Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I entered another chapbook of my poetry into a chapbook contest this summer and found out today that it has made the quarter-finals! 100 chapbooks made it into the quarter-finals, so it is not like I am anywhere close to winning or anything, but 250 chapbooks did not, so I think it's still pretty exciting!  I should find out about semi-finals at the end of August.

Texas Run-Off Election Today - Vote!

Today is the Texas run-off election!  If you did not vote early, today is the day to vote!  Please do not fail your responsibility to our democracy, mothers and others.  Make your voice heard!

Monday, July 30, 2012

2nd First Day of Third Grade

Today the Lone Star Baby really started third grade to stay.  She has been super upset and stressed about starting school lately.  It seems that during the latter part of last school year, she got far enough along in her work that the pieces of work were getting longer and harder and it was really stressing her out to try to finish seven before recess, which was the rule.  I explained to her that the rule was probably really for kids who were not doing work as hard as she was yet and that I knew her teacher would understand that she could not do that many now that she was on more complicated ones.  She was really not convinced and very negative about school.

When I picked her up today, though, she was all smiles.  She said she found out today that now she is only expected to finish four pieces of work before recess now.  It was a huge weight off of her shoulders and she was so happy and positive about school and all chatter-y about all the fun things they worked on today - a volcano and a project about different geologic eras and the topic of her SRA...whew.

Such a major relief!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Girl Home

The Girl got home from camp tonight and scarcely an hour later, the house is filled with the too-sweet cherry smell of Kool-Aid (and the bathroom looks like a horror movie got filmed there) - she is using it to dye her hair.  Makes me happy - she is definitely in the house!

100 Days Until Election Day - Mamas, Make Your Voices Heard!

It is 100 days until Election Day and we all need to get busy if we want to protect health care for women and children, education funding and clean air and water for our children.  If Mitt Romney gets elected, we can kiss health care for women and children good-bye, as well as funding for education and regulations that keep the air and water safe for our kids.  These issues matters to mamas and we have to act like they matter.

Texas is a state that has voted for the Republican in the presidential election for a long time.  Things are changing, though.  Latinos make up a greater and greater proportion of our population and Romney is no friend to the issues that most Latinos care about - kids, civil rights and jobs.  Romney is also no friend to Texas women and that is starting to be realized by more and more women across the state.  Just a short while ago, Romney and President Obama were actually neck and neck in the polls in Texas!  Now Romney is ahead but by an very small margin.  Many mamas have often felt that our votes for Democratic candidates who care about our issues in Texas scarcely count given what a red state we live in, but things have changed - our votes really, really really COUNT!!!!

We must all vote and we must spread the word - our kids need President Obama to be re-elected.

We cannot afford to go back to the policies that broke our economy, polluted our air and water, sickened our children and bankrupted our children's schools under the Bush administration.  We still have a long way to go before we even can recover fully from those times - we cannot return to them.

We have 100 days to win this!  Mamas, make your voices heard!


Cousin Camp 2012

This past week was Cousin Camp, and it was a lot of fun, although we missed the Lone Star Girl away at Girl Scout camp.  My two nieces, the Lone Star Niece (9.5), and the Lone Star Niecelet (5) came down on Sunday and stayed until we delivered them back to the Dallas family at the half-way mark in Austin yesterday. The Lone Star Baby (8) was on cloud nine to have them here.

We went to the beach and the pool and the museum and the Botanical Gardens and the solar system scale model and the t-heads and shopping for their mommy.  We made Cousin Camp t-shirts and crafts.  We ate tacos.  The three girls played in the yard and on the Wii and watched some My Little Pony.

I read bedtime stories and sang lullabies.  Lone Star Pa took photos and dug sand pits and trenches. 

Family time is so special.  I hope we can always have Cousin Camp every year.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Last Day of Early Voting!

Don't forget to vote!  We're heading off to be good citizens and vote right now!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Take That, Las Brisas!

On Wednesday, District Judge Yelenosky struck down the air permit that was granted to Las Brisas by the pollution-industry-crony commissioners of the TCEQ because the permit does not meet air quality standards.

