Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"In the first two hours of my day today"

I check the mission of mercy flier because I need the phone # of the Reisterstown branch. There is no phone # except for corporate. mom is that program that doesn't seem particularly merciful at all. The dentist comes twice a month to x location. Patients need to arrive very very early and hope that they are in the first 5 to arrive. Some say show up at 3 a.m. some say 5:30. I ask the woman when is the next time the dentist will be there. Sept. 30 she says, then she jumps ahead to something else and i slow her down so i can write it down. No remember you're showing up at 5 or earlier so you want the right date! I repeat:

"So the dentist will be there tomorrow. What time should I show up?"

"Oh, did i say sept. 30? I was wrong. It's not until 10/8."

Now how about for the REisterstown location. That's a less scary ride for me at 4:30 in the morning.

"Well, no dentist is coming at all in Oct.

"So what time should I get there?" I ask

"5." She said.

"I should get there at 5?"

"5, that's how many the dentist will see, 5. The rest will be turned away!"

I feel extremely nervous about driving at 4 in the morning with a car that the mechanic just can't seem to fix properly.

"I say, and we do need to wait in line outside, right?"


p.s. The doors don't open until 8:30. And I've done outdoor lines like this in 20 degree weather in January. As I get older, and feel so ravished by fibromyalgia pain this is very intimidating. But I have cavities and advanced periodontitis where most of my pretty teeth are loose.


Called bge to get an extension for the shut off notice. I waited on hold for about 1/2 hour. My extension is until 10/8. On about 10/4 welfare will help with the bill


remember I was screaming and crying at the specialists office. they never were able to complete the outpatient procedure, so they referred me out to a pain specialist. I call there today and the recept asks me the same dreaded questions I've been asked for 15 years.

"What is your insurance"

"Medicare I answer"

"Do you have a secondary?"

this dear reader is a trick question. Because if I had said, no i don't; she probably would have scheduled me. But instead she said

"The doctor cannot take medicaid patients!" the staffer told me over the phone.

E - "Can't take medicaid? But medicare is my primary and it will cover the entire bill!"

receptionist- doesn't matter, our team won't touch medicaid under any conditions.

E-"I want to speak to the insurance specialist."

receptionist-"I am the insurance specialist."

E-I want to talk to the manager.

receptionist-"well, I can't give you a # for the manager, because the manager is the doctor's wife and she'd have to be called at home. All I can do is leave her a message!"

(it occurs to me that all I had to do was just not mention the Medicaid and they would have given me the appt!)


My friend is paying a portion of my phone bill so I don't get shut off. He's been trying for 4 days and Verizon keeps telling him that no such account exists. Finally today the Verizon rep. found my account.


me to the mechanic. "You know that repair you made 2 weeks ago?" "Well, it broke 48 hours later. Can I come tomorrow?"


At grocery store the people in front of me ask me if i'd like to go first since i don't have many items. No thanks I said. The cashier yelled something to me about the express line. I shook my head no. "She yelled: Yes, express is open" "I yelled "I'm not going to express, I'm staying here." She muttered something angrily under her breath.

Nearly every grocery store some clerk is begging you to switch lines. It's very stressful. And for her to be angry that she has to wait on me? If she were a server she'd make bigger tips on the customers with a lot of items. But to resent that I'm staying in her line?


Am I the only one who sees society as broken on every level?

Monday, September 28, 2009

3/23/94 Journal Entry from:

Out my bedroom window I see a brick wall. Symbolic of the walls I keep hitting? I am trapped by who I am. I said I didn't want to depend on any man. But am I willing to do ANY type of work? I see why they sell their bodies.

I like St. Kilda but my life conditions are deplorable.

I walk the streets alone

Prostitutes solicit day and night

The red light district

Some in sequins

Others in shorts and runners

With their asses hanging out

High heels, heavy makeup

Many say they're trash

They are the lonely, the abused, the poor

Need to feed their children

The men-short, fat, scruffy or

Tall, professional with suitcase

Wait on the curbside in their cars

Old Koori man, no teeth left

Drunkenly stumbles into me

Is this all there is?

