Sorry Lord, for these screw-ups you are about to receive…

(Note ~ This is a little out of my comfort zone but still wanted to share.)

There are times as a parent were we are floating on cloud nine, on top of the world,  thinking that, although we may not be perfect, we’ve done a fairly good job.  After all, one of the kids made Dean’s List, the other was given a blue ribbon in science, and the baby is starting to talk. Ahhh, all is right.

And then someone comes along and bursts our bubble (usually one of our kids).

I think I need to say this first…  We are not the most religious family. My oldest has read the Bible all the way though, we believe in God, doing what’s right, the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, and so on… (Don’t worry, I don’t get preachy!)

When my 14 year old was little she used to think that God was a sweet and loving puppy. Really, but we fixed that and all was well….. or so I thought.

My oldest explained her take on God  —
Apparently, God was a little kid when He invented dinosaurs.  He was young, enjoyed toys and liked to play.  So why not make and play with dinosaurs like most young boys? (It does not end here!)
She went on saying that when God was about 10-12, He was starting to grow up.  He still liked to play but not with ‘little boys toys’ He wanted woolly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, and other furry but cool toys. (I’m now starting to really worry.)
Next God was a teen – we are THE teenage mistake; the one big, one that all teenagers make, the one that comes in a large range of major blunders.  The human race is the big blunder and He’s just sitting back wondering if He should start all over with something more adult.

I’m glad my daughter can talk so openly with me. Yes, we talked and talked and talked about the Bible and everything.  I’m still wondering if I should have her go to church with her grandma on Sunday… maybe we all should go?

Hacked…

Yep, the day after my Walmart account was hacked my 13+ year old e-mail was. 😦 So anyone with my Boom_Shanka_@Yahoo.com 1997-2011 RIP It is no longer alive.

UPDATE ~ One of my friends said that Yahoo just changed their entire security setup so they *might* have locked it down during this time. I still cannot get into mine but if anyone else is having this issue keep trying. And good luck!!! If we are lucky that’s all it was… BUT THIS IS A “MIGHT”/ “MAYBE”

UPDATE ~ I’m getting a lot of people who have searched ‘Walmart hack’ this week so I’m adding this (Sept 4, 2011). When ours was hacked we found out right away. My hubby called and they closed the account. The hacker had not ordered anything or used our Bill-Me-Later (thank goodness) over the phone we were able to 100% shut down our account. To all of you, I’m sorry and call ASAP so the thieves don’t use your credit. Good luck!

Just a Little stronger than they thought…

I love reading and giggling to JC Little’s blog. She is one awesome lady! So when she gets bullied that bully has more than one Little to deal with… she has a number of fans and fellow bloggers. 😉

My art is not near as good as JC’s, but because she draws and makes everyone else feel great about themselves I just wanted to give her a hug.  Even though I am not a hugger. She’s made me laugh so many times how dare anyone make her sad! GGGGGGGRRRRR!

Note ~ Pickle Weasel is JC Little’s creation.  I just did my best to draw something that kind’a looks like him. And I thought of calling him PW Big here. (The PW is to hide his identity… maybe he needs a mask? The Big is to match the Little, but you probably figured that one out. 😉 )

Note Note ~ If this doesn’t make JC smile I promise to take it down with no hard feelings because right now her feelings are the ones that are hurt.

Note Note Note ~ I never draw teeth unless someone is mad. :-/ So making “happy teeth” was hard.

Trying to avoid those little things in life…

We all have people we want to avoid.  Sometimes we get lucky and they want to avoid us too. Other times those little pests search us out, they like to crawl under our skin, stalk us, lie in wait and attack.  These vermin can be from all walks of life.  They can be old friends, ex’s, neighbors, family members, or people we’ve never met in person but we all have them.  Being in a world were advertising on the web is the best way to have sales, and make friends, makes us all more vulnerable to these little pests finding us, stalking us, and damaging us.  Even sadder still, there are reasons we avoid them… usually they clash with who we are, what we do, the things we like, and sometimes we clash because their end goal is to hurt us in many ways.  If no one can tell I have one.  I do all I can to avoid them, but they have been hurting the family that I love with my more personal posts.  So I am writing this because I really like my readers, my fellow authors, and my new found friends but I am going to be more cautious.  I’m going to blog less about my personal life.  I’m going to not share so much on Twitter and FB either.  I am going to study the people I chat with a little more carefully before I get to that level of chatting.  This is all in the hopes that they will leave me in peace.  Because peace is all I want and all I have ever tried for.   I enjoy you my friends, my author family, and I am sorry I never wanted to have to do this.  I never wanted them to have this control.

