Archive for the ‘Deeply Personal’ Category

The design for my Zen-artist signatory stamp is finally ready

November 29, 2005

Unfortunately I can’t show it to you here within the blog, but it is finally ready . . .

. . . and with its now-reality, I can, I’m going to for the first time ever reveal to you – my friendly reader(s) – my “Zen name” (beside my deep and abiding faith as a large-C-Christian, I’ve been a practicing Zen Bhuddist for over 30 years), which is: raba

Just out of curiosity, take a geuss as to what “raba” means. When a lay Zen acolyte is initially accepted into the Zen community as I was when I was seventeen years old way back when, it’s tradition that their sensei/teacher/mentor/master gives them a “Zen name”, almost always a Japanese-based name which is reflective of who they (the student) are at their very core.

So, what do you think “raba” in Japanese means? “Light”? “Stone”? “Fire”? “Path”? “Dumbass”?

Nope, none of those . . . in Japanese, the literal translation of “raba” means “mule”, as in the highly intelligent and persistently stubborn cross between a horse and a donkey, and for the wags in the audience reading this, NO, it Does NOT mean “jackass”, it means “mule”, Smile.

For all this time of keeping this gift of my Zen name to myself, I’ve shared it with one, maybe two other people outside the Zen community before sharing it with my wife and stepdaughter recently, but now it’s time to come public with it, since come the proverbial Katrina or California wildfires I’m going to plunge back into my art – which will include a blended East/West style of Zen calligraphy and art – and set up my online gallery at zenmule.com, which I registered the domain for last year and am just now getting ready to put underpinnings of foundation to . . . okay, okay, so mules procrastinate as well be outright stubborn sometimes, sue me, Grin!

With my creation of a design which will become my signature stamp, and no, I didn’t choose to use the Japanese kanji characters which would spell out “mule” for my stamp design, prefering, and keeping in the spirit of the confluence of blending both Western/Occidental and Eastern cultures which is one important aspect of who I am as a man and person and which will be the driving force behind ZenMule.com, choose instead to hand-draw (using Corel Draw to create the initial design and Paint Shop Pro to polish it) the initials “R-H-K-C” inside a polygon that’s inside an oval, RHKC standing for Raba H. Kent Craig, my full Zen name.

So, today by announcing this becomes the first step in that journey of the next ten thousand, and I couldn’t be happier.

Thanksgiving, the most special of holidays to me

November 24, 2005

 

Being a Christian, you would think Christ-Mas would be the most special of Holy-Days to me and it actually is, but we’re talking “Old Christmas” which is generally celebrated on March 6th or March 8th either/both of which are probably a lot closer to the day of Jesus’ actual birth than the Roman holiday of Saturnalia (which was always celebrated on December 25th, BTW) which the early church fathers in the second or third century AD/ACE  hijacked and misappropriated in order for the “new” religion of Christianity to be better able to compete with the old Roman religions which weren’t old when Christianity was still quite new to the world, so in the light of “Western culture Christmas” on December 25th being a total and near-shameful sham to me, being a native-born American (born in Columbus, Ohio but brought to Cary, North Carolina as an adoptee at age seven months old which is why I claim to be a Cary and North Carolina native despite my physical birth being somewhere else, my metaphorical re-birth through adoption landing me in Cary instead of Columbus), ever since I came to consciousness at age five, Thanksgiving has become the most welcome if not important holiday to me.

The whole PC/politically correct-thing about what it does or doesn’t represent to American Indians aside, while most holidays are at least happy if not joyful, I find that our American Thanksgiving has high degrees of both somber-ness and reflectiveness about it which I find totally refreshing, kinda like a gentile Yom Kippur but with football and better food.

The purpose(s) of this or that holiday shouldn’t all be the same, anyway, and what makes Thanksgiving such a totally unique American holiday is that, for 95%-98% of all Americans, on each year’s Thanksgiving we as Americans find ourselves so blessed that almost all of us have much, much to be thankful for and so much of the rest of the world, without getting too esoteric or maudlin-ly philosophical on you, really doesn’t have much of anything on any given day to be thankful for, not usually, and definitely not as much as America and Americans does and do, and I’m not talking just about material stuff, I’m talking about (while recently eroded because of such patently anti-American laws such as the so-called “Patriot Act”) are our basic freedoms, basic “natural rights” freedoms such as, to give you one quick real-time example, the Freedom Of Expression and The Freedom Of The Press both of which are totally embodied in my now-expression of those two typical American freedoms by my writing this tome and publishing it in this-here blog of mine, two expressions of basic human rights-freedoms which a couple-billion of Chinese citizens don’t have, at least not wholly and fully like I do as an American.

