Sunday, February 27, 2011

Nature Walk Haiku

Bright scarlet beetle
Shouting color creeps across
Sidewalks of springtime

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Stirs The Soul Chocolate

My wonderful friend Alkelda the Gleeful at Saints And Spinners , read my post about chocolate and apparently did some kindly research.  A few days later, a package arrived at my house filled with Stirs The Soul raw chocolate bars - fair trade certified and nut-free.   

They are better than...well, many things.  

So good.  

Many, many thanks to Alkelda the Gleeful for this wonderful gift - I know that Stirs The Soul Chocolate is going to be an integral part of our lives from here on out.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Daniel Lucio for District Two!!

Great news!  

Local activist Daniel Lucio is running for City Council in District Two!  Mr. Lucio may be the most community-minded young man I have ever met - he is constantly volunteering to help our community's homeless and the environment and to improve our downtown, as well as volunteering in many other worthy ventures.  He is intelligent, devoted to the citizens of our community and has integrity, all qualities in rather short supply on our City Council (always excepting the also wonderful Ms. Martinez and Ms. Leal).

Mr. Lucio is running against John Marez who voted, against the protests of the medical and science communities and his constituents, to give our water rights to Las Brisas so they can poison our children and elderly and pregnant women.  Mr. Lucio would never bow to the pressure that Mr. Marez caved to and poison our kids.  He puts people before corporate profits.

Mr. Lucio also has his finger on the pulse of what young professionals in Corpus Christi are looking for - he supports the growth of the green infrastructure jobs that will keep our youth here and stop the brain drain to more progressive cities.

Lone Star Ma endorses Daniel Lucio for District Two! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

World Thinking Day

Happy World Thinking Day!  

Today is the day that the Girl Scouts set aside to remember that we are part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and so are sisters with Girl Guides and Girl Scouts all over the world.  This year's theme is girls worldwide say "empowering girls will change our world".

I picked up both girls from their schools this evening and hurried over to the school where this year's World Thinking Day event was taking place locally.  Our troops had chosen Denmark for their country this year and they had made a display board about Denmark and Lego SWAPS (Legos are from Denmark) and two Daisy moms made little Denmark-inspired bite-sized snacks.  Troops had displays set up all over the school's gym and parents were giving little presentations about each country and passing out SWAPS and snacks as the girls traveled round the "world" learning about the countries.  Did you know that the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts sent a delegation of girls to the Copenhagen Climate Conference?  Or that the Danes have been making cheese since the time of the Vikings?  Or that Denmark has only a 6% poverty rate and has a 99.9% literacy rate? I know.

It was ever so lovely.

I will do my best to make the world a better place and be a sister to every Girl Scout!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wellness: Spring, Sunshine, Gardening & Exercise

Sunshine at last!  

It has actually been pretty cloudy, but there has been a lot more sunshine than we had in these past cold weeks.  Spring is here!  

The sunshine does lots of nice things for my brain chemistry - I need to get more of it.  

Our spring nature table is set up and I have hung the yard with ladybug and butterfly and bee flags and windsocks.  Best of all, on Saturday, I composted a bunch of frozen plant remains and went to the plant store for new plants for springtime.

I spent a nice, sunny afternoon planting this salad garden.  It has little baby patio tomatoes and little baby climbing spinach, a big cherry tomato, sweet cucumber and lettuces.  Also marigolds.


 I planted this little vegetable garden with zucchini, yellow crookneck squash, cauliflower and serrano peppers.  And marigolds.

Some old pumpkin seeds are sprouting so I am leaving them some space.  I still have some cacti that might make it, and the hanging strawberry plant.  I also planted an herb pot and some edible nasturtium and a lovely soil-cleaning citronella geranium.  And ... more marigolds.

After which, I took a lovely walk in the sunshine.  Quite a day of wellness!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Love Be Write

My Pushcart-nominated poem, Hearts, has been published by Unbound Content in a poetry anthology called Love be Write.  You can order the book at this link.

India Presentation

 On Friday, the Lone Star Baby and her partner did a presentation on India at school and I took the afternoon off to go watch and bring Indian food.  The Lower El has been studying fundamental human needs so they were assigned country projects where they had to research how people met their fundamental needs in a country.  The Lone Star Baby and her partner, a third grader, were assigned India.  They did research and made a poster and a model of an Indian home and dressed up and brought food.  They gave their presentations in Spanish.  It was lovely.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Roly-Polies Are Harbingers Of Spring

They are.

Daily Citizen

Today, I found time in my very, very busy day to call my State Representative and ask him to please take a balanced approach to balancing the state budget by protecting vital services to children and education and by spending the Rainy Day Fund and looking for additional sources of revenue.

