Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"Good News"

Last November I had the full work up at a neurologist for pain, numbness, and pins and needles in all 4 limbs. I wondered if I had multiple sclerosis, or if my symptoms were a wheelchair sentence. Today I got the results of the tests. "Mild" neuropathy.

Dr. M. made it clear that the word "mild" is not to diminish the fact that you are feeling alot of pain. But she said that people like me are much better off than the people where the numbness is their main problem. It's the people who stumble because they can't feel their feet that may end up in a wheelchair. There is no cure for neuropathy per se, just treatments for pain.

I asked her if she can tell whether or not I have multiple sclerosis. She said that is diagnosed by an MRI of the brain. I told her I had that MRI done a while back because of the frequent headaches I was having, and the MRI showed no problems. She said then you have nothing to worry about.

Neurontin and Topomax are popular for treating nerve pain. But I"m already on oxycodone and cymbalta for nerve and fibromyalgia pain neither of which seem to be helping. (The oxycodone sedates me but doesn't reduce my pain. My friend a pharmacist, is surprised that the oxy. hasn't reduced my pain) I will talk to my primary care doc. next week and tell him about the neurologists findings and recommendations for pain control and see what he steps he decides to take next.

I am thrilled that I no longer have to worry about wheelchairs!

Probably true in most "college" towns

Now, I understand why so many Towson (a section of Baltimore County) homeowners resent living in close contact with so many university students. Saturday you may remember I attempted to go to the Towson Spring Festival. Turned out it wasn't free, so I didn't go in, but more importantly the music was so deafening I'd just be paying for a "ticket" towards rapid hearing loss.

But the subject of this post is mainly the resentment of community members. The entire campus was filled with drunken stumbling men. One man was so drunk, he "rushed" me and then stopped about 1/2 inch from my face. I yelled "DO NOT BARREL INTO ME" If he had, he would have really hurt me. His friend apologized.

I must have seen 100 or more drunks. Nearly every man I saw from the University all the way into the Towson main center (off campus) was drunk. Cop cars sped up York Road. (not unusual) and I overheard a girl say on her cell to a friend that the cops were heading to a frat party to break it up.

This is the first time I haven't felt safe surrounded by Towson's college students. Perhaps I've never been near campus on a pretty spring weekend day, on the day of an outdoor festival.

I now understand why the homeowners are looking forward to May, when many of the kids will head to their parents homes for the summer.

Now, Baltimore is the kind of town that doesn't get any safer over the summer, in fact, most cities crime rates skyrocket in nice weather, and I'll bet we are no exception. But for homeowners living on the same block as a frat house or in close proximity to other partiers probably feel some relief anyway.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

"A long lost goal"

I'm reminded of the goal occasionally, when I meet Latinos in restaurants or on bus stops. The goal was to become fluent in Spanish. Certainly getting a nanny job it Texas or California would increase my chances of reaching that goal.

I'm doing this posting for your hopeful amusement.

There was a Latino couple at the bus stop today and the wife was scratching off what looked like a lottery ticket.

I just HAD to practice my broken Spanish!


(they don't seem to understand immediately!)

"TU ES RICO!?" I asked.

They both smile and laugh.

Then I say:

"USTEDES SON RICOS! " (you are rich!) (I proclaim proudly, certain that I have it right this time)

They know very little English, which is true for most of the Latinos I meet.

Three teen girls drive by with windows down, in a celebratory spirit. One looks at the handsome husband and says in a flirtatious tone:


I wave. Then I tell them in slow deliberate English: "She is flirting with you!"

The wife asks what? (que or como, i can't remember which)

I do some "sign language" explaining in Spanish that I used to teach English to Latinos. I motion a flirty motion and then I say: "Eso is "flirting" en Ingles" (the word is flirting in English)

"Que es la palabra por "flirting" in Espanol?" I ask.

The wife says: "ME GUSTA!"

