Sunday, November 30, 2014

Action Alert: Comments Close On Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule Monday!!!!!

Hurry, Mamas!  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently taking public comments on a proposed rule change that they announced in June which would lower carbon pollution from existing power plants by 30% by 2030 from 2005 levels.  This rule would help stop climate change and encourage clean, green technology to revitalize our economy and protect our health and our futures.  Comments close on Monday, though!  Please tell the EPA that you support the rule change now!

You can find instructions on how to comment on the proposed rule here:

Texas Safety Rest Areas: Brooks County

We stopped so I could take a restroom break at the Brooks County SRA today on our way home.  The rest stop was beautiful and wonderful and clean, as most rest stops I have noticed in Texas over the last few years have been.  I certainly remember back when Texas rest stops were pretty unpleasant but they have steeply improved in recent years.  The Texas Department of Transportation has been updating them and taking better care of them.  There are 80 of them and they are open 24 hours a day, with most having an attendant on duty around the clock and the ones that do not having an attendant on duty from 6am to 6pm. They are so nice - I would like to visit all of them (but in the daytime)!

Only one women's restroom was open at this big rest stop as the others were being cleaned and so there was a really long line.  After awhile, the word went down the line that there was no more toilet paper.  A woman in line called to her husband to go get us some and he brought her a roll and she shared it out with everyone in line.  It was so nice.  I love people in lines together.

I wish I could find someone to write a Texas Rest Stop Adventures column for Lone Star Ma.

Putting Up Christmas

On Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, we put up and decorated our Christmas tree and all of our other Christmas decorations.  It was so nice to have the Lone Star Girl home for Thanksgiving Break to do it with us!

Thursday, November 27, 2014


Getting to Thanksgiving was a little challenging this year so we are trying to chill and enjoy our time together, which means that most of the cooking is only just barely in progress.

Tuesday night after work, I headed to Edinburg to pick up the Lone Star Girl.  I already am not a fan of trips to Edinburg undertaken so late because I do not love driving through Brooks County on 285 at night, with all the too-fast cars  and rigs that think passing is such a good idea.  We made it down that road fine, though, and past the big Stripes on 77 in Riviera only to come across a giant roadblock teeming with Border Patrol before reaching Ricardo.  

I think the Falfurrias checkpoint must have known something was going on in the area because when we went through, they had asked us a bunch of questions and searched our car while we are so not what they are looking for that they usually barely glance at us.  We told them we were headed to Corpus, so I wish they had told us that we weren't going to be able to get through back there as it would have saved us almost an hour, but they did not.   The agents at the roadblock in Riviera said it was going to be hours before the road opened and suggested a detour that was going to add a good long while to our drive and it was already almost 10pm.  We went back to the Stripes, pulled out a map and called my dad to verify what looked like possible routes and then headed all the way back to Falfurrias and got on 281, planning to head through Kingsville the back way on 141.  I do not know that side of 141 and was very nervous about it, wondering if it would not be safer to keep going to 44 in Alice. We found 141, though, and took it through to 77, past the roadblock,  without incident.  We should have gone the Alice way, though, because when we were almost to 44, there was a terrible accident a few cars ahead of us and we and a whole bunch of other people there were stuck there for a good half hour or more.  The Girl and I made it safely home a touch after 1am, though.

I am not even mentioning the issue of having to take the Girl's ant venom serum home to get measured.

I had work on Wednesday and by the time I got home, I was very tired.  I feel selfish to say so, but I am a little relieved we have no Thanksgiving guests this year, under the circumstances, because we did zero cooking last night and are doing it all now, with no real need to worry about the time, which is nice.

I am grateful to be here with Lone Star Pa and the girls, safe at home with warmth and shelter and good food and good health.  I wish everyone else had the same.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Praying For Peace & Justice...

...for the people of Ferguson, though it looks like they will have neither tonight.  Praying for them and for all the oppressed peoples of the world.

Squash Mariah & Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

Every Thanksgiving, I make a holiday squash recipe as our signature Thanksgiving dish.  Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:  Six acorn squash, three big apples, butter, cinnamon sugar.

  • Cut the acorn squash and scoop out and discard (or plant!) the seeds and pulp.
  • Put the squash halves, flat sides down on a baking sheet and bake them for about 50 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Chop up the apples.
  • Set the squash halves cut-sides up in a baking dish and sprinkle the scooped out part with cinnamon sugar, then put a little pat of butter in each.  
  • Stuff each squash half with chopped apples and cover again with cinnamon sugar and dabs of butter.  
  • Pop the stuffed squash back into the oven until the apples are baked in the buttery, cinnamon goodness and the squash is toasty again. 
  • Enjoy!

Do you have vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes? Please share them in the comments section to help other vegetarian families get cooking!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Holiday Vacation Childcare Shuffle

The Lone Star Baby is out of school all next week.

Lone Star Pa is off starting Wednesday.

The Lone Star Girl is off from college technically just Thursday and Friday, but she only has labs on Wednesday and the labs are closed Wednesday so I am  picking her up Tuesday night.

I am off Thursday and Friday.

Thankfully, the school the Lone Star Baby used to go to is also a childcare center and will kindly take her as a drop-in on Monday and Tuesday.

The familia minus myself can hang out together on Wednesday.

We can all be together Thursday, Friday and Saturday and can take the Lone Star Girl back to college on Sunday.

Holidays are complicated.

Cranberry Sauce!

I forgot the cranberry sauce!  Even though I am the only person in this familia who will eat it, cranberry sauce is a must.  So I got it today and also found and got the Girl's razzleberry pie!  Yippee!

