Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Another lifetime conversion

I finally did it! After being faithful to the PC since I was introduced to computers, I finally converted to Macintosh today. This decision was largely fueled by my recent battles with viruses and the poor quality of my last PC laptop (Acer). I've only had it for a little over two years and it has crashed on me (last November due to a few strains of viruses despite having Norton anti-virus installed) and its space bar is kaput.

After doing some research online and talking to some friends who've made the conversion, I decided that the higher cost of a MacBook is probably worth it since I don't have to worry much about purchasing anti-virus programs. By the way, have you ever wondered if those anti-virus software guys are the ones who write all these new viruses so that they can stay in business? Hmmm... I wonder!

I'm still trying to get used to my new stylish little MacBook and feeling a little frustrated at times - it's like learning how to ride a bike all over again! - but I'm sure I'll soon enjoy it. As my friend, Sharon, remarked when I told her that I'm considering a conversion, "Welcome to the light-side!"

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Trimming our attachments

It's been almost three weeks since I made my last entry. One reason for the slack is because I've been traveling for work. I've just gotten back from an almost two-week trip to various parts of India. As always, I enjoy India despite the crowds, chaotic traffic and unpredictable hotel rooms. The cheap saris, woolen shawls and blankets plus the good Indian cuisine that come with the travel always trump the inconveniences in the end. Nonetheless, I am glad to be back and sleeping on my own bed next to the one I love! :)

However, a few days into the trip, we received a piece of bad news from our apartment's landlord - he's selling the place. This means, we have to look for a place to move into by May. But since May is a busy month for me, I'm thinking that we'll need to move by April. Yikes! That's just about three months away! So much to do and think about!

When we first got the news, both my husband and I sunk into depression. I know a lot of you might ask what the big deal is - well, it's just moving house! Yeah, it really is NOT a big deal but various factors have contributed to the shock of the news:

1) This is the first place that my husband and I have lived since we got married - so, there is a lot of sentimentality built in there. Our first couch, our first blender, our first dryer, our first dvd player, the list of "firsts" goes on!

2) We're paying peanuts for our present place. At the rate real estate prices are going these days in Singapore, it would be a near-miracle for us to rent another place at the same rate. Our existing budget means we have to settle for a much smaller place - possibly one bedroom less that what we have now and at a much desirable and accessible location (since we don't drive, being close to a trainstation or bus stop is essential).

3) Trimming our stuff - we presently have stuff that fill up a 2-story 3-bedroom, 2-storage room apartment. We also have a nice-sized balcony where I've started a little "zen" corner with bamboo plants and all. When we move, we'll have to throw out and give away a lot of what we have now in order to fit into a smaller apartment. Especially my lovely plants! I've poured so much of my affection into them! I won't have a storage-room just for my shoes and bags anymore!!! Argh!!!

However, as I contemplate the circumstance, I realize that it could be a blessing in a very saddening disguise. As where we are right now is not our final stop and we know for a fact that we are required to constantly move on, such a move would help us trim off our "baggages" and remind us (me, especially!) to not accumulate unnecessarily. Acts of trashing old things also remind me that I should never allow stuff to define who I am and how I feel about how my life is going.

So, having the time to think through the process and grieve through the pain of having to say goodbye to our neat little apartment, I think I'm almost ready for a change. In fact, I've gathered up the guts to throw away a bag-full of old shoes that should have been trashed two years ago! Yeah, sometimes, the healing, the good, comes after the surgeon's cut!

Have a good week, ya'll!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

I need a wife!!!

Here's an old (August 2007) article which appeared in the International Herald Tribune which caught my attention. One reason being how it captured my exact feeling about how I feel the way things ought to be!

Women wedded to work - and needing a wife at home
By Shira Boss Monday, August 13, 2007

NEW YORK: Now that women have solidly earned their place in the work force, many find themselves still yearning for something men often have: wives.

"The thing I most want in life is a wife. I'm not kidding," said Joyce Lustbader, a research scientist at Columbia University, who has been married for 29 years. "I work all day, sometimes seven days a week, and still have to go home and make dinner and have all those things to do around the house."

It is not just the extra shift at home that is a common complaint.

Working women, whether married or single, also see their lack of devoted spousal support as an impediment to getting ahead in their careers, especially when they are competing against men who have wives behind them, whether those wives are working or staying at home.

And research supports their argument: It appears that marriage, at least marriage with children, bolsters a man's career but hinders a woman's.

One specialist in women's studies dismissed wife envy as something women "are usually joking about," and another called it "a need for a second set of hands, regardless of gender." But therapists who work with couples on equality issues say it is no joke.

"I hear it all the time," said Robin Stern, a psychotherapist in Manhattan and author of "The Gaslight Effect." "It's a real concern. Things that used to be routinely taken care of during the week are not anymore."

With two-income families now the norm, and both men and women working a record-breaking number of hours, the question has become how to accomplish what used to be a wife's job, even as old-fashioned standards of household management and entertaining have been relaxed.

Many men are sharing the work of chores and child care with their wives, and some do it all as single parents, but women still generally shoulder a greater burden of household business (or fretting over how to do what is not getting done).

According to 2006 survey data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in five men engages in some kind of housework on an average day, while more than half of women do.

"The real challenge is, companies expect you to perform as if someone is at home taking care of everything for you," said Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women. "Some men are better positioned to deal with these corporate demands, because they do have someone at home. Most women don't."

