Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Local Services!!

Monday morning December 29, I picked up Gregg as he was gonna borrow the jeep again while I was at work, it works out really well esp since I had to take the jeep back from them and have a sense of guilt for doing so. Poor Gregg though he often has to deal with me a tad bit cranky in the morning..! (sorry dood)

So I pick him up and I am a tad bit bummed that the snow has melted in the lot near his place cuz I was really enjoying peeling through there on mornings I went to the Lab. I drive us up to my work place and we go up and get all the items I have bagged up that I cannot use on the streets; women and children’s clothes. Which I am thankful I have not run into either on the street. Well I did see one woman on Christmas Eve in the crowd of me but she was gone before I was free to ask her if she needed anything. I really wish I would’ve been able to talk to her.

Well we load up the jeep with about 10-12 bags, a few big garbage sized most waste bag size, and head on over to 10 Peterboro to the Detroit Central City Community Mental Health (DCCCMH ). (http://www.dcccmh.org/)

I called Mr. Johnson on our way over per his instructions the week before in his email to me. I do and he is a tad confused then remembers and excuses himself as he lost power and is still out, so many people were without, amen that I was not because I am totally unprepared if it happens (mental note-work on that)

He tells me he will call Mr. Lee and tells me to look for a bald crinkle static phone goes fuzzy tall black man and that he will call him to tell him I am on my way to get me some help. Ok! We get near and I see a man and he is looking at me so I roll the window down and ask if he is Mr. Lee. And yes he is! Wow what luck first person..so I start to tell him who I am and he is clueless then I ask him if he bald under his cap and he laughs at me and says he no way! And tells me there is another Mr. Lee in the next building! Bingo!
I go inside and he is there ..and I quickly learn that crinkle static phone goes fuzzy means VERY as in Tall. The man is a giant compared to me!

We shake and hug, he just had that feel about him that you wanted to hug him…kinda like the guys on Xmas Eve in Greek Town after awhile the hand shakes just weren’t cutting it!

Mr. Lee told us were we could bring the bags in and one of his men helped up so it was rather quick! He thank us and I wished them luck with there give away, and we were on our way!

This is twice that Gregg has helped me load items into my jeep from work and I am very grateful due to how much time he saves me! Oh and he told me awhile back that he even opened the back of the jeep once out in front of my work while he and Ang were waiting on me to help give a man in a wheel chair some clothes. That mans name told Gregg he knows my co-worker Ray. And come to find out his name is Keefe and I have come to learn that Ray helps him out a lot. I had actually seen Ray help this man some time ago right after we were becoming friends, I watched him from my car get out of his and go over to this man and chat with him. I had a feeling then that Ray and I would become good friends, and I am very happy to say we have. He is a great man and thankful to have him as my friend! And Gregg and Ang too…you guys are all great! Namaste!

So yea..Gregg takes me back to work where about 2pm Amber is hauling up a ton more loot from Ann Arbor where this stuff is just multiplying in her garage! We sort all the bags she brought up...and a ton is women’s clothes. By this time the DC3MH event is almost over so I decide to call around to find another place to take the new load of women and children’s clothes we separated from the men’s clothes and blankets I will use.

I decide to call Alternatives for Girls as they cater to homeless teens and their children and much to my surprise their donation area is full!! Yea..I ask the man I am chatting with if he could suggest some other places and he does; Freedom House (www.freedomhousedetroit.org/) which is a shelter for immigrants and there families, as is COTS (www.cotsdetroit.org) and he also gives me the number to Crossroads. (www.crossroadsofmichigan.org ) The first two numbers were busy but the other was answered by Mary.

She told they are not a shelter but offer food and clothes and social services to people. I ask if she would like my donation? She would! I make arrangements to meet her at 4, I get there after 4:30 due to not having my jeep but she was still there and let me in the back where there were other bags of donations. She asked me if I work for a group, or foundation I told her ‘No’ that I have just been collecting stuff with my co-worker and I drive stuff around.

She asked me where I go, I gave her a short list of places. She told me to be careful and I told her I am and that I have not had any issues, thankfully! We said our goodbyes and it was after this that I meet the guy at the Blvd near the 75 service drive I blogged about just before this one. Good day!

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I-75 Entrance ramps

I-75 Entrance ramps

This seems to be a really popular place to find men located asking for money from drivers pausing for red lights on their way to away from where the homeless guy who is standing and begging for a buck.

Have you seen them or do you avert your eyes too! I used to, along time ago but not anymore and I have since working downtown so about four years now always tried to say hello or at least nod and acknowledge these men and the few women I see. I let them know that I am not blind to them even if I do not have any money to give, which I sometimes do and judge it sorely on a moment and what I have to give. Sometimes I give whatever food I have in the car that I can spare.

And its not just I75 of course it’s all the highways around town, all around the world I would imagine but I mostly see men at 75 as well as the Lodge.

Makes perfect logistical sense too because in the morning people are going to work, at night home and even later at night to the casinos or to games and the events of our lives and then home again! I have noticed some men have places that seem to be their territory. Two summers ago I remember a guy just off the Lodge by work who was there every morning then another guy was there all of a sudden and after awhile the first guy was back and on the concrete pillar next to where he stands the words “Al’s place” were written. And then I noticed some time after Al’s name was scratched off. I wonder about that sometime as Al is no longer around and that corner has been now for the last year manned by another man who I often gave parts of my lunch too, but he is now gone and a younger guy, Kalon, is now there who I have wrote about before. I have given him a blanket and a hat and some food.

So the other night Friday night the 26th I was out in burbs, Royal Oak, dining with friends and I took 9 Mile to 75 as I had to stop at my bank to get $ to pay my neighbor the cable bills. So normally I don’t go this way. And since it was the burbs I decided to get gas as I just don’t do that in my hood at night so I decided to stop at this station on the corner and get gas and a water, which I dislike doing but I was not headed home and oddly did not have a water bottle with me.

