Category Archives: work

Sandy Hook Elementary


I finally had an article ready for today, but it seems so irrelevant right now.

May whatever deity the parents believe in watch over their children, especially in this holiday season, as well as the parents

May the incorrectly identified Ryan Lanza – who’s FB page was shared all over the internet – recover from the personal affronts, if it is indeed the incorrect one and the status updates begging to be left alone were not part of the plot.

To the teachers who acted bravely, for instance the ones who pulled student into bathrooms and locked the doors, into closets, and the teacher who herded children out and told them there was a wild animal in the building that was making all the noise, cleverly keeping them intrigued instead of afraid, making them easier to calmly control… Thank you for your quick thinking.

From all of us at Ambrosia… stay strong. There are no words for this.


Obama: What Have You Done For Me Lately?


So we all know there are things Obama hasn’t done. Even as a supporter I can say that. I will throw a lot of it on Congress, stonewalling him at as many turns as they could, but I will also say that he came into office with a lot of great plans, but didn’t have a clue to implement them once he got there.

That being said, what has he done? Well,  I’ll tell you (some things on this list might not be laws exactly, but they demonstrate the direction society is going):

  • Signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, restoring basic protections against pay discrimination for women and other workers
  • Significantly increased funding for the Violence Against Women Act
  • The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009: a $789 billion economic stimulus plan
  • Created more private sector jobs in 2010 than during entire previous administration
  • Provided $12.2 Billion in new funding for Individuals With Disabilities Education Act
  • Voluntary disclosure of White House visitors for the first time in US history
  • Appointed first Latina to the US Supreme Court
  • Promoted social responsibility through creation of serve.gov, a national database of volunteer opportunities
  • Reversed ‘global gag rule’, allowing US aid to go to organizations regardless of whether they provide abortions
  • Signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, giving the FDA the authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of tobacco
  • Signed New START Treaty – nuclear arms reduction pact with Russia
  • First president to endorse same-sex marriage equality
  • Extended Benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees
  • Appointed more openly gay officials than any other president in US history
  • Provided travel expenses to families of fallen soldiers to be present when their deceased arrives at Dover AFB
  • Reversed the policy of barring media coverage during the return of fallen soldiers to Dover Air Force Base
  • Launched recovery.gov to track spending from the Recovery Act, providing transparency and allowing the public to report fraud, waste, or abuse
  • Provided the Department of Veterans Affairs with more than $1.4 billion to improve services to America’s Veterans
  • Signed the Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization Act, which provides health care to 11 million kids — 4 million of whom were previously uninsured
  • Health Care Reform Bill, preventing insurance companies from denying insurance because of a pre-existing condition
  • Health Care Reform Bill, allowing children to remain covered by their parents’ insurance until the age of 26
  • Issued executive order to repeal Bush era restrictions on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research
  • Signed the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Act, the first piece of comprehensive legislation aimed at improving the lives of Americans living with paralysis
  • Developed stimulus package, which includes approx. $18 billion for nondefense scientific research and development
  • Signed the Weapons Systems Acquisition Reform Act to stop fraud and wasteful spending in the defense procurement and contracting system
  • Issued executive order to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay
  • Ended CIA program of ‘enhanced interrogation methods‘ by requiring that the Army field manual be used as the guide for terrorism interrogations
  • Established Credit Card Bill of Rights, preventing credit card companies from imposing arbitrary rate increases on customers
  • Tax cuts for up to 3.5 million small businesses to help pay for employee health care coverage
  • Tax credits for up to 29 million individuals to help pay for health insurance
  • Require health insurance plans to disclose how much of the premium actually goes to patient care
  • Cut prescription drug cost for medicare recipients by 50%
  • Expansion of Medicaid to all individuals under age 65 with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level
  • Added 4.6 billion USD to the Veterans Administration budget to recruit and retain more mental health professionals
  • Lifted restrictions granting Cuban Americans unrestricted rights to visit family and send remittances to the island
  • Eliminated subsidies to private lender middlemen of student loans and protect student borrowers
  • Significantly expanded Pell grants, which help low-income students pay for college
  • Increased funding for national parks and forests by 10%
  • Expanded hate crime law in the US to include sexual orientation through the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
  • Provided stimulus funding to boost private sector spaceflight programs
  • Appointed nation’s first Chief Technology Officer
  • Signed financial reform law establishing a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to look out for the interests of everyday Americans
  • Signed financial reform law requiring lenders to verify applicants’ credit history, income, and employment status
  • Signed financial reform law prohibiting banks from engaging in proprietary trading (trading the bank’s own money to turn a profit, often in conflict with their customers’ interests)
  • Signed financial reform law allowing shareholders of publicly traded companies to vote on executive pay

