Category: Biweekly Meetings

May Update

It’s been months since I’ve updated Anthony & Me. I’m sorry, I’ve been busy…but Anthony and me still find time to meet up on a regular basis.

Anthony and Elizabeth meeting at Au Bon Pain to discuss housing options.
Anthony and Elizabeth meeting at Au Bon Pain to discuss housing options.

Anthony is doing well, despite a swollen knee that looks more like a watermelon. Helped by a cane, he hobbles downtown to his corner almost every morning though. Last Thursday he took the day off because it hurt too much to walk. I’m working on helping him get to a doctor but frankly I don’t think they will do much for this other than order bed rest.





Today we had a guest at our usual bi-weekly meeting: Elizabeth from Pathways to Housing. She’s the amazing young woman who helped Anthony find his current room. She joined us to help Anthony fill out applications for new housing – he hopes to get into an improved, more independent housing arrangement. We also learned that Elizabeth has taken a new job at Pathways and will no longer be doing outreach in the Golden Triangle but has moved over to Development.

I’ve been making progress, albeit slow, on the book. Anthony never lets me forget that I need to be writing and I truly appreciate it.

We’re about 45 days from the one year anniversary of Anthony finding housing. We’re planning a little celebration on Monday, July 14th – if you are in DC please join us. More details to come on this!

In my last post I shared a recipe from Anthony…I thought I would continue with that tradition and list another one here.

Fish Omelette

Ingredients: fish, butter, green peppers, onions, eggs, milk, cheese

“I take the original fish and debone it. Sometimes I buy fish sticks instead which I debread and use. Then I sauté the fish in butter with green peppers and onions.  I take my eggs and beat’em up, and add just a pinch of milk to make them fluffy. Then I take a slice of cheese, split it in half, and spread it on half of the omelet. And after that is melted, you take the sautéed onions and fish and lay it on top. Then you take the half of the omelette you haven’t used yet and put it on top of everything else.”

I asked Anthony if he ate this like a sandwich. He said, “No. You just eat it as it is. I mean, if you want to eat it as a sandwich that is ok too.”

 

 

 

Talking Turkey with Anthony

While the turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes tend to gobble up most of our focus for the Thanksgiving holiday – it’s really about reflecting on what we are thankful for. It’s about family, community, giving and so much more. And there’s no pressure to buy anyone a gift or find a clever costume. Just family, friends, food and fellowship.

I wasn’t in DC for Thanksgiving so I didn’t get to have turkey with Anthony – but I did meet up with him today to see how his Thanksgiving was and get caught up on some other items. We decided to check out a new spot a block from Anthony’s “office” at 19th and M. “They’ve got fresh carved turkey sandwiches there – real sandwiches!” Anthony professed.

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Anthony, George Vincent Jr. of Capriotti’s, and me at the newly inaugurated Capriotti’s on M Street in Northwest DC.

Capriotti’s was started in Delaware more than 30 years ago and is now approaching 100 shops around the country. We’re slated to get about a dozen here in the Greater DC area. The sandwiches are rolled in butcher’s paper and sealed with masking tape – like the place you used to get them when you were a kid. Yep, it’s got a little bit of that kind of feel.

I ordered a 9 inch turkey sub with hot peppers. Anthony, who is already a return customer since they opened 12 days ago, ordered the chicken cheese steak.

Half way through my sandwich, Anthony reaches out to stop a gentleman walking by. “Reed, this is the owner,” he whispers as he introduces me to George Vincent Jr. –  a third generation Washingtonian who is leading the expansion here in the nation’s capital. I was so impressed with how busy the store was with less than two weeks under its belt that I had to know the secret. It’s rather simple according to George – he credits fresh ingredients and genuine customer service.

Photo: politico.com

If the line that wraps nearly out the door isn’t enough of an indicator of the success to come to this DC newcomer, they might get a little help from Delaware’s number one son. “Joe Biden came in on our first day and got the Italian sub,” George told me.” He even took another back for the president!” Well, Anthony sure is in good company with his new favorite sandwich shop!

Anthony and I stuck around for a little while after we finished our lunch. I asked him if he had thought about any goals for 2014. “In fact I have,” he told me. He wants to focus on getting a second job and saving money to visit his sister Jackie in Seattle. “I also need to start thinking about a new apartment,” he said. His place is fine for now, don’t get me wrong, he’s extremely thankful to have housing, but he’d like to have a private bathroom and his own kitchen.

And speaking of the kitchen – I learned something new today. Anthony and I share a love of cooking! Check back on Thursday to find out about the fish fry that Anthony and his neighbors do every Saturday!

