Thursday, June 26, 2008

Home Of The Whopper.

As you get older, the things that are really important to you become clearer. After wasting most of my 20's dating Evil Steve, I sat down and made a list of what I was looking for in a mate. Over time, a series of hysterically awful dates and an abrupt and incredibly sad ending of a relationship, I had perfected my list.

I wanted someone who was tall, at least over 6 feet. I wanted someone who was chubby. I wanted a bald man with a goatee. I wanted a man who was smart, respectful and would make me laugh so hard I would pee my pants. The man could not be: a pilot, a cop, a doctor or a lawyer. It was a pretty simple list and was a good guide to help me weed out unsuitable prospects.

Mr. Misha fit the bill. After dating only 6 months, I must have fulfilled all of the items on his list too, because he proposed. I accepted and a few days later we went to see his mom. She seemed very happy about the engagement, but she sent Mr. Misha out to run an errand and sat me down for a chat.

In her Polish accent, she warned me:
"Hunee, I vant to make sure you know vaht you are gettink into. Pawvel is goot boy. He is sveet boy. He only have 3 tings wrong vit heem, but zay are zee whapperz."

I started to feel a little scared, but I didn't stop her.
"Numbear wan, he is alvays late. If you vant heem to be somevars at 3 o'clock, you must tell heem it es 1 o'clock. Nevere tell heem ze real time or you vill nevere gets zare on times."

I already knew that, he had been 4 hours late for our first date and 2 hours late for our second.
"Numbear, two. He ees not goot vis de monee. He is like hees fazer. He thinks dat when monee get into hees hand it burn and he must spend it. Ven you are mar-eed, you must put screws to heem and you are in charge of monee."

Not a problem, he had already told me about that. I would be in charge of the money.
"Und numbear three. He know how to clean, I teach heem. But he don't do. He is messy all time. I tell him he has to be clean now if he have wife, but you need to put screw to him. Make him clean, don't follow heem around and clean for heem. Put screw to heem, he know how to clean."

After she was sure that I understood the extent of Mr. Misha's 3 whoppers, she seemed a little surprised that I still was willing to marry her son. I told her that her son had disclosed his whoppers to me and I knew what I was getting into. I tried to tell her about unconditional love and how I agreed to marry her son "as is", but she would not hear it. She just kept repeating to me,
"Put za screws to heem!"

Six months later, we were married. In the spirit of marital harmony, our second bedroom had become "The Man Cave". The rules of the man cave were:

Keep the door closed and if the junk or stench of the man cave ever started to waft out to the rest of the house, Mr.Misha would have to clean the man cave. The plan worked out pretty well.

The following spring, we decided to start a family and adopted our beautiful cocker spaniel, Mimi. She was so sweet and became very attached to me. When I would come home from work in the morning, she would snuggle up in bed with me and sleep quietly all day.

After a busy night of birthin' babies, I came home and went straight to bed. After a few hours of deep sleep, I woke up abruptly when I rolled over in bed and felt something hard poking me in my side. I reached down and felt it. I couldn't tell what it was. I opened my eyes and realized that I had rolled over on a half-eaten, petrified hamburger.

I was completely grossed out. I jumped out of bed, threw the burger away and stripped my bed. I threw the sheets in the washer, took a quick shower, brushed the dog's teeth and re-made the bed. After some deep breathing and relaxation techniques, I was able to fall back asleep.

Several hours later, I was awakened again when something hard jabbed me in my side. I instantly jumped out of bed and saw a partially eaten, fossilized burrito. I had no idea where the dog was finding these things. As I took the sheets to the washer for a second time that day, I noticed the door to "The Man Cave" was ajar. I called Mr.Misha at work and told him about Mimi's discoveries. Through his laughter, he agreed that The Man Cave guidelines had been breached and he would be spending the weekend cleaning.

After he was finished purging the man cave, I made Mr. Misha call his mother and let her know that I had, as she recommended, "Put zee screw to heem".

Sunday, June 08, 2008

I Don't Know How They Do It (Blogging Against Hunger)


Who are Bloggers Against Hunger?

Since myspazz was acting so strange yesterday, the BAH blog event will go on for another day. Take some time and read these posts for the Blogathon, "Bloggers Against Hunger"!

****Some of these folks have "friends only" blogs, make them your friend, tell em BAH sent you!

To join BAH- Bloggers Against Hunger

Sage Boucher's Blog

Free Rice

Paulie's Blog

Tears In Rain

Bellesouth's Blog

End Hunger. Buy Local

Selles' Blog

Hunger in Lower Texas

Mama Loves Puppies Blog (friend's only, so send her a friend request!)

