Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Power On

We left Corpus early on Thursday morning to move the Girl back into college because it looked like the then-predicted "Tropical Storm" Harvey would make travel difficult on Saturday when we had planned to move her in.  She had also been ill for a couple of days and we were concerned about her being stuck here with possibly minimal access to emergency health care in a tropical storm and with possibly no refrigeration for her medications if we lost power.We meant to drop her and her stuff off and drive back that night and get back in time to board up and ride out the storm. I was worried to leave her there when she had been sick, but it seemed like the best of several less than ideal choices when we decided to do it on Thursday morning.

Well.  Once we arrived in the RGV late morning, the forecast had changed from "strong tropical storm to minimum Category 1" to, um Category 3. So we stayed in the Valley.  We were pretty sure we would be homeless by the time it was said and done.

By Saturday, we were realizing that Corpus had mostly dodged it and it might not be so bad.  My dad (I tried to get him to leave - really) had stayed and he went and looked at our house and said it looked good.  We came back on Sunday and the water boil was lifted (hallelujah!) before we even got home.  There were downed trees and fences and flimsier structures all over town, few streetlights and little power, but our home was mostly just fine besides some torn up siding and such very minor things.

We were so lucky. 

Rockport was not so lucky.  Port Aransas was not so lucky.  They are about gone.

Houston has been a continuing horror story this week.

Our prayers are with all who have suffered.

Our lights just came back on.  

Corpus is recovering fine but it will be a long time before some of the affected communities recover.  Donate, if you can,  to the Red Cross.  To Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies.  To the Texas Diaper Bank.  There are so many doing God's work and they need our help.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Action Alert: Email Today & Council Meeting Tuesday: Tell City Council To Save The Juvenile Assessment Center

The Corpus Christi Crime Control and Prevention District has voted to adopt a budget that completely eliminates funding for the Juvenile Assessment Center.

Please contact the Mayor and your Council Members and tell them to vote no on the Corpus Christi Crime Control and Prevention District's budget until it restores funding for the Juvenile Assessment Center. The Board should either use its reserve fund for the JAC or make across the board cuts that do not eliminate the program.

Please attend Tuesday's Council meeting if you can and speak during public comment telling Council to vote no on the Crime Control and Prevention District budget unless it restores funding for the JAC.  It is item 14 on the regular agenda, which could occur at any time,  Generally public comment can also be made during the public comment period at noon but not then and when the the item comes up.

The sales tax the District levies has not produced enough funding to continue funding all of the District's projects at current levels, so the District decided to cut all projects except for the 60+ police officer positions it funds instead of making cuts across the Board, to police positions and youth prevention funding, and instead of dipping into its reserve funds as all other city programs must do when things are tight.

The Crime Control and Prevention District was primarily created to fund the Juvenile Assessment Center, which a wide coalition of social service agencies across Corpus Christi supported.  The program was wildly successful, decreasing juvenile delinquency rates in the city, assessing youth in trouble and connecting them to all of the services they needed, providing case management to make sure that services worked...it became a national model of prevention that was used in creating countless programs in other communities.

Its effectiveness has been hampered over recent years by continued cuts to its funding so that the courts and police could have more funding. Now the District plans to eliminate it altogether so they can protect all of the police positions for a few more years.

I think the citizens would rather have 50 police positions funded (as was the original plan - the JAC plus 50 officers)  and keep youth prevention services.  There will never be enough police officers to bring down the crime rate if the city does not prioritize its youth.  We know that prevention works.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Gregor the Overlander

This edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features the Gregor The Overlander series by Suzanne Collins of The Hunger Games fame.  In these books, eleven-year-old Gregor falls down a ventilation shaft after his baby sister and finds himself in the Underland, where humans live altered by life underground in a maze of alliances and enmities with giant bats, rats, cockroaches and other creatures.

Gregor is embraced as the prophesied Warrior of the Underlanders but as the story unfolds, Gregor learns a lot about the horrors of war and the importance of peace.