Anyways as I was heading in to pay I notice a man outside with his bike just hanging out. I nodded on my way in expecting him to ask me for money but he did not. I paid for my gas and water and walked out. The gentleman was still there; I looked him and asked him if he was hungry. He told me yes, I told him I could help him out as I walked to my jeep.

He stayed but I motioned back as I walked for him to follow me, he did. I told him I had some cans of food. He interrupted me and said, “Miss I don’t think you understand I live out here” and he gestured here as where we were. I told him I understood and had some canned food if he wanted it. He then corrected himself and explained to me that he thought I said I had some pans for food. “No no no!!” As I grabbed a few cans and asked him if he had an opener he did not, so I choose accordingly.

I asked him his name, he told me and I have totally forgotten what his name is, I suck, but I told him mine. He thanked me as I got back in the jeep and headed south on I-75.

Yesterday, Monday December 29 as I was heading home from Crossroads (more on that in my next blog) I stopped at the light where the boulevard hits the 75 service drive. There was a man there who I have seen on a few occasions with a sign in his hand asking for help and blessing you the reader.

I rolled down my window and asked him if he was hungry, he was. I stopped the jeep, and opened the hatch and as I did I motioned to the car behind me to go around. I then asked the gentleman if he needed any clothes he indicated that he did. I got him a sweater and a shirt and scarf, then I got him some food. He had a can opener! I wanted ask him if he could eat apple chips, you see someone gave me a bag containing snack size bags of apple chips,…well I cant really give this to all the guys because they do not have teeth. I looked at him but could not tell but his voice was very clear, so I just blurted out ‘excuse me but do you have teeth?’ he looked at me funny and said he did. I apologized and told him I had food that was not easy to eat without and would he like some! He said yes!

I asked if he was staying near by and he told me in an abandoned trailer behind a commercial building where someone else was occupying that. He told me the other guy looks out for his stuff when he is gone. I asked him if he needed a blanket that I had a really good wool one (the match to other one I mentioned in another blog). He told me would very much like that blanket and that it would help very much! He told me the trailer is not warm but it as least blocks the wind and anything would be helpful! I bagged up all his items and asked him he would be able to carry it back as I was totally at that moment willing to give him a lift there and back. He told me he would be able to handle the stuff! I asked him his name and told him mine.

And for some fucking reason I can’t seem to remember the white’s guys names. Why is that? Hopefully it’s because I have holding in four blogs at once without having had the time to write them all out and from here on out I will not have this problem! Wish me luck.

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Boxing Day

Boxing Day

Friday, December 26, 2008

Back out on the streets downtown after work. I went back to Greek Town by like 4:30pm because I told the gentlemen I had met on Christmas Eve I would be back.

Much to my surprise the Motor City Bowl at Ford Field so Greek Town was packed…my last blog was incorrect as I wrote it was on 12/24/08 but the crowds were just holiday folks out gambling and eating. My mistake, sorry!

I pulled over in the same place as I had two days before and hung out for about 10 minutes or so but no one who looked familiar or homeless passed by. I decided at this time to cruise around Greek Town and hit the entrance ramps.

At the opposite end of Monroe I saw a man in a wheel chair by St. Mary’s one of these days I will go there for a service to see the inside as I hear it is stunning.

I see the man nearing the corner as I hop of the jeep and ask him if he is hungry, he is. I grab a bag and give him some pull top cans and cereal bars. I notice he does not have a blanket on him like most the men in wheel chairs do so I ask him if he would like one. I have a real nice wool one, someone gave me two identical ones that were amazing! (thank you!). I refold the blanket and wrap it around his lap and help him tuck it in.

I ask him his name he tells me its Billy, I tell him mine. We say our goodbyes and I start to walk away and I turn back to ask him if he needs me to wrap it around the back of his chair as I see him with his lap full and I remembered Bryan from two days earlier instructing me on how to secure his bag to his chair. Billy tells me no, that is going to eat right now. I ask him if he has a spoon, he tells me no but that he will manage. I apologize to him for not having one and say good bye again.

As I get back into the jeep I spot my lunch bag and lo and behold I have a spoon so I run it back out to Billy who is now in front of the church getting ready to eat. I hand him the spoon, he thanks me.

I leave Greek Town and drive past the entrance ramps and places in the area I often see homeless men but no one is around, it’s getting dark by this time so I head down directly to Manual’s shack to give him some food.

I enter his area from a direction I don’t normally do and he is not there but I can see there are somewhat fresh tracks in the snow. I leave some food in the same place I always do and head out. As I am leaving I look back at the path I just walked from and notice I just walked through what must be his path to enter the area and then notice it is flanked by two evergreen shrubs maybe 8 or 9 feet tall and that there are actually steps under the snow and it looks like it would have been the way to enter someone’s front yard a long long time ago. And now it’s Manuals. I paused for a long moment and took in the area from this new angle and tried to imagine what it would have looked like fifty years ago. Where there houses over in this area or was commercial? Could it have been mixed? Huh.

I get in the jeep and head north and I spot the familiar shape that is Manual about two blocks away. I drive up to him and greet him. We exchanged our hellos and I tried to explain to him that I left him food. I spied his shoes and pointed; he looked down and pointed too. I asked if they were helpful, he told me yes! I was so glad to hear that!

I asked if he needed anything else like more clothes or another blanket. He told me that the blanket helps very much that I gave him but that he does not need another one.

I am amazed or surprised or humbled or I just don’t know about how the men I have encountered do not take more than what they need. Granted I cant imagine hauling items around if I were homeless but I also cant imagine trying to stay warm in the dead of winter, (amen for this quick thaw and 56 degree weekend we had). Manual even has a place to stay and he does not ask for more, nor does he expect it.

Lessons to learn from for sure.

I leave him and head back to the highway just in case someone is at the entrance ramp and there is. I pull and ask him if he is hungry, he is. I stop the jeep, open the back and get to work.

