Friday, January 30

of snobs and bosses

I’d like to have a blog like I’d like to have The Snob’s wit, time, know how and dedication to her blog. I’d like to be able to scour the web and bring a fresh (snobby) take on everything from TJ Holmes’ cuteness to the latest legislation coming out of DC. That would be awesome.

Instead I’m a dedicated reader of The Snob. She cracks me up on a regular basis and I LOVE her new site – there’s just so much more Snob now and that is exactly what the world needs. Or maybe it’s just what I need and really, isn’t that the same thing? I’m fine with my blog and I adore my minions, you know that. But every once in a while... blogousy rears its’ ugly head. All this is the long way of saying that The Black Snob has launched a new site which is completely fantastic and you should all go, minions, and read her articles, post comments and start your own threads on her boards. Have a great time!

Now – as much as I’m no super blogger I am REALLY not a music critic or a musician either. I did the requisite piano lessons as a child and I’ve noodled around on the sax and guitar, but I’m no Bruce. Fortunately for us all Bruce Springsteen has a new record out, Working on a Dream. I grew up on Bruce, not because of one of my sisters or parents, but because I was a radio junky and he ruled rock radio in the 80’s. We went our separate ways in the 90’s. And then The Rising came out and it was like he had written that record just for me. I still can’t fully express how much those songs touched me and helped me heal after the hell my life was in 2001-2002. Magic seemed like the perfect follow up record and again Bruce was sitting somewhere writing songs just for me (he’s totally a minion, folks). Was there any way that this new record could really create the perfect trilogy? Can you hit three home runs in a row?

If you want the info from someone who actually knows what they’re talking about on a musical level buy the latest issue of Rolling Stone and you can read all about it. If you want to figure it all out for yourself listen to The Rising, Magic and Working on a Dream in that order. Maybe you’ll feel, as I did, so acutely grateful for this life and its wonders and how few minutes you really have left to live. It’s a painful joy and a beautiful regret.

All this is the long way of saying that Bruce and E Street have hit three home runs in a row. Let them show you what love can do.

ps - Shaun likes me! He really likes me! (He and DFC obviously have fantastic taste)

Monday, January 26

On My Honor

The Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

The Girl Scouts of America will be selling fewer cookies this year. It was announced that the boxes will be shrunk by about a centimetre but will cost the same as a response to the rising prices of ingredients, most of which have risen 10-40%.

I have really great memories of my time as a Girl Scout. I always hated selling the cookies, but loved eating them with my friends at meetings, or with my mom (straight out of the freezer), or with the girls at Camp Congaree, where I worked for two summers.

When I first saw the article about the GS financial troubles I thought of the jokes people would immediately make and then I thought about lemons. Working at the camp over the summers you develop some strange eating habits – it’s called survival. A box of Lemon Cremes that’s been in the back of the freezer for a couple of days with some industrial strength institutional powdered lemonade over ice – THAT will cool you off and make the chirping, screeching and general whininess of 7-12 year old girls easier to bear.

Those cookies are actually magic, you know. They keep girls off the street and empower them. They impart knowledge and build friendships. They let girls who would never be able to afford a sleep away camp experience the freedom and camaraderie of a week away from it all. They give broke college students summer jobs and teachers extra income. They grant scholarships and passports so that girls can explore the world and their own possibilities. If you think I’m exaggerating please go to the website

Girls Scout cookies gave me late night stomach aches with my best friends while we fought over which New Kid On The Block we would marry. They gave me horseback riding, a faith in myself and two heroes all in one week. They saw me through many late night readings of Shakespeare. When Stone died I was eating Thin Mints while I cried, glued to the TV. When I needed money for a trip to Scotland to perform at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival they gave me a summer job where I could carry on a legacy and become a hero. They took me white water rafting and turned a girl from New Zealand into my twin.

So even though the boxes will be smaller the power is undiminished. Buy a cookie. No matter what we told the girls who still would not be quiet at one a.m. they are NOT made out of real girls, but many real girls have been made from those cookies.
* I wrote this and then couldn't get this song out of my here you go, one of my favorite super cheesy campsongs:

Chorus :
On my honor, I will try.
There's a duty to be done and I say aye.
There's a reason to be here for a reason above.
My honor is to try and my duty is to love.