I'm just like them

With the fascade

Of formal education

The sad, the lonely, the angry

I want to know them

I feel their pain

I hold back the tears, barely,

As I eat my dinner

Alone on Acland

Authors Note: Acland St. is a major thoroughfare in St. Kilda, Australia where I first experienced homelessness/lack of a fixed address.

"My Book"

I'd really like to write this book journal style. It's not a very common style but it can be done. My friend John who has heard me read from journals for ages, feels that my book would lose alot of power if it was written in the narrative form.

I've written chapter 1. It's entitled Australia. Initially, I plan to get chapter 1 as perfect as possible since many literary agents want the query letter and the sample chapter. About 2/3 of chapter 1 look pretty good, very interesting, but parts seems boring. Much of my journals include brainstorming lists (when I was homeless) That's pretty much what you're doing. You're constantly thinking, planning, worrying and trying new survival schemes. So, that can be boring to read if I don't figure out a way to make it more interesting.

I feel in my heart of hearts that a life story like mine is easily a best seller and perhaps soon I'll post some excerpts of chapter 1.

I reviewed 4 memoirs to get an idea of average length of a chapter in a memoir. Mine is about right. 20 pages single spaced. 40 some double spaced. I just got done reading "Waiting" for the second time. It's really fun and by Debra Ginsberg.

Now, I'm reading "How Starbucks Saved my life" About a high powered exec who didn't find happiness until after losing everything and going to work for starbucks.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"You DRANK the water?!"

Here's what transpired last Wednesday night. I showed up to a free concert (held in a bookstore) 15 minutes early so I could get a good seat. When I gently opened the screen door, it sounded like it was going to come crashing down. "GEEZ!" I said, surprised. The owner seemed instantly angry with me. "What's the problem?" "Well, I thought you're door was going to come down!"

"You're early!" She said in a disapproving tone. "The band isn't even here?"

elana(-I feel like saying "Would you like me to leave?") But I don't. I say, well, yes, I am 15 minutes early.

I feel unwelcomed. I go over to the free coffee station.

owner-"Like I said. You're early. There is no coffee"

(I'm just about ready to leave) I notice that there is not one single chair set up for the concert.

elana-"Which room will the concert be held in?"

owner-"The band will be in the hallway, so you'll be able to hear anywhere in the store!"

elana(-hear? not see? And I'm the only person here? Forget it). I simply get up and leave.

I head over to a drumming circle that I've never been to before. About 25 show up. After 5 minutes one of the drummers turns out all of the lights and we're sitting in pitch black. I play a percussive frog for 10 minutes and drums for 15 and then I've had it. I don't like sitting in the pitch black. I look around for something to drink. I can't find anything, so I head for the kitchen and pour a cup of tap water. Can't be any worse then the water at my house, I think.

A few minutes later Carl looks for something to drink. He says: "I'm thirsty and there is nothing to drink"

"Well, why don't you go to the kitchen and have a cup of tap water"

Carl-"That water's no good!"

Me-"I thought it tasted good."

Carl-"you DRANK the water?" But it was tested positive for ecoli!"

Me-"What?" "And nobody warned me in advance?"

I begin imagine myself in the morning doubled over with cramps, vomiting at the emergency room.

During announcement time I announce what happened. The leader said: "Didn't you see the sign? The sign is prominently displayed: "This water has blah blah blah organism!"

sherry says: "It's positive for coliform!"

elana-"what the hell's the difference what organism it is? the point is that we should have been warned!"

jack-"That is definitely enough to dampen one's evening isn't it?"

elana-"it sure is"

leader-"elana, if you begin feeling sick, call your doctor"

marci-"eat lots of yogurt!"

jack-"that's what i call a bad day"

elana-every day's a bad day, i am not known for my good luck!"

jack-"you too ehh? I worked 30 years at a job that I hated. Me and I wife went on vacation and it rained the whole time, and when we came home the house was flooded!"

