Monday, April 30, 2012

"Stranger on the park bench"

Yesterday, Sunday, was a colorful day indeed. I've been waking up between 1 and 5 a.m. often I am unable to get back to sleep due to no access to heat. Because of that I called someone for a ride to "church" I sat in on religious education because the kids are alot friendlier then the adults are and I miss being with the kids. Then I sat in on the next adult service where I learned about Mary Anning a woman who got no credit for the dinosaurs she discovered because she was a female. Left there and just killed time downtown until the 3 p.m. event. Around 1 or so, I sat down on a large bench and began talking to a man who was sitting there. Without making formal introductions, we shared alot of nitty gritty with each other. I told him, there is something freeing about not knowing a persons name or where they live, to tell the truth of one's story. I was careful not to tell him where I live, nor did I give him my phone #. I figured out his name because he once told a story using his name in the 3rd person. We'll call him Gus. He's 46, and from Albuquerque. He said he's traveling the entire u.s. in his r.v. I thought, oh this guy is pretty comfortable financially. He was wearing a Columbia shirt another indication that he is likely a comfy tourist. But to my surprise, he said he is living off of his disability income. He fills up his tank, buys a month supply of food and puts aside enough $ for gas for a month. Then, like me, he runs out of $ before the end of the month. He is bipolar with Celiac disease. He tried pressing me for some details that I made sure not to give. At this point he knows all about the violence I've survived (more then I can share on the internet) but he doesn't know my name. I told him I'm killing time until the free indie films at 3 p.m. He said, "Oh, where is that?" I said well I've never been before but it's at 69 Sleazy Street* REader, the reason why I quip with this silly address is because of what next happened. At 2:45 I want to walk over but don't want him to think we are on some kind of a date. I can't tell him not to come because it is a public event. We show up at this weird bldg that looks nearly 100 years old. I can't tell on the outside what it even is for! The event showed up in the daily newspaper not in "Sleaze Times*!" So, the bldg. is all beat up like an old wooden shack. When you walk in it looks like a garage. We walk past a large sheet hanging that has graffiti all over it. We are led to a dark room with some old beat up chairs. The wood encased windows looks rotted, paint is pealing. All windows are covered with old sheets. A woman from Russia* introduces herself as Yelena* and begins to shows the films. They represent 7 countries. 75% of the films are what I'd describe as x rated but they had no ratings! Boy was I surprised. It might as well have been Baltimore Street the red light district for the feel the place had. Boy I was stunned at some of these films! One out of Denmark, was done in claymation. The 2 main characters are married but haven't had sex in 4 months. The husband proposes that they go to some "sex club" They do and when they get inside it's one big gigantic orgy! S and M you name it!!! You could have heard a pin drop we were all so surprised, I think most were afraid to respond or even so much as breathe. It felt particularly awkward to be here with the guy from the park bench! After the films he followed me to the coffee shop but I had no money and he only had .50 cents. So we couldn't get a thing. When he went in to the bathroom, I bailed and tried to lose my self in the Mountain Town crowd! WHAT A DAY!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"How I formally met Batman!"

2/17/12 I was behind a senior citizen in the deli when the following happened: clerk: "Dude your belt buckle is rad!" Batman: "Uh, thank you!" The sr. went to the deli area to sit down. I try very hard to see this belt buckle, but all I can see is the belt, lest I appear to be a pervert! I finally ask: "What kind of design on the belt buckle got that compliment?" Batman-"Oh it's Batman!" I take a look and I say I know you! You live over at 425 Elm*! Batman-"Yes, how did you know that?" "Well, there is a house over there with a statue of Batman on the front lawn!" Batman-"Yes that's me!" (This is the first time in my life I guessed someone's address based on their belt buckle!)

Janet Jackson and her brothers.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

"How did I end up in Alaska*?

I'm not really in AK, but I might as well be!

  Because, it's raining, no it's snowing, no, it's sunny and I need my sunblock, it's windy, so if I bring an umbrella it might break! And so many Mountain Towner's are frighteningly unprepared today. The first man I saw today had a t-shirt on, with a clear garbage bag over top! Many have no  jacket OR umbrella, crazy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Live Baltimore - Charles Village.wmv

my old hood!