Oh, I reply, "I like you"

She asks me where I used to teach English and I can't remember the name of the center in Fells Point, so I just say "fells point." "No recuerdo la nombre de la edificio" (I can't remember the name of the building)

do you know "fells point?" I ask.

"No", she said.

"Es en calle Broadway" I explain. (It's on Broadway Street)

Oh si! ( she knows Broadway street)

We board the bus, and I get off for the Spring festival. "ADIOS!" I pronounce. "ADIOS" they reply. (I'm on my way to try out the Towson University Spring Festival, because it's not as grueling a bus ride as the ride to the Johns Hopkins Spring Fair)

I hope you enjoyed the above anecdote.

Habla espanol?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"This the way most things go/the san diego nanny interview"

I call the # the mom left on my home voice mail. Her name is (yes I always make up the name, but I won't make up anything else) "Janet Smith. " I call the # she's left on my v.m., her outgoing message says "you've reached mary kilpatrick, please leave a message." I leave a message.

"This is e.s. the nanny in baltimore, i'm a little bit confused, your outgoing message says: "you've reached mary, and i thought i was calling janet. if you really are janet then please get back"

(She calls and leaves a message saying something to the effect of : oh, mary is my friend, i'm not sure how that happened. why don't you call me at 123-456-7890.)

I accidentally call her cell instead of the # i just listed above. her cell is "234-567-8900." So, i get thru to the voice mail and the outgoing message says: "you've reached 345-678-9012!" So, I re-dial 3x over the course of the day thinking that the lines must have gotten crossed! Why is it that I'm callling "234" and I'm getting "345" So, I finally leave a message stating: "I'm calling you on the # you gave me but it's going thru to a different #, please call me if you get this message"

So, I realize this morning, that there is another # where I can call her at work. Her reply to my nanny ad said something to the effect of "nanny can live in the 1 b.r. apt"

I do reach her today, and the long and the short of it is that she is looking for 160 hours help a month, and in return, I can sleep in the living room on the sofa, there is no salary. She said she can help me get a car, but that's about it. So, she lives with her 3 kids in a 1 bedroom apt. (wow, 4 people in one bedroom) and she is offering up the living room sofa as payment!

If I were homeless, I'd do it. But I'm not, so I'm going to keep looking.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The business I tried to start 2 years ago

Here is the ad I took out in the paper:


Elana Snyder, BASW

Life Coach/Counselor, Intuitive

Individuals, Couples, Parenting Skills and More

I have a myriad of experience with an extremely diverse client base.



Job hunting while carless is a terribly long process

My main focus, but not my only focus, has been on finding live in nanny work. I have a significant amount of competition as far as sheer numbers of women seeking this type of work. I'll bet that many of them are in my boat. Seeking live in because they are carless and can't get hired any other way.

My advantage is that I have my 90 credit hour early childhood education certificate from Towson University, experience as a nanny and teaching preschool, and a Bachelors in Social Work.

Some of the moms need a nanny so bad that they won't even make the time to interview me. Some of the mothers are afraid to give up their phone number which I think is really silly, because if they are using craigs list to find a nanny then they have to take a chance with strangers. If you are so scared you won't even give out your #, you probably shouldn't use Craigs List to find a nanny!

It feels like the right path however and I am running these ads in my favorite cities all over the nation, keeping climate in mind. (I sleep best in that short period of time where you don't need air conditioning or heat) I think that is largely because I've always lived in places where there is either no air conditioning, insufficient air conditioning, uninsulated homes, no heat, or insufficent heat. Needless to say I've slept a little better this week then usual.

I still read the job ads in the local paper, but I really am at the end of my rope with public transit here, and don't want to put myself through the extreme stress anymore, not to mention the fact that employers don't want to hire you if you don't have a car.

Still have to hide my last few belongings around the house due to the thefts, so that is really taking a toll on my health. But I will most likely continue to pay the rent on the place no matter what, since, a federal subsidy is nothing to "sneeze at"

I could be wrong, but my instinct is that once you get that subsidy, you should "stay on the track" i.e. not drop it, as you might need the subsidy again in your life, and I'd like to have a "insurance policy" against future episodes of homelessness!

