Tag Archive: New York

An ocular prosthesis

Image via Wikipedia

If you know what I’m referring to by the phrase ‘surplus population’, good for you. If you understand why, even better.

I’ve been thinking about the state of healthcare in this country, which is a huge joke, in my view. The healthcare companies will do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING to deny you coverage of procedures that are desperately needed, but are always happy to help out those with the most money to get whatever THEY need covered. I’m beginning to see that it’s really about how much money you have.

I don’t have a lot of money. What I make can’t even get me a studio apartment, and it’s sad. I also have some significant medical issues that are also sadly, rather expensive. Might I add, this is not because of poor health choices, but birth defects. An ocular prosthetic costs $2000 without insurance, and the one provider I had at the time I needed a replacement refused to cover it, claiming it was purely ‘cosmetic’. So I was expected to go around with an empty eye socket instead. I gave Aetna hell for months over it, me and the secretary from my doctor’s office. They gave me all kinds of excuses for why they didn’t want to pay for it; it was cosmetic, it was unnecessary in their view, I had to see a specialist that was in California (!!) of all places—I live in New York, by the way. I already HAD the specialist who’d been making my pieces since I was 4 years old, and he was located in my own state, but they didn’t want to cover it, but they would cover a small portion if I saw the person out on the West Coast. Bull. Dinkies.

Do I sound like a scam artist to you? Do I come across as one of those ‘welfare parasites’ the rich whine and moan about endlessly? Do I seem like someone bent on cheating Medicaid out of money for my own nefarious purposes? You really want to go there? You think just because I have a job, a car, shelter, health insurance, life is perfect for me? I get told by some insensitive, heartless boor that I ought to pick up a few more part-time jobs to make more money in order to survive. So I either work myself to death to make more money or I try to survive on what little I have? Not everyone is built to be a human automaton, working themselves in to a frenzy for money. I can’t do that, with my medical issues. Of course the next thing I get called is that I’m just lazy. Bite me. You trade places with me and what I’ve lived through and you call me lazy to my face, rich conservative pigs. I challenge you.

So healthcare is really only for those who can afford it, which comes out meaning only the wealthiest of Americans should have it, and everyone else can just die. I shouldn’t get healthcare because I’m low income? Not everyone who is low income is a criminal. Or an illegal immigrant. Or whatever racist stereotype the far right chooses to insert into the slot. I am just trying to get by in this life. I’d be happy to do it without all these stupid health issues. Did I also mention that my wonderful birth defect screwed up my upper jaw and I need a crapload of dental surgery to repair  it? I am praying that the dental coverage I have gives me some kind of support, because otherwise it WILL eat up EVERY penny I have. I am praying to every deity I know that I will be able to have this work done without bankrupting me in the process. I either get my teeth fixed or I find an apartment. I need both, but I can’t afford both. There are people in this kind of situation EVERY LIVING MINUTE through no fault of their own. Oh, it’s just teeth. I can’t eat properly without this work, or speak clearly. It goes beyond aesthetics, people. It’s quality of life care, damn it. Everyone should be entitled to it, not just the rich and useless. I’m in pain from this. I have several teeth on the verge of falling out, NOT because I have poor hygeine, but because of this damn cleft palate. I worry if I’m going to lose them during my next meal, or if they’ll just come out for the heck of it. Family is going to help me pay for this, because they know how important this is for me, and how much it would improve my well-being. I don’t like it, but I should be grateful that I have people who care that much about me.

Aetna finally caved in after at least 6 months of me and the secretary badgering them, and when I threatened to take Aetna to court over their refusal. They still left me with $800 dollars to pay myself, but they swallowed the rest. I hope it hurt them going down. I don’t have that insurance anymore. Not after screwing around with me like that. I’d say ALL of the healthcare companies act just like that, though they’d deny it. They’re welcome to prove me wrong. Maybe they’d like to cover my expenses this time around, just to show that they perhaps DO care about their customers instead of how much money they’re bleeding off us.

In closing, I don’t want anyone’s damn money. I just shared some of my issues because I am only one of far too many who are in the ‘surplus population’ that don’t get the things they depserately need to have a decent existence. We’re human beings too, and it’s about time we were treated as such.


Fast as a hummingbird

Female Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Gadsden Co. FL

Image via Wikipedia

I had an incredible experience last week, in my own backyard. I keep thinking of the phrase ‘infinity in a grain of sand’, and it really did feel that way, for a brief moment of my life. My back patio is a veritable Eden in the capital region of New York. It’s due to my father’s passion for gardening, and because he put so much love into it, it draws so much life into it.