I must say I am pleased that not one driver has given me a hard time when I have on numerous occasions stopped traffic to jump out and talk to and help these men! Thanks John-Q public!

I grab a bag and give him some canned food, I ask if he has a can opener as that will often determine what I give the men. He does, Yes! And I ask him if he needs any clothes or a blanket. He asks me for a sweater which I pick him out one and I let him choose between the two blankets I have left. I tell him I have a really big one or a small one.
He is traveling on a bike and decides on the small one and says it will help keep him warmer at the shelter even though they provide blankets.

I ask him his name, its Nate, I tell him mine. He tells me he is getting over being sick and in the hospital and now can’t find a job. I tell him I understand that many people are in similar situations just like him. We say our good byes and I head home feeling grateful for everything I have.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Repost- Stereotype busting

This is from my buddy Bugz- he sent me this note the other day...it sounded like a blog...and now it is... to visit his site hit up myspace.com/titpincher ( and i never fucking noticed it was titpincher..you dawg!!)

Stereotype busting

The following was part of an email I sent to my friend Doxie, as she has been putting requests out there for clothes and useful warm winter boots, gloves, hats, etc. for the homeless... (If you can help her in her quest to aid the homeless in Detroit, do it!) and my intended short response about some stuff I had lying around took a turn into a mini story.

I was moved by her blog postings of Mitch Albom's 3-part story of lost dreams and broken lives recently. Read 'em, the stories are good for the soul. You can find her on my top 8. She's the chick with octopus tongue photo. (Another rad thing she did) So, here ya go:

" ...Ya know there was a guy that used to hang at the 8 mile I-75 via-dock, that I used to give beer, or a dollar or two. Interesting thing he ever said to me, one afternoon as I was heading to Theatre Bizaare and all I had on me and in my car was a 12 pack of Coors "I don't drink, but, thanks man." There's a stereotype buster for ya right there.

Long, long ago when I was somewhat normal and used to attempt dating like a healthy human being, I dated a pharmacist. WHY dredge up this crappy piece of history? Well, through her, I learned that a fair amount of homeless in Detroit were Vietnam and other vets. In fact, she would recognize some of them, 'cause she dispensed at the Detroit VA Hospital at the time.

Men with alcoholism and drug problems they were, but all of a sudden I was confronted with a personal issue: I come from a family of military veterans of every major war save this one we're in now. I have a visceral reaction when I meet someone who is military. I was shocked at that time in my past to discover that men who once stood firm in military formation were now on the streets, forgotten.

And, since then, my policies and strategies for giving to homeless people has changed, from a hard-line fuck 'em if they don't live productive lives, to deciding on the spot whether I'm going to do anything at all, like give the person a couple of bucks or something.

I once met a man who asked me for 5.00 of bus fair, saying he was a VET, and needed to get down the road and something to eat. HE offered up his VA ID card, and the pic was a of a similar but much younger looking man, and had a Spanish last name. I started speaking to him in Spanish telling him not to fuck with me and that he was a liar to try and tell me that he was a VET and the guy on the ID card... when he answered me back in fluent Spanish, and told me about where he was born in Puerto Rico... I gave him 5 bucks and he went on his way. "

( There's a qoute, that I once read somewhere, and it goes something like this: "Everyone has lost something, someone or something that is meaningful to him or her."
The key word for me is "everyone".)

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Christmas Eve Part 2

Christmas Eve Part 2

After I left downtown I headed to Greek Town not knowing exactly where I was going to park as it was so busy. There was a Motor City Bowl at Ford Field so the place was packed.

Well I was on Monroe and got to about where Mosiac is and figured screw it and I pulled over across from the restaurant because I saw a man in a wheel chair. I rolled down my window and got his attention and asked if he was hungry.

I got out of the jeep and headed toward the back and opened her up. I motioned over to him to come over and before he even got to me I had another gentleman asking me if I had any food. I told him I did.

Someone from the Burner Temple gathering on the Solstice donated a ton of Vienna sausages and cliff bars and cereal bars! Those combined with the other canned food I had made it possible to feed over 10 men.

I met in Greek Town; Mike, Nelson, Calvin, Bryan (who I had met before at the 75 entrance ramp near Greek Town) another Michael, Shorty a gentleman whose name started with a W who I can not remember (not Wilson, not William, grr) and about 4 or 5 others who names just escape me as there were so many guys all at once that I just cant recall. grr

All of these men were very nice and showed up out of no where, some would leave others would show up, some came back with friends.

I passed out food and clothes and everyone was very polite, one guy was right in the jeep with me sizing things up. He is actually the only guy who has actually come anywhere near me as I distribute items. And I was not bothered. He was working and trying to find a match glove to no avail. (which I actually found it today at work!!). He helped me fold some stuff to get a sense of what was there as I had none, his buddy Bryan folded all his stuff neatly and I put it in a garbage bag for him and tied it to the back of his chair as he instructed! Garbage bags are a great thing to carry around to give the men a way to haul there stuff away! The gentleman whose name starts with the W told me where he stashed the garbage bags so I could find them after he was done rummaging. Thank you!!

That same gentleman took my top hat, but I had to stop him and tell him he could not have that!!! Everyone who wanted a blanket got one and everyone got clothes. Not everyone got the same amount of food sadly as I started to run out of it before the clothes.

Eventually the back of the jeep was barren aside from a few pairs of size 40 jeans and a ratty blanket. Seems all the guys are like size 32-38 pants and size 9-11 shoes.

One of the guys and I talked for a bit, he was very nice, Calvin I had a hell of a time getting his name right until he spelt it! He was very happy I was doing what I was doing. If he only know how it made me feel.

Another gentleman in a wheel chair asked me for some money but I honestly had none on me, had actually had my lunch bought for me, though I could have used my debit card, I very seldom carry cash.