Just taking it one day at a time. Eager to be productive again as a nanny, using my skills and talents!

Friday, April 11, 2008

"Each day filled with grueling decisions"

I got my first offer for a trial position, live in. I spent more than a week trying to figure out whether or not it is a good fit. It's the live in position serving as a companion for an elderly man in a very safe section of Baltimore County. With trepidation I called and asked if there was a car that I could use, and explained that I can't live in that part of Bmore without one. She thought about it and decided yes. (The car just sits there, and I offered to pay my share of the expenses)

I thought about how my life would improve with a car, and she said that if I wanted to job hunt with it I could. And you're probably thinking, "then you should have taken it elana, you should have taken it."

But I have had 80 addresses in my life, and they all influence who I am today. I was not ready to move in with this man. My intuition kept telling me not to move in with him despite the fact that I would have been safer. He's the one who has the t.v. on 24/7, and sleeps in front of it. I proposed to the daughter, that I commute from my place and still fulfill all the needs they are looking for. (I'd still use the bedroom but not necessarily stay over every night) She, unfortunately didn't like the idea. It would have allowed me to transition into a new situation.

Let me tell you about my past roommates. Their was Ann, from summer 01. When she was upset she'd bang her head into the wall. She opened an unlicensed daycare in our apt. without asking me if I minded or not. The children stole my food and my music.

There was Paul, he had custody of his kids every other weekend, he taught his 5 year old to climb onto the stove so she could reach the top kitchen cupboard for wine glasses.

There was Sam, who sexually harrassed me when his wife wasn't home.

There was Jim who told callers that I don't live there.

There was Frank, who lit candles then forgot about them and left them unattended. (The bedroom of his house burnt down before I moved in)

Oh, and Jim had custody of a 5 year old and 3 year old but kept gas containers indoors.

There was Les, who I mentioned in my 11/05 blog, the one who was mentally ill and expected me to keep Kosher.

Before I move in with people, I review the people I've lived with and then try to work up the courage to move in with them! Needless to say, moving in with a family takes GUTS AND MORE!

I will continue to run live in nanny ads however, and keep interviewing, and I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Marijuana/Alcohol legality

On the news last night, they showed a pot shop in Colorado that has just opened. It's purpose is to be a legal resource for people needing pot for pain relief. You may or may not know that each state decides whether or not pot should be legal, but the feds can over-ride it.

Personally, I can't breathe any kind of smoke into my lungs. But I'd like to see pot legalized so that people like these CO shop owners don't have to worry about being shut down. I already told you that fibromyalgia pain is excruiciating. I also get migraines that last for a week, and I have heard that pot is great medicine.

When you get right down to it, if people want something bad enough, they are going to get it, legal or not. That is the primary reason why I think pot should be legalized.

Another thing I saw on the news is a story on binge drinking at the colleges. We send our kids off to war at 18, we let them drive at 16, we don't know what age to let them have sex, we don't let them drink til they are 21, but they find a way to get it and go so far as to get illegal driver's licenses. The age thing is so arbitrary and makes no sense. The greatest influence on the decisions that teens will make is going to be , most likely, how they were raised. So should the drinking age be lowered to 18? Probably so.

I just kept it to myself

Low income people get so accustomed to a lack of medical care or poor medical care, that they just suffer in silence. (Hmmm, this reminds me of another story, about my ex roommate Paul from 2001) Here's an example. In '01, my roommate Paul had severe stomach pain but no health insurance. He was on some med for an injured leg. He ignored the pain. (I understand the concept of suffering in silence very well) because he had no health insurance.

One day, I was on his computer and he was sitting behind me. I said something to him, and got no response. I turned around, he went ghost white and collapsed head first on the floor. I called 9-1-1 and just sat on the floor with his head in my lap, having no idea what to do, really. He asked what happened, so he was conscience. I was supposed to be leaving for a party. I went to the hospital and they told me I had saved his life by calling 9-1-1. He lost so much blood that he would have died. Turned out, the med he was on caused internal bleeding............................

