Friday, October 10, 2014

No Groceries For You

Everyone that is familiar with me, they know that I’m disabled, and that I’m currently pending my disability hearing in February. This means I cannot work, and there’s a long list of reasons why, but mostly it’s because of the amount of pain I’m in (constantly – there are no moments without pain, so it’s all just levels of pain). I’ve also recently had to have a massive tumor removed in which cancer was found, and more surgery was needed to make sure I was in the clear from the bit ‘C’. Because of this, I’m dependent on programs like Food Stamps or WIC or EBT or whatever your state may call it. Basically, in order for me to eat properly, I kind of need the free food, otherwise, I’m kind of not eating.

Because of my brush with cancer, I’m pickier about what I put in my body, and because of my weight, I don’t like to eat junk food. I avoid frozen meals, I prefer fresh vegetables, and I organic is golden in my world. I’m trying to stay healthy and I can’t move all that much, so I use food to do this.

In NY, I could use my EBT card on any food, as long as it was food, and that included spices. The same went for CA. Now I’m in NC, and apparently they have a list of ‘approved’ food that you can purchase. If it’s not on the list, you can’t buy it. Organic food is off the list, and basically it runs with the cheapest there is on everything. Generic, cheap, chemically enhanced, and probably not what you should be eating if you’re trying to avoid chemicals in your diet.

Why you ask? Why can’t you just use your card to buy food, because it’s food? Well, apparently, in NC, they’ve decided that being poor means you don’t deserve to shop like everyone else. Being poor, disabled, unable to work, or a single mother, means you are not equal to everyone else. You are less than, and therefore you do not deserve to eat how you choose.

For a state that pretends to love their ‘freedoms’, how is this not a freedom I’m allowed? Because I’m getting food stamps? It’s the same amount of money no matter what I buy, so what I buy shouldn’t matter to anyone, but it does apparently.

I think I remember seeing something on the news about a woman buying salmon or lobster with her EBT card, and some red states threw a fit. Apparently, this was the result. Now, my diet is not restricted by what my digestive or health issues are, but by state legislators that didn’t like the idea of poor people eating above their station.

If you’re wondering what the list of ‘approved’ foods I can eat are, which includes which brands I’m allowed to buy, here’s the PDF (please note that the only meat I can buy is baby food or canned meat, nothing fresh):

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Remember to Breathe

I measure my pain in meters, in feet, in inches. My life is spent measuring the distance it takes for me to go from one position to the next, and breathing just to remember there is more to life than space. When you ask me how I am, you do not want to know the truth. You want me to smile, to tell you I’m fine, and I do, but it is always a lie.

I am never fine. I am always screaming out my agony in little winces, in the pauses I take before moving, in the soft sighs I let slip when I know you aren’t paying attention. Every task has a price; every movement is paid for with cut glass against my skin. My bones hurt, my body is no longer mine to control, to command. I am at the whim of a thing no one can see, but I feel it with every part of me.

My pain is not me, but I am my pain. It robs me, taking from me my hopes, my dreams, my passion, my mind. I cannot think past the sharp angles I feel under my skin.

My life is measured out in inches, in feet, in meters, and I breathe out to remember that I am more than the distance it takes me to live.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Short Version of My Chicken Noodle Soup.

This is what I call my ‘short cut’ to chicken noodle soup. My long version of this recipe involves me roasting a whole chicken for an hour, boiling it with vegetables, straining it, and then letting the broth cool and sit in the refrigerator overnight so I can skim the fat off of it. If you don’t have 5 hours of cooking time to kill, plus the patience to wait for the broth to cool, then I recommend just making this version of the soup. It’s just as good, and takes maybe 2 hours total.


2 chicken breasts (with bone in)
3 carrots
3-4 celery stalks
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
3 32oz containers of Chicken stock
Medium egg noodles
Celery salt (or celery seed)
Poultry seasoning
Olive oil

(Optional items)
1 bay leaf
Chicken Bouillon


Chop your carrots, celery, and onion into even pieces. I tend to dice the onions smaller since I don’t want large onion chunks in my soup. If you like that sort of thing, dice them how you feel. For the garlic, use a garlic crusher.

Add a tablespoon of olive oil to the bottom of the pot you will be making your soup in. As the oil begins to heat up, add in your chopped vegetables with a little salt and pepper. Stir until the onions are translucent. Once your onions are translucent, add in a little poultry seasoning and a little of the celery salt. You can forgo the normal salt if you are worried it will have too much salt added – just using celery salt is fine – go easy on it if you’re worried about salt content. Celery seed is an acceptable substitute if you wish to forgo salt altogether.

Once you have mixed in some of the seasoning with your vegetables, pour in two of the three containers of chicken stock and keep heat low. If you are adding a bay leaf, this is when you'd add it.