So… you know, it’s not like he was sitting around twiddling his thumbs all these years. Just in case you were wondering. The big one, of course, is the location and elimination of Osama Bin Laden, but I’ll let the servicemen keep that one.


Owning A Bar – A Dream Deferred, A Dream Realized


I stopped by my friend’s house one day to pick him up so we could get a drink. We usually chat over drinks at least once a week but he recently bought a pub and it has been keeping him busy. I deserve an award for “greatest understatement” and “most patient friend” for that last sentence. My patience is running thin, though.

I stood in his doorway tapping my toe while he handled a situation at the bar over the phone. “It doesn’t matter who started the fight, everyone has to leave if there was a physical altercation. Alter… a fight.”

He had to listen to three different accounts of the fight in question and in the end he said, “I don’t care who started it, our policy is no fighting. They both leave.”

I wanted to call my mother and apologize for every summer vacation when my siblings and I would take turns calling her at work to complain about each other. I imagine she looked and felt very much like my friend. He kept running his hand through his hair and pacing around the front room so by the time he got off the phone he was red and sweaty with bad hair. I gave him a minute to pull himself together before we headed to, “anywhere but my bar, jesus…”

Over drinks he told me all about the new business. He loves it, it’s going well, he is making more money working for himself than he did managing bars for other people that he often disagreed with, but there are drawbacks. The more he drank, the more stories he told and the more stories he told the less glamorous the bar business sounded. A few weeks have passed and things are more under control as he figures out what procedures make the bar run smoothly and which ones need to go or be tweaked.

One thing I have learned from all of this is that running a bar is almost as glamorous as being a mother but without all the diapers. The shit he deals with won’t fit in Huggies. I used to think it would be fun if I were someone else, someone with more time and less children.

As an observer and friend here is what I have learned about owning and operating a small bar:

  • You don’t get to drink for free. You can go in and order a drink without paying but eventually that bottle has to be replaced and guess who pays for it? You, sucker. My friend prefers to drink water and buy drinks for his regular customers. In the end this brings in more money and he doesn’t go through nearly as much Advil.
  • Your friends that you haven’t seen since college suddenly want to reconnect… and drink your booze. They also want to boast loudly about what great friends you have always been even if you haven’t heard from them in a decade.
  • There is just as much gossip on a cigarette break at the bar as there is around the water cooler at a typical office job, only a lot more of it involves who had sex with who. It’s like a soap opera only not everyone is wildly attractive but everyone does work for a living.
  • Some of that gossip will inevitably be about you, the owner. Angry past employees, angry ex-lovers, angry ex-business partners, they just can’t seem to keep your name out of their mouths. It’s like they’re not over you or something.
  • Those same people will pretend to be your best buddy the next time they are in your bar.
  • Everyone thinks they know how to run your bar even if they have never even worked in a bar. Their advice is free and gratuitous. The amount of free advice given is directly proportionate to the amount of liquor consumed.
  • People pull ridiculous antics even when they know they are on camera. Women flash their friends, married men make out with other women and bartenders serve free drinks without a fleeting thought that it is all on video.
  • Then they will have the audacity to lie about what they have done. On camera. When my friend managed a bigger bar he had a female bartender claim she was groped by a customer so the customer was banned from the bar. After watching the video my friend realized her complaint was a lie. She seemed perplexed when she lost her job even though she knew there was a camera recording everything that did (and did not) happen.
  • Managing your staff can be a lot like babysitting toddlers. You have to take charge and be the authority figure but once you have everything running smoothly they are really enjoyable. There will still be occasional tantrums.

Suffice it to say, I am over my dream of one day owning my own pub. I don’t wish to raise any more children than my own or try to keep the neighbors’ kids in line when they are over. My new dream is to someday be the  uppity snob at the end of the bar laughing at the bad behavior and wild antics of all the other children, er, patrons. Oh wait, I already do that!