I also called my Congressman and two Senators and asked them to try to protect funding for public radio.

This in between teaching classes, delivering and collecting children from school, making health insurance phone calls, taking daughter to get her allergy shot, filling out Girl Scout paperwork and watching the seventh graders' basketball game.  (I still have to make lunches and lay out clothes but that is about it.)

There is always time for citizenship!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentines Sans Chocolate, Mostly

Earlier this school year, the art teacher at my school did a unit on the cocoa trade that really opened my eyes.  I had known that stuff like that went on, but had not known that it was so widespread that all the major candy companies were complicit.  (I would have expected that sort of behavior from Nestle, but Hershey's?  Sigh.)  Now I know.  To know and do nothing is really not acceptable so I am trying to change my ways and avoid buying (I'll still eat it when it's offered, though) chocolate that is not either fair-trade certified or at least organic (it is my understanding that no organic cocoa is currently being grown in Ivory Coast).  It isn't easy to remember all the time - the mochas and the ice cream, etc.  I'm getting a lot better, though.  (The one thing I am still buying and selling, of course, is Girl Scout cookies.  I'm in too deep to get out of that one.  I have no idea where they get their chocolate but the news is unlikely to be good, given the major possibilities.  I will research it soon and start trying to persuade from within if needed.)

And then - Valentine's Day.   I hated to forgo the chocolate hearts and strawberries of Valentine's Day for the children, but felt it was the right thing to do.  Every bit of fair-trade certified and/or organic chocolate  that I could find in candy form was cross-contaminated with nuts, so that was a no-go for us.  I e-mailed the Divvies lady to ask if their chocolate was slavery-free and she didn't reply, which I'm going to take as a no. I settled on putting some nut-free, fair-trade certified chocolate chips in little valentine muffin cups sealed up in baggies on top of the girls' Valentine gifts at their place settings instead - odd, perhaps, but tasty.  Their gifts were books (plays for the Girl), which I have claimed as a Valentine tradition.  I gave my students fortune cookies instead of chocolates.  I suppose I should start looking for safe, humane chocolate bunnies now, but I'm none too hopeful.

The Lone Star Girl didn't want to take any valentines to her friends this year except for sending a candy-gram to one of them at school - she is apparently too old now.  The Lone Star Baby took valentines to school for her friends on Friday and her school was out on Monday so she took valentines to the babysitter's house, too.  Monday evening, we went to Storytime for old times' sake and took valentines to the librarians.  We do love the librarians.

I hope your Valentine's day was filled with love and friendship, if not chocolate.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ungulate Baby

Me:  Would you be a dear child and give these (strawberry tops) to the guinea pigs?

LSB:  I am a deer child. (pause)  I have antlers.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

!6 years

Lone Star Pa and I slept in this morning while the girls made brunch.  They even made us presents - some of the Lone Star Girl's amazing pillows, decorated for our anniversary and a taped (so cute) pillow from the Lone Star Baby with a beautiful handmade card.   Then the Lone Star Girl watched her sister all day long so that el viejo and I could spend our anniversary out and about together. 

We ran some errands and then went to Cafe Calypso and played Scrabble and Bananagrams.  Then we went out to eat and went grocery shopping.  Perhaps we are not party animals, but we had a nice time just spending time together out and about, alone-ish.

I love that Lone Star Pa.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Reading Riches

A lot of people say they "don't have time for reading anymore", but those people are not readers like I am a reader.  I have one very crowded schedule but I cannot imagine any sort of bearable life in which I did not read.  I read in bed, at the dinner table, in drive-throughs - everywhere.  I read.

I have been rich in books to read lately.  Numerous titles have come out that interest me. It is a beautiful thing.

Not too long ago, I read Ancient, Strange And Lovely by Susan Fletcher.  It is a surprise sequel to what I have always called the Dragon's Milk books but what she apparently calls The Dragon Chronicles.  The first three books in the series - Dragon's Milk, Flight of The Dragon Kyn and Sign of The Dove - took place in some fantasy-past, but this one takes place in the near future - a very, very plausible near future of increasing environmental problems.  I first picked up Dragon's Milk years ago on the advice of my favorite bookseller.  I like fantasy books a lot but only good fantasy books, and this one would have missed my notice without Mrs. Flanigan's recommendation as just another dragon book.  It was good, though, with a deeper sweetness than most such books.  The two that followed were not as good as the first but they held my attention.  Ancient, Strange And Lovely is much better than even the first.  Much.  I highly recommend it.

