Thursday, March 25, 2010

Girl Scouts' Women's History Fair on Saturday!!!

The Lone Star Girl's Girl Scout troop is sponsoring a Women's History Fair on Saturday from 1pm until 5pm at Neyland Library (formerly Parkdale).  They will have displays on women's suffrage, women in medicine, women in cooking, women in government, women in fashion and women in science.  There will be stories and crafts for the kids!  It's free!  Please bring your kids to check it out if you are in town Saturday and spread the word!  Thanks!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ada Lovelace Day

Happy Ada Lovelace Day!  Today is a day set aside for honoring women in technology and science and this post is in memory of one of my favorite such women, Mary Anning.

Mary Anning lived from 1799-1847 on the Southern coast of England and made numerous important paleontological discoveries, perhaps most notably the first fossilized plesiosaur and the first Ichthyosaurus.  Mary Anning was a self-taught fossil hunter who was sought out by many renowned scientists due to her wide knowledge of fossils.  She made her living selling fossils for most of her life.

There is a wonderful children's book by Don Brown about Mary Anning that my girls have loved called Rare Treasures:  Mary Anning And Her Remarkable Discoveries.

Is there a woman in technology or science that you would like to share informaton about?  Please tell us about her in your comments or post about her on another blog.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Historic Health Care Reform Bill Passes

This may be the most special first day of spring in a very long time!  After months of high-dollar scare tactics from the Republicans, health care reform has passed.  

I will admit that I was starting to worry.   

Are you watching, Teddy?  The dream endures.

March 21, 2010.  Let's all remember.

Walking Boot

Last night, the Lone Star Girl tripped and fell funny on her foot.  It didn't swell up big or turn any particularly interesting colors and she could walk so we thought it probably wasn't broken, but it hurt a lot when moved a certain way.  We iced it all night and today it felt worse instead of better, so we visited the urgent care clinic.  They didn't even x-ray it, also thinking it not broken, but gave her a walking boot and instructions to take large doses of tylenol and see her pediatrician in a couple of days.  She says the walking boot makes it feel very much better when she walks.  Right now I have her elevating it on the couch with ice, eating pizza and raspberries.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Nueces County Democratic Convention

It was fun.  Exciting as always.  The young Rep. Ortiz wore one of our No Las Brisas bumper stickers.  Lots of people did.  My caregiver resolution did not pass but the moratorium on coal-fired plants one (which I did not write but did submit) passed, as well as some other rockin' resolutions from other folks.  The resolutions are the part I like most.  Lone Star Pa and I are alternates to the State Convention, which is going to be guess where for the first time ev-ah?  That's right!  Right here in the sparkling city by the sea in June!  I love democracy!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bad Commissioners

We spent our St. Paddy's Day morning at the Nueces County Commissioners Court explaining why we do not want them to give a tax abatement to Las Brisas to make it cheaper for Las Brisas to come make us sick.  They voted to give Las Brisas a tax abatement anyway (provided Las Brisas gets permitted).  Grf.  

Only Commissioner Ortiz voted against the tax abatement.  I have now appointed myself the president of Commissioner Ortiz' fan club.   He was the only one who cared about the health of my children.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Texas Social Studies TEKS Revisions

I meant to write more about this but I just can't.  It's too upsetting, especially when I am surrounded by a system that cares not a whit.  It seems to me that schools would be buzzing frantically about this ... no such luck.  At least not here.  No one seems to care that our students will be further marginalized by this, when so many of them already feel pretty totally alienated from mainstream society as it is.

Someday I'd like to elected to the SBOE just so I can fight this stuff but I really can't do that kind of thing while still needing to support my children with a real job, and our representative is doing a good job in this area anyway, for all the good it does.  Yes, many members of the Texas SBOE are racist, religious right nuts and their bigoted insanity will now set the standard for the nation's textbooks again.   

I'm sorry - truly sorry.  I swear not everyone in Texas is like that.  Mary Helen Berlanga, the representative to the Texas SBOE from our part of the state, really tried her best to fight the bigots, as did Mavis Knight.  Kudos to them.  Not that it helped much, but it helped some.  Every bit counts.

