Thursday, December 31, 2015

Goals for 2016

2015 was kind of a rough year in which family health concerns and stepping up to cover things during turn-over at work over-shadowed everything else. I made very little progress on the resolutions, so hopefully 2016 will be much better.


I still need more individual and group bonding time with husband and daughters and better routines.  I still need to provide emotional support to family members' endeavors. 


Now that we are better staffed, I need to get more deeply back into the core functions of my job and not be distracted by too many other things that need to get done in the program because there are other people who can do those things, too. I want to get my focus back on developing excellent placements and being an excellent teacher.


Still need to lose more weight. Still need to spend more time outside.

I need to spend more time with friends - at least one outing each month - preferably more.

Keep up with Girl Scouts and citizenship and the girls' schools as best as possible but be kind to self about not being able to Do All The Things. 


Submit one poem or essay each month, starting in January (I did in December, too!)
Finish Baby Moon
Work on Seven Settlement Workers
Publish Issue 11 of Lone Star Ma.

What are your goals for 2016?  Please post some in the comments section.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Help for North Texas Tornado Victims

Our prayers are with the people of Dallas, Rowlett and Garland and those others affected by recent tornadoes.

Here is a good article from KERA that delineates lots of places people who were hit by the tornadoes can go for help.

Here is a link to donate to the Red Cross to help.

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Black Children Matter

No words.

Primary and Lower Elementary 
  • If A Bus Could Talk:  The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold
  • Ruby Bridges Goes To School:  My True Story by Ruby Bridges
  • Sister Anne’s Hands by Marybeth Lorbiecki
  • Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold 
  • Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
  • A Pocket For Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in The Sky by Faith Ringgold
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
  • More More More, Said The Baby by Vera Williams
  • Just Us Women by Jeannette Cains 
  • Sit-In:  How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson  
 Upper Elementary
  • One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams Garcia
  • Junebug by Alice Mead
  • Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
  • The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine 
  •  Double Dutch by Sharon Draper
  • Moses:  When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
  • From Slave Ship to Freedom Road by Julius Lester
  • Like Sisters on The Homefront by Rita Williams Garcia
  •  Tyrell  by Coe Booth
  • Kendra by Coe Booth
  • Fast Talk On A Slow Track by Rita Williams Garcia
  • After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
  • The Hoopster, Hip Hop High School and Homeboyz (a series) by  Alan Lawrence Sitomer
  • My Mother The Cheerleader by Robert Sharenow
  • Al la Carte  by Tanita Davis 
  • Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Patillo Beals.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

No Justice

I am praying today for the family of Tamir Rice as they are faced with this terrible blow of no justice after already losing their baby.

I will not just pray.  There is work to be done to turn the tide of racism in law enforcement, our justice system, and our world.  I commit to that work.

Monday, December 28, 2015

SDG Mondays: Gender Equality

Today we focus on the fifth of the United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals:  

"Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls."

This SDG has 9 associated targets:
 What do you think of this goal and its associated targets?

What do you think you can do to help achieve this goal? Please post your ideas in the comments.

For me, I will continue to try to help girls grow up with courage, confidence and character through my involvement with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

I will also work hard to defeat political candidates and policies that seek to limit women's reproductive rights and work hard to support political candidates and policies that seek to encourage and support women's participation in the workplace and public service.


Friday, December 25, 2015

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Caroling, Cookies, the Force and Kris Kringle

Night before last, the Episcopal Church in our neighborhood was organizing Christmas caroling in the neighborhood and the Lone Star Girl and I went along.  Our Friends Meeting actually meets in the oratory of that Church so, while we are not part of the congregation, we kind of do go to church there, as well as it being part of our neighborhood.  I could not get the Lone Star Baby and Lone Star Pa to  come, but I hope it can be a family tradition for the Christmas season in the future - it was fun.  

For days now, we have been making Christmas cookies for the neighbors and local kin - gingerbread,  orange cardamom, cocoa chile, snicker doodles, jam thumbprints and chocolate pretzels. We are still working on them because we are also re-watching all the Star Wars movies before going to see The Force Awakens, which we are not doing until after Christmas, so no spoilers please.  When we are done baking cookies, the Kris Kringling can begin!