Soon the rush was over and I was organizing the back some more when I saw a guy across the street and he motioned to me, I asked if he needed any clothes. He said no that he was hungry. By this time I was across the street talking to him and I told him I didn’t have much but that I had power bars and some canned food left. He told me he didn’t want no power bars, he wanted a burger. I told him I was sorry i only had what I had. He asked me for money, I told him I had none. I told him I didn’t even buy my own lunch. He asked me what I had for lunch I told him a salad and tomato soup., though I admit I neglected to tell him it was from the restaurant we were standing in front of. It was about this time that I knew and started to get annoyed that I was being hustled. Ok I knew it from the second he was unhappy with what I had to offer and not pleased I didn’t have more for him. He then told me to get out my atm and take him to taco bell. I told him I would be back around on Friday at 4pm with more food and clothes if he needed anything. He kept on me about buying him food, and I kept telling him I was sorry but that I would be around on Friday. I finally walked away. ..oh well

After Greek Town I headed to where Manual is living as I promised him I would be by.
He was not there but I left him a big pile of food. Oi and the snow by his home was so deep!!

I also drove by the tent I had left food by before. The bike was still there and I could see a can of food sticking out of the snow. hmm… I hope that person is ok.

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Christmas Eve- part 1

Christmas Eve…( look I left ‘Christ’ in!)

I was sent home early from work that day…co-worker feeling generous; she let me go at 2pm! I had a lunch date 2pm so this worked out. Lunch date, Bojo and his friend from Mau, Anna, if my feeble mind serves me went to Mosaic in GreekTown.

I had them pick me up so we didn’t have multiple cars on the road! It was raining so he dropped us off. We went and got seated. Nice restaurant, better at lunch as the prices are way more affordable and well I Am a girl on a tight budget!

So we eat and as we did I kept looking outside to the all the homeless men walking around totally buggin that I don’t have my jeep full of supplies!

After a wonderful lunch chatting and catching up then took me back to my jeep but not before I spotted a guy walking about outside my place of work. I got in my jeep and back tracked to find him. Trust me this is not always easy especially downtown with the one way streets..sometimes I loop around a few times before I am able to locate my targets!

I found this gentleman in front of the new Fort Shelby hotel run by Double Tree. He is on the opposite side of the street so I roll down my window and catch his attention. I ask him if he is hungry? He indicates he is and I wave him over as I hop out of the jeep and make my way to the back.

As he is crossing the street he starts yelling at me asking if I need a husband. Oh boy the thoughts that went through my head! I told him “no thank you” too bad he said and he went on about a story that was already in progress before I showed up. He asked me to say to him “tell me ‘say it isn’t so’” so I did. Then he went on and on… much of which I could not understand but I was intrigued.

I got him some gloves and a bag of food as I continued to try to listen to him. He was talking about how he tried, had really tried to put forth the effort but they never liked what he had to offer and he asked me again to him “tell me ‘say it isn’t so’” so I did.

Then I asked him his name, he seemed surprised and actually seemed to become more aware of me and his surroundings and told me his name; it was Michael, I told him mine. He told me he was not harmful and just wanted me to undesrstand. I told was not afraid of him and told him I did.

He wanted to make sure again that I didn’t need a husband and I told him ‘no thank you sir I do not’ again and that is when I got what he was talking about. He was talking about women and how he was unable to understand them. And how they did not understand him. Oh boy the thoughts that went through my head!

This was the first time this year I have run into someone who appears to suffer from mental illness to the point of bantering and almost not aware that I am there. He was harmless though a tad aggressive, and first time I actually felt uncomfortable to tell the truth but it was broad day light and I was on very busy street.

I have not dealt with the mentally ill since I really lived in the Corridor, so this was a flashback. I wasn’t always nice in the corridor but I was also hardened to so many homeless in my hood, sad to say. And I feared for my safety a tad bit more then so I had to be gruff.

I asked him if the gloves fit, they were tight but he was fine with them and took an extra shirt that he figured he could give away to someone else! I watched him walk away with this nylon red and blue plaid bag continuing to mumble to himself about not getting women and I couldn’t stop myself from saying; ‘say it isn’t so’

Next stop Greek Town

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008



Monday, December 29, 2008

10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Detroit Central City-CMH

10 Peterboro 3rd Floor Hallway

Detroit, MI 48201 (313) 833-4623

they will take items as well...HOUSEWARES, CLOTHES, ANYTHING...so that they have items ready for the homeless or people struggling or anyone...

so please SPREAD THE WORD!!!

if you have any ?? ask for Mr. LEE at the number above!!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Forth Day Out


Ok…I didn’t go out Thursday or Friday cuz I have been sick as a dog…too much running in and out of my car without my coat on…lesson learned!! Oh boy

Saturday was quite a busy one in a really good way.

I get picked up by Gregg cuz I lent him the jeep and we head to my work where I as so using him to take all the stuff I have in my jeep up so I can better sort it with amber and know what we have..inventory baby!

Getting the Lodge near work…there is guy at the top of the ramp..a very common place to find homeless is by the on-ramps down town and near the casinos! This exit had both!.

I roll down the window ask him if he wants food, cuz not all homeless do he says yes..i get some canned food out and peanut butter. Someone was a genius and got a bunch of jars of peanut butter and pull tab ravioli cans!! I think it was Amber I love you doll if so..well and if not I still love you!! Thank you to who ever got those awesome items!

I ask if he needs a blanket too and he does I grab a goose down comfortable, score!!!
And gregg asks if he needs a hand as he is pilfing through the items. I say he has one and the gentleman corrects me and show he only has a hoodie I! I quickly grab the hat and give it to him

As we are parting I ask his name, its Kabron, I told him mine. We hugged and say good bye.

At work Gregg helped me upload all the stuff and from in my car up to the end of the hall book nook I have commandeered for clothes.

He told me at sometime that he also gave some stuff to a homeless man when he and Ang were out the day before! Yea!! I was so happy to hear that.

I met up with Sara after that and we did the market. A man was roaming market asking for money, and since I didn’t have any thing clothes wise on me as we were in the market I made a call and gave him a buck and some coins.

