Thursday, August 28, 2008

"He lives 2 doors down"

I hadn't seen my acquaintance from 3 doors down in many months. That's probably a good thing because most of the men in my bldg. sexually harrass me. So, when I saw him on my hall a few days ago I told him I hadn't seen him in a long time. Normally he's kind of "fake happy" Alot of the blacks are "high on God" "high on born again Christianity" I'd like to say. But he was in a severe depression.

He said: "I've been in a severe depression for a long time" I asked why. He said because my car was stolen. I thought that sounds like a familiar Balto. story. He said it was stolen from Greenmount Ave. I asked him if they found it or not and he said yes, they did, but then they impounded it and he can't afford to get it out of impound. (If he were a listener I would have told him how many times that's happened to me but he wasn't really listening to me, so I simply said that it sounds familiar.)

Yesterday, I was walking to Bagelo, and he was pulling up in his car. I congratulated him. He said he got the couple hundred together to get the car out of impound. We talked for almost 20 minutes and I was so happy that he hadn't sexually harrassed me. He said that it's not the first time his car's been stolen. He was at the gas station at harford and 25th and he was hijacked at gunpoint!

I told him that's why I stay out of the city. I also said that when I had a car there were only certain places I'd go with the car, and only certain gas stations I'd go to. I told him that my rule of thumb was, if it's a gas station where beggars approach me for money then that's a gas station I refuse to go to. I also told him that when I went to "church" in broad daylight in 3/03, I came out and they smashed out all of the windows of my Honda and stole everything off of my seats. I told him that I stopped going to that "church" and stopped going to the city!

When the conversation ended I started walking to Bagelo, and he yelled: "I like your walk!" I became immediately uncomfortable and self conscious. You shouldn't have to listen to that in your own apt. bldg. But what can I do?! That kind of behavior is completely ingrained in his culture. So I yelled back:


"USA Today/Displaced, figting to find a place to live"

"Thousands of people who lost homes in hurricanes struggle with rent whle awaiting rebuilding aid."

by Rick Jervis

Gulfport, Miss

For the past month, Ms. King has been forced to live in room 219 at the Broadway Inn Motel off of Highway 90 in this storm scarred seaside town. If she could, she'd move tomorrow, but rents are nearly double what they were pre-Katrina. FEMA's been paying King's hotel bill whild she tries to find permanent housing on her 700 dollar a month disability check.

King's been forced to move 5x in the last 3 years by FEMA. (Personally, I've had 80 addresses) I feel like a victim she went on to say. "She's one of thousands stuck in housing limbo." FEMA has announced a deadline of 3/1/09 to cut off all temp. housing payments.

I don't usually meet them but there sure are alot of people in dismal conditions like my own.


I'm now registed with this website which is pretty cool. You tell them the zip code that you are interested in working in and if you like, they will send you daily job alerts out of those zip codes. (In my case they've asked me what types of jobs I'm interested in I said "all") So, they are sending me daily job alerts out of my zip and my other favorite zip which is out of state.

Of course for out of state jobs it takes quite a bit of money to get there to interview, so it still makes most economic sense for me to take a live in nanny job because at least I can do the interview over the phone, and once I leave Baltimore for the position I've got housing and work for the time that the family and I are happy. But like I said there sure is a huge amount of competition out there for live in nannies................................

It's all so exhausting, this trying to pull yourself up by your bootstraps.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"I'm no stranger to asking strangers for help"

And you could in a sense say that I've been running "rescue me" ads of one sort or another for 14 years. One guy who responded to my housing ad was supposed to meet me today in Baltimore. No confirmation call, no show. He has an extra room in his house in "87" Pennsylvania. That's right. He lives in the town of 87. He was planning to share his car with me and then eventually take me to get a car at the auction in PA (my idea)

But, no show. There are tons of people who say they like the idea of having a house mate but never follow thru. Perhaps because I make it very clear that my focus is to get out of poverty, and guys would like to think that if they rescue a girl that she will fall in love with him.

Sadly, no matter how nice people seem, most of the time I get stood up with no call for cancellation. In my mind it's unconscionable to stand people up, but that's not the way the world works.

