Thursday, October 29, 2009

"That was like "pulling teeth"

I've been waiting, and aggressively trying to get a dental appt. for almost 6 years. The compliment I hear most is about my smile. But I've been worried sick about my advanced periodontitis. I saw an ad in a newspaper offering free consults. When I called the office they said in essence, "oh, we didn't mean for that to apply to u" So, I asked to speak to the manager. When I complained about false advertising she said: "When can u come in?!"

I had my appt. today. I was thrilled and surprised at how well the receptionists treated me. I am also thrilled to report that the dentist spent 1/2 hour with me. He said that he really is not very worried and that I am not going to lose any teeth! I was terrified! I told him that "People say EVERYTHING  about themselves when they smile" He said, "That's a good point, I never really thought if it like that before"

Anyhow, a program of the welfare office is going to pay for my intial exam and x rays. This may sound so mundane to well to do people. But I went most of my life taking stellar care of my teeth, with regular appt. and braces.

I had been having a recurring nightmare for years that all of my teeth fall out. Hopefully I'll stop having that nightmare. Even though the social service office isn't promising they'll help with anything beyond the first appt, I am thrilled to have the "dental ball finally rolling!"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"When WE Interview THEM"

You know what they say about interviewing. We should be interviewing them. I periodically go through the yellow pages and just cold call the daycare centers to see if they are hiring for teacher's aide. Even though I'm qualified as teacher I prefer to not have the hassle of making lesson plans so I apply for aide positions.

So, this one center gave me permission a few days ago to come in any time during business hours. The director looks really sloppy. She brings me into her cluttered tiny office which is in complete disarray. She says something to the effect of : "As you can see, I IS in the middle of a housecleaning project!"

I doubt she'll have a clipboard in which I can fill out the appl. so I tell her don't worry I'll just lean on my notebook. She surprises me and pulls a clipboard out of a file cupboard. She then asks me to sit in the lobby to fill it out because there would be more room. "Never mind that box blocking the sofa" she says.

As I'm sitting there filling the appl. out, one of the aides is on the phone with a parent. She says something to this effect:

"Little Jack are sick, there are all kinds of funky colors showing up in his diaper and his fever is high. YOu'll have to pick him up!" (very professional way of communicating!)

I begin thinking about swine flu, and the increased risk of illness, in general, that the staff faces.

I'm surprised that the applications asks:  "Make sure you include 3 personal, not employment references." I'm not prepared for this surprising request. When I go back to the director's office she conducts a 2 minute pre-interview of sorts. An aide comes in and just interrupts with her concern. The director looks at the aide briefly while the aide is talking , never addresses her concern, then looks back at me and keeps interviewing me as if the aide isn't even there. The aide is forced to stand in the door and wait for the "interview" to end so that she can finally get acknowledgement for her concern.

I get in the car and imagine the following scenario. I'm working in the center and I hear little Billy say the following: "I ain't never givin' my mother a present again"

I reply: "You aren't going to give you're mother any more presents?"

Billy-"Well, the director says "I ain't" all the time!"

I faced this challenge when nannying too. For example I didn't want my "kids" playing with guns. "Mommy says I can play with guns, why can't I when you are here?! my kids would ask me!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

"The Carroll County Difference"

I am sleeping through the night for the first time in 35 years. In the last 35 year period, I sleep anywhere from zero to 4 hours a night; and I've been known to be awake for weeks. (no, I'm not bipolar) But things like no heat in most of the places I lived, no airconditioning in apts that were averaging 120 degrees (city rowhouses) in the summer, noise pollution and the constant fear at La Pew that someone would kick the door down meant that I don't sleep.

But now I know in my heart that no one is going to kick that door down once I go to sleep. I can run into a 7-11 and leave my purse on the seat and nobody is going to smash my car window to get it. I can walk thru my apt. parking lot after dark without worrying about getting raped or robbed. I have a wonderful intelligent kind nurse practitioner who really listens to me. I have an auto mechanic who does occasional minor repairs for free because he knows I'm struggling. A small non profit is helping me with food and auto expenses. A program of the carroll county welfare office helps with occasional car repairs and such if they see you have a proactive personality.