Damned If You Do…


… and damned if you don’t.

A memorable message from the late Texas Gov. Ann Richards about the right-wing strategy for blaming women and putting moms in a no-win position.

If you’re poor and you choose to stay home with your kids, you are a welfare mother. If you’re middle class and you work, you’re  a lousy mom. It’s so easy to blame women and so hard to tell the truths about why the systems that are supposed to support kids often do not work.


Support Local Business: Froyo Culture


Are you in the Buffalo, NY / WNY area? Do you make trips to Amherst, particularly on Transit between Sheridan and Maple? Then you need to mosey on into the Premier Plaza, and head off to the right, down by Chipotle. Why? Because that’s where you will find the most amazing frozen yogurt you’ve ever had in your life.

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FroYo Culture is an amazing self-serve mix-n-match frozen yogurt spot (45 cents per ounce ) that is run by an awesome family, and friend of mine. I have frequented the shop roughly about seven times already since their opening three months ago. I would probably make it a weekly trip if it wasn’t slightly out of my way, but I’m settling for once every two or three weeks.

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You can’t resist this adorable place.

The best part? Rotating flavors. You can stay up to date to know which flavors are on tap by liking FroYo Culture on Facebook, so then you know when your favorite flavors are available. If you’re not a fan of different flavors, if you like your traditional vanilla or chocolate, no worries, they are pretty much always there for you (sometimes with variations, for instance, I’ve had vanilla, French vanilla, country vanilla, and alpine vanilla), and you can then doctor it up with over fifty – 50  – toppings.

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Have you seen a downside yet? Didn’t think so.

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Today the available flavors were as follows: Original Tart, Green Tea Tart, Carrot Cake, Luscious Lemon, Very Strawberry, Kiwi Strawberry Sorbet, Peanut Butter, No Sugar Added Vanilla, Cake Batter, Chocolate Cherry Cordial, Country Vanilla, and Chocolate Classic.  I helped myself immensely to the cake batter (and it was worth every penny), the kiwi strawberry sorbet, very strawberry, and the country vanilla. I will probably head back there in the next few days for some more of that cake batter; I’d like to mix it with the very strawberry or the kiwi strawberry sorbet to create something of a strawberry shortcake taste.

Now that I’ve finished raving about the yummy part, let me hit the naysayers with the health logic:
FroYo Culture’s frozen yogurt is a good source of calcium and helps regulate digestive function and maintain a healthy digestive tract. It also has increased digestibility for lactose intolerant individuals.  It is made with milk from cows that are not treated with the rBST synthetic growth hormone, and offers no-fat and low-fat varieties as well as being low sodium and low cholesterol. The tart flavor profiles and sorbets are 100% all natural, sorbets are non-dairy, and it’s Kosher certified.

So I say again, what could possibly go wrong here? Quite frankly, there’s something wrong with you if you don’t want to make this your new dessert spot. In fact, make a lunch or dinner trip out of it. You’ve got Moe’s, Chipotle, Applebee’s, Kabob & Curry, Saigon Bangkok, and even Tim Horton’s all right there. Today, my day included an Alfredo Garcia from Moe’s followed by the aforementioned berry-vanilla-cake batter miracle I created. All in all, I’d say it was wonderful.

 


Happy Anniversary!


Looks like a celebration is in order!

This blog, although in its second incarnation, has been officially in play for exactly one year. Looking forward to many more.

 


Boobs in Battle


Because apparently you can’t be a mother and a soldier at the same time. I’ve been working on a post on this myself for quite some time, never able to quite find the right words.

Also… I know these women are not actually in battle.

Naptime Is For Drinking

I said I wasn’t going to blog about breastfeeding. It’s the proverbial dead horse, drug out in the street being beaten with sticks. Then, right after I posted that Time magazine came out with their ridiculous cover an article on extended breast feeding and attachment parenting. The cover was ridiculous, not the article, I didn’t read it. And the cover was only absurd because it was so obviously staged to be as dramatic and shocking as possible. The mother looked angry, the boy looked bored. I still managed to get away with simply reposting a few clever blogs about other opinions on the subject. Then this.

These women are breastfeeding their babies while wearing a uniform, in case, like me, you are wondering what you are looking at that is supposed to be such a big damn deal. It’s the uniform.

