Thursday, April 28, 2011

Team Citizen Family Night

Last night, after I picked the Lone Star Baby up from school, I stopped briefly at the house to change into a No Las Brisas shirt and then took her (with a backpack full of books and snacks) to an environmental forum for City Council candidates.  Meanwhile, Lone Star Pa picked the Lone Sar Girl up from school and took her to a town hall meeting that our new Congressman, Blake Farenthold was having.  

The candidates' forum was interesting and informative.  I know who is getting my vote in the Mayor's race and the District Two race and I know for certain who is getting my votes for two of the three at-large spots on the Council (though I don't really agree with having at-large seats, besides the Mayor).  I am leaning strongly towards a certain candidate for the other at-large seat but still have some interest in another.  More on that later when I've definitely made up my mind.

The Lone Star Girl and her father joined us before we left as their event had ended.  Theirs sounded more exciting than ours.  

The Lone Star Girl says that now she knows that Farenthold is not just a Republican, he is a crazy one like Perry - he said that since the word "education" does not appear in the U.S. Constitution, the federal government should have nothing to do with it - only the states should govern it.  That would be just great here in in the South, let me tell you (sarcasm, people - sarcasm).  

Apparently, the Lone Star Girl got up to express her disappointment in Farenthold's vote against Title X funding and her feeling that Planned Parenthood is important and prevents abortions and someone had to be escorted out by police for calling her a whore.  What Christian folks they were!

I'm so proud of my Girl.

She's going to do a guest post on this later.

Be good citizens, mamas!  xo

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Unseen Baby

Holding a camo-patterned dog toy in front of her face in the aisle at the grocery store, she says:  

Please don't notice me - I'm camouflaged.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Coloring Easter Eggs

Slavery-Free, Nut-Free Chocolate Bunnies

I got the idea from my friend at Raising Godzillas.  I used Sunspire chocolate chips.

Violin Baby

Our New Bunny

      One of my colleagues told me that she had way too many pets at present and needed to give some away and would I like a bunny, cage and all?    After getting more information and consulting with the family, we decided to do it and now we are getting to know this gorgeous rabbit.  My colleague was calling her Happy and so we decided to call her Thalia, for the Muse of Comedy.  She is funny and very curious and friendly.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Time To Sue The TCEQ

The citizens of Corpus Christi who contested the Las Brisas air permit filed motions for a re-hearing when the TCEQ, against the stated wishes of the EPA,  granted the permit in January.  A motion for re-hearing is automatically over-ruled if the Commissioners do not rule on it within 45 days and now those days have passed.  The next step is to sue.  

I know many dedicated professionals working within the TCEQ.  It is so sad that the Commissioners do not care about their mission to protect the public from polluters.

Also, it is time to call the EPA some more.  Phones out, mamas.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Action Alert: Save Texas Schools, Save Texas Teachers

Today, the Senate "Education" Committee passed SB 12, a bill that would eliminate state salary minimums for teachers, allow for unpaid furloughs and layoffs, allow last-minute non-renewals of contracts and encourage the targeting of veteran teachers.

Please call your state senator and ask them to vote NO on SB 12 when it makes it to the floor.

SB 12's House counterpart, HB 400 may hit the House floor as early as tomorrow, Thursday.  It also guts teacher contracts and does away with the 22-1 cap on classroom sizes in K-4 classrooms.  It even denies teachers the right to an independent hearing with an impartial hearing examiner if a teacher is faced with mid-contract termination.

Please call your state representative and urge them to vote NO on HB 400.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Corporate Polluters: 1; Citizens of Texas: 0

Today, the Texas House of Representatives passed a bill by Rep. Warren Chisum, R-Satansville (I mean Pampa), that makes it harder for citizens and activists to block permits for industrial plants that would pollute our air and water - harder

Because it was so easy before.

