Monday, July 28, 2008


Excerpts written about intranational trips that are very very similar to trips within Baltimore on the MTA. I will reprint the stuff I can directly relate to:


After settling in, we tore off from the embankment, heading north at 8:31 a.m. about 10 minutes later than scheduled. The interior resembled reclaimed carpet from an '80's bowling alley. It was midnight blue with touches of yellow spirals and white diamonds-the kind of tacky pattern that you can stare at for only a short period of time before going completely insane.

I would have been totally pleased with the bathrooms if it weren't for the smell. Upon entering I was greeted with a stench defined by equal parts urine and bleach.

The decor and cleanliness coupled with the bathroom's horrid aromatic cocktail became sort of an afterthought considering how often I feared for my life during the ride. My driver's frequent displays of bus jockeying left me shaky and wondering if he was trying to break some twisted land-speed record. Weaving in aid out of traffic like a participant in the Gumball 3k rally, he pressed on as if no charter bus had ever graced New York City and that his, by god, would be the first.

(Elana's note)

I write this portion about breakneck speeds not only for it's comic effect, but because it is the way 85% of Baltimore's MTA driver's drive, and it is one of the reasons why I feel my life is in such great danger by not having a car , and being forced to be a passenger.

(This Schleicher guy is a wonderful descriptive writer!)

The article, Battle of the Buses also compares Eastern to Greyhound and Megabus.

"Getting There"

The MTA has continued to be a living hell. I would describe 4 of my last 6 trips to be "traumatic" Friday, my driver fell asleep at the wheel. That's right. Took a catnap at a red light, and didn't wake up when it turned green. I was the only one who noticed.

Saturday morning, the driver was driving 10 miles an hour (where as typically they do about 55-60 in a 30 mile zone and then slam on the brakes ever 2 blocks) and then just sitting at green lights for 10 minutes and doing nothing while his eyes look heavy.

Thurs. morning, a total anomaly of a female driver greeted ever passenger with "good morning." I was the only white on the bus. I couldn't get a seat. 2 teen girls thought that hilarious and made fun of me with loud raucous laughter that rang out for 8 blocks. In a shocking move of compassion, the driver yelled back:


Now you and I both know that there is no such rule as No laughing in the world of adults. But I was so moved by her compassion and intuition that when i deboarded I loudly proclaimed,


Normally, for me thanking the driver feels like quite an effort, but this was the first time a driver ever tried to protect me from the sting of reverse racism that is ever so common on the MTA


Update on my Health

There isn't really much of an update. This is the first day where I am beginning to gain my strength back. Ironically I had to cancel the last 3 physical therapy appts. (the car accident) because I don't have the emotional, physical, and psychological wherewithal to be on the buses in the heat. From the bus stop to the p.t. appt. is a 1.5 mile walk which is nearly impossible for me to do when I feel good let alone when I'm sick.

Given the array of symptoms I've had (but no transportation to get to my primary care doctor) I would bet that most doctors would put me in the hospital as an inpatient. But I don't anticipate I'd get better in a hospital. Nor will I get better will I live..........................

I will have a car on 8/4 and plan to go in for a sick visit then.

Stuff that moves me/ Scott's letter to the Editor

Elana's comments
As a victim of bullying from first grade through twelfth, I was really moved by the following letter to the editor. I have edited it for clarity!

"Bullying's effects last a lifetime"

7/25/08 U.S.A. Today Letter to the Editor

Cut Bullies Down to Size

I found Turley's piece about the horrific mental and emotional scars that bullies leave on their devastated victims-scars that often last a lifetime-very enlightening.

I'm a 46 y.o. man who as a child experienced serious trauma @ the hands of bullies. During my high school years I was bullied, teased, tormented, persecuted and beaten up.

To this day, I still get flashbacks and wake up in the middle of the night with the sensation that I am fleeing from my tormentors. I have trouble concentrating and suffer acute anxiety and panic attacks. I'm unable to trust anyone. I'm hostile. I do NO socializing for fear of being bullied again and don't expect marry.

Psychiatrist have failed to help me over the years as have drugs. I'm bitter , hurt, damaged and lonely. I do not work because I can't hold down a job.

