Thursday, May 28, 2009

First Book!

The Lone Star Baby just read her first book! It was Red Gets Fed. After reading it to me, she woke up her father and read it to him. She has currently taken it to bed with her and is reading it to herself over and over again. She says she's taking it to school tomorrow, too. Mama's so proud!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


No, really.

Those of you who know that Lone Star Pa drives (or used to drive since it doesn't seem to be going much of anywhere these days) a 1994 Camry and that I drive a 1999 Corolla may find this hard to believe. Not as hard to believe as we find it, though! Gosh, it was scary! We just are not the sort of people who buy cars. Or furniture. OR CARS!!!!!!

You may, however, recall that both cars have given us some trouble over the past couple of years. And that the old Camry was making our life one big exciting game of Can-We-Go-To-Work-And-Then-Pick-Up-The-Children-Today-Or-Not. The excitement just got to be too much for us. Too much. Lone Star Pa was depending too much on the teacher he carpools with for rides and my dad was getting too many calls to come rescue us (although I think he kind of liked it - he and Lone Star Pa had some good bonding time there taking the car apart and stuff) and I am running out of time to wrap up some stuff for this school year that can't be done if I have to rush to pick up the kids every day after school. And the Camry hasn't started in days. So. It was time.

We had to wrangle hard with a beloved fantasy. You see, the dealer actually had a used Prius, priced very reasonably for what it was. We wanted it so bad. I can't even tell you. It teased us. We were wretched with it. We really wanted it. We could have afforded it, too. With no real trouble. We really could have done it. But.


I drive a 1999 Corolla that has been having some problems, too. We hope to get another year (maybe two!) out of it now that we have a more reliable car and will never need to take the Corolla out of town again, but a day will obviously come, in the not-too-distant future, when we will be making two car payments. And the payments we'd be making on a Prius would make that pretty hard. So. Bye-bye fantasy. Sweet fantasy, good-bye.

We got a 2007 Camry with just under 40,000 miles. We got a great deal on it but a great deal was still more than we wanted to spend. I am shocked (shocked!) at how much more expensive the same model of car gets every year. I wish they would make ones without all the little bells and whistles like they used to make the low-end models. Ah, well.

We bought a car!!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


It RAINED last night. The Lone Star Baby and I went out and caught it in our mouths. One inch in the rain gauge. Beautiful.

Star Trek - The Desecration

Lone Star Pa and the Lone Star Girl went to see the Star Trek movie on Saturday night. They hated it. I think there is some Hard Core Trekkie governing body that required hating it. I actually think the Lone Star Girl kind of enjoyed some of it, or at least enjoyed watching her father's dismay at it, but all he could say was that it was a desecration. Over and over and over again.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Girl Organizers

I went with the Lone Star Girl's Girl Scout troop today to organize the donations room for the local Women's Shelter. It was more work than we could do in the hours allotted but the girls did get a great deal done. I am often a bit distressed by how silly the girls can remain even in such serious places as the ones we take them to volunteer at, but I think that is just me not being able to truly be a seventh grader anymore, really, and not actually anything wrong on their parts. Whether their level of reverence or sobriety or whatever I'm reaching for here is appropriate or not, I think it is very important to keep them out there serving the community, as much as possible. They may not seem to see the need that surrounds them and their responsibility to help, but they probably do, and this surely is the only way to make that responsibility become part of them.

To quote my mother on the topic of teaching people to really see their fellow humans, "You just have to be f---ing relentless."

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I Miss Her Already!

Jazz moved back to Dallas for the summer today. We had a Sisterhood-Is-Powerful (pizza and) Movie Night on Saturday and watched Iron-Jawed Angels with the Junior Woman (my Mothers' Day present from Jazz who has been too busy this school year to hang around my house very much except when I beg - but she also did come to watch Thelma and Louise with me this month - no Junior Woman allowed yet on that one). While I do wish summers lasted forever and ever and ever, the fact that Jazz moves back to town at the end of summer at least means that there is something to be said for the end of summer.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day, Mamas

Let's raise some hell on behalf of the needs of children this summer, yes? Yes.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

I Heart Judy Blume And I Heart Planned Parenthood

Judy Blume has taken a lot of crap lately from certain quarters of the "pro-life" camp for a Mothers' Day letter that she wrote soliciting donations for Planned Parenthood. As usual, the crazies are demonizing Planned Parenthood as Abortion Central and therefore are they up in arms against Judy Blume.

