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


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