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  •  Recc'd -- hope many eyes will see this! (9+ / 0-)

    Thanks for this honest and realistic description of what it's like to try to get by as one of America's impoverished citizens.  I've never had to try to manage for several people or make decisions between medications and food.  But I do understand what it's like, from the standpoint of a single person.

    With respect for your diligence, might I ask a question or two, just as another person who knows what it's like to pinch pennies?  

    Cheese:  Could you buy cheese in blocks (cheaper than shredded) and shred it on the 'big side' of a box grater?  (If you have one.)

    Are your family members unable to eat protein sources other than meat?  I'm thinking beans, tofu here.  Red beans, an onion, some tomato (canned, bought on the '10 for $10'-type sales  -- you don't have to buy 10 products to get the discount price), over rice -- is a good, basic meal with a lot of nutrition.  And if tofu is unfamiliar, an easy way to make it meat-like in flavor (plain, it tastes like hard-boiled egg white) is to mash it up, marinate it in  Worcester sauce (maybe with some soy sauce added) and make Sloppy Joes.

    These are just tiny suggestions, and I don't mean them to take away from your illustration of how, when one is poor, it takes 'all the running you can do just to stay in one place' (with a hat-tip to Alice in Wonderland).  But a red beans/rice pot, plus a pot of bean soup, could provide a few meals each week at far lower cost than meat.

    I wish you good luck with your Food Stamps -- hope you can get the amount raised again.  Wishing you well!

    •  I've been eating beans and tomatoes (10+ / 0-)

      over rice for lunches, and cheap cans of chilli. It's helped hold me up a bit. Tofu I wouldn't know where to get, how to cook or if it's even cheaper here. We eat a lot of chicken, pork and fish and I try to make sure that everyone gets meat once a day at least.
      The beef thing is more my own issue. I'm very low iron in the first place, add in hospitalization (during which beef wasn't even an option), multiple blood draws, female issues at the same time (when my iron is naturally lower) and I just wasn't recovering from it with other sources this month.
      I don't know that my autistic son at least would eat tofu, he tends to have a picky spot for textures and flavors. He won't eat eggs lately either.

      Cheese in blocks... at the local store is about the same as the pre-shredded. Sometimes I can even get the pre-shred on buy one get one. I do always check price per ounce and such and get the blocks when it does dip lower. I don't have a grater right now but I've been known to chop it up by hand in the past.

      "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

      by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 04:58:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  /sigh (6+ / 0-)

      If I'm off-base, love, let me know.

      You're talking to a household of people who all have disabilities. Who do you want to grate cheese? An autistic child with sensitivity issues? Someone with fibromyalgia who has difficulty gripping things? A person whose nerves may be breaking down? Another disability, perhaps? Or just someone who has been on there feet all day, and is now helping caretake (but it's really not that simple)?

      Does the situation look slightly different now?

      If you are anemic, chances are, your body will more easily process red meat. That's why FloridaSNMOM is craving it. Her bruises are not healing, for the love of little green apples. Dog food looked appetizing. Open your eyes! She doesn't need to be lectured about beans and rice! We are not stupid, we know that. We've been poor a long time.

      FFS. Every fucking diary.

      /hugs FloridaSNMOM

      Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2013 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

      by LoreleiHI on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:17:25 PM PDT

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      •  ((Lorelei)) (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LoreleiHI, swampyankee, psyched, Mortifyd

        Hey hun, I hope you're doing well and getting the help you need pulling things together as well!

        Thanks for the support. I know it was said with well meaning, and at least it wasn't mean and nickpicky  like I've seen in some diaries! I do have a rocker knife to help with cutting, I bought that several years ago while I was still working, luckily!  But yeah, some days I don't have the energy to self-grate, and often Caedy can't even hold the rocker knife when her wrists get bad.

        I'm hoping the beef I had today will help bolster me up for the next week and get the freaking bruising healed finally. It's been almost 2 weeks since I've been home from the hospital and they are still bright purple. They're not growing though or getting darker, so that's a plus.