Customers in grocery stores ALWAYS asks me if I'd like to go in front of them in line since I have so few items.

I can't say I'm happy in part because I don't make enough money to have a normal life, but I'm grateful every day for these small things that are making a world of difference for me.

"Careful what you reveal on a blog"

Yes, I do know this golden rule. I can assure you, I never ever post anything without giving alot of thought to who is reading this blog and the long term implications of heavy self revelation. I only share about 5% of my life on this website for that reason.

Fibromyalgia is absolutely devastating. I've had it for at least 22 years. The official diagnosis came in 97 but I knew something was very wrong in 87 and I diagnosed myself with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. My throat is sore all of the time. I feel pins and needles in my extremities all of the time, my limbs fall asleep on a regular basis, and my joints hurt. What motivates me to get out of bed at all is-movement is very important and can distract you from the pain. It's just too excruciating to stay in bed, although the thought is tempting. My current nurse practitioner here in c.county doesn't know what to do about that. I'm in excruciating pain that never goes away. Mornings are the most devastating. The med. I'm on doesn't seem to do anything to help yet I take it religiously just in case it is helping.

I really don't know why it has never occurred to any of my Doctors to refer me to a pain clinic. When I described the pain to one of my acqaintances whose overly educated in this area he suggested that I'm probably supposed to be on the duralgesic patches which he described as "1,000 times stronger than morphine!"

Turns out there is a pain clinic here in Carroll County and I"m trying to get an appointment there. Some mornings it takes me over an hour to roll over in bed (because of temporary paralysis) and always over an hour to get out of bed to go to the bathroom. I use the wall for balance on my way to the bathroom.

There are only 3 things that I can think of that would take a pain patient's mind off of the pain. Massage, warm swimming pools or bathtubs, and the third is "well you know!"

As you can see, I've been writing for almost 3 years publicly. I'm sort of at the point where, I'm getting so practiced at this, and over time I feel less and less embarassed to reveal publicly. I also feel that the more truth I tell about my life (in my book) the greater the chance I have of selling alot of copies and getting out of poverty.................................................

Thursday, October 15, 2009

"I recommend the flu shot"

I've always been afraid to get one but discovered today that it is absolutely painless. Earlier in the day I overheard a woman in a cafe talk about how her baby has the swine flu. My nurse practitioner said that she's seeing lots and lots of bad flu cases at St. Joes Hospital.

Please don't take any chances. Even if you have no history of becoming ill, most docs are recommending it this year!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

1/8/05 part 2 entry continued

Sat in the lot for a few minutes and someone offered to push it into a space for me. I tried to start it back up and I got it into a space. Ity was in the red and smoking. My lungs feel heavy and my throat sore from breathing in these fumes.

I do my shopping come back out but I don't want to go home. You feel stranded when you're at home without a safe or working car, so I'd rather not be there. I pray that the car will make it to Panera (all of the anti freeze leaked out when I had it running in the parking lot at the aptearlier)

I got the car to South and 3rd street, I was proceeding North. The gage went into the red and I have to stop the car again and put on the flashers. I'll have to sit and wait 20 minutes in the car before trying again to go to panera. An officer asked me to pull it into the bank lot but instead I drive it, smoking, to Wendy's since they usually have an abundance of parking spaces. Hopefully they won't tow it.

Went into Wendy's and asked the manager if I could leave it overnight; I might not be able to get it home safely. She said that I could. Even at this high cost, I could not stand being stuck in that apt.

I proceeded to sit in Borders eating my grocery store pizza and worrying wondering, if I should try to drive the car home? Should I "hitchike?" Should I chance breaking down on S. $th street the route I would have to take to get home?

The village pantry girl at the 4th street store told me that there are alot of shootings and stabbings on 4th street. If I break dwon there, where should I tow the car to?

Will I be able to walk on s. 4th street without falling on the ice? getting hit by a car? or getting stabbed?


In Baltimore one is a little less likely to get stabbed on a snowy night since even the "bad guys" don't like to be out in this weather.

