this winter.

We still could use some submissions for Issue Ten, as we are going for a big one. Here is what we need:

Maybe 1 mama-poem
1 mama fiction story (we would really like to get this department started!)
Longhorn Lactation: a breastfeeding advocacy piece

Submissions should be e-mailed (body of the e-mail) to

Thanks! More information is available under submissions at

So Much To Blog, So Little Time...A Week's Up-Date

Sorry that things have been slow around here. I have been crazy-busy at work as usual and am trying not to ignore the kids too much in the process. Blogging may only take a few minutes for people with better technology, but it is at least a half-hour committment to get a post out around here in dial-up land, so please be forgiving with me.

Here's a little run-down of the last week for our family:

Baby shower at Meeting for a Friend who is having a baby. They have a little girl the age of the Lone Star Baby and, since they joined the Meeting this past year, I am no longer solely responsible for physically producing new Friends. A good thing, considering the Lone Star Girl's negative attitude about religion in general lately.

My storytime night with the Lone Star Baby. We have now moved on to pumpkins and Halloween themes, which is always fun. September was bug month at the library and Ms. Linda brought her pet cockroach to storytime every Monday night. The kids loved it. They petted it. I politely declined to pet it, although I was happy enough to let the Lone Star Baby do so. She loved it. Yuck. Pumpkins, ahoy.

Got a flu shot after school from the district at a high school near my school - I can't get the kids in for one at their doctor until the 26th. Lone Star Pa got his Monday at school. The Lone Star Baby's school had a potluck in the evening to celebrate its sixth birthday. We all went and my sister and dad and stepmom (not my sister's parents - things are complicated for my generation that way) also attended. It was a lot of fun for the little kids and the Lone Star Baby was very excited about her aunt and grandparents meeting her teachers.

Worked very late at school. After I got home, showed my sister where the Lone Star Girl's school is and where the Sears meeting place for their caravan to camp on Friday would be as she is assisting with getting her to the meeting place. I have time to get from work to the meeting place if I leave as soon as I'm allowed to after school, but not time to pick up the Lone Star Girl and get there, so my sister is picking her up from school and getting her there and I am meeting them all. Frantically supervised camping packing. Watched Bionic Woman on tape with Jazz and the Lone Star Girl - our new vice.

Worked very late at school. Got rain poncho and last minute camping toiletries. The Lone Star Girl got her laptop at school!!! Saw Jazz.

Met up with Girl Scouts and Jazz at Sears after work. Jazz and the Lone Star Girl had no trouble with getting there. Saw the Lone Star Girl and her troop off. I feel bad about not going, but the Lone Star Girl is more ready to be camping without me than the Lone Star Baby is ready to be overnight without me. This is a camp we've never been to that is way down in the Valley and it is one of those wobbly-mommy things to let her go so far "alone". I am so silly. I tried not to embarrass her. I utterly trust her troop leader's supervision, of course. They come back Sunday.

Also, the Lone Star Girl got her first report card of middle school. She got a high B in math and A's in science, social studies, reading, language arts, P.E. and theatre arts. I am very proud of her, especially as she is taking Pre-Algebra as a sixth grader and with a very tough teacher. I have been hard on her about school work lately and she has felt rather pressured, I'm afraid. She's a brilliant girl, but very...ah...internally motivated, and has rarely prioritized her school work, since she can get by well on natural ability. In elementary school, I was mostly okay with that, as childhood is about so much more than the stuff they get at school, but she really must develop better habits now if she is to reach her full potential. It sounds a bit nutty, I guess, but I feel a responsibility to the world not to let her intellect go to waste. I worry about the future of humanity and think that the best young minds must be made to see the need that there is for their talents to be used in the service of humanity's needs.

Lone Star Pa is helping at the rummage sale at the Lone Star Baby's school. I am soon going to take the Lone Star Baby to the pumpkin patch at the church where she used to go to daycare as a baby. Then we will probably get some lunch and go to the museum. We also need to squeeze in grocery shopping and maybe some birthday shopping for the Lone Star Girl this weekend. And I have to fit in a grading session as well. And pay the bills. And get some articles finished. Busy, busy!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Call to Arms - Congress Must Override the S-CHIP Veto

The President's job provided affordable health insurance for his kids when they were still running around causing scandals in the White House, and he is apparently not worried about the kids who don't have it so well. He vetoed the re-authorization of the hugely important Children's Health Insurance Program this past week, in spite of its wide bipartisan support.

If ever a veto needed to be overturned - this is the one.

Texas Mamas:

Below is the list of the way Texas Congress folks voted. EVERYONE call Cornyn and let him know he needs to change his vote or get the hell out of dodge because ALL Texas mamas want this bill to pass! If your Representative is also on the idiot list or didn't vote, please call them and urge them to come to their senses and over-ride the veto. Meanwhile, everyone tell your Congress folks who did vote right to stay strong and fight for our kids, okay?

Other U.S. Mamas:

Google your Congress folks and find out where they stand. If they need convincing, convince 'em. I know you Ohio mamas are as shocked as I am about your boy...I shook the man's hand once and the Lone Star Girl went around with one of his stickers on her school binder...please talk some sense into his my-way-or-the-highway head fast.

Now, We don't have much time.


Senator Hutchison--Yea
Senator Cornyn--Nay



Green, Al
Green, Gene


Johnson, Sam


Johnson, E.B.