We can all breathe easier down here in the Coastal Bend for awhile.

Hopefully, Las Brisas will now decide to either design a plant that does meet clean air standards or to go away - either would be fine with me.  We will see.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Family Book As Interpreted By The Lone Star Niecelet

So...the Cousin Campers were all in bed in a row - the nine-year-old Lone Star Niece, the eight-year-old Lone Star Baby and the five-year-old Lone Star Niecelet.  I was reading The Family Book by Todd Parr as a bedtime story.  I love Todd Parr's bright, quirky picture books with their messages of love and tolerance.  Tonight, the reading went something like this:

Me:  "Some families are big, Some families are small..."
Lone Star Niecelet (LSN):  And some families are rabbits.

Me:  "Some families are the same color, Some families are different colors ..."
LSN:  And some families are skunks.  And some families are fish.

Her comments continued after each double-facing page:
Some families are bears.  Some families are aliens. Some families look like devils.  Some families look like devils' pets. Some fish are alone and they're still happy.  Some families wear wigs...

She's a riot.  Some of her comments matched the book's illustrations quite obviously but some came from way out of nowhere - devils?!  There are no devils in the book!  I surely miss having a preschooler in the house - they make everything so much more hilarious.  And impossibly cute. 

Swimming With Kids

(Or rather:  hanging out in the pool with kids who are swimming because I have to watch them, so I need to keep my glasses on, not swim.)

This experience offers so much potential for personal growth as a mama, I must say.  I am really proud of myself for embracing its opportunities.

First, I'm really fat.  While I don't have a lot of remaining issues with modesty after childbirth and nursing and all, I also don't love putting on a swimsuit and going to a venue where I might be the fattest person present.  That said, I do it.  For the kids.  Because I rock like that.

Second, I'm really anxious, especially about things like water safety and traffic safety where kids are concerned.  Did anyone see me letting the eight-year-old and the nine-year-old walk to the diving board line, wait in it, jump off the board and swim to safety all on their own?  Also, I let the five-year-old swim just yards ahead of me under my watchful eye.  I let the eight-year-old walk her to the potty.  Because I rock like that.

I also let all three kids climb all over me and make me their personal water  taxi, even though I am really not the climbing parent in this family.  Why?  Because I rock like that.

I do.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Texas Republicans Come Out For The Boy Scouts

From the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform:

"We support the Boy Scouts of America and reject any attempt to undermine or fundamentally change the ideals of the organization."

Now, the Texas Republican Party Platform does not mention by name any other  youth organization: not the Girl Scouts, with their 100-year history of tolerance and inclusion ... not Campfire, not 4-H....no others at all - just the Boy Scouts.  What might be so special about the Boy Scouts that it needed a specific mention in the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform? 

Could it be the policy of the  Boy Scouts of America of  "not granting membership to open or avowed homosexuals"?  Bingo.  We have a winner.

While the Girl Scouts, Campfire, 4-H, the Boys And Girls Clubs, Big Brothers and Big Sisters - to name a few- all believe that parents are the best people to create policies on with whom their children should or should not associate, the Boy Scouts just re-affirmed their policy to exclude people who are gay on Tuesday. 

I'm sure that the Boy Scouts and the Texas Republicans will be very happy together.  

I would be sad if I had a boy and could not have him be a Scout because there are so many wonderful things about Scouting.  I would no more let a son of mine participate in Boy Scouts than I would let him participate in an otherwise wonderful youth program run by the KKK, though.  I draw the line at bigotry.  I'm glad there are so many upstanding youth organizations in America that, unlike the Boy Scouts, do not teach hate.

In my book, hate is not a family value.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Literary Baby, With Credit To C.S. Lewis' Voyage of The Dawn Treader

Me:  "There was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb ..."

Lone Star Baby:  "... and he almost deserved it!"

Tentatively Great News On Las Brisas Air Permit

In May, Judge Yelenosky ruled that the Las Brisas air permit did not meet air quality standards and did not use the best available technology to make sure that the petroleum coke that it used did not cause air pollution at the site.  Yesterday was the hearing about what Judge Yelenosky would order done about the permit's shortcomings.