"Another glimpse of my future book"

Author's note
I'm crashing at Gary's apt. in Lafayette, Indiana. We dated for a few weeks then he decided to reconcile with his ex. Nevertheless, he is in the psych. hospital now where I had to bring him a few weeks ago for a nervous breakdown. While there in December he made an unsuccessful suicide attempt. He'll let me stay at this apt. theoretically until I get my housing voucher. Instead, I vacated on 2/1/05.


Originally I heard that it would not snow today and that it would be warm. I'm still without a working car and it's making me crazy.

Yesterday, I had the car towed from Woodruff's back to home since I can't afford the repairs. So I only got to leave the house for 1.5 hours. I figure the buses aren't running today any way.

I woke up at 7 a.m., looked out the window, though about how hard it will be to get anywhere without a car. Thought about my limbs and how they just fall asleep whenever. Did Gary commit suicide? I think I"ll just go back to bed.

I awoke some time around 1:30 p.m. I have cereal but no milk. If I try to walk to the Village Pantry for milk my feet will get drenched. I called "Random Auto" and asked them if it is dangerous for me to drive a car that needs a new head gasket? I've got to get out of this place.

The mechanic replied: "It is dangerous to drive a car that needs a new head gasket because you will do more damage to the car" Well, I think, sounds like it probably won't "blow up" I need food so I have no choice but to get in this car and go. At about 2 p.m. I went downstairs to start the car. It took me almost 2 hours toget all of the ice off.

I borrowed a scraper and couldn't remove any of the ice with it. My neighbor sprayed de-ice on it and that didn't do the trick either. I let it run to see if having the defrost rear and front would help but that didn't do the trick either.

I walked upstairs to get a bucket of hot water to splash on it and that didn't help either. I let the car run for another 30 or 40 minutes. Saw a man in the parking lot (a real sweetheart) and asked him if he has a scraper I can borrow. He thought my right window had been smashed because after I rolled the right window down there was a very thick sheet of ice still in perfect placement that looked like another window was there! A windown that you can't see through! I smashed at that ice and I couldn't get rid of all of it ; so it looks like a smashed window! (I never experienced so much ice in MD) The neighbor chipped away at my ice for about 20 minutes. Somehow, I made it the 1.2 miles to Payless grocery store then stalled out in the parking lot.

"All in A day's work"

journal entry from 10/15/94 

Authors Note-I'm staying in a group house with 1 woman and 4 men. 3 of the men are abusive, and I'm living intimately with domestic violence. In a few weeks I'll make my escape in the middle of the night and move out.

Lafayette, Indiana (Another day of job hunting)

I started out the morning making job calls. Called group Homes for Children and they said they had already filled their position. Called Boyer Adia temp. services and they said they didn't have any work for me. (I have no car) They told me to call back later in the day but I couldn't because I was either on the bus or in the Payless grocery store interview.

I left the house at 1035 a.m. to go to the downtown bus terminus. I arrived at 11:05 just to find out that the South Street bus doesn't leave until 11:45 a.m. for Cracker Barrel restaurant. (I'm applying for dishwasher and cashier) Then I found out that this bus doesn't even go to Cracker Barrel. By that time I missed the 11:15 bus and had to wait around for the 11:45 bus.

I decided to go in person to Westminster Village to fill out the application for secretary. At 12:10 I completed that task. I had to go back out and wait for the bus again so I can go to Kelly temporary agency and taking the assessment of skills test. They want me there by 1 p.m. The bus didn't come until 12:30. It rode all around West Lafayette and didn't arrive downtown until 1:10. The bus I'd have to get on to go to Kellly services wasn't going to leave until 1:45 which would have gotten me there by about 2:10.

So I decided to get on the bus that will take me to HOme Hospital where I am required to take the drug test for Olsten temporary services, specifically Wasbash Industries/Subaru Isuzu.

I arrived at Home Hospital at 1:30 which was 1/2 hour early. I was very hungry. I went to the cafeteria but it had closed at 1 p.m. I didn't have cash for a vending machine so I had to walk for 1/2 hour to get to Main Street. I walked into a restaurant (Pop's) to see if they take checks. They don't. I had to walk to Village Pantry (like a 7-11) because they were the only place within walking distance that would take my food stamps.