People don't need to know my name.
If I've done any harm, then I'm to blame.
If I've helped someone, then I've helped me.
And I've opened up my eyes to see.


I've tucked away a song or two.
If you're feeling low, there's one for you.
If you need a friend, then I will come.
And there's many mmore where I come from.


Friendship is the strangest thing
if you keep it to yourself, no reward will bring
but you gave it away, you gave it to me
and from now on great friends we'll be


Come with me where the fire burns bright,
We can even see better by the candle's light.
And we'll find moremeaning in a campfire's glod,
Than we've ever found in a year or so.


We've a promise to always keep.
And to pray "Softley Falls" before we sleep.
We are Girl Scouts together and when we're gone,
We'll still be trying and singing this song.

People have called me naive. They have asked me how I can be so educated and still have rose colored glasses on; how I can get so angry and still be so hopeful. Well - these are some of the things I was taught as a child. Songs like On My Honor and things like the Girl Scout Law were taught to me by young women who were cool, sure of themselves and their power. They showed me that I was cool, that I was powerful and that service was cool and could be powerful as well.

It might be strange to have all of these feelings brought up by an article about cookies but it's the little things, I guess, that do it to me. In this case I started thinking about the box of Lemon Cremes in my freezer at home and ended up thinking about the amazing women and girls I've me through scouting - and how they changed my life

Thursday, January 22

First Day Back

Its’ seven o’clock and I just got home from work. I’m tired and I’m still fighting this head cold thingy but my first thought on getting in the car and heading towards home was: ‘I wonder how school went?’ This morning when I was in the shower and bitching to myself about having to go into work when I’m sick and exhausted I thought: ‘The girls have to go to school today, suck it up.’

I have never been a celebrity stalker type. I don’t read the mags and I’m usually the last person to know who got married/divorced/knocked up, etc. Part of this is because at one time I thought I’d end up being a celebrity and that whole ‘do unto others’ thing stuck with me and part of it is because I really couldn’t care less. As talented or beautiful or whatever as they may be they aren’t my family or friends and their lives have no bearing on mine. I also cannot see in any way how this is news. I believe that privacy is an absolute right and that most people’s personal lives are not as interesting as whatever I’m thinking about at the moment. My personal taste and arrogance has thus far kept most famous people safe from my prying eyes.

But I’d like to know how Sasha and Malia’s first day back at school was. I’m one of those people who would have crashed the J Crew website if I had a young girl to buy clothes for because those outfits were just too cute. I could totally rock pink and orange by the way – even if I am no longer an adorable seven year old.

So what is it about these two little girls who didn’t run

for anything or ask for anything more than a puppy, and certainly not all of this attention? I see some of myself in them, of course. I was precocious and my parents (especially my father) delighted in my wit. I was also usually the one who got to take him down a peg with some joke, or by being bored by some speech he was giving (though never on the national stage). I also remember my parents looking at each other like that when I was little and dancing like that.

They’re also like the children I hope to have.

Maybe that is what it is. For all of his talk of hope, and faith and confidence there is no physical symbol for that. Maybe when I look at them I see a reason to hope, because a world that made these two darlings surely can make itself worthy of them. I see a reason to have faith, for aren’t children the perfect proof that there is a God? And I see a reason for confidence – we have to do it, so we will, they are looking to their father, and all of us.

I don’t have a child of my own to see these things in, or wish things for and I catch only fleeting glimpses inside myself of the child that I was. I look at those girls and see all these things in an electric blue coat. It is too much to ask them to ever live up to. It is too much for any child to have to stand for and yet it is what they all do.

And so I must confess that I really want to know how school went today and I hope there was something warm and sweet waiting when they got home, because it was cold out there.

Tuesday, January 20

On The Mall... In The Crowd...

I wrote this last night and didn't post it... but now that I'm here, well, thanks Sarah for the use of your Blackberry!

I can’t sleep and I wonder if he’s able to sleep tonight. So any thoughts are running through my head that I can’t seem to catch more than glimpses of them in my mind’s peripheral vision.

What would my grandparents, all four of them have to say about this? Papoo would thank God, I’m sure. He would be in church tomorrow – after watching on TV. I think MeMe and Grumpy would think of their own sons, all that hope and promise broken by this country and feel somewhat heartened by the fact that someone made it through; that someone so like their own sons arrived whole and intact at the mountaintop (or at least the last base camp).

