Wednesday, November 30, 2005

20 Questions

How old do you feel? I feel older than my 33 years. Mentally and spiritually, I feel in my 50’s or 60’s because I think about death and dying and what I’ve done with my life and if I would do anything differently. Physically, I’d say late 30’s.
What do you believe is the meaning of life? To do the best you can with what you’ve got and to make a difference in this world.
Why is the sky blue?
So that country singers can have something to compare blue eyes to.
What is your favorite thing to cook?
I like to BBQ, but unfortunately I don’t have a BBQ yet.
What would your last meal be? A chicken burrito from Chipotle (with lots of guacamole).
What is the youngest age you have memories of? I remember from when I was 3 or 4 when my mom was making a gift for my grandparents and I wanted to help, but she wouldn’t let me. Instead, I got sent to bed because, if my memory serves me, my idea of “helping” was running around the table.
What is your favorite thing in the world?
What living person would you want to meet? Arnie, so that I can give him a sound slap (not in a good way).
What dead person would you want to meet? Monet – I love impressionism.
Where in the world would you like to live?
Hmm….I like where I live now, but I wish I could have more of my friends and family closeby.
Who has the most influence on you? My mother – she has always been the person closest to me and I always wonder what she thinks of things I’m doing in my life or decisions I’ve made.
What is your favorite dessert?
Hmm… I have a sweet-tooth and a love for chocolate, so anything with chocolate.
Can you make cookies from scratch? Yep, just show me a recipe and I can make it.
Would you rather be single forever with a great family or be with your soul mate and have no family.? I’d rather have my family.
What is your favorite scented candle? French vanilla.
Have you ever read the bible?
I’ve not read it cover-to-cover, but I’ve read much of it. Do I remember all the parts? Nope.
Who do you dislike most in the world?
Idiotic drivers.
What is your ideal date?
Very mellow – a nice quiet dinner, music, leisurely walk somewhere romantic.
What is your favorite shape?
Shape? I like princess cut diamonds – that’s the shape that’s caught my eye lately. :-P
What color do you feel represents you? Gray or green – kind of understated, nothing flashy, and goes well with khakis.
Would you rather be honest and poor, or a liar and rich? Jeez, what’s with the black and whites of the world? There must be an in-between….
What is your ideal ice cream creation? Take my Starbuck’s mocha and put it with vanilla ice cream, with more chocolate in it.
What is your favorite thing to do? Lately, knit and sew – I have to be able to create things and see visible progress with something.
What is your favorite junk food? Duh… chocolate.
What is the longest you've gone without talking to anyone?
I talk for a living, so I never go that long without talking to someone.
What is your favorite board game? Settlers of Catan (although no one plays it with me).
What is your favorite book? The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. Also, even though I’m still reading parts of it, The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama.
What toy have you always wanted and never gotten?
Hmm, I’ve always gotten the toys I wanted – I guess I was pretty spoiled as a child.
What item could you not go without during the day? Coffee.
Do you consider yourself smart? I’m book smart. My friends laugh, though, because I’m not always “street smart”.
How old were you when life was the hardest?. Early 20’s. As my grandma used to say, “I didn’t have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out”. It wasn’t that bad, but just financially tough.
Is there anything you have to do every day?
Do you curse in front of family? Yep – bad habit of mine.
If you had to get back with an ex who would it be? I’m with a fellow blogger, Storm – once an ex, always an ex.
When was the last time you felt truly loved by someone? I feel loved every day – from the kids I work with, to my son, to my family and friends, to my b/f.
What character trait would you change about yourself? My temper.
Which of your five senses would you give up?
Smell (although taste goes when smell goes, so really it’s like giving up two senses).
What do you do when the power goes out? Light some candles and find a window to look out. If there’s a fireplace, light a fire and watch it while cuddling in a blanket.
Would you rather spend the night out or in? In my twenties, I’d have said “out”. Now that I’m over 30, “in”.

Monday, November 28, 2005

My Cup Runneth Over...

