Friday, December 31, 2010

The Obligatory Post On Goals For The New Year

This post feels especially obligatory since I met so very, very few of my goals for 2010.  I don't want to say that the year wasn't productive, because I think it was very productive.  It just didn't play out in many ways that reflected my original goals. Here are some recaps of 2010 and new goals:


              1.)  2010 was a big year for our girls.  We helped the Lone Star Girl pick a new high school and chose an elementary school for the Lone Star Baby.  Both girls got settled successfully into new schools and activities and are doing very well, but it was a big transition for our family and adjusting to our new schedules took up most of our time and energy.  The Lone Star Girl earned her Silver Award in Girl Scouts, volunteered at the library in the summer while swimming summer league, was a Counselor-In-Training at Girl Scout camp in the summer, started high school, got very serious about her grades, joined the high school swim team,  helped fight Las Brisas and helped with the gubernatorial campaign, was in a high school play and started working on her Gold Award requirements for Girl Scouts.  The Lone Star Baby graduated from the school she had attended since the age of 18 months, took swimming lessons in the summer, started a new school in the fall in first grade, started violin lessons, started having real homework, had a great fall soccer season, completed her Daisy Flower Garden Journey in Girl Scouts, and is working on her Between Earth and Sky Journey in Girl Scouts.  Both girls continue to learn and grow in First Day School as well.  Goal number one is to keep carving out time and energy to support them in their education and other activities and just in whatever they need.  I feel we did a good job of that in 2010, but it is always our biggest job.  2.)  Have more fun with the husband - Lone Star Pa and I did carve out five evenings a week together one week in the summer when the Lone Star Girl was at camp and the Lone Star Baby was at Vacation Bible School, and we had a lovely afternoon walk on Wednesday, but we still aren't very good at fitting in the "us" time.  I am going to try to get us out alone together at least once a month in 2011, which is rather ambitious - we'll see if we can manage it.  3.) More organizing this summer - I didn't get to any organizing last summer but I did re-organize the Lone Star Baby's room a few days ago.  Hopefully, another room (like ours?) can be got to this summer.


1.) We continued to work very hard in 2010 to fight Las Brisas so that our children and the children of this community can remain well.  That work continues and still has to take precedence over other goals a lot of the time. 2.) We also worked very hard on the fall elections, although we were very unsuccessful and they went badly.  We had to try, though, and we will keep trying.  Next stop - City Council elections.

Health and Fitness:

           1.)  I lost no weight.  I suck.  In addition to exercise time being hard to come by, the truth is that my days are pretty (very) stressful and I require energy to get through them.  So far, it seems like I don't lose weight unless I am going far enough to feel pretty hungry and that makes me feel weak and low-energy.  I just can't face my days feeling that way.  I will be 40 in September and I really need to lose 49 pounds before menopause which I expect is right around the corner, but it is hard for me to imagine managing my job and doing that at the same time.  I am going to try harder.  2.) Spend more time with friends - this really didn't make it to the top of the list, either and I really need to do it.  I need to rebuild the support system I lost when the families with kids in my Quaker Meeting moved away and I just haven't managed it.  It is important for survival from a mental health perspective, though.


       I'm sticking with the serenity thing.  Its challenge is constant.


         1.)  It is SO embarrassing, but I still haven't finished Baby Moon.  This time last year, I had already finished all the essays and only needed to do the resources chapter and the introduction!  I have finished the resources chapter but have not yet finished the introduction, so that goal, and the goal of revising it and getting a proposal together, remain.  So embarrassing.  2.)  Also embarrassing, although I sent out submissions and got accepted in some markets I have already been published in and have some hope that some of my submissions that are still out there will be picked up by at least one of the new markets, I did not get poetry or articles or essays accepted for publication in 3 new markets in 2010, so that goal remains as well.  3.)  I did not complete a draft of a poetry book last summer, another of my goals, but I feel much more on the road to that goal, now.  In exciting writing-goal news, one of my poems was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2010, and that has really revitalized my poetry energy.


How did you do in 2010?  What are your goals for 2011?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Grrrl

On our way home from Family Planning of The Coastal Bend, where I took her so she could get some brochures for a paper she is writing on Planned Parenthood (and some other brochures for her under-educated friends), the Lone Star Girl squealed and told me to turn the car around and go back so I could see the new recycling containers that the City was apparently storing in a lot we had driven past.  I love that kid.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Comic Geek Baby

Wednesday is Comic Book Day, for the uninitiated, and when our little family traipsed over to Comics Plus this evening, the Lone Star Baby said to me:

"Would you check for me to see if a new Scooby-Doo is in my pull-box?"

Her father must be so proud.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Kite Baby

Currently Reading

I just recently finished the 13th book in the Wheel of Time series and am working on Riordan's The Red Pyramid, both from the library.  I have also been reading a lot of Kage Baker, lately.  Her Company books really hold my attention, although I must admit that they add to my understanding of The Empress of Mars (by far my favorite of her books) in ways that really do not improve it.  Soon up is Ancient, Strange And Lovely, a sequel to the Dragon's Milk books (Fletcher?) that I quite enjoyed in years back.

Of Virus Cake And Careers

The Lone Star Girl had to research a disease and make a (preferably edible) model of it for her biology class that was due on the Friday before break.  She chose HIV/AIDS and wrote an amazing paper about it -  really amazing.  I know she's a brilliant girl but I was still a bit shocked at how much she came to understand about virology (now that she has explained it to me, we both suspect that viruses are Evil - something that is really messing with my world view, as I don't really believe in Evil, or don't want to...also, HIV is like those creepy Vidians in Star Trek).  She made a cake for her model, decorating it with candy in the form of the virus - can't imagine how the class would want to eat that, but they were all bringing edible disease models to share - West Nile rice krispy treats, Ebola brownies, etc..

She has really been loving her biology class this year. She especially digs microbiology.  She is so into it - just fascinated. It is making her rethink her aspirations.  

Not much more than a year ago, I would have pegged the Lone Star Girl to be a political science professor for sure when she grows up.  While I personally would prefer her to go into an environmental science and save the world with her enormous brain, that is where she seemed headed.  At some point in 8th grade, she decided that she wanted to be a nurse-midwife.  Given her own medical issues and my occasional (daily) worries about the collapse of modern society, I could not argue with such a practical choice, even though I do sort of still feel like the world needs her to tackle something a bit more global. The idea of her with nursing know-how is pretty comforting to me.

Now, though - I don't know.  She is so into microbiology that she may want to be some sort of research scientist.  I couldn't see her wanting to work for Big Pharma, so the college professor thing may be cropping up again, but in a new field. Watching children unfold their gifts seems to be a game of endless motion. It fascinates me as much as all the little molecules fascinate her.

Sister Sorrow And The Betrayal of Time

So my baby sister moved back to Dallas this past weekend.  This left me in a heap of weepiness and sobbing, in the arms of a nuclear family who are completely clueless, despite my attempts to raise them to be compassionate and caring human beings.

The last time Jazz moved to Dallas, leaving me a heap of weepiness and sobbing, in the arms of an insensitive man, she was six.  I was pregnant with the Lone Star Girl.  

