I have some code I want to place in a widget on the sidebar to show a paypal donate button. It works in another service that uses wordpress, and on blogspot, but I can’t get it to appear properly here. Here’s the code- if you know what I’m doing wrong please tell me:

<form action=”https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr” method=”post”>
<input type=”hidden” name=”cmd” value=”_s-xclick”>
<input type=”image” src=”https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/btn/btn_donateCC_LG.gif” border=”0″ name=”submit” alt=”PayPal – The safer, easier way to pay online!”>
<img alt=”” border=”0″ src=”https://www.paypal.com/en_US/i/scr/pixel.gif” width=”1″ height=”1″>

I’d like it to appear in the sidebar like it does in my music blog, which you can find at http://nicolettesmusicnotes.blogspot.com I know to use a text widget, but for some reason when I copy this code in it still comes up blank.




     I woke up crying. In my dreams, I had solved the food problem by getting in my van and driving to the food bank. It took only about an hour to drive there, get the stuff, and come home. I returned laden with food, and somehow found a wallet full of money with no ID in it. I then had the whole day left to take care of other things, and the means with which to accomplish my goals. It ended perfectly as I sat down to eat dinner in a room full of people I love. Then I woke up.

     In reality, a trip to the U-District food bank takes me half a day. The ten minute drive by car turns into a bus ride that takes more than half an hour each way, not including the time walking to and from and waiting. The return trip, carrying bags of groceries on the bus and then home from the stop, is often a bit challenging.

     If that sounds like a silly thing to have difficulty with, try this experiment. If you have a car, the next time you return to your house with groceries, park two blocks away. Try for a spot that makes you have to walk both up and down hill. Now carry four to six full, heavy bags at once. you can’t leave
half of them there on the ground, they probably wouldn’t be there when you got back. No really, try it. In a tiny snapshot, this represents how difficult small everyday things like getting food can become difficult when you’re poor.

     I do this every time I get groceries, and I’ll admit that it’s challenging not to trip and have my groceries roll down the hill. I once had a huge bag break all over the place while I was getting off the bus. Sometimes I have to stop several times to set them down, catch my breath, and move a few
more feet. I’m not complaining, by the time I’m there I generally feel triumphant!  But what if I was a little old lady, or a man in a wheelchair, or a homeless guy with no place to store or prepare food? It’s challenging enough for me- I’m stunned at the tenacity of those who are in a worse position than I am.

     I grew up in a world where such things wouldn’t have even been imagined. It wouldn’t have occurred to me that there are little old ladies who might not be able to afford food, and might not have an  adequate way of getting them home or preparing them. I’m quite sure that there are a lot of people who forget that these things are real- because it’s more pleasant to live in a world where the elderly and the sick get good care, children have their needs met, and adults thrive on the fruits of their endeavours.

     The problem is, that’s not really the world we’re living in.

     My last post goes to show you that a lot of things don’t indicate whether you’re going to be financially stable or not. Not to scare my younger readers too much- but I studied at Oxford. You can have a university education, and still wind up in a situation where you are very poor. That can change, but in the mean time it really, really sucks.

     I may be grateful that I have food stamps, for instance, but I don’t like the feeling that I am reliant on them and the food banks to be able to eat. When they’re there, it’s awfully great to have. When it sometimes takes an extra day, if you are reliant on them and broke, you’re hungry. There’s ways around it- for instance I can go to the U-district food bank tomorrow, and the one in lake city on Saturday. I’m fortunate enough to have a bus pass, I can get there and lug the stuff back.  Seattle in some ways has more options for poor people when they get in a spot than a lot of other cities.

     Still, when you’re expecting your card to have grocery money on it and something causes it to take longer, it sucks. It’s another reminder of how powerless poverty can make a person feel- I’m  hungry and eating some kind of slop because I can’t just go to the store and get what I want. Not only that, but the particular slop I came up with last night ended up making me sick, because it was past the date and I chose to eat it anyway. Oops.

     I almost don’t want to post about the way it makes me feel, but I think it’s a good example. It shows how a small bit of  assistance or sheer good luck can really make a situation better or worse. It also shows how poverty encourages depression and feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. I have to regularly fight myself to pull myself out of it, to stay positive and find motivation. I have to do things like say to myself “No, that doesn’t mean I just can’t eat tomorrow, it means that I have to find a different way to get groceries.”  It also eludes to how lack of financial stability can effect a persons health.

     Being physically healthy is dependant on environmental factors. Does the subject have secure shelter? Does the subject have a reasonably warm environment? Is there a decent area in which to sleep, bathe, and prepare meals? Does the shelter have problems such as mold, roaches, mice, etc.? Is the area clean- and dos the subject have proper supplies with which to clean? Is there dish soap, towels, laundry soap, toilet paper, etc.? Are staple needs met? Does the subject have ample decent food and drink?

     When needs like that are met poorly or insufficiently for long enough, the subject can only diminish in health both physically and psychologically.

     I’m very blessed to get food stamps. I can’t wait until midnight, when my EBT card will re-up the food benifits. In a minute I’m going to clean out my fridge. One thing to be careful about with food from the food banks is that it’s generally donated on the last day it’s salable, which means it tends to go bad faster than you may be used to. Use things right away or freeze the extras. I can’t wait till I have food stamps again because I know that the milk in my fride is bad, the bread is moldy, and the fruit has gone soft. Yuck!
Fortunately, even though I can’t afford to just go to the store and get the things I need, soon I’ll be able to zip through the grocery store and pick up a few things.

     I ran out of food stamps in the middle of the month, so it’s been several weeks without butter; cheeze, lemons, and food items that go together in useful combinations. I am very sick of ramen noodles, as much as I like them. I think I may have ruined the idea of penut butter noodles for myself- since earlier today the only things I knew were safe that sounded palatable involved half a jar of  penut butter and some plain pasta shells. Ugh. Well, at least I wasn’t hungry afterwards.