The Wire: The Real Baltimore - Part 1

The Wire Season 1 Opening & Intro

I never saw this show, but I didn't have to. I spend most of the last 20 years living it!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"Wild and Wonderful Synchronicity"

  I'm reading the bio of Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball. THinking about Desilu Productions. The next morning, I meet a man at the bus stop named "Ricardo" with a dog named "Desilu!" These are often some of the most fun moments of my days!

Blues artist lived the blues

I heard an amazing story on NPR American roots show about an artist who was so poor that he'd tear the screens out of his childhood shack, find some rubber bands and make his own guitar! He went on to become a lifelong famous blues performer! (I just can't recall his name) You can find his name at: www.americanroots.org or at npr. The show aired 2 days ago.

"Quality of Life on my mind"

 I've got 5 light bulbs burned out, and no cash.

  Techically,  .40 cash to last until  5/1.   25 dollars in food stamps for an  8 day period.

. If you had $3.00 in food stamps per day, what would you spend it on?

In regards to the need for light bulbs, they were giving out free cfl light bulbs at the earth day fair. I told her I had no $ to buy bulbs so she gave me two. My friend who works at the homeless shelter, scored me some sanitary napkins. I scored a free one serving bag of healthy cereal at the earth day fair, so that takes care of one meal.

At the spring fair, I went to the cooking demo, and scored 2 bowls of amazing salad that she made with the devices she was selling. I don't have any toilet paper, and you can't get that with food stamps but I do have washcloths. When the clothes get dirty, and i don't have bucks to go to laundromat, then I wash things out by hand with dish soap. That's what I did with my bra today, since it hadn't dried out by the time I was ready to leave the house, I just put it on wet. Brrr!

Landlord shut  off  our heat, and it will remain cold until June.    If it gets up to 70 outside, then the house stays at 95 degrees til about 10 or 11 at night. You might as well go to sleep in the buff.

 However, by 1 a.m. the bedroom is down to , upper 40's low 50's. I'm too cold to get back to sleep. Unless I drag the defective air mattress to the living room, and turn on the electric oven for heat and try to go back to sleep. I worry a little bit about fire, but I can't do without the heat. The oven is fumy, so my lungs get congested and my throat is chronically sore. In a few days it will be back down to the 20's at night, so I may have to keep the air mattress in the living room. At times the noise from the neighbors fighting, the stereos, the dogs, and the ice cream truck playing yankee doodle dandy over and over for 2 or more hours is quite maddening. I hope to buy a white noise machine in May.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Starbuck Moonlight feels right

I randomly found this song mentioning Baltimore, so thought I'd share!

R. Dean Taylor - "Indiana Wants Me" (1970)

Too much! First of all i never could imagine that I'd live in Indiana, 3x too! I went back 2x. Plus this video shows the Lafayette police, that's the town I last lived in! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

American Bandstand Dancers Boogie Fever Sylvers

r.i.p. Dick Clark

"Synchronicity and the name Jamie"

I had not met anyone named Jamie in many years. But on Thursday, there was a man sitting next to me on the bus who introduced himself as "Jamie" The next night I went to a concert, and asked if I could sit in a particular grouping of chairs with these 3 men. Two out of three of them introduced themselves as "Jamie!"

On Sat. I went to the diner, and as soon as I walked in, I noticed a labeled cup at the "bar" and it was labelled, "Jamie!"

The next day, I turned on NPR, and the journalist was interviewing an author named "Jamie!"

What do you make of this?!

Bernie Siegel says "Synchronicity is god's way of remaining anonymous!"

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"I'm a street social worker"

Although I performed some street social work in the Baltimore region, there are far more opportunities to do so here in Mountain Town. Like I said, poverty and homelessness are under a telescope here, very evident very easy to spot.

Yesterday, I got a random opportunity to volunteer for an hour as a street social worker with a masters educated homeless woman, only in Mountain town for 5 days.

It's very rewarding. Twas my favorite hour of the day. Now, yes, there are times when my social work volunteerism is when I'm practicing my therapy skills, but this time it was more hands on, crisis work.

Because I know the streets, and I know Mountain Town like the back of my hand, I know what others are likely to experience if they for example go to the "Christian" run shelter, or which motels are flea and mouse ridden for example.......

