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!