Butterfly Cauldron

Friday, August 24, 2007

Poverty stole your golden shoes. . .

I'm in a quandry. I like my current job, sans one particular co-worker, and the work is easy. The boss is nice and relaxed. But...I'm vastly underpaid. True, I've gotten two raises so far this year and I'm due another one in November, but I'm also living paycheck to paycheck, barely making ends meet. Right now, I need to go grocery shopping, but I can't. Why? Because I have a check out and have my electric bill to pay, which leaves me with...maybe 50 cents in the bank until next Friday. Now,if nothing else comes out unexpectedly, I'll be okay. Then next Friday when I get paid again, I have to pay my rent, my insurance and my phone bill. Which will leave me with maybe 60 bucks -- but I also have to pay my water bill, which is 40 bucks, unless I can get an extenstion on that. So, again, no money for food. And god help me, but I had to cancel a doctor's appointment today because I didn't have the money for my co-pay or for any prescriptions I might get.

I'm not whining here. I don't want pity or anything. I'm just stating facts. I'm contemplating applying for new jobs in the area, which I hate to do because I haven't even been at my new job a year yet. But I need more money. And there seem to be a few jobs around that I could qualify for which would pay me more. There's an advisor's job at LSU that looks promising, plus another PR job at a state agency that's a step up. So, I suppose I'll be reworking my resume this weekend, much as I hate to do it.

On the one hand, even if I change jobs I'll still have friends from this agency. On the other....I really, really like the vibe of the office. It's very laid back and relaxed and just...fun. But....it's always about the money, isn't it?

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posted by Zan at 5:46 PM 2 comments

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Green Eyed Monster

I'm trying to remember if I've ever been jealous of another woman. I'm sure I have, but the way I remember it, it wasn't so much the women themselves I've been jealous of, but of the reactions people had to them.

I'm not jealous of women who are conventionally attractive. I am, however, jealous and really pissed off at how many doors that looks can get opened for them. It's patentedly unfair, and yet there it is. I know that, all things being equal, a conventionally pretty girl is more likely to get a job than I am. Or to get asked out on a date. Or get waited on faster in a restaurant. Or get more help on a sales floor. And I'm not an ugly person. I'm rather cute and certainly not a shy wilting flower. And yet, I'm still likely to be overlooked for a traditionally pretty person.

It's not their fault, and that's why I don't hold it against them personally. I mean, if they were born with good genes, they can't help that, can they? They can't help that society responds to them as it does, anymore than I can. And if they spend hours a day in a gym to get their body and tone? Well, more power to them. I'm just not willing to spend that kind of time in a gym. So, it's not the people themselves that can provoke feelings of jealousy.

And I don't really consider other women competition. That doesn't make sense to me. What are we competing for? Mates? I thought there were enough people in the world to go around, frankly. If I don't hook up with that particular person, well there's gonna be someone else for me later on, so why get crazy over it?

I sometimes want to shake those girls I know who have it easier, looks-wise. I have a friend who is just beautiful. She's got really flawless skin, crazy beautiful naturally red hair, very outgoing and bubbly. And she's got dates all the freaking time. Usually, she's dating two or three guys at a time, always looking for the right one. And she doesn't understand why I'm not doing the same thing. On one hand, I love her for that because as far as she's concerned, there's no reason someone wouldn't want to be with me. On the other, I just want to shake her because she doesn't realize how incredibly lucky she is. Seriously, one time she went into a gay bar to go dancing and hooked up with the only straight man in the place. She's a magnet. And that's cool. I'm not jealous of her for that ability. I'm annoyed she doesn't realize she's not the norm. (Or at least, not the norm for most of the people I know anyway.)

And if I were inclined to be jealous of her, I'd just remind myself that she dates a lot, but she's also completely wrapped up in finding a Boyfriend. You know, The One. She's 32 and she's so very impatient. She wants to be in love and loved back Right. Now. That committment demand has messed up lots of relationships for her -- in that she expects committment a lot earlier than most guys are willing to give it and so, she assumes things she should not. Which ends up getting her hurt, over and over. And I have to remind her that she's still young, she's got a great job, a great place to live, she loves her pets and her friends and hey, it's gonna be okay.

So, no. I don't think I get jealous of other women. Of the reactions they can provoke? Yeah. That I'll cope to being jealous of, but that's about it.
posted by Zan at 6:00 PM 1 comments

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Today was just....I wanted to throw someone out a window at work and I had TWO migraines. Well, I got my meds in time so they weren't full blown, but I still got the damned aura where I lose vision in my eyes. *sigh*

Okay. So, I'm had this migraine for ages it seems and last Friday I left work FIVE MINUTES early because I had my work done, I felt like hell and well, it was five fucking minutes. I forgot to sign out, so when I went to sign in this morning I was going to just fix that. . .only to find out that my office mate had signed me out. She's not supposed to do that, plus instead of signing me out at 4:30, she'd made sure to put down 4:25.