These sweet books contain a lot of bloodshed and fighting but ultimately teach a lesson of peace and respect instead.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Save The Juvenile Assessment Center

The Corpus Christi Crime Control and Prevention District has voted to eliminate funding for the Juvenile Assessment Center from its FY 2017-2018 budget.  There is a public hearing on this budget during Tuesday's City Council Meeting (Item M on the agenda).  Please turn out and tell your Council members to keep the "prevention" in Crime Control and Prevention District and to save the Juvenile Assessment Center!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Blue Jeans and Back To School

This is the tax free weekend so we went school clothes shopping for the Lone Star Baby, who has grown out of all or her pants and worn out her sneakers.  Target and Payless for the win.

Trump's Amerikkkan Horror Story

Not only do we need to worry about nuclear apocalypse, we have Nazis marching with torches through college campuses and streets killing people and a highly placed white supremacist and former Republican governor and presidential candidate talking on the news about how they are fulfilling Trump's promises for America.

All true patriots need to wake up and work against this tide of fascism and emboldened white supremacy.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Pray for Peace

Hard.  And start electing people who value it.

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

I had a totally different post in mind for today but given what is going on in the world this week, I think we need to go back to a serious focus on peace. Peace on Earth.  All over it.  We only have just this one planet we can live on at present, folks, and we need to keep it safe from nuclear apocalypse.  This edition of the Subversive Children's Book Club features books about peace, which we need to raise our children to revere.

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
  • Gregor the Overlander (series) by Suzanne Collins

Monday, August 07, 2017

Pumping At Work: Breast Pumps

Let's not mince words:  pumping breast milk for your baby while you work is really hard.  It takes discipline and a whole lot of effort and is largely going to be the main thing on your mind while you are doing it, after the baby herself and any other children you may have.   It takes dedication, good equipment, preparation, and the courage to advocate for yourself and your baby.  

Pumping is not for wimps.

That said, it is completely and totally worth it. 

The health benefits your infant receives from breast milk cannot be overstated.  This is particularly true when your infant is hanging out in group childcare while you work.  You go nurse your little one on your lunch break or at drop-off and pick-up and you be sure to play with all the other babies in the room and get huggy with the childcare providers as much as possible.  That way, you get exposed to every germ they have, you make antibodies for those germs that get distributed in your milk and your baby stays healthy.  It's a gorgeous system.  Nursing also makes you healthier, makes your baby smarter and keeps the two of you quite necessarily close and bonded.

It's worth it, but it is hard.

Be sure to have a plan.  Discuss your needs (nursing breaks in a private space with an outlet:  not a bathroom) with your employer ahead of time and get a good pump.  

Let me be clear about good pumps.  

If you are working anything approaching full-time, you need a Medela brand double electric pump.  There are several versions and I cannot keep up since my children are weaned with what is the latest as those gorgeous geniuses at Medela are always coming up with better and better models, so do your research, but Medela is the way to go.  Medela does not pay me anything, I promise, and I am telling you the truth here:  do not get any other brand.  Other breast pumps can be good for date night, taking a class, occasional part-time work.  Only Medela will do for full-time work.  Don't play.  I'm serious.  It will be hard enough with the Medela.  Eat beans and rice or whatever you have to do, but get the Medela.  

Is that clear?


The Affordable Care Act now requires that insurance plans cover the cost of breast pumps but it does not say what kind of breast pumps and many plans may not cover Medela double electric pumps.  Most plans require that you get that pump from a covered DME provider. Some may be willing to let you pay the difference between what you want and what they cover.  Do your homework.  Bureaucracy is hard but this is good practice for dealing with the fun stuff like pediatric hospital billing departments and university financial aid offices which are certainly in your future.  

Good luck!!  Be strong!!  You can do it!!

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Breastfeeding: An Important Tool In Emergencies

In addition to being vulnerable to hurricanes, my community has had real problems with maintaining a reliably uncontaminated supply of drinking water.  I remember last winter when industry contaminated our water, I was looking for bottled water with the other people lucky enough to be in a position to buy it at the crowded grocery store.  Supplies were dwindling for that morning and I saw a large jug of water on a shelf.  I reached for it and then saw that it was distilled water and I left it there.  We didn't need distilled water - our kids are older now- but the formula fed babies in town might really need it.