But what would my namesake think? I never got to know her, but I think she would be so proud. I think that she too, would be thinking of her son. Of the times he risked his life – in war, in marches, at the voting booth and on dark southern streets, so that this man he has barely met could rise this high.

I wonder if any of them would think of their own sacrifices; of the multiple full time jobs worked, of the times they did without food, clothing and medical care so that their children wouldn’t have to. I know these things as storied told by my parents, aunts and uncles. I don’t know them in a real way because that is not the life I have lived.

And so, in some fundamental way, we are separated by all they strove for. See, I live in a world where it is not only conceivable for a Black man to become President, it will happen in less than 10 hours. They are from a world where it was a dream and tomorrow will be a miracle.

Lately it seems that the Hope mantra has been transformed to Unity. I feel it. I think we all do. But I have felt, much more over the past two years than ever in my life, how our experiences separate us. Tomorrow (well, today really) I’ll get up at four in the morning and join the crowds in the streets to wait for hours to see the culmination of something that began over 300 years ago when the first enslaved Africans were brought to this country. It will also be the beginning of something entirely new.

It is almost too much. I am glad that I won’t be with my father for that moment – because I think that it should be wholly his and wholly mine. This is something we can only share by being apart. I will know that he is in the crowd and I will remember the last time we were in DC together ... it was the 30th anniversary of the March on Washington. He went to the first one with my sister who was just a little girl at the time. She’ll be in crowd too.

My cousins from CA will be there. True Cape Verdean Americans, proud of their African heritage, still cooking the food and speaking the polyglot Portugese of the Islands – they have a special connection to the new President, being not just Black and White, but African and White. Maybe we’ll catch glimpses of each other.

Will I see people I know? Maybe. But as unified as we all will be by the momentous occasion, the work left to be done and the knowledge of the long, long way we’ve come I like to think that I’ll be anonymous in that crowd. I am just me, here, at this point in my journey taking a moment to really see and absorb the moment. And you are just you. What I feel at this moment more than anything is an immense respect for all the many and varied roads that have lead each of us here. I am content to stand on mine, look across at you on yours and smile.

Let our rejoicing rise

High as the listening skies,

Let us march on,

Til Victory is won.

Sunday, January 18

Some Words From Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

*"Give Us The Ballot" speech made at the Prayer Pilgrimage For Freedom, May 17, 1957 Washington, DC

Mr. Chairman, distinguished platform associates, fellow Americans. Three years ago the Supreme Court of this nation rendered in simple, eloquent, and unequivocal language a decision which will long be stenciled on the mental sheets of succeeding generations. For all men of goodwill, this May seventeenth decision came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of human captivity. It came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of disinherited people throughout the world who had dared only to dream of freedom.

Unfortunately, this noble and sublime decision has not gone without opposition. This opposition has often risen to ominous proportions. Many states have risen up in open defiance. The legislative halls of the South ring loud with such words as "interposition" and "nullification."
But even more, all types of conniving methods are still being used to prevent Negroes from becoming registered voters. The denial of this sacred right is a tragic betrayal of the highest mandates of our democratic tradition. And so our most urgent request to the president of the United States and every member of Congress is to give us the right to vote.

Give us the ballot, and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights.

Give us the ballot , and we will no longer plead to the federal government for passage of an anti-lynching law; we will by the power of our vote write the law on the statute books of the South and bring an end to the dastardly acts of the hooded perpetrators of violence.

Give us the ballot , and we will transform the salient misdeeds of bloodthirsty mobs into the calculated good deeds of orderly citizens.

Give us the ballot , and we will fill our legislative halls with men of goodwill and send to the sacred halls of Congress men who will not sign a "Southern Manifesto" because of their devotion to the manifesto of justice.

Give us the ballot , and we will place judges on the benches of the South who will do justly and love mercy , and we will place at the head of the southern states governors who will, who have felt not only the tang of the human, but the glow of the Divine.

Give us the ballot , and we will quietly and nonviolently, without rancor or bitterness, implement the Supreme Court's decision of May seventeenth, 1954.

In this juncture of our nation's history, there is an urgent need for dedicated and courageous leadership. If we are to solve the problems ahead and make racial justice a reality, this leadership must be fourfold.