We continued to shop and had lunch…and talk talk talk!! After that I was taking her back home with the intention of going to search for the man I have the Size 11 shoes for!! And lo and behold on Gratiot I see someone pushing not one but two shopping carts one on top of the other. It’s him!!!

I slam on the breaks and start to explain it to Sara that’s its him as I am hopping out of the car…and then the alarm goes off and I start to yell at him and the alarm as I cant turn it off I ask her to figure it out as I run down Gratiot yelling for him to stop. The alarm and the insane white girl in a leopard skin coat have caught his attention!!

The alarm will not off and sara and I both admit defeat then she notices it’s the van next us that is parked. I am not exactly sure how I set it off but I did!! By this time the gentlemen is by the jeep as I had motioned to him that I had shoes! It was at this time the alarm finally stopped! Oh dear god thank you, I have language barrier with this man made that much more difficult by the blaring alarm.

I am a little razed by this time and he says to me with his Spanish accent…relax…relax.
Ahhh and you know what it worked..i did… I was so relieved by him saying that. I gathered my wits and was able to get him a few cans of food and told him I have been by his place a few times and asked if he got the food I left, he had. I told him I would be back on Wednesday, I four days. He said three days after tomorrow. I think he is toying with me!! We shake hands and I ask him his name again because I could not understand him last Sunday …he spells it out for me M-a-n-u-a-l. Ah ..now I got it, I tell him mine!

I ask if his coat is warm enough, he tells me it is cold and another would help. I tell hin I will look out. We say good bye and I get back in the car happy that we were able to communicate so well this time! I take sara home, eyes peeled the whole way looking for others on the street.

On the way home I run into a man on the service drive, like I said. I ask if he is hungry. He is I stop the car, throw open the back and get him some canned food and peanut butter, asking if he has any allergies to nuts. He does not. I ask if he needs a blanket and he say yes. I only have a small one with me but he says it will help as he is staying in someone’s car that he pays $10. He thinks it reasonable and the guy warms it from time to time. I cant imagine and I make a mental note of his face so I can get him a warmer blanket. I ask him his name, its Micheal, I tell him mine. I notice his gloves are so ill fitted and told him I am making heavy requests for them. He asks if I can tell his hands are curling up in the pair he has on, I tell him I can!

I ask if he knows where any other homeless are hanging out he gives me a few tips. We say goodbye. He blessed me as I drove away! I bless him too and wish him warmth.

On my way home I stop by Avalone..yea can you believe it ..i stop at an pretty price bakery after giving out food to the homeless, shit I feel like crap admitting that for some reason. But I do so as I am hungry and have nothing at home due to being sick for days and because they have a killer African Peanut soap and I want to get some Challah bread for (C)hukka, which they don’t have but have the soup. On the way in I see the guy who is usually playing the plastic drums outside in the summer who I will not lie makes me nervous for some reason! He was shoveling the sidewalk.

Now I must admit that I enjoy when I see homeless working even simple jobs to get a few bucks. I used to get so annoyed in college when I lived in the Corridor and people would as me for money as they sat outside Subway, and these looked like guys who could have jobs and I would tell them so esp when I had 3 part time jobs and was in school..i admit I would get annoyed. But there were a few homeless who would either only get returnables, David was one and his partner, never learned her name. Actually gave his a ride to the store once cuz his load was so heavy and I was giving him more, my boss would kill me if she know I did so in her car! There was also a guy I recall who shine shoes and I always felt bad as I never wore leather cuz I would have paid him to do that service for me..fair exchange cuz its not like I could afford to give Any money then.

So yea..back to Avalon. After I got my soup I walk out and we make eye contact and he asks if I have any spare change, shit dood I hardly ever do I think to myself but instead of saying no I ask if he wants some food that I have some. He says yes and starts to follow me, I tell him I have some cans he slows down and points that he has a bag full of cans for cashing. I tell him I have cans of food not returnables. He starts to follow me again as my motion to do so. I get him some peanut better, both crunchy and smooth as he asked for one of each when I asked which one he wanted! And I have him some more cans of food. As he walked away I asked his name because I could not remember it from meeting him in the summer, its Kenny he tells me as he is walking away. He doesn’t care to know mine, which is fine.

I go home and spend the rest of the day resting..as I realize I still need it! I also watched two movies cuz my brain wont shut off even though my body is happy to act like its celery and just veg out! ...The Darjeeling Limited, which was awesome in my opinion and made me realize i could stare at Adrien Brody for two hours straight..cuz i did. and i watched Little Miss Sunshine but my puter punked out right at the end..so i have no idea what happens...oh well!

then i crashed cuz i had to be up at 515am and to the lab by 630 to help them with Silver Solstice and what would be a very very long Winter Solstice and first day of (C)hanukka!! oi vay was i up for a big day!!

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Thursday, December 18, 2008


Day three -NEED MENS SHOES and BOOTS!!

Current mood: optimistic
Category: Goals, Plans, Hopes

The whole mayors office thing was just too funny for me..in a total I am a dork kind of way. I admit I was happy I got invited…happy someone reads my work blog (thanks!)

After walking to the city hall and back I was sure the cold I have been keeping at bay was docking. I had lent my car to Gregg and Ang to get bebe pictures and boy are they great ones!!! IT’S A BOY!! And I cant wait to meet him!!

.So I am not lazy (well I am but not in the ‘I cant walk 10 blocks way’) I walked and figured cool I have on two pairs of socks, boots, two layers of pants, a hat, glove and three tops this will be fine…by time I got there I was a sweaty hot fool by time I got back to work I was a sweaty cold fool...and sick…drat..who has time, i gots shits to do!

Back at work Amber comes to my desk to tell me she a ton of stuff in the lobby so we do get it with the help of Richardo (thank you) and bring it up to the library where I have commandeered an alcove for us to sort clothes. So we started sorting clothes because I need to have them organized when I am on the road especially when the men are asking me for specifics I have to be able to know where they are!