When disasters strike, every bit of preparedness helps.  Formula-fed infants are at risk of starvation and illness when disasters cut people off from supplies of formula and when clean water is not available for mixing formula or sterilizing bottles.  Breastfed babies have a clean and immediately available source of safe food and hydration during emergencies.  Breastfeeding also provides considerable protection to infants from the many diseases that can flourish in disaster situations. 

 Breastfeeding can be an important element of disaster preparedness for your family.  Be ready.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Breastfeeding Reading List

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, here is a list of books that I found very helpful and informative:

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding  (a bit precious but very informative)
by La Leche League International

Mothering Your Nursing Toddler

by Norma Jane Baumgarner

Mother’s Milk: Breastfeeding Controversies In American Culture

by Bernice L. Hausman

Milk, Money, And Madness: The Culture and Politics of Breastfeeding

by Naomi Baumslag and Dia L. Michels

Breastfeeding: Biocultural Perspectives

Edited by Patricia Stuart-Macadam & Kaetherine A. Dettwyler

The Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding

by Sheila Kippley

Nursing Mother, Working Mother

by Gale Pryor

Hirkani’s Daughters: Women Who Scale Modern Mountains to Combine Breastfeeding and Working

Compiled & edited by Jennifer Hicks (including a story by me!)

The Milk Memos: How Real Moms Learned To Mix Business With Babies – and How You Can, Too

by Cate Colburn-Smith and Andrea Serrette.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Breastfeeding Duration

Know what the normal biological continuum is for breastfeeding duration in humans? 

Two and a half to seven years. 

This means, on a curve, that a small percentage of developmentally typical children will be ready to wean at two and a half (not before) and a small percentage of developmentally typical children won't be ready to wean until seven (not after), but that pretty much all developmentally typical children are ready within that window and that most developmentally typical children will be ready to wean between four and five years. 

Know how long most American children nurse? 

Less than six months. 

Food for thought. Rather literally.

Lone Star Facts on Fridays: A-Town

State Capital:  Austin.

Austin is super fun to visit except for the scary traffic and scarier legislators.  Too expensive to live there to my way of thinking but they have loads of vegetarian cuisine and amazing independent bookstores. 

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Breastfeeding and Working: Time, Space, Support

Time, space, support.  Getting good support is an essential component to successfully pumping breast milk for your baby while you are working outside the home.  Find a support system that works for you.

The following are some excellent books that offer great information and support for breastfeeding mothers who are employed outside the home:

  • Nursing Mother, Working Mother by Gale Pryor
  • Hirkani's Daughters: Women Who Scale Modern Mountains To Combine Breastfeeding And Working by Jennifer Hicks (Lone Star Ma has an essay in this one)
  • The Milk Memos by Cate Colburn-Smith and Andrea Serrette.
I highly recommend them! 
It is important to tell our stories.  The personal is political.  We support each other more than we ever know when we share our stories.  

I think I may have pumped breastmilk in almost every public building in this city that has been around for longer than 10 years - probably not really, but it sure seems that way!  I always had jobs where there were lots of meetings in those years and the challenges were many, but we pulled it off.  

Do you have any pumping stories to share?  Please share them in the comments section!

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: World Breastfeeding Week 2017!

Today's edition of Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club features children's books that include breastfeeding.  The ubiquity of artificial feeding in our culture robs children of the experience of seeing breastfeeding as they are growing up as normal, which sets people up to have a hard time feeding their own children.  We need to teach our children about breastfeeding early if we want them to be successful. Enjoy!

  • Maggie’s Weaning by Mary Joan Deutschbein
  • Michele, The Nursing Toddler by Jane M. Pinczuk
  • We Like To Nurse by Chia Martin
  • Mama’s Milk by Michael Elsohn Ross
  • I’m Made of Mama’s Milk by Mary Olsen.