In good news, the sixth grade TEKS came out fairly unscathed by bigotry, but for one thing:  it looks like we will be required to teach about the disadvantages as well as the advantages of multiculturalism.  I can't think of any unless you are a bigot, is the problem.  It was a lot worse for some other grades.

The Texas Freedom Network pretty much exists to monitor this issue and fight the good fight.  Their coverage is the best I have found.  Here is a link to their blog so you can see how bad it is. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Mamaphiles #4 - Raising Hell!

MamaPhiles, the mama and papa zine collaboration, announces issue #4: Raising Hell

- Available for Pre-order – And Fundraiser (Please Feel Free to Repost)

Mamaphiles, the mama and papa zine collaboration, announces issue #4, Raising Hell!

The collaborative effort of thirty-four zine-making parents, this fourth issue of Mamaphiles takes on the wilder side of parenthood – from toddler-chasing to rabble-rousing. “Children are natural born hell-raisers,” wrote Henry Miller. And as Mamaphiles’ writers can attest, raising them can be an act of revolution.

Raising Hell features stories of an activist family imprisoned in Israel and racial injustice in the U.S., as well as essays on the more quiet, inner struggles of parents striving to seek balance and creative expression, heal, make a family and support each other.

Mamaphiles was initially conceived in 2004 as a cooperative effort of the zine-writing mothers who congregated online at Thirty-three contributors took on the theme of “Birth” and the resulting 132-page zine proved so successful that two more issues were produced, Mamaphiles #2 “Cutting the Cord” and Mamaphiles #3 “Coming Home” .

Now, with Raising Hell, the Mamaphiles writers – each of whom produces a zine individually – have pooled their talent again to testify that while child-rearing may be hellish sometimes, it’s the most rewarding hell out there.

Trula Breckenridge/Positive Emergence
Mariah Boone/ Lone Star Ma
Charlie/The Nose Knows
Sky Cosby / Pirate Papa : An Anarcho-Green Journal of D(o)-I(t)-Y(ourself) Parenting
Robin Dutton-Cookston/Apron Strings
Kate Haas/Miranda
Heather Jackson/madiburl and mindfuck revolutions
Rahula Janowski/ Joybringer
Katie Kaput/ Night Cookies
Victoria Law/ Tenacious
Corbin Lewars/ Reality Mom
China Martens/ The Future Generation
Noemi Martinez/ Hermana, Resist
Lamesha Melton/ Cocoa/Puss Zine
Jessica Mills/ My Mother Wears Combat Boots
Tomas Moniz/Rad Dad
Angela Morrill/ I Always Wanted to Learn Tai Chi
connie murillo/ The Peep Show
Coleen Murphy/ Once Upon a Photobooth/the Mama Calendar
Celia Perez/Roots & Wings
redguard/Absent Cause
Nic Ramirez-Riesen/ LA DAMA ZINE
Laurel Ripple-Carpenter / CUNTastic!
Anna Rose
Brandon McClendon-Rose / VIVA LOVE
Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie/ Mother Nature
Raye Tibbitts/ Bad Mother Chronicles
Robert Trujillo/SS
Regina Walker / Recovering Me
Anna Westley/Habit
Mai’a Williams/ Revolutionary Motherhood Zine
Christina-Marie Wright/Gonzo Parenting Zine

Cover Art by: Rachel Galindo/Tenacious: Art & Writings by Women in Prison

118 pages, half size

Price: Sliding Scale $5-$7; Institutional Price: $10-15; Inquire about wholesale pricing

Mamaphiles is a non-profit project which strives to remain accessible to readers of all income levels/life circumstances. The cost of production, printing & postage comes to 5 dollars per copy. If you feel you can afford to give more than 5 dollars, please send what you feel is appropriate to support the project. If 5 dollars is out of your reach, talk to us.

The best way to order is via paypal, to:
Please indicate how many zines you're buying or if the amount is a donation.
If paypal is not an option for you, you can send an email to the Pay Pal address above for information on payment alternatives.