The final written ruling was not made and is expected some time next week, as language in it is being fine-tuned, but lawyers say the permit will be reversed and remanded to the TCEQ.

Hopefully, after one of the endless stream of defeats it is undergoing due to the untenable levels of pollution and illness it would cause, Las Brisas will give up this crazy pet-coke-in-a population-center idea and either design an energy plant that is safe or go away.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

That Time

School supply shopping.

Our Girl Is Home!

Our Girl had a wonderful time at the Girls' World Forum.  She met wonderful girls from all over the world, worked hard, learned a lot and had fun.

She also got to see lots of the sites in Chicago!

 So exciting!  

Now that she's back (for a few days, before camp starts again), she is going to organize several Take Action projects to make the world a better place!  Watch for her article about the Girls' World Forum  in Lone Star Ma #11!

Someone Missed Her Big Sister

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Texas Republicans Think Kids Should Learn It On The Streets

It's all very well to say that children should learn about sex from their parents, but the truth is that many parents simply refuse to teach their children about sex and safe sex and reproductive health.  Many parents feel, quite erroneously, that talking about sex leads to it happening - actually, the more young people know about sex, the longer they delay having it overall.  Also, many parents are plain ignorant about the details themselves, as should be obvious when you take a look at how many unintended pregnancies occur in Texas each year (309,000).  My own daughter attends  a very academically rigorous high school program filled with some of the smartest, most educated teens around and is Completely Horrified at how totally ignorant they are about sex, reproductive health and how to protect themselves.  Pregnancy scares abound and the parents don't even know.  It is a crisis.

The Texas Republicans want to continue suppressing sex education in our schools.  Here is what the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform has to say on the matter:

"Sex Education – We recognize parental responsibility and authority regarding sex education. We believe that parents must be given an opportunity to review the material prior to giving their consent. We oppose any sex education other than abstinence until marriage. "

Parental authority is all very well, but it is crucial that comprehensive sex education happen in our schools so that all (or at least most) children have the information they need to be safe, whether their parents care enough or are educated enough to give them that information or not.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Texas Republicans Think Science Is Subjective

One of the things that is most disturbing to many educated people about the far right is their total willingness to ignore science and their desire to withhold science education from our children, or to treat scientific theories as on a par with spiritual theories rather than as the two entirely different topics that they are.  The 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform has this to say:

"We support objective teaching and equal treatment of all sides of scientific theories. We believe theories such as life origins and environmental change should be taught as challengeable scientific theories subject to change as new data is produced. Teachers and students should be able to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these theories openly and without fear of retribution or discrimination of any kind."

Let's ignore the fact that "challengeable" is not actually a word for the moment out of the bigness of our character.  Vague religious beliefs and market-driven opinions are Not Science.  Believing in science is not, for that matter, at odds with religion.  Science and religion are not, however, the same things.  Only science should be taught in public schools.  Religion is learned in homes and private, religious schools and institutions of worship.  

Separation of church and state, people.  We need to be clear on this.  Please.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

First Day School: George Fox's Big Adventure

Today, we returned to Meeting and First Day School.  If I looked, I bet I would find a whole lot of posts wherein I wrote about how we had been really bad about keeping up with First Day School/Meeting and were going to do better.  To some extent, my lifestyle is overwhelming enough that I really never meet the standards I would like to meet for anything in my life, ever, and I admit that it is easier to let First Day School go now that we are back to just my own kids in the Meeting - I do better when other families are also relying on me.  This past year, particularly, though, there have tough issues that have drained us and I have had to pull back in almost every area of busyness. 

That said, I am ready to be better about First Day School.  I have materials on hand and over a year of lessons planned out - I am ready.

Today's lesson was about George Fox's search for spirituality and what he found.  I used Faith 'N' Play materials for it and followed those with some listening-for-God silent worship practice and art.

The rest of the year (year = school year to me), for my Little Friends/Lower El "class"  will mostly be devoted to Quaker testimonies, then we will head into some Faith and Practice lessons and some lessons in the style of Godly Play that the child was too young for when we took on the parables (Isaiah, the Parables game, etc.).  The Young Friend and I will continue our study of world religions, when she returns form all her summer traveling.