This is a picture of my Thanksgiving feast at my mom's place. It was a wonderful weekend, even though it was cold and icky out. Now that I look at this picture, I remember a sense of warmth, peace, and happiness at being with ones I love on Thanksgiving.

Now that I'm back to reality, I still want to hold on to that feeling I had this weekend. So, I'm remembering what I am thankful for each and every day, no matter where I am:

  • I am thankful that the ones I love are healthy.
  • I'm grateful for my own health.
  • Thank goodness for my job that allows me to live comfortably.
  • I am grateful that I have good friends and wonderful family who love and accept me for who I am.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Movie Review: Walk The Line

While we were in Spokane this holiday weekend, we were able to see a movie that I've wanted to see for a while - Walk The Line. It held a special appeal for me for a couple of reasons - I grew up in the country and my parents and grandparents listened to what I affectionately call "old country" music and because I've heard this movie get pretty good reviews. It also doesn't hurt that I like Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon - both did a wonderful job on this film (I'm impressed that they did their own vocals - no small feat, IMO).

Obviously, the story was about Johnny Cash - from his humble beginnings to his rise to fame and certain fortune. I heard an interview or some clip on the radio last week about Cash's first wife's children being upset with this film for how their mother was portrayed. However, I don't think she was portrayed in a bad light - she was just a wife of an entertainer who realized he was slipping away because of the nature of the business. The movie was entertaining in that it had humor and re-introduced some entertainers of the time - Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Waylon Jennings (whom I still cannot listen to without thinking of my grandpa), and Bob Dylan. I was impressed most not just by the fact that Johnny Cash played his music in his own style (even after his comeback when the producers wanted a more "electric" sound), but also responded in his own way to the fan mail of prison inmates. One of the last scenes of the movie showed the concert he and June did at Folsom Prison - what a great show! I was surprised that Cash's Live Folsom Prison album outsold the Beatles - what a great testament to his music which was inspired in part by his first producer who said it straight that "you have to make music that speaks to people and is a truth for them".

The movie got me thinking about what kind of music speaks to me - and a lot of it is the "old country". It reminds me of a time that was simple for me (when my brother and I lived with my grandparents out on their ranch north of Spokane) and when I was probably the happiest. It was a time when I heard the old country greats like Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, and George Jones while I was following my grandpa around on the farm in a bathing suit and cowboy boots.

This movie gets nine dancing feet out of ten, as I have the lyrics of "Ring of Fire" running through my head.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Holy Grail

I have recently finished reading "Angels and Demons" and have now moved on to "The Da Vinci Code". Similarly to "Angels and Demons", this second installment has my mind filled with all sorts of things I never knew before - they are all swirling around inside my head. As I keep reading, what I keep thinking is that I'm not surprised the church would hate this book. First of all, it mentions that the Holy Grail is not a chalice, as some people thought, but refers to Mary Magdalene's role in Christ's life. Secondly, it points to the fact that Mary was not a whore (as most people have been led to believe), but is actually Jesus' companion and that she became pregnant with Jesus' child before he was crucified. The whole reason that there was a fundamental shift in views of women (Mary included) was because Constantine realized that Christianity was spreading so quickly and that there would have to be some sort of compromise between the values that were in place before the rise of Christianity (which was Paganism), and the Christianity we know today.

I'm not writing this blog to argue what really did or did not happen, but to express my fascination with the fact that this is the first time that Paganism has been presented not as the worship of "dark" or the "devil" or "satanic", but actually just refers to a group of people who were non-Christian (but who followed the "earth-centered" path). This view simply is grounded in the belief of the "goddess" and the role of women in the world (which was more positive until Christian views were adopted). Even though I was raised Christian (although not in a church), I am also a feminist at heart. The idea of women being revered as the givers of life (and not evil temptress fruit-peddlers) has certain appeal to me. One point that was brought up in the book, and is very true, is that history (including the Bible) was written by the "winners". The Bible did not fall down to the earth from the sky from God's pen - it was written by man. It's the exact same premise that other books are written from, like "People's History of The United States" - it tries to drive home the fact that real events (unlike history) are multi-dimensional and not as black and white as a conqueror would have you believe. I like when the grays are accentuated - it makes for a much more interesting, humane, and believable story.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

