Monday, December 31, 2012

Road Daughter: No O'Clocks

Everyday this break, I've been asking the Lone Star Girl what she learned in her driver's ed class.  Everyday, she replies with some sensible cautionary topic, like not drinking and driving or distracted driving.  Today, I asked her if she was learning any sort of technique in the class time, like how to hold the steering wheel.  She said yes.  I asked her which clock positions her hands were supposed to be in.  She laughed at me and said that they did not teach it that way because no one uses clocks like that anymore. 

Yep - I'm old.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Review

As 2012 wanes, I can look around me this minute to see most of what I need to know about it and us:

The Lone Star Girl is blow-drying broken crayons into some sort of art with occasional help from her sister.  

I am preparing to teach tiny little Girl Scouts about girls all over the world (and cookies...) and how we can change the stories around us and make them better for the whole world.   

Lone Star Pa is cleaning out space in the garage so that the Lone Star Girl can keep doing some of her Larger Scale art out there and the  Lone Star Baby can play foose (sp.?) ball and other table top games (recently gifted by our next door neighbor who insists on going all empty nest and getting rid of stuff and moving stuff out to a retirement home on us, as if we are ever letting them leave) with her friends.

The animals are eating carrots.  There is a globe on the kitchen table. There are piles of drawings and school papers and art supplies and books and games everywhere.

My house has evolved to be the perfect environment for fostering creative, compassionate  young people.  We have mad skills that way.  Truly.  We are a rocking organic medium.  We are blessed.

You want to foster anything else?  We really can't get past the mess to help with that; sorry.  I may send the child to a Montessori school and love Montessori education and all but do not send the organized Montessorians over here - there is no beautiful order here, no place for everything, no spare, uncluttered lines.  We have our limits.  We are what we are - this is what we've got. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

On Targeting Children

I am really distressed by this article by Richard Dreyfuss in The Nation.  I know that Lt. Col. Carrington did not exactly mean that he thought the military should actively target Afghan children - but it was close enough. Far, far, far too close to be anything but evil.  We need to get out of there. 

Lone Star Ma Issue #11 Call For Submissions

Call For Submissions - Lone Star Ma #11

Calling for submissions for Issue #11 of Lone Star Ma:  The Magazine of Progressive Texas Parenting And Children's Issues!!!
For this issue, we are looking for feature articles on the effects of lax enforcement of environmental standards on children in Texas.  We are looking for articles on how the Right-Wing War on Women affects mothers and children.  

Specific other topics we might be interested in:  social services funding in Texas, education in Texas, urban farming for busy families, the Texas State Board of Education, libraries, sex education, breastfeeding, safely avoiding insect-borne tropical diseases.  

We also accept essays on mothers' lives and do accept articles on other themes as well if they strike our fancy, so send whatever you think we should consider and we will ponder it.   Please see the general submission information at for guidelines and please consider submitting to our various departments, as well. 

Lone Star Ma wants poetry.  Lone Star Ma wants mama fiction.  Lone Star Ma wants brilliant articles. What have you got? 

The deadline for submissions has been extended to  February 2nd.  

Raise your voices. 

xo, Lone Star Ma

Friday, December 28, 2012

Bad News For Las Brisas, Good News For Corpus Christi

This December the EPA issued a letter to the developers of Las Brisas. The letter identified many problems in Las Brisas' application for a federal Clean Air Act greenhouse gas permit, which would be required in order for Las Brisas to begin construction.  

The EPA will require a great deal of additional information from Las Brisas before issuing a permit, and even asked if Las Brisas would need to redesign the proposed plant to be in compliance with recent court rulings.

Basically, we are in good shape.

Carbon Standard Stands

In early December, a United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed challenges to the EPA's proposed carbon pollution standard.

Good news.

I hope that there will still be people at the EPA to champion those standards.  Even in the midst of good news, it looks kind of bleak without our erstwhile hero Al Armendariz or Lisa Jackson, who just announced her resignation.

May we all work to reduce our carbon emissions in 2013.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

I'm Ready To Talk About Guns

I couldn't talk about it at first, for my own sensitivity and that of others, for the sacred silence of the grief, for the things that can never be said again for so many mothers...but I am ready to talk about it now.

I should start by saying that I do not believe that American public policy will ever in my lifetime or several generations after mirror anything like my personal feelings about guns.  I am a Quaker - a pacifist.  I am a vegetarian, a non-hunter.  I personally think the whole world would be a lot better off with no guns, period.  That's me, though.  I know that is not what America wants.  We are a democracy and, so long as basic human rights are respected, we go with the majority.  I do not expect the majority of America to agree with my feelings about violence and killing - not at all.

I think the majority of America is ready for some very big changes, though.  I think that the majority of America and I can agree that a ban on automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles and most definitely a ban on high capacity magazines is the right thing to do.  No one needs those things - not for hunting and not to protect their families.  No one uses those things for anything but recreation and mass murder and, frankly, their recreational value is not worth the cost.  

I am tired of hearing that such bans are useless because criminals will still obtain things illegally.  Mass murders are not generally committed by your average criminally-minded person.  They are committed by people whose humanity has snapped in some way and become twisted up.  No one knows when a person might find themselves outside the limits of their own sanity.  It needs to be harder for those who are so badly broken to gain access to tools of mass murder.  It needs to be hard for anyone to gain access because no one can truly predict who will snap.  People are simply not strong enough to be trusted with such destructive things - our species has proved this again and again and again, especially here, in America, where such weapons are so easy to get.