My joy of late, over this summer, has been watching the hummingbirds visit the flowers on my patio. I do believe we have two mated pairs of ruby-throated hummingbirds that have staked out my backyard, leading to some heated confrontations over the feeder. They excite me, because they’re so quick, these gilded bits of life that flit across my field of vision. it’s like seeing rainbows; for me, they bring me such a sense of pleasure. i have yet to be able to capture one with a camera; I’m just not that agile with a telephoto lens.

The past few weeks have been brightened by these little dynamos racing across my yard, visiting the feeder, the flowers, and the environs. One evening, I was in my room working on yet another jewelry project when I spotted one hovering about one of the oleanders. I watched it for a good five minutes before getting up and making my way to the patio. Carefully, I went out, moving quietly so as to not frighten away my winged visitor. It was a female this time, her back a viridescent shimmer. I knew she saw me, for she had angled her body so as to keep watch on me while she feasted on the flowers. I moved closer, trying to contain my excitement and then it happened.

My little visitor swooped right up to me, just inches away from my face and my breath caught. She regarded me with these tiny onyx bead eyes, first one side, then the other. She was so close I could hear the sound of her wings, like miniature power fans as she considered whether I was friend or foe. My heart was beating like those delicate wings, so awestruck was I by this encounter. It felt like eternity, and yet it was no more than a brief moment. It filled my whole world, my entire thoughts and yet it was just this miniscule beauty before me.

And before I knew it, it was over. She soared away, perhaps as overcome with it all as I was. I felt as if I’d been picked up, shaken vigorously, and set back down; nothing was the same. It was very like a religious experience for me, because it makes me tremble inside, my throat closes up with tears of joy. It makes me look at the world in a whole new perspective, because it wasn’t me judging this delicate creature, but vice versa. I don’t know what birdish thoughts she was having, but I’d like to think she was satisfied that I’d do her no harm. Maybe she was as curious of me as I was of her. My mind was racing as fast as her wings beat, as her heart raced. After she left me, I raced around the house, whooping with excitement because I’d never had this happen to me before, and it was simply glorious. Every moment like this is like something greater reaching into the mundane world to awaken a part of us we never knew existed. My little feathered tourist left a trail of emerald shimmer in my mind, in my dreams.

Anillos de Matrimonio, Aros de Matrimonio

Image via Wikipedia

Took them long enough, thanks to the bass-ackwards politicians trying to drag this issue out until it died. Religious exemptions, my butt. That was a blatant delaying scheme and everyone with a brain should’ve seen that.

There has been a tired, done to death spiel the far right keeps trotting out to block this kind of legislation and I am getting fed up with the public being so blindly ignorant of it. The far right keeps making the claim that legalizing same-sex marriage will lead to all sorts of grossly indecent acts, that gays will want to marry animals, or marry children, or engage in incest, and it’s a complete LIE. All they want is to marry their PARTNER, a fellow HUMAN BEING. They have no interest in getting married in a church that hates them; they want the same legal rights as every straight couple in this nation. Religion has no place in this, and they have NO right to force their ways on others who have absolutely no connection to that faith. Marriage licenses are issued by city hall, NOT a church, or a temple, or a mosque. It is a legal document, not a religious one, and the majority of the American people are so stupid they can’t be bothered to learn the difference.

Yes, I’m disgusted with a portion of the people in this country, because they’re not interested in educating themselves about the laws that make up this nation. They’d rather rely on quick sound bites from political or religious ideologues to inform themselves than to actually USE the brain in their skulls.

I am proud to be a New Yorker, born and raised in this state. I could not imagine the tremendous shame I would feel if my state elected officials decided that certain New Yorkers were unworthy of full legal rights as their fellow New Yorkers. Gays and lesbians are just as human as you or I, and to think that there are people still who see them as less than human makes me physically ill.

What makes me shake my head in wonder is that it was only a mere 40-odd years ago interracial marriage was declared legal. Forty years is a drop in the bucket when you think about it. Forty years ago, some people thought those with a different skin color were less than human and it was a criminal offense to even marry one. That’s pathetic. It has to be one of the most idiotic things I’ve ever heard in my life. So they discriminate based on skin color, but why not eye color, since we all have various colored eyes?

We brought down racial discrimination (for the most part), so now the haters need a new enemy. The GLBT community seem like a great place to start, for them. They’ve done a pretty good job so far, demonizing them, ostracizing them, even murdering them. Ever since we allowed the Moron Majority to hijack government, religious dogma has been sneakily inserted into law, especially in rural areas, the South, and Midwest. We dumb Americans haven’t made any objections so far, because we just aren’t interested. I am, however. I am very interested in seeing that ALL people in this state and country have full civil rights. The idea that only certain American citizens are worthy of equal rights sounds like something straight out of the mind of George Orwell‘s ‘Animal Farm‘. I’m sure you literate folks know the quote I’m referring to.

