Saturday, October 31, 2015


Happy Twentieth Birthday, My Goblin Princess!

It was twenty years ago, today... that our Lone Star Girl was born on Halloween.  What a couple of dumb kids Lone Star Pa and I were back then, but we must have somehow gotten some things right because she is the most extraordinary young woman I know today.

Happy Birthday, Lone Star Girl!  We love you so much!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Between The World And Me: Read It

I read Ta-nihisi Coates' Between The World And Me over the summer and earliest fall.  It's a short book that would generally have taken me the idle ends of a day (lines, coffee drive-throughs, meals) to finish but it took me weeks, because I had to read it a little bit at a time and think. We all need to think about racism in this country.

As someone who has taught in an inner city school and knows what impossible expectations are put on teachers- both by others due to the testing mess and by ourselves due to the urgency of our desires to get children through school so they may have a chance of getting out of poverty - the truth that Mr. Coates speaks about our schools hurts me.  We do tell children that getting through school is their way out when so often it will not be. ..when so often it will not be enough to battle institutional racism, when so many fine, first-generation college students are crushed by law enforcement officers, when it is just so much more complicated than that.  We do contribute, in our desperation to be able to teach the students who are listening, to the school-to-prison pipeline.  It is hard to manage a class when a youth takes his rage at the system out on you because you are its representative in his life.  It hurts our feelings when we just want to teach some history and be a helpful adult in the lives of kids.  The system of discipline in the schools does not possess the options that any of us need, but it is ultimately our youth who the system destroys.

Just read it.  We have to understand.  We have to do better.  We have to be thinking if we are ever going to find solutions, so start.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Auvi-Q Recall

So the cool, almost flat, talk-you-through it epinephrine auto-injectors called Auvi-Q (that we were bummed that our insurance would not cover) are apparently not so cool after all.  Massive recall.  Scary.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: El Dia de Los Muertos

I believe that sharing cultural traditions is both beautiful and inevitable when you live in borderlands, but it is important to understand and respect the traditions of the people around you, not just to try to grab them and make them fit your own traditions and ways.  As the Latino population in the United States grows, many aspects of the cultures of different Latin American countries are making their way into mainstream pop culture.  It is important to teach our children that El Dia de Los Muertos is a much more serious holiday than the Halloween celebration with which so many white Americans associate it. I think it can be shared but only if it is shared with respect and understanding.  This edition of the Subversive Children's Book Club features children's books about El Dia de Los Muertos.  Enjoy!

  • Rosita y Conchita by Erich Haeger and Eric Gonzalez
  • Festival of Bones by Luis San Vicente
  • Uncle Monarch and The Day of The Dead by Judy Goldman
  • Maria Molina and The Days of The Dead by Kathleen Krull
  • I Remember Abuelito - A Day of The Dead Story by Janice Levy and Loretta Lopez

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Back, Front & Totally Three-Dimensional

I have been too busy to have any creativity or even quasi-journalistic impulses left in me hardly at all these past months.  Work has kept me busier than busy and I am still dwelling in that little walk-up apartment North of Whelm, but I do want to get back to posting here.

The red tide is waning with the Harvest Moon, thank goodness, and the weather has a touch of cool in the mornings that makes folks here in South Texas giddy and sweater-prone, even though it still gets up to the highest of eighties.  That is how fall rolls down here and we are grateful for it just as it is.

The Lone Star Baby and I picked out two respectable pumpkins at the pumpkin patch run by the church that runs the daycare she attended as a wee small bairn.  We got small pumpkins at the grocery store. I have more small pumpkins for the Girl Scouts to paint. Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins, as it should be.

I hope to bake this autumn.  To garden.  To write.  To rest.

A cake is cooling in my kitchen.  

We'll see. 

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Autumn

In honor of October and all things pumpkin, this edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features children's books with fall themes.  Enjoy!

  • Child of Faerie, Child of Earth by Jane Yolen 
  • Alice and Greta by Steven J. Simmons
  • The Autumn Equinox: Celebrating The Harvest by Ellen Jackson
  • Apple Picking Time by Michele Benoit
  • The Pumpkin Blanket by Deborah Turney Zagwyn
  • Pumpkin Fiesta by Caryn Slawson Yacowitz
  • Pumpkin Circle by George Levenson 
  • The Apple Pip Princess by Jane Ray.

Monday, October 05, 2015

SDG Mondays: Exploring The Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development goals (or SDGs) in a summit meeting in September that will replace the previous eight Millennium Development  Goals that were the world's former road map for eliminating extreme poverty and which expire in 2015.  The new Sustainable Development Goals are goals to guide us, the people of Earth, in improving the lives of people all over our world.  They include 169 targets, most to be met by 2030 but some sooner, that provide concrete ways of achieving the seventeen goals.

Here is a brief list of the seventeen SDGs from the United Nations website:

"1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture
3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all
9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation
10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss
16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development."

For the next few weeks, when possible for me, Mondays will be SDG Mondays and will each feature an SDG and its targets.  Discussion in the comments thread in these features is welcome, always depending on the quality of the discussion.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

First Papaya

I have had my little papaya tree for a few years now, but it never fruited before.  For months now, it has had its first two tiny green fruits on it, but they stayed tiny and green. Today one of them was suddenly yellow!

I ate it.  It was tiny but still ripe and delicious.

I am saving the seeds for my dad in case he wants to plant them.

Another Mass Shooting

Thursday's tragedy should remind us not to vote for the people who pass laws that allow guns to be accessed so easily by so many.  The U.S. leads the world in mass shootings...this is not something in which we want to lead the world.

 I am praying and I am also voting.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Banned Books Week: What Are You Reading?

Did you know that September 27 - October 3 is Banned Books Week?

This year, the theme of Banned Books Week is Young Adult fiction. Here is a link to frequently challenged or banned Young Adult fiction in 2014-2015. 

Keep reading!  Knowledge is power!