For the love of books and libraries…

Yesterday, which was a Friday the 13th and I totally missed that it was but it did not miss me, I spent the majority of my day responding/ trying to respond on this article… http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0513-tobar-20110513,0,3002882.column .  I was shocked, upset, hurt, and many other negative emotions, first to the fact that these librarians had to defend their jobs in an interrogation way, as if they were criminals, but more so to the ignorance of about half of the comments.  Most of these people very clearly did not research before they spoke, which helps proves that we do need to keep school librarians.  I know the vast majority don’t live in CA and most of them don’t know what life is like here.  This would be true for me if we were to talk about Minnesota, the state my husband was born, I know very little about this state.  I’m going to try my best to paint a picture of what we have here in CA and give you, the reader, the ability to investigate all that I say here.
I am just going to state facts here, no opinion.  I want to point out four major things that people were saying: the amount high school librarians make, use of CA public libraries, school librarians are teachers, and students with computers.
I live in South CA or So Cal if you want to call it that. I live in Kern County, not in LA or the LA area. My husband is a high school librarian for a lower income school and I used to work for the public library. The first thing CA cuts when they cut the budget are the parks, the second is the public libraries.  So when people say the kids can use the public libraries, well, that would be hard since they are hardly open.  Most are now only open about two days a week and that’s during school and working hours. Please look it up at Kern County Library. org.  Keep in mind that we have a big county too, so it might seem like we have a lot of libraries but some of the libraries are over an hours drive to the next nearest library and some are as close as a 15 minute drive apart.
Because a lot of the students here in Kern County, and most of South California, are from lower income families a large number of these kids don’t have the internet or a computer at home. The school library or their computer room (which is often attached to the library) is their only hope to research on the web.  And the school librarian is the person who teaches them how and what sites are good and true and what are not.
One person started that school librarians are ‘not teachers’ and that they were trying to take the jobs away from ‘real teachers.’  A high school and middle school librarian has to have a teaching credential first, and most of them have spent many years in the classroom before becoming the school librarian.  Also as the school librarian they are the ‘go to’ person when there is a need for an emergency substitute.  Not only do they have to know the standards for libraries (yes, standards: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/lb/), but also be aware of all the rest of the curriculum for the school to have supporting books, know when new textbooks are to be adopted, keep up on resources for the classrooms, new technology for library and classroom, and constantly collaborate with teachers on lesson plans for use in the library or just to help the teacher on a lesson plan for the day since the classroom teacher sometimes can not think of something., this happens often with new teachers.
Finally, your typical school librarian makes about what the teachers do, around $47,000 – $70,000. BUT it takes about $10,000 – $15,000 to get the extra education for the librarian credential.  Look into it at Fresno Pacific University.  District librarians, which are not near as common, make near what an administrator makes and they have to have an administrative credential as well as the teaching credential and a librarian credential.
A little opinion here ~ Researching will help you find your answers.  Most school librarians are also technology teachers and show students how to surf the web for research, what is a safe site and what is not, they teach the incoming freshmen the functions of the library, along with much more.  My husband had to make a list of all his duties this year and that list was two full pages typed.  Just please, if you want to debate this, please, just do your research.
Now I know this is going to sound like a bit much, but I have two aunts who teach (one just retired but is now a sub and the other is retiring at the end of this year), I have a mother who (although we are not close) is also a high school librarian, I have a grandpa who is a retired superintendent /principle /teacher, an aunt-in-law who is an assistant superintendent, a mother-in-law who teaches 2nd grade, and a cousin-in-law who teaches kindergarten. All of them are in California, most in So.Cal; one is in the LA area and one is in central/ north CA. I know a lot of aspects in this topic, and most first hand.

Big opinion ~ One other thing I kept seeing in the comments was people discussing administrators.  Now from all that I have witnessed is that when it comes to admin taking a cut the entire district takes a cut of the same percent (example ~ admin 8%, teachers 8%, janitors 8% and so on).  At my aunts school the entire staff was forced to take a 10% cut so no one would be fired.  In my aunt-in-law’s school they all took a 5% cut for the same reason.  So when people say, ‘Admin has been cut over and over.’  This is not true.  Now I understand that schools need to be run and I’m not saying, ‘fire the lot of them.’ I am saying that schools who have two vice principles and one principle might want to cut down to one V.P. as people retire or move on. And districts that are one to two schools big might want to think about having the superintendent act as both principal and superintendent for at least one of the schools. Or, another idea, all vice principles could be cut so they make only $10,000 more then a teacher with the same number of years under their belts (example ~ Teacher works 15 years and makes $50,000 a Vice Principle at the same district works 15 years and makes $60,000).  I do feel that admin does seem to make a lot more then they should and I have witnessed them, in the past, getting a 10% raise while the teachers get a 2%. I just don’t feel that most of them should get the sack.
Here is a new link at what the admin makes in the same district that is letting all the librarians go. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/05/high-level-salaries-approved-for-new-top-administrators-at-cash-strapped-la-unified.html I take that back, maybe some of them should get sacked.