Carrying Capacity

Just Mel's Blog

What's Wrong With Us

CC's Blog

Reporting From Maine

Aaaaaaaaron's Blog

Chances Are, You Won the Lottery

Torment's Blog

Bloggin Against Hunger

McFeisty's blog

In The Ghetto

Misha's Blog

I Don't Know How They Do It

Lauren's Blog

Life in a Soup Kitchen

Chaosgrrl's Blog

BAH – It's Complicated


A while back, my dot-comrade Lauren, asked me to join her in an event she called "Blogging Against Hunger". I enthusiastically agreed and started to research the topic. I read, and read, and read and then read some more. I am ashamed to admit, that even though I probably face this problem in my daily work life, I really didn't realize the extent of the problem. I decided to attack this blog challenge scientifically, I loaded my draft with facts, figures and pleas. Then I wrote. I wasn't satisfied with the finished product. It was dry. It sounded like a platform speech for Miss America.

So I decided to attack this project a different way, MasterCard style.

Minimum wage in California-
$8.00/ hour.
Working full time-
Two person monthly income-
(before taxes)
Cheapest rent in Napa
2B, 1B-

Price for a gallon of gas-
Monthly gas costs, assuming
you work in town, have only
one vehicle and don't
drive a SUV-
Monthly utilities without TV,
cell phones, water or garbage-
Health Insurance for 4 people
not including medications or
doctor visit co-pays AND
assuming the employer
subsidizes the cost-
Childcare for 2 kids,
since both parents work-
Money left over to feed, clothe,
and clean your home and family-
The cost of putting your
kids to bed with food in
their stomachs-

$55.00 a month leftover to feed a family of 4!

I don't know how my patients do it.

Please find out what you can do to help the fight against hunger. The hunger of others is immoral and if you think that it doesn't effect you, you are wrong.

Here are links, articles and video produced by others regarding hunger:

Bill Moyers Journal:Hunger In America


Online Videos by

The news at the grocery store is grim for many. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food prices rose by 4% last year, the largest increase in 17 years. And, the USDA predicts they will rise another 4% this year. Eggs are up 40% in the past year; milk up 26% a gallon; a loaf of standard bread, 20%.

All across the nation families, government agencies and food banks are feeling the pinch. So many people are in precarious straits our government figures 28 million Americans will be using food stamps this year, the highest level since the program began in the 1960s. Almost one in l0 people in Ohio get food stamps; one in eight in Michigan, and one in six West Virginians. The rising food prices make that assistance worth less and less and food banks and pantries are facing increased need and those same higher prices.

The government has specific terms to quantify the nation's access to food — recently removing "hunger" from its designations.

* Food security People have access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members.
* Low food security: Reports of reduced quality, variety, or desirability of diet. Little or no indication of reduced food intake.
* Very low food security: Reports of multiple indications of disrupted eating patterns and reduced food intake.

The federal government reports its annual figures in numbers of "food secure." In 2006, 89 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the entire year. The remaining households (10.9 percent) were food insecure at least some time during that year, essentially unchanged from 11.0 percent in 2005. The prevalence of very low food security was 4.0 percent of households, also essentially unchanged from 2005 (3.9 percent).

America's Second Harvest profiles extensive demographic profiles of emergency food clients at charitable feeding agencies. Their Hunger Study 2006 found that 4.5 million different people receive emergency food assistance from the system in any given week.

Find out how you can get or give assistance through the links below:

The Hunger Site

America's Second Harvest

Mercy Corps

Bread For The World

BAH- Blogging Against Hunger (myspace group)

BAH- Blogging Against Hunger (facebook group)

America's Second Harvest provides nationwide network of member food banks and engage our country in the fight to end hunger. You can search their database for a food panty near you and get tips on how to donate and volunteer.

"About 1.1 Million Ohioans Receive Food Stamps, Highest In Nation"
AHN Media, Julie Farby, March 25, 2008.

"High Grocery Bills? Get Great Deals on Dated Food Amish Country Grocery Store Says Outdated or Damaged Food Is Fine to Sell"
ABC News, Ryan Owens and Ely Brown, March 18, 2008

"Hunger Pains"
THE WASHINGTON POST, Kirstin Downey, April 8, 2008

"One in 6 West Virginians is on food stamps: Officials say higher cost of food, fuel diminish value of assistance"

CHARLESTON DAILY MAIL, Justin D. Anderson, March 26, 2008.

"Rising Food Prices Hard in Brooklyn"
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, Amanda Coleman and Veronika Belenkaya, April 8th 2008.

"What Grocers Teach Us About The U.S. Economy"
FORBES, Melanie Lindner, April 9, 2008.

Health Consequences of Hunger

Hunger and under-nutrition contribute to a number of negative health consequences:

A joint analysis released by the Center on Hunger and Poverty at Brandeis University and the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) shows how hunger and obesity not only pose separate and distinct health risks, but also can co-exist in the same household.