Texas Republicans Support Corporal Punishment For Abused Children

When I was a kid, my parents used to take in foster children.  They felt that we had a lot of resources (my step dad is a doctor) and it was our responsibility to share them with children in need.  It was a wonderful experience for me growing up.  I learned so much about the suffering that was out there in the world, and also about the bigotry that I had not realized lived so nearby in our own neighborhood, but most of all, I also learned how to love unselfishly - such a gift.  Being a foster sister was definitely one of the defining experiences of my life.

As a foster family, there were rules we had to follow that we might not have chosen to follow with the children born into our family.  You could not, for example, leave a foster child with a teen-aged babysitter and go out for the evening.  Foster children were not allowed to share bedrooms with adults after a year of age.  Those were rules that we did not particularly like having to follow as our household did not roll that way, but we understood that, as wards of the state, foster children had to be carefully protected, so we complied.  Other rules were rather obvious - no locking a foster child in a room, no corporal punishment - well, of course.  You could not subject an abused child to that.  Foster parents have no way of knowing exactly what a foster child has gone through in their lives, other than that it was really bad.  You don't know what horrible traumas you may remind them of - so of course, you do not discipline them in ways that could remind them of the trauma and re-traumatize them. 

I have known plenty of foster parents in Texas who very unfortunately and unwisely believe in corporal punishment, but even they understand that it is not appropriate for foster children.  The Texas Republicans apparently do not, however.  Here is what their 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform has to say about the matter:

"We support eliminating bureaucratic prohibitions on corporal discipline and home schooling in foster homes."


Even the home schooling part is ridiculous, although that would probably not be apparent to people living in states with different rules about homeschooling.  In many states, home schooled students are required to meet the same standards as are students in the public schools, so they learn differently but still most of the same material and could, if moved around a lot, adjust to the next school in which they were placed.  In Texas, there are no such rules or standards for home-schooled students.  Parents are required to have a curriculum of some sort, but there are no guidelines at all as to what it should be.  It could be daily Bible reading and that is all and that would be perfectly legal.  While I support parents being able to have that freedom over their own children's education (even if I do not always think it works out well as in the example mentioned), it is different for foster children.  Foster children probably will not be staying in their foster family and will likely have to manage in the public school system again.  They need to be learning the state curriculum so they can manage when they move, as some of them will do a lot of moving.  The Texas homeschooling system, while having many strengths, is not right for their situation.

The sort of Republicans who would advocate for corporal punishment for foster children are the sorts of Republicans who should not have foster children - they certainly should not make the rules for them.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Texas Republicans Think Contraception Is Evil

You didn't think I was finished with the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform, did you?  Not even.  There are still quite a few more horrors to discuss.

Today, we must discuss the reasons why no one, not even very greedy Republican-types who hate children and the poor and who are eagerly looking forward to environmental holocaust, should vote Republican anymore.  No one. 

You know what I love about modern technology and science?  

I love contraception.  

Just tons.  

If I had to pick just three aspects of modern science and technology to get to use for the rest of my life, they would be contraception, antibiotics and epinephrine.  I do not like to think what my life would be like without contraception.

At my age, with my wildly strong fertility, unpredictable cycles and occasional urinary tract infections, if I was practicing natural family planning (which does work for some disciplined women who never get infections, never make mistakes, and do not have my super-sneaky-and-strong cervical mucous) I would probably have about 15 kids now (more without the breastfeeding) and be DEAD.  Really, really dead, because, like it was with the pioneer women from whom I am descended, all that pregnancy and childbearing would do me in, like it did them in, causing their men to need to recruit new mommies for their kids in the mail.  Those bad old days seem to be what  the Texas Republican Party would like to see a return to, based upon their platform.  And, honestly, even if my insides somehow pulled me through the whole 15 kids thing, I would not want to live that way.  We can only just barely afford to give a decent life to our two kids, what with healthcare costs being what they are, and I do not wish to raise my children in poverty.  I love babies and would love to have 4 kids instead of 2, but that would be a lack of FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY on my part.  Remember fiscal responsibility, Republicans? 