Also somewhat recently, I got to read Pegasus by Robin McKinley.  I had been watching it covetously at the bookstore, but it came available at the library much sooner than I thought it would.  It was very good.  I really enjoy Robin McKinley books (especially Sunshine - if you read one vampire book, make it Sunshine - I don't like vampire books - except Sunshine) except that they all sort of have the same ending.  I think that ending fit in Chalice but seemed unsuitable in her other books.  Pegasus avoided this pitfall as it quite clearly did not end - there will have to be another.  I look forward to it.

I love good, edgy YA novels and my favorite YA novel is Make Lemonade.  I have waited lo these many years for the third book in the trilogy.  It was supposed to come out last June, but it didn't.  It came out in January, though, and I have it, This Full House.  I'm so excited.  I'm not reading it, though.  It's special.  I'm saving it for when I really need  it.

In the meantime, I've been reading all the Company books by Kage Baker from the library.  I have two out now.  


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Asthmatic Bronchitis, Cookies, Valentines and Legos

The Lone Star Girl suddenly felt quite ill on Saturday night.  It was like a bad sinus infection plus painful lungs, but sinus infections do not come on out of nowhere - they happen after colds or allergy attacks.  She was sick enough to feel a little concerned about it and for two nights I rearranged our sleeping arrangements so she slept in my bed and I could listen to her breathe at night.  We thought about taking her to urgent care on Sunday but she seemed okay enough to wait to see her real doctor Monday if only just barely.  I left her at home Sunday with her dad and sister and did our booth sale without her.

Monday, she stayed home from school and Lone Star Pa took a day off to take her to the doctor.  She was already feeling a lot better but the doctor said she sounded pretty yuck - asthmatic bronchitis - and gave her a lot of drugs.  Her asthma's been giving her more trouble this year than it usually does.  She feels a lot better today and is going to school but needs to take it sort of easy over the next few days - no swimming or stair-climbing.

Last night, the Lone Star Baby and I got her valentines ready for school (since they are off on the actual day and she will need to take them Friday).  She filled out a box of Tangled-theme ones with glitter tattoos for her classmates and made paste-and-doily-and-sticker confections for the teachers.  Meanwhile, the Lone Star Girl assembled some Lego SWAPS for World Thinking Day (Denmark) while resting on the couch. 

Things are as busy as ever.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Girl Scout Cookies! Booth Sale Sunday!

Come buy your favorite Girl Scout cookies on Sunday from 3-5pm at the Walgreens at Saratoga and Staples.
$3.50 per box.
Resistance is futile.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Artist Baby

Last Sunday at the Visionarios Contest at the Art Museum of South Texas.  We are very proud of our little artist.

No Snow, Plenty Of Ice

There was supposed to be snow last night between midnight and 8am that stuck, according to the weather reports.  We set our alarm for a bit after 2am and then a bit after 5am, so we could get the girls up to go play in it when it came, but it didn't snow.  There was lots of ice this morning, though.  We all explored the yard a bit and the Lone Star Baby had fun collecting icicles, ice leaves and ice stems for "souvenirs" and scraping the ice off my car, which was almost completely covered when we first went out.

Thankfully, Lone Star Pa's school called and said that they were not having school today after all, so Lone Star Pa didn't have to drive over the Harbor Bridge.  We've just been staying all cozy and bundled and sleepy at home.  The temperature's crept up to 39 degrees now and all the ice is loudly melting outside, except for the souvenirs that the Lone Star Baby saved in the freezer.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Cold, Cold, Cold

Try to understand, Yankees, that in Corpus, the weather usually hangs out in the seventies and eighties, except in the summer, when it gets hotter.  We all enjoy us some occasional weather in the 50s in the winter and 60s in the fall, but only occasionally.  That's not what we are here for.  

The last time it snowed here was Christmas Eve 2004 (perfect timing) and it was a miracle.  It stuck on the ground and was beautiful in a way that had not happened in these parts in a hundred years.  We all still talk about it regularly.  People publish books of the photos they took and other people buy them.  It was...a big deal.

Lately, we've had a lot of dry nights in the 30s and 40s, which is just wrong.  Then, this week just went crazy starting Tuesday.  Freezing temperatures starting in the afternoon and lasting all night long and all day today and most of all tomorrow.  Like ... twenties!  It's astounding!  Sleet and maybe snow is predicted for this evening through tomorrow morning. 

We are just ill-equipped.

My school and the girls' schools got canceled for today and tomorrow but Lone Star Pa's school was open this morning until noon and is expected to open at 11am tomorrow.  Since he has to drive over the Harbor Bridge to get there, I am not amused, but he made it fine today and is home safe again.

We are all bundled up, I am dripping the faucets, and we are keeping the blankets read for the rolling blackouts.  We are such lucky people to have the resources to deal with this sort of weather.