I am happy for the Empire State, because they did something right for once. They made a case for equal rights and pulled it off. America keeps bragging how we are the ‘land of the free’, but who exactly are the ‘free’ they speak of? Only the straight population? If we truly believe in the idea of equal rights for all Americans, then we had better prove it, instead of grandstanding on the subject. Words aren’t enough at this point; it’s time for action. I’m glad New Yorkers with a social conscience stood up for human rights.

Examples of my jewelry work

To be honest, I’m not sure. Right now, I am facing the possibility of moving from New York to Florida, and it’s not one I am thrilled about. I am at a crossroads, if you will, in gaining my independence and freedom. Due to certain circumstances in my life, I’ve taken a bit longer to develop, and to finish my education. It was not an easy journey, and many times I wanted to give up, but I kept at it. My parents are educators, and having a good education is very important to us all. My biggest regret was not knowing what I wanted to do in college. Having only an Associate’s Degree does put a crimp on employment options, which has been frustrating me a great deal lately.  Not to mention a deadline: between now and the fall of next year, I need to find a decent job and a place of my own. I want my own life, I want to be able to do things on my own schedule, to have my own privacy, for once. Maybe employment that will allow me to have an apartment, be able to afford rent and bills, and have a life. I don’t want to have to be forced to rely on services either, but that may have to be an option, much as it is embarrassing. I’ve looked at the job market down in Florida and it’s not looking too good. Then again, jobs are hard to come by across the country, so I’m grateful for the one I have now.

Am I a good worker? I’d like to think so. I push myself very hard at my present job, almost to my detriment, because I’m feeling so burned out lately. I work hard because it’s important to me and I don’t think people should be paid for sitting around doing nothing. If I’m going to be holding a position in a company, then I’m going to do the best I can in said position, because that’s what I was hired for.

It would be great to have a dream job, something that you love doing, but I need to be realistic. It’s a painful fact to accept. Maybe a handful of people in the world get to be that lucky. What would be mine, you ask? It would be something in the art world, or fashion. Art has been a part of my life since I was small, and still continues to be. I’d like to say I’m experienced despite not having any formal training or degree. I like putting things together, creating objects of beauty. You’ve seen my jewelry pictures; that is ME. I made those pieces, I came up with their design, I chose what colors to use, and that’s only a sampling of what I’m capable of. I’d spring at the chance for some kind of apprenticeship program, or internship. My age should not be a barrier to that and I’m still young.

Want more of me? I’m a published artist. While not a professional, I have had several pieces featured in a national newsletter for the Neo-pagan organization A Druid Fellowship about 10 or so years ago. One was featured full size on the back cover. It was one of the best moments in my life and still is. I still have the original works in my possession. I’ve had pieces in high school take top honors in art competition and even had them shown on TV. I’ve considered submitting present work, but have not seen any opportunities present themselves.

I think people and potential employers underestimate me, because I really do think they don’t take me seriously. They only go for those with multiple degrees and piles of awards. Having all that does not necessarily make you an exemplary employee, I think. Were any of you aware I can be trained to learn a specific job, or skill? I’d like to be in a position that makes the best of my abilites and skills, rather than be stuck in a job that makes me miserable and unappreciated. Some employers seem to miss that point. They just want as many bodies to work until they get burned out, and then hire a bunch of new faces when the old one quit. I don’t see myself as a worker drone, a nameless cog in an uncaring machine.

What skills do I have to offer? I am very detail oriented, which I attribute to my artistic abilities. I look for discrepancies and errors in my present job position, and I’m very good at it. My grammar skills are very good, because I enjoy reading a great deal when I’m not working. Within the art realm, I have an eye for color, pattern, design, and I enjoy creating different combinations. In regards to my jewelry hobby, I have taught myself techniques in jewelry repair, learning about the varieties of semiprecious stones, the kinds of cuts used on stones, settings, metals used in jewelry. I have a relative who went to school for jewelry design and she considers my abilities nearly on par with anyone WITH a degree in the field. In regards to her, I trust her opinion, and I don’t think it’s anything to sneeze at.