I cannot say that the fourth Harry Potter movie didn't live up to my expectations because I didn't know what to expect going in. Either that or I had very low expectations - I haven't decided which applies yet. In the movie's defense, I came in unprepared - I had seen the first two Harry Potter movies, but not the third one. Maybe if I had seen the Prisoner of Azkaban, I would have been slightly less confused about the string of events in the current movie. The premise behind this installment was that there is a Goblet of Fire in which participants (not just from Hogwarts, but from other schools of magic as well) cast their names if they would like to compete in the "Ultimate Magical Championship" (UMC, for short). That's not the real name, but that's what I'm calling it. Unfortunately, you have to be at least 17 to enter, so poor Harry Potter would not be eligibile to compete this time around. Yet, his name gets cast in the goblet and he is picked along with three other of his peers for the UMC - yes, even with my lack of understanding, I saw this coming. In the meantime, Harry keeps having these funky nightmares about Voldemort and a big huge snake and an old house and two young bucks who are there to do the dark lord's bidding. In the middle of it all, there is a huge dance where there is considerable pressure for everyone to have a date and they all get gussied up and have a smashing time at the gala, except for Harry and the red haired kid and their two dates. In the end, Harry wins the competition and Professor Moody is exposed for the fraud he is (who actually set up Harry to win all the competitions in the hopes that in the end, Harry would let his guard down and allow the fraud to kill him). Of course, grey bearded man who runs Hogwarts comes to Harry's rescue just in time. The End.

If that seems a bit convoluted, jumbled, and just plain confusing (not to mention a waste of money) then I've successfully conveyed the whole feeling of this movie. I will be gracious to Harry Potter fans and give it five dancing feet (out of 10).

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Sexiest Man Alive?!?

So, I don't normally read "PEOPLE" and today is no exception. However, as I'm sitting here letting my anti-biotics kick in to combat the strange bacterial infection in my throat that supposedly is not strep, I see this on my Yahoo page. Who decides that Matthew McConaughey is the "sexiest man alive"? The writers at "PEOPLE" didn't ask me, that's for certain. Although I do agree with their 1985 choice of Mel Gibson (pre-PASSION and smack in the middle of being a Lethal Weapon), I would not have picked Mr. McConaughey for this year (or any year). I can think of much more deserving candidates. I've always liked the more rugged (and usually older) guys in Hollywood like these two:

For this year, though, I'd have to say Matthew Fox (the doc from "Lost") is my top vote. So ladies, who is your ultimate "sexiest man alive"?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Hodgepodge Sunday

Okay, we started out with good intentions of waking up early and driving to Monterey, but I don't think either of us were too zonked about the idea of spending what ends up to be approximately four hours in the car to see a place that is on the beach (which is a bit more difficult to enjoy in November). I remember a similar, if less lengthy, drive to Half Moon Bay a while back which was very disappointing. The most exciting thing we did on that drive was to eat at Round Table Pizza. I'm still trying to figure out why a co-worker recommended it to me.

Instead of driving all day, we decided to drive a short distance to Japantown in San Jose. The sign was the most interesting thing I saw there - it was a bit disappointing. There was a farmer's market that was quite small, and in the midst of it, I wondered aloud "is this it?!?" (perhaps a bit too loudly). By the way, I'm not sure what the design on the sign is, but it looks like a cartoon couch with a balloon opening at the bottom.

When all else fails and we don't know what to do, we figured we couldn't go wrong with wandering around MountainView. They too, were having their weekly farmer's market. Brother Jake was playing his music for the kiddos and he even had his little puppet to accompany him. Check out the cash in his guitar case - not too shabby!