The family had moved back to Corpus at the time that I moved to Austin for graduate school, so I moved back to Corpus after finishing school to be near them, trailing the insensitive man who I soon married, after securing a good job and a place to live.  Then I got knocked up and they decided to move back to Dallas.  Nice.

I spent Jazz's childhood monopolizing her vacations and training her to come to Corpus for college, but when she became a teenager, I kind of gave up on that dream of getting her back, because she seemed so distracted by the glitter of teen party life for awhile there.  Her early training won out, however, much to my joy, and Jazz moved to Corpus three and a half years ago to attend college here, majoring in kinesiology. 

It was yesterday, I tell you.  Maybe last week.  It couldn't have been longer ago than that.

But however short a time ago it seems, time has marched on.  Now she  is gone back to Dallas to do an internship for her final semester of college.  I shouldn't be so broken up about it, given that she is probably coming back for two years of graduate school after this semester.  Still.  Two years won't last long of three and a half years were an eyeblink.

And guess what other leave-taking will occur three and a half years from now?   The same length of time that seems like such an eyeblink since Jazz started college is all the time left....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Silver Award

We took our Senior Girl Scouts out to dinner with troop and family tonight to celebrate the earning of the Silver Award by the Lone Star Girl and another of our Girl Scouts.  The paperwork came through a few weeks ago, so we had certificates to present to them and then we, their mothers, pinned their Silver Award pins on them.  We are so proud of our girls!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Keeping The Solstice/Grey Havens


Always, in the days before Christmas, I walk over to the house of a certain woman with a small parcel of Christmas cheer - usually fruit from my citrus trees and a bit of candy or cookies.  This woman (and I used to make the same pilgrimage to another such woman's home as well, but she moved to Austin) was my boss at one time and my elder colleague for longer still and just a very good mentor in my life.  I rarely see her anymore.  She lives in a neighborhood close enough to mine, but not close enough for making carrying a bag of citrus easy.   I always forget just where her house is each year, underestimating the number of blocks from the one in the neighborhood sort of next door to my neighborhood to the block where she lives.  Walking there, I pass a house I lived in as a child for about two years, when my mother married and my sister was born, past the cat lady next door to it who gave me my late Pussywillow when I was just six.  I pass the sea glass wind chimes of a friend who now lives next door to the house a childhood friend lived in when I lived on that street - the friend whose father kept bees in their backyard.  I never knock or call this woman who I walk my gift to - I just leave the bag on her doorstep, when I finally find the blue shutters of her house. It is a Solstice offering to the Mother Goddess as much as to this mentor, this annual pilgrimage, I think. A thankfulness.


I looked for the lunar eclipse tonight.  The clouds obscured it and I wasn't sure I'd see enough to wake the girls, but finally I did, and I woke them and they saw it, too.  All up and down my block, it was only me out seeking, me and then mine, but no other neighbors gathering to drive the dark away with fires or gaze on the red moon in between the clouds.  Where were they?  It was only me.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Have I Mentioned That I Have Figured Out The Answer To The Gay Marriage Debate?

Let's start with full disclosure:  my husband and I are about the only married couple left of the friends of our young "adulthood", despite being indisputably the couple that our friends would all have voted Most Likely To Divorce Or Kill Each Other.  While the divorces of all of our heterosexual friends have made us feel a bit nervous and lonely at times, we do not feel that the prospect of gay marriage threatens the sanctity of our marriage at all.  Bring on the gay marriages, we say!  Maybe gay people will be better at love and commitment in the context of legal marriages than straight people have been.  Probably not, but they certainly couldn't be any worse at it, could they?  I support gay marriage.

That said, our culture does seem to be rather contentious on the issue.  Most Americans seem to be in favor of civil unions for gay couples, but many still seem nervous about letting these unions be called "marriages".  Many (straight and somewhat bigoted) Americans seem to think civil unions should be enough and that fighting for actual "marriages" is going too far, not to mention being largely semantic in a legal sense.  Many (straight and somewhat bigoted) Americans seem to think that gay marriage is against their religious beliefs, as well.  Personally, I would never belong to any church that would deny someone their civil rights - I am a Christian, you see, and Jesus was not about bigotry.  Also, I think people who want gay people to have a second-tier option are bigoted indeed.  Nonetheless, the fact remains that everyone - even bigots - have a right to religious freedom just as everyone, including gay people, have the right to equal treatment under the law.

Here is my solution:  no legal marriages - gay or straight.  

People need to be treated equally under the law and the law should not be influenced by the religious opinions of one group over another.  So, to avoid this religious entanglement, let us get the government out of the business of marriage entirely.  The government can issue civil unions which should be the same for gay and straight couples alike.  That way, the government is not discriminating and is treating everyone equally under the law.  You go to the courthouse and get a civil union license, not a marriage license, and that civil union is the legal relationship.

Marriage can be the business of individual churches.  If a couple wants marriage as a sacrament or religious rite, they can apply to the church of their choice.  Some churches will grant marriage to gay and straight couples, some only to straight couples - heck, some might decide that only gay couples are fit to marry before God.  That becomes the business of churches, not the government, and no church has to sanctify any marriage that does not fit with its own dogma.

Personally, I think this is a perfect solution and am very proud of myself for thinking of it (somebody write a Bill!).  What do you think?


A Goldilocks Day

It is beautiful outside today.  The Lone Star Baby says that days like these - not too hot and not too cold - are "Goldilocks Days".  They are both poet children.

Christmas Reader

The main Advent calendar we use (we also have a magnetic one) is one with a little book to take out every day that tells a small bit of the Christmas story.  We read one little book every night and then hang it - they have slender golden threads like ornaments - on our little Advent tree (this year, a rosemary plant).  

We have loved this Advent calendar for many years now.  This is the first year that the Lone Star Baby has been big enough to read the little books all by herself so she has been reading them to us.  We are so proud of our little Christmas reader!

Poet Child

The Lone Star Girl and I were at H-E-B last night and I said that I wished we could find some canary melons.  Remembering them, she said they tasted like a wedding.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Great News And Terrible News

While not a fan of the military in general, I want to give them a big hand for making it clear to Congress that, overall,  they do not support bigotry against gays in their ranks.  I am very happy about the repeal of DADT - it is a step in the right direction towards full human rights for all people in our society.

Unfortunately, the Senate cared less about undocumented minors who have spent their lives in our nation, pledging allegiance to our flag every day in school, learning to be proud to be Americans.  Even though they had no control over the fact that their parents brought them here illegally and even though this is the only country they know, the failure of the DREAM Act leaves undocumented minors with no path to citizenship, but nowhere else to go.  It's a tragedy ... a slap in the face to our history as a nation of immigrants and to the Statue of Liberty and the stirring words of Emma Lazarus inscribed on its base.