Second amendment - blah, blah, blah.  No one argues that the second amendment means that people should be able to have their own personal nuclear arsenals.  Everyone acknowledges that some things are too dangerous for individuals to own.  The second amendment does not tell us which things those are - we, as a society, must decide together.  

I think we should decide that automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles and, especially, high capacity magazines, are things that are too destructive for individuals to own, things that must be banned for the sake of our children.  Our children must always be more important than intellectual abstractions - always.  I hope Congress agrees.  If they don't, we need a new one, because America agrees.  Now.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Happy Boxing Day!

My research on the origins of Boxing Day has resulted in many theories but nothing solid.  I think it's for lazing around watching Dr. Who.

The industrious Junior Woman, however, is building a roller coaster today.  Her physics teacher manufactured (through physics, I suppose) a loophole in the principal's edict that no homework be given over the break, calling it an extension of a project that should have been finished already, although none of the class had been able to finish the project in the class time allotted before break, and although completing it over the break required disassembling all the work they had already finished in order to get it home.  None of the Lone Star Girl's group is in town for the break, so she is nobly building and testing this roller coaster alone.  She also has art homework.  The perils of an IB education.

We definitely need some Dr. Who.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


While I was questing longer than I meant to today, the Lone Star Girl made all the Christmas cookies with what help she could get from her sometimes interested little sister.

Later, the Lone Star Baby went Kris-Kringling the cookies with me, her red-gold hair flying as she snuck through the night in boots and a blue sundress to place cookie gifts on the porches of neighbors and run away as if she might be caught and clipped of wings invisible but oh-so-seen.

The Labyrinth And The Hero's Journey

Sometimes when I walk the labyrinth inlaid in the church floor, the turns are coils of intestines that will spill out no matter how one tries to fold them back inside.  Sometimes they are the bend of the uterus or the doubling back of a neural tube that will blossom into embryonic life.

I am no hero in my journey, never one of those who always seems to know where to go and what to do.  Always I stumble my way through, fairly clueless, love my only gift and it a gift I never can stretch to the people I feel I should spend it on and a gift that makes people frankly uncomfortable, anyway.

I am no hero in my journey but I am the journeyer, and I must meet all the archetypes even if I have no weapons or cleverness with which to defend myself.

Every year I make the winter pilgrimage to honor the women who have guided me without the ties of blood or genes.  This is symbolized by taking a bag of cookies and oranges to a former boss who still lives in town and who cared for me well when I was a young woman working hard for a cause.  On the way, the archetypes crowd in to meet me and leave messages I must puzzle over all the years after, trying to grow.

First:  "Ma'am, Ma'am!"  The car pulls up behind me as I walk along.  I try to ignore it but he keeps calling so I whirl around, projecting fierceness.  The man in the truck reminds me that he works for my uncle - do I need a ride anywhere?  I apologize for my fierce look and thank him, tell him I do not need a ride, exchange holiday greetings and walk on.  I must walk alone.

Next:  I meet a giant archetype.  The woman who lived next door to me when I was six and my mother just re-married and pregnant and when my new sister was a baby.  The woman who took me into her days and showed great patience and love to me when my house was filling up with relationships that had to lessen time for me, at a time of great transitions for me.  She gave me a kitten (she had a lot of cats) that I kept until my daughter was born, after which the cat died, her work complete, at an elderly 17.  Now the woman is 75 and she looks great and talks to me for a long time.  She tells me dire stories of what became of all our neighbors.  I feel lucky but sad for everyone else.

Then:  Walking past that house I lived in at six, my former landlady's daughter lets me pass her dog, a danger avoided.

Next:  I walk past a friend's house.  The lights are on and the door is open.  I do not want to disturb.  I wonder if they will see me pass or not.  They do not, although I find an old man dozing in a car parked in front of their house.  I ask him twice if he is okay and he finally waves me on vacantly.

Then:  A bald man glares at me like a cyclops but lets me pass to the block of my destination.

I call my husband to come meet me on my way back with the car because my long conversation lengthened the journey and I will not be able to walk home before dark. Maybe I do not have to walk alone?

The house:  I find it - blue shutters -  walk up to the door, see the place mat that says "Joy" every year and leave my offering, then turn back for home.

My husband finds me on the road and makes me go to Dollar Tree with him - a penalty for not walking alone but also a lesson about sharing.

I will study the messages....

(Also, I'm pretty hopped up on allergy medicine.)

First Day School: Simplicity Testimony & Christmas

Today was a lovely Meeting with long-traveling Friends back again.  

In First Day School, we finished up our "unit" on the Simplicity testimony by finishing up our reading of Thee, Hannah!  and discussing the lesson that Hannah learned about what the simplicity she so struggled with could mean to others.  We discussed how the Simplicity testimony shines in the Whos of Whoville in the story How The Grinch Stole Christmas.  Then I read the seasonal parts of L'Engle's The Glorious Impossible while the Lone Star Baby drew a picture of Baby Jesus in the manger surrounded by friendly beasts, snowflakes and the Star.

Some Friends may come for Christmas dinner!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Carols And Little Girls!

Yesterday, we took the Brownie/Daisy troop Christmas caroling (bilingual caroling, even) at a local nursing home.  We go every year, but usually just our little troop.  This year, I invited all the other troops in town to join us and a lot of girls showed up.  It was really sweet.  The song list was:
  • Cascabel
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • Noche de Paz
  • We Wish You A Merry Christmas and
  •  Feliz Navidad. 
The girls passed out little ornaments they had made after they sang. I was proud of our girls and proud of myself for getting others involved.

Today, The Lone Star Baby has a couple of little friends over to play so it is still little girl time!
I wish that Benadryl did not make me as woozy as I am feeling so I could enjoy all of this even more, but it is lovely, even through the fog.


