Wednesday, December 30, 2009

hear me sing, see me sing

Here is the proper link for the video. You can clearly hear my voice blending with the other carollers as the audio clip for the amazing Christmas lights at the senior center in Hampstead. Then the video goes to a live shot of all of the carollers. The camera starts on me and then spreads to the rest of the choir at the restaurant.

click on the link for "North Carroll Christmas"

Monday, December 28, 2009

"the holidays"

I was told to show up at the old elementary school for Christmas Caroling. I was told that the mayor and Santa would be there, but neither showed. I'll tell you who did show. A drunk organizer. It was below 30 degrees and I was a bit concerned about frostbite. I suggested to the organizer that we move, not stand still because of the dangerous cold. He said we can't we have to wait for the others. Although I was 10 minutes early there was no opportunity for socializing because 2 journalists showed up at the same time as I and began to immediately interview the 5 people (not me) who were with me.

I was pleased that my singing voice did decide to work. I tried to walk around to see the beautiful lights (which you'll see on the t.v. spot I just learned of today) but I couldn't cuz of the ice.

After about 3 songs (I asked who our audience is) and D. said "we are our own audience) we were asked to go the the restaurant.

We were asked to get up on the stage but that didn't make much sense to me because there was a sports game being televised on a screen behind us! When the waitress asked no one in particular if she should turn off the game I said "Absolutely yes"

Yet, we were up there more than 5 minutes before they turned the game off. I had to shield my eyes from the video camera. D. would typically start the singing before waiting for people to find their page.

He said we can go order anything we want drink wise. I began to order a drink, drink and then realized that he is likely wrong about it being free. So I asked and they said, no only beer or wine are free not mixed drinks. So I got a coffee.

Another waitress said that actually you can get anything that you want. I told her I was thinking of getting a white russian (i wasn't sure if it was a good idea) she brought me a white russian and about 1/4 of the way thru we were told to go to another venue in Manchester.

I rode with a woman and her mother. We got there and the pastor told us that we can't sing there because they are busy with choir practice. I was very angry. Talk about poor organization. D. decided we'd go to another nursing home but he didn't give us an address. The driver swore she'd find it. Mind you it's 28 degrees and she's driving all around but didn't have the sense to follow anybody! So we missed out on singing at the nursing home. D. told us we are to come back to this church later. Since we were lost and I feared the worst I asked if we could go back to the original church.

We went inside and I sat on a stoop in the unheated hall of the church. this is too cold. I felt there was no choice but to go into where they were practicing for Christmas. I'm so mad I have nothing to say. The driver and her mother come in and sit down and the driver pulls out her cell. D. tells her "Oh, no. We aren't going to be singing at that church. Drive back to the restaurant"

The restaurant told us we can have free dinner but I was so angry by the time we got back to the restaurant that I didn't even join them for the rest of the singing-I just stormed out and went home.

Nonetheless, I can clearly hear my own voice on this video that was on television and is on the internet.

here's the link.


click on

"North Carroll Christmas"

You can pick out my voice as being fairly high with a lot of vibrato.

(Next week I'm going to be evaluated for "Dysphonia" at an ent specialist)

The Illusion a camera creates/thanksgiving

The other day I was going through old newspapers ready to put them in recycling and low and behold I made the Carroll County Times.

A church in Hampstead had a Thanksgiving dinner that was called Faith Feast. There were only about 20 or so attendees if that many. There had to be 50 or so empty place settings! The cameraperson who photographed the 3 people at my table was able to "hide" the fact that it was actually a huge table with only 3 of us sitting there. Anyhow, I'm not sure how you can find the photo on the internet but if you're savvy I'll bet you can. It showed up on 12/11/09 and the meal was entitled Faith Feast.

The Illusion a camera creates!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Merry Frickin' Christmas"

My landline was disconnected this morning.

"Interview at the Daycare Center"

I dropped off my application in June.  I called every 2 weeks to follow up on it. Got my interview last week for teacher's aide.

I arrived about 1/2 hour early. You can see the classrooms when you're sitting in the park lot. because the blinds are open.    I've seen a few things over the months that concern me; but like i've said in prior blogs; the only schools that really impress me are the Waldorf and the Young School.

So, I'm sitting in the car and the teacher is letting a 1 year old play inside a full  toy box.    The child is keeping her balance by hanging onto the glass window. She goes to pull the venetian blinds down because her height is increased by being in the toy box.

Instead of the teacher removing her from the toy box, the teacher raises the blinds higher.

I go inside. There is no one in the office so i am "trapped" in the foyer or about 10 minutes. I can't get in the school because there is a security keypad.    I reason that eventually someone will notice me. The other interviewee comes in and we are both essentially trapped in the foyer.

Eventually we are asked to go sit in the office. I wonder which seats we are supposed to wait in? The asst. director says: "Let me call the director on her cell to see how "close" she is to the school!"