All kinds of people need contraception from time to time and Republicans seem to think contraception is evil, even though the earliest references to several forms of contraception come straight from the Bible, because lots of fine women of the Bible did not want to die from having too many children, or have children they could not feed, either.  The Texas Republican Party seems to confuse contraception with  abortion, which it is so far from being.  Abortion is an issue which splits our country right down the middle, and it is easy to understand why people on both sides of the abortion debate have such strong feelings.  There's an awful lot at stake on both sides - it is a very difficult matter.  This is why I prefer to promote policies that prevent unintended pregnancy and care for unwanted or unaffordable children, rather than taking sides about abortion.  Contraception prevents unintended pregnancy.  This should be something that is desired by people on both sides of the abortion debate, but somehow it is not.

This is how the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform begins to sneak in its objection to contraception:

"We believe that doctors, nurses, pharmacists, any employees of hospitals and insurance companies, health care organizations, medical and scientific research students, and any employee should be protected by Texas law if they conscientiously object to participate in practices that conflict with their moral or religious beliefs, including but not limited to abortion, the prescription for and dispensing of drugs with abortifacient potential, human cloning, embryonic stem cell research, eugenic screenings, euthanasia, assisted suicide, and the withdrawal of nutrition and hydration."

Much of that paragraph sounds quite reasonable upon first reading  - no one wants people to have to violate their religious beliefs.  Well, actually, the Republicans want my kids to have to violate ours by saying the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at school, but their teachers could not really make them do that if they tried, which they would not, so whatever.  Oh, and they want me to violate mine by trying to get me to teach my students that there are disadvantages to living in a multicultural society, but oh well.  And then the Republicans also want me to... never mind.  The point is that we mostly agree here except for this one phrase : "the prescription for and dispensing of drugs with abortifacient potential" - what are they talking about there anyways?  What prescriptions have abortifacient potential?  Why, it turns out they are talking about contraception.  Weird because contraception does not have abortifacient potential.  Contraception prescriptions prevent conception by sometimes preventing ovulation and sometimes making the female's cervical mucous a hostile environment that destroys sperm.  If you are already pregnant, they do not work.  They are not exactly good for you to take while pregnant - the vast majority of pharmaceuticals out there are not great to be taking while pregnant - but they are no more dangerous to a pregnancy than are many common antibiotics.  One just needs to be very careful about medications of any kind during pregnancy.

Honestly, there are a lot of drugs that a pharmacist might find personally objectionable.  To say that they do not have to fill prescriptions for contraception is a slippery slope - maybe I object to you getting your medicine, after all.  That way lies madness and we can't go there.

More from the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform about emergency contraception:

"We oppose sale and use of the dangerous “Morning After Pill.” "

Again - not dangerous (any more so than any other medication) and not abortion.  The "Morning After Pill", which is two pills by the way, is Not An Early Abortion.  It Is Not.  All it is is a high dose of progesterone that will make your cervical mucous a very, very difficult place in which for sperm to survive.  It might stop ovulation if you were at the correct time in your cycle, but likely will only be able to make your mucous mean.  It was, at one time, thought to be able to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterine lining (some religions believe pregnancy starts at fertilization and may consider this abortion - doctors believe pregnancy starts at implantation, though) but, it turns out, it does not do so.  It does not prevent implantation - it prevents fertilization.  The directions on the box clearly state that it should not be used in place of regular contraception because it is not as effective as properly used contraception in preventing pregnancy.  This would not be true if it were an abortifacient.  Which it is not.  Clear?  I hope so.

I know a number of women who have been rather fortunate (so far) in their choice of men and who are willing to accept the Republican agenda in which women are stripped of their rights to control their own bodies and to be treated equally in our society because they really trust their men to make the right decisions and treat them and their children well (I also know women who used to be like that and now have nothing because their men changed and left them and their kids high and dry).  There are not many women living that life of privilege, though, and most of us know that we are at risk, and our children are at risk, if the Republicans are allowed to strip us our our abilities to control our own destinies.  