Friday, December 21, 2012


They lit their candles
In the cold
To drive away the darkness
And everywhere the evergreen
The cold, fragrant air illuminated by
The winterfires
Boughs of pine hung on every home
For the powers that walk
The sleeping earth
The people with song and dance
Do light the trees and pray
(and pray)
These short and quiet days of snow.

An Open Letter To the Cedars Trees of Austin, Texas

Dear Cedar Trees,

You are really pretty - at least that's what I think when I'm all woo-wooed out on the Zyrtec and Benadryl that you necessitate.  Wherefore is it that you hate me?   Why must it always be December, a time of festivities and singing, when you drop all of your pollen and send it flying South, via the winds, on vacation to Corpus Christi?  

You know that Corpus does not like you.  Very few of your brethren have managed to settle here.  I am not trying to be mean, but we don't want your pollen here.  It makes us hoarse and boogery and sickly.  I tried living in Austin and I left, partly because of you.

I'll visit.  I promise.  (Not in December, though.)  Just keep your sneezy self in Austin where you belong, please.  Thank you.

Riah of the Cedar Allergies

Road Daughter

The Lone Star Girl has driver's ed. every single day this winter break except for Christmas Day.  It's all classroom stuff for now, so you should still be safe on the roads. 

She'll be permitted soon but I anticipate a long wait until she actually gets licensed, based not only on needing to make sure that plenty of practice happens first, but also on preliminary car insurance quotes.  With no car anywhere in her near future, it does not make sense to incur a huge monthly payment that we cannot afford when we need to be saving for IB tests and dorms.

Still - a big step!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Virtual Holiday Greetings

I love you all very much.  I am sorry to say that I am not going to be making the whole Christmas card thing happen this year.  My original kid-crafty Christmas card plan was struck down by the kid who was not feeling crafty and I did not manage to implement a replacement plan soon enough.  Hopefully, I will do better next year.

Love and Peace and Joy to everyone this holiday season and always.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Long Nights Blessing

Last night, the Lone Star Baby asked to sleep in our bed.  She rarely does this these days, so I usually trust that she should when she asks.  The full-size bed, though, is not really big enough for the three of us anymore.  In the night, I awoke and realized there was tooth fairy business still to be done so I got up and did it.  In the night, the Lone Star Girl came tapping my shoulder that she was sick with a stomach bug.  In the night, I ended up in the Lone Star Baby's bed for lack of space in mine.  There was not much sleep happening on my end, overall.

Tonight, when we got home, the Lone Star Baby and I made Christmas tree-shaped beeswax candles and some rolled beeswax candles for the Lone Star Baby's teachers.  Like all sounds-good craft ideas in my world, it took muuuuuuchhhhh longer than I had anticipated.  Now the Lone Star Baby is sleeping in our bed again while I finish getting things ready for tomorrow.

I don't think I could be any more lucky with my life.  I am so, so deeply grateful for these long and sometimes sleepless nights, which I do not always appreciate as I should.  Truly, they are the best, most brimful blessings in all the worlds.  

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Coventry Carol

There are no words for Friday's tragedy, only silent grief and prayers.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's The Economy, Baby

It's hard for me to remember in my morning car life that I want things other than coffee or NPR, but I try.  On most car mornings, though, no matter what else I am managing, coffee and NPR will be part of it.  Due to this, my car mostly companion, the Lone Star Baby, has been hearing a lot about the fiscal cliff lately.  

Unless NPR is being unusually gruesome, I usually assume that the Lone Star Baby is doing something else back there in her booster seat - eating a taco, reading Harry Potter, completing a word jumble or an activity in a tween activity book - and not really listening to Morning Edition, as this is generally the case.  She surprises me sometimes, though.

Lately, she's been asking a lot about the fiscal cliff - about tax rates and sequestration, Medicare and Medicaid, good trades and bad trades.  She wants terms explained and wants to know my opinion on various aspects.  She wants to weigh the pros and cons as she sees them.  These are good conversations to be having with my eight-year-old; it is heartening to observe her diligent efforts to become an informed member of the electorate someday.  I'm proud of her.

(And NPR rocks.)

Sunday, December 09, 2012

My Girl's Effect (And The Business of Bake Sales)

I am so proud of all that my Girl is doing in the Girl Effect Club she started at school as a take-action project after the WAGGGS Girls' World Forum she attended this past summer.  She and other girls at her school do various projects to raise money and other sorts of donations for girls in developing countries, usually through joining efforts of existing organizations, but a variety of them.

She organized a soap drive to gather donations of soap that an organization called Clean The World would distribute in developing countries   She had the four high school classes compete:  my Girl bestowed, at a pep rally,  to the class that collected the most soap the Class-That-Cares Spirit Stick (which she made).

She organized a trick-or-treat for UNICEF drive in all the classrooms at the high school.

They have recently been having bake sales for Heifer and she's been baking up a storm.  When I noticed that she had glazed the sugar cookies she made and remarked on how nice they looked, she told me that glazed sugar cookies sold at twice the rate of non-glazed sugar cookies.  She then added that snowflake-shaped, glazed sugar cookies sold slightly better still but not at a high enough return to make up for how much longer they took to make - the regular glazed cookies were the sweet spot.

A teacher who was supervising her club told her that some business would be so lucky to have her someday. Then the teacher realized who she was talking to and said - well, some non-profit organization will be.

That's our Girl.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

Last night, the girls left their shoes out under the Christmas tree.  Today, they found that St. Nicholas had come and left little gifties for them.  The Lone Star Girl found a set of sharpie fabric markers in her shoe and the Lone Star Baby found a set of holiday smencils (scented pencils) in hers.  They are pleased.