I wanted to leave this one alone, too, but…

View original post 1,200 more words


Jan Brewer Demonstrates How Much She Hates Herself


Hey, what’s the difference between a company and a woman? Only one is protected under basic rights! *rimshot* Of course, I didn’t make that up myself. Unfortunately, it’s long since departed from the “it’s funny ’cause it’s true,” crack and gone round to “it’s effing terrifying because it’s true.”

What’s happened now, you ask? Well, that wonderful, lovely Arizona governor, Ms. Jan Brewer, signed a bill into law that will allow employers to interrogate women about the purpose for which they are using birth control pills. Oh, in addition, if you are using contraception for a purpose other than to prevent pregnancy, first you have to pay for it entirely on your own, then submit a claim stating its health purpose. Then you’ll probably get charged a fee for the claim.

An insurer, employer, sponsor, issuer or other entity offering the policy may state religious beliefs in its affidavit that require the insured to first pay for the prescription and then submit a claim to the insurer along with evidence that the prescription is for a noncontraceptive purpose not in whole or in part for a purpose covered by the objection.  An insurer may charge an administrative fee for handling these claims. (AZ HB 2625 Section 3M)

This bill has been months in the making – you may remember either myself or Day Glo Psycho ranting about this earlier in the year – and the main argument was that it allowed all employers to deny coverage based on religious beliefs. Ultimately, this was altered to state that only religious organizations would be afforded this “right.”

Typically, Brewer claimed this action is only protection against “Obamacare.” I cannot even express to you how much I hate that word. Do you know anything about the origins? Idiots. But I digress. As Brewer stated:

“Let’s not forget why we’re having this discussion: It’s ObamaCare that created this issue by forcing church-affiliated employers and non-profits to offer services in violation of their religious faith,” said Brewer. “With this common sense bill, we can ensure that Arizona women have access to the health services they need and religious institutions have their faith and freedom protected.”

Sooo… translation? Corporations are people too, and they have religious principles which must not be violated. Individuals citizens? Not so much. My favorite line is “we can ensure that Arizona women have access to the health services they need…” No, you absolutely are not ensuring this. If my sister-in-law and my brother decide that the two children they have is enough, and my sister-in-law ends up taking a job as an intake tech at a religious hospital, then these two things are in total conflict with each other. She’s not going to get the health service she needs.

Let’s say, one day my sister-in-law goes into work, and in blatant disregard for HIPAA, her boss asks her if she’s using contraceptives. Not wanting to lie to her superiors, she answers affirmatively. Her boss immediately begins questioning her as to the nature of her contraceptive use, and finds out that she’s taking it for – gasp! – family planning. My sister-in-law is suddenly no longer employed. You think that’s drastic? It’s already happened.

What I want to know, is how does this affect men? Since married men usually have health coverage that includes their family, it’s safe to assume this would also include contraceptive coverage for their wives. How will this affect their employment? Will they also be subject to questioning? Are their jobs at risk? Will they question  the wives instead?

It’s all just getting completely out of control. I had a chance to re-read the Handmaid’s Tale the other night, and through it, was able to pinpoint some very specific points that resemble current laws. Maybe later this week I’ll go through and parse that for you. Until then, anyone who’s looking to leave Arizona, I could always use a new roommate.


Business Lingo Debunked


In honor of hump day (and the fact that I checked my timesheet today and found that Friday is one of the random days I scheduled myself off months ago, so that means I get two long weekends in a row!) I’ve decided to provide you a handy cheat sheet to deducing the real meaning behind some phrases you might hear regularly around the office.

 

“I’d like to build on that point…”
There are actually two translations of this, and it depends who is saying it to whom. One interpretation, when spoken to some higher on the food chain, is: “You’re full of shit, but you’re my boss.” The second meaning, when said to someoneon an even keel with you, is: “Your ideas are stupid, so let’s use mine instead.” Think about the last time these words crossed your lips. Did you actually expand on the current point, or introduce something new

“Thanks, I’ll take that into consideration.”
This is often a follow-up to the previous statement. It means, “Your opinion doesn’t matter, and I wasn’t even listening.”

“CC me on that.”
This one is very simple: “I don’t trust your ass for a second.”

