Thursday, May 12, 2016

GUEST BLOGGER: 7-year Old Explains Why You Should be Kind to Animals

My son has written his first blog post that he would like for me to share online.  He wrote it on paper & then I helped him type, as he dictated.  I think I might have another vegan in our family in the future. 

My First Blog Post: "Good Animals" 

Hi I’m Nathan. I think you should not kill or hurt animals. They are innocent. I know you should not kill them.  They can be nice.  They will be mean though.  Just do not bother a rattle snake.

I love all animals they are really fun, especially pandas.  Pandas have lots of good things about them like they are chubby.  They are fun, cool, and they don’t bite.  I will get one.  Animals are nice, not mean, they are fun, I love them so much.  

Care for animals, live for them, love for them. 

My First Blog Post - May 12, 2016

My Rescue Dog "Ru" 

Monday, March 28, 2016


I am super grateful to the Bakersfield Californian for covering the CSU strike and publishing my recent letter to the editor.  Because of understandable word limits several important points were removed.  For clarification, here is the unedited letter I submitted: 


On April 13th, California State University Bakersfield faculty will take part in a system wide CSU strike.  The Chancellor and several CSU leaders have publicly commented on their concern regarding risks associated with this legally sanctioned strike.  As a mother, educator, and lifelong Bakersfield resident, safety has been an utmost priority as I have helped organize this event.  And though a peaceful event has been planned, I still continue to be asked by community members and students if I am afraid?

The honest answer is “yes.”  I am afraid but it has nothing to do with the looming teacher picket lines. 

A few days ago I listened to testimony from a selfless CSU Long Beach Sociology professor who physically removed a male student wielding a knife from her classroom.  I met her at an equity conference with college instructors from all over the state who listened as she vividly recalled the fear she experienced for her students.  Within moments other CSU professors stood to share their stories of physical threats and violence they have faced in their classrooms.  The meeting ran far past its scheduled ending time, and still not all those waiting to tell their stories of peril were heard. 

I did not reach for the microphone at this event, but this is not because I have not been threatened as a teacher.  However, the point of this letter is not to insinuate that teaching in the CSU is always unsafe.  When K-14 school safety is discussed, the fact that teachers put their lives on the line when threats of violence occur is rarely mentioned.  Coincidently, now that teachers are prepared walk out of their classrooms if our contract is not settled, finally “our safety” is becoming a part of the conversation. CSU Vice Chancellor for Human Resources Lori Lamb reported at the recent Board of Trustees meeting they are preparing to protect everyone during the strike with the maximum police presence, 

“Our primary focus on campuses is always the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff.  That will not change during a strike.  Our university police and campus security will operate at full capacity to assure our campuses are safe and healthy environments for all.” 

Over my last 10 years teaching at CSU, Bakersfield I have sometimes felt intimidated and even afraid, but it has never once stopped me from entering my classroom.  Similarly, no fear-mongering will stop me from walking out of my classroom to improve my working conditions on April 13th. I will always stand up, so that one day maybe my daughter will not have to.

My awesome daughter

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Why I love James Marsters and You Should Too

While traveling from Orlando, Florida back to my home in Bakersfield California I had a serendipitous event that has left me forever changed.

But before I tell you what occurred, I need to provide some context.  My love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer runs deep; though some might claim that I am a “fan-girl” or “geek” those labels do not do justice to my passion for Joss Whedons’ storytelling and the artists who bring it to life. 
My love for Buffy transcends re-runs and spans decades. There are many dimensions to my relationship with the BtVS franchise that include comics, video games, novels, scholarly articles and books, board games, clothing and home décor.  I am loyal not just to BtVS franchise but enjoy new dimensions of the lore and projects by associated artists (I can’t wait for Amber Bensons next book!!!!).

While I am on the subjects of books, “The Last Bookstore” in Downtown Los Angeles has a great selection of my paranormal romance and fantasy and there are several shelves dedicated to Buffy/BtVS related lore.  On a recent visit to TLB the hubs found a “Spike and Drusilla” novel by my favorite author Christopher Golden, that by some miracle I had yet to read.  To maintain some semblance of sanity I brought the book along to read on my cross-country flight.


A few months ago, my real life converged with my favorite fantasy when in a TSA line at the Orlando Airport I spot James Marsters.  I started panicking and one of the TSA screeners actually turned to me and asked if I was “feeling okay?”  Thankfully, I was not pulled aside for a cavity search and after a few moments I remembered that I need to keep track of my children.

I walked up to James Marsters and asked if he would sign my book (I am not sure how unsettled he was that I happened to have a Spike novel on my person). He did not let on any duress, and personally addressed the autograph to me, aka“ Dr. CCB.” And if that was not generous enough he took time out to take a photo with me and the fam.  He remarked that he appreciates that “educated people love the show.” 

I almost died of embarrassment when my 8-year old chimed in to tell him that “my mom is totally obsessed with you and we have pictures of you on the walls at our house.” If you know me in real life, you know it takes a lot to shake me, but I am still blushing as I write this blog about my chance encounter with a gifted and gracious artist I have admired for a long time.

The best part of this experience is that I met someone I admire greatly and he was a nice person.  He was under no obligation to hug me, pose for a photo, chat with my kids, or take the time to talk with me: but he did and was sincere during every moment of our encounter.  It just goes to show that all famous people are not soulless and sometimes the universe rewards patience during the long security checkpoints at the airport.  

The only downside to this encounter is now my 8-year-old daughter is convinced she is going to meet Shawn Mendez at the airport but who knows, it could happen.