We also need to catch up on our Advent calendars tonight because we are way behind.

Traditions new and old, and all this holiday bustle!

Magi Probs

I'm really concerned about the Magi.  They are following someone I just don't trust.  I am afraid he is going to get them to get the Baby Jesus registered.


Wednesdays with the Subversive Children's Book Club: Peace on Earth

The Winter Holidays always make me think of that Wild Star's promise of Peace, so at this time of year, you get another edition of the Subversive Children's Book Club with themes of Peace.  Peace on Earth, Mamas. Enjoy.  

For the Primary and Lower Elementary Set:
  • Our Peaceful Classroom by Aline D. Wolf
  • Sitti’s Secrets by Naomi Shihab Nye
  • Rumpelstiltskin’s Daughter by Diane Stanley
  • Seven Brave Women by Betsy Hearne
  • The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: an adaptation for children 
           by Ruth Rocha & Otavio Roth
  • Cain and Abel:  Finding The Fruits of Peace by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
  • The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter 

For the Upper Elementary and Teen Set (several of these are pretty heavily Quaker-influenced):

  •  Crash by Jerry Spinelli
  •  The Arrow Over The Door by Joseph Bruchac
  • Summer’s End by Audrey Couloumbis
  • Quaking by Kathryn Erskine
  • The Eye of The Heron by Ursula K. LeGuin.

Monday, December 21, 2015

SDG Mondays: Education

Today we focus on the fourth of the United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals:

"Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning."

 Also, its ten targets:

 What do you think of this goal and its targets?

What might you do to help achieve this goal?


 For me, I think I will continue to try to raise awareness about the importance of inclusive curricula and textbooks and gun-free schools.  Also, I need to finish some books I started long ago that could add to more gender-inclusive history materials.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Solstice Poem

Unseasonal Gift

Citrus for Christmas
Suns in the cold
Bright globes to fight oldness and night
The darkness gets shorter but creeping so slow
Juices of life to remember the Light.

Bluebell Bye

My fellow Texans have seemed giddy with excitement in recent weeks as Bluebell ice cream has returned to store shelves.

Bluebell was delicious and all, but I don't get it.

The investigation showed that Bluebell knew about the listeria in their plant but continued selling their poisoned ice cream and endangering their customers' lives.  Why would anyone ever eat anything they sold ever again?

Alarming Assemblage

For many years, our work-a-day routine has begun with Lone Star Pa awakening with the alarm and then showering and then waking me. Due to this routine, I stopped hearing our alarm clock long ago and it lost all power to wake me.  A few weeks ago, though, our alarm clock ceased to function and my husband bought a new one.  

Much to his delight, he found an Avengers alarm clock.

It goes off every morning with Cap yelling "Avengers, Assemble!" and then, if you don't turn it off, an assortment of Avengers check in ("I'm Iron Man!").

This does wake me up.

He really likes it so I am trying not to give in to my baser instincts.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Christmas-y Day

We got all decorated and set up and ready for Advent on the day after Thanksgiving when the Girl was home.  We put up the "tree" and all the ornaments and decorations the girls have made and our little nativities and Advent calendars.

We haven't really kept up with the Advent calendars since, though, or done anything very Christmas-y at home; we have all been so busy with school.  Today was a very Christmas-y day, though.  We took the Girl Scouts to the nursing home to do their bilingual caroling, which they do every year and it was great.  Every year, the girls get braver and more independent and kind.  It is so wonderful to watch them grow!

At home, the Lone Star Baby actully helped me make these Christmas cards for a little while.

Then she got us caught up on the Advent calendars (ours involves little books that tell parts of the Nativity Story) and we wrapped some presents.  It was nice.

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Winter Holidays

In honor of Advent, Hanukah and other winter festivities, this edition of Wednesdays with the Subversive Children's Book Club features books with  Winter Holiday themes.  Enjoy!

  • Three Wise Women by Mary Hoffman
  • Lone Star by Barbara Barrie 
  • A Dozen Silk Diapers by Melissa Kajpust
  • Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto
  • The Winter Solstice by Ellen Jackson
  • A Full House by Madeleine L’Engle
  • The Gifts of Kwanzaa by Synthia St. James
  • What Child Is This? by Caroline B. Cooney
  • The Winter Gift by Deborah Turney Zagwyn
  • Twenty-Four Days Before Christmas by Madeleine L’Engle

Monday, December 07, 2015

SDG Mondays: Health

Today we are featuring the third of the United Nations' new Sustainable Development Goals:

 "Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages."

