28 February 2009

walk the dog

Khloee and I out for a stroll.

Texture and color behind the Water Lab.

Logan River

Finally brave enough to cross the grate... this took some time.

Ice Bubbles


More Ice Bubbles

Canine Profile

Afternoon Shadow

I took some advice from fellow bloggers and loaded up on some vitamin D in the sunny midwinter day that pleasantly presented itself. Khloee and I wandered through our neighborhood along a small snow trail that goes behind the Water Lab and to 1st dam. She is a socially challenged beast, and pulled me into the mud and down the hill several times while I was trying to manage the camera. I'm considering it mandatory to take her for a walk everyday, I know, I know she should be walked everyday but... she did grow up in Wellsville where she had free rein of the fields... in fact we just donated a tree in her honor at the Wellsville park. That's what the plaque says, in honor of Khloee the Dog. I wish I had a sound recording for each image. A lone plane moaning through the sky. Birds chirping, geese honking, ducks skidding, ice cracking, water melting, mud squishing, children playing, me sighing. 

27 February 2009

truth is stranger than fiction

In the past 10 days I have been involved in court proceedings, twice. The first was a mediation set up by the juvenile court for some mischievous youngsters that vandalized and stole items from our home we were in the process of moving out of in July. I'm talking really young, like 8,9,10 and they were our neighbors. So, the mediation is going ok, but the dad of three of the boys, who is a real estate agent, who accessed our house improperly (showing his family - probably why the boys thought they could use it as a clubhouse) kept telling his son to "tell the truth", and then he starts getting hostile and verbally abusive toward me. I am still missing a bracelet that my mother had given to me after her brain surgery. I had taken it off to clean and set it on a hook in my closet. Gone. Well this, so-called, "good friend and neighbor" proceeded to tell me that it wasn't as valuable as I was claiming and that he saw a broken bracelet on the right side of my counter (whatever that means). I went home and located the broken bracelet (not the one I'm missing) and it is in a fabric pouch and that has been in a box. I was so creeped out that he had been through my stuff my skin crawled. He started describing more and more things in detail and trying to tell US whose house was robbed how invaluable those items were. Darren finally stood up and said, "we're done here, we don't have to take this." The dad was eventually kicked out of the proceedings for hostile behavior. We then promptly filed an ethics complaint with the real estate and licensing division and are contemplating filing a civil suit. I was so emotionally spent I called in sick the next day and spent all the hours in bed.

The second: I attended the sentencing hearing for my dear, dear friends who have been through a nightmare for the past four years... a raid of their home by Homeland Security, a 135 count indictment, ruined reputations, families destroyed, a prosecution that cost the US government over 2 million dollars and for what... misdemeanors and a 50.00 fine. They had to plead to something, because the US attorneys office will not lose face. I wish someone would trace this case and the political maneuverings that occurred; who became a judge, who got promoted. The overwhelming support in letters from governments, associations, adoptive parents about the humanitarian efforts, professional conduct and good character was in favor of my friends. Did any of this come out in the press? NO. I am so baffled and quite scared how twisted information became. The newspaper blogs have been psychotic and viral. Some concerned citizens were going to have a meeting to discuss things. I wrote in that I was sorry I couldn't make the meeting, but reminded them not to forget their white hoods. "Be afraid, be very afraid," keeps going through my head. After the hearing I didn't have a chance to see my friends, they left quickly to escape the mounds of press waiting outside, who wouldn't even talk to anyone remotely connected to the defense. I went to a restaurant to eat and had a cold one (I won't tell you of what) and then walked into a hair salon and asked if someone could cut and color my hair. It felt good to vent to a total stranger. All the while I thought about my friends, and how I have never in my life known people such as them. I feel I know their hearts and through all these court cases they have been nothing short of genuine, they have never changed their story... how can they it is the story of their life. I love them and their children and am so sorry this tornado of craziness has hit them and and uprooted everything. So if you happen to read about this, DO NOT believe everything you see in print. I miss you guys!

So I wake today and learn a professor who was instrumental in me going back to school and getting my master's degree has been cited for lewd behavior. I mean really lewd behavior. I feel awful for his family and children. Ahhh, I can't keep up... I'm getting nervous to ever walk out the door again.

Really, I couldn't make any of this up if I tried. I'm creative, but this is stretching it.

22 February 2009

Angela Adams & a question...

Angela Adams and her furniture designing husband will be on campus tomorrow for a presentation and critique of a project that she introduced to the students last month. Don't you just love these rugs. Mouth-watering, texturally gorgeous. I would never need furniture, for I would sit always on the floor. If you are interested in attending, the event occurs Monday, February 23rd, at 3:00pm at the Performance Hall at Utah State in Logan.
Now for the question? If you were given the task to "map an ecosystem" as a concept for a design layout what would you include? How would it look? It is using "biomimicry" in a way, to arrange interior space. What would the connections be, what type of "neighborhoods" would you include? Just wondering, as I work on a research question that I haven't quite formulated all the way in my head yet.