That’s what and why I am thankful for, this and every Thanksgiving: that, by the literal grace of God of being in America and living as an American, that I have more freedoms and opportunities and blessings to be thankful for every single day of every respective year – not just on this one special day per year which focuses and acknowledges them more – than I would have otherwise had I been born anywhere and anytime elsewhere and elsewhen in this world’s timestream.

 

Today is my birthday . . .

November 22, 2005

 

. . . and since I don’t acknowledge let alone celebrate birthdays, mine or anyone else’s, I’ll just let this one, my 49th for this time around, go quietly unnoticed . . .

Early on this frost morn . . .

November 18, 2005

. . . I took a few moments in the frozen chill of this morning as I waved good-bye to my wife as she went off to her hour-and-a-quarter-each-way-commute-job – my standing outside in our driveway amidst the lightly frozen chills atop anything that wasn’t moving, the few clouds above defining just enough the dawn’s rays to let the local world that indeed the first real day of winter had finally, finally arrived.

As much as I love the five seasons of North Carolina (“Indian Summer” of 40 or even 50-degree swing-days with almost hot days and cool perfect sleeping nights between Labor Day and Halloween being an unofficial “fifth season”), love the rites of springs and the vigils of fall, winter has to be my favorite season, for it stokes the poet within me with its stark beauty, its unforgiving relentlessness of truth being told not lies being promised be damned of summer, the crystal-clear waves of raw emotion that its cleansing suffering brings.

 It is only now as an evolving adult that I am finally beginning to understand why November is the cruelest month. It’s not cruel from anger or spite, only because it simply has to be.

November, the gatekeeper of the next cycle of change, has to be cruel because only the strongest can be permitted to survive into the next-next and the weak must be used to feed the strong as the strong have nourished the weak during times just recent.

My feet, long promised to the soft floor of vanishing forests, ache to feel the bosom of earth caressing them as my eyes soak in God’s paintings in deep wood archetypes, my new Jack Russell doggie-wog by my side this winter as we explore the mysteries of the fullness of bareness of not cold but absence of heat, together.

 

Well, went to the orthopedic surgeon, and . . .

November 10, 2005

. . . found her, Dr. Sarah DeWitt, to be a consumate professional with an excellent bedside manner and without “the attitude” that many physicians have, in other words – I liked her on all levels.

She must have spent over an hour with me all total, something I found most unusual but most refreshing…did X-rays, talked about the current condition of my heavily-injured ankle from when I was 17 (not good, but could have been a lot worse considering my age), my prognosis (good for the next 10-15 years, at which point I’ll have to have the bones surgically fused togethe or everything below my right ankle amputated), my overall health (incredibly for someone my age, excellent for someone half my age), her suggested course of treatment (cortizone shots directly into the joint, one of which she gave me while I was in the office, and Yes I did feel it but it really didn’t hurt like a needle being jabbed two inches into my ankle joint, just more of a “deep pressure” feeling…since this was my first shot, the effects might last six weeks or might last a year, I’ll/we’ll just have to see) and her suggested course of progressive positive actions (basically, as much water-based i.e. swimming pool exercises that I can reasonably accomodate, that and walking on soft ground in woods or similar as much as I feel I can take).

Anyway, I’d just like to give her a plug here, if you have foot and ankle problems, keeeping in mind she’s an orthopedist/orthopedic surgeon and not a podiatrist, you can call her office directly for an appointment, you don’t need to be referred by another physician, and she takes most kinds of insurance…her very nicely done website where all her info is:


http://www.orthopedicfootandankle.com

Today, I visit the orthopaedist and grow up a little more

November 8, 2005

Today, at 1:30PM, I’m going to make my fourth trip to the/a medical doctor as an adult (hey, I’ve got unusually good genes and never get sick, all my sibling group members are the same as I am so it’s not like it’s magic, just good genes), having been to a Doc twice for stepthroat infections and once to a cardiologist to shut a family member up who thoght I might have been having heart problems (I wasn’t, my heart was and is fine), so today is my Number 4 Trip to an actual physician and it’s because I actually need to and not because I want to.