I survived, I did not get sick. My friend Faith said that I should call the health dept. to report this, she feels this church should be shut down...............................................

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

If I take "them" to court"

If I take everybody to court who deserves to go to court, I'll be in court 24/7!

  The couple that donated trashed furniture back in June damaged a 6 foot swath of my new carpeting.

   My neighbor says I should take them to court. The mechanic that was supposed to have completed a job correctly within 90 days refused to re- do the job.

 So a Hampstead mechanic said "You should take them to court!"

 If the car breaks down due to that issue, I will not have the means to fix the car. When a company promises you a product that you prepay for and then doesn't deliver and you have to spend an hour a day for 6 weeks correcting it, they should probably be taken to court! going to court is a job! You have to be well prepared!

"Me and Landlines"

Well, att never refunded my $50.

  I could take them to court for that plus the 6 weeks I had to go without a phone. Verizon just came out and repaired my phone after 2 weeks with no service. But my bill is due on Friday and even though I got them to reduce it for the 2 weeks without, I still won't have 118 by Friday. So they say they are going to disconnect me. I also had to pay 80 for the trac phone since i was without a landline.

In anticipation of being disconnected I called Quantum and asked the clerk 5x in a 1/2 hour conversation:

 "You still haven't answered my question!  After i give you the 40 that you require up front, how long will I be without a phone?" He did not want to answer the question directly so I just repeated myself until he did. He said you'll be 1 to 2 weeks with no service unless you transfer from Verizon. But if you don't transfer from Verizon you'll lose the phone # and be without service...............................................

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"The Underground Railroad"

A woman came to the library to do an all ages presentation called:

 "Stories from the underground railroad"

  She was phenomenal and also used instruments. When she asked if there were any questions I asked:

"Does slavery still exist today and if so where?"

  I did this for the benefit of the kids. She gave a 20 minute interactive answer. She said that she used to be a slave to food. There was only one black family in the audience. An 8 year old boy said: "Yes, there is slavery, when people abduct you after you get off of the bus!"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

"My home phone"

How long do you think you could go without making a phone call?

  I've been forced to use the prepay trac phones this month. But I can't use them for real chats because a 2 hour card costs 30 dollars. I put in 3 or 4 orders over the phone for Verizon repair and I also emailed them with a detailed description of what is happening. 4 days later they emailed me back to say; there's nothing we can do, you emailed the wrong department.

Now, the one time I got thru to a real rep. over the phone she said someone would come on Thursday. That's 2 weeks with no land line. She said I'd have to be home tomorrow for an 11 hour period. They will arrive between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. I do not know if they will charge me or not. I don't feel I should have to pay for the 2 weeks I've been without a phone.

Your life comes to a real stand still when you have next to no phone access.

"Longstanding appointment at the Rotunda"

The Rotunda Mall is in the Hampden section of Baltimore city. It used to be the neatest place. There were about 10 pay phones, a hamburger joint, well one could do virtually anything at the Rotunda.

But I hate going into places that have security guards. They never needed security guards until about 5 years ago.

  When I needed security guard Monday, it took me nearly 15 minutes to find them. There were 2 men in a truck in the parking lot who were casing out women. They honked at me when I was pulling into the lot (they were parked with engine off) just to try to scare me. I honked back and they started laughing. My intuition told me these guys are bad news. When I got out of my car I heard them say "she just got into the Camry"

  I reported them but the female security guard acted as if she'd never remember the description of the car I gave her.

I told my doc. about it and he said "oh yeah, when i was in the mall last week having pizza, I saw a purse snatcher run past me. The mugging took place in the mall in broad daylight"

Then after my appt. I saw Lorraine in a mall hallway (there are 3 stories of offices upstairs) and she said that one of her clients was mugged at knifepoint in the mall lot last week.

Sadly, I will probably stop going to the Rotunda Mall.

Fibromyalgia the invisible

I'm going to talk a little about Fibromyalgia.  In my experience, it can be managed with lots of money.

 but without lots of money one cannot engage in the most helpful therapies like acupuncture, massage, chiropractic.