        "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

        by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:22:02 PM PDT

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        •  I just wish I could help (5+ / 0-)

          If nothing else, right now I'm more than food secure. But we're at opposite ends of the Eastern seaboard. ><

          And I'm good with a place to stay until end of June, and on waiting lists for housing. I qualify... but space, ah, there's the rub! Heh.

          Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2013 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

          by LoreleiHI on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:38:31 PM PDT

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          •  I know that feeling well.. (4+ / 0-)

            there have been many situations I've wished I could help. But you are helping just with your support hun. The love in this community is a HUGE help to me, as is just having people to talk to, to vent to, and to commiserate with.
            I'll keep my fingers crossed for the waiting lists! We tried to get into income based housing here, we were on a waiting list for over a year. We finally gave up and found something else we could manage. It's a nice little house, and in much better shape than the falling down trailer we were in (and with central air, I can BREATHE and move through the house, no more being stuck in my bedroom with the window unit!!!). I was worried that other place would fall down the first time a tropical system came through, and in Florida you can't avoid them forever.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 05:43:57 PM PDT

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      •  Thanks for your gentle correction. n/t (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloridaSNMOM, yella dawg, anafreeka
        •  I'm sorry (3+ / 0-)

          Last diary I wrote, someone wasn't content berating me in comments, and came after me for a week, saying that I was just 'bitter' and didn't really want to be better or to get help because I have Complex PTSD after being brought up in a sexually abusive cult, and so have a bit of an issue with churches.

          Because I'm following my therapist's, psych's, and doctor's recommendations and staying away from churches, I'm 'letting them win', according to this person.

          Because I'm poor, this person feels empowered to say such things to me. On a liberal blog. And it's hardly the first time. Maybe you can see why it gets tiring.

          Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2013 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

          by LoreleiHI on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:29:07 PM PDT

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          •  So you came after me -- (0+ / 0-)

            -- because somebody, two weeks ago or more, came after you?

            Oh.  Okay.

            •  No, because you said the same thing we've all (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mortifyd, FloridaSNMOM

              heard before, countless times, in any diary that mentions lack of money. I do wish my tone was a bit better, though.

              Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2013 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

              by LoreleiHI on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:05:39 PM PDT

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              •  How so? (0+ / 0-)

                Please elucidate . . . ..

                •  because ANY time anyone writes about food (5+ / 0-)

                  and poverty - someone comes along and tells us to eat more beans and rice and tofu.  Every. Single. Time.  And some of us have food issues - most of us have food issues actually that have diaried about it - and we're poor, not stupid.

                  We know about the benefits of rice, beans and tofu - IF you can eat it.  But that is a big if.  I'm allergic to soy for example - tofu is not a good food choice for me.  More than a couple meals of rice and beans personally and I get so sick at the idea of eating it that it triggers anorexia - which is far worse for my body given my other health issues.

                  So while this was pretty nice -  it was still the same old same old - and limiting the choices of poor people (even by suggestion) to rice, beans and tofu is NOT COOL.

                  And we sail and we sail and we never see land, just the rum in the bottle and a pipe in my hand...

                  by Mortifyd on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 08:38:59 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Let me add to LoreleiHI (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  FloridaSNMOM, JamieG from Md

         someone who has been low income all my adult life and I am 60 years old, the issue here that makes we po' folks touchy is that, look, we know all the ways to make ends meet.  Believe me, we already know about the beans, and the tofu, etc.  

                  I am not saying you have this intention but ...sometimes suggestions like that appear to be judgements about people that somehow they are "wasting" their small incomes. No, we cannot "waste" something that does not even pay the electric bill or bus fare to get to work. We know how to make every dollar stretch until it snaps, but that stretched dollar is not enough. so making suggestions as if we can stretch that dollar more is beyond ...obvious.

                  Upper income folks are kind of ignorant about the situation of American poverty. They do not understand that poverty is not a "choice". Poverty is an institution..  The most annoying about this gross misconception is that somehow people choose to be poor ~ and choose to "waste" their small incomes, and choose to endure the blame and stereotypes that haunt us.