17 February 2009

Time since... nine months

Seven years since the 2k2 winter olympics in SLC. I was all caught up in the whirlwind. One evening, just her and I ventured through Park City. Listening to music, waiting in line at Roots to get our official berets. We were both into collecting pins. I displayed mine in a shadow box, hers laced the edges of her beret. I was given her beret after the accident. I've scarcely been able to look at it. Such a strong physical memory of her, upright and youthful, she looked enticing in hats. We had so much fun that night. We happened upon one gathering, the Jamaican Bobsled Team was posing for pictures and autographs... for a price. Mom left to use the ladies room and when she came back, one of the team had me firmly in his grip and was literally chewing on my neck. Her face expressed what she didn't say... "What in the hell are you doing?" ...with a spark in her eye of course. I said, trying to wriggle out of the situation, "he said for a kiss..." I offered a peck on the cheek and he must of thought I was approving the full make out. We got our pictures and autographs and laughed about it a long time afterwards. She was mischievous, my mother. I thought of her quite a bit while in Washington, DC. I told dad, that mom would have loved this last minute inaugural adventure, he agreed, saying she probably would have jumped on the plane with me. I thought of her and my 3rd grade teacher "rescuing" a lithograph of the signing of the Declaration of Independence from the basement our elementary school... is that where my interest in politics began? Or my love of quirky adventures. I've been swimming in memories of her, they flood my dreams and waking hours. I miss having a Mother, bottom line. I feel lonely and lost. That same third grade teacher wrote me a note I read every morning... a line goes like this, "I love you DeAnn - sending you warm hugs and wishing you someplace safe and cozy you can go to when you need that kind of space."
Really, it comforted me like a microfleece blanket... it felt like the first motherly action freely given me since I lost her. 

16 February 2009


So much to do, revisions on a thesis, tending to the flu, teaching 9 
semester credit hours, revising curriculum, trying to be a decent mom 
to teenaged young men and those are the issues on the outside, 
ahhhh, like the song says, "she fights for her life". Yeah, that's what 
it feels like when the stress is getting the best of me.

08 February 2009

Dispatches from the District {of Columbia}

Dispatch #1: I lost my camera the night before I came home…so the images you see are courtesy of April.

Dispatch #2: The Decision:

It was a last-minute one to go to DC. I had asked my friend Jill if her daughter April would mind a houseguest. (April is a legend… smart… a law school graduate from Yale and an attorney for the Justice Department (Civil Rights… appeals), talented… her undergrad was in medieval history and she knows a lot of stuff, plus she has such an intricate and informed take on everything she is fascinating to listen to, and she has style… like the man I was go to see take office April has a strong sense of herself… she is just plain fun to be around) I had made up my mind not to go and then I spoke to April and she hinted that it would be kind of nice for me to drop-in as she probably wouldn’t venture out into the frozen masses by herself. I booked two one-way tickets 10 minutes later.

Dispatch #3: Arriving:

I flew to Denver and then to Reagan National. There were a myriad of events happening to be pumped about. NFC and AFC playoff games… the We Are One concert happening at the Lincoln Memorial. Side note… April was riding her bike to church and made a detour to the Mall and watched the concert instead. Seeing U2 was a highlight. As the plane descended into Washington and the passengers caught a glimpse of the glowing monuments we could all hardly contain ourselves. Someone shouted over the intercom, “Who are we here to see?” and the reply was a resounding, “Obama, Obama, Obama!” Clapping and cheering ensued as we touched down on the Nation’s Capitol. Oh, I rode the metro into town and even my ticket had a likeness of the soon to be 44th President on it.

Dispatch #4: Martin Luther King Day:

Kudos to Jason Chaffetz, the newly elected congressman from Utah’s 3rd District. You may have seen him on Steven Colbert. Well, I had sources tell me that I was next up on the list for inaugural tickets if there was a cancellation… we’ll call you they said, hmmm, I thought and instead of taking any chances I went and joined the line to the Longworth House Office Building for a few hours. As I slowly got toward the front I saw the Congressman himself exit the building… my gut instinct was to shout, Jason! (of course I went with the gut). He came over and indulged this extremely excitable woman from Utah and invited me to go to his office where he thought Ryan, the office boy, would be able to accommodate my request. Enter the office: Ryan needs to deliver tickets to someone in line and asks if I will watch the office. OK, so I call Darren and tell him that I am in the office alone… should I scrounge for the tickets and take off running? Answer: No. Swarms of people were looking for tickets… it was intense. Ryan returns, and the Congressman, and his Chief of Staff. They say they need to talk. They say I need to have my passport and answer some questions. I enter the Congressman’s office with trepidation… they are so serious. Rep. Chaffetz stands, shakes my hand, offers me two ticket packets and graciously says, “Today is your lucky day, congratulations, enjoy watching history.” I’m all, “Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou so much.” I was shaking, I felt like when I was 7 years old and I got to go to an Osmonds’ concert. I called Darren in Nevada and empathetically state, “I have tickets to the inauguration of Barack Obama.”