I got a cheeseburger and tried to heat it up but the microwave was broken. After about 15 minutes the manager managed to "repair" the microwave.  My food now heated I discover that the only place to dine is outside sitting on the ground across the street. It's now 2:15. I have a 4 p.m. appt. to interview at Payless grocery store.

I was worried that if I walk back to the lab to do the drug testing I'll miss my interview at Payless. Nevertheless I decide to walk back to the lab to find out how long it will take.

I went in and found out that I'd have to pee in a cup with a woman watching me. I try but i am unsuccessful.   So I waited in the reception area until I was ready to try to pee again. I talked and joked with other guys in the waiting room as we waited for our turn at this degrading task.

One guy had been there for more than an hour and he just foud that he could not pee with people watching. He went on to say that if they'd bring in a pretty girl:

 "she can watch me grow!"

 He then called out at a  female tech.........

"Don't forget to put the block on that so they don't find the cocaine!" She was not amused.

I had to pee in front of 2 women and I still didn't produce enough. They said they'd try to send it in for inspection but they didn't know if it would be enough urine or not.

I left there and got on the bus for Tippecanoe Mall's Payless interview. While I was at the mall I decided to apply at some of the other stores in the mall. The Payless interview went well but she said she didn't know how long it would take for the hiring staff to make their decision.

I have 20 dollars in food stamps and I have to make them last until October 12th. So I figured I better also apply at Hallmark and "Dollar Time" stores.

The drug testing results go to Olsten by 4 p.m. on Thursday. If I don't have a job by then I can start working at the factory, Wabash National on Friday. I don't think I'll have the strength for it though I'm hoping I'll get another job offer by then.

Either way I have to go to Wabash National's job orientation by 8:15 tomorrow morning. This means I'd have to be downtown by 7:45 a.m. (i do not know what time i should arrive at the bus stop)   Where am I supposed to stand to catch that bus? On the East side? the west side?

Anyway I took the bus home from the mall and got out at Grant and State street. I can't afford to eat out, I guess I'll have to go "home" if I want to eat. But if I go home I have to face my abusive roomates. I decided to go to Village Pantry for dinner again, then I walked to bible study.

Got home and went to my room. Someone broke into my bedroom. The door's lock has been broken. This gives me a creepy feeling. I just can't understand what  or why my roomates would want to steal from me.

I must get up very early for the Olsten orientation and possible clerical testing. I'm on the phone and Bernie (one of the housemates) is screaming at the top of his lungs and bashing on my bedroom door. What an asshole. What assholes they all are. Thank goodness Bernie's bedroom isn't adjacent to mine.

As you can see: "Poor people are just lazy"

"Putting together a memoir/societal critique"

Initially I assumed I'd put all 16 years into one book. But, upon further examination, I don't think it's a good idea. In part inspired by the Pelzer memoirs; I've decided that I'm going to split them into 3 books. Not only will this potentially generate more income, but I think it makes alot of sense on many levels. Most books are about 250 to 300 pages. How could one possibly take 16 years of daily journal entries and compile it into one book.

I wish I had someone I could discuss this stuff with but not yet. There is a woman who considers herself the mother of all Baltimore memoir writers who offered to help me at no cost a few years ago. I will look her up today.

Another thing I learned, (I just re-read Laura Rothenberg's memoir) is that you are supposed to divide each chapter into about the same amount of pages. Laura definitely broke that mold, but I won't follow her lead there. Some of her chapters were 10 pages and others were 70 pages. She is one of the few who did her memoir journal style. "Breathing for a Living"

So, here is the plan for now.

Book 1 represents 1/94 through 5/99

Book 2 represents 6/99 through 6/2004

Book 3 represents 6/2004 through 5/2009. This seems like a logical place to break since this is when I got out of that deadly "La pew apts"

Coming up today, I give you another glimpse into my books in the making.

Friday, October 9, 2009

"Butter knives and screwdrivers!"

Last week my mechanic said to me; "Don't worry this car is not going to leave you stranded!" Yesterday I showed up at the Timonium Fairgrounds primarily for the job fair around 2 p.m. I've never acquired a job through a job fair before but I feel best when I know that I'm giving it "my all."