We made piles of stuff; coats, canned food, womens pants, men pants (not enough) and kids clothes. I have yet to run into women or kids..and Mr. Lee and Mr. Grant told me the reason I am most likely seeing less homeless this year is because agencies are doing a better job. I told him I was happy to hear that though to be honest I had not thought that way..i just figured people were hiding better due to the park sweeps. And I Really Hope he is right because I cant imagine budgets getting better to get more agencies out and about but if I am wrong Amen!!

I had someone else give me tips on Tuesday about abandoned homes around MLK and a mission for women I will hit up once I feel a little better next week. And I ran into an old acquaintance at the Mayors meeting today who is now working with Green Education and he is going to hook me up with St. Patrick’s Church in Corktown he knows the guy who does homeless work there.! Thank you Jabob!

After getting picked up from work by G&A and seeing the amazing Ultrasound images I took them home and went back to the shack I visited Sunday. Even though I did not have the size 11 shoes I told him I would try to get. No one was home but there were foot tracks in the snow and there were construction workers in the area across the street..which was weird and hopefully not a bad sign. I left food hoping they would not see me but happy they were there in case I might need help (sounds twisted right?)

I decided to only hit the one place cuz I didn’t want them to see me go to the other as it was closer to where they were and besides there no tracks leading to the small tent though I could see from the road that the food I put out on Sunday was gone .

I decided to call off work on Thursday, even before I left work cuz I need to rest.. Total bummer too as I had hoped to save and use my remaining two sick days for well shhh not sick days, that’s what I get for thinking that way!! Sick sick sick!!

As I left the shack I headed downtown where I meet a gentleman named Will just off Jefferson at the 75 entrance ramp. I didn’t care if it was rush hour traffic I put on my hazards and pulled up the back of the jeep and went to work. anyone who would honk or yell at me would deserve a special ring in hell, no one bothered us!!

I gave Will some food and clothes. He asked for boots…size 9 men…Seeing the Trend??
I NEED BOOTS BOOTS BOOTS!!!!!!!!!!!! Please help! Get me boots!

I told him I would back around soon and hopefully with some boots. We gave each other blessings and I went home..to crash as I could not even think about making the movie at Shed 5 2night..I dont care that it was "its a wonderful life and that i have Never seen the movie all the way through even though its like an American staple this time of the year...maybe next year. I ate, thankfully I have an appetite though not much motivation to cook but I had left-overs from lunch!!

I crashed on my couch with the cat cuddling with me, woke hours later to find that someone who told me they had shoes left a pair a shoes on the mirror of my jeep…Size 11!! Thank you! Those I will take out tomorrow no matter how sick I am!

Time for a hot tottie.. its late…or should I say early and i am still sick. Good night!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008


I called Detroit Central City Community Mental Health on Monday and they called me back on Tuesday to discuss an open house of sorts they are hosting a clothing give-away for the homeless on Monday December 29 from 10am to 3pm.

I got the call from Mr. Lee and Mr. Johnson, not a fan of conference calls cuz I cant hear them too well but these guys were really nice and helpful. I plan to be there on the 29th helping to work it and donate clothes that I am receiving that are not suitable to living on the streets.

I got some high heels the other day…yea really..not good at least for winter, though some sisters may want them in the spring but …who knows by spring I may be helping them too but I wont be supplying shoes more like condoms and needles.

But anyways..the clothing give-away will accept household items too so if you have stuff like take it to them…or contact me. And Feel free to invite recipients and associates that can benefit from the give-away!!! Get people involved..you don't have to be on the streets cuz that is well brave or stupid i ain't too sure myself...but there are places you can put in your time..but if you are not able to do that at least donate! (thanks..sorry to preach)

What is DCC btw; according to their website; Detroit Central City Community Mental Health (DCC) is a private non-profit agency providing ongoing mental health services, substance abuse treatment and prevention, housing, outreach, Literacy, supported employment and other support services to mentally ill adults in Wayne County.

Sounds good to me!

So I was supposed to have dinner with a friend on Tuesday in Greek Town but I got stood up, still have not heard from him btw….ARE YOU OUT THERE PAPA JOE…call me Please!!I'm worried!

After calling, texting and waiting I decided to leave and when I did came across a man in a wheel chair at the corner of Monroe and the 75 service drive. I past him and then almost got on the highway cuz I was cold and hungry..then I was like ..’yea right, uh hello’ so I went all the way through Lafayette park and back around to find him and he was on the move downa one way street that i could not turn down as it was the opposite way i was going over the overpass..doh..so i decide to park and run after him cuz i figure he aint movin too fast in the snow that had started. so i pulled over and noticed he was not leaving..just tending to some needs so i waited then I got out and took him a blanket.

He was very happy, I helped him tuck in around himself over the one he had. It was a tight fit god I hope it helped cuz the snow was picking up and we were under advisory. He asked if I had any pants, size 34!

I ran back scoured the jeep but no pants that size. I went with a jacket and explained to him that I was waiting on more clothes from Ann Arbor and offered him the coat. He thanked me but said he really didn’t need a coat just some pants. I asked him his name, its Ryan, I told him mine. I asked him where he was staying he said no where I apologized for sounding stupid and that I sadly understood that but was there a place for him to go, he said he was trying to get some money to get to the shelter for the night. I tucked a buck in his hand (don’t even start with me!) and wished him good luck and as I drove away in my jeep I realized I neglected to warn him about the storm coming, but then I just realized how different would that be from everyday?

everyday i realize just how disconnected i really am, thank you for the lesson.


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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Make a donation get a martini half off!!

Make a donation get a martini half off!!

Ok so that’s not entirely true!! Monday December 15, 2008 my friend and co-worker Amber, her husband and I host a fundraiser at Café Felix in Ann Arbor to raise for Gleaners http://www.gcfb.org/site/PageServer and to gather clothing and blankets for the homeless.

