Friday, June 27, 2014

Look!!! I Added Something New!

I learned how to add social networking icons to my page today...I am so proud of myself.

I also learned how to take a picture like this:

And make it transparent, like this:

May not seem like a big deal, but when working in Photoshop, it makes it easier to create things because there aren't white boxes around pictures.  It works no matter what color you are trying to get rid of in the background, so it's really good to know.

But now I am going to bed.  I am tired after having stayed up all night last night. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Little Something I Tried

(I totally stole this design, but used different fonts and stuff, but I still needed a template to go here it is.)

I saw this invitation on Pinterest today.  So wait, if we are supposed to steal things from Pinterest, did I really steal it?  Anyway, I spent the majority of the day making this invitation.  I think it turned out pretty close to the one on Pinterest.  Nicholas said it did.

I want to show that I can do things like design invitations, or make banners, or pretty much whatever you want.  I have been doing stuff like this for a long time.  The invitation I did in Publisher with fonts I found online, and then I added the frame and the banner across it with photoshop elements.  I would love to get a job that utilizes this skill as I am pretty good at it.  It uses my grammar and spelling as well as my design skills with the desktop publishers.

You can see some of my Facebook covers and banners for my blog here.  I can design one for anyone with any theme.  They also work for Twitter.  If you're interested, let me know.  I will give you pricing if you ask.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Traffic is Up!

Since I started posting my blog to Twitter and Facebook, the page views on this blog have gone up exponentially.  In numbers, there were 200 page views last month.  Considering there were only 1200 posts over a year's time, I doubled my monthly readers!  I'm impressed.

I am going to start doing a little more here, like loading pictures and talking about more than BISD.  I hope I keep you interested.  If you like what you read, please leave a comment to let me know.  I like reading and responding to comments.  That's part of what makes a blog fun.

Thanks for reading!!  Come back often!!  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

You Do Not Speak For Me

I sat here at home last night watching the disgrace that happened in the administration board room at BISD.  I clapped sometimes at comments made by the public...and then I wanted to vomit when the vote was taken to fire over 200 teachers. 

I sat here yelling at my screen when Zenobia Bush, in all her ignorance, made the following statement:

"I try to be respectful and listen to what you have to say, but the reason I asked how many of my constituents are here is because there are some of you who are under the false assumption that you represent all of Beaumont, Texas, and I'm sick of hearing it," she said. "There is more than just one side to a story.
"You cannot make me go home," she replied to vociferous booing, "and until a board of managers comes here, I am going to be sitting right here. I'm going to make the decisions that I make, and I'm going to go home and sleep well."

This woman is so ignorant of what is going on around her it blows my mind.  This is what I have to say to her:

Ms. Bush,

Respectfully, you don't speak for me.  You speak for the people of your district who elected you to that seat.  Those people are going to be the most affected by the decisions that you and the board made last night.  Your agreement that over 200 teachers be fired and that students be bused across town to a school was a blow to your constituents. 

You stated in one meeting something about "people who look like you" being disenfranchised by the 5-2 plan. Ma'am, with all due respect, the "people who look like you" disenfranchise themselves every time they do not go to the polls to cast a vote.  I have a friend who is a black man who told me once that black people do not go out to vote because they feel they are not being afforded the equal rights when they try to vote as white people.  Whose fault is that?  If a person over the age of 18 is registered to vote and that person decides not to go because they feel they will be turned away or their vote won't be counted, that is not the problem of the people who do vote.  Just because a plan was passed that you disagree with, you cannot blame it on us.  Why not go out and talk to the "people who look like you" and encourage them to go out and vote if you want a different result?  Why not get in your car and take the elderly in your district to the DPS office if they need an ID so they can vote?  Why not be proactive instead of being reactive when things do not turn out the way you want them to?  I get so tired of this argument from the black community.  The only people holding the black community back are the black community.  Fight for it if you think you are being disenfranchised.  Fight for it at the polls, not with money that doesn't belong to you but instead belongs to the students of BISD. 

I have been as respectful as I can be on this issue.  I have not attacked individuals, but the entire system that has gotten completely out of control.  It it time that the "people who look like you" start taking responsibility for what happens to them.  Were they at the meeting last night, maybe...maybe not.  If they truly supported you, why weren't they there to speak up for you?  They had the same opportunity to speak that others had and the same means of asking to speak.  No need to go to the admin building, applications were online; and, if they really wanted to speak and had no way to get there, I'm sure you would have helped them out....right? 

