The season for empty plates

Katie Holmes/Staff

 As grocery stores begin stocking their shelves with turkey paraphernalia, menorahs and Christmas lights, America’s poor await a grim gift from the federal government: brutal cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. In just days, the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s modest 5.5 percent
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Say it one more time

Broke in Berkeley

“What are you doing?” I turned and looked over my shoulder to where my husband was standing. He was watching me at the bathroom sink as I scrubbed my face with an exfoliating pad covered in toothpaste. “Giving myself a facial. What does it look like?” “With toothpaste?” “Of course.”
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For richer or for poorer

Broke in Berkeley

They came to me in the middle of the night. They were young and beautiful and dressed up like they were about to go out. I had about an hour’s warning, and their knock on the door was light so as to wake no one who wasn’t already up. When
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Top ramen wishes and taco night dreams

Broke in Berkeley

Corn tortillas were being warmed over an open gas burner, perfuming the kitchen with that taco night scent. A simmering pan bubbled and spat, and I spotted a mounded bowl of shredded jack cheese. Tomatoes, lettuce and onions were arranged like birthday balloons in bright colors, and bottle of crema
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The failure to communicate

Broke in Berkeley

My best friend’s parents both went to Cal. Some of her earliest memories are of the Campanile and the Cal Band performances, and she was very excited to come visit me when I started here. When we were preparing to graduate from high school, her parents really wanted her to
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