Crazy Mornings

We've had some crazy mornings lately.  On Thursday, as I was dropping the Lone Star Baby off at her school in the morning, the Lone Star Girl called me from the Natatorium at the end of swim practice, saying she was having sort of an asthma attack and she had taken her inhaler but it seemed to be out and not really working right.  She didn't sound too bad on the phone and insisted it wasn't a hospital sort of attack (she was just kind of freaked because swimming had never brought it on before - running usually does), so I asked her if she would be okay to ride the bus back to her school and meet me there.  She said yes.  I half thought she would be fine by the time she got to school, but I zipped home, grabbed another inhaler and set up a sub. just in case, while calling to check on her a few times.  When I met her at the school, she wasn't scary-bad, but she did need to go to the doctor.  I gave her the new inhaler and that helped a lot.  I called the allergist and they said they were really booked and to take her to her primary care doctor since, with the inhaler, her peak flow was back in her green zone. 

I took her to school with me to get things set up for the sub. and had to get first period started before the sub. arrived, and then left to take her to the doctor.  The doctor said that there was a lot of breakthrough asthma lately and that she had a sinus infection (she'd been boogery a couple of weeks) that was triggering the asthma and that she sounded awful.  So we got lots of medicine and she's feeling better now, though still needing to use the inhaler for swimming which she doesn't usually need.

Friday morning, instead of swim practice, I was driving the Lone Star Girl to school to make up a test she missed Thursday before school.  I got in the drive-through line at the taqueria to get them breakfast for the car stuck there.  I was boxed in and for some reason the line took a supernaturally long time so we ended up running late-ish to all our drop-off points.  I dropped off the Lone Star Baby and dropped off the Lone Star Girl (I had meant to help her carry her virus cake in - more later on that- but had to leave her to manage on her own) and zipped to school just in time to not be late and to get my room ready before the bell.


Saturday morning was nicer.  We had to get up a whole lot earlier than I wanted to get up (after wrapping presents with Lone Star Pa late into the night) to take the Lone Star Girl to a swim meet, but she had to be there at 8 and it didn't start until 10, so after I dropped her off, I drove to the parking lot where they set up the Farmers' Market and sat in the car dozing and reading until it opened at 9am. I got to buy some beautiful vegetables before heading back to enjoy the swim meet. That was a nice morning.  And now we are on vacation!

Friday, December 17, 2010

TCEQ Protest

Local youth from the university have been protesting at the local TCEQ office this afternoon, trying to get through to the Commissioners to ask them not to call a special meeting to try to sneak the Las Brisas' air permit in before new air standards go into effect with 2011.  I believe they are being arrested now, but haven't heard anything but the Twitter feed and am worried.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More Winter Activities

We rolled some beeswax candles and made little cookie-cutter beeswax angel candles and cookie cutter beeswax-and-bead dove tree ornaments for the Lone Star Baby's teachers last weekend.  The Lone Star Baby also has been helping me stamp Christmas cards for mailing. 

The Lone Star Girl had a performance at school on Tuesday night - a reader's theatre collection of Christmas stories.  We took the Lone Star Baby to see it.  The Lone Star Girl has been sewing and baking in almost as much of a hurry as I have been baking and wrapping and shopping for things for teachers and school events.  It has been a busy, busy time.

Still, we are keeping up with our nightly Advent traditions and trying to stay in the Spirit in the midst of all the bustle.  I hope your holidays are going well!  Peace and Joy and Love to you all...

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First Day School: The Glorious Impossible

Today the Lone Star Baby and I had our Christmas lesson in First Day School, with materials based on the L'Engle story.  It was just us and another Friend at Meeting and my little girl was so settled into the silence that we almost didn't leave to have First Day School at all.  She is a very deep little vibration in our Meeting, this one is.  I don't think anyone knows it yet but me.

Lost Arts

The Lone Star Girl was just preparing to bake something for the swim team's holiday party and already had her ingredients mixed when she realized that we are out of non-stick spray.  I explained how to grease and flour the pan instead.

Her, doing it:  "How primitive."

Saturday, December 11, 2010


I was just reading to the Lone Star Baby one of the many dreary parts of The Long Winter in which the characters are silently wondering to themselves if they will starve.  

The Lone Star Baby interrupted to say: "I know they are going to be all right, because Laura wrote this book."

Monday, December 06, 2010

Throw Away Your Pixos

I just did.  I believe it was last Christmas (or her birthday, maybe) that I bought the Lone Star Baby a set of Pixos.  We are all about the craft kits, here, in just about every variety - my kids are artistes.  She really enjoyed playing with it. So did her sister.  And her dad.  

But guess what?

My school nurse sent out an e-mail today saying that they had just been warned at a training that the chemical in these toys can kill kids who ingest even a small amount, like by licking it.  She warned us about Pixos, Aquadots and Beados.  

I just threw our set out, but I am quite concerned about all the little Pixo creations that could be hiding all over the house.  Be careful!

Advent Activities & St. Nicholas Night

On Sunday, we rolled new Advent candles out of sheets of purple and pink beeswax - it was fun.  As the youngest child in the family, the Lone Star Baby lit the first candle last night, the first Sunday of Advent.  

My mom was in town visiting this weekend and she came over yesterday and helped us make some Christmas cards.  We put out plates of red, green and blue paint and used flat wooden ornaments (a tree, a reindeer, a snowman) as stamps.  That was fun, too, although I think we used too much paint and I had to leave them drying on the kitchen table all night.  We also are making some out of gold ink and a dove stamp.

We've been attending to our Advent calendars and holiday reading and Magi moving each night, but last night was special.  It was St. Nicholas Night (our name for the eve of St. Nicholas Day) and the girls each put out a shoe for St. Nicholas to fill before going to bed.  The Lone Star Girl found Girl Scout earrings in her shoe this morning before she left for swimming and, when the Lone Star Baby woke up, she found a tiny Model Magic craft kit in hers.  

What are your winter traditions?

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Found Notebook

I have located the lost notebook in which I wrote the poetry I have been itching to work on some more - hurray!

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Super Reader

The Lone Star Baby has finished the Magic Tree House books.  I had thought there were 49 of them for some reason, but there are only 44 and she finished them last week, after starting to read them in late July.  She went through periods where she was reading one or two (sometimes four) of the books a day but, by the end, I think she was a little tired of them.  Another is supposed to come out in January - maybe she'll still want to read it and maybe not.

Since finishing them, she read Madeleine L'Engle's Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas (Meet The Austins, here we come!) and has started in on The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  I have read these to her in Christmas Seasons Past, but now she is ready to read them to herself!  I'm so proud of her.  

I am still reading to her, of course (seasonal picture books and The Long Winter at present), but it is exciting that she can read these books on her own! 

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

State Administrative Law Judges Recommend Denying Las Brisas Air Permit!

Big news!  This is the second time they have recommended denying it.  Hopefully the TCEQ will listen. Read more from the Sierra Club here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

BIG Writing News

So, just when I have been posting whiny rants about how my writing is going nowhere....

Today was our first day back at school after the holiday - one of those mornings that feels way too early.  This morning, while I was getting dressed, I got on the computer to check on the progress of my BoxTops submissions in my role as the BoxTops Goddess at the Lone Star Baby's school (The Boxtops are doing great, by the way).  There I found waiting for me an e-mail from the (beloved) editor of Vox Poetica saying that she nominated my poem for a Pushcart Prize!!!!!!