When I was 17 and was working for my father’s plumbing contracting company, I was superintendent (Yes, at age seventeen) on a restaurant remodeling job when I tripped and fell backwards and landed my then-250 pounds on my right ankle, sitting on it hard on a concrete floor and shattering it so badly that my then-orthopaedist and orthopaedic surgeon, Dr. A. E. Harer (deceased many years back) who had been my ortho-doc since I was an infant because I was born with a bad case of rheumatoid arthritis – told me before I went into surgery that he might have to take my right leg from just below the knee down but he was going to do everything in his power to save it. Save it, he did, the man was an artist in bone from heaven, but he did manage to save my leg and construct what was left on it to where I did eventually walk on it despite his prediction that I’d never walk again, would stay in the ‘chair for the rest of my life or worse.

Like I like to say, between the power of prayer and sheer Craig Family stubborness and my motivation to prove Dr. Harer wrong, damned if I wasn’t walking after a year or so, even though tears would run down my cheeks from the pain when I did, damned if I didn’t walk and never have been in the (wheel)chair since.

No other single incident in my life has affected my life more. I’m technically still 28% totally disabled and Yes, I do have a handicapped placard for my car but seldom use it, and I will always be “handicapped”, Geez I hate that term, I’m crippled, I don’t mind using the word, I’m crippled because of the injury to my leg.

Because of that accident, even with Dr. Harer saving my leg, I had to make major life-altering choices concerning careers, family issues, housing, etc. I’ve consitently resisted taking any pain medication for the 24/7/365 pain I’ve stayed in since then, all save regular old aspirin – actually “Ascriptin” which is half Maalox stomach soother and half aspirin, but now at age 48/49 on the 21st the pain of the injury to my right ankle/leg has simply become too great to bear alone any longer, which is why I’m going to see an orthopaedic Doc and surgeon who specializes in foot and ankle problems this afternoon. Not because I want to, because I need to.

All options will be on the table, including amputation. Over the past two or three years especially, the “recovery time cycles” for deep pain in my ankle has shortened to where I basically have ZERO relief from the truly mind-numbing 10-of-10-painscale pain I stay in, go to sleep with and wake up with.

Knowing all about “phantom pain” of amuptees who continue to feel the pain in amputed limbs no longer there, and I’ve spoken to a couple of amputees in the past who had voluntary amputations for medical reasons, mainly pain-related, and they both regreted having it done, said they’d go back and never have those voluntary amputations if at all possible, but that said, like I said, I’m in such tsunami-levels of pain that all options will be on the table.

Do I want my right ankle/lowe leg taken off? Of course not; I’m sane, after all. But, my past acquentences personal experiences aside, if removing my right ankle would spare me real-time and after-effect phantom pain which can/could be just as bad and there are no other viable options, then Yes, amputation would definitely be an option. We’ll see.

Today, my art career began again in earnest

November 8, 2005

This morning before beginning work on/at my “day job” as Commercial Division Manager and Senior Estimator for Goldstar Mechanical Services Inc. (NC’s largest HVAC contractor by dollar volume at the present moment) for the first time in literally 25 years I put black acrylic paint to a nylon-bristle artist’s brush and slathered a pre-strecthed store-bought canvas with it in order to lay down the base color for what will become a three-panel triptyche set of theme-matched paintings done for my wife Kris because she wanted 1) to see if I was as good an artist as I had bragged unmercifully to her that I had been when I was much younger and 2) me to do something very original and very nice for our bedroom, something that symbolizes, well, what marriage means to us but which wouldn’t be offensive to a 5-year-old that goes to Sunday School regularly or their parents.

When I started “edging out” the three canvases, two tall and thin and one large boxy one, it felt like I had never quit painting. Why did I quit painting in the first place come to think of it? Oh, yes, life, that proverbial killer of artisitic dreams along with not getting the NY Times to review your what turns out to be only your NYC gallery showing back in the 70’s, life and Yes maybe even a bit of dread that I would enjoy it all over again, I’m just being honest as I always am/try to be now, folks, and it would consume me.

No, it’s not going to consume me even though I’ve rediscovered how much I truly enjoy doing it, I also enjoy making a decent living working for Goldstar and HVAC/heating/ventilation/air-conditioning/plumbing/mechanical trades has been my actual adult career these past twenty-five years and Yes – I do enjoy doing what I do for Goldstar, but my art a professional if part-time endeavor is firmly now “a go”.

