Saturday, August 29, 2009

"At the soup kitchen"

8/21/09

There is a big welcoming sign in front of the doorway to the free lunch. But the door is locked. I bang for a while before I'm noticed. A woman comes to the door and says: "The sign tells you to come around the side" (no, there is no sign) "Haven't you been here before?" "Yes, I have"

It's 12:30 and the lunch ends at one. The last time I was here, I noticed that more people showed at 12:30 then they did at 12, so this time I came later. Each week, a different church manages the lunch so the rules are always changing. The food is in the back kitchen. I walk to the kitch.

E-"Is there any food left?"

"Yes" a server says. She gives me a drumstick, melon, and corn. I ask if there are any breasts and she says no. To me, this looks like a snack, rather than a full meal.

Server-"Taking it to go?"

E-(Now why would they assume that when it's only 12:30?)

E-"No, I'm eating here." (I feel rushed already)

I sit with a 55 year old woman, her boyfriend and their 12 year old son. I notice the man was given 3x more food than I was. This isn't the first time I've noticed that men get much bigger portions than women.

I have my Obama button on my coat. The woman I'm sitting with, has a thick rural drawl and I can barely understand her.

Lady-"Did you vote for Obama?"

Elana-"Nope" I joked, but she didn't get it, so I said "yes, i did"

Elana-"Did you?"

Lady-"Absolutely not. We voted for Ron Paul"

E-"Is he libertarian?"

Lady-"Oh yes, he's very liberal. He's pro gun AND pro family. But we're not political"

E-(This conversation isn't making much sense to me. She's more interested in talking then listening, so I just listen)

Lady-"Now that O. is in office, my food stamps have gone up."

E-"To what?"

Lady-"300 a month, for a family of 4" "I used to get 14 a month"

Someone starts spraying cleaning chemicals on the table next to us, and they're all ready to shut down. The stream of spray is so long, I worry we'll get sprayed. I try to eat fast. I ask if there is any more chicken left. The first male worker Iasked said, no there is not; yet, the man at my table was given 3 carry out meals...................................Since I know that nobody anywhere knows what there doing, I ask a second worker. "Is there any chicken left?"

"Yes, she replied"

The workers start stacking chairs on the tables, and I'm mentally prepared for them to stack chairs right on top of our table while we're eating.

The woman at my table says alot more about how dangerous HUD is. She says that maintenance men will steal your food! (Of course that's what happened at La Pew, but she didn't really give me an opportunity to tell her that) She went on to say: "Never trust a Pennsylvania cop" "Perry hall is city now" (I'm going to assume that she means that in an unofficial way)

While I"m eating a volunteer comes over and asks if we want our blood pressure checked?! Is she kidding me? I think about that irony sice soup kitchen food tends to be so high fat.

The minute I take my last bite, a volunteer chimes out, "FINISHED?!"

e-"Doesn't look like I have any choice BUT to be finished." I tell her.

The one woman wants to hang around and talk to me, but I said loud enough for the workers to hear me, "we better talk outside, cuz they're in a hurry to get us out of here"

Coming up soon, my experience at the next week's soup kitchen............................................

"At the soup kitchen"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"The Best Health Care in the World"

If it weren't for Byron putting gas in my tank this morning, I would have never made it. I would have never made it to my vision appt. at Wilmer.....................Wilmer Eye Institute. People travel the world to Baltimore so they can get care from Johns Hopkins Hospital and Institute.

I have no doubt that the diagnosis I received and the overall care I got was good. But both the asst. and the doctor seemed very rushed. The asst. was pretty condescending. When I told her that I had one experience a few weeks ago where I was completely blind for 4 minutes she rolled her eyes at me. "People don't just go blind unless there is a reason"

E-"And if you don't know the reason, I certainly don't either"

She put all sorts of drops in my eyes before doing the exam. Boy was I surprised when she said "you're vision is perfect" "no abnormal eye pressure" The doctor will be in to do another test, but first you have to sit in the lobby and wait for your eyes to dilate"

After about 1/2 hour the Doc. came in. Also, his speech was so rushed, that when I went to ask a question he interrupted me in the middle. I had to repeat the question to make sure he heard me. He also gave me a clean bill of health but is going to do a visual field test on a different day.

When I left, I found the sun hurt my eyes badly and my vision was blurred. I tried to drive to Whole Foods, but had trouble. I stopped at the park, hoping to hike while waiting for my eyes to normalize, but I couldn't because the light/sun hurt my eyes so bad.