For the love of books…

Grumble *blanked blank blank* stupid morons…
“Reading is not standard based” according to what my husband was told by his work and the high school library is hurting gravely because of it.
Question ~ How can one READ the standards if one cannot read at all?
The reading programs gone, the library is a shell of it’s former self. A tumble weed passes as dust swirls behind it from a gust of wind that leaves an empty ringing in ones ears. Hey, how did a tumble weed get in the library? Oh yeah, it was let in from the door of imagination. A door that is being slammed shut by administrators, budget cuts, and ignorant people who think reading is a waste of time. If we don’t allow reading in schools, what next, do we take away water from drinking fountains? That’s right I forgot to mention that part. The English teachers are not allowed (NOT ALLOWED) to let the kids have 15 minutes a day of reading time, that was taken away too. So there are no reading books in school, and this time it’s not because they are replaced with e-readers, it’s because reading isn’t part of their education. If this keeps going on, I picture in 10 years the books being removed from their dusty, cobwebbed shelves, with brittle, weak, unloved spines that break as they are heaved into a disgusting, filthy dumpster. Where, written on the outside of the dumpster, well, more drawn, are pictures scribbled in graffiti by former students whose education took the same turn as those poor books… the dumpster. My poor husband has fought to the point of fear of losing his job, something no one can afford. Soon the goose step will be the only step these teachers are allowed to make, come on America, this is not Hitler Germany, books are great things and children should be encouraged to read them and the more the better, not shot down for it. There should be something we can do to save our books, our libraries, our schools, and most importantly, our children’s education.

*** Additional 5/06/2011 at 3:24 pst~ I had almost forgotten one other thing they did regarding the textbooks and reading books. Last year the English teachers were teaching with Springboard (link-> http://springboardprogram.collegeboard.org/?s_kwcid=TC|7002|springboard||S|e|6822379724 ).  This wonderful program allowed teachers to have the students read excerpts from a very large variety of novels, news articles, and also watch clips of movies. Oh, and did I mention that these books were free and consumable so the kids could write notes and such in them? They were free on a grant from Paramount Farms (link – http://www.paramountfarms.com/#perfectgrowing ).Paramount is awesome, they love helping education and giving scholarships, but the grant was only for Springboard and with that gone they were not going to buy the English department new textbooks. Yes, the school took away Springboard and said that it didn’t state the CA standards in it.  This meant the school needed to buy new textbooks.  This cost about $125,000 and caused an uproar. The teachers and students both don’t like the new textbooks. Little can be done here because the grant is now lost and the students and teachers are stuck.

Vampires don’t die…

I’ve been reading a lot of media lately that has made it sound like vampires are dead.  Well, the living dead maybe, but the truth is vampires just don’t die… at least not in literature or in films.  Sometimes they seem to take a nap, or not be as noticed, but over all people love them.  With a number of reasons why… There is a ‘what if’ feeling when we read about them, “What if that were me?”  There is a mystery to them, “What is their past?”  “How long have they lived?”  There is a small little mischievous wish and hope for them to be real just like there is to be turned into one.  “That would be cool, but I wouldn’t want to be their snack.”  The angelic side of everyone says, “I would never want to be one.”  And there is the disobedient side that smiles at the thought, “I would be different.  I would be nice… nice and very well off.”  Lets face it, that’s one of the drawing points to them is the idea of everlasting wealth, that and the whole not aging thing.  The wealth is just a bonus, because if one only needs to drink blood and not much can do physical harm, or cause illness to them, what does one really need cash for?  All of that money would go to play.  These are the points that draw a large amount of us to these creatures of the night.  Yes, the inability to have babies, some sunlight might be bad, maybe no reflection, and/or having an odd fear of religious symbols have drawbacks.  But when it’s looked at as a whole, never being sick again, staying young, no more blemishes, money and gold, power to control or manipulate, everlasting life, still looking normal, and/or having an awesome ability, who cares if the local village is a little nervous when you’re around.  Truthfully, I wouldn’t want to sparkle… ever (but that’s only one author’s view point), I could never take another person’s life, and I would miss my family, but to be able to sit and dream through a book or movie what I would be like as an immortal, well, I will never be tired of that.  I know I’m not alone.  Reading and watching about vampires is one of America’s favorite pastimes.  Thanks to Halloween, there is even a time of year that helps to keep them living even though they are dead.