So, in some form or another about 100 people a day hear my story and know that I'm looking for safe housing........a painstakingly slow process when you don't make enough money to afford housing in a safe neighborhood.

But I simply won't accept La Pew as my forever fate.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Earnings Escalator has stopped for Grads by Susan Reimer


Jessie, my college aged daughter, once declared herself to be "unemployable." "I can't possibly work five days a week. I can't possibly get up this early every day. And I can't possibly do all this commuting." she said in a huff.

She was about to start an internship that required her to get up early and commute 5 days a week, and she was miserable. "Yep." I said. "That would make you unemployable."

Reality fast approaches. She will graduate from Penn State in May and although many Penn State students are so happy in Happy Valley that they dread leaving the blue and white womb I think she's ready.

She isn't ready to get up early and commute five days a week, but I think she finally might be curious about what employment will look like for her. I think she'd like to earn some money, instead of relying on her ability to charm her father.

Me? I'm worried as hell.

When I graduated from college, my starting salary was equal to what my father was earning at Alcoa after a 40 year career.

The "escalator effect," which promises that each generation will do better than the last, was working for me.

It won't work for Jessie. I don't make that much but she has no hope of earning anywhere near what I earn when she starts out.

Jessie plans to live at home with us. I'm delighted. When we get to slamming pots around the kitchen, my husband just beams and waits for us to put a plate in front of him.

Living at home puts geographic limits on her employment opportunities, but the fact is that wages, especially entry level wages have stagnated while housing, gas and food proces have soared.

Jessie might have to have 14 roommates if she wanted to move out.

And she's one of the lucky ones. Her parents paid for her college. The average student loan debt for graduating seniors nationwide is 21k according to the Project on Student Debt. Her parents gave her one of their old cars, so she doesn't have that nut to crack either.

We have been picking up the check for her for 4 years, so she doesn't have the average of 3k in credit card debt on top of it all.

And we made sure she will be covered by health insurance, even if she doesn't find work right away, so she doesn't have to worry about that.

Heck, she's even on my car insurance and cell phone plans.

But Jessie will enter a working world much harsher than the one her parents entered out of college.

Her job will be tied tightly to her performance and to her company's performance. Her employer will keep her only as long as it benefits him to do so.

Any raises she gets will be based on performance. There will be no annual increases based on seniority. And she can have no expectation of having the same job for all her working life.

She can expect to see her paycheck dimished by increased soc. security deductions, and she will have to fund her own retirement with payments to a 401k plan of some kind, and she will be paying a significant share of any health insurance coverage.

She will probably have to go back to school for some kind of advanced degree-a bachelor's degree is the new high school diploma and that costs money.


Without much of a paycheck, she isn't going to be able to travel or buy lots of clothes or furnish her place with the luxuries she-thanks to her parents indulgence-thinks of as essentials. If she isn't careful, she will get herself into massive credit card debt trying to recreate the life she had at home.

I look at Jessie and her beautiful, laughing collection of girlfriends and I think that I understand why so many of them want to stay in college-the halfway house between childhood and adult responsibilities.

Compared to the real world, it is so appealing.

elana's thoughts

powerful article, ehh?

"You're kidding, right?" (Getting There)

This is the promotional poster on the MTA bus that I saw for the first time today.


read the paper or a book
make a call but keep your conversation low
listen to music but keep volume down
take a power nap
do work, surf the net
make friends


my comment is:


Thursday, August 21, 2008

"La Pew Correspondence/Correspondence from Hell"

The following notice was left in my door last night. I've requested that they put notices all the way under my door, so they don't get ripped off, but that request has gone unanswered.

On 8/21 and 8/22 Linden will be entering your apt. to inspect our recently completed work.

This is about the 10th of these notices I've received. I've already told them that if they come in my place I'm taking them to court; but they seem to be ignoring / forgetting that I've told them that so many times, even though I've put it in writing. What us tenants say about anything always falls on deaf ears. This morning I believe they were banging very hard on my door to get in, but I did not let them in. I'm sure they'll do the same thing tomorrow. I could get a restraining order; but it takes a huge amount of wherewithal to get to that city courthouse to do all of that.

