Monday, December 31, 2007


The day after Christmas, we loaded up the car and headed north to Dallas. It was great to get to see so much of the family. The "new" Lone Star Niecelet is now eight months old and just the cutest baby you ever saw. She obviously worships her big sister as much as the Lone Star Baby worships her and is friendly and sweet. The best thing about the trip was all the time that the little girls got to play together. The Lone Star Baby sure loves her cousin (and her new cousin) - I wish they could be together more. We took them to the zoo, which was mostly fun, and they had a great time playing together. The Lone Star Girl and her dad took in the local comic book store and she accompanied my sister and the baby and I on a trek to Whole Foods, My mom and my middle sister and I got to go out to dinner and my sisters and I went to a movie. Lots of fun in a couple of short days!

We spent the last day of our visit in Denton with Lone Star Pa's mother and she took us to a cool place called Lavender Ridge Farms, a u-pick place. It wasn't the time of year for lavender, but the owners showed us their horses and pigmy goats and donkeys, including a sweet baby donkey named Zinnia. It was great. We also got to spend some time at Talon, a comic book store run by an old friend of Lone Star Pa.

Last night, we made the long ride back. Real life starts again...far too soon.


While in Dallas, with the dads minding our offspring, my sisters and I went to see the movie Juno, bout a teen-aged girl dealing with a pregnancy and finding adoptive parents for her baby. It was the best movie I've seen in a long time - I highly recommend it. It's really not for the kids, though.

Article Updates for Real

I know the website for We the People News has been a little wonky lately, but it is working today! Please read my November articles and December article if you get the chance. What do you think? I am enjoying having a regular column again!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Very Wookiee Christmas

Lone Star Pa managed to procure the Star Wars Holiday Special for me this Christmas. Remember that? The little embarrassment George Lucas has tried to forget, complete with many a seventies-acid-style sequence? I well remember enjoying it as a child and have always wished to have it. Watching it again was hilarious. Happy Life Day!

Merry Christmas!

I hope that all you gentler readers had a very Merry Christmas, or whatever winter holiday is yours. Our Christmas was lovely.

On Christmas Eve, after dinner, we went driving around to look at Christmas lights. Then we came home and read 'Twas The Night Before Christmas and the story of Jesus' birth from the Gospel according to Luke. We read the last little book in our Advent calendar and hung it on our little Advent Tree. We placed Baby Jesus in our Nativity scene and moved the Magi a little closer to Bethlehem. We put out milk and cookies for Santa and the girls went to sleep with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads, or at least something similar.

When we woke in the morning, the girls looked at what Santa left in their stockings and under the tree and then opened the presents from us. We had breakfast and my dad and stepmom and a great-uncle came over for a bit. Then we went to see my Grandad. We came home and hung out for awhile and I cooked dinner and we ate and played some more before bed. A very nice holiday.

Blessings to you and yours.

Monday, December 24, 2007


An interchange that has started happening regularly between the Lone Star Baby and I:

Me: What did you say?
Her: I was only talking by myself.

Vamos A Cantar

The Lone Star Baby's school made CDs of all the songs the kids sing regularly at school and some holiday songs...of the kids actually singing them. It is wonderful.


Yesterday, we baked Christmas cookies. I did, anyway. The Lone Star Girl wasn't that interested and the Lone Star Baby's interest waned rather quickly. I could have gotten all Little Red Hen about it,'s Christmas and I do understand their developmental levels. This is why we didn't break out the cookie cutters...we just made chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies with red and green M&Ms and snicker doodles ...all with boughten (a little phrase I picked up from Almanzo Wilder) refrigerator dough, too. At the Lone Star Baby's age, the Lone Star Girl had the attention span for baking projects and Beverly Cleary novels...the Lone Star Baby does not. She has her own interests ...mainly tantrums.

When the cookies were done, we set containers of them on doorsteps of near neighbors, and set out containers of oranges and grapefruit from our trees for the neighbors we thought would like that better. It was fun, and a nice way to be together and outside. One of my favorite holiday traditions.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Meeting for Eating and The Quaker Kids

The Clerk of our Quaker Meeting and his family have been really wonderful about opening up their home not only for our Meetings but also for lovely potlucks on various holidays. We had the Quakers here for a Christmas-y get-together once years ago and at Easter once years ago, but our house is really small for our still-small but growing Meeting. Theirs fits us all much more comfortably now so it is wonderful that they are so welcoming.