If only the city or state would create a paid position entitled "street social worker" I could earn the money that I deserve! If only I could put this experience on my resume!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"life at the "crazy 8" apts"

I spend alot of time feeling really pissed regarding the sh#$ i have to put up with every day. Any subsidized apt. living involves inspections but this is ridiculous! I've been told by a number of people that it's very unusual (what I do) for a person with excruciating chronic pain to even leave the house. I leave the house most every day.

But I've told you that in the middle of the night, it's not unusual for me to not be able to roll over, get up, or even pull the blankets over me let alone get to the bathroom when I'd like to. But that process of showering and dressing is a huge ordeal when your pain isn't being managed!

So, I have no health care, excruciating pain, and 2 urgent care visits in the last month, while my landlord has gone from zero inspections to weekly inspections just in the last 18 months!

To be more specific, up until September, 2011 no inspections were performed. But then, we had a surprise inspection in September, then with 4 days notice we were given one in December, then one in March 2012, and NOW they have informed us that they will be intruding upon our homes once a week!

With all the things I'd like to focus on to have a normal life, instead I must strive to be a GO##AMN mARtha stewart!

Now, this apt. and many of the units here are in violation of city code, yet, I feel like a "bad child" that has to keep everyting off the bedroom floor, keep all floors freshly mopped, well you get the point.

I do a small amount of housework every week, but what the hell are they looking for in these inspections? Since I have no pain meds, or med. marijuana to control my pain while I do housework, what is the answer? Perhaps if I drink alcohol it will kill enough of my pain to mop the floor or clean the toilet. But, would we get written up in the LITTLE BLACK BOOK if they found alcohol? Prohibition ended a long time ago folks! The state says pot is legal, but would we get turned into the feds if we were in possession of marijuana even though we have our "green" card?

Will we be evicted if we have a "messy room?"

When I was 24, my father told me that "you're room isn't clean enough , get out of my house, I never want to see you again!" I'm 48 and nothing has changed!

The last time they came to "inspect" they had the gall to lock up our thermostats! My bedroom is getting so cold at night I have to wear a coat and hat with multiple blankets!

So, today is devoted to "low mental stress" blogging, listening to music and trying to keep it all low key.

Beatles- Fool on the Hill (Beatles greatest hits album 67-70)

In thinking about the mentally ill.......

"Is mental illness really invisible?"

I've never lived anywhere in my life where it seems EVERYBODY is mentally ill! And I'm only referring to the ones that are yelling or talking to their imaginary friend sort of visible.

Makes me wonder, is there more mental illness in Mountain Town, then in Baltimore for example?

Why here? Many people here are living in crushing poverty, but then again, so are many Americans everywhere! Why are Mountain Towns secrets not secret at all but visible for all to see?

Are their more mentally ill because of poor diet? because the loneliness of homelessness causes it? because of something in the air? because society doesn't seem to care about anyone whose not rich? Yes, of course people of all incomes are sick, but the blatantly noticeable illness I am seeing amongst the poor.

Was their mental illness prior to industrialization? Is it because mentally ill were deinstitutionalized in the 80? I sure do wonder, do you?

Sweet Honey In The Rock - Motherless Child

I used to perform this song when I was with the theatre group called "Gimme Shelter Productions.org based in Baltimore Maryland. Isn't this an amazing rendition! I luv harmony!

"Where are your parents?!"/"Motherless Child"

I'm sitting in the lobby of a hotel on 1/23 and I watch an unsupervised girl of about 8, climbing on top of furniture and sliding down banisters. She is alone for more than 1/2 hour but none of the hotel staff seem to care. She needs someone to play with but she also needs an adult. Who is this kid anyhow?

It blows my mind how many times I see a child right next to their parents but the parent might be on a cell phone or just in la la land, and the parent has no clue what their kid is doing, and often times doesn't seem to give a damn.

I was in the grocery store also on 1/23, and a 2 and 3 year old boys were right under their father's nose, but because the father was on the phone, he didn't see that the boys opened up the bank cupboard and were looking inside at the supplies! AAgh! most of the time you can't say anything unless the kid is on the verge of death!

My friend is 25 and in social work school and she said that she knows more people and more children, who come from abusive homes then those who come from healthy homes!

I was wondering, who is actually signing up for these parenting classes in Mountain Town? What parent admits that they have much to learn? I asked someone and they said "The only parents who are attending these classes are the ones who were court mandated to do so!"