(You may now insert the sound of high-pitched, mega-excited squealing.  Louder.)


So.  That sort of changes the way I feel about how my writing is going, you know?  Not everyone gets Pushcart-nominated before forty, right?   I guess I'm doing something right.  (More squealing.)

I am so, very, incredibly excited.  While I know I won't win, I am determined that this is the start of a bright new future for my writing, fueled by the positive vibes of feeling so thrilled.  Yeah - actually I can write better than this, but not while I am still squealing.  

You may read the poem that Ms. Lockhart of Vox Poetica nominated here: Hearts.

(More squealing.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas House

The "tree" is up (we still use the artificial tree from my husband's childhood classroom) and the house is mostly decorated.  I might have preferred to leave the dregs of November to fall, but I know that if we don't get the tree done this weekend, we won't get it done in time for early December.  It's very nice and cozy, but please remind me to rearrange the living room this summer so that we can fit things differently next Advent Season.  My old man is playing his very eclectic mix of holiday tunes (think Ringo) and the girls are happy.  A nice Christmas House.

Wishing you and yours a cozy start to the holiday season.

Another Post About Writing

Even though I have the heebie-jeebies about how much I need to get done before Monday, I took time out today to send off two essays and five poems to potential publishers.  These were mainly things I had already written, but it still seemed like a lot of effort and time stolen.  I make so many resolutions, but you know what?  

I still haven't finished the introduction to my manuscript.  

I did work on it a little this week - a very little.  I feel so much better when I write, but it is so hard to find the time.  I'll be forty on my next birthday in September and my credits thus far are a smattering of small presses and sites.  I want to do better, but see little way to change my output in the near future.  I will try to keep plugging away slowly.  Please send encouragement often.

Time And Other Numbers

I have been teaching the Lone Star Baby to tell time this week.  Granted, one does not wish for children to learn this skill too soon, as it is good to be able to pull "bedtime" out of the ether whenever it is needed.  All the same, the Lone Star Baby is in first grade and she has been showing a marked interested in the hands of the clock lately ("what shade of eight is it?"), so now seems to be the appropriate time to learn.

She has a clock puzzle sort of thing with movable hands so we started with that.  Today we moved on to worksheets of blank clock faces.  I give her times and she draws the hands.  She is picking it up very quickly.  I need to try it the other way, where I give her the hands and she writes the time, but once she has that down, she will have the skill mastered.  

The Lone Star Baby's school hasn't mentioned telling time yet, but the Lone Star Girl was in first grade when they took it on in her math class and it wasn't pretty with her.  Tears and resistance were her usual response to homework of any kind, especially math.  The Lone Star Baby finds this sort of thing much more appealing and enjoys practicing it, though.  Yay - it's much nicer this way.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dona Park Contaminated, Press Release From CFEJ

For Immediate Release, November 17, 2010

Contact: Tammy Foster, CFEJ Dona Park
Chair: 688-3666
Suzie Canales, CFEJ: Executive Director: 334-6764

First set of soil results for Dona Park show that several properties are highly contaminated

(Corpus Christi, Texas)  Several years after abandoning the Dona Park soil contamination crisis the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) agreed to re-open the Dona Park case late last summer after meeting with members of Citizens for Environmental Justice (CFEJ). 

The Citizens for Environmental Justice (CFEJ), have raised concerns repeatedly through the years about the botched remediation efforts from the 1990s; the methodology used by the state to conduct the soil sampling and the fact that both ASARCO and the state abandoned the issue before it was ever completed.

Now the results from Phase 1 are in and the preliminary data show that several properties are contaminated with heavy metals, including lead and cadmium above the clean up levels. "These results show what we already knew, that TCEQ abandoned the remediation efforts in the 1990s, leaving us on contaminated land," said Tammy Foster, a long time Dona Park resident and Citizens for Environmental Justice Dona Park Chair. 

"We'll never know how many people have been adversely impacted through the decades from living on property highly contaminated by heavy metals," said Suzie Canales, Executive Director of CFEJ. "It's rewarding to see though that our activism resulted in the re-opening of this case and possibly helping numerous residents. So far, TCEQ has been working well with us and including us in every step. This is important in the success of this renewed effort."

February, 1994 - TCEQ (formerly Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, TNRCC) conducted soil sampling at Dona Park, Oak Park and Hillcrest. The highest levels of heavy metals (i.e. Lead, Cadmium and Zinc) were detected in the Dona Park Area. This was attributed to operations of the former zinc smelter owned by American Smelter and Refining Co. (ASARCO).
March 1, 1994 - TCEQ issues a Press Release announcing a meeting to be held at St. Theresa's Church for March 7, 1994 to discuss additional soil sampling, this time focused on the Dona Park area. TCEQ went on to say that a clean-up of properties would be conducted that had lead levels above 500 parts per million (ppm); cadmium levels above 50 ppm.
April 1994 - soil sampling was conducted of the Dona Park area by combining soil from two residential lots.
May 1994 - TCEQ issues the results of the soil results and announces that they will conduct more testing for the "hot spots."
June, 1994 - TCEQ conducts another round of soil sampling
February 6, 1995 - Eight (8) months after the June re-sampling event, the TCEQ issues a letter to residents containing the results
Subsequently, clean up was done of some of the residential properties then ASARCO filed for bankruptcy.
October and November 2003 -  ASARCO sends TCEQ letters regarding their "intentions" to clean up yards with elevated heavy metals. However, neither ASARCO nor TCEQ thoroughly followed through.

To see the data from Phase 1:


Happy Thanksgiving

I hope that you and yours have plenty to be thankful for this season.  I admit that I have felt a little bit besieged of late, but even with it getting harder every day to provide for my family's needs, we still are very blessed and have so much.

I am thankful for my children and my ability to care for them.  So thankful. 

What are you thankful for in this season of waning harvest and winter's door?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Game-Making Girlet

The Lone Star Baby got into her Bare Books box (I lurve Bare Books materials) this week and found a blank game board template.  She spent much of this morning designing a board game, complete with paper die and game pieces, with a little help from her sister.  This afternoon, we played it.  It was great fun.  I love my creative girls.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Roll Beyond Coal

Join us tomorrow to roll beyond coal!  Bring bikes, tricycles, skateboards or just your feet and signs and let's roll!  Coal is not a clean energy source for our future:  we can do much better! 
Where: McCaughan Park
When: Saturday, November 20, 1:30 PM Meet at the park
2:00 PM Press Conference
2:15 PM Ride

Living La Vida Epi

Made two pharmacy trips after the Daisy meeting - one to buy new Epi-pens for the Lone Star Girl and one (after switching expiring Epi-pens for new ones in her school medicine tote and her purse) to take the old ones back to the pharmacy to be safely destroyed.  They look at me kind of funny when I do the second part, but it's the only way I can live with myself.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Worst Swim Parent In World

That's me.  

I thought the Lone Star Girl had made it clear to her coach that our long-planned double-troop GS meeting Friday night would mean that she could not be in this meet unless the bus was taking them and bringing them back, but it seems this was not adequately made understood and now...