Don't let it happen.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Super Yuck

Joel Osteen now has a line of greeting cards at CVS.  Eeeewwwwwww.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Girls' World Forum

 Early this afternoon, I put my Lone Star Girl on a  plane to Chicago.  All the allergies-and-airports things went without  hitch and she has called me to let me know that she arrived safely.  She and another girl from our Council will represent South Texas at the Girls' World Forum being held there.  500 Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from all over the world will come together to work on improving the lives of girls, and other people, all over the world.

 They will be addressing three of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals:

  • End poverty and hunger
  • Gender equality
  • Environmental sustainability.

I miss her already but am so crazy, proud of this Girl!!!!!

Reminder - Call For Submissions - Lone Star Ma #11

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, comparing what the Democratic and Republican Party platforms in Texas say about children's issues.  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 submission is July 31st. 

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.  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.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Governor Perry: Still Wants The Poor To Die

Rick Perry has rejected the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion component, so Texas will go without 76 billion in federal funds for health care and 1.2 - 1.3 million uninsured Texans who would have been eligible for Medicaid under the expansion will remain uninsured.  Also, the governor says Texas will not create a state health insurance exchange, which will require the feds to come in and do so instead.

We really need a new governor. 

Nervous Allergy Mom Preparations

Tomorrow, the Lone Star Girl flies for the first time since she was just a toddler ... and the first time since she developed her horrible allergies.

I have talked to the airline and they will make announcements to passengers to refrain from taking out anything with tree nuts/seafood in it.  They will "try" not to serve anything with tree nuts and don't serve anything with seafood. They assure me she is totally allowed to carry her meds at all times.

I have printed up the details they gave me to carry along in case there is trouble. 

I have checked out the TSA website, which clearly states that she is allowed to carry her medicine.  I have printed that information from their website to carry along.

I have talked to the chaperone.

I have tried to get a letter from the allergist to carry along as extra supporting documentation but he won't because he knows there is no need for it, having plenty of experience with the TSA, I guess, and wanting me to chill.

I have had the Girl pack packs of wipies in her carry-on so that she can wipe down her plane seats in case someone had some tree nuts or seafood on the flights before hers.

I should be able to go through security, etc. with her on the first flight leg to help model everything that she needs to handle on her own for the rest of the trip.

I think that's all I can do.

The only other person we know who really has allergies like hers has always been fine on airplanes.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Another Plaid Dress, Another First Day of Third Grade

Today was the Lone Star Baby's first day of third grade - sort of.   It was the first day of her school's new year-round calendar.  Our summer-grasping selves weren't thrilled with losing any of our precious time with the Lone Star Baby, though, so her school kindly suggested that she not start until July 30th, since she's an efficient little worker at school and can catch up.  That's what we are going to do, but we sent her today so she'd be there on the official first day.  I think this is the best plaid dress we've ever found (I actually found it months and months ago at Target on sale and got it and saved it for today).

The Lone Star Girl started third grade after the summer during which the Lone Star Baby arrived.   I still had a little bit of maternity leave left when school started for her that year, so the Lone Star Baby and I got to walk Big Sister to her classroom door before school everyday and pick her up at it in the afternoon.

That last picture was the Lone Star Girl trying not to be mean and tell me to leave with the camera already.

The Lone Star Baby keeps mentioning how her sister is "her lifetime" older than she is right now - meaning that the Lone Star Girl is twice her age - 16 and 8 for a little while longer!

My sweet girls.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Texas One Of Five States That Will Not Adopt National Science Standards

Modern science standards developed by national experts might lead to thinking and you know that the Republicans in charge of the SBOE are trying to protect us from dangerous stuff like that.

Writerly Joy

At forty years of age, with a whole bunch of unwritten books still in my head, it is sometimes very hard not to get dejected about my writing.  There is just so little time for it in my life.

Yesterday, though, my first book (chapbook) of poetry got accepted by my most favorite publisher.

I'm floating!