Confessing publicly, I have/had planned to do this for at least 2-3 years now and just never got off the couch to make it happen, but for, and this is the confession part, for strictly “mercenary” reasons I had planned to do a series of sports-related-theme prints in time to get them online and hopefully selling during the curve of this year’s Christmas buying season – for the pure reason of wanting an extra part-time income which while iffy entailed very little risk and potentially very decent profits – but for various reasons which would seem like whining so I’m not going to list them here I won’t be able to do these sports-theme prints by Thanksgiving so c’est lie vie, next year, actually after first of the year, I’m still going to do them in the near future and post them to an online gallery which I’m going to create (I do design and build websites professionally for paying clients, too, remember), that will simply happen in the Economic Dead Zone of after-Christmas when everyone’s spent their disposable income for the next few months and when sales conversely will be few but what the hey’, at least I’ll be following through.

Actually, before then I plan on doing at least 15-20 original works of art, mostly watercolors, some acrylic, a couple of pieces of folk art sculpture, some limited edition photographs done with-out digital “enhancements”, maybe some conceptual art pieces as well, and will post them for sale on what will be my online art gallery “ZenMule.com”, which won’t be up until probably after first of the year but one never knows…I’ll explain what “ZenMule” means at a later time.

As I was laying down my base coat on the canvases this morning, I couldn’t help but “accidentally” create a beautiful (to me) Japanese-theme mountain landscape of a steep mountain valley shrouded in the fog of morning – which I was also surround by in real-life this morning as I did this outside on my back deck – before painting over it…yes, my talent is still there, if anything with slightly advanced age my hand is steadier and my eye more keen to details and my bank of memories much larger to draw from, so who knows, this just might fly and even if it doesn’t, at least I’ll have a ready-made stash of Christmas presents to give out to lucky friends and relatives next year, Grin!

Belle Acres burned down this morning, and its memories shall not phoenix

November 7, 2005

“Belle Acres”, the old home of (deceased) local multi-millionaire real estate developer and eccentric Kidd Brewer Sr. burned down this morning and with it went an anchor of this area’s past.

Kidd Senior was well-known as the developer of Crabtree Valley Mall just west of what was then back in the early 70’s the city limits of Raleigh on Highway 70/Glenwood Avenue, Crabtree at the time it was built being the largest enclosed mall between Washington DC and Atlanta (Raleigh was also the home the Southeast’s first shopping center, Cameron Village, back in the 40’s) and also at one time owned what was called “the real home of the North Carolina state legislature” the old Sir Walter Hotel in downtown Raleigh and also was a little infamous for publicity stunts such as wearing tights in public in front of his beloved Sir Walter when he lost a bet, a character among characters and with Belle Acres (pronounced “Belly-Achers” by those of us who knew kid and his mild manor estate home) being reduced to ashes this morning a scattering of whisping memories leapt heavenward never to be felt on this earth again.

I knew Kidd’s son, Kidd Brewer Jr., as a friend albeit not a close one, “Kiddo” and I being about the same age and while my dad did was a plumbing contractor and his dad was a real estate developer I don’t think my dad ever did any work for his dad but in any case, in any case when Kidd Junior commited suicide a few years back for reasons know only to his immediate family if them, Kiddo had just finished producing the very successful Hollywood semi-blockbuster “The Deep” and the pressure for success for his sophmore effort after that, well, there’s no point speculating publicly too much, after his death I honestly thought BA’ which by then had been converted into a restaurant was going to commit suicide itself, Belle being the home of so many happy memories and parties and such and then, the life simply left the building, it felt cold and damp even in the heat of the summer when I went back to partake of filet’ mignon fare a couple of times, so it surprised me it lasted as long as it did, until this morning.

Every time “The Deep” comes on cable I think of Kiddo, remember him, remember his dad, remember Belle Acres, but I suspect next time I surf in and out it as I watch 2-3-4 things simultaneously as I am want to do (hey, I am a guy, after all) that I’ll remember a little less and less about the happy times and the sadness of a life of a friend cut short and will let the memories fade into the arc of the timeline of my life, as they should.

On the root canal right of passage

October 29, 2005

Every culture has its rights of passages, rituals which mark the transitions from one stage of life to the next and in our American culture having a root canal is definitely such a transition point, serving both as a marker (usually) from early to middle-aged or older adulthood and as a true pain-based right of survival passage that tells the world you now have the wisdom to understand that you know you’re not immortal and that you have the longer-term vision to want to live as long as you can and are willing to put up with massive amounts (usually) of temporary agonizing pain for the benefit of your (hopefully) longer term lifespan.