 

Week 24 – Walking toward housing


Fungus, bacterial infection and gangrene – all problems that can affect those who do not properly care for their feet. The homeless are particularly vulnerable to these health problems due to a lack of showers, access to proper shoes and socks and the inability to dry feet properly after they become wet.

JRS-2013-0618-002.jpgAs you remember, Anthony was admitted to the hospital last week because his feet became so damaged his socks were soaked with blood. After that episode, I thought I would talk to my podiatrist to see if he could treat Anthony. It would be really convenient for Anthony as his office is about 30 yards from where Anthony sells the Street Sense at 19th and M.

Although the doctor explained he did not take Medicaid, he didn’t hesitate to see Anthony. “Not a problem, I’d be happy to see him for free,” he told me. Wow…what a great guy.

So met up with Anthony this morning to take him to his appointment. As we sat in the waiting room I noticed that Anthony was not wearing socks! “You didn’t wear socks today?” I asked him.

“I ran out. I’m sorry,” he said pulling his pant leg up to reveal his bloated ankles.

Continue reading

Week 16 – Clarity



Eye_irisToday things got a little bit clearer…in more than one way!

Not only did I wake up after my Lasik eye surgery that I had yesterday and could see better than 20/20, I also met up with Anthony and an outreach worker named Elizabeth who has been kind enough to provide Anthony with some assistance. Before I get on to Anthony, if you ever consider Lasik eye surgery or have keratoconus (a rare but treatable eye disease) you should definitely consider seeing Dr. Roy Rubinfeld in Chevy Chase, MD. He’s amazing!

So believe it or not, less than 24 hours after my surgery Continue reading

Week 15 – Street Vision

The eye drops that Dr. Rubinfeld put in my eyes were starting to take affect when my phone rang. I moved the screen a bit further away than normal and read Anthony’s name on the caller ID. He was calling to say that he might be a little late for our 11:45 meeting – his pants ripped earlier in the day and he needed to get a new pair across town at a thrift store.

blurry-eyechartMy eye exam wrapped up and I was cleared for Lasik eye surgery next Wednesday. I wandered out of the doctor’s office, my eyes fighting off the unwelcome sun that was bathing the sidewalks of Friendship Heights, MD. Although it’s only about a block to the Metro, it took me a few extra minutes to arrive as I kept my head tucked deep into the top of my coat looking straight down as I walked, using my hand to shield my eyes from the sun’s rays. I stepped into the underworld of the Metro and finally found my eyes relaxed in the cool dimly lit concrete world. A few minutes later I was downtown DC near Anthony’s corner. I grabbed a coffee and plopped down in a comfy chair at Caribou Coffee to burn some time until he arrived.

Anthony is very appreciative of the support that blog followers like you have provided. If you would like to help support Anthony, click on the Donate button on the top right part of the website.
Anthony is very appreciative of the support that blog followers like you have provided. If you would like to help support Anthony, click on the Donate button on the top right part of the website.

We met; he was upbeat and very chipper. A side of him that I hand’t seen in a while. In fact, I hadn’t really seen any side of Anthony in a weeks as he’d cancelled a few of our meetings.

He slipped me a folded up piece of legal paper – you know the yellow colored type. “We’ll talk about that over lunch,” he said with a smile. Before heading off to lunch, Anthony asked me to take a photo of him to send to a very generous woman named Joyce who has been following the blog and sent a donation to cover a night in hotel for him.

Over quesadillas and tacos we talked about the piece of paper he slipped me earlier. I unfolded it carefully – it seems that it had gotten wet at some point and could potentially tear so I wanted to be gentle with it. Inside I found a business card for an outreach worker that Anthony likes very much. He hopes that she will be able to help him navigate the housing assistance jungle. We’ve got several irons in the fire, but I believe that we really need to stick with one group and work more closely with them if we want to get keys to an apartment in Anthony’s hands.

After lunch we walked back to his corner. He grilled me on my book writing. I’m behind again, but still very committed. But Anthony suggested we up the stakes some. “You need consequences,” he said grinning about as wide as one can. “If you don’t get your draft proposal done in the next 3 weeks, then I think you need to come sleep on the streets with me.”

Not a bad motivator. I don’t have any interest in spending a night on the streets of DC. I nodded my head slowly knowing that Anthony’s suggestion was a good one, despite the fact that I wasn’t wild about the idea. But that is just the kind of consequence that we need to have – something to motivate me to meet my deadlines. So there you go. The clock is ticking and I need to get writing…so I will be back in touch next week.

Rain delay

The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play. So we sat in the house. All that cold, cold, wet day.
― Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

For me the pitter patter sound of falling rain soothes the soul. I often stay inside by the fireplace where I find my eyes wandering toward the windowsill. The only difference today was that when I looked out at the marbles of rain bouncing on the street surface below I knew that Anthony was not snuggled up in a home next to a fireplace drinking freshly brewed coffee.

