Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Nail update

Want to know why I haven't been talking about nail polish lately? The newest trend in nail polish is textured nail polish and I am NOT a fan.

No need to be tempted by new colors when every new collection out there is all textured nail polish.

Zoya calls it Pixie Dust.

OPI calls it Liquid Sand.

I call it ugly. When I get even one bump in my manicure I scratch at it until I basically have to redo my nails.

That is my brief thought of the day. I continue to keep my nails painted every day, doing a manicure about twice a week. Mostly pastels for the spring, but I might have to bring back the neon trend this summer as I am so not digging this textured polish trend.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Work thoughts

I have so many thoughts and feelings about what I cover on a day to day basis. I am unbiased when I write but this ongoing saga I cover is getting to me.

Sitting in meeting after meeting, watching leaders make decisions that will ultimately lead to more litigation and more years of this being an issue – it's maddening. And watching the rude behavior on both sides is more than a little uncomfortable.

I can't get into it on this blog, for fear of it coming back to me. But needless to say I have feelings on the topic, I just wish I had some sort of outlet to get into it.

I could write about it, just to write about it – but no one would see it. I don't know how I feel about that. I do like to write, but I also like an audience. And I'd like this conversation to have feedback.

Anyway it is useless, I have to remain just the reporter on the topic, but after covering it for so many years and dedicating so many hours to listening to people give feedback, watching decisions be made and sitting in on the court sessions – I'm feeling pretty burned out.

There is no end in sight, no light at the end of the tunnel. Just more litigation, uncomfortable exchanges and me covering it all.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

To post or not to post...

So I didn't post to my blog yesterday. I was busy but also I didn't have very much to say. I don't want to force myself to blog every single day just because that would be cool.

I want to blog when I have something to share or some commentary to give. Yesterday I was busy and while I was thinking of what to contribute to the blog (I had ideas) I just didn't have the time and I think that is okay.

I want to blog often, but I don't want to force it. Especially when I am busy and will force my thoughts out too quickly.

That being said, this is my quick thought of the day. A reflection on a quote (one of my favorites). A revisit for this blog as I published it in my original post.

"Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel like I should be doing something else."
– Gloria Steinem

And because I am inspired by this quote, I want writing to be a priority for me. I'm not going to push it. Because if I force it I will begin to write too quickly, or without enough thought or consideration into what I post. And I don't want to set a lofty goal I won't meet or burn out on.

As I student in elementary school and even through high school I was always told I was a strong starter. I think to this day that might be true. My real problem comes when in following through and finishing things.

Who knows when my life blogging will end, but I want to foster it and nurture it in a mature way so I don't give up!

Monday, March 11, 2013

The pink slip game

Photo Courtesy of Los Altos Town Crier
While going through my email today, I received a press release from California Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, who has drafted litigation that is designed to help mitigate the "cruel" pink slip game which occurs annually in California.

Essentially, school districts in California are required to issue tentative pink-slips to teachers by March 15 every year. Over the years, this has resulted in many teachers playing a guessing game about whether they will be employed for the following year. Usually a large percentage of teachers find out in July, that they ultimately will be teaching again the following year.

So why do we put teachers through this situation? School districts have to cover their own financial behinds by handing out the worst-case scenario of pink slips, based on preliminary information they have received regarding the state budget. Basically, school districts have to prepare for a rainy day, if that is what happens should the state make all the cuts they threaten every year.

When teachers receive pink slips, it is demoralizing and really hurts morale. I've covered many years of this practice, one in particular where a teacher spoke with me and actually showed her pink slip, which is indeed printed on pink paper.

It's rough to be first-year teacher in California. Often these are the teachers left in limbo, wondering if they should look for another job or if they should remain faithful to the district they are teaching in. With a large group of older-generation teachers retiring each year, new teachers are needed in California.

I've been told by people in education that within the first two years of teaching, a person can really tell whether or not they were meant to teach. I hope this pink slip game that California plays isn't dissuading potentially talented teachers away from the classroom.

This new legislation, would change the deadline for tentative pink-slips to June 1, a lot closer to the finalization of the annual state budget, and after the May Revise of the budget (which I know first hand to give the district a lot more clarity as to what the final state budget will include). This hopefully would mitigate the number of pink slips handed out, and getting one wouldn't mean so much of a guessing game.

Another part of this new legislation pushes out the final pink-slip notice from May 15 to August 1. This is the one the teacher's are going to take issue with, as it leaves so little time (two weeks) for them to find another job if they actually do get a pink slip. And the California Teacher's Union is a powerful beast.

So while I do like the intent of this bill, I wonder why we couldn't just push out the final notice to sometime in July or something, so teachers are still given a respectable amount of time to find other employment if that is the case.

And what about retirements? In the district I cover, teachers don't have any sort of an annual deadline to announce retirements. Why not make an annual deadline to announce retirements for the following year? Knowing this sort of information ahead of time would also save the districts from having to deliver pink slip notifications.

Anyway, just because I cover education in my day-to-day job does not make me a complete expert on the subject. I was just very interested to see this legislation going forward, though it does need some tweaks for sure.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Business of Marriage in China

So in today's New York Times there was an interesting article about the business of marriage in China. The article followed two different women searching for the perfect match, for someone else. One was part of an official match-making business searching for a mate for a very wealthy perfectionist with a very particular taste.