What are you trying to say, anyway?!

This is an extremely brief excerpt from my journal entry of 1/23/12

I just walked past the coffee shop on main*, the one with the outdoor speakers that pipe the music so loud you can hear it 1/2 block away.

Just as I was under the speaker I heard the following excerpt from an old pop song:

"Lady in red, you'd be better off dead!"

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Neil Young - Old Man

Had no clue what he looks like until today!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

"Do you have fibromyalgia too?"

One of my friends, when I described my symptoms she said she thought it was the lyme that was whipping me worse then the fibromyalgia. I can no longer use staircases is any normal fashion. I have 6 steps I need to traverse each day, an indoor staircase, and I use the "strength" of my arms to get me down the case. I hold the banister with left hand and brace my right arm on the wall, and walk down trying to put no weight on my osteoarthritic knees.

In the middle of the night, I try to roll over and I can't. I try to pull the covers over me and I can't. When I do get to a sit position, and hoist my way up, it feels like my feet are numb, they don't want to hold me in a stand position. I feel like I'm going to fall over. I walk at the pace of a 102 year old.

But, I can still hula hoop. At a party last night I did about 6, 15 minute sessions maybe longer.

There are no words to describe the pain yu already have, then the pain of the hoop on your body. But my spirit is that of a 21 year old, so I can't just not hoop. Generally speaking I am typically very very weak and for the last 7 years or so, if there is a handicapped automatic door opener on a bldg. I always always use it.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"Retail Hell" (book by Freeman somebody, i can't remember

This book tells it like it is. Freeman spent 20 years gay and working in places like Nordstrom selling purses, NO! MAKE THAT HANDBAGS!

He puts up with horrid conditions on every level and works with many incompetent people.

Yesterday, I went to the "drive in" because I saw they had 79 cent cheeseburgers. I asked if you are allowed to eat their food if you don't have a car. They said yes, but you have to walk up then wait outside.

So, they bring me a hamburger! I check the ad, no i did indeed order a cheeseburger. I pressed the call button and said "How do you screw that up? All I ordered was a cheeseburger and you brought me a hamburger!"

They brought it back in, threw a slice of cold cheese on it and came out.

I walked to "9-11" convenience store. I got a cold coffee. The sign clearly reads $2.19. He rings me up at $2.49. i said "No, it's 2 19. he stared at the register then asked another employee the price. She said she didn't know. I said "do you need me to walk over with you to prove to you it's $2.19?"

"The woman said "There is no need for you to go getting all upset and all that, he'll give it to you for $2.19 then"

Yes, it is very upsetting! When nobody can get a fricking thing right EVER!

i remember blogging about The journalistic tv show that did the undercover story on how so many stores post one price but charge a higher one. Years later the tv cameras went back, and the problems were never corrected.

"Dumbing down of america/gross incompetence at every level"

Maddening, absolutely maddening. Every where you go, every city every state, unless you are really rich and can afford the very best, it is nothing but maddening incompetence and it can ruin your life.

Just today for instance, I was waiting for the laundromat people to drop off my clean clothes at `10 a.m. as agreed, since I have no way of getting my clothes there.

No one showed up, and I have nothing clean to wear to my next appt! So, I call them and say "you agreed to do a drop off at 10 a.m."

"well, the clothes not dry yet" "plus our delivery driver already left for vacation!"

me-What? You should have called me then.

them-you'll just have to call back to arrange another appt!"

(no tip for you baby)

Then, I heard via word of mouth that medicaid will pick you up for drs appts. So I arranged it, but since I no loger trust anyone, I figured the van would never come.

1130 came and went. I called Medicaid, and they said "Oh let me see why they didn't show up" (put me on hold for 10 min or so)

"OK we called you a cab." (oh no I thought, the cabs never can find me)

He did indeed get lost.

I showed up to the pain management clinic where I've fought to get in for almost 3 years. But i figured based on how poorly his receptionists have been operating, that it would likely be a nightmare. It was.

The door said

Pain Management "We'll SHOW you the meaning of pain!"*

So, I come in the door, and I see that neither of the staff speak english, just Japanese!