Sunday I awoke with a migraine and nausea. I went up to the grocery store and looked for something called emetrol, but they don't carry it. It takes away the nausea. They do carry Pepto Bismol but that doesn't work so well with nausea. I had those symptoms thru Monday.

Tuesday, I had violent stomach pain all day. There isn't much point in staying in bed all day or at home especially with no phone service. Today, I'm very very weak, and just kind of taking baby steps. So far all I've been able to accomplish today is to buy 2 items from the grocery store. After that I laid down in the car  for about 1.5 hours. There's no point in pushing yourself. You know your body and you just do what you can do and no more.

I still want to work part time because I want to be productive and use my talents like most everyone else on the planet. And that extra income would potentially allow me to eat healthy all month long, not to mention just generally improve my quality of life.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"how did you get your name? is your name greek?"

I get asked about my name all of the time. I assumed that my adoptive parents named me but since I haven't seen them in 20 years, I can't exactly ask. I found something very very special last night in some boxes that were in storage. I found the letter that the social worker sent me in 1989 when I was conducting my search for my birthmother. (I found her in 3 weeks)

Heres what was sent to me 20 years ago. It's called the "non identifying information/heritage information" on your biological parents.

Birthmother was 18 at the time of your birth. She wa described as being 5'2" tall, about 120 lbs. She had brown hair, hazel eyes and a medium freckled complexion. Personality was described as being sweet, gnetle, domestic and with considerable artistic talent.

She is the 2nd of 4 daughters. The oldest sister had completed high school and was in beautician school. Birthmother was gong to return to her last year of high school and expected to make top grades.

Birthmother's paretns were divorced because of birthmother's father's mental illness. He was in a veterans hospital. He attended college for 3 years and attended barber's college. Birthmother's mother attended business college and worked as a secretary. Birthmother described herself as being close to her mother and her sisiters. Heritage is English, Irish and French.

Birthmother knew birthfather for a fairly long time but did not date him steadily because he was away at college.

Birthfather was 19 and had completed one year of college at the time of your birth. He was described as being 6' tall, medium build with blue yes, light brown hair and a fair complexion. His religion is Jewish. He has an older brother.


Birthfather had hay fever. Birthfather had respiratory problems which she described as chronic bronchitis. Birthmother's mother is the youngest of 13 children.

Birthmother saw you at birth. She gave you the name after an aunt and a cousin. The name was a Jewish name. Birthmother wanted you placed with a Jewish family. She especially values what she knows about Jewish family life.

Normal pregnancy, 40 weeks. Length of labor was 2 hours. Weight at birth was 6 lbs. 10 ozs. and 20 inches long.


Family and Children's Services

Friday, September 11, 2009

"When Money DOES buy happiness"

I think if you are a grounded person, money can buy happiness. As long as you don't use it to replace meaningful relationships with people and meaningful work. The reason I believe it buys happiness (it does to some degree in my case) is because it buys you a home in a safe neighborhood, it buys you less worry which in turn improves health and frees you up to play and do things that bring happiness. It buys a way into the social networks you desire. It buys you transportation and a safe car to allow you to socially connect. It buys you massage, health care and healthy food. It buys travel, and it can even buy you a partner/wife or husband.

I always feel happiest when I have a few bucks in my pocket. Again, I'm not suggesting the money to replace the people, spirituality, and work, but to enhance your ability to make healthy choices that in turn enrich your life.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"Post Secrets"

I can't recall if I've blogged about this or not. I tried emailing a secret a long time ago without success. So I finally snail mailed one. You've got to check out the book by Frank Warren. If you haven't already heard he is in germantown. It's supposed to be a freeing experience to mail him a secret on a post card.

I don't know about freeing but it sure was fun! And it sure was fun to see the photos of the handmade postcards in the book!