When I arrived at 2, there was only one employer left. She said that it ended at 2. I said what? It's doesn't coincide with the hours for the rest of the fair? But I thought the fair ended around 4! She replied that the job fair people did a terrible job with planning and advertising. She agreed that it was not made clear in any way that the fair ended at 2. This job fair was geared to "baby boomers" of which I make the cut by about a year. I imagined in my mind that people younger then 45 would have "snuck in!" because of the bad economy.

I start walking around to see what's available for us so called baby boomers. Pretty much everything is geared to seniors of which not all baby boomers fall.

I went over to the fitness booth and saw that they were checking body fat levels. I had a pretty good idea what mine was because I had it done at the MAC Timonium where I was a member for a whopping 3 months in 2003 right before falling homeless again. In addition to checking body fat levels they check other aspects of fitness. After they have you do the sit and rise test, the can you touch your hands to each other behind your back, and the walk fast around the cones test, they measure your scores.

they said to me: "Well, we have a score sheet that we measure you against, but all the categories are above 60 years old"

"That's kind of silly I said, because this is supposed to be for baby boomers"

They said that compared to 60 to 69 year olds I fall below what the average senior can do in every category! Am I upset by this? Absolutely not. I told them that a person with fibromyalgia can't measure themselves against a healthy person, they need to figure out what's right for them, and what's normal for someone with this diagnosis.

After the girl did my body fat test (which was the last test) She left me with the following parting words which I think are so simplistic they sound ridiculous. "Well, your fat levels are a bit higher than normal so eat right and exercise!"


Talk about profound!

I go out to my car (I'm giving you the short version here) at about 3:45 and although my car starts, it won't shift into reverse or drive. I'm in a very large unpaved lot with few other cars and this is damn scary. I start flagging people down in the hopes that someone will have a cell. After 3 people and about 6 tries I got thru to my insurance company. She insisted about 4x that I must give her a callback #. Despite my repeat attempts at telling her I didn't have one she insisted. "In case you need to call us back" she kept repeating.


When I told her that I am more than 15 miles from my mechanic she asked me "How will you be paying for the overcharge?!" I knew the question was coming but it panicked me. I imagined myself dying in the car and someone finding my skeletal remains. Because I have no way of paying for the overcharge.

"Credit card" I replied. KNowing darn well that that my c.c. is tied to my checking account and that there isn't enough money in there. I knew it would go through but cause my other checks to bounce.

I was really really scared. I feared that the sun would go down and the tow driver would never find me. How in the hell am I going to pay for this? What's the alternative but telling them I have a credit card. The alternative is that I'd have to leave the car there, and it would get towed to impound and I'd never get it back.

The tow guy came in good timing, less than an hour. I told him it wouldn't go into gear. He said "They told me the car wouldn't start" (I knew I had to say that to the dumb girl because she'd never be able to process anything any more complicated then that) The tow driver went on to say-"I don't know how we're going to get the car on the truck" I knew that was rhetorical so I didn't respond. He tried to put the car in gear and when he couldn't he said:

"I'm going to teach you how to put this car in gear, even though I know this would piss my boss off. He doesn't make any money if I get you going! But I don't want to cause more damage to the car by putting it on the lift and costing you money for nothing

I replied: "I'll bet it's been a long long time since any of your stranded customers have said this to you but IIIIIIIIIIIIIII LOOOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEE YOU!"

He got out a screwdriver and pushed it on a piece below my gear shift. "See that little piece? YOu push and hold that while you put the car into gear. I'm going to leave it in gear for you." I told him that I don't have a screwdriver so I'm just going to drive it straight home.

This morning I tried the same thing with a butter knife and it worked. That got me to the hardware store where I was able to buy a screwdriver. I said to the hardware guy "Which screwdriver would be best for starting cars?! " He gave me this look like wwwwwwwwwwwhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaaatttttttttttttttttttttttt?! Of course I wanted to achieve a similar effect!