                  Let me educate a little about this Poverty Institution ~ and PLEASE go tell your other upper income friends about this so they understand better. It would sure help because this thing about choosing poverty makes for a great deal of terrible laws and policies:

                  in-sti-tu-tion noun

                  a well-established and structured pattern of behavior or of relationships that is accepted as a fundamental part of a culture, as marriage: the institution of the family.
                  any established law, custom, etc.

                  The poverty institution is based on the reliability upon racism, sexism (including LGBTQ), ageism, classism, and disabilities. The poor are far from being a "burden", indeed the poor are one of the cornerstones of the upper income's ability to maintain their positions.

                  1. Charities
                  You will notice that usually 2nd on the list for the reason to promote tax breaks for the rich is for "charitable contributions". Most of the time these "contributions" are just a domestic Cayman Islands for the rich who actually contribute little or nothing after their tax breaks. They use mega-non-profits to get their tax breaks, employ their relatives in 6 figure positions, and then pat themselves on the back that they are "helping the wittle baybees". But often less than 20% of their "contributions" are actually carried out in their mission and services to their clients is minimal. On the average these mega-n0ons bring in about $52,000-$67,000 per client yet only give less than $2000 in direct services. Their services are punitive, and do little to assist with the real needs of a family or person. It should also be noted that these mega-nons bring in $Millions in government grants and contracts.

                  I might add to not include small non-profits here who are actually doing the REAL work on the ground. Not only do they operate on a budget that would not pay the salary of a DSHS manager, they do 10 X the work. They do not get government funding or contracts because they are not schmoozing with the politicians and policy makers, and they do not know rich people who would even understanding their very important missions.

                  So as you can see in mega-charities alone who usually where people with no income or little incomes, are USING the poor for their enrichment.

                  2. Work
                  This is two fold because not only do the poor perform cheap labor that enriches the upper classes, they also create employment for those same classes.  The upper classes are employed in many ways: as "gatekeepers", in the government, with mega-nons, in contracted private businesses, for people with disabilities (the hi-tech industry for instance charges heueuege prices for "adaptive equipment" for computers and other types of media access).  So now whenever one of your upper income buddies snark, "How many jobs does a poor person create?" You have an answer: The poor create lots of jobs for all other classes. In social work, in the health fields, in non-profits, in the colleges, in hi-tech and with private industry to name a few.

                  3. What is "work"?
                  When Welfare Reform was codified into law, it also codified something else: unpaid work. It in essence says this work is "doing nothing" or in other words adding nothing to our communities, WRONG!
                  The truth about this unpaid work is that it actually adds quite a few things to our communities. Whenever anyone asks me why they should "support other people's kids", I ask them back: "With your question, my question is; Why should my kids support you when you can no longer support yourself? Why should my kids support your Social Security, why should they fight in your wars, why should they maintain and run your infrastructures, and why should they take care of you when you can no longer care for yourself?"
                  But this unpaid work is not only for the care of children. It is also about caring for one's elders, and one's spouses as well ~ all requiring the agonized decisions as to whether to work for a wage or the 24/7 care for a loved one. In an AARP study they found that unpaid care SAVES us over $450 BN per year if we had to replace this labor with institutions for women to go out there making rich men richer saying, "Do you want fries with that?" Labor statistics say women who are the most impacted by unpaid care, will LOSE in a work lifetime over $275,000 in lost wages ~ the AARP says these losses are over $400,000.
                  Social Security calls these unpaid years "zero years" meaning that this time served is not counted in their calculations.  Not only are women forced to live off the person they are caring for while caring for them, they have ZERO to show for it after this person dies or grows up. You would be stunned at the many women who have done this work living in their cars and in shelters because there is no supp0ort for them at all.

                  Yet Welfare Reform calls all this work "doing nothing". They refuse to support this work and tell people that the only "work" is paid work and that there is no other way to contribute to their communities.

                  People in poverty are caught up in a sticky web of an Institution that seldom lets them go ~ much of the reason being they are depended upon by the upper classes for their own comforts and security.  There are few escapes from this spider's web of deception.  The few who have escaped this Institution are shoved in the face of the poor to "prove" that they can also escape, but this is an illusion.