This goal has 12 associated targets:

What do you think of this goal and these targets?  

What can you do to help the world reach the targets?

Please post your thoughts in the comments section.

For me, I feel like some things I can do to try to help are to continue to advocate for a sustainably breastfeeding-friendly culture and for the use of a less invasive, less surgical model of childbirth in the United States, as well as continuing to advocate for vaccination and universal health care.

I also hope to raise awareness about the very idea of sustainable development and these goals and targets in Texas and in the United States, where I live.

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Book Arts: Library Field Trip

The Girl Scouts are working on their Book Artist badge and on Saturday they had a field trip to the library.  The dear, patient children's librarian, who is probably getting quite tired of our troop's frequent library doings, told them all about book bindings and covers and how to repair books (and books on CD) and they all got a turn at trying it.  Librarians are the best.  Then I sent the girls on a bit of a scavenger hunt through the stacks to find books with colophons and to share with each other the publishers, imprints and colophons they found.  At our next meeting, they will design a colophon for the publishing imprint they would start if they started one.  

Book arts sometimes seem fated to become lost arts in the not-too-distant future but librarians and Girl Scouts will keep them alive!

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Vote Out The Gun Freaks

So...mere hours before the San Bernadino massacre, a group of doctors delivered a petition signed by over 2,000 physicians, urging Congress to end the decades-old ban that prevents the CDC from conducting public health research on gun violence.

Today, Democrats in the Senate tried to pass a measure to require background checks on people purchasing guns at gun shows and was blocked by Republicans.

Also today, Democrats in the Senate tried to pass a measure to block people on the Terror Watch List - people about whom the FBI have Concerns - from buying guns.  Republicans blocked this as well.

How much clearer does it have to get, Mamas?

Find out where candidates stand on gun control before you vote and if they do not support measures to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists, people with criminal backgrounds and toddlers, then do not vote for them.  No matter what.  No matter what. We can vote in sensible gun reforms if we make it a top priority. Get registered to vote, look up their records and vote the gun freaks out of office. NOW.

Vote, Mamas. Vote.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Saving The Earth

In honor of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference going on in Paris, this edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club returns to feature once again children's books with environmental, nature and vegetarian themes, themes our children will need to embrace if the Earth is to survive and continue to feed and shelter us. Enjoy!

Primary & Lower Elementary:

  • A Prayer For The Earth: The Story of Naamah, Noah’s Wife by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
  • The Big Big Sea by Martin Waddell
  • I Love Animals by Flora McDonnell 
  • Three Days on A River In A Red Canoe by Vera B. Williams 
  • Madeline and The Bad Hat by Ludwig Bemelmans
  •  Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
  • Pond Year by Kathryn Lasky
  • Wangari's Trees of Peace:  A True Story of Africa by Jeannette Winter
  • How Droofus The Dragon Lost His Head by Bill Peet  
  • Twas The Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey 

 Upper Elementary and Teens:

  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
  • Exodus, Zenith and Aurora by Julie Bertagna
  • Flush by Carl Hiaasen
  • Girlwood by Claire Dean
  • Scat by Carl Hiaasen
  • Crash by Jerry Spinelli
  • Chomp by Carl Hiaasen
  • The Wheel on The School by Meindert DeJong
  • Owl In The Shower by Jean Craighead George
  • Skink - No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen
  • The Carbon Diaries 2015 & The Carbon Diaries 2017 by Saci Lloyd.
  •  Standing Up For Mr. O by Claudia Mills
  • The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Honoring Ms. Parks

Today is the 6oth anniversary of Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat to a white man on an Alabama bus.  Nonviolent civil disobedience in the cause of social justice. Let's remember.

World AIDS Day 2015

We must work towards ending this terrible disease.  The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts has a wonderful AIDS Badge that girls of all ages can work on in their Girl Scout troops, with different activities for different levels.  Check it out.