Monday, August 18, 2008

"Collectable Quotes"

"Don't put an age limit on your dreams" Dara Torres (Olympic Swimmer, 40something role model)

"I don't see America as having problems, but great values!" (No so savvy "role model" George W. Bush being interviewed in Beijing at the Olympics as well)

"Michael Phelps is a dork, because he wore green tennis shoes to his high school prom" (my acquaintance from the chatline who will remain un-named)

"The way La pew handles death"

Is the way they handle everything. Completely haphazardly. For example, Gary, who is my age has been dead since October '07 and I found out in June '08. Birthdays are announced in the monthly newsletter (which I really dislike) and deaths aren't typically announced at all.

April , about 50, apparently died sometime within the last 2 weeks. When I went to get a candy bar from the vending machine last night, I saw a bulletin board (not one that normally doesn't get used much at all) leaning against a wall, with a death notice on it. Mind you, the b.board wasn't hanging on a wall but leaning. It had been taken down and put elsewhere due to the rehab. The only reason I noticed it at all is because I went to the vending machine. A. was just a mere acquaintance of mine, but still, I think it's disrespectful of staff to largely keep deaths a big secret. On the board was the announcement for her funeral which had happened a week ago!

Many of the people in the bldg. don't know each others names so the fact that there is no picture or death notice in our monthly newsletter, means you'll only hear about deaths by chance.

"Getting There"


It's bloody amazing that a single one of these buses arrive "safely" to their respective destinations.

 Today,  the female driver  spent the entire 2 miles driving while manicuring her nails!  Not just while the bus was at red lights but also while it was IN MOTION!  She bit away feverishly at both hands pulling the nail parts off and throwing them on the floor. At one point she spit some of the nail pieces out of her mouth onto the window! I'm naucious, and feel very endangered.....................but somehow I have arrived in one piece!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"I'm really enjoying the Olympics"

I've caught tiny bits of the Olympics over the years, but this year I've watched every night since opening ceremony. I've only been watching t.v. regularly for a little over a year and a half. I think it's incredibly cool that Phelps and Hoff are from Towson and trained at "my" local Mt. Washington (balto.) pool. I looked into joining that pool years ago, as I do love to swim, but I couldn't afford it.

I'm also loving the gymnastics and liking the "synchronized" diving (which of course is only synchronized some of the time) I'll bet more than 1/2 the reason why people watch so much of the Olympics is because these are such attractive people with great bodies and adorable little outfits! A month ago I couldn't have told you who Phelps or Hoff even were.

"Good News"

I wish I could give more exciting news then this, but I just found today that the maint. man who has stolen the bulk of my underwear, silverware, dishes, socks, files, paperwork, money, vandalized my furniture, left a porn mag. in my l.r., rearranges my belongings and has caused me the most trauma at la pew everyday for 3 years, no longer works here. It's still a living hell here, but at least I don't have to look at this "man" every day. I still don't feel safe at La Pew and I am aggressively working on getting out. I put about 15 to 20 or more hours each week into my housing search which has been the case for a full year.

Friday, August 15, 2008


obviously i proof read some posts better than others. but you get the idea

"You've Got Mail"

Dear Ms. Snyder,


Thank you for your interest in a c.f. personal loan for 9,999. For well over halp a century, we've built a reputation for working very hard to find ways to get our applicants money when they need it.

b.s. b.s. b.s.

We are disappointed that wqe cannot approve your application at this time.

Every year c.f. put missions of dollars in the hands of people all around the country to help fulfill their dreams.

All hands except yours.

Should your circumstances change in the future, we would welcome the pooortunity to explire the ways we could help you fullfill yours.



My attempts at buying a car have borne no fruit.

"La Pew Correspondence/Correspondence from Hell"

There's quite a bit of construction that happens that we are never alerted about as well, for example it took them a few days to build a planter for the tree in the backyard. They rarely work on projects that would actually improve our quality of life.