Which leads me to this. I grew so accustomed to such poor medical care from the low income clinics, (this was when I was on "Primary Care for the Medically Indigent" insurance) that I really just kept most of my concerns to myself. I didn't really know there was an alternative to the excruciating pain of fibromyalgia. But over the years, I occasionally overhear wealthier people talking about trying different meds for pain.

So, I just recently realized that I don't have to just suffer. I saw a commercial on t.v. for a med called Lyrica for fibromyalgia. I tried that but it didn't work. So my doc. tried me on hydrocodone, and that didn't work. Today, I started on Percoset, and I am almost completely pain free. I can't remember being pain free since about 1986. It's extremely important for me to be able to function, since I am job interviewing as a nanny.

Over the past 5 years, I've had a lot more trouble breathing. You already know that I live in a toxic apt. bldg. Baltimore City's pollution is far higher than EPA's acceptable standards. Now that I have such good insurance, I told my doc about how much trouble I'm having with breathing. So today, he sent me to the hospital for the full array of pulmonary function test. It was very hard, very stressful, I would have never guessed that. (I have never smoked)

I told them that my birthmother has never smoked but is on oxygen and has pulmonary fibrosis. They told me not to worry about inheriting breathing problems, that is very unlikely. So by May, I'll know the prognosis.

Back to the Percoset. I do not and have never had, an addictive personality. I've been pretty involved with vegetarianism, alternative medicine and the like, and still have that to draw from. I do not see myself using Percoset for the long haul. Once I get a reliable car, I can get around to chiropracters, massage therapists, etc. and I fully expect that will make a big difference. But in the meantime, life is a balancing act. I'm grateful for the health insurance I have, and if I have to rely on Western medicine for the time being, then so be it. Whatever I have to do to raise my quality of life, I will do, as long as it is ethical and legal.

Speaking of legality, check out my next blog piece on marijuana.

"A Few Steps Up"

I've been meaning to tell you about this for quite a while. Mostly all I see around me is a society in extreme dysfunction. Mostly, it's tough to get anything accomplished , especially if I have to depend on others to do their part. But every once in a while stuff gets done the right way, and it's very gratifying.

This happened almost 2 years ago. I had been noting for quite a while that the staircase in Towson, made of wood, at 1 E. Joppa, did not look safe to me. It takes you from Barnes and Noble down to the bottom of the plaza to Trader Joes. I had always been afraid to take that staircase, uneven wood, holes, just made me nervous. I thought about the hundreds and hundreds of people who absentmindedly take that staircase each day.

I told the clerk at Barnes and Noble that I had a concern about it, and she forwarded my note to the manager, who apparently contacted the person in charge , the owner I guess. Within 2 weeks the staircase was roped off, new wood was ordered, and the staircase was rebuilt!

That's "my" staircase, and it makes me happy to think that I might have saved a life or at least a few limbs from being broken!

Small victory but victory nonetheless!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

You Tube Music Videos/natural antidepressant

More of my faves. (there may be some redundancy here)

rapper's delight
"hot child in the city" by Nick Gilder, Sweeney Todd
"Fire" by the Ohio Players
and of course, again, "Dancing Machine" The Jackson 5
Led Zeppelin
KC and the Sunshine Band
Marvin Gaye
Phoebe Snow-"Poetry Man
Stevie Wonder

"The Bachelor/London Calling" (abc.com)

My Notes! 3/24/08

Marshana was curious about where Matt stood on inter-racial dating. He replied: "It's different in the U.K." I would have loved to hear more about that subject. No doubt it's different, I've dated men from many, many, different countries. Matt said that he finds Marshana really beautiful and essentially that she shouldn't worry about the race thing.

Matt gave Ashlee a rose, because she sings and write songs. I think Ashlee is pretty cute, do you?