First, there is need for strong, aggressive leadership from the federal government. So far, only the judicial branch of the government has evinced this quality of leadership. If the executive and legislative branches of the government were as concerned about the protection of our citizenship rights as the federal courts have been, then the transition from a segregated to an integrated society would be infinitely smoother. But we so often look to Washington in vain for this concern. In the midst of the tragic breakdown of law and order, the executive branch of the government is all too silent and apathetic. In the midst of the desperate need for civil rights legislation, the legislative branch of the government is all too stagnant and hypocritical.

This dearth of positive leadership from the federal government is not confined to one particular political party. Both political parties have betrayed the cause of justice. The Democrats have betrayed it by capitulating to the prejudices and undemocratic practices of the southern Dixiecrats. The Republicans have betrayed it by capitulating to the blatant hypocrisy of right wing, reactionary northerners. These men so often have a high blood pressure of words and an anemia of deeds.

In the midst of these prevailing conditions, we come to Washington today pleading with the president and members of Congress to provide a strong, moral, and courageous leadership for a situation that cannot permanently be evaded. We come humbly to say to the men in the forefront of our government that the civil rights issue is not an Ephemeral, evanescent domestic issue that can be kicked about by reactionary guardians of the status quo; it is rather an eternal moral issue which may well determine the destiny of our nation in the ideological struggle with communism. The hour is late. The clock of destiny is ticking out. We must act now, before it is too late.

A second area in which there is need for strong leadership is from the white northern liberals. There is a dire need today for a liberalism which is truly liberal. What we are witnessing today in so many northern communities is a sort of quasi-liberalism which is based on the principle of looking sympathetically at all sides. It is a liberalism so bent on seeing all sides, that it fails to become committed to either side. It is a liberalism that is so objectively analytical that it is not subjectively committed. It is a liberalism which is neither hot nor cold, but lukewarm. We call for a liberalism from the North which will be thoroughly committed to the ideal of racial justice and will not be deterred by the propaganda and subtle words of those who say: "Slow up for a while; you're pushing too fast."

A third source that we must look to for strong leadership is from the moderates of the white South. It is unfortunate that at this time the leadership of the white South stems from the close-minded reactionaries. These persons gain prominence and power by the dissemination of false ideas and by deliberately appealing to the deepest hate responses within the human mind. It is my firm belief that this close-minded, reactionary, recalcitrant group constitutes a numerical minority. There are in the white South more open-minded moderates than appears on the surface. These persons are silent today because of fear of social, political and economic reprisals. God grant that the white moderates of the South will rise up courageously, without fear, and take up the leadership in this tense period of transition.

I cannot close without stressing the urgent need for strong, courageous and intelligent leadership from the Negro community. We need a leadership that is calm and yet positive. This is no day for the rabble-rouser, whether he be Negro or white. We must realize that we are grappling with the most weighty social problem of this nation, and in grappling with such a complex problem there is no place for misguided emotionalism. We must work passionately and unrelentingly for the goal of freedom, but we must be sure that our hands are clean in the struggle. We must never struggle with falsehood, hate, or malice. We must never become bitter. I know how we feel sometime. There is the danger that those of us who have been forced so long to stand amid the tragic midnight of oppression--those of us who have been trampled over, those of us who have been kicked about--there is the danger that we will become bitter. But if we will become bitter and indulge in hate campaigns, the old, the new order which is emerging will be nothing but a duplication of the old order.

We must meet hate with love. We must meet physical force with soul force. There is still a voice crying out through the vista of time, saying: "Love your enemies , bless them that curse you , pray for them that despitefully use you." Then, and only then, can you matriculate into the university of eternal life. That same voice cries out in terms lifted to cosmic proportions: "He who lives by the sword will perish by the sword." And history is replete with the bleached bones of nations that failed to follow this command. We must follow nonviolence and love.
Now, I'm not talking about a sentimental, shallow kind of love. I'm not talking about eros, which is a sort of aesthetic, romantic love. I'm not even talking about philia which is a sort of intimate affection between personal friends. But I'm talking about agape. I'm talking about the love of God in the hearts of men. I'm talking about a type of love which will cause you to love the person who does the evil deed while hating the deed that the person does. We've got to love.
There is another warning signal. We talk a great deal about our rights, and rightly so. We proudly proclaim that three-fourths of the peoples of the world are colored. We have the privilege of noticing in our generation the great drama of freedom and independence as it unfolds in Asia and Africa. All of these things are in line with the unfolding work of Providence. But we must be sure that we accept them in the right spirit. We must not seek to use our emerging freedom and our growing power to do the same thing to the white minority that has been done to us for so many centuries. Our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate the white man. We must not become victimized with a philosophy of black supremacy. God is not interested merely in freeing black men and brown men and yellow men, but God is interested in freeing the whole human race. We must work with determination to create a society , not where black men are superior and other men are inferior and vice versa, but a society in which all men will live together as brothers , and respect the dignity and worth of human personality.

