I Became Gradually Impoverished While Reading This Article

(bolding for emphasis mine)

Missouri Lt Gov Kinder wants to receive daily allowance

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder wants more money for doing his job.

The Republican officeholder is asking legislators to put money in the budget for a daily expense allowance when he is working in Jefferson City.

Kinder lives in Cape Girardeau and maintains a second home in Jefferson City.

He receives an annual salary of about $86,000. But Kinder says he’s experienced “gradual impoverishment” during his decade in office.

His salary is less than other statewide executive officials, but well more than the $36,000 that legislators receive.

One of the lieutenant governor’s duties is to preside over the Senate. Kinder wants to receive the same allowance that legislators get, which is $103 a day. He’s seeking a per diem whenever he’s in Jefferson City, not just when the Legislature meets.

So a couple of outraged points here. You know how the biggest argument against raising the pathetic minimum wage we have in this country is “if you don’t like what the job pays, go do something else?” Well, I fail to see how that logic doesn’t apply here. According to Republican bootstrap logic, some jobs aren’t designed to make you wealthy – some jobs aren’t even designed to let eat regular meals! So if Kinder is unhappy with his salary and thinks he has the skills to get paid more elsewhere he should move on. Simple. Arguing that his job is Important Work and he really feels compelled to do it For The Greater Good (like firefighting, teaching, police work or waitressing,) that’s not a good argument, clearly. Go where the money is, that’s the capitalist way.

Next – this is a guy who has conspicuously attempted to defraud Missouri taxpayers before, thinking that he’s entitled to live pretty swank on our dime and getting spanked for it a few years ago.

See:

JEFFERSON CITY • Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder says his campaign will repay the state for more than $35,000 in hotel bills in response to a Post-Dispatch story that revealed taxpayers picked up his tab while he attended sporting events, society galas and Tea Party rallies in and around St. Louis.

The newspaper reported Sunday that Kinder — a Republican widely expected to run for governor next year — spent an average of more than one night per week over the last five years at a hotel in St. Louis or St. Louis County courtesy of state taxpayers.

Those trips included mundane duties such as ribbon cuttings and award programs, but also charity balls hosted by his campaign contributors, a World Series party and the wedding of a political friend.

For real now? These shameless assholes. They don’t give a fuck. Not a single solitary one.

Next – this guy wants an extra $103 as a “per diem.” Per diem literally means “per day” and is meant to cover incidental expenses like meals and parking and sometimes accommodation.  So think about this: the current minimum wage in Missouri is $7.65. A person working an eight-hour day in Missouri would earn $61.20 pre-tax. This shameless windbag is asking to be gifted 160% of what a minimum wage worker earns in a whole day, just for his gods-damn meal and incidentals allowance.  He wants this ON TOP OF his regular salary of $86k, when the mean Missouri wage is $42k. Double the average, more than 5x what a minimum wage worker would earn, and yet he feels impoverished.

How? How does he have the effrontery, one wonders.

In addition (or due to) his stunning lack of insight on this topic, he’s a REPUBLICAN. He’s a republican in MISSOURI. You know that means that he spends most of his time plotting and planning to make life as difficult as possible for the average and/or poor person, filing lawsuits against healthcare reform, making abortion more difficult, trying to dis-empower unions, getting embroiled in stripper scandals, fessing up to not paying property taxes on  one of the three properties he owns in Cape Girardeau.

So, he’s become “gradually impoverished” while working for the government, maintaining two homes, and half the time staying at the Chase Park Plaza on my dime. How could he fix this impoverishment? What cost-cutting measures could he enact to allow him to scrape by on $86k per year?  Hell, I dunno, sell a house maybe? You’d have a spare. Eat more ramen. Do your own laundry? Go to fewer strip clubs? Golf less? Who the fuck knows, maybe ask your cleaning lady how she gets by, she might have tips.

Leave your cost-cutting and budgetary tips for Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder in the comments.

Simplify, Simplify then Simplify Some More

“The last year has been challenging” is an understatement on par with “the sun, that’s a pretty warm place.” The last year has stunk and has trampled my spirit to mush.