Took it to the mechanic yet again and he said I'd have to bring it in next week and he'll take it apart. I said, "I'm here more then I'm at the doctors" "I'd like to trade this car up?" "Who do you recommend?!"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

"A Magical Place"

When I arrived at the festival at 2:30 on Sunday, I wondered if being there would reduce my stress. I was stressed for alot of reasons but then even more stressed to learn I'd have to pay $5 for parking. I wasn't even sure if I had an extra 5 on me and realized I might have to turn around and go home. Turns out I did have the extra 5.

I'm at a very magical place. Spoutwood Farm in Glen Rock, PA. I'm not positive the web address but I surmise it's

It's the Mother Earth Fest. I've been here twice before. I was here in 98 with Anne who was coming to pick up her seasonal share of the harvest. This is the site of the Community Supported Agriculture Program. I was also here in May 2001 for the Faerie Festival. The theme for this festival is sustainable living.

In the past I hadn't noted this property as magical, but this time it really feels that way. Literally after about 15 minutes on the property, I felt all my stress melt away. When I told some people there that I felt that way, they said, that's because Spoutwood Farm is a magical place. There's something about the combination of the land, the architecture, the beautiful brightly colored outfits, the interesting and beautiful things being sold and the friendliness that is really unique. Virtually nobody seemed "guarded" like in Baltimore.

You know if you've been reading my blog, that I have a "Special Place in my Heart" for a handful of places. The Carroll County Farm Museum is another one. Always something transformative about being there that goes even deeper then the natural beauty.

At this festival there is a guitarist sitting off to the side putting on a show. He stops the show, so that he can give an off the cuff flute lesson to a 7 year old walking by, who hasn't quite mastered her instrument. He instructs her to come back when she's "learned to play the flute" I think thats a very tall order! She runs away without looking back! She isn't with any adults. Which seems quite normal in an environment like this. You just kind of know when a place is really safe. I can imagine that Woodstock was probably like this.

One of my favorite parts of this festival was the bus diner. The owners painted some cool designs on a school bus and turned it into a restaurant. The bus seats are transformed into booths. Wondrous for me, but I'm told that the diners in the old days were reconverted trains!

I'm surprised to learn that I only live 10 miles from the PA line, and that it would only take me 1/2 hour to get to this festival.

I finally got to the see the straw bale house that my landlord and his family built here in 2000. Absolutely amazing. You certainly can't tell that it was built out of straw. It was kind of surreal because he decorated it with the same antique rug that I walked on daily when I was his tenant for a year in '00-'01.

I most certainly wasn't used to this kind of difficult terrain. I had a hard time keeping my balance and even had a hard time with the slanted path that one had to walk on to get from their car to the festival. It felt even more painful then usual to walk. (It does hurt to walk anyway when you have fibromyalgia. Your thighs and calves and sometimes your hips and feet hurt. Not the same kind of hurt that a healthy person would feel after a workout)

I would also bet that you can learn about this place by going to

(glen rock)

I hope you enjoyed this post!

"Health Care in America" 4/4/1997

Here I am again. Doing yet another involuntary sociological study.

  I'm at Health Care for the Homeless in Baltimore City (hch). It isn't as packed as I would have expected. The man who checked me in was cordial, but not particularly bright. Which is not all that unusual in my experience.

I told him he had spelled both my first and last name wrong on the intake form. He didn't correct it. He said that I shouldn't worry because he'll enter it correctly when he puts it in the computer.

By the time my form made it to the nurse, she copied my name (still spelled incorrectly) onto yet another form. She was very high strung and looked anorexic. She couldn't get the sterile cover onto the thermometer and tried 3x! She threw it down and said: "I GIVE UP!" I told her that:

I'D be patient with HER! She finally got the thermometer in my mouth and then didn't wait for it to register. Started to pull it out when it was still only 95 degrees. I pointed to show her that it wasn't ready.

She put me back out in the waiting room with the other patients. They smelled strong of cigarettes and were sneezing. Anyhow-the homeless who present  here are primarily men.  Where are the female homeless?

Author's Note

My journal entry didn't describe anything beyond those initial experiences when I first arrived. But I feel it's pretty powerful anyway!