Wednesday, September 29, 2010

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

VIVE LE FRANCE....COME ON!!!!




oK...So I'm camping on my couch to watch Spain V. France for Davis Cup on the Tennis Channel (thank you very much). I will be rooting for France. Who doesn't love Spain? If you have money Spain is the bet for sure. Can France spell the word leader PLEASE?? The media forever puts Monfils and Tsonga forward as entertainers...but PLEASE...will they please just be boring and efficient and win a 20 matches in a row???? The are "mind cases". The only one of them I have seen live is Tsonga playing at Indian Wells March 2010. He sucked. He ended up beating Montanes...but I couldn't watch the third set were he got it together because he was surprisingly unappealing to me.

I love Gael Monfils. He posts on Facebook like a real person now and again. Maybe too real....Like me!!! You gotta love the essence of the Comedie Humaine...I studied french in college. Romantic period literature to be exact. Fairly obscure....probably what drew me to it. The french tennis community is sumthin else. From afar I love them. They are so in need of something. Get out that magnifying glass folks...watch carefully. It will be revealed...I will find it in the wee hours on live television and let you know.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Facing the Elephant

Brian Tracy sends me great emails regularly...I've listened to him for years:

"Face the Facts of Selling
Selling is hard. It always has and it always will be. Even for the best and most experienced salespeople, it is a continual effort. You can make it easier by developing your skills in the critical areas of prospecting, presenting and closing sales, but you can never make selling an easy profession. However, once you accept that selling is a hard way to make a living, it somehow becomes a little easier. When you stop expecting it to be something other than it is, much of the stress of selling goes out of it. As William James said, "The first step in dealing with any difficulty is to be willing to have it so.""

I am back on my real estate selling schedule. Daunting as it is I have to believe I am really good at talking to people about real estate and providing the service they need to get their homes sold. Fun, fun, fun....at least it can be....

Monday, May 3, 2010

California 1031 Exchange laws need help.

More Tax Increases Planned for California Taxpayers:
Proposed Legislation Would Eliminate Tax Deferral
For Some Real Estate Exchanges

By Bill Angove

California’s massive budget shortfall has generated a variety of legislative proposals intended to raise tax revenue to close the gap. One area that has received attention in the State Legislature is the income tax deferral available to California taxpayers who complete tax deferred exchanges under Internal Revenue Code Section 1031. Section 1031 (a federal tax rule) has been around in one form or another since 1921. That section permits a taxpayer to sell appreciated investment property and to defer the resulting capital gains tax if the taxpayer acquires like-kind replacement property with the requirements of Section 1031. California’s income tax laws have generally conformed to the federal law with respect to tax deferred exchanges such that a California taxpayer may defer both federal and state income taxes by completing a properly structured exchange. Of course, the deferral permitted under Section 1031 comes at a cost to the State budget and has become a target for some in the Legislature.

The first proposed legislative salvo was included in Assembly Bill 2640 which would have ended the longstanding conformity between California’s tax laws and Section 1031. If enacted as originally proposed, California taxpayers who engaged in a 1031 exchange would have to recognize and pay California income tax on gain realized on the sale of the relinquished property. Fortunately, that language was eliminated from AB 2640 in March of this year following an aggressive lobbying campaign by the California Apartment Association and other groups concerned about its potential effect on California’s real estate market. Six weeks later, however, Senate Bill 1316 (SB 1316) was amended to include language that would deny state income tax deferral for California taxpayers who exchange California real estate for investment property located outside of California. If this bill is enacted as proposed, the limitation on deferral would apply retroactively to all exchanges initiated after January 1, 2010. Deferral of state income tax would continue for exchanges of property located within California.

The elimination of deferral as proposed in Senate Bill 1316 presents a threat the health of California’s real estate market. California has experienced the worst effects of the real estate down turn and some economists believe that we are not yet out of the woods. By limiting the opportunity for tax deferral, SB 1316 would render California real estate less attractive than real estate in other states that continue to conform to Section 1031. Given the current state of California’s real estate market, any change in the tax laws that would reduce the desirability of California real estate would seem particularly ill advised. Moreover, if property values fall, other revenue streams available to the State, such as property taxes, would also be reduced. This new proposed tax change is aimed squarely at businesses and real estate investors who are already stressed and who would be the catalyst for California’s exit from the worst budget crisis in the state's history.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Shhhhh.....I Got Banned from La Canada School