Yesterday, we went there for a Christmas potluck. We took salad and bean tamales and there was quite a spread there. It was so nice to get to be with everyone. It is a wonder to me that our tiny Meeting now seems overflowing with children. Not so many years ago, when our Meeting was mainly myself and three other women, I had "First Day School" with the Lone Star Girl at home alone and tried to run her to Austin a couple of times a year so she could actually see other Quaker children at their Friends Meeting. Then our Clerk's family moved to town less than five years ago and their daughter, then nine, joined my seven-year-old Lone Star Girl as my first real "class". Now we have the Lone Star Baby and another three-year-old girl and that little girl's new baby brother! I used to think that, as the only woman of child-bearing age in our tiny Meeting, it would be completely up to me to re-populate it, but thank heavens that is not the case anymore! All these children are such a blessing!

We stayed yesterday until the Lone Star Baby, after spending the afternoon running all over the place with her friend, started melting down. Then it was home again, with tears and ragged tantrum-nerves. A good day still, though.

How does your faith community bring warmth to your winter holidays?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Shortest Day

Yesterday was the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. We were too busy with various things to light bonfires to drive the dark away or anything, but I thought about short days.

My Lone Star Girl is at a birthday party for a friend we have known since kindergarten, one of the Girl Scouts from our troop's first days as Daisies. They have rented a hotel room for the girls and one for the parents in a hotel with an indoor pool. This is definitely a first and the Lone Star Girl wasn't sure I would let her go, but I completely trust the parents and am not worried. I hope they are having fun.

Time with our babies is the shortest day, I think. You blink, and night has fallen...they are grown. What are your thoughts on the passages of childhood?

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Golden Compass

New post at Daughter And A Movie!

Mamaphiles 3!!!!

The Mother of all Zines is Back!
Mamaphiles #3 - "Coming Home"

Mamaphiles returns for its third issue (November 2007), with the theme "coming home." The newest installment includes 25 contributors, including our first papa zinester. Check in with your favorite parent zinesters and discover some new favorites as you learn about the many mama-made zines that have come out since #2 was released in 2005. In addition to fabulous essays, poems, artwork, and photos, #3 includes comprehensive ordering information about each contributor's zine. This is all new material, no repeats of the pieces in previous issues. (73 pages, half size)

The beauty of Mamaphiles is how each and every writer interprets the theme. Similarly to the previous themes “Birth” and “Cutting the Cord,” writers wrote about what coming home means for them today, how it is for them now. Topics range from squatting in a dilapidated house when two pink stripes showed up on a pregnancy test; the difficulties of returning home to a parent’s house, no matter what our age; mosaicing the words “Love” on the kitchen floor while tying to mend the hurt from infidelity; visiting a father recently released from prison; desperately trying to make a place feel like a home when renting from a slumlord; feeling we aren’t home enough; and helping a grandmother leave her beloved home when she is no longer able to live on her own. Just like parenting and writing, coming home can be complicated and difficult. But it can also be tremendously rewarding.

To order #3 directly from the mamas:

* Send $4.00 (well-concealed cash only - no checks, please!) to
PO Box 4803, Baltimore, MD 21211

For more information:

Monday, December 17, 2007

Cornstarch Clay Failure

A few years ago, the Lone Star Girl made little ornaments out of cornstarch clay for all her teachers, etc. for Christmas presents (this year, she's making them pot holders).  It was a great idea then, so the Lone Star Baby and I made a batch on Saturday, intended for her teachers. Something has gone awry, however.  It seemed to be working at the time, but the ornaments are all crumbly now.  I remember the ones her sister and I made taking days to dry but they did not crumble apart.  Hmmph.  Guess it's coffee gift cards for them. Hope they don't think coffee's evil.

Santa Abuse

A bit too much talk of naughty and nice lists going on around here, whenever Lone Star Pa and I feel a little desperate in the face of the Lone Star Baby's will-power.  We need to cut it out.  You should have seen her eyes when that song about making a list started playing at story time...

Sunday, December 16, 2007


The Lone Star Girl was wearing shoes today that make her taller than I am.  Not heels or even pumps... just fuzzy slippers about a centimeter thick in the soles.

E-mail problems appear fixed....

One whispers such things carefully, of course, because of the e-mail gremlins...

I am back to using the e-mail address on the website.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Guilt-Ridden Questions of Independence and Care

The Lone Star Girl's school called me late in my school day on Thursday to inform me that she was ill... no fever, just coughing a bunch and miserable... what her dad and sister had, it seemed.  I talked to her and guiltily determined that she could ride out the rest of the school day.  It was clear that night that she shouldn't return on Friday, though.  Still no fever or any such cut-and-dried symptom, but the Lone Star Girl has, in the last year or so, decided that she cannot afford to miss school.  She will generally try to convince us that she is well enough to go even if she is very much not so.  When she said she needed to stay home, I could trust that she did.