Washington, D.C.
Connecticut & Q, Washington, DC. Photo: Sergey Vladimirov

It was a little after 7am. I was up writing but having trouble focusing. I was supposed to meet him at 11:30am for our bi-weekly meeting. Last week he flaked on it – well maybe that is too harsh. I found him in an exhausted state after being up most the night monitoring a group of college kids that he was supervising as they went through a 48 “urban plunge” where they experience life on the streets. It’s understandable he didn’t feel much like meeting. Hell, he didn’t want to eat. I know he’s not feeling well when he passes up a free meal!

It was shortly after 11am when I got the call. Anthony cancelled again. “Maybe next week,” he said sounding sluggish and melancholy  “It’s nasty out there this morning and I’m just going to stay here at the Au Bon Pain and wait it out and maybe try to get some sleep.” I offered to meet him there at the french bakery, but he insisted that today was not a good day.

I let it go. We talked for a minute about a few other items, he checked on my writing progress. “Well, I tried to do some this morning but that didn’t work out. I’ve got some time set aside later this afternoon,” I told him still hopeful that I would get some productive time in on the book after lunch.

This is the first time since we have been working together that he has cancelled twice in a row. I offered to change my schedule and meet with him on Thursday but he preferred to wait until next week.

Something doesn’t seem right.

Sadly I didn’t get any work done on my book. I got a lot of other crap done…but no writing.

Week 12 Update



Today was supposed to be my regular meeting with Anthony. I called him this morning to make sure we were still on – but he didn’t pick up. Nonetheless, I headed down to his corner to meet up with him around noon.

The southeast corner of 19th and M was full of people but I didn’t see my friend. My feet paced in the same space that Anthony usually occupies as I scanned the area to see if he possibly had wandered away for a moment. While fumbling for my phone to give him a call I spotted his bright yellow vest across 19th street.

The dark organish decor of the Au Bon Pain is one of Anthony's regular refuges. Photo courtesy of http://regulus-starnotes.blogspot.com/
The dark organish decor of the Au Bon Pain is one of Anthony’s regular refuges. Photo courtesy of http://regulus-starnotes.blogspot.com/

His body propped up against one of those newspaper boxes that take quarters, Anthony looked terrible. “I haven’t slept at all,” he said to me explaining that he had chaperoned a group of college students from Richmond doing an urban plunge – a 48 hour experience developed by the National Coalition for the Homeless where young people get matched with a homeless individual and experience life on the streets. “This group had a couple of girls Continue reading

Week 10 Update


Before I get started today, just a note to let you know that I have added some ad banners on the blog. Yep, there’s one just above where you’re reading now and another one over on the menu to the right. All proceeds go to help support the Anthony&Me project. If you see an ad that interests you, I encourage you to click on it as each click results in micro-revenue for the project. Thank you for your support!!

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Anthony and me at Starbucks this morning

Anthony and I met up this morning for our bi-weekly meeting. First we went over to a doctor’s visit that he had. It seems that his blood pressure is getting more stable although it is still considerably higher than what the doctor would like.

We then headed across the street to the Whole Foods for lunch. We circled the hot and cold food bars surveying the various offerings until we both honed in on our prey. I made Continue reading

Week 8 Update

It seems I got behind on my blog updates, but last week I met up with Anthony for our regular biweekly meeting. He was in pretty good spirits-in fact he told me he had encountered a bit of luck. Apparently a few days earlier he had found $205 (two $100 bills and a five) on the street. “I’ve never found anything like that,” he told me. Anthony used the money to pay for a hotel room for the weekend so that he could get warm and shower.

poboyshopWe walked over to the New Orleans Po’ Boy shop on 19th Street to grab some lunch and catch up on our progress. I went with the Cajun barbecue which I somewhat regretted later – after I saw they had a muffaletta sandwich. Oh well….Anthony didn’t Continue reading

Week 6 Update

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Anthony strolls down Connecticut Avenue chatting with a city worker. (photo: Reed Sandridge)

It’s freezing outside. Literally! It’s only 18 degrees Celsius right now and with the wind-chill it feels like 2 degrees! The high is only supposed to get to 27 today. I am so thankful for the roof over my head.

I met with Anthony yesterday. We had lunch and went over our progress. I urged him to go to a shelter last night, but he refused. He’s stubborn as hell when it comes to the topic of shelters. “They’re no good,” he always says. You’d think his tolerance for shelters would increase as the temperatures outside decrease, but it doesn’t.

Progress with his housing are a bit stalled right now. We have reached out to Georgetown Continue reading