I'm in favor of taking bullies to court where they can be cut down to dize by the law. "Our childre do not just hae to take it."

You can't just ignore a bully and hope he'll dissappear. Eventually, a bully must be confronted and hopefully defeated within the confines of the law.

Scott Wolfe
Mashpee, Mass.

Elana's note

Scott may be one of the lucky ones. Not only was he only bullied in high school but he hasn't had to go thru the horrid emotional, and verbal abuses of girl on girl abuse. Not to mention the fact that bullies are in every facet of our society, and they continue to bully no matter their age. In the workplace, etc. Recently, I was asked in a survey, if I thought I'd be treated differently in the workplace because of the color of my skin. I responded, based on years of experience, yes.

Friday, July 25, 2008

"Where has Elana Been?"

Well, I can tell you this much, I sure as hell "ain't been on vacation" where I've been is "hell."

You know that my life conditions are deplorable. And you can only imagine that the longer one spends in poverty, and in an unsafe environment the more of a toll it takes on their health. Nine days ago, Baltimore fell into a heat wave. Between my compromised health, no car, and living on a busy highway, I became nearly 100% sequestered in my apt. The heat wave lasted for 8 days. By the 2nd day of the heat wave the clerk at Panera notice I was coughing. That seemed to turn into a cold, which seemed to turn into flu. Then I got very weak. Couple that with the fact that I have what is called Multiple Chemical Sensitivities .......the rehabbing of the bldg. which has been going on for 3 months now I'm sure is contributing to my hodgepodge of symptoms. It's been downright scary. Yesterday I was so weak I couldn't even pour myself a bowl of cereal, so didn't eat anything until 10 p.m. at night.

There are many times I think it's dangerous for me to live alone. Last week I awoke in the middle of the night twice, and I can't remember whether my vision was compromised, or my breathing was shallow or I was breathing fast, but my first thought was, oh my god, I'm dying....

So when one is on Medicare and Medicaid (like I am) they probably qualify for a home health aide. So I could look into that.........................but then......................what's the point in focusing on that apt. is being robbed at least weekly. (and I need to make a rapid move) (I'm in constant fight flight mode and have been for 15 years, that's the way my mind is all the time) This week my baseball cap has gone mssing, and most of my new book of stamps are gone.

I honestly don't know how I lived to be 45 especially after the occurences of the last 14.5 years. With as open as I am in this email, you'd never know that I'm actually a very private person, but the more I write, the more I realize that, what is there to be embarrassed about? Right?

(I am working my ass if to get out of LA PEW HELL

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thursday 7/11 "What I read, What I bought, what I ate, and where I walked"

What I ate for lunch today:

An amazing vegan tofu wrap from Zia's health food store in Towson, that makes me reconsider going back to veganism

Where I walked today:

through the Towson farmer's market taking in the all the glorious sights of flowers, fruits, veggies, children, outdoor diners, crafters, etc.
What I read today:

(Because I never fell asleep last night)
The children's book entitled: "The Midnight Faeries" About a little girl who couldn't fall asleep because she lost her charm necklace. The faeries found her necklace under the brightness of the full moon and made her promise not to tell that faeries exist. The book includes a charm necklace.

What book I bought today:

Children's Atlas of the World

"Many Women May Find this Offensive"

My friend John says that my life has so much synchronicity that I must be doing something very right. Anyhow, between March and November, everyday, for the last 20 years or so, I think to myself, boy, these women who wear flip flops and shoes similar to flip flops and women who allow their children to wear shoes similar to flip flops might as well be commiting child abuse.

Ironically, yesterday, the newspaper B-The site: had a front page article with flip flops on them. It was entitled:


Paraphrase was/The 6 reasons why flip flops are such an idiotic choice. (my words) and it gave 6 reasons (i tried to pull up the link for you but had a tough time finding it)

Last week I was watching a show , such as Nightline that did a special on the shoe Crocs. Showed pictures of the thousands and thousands of feet and legs of children mangled each years in escalators by children wearing crocs. This is something I think and worry about everytime I see a kid get on an escalator with Crocs or the like. I'm a real believer in trusting your intuition and not waiting for Dateline or nightline to confirm your instincts that these shoes are stupid choices!
If your offended by my post today then:
tough toenails!