Monday 8/11 Tuesday 8/12 in 9 hour shifts I listened to work trucks with back up beepers non stop. By 5 p.m. Tueday I had a migraine that didn't go away until yesterday. One hour after the work truck left, the landscaper who comes daily was out back (under my window with the leaf blower) until dark. He mows the lawn almost every day 7 days a week. People have no idea what noise pollution can do to your physical and mental health until they have lived through it.

There was an article in the Baltimore Sun a few days ago about how wealthy communities up and down the east coast are very upset because one of the airports is going to be diverting planes in such a way that the noise pollution will increase in their communities. Interestingly, the mayor of Elizabeth, NJ a poor area is suing (the airline?) in anticipation of the noise pollution.

More bad news from La pew

My thoughts in green


A representative from the contracting company will be in your apt., Wed. July 30, to repair any problems that were noticed by BIll, Linden Contracting.

Each repair crew has a list of items to work on, DO NOT ask them to repair things yourself. If there is something they missed, call the office.

Thank you for your cooperation.


On Tues, July 29 the painters will be in your apt. to paint the bedroo closet.

The entire closet must be emptoy for the painters to complete thier work.


You should let the paint dry for 24 hours before returning your items to your closet.

If you need help please let the office know.

Thank you.

It's traumatizing to think that you'll come home and find your stuff has been taken out of your closet. For that reason, I've taken my nice winter sweaters and put them elsewhere out of sheer fear. I came home and couldn't find any evidence of anyone having been in my home, except that at some point my new book of stamps has been stolen.

Undated (slipped 1/2 way into my door on 8/15/08)

Dear Resident,

On Tues. 8/19, Weds. 8/20 and Th. 8/21 hte parking lot is being resealed and striped.

You just did that one year ago! Looks like I'll have to stay out of the house on those 3 days as I imagine the noise and air pollution will be unbearable.

This means your car will have to be off the lot for the entire 3 days.

Parking isn't easy in my neighborhood, but I decided that even if I do manage to get another car, I'll never park it in the La pew lot again. The flood lights are usually out, and that back yard doesn't feel safe after dark. I'd fear vandalism or jealously from other tenants. When I do have a rental car, I hide it on a "safe" residential street.

For those of you who have a car in an assigned space, this means it must be moved or it will be towed at your expense.

Threats are a common language that staff use against us. The manager daily keeps her suv parked in a fire lane no park zone. I've often thought about what joy it would be to have her towed. Management are such hypocrites. I don't know how they can expect us to respect them when they give us no respect.

The contracting company will do everyting in their power to work as fast as they can to to complete the job.

iF Y


The frustration we all feel with the rehab is understood, but we are almost at the end.

Oh, is that a fact, and when is that date?

Your closets will be one of the last things that need to be done.

To help make things a little easier, the only areas that will be painted are the two side walls of your closet. The holes from the previous closet will be filled in and that area will be painted.

If cleaning out the entire closet is a problem, just make sure the side walls are cleared.

If you need help clearing things, let us know and we will be able to help. But the closets need to be completed.

O.K. So, I've been given less than 12 hours notice. I've already told them that if they set foot in my house I will take them to court. Obviously they haven't gotten that notice. I stop them in the hall, and tell them that they better not go in my house. Oh, don't you worry, one said, we won't. Sounds like they got the message.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

New Blog Series/"Weird Sh---strangers say to me in hallways, elevators and on the streets"


Today, I was on my way to check mail (and there is always a very stressful interaction if I have to see any of my neighbors) and crazy Dorothy said that she was glad she didn't have to ride the elevator alone. (thru the grapevine i hear that she is bi-polar, if it's true, then she probably is bi-polar 1 which is the more severe variety) I asked her if she is scared of the elev, but as usual I didn't get a very straightforward answer. She said yes, "cuz of this" she pointed to the blankets on the walls of the new elevator. She said: "It makes me feel closed in" I thought, "you are always closed in on an elevator" Anyhow, she mentioned that she got stuck on this new elevator.

E-"Did you get stuck with Gus?"

D-"No, I got stuck with Popeye"

E-Popeye and Gus are the same person

D-"They are?"