"outpatient procedure"

I had an outpatient procedure yesterday that was very traumatic. I fully expected that I'd be under local anesthesia but found out that there is NO ANASTHESIA WHATSOEVER! The 2 nurses tried to perform the procedure but I screamed in pain. When they brought in the doc. he was angry that they bothered him. He did not greet me. He asked me what they wanted. He attempted himself and I let out a bloodcurdling scream and then started crying. He snapped that since I"m uncooperative, he is referring me out!"

Well thank god for that! Why did this doctor go into medicine with absolutely no bedside manner? Why this particular specialty which requires alot of patience and compassion! I was in pain for the rest of the day. The only saving grace is that my medicare paid for every penny.

(yes, i'm gonna keep ya guessin' on what the procedure was, but i'll never tell!)

Big lesson learned since I've had this medicare is, it might pay for it, but it isn't necessarly going to buy you professional or compassionate care on the first try! At least I have the luxury of continuing to look for

a combination of professional office staff, professional and compassionate medical care. perhaps i'll study the "best of baltimore" magazine that does a special on medical care each year.........................................................................

"Back to the pay phones!"

My land line has been out of order since friday. BGE never credited my account for august payment. the agency that is going to make my car payment for me will pay it more than aweek late. how am i supposed to manage this stress? tough to have a normal life ya know. but still chipping away at transferring my journals to disc. and sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that i have at least one best seller in me!

Verizon can't come out and troubleshoot until the 17th! Must i switch companies again? i've added minutes to my cell, but i certainly can't afford a land line bill and a cell bill.

met with a job "coach" today. one of the best experiences i've ever had. she has the perfect combination of warmth, smarts, and professionalism.

i told her that i'll never land a job with a resume due to all of my gaps, but she feels otherwise. she said employers won't even look at ya nowadays without a resume. we'll meet again in 2 weeks. in the meantime she assigned me to circling job ads to show her, just to give her an idea of what i like, and how open minded i am with my search..................................................

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Something to Be excited about"

I am now an official member of www.storycircle.org

This is a national (and perhaps international) community of women who are writing their memoirs. I think it will make a big difference to not be going at this huge project by myself. they will be featuring my blog on their website.............................................

Four days no phone`

My phone went out of order on thurs. just before labor day. Initially the problem was that I could not get a dial tone. Now, when I pick up I hear crossed lines I hear somebody elses conversation. I can't receive incoming calls.

I fear that Verizon will take forever to fix this............................................................

"Why women should marry!"

Women should marry because everything comes in childproof containers! They need a man to open jars! I bought pancake syrup from the grocery store a week ago. I could not get it open. I banged it upside down on the floor, as sometimes that will pop a lid. No luck. I tried a wet washcloth. No luck. I bought the only jar opener in the grocery store. six dollars and fifty cents. Still won't open. Waited 5 days asked a neighbor if she had one of those old fashioned free jar openers. She lent it to me. No luck. She tried she got it open. I can't get my medicine bottle open, so i go to wal mart to get some easy off lids, they are closed.

"I can't get it closed" My air mattress has had a slow leak since about 6/11. I've tried poster putty, duct tape, used chewing gum, and an official repair patch no luck. I awaken every 3 hours with a mattress that has flattened to the floor. Wal Mart doesn't take exchanges. Coleman will but it takes 6 weeks. I went ahead and just replaced the whole bed the other day.

I can't get it open, i can't get it closed, in a sense i can't be independent! My friend joanne stato wrote a song (and she has an amazing voice) about things that won't open. check her out at www.joannestato.com

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"I Need a Decent Vacuum Cleaner"

My neighbor lent me his, and said "it doesn't work very good" What does that mean I wonder? Then why keep it? What it means is that, for it to pick up anything you need major woman power, you have to press the vacuum into the carpetwith all of your might. You need to keep this up for the entirety of the apt.

Today, since it is payday I toyed with buying a vacuum cleaner. I constantly have to assess what is a need? What is a want? You know when you're behind some guy in line and he tells the cashier that "I need 3 packs of Marlboro" Since I think so much about want vs. need, I think to myself: "YOu don't need cigarettes, you want cigarettes!

