March 2006


I’ve spent the last five hours chasing down protesters to get them on the record telling me what they are demonstrating against. About 300 students here left their schools early this morning and marched to the courthouse where they held a rally to speak out against the senate bill HR4437, passed earlier this week. The bill, which has sparked demonstrations throughout the country, will change the lives of the 11 million illegal immigrants in the nation. The sweeping immigration reform bill would make it a crime for citizens to house illegal immigrants and will make it more difficult for immigrants to receive citizenship. In addition border patrol will be doubled in the next several years.

Watching these protests take place made me remember what it was like to be young and still think protesting could make a difference. All of these people are out here saying they want their voices heard, but something the superintendent said struck me with major force. “They want their voices to be heard. They’re out here protesting, but nobody in Washington is listening,” she said. “If they want something to be done then they should be writing letters, that’s what will make a difference.”

I wanted to believe she was right, but I’ve been jaded in recent years. I used to attend protests. I used to write to my senators on the daily. Any subject or legislation I thought needed to be changed I’d write them about. Until one day I just thought to myself that it didn’t make a bit of difference. I’d like to see things change as much as anybody but I just don’t feel like it will. Even so, I was inspired today by these kids’ enthusiasm. Getting youth involved in politics and making them believe they CAN make a difference means so much to continuing the democratic process in this country.

While I don’t think it will make much of a difference, I think it’s a start. Today is Cesar Chavez day. I’m sure when he started rallying people together, asking for change and demanding justice, nobody thought we’d be celebrating him as a leader for change in immigrant labor for our state. One person. He was one person and he started an entire movement. One person saying he wasn’t going to allow continued injustices. One person willing to fight. It may not seem like much, but it can inspire hundreds. These kids out here may not make a difference today, but who knows what they will do in the future.

It’s that time of year for spring rains to begin. Those of us in the Sacramento area know this far too well. Today was a record day of rain in Woodland. The most recorded days of rain in March here was 17, until today.

With spring rain also come SNAILS!

Snails (and worms) can be seen decorating the sidewalks during a mild rain. Apparently it’s because snails hibernate during the winter! I had no idea. In fact there are a lot of things I didn’t know about snails. One thing I did know though is that they are hermaphrodites. Bet you didn’t know that. This vast repertoire of snail knowledge comes to you from an episode me and Sofia witnessed the other night.

Outside of my front door there is an entire colony of snails:

And when me and Sof saw them we started asking a bunch of questions. How do snails reproduce? Are they born with their shells on? What do they eat? How long do they live? The list goes on. If it helps, I think we may have been drinking….or on our way to drink at the time.

This got me thinking that I should investigate. So I’ve done a little research (aka read about it on wikipedia). I found out that snails lay eggs in topsoil. They hibernate from October to April and they can seal their shells off with their mucus so that they don’t get dehydrated if there’s a drought. I don’t know though if they’re born with or without shells. I do know that they make their shells throughout their lifetime. Once they have a lip on their shell they’re done growing and they begin reproducing.

All of this was actually written to raise some awareness though. Snails, they carry their homes on their backs. If you carried your home on your back I’d have mad respect for you too, so the moral is: be nice to snails.

Please don’t squash them because they’re everywhere right now!

PS No snails were harmed in the making of this blog.

PPS I accidently squashed two snails tonight because I was carrying groceries and the lights were off. I almost cried. It hurts my heart to hear a crunch under my foot. I’m not even sure I squashed snails, but I can pretty much guarantee it. Poor snails. Can I get a moment of silence for them? Thanks.

PPPS I’m seriously going to have a panic attack every time I go outside my front door from now on.

PPPPS Remember to donate to my Costa Rica fund! I’m SO close now. Just $10 from each of you can help me save some sea turtles this summer!

….with a press pass.