Sunday, December 02, 2012


Last night, we went to Harbor Lights, the annual festival of lights that kicks off the Christmas season here in Corpus Christi.

Today, we had a family portrait taken for the first time in forever.  After that was Meeting.  In First Day School, we are still studying the Simplicity testimony and reading Thee, Hannah!.

At home this afternoon we rolled  Advent candles out of purple and pink sheets of beeswax (I love the tiny hexagons - they make me feel all queen of every hive, womb of every holt and stuff).  Now we need to light the first candle over dinner and later we will turn to our Advent calendars and moving our Magi down the hallway a bit.

What are your holiday traditions?

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Lone Star Ma Issue #11 Needs Good Submissions, Mamas!

I do not know what has happened to all the mamas who can usually be counted on to raise their voices on behalf of Texas families and other families, but...I need them back!

I have extended the deadline for submissions for  Lone Star Ma #11 several times now but still have nowhere near the pool of good content to choose from that we always got in our print days.  The transition to digital is no fun, for sure, but Texas still needs your voices!  Please submit!

Call For Submissions - Lone Star Ma #11

Calling for submissions for Issue #11 of Lone Star Ma:  The Magazine of Progressive Texas Parenting And Children's Issues!!!
For this issue, we are looking for feature articles on the effects of lax enforcement of environmental standards on children in Texas.  We are looking for articles on how the Right-Wing War on Women affects mothers and children.  

Specific other topics we might be interested in:  social services funding in Texas, education in Texas, urban farming for busy families, the Texas State Board of Education, libraries, sex education, breastfeeding, safely avoiding insect-borne tropical diseases.  

We do accept articles on other themes as well if they strike our fancy, so send whatever you think we should consider and we will ponder it. 

Please see the general submission information at for guidelines and please consider submitting to our various departments, as well. 

Lone Star Ma wants poetry.  Lone Star Ma wants mama fiction.  Lone Star Ma wants brilliant articles. What have you got? 

The deadline for submissions has been extended to December 15th.  

Raise your voices. 

xo, Lone Star Ma

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Don't Buy War Toys

I have numerous issues with the whole Black Friday frenzy thing, but here is one that I have not heard mentioned by very many others lately:

Please do not celebrate the holiday season by buying war toys for the children in your life.

Hurting people is not entertainment, war is not a game.  Buying war toys encourages violence and that is something of which our world needs no more.  No more at all.

I love toys, but there are so many good kinds.  There are toys that can help kids learn, toys that can spark their imaginations, toys that help children to build and many.  

There is no need for toys that de-sensitize children to the horrors of war and violence.

Whether it is a recent generation video game full of graphic gore or a simple water gun, there is no need to put that sort of violent representation into the hands or minds of our children.  Everywhere I hear people answer back my position with stories of all the many  and precious toy guns, etc. of their own childhoods and how they were not hurt by them...

But weren't they? Weren't we?

What civilized nation keeps weaponry like we do?  What civilized nation uses weapons on each other for crime and outbursts as we do?  And then there is the child abuse, the domestic violence... it goes on and on, buried so deep in all of our psyches in this culture in which even our childhood play is saturated with violence.

And we believe, so many of us, in a military solution to everything.

 I think we can do so much better.

Give the children in your lives constructive toys.  Peaceful toys.  Give them tools to build peaceful lives in a culture saturated by caring rather than violence.

Please start today.

Happy Thanksgiving!

To be clear, I am not celebrating the murdered history of the genocide of our nation's Native Peoples.

That said, thankfulness is something I can totally celebrate (also, the harvest).

What I am most thankful for, as always, is having my good, beautiful, brilliant daughters and being lucky enough to be able to care for them as they grow up. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Amazing Artist Girl

The Lone Star Girl has been working so hard in her DP Art class.  The overall style she has chosen for her gallery pieces is basically impressionist.  She made this piece out of tissue paper, on the theme of her name and her sister's name.  I think it's lovely.

The following piece is simply amazing.  The assignment was to do a self-portrait.  She got a picture of herself underwater that her swim friends had taken with the underwater camera.  She blew it up big at what-once-was-Kinko's, and she pixilated it - all with candy wrappers she had folded up into tiny, tiny squares.

Impressive, yes?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Texas SBOE, Post -Election

So, the Texas State Board of Education now looks like this:

District 1: Martha Dominguez, D-El Paso
District 2: Ruben Cortez, D-Brownsville
District 3: Marisa Perez, D-San Antonio
District 4: Lawrence Allen, D-Fresno
District 5: Ken Mercer, R-San Antonio
District 6: Donna Bahorich, R-Houston
District 7: David Bradley, R-Beaumont
District 8: Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands
District 9: Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant
District 10: Tom Maynard, R-Florence
District 11: Pat Hardy, R-Fort Worth
District 12: Geraldine “Tincy” Miller, R-Dallas 
District 13: Mavis Knight, D-Dallas
District 14: Sue Melton, R-Waco
District 15: Marty Rowley, R-Amarillo.

While five members of the scary creationist bloc that recently ravaged our science standards seem to be have been defeated or quit, that bloc has gained at least one new member or more and it looks to me like Democrats are still outnumbered two-to-one by Texas Republicans.  Not all Republicans are anti-scientist racists, of course, but allow me to remind you of the Texas Republican Party Platform?  Enough said. 

Social studies standards in 2014, Mamas. Let's keep the eyes of Texas upon them.