Where besides a bar is dark enough for me to hang out for a while. I hung in STarbux Mt. Washington for over an hour. My eyes still aren't right. All together I waited 2.5 hours before heading back to Carroll County, my eyes are still dialated.

It's really something to sit in the lobby of Wilmer, and realize that I'm surrounded by well to do patients, for the most part.

But when my appt. was over, I asked the Doc. can you refer me to a place that can afford to pay for my glasses, I don't have the $ to pay for new glasses.

He said he doesn't know, but the optical people might in the eyeglass clinic. I waited before asking. They told me what types of glasses were an option for me (progressive, readers, etc) I found it all pretty confusing. They said "The frames range from 99 to 499!" That's when I asked if they could refer me out. I told them that once, Penn OPtical gave me free glasses years ago before I was on Medicare. Of course I know to try the Lion's Club. They gave me one more option of a place to call.

I'll let you know whether or not I find anybody to pay for my glasses. I've needed new ones for years. But, I'm thrilled and surprised (because my # is -850) that my eyes appear to be perfect! And despite the not so great people skills of the workers......................I'm most grateful to be receiving some of the best health care known to America!

Monday, August 24, 2009

"This week in real estate!"

I just pulled the following article out of storage. I had 20 years of journals in storage so they wouldn't be stolen from my La Pew apt. After all they will be turned into a book. Here is an article about one of the first towns i was homeless in, in spring 1994.............................

Down Your Way


A Bayside suburb where different cultures meet
St. Kilda

Location-About 5 km south of the CBD

St. Kilda is nothing if not accommodating and flexible. This seaside suburb has had as many ups and down as Luna Park's Big Dipper.

At the turn of the century it was a rather grand place to live and to visit. Tourists flooded to the bayside to promenade and swim at the sea baths.

During the Depression its small terraces had their fair share of unemployed. Soup kitchens were set up at the Town Hall. After WW2 it accepted a a flood of Eastern European refugees who put their own stamp on the suburb's life, adding exotic restaurants and cake shops. Good coffee arrived and stayed.

In the 1960's and 1970's it was Melbourne's relatively tame sleaze capital. It became the city's drug capital in the 1980's.

Young homebuyers discovered it's charms in the 1980's and it went through a real estate transformation. It once had one of the highest levels of tenants in the state. Many of the suburb's large mansions had been turned into boarding houses and many of the flats were rented, not owner occupied.

During the 1980's however, many boarding houses were reconverted to private homes and many blocks of flats were upgraded, strata-tiled and sold to those wanting a share in St. Kilda's charms.

"A delight of the bay, St. Kilda is Melbourne's playground!"

"If I see you driving dangerously"

I will not hesitate to call the cops on you. today i called the cops on someone who passed me at 80 mph over the double yellow line in a 30 mile zone. i WILL memorize your plate! So don't tempt me, got it?!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Baltimore Magazine/Baltimore Memoirist 4/07

"Growing up in Black and White"

article written by Geoff Brown on memoirist David Matthew's

Ace of Spades, David Matthew's engrossing new memoir about growing up in Baltimore, provides a unique look into the city's white and black societies. Matthews is the son of Ralph Matthews Jr. the black Afro-Americna reporter, and Robin Kahn, his white mother. "I remember kids from Pigtown calling me "nigger" and I remember kids from the Murphy Homes calling me 'honky' Matthews, 39 says from NYC. "But as with any place where your identity is formed, Baltimore has remained for me a crucible-the only place I could have come from. A few people have found me because of the book, and they have all said the same thing:

"Thank you for nailing Baltimore."

When I tell people about the segregation, the danger, the smallness and the charm-"they don't believe me"

Elana's note:

Virtually no one will believe what I have lived through either.

Baltimore Magazine's "Up Front" 4/07

Thursday, August 20, 2009

8/14/2009 "The Washington Post"

did a wonderful story about a senior who moved from OH to ND for a job......in her pick up truck with over 200k miles on it.

"Who taught you how to dance?"

Many people have asked me that over the years. I've been thinking; who DID teach me to dance. Probably the soul train dancers, michael jackson, james brown...................but I wasn't intentionally copying any of these people. I also took modern dance at university of maryland.

I'm considering going on craigs list to start up a group for folks who want to disco, funk, r and b, and freestyle dance. I doubt I'll get many responses. I'm not really willing to go into Baltimore city much for dancing, especially after dark.

I haven't been to a really good dance spot since 2002; the "have a nice day cafe" downtown.........................................

Perhaps i should do a google search on where the dance spots are. Another obstacle is that I prefer 70's and 80's for dance music, and that's probably not a very popular format for the youngsters....................................