"I wonder why my numbers of readers varies so much each week?"

Last week I had 37 readers, and the week before I had 22 readers. Some weeks I provide you with more diverse topics and other weeks I write mostly about stuff going on in La Pew. Oh well. I think lately I write more for my own satifaction then for yours!

Honesty will never get you out of poverty

I keep being honest anyway. And that's part of why I'm still in poverty. I told a family recently that I'm not willing to make a long term commitment to the Baltimore region. The babysitting job would pay about 320 dollars a month. One doesn't make a long term commitment to a city where their quality of life is shit for 320 dollars a month, but families expect nannies to commit even to part time low paying jobs. I'm not sure that they'll still interview me or not. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hell's Hallways Have New Carpeting/Correspondence in Hell

Of course you know that Linden and La Pew were due to come into my home to "inspect" their own work yesterday, 7/14. I can't stand to see any of their faces so I stayed out all day. I left the following note on my door for them.

You will put back up the bedroom blinds that you took down when you replaced my windows and you will repair the new kitchen tiles that YOU damaged when you put them in 2 weeks ago.

(As you can see playing nice does not work)

When I returned yesterday they had put back up my living room blinds and in the process completely destroyed them. They don't work AT ALL ANYMORE! So today, I have to email La Pew, Linden, and the new owners to tell them of the damage so that I don't get charged when I move out. I don't really care that I don't have usable blinds, quite frankly if it's a choice between not having blinds, and having Linden back in my apt. or la pew back in my apt. I'd rather be without blinds. They put back up the bedroom blinds, and they close and open somewhat but did get partially wrecked in the process of being taken up and down. They somewhat repaired, but did not completely repair the kitchen tiles. When emailing La Pew and the new owners today I'll have to bring all of this up so that I don't get charged for stuff that I didn't damage. Other tenants are complaining loud and clear too, but I think I"m the only one who ever complains to the owners or who would consider going to the BBB or to Angie's List (which you have to pay to register with)

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Special Place in my heart for "Common Ground on the Hill"

This weekend was the first weekend that I looked forward to since my New Jersey trip. It's that time of the year again. It's time for Common Ground on the Hill. ( It's an "arts and music" camp of sorts that is more than just a camp. The idea is to bring together people from different cultures and backgrounds through the traditional arts.

In 7/97, my friend Jasaga, told me of cgoth. I told him that I could never afford to go away to camp. (it's held at Western Md. College now known as Mc Daniel) J. said to me, call them up and tell them you'll work off your tuition for your classes! So, I did! And that week in 7/97 has been one of the most meaningful weeks of my life.

In addition to the camp, which used to be one week and now is two, there is a 2 day roots music festival every year at the Carroll County Farm Museum. I rented a car this weekend and spent all day Sat. and all day Sun. watching folk, step dancing, african dance, bluegrass, canadian dance, and on and on and on. The attendees were so friendly, it felt so communal and open. What a shame it had to end. If I have to eat rice until my Aug. 3rd check arrives, it will be well worth it!

I have a photo from 7/97 camp. It's me singing Madrigals with Lea Gilmore, and Lacey, led my Margorie Boudreaux. (i think that was her last name) Whatever class a student takes at the camp, they get to display their work at the end of the week. So, if you spent the week learning how to oil paint, you would display your work at the end of the week. If you learned to build your own didgeridoo, you would show it off. My madrigals class had to put on a concert. I will post this photo on my website. P.S. Lea Gilmore is a world famous touring gospel singer!

"Correspondence from Hell"

So, on 7/10, we received a duplicate letter from the day before, and of course you know a painter came by and said that my door would have to stay open for a few hours. "til 3:30 or 3:40"

chest pain, rib pain, and headaches are common ailments with me. I have no doubt that living at la Pew is really hurting my health.


(I don't have the letter with me this time so I'll go by memory) Dear Tenant, On 7/11 you will need to prop your door open for 6 hours. Y ou can close it by 2 p.m. If you do not follow these orders we will charge you for paint damage.

So, you are leaving a note for 160 families many of whom are functionally illiterate that leaves alot of room for interpretation. What time are they supposed to open their door? I can do simple math. If the door can be closed by 2, then that means I have to set my alarm, and prop my door open no later than 8 a.m. I set the alarm and opened the door at 7:50 a.m. No other doors on my floor were propped open, again, because it requires people to do math. Is there any wonder why we are so angry?