I also got supplies for some upcoming school projects the Lone Star Baby is working on, supplies for a Christmas gift craft for the Girl Scouts to do, supplies for a Christmas craft for the Girl Scouts to make for the nursing home when we go caroling, tiny Christmas tokens for the Girl Scouts and Christmas presents for my nieces and one of my nephews. I rocked.

Textbooks In Texas

The Texas State Board of Education has been at it again. On Friday they adopted 89 textbooks and classroom software products to replace those being used in Texas classrooms today.  These books were written to meet the ridiculous changes that the SBOE passed in Texas social studies standards in 2010 (the whitewashing of history, basically, because what we all need in our social studies classes is More Dead White Guys, right?).

Some of the problems that actual social studies experts criticized in the new textbooks include:

  • An emphasis on Biblical figures as influences on the founding fathers that is basically fiction (there are actual letters between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson stating that this was not true)
  • Material that undermines the separation of Church and State
  • Scant attention to the role conquest played in humanity's migrations
  • Negative portrayal of Islam and Muslims
  • A downplaying of the role of slavery as a cause of the Civil War, although this was reported to be fixed
  • A political distortion of climate science that casts doubt on human contribution to climate change.

All of the Republicans on the SBOE voted to adopt the new textbooks and all of the Democrats voted not to adopt them.

I am so tired of Republicans trying to re-write history, undermine science and dumb down our children so they can be obedient little cogs in the corporate machine.  Make sure, Mamas, that you teach social studies at home, so that your children continue to learn how to truly critique social, political and economic systems and not just how to drink the Kool-Aid.

Recently Read....

Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Enjoyable YA dystopian fiction about a society where people are divided into day and night shifts of living and the adventures and forbidden romance that ensue when a girl breaks the rules out of love for her dying grandfather.

The Mad Scientist's Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The subtitle - "A Tale of Love, Loss and Robots" pretty much says it all; a novel about the nature of consciousness and love.  Surprisingly literary for science fiction, very engaging.

Valleysong by Texas Rio Writers

An anthology of stories about life in the Rio Grande Valley written by members of a writers' group in the area. I really enjoyed the South Texas feel of these stories, though they were targeted to an older demographic (and I am pretty old).

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Thanksgiving Menus

Well, we survived the Thanksgiving supermarket shop!  Below is the plan for our Thanksgiving dinner, as decided by the girls (the green beans were at my insistence and the popcorn was Lone Star Pa's idea):

  • Rolls
  • Popcorn
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Squash Mariah
  • Razzleberry pie (I still have to get this - the HEB we went to didn't have it)
  •  Green beans
  • Tofurkey.

What are you having for Thanksgiving dinner, if you celebrate it (we celebrate it as a family time of gratitude, not as a fond remembrance of the exploitation of Native peoples, about which we feel not at all fond in the remembering)?

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Saving The World Like MTV

More good news!

Being part of the original MTV generation, when it was about music videos and weird disk jockeys and stuff, I have never gotten into its current programming, which seems rude and weird and voyeuristic to me. The Girl, however, has explained to me that MTV is actually saving the world on the down-low with its shows like Girl Code and Guy Code. Apparently these shows are the height of offensive for the most part, exposing all that is bad and horrible about our ignorant, consumer-driven, narcissistic American culture, but .... in between all of that, MTV sneaks in the truly useful sex education that schools and parents ignore, so that our silly youth can survive long enough to grow up and learn some hopefully better ways.

The Girl is a public health freak who worships the CDC so she thinks about this sort of thing.

She has also started writing for a very popular website that is also pretty rude and targets the young adult demographic, maybe a bit older than the MTV watchers but, as yet, no wiser.  They recently published her first piece on sex education which has been their #1 viral article for days now, with way, way more than  million views.

That's my Girl...saving the world.  I am so proud of her.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Denton: Home of Happiness

I think we could all use some good news, right?

Denton, Texas has brought us about the only good news to come out of these elections.:

 Its citizens have voted to ban fracking within its city limits.

Wow.  Just wow.  A North Texas city in the middle of Conservative Land and just look at that!  

My husband and I met and married in Denton, by the way, I am proud to say.

Now the Texas General Land Office and the oil and gas industry is suing Denton and trying to override the will of the citizens and force them to allow an industry that they do not wish to allow.

We should all be the kind of citizens who stand up for what we think is right for our communities the way Denton has done.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Mama's Not Happy, but Mama's Still Here

These elections did not please me.  Not one bit.

We don't cry and go home, though, Mamas and Sisters and Daughters.  We don't see this as an end, but as a beginning.  Next election, Texans should be able to vote without an unconstitutional poll tax if we do our work and so we need to keep registering voters and educating people about getting to the polls.  

If Texas votes, we win, so we have to help Texas vote.  Not just right before the election, but all the days in between election seasons, too

Things will get better for Texas if we don't give up. It's a long process, being a citizen - one that never ends.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Election Day

Today is Election Day.  Our democracy does nothing that we do not make it do.  It does nothing at all if we do nothing at all.  We the people are our democracy.  We make it with our votes. The power is ours.  It is yours.

Please vote.

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Have You Made A Plan For Voting?

Election Day is Tuesday! If you have not voted yet, you need to make a plan to get to the polls! On Election Day, you must vote at the polling place for the precinct where you are registered.  Do you know where that is?  Do you know the times when it is open? Do you have ID? has some good information to help you make your plan here.  Make a good plan and follow through with it - vote for a better Texas!