This is the table at the outside diner where we had lunch - the Amarin (which is a good little Thai place). I'd recommend it for those who like Thai food, but be prepared to know what you want. The waitress was not about to give me too much time to decide and I felt stress similar to Elaine's in the Seinfeld episode with the Soup Nazi (although not quite that bad).

How many times have I been to MountainView and I've never seen this sign? Odd fellows? That could be anyone, really. A little digging on this website revealed that Odd Fellows in North America was founded in Baltimore, MD in 1819 by lads from the Odd Fellows in England in order to "improve and elevate the character of man". The three link fraternity stands for "friendship, love, and truth", which they extend to fellow men who follow the teachings of the Bible. It only took them until 1851 when the Rebekah degree was founded, to include women into their three link fraternity, which isn't too long to wait, I suppose. Who knew before 1851 that women could be a valuable asset in the perseverance in all that is good and true?

Yes, yes, a bit sarcastic and cranky for a hodgepodge Sunday - I must be coming down with a cold.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Shopped 'Till I Dropped

Today I had quite an interesting shopping experience. In the interest of expanding my social network here, I asked two psychs I work with to go Christmas shopping with me today since we had the day off. One is a bit younger than me and very quiet, and the other is my age, pretty outgoing, but blind. Let me just say that I have new respect for guides for the visually impaired. I was only gone for half the day and now every muscle in my body hurts - it was like everything was tensed so that I could be ready to grab her if she fell or if someone ran into her. I felt like I was a big football guard for the quarterback so he didn't get sacked.

I forgot how rude people can be, which is something I've not experienced since K was a baby and I was lugging his diaper bag and navigating his stroller through crowded places. People who can see can avoid the aimless wanderers and rude "in a rush" people most of the time, but it's not an option when you can't see them. We got some looks from people who were exasperated at having to wait for us to pass, and the escalator was a challenge. How do you explain to someone when to step? It's something I never thought about. I was so excited when we made it down the escalator without any injuries! Also, phrases like "it's right there" are meaningless - and I found myself saying things like that way too often. In addition, when you're in nice stores, you need to make sure the person is guided through in such a way as to not knock expensive and shiny things over, which I usually don't worry about.

What amazed me the most is how much trust you'd have to have in your guide in order for it to work. Your guide is your set of eyes and if they forget to tell you something because they don't think about it, bad things can happen. At the end of our shopping day, I am glad I had the experience because it makes me thankful I have my eyesight (even though it's not 100%), made me more aware of the reactions towards people with disabilities, and had me thankful that I am getting to know two more great people who I can add to my social network.

Which Muppet Am I?

sam jpeg
You are Sam the Eagle.
You are patriotic and devoted. And extremely anal.

Patriotism, Being appalled at what everyone else is
The National Anthem of America

"An American In....America"

"Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,
Eagles are from America"

"Please stop that now! It's un-American!"

What Muppet are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

I don't really think I'm "Sam the Eagle", I see myself more as a Rolph (the piano playing dog) or maybe even one of the grumpy old men (on my really bad days, although that's a stretch).

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Jen's Weekly TV Lineup

There are only a few shows I really care about watching during the week, which is good because TV always has the potential of interrupting more important activities like playing Nintendogs or sitting on my bum surfing blogs. I wouldn't normally post about something so mundane, but it's my Friday (because I have Veteran's Day off) and I'm brain dead. Also, I think a person's TV viewing habits say something about them. For instance, my lineup shows that I am a person who needs to laugh, does not require putting much thought into a program (I put way too much thought into the rest of my day), but wants a little suspense and action.

One show that I watch religiously is "My Name is Earl". I didn't expect to like this show at all, in fact if I were left to my own devices, I wouldn't have watched it at all. However, I love how lighthearted it is and that the message is generally positive in nature. Also, I do believe in Karma, which helps me deal with the assholes of the world without short-circuiting. The main character, Earl (played by Jason Lee), is a likeable sort and he is kinda cute in his own way. He had a string of happenings in his life that weren't so great and finally came to the conclusion that bad things happened to him because he did bad things. Each show features an item or two on Earl's list (the list details all the bad things Earl has done in his life) and his attempt to "cross them off" by setting things straight. All of this is done in a humorous, if yet simplistic 30 minute time span, which is perfect on a Tuesday night when my week is just getting rollin'.