D-"So, Popeye was screaming and you know that lady who can't talk she grabbed me like this (D proceeds to grab me!)

E-"It's not necessary for you to act it out on me D"

I've gotten my mail and I press the button so I can go back up. D. stands in front of the elev. blocking it even though she has no intention of riding back up. This is when she grabs me. It hurts because people with fibromyalgia don't do so well with being grabbed.



The little girl is 6 years old and cute as a button. I start talking to her. She asks me my name and I tell her. She says: "My name is Candy and my big sister's name is Keisha" "Everybody needs a house" "There's this homeless man and he digs from the garbage can and when you are homeless you don't have any food either"

E-"Everybody needs a home and food, right?"

C-"Yes, but he has a box"

E-"He probably sleeps in the box" "It's going to rain" "I hope the bus comes before it starts raining" (It begins raining)

C-"Look the drops of rain are coming into the shelter"

E-"Yes, but we're staying dry"

C-"This shelter needs doors and flat screen t.v.! and an extra room for children to play!"

E-"You're silly! But doors are a great idea!"

C-"We just came from the welfare office, right there"

E-"Will the bus come from the city?"

C-"It will come from California!"

E-"Ya know how long it would take to drive to CA?"

C-"I was there"


C-"The zoo"

E-"What animals did you see at the zoo?"

C-"I saw snakes. I liked the girl snake. It was wearing a bikini and a collar"

The toothless mom chimed in gearing her comment to the other woman sitting in the shelter. "She sho do got sum imagination"

E-"She's got a great imagination"

C-"Do snakes wear lipstick?" The girl asked me.

E-"Only on t.v. and make believe"

C-"There's the bus. Will you get on this bus too?"


Mom yells at her for the 1.5 mile ride. As I go to deboard (deboard? I have to look that up) I wave goodbye to the little girl.

Candy and I's meeting just might be the nicest interaction we'll have all day!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

"Horror Stories from the Streets of Baltimore"

Wednesday, there was a white boy of about 20 at the bus stop with me. He said that it sure is scary to be white on the buses. He's a Towson U. student who lives in white marsh. He told this horrendous story of how he missed his county bus (last May) had to go to the city to get his transfer, but the street light was out where he was supposed to get off and it was after dark, so he got off at the next stop that did have a light. His plan was to (this is so similar to what I go thru, but without the support that he has) go to the city, call his friend and make his friend wait with him at the stop, or spend the night over his friend's house in the city and complete the trip the next morning.

He was near Lexington and Howard, pulled out his cell to call his friend to wait with him, and 6 teens assaulted him beating him and giving him a concussion. He's pretty sure that the 2 cops that were on foot patrol saw the whole thing happen and chose to ignore it. A bus driver finally tried to help him offering to call an ambulance (ambo in Australia and England) The young man, said, no you better not call an ambo, I have no health insurance.

The next day the boy collapsed in his college class from his injuries and was rushed to the hospital. I gave him my website and encouraged him to tell his story here, and or post comments to my transit blogs.

"Everything requires jumping through hoops"

And your best chance of ever receiving the "pain and suffering" check (boy is that antiquated terminology) is to go through the hoops of physical therapy. I went for about 4 weeks. It would have been 6 but I was very sick for 2. They wanted me to do 3 sessions a week, but, I couldn't commit to the buses 3 days a week. Too much trauma. They also reccommended that I go for 3 more weeks, finishing up by the end of August.

I really enjoyed the exercises but had extremely mixed feelings about being there. One of the therapists who was asking me questions about my pain, asked me to describe the pain in my arms and hands. I told her that it is excruciating pins and needles that are there all of the time. She said: "Pins and needles doesn't qualify as pain." "I asked about pain." she reitterated. (Sounds like she's never experiences nerve damage or she'd know how painful it is.) I got to experience 3 therapists and 2 aides at the p.t. center in the hospital. I thought that 2 of the 3 therapists were fairly professional, one was very very rushed, very manic, and one seemed bi-polar treating me angelically one session and cold the next. So I never signed up for her again. I didn't like the aides at all. I thought they were incompetent and I didn't trust either of them. One was male, one female. The guy was about 20, very loud, unprofessional, didn't seem to know what he was doing. If the therapists left him alone for one minute he seemed dumbfounded. He wouldn't make sure I was doing the exercises the proper way. He'd ask me 2x a week, how he is supposed to place the electrodes for nerve stim! If the job is right for you, you'd be learning a little bit every week. He never seemed to be any smarter than the week before. He had a booming loud bass voice which would scare me if he came up from behind. In the end the main reason I didn't finish the physical therapy was because he made me uncomfortable. The head p.t. institution in Carroll County provided us with a detailed written survey. I filled it out and sent it in yesterday.