We must also avoid the temptation of being victimized with a psychology of victors. We have won marvelous victories. Through the work of the NAACP, we have been able to do some of the most amazing things of this generation. And I come this afternoon with nothing, nothing but praise for this great organization, the work that it has already done and the work that it will do in the future. And although they're outlawed in Alabama and other states, the fact still remains that this organization has done more to achieve civil rights for Negroes than any other organization we can point to. Certainly, this is fine.

But we must not, however, remain satisfied with a court victory over our white brothers. We must respond to every decision with an understanding of those who have opposed us and with an appreciation of the difficult adjustments that the court orders pose for them. We must act in such a way as to make possible a coming together of white people and colored people on the basis of a real harmony of interest and understanding. We must seek an integration based on mutual respect.

I conclude by saying that each of us must keep faith in the future. Let us not despair. Let us realize that as we struggle for justice and freedom, we have cosmic companionship. This is the long faith of the Hebraic-Christian tradition: that God is not some Aristotelian Unmoved Mover who merely contemplates upon Himself. He is not merely a self-knowing God, but an other-loving God forever working through history for the establishment of His kingdom.
And those of us who call the name of Jesus Christ find something of an event in our Christian faith that tells us this. There is something in our faith that says to us, "Never despair; never give up; never feel that the cause of righteousness and justice is doomed." There is something in our Christian faith, at the center of it, which says to us that Good Friday may occupy the throne for a day, but ultimately it must give way to the triumphant beat of the drums of Easter. There is something in our faith that says evil may so shape events that Caesar will occupy the palace and Christ the cross , but one day that same Christ will rise up and split history into A.D. and B.C. , so that even the name, the life of Caesar must be dated by his name. There is something in this universe which justifies Carlyle in saying: "No lie can live forever." There is something in this universe which justifies William Cullen Bryant in saying: "Truth crushed to earth will rise again." There is something in this universe which justifies James Russell Lowell in saying:

Truth forever on the scaffold,
Wrong forever on the throne.
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown Stands God ,
within the shadow, Keeping watch above His own.

Go out with that faith today. Go back to your homes in the Southland to that faith, with that faith today. Go back to Philadelphia, to New York, to Detroit and Chicago with that faith today: that the universe is on our side in the struggle. Stand up for justice. Sometimes it gets hard, but it is always difficult to get out of Egypt, for the Red Sea always stands before you with discouraging dimensions. And even after you've crossed the Red Sea, you have to move through a wilderness with prodigious hilltops of evil and gigantic mountains of opposition. But I say to you this afternoon: Keep moving. Let nothing slow you up. Move on with dignity and honor and respectability.

I realize that it will cause restless nights sometime. It might cause losing a job; it will cause suffering and sacrifice. It might even cause physical death for some. But if physical death is the price that some must pay to free their children from a permanent life of psychological death , then nothing can be more Christian. Keep going today. Keep moving amid every obstacle. Keep moving amid every mountain of opposition. If you will do that with dignity , when the history books are written in the future, the historians will have to look back and say, "There lived a great people. A people with 'fleecy locks and black complexion,' but a people who injected new meaning into the veins of civilization ; a people which stood up with dignity and honor and saved Western civilization in her darkest hour; a people that gave new integrity and a new dimension of love to our civilization." When that happens, "the morning stars will sing together , and the sons of God will shout for joy."


It's snowing.

I'm at work.

I've got a head cold (again).

I'm packing up my germs and taking them to DC with me for the Inauguration. So, let me apologize now to the millions of people I might infect with my sniffles, but there is NO WAY I will not be in that crowd.

Most of the family of G (both sides) will be there, but I doubt I'll see any of them in the multitudes. Still, I'll be with my family, in many senses of the word, as we celebrate this great new beginning and hopefully many of them will be there, like me, to rededicate themselves to this Republic, its ideals and the melding of the two.