Another show I can't miss is "Lost" - I love the drama and the fact that the characters are complex and intertwined. It is a well-rounded show with enough action, humor, and drama to keep my eyes glued to the screen. I like learning about the characters and seeing the background as to why they are the way they are. Everyone on this earth at this point in time behaves the way they do because of a certain set of circumstances that each person calls "life". For those of you who don't know, "Lost" is a story of people who are stranded on a rather mysterious island after a plane wreck. There are "others" who seem to have been on the island for some time before anyone else got there, there is a hatch (which I believe is just a huge social experiment and I would refuse to participate in the button pushing, even if the island did explode as a result), and there are wild animals and adventures to be had by all. What more can I say?

New to my list this year is "Invasion", which deals with peculiar happenings in a small Florida community following a recent hurricane. Something is in their water that's doing weird things to the locals and it's bigger and uglier than toxic waste. This show is good because it's suspensful enough for me and because I really am interested in the idea of extraterrestrials. We'll see how this all plays out....

Lastly, I've been a loyal watcher of "24" and even though I cannot remember the specific threat to the United States from one season to the next, I love watching Kiefer Sutherland (even though his voice is a little bit nasally) beat the crap out of the bad guys and, in the end, save the US from certain disaster (yes, I get out my aggressions vicariously). I am eagerly awaiting season 5 to see what twists and turns that FOX can throw into each episode. I like that the style and time of the show is unique - it's the only one out there where one 1 hour episode is an hour in the story - that seems like it would be difficult to orchestrate, and I respect that.

So what do your TV viewing habits say about you?

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Getting By on Looks

This is a concept that has never occurred to me, although I know other people who try to "get by in life" by using their "cuteness factor". It's not that I'm against people being cute, or even using their looks to get certain things (like free drinks). It's just that I don't surround myself with people who do that, and personally, I've always had to use smarts or good old fashioned hard work to get somewhere. I figure that even if I had "cuteness" going for me, it only lasts a while, then is gone.

I work with a little girl who scares me because she thinks she can use her looks to get out of work - for the purposes of anonymity, I will call her Susie. As long as things are going her way, Susie will smile at me and flash her big brown eyes at me. When I ask her to do something challenging, she shuts down and becomes, for lack of a better description, a little brat. If we are playing a game, she has to pick the game, she has to be first, and most importantly, she HAS to win. Susie is in the second grade and is only seven years old and truly is a very cute little girl.... when things go her way. I wonder how seven year olds learn such behavior (head-scratch). Now, I should preface the following part of this blog entry by saying that one thing I will always remember from going to church is my pastor saying that loving parents give their children boundaries, because it shows the child that the parent cares about them (whether or not the child realizes it is a different issue). I don't know why that stuck with me over the years, but it did. That is not only how I treat my own son, but it's how I treat the kids I work with. When I started treating Susie this way at the beginning of the school year, I thought for sure I'd lose her - like when I purposely let her lose games, or when I said "suck it up and deal with it" when she began pouting because someone else picked the game, or when I would sit quietly and wait for her to do the difficult task I asked her to do without letting her get out of it. At first, she didn't like it and would try to get out of coming to speech therapy. Not one to be daunted (and also being stubborn as a mule), I kept on with what I was doing. A few weeks ago, Susie started bringing her friends by my office and introducing them to me. Just last week, she started giving me side-hugs (kids are only allowed to give me side hugs if they are tall enough that their head is anywhere in the vicinity of my chest). Because I care about her, she will learn that she will not get by on her looks when she's with me.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Table Runner

Table Runner Posted by Picasa

This is the table runner that I made for my grandma. It is the first project I've officially finished with my sewing machine. I even got brave enough to try the embroidery stitches on my machine - no broken needles or ruined project! Okay, now to finish those damn placemats.... if it's the last thing I do!