Now, this doesn't seem like a big deal -- until you find out that she was bitching to other people in the office last Friday that she's tired of me leaving work early and she was going to tell our boss. Here's the thing -- I DON'T leave work early. I shut down my computer and go into the other office (we have two big offices that are connected, ours is the back one so we leave through the main one) maybe two or three minutes before 4:30. I don't actually leave until 4:30, so if someone had some emergency between 4:28 and 4:30? They can still find me. I also come in about 15 minutes before 8, time I'm not allowed to claim due to state regs. She, however, routinely stays late.

Why does she stay late? Oh, maybe because she can't get her ass to work before 8:30 or 9 a.m.? Ever? She has three children, one of whom has had to have surgery on her club feet and well, she just /can't/ make it in on time. And our boss has let her slide because he has sympathy for her having so many kids and she's been with the agency for six or seven years. And you know? I'm fine with that. It does not bother me in the slightest, because hey, her being late does not affect my ability to do my work at all. So why would I be pissed about it? But, dear gods, let me leave five minutes early ONE time in the year I've been in this job and she's all angry and threatening to go to the boss and complain.

And you know, I really wish she would. I so very much wish she would. Because I'd just calmly go get the timesheet, hand it to him and ask him to explain why it was she was allowed to come in up to an hour late on a regular basis and I was being reprimanded for leaving early once when I had a splitting migraine and had finished my work. Because if I were to be in trouble, she'd better damned will be in MORE trouble or I'd be filing a complaint. (And, since I work for Civil Service, that actually means something.)

See, here's the thing. I know why she's mad. She's not mad at ME, she's mad at her life. She's 34 and she's got three children. The youngest was born in January, barely a year after the one before her. (Apparently, someone told her she couldn't get pregnant since she was breast feeding. Riiiight.) She's been at her job for six or seven years and will not be promoted again, because that position is a supervisor's position -- and she does NOT have the skills to be a supervisor. She just doesn't have the personality for it and she's pissed because I was brought in on the same level as she is, and have basically been suggested as the next supervisor for the department. They just have to wait to get the position re-approved. So, here I am, basically her age, no children, no husband that drives me insane and spends money on stupid shit while we're so deep in debt we're borrowing money from everyone we know, and I'm equal to her and, maybe, going to jump over her head in the promotion department.

The thing is -- it's not my fucking fault. I didn't make the decision to get married when I had planned on going to grad school like she did. I didn't decide to have three children in less than five years. I didn't decide to marry a man who has a seriously bad case of Keeping Up With The Jones when we don't make the Jones' salaries. I didn't decide to be so unpleasant and incapable of dealing with people that I will never be promoted to supervisor. It's not my fault. Those decisions were hers and she needs to own them and deal with the fallout.

She's trying to pull the parentism card on me and I'm not having it. What is parentism? That's what we call all those little things that parents get that those of us who have chosen not to have children don't. It's also the sense of resentment those parents seem to have against us. Parentism -- right up there with sexism and racism as a form of discrimination.

My co-worker is now the only parent in our office. Well, the only one with small children. The rest of us are all single and childfree -- or our children are adults and no longer at home. So, sometimes we get together after work for Mexican and margaritas. Or we hang out at each other's pools. Or we go to the movies. Or you know, whatever we can come up with. And yes, often we decide to do so on the spur of the moment, with no advanced planning. You know what? We can do that -- because we don't have children or husbands waiting at home for us. And it's not our fault she does and it's not our fault she feels jealous that we do and it's not our obligation to change our plans or not talk about our lives because it makes her uncomfortable.

You know, I have a certain amount of sympathy for people who have children who miss the lives they could have if they didn't. I really do. It's hard when you see something you want and you know you can't have it. So, I get that. But don't take out that jealousy on me. Because it's not my fucking fault you have kids and can't do all the things you want to do. It's not my fault your husband can't be bothered to help you get the kids ready and off to daycare so you can get to work on time. It's not my fault you buy into the Southern Baptist line that you're the one whose supposed to be doing all the giving and compromising in the relationship. It's not my fault you spend half of the day on the phone to your husband or your family or some bill collector yelling and bitching and can't get your work done by 4:30. If you're jealous because I have the ability to focus and to multitask, giving me more downtime than you have? Deal with it. You might notice that I'm not on the phone to my family or my SO or bill collectors every day for three hours or so. You might notice that when I get a project, I begin on it immediately. You might notice that I work fast, that I ask questions when I'm not sure what's expect of me, that I don't have the control freak nature that you do that compels you to refuse to ask for help until the very last possible minute. You want more downtime? Cultivate those qualities. Or at the very least, shut up and leave me alone.