- – -
This baby is ready to go! And will be headed out into the world as soon as we raise enough funds to pay for printing, so, my friends, pre-order your copy today!
WE NEED TO RAISE $900 dollars in 3 weeks to get our zine printed at (We have $750 already, the total to make 500 copies and ship is $1,650) When pre-ordering your copy, if you can donate any extra, 5, 10, 35 dollars, please do. WE CAN DO THIS!

High School Happiness

I do not yet know where the Lone Star Girl will go to high school in the fall, but I have now been to orientation/informational meetings at all three of the schools that interest her and I am very pleased with all three programs.  Any one of them would be just thrilling.

Her first choice, if she can get in, which she has surprised me by choosing herself and yearning for, is Collegiate High School.  This is an early college high school on the campus of our local community college, which means that she could graduate with a free associate's degree and two years of free college credit.  Her interest in this school surprised me because she has, in the past,  generally been a kid who liked to squeak by on her very real brilliance, not one who wanted to work hard.  This school isn't looking for brilliant kids - it's looking for committed ones who want to work their butts off for college credit and, since starting eighth grade, she has suddenly wanted to do that for high school - very much.  She's serious about wanting to take these college classes, even though it would mean more work and fewer fun activities.  I'm pretty sure she would choose to skip high school all together and start college now if we could afford that, which we cannot, and this is the next best thing to her.  I am quite impressed with her maturing sense of purpose.  I know that if she gets in to this school, she will choose it, but the eligibility process rightly favors applicants who face more obstacles to getting a college education.  We certainly are not rich and could really use the two free years of college, but there may well be applicants who need it much more than she does.  It will depend on who applies, so we will see, as they do take kids from every middle school in the district.  It is a perfectly wonderful program and I would be thrilled for her to be able to follow her dream to be there.

The default choice and the one that is probably the most likely outcome, as she is leaning toward it as her second choice, is Ray High School.  This is our neighborhood school, right down the street, and I always sort of expected her to go to this school as there weren't all these specials academies that one could apply for when she was little.  I thought about this school when we moved to this neighborhood.  I have always liked it best of the five major high schools (there are other smaller ones like Collegiate) because it has the most diverse class mix in town, from poor to very rich, and I really value that mix.  There is more to love about it now, though.  In the past year or two, the public GT elementary school she attended and the middle school she is attending have been designated International Baccalaureate World Schools.  I am very in favor of the IB curriculum and have been thrilled with it.  The district also decided to extend the GT program, which has always before ended with middle school, through high school this year and has designated Ray High School as the school where the GT kids will go.  It is implementing an amazing IB program at Ray and it is very exciting.    Having all the GT kids at one school, however, is definitely going to mess with their class rankings (which one unfortunately does have to consider in terms of college admissions) so I had some questions.  The meeting there this week pretty much set my heart at rest.  Their IB academic classes will be weighted for class weight just the same as the AP classes are weighted.  The only possible weighting disadvantage is that the IB program requires fine arts and PE every year and those are not weighted - but, really, I think the benefit of that in reality far outweighs the math issues.  Also, many schools automatically accept kids who receive the prestigious IB Diplomate so I think it will all even out.  The program will have some kinks in the beginning, I am sure, but it is perfectly wonderful and I am thrilled with the idea.

The other choice is the Health Sciences Academy at Moody High School.  Moody is one of the five major high schools in town, but it is way across town.  Its prestigious Health Sciences Academy is celebrating its tenth birthday and in recent years it has started several other cool academy programs for engineering and other disciplines.  I never thought much about Moody because the Lone Star Girl's interests never really fit with the best of its academies...until this year.  This year, after doing her project on contraception and thinking back on some other things, like when her sister was born, she has developed a strong interest in becoming a nurse-midwife.  I really didn't see it coming, but she has latched on to the idea hard.  It seems to be part of all this new growth that has happened.  I have mixed feelings about it as I sort of think that people like her are needed to save the world in high-level policy and science positions, but...I also really do like the idea of her having skills as always-stable and practical as nursing.  Since she is now interested in this field, she is applying to Moody's Health Sciences Academy and we went to their orientation on Tuesday.  It was amazing.  I fell rather instantly in love.  They have managed to work the curriculum so she could take a rigorous curriculum of AP academic classes while still having room for fine arts and Spanish and getting the wonderful hands-on health sciences classes and experiences as well.  One student in her senior year even is placed in labor and delivery!  And she could earn an LVN while still in high school and have her RN within a year of graduating.  It sounds fantastic.