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

"At Least I've got my readers!"

I think you're just about the only ones who are taking the time to listen to me. Today, I had an appt. with a specialist on Westminster Pike. But the paperwork said that I was supposed to go to Westminster Road. I followed the signs to W. Road and all there were were houses no clinics. A stranger on the highway let me use his cell. The receptionist couldn't give directions. I discovered that even though the paper work said I was suppose dto go to W. Road the clinic was on W. pike. By the time I got there I told the recep. about the error. She said, "you're wrong, this is westminster road"

(oh no, i'm not wrong, if you drive along westminster pike you expressly see a sign for a service road entitled westminster road. there is nothing but houses there and it dead ends into another road with another name)

I said, "you need to correct your paperwork"

Another recept. came from the back "I can assure you Ms. Snyder, this IS west road." Since no one would listen to me, I told the Dr. about the error. He was excellent as far as being a Doctor goes. Sensitive, warm, smart. But as soon as I told him about the error on the paper work he said: "I don't have time for this, I have a patient"

He just walked out on me!

Doesn't anyone take the time to listen?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Can I Have a Hug?"

That's how my day ended today.............................with a four year old in a coffee shop asking me if she can have a hug?! (Of course you can have a hug!)

Yesterday, I drove 46 miles round trip to the only emergency service agency that I thought might help me with auto expenses.  The only thing they were able to help with was my auto emissions fee......................................but if I've willing to make an appt. with a job search counselor they are willing to help in more of an ongoing way.

Zoe told me I'd have to get to the agency before 12:30 in the afternoon. When I got there, the receptionist said: "Well, she's not in today!" (I'll tell ya, if I was a receptionist I'm sure I'd say "but I'm sure there is something we can do to help since Z. told you to be here!) The recep. was ready to just turn me away, but I said, "I just drove 23 miles because I was told I had to be here!" They did find someone who helped me.

Today, when I went to get the emissions test done, I think the clerk took joy in telling me that I failed. Wanna know why I failed? Because the "check engine" light stays on all of the time. I tried to have that corrected when the car was under warranty, and the light only stayed off for a couple of days then came back on again. I can't spend my whole life in the auto shop! As it stands I have to have the mechanic re-do the work he did in the first week of June because the repair went awry. The whole society is broken.

Thank goodness for children. I talked to this 4 year old for quite a while, and I felt by the end of the conversation that I might have been adopted by this family! They walked me to my car, then helped me with directions!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

"What's better about life and what isn't"

What's better? I no longer have to hide my journals, my food, my underwear, my quarters under my blankets for fear of daily break ins. I've just begun sleeping. I estimate that I haven't slept since about 1974 or 1975, and in the last 4 nights or so, I've begun to sleep. I seem to sleep best in the living room which creates more of a buffer against the noise of motorcycles, trucks and broken mufflers. As long as carroll county residents aren't in their cars, they're very open, not suspicious like Baltimoreans. However the bulk of the folks i've met here, are originally from balto, and like me came here to get away from crime.

I've been able to personalize my apt. without fear of robberies, bought crimson colored bathmats, aquarium designed shower curtain and hand towel; a coffee mug that says "100 percent qualified, attentive, life enhancing friendly caring social worker. I have been lusting after that mug for a year. They sell "career" mugs in greetings and readings in hunt valley. The pain of Fibromyalgia is excruciating and round the clock, but now that I'm not in constant fear of being murdered, I can go on more appts. and find ways of lessening the pain. I'm still waiting (and perhaps I shouldn't hold my breath) for medicare to cover massage, chiropractic, and accupuncture, and dental and glasses!

What Isn't Better

Here's what's not better....he roads. I'm thoroughly disgusted with the violent way in which people drive.
It's so sad, that, there is a good chance that I'll be killed every time I go out in my car. Some things I'll have to stop doing altogether. For example, there is a 7 mile stretch of Black Rock Road that I frequently have to drive, and a 5 miles stretch of Falls. I've got multiple people passing me over the double line at 100 mph. There are people coming from the opposite direction in oversized vehicles also going at 70 or more mph. Many of them are riding the yellow line, or even going over it.

If my car breaks down on these rural roads, I'm a dead duck!  Because people are driving too fast to be able to stop for a broken down car, a car abiding road rules and doing the speed limit, a car who is making a careful left turn for example. I really do feel endangered. Everyone tailgates me. If you see my Buick, I advise you don't tailgate because it will not cause me to go faster, in fact it might make me slow down. I plan to write a letter to the editor on how deadly our society is in this respect. I just can't see myself making a long term commitment to places that are so car dependent!