She is supposed to be there when we cannot take her on Friday and leave when we cannot get her and she got entered anyway so I told her to call the coach and say she couldn't go.  

The extremely sweet and tolerant coach was not happy and my daughter cried to be bailing on her.  I feel terrible about it, too. 

I am frankly getting pretty tired of running myself into the ground with all the things I am trying to be to all the people I am trying to be them to and still disappointing everyone. 


All right.  Enough venting.  Onward ho.

Monday, November 15, 2010

First Day School: Service, The Ten Best Ways and The Books of The Bible

On Sunday at First Day School, the Lone Star Girl was learning about the religions in our unit on faiths with an an ethic of service - Friends, Humanists and Unitarian Universalists, specifically.  We are about finished (we never finish learning about Friends, of course, but finished with the unit) except for the field trip.  We haven't, in our busy-ness, been very good about keeping up with field trips but the Girl is very interested in Unitarians so we will be sure to be better about visiting this time.

The Lone Star Baby had her lesson on the Ten Commandments and a brief lesson on the Bible and the different kinds of books in the Bible and where the stories we had been studying in the Old Testament and the New Testament were found.  It was nice - she got to use her mad reference skillz.

This pretty much finishes our use of the Godly Play materials for awhile, except for repeats, in our lessons.  We've done the parables from the New Testament, as well as the Christmas and Easter-related lessons that interest me.  We've done the Old Testament stories that I found appropriate.  There are a couple of  good parable synthesis and otherwise New Testament related lessons that the Lone Star Baby is not old enough for yet  and that I will probably introduce when she is eight or nine, if the means are still available, but that's it for now. 

I intend to repeat a lesson using the Advent materials and a lesson using the Christmas materials over the Christmas season probably,  but then we will be moving on.  We are going to spend most of 2011 on Quaker Testimonies and practices, utilizing some Faith-n-Play materials I will make as well as some other materials I am drawing in. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Gathered Meeting

Meeting is a continuing revelation to me when I go - not the sort of deep and complicated message that I read online from Friends who often seem to me to have a whole heck of a lot of time on their hands, but just a surprisingly cooling and soothing engulfment of the parched fields of my exhausting life.   

I confess to being so busy and so tired most of the time that, before the fact, I don't usually want to go to Meeting.  I welcome excuses for not having Meeting and since we are a tiny Meeting and I - due to the need to educate my children in our faith - tend to be the person these days with the most desire to continue meeting, my fellow Friends are often willing to give me excuses.    They have complications that exhaust them too - sick partners and parents and travel.  Often just my own family even shows up.

When we most of us make it there, though, I remember why it is so important that we meet together, and not just carry on our spiritual lives individually.  The whole Meeting feels it.  It matters.  Even in the short periods before and after the children and I leave to and return from First Day School, the Gathered Meeting takes its so central place in our souls and lifts us all up.

Today was especially nice, as the Lone Star Baby, for really the first time, felt very much a part of the Gathered Meeting, still and serene and silent beside me.  If the fifteen-year-old hadn't been so much more fidgety than the six-year-old, I might have forgotten all about First Day school and stayed.


Some days ago, Lone Star Pa and I found four pecans in the backyard, which troubled us owing to the Lone Star Girl's allergies.  One was on one side of the back of the yard and the other three on the other side of the back of the yard, all near the back fence.  We have no pecan trees in the backyard that we know of - we have lived here eleven years and no tree has ever dropped pecans, anyway ... but we started to worry.  There are three trees, all of the same type growing not exactly in our yard, but right up against the other side of our back fence in three places, trees that mainly hang over into our yard.  They are pretty big and a neighbor said they might be pecans which made me feel very panicky.  Still, they had these little dark maroon berries all over them and that did not feel very nut-tree to me. 

I posted a worried post on FB and a friend (thank you, Joe) suggested both that they might be soapberry trees and that I should take a piece of tree to a nearby nursery and they would tell me what it was.  I did a little more research on the ever-so-useful interwebs and it looked very much to me like soapberries were a lot bigger than the berries on these trees, but I thought they might be hackberries.  Probably the pecans were squirrel deposits.

Today I took a sprig of leaves and berries to the nursery and they said they are hackberries.  Relief!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Friday Hot Lunch

The Lone Star Baby's new school lets parents buy Friday lunches, too.  The middle schoolers have them catered in for the school as part of their curriculum - running a business.  And there are choices the  Lone Star Baby likes every Friday.  So I didn't have to pack her a lunch for tomorrow.  Joy!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Action Alert: Tell The EPA To Intervene And Stop Las Brisas

One really horrible Election Day does not mean that the work stops, people.  It means that we work harder.  

Priority One on my political action list is keeping Las Brisas away from my kids.  For the other mamas and papas and folks who care about children and want them to be able to breathe, here is this week's assignment:

Contact Gina McCarthy at the Environmental Protection Agency at and let her know your concerns about Las Brisas.  Ask the EPA to step in and protect our children from this terrible plant if the TCEQ does not.  Spread the word and get everyone you know to contact Ms. McCarthy this week.  Getting our requests is how they know what we need.  

You can do it, Texas!   Our kids (and the sick and elderly and pregnant people of Texas) need us to take action.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Autumn Books

I try to set aside a selection of children's books to take out each season with the seasonal decorations, another way for our family to celebrate the seasons together.  I was always pretty good about this for winter/Christmas books, but it took me a long time to get my act together for the other seasons.  Now the Lone Star Girl's too old to be much interested and the Lone Star Baby is getting there.  I'm still trying to read some fall books to the Lone Star Baby this season, though, and she still enjoys it some, if not to the degree that a younger child would.  These are our favorite fall books:

The Pumpkin Blanket by Deborah Turney Zagwyn 
The Apple Pip Princess by Jane Ray
Apple Picking Time by Michele Benoit Slawson
Pumpkin Fiesta by Caryn Yacowitz
Bats At The Beach by Brian Lies
Alice And Greta by Cyd Moore
Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Reading Saves Me

I have books to read at present - good books.  Enough to keep me reading with interest for a few days in the moments between the endless tasks that are mine to accomplish.  I have also learned (excitement!) that several books have recently been published that I long to read.  They are bound to be at the library soon, keeping me going for more days. 

I know I should soldier on for my kids when things are hard, and I do, really - making sure that I keep up with all of my responsibilities for their sakes.  I don't like to confess, though, that the very great privilege I have in being able to do that - a gift that I know should infuse me with joy - is often not enough to keep up my spirits when I fear a future of Republican-driven climate change, a crumbling educational system for the poor, sorrows for my loved ones, ever harder and more exhausting workdays for me etc., etc., etc. 

I feel that just the beauty and wonder of those precious children who I am so lucky to be able to care for should be enough, but somehow I still get tired and glum.  I'm ashamed of this - it is weak and selfish and ungrateful when there is so much I have for which to be grateful.    I am grateful for my children and the ability to care for them - truly and deeply - but not always joyfully.  And I wish I were.  I try to be.