Local Results of The Election

It looks like South Texas will still have a worthless Congressional delegation with Farenthold in the House, and Cruz, even worse than his predecessors, in the Senate.  I'm still having a hard time with the fact that people would elect someone as far out on the crazy right-wing fringe as Cruz is in these parts.  Maybe they just looked at his name.  Maybe re-re-districting will help.  Pretty grim for now.

I'm glad that we still have Senator Hinojosa in the Texas Senate and that our wonderful, smart, ethical Abel Herrero defeated Connie Scott and won his seat "back", so to speak, in the Texas House.  The new lines took our house out of his district where it used to be, though, and we have to contend with Representative Hunter, a Republican who ran unopposed - le sigh.

I'm not fussed that the Sheriff was re-elected.  He may be a Republican, but his opponent was nothing to write home about. I wish David Torres had won a seat on the Commissioner's Court - he would have been great.

I have little faith in many of the people who were elected (re-elected) to the City Council in Corpus Christi, but I am thrilled that Priscilla Leal was re-elected and super-crazy-glad that Nelda Martinez is our new Mayor.  They truly care about doing what's right.  As for the rest, we'll see. 

I will withhold judgement on whether the CCISD School Board will be improved by this election until I see what happens with teachers' health insurance, class sizes  and the consultation process next school year.  There is a lot of room for improvement.

And now - we start working on the next election!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

We All Win!

We get to keep the Environmental Protection Agency, women's rights, the Affordable Care Act and a decent enough person with daughters he cares about will choose the next few Supreme Court Justices!  


Nuclear Reactor At Comanche Peak Shut Down

Super scary!  Overheating!  Read about it.  Makes me not want to go back to see the fossils!

Election Day!

Join the strong-shouldered river of democracy and vote!

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Glories of Dual-Language Montessori Lower El

My third grader has it good.  She spends most of her mornings immersed in her work cycle - operations, grammar, geometry, fractions, phonograms, Spanish, SRAs, silent reading, word study, creative writing - and once she has taken care of business, she gets to delve into the projects.

Last week, she and a partner gave a presentation of their research on Saturn in Spanish and in English.  She just brought home another enormous map creation - this one of North America.  Tomorrow, she is presenting a Jupiter research project.  She and her sister made sugar cookies (with a red hot on each to represent the Great Storm) to pass out during the presentation and I found myself checking the ingredients and telling her that she could tell her friend that they are halal because there is nothing in them that is not okay for her friend to eat.  She is also researching frogs at the moment.  

She plays card games like an addict in morning care and runs around like a monkey in after care. 

It is good.

Vote For A Texas Rose!

Rose Meza Harrison (unlike her opponent, who does not believe in public education) supports funding public education so that class sizes are manageable, allowing students to get the attention they need so that they can be prepared for the future.  She supports the inclusion of the arts in education, as well as strong math and science instruction.  She supports early childhood education programs and affordable higher education as well.

Rose Meza Harrison believes in protecting the vulnerable of our society - the children, elderly, poor and sick - rather than sacrificing them on the altar of corporate greed.  Her opponent believes in slashing programs that help the needy.

Rose Meza Harrison believes that we can develop renewable energy sources that are clean and safe and allow us to be energy-independent.  Her opponent believes in abolishing the EPA and allowing polluters to have free reign without regulation.

Rose Meza Harrison supports women's rights and heath.  Her opponent believes we should eliminate programs that provide health care to uninsured women and could not be bothered to vote on fair pay for women.

Our community needs Rose Meza Harrison in Congress.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Texas Mamas for Paul Sadler!

Be sure to get out there on Tuesday, Mamas, and vote for Paul Sadler for the U.S. Senate! 

Democrat Paul Sadler supports health care for women, unlike his opponent who was chosen by the tea party in the Republican primary because Perry's lackey Dewhurst was not conservative enough for them.  

Paul Sadler supports health care for everyone, in fact, and - unlike his Republican opponent - does not intend to repeal health care reforms that protect children with preexisting conditions and keep people who get sick from getting dropped by their insurance plans.  He also thinks parents should be able to keep their sons and daughters on their health insurance plans until they turn 26, so that young Americans will be covered while they complete their educations.

Paul Sadler supports public education and he supports teachers.  His opponent is one of the growing number of Republicans who do not believe in public education and who will slash funding for it every chance they get. Paul Sadler knows that public education is the heart of democracy.

Most importantly, Paul Sadler believes in protecting our environment for future Americans.  He is a nationally recognized expert on alternative and renewable sources of energy and can help us build the new, green economy that will save our economy and our world.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Fancy Nancy By Day, Darth Vader By Night

One girl, two Halloween costumes....(one for dress-up-as-a-storybook-character at school, one for trick-or-treating)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Nelda Martinez For Corpus Christi Mayor!

I did some block-walking in my neighborhood today for Nelda Martinez, my choice for the next Mayor of Corpus Christi.  I love Nelda because she is honest and truthful and devoted to our community.

Even though Nelda is in real estate and we really do have too many people in the real estate business on the Council, she is the only one of them who recuses herself from votes in which she has a financial interest.  The others rely on the city's super-weak ethics ordinance to make a buck off of being on the Council.  She never does.

Nelda won my loyalty forever when she stood up for our children's health and opposed the building of Las Brisas.  I trust her to put the children of Corpus Christi first which is why I voted for her.

It was a beautiful afternoon for block-walking.  I hung information cards on doorknobs on Ralston, Harrison and part of Ponder before I ran out of rubber bands and it started getting dark.  I'll do more later this week.  It is easy to help in mother-sized doses with block-walking - you can just get the information and pass it out in the pockets of time you have.  I got to help our city's future and get exercise and look at all the neighbors' Halloween decorations - very pleasant.