The event is planned on Monday at that café because that IS there half off Martini night..and Amber really likes to go there because of that and I like any discount and well I got stupid faced there with her one night, even broke glasses and could not drive myself home! (mental note I can not keep up with Amber!) I only allowed myself one on Monday and I have no idea what I would have picked from their crazy menu but lucky for me I did not have to as Andres picked one out for me-chocolate!!! mmm and boy was it strong, I went to ginger ale right after!

I got there late after a filling dinner with Andres at Zingerman’s, his treat, thank you! But we were late because I had NO parking karma that night, it took me over a half and hour to find a spot! And I had had had to spot at the chocolatier on the way to get a treat!!

By time we got there the place was pumpin! And there were about a dozen people in the back area reserved for us to have tables and set up for people to donate and fill out paperwork for monetary donations. Amber was a little nervous cuz I was late and cuz this was her first event like this..and she did great..no reason to be nervous at all, hello she is a power house!

It was a great night! I got to see some people I had not seen in awhile; old co-workers, current co-workers, a crazy romanian, I got to network and meet some really nice people! Andres ran into an old instructor and got to met some of the A2 friends I have and get numbers so they can all hang out! Which was all cool!

Amber figures the donation to gleaners will be over a grand, after her and her hubby match 50% which is amazing!! Both for the donations and the match!!

We got so many bags of clothes that my jeep was filled to the gills and Amber will have to make like 3 trips from A2 to bring them all to Detroit!!

We plan to bring all the stuff to work and sort it all out cuz I really need to know what we have so I can quickly locate a bag say full of mens jackets, shoes or whatever is most needed for a specific person! Must do that this week!!

So its Tuesday night now and I still don’t have any size 11 shoes or boots so I think I will stop at Value Village on my way to work and get a pair to take back to the shack and give to the man whose name I am going to learn to pronounce.

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First day out 2008- Got any size 11 shoes?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

I woke and had a slow morning but evidently made it out with the intention of cruising around to find homeless people around the city. I have a jeep full of clothes and blankets that need to warm some people. I cruised all the highway spots I went to last year and found all but one empty. And the one that was occupied had a ton of stuff there but no person. I saw another spot but for the life of me could not figure out how to get to it…so after passing it 4 times I admitted defeat and gave myself shit for not having a map of the twisted highways downtown.

But like Wow…I was surprised…happy too right? Yea But suspicious as well as the new mayoral administration had been better quick in the fall to start dismantling tent cities in the parks. And I feared this may be the case with some of the Highway man as well.

So I am wondering where people are and if I am just not looking hard enough but trust me I have been on many side streets and cruising the hood and just stumped. Was it because the weather was still not too cold but that made no sense.

After that I cruised Mexitown a bit and then Eastern Market still no luck. Then I cruised to where I know for sure there is a tent city as of three days before. I finally locate it on a tip from a friend (thank you). There, which I am not telling where, I find a shack and not too far away a tent. I go toward the tent first and try to figure out if anyone is there…I get no answer.

So I decided to go over to the shack which is about a half block away. No one is acknowledging me there either. Fine I think and I leave a bag of canned food, dinners in a bag from Trader Joes, a can opener and an orange. I then go back over to the tent and leave a bag with the same food items in it except instead of an orange they got an apple.

And as I am getting into my jeep I see someone walking down the street toward the shack so I wait and I see him go in so I go back and I see him outside now. And I say hello!! He says hello back! I told him I brought him some food and point to the spot where I left it and he thanks me. I asked if he needed any blankets. And we look at each other, confused.

It was right about this moment we both realized that we did not speak the same language. He speaks Spanish and I well..don't. I tell him in Spanish that I do not speak Spanish and he asks if I do…I laugh and say No!! he lucky for me can speak broken English. So we communicate enough for him to tell me he would very much like a blanket, which I give to him out of the back of the jeep. i do ask him his name but for the life of me i can not understand him or pronounce what he said to me..i feel bad. *

And I notice his shoes are tattered but we cant seem to get the shoe thing understood between us so I lightly step on his toes and he got it and I use my hands to ask what size..and he tells me something I can not get and he can tell by my face I am confused yet he is patient with me..and motions in the air the number eleven. I rummage through the back as I am not even sure of what I have but I find no mens shoes.

He asks if I have clothes, that I do!! so I get him some and tell him I will be back on Wednesday to see if anyone else is around and hopefully I will have a pair of size eleven shoes! Now just imagine how I tried to get that across to him without speaking his language…lucky for me he and even toyed with me a bit to joke around! That made me happy!

I asked if he knew of any other places around where people were staying, he gave me some tips though they didn't pan out..but I will try again!

I asked how long he had been there and he told me about 5 years, I was stunned to be quite honest. He then went on to tell me what he was building and how he was to get a pump and water and electricity. I listened and understood him completely then, amazing what I get when I just shut up!

I thank him for his time and told him I would be back, he thanked me too.

I drove around a bit more with no luck and decided to go home..and I hoped I would be able to get a pair of shoes for him from the benefit the next day.

do you?? Got any size 11 shoes? or boots...let me know !!


*---on a side note the day before i signed up to teach English to Spanish speaking women as a motivator to get my arse to learn Spanish..and meeting this man totally confirmed that i just have to..no more excuse----

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Man down...Woodward Ave.

Saturday night December 13, 2008, I was on my way to visit Athena…(greedy greedy greedy)..and I stopped by Skinny and Dondo's place to pick up items Skinny had ready to give to me for the homeless.

She was not there when I arrived but there were two Huge bags of items for me to pick up and I mean huge bags! It took everything I had to lift one of them! Dondo helped me load them into my jeep!

As I left I realized I was hungry so I thought I would go to Avalon but I figured it was like 5:00 they would not be open and I really did not feel like zig zagging across streets to get there..i was tired from 2 hours at the gym. So I thought of Zaccaro's the fancy grocer on Woodward that no one I was collecting items for could ever afford and which I can barely. And if they were not open then I would zig zag to Avalon on my way to the highway…yes this was my thought process.