Until then I'll sniffle my way through work and the hellish drive to DC. Have a wonderful weekend, minions, Happy MLK Day and Happy Inauguration Day.

*special MLK post coming tomorrow...

Tuesday, January 13

Change Me

It’s been too hard livin’,

But I’m afraid to die,

I don’t know what’s up there,

Beyond the sky...

Well, minions, I promised you a real post today and here it is. Our theme, it seems, for the last little while and the next has been and will be change. OK. Well let’s talk about how I’m going to change the world. I’m starting with actual change, coins that is. I’m not trying to shill for anything here, but Bank of America’s Keep the Change program is pretty awesome for someone like me who has trouble putting money away. Somewhere around $50-75 a month goes into my savings account just because they round up my purchases on my debit card. I use Part Tim Bloggers .01 trick – whenever I can I make sure that the charge comes to .01 in change so that I’m socking away.99 without even feeling it. It’s the without feeling it part that is important to me because in the never ending battle of want now vs. Will need later now seems to usually win out. So BOA helps me trick myself.

I thought that could probably work with actual coinage as well so I’ve been dumping my change each night into an old coffee can. At the end of each month I’ll go to a Coin Star machine in one of the grocery stores I go to and convert that into a donation to a local charity – or into cash if I’m not excited by the charities listed at the Coin Star, which will then be donated on my own. Simple, easy way to support the causes I care about even though I’m not swimming in money.

Now here’s the big change: Years ago I promised myself that I would quit smoking when I either got pregnant or turned 30, whichever came first. Well, I’m not pregnant, but I’ll hit the big 30 in April. The thing is that I don’t really want to quit, which seems to me a pretty huge stumbling block to the promise. On the other hand I am consciously trying every day not to lie to myself, so this is a promise I need to keep. This isn’t about my health or saving money – pictures of black lungs, thoughts of $1,000’s wasted and even the memories of my grandmother’s death from emphysema don’t stack up against my habit. Smoking keeps me from feeling bored and alone. The obvious answer is that I need a life – which I’m working on as well. You have to be the change you wish to see in the world, isn’t that it? So I’m becoming a person who loves myself more and treats myself better. I’m breaking it down –

· I’m cleaning house, literally. Since I’m moving to an awesome apartment soon I’m going through everything I have and throwing away the useless, giving away the unwanted and selling on eBay the things that might pay for movers.

· I’m getting back to eating better by making weekly menus and shopping for healthy +chocolate. Let’s be realistic, I need the chocolate like you regular people need air.

  • I’m not beating myself up about the fact that I don’t work out. When I move to the apt with the free gym right next door I will. Until then I’m giving myself a break. No more lying to me – i.e. taking gym clothes to work with a plan to do it and then letting myself down. It’s time for some loving realism, minions.
  • I’m reading up about my puppy. I’ll be creating my own family and I’m excited. This is something completely selfish and new for me. This isn’t about what anyone else thinks but about what I want.
  • I’m picking out the colors for my new apartment. For years I’ve been hiding in an apt I hate as a punishment for something I never did wrong. That’s over. I’m thinking chocolate brown and blue. I’ll post color samples soon.
  • Let it go has become my new motto for when the mean thoughts about myself and others start to creep in. I don’t forgive really, myself or others – it isn’t really in me. This only hurts me so I’m trying to learn to let things go.
  • People who love me are not inherently stupid, evil or wrong. They have not been duped. Eventually I’ll get that.
  • I’m going to bed each night with the expectation that something amazing will happen the next day. Eventually it will.

I can’t focus on quitting smoking because I’m not a follow through kind of gal, minions. So if I focus on my making my life a happier, warmer, more loving place to exist (and through the use of gum, lozenges and patches) I can create a life that just doesn’t have smoking in it. Replace boredom with contentment and watch the smoke dissipate.

In May or June I’ll start focusing on how best to use my time to help my community again. Until then, “Doctor, heal thyself.”

Thought I oughta’ talk to my brother,

I said brother could you help me please,

Then I went to my own mother,

I said Mama, Mama I’m down on my knees,

There were times that I thought I couldn’t last for long,

Somehow I’ve been able to just about carry on,

It’s been a long, long time comin’ but I know,

A change gon’ come,

Oh yes it will.