It is books that keep me walking the line of sanity, though.  That distract me from my worries long enough to keep me from being enveloped by them.  Day by day, books keep me on this side of the edge.  They save me.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Bookstore Scariness

I was at the bookstore with the Lone Star Girl last night rather later than we should have been out on a school night (we had to get her allergy shot first after I picked her up after work and that takes a long time), looking to replace a lost copy of Sadako And The Thousand Paper Cranes for my classes and get birthday presents for my niece, when the Lone Star Girl showed me something very scary in the YA section.  Two whole shelving units in the YA section are now labeled "Teen Paranormal Romance".  I kid you not.  We backed away slowly.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Unhappy Morning

Real bad - that's how it went.  We lost our Congressman, our state representatives (the best state representatives anyone ever had - we'll miss you so) and almost all of our local positions got filled up with big-money-over-people people.  

Perry got re-elected along with a bunch of corporate tools at the state-level - real bad.  

We tried to get people in office who care about our children and our air and water, but all that unrestricted (thank you, Supreme Court) corporate money got us.  We are going to have to come up with some very creative ways to help regular people beat that kind of money.

Things are going to be very hard, as if they haven't been hard enough, over the next few years.  I fear for the safety of our environment and our children.  We must work very hard to protect them from the minions of Republicorp.

Let's take a deep breath and get at it.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Happy Election Day!

Today is the day!  To all those who have not yet voted, please get to your precinct's polling place before 7pm and vote today.  Our great state and our great democracy depend on the informed votes of the citizenry.  It's all on us.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I like sitting on the porch surrounded by the toasty smell of candle-lit jack 'o' lanterns on either side of me watching the goblin hordes walk up and down the street in the dark.  It is much past the time when we take the neighborhood children out - well into the hours when other children drive into our friendly old subdivision, children who grab big handfuls of candy and run away.  I let them, smiling.  Lone Star Pa has the pointed "which one do you want?" down, but I cant do it - I let them take it all every time.


My Goblin Princess is fifteen today.  Where did the years go?  When I think how eye-blink short the time between eleven and today was - I am terrified.  I know she will fly away so soon.  I love the person she is and love seeing her grow and blossom, but I wish so much that we had more time to savor it.  Much, much, much more time.

We had a nice day - presents and lunch out and trick-or-treating and cake and ice cream with visits from friends.  Just about a perfect day.   Happy Halloween, all.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Young Singer

The Lone Star Baby's class spent a lot of time studying important people for Hispanic Heritage Month - they even stretched it out past the 15th through yesterday.  I was thrilled when the Lone Star Baby came home talking about Cesar Chavez and even more thrilled when she came home talking about Dolores Huerta.  She told me at the start of the unit they were going to dress up as an important Hispanic person some time in the future.  I had visions of making a stencil of a UFW eagle and making her a shirt like that to be Dolores Huerta, along with signs - "Viva La Raza!" and "Viva La Huelga!"  and "Uvas No!"

Then she came home one day and said that she had been assigned to research Linda Ronstadt.  Sigh.  Someone else got Dolores Huerta.  Such is life.

So she researched the answers to the questions about Linda Ronstadt's life that her teacher had given her and made a poster of pictures of Linda Ronstadt and yesterday she dressed up like a late 60s/early 70s Linda and took a tambourine to school and did her presentation.  Lone Star Pa took off work to watch  and go to her Red Ribbon Week picnic.

Even if she had to be Linda Ronstadt, it was a pretty good project for first graders to do, I thought.

Friday, October 29, 2010

First Nine Weeks!

I am so proud of my baby!  The Lone Star Girl got her first high school report card today and she got all A's - and she is in an International Baccalaureate program which is quite challenging.  She has worked really hard.  Her goal is to be ranked one of the top twenty people in her class (which now has about 600 students in it but which will probably be much smaller at graduation time).  She has some really stiff competition in her program, but with these grades on her first report card, I know she will do it.  She is fairly new to life as a serious scholar, having been more of the "grades and other numbers are just establishment illusions, Mom" type prior to 8th grade when she started to buckle down a bit.  She sees the connection between grades and college scholarships, though, so now she wants to work hard.  I am quite impressed with the direction she's going these days.  Wonderful kid I've got.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Action Alert: Vote

This week's assignment for mamas and papas and other folks who care about the children of Texas is simple:  Vote.  

Early voting is this week and Election Day is Tuesday - make sure your voice is heard.  Vote to protect and nurture the children of Texas today!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Boxtops Goddess

I have mailed in the first box o' Boxtops for the Lone Star Baby's school.  How I rock.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lone Star Ma Local Candidate Endorsements

Our two young guns, always fighting for what's right in South Texas:
  • State Representative, District 33:  Solomon Ortiz, Jr.
  • State Representative, District 34:  Abel Herrero

Solomon Ortiz 
(I am a big fan of our young Solly but am less fond of this, his militaristic father.  However, Congressman Ortiz is about a million times better than his right-wing opponent who likes to hang out with the hate-radio crowd.)

Family Court:  Terry Shamsie

School Board:  Jenny Dorsey!!!!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lone Star Ma State-Wide Candidate Endorsements

Election Day is November 2nd and early voting is going on right now.  If you haven't voted yet, please make sure that you do!  Lone Star Ma endorses the following candidates for a cleaner, safer Texas that will provide our children with the education and resources they need for a successful future:

Governor: Bill White

Lt. Governor:  Linda Chavez-Thompson

Attorney General:  Barbara Ann Radnofsky

Land Commissioner:  Hector Uribe 

Agriculture Commissioner:  Hank Gilbert

Railroad Commissioner:  Jeff Weems.

These are the folks I voted for, because I trust them with the future of my children's health, environment and education.  Do your research and decide who you can trust.  Then vote!

Isn't It Romantic?

The run of the first high school play that the Lone Star Girl has participated in was this past Thursday through today.  They performed Isn't It Romantic? by Wendy Wasserstein.  It was a really excellent play.  I hadn't read or seen this one before but another play by the same playwright is one of my favorites - The Heidi Chronicles.  Ms. Wasserstein writes smart plays and I, who am very much a snob about the theatre, had my doubts about one of her plays being performed by a group of high schoolers ... but it was really good!  They are a talented bunch of kids who did a great job!  The Lone Star Girl played the telephone operator, which was just one line repeated twice, but she was the only freshperson cast, so I think it was pretty exciting for her to be in it at all.  I went to see it with Jazz on Thursday night and I went to see it again, with Lone Star Pa and the Lone Star Baby, on Saturday night.  My dad and step-mom caught the closing matinee today.  Huzzah for our little Drama Queen!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Party Animals

After a very busy day, I found myself alone with Lone Star Pa this evening.  The Lone Star Girl had the second night of her play and the Lone Star Baby had a pajama party at school until 9:30pm.

Want to know what we did?

Some block-walking for Bill White and some Boxtop-counting for the Lone Star Baby's school.

Yeah - we're wild and crazy like that.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

First Grade Friends

The Lone Star Baby laid out a certain shirt and a certain pair of pants to wear to school tomorrow because she and a friend have decided to "be twins".  She asked me if I would do her hair in two pigtails and was squealing-excited when I said yes.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Alert: Tell Your Legislators - No Las Brisas!