Remove the skin and what fat you can from the two chicken breasts and then add them to the chicken stock. Cover and let cook for one hour.

After one hour, remove the chicken breasts from the stock and, with two forks, pull off the cooked chicken meat into a bowl. Place the bones back into the stock and let them cook while the meat cools until you can touch it.

In a separate pot, cook your pasta. I usually cook 2 to 3 handfuls of pasta for a large pot like this. I do not salt the water for this kind of pasta.

Once the pasta has cooked, I strain the pasta and run cold water over the noodles until they are cold to the touch.

The chicken breast meat is usually cool enough to handle once the pasta is finished, so you can then tear the meat into bite sized pieces.

Remove the bones (and the bay leaf if added) from the stock. Add in your chicken breast meat and season to taste. You may need to add more celery salt, pepper, or a touch of cayenne pepper if you like. If you want, add in one tea spoon of the bouillon I use – I only add this if the broth tastes watery. I rarely need to use it with this recipe.

Add in pasta. The last box of broth is added if the soup is too thick – I tend to end up adding the third box of chicken stock after adding the pasta because I like a lot of broth with my soup. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012


A friend of mine shared this and I have to say, I’m offended. Normally, I just ignore political stuff, leaving my friends to their opinions, even when I disagree with them for whatever reason. I think, as long as they’re voting, and they’re informed, who cares which way they vote? But this offended the hell out of me.

My mom was on welfare when I was a kid. It was so she could finish college and get a job that would pay her more so she could take better care of her kids. She wasn’t on it long. Maybe two years? Three? Not all that long, when you think about it. I also knew someone who was getting food stamps, but worked. They had a kid and working at McDonalds didn’t pay them enough to feed their kid, but they only had a high school diploma, and they were going to school part time. Like my mom, they were trying to step out of the poverty they found themselves in, and needed a little help up to do it. The food stamps meant her kid didn’t go hungry, and she had money for rent.

Welfare was put into place to give the poor a little help stepping up. Not everyone understands what it’s like to be poor. They think ‘why not try harder?’ or something equally ridiculous. If you don’t know what it’s like to be in that position, if you’ve never been there, then you really shouldn’t judge others for being there. They’re born poor. It’s not as easy to get out of that place as you’d think. If you’ve never lived or experienced living in a ghetto, or understand the mentality that you’re surrounded by there, or the sense of despair, how dare you judge someone that takes advantage of a system that gives them a little help out of that place?

People who use the Welfare system, or who get food stamps, or use government assistance to go to college, are not taking a handout. They’re taking a hand up. If it weren’t for those programs, there’d be more crime, more desperation, more poverty. Would you really want to take away the only life rafts they have? Would you tell them to swim harder if they were drowning? Because that’s essentially what taking those programs away would mean. I’m sure Romney’s father appreciated the Welfare program he took advantage of when he first came to America after fleeing Mexico. Where would Romney’s family be if it weren’t for that hand up they received? Probably nowhere near the White House.

So, for all those people who are so willing to take food and shelter from those that are beyond a level of poverty than you can understand, try to put yourself in their shoes. Try to imagine what it’s like being born into a family that has to decide if they’ll be able to make rent or feed their children  Try to imagine what it’s like to have to tell your kids that they have a choice between Christmas presents or a Christmas tree, because you can only afford one or the other. Try to imagine what it’s like to look at your kids and wonder how you’re going to provide for them because you don’t have a way out of the life they were unfortunately born to. Try growing up knowing there’s no money for college, or food, or school supplies, or new clothes.

Try imagine growing up seeing your friends get things you could never hope to have, or hearing them bitch about their allowance and not knowing what that’s like, because your family has never had money to spare. Try imagine the shame you feel when you have to buy groceries with food stamps, but you swallow that shame because you have kids, and they have to eat. If you don’t know what that feels like, then don’t judge someone, because you can’t know what they’re going through, or feeling, or how much of yourself you have to swallow just to take that hand up, because it’s the only hand up out of that pit.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Look, Art!

So my sister opened up the Trickster Store in Berkeley, which is awesome for the record, and wanted stuff for the Halloween show. She asked me to do some pinups, so I did. I have a mummy in the wings, but couldn’t finish that one due to the amount of hurting that doing the other two caused. Oh, and I did a third one, but it was for a friend, not for the store, and it isn’t even really ‘mine’ so much as me copying a Shane Glines picture (to view the original, click here).

Here are the three pinups I did. I’ll post the mummy one once I’ve painted it:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Fatty McFaterson

I’ve been seeing a lot of stuff about Jennifer Livingston’s response to someone commenting about her weight. In addition to the letter she’s responded to, I’ve also seen a bunch of comments about not blaming her weight on other issues, like thyroid issues, which she apparently has, or any assortment of things, and I’m disgusted by it.