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posted by Zan at 5:35 PM 3 comments

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Do you know what's evil?

Migraines. That's what's evil. Migraines brought on by insane heat waves that make it feel like it's 114 degrees and keep your poor overworked AC from hitting over 85 and drive your electric bill up, up, up. That's whats evil. And you know what else? It makes me forget all the stuff I was going to blog about. I had lists! I had stories and pictures and musings. And I can't remember a damned thing, because the pain and nausea made it all go away. Gah.

I did, however, get TWO NEW KITTENS! Oh, they are the cutest things. Both white with gray spots. River is definately a boy and he's kinda mellow, in that "I'm the Tom Cat, why should I worry?" kind of way. Rain? Well....I'm not sure if Rain is a boy or a girl just yet. But Rain is very very curious and fearless, always running around and jumping into trouble. I call her (I'm pretty sure she's a girl, see) my little Rainiac, because she's kinda a maniac. She's currently chasing China around the house, despite the fact that China has rolled her over and growled at her within the last two minutes.

See, they were abandoned by their mother when they were two weeks old. Her milk dried up and so....my mom and brother rescued them and feed them by eyedropper until they were big enough to eat solid food. Well, they eat canned food anyway. So they're only about four weeks old. Adorable but tiny! River is funny. When he eats, he still eats like he's nursing...so he stretches his whole body over the food, nibbles and kneads little paws into the food. Which means his face and neck get really sticky, but he's so cute....I have to wash his face when he's finished and he just puuuuurrrrrrrrs while I do it. So very cute. They're catching up quickly though, figuring out how to give themselves baths without a Moma to teach 'em.

I just want to hug them! They're sooooo cute...


posted by Zan at 5:45 PM 2 comments

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

This article, it does not say what you think it does


Study links women's obesity, birth defects risk! Blame it on the fat! Shame, shame, shame on you fat women. Daring to be mothers. The nerve. Don't you know you're not worth fucking, much less knocking up? Ha.


Okay, basically this article says that obese women (Which, again, they don't define. What does that mean, anyway?) have a higher risk of giving birth to babies with birth defects. About a whole whopping one percent greater chance. Now, I'm not really a statistician, but isn't that, oh, not a significant difference? Couldn't a variation that small be a quirk of the study? Isn't that basically the same risk as non-obese women?

"Obese women should not be overly alarmed by these findings because their absolute risk of having a child with a birth defect is low, and the cause of the majority of birth defects is unknown," said University of Texas researcher Kim Waller, the study's lead author.

Still, the results underline yet another reason for women to maintain a healthy weight, Waller said.

Gah! We don't know why most birth defects happen, and really, you're not that likely to have a baby with a defect anyway, but you know, you really shouldn't be fat anyway even though we have absolutely no evidence that being fat, by itself, is in anyway dangerous to your developing fetus. But really, don't be fat, okay?

Reasons for the potential link between obesity and birth defects are unclear, Waller said. It's possible that some women had undiagnosed diabetes, which also is linked to birth defects, she said.

While the study didn't examine weight during pregnancy, it's also possible that some women tried potentially dangerous weight-loss techniques right before conception or during early pregnancy, when most birth defects occur, the researcher said.

She urged obese pregnant women, however, not to try diet pills, fasting or other aggressive methods which also might contribute to risks for birth defects.

Let's parse that out, shall we? It's not the fat that seems to be responsible for the very tiny, non-significant increase in defective babies. It's undiagnosed diabetes -- which is bad for the woman, too. Again, it's not the fat, it's the disease. (Which should be caught, if there's pre-natal care. Testing for gestational diabetes is standard. If you don't have healthcare, however. . .) What else is bad? Oh! Trying to lose weight! That's right, those crazy Grapefruit Juice and Exlax diets could do the baby in. It could also fuck up the mother, but let's not mention that.

I recommend no one try diet pills or fasts or aggressive weight loss methods, pregnant or not. Those pills seriously raise your blood pressure, fasting messes up your metabolism and agression is only useful in the boardroom and the bedroom.

So, to recap: One study suggests that a very small, in-any-other-study-not-worth-mentioning percentage of obese women are more likely to give birth to babies with birth defects. But, the study doesn't suggest it's being fat that caused it. It's more likely to be an undiagnosed illness or crazy diet plans. But don't be fat. I mean, it's even in the headline, for gods sake!

