Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Trash to Treasure

I rob construction sites for their garbage.
I shouldn’t say rob, since I am a builder and have worked in excavation, so I do, legitimately belong on the building site.
Usually, when I step on a construction site, people assume I’m “the bank.”
That’s the kind of economy we live in folks. Everybody thinks I represent the bank that bought the foreclosed property, and sometimes, along with my father, I do.
It is a rough market out there.
But no, I like construction. It’s in the blood.
I’m not a super recycler hippie fanatic, but one man’s trash is another’s treasure.
I’ve been building play areas out of discarded materials or portions of demolished buildings for as long as I can remember.
Some people see left over culvert, I see a tunnel to crawl through. Tires make great swings and obstacles for a course. PVC pipes could be make-believe telescopes or tunnels to shoot golf balls through. The stands holding the electrical wires placed in a newly constructed home makes a great table. Old concrete can be used just like pavers. It’s all in the eyes of the beholder.
The ideas are endless. I could go on and on and on. I know it’s a little unorthodox, but if you’re broke you have to work with what you have. I also don’t think I could think in the box if I tried.
Remember, “behaved” women rarely make history.
In 2002, I joined the “Bronx River Project” through Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice in the Bronx. The goal was to rehab an old, abandoned concrete facility into a park. This particular area was severely lacking in the amount of “green space” required under building code.
Here is what YMPJ’s Website says: One of the sites included in the Bronx River Greenway is the Concrete Plant Park. When the City was going to sell the abandoned concrete plan to a private developer, YMPJ worked with other local groups to prepare a community supported alternative and fought vigorously to get the city to turn the site into a public park. The city broke ground for the construction of the park in fall of 2006. YMPJ continues to monitor the remediation of the land and the construction of the park. CDAP is also investigating the possibilities of turning the abandoned Cass Gilbert designed railway station at Westchester Avenue into an entrance for the park, and conducted a community visioning workshop to gather proposals from residents in the December of 2005.
This area also is close to the former home of Amadou Diallo.
Is anyone familiar with the name of the twenty-two year old immigrant from Guinea?
No, maybe you’ll recall the incident where a young black man raised his wallet on his door steps to show ID to a group of white, plain clothed cops and ended up being shot 41 times.
Yes, even the police are scared in this “hot spot,” and a black wallet is automatically assumed a weapon.
From the local’s side, people were outraged at the stereotype and the injustice of law enforcements’ actions, and the police are NOT WELCOME back in the neighborhood.
The consensus is, they can be governed by themselves if the cops are even misbehaving.
My friends used to joke that if there was ever a problem, I’d be calling 911. They said maybe someone would show up for a white girl.
Some of them have “white voices” just in case this situation ever arises and they need help.
Malcolm Gladwell covers this in “Blink.” This book discusses “rapid cognition” or “Thinking and decisions that happen in a blink of an eye.” He talks about how the shooting events happened in “Seven Seconds in the Bronx.” He’s my favorite author.
Did being in this area scare me? No. I was there to help. I was openly accepted. What’s misunderstood about the hood is that the people who get shot “deserve it.”
Let’s go with Darwin, the weak, the bad, are weeding themselves out.
Anyway, I volunteered with some friends. My duty was to help clean what the kids could not. Over 10,000 tires were dragged out of a ½ mile of the Bronx River. I couldn’t take two steps without finding a needle or condom.
I also tutored, inner city kids I felt were smarter than me. The slogan for the group “Free minds. Free People.”
I think anybody living in this area deserves some respect and definitely, a break.
Since my time there They’ve expanded.See more at
Moral of the story, good can be done anywhere, with anybody, and with nothing but some creativity and compassion. There is proof everywhere if you focus on the positive. Flip the script and get your visual a little twisted, and you’ll see opportunity exists everywhere, even in our waste and even in our ghettos.

1 comment:

emjay. said...

the first apartment we lived in had no furniture that was ours, it was a combination of left overs from friends, or things we found out on trash day :) You can't beat other people's junk man.