 Prior to 1993, I can't recall American roads being this deadly. I was not scared all of the time, and I was not constantly being bullied by folks in bigger cars than me. Yes, women can be just as bad as men. And the risk multiplies with  drivers combing their hair, texting, eating and putting on makeup!   Watching the road or watching out for peds is not even a thought in their minds! Sad, sad, sad. I feel powerless to change this.

I'm still doing an aggressive job hunt, I use at least 10 job search websites, some are specific to nannying. I haven't had an interview since April............................It's very discouraging.

The property is gorgeous where I live but I rarely see any signs of human life on the grounds. I"m one of the only ones who uses a porch light after dark. I don't like how dark our property is.......................................

If it weren't for the philanthropist who put $1500 into getting my car repaired,  getting out of La pew would not have been possible. she probably saved me from being murdered...................................

Thursday, August 13, 2009

"I always feel like somebody's watching me"

That Michael Jackson song has always resonated with me!  I think about big brother all of the time, because I know that I am constantly being scrutinized...............Now, for the ironic twist:

Today, when I approached the broken traffic light at route 30 at the wal mart, i came upon 4 "traffic directors." These traffic "directors" are a huge problem. Route 30 and the bypass have been undergoing major construction, and they have these morons with no more than a kindergarten education supposedly directing traffic.

I was the first at the light, and I needed to make a right on 30 going south. I would wait 10 minutes. But what happened in that 10 minutes will take your breath away.

There were 2 workers at my "post" and 2 workers just north at another post fairly far away. There is an ongoing screaming dialogue between the four employees. 2 are threatening the other 2 with firing them! At the same time worker 1 is juggling his orange juice bottle with his "directing" hand. Worker 2 throws worker one an ice tea which he catches with his "directing hand" meanwhile, worker 2 yells the following at a driver:

GO GO GO GO GO COMON GRAMMA HURRY IT UP


worker 1 is sexually humping the portable stop sign that he is holding...................................he begins singing!:

"I always feel like somebody's watching me" (by michael jackson) none of these 4 workers are paying any attention to the traffic at all, this is just all fun and games for them.

Well, my windows were down when i heard worker 1 sing that song.

I yelled out the window at him "OH, I CAN ASSURE YOU THEY ARE"

What did you say , he asked?

"I can assure you, someone IS watching you!"

When I got home I made a # of phone calls until I found the right place to file my complaint with. You should have heard that worker's response when I told her the worker was fucking the stop sign.....................................

Now this my friends, was just one eensy weensy part of a day filled with everybit as much drama, as most days are..................................................

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Sing the R.V.R. song!"

Last week, I saw an ad in the paper for family fun day at river valley ranch in millers, md. I was reminded that I went to camp there for one week in 1976. When my parents sent me they had no idea it was a Christian camp so they did not send a bible with me. I think I recall they had to drive one up to me!

The first night, my cabin mate stole my nightgown. The 3rd day, Wendy, another camper, said I should follow her over to the gift shop so she can show me how good she is at stealing!

Perhaps these parents are sending their kids to Evangelical Camp in the hopes of reforming them? Or to get a break from them for a week?

I went to family fun day and nobody really spoke to me until meal time. But the rodeo was real cool, and I ended up sitting with a beautiful family for the Chuckwagon dinner, with 3 kids and their mom. The 22 year old man was from Pikeville, and an artist who has always wanted to draw a painting of what he remembers from riding the #8 bus along York Road. I encouraged him to follow thru with that so I can see the final piece.

The ranch look like it always did except that many young folks were glued to their cell phones or Blackberrys seeming disconnected from real life.

I overheard a teen girl say the following into her cell phone:

"I hate butterflies, day still bugs!"

I won a horse trophy in 76 that labelled me Camper of the Week. It wasn't clear to me how I could have won something like that short of the fact that the hellfire and damnation sermon convinced me to become Born Again!...................................

I was hoping they'd sing the RVR camp song on Saturday but they did not.

All I can remember is that it went:

Sing the rvr song, as we're riding along....................."

perhaps it's on the website?

www.rivervalleyranch.com

10 Stars for "Julie and Julia" with Meryl Streep

I reckon this is the best movie I've seen this year. This was a special surprise because when I chose this one I did not know there would be so many parallels between my own life and Julie's. I had no idea this movie was about a blogger who blogs her way to a best selling book and then a movie.

Remember in the movie her friends tell her she ought to collect donations thru her blogsite! I just loved that! They told her to add a paypal account so they can keep eating fancy dinners! The movie never indicated whether or not her fans gave her donations or not. In my case, I received hundreds of letters via email saying "I want to donate to you" I'd walk them thru the steps on my website, and they never once followed through. I dropped my donation/paypal account in July.