So....I would be totally happy with any one of those three schools for her.  It feels great to only have good possibilities!!!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

My Favorite Poet Came to Corpus Christi!

When I was in middle school, I took one of those summer classes that are offered to smarty-pants kids with enough money to pay for them through Duke's TIP program.  I took the classes on the SMU campus in Dallas.  In the creative writing class I took, the teacher was a Dallas poet and he taught us some techniques using the poetry of Naomi Shihab Nye (most particularly her Little Brother Poem)I fell immediately in love with her poetry and have stayed in love.

I went to Arts Magnet High School in Dallas and we had an amazing annual Writer's Workshop where writers came and did readings and workshops with us - it was crazy-wonderful.  Naomi Shihab Nye came two of the years.   So wonderful.

I have stories of other serendipitous stalker-fan encounters and very sweet rejection postcards from the Texas Observer (of which she is poetry editor) as well, but let's just say I Love Her.

Saturday night, she came and did a reading at the Art Museum of South Texas.  Jazz and the LSG and I went.  It was wonderful.  Wonderful.  My hero worship remains intact.

And she signed the copy of the book I bought!  Rather a lovely night.

First Day School: Protestants and Easter

Today at First Day School, the older class (the LSG) surveyed a bunch of small Protestant denominations and sub-groupings.  We are going to spend some time at our next regular lesson going over the Amish, Mennonites and Brethren before/during when we schedule church visits, process them and move on to our next unit - they seem to be sort of a unit in and of themselves to me, so they are going sort of with the Holy Book-Protestants unit, but sort of as their own group, in our study.

The Little Friends class (the LSB)  did a lesson on the faces of Easter - seven little vignettes about the birth of Christ, young Jesus in the temple, the baptism of Christ, the temptation in the desert, the parables, the last supper and the crucifixion and resurrection.  Then she chose as her work to draw the Christ candle (that the Episcopal Church we meet in have in their Sunday School room that we use) in colored pencils.

Expensive/Busy Day

The Lone Star Baby's car seat expired (in December, actually, but we just realized it this week), so we got a new one Saturday - a Graco Nautilus.  Our dryer also died and we had a repair guy out Friday evening (during the double-Girl-Scout meeting) but it ended up being the motor and not just a belt after all, earning us a $40 service call fine.  Saturday, around car seat buying and getting the recall repairs on Lone Star Pa's Toyota, we went to the scratch-n-dent store (I heart that store) and got a new dryer.  Buying expensive stuff like dryers and car seats kind of skee-eers me.

Also there was a minor Girl Scout field trip.

But there was also poetry!  More on that soon.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Participate In Democracy: Be A Delegate At Your Precinct Convention

On Tuesday (tomorrow) after the polls close at 7pm, a wonderful thing will be happening at your Texas polling place.  It happens in every primary year and it is called the precinct convention or precinct caucus.  Show up by 7:15pm and you can be a delegate for your precinct, electing the people from your precinct who will attend the county convention for your political party.  If you show up, you will almost certainly have an excellent shot at getting to be a delegate as most precincts need to fill more delegate slots for the county convention than the number of people who show up for the precinct convention (except during very special presidential primary years like last time - this is not one of those years).

You can also bring a resolution that your precinct convention can vote on to see if your precinct wants to send it on to the county convention.  This is the first step in the process of getting an issue you care about into your party's national platform.  If you care about an issue and have an idea about what the government should be doing about it, write a resolution and submit it to your precinct convention.  This is how democracy works!

Also, the Democratic State Convention will be held in Corpus Christi this summer!  You could be a delegate if you get involved now!  State conventions rock!

And remember to take your kids - it is so important for them to grow up watching democracy in action!