Later in the day we go to the National Cathedral and listen to hip-hop poetry and music. Really cool in a cathedral… the dancing and shouting “Peace” against the echoing stone vaults is riveting. April and I also find the gargoyle on the front tower that is a carved likeness of Darth Vader… there is also one of a security camera trained on the Russian Embassy… who says the federal government doesn’t have a sense of humor.

We wait in line at the Kennedy Center for tickets to hear Aretha Franklin. No go, but waiting in line is the #1 activity in DC this weekend. You meet so many interesting people, a documentary filmmaker from Mexico, a woman who when she turned 50 walked across the United States, the chairwoman of the Martin Luther King Memorial Foundation, a high-school councilor from Houston, a couple from Alaska that came in spite of Sarah Palin, students, families, individuals all here for a common purpose, but very personal reasons. We do the electric slide, spontaneously burst into song, perform the wave, and talk, and tell stories, and listen and it is amazing.

Dispatch #5: Inauguration Day:

3:15 am the alarm sounds. Our goal is to beat the Metro opening at 4. Layer upon layer upon layer, upon layer, I can’t move, but the radio says it is 10 degrees outside we will be in the elements for over 8 hours. We are speed walking to the Mall. I can’t believe how many are already up at this ungodly cold hour… you mean someone else had the idea to get there early? We are about #100 in the silver ticket line. More getting to know each other. Lines transformed into human clusters transformed into running masses.

We finally arrive at our viewing spot. Front row just behind the barricade around the Capitol reflecting pool. April and I are listening to the radio… the mall is already filling up, it has warmed to 16 degrees outside… the sun rises behind the capital, applause for the dawning of a “new day”. The crowd is getting restless, a man is straddling the barricade and when he sees that there is no security looking on he makes a run for it. Tens of thousands of people follow suit. I experience a panic attack against the stampeding crowd. Once we determine that we are safe, the barriers are not going back up and we have lost our front row seat we take off into the pressing throng. There are people in trees and on the statues. The next hours are spent on tippy toes and peeking between shoulders to keep our view. A man remarks, “Damn you’re short”, and pushes me even further toward the front. The music is beginning. On the jumbotron we can see various “players” in the government arriving to take their place. I pick them out on the podium using my binoculars. The crowd roars with approval for most, groaning disproval meets some others. I feel incredibly American.

It is beginning; the prayers, the National Anthem, the oaths of office. There is a moment of weirdness when Joe Biden is sworn in as vice-president… for about seven minutes is it a Bush – Biden administration?

Obama finally takes the oath (after a bit of a stumble from Justice Roberts) and then here, at this moment, I will never forget. The sound of the citizens cheering, it was like aftershock or a swarm of bees traveling the two miles from the Lincoln Memorial right through your shoes and straight to your heart. It shook your soul. I don’t have words to describe it, it was expressed in the faces of those in attendance. As John Lewis said, “it was too much, it was too big.” And then President Obama began his speech and conversely, as the crowd was loud they became hushed, hanging on every word. The occasional “amen”, or “you know it”, or “it is time” was offered. Two African-American women, beautiful and wise, clothed in their Sunday best… long fur coats, hats, brooches, leather gloves, perfectly set lipstick, remarked, “We were here for Martin Luther King when he marched on Washington and we are here today for Barack Obama”. As the speech neared its end emotion grew. Tears streamed down my face, high fives and hugs to virtual strangers. Wow! I was there.

Dispatch #6: Afterwards:

We actually walk across the frozen reflecting pool… the creaking and cracking make me a bit nervous.

We head to the Hart Senate building where the Utah Congressional Delegation is hosting a reception on the top floor. (So nice) We see an ambulance in the front of the Capital and later realized that it was for Ted Kennedy. Orrin Hatch speaks to the Utah crowd and explains Senator Kennedy’s condition. We watch the parade on the TV’s provided. It is warm and there is good food and company. We learn that many people did not even get in through security. I am disappointed in my congressman, Rob Bishop, he doesn’t even show to the reception, and of course, I am still upset that he was unable to accommodate my request for tickets. Not a Fan.