Your asking during the public comment portion of the meeting was not only an ignorant thing to do, it was inappropriate.  It doesn't matter in which district those in attendance live.  What matters is that those are the people who truly care about every student in BISD.  Not one of those people can say they are only fighting for the children of the district in which they live.  They will tell you that they are fighting for every child, every teacher who will be unemployed, and even for you...for your vote last night hurt all of Beaumont.  Those are the ones who have been out at admin every meeting making their voices heard...the problem is that you and the other four board members were not listening.  You have not been listening for the last three years.  You didn't listen last night.  You will, however, be listening soon when the commissioner asks you to vacate that seat that you cherish so much. 

What you do not seem to understand is that nothing matters in all of this except the students.  You also do not understand that at some point, you need to do what is right, not what you believe the people in your district want.  Have you asked them?  Have you gone out to see how they are being affected by your decisions?  If you haven't, you have failed them. You have failed the voters and you have failed their children.  Your inability to see that is what truly disturbs me.     

Saturday, June 14, 2014

My Resume

As you may have noticed, I am updating my blog to better network myself.  I have added a link to the posts about BISD that I have written, plus I have added a page telling you a little about me and one that shows where my footprint can be found online.

Today, I added a page that has my resume on it.  I'm not sure this will help me get a job, but maybe if someone actually read my blog (which I hope someone is) that maybe if they see my resume, something will click and it will help me get a job somewhere.

Friday, June 13, 2014

What I'm Reading

This is what I am calling my summer reading list.  It's more like a "I want to read these books" list as I really don't have just summertime to read.  I could honestly get all of the Alex Cross books by James Patterson in order and just sit and read until I am finished.

I read a lot.  Probably more than the average person.  Most of what I read is what I refer to as "crap"....meaning it isn't classic literature and it isn't going to enlighten me to how to fix my life.  I just read what I like...and most of it is, well, not crap, but fun and meaningless.

Janet Evanovich is one of my favorites.  I have read the entire number series.  I am patiently waiting for June 17th so I can start Twenty-One.  I also like Debbie Macomber.  I don't have any of her books on my list right now, but I am sure I will read something by her soon.  I just got into Patterson's books.  I have to admit, for such a prolific writer, he is awesome.

"Wicked" is a book we have had for a while.  I didn't get it for the longest time, but now I do.  Not getting it kept me from reading it, but now that I understand, I want to try again.  I really want to see the musical and hopefully one day I will. 

I wasn't as impressed with "The Fault in Our Stars" as others have been.  I don't even want to see the movie now.  It was good...just not what I was thinking it was going to be.

Maya Angelou has always been someone I admired.  She worked her way up from nothing to become one of the most influential writers/poets in the world.  That's why I want to read her autobiography.

The other one....well, that's one of my "fun and meaningless" books.  I have read the Fifty Shades series, and this pre-dates those, so I thought why not.

What are you reading?  What are your favorites?  Leave me a comment if you want to share.     

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Fine Arts Matter

I have talked before about the problems in the Beaumont Independent School District (BISD).  Recently, the school board voted to declare a financial exigency that will allow them to put forth a reduction in force (RIF) that is going to negatively impact not only the lives of the teachers and their families, but also the lives of the students in BISD.

In Beaumont, we have three high schools - Central, Ozen, and West Brook.  During the school year, these three schools compete on the football field, the basketball court, and in numerous other athletic/academic areas.  West Brook is a 6A school; Central and Ozen are 5A.  The schools only compete to get bragging rights for the year.  The competition is fierce and you know for an entire year who won the Beaumont Bowl trophy most recently.  The students are separated by neighborhoods, but they share the same churches and out of school activities.  They may be rivals, but they are also neighbors and friends.

Those students came together this week to make their voices heard by the school board.  Students from all over the city came together as one to support their teachers and to let the school board know that what they are proposing is too drastic.  Most drastic among those cuts is the proposal of cutting so many fine arts positions that in some cases entire programs at schools will be gutted.  Fine arts consists of band, choir, orchestra, art, theater,dance.  These programs enrich the lives of the students in ways academic classes can't.  They allow the students to show their individual personalities and to use their talents to express themselves through music or art.