The Oprah Show "Schools in Crisis"

This is nothing new of course, that our public schools are in crisis. I was elated that Oprah had Jonathan Kozol speak on her show about the state of our nation's schools, usings words such as "apartheid" I've mentioned Kozol in my first published piece "All in a day's work" and I've also mentioned him as one of my favorite authors. (Rachel and her children, homeless families in America)

In this Oprah episode, they showed the dismal conditions of a high school about a mile from the Whitehouse. One of the experts on the show was named Ali. She said that the conditions create a sort of "learned helplessness" I immediately drew a parallel in my mind between the schools and the conditions in my section 8 bldg. Many people in our bldg. say that the conditions in our bldg. are bad because of the "trashy people who are moving in" But I see it as a vicious cycle. Management doesn't give us the respect of clean hallways, elevators, and stairwells, and won't provide us with working washers and dryers, we aren't even allowed to install deadbolt locks.

Management has blown off every safety concern I have ever had, and told Connie, a 60 year old woman in a wheelchair, (last week) that "nothing can be done about the malfunctioning elevator." (To which C. told me that if she gets stuck or hurt, she will sue) We are taught that if we don't fight, we'll never get our needs met.

We aren't given the respect of a clean place to live, nor are our concerns treated as valid. I believe this is part of the reason why there is the vandalism and crime in our bldg. , on Baltimore's streets, and part of the reason our school kids aren't succeeding. They are going to school in classrooms that are over 90 degrees in the summer, ceilings that leak on a rainy day, and plumbing that isn't even working. Additionally, t's true for example that mta riders are angry, but their (and my) anger is valid. Treat us with respect by giving us livable conditions (a viable and safe transit system) (my words ) and Oprah says: (on this episode)

"People rise to their expectations"

I tried to explain this to STudley the other day when he said that nobody in our bldg. cares about safety or they would have gone to the safety meeting. For one thing, I wasn't invited to it, and secondly (one can't have very meaningful conversations when all of their neighbors are high or developmentally disabled or both) I said, everyone knows that management doesn't care and they aren't going to do anything, that is one of the reasons why attendance was so low at the meeting. (and of course that not everyone was invited) My comment was just blown over. The people in my bldg. have their minds made up on what the problems are and whose fault it is, and for the most part aren't very open minded.

"Public transit around the world" (meaningful quote)

Baltimore Sun 8/10/08

"Kenya's capital is choking on gridlock"

"Minibuses, "matatus", the main form of public transportation in Nairobi are notorious for their driver's disregard of the law. They regularly careen down the wrong side of the street to overtake cars idling in traffic, zip through red lights and screech to a stop-often in the middle of the road-to let passengers on and off. Fatal crashes are common."

(Need I say more?!")