So as I am heading south on Woodward the car in front of me swerves out of the left lane we are traveling in into the turn lane and then into oncoming traffic. Holy shit what the fuck are they doing I think as I thankfully look back at the road just in fucking time to look out the windshield and register that is a human in front of my jeep on the ground.

I slam on my brakes fly into the left turn lane following the car in front of me to pull up right next to it as it is still in the lane of on-coming north bound traffic. I stop my car, grab my phone and get out. I ask the guy next looking at me from the car next to me if he will come with me. He looks at me like I am a fucking crazy white girl. I implore him to please come with me to see if he is ok and I tell him I don't want to do it alone.

He gets out and follows behind me. The snow is blowing hard now and at my back as I approach the figure in the middle of the road. He is laying flat on his back and I could tell he was not homeless. His shoes were in good condition as were his pants and he had on a carhart with the hood up and a cap on. He also had on a backpack.

The snow was blowing in his face and I walked out to and knelt down next to him with cars heading directly toward us with there lights blinding me, thank god people stopped. I prayed quicker and faster than I ever have that he was not dead but for some reason I knew he was not. I asked him if he had been hit, he made no noise. I asked again, he mustered a quiet, 'no'. I could tell he had been there for a bit as he was wet and you could see snow clinging though had not yet accumulated.

I asked him if he would like to get up, he told me no. I asked him if he was hurt, and he did not answer me then I lightly but firmly placed my hand on his chest and asked him again, 'are you hurt?' Though I 'felt' he was not I also 'felt' he was. A tear rolled out of his eye and he said 'yes', I told him he was gonna be ok and asked if he wanted me to call 911. He said no, I asked if he had any where to go, he said 'no' I asked him again if he wanted me to call 911, he said yes cuz he needed somewhere to go.

People had started to gather two different people in cars were calling 911 and yelling at me for street names…I yelled back Seldon. I told him people were calling 911 for him because they cared. He told me he had no where to go.

I asked him if that was why he was in the road, he mustered a weak yes. I asked him if he wanted to get hit, he shrugged and then said no. I told him I would have felt very badly had I hit him. I asked him his name and told him mine. I ran to my car and got a blanket and covered him up and sat next to him on Woodward and shielded his face from the driving snow as I lightly stroked his eye brows and told him help was coming. thank you skinny for the blanket!! Someone else gave a blanket as well.

I could here the ambulance and I must admit it was very quick that they arrived. It was a police officer who came up behind me first as I was knelt real close to Rodneys face talking to him. when I looked up the line of cars where backing up on Woodward and some where trying to get around anyway they could. He moved his leg at this time which was a good sign to me especially since someone yelled at me not to move him.

The officer asked if he was alive, I told him yes and his name. He asked Rodney if he had been hit he told him no, he asked if he had been shot, that never even crossed my mind and when he mumbled what sounded like a yes I felt so naïve for some reason. The medics showed up at this time & threw the blankets off of him and started to move him around.

I was standing at this time and the cop says behind me, "ah too much remy tonight" and I shoot him a look, he shrugged. I imagine you would have to have a bit of a cynical attitude to protect yourself cuz I knew my heart was aching and if that were my job every night…oh boy. And to be totally honest he did smell of alcohol but not until I was right next to him talking to him could I smell it and I have a pretty good nose.

I am at this time standing next to a woman who I ask if she was the one who pulled over with me and I hug and thank her when she says yes. Her name was Jackie, shes a postal worker, she also gave him the other blanket. The cop asked her to move her car at this time as its still in oncoming traffic and we say our goodbyes and she and he passenger are off into the night.

I turn back as I hear the medic yell "you aint hurt man,' then yelled 'his eyes are constricted' and they got the gurney out and put him on it. About this time the police officer grabs the blankets off the street and asks if they are mine, I told him "they are until I find a homeless person who needs it." He says he has three bags in his car, I ask him if he means that car, the cop car he said no his car. I told him to get them to me and I will distribute them to the homeless.

And he asks if that is what I do as he follows me to the back of my jeep…and he looks in as I tell him "it is lately" I hear him say "oh my god" as the back of my jeep is full of bags of clothes and blankets and food.

I gave him my connection card, cuz for some fucking reason he didn't want to give me his card…jerk! But whatever and I tell him to call me and I will come get his stuff as I close up the back of my car.

By this time Rodney is in the back of the ambulance as I climb into my jeep and ease myself into the seat with the first realization that I could have killed that man. I tried to stay present enough to drive myself to Zaccaro where I parked outside and totally dropped my box at the thought.

At the thought that I could have run him over and done who knows what to him but mostly at the reality of it..that he just gave up and decided to lay himself down in the middle of the main vain through downtown Detroit. He just laid down. How long was he there before it all happened, how many people just swerved around him, questions I will never know the answers to. but that none the less pain me.

I went into the store as I remembered I had been hungry before all of that happened but I just wandered around I could not think not think. I ended up at Avalon, hardly remember the drive but I did past the ambulance on Woodward and could see Rodney sitting up in the back of it, what was to happen to him? again a question I will never know the answer to.

Half way on my way to Athenas a really good friend called me from Vancouver and just let me tell him partly through tears partly through confusion what had just happened on Woodward and about what had happened to me on the Full Moon the night before. We were both glad he called as I think he pulled me out of a state of shock to tell you the truth so that by time I arrived our call was complete and I was able to be with fully present with Athena on what we realized was our very first time ever being completely alone!! It was a greedy pleasure indeed for both of us as we curiously wondered how had grown so close and needed each others friendship so much even though we had never had more than like 1 or 2 hours lunches alone ever in our three year friendship. Hm? But after the week were both having it was perfectly timed that we were able to just be and do so with each other. i was very thankful for that.

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