The other was a woman from rural China trying to find a mate for her aging son. Apparently it is hard to pair a male up who does not own property, etc. Equally hard to pair up is a successful woman, which to me is ridiculous.

The woman from the match-making business earns quite a living for herself, with something like $30,000 bonuses once the deal has been sealed. Her clients pay $500,000 upwards just for the service.

The one voice that was not represented in this story was the voice of women in China. I realize that is a completely different topic that opens a whole new can of worms, but what must it feel like to be walked up to while shopping in the mall and propositioned by a match-maker. And this is apparently not uncommon in China, as there is a big business to be gained to find the perfect mate.

And the women they are searching for are the ones who don't go to graduate school, who are willing to be less successful and be the shadow to the man's success. Just made me ill to read. I was so disappointed that I didn't hear what the women of China have to say about this practice.

At one point in the story, the mother searching for a wife for her son, matched him up with a very successful woman in China. She met with him, said "we get married and you'll never have to work again." And he turned it down because of his manhood.

What do the adolescent girls in China feel about this for their future? In western culture success for women is celebrated, I am somewhat shocked to see that this sexist thinking still exists in the world.

All I have to say is I am glad I live in the United States and was able to pick my husband based on love, not on success, money and artificial, sexist, class-system match-making.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Die Hard

So Mike introduced me to a classic action movie today and "Ode to Joy" will never be the same. It had enough of a plot to keep me interested so I guess I enjoyed it. Gave a decent ending to a crappy day (Sharks lost after a 3-1 lead, and we were there). I don't think I'll tune into any of he follow ups as most looked real dumb with plot holes aplenty. Although Die Hard With a Vengeance, with Samuel Jackson looked like it had a little promise.

That is it for today, as I am posting from my iPad, which is cool, but makes me want to keep this post brief.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The professor, the bikini model and the suitcase

Every morning I wake up and catch up on the news. In addition to reading new novels I try to keep up with the world and be inspired by other works of great journalism.

This morning I woke up and read a piece titled "The Professor, The Bikini Model and the Suitcase Full of Trouble." Right away it captivated me and was very wonderfully written, almost as though it were written by a novelist. 5,000 words later at the conclusion of the story, I find the author, Maxine Swann is a novelist (I'll be adding some of her novels to my to-read list shortly).

Anyhow, the piece is featured in the New York Times magazine and is a bizarre tale about a professor who was duped into believe a model was into him, which led him on a travel adventure, eventually acquiring luggage laced with cocaine and ending up in prison in Buenos Aires.

The professor, who is a very intelligent theoretical particle physicist, is obviously someone who spent his life in academia and a lot of social realities are lost on him. But later in the story, it gets even more strange as it is revealed he has a strange sense of humor and was texting his so called-model girlfriend about being afraid about drug sniffing dogs and so on. The story leaves you wondering whether he is guilty or innocent in an artful way.

At the end of the story, the professor was reflecting on his career and his ultimate goal of receiving a Nobel Prize. He said he has published 450 papers and then he pointed out what he had sacrificed, "Well I don't have a family."

Despite all the crazy about this piece, and believe me it is full of crazy, that last statement hit me hard. Some days I feel so attached to my career, being a journalist, that I feel so afraid to have a family and someday have to let that go.

I need to find joy in my own writing (hopefully this blog is a good start), so if someday I have to give up my career (I'm thinking that is a possibility because to be able to afford a house to raise a family in, we'd have to move, and newspapers are dying and so forth...) I won't feel I've lost the ability to write and create, and hopefully one day, inspire.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Finding balance

So I've been trying to integrate new literature into my life as much as I've been integrating the television shows.

It's a shameful fact I watch a lot of TV. I let my DVR grow and grow and then watch hours at a time. I want to balance this with a healthy amount of reading.

So far this year I have read three books. I wanted to make it a two book a month average, so clearly I am behind a bit. In January I read "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" by Mindy Kaling within a few short days. I instantly wanted to meet Mindy and be her best friend, but I'll just have to settle "The Mindy Project" on television.

Then I picked up "The Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker, which was an unusual pick up for me. I truly enjoyed a coming of age story told as the Earth was beginning to end. Such an interesting concept and I really loved the narration.

I just finished "A Grown Up Kind of Pretty" by Joshilyn Jackson. This was another of those stories told from three perspectives of women, a grandmother, mother and daughter, all 15 years apart from one another. I really enjoyed this book, though the chapters were rather lengthy so I found myself staying up later than I had planned on just so I could finish a chapter. Particularly interesting about this book were the chapters told from the perspective of one of the characters who had suffered a stroke and how she tried to communicate when she couldn't.

On the TV front, I tore through Netflix's House of Cards and absolutely loved Kevin Spacey as the creepy power-hungry politician ruling the evil world of Washington DC.

Now I am going through The West Wing, which I never watched when it was originally on television. I just eat up good political drama. In another world, in another life, I think I was meant to flourish in a political environment.

Also to balance all the TV watching and the reading, I'd want to write more blog posts. So I'm going to try to post as often as I can (in a perfect world, that would be every day). I want to create a space for me to find my own voice in writing. Even though I do it for a living, it is never really what I want to write or what I am going through.