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

MTA Mayhem/Letter to the Editor 8/6/08

On 8/5/08, I had one errand to run. I had to pick up my sunglasses from Greetings and Readings at Hunt Valley Mall. I'd like to share with you what a day with the MTA is like. After waiting about 30 minutes I boarded a #8 bus travelling North at about 1:30 p.m. The driver was driving at about 50-60 miles an hour and slamming on the brakes each time someone needed to get off. I was terrified. He was honking and raging at the drivers and was furious. In full body language he turned around to the passengers acting out how badly he feels everyone drives. The passengers mostly all laughed but me. I sarcastically said to the man next to me "I'm glad you think it's so funny" The man saw me marking down the bus # and said: "You're wasting your time reporting this incident. The way he's driving , he's going to flip this bus over!" I was so terrified I grabbed onto both silver bars for dear life. Instead of going to the bus stop and waiting for the #9, I stopped off at Borders for a pay phone where I unsuccessfully tried to contact the head of customer complaints at the MTA. I then proceeded to the bus stop, where all benches have been pulled out by the MTA. Despite a police substation being located there, I don't feel safe. An addict with headphones is dancing and fighting the air, and rapping and howling. All other passengers try to ignore him. I'm afraid to look at him lest he lash out at me. I have to sit on the ground to wait for the bus. After about 30 minutes of this addict's scary behavior, the #9 arrives. He keeps saying "after you, after you, after you" but I don't want him behind me so I refuse to let him go behind me. The driver yells for him to board already. After he gets on, he hovers over the driver asking questions. "Look, I been up since 4 o'clock this morning and I don't have the time or energy to babysit you, so sit down!"
The addict runs to the back of the bus and back to the front again, still howling and rapping. The #9 takes about 50 minutes to get to H.V. mall. I ask the driver: "Is this the best place for me to get off for Wegman's?" "I've never heard of Wegman's, plus we dont go to H.V. mall anymore." I look to my right and see Wegmans and the H.Valley mall. I show it to the driver but he ignores me. At 6 p.m. I decide that I can't handle the #9 again, and I am scared to stand at light rail alone, but feel I have no choice. There are a couple of young girls next to me speaking in a foreign language. There is a train labelled: "BWI" and I think, well, I'm not going there. I sit and wait for some train to seem like the right train. I see 3 more people and ask them where should I wait and which train goes to the city. All 3 say they have no idea. At 6:30 I decide to board a train labelled "Cromwell." When I get on the car, a custodian immediately enters and comes within an inch of accidentally poking out my eye with his poker used to pick up cigarettes, etc. This happens twice. I sit on the car alone, seeing no driver, and feeling worried. By about 7, it takes off. I can't hear the stops being called out, so I count: hmmm, 7 stops to Lutherville. I press the yellow tape, so the train will let me off. The yellow tape doesn't work, I try it in 3 more places. Still doesn't work. I get off at Lutherville, but can't find the exit to the bus. There is a homeless man, and another man and both point me in a different direction to deboard the ramp to the bus. When I approach the bus stop, that same scary addict from before is sleeping in the #9 shelter. There are no passengers to be found. Thank goodness the #8 was already there. I swiped my day pass. "This is no good" the driver alerted me. I wondered how that could be the case, as I just bought it at light rail. "I must have pressed the wrong button" Apparently, I wasn't supposed to purchase a round trip ticket, I was supposed to purchase a day pass. He went on and on and on how not to make the same mistake the next time. This driver was friendly, but I really didn't need a lesson, I simply had pressed the wrong button. A woman with a cane over her arm, gets on and absentmindedly swings it into my shin. Thank goodness, I had extra change or I would have had to walk the 6 miles back home to Drumcastle. I arrive home at 7:40 p.m. At least half of my MTA experiences, I would describe as traumatic. You should think twice before you complain about gas prices if you are lucky enough to own a car. And by the way, you should probably stay there.

Monday, August 4, 2008

USA Today 2/28/08 "Survivors"

"These authors lived the hard life and survived to tell about it." by Carol Memmott

1. "Hope's Boy"
2. "The Translator: A Tribemsman's Memoir of Darfur"
3. "Love and Consequences: A Memoir of Hope and Survival"
4. "Manic"
5. "Swallow the Ocean"
6. "I'm Looking through you, growing up haunted"
7. "My Life as a Traitor"
8. "Have you Found Her?" (Janice Erlbaum survives homelessness)
9. "Beautiful Boy"
10. "The Sky Isn't Visible From Here"
11. "Redeemed: A Spiritual Misfit Stumbles toward God."