I’m fat. I know I’m fat. I look in the mirror and think ‘yup, I’m fat’. I’m reminded of my fattiness when I get dress, or shower, or do just about anything. I also can’t walk half the time, and that isn’t due to my fatness, but due to a list of things medically wrong with me. Would I like to be able to walk more, or exercise, or do a number of other things to lose the weight? Hell yes. Can I? No. Because the minute I walk for too long, I pay for it for the next few days with pain. Not to mention, the walking is painful in ways you will never understand unless you happen to be in my body. So yes, I’m fat. You have no idea how hard it is to lose weight when all you can do is alter your eating habits. Eating habits which, for the record, are harder to control when you can’t actually stand up and do the cooking because most of the time that’s too painful to do anyway.

So to anyone out there that wants to yell at fat people and tell them that they just need to get off their fat asses, shut up. You don’t know what that person deals with daily, what that person has gone though, or what they do to deal with their condition. They may be dealing with soul-crushing depression, a thyroid issue, or have pain issues like I do. They might be poor and unable to afford a personal trainer or dietitian to help them figure out the best way to help them curb their cravings or bad eating habits. Also, when you’re poor, it’s easier to eat crap food than healthy food. Healthy food is expensive. A box of Ramen is cheap. You can get six of those for a buck. That’s six meals. How many meals does a dollar get you when you’re shopping at Whole Foods?

In closing, I guess I just have to say, stop judging people by what they look like. Wait until you know them better, then judge them. You’d probably have more ammunition by then. Instead of judging someone because they’re overweight, you could be judging them because they like The Lake House or something. If you ask me, that’s a better reason to judge someone. That movie was horrible.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

You Can Rant If You Want To...

* Degenerative disc disease

* Osteoarthritis

* Pinched nerves in my neck and lower back (and permanent nerve damage to my right side) that causes weakness and numbness in my legs, arms, and shoulders 

* Chronic and pretty much weekly migraines or just daily headaches

* Bursitis in both hips

* Knees that hurt and make noise, but I don't know what's wrong with them

* One ankle has a bone fragment, a bone spur on the heel, and ligament damage

* The other angle has ligament damage - both require surgery to fix

* Ulcers and acid reflux

 * Tinnitus (constant ringing in both ears)

* Depression

You can now add kidney stone (which has stopped hurting, so I'm okay), and cysts on both of my ovaries that need a doctor to examine them to find out if they need to be removed and what sort they are. 

The next asshole that says anything about people not needing a universal healthcare can suck it. I've worked since I was 16. I've worked my ass off. The fact that I'm *still* waiting for medical is seriously some bullshit. My old job offered me unpaid leave. UNPAID. How the hell does some multi-million dollar company *not* have paid disability for people that need it for more than a few weeks? Don't they realize it can take up to TWO years for someone to file for SS disability? And that, if they're single, like me, with no kids, there's almost no programs out there to help you? I have no income, working isn't something I can do - hell, my hobbies are the things I can do from my bed half the time, and I don't know of any job that'll let you work from your bed and give you time off when the headaches get so bad you have to cover your face because light hurts so much. 

Basically, I'm sick of this. I'm sick of not being able to see a doctor, or to have a prescription for the medication I need to manage my pain. I need injections in my neck and lower back just so I can walk for more than an hour, or to be able to sit up and enjoy a meal without constantly wondering how long it'll be before I can lay down and cover my head because sitting up for a few hours gives me the headaches without fail. Sitting up for three hours results in that numbness and tingling in my hands. You try writing, drawing, or even reading when you have a headache that makes light feel like knives stabbing you in the face and brain. Then tell me how it feels when there's no doctor, no drugs, no relief for you. Until you've walked a day in my shoes, or in the shoes of someone that's dealing with chronic pain that doesn't have access to medical, shut your gob. 

I'd also like to eat a meal, just once, without getting sick after eating. Just once. For the last year, every time I eat anything, I am treated to the acid reflux or my stomach flipping me off. No matter how good the food is, it never tastes as good coming up. It makes you really picky about what you eat, because the food better be worth how it'll make you feel afterwards. I bet if I could see a doctor, I could have the stomach issues taken care of. Oh, right, no doctor for me... 

Fucker works 2 years in office and gets tax payer provided healthcare, for life. I work for most of my life and I get nothing but a 'good luck with that, here's another form you have to fill out, and I know your doctors in Chicago said this about your condition, but we need you to see some other doctor that'll do one test and your entire healthcare will be determined by someone that thinks all you need to do is lose a few pounds in order to feel better'. News flash... last weigh in says I've lost 50lbs. I don't feel a lick better.