Memorable quote from the movie: Julia grabs a pasta noodle out of the pot and yells "THIS IS HOTTER THAN A STIFF COCK!"

If you need to laugh and be charmed, this is a "can't miss!"

"Battling Indoor and Outdoor Environments"

8/10/09

one of the things that motivated me to get out of the house today is that I'm allergic to my apt. There are probably a number of allergens but the main one is that my next door neighbor is a heavy smoker, so I wheeze and cough more at home than when I'm out.

But today, I've been in my 250 degree car all day and still gasping for breath. Right now I'm in the library with my winter coat on.....................dreaming of moderate  outdoor climates with decent air quality.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"Employers listen up"

I've often thought about the millions of Americans who could get back to work if American employers were willing to make some reasonable accomodations.

I.E. I'm good with math, enjoy cash registering, counting money, and the people interaction, but I'm unable to stand for long periods. Why in the world don't we put comfy chairs there for the employees. There are many examples of workplaces where just as much work could get done and disabled folks could get back to work if they were given a chair.

Greeters at Wal Mart, Greetings and Readings. There is no reason in the world that these greeters shouldn't be given chairs!

Let's get America working again people. This IS NOT rocket science.

"Coping" with indoor and outdoor environments

This can't be healthy. Going from my 160 degree plus car, to a circa 50 degree cafĂ©! in a flash.    One way that I try to lessen this unhealthy impact  is to eat outside. I've eaten 1 to 3 meals outside for the last 12 weeks.

I'm miserable inside most public places because I need to  a winter coat,  a scarf and hat... IN SUMMER!   The other problem with  indoor environments  is that they are often unbearably loud. 

Employees in virtually all restaurants cafes are cleaning when I'm in there. Whether they are windexing the glass, mopping, sweeping, whatever it is, I find it impossible to enjoy.   Many of the restaurants have outdoor tables, but at least 1/2 of the time;  muzak is being piped outside!

When I absolutely have to be indoors  I take my solar heated winter coat out of my car, put it on and go inside. Ironically the icy indoor environs cool off my coat very fast.............................

For me , living in a warm climate is an absolute necessity and I don't honestly know how I'll cope after about 10/15, when it's freezing outside and inside, and there are no public places to be enjoyed.

Google "over air conditioned public places" and you'll find that there are lots of people who are miserable like me with modern society.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

"A Step Up"

Yesterday, I made my first writing submission for hopeful renumeration.    Now that I'm not in 24/7 fear of being murdered, I can focus a little better. My essay is entitled: "Baltimore's Mass Transit Mayhem"

I submitted to www.sunmagazine.org

Typically, the wait before they get back to you is at least 12 weeks, because they receive 1k submissions a month.

I kissed the envelope before putting it in the outgoing mail slot!

"All Good things must come to an end"

Now, I don't  believe that absolutely every good thing will come to an end. But my over allexperience is that I probably should not get my hopes up.

I popped into roller rink Sportsman's Hall today to see the renovations and to consider watching people skate for a few minutes before driving into Baltimore. I asked the clerk if it would cost me anything to just go in and watch. She said yes. It costs 6.50 for general admission and 3 dollars for skate rental. I replied:  " Looks like roller skating nowadays is for the well to do!"

"Yes, it certainly is" she replied.

"Tell you what" she said. "I'm going to let you in for free since you're with "Maryland for Health Care"

(I am?) I thought to myself? I looked down at my t-shirt. Why, yes indeed! I am with MD for health care!

This is comical because nearly every tshirt I wear is from the goodwill.

She said: "You'll have to keep your mouth shut, because I see you are chewing gum"

I went in and watched. An 11 year old girl with a speech impediment stumbled toward the railing and declared to me with a smile:

 "This is not as easy as it looks!"

"Are you a new skater?" I asked.

"Well, kind of!"

me "My first time here was when I was 12. Wanna know what's funny? They let me in for free because they think I'm with this organization. I pointed to my tshirt. It is really expensive to skate!"

girl-"I get in for free because my mother is the custodian for Sportsman's Hall"

A few minutes later a dad and 5 year old daugher tumble into the rail. I asked "Now, is she teaching you? Or, are you teaching her?"

"We're teaching each other, they smiled!"

A 13 year old pony tailed guard reprimanded them for talking to me and told them they must keep skating, they aren't allowed to stop on the rink at all. I'm really disspointed at the disapproving air of this entire experience so I decide to leave.