Ironically, in the more then an hour I was on hold with Medicaid, they ran ads that said

"make sure your dr. speaks your language" I thought that's a joke, nobody speaks English!

So, the waiting room is a disorg. mess and I can't find where to check in. The secr. tells a patient "sorry you been discharged"

"What does that mean" he patiently asked.

"Discharged you been discharged" She turns to the other Japanese woman and they try to find an English word that fits what they mean.

Eventually the man figured out they were saying that his insurance was cancelled! He said "Well, can't i just pay cash" He went outside on his cell to discover his insurance had not been cancelled.

They give us many sheets of paper to fill out the print is so tiny I can barely see. An autistic kid is screaming because his mother doesn't have the skills to deal with his behaviors.

The form asks me "what is your best pain?"

WTF?! I asked another patient he had no idea, so I asked the Japanese woman, they didn't know either. So, some man from the back (the so called doctor) says "That means the least amt of pain you feel!"

They take me to the back and I see the electronic bp cuff. I said "Please use the manual"

"What?"

"Please use the manual cuff"

"Don't understand"

She tried 5x and it's excruciating with the electronic cuff, she can't get my bp. Other arm, another worker, no luck.

Then doc runs in makes no eye contact puts papers on a desk and runs out saying "back in a minute"

comes back 10 min. later, get's the papers and says "just one more minute"

he comes back again, spends 15 min. reading papers never looks at me never smiles and never introduces himself.

I will share now some of what he said but not all.

Dr.-"How do you KNOW you have neuropathey, who told you that?!"

Dr.-"How do you KNOW YOU have arthritis who told you that"

Dr.-"Well, if you think you are just going to walk in here and I'm going to put you on pain meds you have another thing coming."

Dr._I need to have a long talk with your psych provider first!"

Me-What? I have no providers in Mountain Town, no one is serving me in any way.

Dr.-"Well, then who am I supposed to talk to about you?"

Me-(Isn't that your job to figure out if I have no health care in Mt. Town?)

He dismisses me and I clearly understand why people self medicate.

I call the cab company, he pulls into the plaza then leaves instead of calling me to tell me he's lost!

EXHAUSTING!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Harry Chapin - Greyhound

I'll never forget this song as long as I live. I was evicted in early June 2003, because the landlord said I was lying about their dog attacking me. Robin (a guy) came to get my stuff and the dog attacked him. The owners weren't home to see that now I have a witness. Robin kicked the dog in the face.

I was forced to take the Greyhound to Indiana where I had promise of only 2 weeks shelter. I wasn't comfortable telling r.m. that all I needed was a place til payday early July, in Baltimore, so off i went on the greyhound to IN.

It was absolutely terrifying to be on the Greyhound, and I will never ever ride the Greyhound in my life again.

jim croce bad bad leroy brown

I live on the bad side of town, complete with a "junkyard dog" that I'm sure is the one Croce is singing about!

On the "bad" side of town

There are precious few acts of human kindness that are visible on the "bad" side of town, so I'll share this with you:

I have oatmeal at home, and enough money for a bus pass and a bagel today. Shortly after counting my change, I went to the bus stop.

It's a windy day, and I'm watching all of the trash blowing. One piece of trash, looking like a snowball, crossed the major street "courteously!" It crossed practically in the crosswalk, completing it's path on the sidewalk, where a normal person would likely complete their crossing.

Despite all the things I see blowing, I missed this! A man walked past me and said "Pardon me maam, but this wouldn't be your $3.00 blowing in the wind would it?" I said "No, it isn't but I sure could use it!" "It's yours!" he said, and handed it to me. I thanked him profusely.

Then I thought, "hmmm, maybe if i look in the direction that the wind is coming from, a 100 or 1000 bill will blow my way!"

I did just that, I looked east, another one dollar bill blew in front of me! I took the $3.00 and went to the pizza shop where I got a nice slice of pesto pizza. Then, a couple at the next table said "We have all this food left over and we can't take it with us. They asked a patron if they wanted it, and the patron said no.

I said, "I'll take it!" It was 2 more slices of pizza! So, this was a nice relief from what is largely alot of draining things going on in my life.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

"Strongest Drugs under the sun"

My 20 year old friend is a belly dance teacher and works at the local coffee shop. We both agree that dance is one of the strongest drugs known to man. About equal for me would be vocal performance.