The most important thing to do, though, is to vote, of course.  I voted for Nelda Martinez for Corpus Christi Mayor yesterday.  Have you voted yet?

The Supermarket Shop And Being Legal in Texas

The Goblin Princess' birthday is this week so I bought all her favorite junk food and not-junk food in today's massive trek to H-E-B for the week:  toaster strudels (ewww), Wild Cherry Pepsi, goat cheese in two varieties, organic potatoes, deviled eggs, strawberry cake mix and Ben and Jerry's.  Not groceries I would normally buy together and I promise the toaster strudels and cake only happen on her birthday week.

She will turn 17 on Halloween.

She says "Can you believe that on Wednesday I will be an adult?" 

I have explained over and over again that being seventeen is not being an adult - the Texas Legislature just had to put the age of majority low enough to include all of their girlfriends. I replied "That's not an adult!"  

It's not!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I Voted!!

I voted today! The Lone Star Baby and I waited in line for over an hour to vote at Half-Price Books, one of today's early voting locations - a good opportunity to reinforce how important it is to vote.  Though I guess waiting in lines tops few people's lists of enjoyable activities, I was happy that so many people were out voting!

To democracy!!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mayoral Race Highjinks

Sooo....Corpus Christi mayoral candidate Chris Adler said in a recent forum that she has been "unjustly labeled" as in favor of Las Brisas.

Excuse me?

I wonder what she thinks would be just.

It would be one thing if Ms. Adler said that she has changed her mind about supporting Las Brisas - a very welcome thing indeed - but to say she never supported is just not true.

I was in Council chambers on the day that Ms. Adler voted in favor of water incentives for Las Brisas.  She also was quoted as saying (before the vote, I think) that if Las Brisas was permitted, she  would support it however she could and that she could not think of a more important  thing that could happen to the city than a $3 billion investment.  That sounds in favor to me.  Ms. Adler was also very dismissive of the mothers and doctors who came before Council to plea for the health of our community's children.

I am voting for Nelda Martinez, who voted against water incentives for Las Brisas and who cares for our children.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Girl Effect

I know I brag on the Girl a lot, but she is just so amazing!  One of the Take Action projects she decided to do after attending the WAGGGS Girls World Forum this summer was to start a Girl Effect club at her high school. 

Girl Effect is an organization that helps girls and Girl Effect clubs are clubs where girls in first world countries raise funds and supplies for girls in developing countries.  This is a very effective form of philanthropy:  girls grow up to be women and women invest 90% of their incomes into their families, as compared to the 30-40% of income invested in families by men.

The Girl's club is currently holding a soap drive at school for an organization that helps girls and is trick-or-treating for UNICEF with collection boxes in all of the classrooms.  When we went to her school's Open House on Monday night, I saw her flyers for both projects and for the club itself up and down every bit of hallway at that huge school.

I am so proud of my girl.  She is the solution.

For more on the Girl Effect, watch this video.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Streamlining Tax Deductions For The Middle Class

Still wondering what tax code Governor Romney was talking about when he said middle income families would need to look at their deductions and maybe pick like just $25,000 worth.  

He remains confused, I think, as to what "middle income" means.  

I do not think there are any middle income families with any combination of tax deductions that add up to anything close to that.

The child tax credits aren't like those tax shelters in the Cayman Islands.  No wonder he thinks he can pay for his 8 trillion dollars with this whole "simplifying the tax code" business.  

(Someone needs to explain this to him.  Kind of like when they had to take President Bush to see a grocery store.)



Yeah.  Women do need some flexible work arrangements, Governor.  Men, too.  Because they also should be balancing their careers with caring for their children, don't you think?

World Food Day

Today is World Food Day.  This year's theme is that agricultural cooperatives are key to feeding the world.  Find out more about World Food Day and how you can get involved here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

No Las Brisas In District Two

Both Brian Rosas and Chad Magill who are running for City Council in District Two where I live have contacted me and assured me that they are against Las Brisas, if it should come up, which they do not think it will.

Mr. Magill spoke for Las Brisas before Council and the Commissioner's Court on behalf of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce a couple of years ago, but he says that is not his position now.

I'm surprised that any candidate would contact me about such things as I am so busy with work and keeping my kids afloat through some tough times that I have scarcely poked my nose into any sort of public policy issues in over a year - and, really, only a few people read this blog if one can judge from the number of comments -  but I certainly appreciate the candidates letting me know their positions on something that is of crucial importance to my family (even if they are overestimating my completely non-existent influence on the moms of District Two).

Thank you, Mr. Rosas and Mr. Magill!  Good to know!

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Monday, October 08, 2012

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Make Sure You Are Registered To Vote, Mamas!

The deadline in Texas for getting registered to vote in time to vote on this upcoming Election Day is this Tuesday, October the 9th.  Are you registered?  Please make sure and get registered in time, Texas Mamas!

First Day School: Simplicity Testimony

Today was Meeting and the Lone Star Baby and I had First Day School.  This day being full of lovely cool weather in the sixties, we walked to and from Meeting playing acronym games, at the Lone Star Baby's request. It was very nice.  

We've had some general lessons about our Quaker SPICES recently  and have more recently begun working on the Simplicity Testimony.  Today we continued our reading of the Quaker children's classic, Thee, Hannah!, and had a lovely discussion about what we were reading and about simplicity and clothing on the way home.

Texas Republicans And Voter Suppression: Purging The Possibly Dead

In a very Halloween take on Republicans' voter suppression tactics, Republican Texas Secretary of State Hope Andrade recently directed county voting officials in Texas to send out letters to about 80,000 voters supposedly suspected of being deceased and requiring that they prove they are still living or be purged from voter registration rolls.  Many county clerks around the state balked at this, since about 68,000 of the voters were identified as being possibly dead based on very weak data, such as having the same birth date and last four SSN digits as a deceased person, which means practically nothing in a state the size of Texas.