Under this amendment to  HB 2694, the people (with all of our corporate millions and regulatory monitoring equipment, right?) who contest a permit would have the burden of proving that the permit in question does not meet regulatory standards ... instead of the plant having to prove that their permit will meet federal standards the way it is now.

Yes ... they really did that.

Call your state senator and let them know that this cannot be allowed to become law!  Please call today!

Daily Citizen

Yesterday morning before work, I called every member of the Texas Senate Finance Committee to ask them to vote for SB 1004, the soda tax bill that would create revenue for Texas schools and other needed services.  After work, I picked up the kids and went to the Lindale Neighborhood Association Candidates' Forum.  Busy day for citizenship.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Please Don't Close La Retama Library

My husband was much disturbed to find me weeping over the local news on Thursday night.  I had just watched the city's Director of Libraries, Herb Canales, suggest that the downtown central library branch be closed and offices moved to another library to cut costs.  He said that families did not use the library much because they were scared of the homeless people who use it and that he didn't blame them.

Herb, I don't think I like you anymore.

First of all, homeless people are families, too.  Libraries are for everyone, not just for people with homes.  Secondly, the families in the neighborhoods near the library, neighborhoods like Hillcrest and Saxet Heights, do use the library.  I see them there plenty when I go there (which I do pretty regularly in addition to my weekly trips to the library in my own neighborhood because the central library rocks) and they are not afraid of homeless people.  Many of the residents of the neighborhood have been acquainted with real danger, like poverty, racism and the refineries along their fence lines -  the homeless people just want to read and rest and use the running water - that is not dangerous.  Also, Bethune Day Nursery brings their kids over for story time.  Every story time I've ever been to at the central library has been packed, actually.  Packed.

I guess none of those families matter to Mr. Canales.  Because many of them don't have cars and won't be able to make it to Neyland.  Without La Retama, they will probably never see the inside of a public library.  The library and the schools are havens of safety and learning in that part of town.  No one needs a library more than the people who use La Retama.  Please don't take it away.

Daisy Girl Scout Nursing Home Pet Parade

Phone Geography

As part of the downward spiral of my health and mental acuity that has been the past month or so, I dropped my cell phone the other day for what must have been one too many times, because it sustained some real damage.  It still works, but the outside display doesn't and I have to push buttons to make it do things it used to do automatically and it has a rather nasty crack through it's structure and hinge that makes opening and closing it a little more involved than it was designed to be.

Like a microwave, a phone is one of the modern gadgets that my lifestyle really requires.  So.

I called Sprint today, mentioning that my phone is sort of a paleolithic model that no one else uses anymore and I have never had an upgrade and wondered if I might be due one?   They assured me that I was indeed due a free new phone if I only will renew my contract for two more years.  

Sigh.  Done.

In the course of the conversation, the customer service representative asked me about the weather.  I told him it was very nice and that I am in Corpus Christi, Texas and asked where he was.  He said Nicaragua and that it was nice there, too - around 55 degrees which is much colder than it is here and surprised me.  I wanted to ask more - did he like his job?  Is it a sweatshop or is it nice?  How are things going in Nicaragua these days?  I know better than to be as nosy as I feel like being, though. 

Still - I am always curious.  Always.  

I hope he's doing well and that all of us working folks do well, wherever we are, in these interesting times.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Silver Award Girl

 Today was the Girl Scouts' Annual Meeting.  We went to Robstown for it, only getting lost twice.  The Lone Star Girl was recognized for earning her Silver Award during the past year.

One-Act Play Finale

Tuesday night was the last performance of the Lone Star Girl's One-Act Play, Moon Over Buffalo.  We all went to see her again.  We are proud of our Actress-Girl.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

District Two Debate

Last night our family went over to the university where one of the classes was hosting a debate between the candidates running for the District Two seat on the City Council. 

Before and after the debate,  I continued to try to convince incumbent John Marez that he could retreat from his vote for Las Brisas and be a good public servant again, but it is hard to tell how far down that road he has gone.  He acts like he's listening, but ...  we trusted him before that vote - I can't really trust him anymore, especially when his attempts to reassure me are so wishy-washy.  I hope he really has had a change of heart.