     A thick juicy steak. I’m going to get a thick jucy steak, and soda pop, and stuff for making salads, and all kinds of yummy things. I can’t wait.

     If you’re poor enough that you could use food assistance and don’t get it, definately appily. You can appily with DSHS online, and ask for expided assistance it you’re really in need. Your questions may be awnsered more directly by appilying in person at the Ballard office. If you do not have transportation, ask them for bus tickets while you are there- they will give you a good handful to help you out while your case is being processed.

     The day your card is first available you can pick it up there, if you’d like to have them faster than the mail allows. Then you can walk over to 7-11 and have a picnic if you want to. Food stamps will not buy hot food items, such as pre-prepared hotdogs or hot coffee. It will however allow you to buy microwavable food that you can heat up right there, and does in fact cover slurpees and ice cream. have all the Ben and Jerry’s you want, after that nice jucy steak. 🙂

     Tomorrow is another day, I tell myself; I have to get up and try to make some of the situations in my life that are driving me nuts better. That can be very difficult when you’ve very poor. Even if you start with a sense of humor and a positive attitude that difficult situations can get better, those circumstances can become so wearisome.

     Today, for instance, one of my goals was to get cat litter and cat food. One of my goals?  The act of simply providing for my pets has become something that has to be seen as a goal to be met. People in more “normal” or “stable” financial situations don’t usually
think of things like this. What would you do if you were so broke that you didn’t know how you were going to feed your pets from day to day?

     One answer to that if you live in the North end of Seattle is to visit North Helpline on 30th st.  They don’t always have pet supplies, but particularly at the beginning of the month they usually have cat and dog food as well as cat litter. The humane society makes a huge donation to them once a month at the beginning of the month. I was successful in my mission, and grateful to have a place I can go pick something like that up once in a while when things are really that tight.

     It doesn’t embarrass me now, but it does frustrate me. To have a large chunk of ones day wrap around procuring supplies without money gets old after a while. Ironically, if I had the ten bucks and was just trying to save the money for something else, I don’t think
it would be as frustrating. When you are this broke, the act of getting your cat food for free reminds you that you -have- to do it that way, and that you -are- that broke.

     It creates a hopeless sense of failure, futility, regret. Perhaps there could be better emotional responses, but how does one get to them? I think depression may really be one of the worst things that the nation’s poor face. After enough trying to create a better situation and having it not work, there can come a weakening spirit. It can make a person not want to wake up and face the day, yet another day of being unable to take care of things properly.

     It is true that with dilligence you can do lot’s of things with virtually no money. For instance, you can do your laundry by hand in the shower. You can use paper towels for coffee filters. You can walk in the park, and you can study at the library. So much that we think we need we can get along fairly well without. Still, when it comes to those things, it’s easy to start to feel very disheartened.

     Maybe it’s time to watch some funny vidoes- since laughter tends to diminish the power of sadness.


Boy, anyone who’se ever worked with DSHS will understand this. It took forever. I had to “prove” that I’m poor; with copies of old checks, records of being laid of without unemployment, information about my living situation, and papers relating to my bank account. I had already gotten food stamps, but then they cut them off and I had to begin the process over. Somehow they thought my income changed when it did not.

So, the first thing to know when dealing with DSHS is that you have to stay on top of the paperwork that they start to send you after your first visit. If you are really down and out you can get approved for expedited food stamps within a week, and it happens more quickley if you go down to the office and turn in your paperwork directly. The amount of your benifits will varry depending on the number of people in your household and their combined income.

Everyone needs to eat, you might as well appily. You will probably at least get some assisstance. I was surprised as a single woman to get nearly $200 per month in foodstamps, approved for a year. The trick here is that they do periodic reviews durring that year and you have to stay on top of it, which may require trips across town for more than one visit.

DSHS ( Department of Health and Human Services) does a lot of different things, and getting approved for foodstamps or other benifits from them sometimes makes you ellegible for other assistance from different agencies. When looking for any kind of reasources for the poor, it is one of the first places you should check out.

They provide food stamps, limited bus tickets, assistance for families with children, medical assistance for those with disabling conditions, as well as some other services depending on the needs of the client.

Currently seattle’s Ballard DSHS office has laid off several social workers, so processing is taking longer than it might ordinarily.

If you are looking for medical benifits you will have to prove that you have a physical or mental condition which requires care you do not have acess to. The process of their decision can take up to 65 days, and will require one or more doctor’s evaluations. DSHS will help you schedule the appointments, and pays for them.

Cash benifits are available if you are declared unemployable, and are decided uppon once your evaluations have been completed and processed. (General Assistance Unemployable- GUI ) Your cash benifits will not equal what you need to live on, but it will certainly help!

I plan on talking more about his process and how to get through it again. 🙂

A lot of information and ways to appily online is available at their site here:


To get out of the cycle of poverty I need to make more money and spend less of it.

Sometimes people can be helpful to each other, and it is respectable when people keep their word.  However, it is a good idea not to rely on others to help you accomplish things. Each of us have our own lives, values, and individual goals and motivations. Those things may appear to conflict from person to person. Differences in priorities may cause otherwise aligned people to have difficulty accomplishing mutual goals.

Working together with others to achieve things can be a laudable thing. Each of us have different skills and abilities to offer, insights to share. This can be useful in so many ways that it’s difficult to put into terms that are not vague.

On the flip side, working with others to accomplish anything means aligning priorities successfully enough to make any project valuable for all those involved in it. Everyone may have something different to both give to and gain from a project, but all must both give and gain, or the project will not continue for very long in a group setting.

This seems to be where a balance between self-reliance and a community oriented mindset must be struck.