Around 5:00 we head home. We have been up since 3 and I am floating. I think the senators and the President must be superhuman to still be going strong, all the “galas” and inaugural balls are yet to happen. We pass on the partying and watch on the TV, amazed that all this is taking place right outside the door. Good, good sleep.

Dispatch #7: Wednesday, January 21st (Darren and I have been married 21 Years)

April must go to work, with new bosses, mind you. I head to the Corcoran Gallery and view the Richard Avedon exhibit, “Portraits of Power”. Moving. I also go to the Renwick gallery and then walk by the White House. Code Pink is outside and someone asks me to hold a sign for a moment. They are mellow, just reminding people that this can be an administration of peace. In exchange for holding the sign they take my picture with a President Obama cutout with a pink feather boa. I don't have that photo due to the lost camera, but I noticed I did make their flickr set.

I do some shopping… mostly just looking around. Can’t bring myself to buy many of the Obama chotchkes. I settle for a few pins that make me laugh. I meet April and we go to the National Portrait Gallery. Again, so nice. We wander through some galleries and then eat at Oyamel. Good food, but somewhere between the gallery and the restaurant is where I lose my camera. Ehhhhh.

that's April in the pic

Dispatch #8: Going Home:

Wake at 3am again to get to the airport for a 6am flight. So tired and satisfied. I can’t believe it. It was incredible! So glad I made the decision and went for it! Thanks to April who made it a possibility and Darren for always supporting me in my obsessions and crazy ideas.

05 February 2009

Forgiveness takes a lifetime...

I was moved when I read this in the New Yorker... especially the part when he reportedly asked President Obama to sign a photo, and the President accomodated his request with, "because of you John, Barack Obama." And then this happened... hearts and souls can mend and heal.

47 years later, apology accepted

U.S. Rep. John Lewis forgives Elwin Wilson for 1961 beating in a Rock Hill bus station.

By Andrew Dys

(Rock Hill) Herald

ROCK HILL Almost 48 years have passed since a mob of white men beat up two civil rights demonstrators at Rock Hill's Greyhound bus station. Called “Freedom Riders,” one white man and one black man protesting segregated transportation tried to go into a waiting room that on May 9, 1961, was for “whites only.”

When asked Monday night if any of the people who beat him in 1961 in Rock Hill – or attacked the Freedom Ride bus days later in Alabama – ever apologized before, U.S. Rep John Lewis, D-Ga. said, “Never. Until now.”

One of the Rock Hill mob has now apologized. And Lewis said Monday that man is forgiven.

In a telephone interview Monday night from his office in Washington, Lewis said he read Monday about the apology of Elwin Wilson for past acts of hate published Saturday in the Observer and The (Rock Hill) Herald.

“I accept that apology, and would love to have the opportunity some day to talk to that man if he wants to,” Lewis said. “I have no ill feelings. No malice. This shows the distance we have come. It shows grace on his part. It shows courage.”

Last year, Lewis received an apology from the current mayor of Rock Hill. But Wilson is the first to admit a role in the Rock Hill beatings.

Wilson, now 72, told black civil rights protesters Friday he apologized for heckling and taunting them in Rock Hill in January 1961. Wilson also told the local protesters, known as the “Friendship Nine” and the “City Girls,” that he was one of that mob that beat up Lewis a few months later. Wilson said he was sorry.

All those Rock Hill people forgave Wilson – and now Lewis, has, too.

In 1961, Lewis was a 21-year-old seminary student. Both he and Al Bigelow, the white protester, were thumped with clouts to the head.

“The two of us got off the bus,” Lewis said. “We tried to go into the white waiting room, and a group of young men attacked us. They left us lying in blood.” Lewis and Bigelow declined to press charges.

“We said no, that was not why we were doing it,” Lewis said Monday.

Lewis said Monday he is “deeply touched,” by Wilson's apology for that awful day 48 years ago.

“This apology now is the essence of what the (civil rights) movement was all about – the ability of people to change and grow,” Lewis said Monday.

Wilson said last week he hoped blacks could forgive all the hatred of his life, including the Lewis beating.

“This is one of the best things I have ever done,” Wilson said of his decision to publicly apologize. “I am sorry. I'm just now trying to do what's right.”

Publicly Stated Reason #1 why I Love Living in Town!

Yesterday, I couldn't find my keys, and so I put on my backpack, changed my shoes, grabbed my bag and trekked up the hill. 15 minutes and broke a sweat in the meantime. And I found my keys in my backpack as soon as I entered my office. (that's the way I work) My friend Marty came to campus and spoke to the students and she gave me a ride home and we talked and talked and talked... so it was all good in the end.

Promise an update on the inauguration is coming... I still get chills thinking about it.