The fact is, I don’t see myself spending my days in customer service or retail. I don’t see myself in some little cubby next to dozens of others doing telemarket sales. I have no desire or interest in it, nor would I think it would be a good use of my abilities. My strengths and skills should be worth considering, besides the fact I pick up tasks quickly. Entry-level or menial work is not going to sustain me, not if I want to live on my own. Potential employers need to accept that fact, because I’m not going to lower my standards of living. It’s a dog-eat-dog world in regards of jobs these days, and I need to be tough in order to survive. I’ll put my resume up, if that will help. People can find me if they are serious enough. I’m on the web. I’m on Twitter, I’m on Facebook,  I’m on some other social networking sites such as LinkedIn. There’s this blog, for starters. I’m trying to use the internet in creative ways to make myself known. I can’t afford to give up on improving my life.

Who is the real me? You’re reading it. This is who I am, this is what I’m like. I don’t pull punches and I’m not going to make things up about myself to scam my way into a job. You can know exactly how I feel about things by reading my  work. You can tell what kind of person I am from my words. I deserve a good job, one that respects my abilities and employers who will treat me like a human being.

The idea of that makes me truly wonder, sometimes. Since the anniversary of September 11th comes this Saturday, the whole concept of this has been in the forefront of my mind. I’m scared, to be truthful. It’s like we’re sitting on a powder keg, waiting for someone to strike a match and set it off.

The lunatic pastor down in Florida has now apparently called off his Qur’an burning, which makes me breathe a relative sigh of relief . My thoughts grow morbid though as while he may have said he won’t do it, there’s certainly many other hatemongering kooks who’ll step in to pick up where he left off.

I’m heartened that faiths around the world are coming together in unity to condemn this behavior. I wish it was stronger, more public than a few scattered pronouncements. I am glad Christians all over are calling it a heinous act, because I don’t believe all Christians act like that nutter in Florida. I wish they’d do it more often when it comes to religious discrimination, because there’s a lot of other things they could distance themselves from, such as right-wing extremists, people who bomb women’s clinics, right-wing religiously motivated militias. If they truly love their faith, they should speak out against these very un-Christian behaviors. As for me, I still have to keep my own beliefs under the radar in some cases, because I’ve been the target of harassment by crazy Evangelicals. Yeah, we Pagans are getting more mainstream, but we still face discrimination and outright assault in some cases. My feelings on religious people are like what Mahatma Ghandi said: ‘I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians’ (okay, it’s a tad paraphrased because my mind is blanking on me).

In Hudson, New York, some sicko spray painted obscenities all over a mosque that has existed there peacefully for decades. No one has caught the scumbags who did it, and I sadly fear the cops never will. Either people are too afraid to identify the culprit, or they’re protecting their own and proud of the crime. There will be peace gatherings on Saturday and Sunday; I hope I will have the opportunity to attend at least one. It made my heart swell with joy to hear that, because it means that not all people of faith are hateful bigots. Blessed are the peacemakers; I salute you for that stand!

Of course, there’s still all the tempest in a Tea-Party pot over the interfaith center near Ground Zero. Maybe it’s a poor choice for its location, who knows? But let me ask you this: I have heard over and over how that whole area around Ground Zero is referred to as ‘sacred ground’. If that’s now ‘sacred ground’, why are there all those porno shops, X-rated movie theaters around there? If they truly mean that area is holy or sacred, then things that are desecratory should not belong there. No one’s protesting those places, but the interfaith center is. Am I missing something here?

In regards to 9/11, there seems to be a misconception that everyone who died there was American and Christian. Hello? WORLD Trade Center? There were people from all different nationalities working there, besides Americans. They were people of many different faiths, including Islam. I am NOT talking about the hijackers, because what they followed was pure hate, not religion. What happened that day hurt the whole world, and it happened on American soil. We should also not forget those who perished at the Pentagon, and the jet that crashed in a field due to the actions of some astoundingly brave passengers. Where were they from? Who were they? Some of them may have been from other countries, or had different faiths.

All this fighting over whose faith is better, or whose is more moral and righteous is pathetic. It’s the attitude of the Pharisees, in my view. It’s moral grandstanding in order to gain the most votes. Do we, as Americans, want to be known as the ‘land of the hatemongers’? If we can’t let go of hated born of willful ignorance, we will make that fact, and that’s not what I think this country is about. If God is love, and love is infinite, we should learn to recognize that in each other, regardless of what religion we follow. It doesn’t help anyone to denigrate, discriminate, and attack another faith on the basis of ‘because God said it was right’. If God, as some believe, created us human beings, how can we kill each other over God? It’s ridiculous and tremendously stupid. We deserve better than to be represented by a lynch mob of bloodthirsty religious maniacs–that goes for ANY religion.

I look forward to the day when we can see past the hatred, the lies and bigotry that has arisen because of religious intolerance. None of us are perfect, but we should be able to treat one another with kindness and respect. I PRAY for the day we can be peaceful with one another, in our faiths and in our daily lives.

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