The voters targeted for letters seemed to have an amazing correlation with voters living in African American neighborhoods in Texas.  What a strange coincidence.

Four living voters who were told that they would have to prove they were alive in order to not be purged from the voter registration rolls sued the state and Texas has now settled the lawsuit, agreeing that county officials will have to verify that someone is dead before purging them from the rolls rather than randomly forcing poor or minority voters to prove that they are alive in order to stay on them.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

41 And Arms Full of Daughters

Last Friday was my birthday and the whole weekend was full of festivities - a wonderful dinner prepared by the Girl on Friday night, a wonderful brunch out with the family on Saturday, a wonderful brunch prepared by the Girl for more family on Sunday and a wonderful get-together with friends Sunday night.

Every year I am just more and more amazed at what results from my rule that presents to me from girls have to be made or found.

Here are my presents from the so-sweet Lone Star Baby:

Here is a sweater that the Lone Star Girl knitted for me!   A sweater, I tell you!!!

And here are the shelves that she modge-podged hundreds of millions of family photo print-outs onto for me!!!!!

I have the most amazing girls in the universe.  In the mul-ti-verse...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Happy World Contraception Day!

I am so grateful for contraception.  If I could only keep three modern inventions, I'm pretty sure that one of them would be contraception.

Parents, please be sure that your raise your kids knowing how to access and use contraception so that they can protect themselves and make safe choices when they are ready.  Far too many teens are operating on no information or bad information, but they are still making choices. Remember that if you are not talking to them, they will listen to the people who are.

Call For Submissions - Lone Star Ma #11 - Deadline Extended

Call For Submissions - Lone Star Ma #11

Calling for submissions for Issue #11 of Lone Star Ma:  The Magazine of Progressive Texas Parenting And Children's Issues!!!
For this issue, we are looking for feature articles on the effects of lax enforcement of environmental standards on children in Texas.  We are looking for articles on how the Right-Wing War on Women affects mothers and children.  Specific other topics we might be interested in:  social services funding in Texas, education in Texas, urban farming for busy families, the Texas State Board of Education, libraries, sex education, breastfeeding, safely avoiding insect-borne tropical diseases.  We do accept articles on other themes as well if they strike our fancy, so send whatever you think we should consider and we will ponder it.  Things are bad for the women and children of Texas these days, folks.  We need to spread the word and save our kids' futures from the likes of those who only care about the wealthy and the powerful.  Not on our backs.  Not on our children's backs.  Not now.  Not ever.  We will stop them.

Please see the general submission information below for guidelines and please consider submitting to our various departments. 

Lone Star Ma wants poetry.  Lone Star Ma wants mama fiction.  Lone Star Ma wants brilliant articles. What have you got? 

The deadline for submissions has been extended to November 15th. 

Raise your voices. 

xo, Lone Star Ma


Lone Star Ma is a reader-written magazine covering topics of progressive Texas parenting and children's issues.  I totally cannot pay you for your submissions, but if I like 'em, I'll print 'em.  We need to get our voices out there.  To submit an article or poem to Lone Star Ma, please send it in the body of an e-mail to submissions(at)lonestarma(dot)com.  E-mails with attachments will not be opened.

Please include working contact info., including a mailing address, phone number and e-mail address, if possible.  I may print a submitted article in a later issue than you had in mind, so if you don't want it printed after a certain date, please say so.  Published work may be archived on the website unless you ask to have it removed. Please include with your submission a bio-line, such as "Radical Rae is the mother of 4-year-old Joey and works as a social worker in Houston."  Thanks.

In addition to features, mamafiction and poetry, Lone Star Ma accepts submissions for the following regular departments:


We Love them!! Please write!!!  Attn:  Letters.

Longhorn Lactation

If you have lactation news, information or action alerts, please submit them, attn:  Longhorn Lactation.

Vegetarian Vittles

is your place for recipes and resources for vegetarian families. If you have vegetarian recipes, news, alerts or stories to share with fellow parents, please submit them, attn:  Vegetarian Vittles.  (Recipes with nuts ain't welcome in these parts.)  Please send recipes attn:  Vegetarian Vittles.

Yellow Rose Reviews

Is where you review exceptional children's toys, books, magazines, music and educational products that you might not hear about in more mainstream venues.  Please send reviews attn: Yellow Rose Reviews.
Educatin' The Young 'Uns

If you have education news, information or action alerts, please submit them, attn:  Educatin' The Young 'Uns.

Modify Website

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Texas Republicans And Voter Suppression: Redistricting Maps

A three-judge panel of federal judges ruled in August that the redistricting boundaries passed by the Republican-controlled Texas state legislature are in violation of the Voting Rights Act.  To quote the judges' ruling:

“Texas ... seeks from this court a declaratory judgement that its redistricting plans will neither have 'the purpose nor will have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color, or [language minority group].  We conclude that Texas has failed to show that any of the redistricting plans merits preclearance.”

For the November elections, Texas will have to make do with stop-gap maps drawn by federal judges as there is not time to go through the process to come up with new maps before then.

It is worth noting that part of the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform calls for the repeal of the Voting Rights Act.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Texas Republicans And Voter Suppression: Voter ID Laws

Texas has been right in line with the trend of Republican-led state legislatures who have been frantically passing voter suppression laws to try to keep minorities and people who are poor and unlikely to vote Republican from the polls.  Fortunately, some of our courts remember their judicial duty to protect the constitution and all.