Down with the crazies.

Planned Parenthood is a reproductive health organization devoted to helping men and women choose parenthood when they are ready to be loving parents, not when parenthood will destroy them and their kids. This generally has nothing to do with abortion.

In my community, Planned Parenthood of South Texas has no staff who perform abortions at all, though they certainly provide women who are dealing with unplanned pregnancies with information about every choice that is available to them under the law - out of the belief that a pregnant woman is the person most concerned with her pregnancy who will take the decisions to be made most seriously. Not some outside party who knows nothing about her circumstances at all. Let's be clear about that.

In my community, Planned Parenthood provides basic gynecologic exams to women and reproductive health screenings for men as well as information on contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, breast and testicular cancer, etc. But that is just the tip of the iceberg.

They perform education programs in the community - at schools, colleges, churches, scout meetings and other venues - about a very wide variety of topics that could prevent a person from growing up to be the sort of parent they want to be. Not just sex and contraception. The importance of education. Health. Self respect. Respecting others.

They also operate a Baby-Think-It-Over community service program so that kids in trouble who must complete court-ordered community service can complete their requirements by checking out those impossible and infuriating dolls that must be cared for like a horribly unsatisfying and un-cuddly infant with colic. The dolls, if you are not familiar, contain microchips that register if you don't adequately support their heads, if you abuse them, if you fail to feed and change them as needed and if you fail to respond to their cries of any sort quickly enough. You don't get credit if you don't take good care of the doll.

They also run groups for teen boys called Young Men United and groups for teen girls called It's A She Thing in which they discuss not just sex but a whole host of issues that young people face - being a man of your word, avoiding dangerous substances, cutting, dating violence, depression. The kids learn so much. Need the groups so much.

Every year, Planned Parenthood of South Texas hosts an event called Independent City. Adults from the community volunteer and middle schoolers are bused in to participate. The middle schoolers get a packet with information about their education level, job and how much they do (or don't) have saved. Some of them find a little pink or blue beaded baby bracelet in there and they have additional responsibilities. The kids must then visit different stations finding and renting an apartment they can afford, getting signed up for electricity, drivers' licenses, water, gas, (sometimes daycare), and they must pay for groceries and other necessities. Some get fired. Daycares close suddenly. Some get sick. It is an awesome simulation.

Planned Parenthood understands the link between poverty rates and rates of unwanted pregnancies and they are key players in the coalitions of public and non-profit agencies that work to support the families of our community. They rock.

No one ever knows what they would do in a crisis they have never faced, but I feel pretty sure that I could never have an abortion. Even in situations, severe situations, in which continuing a pregnancy would mean little more than the difference between a quick moment of death or several agonizing hours or days or weeks of suffering for my baby before death, I would probably be too much of a selfish coward to do it, even to spare them. I suck that way. I am not truly pro-choice the way that some people are - the ones who feel that abortion is no tragedy. To me, it is tragedy. That's just how I feel. I do not believe in judging other women for seeing it differently. If the government can make that choice for us one way, they could make it another way, folks - the reason this choice has to belong to mothers is because only mothers care enough. We may choose wrong, but we will not choose lightly. The same cannot be said of politicians.

The "pro-life"/pro-choice drama is a silly divide in my opinion. Arguing about something that no one really ever wants to be in a position to feel they need - how useful can that ever be? What is useful is to support people in having the resources they need to never be in such an awful position. More than anything else, that is what Planned Parenthood does.

Happy Mothers' Day to Judy Blume and Planned Parenthood. Thanks to you both for all that you have done for young people. You have my gratitude and my respect.

Recent Columns

You can find my recent Mothers Against Las Brisas column and then the postponement notice that I wrote for the demonstration planned in that first article on the front page of the We the People News site currently. I think some folks are going ahead with a small demonstration anyway, which I applaud, for those whose responsibilities allow it.