God help me I love Doyle Brunson. He continues to live a long colorful life committed to poker and golf...2 of my top 7 favorite pass times of all time. He has a new autobiography (Godfather of Poker...I recommend it highly) that I was deep into reading the second week of March 2010. I had subbed 2 days in a row, study hall, Thursday and Friday the week before at Maple High, our alternative school in the district where I actually first started reading the book, and the day before (Wednesday) I was in Basic Math at Cabrillo High...the day after (Friday) I was in Home Ec. at Lompoc High where I actually finished the book. Little did I know I would be blindsided by the Instructional Assistant who shall remain nameless in Resource at La Canada Elementary (ya I did not remember her name that day...didn't think anything of it). But perhaps if I had been more social I wouldn't have been banned or at least I would have known that she was stressed out or appalled by me or something....or could she just be racist? I just know I feel oppressed by the whole banning thing.

I did my job...ya I enjoyed reading the book. I also enjoyed interacting with the students as I was instructed to in the lesson plan. I have been fortunate to have really great lesson plans for most of my assignments most of the time. I don't expect a lot...especially if there is an established routine in a classroom...which of all places there is in Resource...maybe more than most classrooms. So I wasn't all that worried when the lesson plan was way less than perfect. I arrived in the classroom about 30 minutes before the school day began. The teacher was in her office. I read through the plan. She was going to be on campus...she seemed to know that the lesson plan was less than complete as she made a point of telling me that she would be on campus and if I had questions I could call her but that hardly ever is necessary and I told her we would figure it out. The Instructional Assistant arrived in the classroom just before the students arrived.

The introduction phase in most classroom settings for me as a sub is usually administrative...taking attendance. Not so in Resource the students have already been accounted for in their regular class and they are only coming into the Resource for a period or 2 (surprisingly in this class an hour or 2 for a couple students and a normal 45 minutes or so for some others) to reinforce and support their learning experience. At Maple taking attendance is intense as the students have individual time card style sheets that they turn in at the beginning of class. I assemble the sheets in alphabetical order and take roll off of them....easy peasy....the students wait patiently....I get a feel for whether they have something to do as I can tell who is settling into work or socializing...Once I'm finished I can lecture them on the extra credit assignment the teacher left for those who don't have independent study work to do...Great Job...thank you Mr Trevino!

On this day at La Canada Resource the teacher left me a time line style schedule of the students by who would come and what she wanted them to do....I asked her before she left what time lunch was and if there was a break and I wrote the times in the margin of the lesson plan. I didn't have a roster of all the students....just the ones that were assigned to the teacher. I don't know who the kids were that were with the IA...and I surely didn't know what they are supposed to be doing. Should I have asked the IA what her kids were doing? Should I have been involved in whatever her lesson plan for the day was? I sure didn't think so at the time. Usually like when I was in resource at Los Berros in Resource on Monday for a day 2-3 weeks before, the IA usually takes a lead role in the classroom as they usually know the students names and they know the routine. There is usually some rotation of geography like teaching in different areas of the classroom. Not so in La Canada Resource. All day at La Canada I felt pinned to the kidney shaped table on the far side of the classroom away from the entrance and the office where the teacher was sitting when I arrived that morning. At one time I looked around and thought if this was my class room I would probably arrange things differently in here....but it wasn't my classroom and it wasn't my place to say it was set up weird....I just followed the lesson plan.

I did the reading assignments with the students...directed them in their related written work and a self directed math worksheet, and then got them started on reading....or free play... The lone student from the group with the missing 4th graders was allowed to be on the computer and I set a timer for 20 minutes before he was supposed to read...They all had work folders with all of their assignments in them...I didn't have work to give them they didn't have work to turn in...they left completed work in their folders.

I'm not sure at what point the IA felt whelmed. There was a point near the end of the day when students were supposed to be reading. Most of them had finished their books...they were standing around the teacher's office area with the IA. I got up from the kidney shaped table as I would normally do if students are roaming about and I asked them what they were supposed to be doing. This is usually a very effective way to get students to get focused on the task at hand. The IA told me they were waiting for the computer for their AR tests for the books they had read. I sat down and picked up my book...I looked at the clock and decided that in 15 minutes I would do another roaming student check...which I did and got the same reply from the IA again. There wasn't any discipline issue as far as I could tell...they were socializing quietly waiting for the computer. There wasn't any instruction for that. They were with the IA and she did not indicate to me that they should be doing anything else.