In August, a federal judge blocked the Perry-backed Senate Bill 14, a voter ID law, which required voters to present one of five kinds of valid ID (only specific, picture IDs, not voter registration cards) at the polls in order to vote. 

While no one has been able to point to evidence that in-person voter fraud is an actual thing, it is known that many, many Texans are in possession of none of the IDs that are allowed.  Many Texans also do not have the money to obtain such IDs.  

It's weird to see Republicans gadding about asking why this is a big deal as IDs are needed to cash checks, rent movies and cars, etc. and surely everyone has them.  Do the Republicans really not realize that our state - in fact, our country - is chock full of people who do not have the income to do any of those things?

They realize.  Their lifestyles depend upon it.

These laws are in no way truly intended for the purpose of preventing fraud.  They are for the purpose of voter suppression, plain and simple.  

I would never try to get someone I disagreed with not to vote - that is just terrible.  Everyone needs to vote - everyone.  That's the only way democracy works.  What the Republicans are doing is truly wicked.  They may as well crown a king and be done with it.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

47% And Counting

I really do not understand how people like Mitt Romney can pull their whole "we built it" nonsense and claim that Americans who do not earn enough money to pay income taxes or who receive public services are a "dependency culture".  Romney and his ilk receive just as much government assistance, if not more, themselves.

What the President said about how businesses are dependent upon workers and the government and vice versa is just true.  No one (except the military and I don't think the Republicans have a problem with that) gets as much government largesse as big corporations do.  The tax breaks and tax credits that exceedingly wealthy corporate entities receive dwarf the 47% he is talking about every time.  

It's not 47 percent - it's 100%.  It's called interdependency and it is part of being human.  None of us can make it on our own. We evolved into tribal groups and, later, societies, for that very reason.

Note that I am not trying to say that there is never any reason for the government to help out big businesses the ways it does - the ways from which Mitt Romney has benefited tremendously - maybe there is.  I am saying, however, that if they deserve it, then certainly children needing health insurance deserve it, too. And people needing clean air, nutrition, child care and public education ... they deserve it, too.

It is not wrong for societies to decide to create structures that allow everyone to thrive.  

It's not fair to create structures that support only the wealthy few.

We really are all in this together.  We can build nothing alone.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dental Joyfulness And Unamusing Spouses

The Lone Star Baby broke a tooth - we thought -  on Friday night and it looked like a big, scary break.  I had visions of all-too-expensive root canals and crowns.  Only the fact that she was in no pain and the tender online ministrations of a dentist friend from the Mommy Club (first rule of Mommy Club...) kept panic somewhat at bay.  The dentist had no answering service on his phone or anything so we could not reach him until this morning.

Today Lone Star Pa took a half-day in the afternoon to take her to the dentist.  I called him the moment school got out, seeing a missed call from home.

Me:  You're home?

LSP:  Yes.

Me:  Well?

LSP:   Weelll...they're going to work with us.  We'll have twelve monthly payments of ( I was believing it grimly up to this point) $500 dollars each.

Me:  NOT FUNNY!!!!

She's totally fine, though.  It was a filling, not the tooth, that broke and he just re-filled it.  He didn't even charge us anything for it.  She feels totally fine.


Happy Constitution Day!

Let's all try to have just a little respect for the principle of popular sovereignty today, shall we?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Citizenship And Reality

Please remember, mamas, that voting for anyone other than Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is, in effect, the same as a choice not to vote - except that it is one that will also possibly give an advantage to one of those two candidates (which one is pretty hard to say right now).  You may not like the real choices much, but they are far from the same guy and every responsible citizen must, at this point, choose to vote for one of them.

Personally, I would love to have a more parliamentary, coalition-y, less two-party system for certain, but we do not have one now and protesting that by wasting one's vote is childish.  Working for that system is valid and admirable, but wasting a vote in the election we have is not. Also, even in our two-party system there is a pathway for working to choose a candidate who is to one's liking:  the primary elections.  A citizen who is not happy with the choices in November but who did not work hard to try to get a better choice in the primaries has little about which to justly complain.

Politics is real life.  Every vote affects a real child.  Being disgusted with the system is no excuse for not meeting your responsibility to those children by doing what you can do, even if it is not all that you wish you could do.

Hey, Citgo - It's A Crime To Hurt People - A Crime With Victims

On Friday, a federal judge ruled that the people in Hillcrest and other Corpus Christi neighborhoods that were harmed by the illegal pollution created by  Citgo's East Refinery have the right to be considered crime victims in the sentencing phase of the case against Citgo.

This is a landmark case, as it is the first time a refinery has ever been convicted of criminal charges.  It is also the first time residents living near a refinery have been recognized as potential crime victims.

Citgo is already talking about all of its appeals, of course, and I have no doubt that it will use its corporate money to continue its wicked appealing until all of the damaged children of Hillcrest have grown old (or not) and died.  Citgo will pay any amount, it seems, to avoid doing the right thing.

All the same, it is a good precedent for the court to set.  It is good to at least recognize that it is a crime for corporations to sicken communities full of people who might have otherwise lived healthy lives.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Flu Shot Mama

We got 'em done at Walgreen's today - The Lone Star Girl, the Lone Star Baby, Lone Star Pa and I.  With the Girl and her asthma around, I am serious about flu shots.  Unfortunately, only Lone Star Pa's health insurance covers them, not ours, so we are also down almost a hundred bucks.  It's worth it to keep everyone safe, but we could have used that money at the dentist's next week for the Lone Star Baby's broken tooth.  I really hope our health insurance gets better soon.