Tomorrow the next stage of hearings for Las Brisas begins in Austin.  SOAH judges will hear further evidence on the air permit over the next few days and will make recommendations to the TCEQ Commissioners based upon the evidence.

Meanwhile, at a public meeting a few weeks ago, a local legislator told the meeting that, while he heard plenty of public opposition to Las Brisas in public forums and the media, very few people had actually contacted his office about the issue on way or another.  

Well, that has to change, doesn't it?  

We need to let our legislators know that we need them to protect us from this poison, and we need to let them know directly.  

That brings us to this week's assignment as part of Lone Star Ma's Mama Action Network:  if you care about the children of our community, tell your legislators that you need them to keep that poison plant out of here - no Las Brisas!  Let them know that our doctors have told us it will hurt our children and we are not standing for that - it has got to go.   If everyone contacts them this week, it will make a big impression.  Here is their contact information:

Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa 
E-mail form:
(512) 463-0120, Austin

Representative Abel Herrero,  District 34
E-mail form:
Telephone: (512) 463-0462, Austin or (361) 882-2277, Corpus Christi

Representative Solomon Ortiz, Jr., District 33
E-mail form:
Telephone:  (512) 463-048, Austin or (361) 991-004, Corpus Christi

Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Telephone:  (512) 463-0672, Austin or 361-949-4603, Corpus Christi.

One week, four calls or e-mails - you can do it, South Texas!  Get on it!

Early Voting Starts Monday


Thursday, October 14, 2010

She Has A Point

Me:  (in the bathroom as both girls try to talk to me at once and the Lone Star Baby comes in to color on the bathtub with bath crayons) I could use some privacy, girls.

Lone Star Girl:   Then you shouldn't have had kids.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Magic Treehouse Girl

The Lone Star Baby started reading the Magic Treehouse books at the very end of July and she is now on #30.  She has worked her way up from sometimes taking a few days to finish one to often finishing one or two per day.  Lots of library and bookstore trips.  I expect she'll read the research guides after #49, but I hope she finds another series that she likes as well.  The Lone Star Girl hopes to get her to read the Droon books next.  It sure makes taking her to meetings easier!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Scary Bleachers

At the Lone Star Girl's swim meet on Saturday, I was sitting in the bleachers in her team's section in between her events.  She had gotten up to go check on a diver-friend who had taken a spill and I was sort of zoning out.  After a few minutes, I noticed that a pistachio shell had been in my field of vision for awhile.  I looked around and, a little behind and above the Lone Star Girl's bags on the bleachers, a boy was munching rather messily from a bag of nuts.  I looked around - they were getting everywhere in the team's section.  I started to get that panicky feeling in my gut and I picked up the Lone Star Girl's stuff and moved a bit away from the team's section on the bleachers.  I got the Lone Star Girl's attention and motioned her over.  When she came, I explained why we had moved and for her to be careful.

Then, while the Lone Star Girl was swimming, two boys from her team scooted over to where we had moved, eating little pecan pies.   Eek!  I explained uncomfortably that we were running out of places to move to and could they please keep the pies closer to the team section, which they did.  At least they tried to, but I was pretty uncomfortable with the proximity of all the nuts.

When the Lone Star Girl finished the relay she was swimming, she was done with all of her three events for that meet, so I let the coach know that the nuts were making me nervous and we left early.

Sometimes it feels like no place is safe.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Homecoming Shopping and Preparations

This coming week, all the homecoming hoop-lah begins at the Lone Star Girl's high school.  The parade, in which the Lone Star Girl will participate as a swim team member (she could have gone along with the swim team, the Paleo Club or the theatre kids), is Wednesday, the game is Friday and the dance is Saturday.  There are also some themed dress-up days throughout the week at school, apparently.  I went to a high school that was an arts magnet and had no athletics so this stuff is all new to me.  We have been preparing.  

Last weekend, we went to the thrift store and bought two beautiful dresses for less than $15 together.  They need a little work and will be picked up from the dry cleaner Monday.  She may be able to wear one to Homecoming, but in case they need more than the dry cleaner can do, we bought a new back-up dress at Kohl's last night.  With these three dresses and the one she wore to the 8th grade graduation dance, she should be set for fancy dances for awhile.  We also got a pretty little purse for her medicine.

I knew there was some mum thing involved and had seen stuff for it at Hobby Lobby, so we also went there last weekend and bought supplies to make the mum.   A very nice lady at Hobby Lobby showed us what we needed and how it's done.  We got little trinkets to glue on that represent swimming, Paleo Club, Theatre and Girl Scouts.  We're going to make it this weekend, hopefully.

Also this weekend, we need to get some candy for the clubs to which the Lone Star Girl belongs to toss from their parade floats.  

All this stuff about having a kid starting high school is keeping my brain hopping - so much to learn, so much to do.  It would probably be great for my neural health if there wasn't also so much sleep deprivation involved.

To novel experiences!

(And homecoming)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Action Alert: Towards A Better TCEQ

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is up for Sunset Review soon.  This means that the Sunset Commission will gather data to determine whether or not the TCEQ should continue to exist.  They will then present their recommendations to the Legislature which will vote on them.  We could end up with no TCEQ, the same TCEQ we have now or a changed TCEQ.  I'm all about a changed TCEQ.

Texas is energy country in ways good and bad and we do a lot of the nation's chemical and petroleum refining in general.   The TCEQ is the second largest environmental regulatory agency in the world, second only to the EPA.  Obviously, we need an agency that monitors environmental quality.  The problem is that the TCEQ in its current  incarnation (and many of its past ones) is doing a very poor job of protecting the citizens of Texas from pollution and environmental disaster.  The agency is peopled across the state with devoted public servants, as is our local government in Corpus Christi.  The problem, like with our local government,  is that the people in charge are not concerned with protecting our citizens.  They are concerned with attracting industry.  

Attracting industry needs to be someone else's job.  That would be my first recommendation.  

Recommendation number two - authority over permitting decisions must be taken away from the three-person commission of the governor's appointees (any governor's appointees) and made to take into account science and public health data, not just their own political leanings.  Right now, no matter what SOAH judges recommend after involved hearings, no matter what their own staff recommends, no matter what science says, the commissioners just do what they want - they make industry happy.

Recommendation number three - the agency must act to increase environmental justice.  The poor must not be made to keep paying for progress with their lives and their children.

Four - polluters must pay.  For all that they do.  Under the present system, polluters are better off financially when they keep paying fines for non-compliance than they would be if they made the changes it would take to bring them into compliance with regulations.  This needs to change.

Five - one of the authorities in the permitting process needs to be a physician with expertise in public health.

Six - economic impact should not be a factor in deciding what pollution standards should be.

That's where I would start.  Those aren't my ideas, though.  On Thursday, Del Mar College, the Sierra Club, the Clean Economy Coalition, Public Citizen and probably a bunch of other agencies I'm too tired to remember held a public meeting to discuss recommendations for the Sunset Commission.  More than 200 people showed up.  We went and kept the kids up way too late.  It was a good meeting - the sort of public discourse that needs to happen more.  I am grateful to the agencies who sponsored it, and especially to the public officials who attended.  