On 7/14 La Pew and Linden will come by your apt. to inspect our work.

What time? It's all I can do not to spend the weekend worrying and dreading Monday. Them inspecting their own work is like a schoolgirl grading her own math test!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"Correspondence From Hell/La Pew Correspondence"


Dear Tenant,

We need very brief access to the entrance doorway to your apt. unit to enable us to connect the corridor carpeting to the carpeting in your unit.

If you have any questions, please contact Management for assistance.

Thank you for your cooperation during this work.

What time? What does very brief mean? Am I supposed to stay home all day? Will you knock? If I leave the house will you have gotten the maint. man to let you in?

July 9th arrives and here's what happens

1 p.m.

bang, bang, bang

One of the Latino painters bangs on my door. I answer. He says: "You are going to have to keep your door open for a few hours so I can paint"

A few hours?

"Yes" "3:30 or 4:30"

I instruct him to lock the door at the end of the day but I can't count on him to do it. I'm only in the house for a few minutes and the fumes are bad, I have to leave. I ask my next door neighbor if she will pull my door shut and lock it if I'm not home. Maint. man is back from vacation, hopefully he won't steal any more of my underwear today while I'm out. Or anything else for that matter.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Quotes that are meaningful to me

This one is an excerpt from a Baltimore Sun article entitled "From your yard to your kitchen" (and I know Margie will love this one)

"In dicey times, the idea of growing just a bit of your own food carries the real flavor of July 4th. It smacks of independence."


"90% of success is showing up" by Barack Obama. (I know he isn't the original author however!)


This is an excerpt from a letter to the editor of the Baltimore Sun. The letter was written by Tracy Grady of Mesa, AZ on 6/27/08 and she said:

"The good news is, we own our own vehicle, so when we are evicted from our house, we can live in it."

The Bachelorette Finale

Wow! I can not believe it! Deanna is marrying Jesse! I'll bet few predicted that. Like I said in a previous post, any of those 3 guys would make a great husband but I hadn't pegged Deanna as "counterculture." Jesse , out of the 25 guys, is the most like my ex.

Anyhow, I wonder how many women will try to track down Jason to let them know of their availability!? He is a great catch, isn't he? Poor guy. It is a cruel show in some ways, isn't it? I'm surprised he's making such a fast recovery!

Are there any other Bachelor/Bachelorette show addicts out there?

"One Block away from a better life"

Why didn't I fill out this form earlier? I wondered this as I just re-discovered it in my pile of papers

. I read it carefully and saw nothing on the form itself prohibiting me from qualifying so I filled it out

. It's called County Ride. They are vans that come and get you and take you wherever you need to go around the county. This would make me much more employable. There are also taxis that take you anywhere in Baltimore County for 3 dollars each way. Supposedly all you need is for your doctor to verify that you are not capable physically of withstanding the buses. My Dr. o.k.'d the paperwork, I sent it off, and dreamt of how much easier my life would be.

After I got all the papers off, I found a brochure describing County Ride in more detail. Turns out I need to live one block North of where I live to qualify.......................................

"Economic Stimulus Package was a big fat lie"

For 6 months I waited with baited breath. (baited?, bated?) I called the I.R.S. numerous times and never got a real human being or absolute confirmation that I'd get the 300 dollars.

. I kept getting mixed messages from different sources over the next few month; such as:

  Because I'm on disability I'll get nothing

 i'll get 300

 i'll get 600

  I finally confirmed that I'll get 300. I regularly checked my mail even though my check was supposed to be direct deposited. I considered this money a birthday present from President Bush since it was due to arrive around my birthday. I treated myself to 2 days in a new jersey hotel, knowing I'd get reimbursed.

Finally, on July 5 I got an engraved envelope in the mail with the words "stimulus payment" on it. I opened it up, and it said that "You will receive your $300 dollar check by July 5th;

 but if you don't receive your check within 6 weeks of that date (governnment doublespeak) then give us a call.

I called my bank account twice within the next 24 hours to see if the money was deposited. It wasn't.