My reaction to the circumstances of the last year was  that of magicians everywhere – use distraction. Just divert myself from the horrible feelings, the unbelievable truth, the paralyzing thoughts. Buy things, click on things, fixate on the small things and avoid the big things. Don’t think too much, and don’t think about anything important if you can help it. And that worked for awhile. It did the job it needed to do. I bought carloads of makeup and clothing and shoes and real books and ebooks and anything else that would give me momentary peace and gratification. It was distracting, but I didn’t wear the clothes, I didn’t read the books, I didn’t use the makeup. Money and time I could have spent on other things was frittered away. That’s OK though. I needed that at that time. But that’s not a long-term workable pattern. Eventually for my own mental health I needed to break out. And that’s what I am doing now.

Since the winter holidays I’ve been doing my best to refocus my brain on things that are productive. I’ve been feeling physically terrible, so that’s been an added challenge to the process, but I think the breakdown of my body was the last straw to also push my brain over the brink, and force me to make some changes. The first thing I did was decide to stop buying things. I focused on clothing just because my closet is bursting and I have too many things hanging with tags on them. So I am going to try to go a year without buying any new clothing aside from essentials like replacement underpants.

I spent a lot of time browsing ASOS and ModCloth and other sites, it was a minor compulsion. What’s new today, what’s on sale, what’s on clearance, who has a new coupon or discount code? Agh, who cares? I needed to stop. To aid myself in this process, I unsubscribed from promotional emails from virtually every store. No more ASOS or ModCloth promotions in my email, trying to get me to click links. No more BaubleBar or Beauty Brands or J. Jill or Nordstrom. I unsubscribed from almost everything. Political updates? Gone. Donation solicitations? Gone. Sephora stayed because, you know, Sephora. So did Overstock because I like to buy home goods from them.

That change immediately did a few things – it cut out all the crap email I was getting and made my inbox very clean and easy to manage, and it stopped triggering me with SALE LAST CHANCE SALE TODAY ONLY SALE NEVER BEFORE SEEN DISCOUNTS type emails. I didn’t want to click on anything because I didn’t expose myself to it in the first place. Kind of weird for awhile without all those distractions, but now I am used to it.

But my mood didn’t improve, it got worse. I was more anxious, more sad. My brain was rudderless.

So I cleaned things out of my house, I threw things away, I reorganized. I have piles of things I want to donate, books and clothes. I de-cluttered so my space is happy and peaceful and calm. I bought things I needed, furniture and tools. But still, I felt even more paralyzed and stricken.

Part of that is, I know, because my vertigo made it impossible for me to do as much physically as I wanted, so I had to spend too much time sleeping. Vertigo is exhausting. I will say that again because it needs repeating: Vertigo is exhausting. 

Instead of shopping online and going places and distracting myself in those ways, I obsessively watched TV shows by the entire season. I moped around in my pajamas. I refreshed Facebook constantly. My brain still wanted out of reality. I downed anti-anxiety meds like candy, and yet I was still incredibly depressed and anxious. The last few weeks have been particularly bad in terms of anxiety, so now I’ve decided to simplify even further. I’ve stopped (For now? Forever?)  using Facebook. I have read, and I believe, that for people like me who are prone to depression and anxiety, Facebook exacerbates those conditions, and (for me) leads to living an internal life that’s based on what other people are thinking about.

I don’t really want to care what other people are thinking about – at least I don’t want to care on the regular. I want to focus on my own thoughts. I need my own internal landscape to be the most compelling thing for me, instead of constantly distracting my obsessive-prone brain with what everyone else’s outrage or triumph of the day is. People are important, but I am finally buying in to the concept that you can know too much about them without knowing much that’s authentic.

I am still using other sites that don’t feed my compulsion. Tumblr and Instagram seem to be fine. Pretty pictures are good for me, and I don’t have to follow conversations. I can share or not share, I can look or not look, it’s all OK. I’ve stopped reading much news, because it just upsets me and I think it’s mostly bullshit. My RSS feed is OK. Twitter I had stopped checking a long time ago, and aside from auto-posts that go there I don’t see me using it much in the future.

I’ve also adjusted some of my meds, and now with everything all combined (the simplification, the continued simplification and the extended simplification) I am finally starting to see an improvement in my state of mind. Last night on the drive home I was plotting novel concepts, instead of thinking about horrible news, or some imagined insult, or a scathing retort I was going to make to an imbecile. Over the weekend I read most of an entire book. I hope to read more this weekend. I still did watch five episodes of NYPD Blue last night (or at least had them on while I did other things) but that was mostly because my sleep schedule is still erratic and I don’t have a ton of evening energy.