Saturday, July 07, 2012

Rockport Meanderings

My sister Jazz drove me over to Rockport today and we went to the Rockport Art Festival.  It was really fun (except that it was soooo hot) - I do not get to do things like that often enough!

At the festival, I got birthday presents for my mom, my sister and my mother-in-law, who all have birthdays coming up in August (I have not forgotten you, brother Johnny, but I did not see anything at the festival that I thought you'd want).  

After we saw all of the art (all of the art!), we had lunch at a sweet little place called The Luna Cafe.  I think I want to go back sometime and try their breakfast food, too.  It was nice.  Then we walked up and down the strand of shops on Austin Street, looking at everything.  I especially liked The Shell Shop, which reminded me of many a beach souvenir shop from my youth. 

Rockport seems like a wonderful little artists' colony sort of place.  It was very nice to visit there, especially with my sister.

Texas Republicans Find Protecting Kids From Environmental Disaster Extremist

Our children and grandchildren are going to curse us for our dithering over climate change and our failure to take measures to stop it while much of it it can still be stopped, I know it.  We are buying them a horrible future with our polluting, corporate, plastic sins.

The Texas Republicans feel differently.  They are not so big on science - they find it extreme.  From their 2012 Republican Party Platform:

"We strongly oppose all efforts of the extreme environmental groups that stymie legitimate business interests. We strongly oppose those efforts that attempt to use the environmental causes to purposefully disrupt and stop those interests within the oil and gas industry. We strongly support the immediate repeal of the Endangered Species Act. We strongly oppose the listing of the dune sage brush lizard either as a threatened or an endangered species. We believe the Environmental Protection Agency should be abolished."

We must not  let them succeed in this.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Texas Health Care Flunks

The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality, which is the lead federal agency responsible for improving health care, has rated Texas at the very bottom of the fifty states in health care services and delivery.

Not very surprising, is it?

Thursday, July 05, 2012

MamaAction Alert: Re-Submit Comments to TCEQ on Las Brisas Wastewater Permit

While things are going well so far in regards to fighting Las Brisas' air permit, we cannot forget about their wastewater permit, which also needs fighting.

I know I urged you to submit your concerns about the wastewater permit in May but there was something weird about the permit being posted and apparently it was not officially posted for comment until June 27th.  That means that the TCEQ probably will not count any comments that we sent before that date, so please send them again (or send them now if you have not yet sent any).  

It's important.

Please submit your concerns to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and ask for a public meeting on the permit in Corpus Christi (this is the first step in protesting a permit).

You can submit your comments at :

You will need to type in the permit number when you get there:  WQ0004911000.
Don't delay, Mamas!  No matter how many times we have to do it, it's worth it for our kids!  Thank you!!

Texas Republicans Don't Appear To Believe In Public Education

More from the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform:

"Since education is not an enumerated power of the federal government, we believe the Department of Education (DOE) should be abolished."

And more:

"Since data is clear* that additional money does not translate into educational achievement, and higher education costs are out of control, we support reducing taxpayer funding to all levels ** of education institutions."

And let's not forget how Texas Republicans feel about funding the most successful way to improve educational outcomes:

"We urge Congress to repeal government-sponsored programs that deal with early childhood development. "

I think we have to face facts about the people in power in the Texas Republican Party.  They have the resources to keep a parent home to home-school their kids or to send them to private school, things the majority of Texans cannot afford without jeopardizing the health care, shelter and nutrition of their children.  While I am very happy for them and am sure they work very hard to stay so fortunate, I do not like the fact that their good fortune gives them this I-got-mine-and-who-cares-about-everyone-else attitude about public education.  And they do have it, the ones in power.  They really do not support public education anymore.

You cannot, however, maintain a democracy without public education.  You cannot.  Public education is the support upon which democracy sits.

To protect our democracy, we must not allow these people to succeed in dismantling our already underfunded public education system.

* So not remotely true about that data, dudes.

** emphasis mine

People Colors!

I love these! 


Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Texas Republicans Want To Deny Civil Rights To People Who Are Gay And They Are Okay With Hate Crimes

I almost did not post about this part of the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform because, frankly, their platform has included this sort of thing as far back as I can remember - their bigoted ways are hardly news.