On Monday, July 7, 2008, I received an envelope with the return address: "Dept. of the treasury" I opened it up and it said "the federal government has garnished your 300 dollar stimulus payment since you never paid off your student loans!"

Cruel and unusual punishment to string poor people along like this and then whack them at the last minute. I wonder how many other millions of Americans in debt this has happened to? I think this deserves a letter to the editor.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

"My dangerous home"

I was speaking to my acquaintance Martha in the hallway yesterday at La Pew. She's lived here for about 10 years if not more. She said that the last maintenance team were known for stealing from the residents and that the old management team blew the residents off when they'd complain.

 Management would suggest that tenants were going crazy, or just being forgetful, and that  "Maintenance would never ever steal from tenants"

 This is the first time I've ever heard of a tenant who had the guts to take maintenance staff to court.

Apparently, Edith (an ex tenant, senior citizen) moved to county section 8 and then took La Pew maintenance men to court. Martha doesn't know what the outcome of the case was. I told Martha that I"m afraid to go to court against the current maint. staff because I'm afraid to have a case against someone who has a key to my home.

THis morning, I saw Sharon in the laundry room. She confirmed that the halls and laundry rooms in our bldg. are terrifyingly dangerous and that she also dreads doing laundry.

I tried to figure out a way around this problem, I have a rental car once a month, and I could go to the laundromat then, however, I can't stand the idea of only doing laundry once a month.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

New network television series: "the baby borrowers"

The idea behind the show is to give teen couples an opportunity to experience juggling career, primary relationship (i.e. marriage) and parenting. The parents of the babies "lent" their own babies to the young couples/ then observed the teens on close circuit t.v.

 Then professional nannies observe the teens only stepping in in an emergency. Some teens are doing better than others. Alicia seems like a fairly angry teen with a pretty bad attitude. I'm surprised the parents are still letting her even be in the same house with their child. It can't be good for that child. 

 the mother had a frank talk with Alicia who is pissed that the mother expressed her views, so refuses to care for the child and is letting her boyfriend do all of the work.

One major critique that I have of this show is: if you're going to show what it's like to be in the "real world" let's BE real about wages.

The teens are in a fancy house in a quiet suburb. They are being paid wages higher than what is paid in the real world for certain jobs. For example, all teens who go out to work are making more than 10 an hour. THey are making 500 a week. This is not enough to afford a reliable car and a house in a safe neighborhood.

  But on top of that, in the real world, the boy who has been given the coffeehouse job, would be making 6 an hour and he and his girlfriend teen would be homeless and raising a baby on that wage especially since one teen is the "stay at home" parent. Even at the 500 a week that the show is paying the teens, that would not be enough to afford a 1 bedroom apt. in a safe neighborhood in Baltimore unless they pay well over 25% of their incomes in rent.

Have you seen "the baby borrowers"?

What are your thoughts?

I sent another letter to the mayor

I just sent another letter to the mayor (and the new owner of La Pew) about the horrendous conditions here at "home"

. In the 3 years I've been at la pew I've contacted:

virtually every cop in the northeast district
chief of police
head of HUD
channel 11,13,2, and 45
the I Team
new owners
city council

And I've gotten nowhere. Still aggressively seeking a safe, healthy place to live.

Blogger's Choice Awards

Cool! I'm researching how I can make money at blogging. And while researching I came across this website, where you can vote on your favorite blogs in various categories. There is no category like "best poverty blog" but there are categories such as "best educational blog" and "best charity blog" pretty interesting stuff. I also learned that another good site to visit if you want to make money as a blogger is "blogherads"

check 'em out!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"The Bachelorette" 6/30/08

It was heartbreaking to see Deanna say goodbye to Jeremy. They had a very, very special connection and Jeremy is a wonderful person. So are the other 2 for that matter. But I told you weeks ago that my fave is Jason. I think she is engaged to Jason. (She announced her engagement last night, but we don't know to whom) I will be very dissapointed if she's engaged to Jesse. Not because I don't like Jesse, but because I "see" her with Jason, more than with Jesse. But I think it's going to be Jason. You? But if she doesn't give Jason a rose, then I'll have to try to track him down!