Marez and Mr. Lucio did some bickering, which was sort of distracting.  When they were talking about issues, though, I agreed with everything that Mr. Lucio said and most of what Mr. Sloan said (I was not thrilled with what Mr. Sloan had to say about homeless issues).  

I am still voting for Daniel Lucio  and I intend to do some block-walking for him as well.  I think that both he and Mr. Sloan are strong candidates, though - either would be a vast improvement over Marez, who can't be trusted not to vote to let Las Brisas poison our kids.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A Spring Haiku For Poetry Month

Roly-polies are
The striated harbingers
Of crawling Springtime

Call Your TX Senator: Protect Public Education

The TX House has passed their super-scary budget.  It is up to the Senate to inject some sense and compassion into the next two years for Texas children.  Please call your TX Senator and ask him or her to protect funding for public education in Texas.

If you are in Corpus, Senator Hinojosa's number is (512) 463-0120.  Please call.

Monday, April 04, 2011

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, so celebrate poetry!

I have some poet-friends who are taking the challenge to write a poem each day for Poetry Month.   I don't really feel up to that challenge this spring - we are so very over-extended with activities right now.  I do, however, intend to try to write some poetry and send some off for publication and do what I can to take motivation from the month.

How about you, my poet-friends?  What are your poetry plans for this April?

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Call Your TX Senator Monday: Protect TX Schoolchildren From Anaphylaxis

Please call your Texas Senator early on Monday morning and ask them to vote FOR SB 27 which would require school districts and open-enrollment charter schools to develop policies to protect children who are at-risk from food allergies.  This is so important.  The bill has been endorsed by the Texas Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Society and the Texas School Nurses Organization.

If you are in Corpus, Senator Hinojosa's number is (512) 463-0120.  Please call.

Call Your TX Senator Monday: Stop Global Warming

Please call your Texas Senator early on Monday and urge them to vote AGAINST SCR 20, which would urge the U.S. Congress to prevent the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases from stationary sources.  We need to start protecting future generations from the consequences of global warming now.  We all must do our part - refineries and factories, too.

If you are in Corpus, Senator Hinojosa's phone number is (512) 463-0120.

Daisy Girl Scout Clover Award/Girl Scouts Forever Green Projects & A Pet Parade

Friday night our Daisy Meeting had some Brownie visitors to do an activity with us and teach the Daisies about Brownies, which they are going to bridge to at the end of the school year.  The Brownies really rocked - they are wonderful kids.

The older girl troop taught the little ones about reducing plastic waste and showed them how to make re-usable cloth bags out of t-shirts.  Then, the little girls made posters about reducing plastic waste that they can take to their schools with which to teach their classmates about the issue.  Reducing plastic waste is part of the Girl Scouts' 100-Year Initiative: Girl Scouts Forever Green.  The Daisies are also using their efforts to reduce plastic waste as their Clover Award project for their Between Earth and Sky Journey.

Today, the Daisies took their pets to the nursing home that we visit and had a little pet parade.  They were very sweet, showing all the people their pets.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

The De-funding of Texas

I meant to catch up on my rest this weekend, but I stayed up way too late Friday night watching the Texas Tribune's live feed of the budget debate in the Lege and reading their live blogging of it.  They stopped in the wee hours and are going to start up again Sunday.  Here is a link to the blogging of it.  The Republicans are super-scary - all about de-funding programs that have anything to do with family planning as they talk about how contraception is bad and all about requiring that 10% of classes taught at state universities be about Western Civilization, but being very hedge-y about defining just what that is. These are scary times, folks.  Just sexist and racist and scary, all of it.  I was very impressed with how Rep. Mike Villarreal and Rep. Eddie Lucio fought the good fight...not that they were winning much, but they sure tried.