Let me say this upfront…when it comes to going to the dentist, I have been a total and complete chickenshit, this time around going to the dentist was only the fourth time in my adult life that I had been to any dentist for any reason, and Yes I was beyond dreading it, what having heard those apocryphal stories all my life as we all have of the root canal right of passage being rough equvialent to a Dr. Mengele At The Spandau Concentration Camp For One Night Only torture just for the sheer hell of it.

Imagine my surprise when Dr. Robert P. Sopko, D.D.S., P.A., a professor of endodontics (in other words all he does is teach dental students how to do root canals for his day job and then sees patients sent to him privately on referals from other “general” dentists as well) at UNC School Of Dentistry not only turned out to be not a sadist but one of the nicest gentlemen and most concerned about not giving me pain medical professionals I have ever met, and I shall sing his praises forever.

The on my first appointment a month or so ago, my two hours+ “in the chair” was completely, and I do mean completely and totally, painless. Because of the nature of my weird body, of course I couldn’t have a normal tooth with only one root or even with the rarest cases for my Number 13 toot – the second bicuspid on the left side), No, of course not, in one of God’s little jokes He likes to play on me of course I couldn’t have been born with just one or even two roots to that tooth, The Big Guy had to give me a grand total of THREE roots on that tooth, yeah, suck it up big boy you know you’re body has always been “special”, which needed to have root canals done on each and every one of them.

Dr. Philip Thomas (who I also like) who is my wife Kris’s dentist and who agreed to see me told me that in his 36 years as a practicing general dentist he had never seen three roots on a Number 13 tooth and just shook his head in amazement when he looked at the X-ray of it, and even Dr. Sopko who has done nothing but teach students how to do root canals and then do them in private practice all day too for over twenty years told me that I was the second or third patient he had ever seen with this condition in all his years as well. Yeah, don’t ever think God doesn’t have a sense of humor, He does, trust me.

So anyway, the procedure for doing the three roots was so involved that it took two seperate appointments a month apart, the first to make an accurate assessment and then have me on antibiotics to cure the incredibly bad infection that had resulted from the tooth basically just rotting away, it coming out one Saturday in early June as Kris and I ate out (which we do almost every day anyway) at a Mexican restaurant (which normally I can’t eat the cuisine of because of all my food allergies but we were with a group of friends breaking bread together that night) when I bit down a very soft bite of plain taco, the tooth being so rotten at that point that if I had bitten down on air it would have probably broken and come out anyway, and the second the finish “going deep” into the actual root canals and finish filling out the old material and packing the holes with a special kind of antibacterial and inert elastomer, gutta percha (sp) which they used to use to stuff the inside of golf balls in the late 1800’s and which is needed to fill the space of the micro-sized holes that the endodontist creates by using these metal files so thin that they’re often no thicker than a few human hairs but which are so strong that as in my treatment by Dr. Sopko he literally had both hand on the tiny end-handles of them and was going as deep as he needed to get all the bad stuff out and we’re talking about files less than 2″ long and just a fraction of a fraction of a millimeter in diameter.

Thank God that Dr. Thomas referred me to Dr. Sopko, as pain-tolerant and resistant as I am I honestly don’t know if I could have stood being “in the chair” for two hours plus for two different times with anyone else, with another endodontist who wasn’t as caring for my well-being as a person as well as a patient and who made damned sure that whatever he did, whatever he had to me wasn’t going to give me pain, yes Thank God indeed.

While he doesn’t accept patients for root canal work directly, if you’re local to Raleigh/Cary/Apex/Wake County/the RTP/Research Triangle Park area and need a root canal, please do consider asking your general dentist to refer you to Dr. Sopko; his contact info is:

Dr. Robert P. Soko, D.D.S., P.A.
4601 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 2A
Raleigh, NC 27607
Phone: 781-2334

On the issue of costs and billing, they do take dental insurance (which my company dental insurance didn’t cover because they’re dicks) but if your dental insurance doesn’t cover the procedure or if you don’t have insurance then Dr. Sopko does require pre-payment in full. In my case, I had to pay $950 upfront and that was totally inclusive, covered both sessions and would have covered even a third or fourth of how many more if more had been needed…your cost and mileage may vary depending on what’s up in your mouth, of course…he does take Visa/MC of course as well as cash/check.