"La Pew Correspondence/Correspondence from hell"


Dear Tenant,

Tomorrow morning work will commence in your apt. unit on the medicine cabinet installation. Workers will be removing the old medicine cabinets and installing new ones.

Please remove all items from your med. cabinets and from the immediate area in front of and surrounding the cabinets to allow free passage and wasy access to the work area. Please secure any valuables during the duration of this work.

If you have any questions, please contact management for assistance. Thank you for your cooperation during this work.

I always have a hard time deciding whether or not to leave while they are working. They keep your door propped open all day, and they come and go. When they are done the work for the day, they neither close your door, nor lock it.

I decide to leave the house. Of course I lock the door. Shouldn't they have the common sense to go to the office if they need to get in? They don't honestly expect me to leave the house unlocked all day do they? When I returned at the end of the day, I discovered that no work had been done at all!

Next morning (Monday) they do show up. They are in and out all day. All they have done is caulked the walls in the kitchen, taken my old medicine cabinet down, and put it in the bathtub.

By 4:50 p.m. No medicine cabinet has been installed. They don't know any English. I yell down the hall to them.



I motion for him to follow me. I take him to the bathroom and I say: "Fin?" "No mas trabajar hoy?" (You're finished working for the day? I'm incredulous that they would leave my old cabinet in the bathtub and not even put up my new one)

worker-"No mas trabajar hoy."

I'm angry, and I say nothing. He brings 3 others back to my apt. with him and they confer in Spanish. Apparently, they decide that it isn't a good idea to be in and out all day and have done nothing, so they put up the new medicine cabinet.

I wonder if they are definitely coming back tomorrow, but I know that even if they say yes in Spanish, I can't know for sure, because we just aren't given that kind of respect here at La pew.


8 a.m. July 1. The cacophony of hammers and banging starts in the bldg. my floor is shaking and every couple of minutes my body is jolted by what sounds like my ceiling crashing in. I wonder if they are coming back today to paint. I leave the following note on my door.

Pintaduras Listo!


Por favor pinta despues de 11 en la manana!

(I have no idea if this note is going to do any good. It says: Attention Painters, I am ready. Please don't come until after 11 a.m.)


on my door. It's the supervisor. He yells thru the door, can we come at 10 instead of 11?

I don't have a choice do I? I ask.

No, he says, we have to stay on schedule.

I think to myself that it's all about their schedule and our needs do not matter.

We agree that he'll come back at 10.

Deja Vu

This should be sounding familiar folks, like my post from 7 weeks ago. At 9:05 bang, bang bang. I yell thru the door, It's not 10 o'clock yet~!

We here to paint, painter 2 yells thru the door (the same exact man that did the same exact thing 7 weeks ago. Word was never given to him that I need til 10 a.m.)

E-But the supe just said he's giving me until 10!

I'm worried about my belongings but I HAVE  to leave the house today, (day 2 physical therapy) and WANT to leave the house today, so I'll just have to hope for the best. I'm not too worried that the contractors will steal from me. But I am worried about maint. I've had about 40-45 dollars worth of bras and underwear stolen in the last 2 weeks, not to mention other stuff like the charger for my cell phone.................................................

"Dis ain't Mr. Roger's neighborhood!"

Yesterday, I sat in the main lobby for 10 minutes. That's about all I can handle. For the first 3 minutes or so, I talked to "Studley" (you know him from my previous posts) Then , a new neighbor, sat down next to Studley and started talking to him, but made no eye contact with me.

N.N. = new neighbor

N.N.-"Dis place gettin' on ma damn nerves" "Da people here gettin' on ma damn nerves." "I'd like to kill somebody. I'd like to kill my ex" "If I could find a way to kill my ex without going to jail, I would.l" "I gotta move outta dis damn place."

me-"So hard to get out."

N.N.-making no eye contact with me, addresses his comment to Studley, ( certain that I'm too dense to understand what he means!)

"All I'd have to do is go back to ma last job, den I'd have da money by tomorrow morning to move out!"

He leaves.

I say to Studley, "I know what his last job was"

Studley-"You do? I was sure you wouldn't have picked up on that."

E-"He didn't think I'd know either." "Umma smart girl! I got street smarts!"

99% of what I hear in the hallways is hateful and negative, so i still have to keep mainly to myself. Such an exhausting place to live.