I've often wondered whether or not it is a good idea to buy electronics from the Goodwill. What choice do you have if you can't afford real stores. Because in a real store, you'd likely need all monies up front for an electronics purchase which is often out of the question.

The goodwill near me really stinks, but I have no choice but to go in there. I've noticed, and this happens multiple times every day, that when you say to a clerk "I have a question" they always reply "I can't guarantee you that I'll have the answer" Now what the hell kind of customer service is that?! Shouldn't you listen to the question? So today was no exception. And I replied: "Well, if you don't know then who else would there be to ask?"

I ask, with vacuum cleaners, since you have no carpeting here, how do I know I'm getting a working product.

"She looked over to another employee, hoping that employee would know the answer"

"You don't."

Elana-"How long do I have to return the product"

"There are no returns" "There is a swath of carpet in the front of the store that you can try the vacuum cleaner on"

I bring over a hoover. I turn the button on, and all sorts of flotsum starts flying thru the air!"

I said, "well this doesn't work"

clerk-"Let me see if it has a bag"

"It doesn't have a bag"

"You can try our bags and see if that works"

I ask if I have to pay for the bags just to try out a vacuum. She said, no. Then she started waiting on customers who came after me. I sort thru 6 or so sets of bags, some look like they are at least 50 years old. I'm not sure what model this Hoover is. I wait for her to finish ringing people up. She finally yells over for Grace to help me. Grace doesn't look like she's going to be much help. I suggest to grace that we try the only bags that say they are for hoovers. Grace opens the vacuum, and says, "no bag is going to be adequate becuase there is a piece missing"

She tells me to go to Wal Mart and buy something on layaway. I go to Wal Mart. I ask "how does layaway work?"

"We haven't had layaway in 2 years!"

I find a bissell for 50 which is well worth it, but I'm really afraid to spend that kind of money all in one fell swoop. I ask different employees if they know any stores that still do layaway. I wonder if it would be a wasted drive to go to Target in Westminster. I wondered if you can put a 50 dollar item on layaway. I wondered if they'd run a credit check...............................

I'm exhausted! Maybe that carpet doesn't need to be vacuumed after all!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"I met Luke at the library"

Today, I remet Luke. Luke is 25 and lives here in Carroll County. He only makes 8 dollars an hour at his job for the red cross. As a result he lives in a tiny room in someones house where he says he has little privacy. He cannot afford the entire rent, his dad has to subsidize him. But since his dad is unemployed he's worried that his dad won't come thru with this months rent. His mother is disabled. Luke cannot afford a car and has to either walk or have his dad drive him. He's young enough that perhaps he has the strength to do the walking. Out here there are no sidewalks and I'm sure it's still a very hard life. he said he sleeps very little and his phone is due to be shut off today...........................................

"Nothing works, everything is broken"

There were 2 workshops advertised in the newspaper, both for today. One was a morning workshop put on my the Department of Rehab. Services and the other one was "the emotional side of unemployment"

Both were in the same bldg. When I arrived I was turned away because "You did not pre-register and you are not collecting unemployment" I told them that it is their error, not mine, for running ads for these workshops. I said, "I drove 1/2 hour just to have you turn me away?!" "You should be making more of an effort to accomodate me"

Berc-"The best we can do is call "DORS on the phone and see if they can accomodate you"

I talked to the DORs clerk on the phone and she said, no I can't meet with you today since you don't already have an appt. I told her that I left a message on their voice mail letting them know that I'd be attending."

Then I told BERC that they oughta let me in the afternoon workshop. they sent me to a guy named Mike. Mike said:"I absolutely can't let you in because you are late (Late? I was supposed to be in the a.m. Dors workshop!) Plus, you aren't collecting unemployement.

Elana-"Well, if you aren't going to run honest ads in the carroll county times, then you oughta pull them out all together"

Mike_"Ad? What ad? I don't know if any ad in the newspaper. Show me"

Elana-(NO, why should I help you if you aren't going to help me,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,I'm thinking. Find your own damn ad)

So, I just wrote to the carroll county times to tell them that they should think twice before running these false ads!