So, I sit here writing this hurting like a motherhummer, while Dr. Sopko was absolutely 100% painless in his application of cure and technique there are after-effect pains and such you need be prepared for. Mine actually aren’t that bad, I haven’t taken anything for pain for them, but hey I am and can be stubborn at times and yesterday, the morning after the second and last procedure, the left side of my face was very swollen and while at breakfast with my wife I did have a pain-wave hit and turn as white as the proverbial sheet and had to go the men’s room to throw up from the tsunami of after-effect pain that unpectedly swept over me, but while feeling like I’ve had a spear shoved up through my jawbone into my left sinus cavity I’m okay, at least now I’ve survived my latest right of middle-aged adult passage and hopefully will never have to have, God Bless Dr. Sopko and his painless technique but still, another one of these ever again, Amen.

What I actually do for a living

October 26, 2005

I’ve had some enquires about, what with my primary personal website having a welcome screen that is my Web designer personna mainly plastered on it but my site containing tons of other stuff and makes many references to my HVAC/mechanical contracting career among other professional interests, what I actually do for a living.

Well, welllll, my primary job, what I get paid every week to do, is Senior Estimator and Manager Of The Commercial Division for Goldstar Mechanical Services Inc. out of Charlotte, N.C,

http://www.goldstarmechanical.com

, Goldstar Mechanical at this moment being (very highly probably) the largest new residential construction HVAC contractor in North Carolina.

While I run the small commercial division as Manager of said that sells new and replacement HVAC/heating & air conditioning systems to/for new and existing commercial buildings, a lot of most days is spent running heat loss/gain calculations (used to properly size HVAC equipment installations) using an expensive but necessary program called WrightSoft,

http://www.wrightsoft.com

, which I have a love/hate/tolerance relationship with after having used it on a daily basis since this past April, both their residential and commercial versions. This is engineer-level work but I’m one of those engineer-level folks on many levels who just happens to have the knowledge and experience without the engineering degree per se’.

I also do extensive market research using Reed Construction Data’s proprietary construction market database,


http://www.reedconstructiondata.com

, from which, it’s one among many other sources of leads for new work, I sell Goldstar’s services including design/build HVAC systems for commercial and residential installations.

Yes, I did do Goldstar’s website and yes I know it sucks but I did it according to the specific direction of my boss who also signs my checks so as long as he’s happy with it which he is then I’m also not too ashamed of it, Smile.

Speaking of that, of course I also, in my one hour of free time per month, also create websites, re-do existing websites to make them more user-friendly and compliant with Federal Section 508 guidelines and offer my SEO/Search Engine Optimization services for customers who have a hard time working the “natural” i.e. non-pay-per-click listings on Google and MSN Search and Yahoo etc., and will do most anything for a legal dollar if it involves The Web which I’ve been on since 1990.


http://hkentcraig.com

And, of course, I also Contributing Editor For Project Management for “Contractor” magazine,

http://www.contractormag.com

, which I have been since 1998 and is a lot of fun, my editor, the best editor I have ever worked with, Bob Miodonski, giving me the opportunity to pass on bits and pieces of my accumulated so-called wisdom and knowledge of mechanical contracting to the next generation of project managers and estimators coming up through the ranks, that and did I also mention I get to raise a little hell and kick the shins of pompous jerks mainly General Contractors while also educating? Yeah, it’s more fun than the proverbial barrell of monkeys and I’d ALMOST pay them to do that, Bob, you didn’t read that if you just did, okay, Grin?

And, AND I’m also US Business Agent for my brother, Gary Hoops, who owns Circle H Ranch in Tanzania, he growing up in East Africa while I grew up in NC, if you don’t know this story you need to go to the more sections of my website, http://hkentcraig.com/index2.html , and poke around some to find out the story or stay tuned here as I post occasionally about this and that dealing with African issues because of this connection.

and, AND, ANNDDD of course I’m trying to get back into my art and my music, art right now is easier than music since art doesn’t require daily practice while music does.

AnnndDDDDD, well, enough for now, don’t want Mike, my boss at Goldstar and whom I routinely give 45-50 even 60 hours per week when required, thinking I have much of any actual free time on my hands, Smile But Sincere, since it’s through his graces and his signing of my weekly check that allows me to pay my bills and make a decent living for my family and my job with Goldstar always does, all kidding aside, take precedence over my other business and hobby interests.