Working women have noticed, correctly, that their male colleagues with wife support - whether or not those wives are themselves working outside the home - get further at work than the women who are fettered by marriage and children.

Women occupy 50.6 percent of managerial and professional positions, according to the research organization Catalyst, but make up only 15.6 percent of Fortune 500 corporate officers.

Married men and women, on average, earn more than those who are unmarried, with part of that possibly attributed to career and wage advancement as workers mature (and are more likely to be married). But the gap is significantly larger for men than for women. Married women make an average 17 percent more than unmarried women, according to 2005 B.L.S. data on the median earnings of full-time workers, while married men make 42 percent more than unmarried men.

A more statistically rigorous analysis published in 2004, using the Minnesota Twins Registry, tried to isolate the effect of marriage on earnings. It found that holding education and genetics constant, married male twins made 26 percent more than their unmarried brothers.

It is not as clear what effect marriage has on women's careers and earnings, but having children is, overall, an impediment. "There's a well-documented motherhood penalty: women with children are paid less than women without children," controlling for other factors, said Mary Blair-Loy, a sociologist and author of "Competing Devotions," a study of executive women who kept working versus ones who discontinued their careers.

Fathers, however, are not similarly disadvantaged and might even benefit at the workplace from being parents, according to more than one study, including one published in March in The American Journal of Sociology.

In 1972, the first issue of Ms. Magazine included a now classic essay by Judy Syfers, "I Want a Wife." Her fantasies included her wife taking the children to the park and on play dates, arranging a social life, passing hors d'oeuvres to guests, planning meals, cooking, cleaning. The sentiment seems to persist among today's working women.

"On every level, I'm very resentful," Lustbader said. "Not of my husband, but of other women who don't work, or who have a stay-at-home husband." She calls her marriage a good one.

She also has the benefit of a once-a-week house cleaner and had live-in help while the couple's two children were growing up. She did not pursue a tenure track because she wanted to be more available for her children while they were growing up.

While outsourcing household work is a potential solution for families that can afford it, it doesn't solve all the issues. Women are still predominantly the ones hiring and managing the help, according to Blair-Loy and other specialists. And, especially when it comes to child care, they feel there is no substitute for a spouse.

"The situation is, you have to have people doing it for you, or you do it," said Dawn Santana, a corporate lawyer in Manhattan who works part time. "I like to do it myself, and don't trust too many other people. But I would trust a spouse."

Even if the workload is divided, women complain that they are usually the ones organizing, juggling and filling their head space with the daily demands of family life. That leaves less time and energy to focus on the workplace tasks.

"Men lock the door and leave. Things could be a wreck or whatever and it doesn't affect their other world," Santana said. "I walk out and worry about the house looking nice, because the kids have play dates, etc. Someone has to worry about that, and it's usually not the dad."

Sunday, January 6, 2008

"Angel 1"

Okay, so I admit I'm a nerd (but, hey, so is Tina Fey!!!). I love Star Trek: The New Generation (TNG). As far as I'm concerned, it's the best of all the Star Trek series. I remember how during my graduate studies days watching TNG reruns helped me better understand what my professor was teaching in my Metaphysics class.

Recently, we bought the dvds of the whole seven seasons of TNG! My husband and I were so excited at the possibilities! As far as watching tv is concerned, we would be going to a level where we had not gone before! With the Christmas and New Year's holidays, we've made it halfway through season 1 so far.
A few evenings ago, we saw an unusually appealing (at least to me!) episode called, Angel 1. This time, starship Enterprise found themselves encountering a planet called, Angel 1, where women are the warriors/soldiers while the men play the role of earth women. In other words, it's a matriarchal planet! How cool would that world be???!!! Where men dress themselves up sexily to attract and serve the women; where women make all the decisions and are the smart ones.

Hmmm, come to think of it, other than the intellect, I think my home is a tiny fragment of Angel 1 that got thrown out into orbit and landed here on earth!!! In fact, I suspect that there is more than one fragment of Angel 1 here on earth!!! Is your home another lost Angel 1 fragment?

Humor aside, as appealing as such a planet may sound to many, I don't think I want to live within such a culture. For one, I don't want to be the warrior! If possible, I don't want to be the one who makes all the decisions. I know very well, from past experiences, that I am fallible and could be wrong about many things (though as far as my husband is concerned, I am right about most things!) and hence if I want what is best for my family, I don't want to be the sole decision-maker. In the same way, I don't think the husband should be the sole decision-maker either!

And I am so glad that I have a husband who loves me so much that he is not reluctant to challenge me when he thinks I'm wrong. Also, he would not be so proud to not admit when I have made the correct choices. So, Angel 1 remains a fantasy, but one which I hope will not come true!

Have a wonderful week ahead, everyone!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Sexist, but how true

I came across this on Real Simple magazine's editor's blog and I love it. I thought that it's so true in my day-to-day interaction with my husband. What do you think?

9 Words Women Use

1.) Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

2.) Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means half an hour. "Five minutes" is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

3.) Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with "nothing" usually end in "fine."

4.) Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don't do it!

5.) Loud Sigh: This is not actually a word, but a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of "nothing.")

6.) That's Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a woman can make to a man. "That's okay" means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

7.) Thanks: If a woman is thanking you, do not question...or faint. Just say you're welcome.

8.) Whatever: A woman's way of saying !%#$ YOU!

9.) Don't Worry About It, I Got It: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking "What's wrong?" For the woman's response refer to #3.