According to the MENC (Music Educators National Conference) in their Journal Of Music Education, "Students in high-quality school music programs score higher on standardized tests compared to students in schools with deficient music education programs, regardless of the socioeconomic level of the school or school district." Additionally, the College Board Profile of College Bound Seniors says that students enrolled in fine arts classes score between 11 to 13% higher on the SAT than students not enrolled in any Fine Arts classes.  These aren't statistics that need to be ignored.

I was proud as I stood on the grounds of the BISD administration building as I watched the students come together for a common goal.  The protest of the proposed RIF transcended the boundaries of race, religion, neighborhood, school, was a true representation of our city and one that showed the board that the city has not divided as they had hoped it would.  Instead, their continued malfeasance brought the city together and their voices were loud and clear.  FINE ARTS MATTER!

Is the fight over after yesterday?  No.  The fight continues as long as there are teachers whose jobs are on the long as fine arts programs are in long as those who should be working for the best interest of the students continue to work for themselves instead.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Parenting is a daily work in progress.  It isn't easy.  It is the hardest job in the world and one of the most rewarding.  I have been at it for 21 years now and I still wonder sometimes if I make the right decisions about things. 

I have decided to live by the rule that some things just aren't worth the fight.  If the dishwasher doesn't get unloaded at night, then I will do it in the morning and not make a big deal about it.  If a bedroom is a mess, as long as it isn't a hazardous mess for everyone in the house, I don't have to live in there and if that's the way they want to live, so be it.  It has taken me a long time to get to this point.  It has been a long tunnel to get through, but I finally see the light.

I listen to parents talk about how their kids don't want them to volunteer at their school or be around them because they will embarrass them...yeah, we probably will embarrass you, but you don't have a choice.  This is something I think my kids learned early on.  When Brenham started Kindergarten, I started volunteering on the days when Nicholas and David were at MDO.  I was at the school doing things like making copied and delivering things to classrooms.  I helped with parties.  I was homeroom mom.  I was there.  There were days when I took Nicholas and David with me, and then when Nicholas started continued with taking David.  By the time David started Kindergarten, all three boys were in the same school, so I was really spending a lot of hours volunteering.  I think the secret to being at the school and not having the boys tell me I couldn't was that I didn't hover around them while I was there.  If I saw them in the hall, I may or may not have said hello to them.  I didn't follow them around school.  They knew I was there, but they really didn't see me. 

When Brenham entered middle school, I started going to the middle school to volunteer as well.  I think a lot of parents think that once elementary school is over, so is the opportunity to volunteer.  That is not the case at all.  Middle schools and high schools need volunteers just as much as elementary schools do.  I went on field trips and band trips and choir trips.  I served on the PTA board and not only went to dances, I was the one organizing them.  I served ice cream and made copies and eventually became a sub for the district. 

When high school rolled around, I became a band mom pretty much full time.  For two years I had kids in three schools on three different sides of town and I managed to be at each of them at some point during the week.  By that time they knew telling me I couldn't wasn't even an option.  I never had one of them ask me not to be somewhere.  They knew I wouldn't listen to them anyway, so why even waste the breath? 

I had hard years.  The first years after my ex left to work in Virginia (we were still married then) were hard.  Brenham was starting middle school and that was enough of a change without having it compounded with dad not being around.  I had panic attacks and days when I didn't think I would make it.  But I did.  Not only did I make it, I think I did so very well.  Those years when the kids are at that age when hormones take over the innocent babies we want them to stay are not fun, but there is a light at the end of that tunnel.

How do you get there?  Stop being your child's best friend.  Be his parent.  But do so with love and respect and they will return the love and respect.  Remember that some things are not worth fighting over.  If it isn't going to hurt them, it isn't going to hurt to let it go. 

I tell people all the time I had the strangest teenagers I have ever known.  They never really fought with me.  They made/make good grades.  They didn't get in trouble in school.  They haven't been reckless drivers.  They don't run the roads at all hours.  They are home before 10:00.  They don't give me grief.  I really don't know where they came from, but I know that the young men they are now is from hard work on all our parts.  I know I probably have an outlook that is different from the way things really were, but I also know I have some pretty darn good kids.

And that just gets brighter and brighter!