I had something Important to do at school on Friday, so it fell to Lone Star Pa to miss work and stay home with her which wasn't really fair because it wasn't his turn and which he wasn't really pleased about.  He thought she was old enough to stay home sick alone for the whole day. So did she.  Me not so much.  I could see the sense of it, but... she was sick... and all day?  I just didn't feel comfortable with that.  He stayed home with her and she feels much better today, though she sounds yucky still.

I am thinking about future such scenarios.  I am thinking of how much less understanding bosses are going to be of such things with a pre-teen/teen.  I have therefore been taking a poll on whether twelve is old enough to stay home sick with a seemingly minor ailment all day.  I am not counting the Lone Star Girl's vote in this poll, although I am taking it into consideration in my deliberations.  Including my vote, Lone Star Pa's vote, the vote of a teacher at my school with a child not much older and the vote of the Lone Star Girl's Girl Scout Leader... the issue is tied.  And I may change my vote.  What do you think?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Icky President and Article Update

The President has vetoed another re-authorization of the S-CHIP bill passed by Congress.  I think he hates kids.  Anyone have any other theories?

The We the People News web site has been updated and you can now read my S-CHIP article from the November issue online, as well as another article of mine in that issue and an article of mine in the December issue.  Please let me know what you think.  Thanks!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

More Magazine Woes

All I can say is that it is a bloody good thing I did not take the leap of trusting that I could make the magazine my living and quitting my job after this summer as I was very close to doing, since I have not even been able to earn enough to print an issue since summer.  That said, had I been working on the magazine instead of my day job, I would have earned enough to print a fall and winter issue ... but still not, I fear, enough to live on past that.  Yet.  I am on the two-and-a half- more years Plan, okay?  I want the magazine to be my job by the time the Lone Star Baby enters public school in the first grade ... at the latest.  And I can do it, too!  

Insert your encouraging, reassuring, affirming comments in the comments section, now, please. Alongside comments about how much the magazine rocks and how you cannot wait to get your next issue, but how you will wait because it is so worth it.  Thank you.

Anyway.  Two huge magazine problems messed with my life recently and are just beginning to ooze away.  One was that, very near the winter issue deadline, my new ad rep. who had told me she could definitely get what we needed by November 15th ... said she hadn't.  At the last minute. And wasn't up for the job.  So.  I seriously considered pulling the money out of my savings account one-last-time, although we really could not reasonably afford that, but .... then came the second problem.

Many of you know I have been working with an ancient Mac and a dial-up modem which cause me lots of adventures.  In the midst of this ad stuff , my e-mail system upgraded ... and I could no longer read my e-mail on any browser my computer would support.  Even the library computer would only let me read them and not do anything with them and I cannot be reading e-mail at the library much.  So I haven't read any of my e-mail to speak of in about a month.  Not good.  And really the last straw.

We just now went ahead and bought a new computer and a high-speed internet connection because, honestly, I cannot manage the magazine without things at least approaching the proper tools.  We got a new Mac thinking that the cheaper PC would become a more expensive option once we had to buy all-new software for it ... but it turns out that most of our Mac software won't work on the new computer.  We have some that will, though, and are building it up slowly to where it needs to be.  In the long run, despite its expense, this computer is, I think, the best thing I could have done for the magazine.

Still, it was expensive, and with Christmastime here and braces for the Lone Star Girl looming soon, there is no way I will be able to pay for any issues of the magazine out of my own pocket anymore.  I know that I cannot sell the ads we need myself, either, as I simply do not have the daytime available to me due to my job.  I have a new ad person who I am hoping will work out ... a good friend who has always been deeply supportive of the magazine ... so hopefully she will be able to sell enough ads for a spring issue.  Winter is definitely out.  

Bottom line ... the next issue will come out when I have an ad rep who is successful and that is all I can do on that end.  I am looking for ad rep's in other parts of Texas and continue to look for quality submissions for Issue Ten, whenever it goes to print (hopefully February!).  Such delays are deeply frustrating but I do feel that we are moving, in a maddeningly slow way, in the right direction.

Please remember those supportive comments!  Thanks!