"How close" she is to the school I wonder? Shouldn't she be HERE?

asst. says, "She just passed Sheetz"

What is Sheetz I wonder?

The other interviewee isn't paying her much attention and is filling out an appl.

An asst. begins searching for my application.  (Shouldn't that have been found before my interview time?)    She is distracted and gabbing with 2 other employees at the same time. My anxiety is increasing. Doesn't look like she'll find it. She asked me my name again, then said: "I'm sure the interviewer will know where you're application is!"

Director comes in and starts looking for my application.    No luck. Yells across office about what my name is? The asst. is so loud I wonder how the director can even hear me. No appl. She said she'll just wing the interview without my application in hand?!

The other interviewee and I are shuffled back to an unheated room. Director provides the other girl with a thorough interview based on her APPLICATION! Then cheats me with  a much shorter interview. Director makes more eye contact with the other girl. Says there is no one on teaching staff over 29....................(I'm 46)

I look over at the director's notes. I note the proper first and last name for the other girl on one paper, and SMITH on the other paper. I asked who SMITH is?

She said: "That's you!"

NO I  said incredulously I'M SNYDER!

"Well, I thought you said Smith!" the employee said.

We are sent in for a 15 minute working interview. We each got to pick an age group. I pick 4 year olds. The moment I enter the room I am devastated by the stench of bleach. I'm reminded of how bleach triggers migraines. No windows are cracked and i think they should be.

Anyhow the kids are dancing which is perfect cuz I can just jump right into that. I felt happy instantly with the kids. But the teacher didn't enjoy the kids at all. She kept reprimanding them and even seperated them for talking. (They are only 4)

I thought it a shame that she doesn't enjoy her job. She was supposed to be observing me but she wasn't........................

I feel I was at a distinct disadvantage.

I called yesterday to see if I got the job, and the director implied yes. She said she'd call back in 2 hours but didn't.

I called this morning and she said things have changed call back in 2 weeks.............

cest la vie

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"Memorial Service for the Homeless"

Baltimore County Coalition for the Homeless held a memorial last night in Towson. There was a service with different speakers with 2 of the speakers reading the names of each Baltimorean who died on the streets in 2009. Two of them were named "Unknown."

The most surprising part of the night was hearing a speaker who has a Masters from Johns Hopkins and is homeless and staying in the shelter in Baltimore County. He's been homeless for 16 months.

Then there was a vigil where we were given plastic votives and walked to the newly constructed memorial in Towson again for those who died homeless on the streets of Baltimore.

The other highlight of the evening was that a boy scout of 14 is the one who built the memorial. He did a little speech and said that he was required to build the memorial as a Boy Scout project. He didn't intially care about the issue of homelessness but as he learned more he became very interested in it.

I don't know exactly how to end this piece other then to say that, I told one of the attendees that most homelessness is hidden. People doubling up with family or friends because they can't afford rental costs.

They figured out that a minimum wage worker would need to work 145 hours a week to afford a 2 bedroom apt. in Baltimore county!

Monday, December 21, 2009

"What a Life"

You'd be blown away at the # of things that go wrong. But this particular story's final question is, yet again, "Is the glass half full or is the glass half empty"

On Thursday, I had decided to attend a live taping of an NPR show on the subject of homelessness. I worry about everything there is to worry about. Again I visualize and wonder; is it better to break down in the burbs, the city, or the beltway. Not only did I forget my trac phone but it has no minutes on it anyway.

I'm nervous because I have to go down to Old Frederick Road and I usually DO get lost in that region. I have my directions printed out from Map Quest. They are wrong. So I drive around an extra 30 minutes and keep asking people out on the street. Finally there is a woman who knows not only where the church is but that Old Frederick Road is all chopped up. She tells me how to get there.

I arrive 1/2 hour early at 11:30 a.m. Every parking space says "reserved for so and so" I don't see any other lot. But I drive around figuring there must be another lot somewhere. There is a winding hill that leads down to a lower level. But there is only one car. That must be for the host of the radio show, I figure. I wait to see if anyone else will show up.

3 more show up, 2 are on the panel. We walk up to the church which is kind of like a castle. There are multiple staircases and multiple doors. I thank goodness I'm not in this mess alone. We try some 6 doors. We finally find one that opens. I say, this makes no sense, how could handicapped people access this with no ramps? I find an auditorium and say: "this must be it" I go in to the bathroom. When I come out the 3 people say, "we were just told by the custodian that this isn't even the right building. It's not in the church at all! It's in the mansion.

Another long walk.

Interesting event but I was hoping to get an opportunity to tell my own story on homelessness.  The best part of the radio show for me was the following moment. A woman walked up to the mic. (there were many homeless in the audience, and ex homeless) and she said this to the panelists:

"I have to be out of my place by January 13th. Which of you panelists is gonna let me come and live with you?!"