Some of the drama makes me giggle, like the guy who you can't see who says stuff like

"whose dream of marrying an English gentlemna will end tonight?!"

I believe that most men melt at the sound of a nice female singing voice. Apparently Matt is no exception, as 3 or 4 of the girls in this batch are singers!

Chelsea admits to being lonely. "I want someone who is smart an d can make me laugh"

Looks like Shayne didn't realize what she was getting herself into. She is not coping well with the pressure of all of the other female competition.

Carrie asks: Do you like my dress? (to matt) (I don't think I'd fish for a compliment like that)

Personally I really don't care for Shayne too much.

Matt hates the rose ceremony as much as mark did. (mark from last season) Rose ceremony is where the girls gradually get eliminated until Matt finds his "true love"

I do really like Matt though, and it's easy to see how all these girls could fall so hard for him. I was surprised that Marshana's overtly sexual dancing did not get her eliminated. He ended up giving her a rose anyway.

I'm shocked he gave Shayne a rose.



So Holly and Matt are going to see a pre-screening of "Made of Honor" WOW. WHAT A DATE! That sure did look like fun, didn't it? red carpet, paparazzi, private showing. No wonder they thought they were in love. Holly appears very lucky right now. In fact they seem perfect for one another. It may however, have been foolish for them to write their I love you message in the cement!

The Rugby Game

Oyy that looks miserable. Beating each other up looks painful, especially without protective gear, however it's easy to see how the girls could really get into the beating up part of things given what they are competing for!

I was away from the t.v. during the post rugby party, and I'm not really sure why Matt gave Robin a rose, are you?

Boy there sure is alot of jealousy on this show. I'm sure the girls know before they ever join up they those kinds of feelings are going to surface. I sure couldn't go the media route with dating, could you?

Matt told Shayne he was intrigued about her parents. I can understand her discomfort. I'm always uncomfortable talking about my parents. Shane explained that she grew up in a dysfunctional home.

Matt said that it looks like she has about 400 shoes. She said yes, as long as she has a myriad of purses, shoes, watches and cool cars she'll be happy. He said: "So you're high maintenance?" She hesitated then said: "

I think it's really childish for the women to interrupt each other's dates, like Robin did. She really started something, didn't she? I would fear falling into disfavor if I interuppted Matt while on a date. But Robin says: "You have to fight for what you want"

They all hate her.

So, are you enjoying this season of the Bachelor?

"Why I think most people are so selfish"

Because for example, and I have lots of examples of this one. I had been looking forward to this organization's event for weeks. I even reserved a spot. They are a non profit who pay lip service to the poor. So, weeks ago I let it be known that I needed a ride. The email was forwarded to about 200 people. No one called me to offer me a ride.

I think most people are selfish because nearly every meeting I schedule, the individual or organization doesn't show at all, is 1/2 hour late, 1 hour late, etc, or calls at the scheduled time to say they are running more than 45 min. late or are not going to show at all. MEAP asked the people in our bldg. to show up in the community room twice in one week. Neither time did they show.

When my mercury sable broke down on Lake Avenue 21 months ago, everyone was angry with me. People yelled, people looked angry, but no one stopped their car to check and see if I was safe. It was a while before an officer showed, but when one did, a neighbor came out and told me and the officer "how dangerous it is for my car to be there!" DUH. What an idiot. Apparently, she and everyone else thinks it was my choice to break down.

Because people tailgate and curse at people who drive near the speed limit, suggesting that we should break the law for them because it's inconvenient to follow the law. Because when I had my car I saw so much road rage. Because drivers are mostly angry at pedestrians for slowing them down. (I'm sure there are kinder societies than Baltimore out there)

Because most clerks act "put out" that they have to serve a customer at the register or otherwise.

I could write a book on why I think that most people are selfish.............................

I love Oprah's Big Give (more on that in a different blog) but most people don't give a x#$% damn about anybody but themselves.