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posted by Zan at 6:28 PM 4 comments

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


That's about all I can say, after reading this story.

If you're fat, we're going to charge you more for your insurance! Take that bitches! That's right, just because you don't have a BMI under 29, you've got to pay more for your health care! Whoohooo!

Seriously, this article has raised my blood pressure by about oh, 10 points. (Oh no! That means I'll have to pay more for that too! That's right. If you're fat, have high blood pressure or your cholesterol doesn't meet the damn company's standard, you have to pay MORE for your heath insurance.)

And why are they doing this? Because the cost of health care in general keeps going up.

Employers are getting serious about penalizing workers "because they've run out of other options" said Joe Marlowe, senior vice president at Aon Consulting, a national benefits consulting firm.

Really? No other options? How about going after the goddamn insurance companies who value profit over service? Hmm? How about that? How about pushing for (wait for it. . .) National Health Care???? What a concept!

So, they're upping premiums and deductables. And not by a little. Nooooo...those deductibles are fucking DOUBLING! (Or worse) You know why their claims have gone down? Because people now have a fucking $5000 deductible, that's why! I'm at my doctor's office all the fucking time and even I can't meet a $5000 deductible. Geez.

And I just love how the employees react to these increases:

"At first, I was mad when I thought I would be charged $30 for being overweight," said Courtney Jackson, 28, a customer service representative at Clarian. "But when I found out it was going to be broken into segments — like just $10 for being overweight — it sounded better."

Jackson said she was going to try to slim down before the plan took effect. "If I still have weight to lose when it starts," she said, "I'll deserve to pay the $10."

Yes. That's right. If you can't force your body into an unnatural, permenant, semi-starvation state, you deserve to pay more for your insurance. (And yes, $10 isn't much. But when you put it all together -- $10 twice a month, for 12 months, that's $240 more a year for being overweight. And then if you also have high blood pressure, that's another $240 a year. And if you're cholesteral is a bit high, another $240. . .hell, if some random study comes out saying that fucking green eyes are linked to a .01 percent increase in the chance you'll develop Scurvy, they'll charge for that too!)

Not everyone is on board with this, of course. Thank the gods.

Lewis Maltby, president of the National Workrights Institute, a Princeton, N.J.-based employee rights group, called the trend "a very dangerous road that could lead to employers controlling everything we do in our private lives."

"To penalize for things that are beyond some people's control is just wrong," Maltby said. "Some people are fat because that's how God made them."

Can you say lawsuit? I thought you could.

Still, some lawyers say weight-based compensation plans may run afoul of other employment laws.

"A key protection in the Americans with Disabilities Act is that employers can't discriminate against employees based on their health status," said J.D. Piro, a principal at Hewitt Associates' healthcare law group. "This is a fight that's likely going to be dealt with in the courts."

Exactly. Because I'd file a lawsuit in a heart beat. Why? Because this is illegal, that's why. It's illegal and it's giving the companies way too much fucking power. It was bad enough when people started refusing to hire (or fired!) people who smoke, now we've come to this? How long before people who have more than one sex partner a year are penalized? Or how about people who don't use birth control? Or maybe people who like to hang-glide on vacation? People who paint? Some of those chemicals can be dangerous, you know. And raising a child puts you at increased risk of contracting the diseases they bring home from playgroup. And if you're a woman, living with or dating a man puts you at increased risk of domestic violence, so we should charge more for that. Oh! Pets, they have ticks and fleas and those carry dieseases. Do you get your home regularly fumigated? Rats carry the Plague! But of course, the chemicals they use can damage you too, so we'll charge for that too....where will it end? It won't, that's where. Not until our lives are regulated and controlled by the fucking insurance companies. Gah.

Brittney Manning, 29, a patient advocate at Clarian Health's Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, said many employees were taken aback when the plan was announced last month. But she approves.

"I think it's fair for people to pay according to what their healthcare costs are," she said. She doesn't expect to have to pay the higher fee because she says her weight is normal.

In Arkansas, Deeann Gutekunst, 42, a Benton County deputy treasurer, said she understood the rationale for the county's policy.

"If you have employees who don't care about their health," she said, "what else are you supposed to do?"

Weight does NOT equal health. When the hell will people get this through their head?? And, excuse me, but when more than half of Americans are 'overweight or obese', when are we going to stop calling people who weight less normal? Huh? I mean, I'm not a math genius, but when at least half of your population weights more than 'normal' maybe it's time to recalculate normal, mmm?

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posted by Zan at 7:08 AM 4 comments