A meandering post about a bunch of stuff and a date I can't quite forget

 We got a brand new 2021 all electric Nissan Leaf a few weeks ago. We are in the future now.  For those of you who know me, this must come as a surprise! All my adult life, I've been against buying new vehicles and I've tried to convince everyone who cares to listen, to never fall in that trap. But, this car comes as a privilege for the new Nissan employee in the household. The hubby's employee benefits is to be able to lease new vehicles and get reimbursed for it! He jumped at the opportunity of being able to drive an all electric, brand new car - which, given how his fate changed after meeting me, was not to be. Until he became a Nissan employee, that is... So, that's how we, the owners of a 2004 Accord and a 2006 Mazda 3, end up with a 2021 Leaf! My first thought, after he read about this perk was that we could use an aux cable! None of our cars have ever had an aux input port. We've tried to use the aux -> radio frequency converter rather unsuccessfully. But,

What have I been up to? A non-smartphone, pandemic friendly, Spoken English program!

I'm rushing to write this, since the last time I was inspired to write was when the Georgia runoff results were announced and 2021 seemed to have gotten off to a great start. And, by the time I sat down to writing, the afternoon of that day happened and I was glued to the TV for a couple of days in disbelief, heart sinking. I have discovered that I like to write when things are going well, even though what I want to write about is about the last 6 months. But today is a new day. With Biden + Harris being inaugurated, it definitely is a good day. And here is my long due update on my life, my universe and my everything. Fair questions at this point are: Have I been bored out of my wits after having quit my Google job? Have I been anxious and going crazy and driving the DH nuts? And a super fair question: Have I done anything other that binge watching netflix all this while? I'm happy to report that I am doing well and that I am exceptionally, extremely, exceedingly happy about ha

A job's been left behind

So, for those of you who don't know, after working there for 9.5 years, I quit Google in Feb 2020 and have just hit my 2 months off-work anniversary! An excited me, the first Tuesday I was off work - after having woken up without an alarm at 5:30am!  I quit the full time software engineering job so that I could move closer towards working in the education and/or women's empowerment space - two areas I've been working on, on the side, for the last 19 years. I've always known that I wanted to work on these issues full time at some point in life. But why did it take me so long? One of the problems was that I didn't know what exactly I wanted to do in that space (I still don't, I've done a bit of many things I'm very interested in over the years) but I thought I needed to know an exact plan of action before I could quit the known career. I had to learn over the last many months at my job that I had to free myself from the giant that was occupying al

Better classrooms for introverted kids

Here is an interview with Susan Cain the author of Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts. The interview focuses on how we could make classroom better for introverted kids.  This topic is close to my heart because I was always on the introverted end of the spectrum. I did/ do well in small groups and was/ am pretty terrible in large group settings.  Some of the most important things that stood out for me in this article:  1. How we structure groups is important in group learning/ project based classes. I think asking kids to think of roles and have each person be responsible for a major part of the project would help each one be responsible for a role. We could even do lead and co-lead for each role, where each kid gets at least one lead role and at least one co-lead role. This way, a hard task won't be just upto one person. I think this is important for any project based learning classroom for young adults.  2. I really liked the idea that the teachers gi

Three sources of inspiration

A few weeks ago, a series of three unrelated things came together to form a fiercely inspiring moment for me. I heard a talk by an investor and holocaust survivor, Arnold Van Den Berg.  He spoke about focus and how his father espoused it as being the essential element of having survived the death march. A 24 hour, 20 mile walk between concentration camps, on a couple of slices of bread, when he was malnourished and weak to start with. He said the only thing that got him through that was a faultless focus on putting one leg in front of the other and locking the knee each time. If *any* other thought entered his mind, the knee would have given way. A fall would have followed. And, falling was not an option because you got whipped and shot if you couldn't continue walking. If you wanted to survive, you focussed one hundred percent on your knee. I need focus. I met an entrepreneur who works a fulltime job. She said she doesn't hesitate to invest in herself and never fails t

Hire the best candidate! Gender no bar.

Suppose you have 5 super talented people in your pool of applicants for a critical position. Would you be ok with someone saying you can only look at 3 of them? Would you not want to look at all 5 in a rational and impartial manner? What if this is your own brain telling you incorrect information about half of the people in your pool, and you pass them up for stereotypes that you think they fit? Or for reasons that is true for all other candidates as well, but you just aren't trained to look that way? Many people who run small businesses and many hiring managers from companies of all sizes worry about hiring women when they are of child bearing and child rearing age. Even if they are more than qualified for the roles they are applying for. This seems to be true across male and female managers I spoke to, so I'm not complaining about men in this post, I understand the completely patriarchal society I live in. The worry seems to stem from the short term loss in professional

Day 3: Parting Guidance from a Psychotherapist

Domestic abuse Before I left the hostel I stayed in, I happened to meet a retired psychotherapist at the lounge where I was chatting with a bunch of girls who've been traveling. I asked about his work and he said he worked with violent men who had abused or assaulted their partners or ex-partners. He mentioned that according to a CDC study his work led to men not going back to violence 75% of the time. That is, if a man court ordered to do this 3 to 6 month long program, stayed in it, he did not go back to violence 75% of the time. The ones who went back typically belonged in 2 categories: 1. the ones who had been extremely violent before the program, and 2. the ones who binge drank (> 5 beers, or 5 shots of hard alcohol at one time) Since this was a bunch of young girls, he asked: "So, do you know who to stay away from?". "Who?" "Men with control issues and men who drink too much". I asked for clarification about how young girls would i