"I will" an African American woman on the panel said. "I am not kidding. You come and stay with me!"

I was really touched by it.

We had a hard time figuring out a way to walk to our cars on the way back as it was a very intimidating labyrinth, again with a lot of stairs.

I decided to look at one of my childhood homes. The one I lived in from 69 to 75  My old place. To see what it looks like. My parents lost that house in '75. (Wonder how diff. my life would be if I had inherited that house?)

Drove up Reisterstown Road and to the Giant. When I was in the Giant I saw this guy I had 2 dates with in February. He asked: "How's the car running?"

"It ran today" I replied.

He was in front of me in line, and I'm sure just pulled off as I was trying to start my car. There is a horrible noise. Something is horribly wrong. I went into giant and used the service phone to call for roadside. I'm freakin' out. I realize that the trip is 14 miles, and my break down coverage only allows for a breakdown to occur within 15 miles of your home!

An hour later the tow driver who looks at the car says that I popped a spark plug. Takes my car to the mechanic takes me home. I do not have the $ for car repairs.

Next morning I call the girl over at the welfare office and ask the voice mail if there is any money in the coffers for a car repair. She said, "I was just on my way out the door but I'll check" She found money for the repair, faxed a promissory note over to the mechanic and I got the car back at 5 p.m. the next day; just in enough time to get snowed in with 18 inches of snow.

Again, I ask myself; "Is the glass half empty or is the glass half full?"

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Hey, that's my favorite song!"

Here's what I checked out on you tube today

Brandy by Looking Glass
I Just Want to Stop by Gino Vanelli
Cruel to be Kind by Nick Lowe
Reminiscing by the Little River Band
Alone again Naturally by Gilbert O'Sullivan
Ain't no Sunshine by Bill Withers
Use Me also by Bill Withers
Biggest Part of Me by Ambrosia
Baby come Back by Player
"At Seventeen" by Janis Ian
Poetry Man by Phoebe Snow

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"The good news and the bad news"

The bad news is that I'm in my 5th day of a headache. In the 4th and 5th days my headache grew much worse and is accompanied with nausea and eye pain and visual disturbances. I can barely function. I don't know what's causing the headaches and I haven't found any meds that make a difference. I had to leave the house to buy some stuff and my library materials were due today.

The good news is that "Compu Kids" donated a computer to me. It's not set up yet because I don't have a desk. I'd love to have internet but I don't know if I'll be able to afford that right away. But at least I can work on my book from home.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

"Bumper Stickers"

Saw 2 great bumper stickers today.

"What would Scooby Doo?"


"Road Rage Princess!"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Which is the worst torture?!"

I got my teeth cleaned today for the first time in 6 years. It was horrendous. Well first off the hygienist kept asking me the same question over and over again. I thought, how many languages do you need this answer in?

But what I mean by torture is, The office is playing non stop Christmas Carols.  But on top of that you've got that horrible machine that blows air in your mouth, and the cleaning machine that makes a high pitched squeal. It hurt my ears and I thought boy I should have brought earplugs.

I asked the hygienist a question about the anesthetic. She said "What do you mean anesthetic?"

  "Do you usually use it?  Well, the doc. told me last time you would use I anesthetic  since I"m so sensitive, and my gums are so diseased."

She went and got him and indeed he did say that. I figured he probably also did not communicate with her that they are only to clean 1/2 of my mouth today. I was thinking about the multi sensory torture and how I just wanted to get it over with. How about when they ask you questions while they have the tools in your mouth. I hardly ever could hear a word she said because she was drown out by Christmas Carols.

It was a very painful process but I'm so glad I got it over with. And I really don't know which of the multi sensory tortures were worse. She slipped and poked the needle into my lip and didn't even apologize!

But I am really grateful to finally have been able to take a step toward keeping these pretty teeth.  Carroll County Social Services is paying for this dental work today; a program that does not exist in Baltimore.

"Street Smarts for Women"

I was speaking with a woman today who grew up in Carroll County, briefly lived in Baltimore City and moved back to Carroll County. She said something that made me smile knowingly. She said one big lesson I learned about living in Baltimore is "Never Smile!"

I learned the same lesson years ago I told her, especially on a public bus. I asked her "How did you know that this is an unwritten rule in Baltimore?" She said, "If I smiled I got all sorts of unwanted attention from men" "One day, I smiled at a man in a grocery store, so he followed me out and kept following me. I had to avoid going home so I could lose him."

This inability to smile was one of the main reasons she decided to move back to Carroll County.

I told her that I lived 12 years in the city and I've developed such a tough outer core that I'm totally unprepared for all of the people who smile at me since I've lived here in Carroll County. I can't even prepare a smile in return fast enough for them to notice!