KISS Saves Santa

H and I have been watching the earlier episodes of The Family Guy and, I have to say, they are pretty amusing. To get us into the spirit of Christmas, we saw the Christmas episode right before they cancelled the show. I love all the references that they use in this show - like Peter becoming engrossed in watching "KISS Saves Santa" at the local mall while doing a little holiday shopping. It reminded me of all the specials that my brothers and sister and me used to watch during winter break. All during our vacation, Yogi's First Christmas was aired, along with The Peanuts Christmas, and Frosty The Snowman. As I got older, I loved to see A Christmas Story with the little boy with the BB gun. Also a family favorite was (and still is) National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (yes, I will sheepishly admit to thinking that Chevy Chase is funny).

Now, I can't help but wonder what Christmas Specials could be worse than KISS Saves Santa. I actually Googled "worst Christmas Specials" and found these titles: An Algonquin Round Table Christmas, The Assassination of St. Nicholas, Ayn Rand's A Selfish Christmas, The Lost Star Trek Christmas Episode - A Most Illogical Holiday, The Village People in Can't Stop the Christmas Music - On Ice!, Noam Chomsky: Deconstructing Christmas, and Christmas with the Nuge.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Movie Review: American Movie

American Movie has been out for some time, and for some reason, I have not seen it until last night. At H's prompting, I reluctantly watched it, although I was not quite sure I would like it. I was not sorry I saw it - it was well worth my time.

This movie is a documentary, of sorts, about a going-nowhere guy from Milwaukee in his late 20's/early 30's who has been interested in filming movies since he was a young kid. American Movie documents kind of a "day in the life" of the struggles Mark Borchardt went through in order to pursue his dream.

Even though this was filmed in Milwaukee, WI, it might as well have been made in my hometown of Spokane, WA. There are a few similarities between the two places - like mobile home parks not very far removed from well-off neighborhoods and the "midwest family values". As far as the people in the movie, I guess Mr. Borchardt and his family can be viewed as lower-middle class with the trials and tribulations that go along with their walk of life. A few things struck me about the film - that people who have never struggled in life for anything might see this as amusing. Kind of a "point and stare" and "shake your head" attitude. Even though, growing up, I did not want for much, we definitely were middle class. I had plenty of friends and acquaintances who personify what this movie described as "The American Dream" - the idea of the "have nots" wanting more out of life, but just not having the means available to achieve. I'm amazed at the film-maker's tenacity and ability to get people to believe in him, even though many people are half-hearted in their attempts to support Mr. Borchardt. I love the scene where he describes being called to the bathroom to clean up shit (literally) that was all over the stalls in the cemetary he worked at - a profound moment. A moment in which he realized he was approaching 30 and didn't want this to be the end all and be all of his life - cleaning up others' shit.

I think that that sort of epiphany is what some people are missing in their lives. Maybe they don't have the focus to take a chance, work hard, keep on trying (even when they get knocked down), and see something through to the end because they've never had life's little challenges that force them to learn to rise to the occasion. Yet, it's very easy for them to look down their noses at these struggling Americans and scoff.

I highly recommend this movie for its "reality check" feel - I would give it an "8" out of "10".

Thursday, November 03, 2005

My Horoscope

I don't put too much stock in horoscopes, but they are kind of fun. I have read the characteristics for both my astrological sign and my Chinese zodiac sign. Some Aquarius traits that fit me pretty well are: unpredictable, idealistic, stubborn, resistant to change, resentful of being told what to do, flighty, and a daydreamer. In the Chinese year, my birthday is technically a Rat, but I'm borderline Pig. Not sure if I like that mixture. Rat traits that fit me are my quick-temperedness, imaginative, giving-spirited to those who are close to me.