“We need everyone to do their due diligence!”
And egocentric cry of desperation. “I have an MBA! I’m smarter than you! And my penis is bigger too!

“We’re launching a new program/system/initiative/department.”
Plain and simple: “Your life is going to be a nightmare for the next six months while we figure out what your job is even going to be.” This is one I am very familiar with, as we are currently in the midst of this. My job description has changed on a monthly basis. It changes without us even knowing about it. Our department was just created a year ago, and in the next month, with be dissolved completely into two new departments.

“We have a change in strategy.”
This is a loose translation, but basically, this phrase means: “We have no idea what we’re doing.” It is the most oft-uttered statement approximately four-to-five months down the road from the one above, starting to manifest around the time the natives start to get restless, and question the success of the new program/system/initiative/department.

 

Now you’re in the know my friends, and can easily navigate through a shitty meeting. No longer at risk of being eaten alive by the corporate machine, you can giggle your way through the exchange when all the stuffed shirts talk a big game. Enjoy!


Work Manstress Revisited


In a follow up to the work spouse article, I’ve been compelled to further address my work manstress. The average work manstress/mistress is usually just a second work spouse not quite as cool as the first spouse. For instance, my work husband (with whom I clarified yesterday – we’re actually on our five year workiversary, not six) has a work mistress, but she’s in a different department and can supplement the information he already has, which he will then share with me anyway. In my situation, however, my work manstress is a little more than that. I may or may not actually be interested in him. Am I crossing a line with that?

“Ben” and I definitely have conversations that lie far outside the realm of any other work spouse or mistress. Yes, we discuss work stuff, and provide each other plenty of assistance on accounts, but moreover, we flirt and we delve into personal issues. We’ve got this weird but awesome connection that I’m not really sure I’ve ever had with anyone in this particular capacity.

But… if Ben and I ever occupied the same space at the same time, I would totally hit that. Repeatedly. And then a few more times.

So the question is… is continuing to talk to him cheating? I’ve asked a number of people, and the conclusion still eludes me. There is a general consensus that it’s “wrong”, and that subconsciously I know it. The reason? Ben knows about Mark, but Mark doesn’t know about Ben. Well, he knows that he exists, just doesn’t know the extent of our relationship. So, if by not being honest with Mark about Ben, “then you know you’re doing something that you shouldn’t be doing.” Convoluting that: I didn’t tell Ben about Mark until just this week. Which means, that somehow I feel like I’m cheating on both of them with the other.  Does this get to a point where it makes sense?

I think it’s more a matter of intent. Like I said, if we were given the chance, if he wasn’t a $250, two-hour plane ride or eleven-hour drive which would also cost about $250 in gas (yes, I just looked it up), this, and I, would be going down. But it’s not like I’m booking a flight or plotting the road trip. So there’s no intentional action happening here. It’s almost like with a celebrity. I think I’ve made it abundantly clear what I would do to/with Kellan Lutz if he ever fell into my man trap, but let’s face it, the likelihood of that day ever occurring is relatively slim (two Twilight conventions and his appearance was cancelled at both… Pretty sure fate is telling me something with that. Also: Don’t judge me). Realistically, sure, there is a far greater chance of me and Ben doing the hibbity-dibbity than me and Kellan, but the point is that we haven’t, and haven’t made any kind of plans to do so.

Granted, should I finally get my shit together enough to make a pilgrimage to visit several friends who currently live in a beach city, I would be flying an airline that has a main hub in his city… and I could potentially choose a flight with an overnight layover… And then find someone to lay over…

But again, it all comes back to intent. I can talk about making plans all day, but it we really wanted this to happen, it would have already happened.

So, as long as I don’t buy a plane ticket, train ticket, print out maps, or start programming my GPS, in my not-at-all-humble opinion, I’m not doing anything wrong. My day flies by during the hours that “Ben” and I are both at work. Those several hours after he goes home for the day are just boring (it doesn’t help that my work husband leaves an hour before that) and I long for his company. However, when I leave, when I’m going to focus on a man, it’s Mark (except for a few rare occasions when I needed some entertaining thoughts  *wink*).  We have great chemistry, seriously electric sparks, and I’m not willing to give that up. Maybe that makes me selfish, who knows, but until the day comes where I’m planning to find myself in his city (or he’s planning to find himself in mine), then it’s not something I’m going to worry about.


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