There are a couple of issues that made the lesson plan impossible to follow 100%. There usually are things like this that come up and it normally doesn't bother me...I simply go with the flow and keep the learning environment calm and safe...I'm only there for one day. First and foremost the lesson plan did not reflect that all of the 4th graders were not in school that day...they were on a field trip. The lesson plan did not identify what grade the students I was assigned were in...but the boy that was in the group by himself would have normally been with a few 4th graders...doing the verbatim text book reading assignment with him one on one went pretty fast...Another thing was that the teacher did not identify the text or lesson in the text exactly. There were 2 text books that were basically the same except for they were different grade levels. She didn't know which lesson the students were on and the lesson plan actually had a guess to the lesson number, but said to ask the students...they would know...that worked OK with the kids that were in the other group that apparently weren't 4th graders (about 4 in the group)...but it wasn't 100% certain...the IA didn't know which book was for which group or whether either of the books were the right books or whether there was another text somewhere else. Maybe this would have been a good time to call the teacher....but we muddled through based on what the students remembered and recognized and the work that was in their folders that went with the text book curriculum. The lesson number that the students said they were on that we read seemed to match the work in their folders which they completed.

There was a student doing independent work. She had a book report that according to my lesson plan it was due that day. I made a point of asking her about it and got the impression that this wasn't necessarily an academically deficient student but maybe more of a case of OCD or Asbugers as she was adamant about being on top of it and wanting to be left alone to do it herself. I didn't have a problem with that...but then she was called out of class for a conference...I could only assume it was part of the meetings that the teacher was out of the classroom but on campus for....it was not reflected in my plan and she left her work on the desk like she would be back and she didn't come back for a very long time.

The Pers-98a form that Principal Carmen Chavez sent in to the Personnel Office was sent to me the first week of April 2010 during spring break. The teacher, Dana Finlay, emphasized my shortcomings in the classroom as my "use of time" and I quote: "The sub read a book while the students were in the resource room. The IA managed and instructed students when she was available but could not instruct all students. The sub did not provide any direct instruction or partial instruction according to the requirements/outline given"

With a couple of checks in a boilerplate form I have been banned from La Canada Elementary School...It makes no sense to me and I am thouroughly offended.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Australian Open...WEEK TWO = SLEEP DEPRIVATION







I am totally sleep deprived. I was counting down the days until the Australian Open started...since the End of Year Championship...and now I cannot wait for it to be over! I love to watch it live and I am so glad that The Tennis Chanel and ESPN broadcast it...but with all my other commitments it is starting to hurt...I am totally sleep deprived...but it has been fun...and I'm keeping it as a priority until the final next weekend.

Monday, January 18, 2010

#IfYouBuildItTheyWillCome... #YaRight.




Well here I am. I've had this blog like I don't know...a long time. I used to have a little web page for my real estate business that I linked to it...Can't be more than 4-5 years. I still have the domain name (Lauren.Howard.name)...it may come back someday.

I don't post much on here because I need a vision. I chose the title quite wisely I think many years ago...it incorporates everything I'm interested in...sports (tennis mostly but I have a championship fantasy football team among other things too), sales (because you gotta be a superstar to be good at sales...and superstars are players), relationships...peace is all about good relations.

But a good blog is all about content...

I'm not a big fan of blogs, but I am a great fan of literature as the living history of the human voice...and the blog could be the biggest innovation in literature in an age...who knows?


The Austrailian Open Started yesterday...or today depending where you are on the globe. Elena Dementieva is hot as Hades on the WTA Tour right now. She has the honor of being the first seeded player to face Justin Henin in her premier appearance in a major tour event this week (as long as Elena wins her first round match and doesn't have to play 2 matches in one day). I am excited for her and I think if she beats Justin she will be the favorite to win the tournament. Why you may ask? Because for her it's all about the nerves in the major tournaments. I love her attitude about the challenge of facing the champion living legends of the game...


Gilles Simon, my favorite player to root for, is not playing :( He is going to loose a lot of points because he made it to the quarter final last year...but I guess his knee is pretty bad. I was so looking forward to seeing him play...he is total superstar material...especially since he appears to be so shy or introverted for being so charismatic and gorgeous and talented. He doesn't fly under the radar he uses a radar scrambler in my humble opionion.
Well this is a big week. I will do what I can to blog about stuff more....with the tennis channel and yahoo sports it shouldn't be too hard.

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