We’ve all seen the scene of an accident or a crime. We’ve driven by or, if we’re lucky, we’ve gone outside our front door and looked on wondering what exactly happened. When I was younger my mom and I drove by a court that had been completely blocked off. People were standing all around trying to get a look, trying to see what happened. Me and my mom wondered what was going on, but it wasn’t until the next morning we saw on the news that a man had killed himself and his family in a house on that street.

A similar experience happened last weekend. Some friends and I were driving around Elk Grove when we saw that a section of Laguna Blvd had been closed off in front of Chili’s. Of course we began making up wild stories of what we thought had happened. We also joked that I should jump out with my press pass and Allan with his camera to get the scoop. Two days later the story was on the front page of The Sacramento Bee. Turns out some guy went on a shooting spree through Elk Grove that night. Who knew?

The thing I love about my job is that I CAN know. When I walk up to a scene I’m not just brushed off by the police. They want the information out there so people know why the street was closed down and so people know it’s safe again. Maybe it’s not like that in all towns, but here in Woodland I’m almost always given the info by the cops.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on this job lately and I have to say that what I love most, and what I’m absolutely not willing to give up, is the variety and excitement that comes with this job. When I come into work in the morning I can think that it’s going to be a boring day. “Ah, I just have a stupid teacher feature to write,” I say to myself. Then the scanners start going off and I run off to an accident with a photographer. Or someone comes in and says, “Hey, do you guys know why they’ve got the our alley blocked off?” And I run outside with a photographer and start asking questions. Not only do I ask questions, but I get answers.

This isn’t a hypothetical either. Today some guy parked a stolen car in the Post Office parking lot, which is just behind our building and the police found it. Inside the car was “a suspicious device,” so suspicious the cops had to call in the bomb squad. Yep, the bomb squad. They’ve closed down all the streets surrounding our building, the post office has been evacuated….and I’m sure the TV crews are on their way out here. Here I am with the scoop and I’m just giving to you guys. Haha. Anyway, I just wanted to say no matter how little I make at this job, I do love it. Who gets to break up their day by being an ambulance chaser extraordinaire? Oh, me. That’s who.

“Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes.”

I saw this quote on a bumper sticker while driving to my interview today. I didn’t think much of it at the time, other than “That’s SO me.” But after I wrote my last blog I was so upset I decided to approach my boss. I never do this because I worry about every move I make there, but in this case it had to be done. I just decided it was time to be a grown up.

I asked my boss if we could talk in his office and when we sat down the first thing he asked was whether I was turning in my notice. I told him no, but I also told him I was going to be applying at the Vallejo paper because I knew they may have an opening coming up. We talked for awhile and he said he’d try to get me and the other reporters a raise. He also suggested I put in some extra hours at the office as a way to raise my pay. He was very understanding and made me feel a little bit better. My voice was super shaky and I was on the verge of tears, but I’m so glad I did it. I don’t know that a $1 an hour raise will really help but it’s nice to know that he would be willing to go to bat for me.

In addition to that, the producer for our “newscast” overheard me talking to our other reporter about my situation and told me she has an empty room in her house that she’d be willing to let me occupy, rent-free. If I take the offer that will save me $400 at the beginning of next month when my money for Costa Rica is due! Although it would be a little weird living with a mother figure again, it will be a huge ease on my conscience to not have to worry about rent or Costa Rica for a bit. It would mean I could keep my job AND do the conservation project!

I also recently discovered a credit card I didn’t know I had. That gives me $400 more for Costa Rica and Sofia said if I promise I’m still going she’ll donate $500!  That means I’m only about $600 off from going!

I think I should take the room, even if it is awkward for a few months. I’m not home very often anyway and it would save me a huge amount of money. I really just need someplace to store my stuff anyway.

I can’t believe how quickly things can change around. Life always amazes me.

Like my big sis always says, “Everything happens for a reason.” Everything really does work out, even if it’s not the way we had planned for it to.

PS Thanks everyone for all of the support lately. I can’t wait for things to really turn out well.

PPS I’ve been drinking wine so if this is a little weird please bear with me.