It is Independence Day, though, and this kind of targeted effort to deny civil rights to American citizens should not go unmentioned.  Freedom is for everyone.

From the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform:

" We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans. 

Homosexuality must not be presented as an acceptable “alternative” lifestyle, in public policy, nor should “family” be redefined to include homosexual “couples.” We believe there should be no granting of special legal entitlements or creation of special status for homosexual behavior, regardless of state of origin. Additionally, we oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction or belief in traditional values."

Perhaps that last part is meant to go with what they have to say in another part of the 2012 Republican Party Platform about hate crimes:

"We deplore all discrimination.* We also deplore forced sensitivity training and urge repeal of any mandate requiring it. We urge immediate repeal of the Hate Crimes Law. Until the Hate Crimes Law is totally repealed, we urge the Legislature to immediately remove the education curriculum mandate and the sexual orientation category in said Law."

And, of course, there is the part in the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform (not trying to be all meta; I just want everything properly cited) about how they feel about gay marriage, an argument that always, always reminds me of the Klan:

"We support the definition of marriage as a God-ordained, legal and moral commitment only between a natural man and a natural woman, which is the foundational unit of a healthy society, and we oppose the assault on marriage by judicial activists. We call on the President and Congress to take immediate action to defend the sanctity of marriage. We are resolute that Congress exercise authority under the United States Constitution, and pass legislation withholding jurisdiction from the Federal Courts in cases involving family law, especially any changes in the definition of marriage. We further call on Congress to pass and the state legislatures to ratify a marriage amendment declaring that marriage in the United States shall consist of and be recognized only as the union of a natural man and a natural woman. Neither the United States nor any state shall recognize or grant to any unmarried person the legal rights or status of a spouse. We oppose the recognition of and granting of benefits to people who represent themselves as domestic partners without being legally married. We advocate the repeal of laws that place an unfair tax burden on families. We call upon Congress to completely remove the marriage penalty in the tax code, whereby a married couple receives a smaller standard deduction than their unmarried counterparts living together. The primary family unit consists of those related by blood, heterosexual marriage, or adoption. The family is responsible for its own welfare, education, moral training, conduct, and property."

They mean, I guess, that the family is responsible for moral training and conduct unless the family thinks that gay people should be treated like everyone else, and then they think that the government needs to restrict your family's  choices in highly personal ways (Oh, also women - you can't have women making their own moral and conduct choices - more on that later). 

It is so hard to think about how many Americans still think this kind of discrimination is okay.  I am grateful that our younger generations coming up seem much less bigoted.  I don't think it is fair that people who are gay should have to wait until another generation or two down the line are grown before they get full civil rights under the law, though.  America can do better - we are supposed to be the land of the free.

* Funny way of showing it.

Texas Republicans Oppose Human Rights For Children

This one goes out especially to the mamas and the daddies on this Independence Day that I hope you are getting to spend with your families - because we are real Americans who believe that human rights are for everyone.  Another reason not to vote Republican from the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform:

"We unequivocally oppose the United States Senate’s ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child."


Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Texas Republicans Oppose Multiculturalism

Yet another reason never to vote Republican, from the 2012 Texas Republican Party Platform:

"We believe the current teaching of a multicultural curriculum is divisive. We favor strengthening our common American identity and loyalty instead of political correctness that nurtures alienation among racial and ethnic groups."

Kind of like when I was teaching 6th grade social studies and the SBOE was changing the TEKS to include teaching the advantages and disadvantages of multiculturalism in the curriculum.  Only I couldn't think of any disadvantages unless you are a racist.  And Texas kids today really engage when you spend all your time teaching them about dead white guys...not.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Girl Scout Flamingo Fandango

These are the flamingos that the girls' troops decorated so that the Girl Scout Centennial would be represented at the Botanical Gardens' Flamingo Fandango.  They are on display at the Botanical Gardens now and you get to vote on your favorite flamingos so go vote for theirs, please, if you like them (I really think they turned out wonderful)!