Myself, I find that I cannot tell my kid that she must avoid the crowded venue she wished to attend this weekend if I am organizing a crowded venue - kids take poorly to this sort of "do as I say, not as I do" thing. Even though this flu has turned out to be pretty mild, we can't really afford to have to miss a bunch of school as we would have to if we caught it, and I know most families are in that same boat. I think things will be okay after this weekend or so, until the second wave next fall anyway, as it looks like the jumps we are seeing each day in suspected cases are really dropping. I think it's burning off but I am giving it this one more weekend and avoiding crowds before we go back to our usual running around.

I am thinking about possibly a weekly Mothers Against Las Brisas demonstration day for the summer, though.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Color Walk/Print Walk

On Wednesday evening, the Lone Star Baby and I went on a Color Walk. She drew hearts of all the different colors she could think of in her little notebook (she is big into drawing hearts) and then we went walking around our neighborhood looking for all the things we could find in nature that were different colors. Sky, flowers, grass, leaves, bark, dirt, stems - in all their variations. When we found a color we had not found before, she circled the heart of that color in her notebook. She had used a lot of different shades of various colors on her hearts so we looked for a pretty long while, but we found them all. It was fun.

On our way home, we happened to notice some cat paw prints immortalized in the cement of a sidewalk, and some dog paw prints. I explained how that happens and we looked for paw prints all the way home, speculating on whether they were cats or dogs or - chihuahuas - in between. We also found sneaker prints. It was fun.

Schools Back In Operation Today

Back to school, back to work.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Signs of Spring Walk

I am always inspired by the wonderful way that Andrea of the mama zine Gemini and the blog Remains of The Day incorporates a love of nature into her busy life with her young children. She is an employed mama like myself but still manages to be ever so green and do so many wonderful things with her kids - do not ask me how. After reading a post in which she mentioned the book I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature by Jennifer Ward, Susie Ghahremain and Richard Louv, I purchased a copy which, like most of my good intentions, has been gathering dust in one of many piles of clutter in my house. Today I took it out and started, however tardily, on the spring section of activities with the Lone Star Baby. I'm sure we'll adapt the activities a little for our own use, but the point is to get out there and notice and experience the seasons more.

We went on a Signs of Spring Walk and the Lone Star Baby drew pictures of all the things we found that are signs of spring in a little notebook. Little marigold and gardenia buds. New blackberries. Light breezes. Soft grass. Baby palm trees and baby mimosa trees. Young flowers and leaves. Spiky and fuzzy mimosa buds and fuzzy mimosa flowers. It was nice and the Lone Star Baby was surprisingly cooperative. She got into it - yay!

Frequent Hand-Washing Perils

My eczema is going crazy. I'm going to have to get some cortisone, because it is way past moisturizer and herbs.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

School Updates

Due to new CDC guidelines, CCISD will re-open this Thursday. I am hoping that these new guidelines are really because this flu is going to be no biggie for most people and not due to the massive inconvenience caused by all the closures. I want this flu to be a very mild one!

Monday, May 04, 2009

School Closings In Corpus Christi

Miller High School in CCISD closed last week due to a probable case but the rest of the schools stayed open. This weekend we got word that West Oso ISD, one of four smaller districts in town, would close this week due to a probable case in an elementary school there. Some other districts in the region are also closed.

The rest of us went off to school today but we got word this afternoon that all of Corpus Christi ISD will be closed, starting tomorrow, through at least May 13 as Miller's case was confirmed and there are many, many suspected cases. I will therefore be home with the Lone Star Girl and the Lone Star Baby for a few days. Incarnate Word Elementary will close tomorrow, too, due to a suspected case.

I called the Lone Star Baby's school, intending to keep her out with me, and the director told me that they are closing, too. Apparently, the Health Department has been calling daycares and requesting that they close because otherwise the vector will just transfer from schools to daycare.
Many will close. I worry about all of the families in jobs with no sick leave, even though I think this is the right thing to do in order to mitigate the spread of the virus. We are so blessed that I can be home with the girls at this time.

I do mean home, too. I do not plan to be taking them around to movies and museums and having friends over. The point of the shutdowns is to avoid spreading the flu and I intend that we will do our part. Some people think that staying home and avoiding crowds is just hysterical but it is just a couple of weeks out of our life and can make a big difference.

Lone Star Pa's school, in a neighboring school district, is still open so he will still be going to work for the time being. Can't say I'm happy about that.

Stay home if you can - I understand that many can't. Stay well. God bless.