The interview went well enough. I don’t know whether I got the job. What I do know is: it’s not the job I want. While working at the capitol sounds like all fun and games, it’s not. It’s high-stress. It’s a lot of work. It’s putting forth an image that isn’t me. It’s being fake and diplomatic. It’s having to answer the question “Would you be able to put forth a positive message about legislation even if it were something you didn’t agree with?” It’s not for me.

I doubt that I’ll be the person selected for the position, but if I am I don’t know how long I would be able to stay in a job like that. Would I be willing to sacrifice my happiness for my livelihood? I’ve had jobs that I’ve taken before event though I had a bad feeling about it and the whole time I worked there I felt like the job was stealing my soul away (at least that’s how I phrased it). It’s just so disheartening to work so hard for something when it’s not what you really want. But at the same time it’s disheartening to have a job you’ve worked so hard to obtain, a job you love, when you can’t even afford to eat AND pay rent.

I’m sitting in my office right now and I just want to scream, “I HAVE TWO COLLEGE DEGREES!!!! WHY AM I MAKING LESS THAN I DID WHEN I WAS IN COLLEGE?!?!?! WHY DO PEOPLE SAY GOING TO COLLEGE WILL GET YOU A BETTER PAYING JOB WHEN ALL I HAVE IS THIS?!?!?!”

Today I hate my life.

What the hell am I going to do?

I haven’t mentioned this before because I was worried I wouldn’t find anything, but I’ve been looking for a new job. I’ve sent in a few applications here and there, but not for anything I’ve been really interested in – PR jobs mostly. Then on Friday one of my friends sent me a job posting for the Communications Director for a California assemblyman.

This job would be perfect for several reasons:

1. It would get me back into politics and paying attention to the world.
2. I could move back to Sac and be closer to my friends.
3. I could afford to pay my rent (and maybe even buy some groceries).
4. I think this particular assemblyman rocks! To have found a job with an assemblymember I’ve actually heard of would just be too cool.
5. I’d be working at the capitol.
6. It’d look great on my resume.

I don’t want to get too excited about this, but I just sent in my resume and cover letter at lunchtime and I’ve already got a call back asking me for an interview this Wednesday!!!! I’ve got my fingers crossed and I’m trying not to be too excited because I’d be DEVASTATED if I didn’t get this job. Anyway, I’m going shopping for a conservative, I-work-at-the-capitol-type outfit for my upcoming interview! Wish me luck!

I woke up this morning in a funk. Honestly, I don’t know what kind of person one has to be to wake up and be upset first thing in the morning, but that person was me today. I tried thinking happy thoughts and pretending I was happy, but it just wasn’t working.

I decided to just get ready for work and hope that my walk to work would cheer me up, and it did. Not the walk necessarily, but the soundtrack for my walk.

The first song to play on my iPod was by Frente!, one of my favorite bands to listen to when I ‘m feeling down. I would have never chosen it myself, which is why shuffle is such a great invention.

It’s not that Frente! is the best band ever.  Their music is just very upbeat and cheerful sounding, and even when their songs are about sad subjects they  make me want to sing along. Plus, who couldn’t love a band that has an exclamation mark as part of their name? That alone makes them a cheerful band.

The real reason I love Frente! though is that it reminds me of high school, hanging out with Eileen and singing along to all of these songs. I’m listening to the CD right now and I can remember a time when Eileen and I knew the lyrics to all of these songs. We probably could have sung half of them without the music. I miss the times when life was just about school, hanging out with friends and hoping for the future. My biggest problem back then was dealing with my parents.

It’s funny, when I was younger my parents used to always tell me not to grow up so fast because I’d be wishing in a few years that I could be right back in high school living carefree. I hate when my parents are right.

Sorry, got off on a tangent there. I’m going to keep this Frente! disc playing for awhile. I recommend you all check out their stuff. It’s kind of girlie, so I don’t know how many of you guys will like it. I love them though. Thanks Eileen for introducing them to me back when we were 14. You’ve always had a great sense of music.

Here’s to fighting the funk.

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