Friday, December 07, 2007


I really wanted to see the movie Waitress when it came out.  It had gotten some great reviews from women I respected and I wanted-to-see-it.  I missed it, though, and never was able to find it at the dollar movie, though I kept checking, so I was really-super looking forward to its DVD-debut last week.  Knowing this, my darling sister, Jazz, got it for me as an early Christmas present and we watched it some recent night, the exact date of which I am too tired to remember.  It was great!  Bad Baby Pie!  I loved it!  I also realized something.

Jazz and the Lone Star Girl and I have a regular Wednesday night date to watch The Bionic Woman when it's on ... we love the new version, even though her job is pretty evil.  It is a girl thing we do, and Waitress made me realize what we really need ... Sisterhood-Is-Powerful Movie Nights!  Frequent nights when Jazz and I watch great grrrl-power movies - with the sometimes attendance of junior-woman,  the Lone Star Girl.  Yes!

Waitress became our first official instance of a Sisterhood-Is-Powerful Movie Night and we quickly followed it up with a viewing of our old taped-from-TV copy of The Heidi Chronicles.  I had actually showed this to Jazz when she was a young teen and told her always to remember Scoop's attitude about living with an A+ and to beware of men like him, but she had totally forgotten already...sigh.  She is very interested in art history, so I knew she should see it again.  Hopefully, she'll remember it this time!

These two were not suitable for the junior woman but some will be.  I'm so excited about this new institution!  

Bells and St. Nicholas Night

Monday was the first Christmas-themed story time of the year and the Lone Star Baby really enjoyed it.  Our librarian breaks out little rings of bells for the kids to shake during the songs in December - very cool.

Tuesday was an early-to-bed night as the Lone Star Baby has the same nasty cough as her father now and we are trying to head off whatever it may become, so just the Advent calendar and the Magi and some reading.

Wednesday was the eve of St. Nicholas Day. Inspired by Alkelda the Gleeful of Saints and Spinners, we celebrated it for the first time.  The Lone Star Girl and the Lone Star Baby each put out a shoe before they went to bed.  When they woke up on Thursday, St. Nicholas had put a little present in each shoe - a roll of black duct tape for the Lone Star Girl and a little Dora coloring set for the Lone Star Baby.  They were pleased.  

Tonight, we will decorate little foam snowflakes!

Sunday, December 02, 2007


This is the first weekend of Advent and I am going to try very hard to do something special and Christmas-y with the kids to mark each day. Just small things.

Even last week, we went to the Lighting of Lamar Park, which was nice. It's an event at a little shopping center here that they have every year, where the shops put out lights and choirs come and sing and there are snacks in all the little stores. It's mostly about the snacks for us.

Yesterday, for the first day of Advent, we read the part of the Christmas story on the first day of our Advent calendar and hung the little book on our Advent calendar tree. The Lone Star Baby then moved the Magi a few inches down the hall for the first time this year. Tonight, the first Sunday in Advent, the Lone Star Girl lit the first calendar in our Advent Wreath and we had dinner with it lit in the middle of the table. It was nice.

I also took the girls to St. Nicholas Day at the museum. The museum used to celebrate St. Nicholas Night every year on the actual St. Nicholas Night with Santa and Christmas crafts and such. Now they have moved it to the Sunday afternoon before, and frankly, it was nowhere nearly as magical as the nights when we took the Lone Star Girl when she was little. It was still nice, though. The Lone Star Baby got her picture taken with Santa and got to make a Christmas cracker and a glittery pine cone ornament for our Christmas tree, as well as a Christmas-stamped bag to carry them in. She had fun. We actually had not planned to go, as we would normally have gone to First Day School and Meeting today, but Lone Star Pa was feeling very poorly and I did not want him to have to mind the Lone Star Baby while I had First Day School with the big girls and Silence later, so we skipped it. The Lone Star Baby doesn't do so well with situations in which she is expected to be quiet or patient. I wanted to get the girls out of the house, though, so Lone Star Pa could sleep and it seemed a good way to spend the time. He's still cough-y but somewhat better.


New post at Daughter and A Movie!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Dirty, Sexy Money

I do not believe in censorship. I read banned books. Still. I don't know why the Department of Homeland Security has not decided that this TV show's very title is a threat to national security. If one was a radical, twisted-into-thinking-jihad-was-Islamic terrorist, I would think that the very existence of such a show would be all the proof one needed to think that the U.S. was Satan and needed to be destroyed. I myself am a radical Quaker vegetarian pacifist and its existence goes pretty far toward making me think that. Such a culture we live in....ick.

Backseat Driver

The Lone Star Baby has taken an interest in navigation. She is always telling me things like This is just like the way to school! when we are driving. Sometimes she also tells me I am going the wrong way. Sometimes she is right.