I want my life to be about my life. The only way I know to do that is to have less stuff and fewer of other people’s thoughts in here with me. I want to think my own thoughts, revel in the softness of the cat I am petting, enjoy the flicker of the candle in my living room and let my imagination take my mind to all the magical places it wants to go. I can’t do those things if I have mental clutter.

Anyway, that’s my journey this year. Refocus on my own brain, my own self, the parts of me that are real and unique and worthy of my time. I hope it goes well. I will let you know.

I would not have expected that

Remember this bit of internet hilarity from a few years ago, where we all laughed at the original asker?

b2

Well check out this horrifying news story.

Girl born pregnant with two fetuses

Being born pregnant is so rare it has only been documented 200 times, but it does happen. Now researchers are reporting this week in the Hong Kong Medical Journal on the November 2010 case of a newborn girl thought to have two tumors in her abdomen that were found to be 8- to 10-week-old fetuses instead.

Weighing half an ounce and a third of an ounce, they were far enough along to each have four limbs, a spine, a rib cage, intestines, and an anus, and to be connected through an umbilical cord to a single placenta-like mass.

“Since it is impossible for the little girl to have conceived the pregnancy on her own, the fertilization of the twin fetuses, of course, belongs to her parents, which has gone to the wrong place,” a local doctor tells the South China Morning Post.

The Membranous Labyrinth

Second physical therapy appointment today. I am feeling still more dizzy than a normal person, but much less dizzy than I was before. I can now walk and do basic household things without thinking l am going to fall over. My PT performed the Epley maneuver on me once today, then gave me more home exercises to do.

There are cool posters of the inner ear on the wall there, so I snapped some shots of them so that you could see what all is going on inside my head.  (It’s BPPV in case you haven’t been following along. More info here.)

So this is the big picture, the overview of the inner ear.
So this is the big picture, the overview of the inner ear.

In this picture, your outer ear would be on the far right (out of frame) and everything we’re looking at here is inside your head. What we’re focusing on in my particular dysfunction is the blue part that looks vaguely like an octopus, with a bulbous base and various swoopy tentacles coming forth.

More close up view of the octopus part.
More close up view of the octopus part.

What we’re focusing on here is that #11 area, which is known as the utricle.

Inside the utricle is what looks like a stone wall you’d find in the Irish fields. Over time, stones (otoconia) can fall down from that wall, and they can travel from the utricle, where they do some good telling your head how to balance, to other parts of the year, the membranous ampulaa.

Here's the stone wall.
Here’s the stone wall.

So normally the stones in the correct area float around in some fluid and help with balance, but if they slip out of the utricle into the membranous ampulae (and into their fluid)  they smash around and bump into things, giving your brain strange signals like “Evidently you’re on a roller coaster!” or “whee we’re upside down!” even when you’re sitting still in a chair, or you just tilted your head back to take a drink of water.

No one knows what some of these stones decide to go joyriding, sometimes it can happen after a bump to the head, and sometimes it can happen after surgery if there is trauma to the ear, or if the head is in a weird position for a long time. Sometimes it can happen after a long period of bed rest. Anyway, it affects 2.4% of the population at some point in their lives. 

My PT says that all of the parts of the inner ear that we’re talking about are less than half of the tip of your little finger in size. It’s amazing that such small things can affect your life in such a profound way. The human body sometimes seems much to complex for its own good.

Anyway, that’s what’s up with me, I thought you’d enjoy the illustrations.

In the Mouth of Vestibular Madness

Just a quick update – yes, still vertigo. Saw the ENT last week, she says it’s 99% sure BPPV (contrary to the reports from the balance testing, so that makes the balance testing pretty much a giant waste of time?) and they don’t think an in-office Epley maneuver will do it for me, so they are sending me to PT for various adjustments and brain retraining, it sounds like. First appt tomorrow morning.

Dizziness has now regressed so that it’s not constant when I walk, but only when I turn too suddenly, bend over, tilt my head back or look to the right. That is a huge improvement, though it’s still a giant pain in the bumhole. I am mostly fine in the house, because I can be barefoot (being barefoot has always helped my balance.) but I ran to Local Harvest for some milk yesterday, and my head was spinning wildly in the store, it was gross.

So, that’s where I am with that. Woop woop.

Here's where I weigh in.