                  So whenever someone gives these suggestions as if the person is somehow "wasting" what little they have, this is in many ways another way to hide society's responsibility as to the perpetuation of poverty.  It is saying, "it is your fault, if only you did not "choose" your situation..."

                  I know this is not what you meant, I am just saying that poverty is a complicated and quite embedded economic and social condition that needs a better answer than blaming each person for something they cannot escape, no matter how much tofu or beans they eat.

                  I really want to thank you for asking your question and I hope you wanted a real answer. Most of all I do hope this helps you understand enough so that you go out there and discuss these things with your friends!

                  Love, Cat in Seattle
                  Board member of People Organizing for Welfare and Economic Rights (P.O.W.E.R.)

                  PeeEss: POWER is one of those small nons that operate on less than a DSHS manager's salary yet do 10 X the work.  If you want to contribute there is a place to contact someone to do some work for people in need and/or to make a donation

                  First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they hurt you, then you win ~ Mahatma Gandhi

                  by mntleo2 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 11:36:27 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think the commenter (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloridaSNMOM, anafreeka

        was lecturing. I don't think the commenter thinks you or FloridaSNMOM and her family are stupid. Maybe the commenter doesn't know all the circumstances, as I certainly don't, and was just trying to be helpful. Seemed to me like a good-hearted thing to do.

        •  It's that if you do a tag search on 'poverty' (6+ / 0-)

          you'll see this exact advice, multiple times, in every comment thread. Every time.

          And telling us to go to food kitchens. Yes, we know.

          Or to go to local churches. Even if it's personally dangerous or triggering (yes, PTSD is real and that serious).

          Or to eat things that we're allergic to, and don't be picky because you're poor. (Oh , yes. It happens. Here. On Daily Kos.)

          So it comes across as condescending as fuck, because every diary we write, we see it. Rice and beans. No shit, Sherlock! Tell us something we didn't learn as kids! Because we did. I grew up poor. Government cheese, when that was still a thing, and I'm extremely lactose intolerant. Didn't matter. I still remember endless meals of rice, beans, and cheese... and being horribly sick.

          But by all means, feel better. Tell us again.

          Get 10% off with KATALOGUE2013 at my shop, or go to the Kos Katalogue!

          by LoreleiHI on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:17:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wow. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            PTSD and lactose intolerance. How was the commenter supposed to know about that?

            Ah, well. I can see I've p$ssed you off and I certainly didn't mean to.

            As to food allergies and intolerances, I can readily sympathize. My son (who's an adult now and carefully monitors his diet), has celiac disease (no wheat,etc.), is highly allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, you name it, is just about done in by sesame seeds or oil, can't have the flu vaccine b/c he's allergic to egg whites, and even single-stone fruit like peaches make him break out in hives. He's very healthy, btw :)

            Except for the nut allergies, everything else came later, when he was in college. So when he was still home, again, we were lucky. We could afford to shop for gluten-free foods. I can only imagine how difficult it would have been if we couldn't.

        •  P.S. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM, lurker123

          I don't "know" the commenter, btw. But you said "every 'effing' diary," so maybe there's a history? If so, forgive me.

          Florida SNMOM, thank you for this diary. I can't really offer any good suggestions (not that you were looking for any), and can't honestly say that I know what it's like. I have to monitor my food budget, often very closely, but I won't pretend to be in a situation that's similar to yours.

          I wish you the best.  

          •  Thank you (5+ / 0-)

            and yes, there's a history. Every time there's a poverty diary that deals with food someone has the same suggestions. This one was done nicely, not all of them are. It's the whole "you can live forever on beans and rice" meme. You can't, really. You need much more than that.

            Thank you for your well wishes, and I wasn't worried about this particular commenter, I understood it was well meaning. It's just frustrating sometimes hearing the same things over and over. Often I do get my iron/protein from beans and rice. Right now, after the past few weeks, that's just NOT enough and my body is suffering for it. Hence the insane craving for red meat.

            "Madness! Total and complete madness! This never would've happened if the humans hadn't started fighting one another!" Londo Mollari

            by FloridaSNMOM on Thu Apr 25, 2013 at 07:31:19 PM PDT

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