The ideas have to get to the Sunset Commission and to our legislators to do any good, though.  South Texas Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa is on the Sunset Commission.  Please contact his office at (there's an e-mail form on the site) or (512) 463-0120 to let him know what you think needs to happen with the TCEQ.  Then contact our local state representatives and let them know, too:

Representative Abel Herrero,  District 34
E-mail form:
Telephone: (512) 463-0462, Austin or (361) 882-2277, Corpus Christi

Representative Solomon Ortiz, Jr., District 33
E-mail form:
Telephone:  (512) 463-048, Austin or (361) 991-004, Corpus Christi

Representative Todd Hunter, District 32
Telephone:  (512) 463-0672, Austin or 361-949-4603, Corpus Christi.

This is your assignment from Lone Star Ma for this week, mamas and papas and other people who care about the children of Texas.  Please make the calls or e-mails to these legislators about the TCEQ.  You will get another assignment next week toward a safe and green Texas for our children - there is so much to do!  Keep in touch!   

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Block-Walking For Bill White!

I finished one of my block-walking lists for Bill White today!  Sunshine, exercise and spreading the word about the great things Bill White can do for Texas as our next governor - helping with a campaign rocks!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Coffee-Requiring Day "Off"

School conference for eldest.  Fielding phone calls from eldest's allergist office (during conference) and again after conference. Drove in the duct tape car on library field trip for youngest.  Pediatrician phone calls.  Girl Scout errand.    More phone calls to try to arrange transportation for various doctor appointments.  Picking up youngest.  Picking up eldest.  Doctor appointment for eldest.  Meeting my old man at doctor's appointment to hand off youngest for soccer.  Dropping eldest off at home.  Informational meeting on IB program at eldest's school.  The field trip was lovely, lovely, lovely but I am tired, tired, tired.


Yesterday morning, we were parked in the parking lot at the Lone Star Baby's school.  I was waiting for her to finish her breakfast so we could go in when another car - a big one - backed right into us. The important thing is that we are a-okay.  It freaked me out to get hit with my child in the car!  I even hugged a random dad from the school who is pretty much a stranger to me when he came over to make sure we were alright - I was a bit freaked.  

The car was technically drive-able.  I got the other parent's insurance information and drove to work.  I called the police just to find out if it was legal for me to drive in the daytime without the lights I no longer had on one side (brake light, turn signal) - they said no, of course.  So...I got permission for a half day off and when my sub. arrived mid-day, I made the insurance calls and went to a mechanic who was fortunately able to replace the brake light bulb and the turn signal bulb for under $30, making me legal to drive.  Now it is just incredibly ugly and sharp, the latter of which I have very slightly ameliorated with duct tape (ah, duct tape).  According to the other parent's insurance, they are taking full responsibility and will fix everything - we shall see how long and arduous that is, I guess.

May I just say here how much I love Staples Automotive?  I highly recommend them if you need to get your car fixed.  They are the place that replaced the bulbs.  They are just so nice there, and so understanding of the financial and time limitations of real, working people.  I heart them.  They won't be able to fix the rest of my car because they don't do any body work, but I still heart them.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I am not at all thrilled to be this close to 40, but I still am having a very nice birthday.  My students were wishing me a happy birthday all day and my family took me out to dinner tonight.  The Lone Star Baby and the Lone Star Girl both made me lovely presents of their art - paintings and drawings from the Lone Star Baby and bottle cap art from the Lone Star Girl - and Jazz (who already took me out to dinner over the weekend!) and Lone Star Pa both gave me games I had been wanting for a long time - Banana-grams and Creationary.  The Lone Star Girl made me a lovely cake which we enjoyed.  Birthday greetings have been tendered from near and far.  I am grateful to have such lovely people in my life.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Boxtops Queen

I am the new volunteer Boxtops for Education Coordinator at the Lone Star Baby's school.  

There is a requirement, you see,  that parents volunteer 20 hours per year and, what with all the half days for this and that when there is not after-school care available and the field trips they need parents to drive on, and ... well, it becomes hard to meet the expectations of this sort of school while holding down a job, you know?  Somehow the great schools always seem to expect you not to need to be employed.  

So I made sure to snag this Boxtops gig right away since most of it can be done at home and it can get me the hours I need.  I've been working hard getting it organized this week and have already put in five hours.  I have it all set up and all the information sent out to teachers and set up to go out to parents in the Friday folders.  Gonna rock the Boxtops, people.  Gonna be the best Boxtops Queen ev-ah.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Daisy Girl Scout Garden Service Project

At our last meeting, the Daisy Girl Scouts planted two flat container gardens of squash, eggplant and tomatoes (with some marigolds to ward away bugs) and decorated a watering can and made little popsicle stick plant markers that they stuck into the soil next to the plants.  They voted to do the planting for the Mother Teresa Day Shelter for which they have previously collected toiletries and harvested grapefruit.  We had planned to deliver the little gardens last weekend but the weather was too bad on Sunday, so we re-scheduled for today and , after soccer today, they delivered them to the Mother Teresa Day Shelter.  Proud of my girls.

First Game of the Season

Thanks to last week's cancellation due to inclement weather, I was able to make the Lone Star Baby's first game of the season.  Her team is the Sharks, this year, and it is her first year in the U8 (Under 8) division, as opposed to the U6 division.  As near as I can tell, this means that each team has five players on the field instead of three.  Lone Star Pa is coaching again and a couple of his players from last year came back.  There are more girls on the team than ever before - five.  I don't think her previous teams had more than 2.  A great game and a nice morning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Flu Shots: Check

The health department started giving out flu shots this week and they were opened until 6:30pm on Monday.  Lone Star Pa took the Lone Star Baby to get hers, so now we are all vaccinated.  Mama is happy.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Bill White For Texas: Phone-banking

I really, really want Bill White to be our next governor and Linda Chavez-Thompson to be our next Lt. Governor - so very much.  Naturally, I want to help them and other Democratic candidates get elected this November, but it's very hard for me to find the time to make scheduled times when the campaign is holding phone-banking nights or block-walking mornings, etc. - I have so much work to do, and then there are the soccer games and swim meets and Girl Scout meetings and First Day School and fighting Las Brisas - I am way, way, way over-extended all the time.

Fortunately, the campaign understands this.  They happily provided me with a phone-banking list of a swing precinct to call and a block-walking list of neighbors to go talk with - on my schedule, as I can get to it.  Their flexibility allows me to help the campaign around all my other work and I am so grateful.  It would, of course, be more fun to be going to all the campaign events and socializing with the other activists and feeling all part of things that way, but what I am doing is just as effective and works for me.  I'm thrilled to be doing my part.

I finished my phone list tonight and hope to get started on my block-walking list this week.  

Do you want to help Bill White get elected?  Call or drop by the Democratic H.Q. in Hamlin Center and ask about volunteer opportunities.  If they are flexible enough to provide ways for me to volunteer, they will be able to work with you, too.  Together, we will turn Texas blue this November!