According to FRAC's survey of families living below 185 percent of poverty -- the Community Childhood Hunger Identification Project (CCHIP) -- hungry children suffer from two to four times as many individual health problems, such as unwanted weight loss, fatigue, headaches, irritability, inability to concentrate and frequent colds, as low-income children whose families do not experience food shortages. This relationship between hunger and health problems was unaffected by income. In other words, hunger had a strong effect on children's health no matter what the income level of their families.

According to CCHIP, hungry children are more likely to be ill and absent from school.

The infant mortality rate is closely linked to inadequate quantity or quality in the diet of the infant's mother. In 1996, the infant mortality rate in the United States was 7.3 deaths per 1,000 live births. Black infants in the U.S. died at more than twice the rate of white infants, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.

Stunting (low height for age) in children results from inadequate nutrition.

According to the U.S. Public Health Service, the Surgeon General's 1990 goal of eliminating growth retardation of infants and children caused by inadequate diets was not met because significant numbers of low-income children continued to suffer retarded growth. In 1992, almost twice as many low-income children as would be expected were short for their age.

Iron-deficiency anemia in children can lead to adverse health effects such as developmental and behavioral disturbances that can affect children's ability to learn to read or do mathematics, and increased susceptibility to lead poisoning. Anemia remains a significant health problem among low-income children, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Pregnant women who are undernourished are more likely to have low-birthweight babies. These infants are more likely to suffer delays in their development and are more likely to have behavior and learning problems later in life.

Hungry children are less likely to interact with other people or explore or learn from their surroundings. This interferes with their ability to learn from a very early age.

Hunger has a negative impact on children's ability to learn in school. School-aged children who are hungry cannot concentrate or do as well as others on the tasks they need to perform to learn the basics. Research indicates that low-income children who participate in the School Breakfast Program show an improvement in standardized test scores and a decrease in tardiness and absenteeism compared to low-income students who do not eat breakfast at school.

According to the Tufts University Center on Hunger, Poverty and Nutrition Policy, evidence from recent research about child nutrition shows that, in addition to having a detrimental effect on the cognitive development of children, undernutrition results in lost knowledge, brainpower, and productivity for the nation.

Hunger and malnutrition exacerbate chronic and acute diseases and speed the onset of degenerative diseases among the elderly. This not only leads to an unnecessary decrease in the quality of life for many older people, but also increases the cost of health care in the United States. National data for people ages 65 to 75 show that a majority are not consuming even two-thirds of the nutrients they need to stay healthy.

Hunger, and insecurity about whether a family will be able to obtain enough food to avoid hunger, also have an emotional impact on children and their parents. Anxiety, negative feelings about self-worth, and hostility towards the outside world can result from chronic hunger and food insecurity.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Motherly Advice

Warning: The Surgeon General Has Determined that Cigarette Smoking is Dangerous to Your Health

Legendary designer Yves Saint Laurent dies at 71

When I heard the news of YSL's death, I was reminded of a childhood memory of mine.

It was the 80's. I was wearing black clothes, trying to look sullen and calling Ronald Reagan all sorts of bad names. When not at school, I was hanging out with my friends at a coffee house downtown called the Bronze Seal, shopping in thrift stores, hanging out on Telegraph Ave in Berkeley or going to dance clubs in San Francisco. I thought I was super cool.


I am not sure when I had my first one, but during that time, I started to smoke clove cigarettes. I loved the smell. I liked the sweet taste they left on my lips. I loved that they were dangerous.


I tried to keep it from my mother. I didn't smoke when she was home and I would burn incense to mask the smell. One day, my mom came home unexpectedly and caught me. She thought I was smoking pot. I showed her the package and reassured her that I was not a pothead. She seemed relieved and told me, "Fine, just don't burn down the fucking house smoking those things."

She really didn't have any other choice. She smoked too. She smoked these long brown cigarettes that looked like slender turds.


Since I lived in suburbia, cloves were hard to find in town. At first, one of my friends from the next town over would buy them for me. Then she moved back into suburbia and I lost my connection. So naturally, I asked my mom to start buying them for me.

I had my driver's license, I could drive to the next town over but I was not old enough to purchase cloves myself. After she got home from work, I would drive my mom to the smoke shop and get her to hook me up. She was not thrilled. The commute back and forth to the smoke shop was seriously cutting into my mom's very busy social calender. After a while she refused to do it, "Why don't you just smoke regular cigarettes?" she questioned.

Once again, I was without a connection. So I took my mom's advice and picked a brand. The brand of cigarettes I chose were these:


Maybe in a future post, I will tell you about the night my mom taught me how to correctly "do" a tequila shooter.