According to The Onion (which I read mostly for Savage Love and the horoscopes) says that this is my horoscope: the stars indicate that you will receive 15% off your next Denny's breakfast if you mention this celestial message. See, this type of horoscope is much more useful to me than one from, say, A friend is preparing to reveal their feelings, and they won't be much of a surprise. You know what they want to talk about, and probably even when they'll say it. Decide how you'll respond. Along the same lines, I got this fortune from Bad Cookie: If you do something right the first time, nobody will appreciate how difficult it was. How true....

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Giving Arnie His Props....Or Not

So I just got my first official absentee ballot as a California voter. Yes, I'm "up to speed" on all the issues or propositions, although I have stronger opinions on some propositions as opposed to others. For instance, there is Prop 73, which requires a waiting period and parental notification before termination of a minor's pregnancy. At first I thought I would for "yes" on this prop, but the more I thought about it, the less appealing this seemed to me. As a parent (if I had a daughter), I'd want to know if my daughter was contemplating this. However, I would hope that I would have the kind of relationship where I would not be informed by an abortion clinic that my daughter was in trouble. I also don't like the idea of young girls getting dangerous procedures done in order to keep sensitive information from their parents. I am still undecided on this issue, but I'll have to figure it out soon as my ballot will have to be mailed off soon. Next, we have Prop 74, which increases a public school employee's waiting period for permanent status from two years to five years. I've already received my indoctrination speech from the union reps about why I should vote "no" to this, however, I disagree. Even though "permanent status" is not the same as tenure, you pretty much have to pull a "Mary Kay LeTourneau" to lose your job at that point because of the strength of the union and all the rules. From my standpoint, if I am worth my salt, I don't mind waiting for five years to receive "permanent status" because it would not affect me being asked to return the following year, my benefits would remain the same, and I would still move up the salary scale. Now, I can see how this would be an issue as far as retaining hard-to-get teachers like special education instructors and other specialists. Also, five years is past the well-documented three year burnout rate of special education staff. Even so, I'm still leaning towards "yes" on this prop. Prop 75 addresses public employee union dues and having restrictions on dues being used for any kind of political contribution or affiliation without employee consent. This prop I will actually vote "no" on because do you know how many employees a school district has? If there are no political contributions, then do we lose our voice and our ability to strike and demonstrate, as TV ads would suggest? I'm not sure, but if there's a remote chance of that happening, then I would hate for our rights to speak about educational reform and other such issues being taken away. I was reading the Mercury News opinion section yesterday and it was interesting how divided people are on Prop 76, which would limit state spending AND school funding. If it was just about state spending, I would probably be more open-minded about this proposition. However, anyone who knows anything about the California public school system realizes that we are already suffering from reduced funding. Having recently moved here from Washington state, I'm appalled at the lack of services already in place due to budget constraints. For instance, there are only psychologists in the schools here who have to handle referrals for testing, behavioral observations, 504 plans, burning fires AND counseling at risk students (in WA, there are school psychs AND counselors because there's no way in hell that all of those responsibilities can be covered by one person). Here, there are no music, art, PE, or tech teachers (in WA schools, there are those "specialists"). Each classroom teacher assumes the responsibility for teaching all of those areas to their students. Yes, in Washington, educators get paid less (and the cost of living is quite a bit less), but at least we had adequate resources to do our jobs! And now Arnold wants the power to reduce budget appropriations "at his choosing"?!? I think not! Prop 77 has to do with redistricting California's Senate, Assembly, and Congressional districts. I don't have much information about this. The voter's packet is not very helpful in this process. They have a statement on the "fiscal impact", but it always seems downplayed to me. Exactly who writes the "fiscal impact" statements, anyway? Prop 78 and 79 seem like a good idea to me - discounts on prescription drugs for low- and moderate- income Californians. I know it would cost the state more money, but I've seen too many people (my grandmother included) go without the medication they need. It's just not right. Prop 80 wants to restrict my rights to change from private utility providers to other providers? Wasn't the big energy bill hike just a few years ago? Why on earth would I want to give Pacific Gas and Energy a monopoly on screwing me out of money? Sheesh!