"Memorable Quotes"

Dateline (t.v. show)

"In the 13 years that followed in prison, she had plenty of time to think" (Dejac was wrongly convicted her her daughter's murder)

"Lucy, the chihuahua, may she rest in peace" (woman gives elaborate funeral for her dog, true story)

"I'd rather eat glass." (This is what Graham said upon being asked to write and perform a song for Deanna on the Bachelorette)

"I love my life and the only thing I'm missing is Deanna as my wife" (Jesse wrote and sang this on the Bachelorette)

USA today

"I was shocked to observe how racist, provincial and un-Christian many of my friends and neighbors were." Chester Caskey from Spokane

"Girls, how far would you go to score a "sanitary napkin"

So, it's that time of the month, and I have no money to buy a much needed product. I'm outside and J., (whose drunk and in a wheelchair) and Studley are out front. I sit with them for 20 min. but J.'s getting mean drunk toward Studley, so I leave; but before I leave, here is what transpired........

J. wants "Studley" (the one who says I have "da baddest walk in baltimore") to walk to "Brick-Wall" and buy him some mints. Studley refuses. I tell J. I will, if he gives me an extra 4 bucks so I can buy an emergency item. J. says: "I can buy my own damn mints" (I'll take that as a no) which I think comes from his drunkeness not so much his soul, as he's a real good person.

Studley says:" I'll give you a few bucks tomorrow to buy your emer. item, can it wait?" I thought, if he says tomorrow, it will never happen. And it didn't. I've never asked anyone in my bldg. for money, but sometimes Studley buys me a candy bar out of the vending machine,that's as far as it goes.

I walk down to the food pantry the next morning and ask if they have any sanitary napkins on hand. (Most food pantries have toiletries for the poor) No, they say.

A high school girl comes into the room where we are waiting for food and says she is doing a research project for Loyola College on how people search for work. She'll give us a 5 dollar gift card for Super Fresh or Rite Aide if we take the survey. I realize that this is my big chance. So, my 10 page survey on "job hunting" bought me my emerg. product from Rite Aide. (And if you don't think running to food pantries is hard work, you've got another thing coming.)

Used to be that Johns Hopkins University provided women with free sanitary napkins in the restrooms, but not anymore. (Extreme poverty teaches you exactly where to look for what you need) Before scoring the 5 dollar gift card, I had to brainstorm on where I could score what I needed. It occurred to me that when I go to my physical therapy appt. at the hospital, I can ask them if they have any emer. products. Surely they can give me one or two at least. I'm sure a hospital would have to keep stuff like that on hand.........................

So, a year ago I would have been too embarrassed to post this, but I'm not embarrassed to be poor, and this posting is about poverty, so why not post it?

"Quotes that are meaningful to me"

USA Today 7/30/08

(elana's comments: the key reason I have no employment is because I can't afford to buy a car)

Court Fees as Revenue

"Defies Logic" by Rebekah Diller

"When a defendant can't afford his court feels, the court often takes away his driver's license, ensuring he won't be able to do the one thing necessary to pay the debt: WORK"

"That's so exciting, it sends shivers down my spine"

Turns out that there is a site called "blogged" that has listed my website as a source of Towson news. Google my website, and you'll see a link called: "BLOGGED" where I'm in a list of Towson websites! Whooppee!

"Survival has been all consuming"

Any energies I have have been put toward finding another place to live. I don't want to die at La Pew, and there is no doubt that it is destroying my health to be there. On the one weekend per month that I have a rental car I begin to feel more energy, things begin to normalize, just not having to ride the buses and battle for my ped. rights begins to restore my energy.

Then, I have to return the car and it always feels devastating. And all I really did with the car was the normal stuff that no one can done without a car. I went to the laundromat, trader joes, whole foods, and the hunt valley mall....................I figured I'd treat myself to washers that work but going to a laundromat. I told you that the hallways, elevators, and laundry rooms are scary places in my bldg. But also, the washers are always broken and you lose your money and office won't refund it..................................

My donation site on this website has also gotten me nowhere and costs 10 a month to maintain. It has prompted alot of scam artists to tell me that they'll send me money then i have to send money to africa, but only after I give them a bunch of personal information....................................I'm not taking the donation site down yet, however.

I haven't had the energy to re-write the letters from La pew and Linden out on my website, but I will. I've saved most of them and we get almost one a day.