Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Eighth Annual Maureen "AJ" Ramey Memorial Summer Reading Program is over, and the winners have been selected via a Random Number Generator.

The total number of entries reached 235 this year, which means me and the Smart Man will be donating $500 to the Douglas County Library Foundation. This will allow us to continue to have the naming rights to the Parker Library "Maureen 'AJ' Ramey Memorial Garden."

The winners this year are Stacey, who read Shadow Ops: Breach Zone, by Myke Cole, and The Mechanicky Gal, who read In the Shadow of Lakecrest, by Elizabeth Blackwell. 

Congratulations winners! Your prizes are in the (e)mail!

Last Chance to Log Books for the Summer Reading Program

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

I'm a big slacker and forgot to close comments on the Summer Reading Program yesterday morning. So I'll take pity and leave them open until tomorrow morning for your last minute entries.

Get your books entered TODAY for a chance to WIN!

Honoring the Fallen, Helping the Living

Monday, August 27, 2018

Please Join Me in Supporting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention


July 31, 2013 was the worst day of my life. It was the worse day of my life because that was the day the Police Department came to our home to tell us that our precious daughter Moe had died of suicide at the age of 22.

Moe died of uncontrolled mental illness. She experienced severe depression, and was under a doctor's care for her condition. But we lost her anyway, leaving a Moe-shaped hole in my heart that nothing is able to fill.

Every day I mourn her loss in this world, and I would give everything to have her here with us again. But I can't do that, so instead I choose to perform service projects in her memory such as serving on our local Library Foundation Board, since Moe was an avid reader and used our library extensively.

And I also support AFSP's mission in helping people who are at risk overcome their lack of hope and help those who have been affected by suicide.

This is the second year I've been up to participating in this event personally, but this will be the sixth year the Maureen's Marchers team is hitting the road in my baby girl's name on the annual Out of the Darkness Denver Metro Walk. The money raised in this event will go to fighting suicide and supporting AFSP's goal to reduce the suicide rate 20% by 2025.

Please help us honor our lost, beloved Moe-Moe and consider donating to the AFSP by clicking the "Donate" button on this page or on the sidebar. All donations are 100% tax deductible and benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), funding research, education, advocacy, and support for those affected by suicide. The AFSP is a Charity Navigator 3 star charity, and they spend 83.4% of their total budget on program expenses.

"When you are sorrowful look again at your own heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight." ~ Khalil Gibron

As always, thank you for your support.


Jesus Wept

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Here is a synopsis of the current news cycle, compiled by my buddy Vince. Presented without "spin" or comment.

Today Republican Representative Duncan Hunter and his wife, Margaret, have been indicted for using $250,000 worth of campaign funds for personal expenses filing false campaign finance records. This includes wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations, and conspiracy.
Today former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty on 8 of the charges filed against him - filing a false tax return in each of the years from 2010 through 2014, as well as not filing a form in 2012 to report a foreign bank account as required. He was also convicted of two instances of bank fraud, related to a $3.4 million loan from Citizens Bank and a $1 million loan from Banc of California. The jury was deadlocked on the other ten charges, and a mistrial for those charges has been declared.
Today President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight counts of campaign finance violations, tax fraud and bank fraud as part of a deal, which includes jail time. Cohen is the fifth Trump associate to have pleaded guilty or be charged with criminal wrongdoing since Trump took office, including his former national security adviser, his deputy campaign chairman, and a former campaign policy adviser.
Today Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher, revealed in a post that Facebook has removed hundreds of accounts and pages for what it calls “coordinated inauthentic behavior,” generally networks of ostensibly independent outlets that were in fact controlled centrally by Russia and Iran. Facebook also announced that it was removing pages and accounts “linked to sources the U.S. government has previously identified as Russian military intelligence services.”
Last night, Microsoft President Brad Smith said that Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit (DCU) successfully executed a court order to transfer control of six internet domains created by APT28 (also known as Fancy Bear or Strontium, and associated with the the Russian military intelligence service GRU) before they were used in any attacks. The idea was to have people think they were accessing links managed by US political groups but redirect them to fake ones run by the hackers so passwords and other information could be stolen.
Smith said one such site appeared to mimic that of the International Republican Institute, which promotes democratic principles and whose board includes Republican senators, among them John McCain, who have been critical of President Vladimir Putin. Another is similar to the domain used by the Hudson Institute, which hosts prominent discussions on topics including cybersecurity.
Yesterday Santa Clara County Fire Chief Anthony Bowden wrote in a declaration "County Fire has experienced throttling by its ISP, Verizon. This throttling has had a significant impact on our ability to provide emergency services. Verizon imposed these limitations despite being informed that throttling was actively impeding County Fire's ability to provide crisis-response and essential emergency services. Bowden's declaration was submitted in an addendum to a brief filed by 22 state attorneys general, the District of Columbia, Santa Clara County, Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District, and the California Public Utilities Commission seeking to overturn the recent repeal of net neutrality rules in a lawsuit.
Santa Clara Fire paid Verizon for "unlimited" data but suffered from heavy throttling until the department paid Verizon more, according to Bowden's declaration and emails between the fire department and Verizon that were submitted as evidence.
The throttling recently affected "OES 5262," a fire department vehicle that is "deployed to large incidents as a command and control resource" and is used to "track, organize, and prioritize routing of resources from around the state and country to the sites where they are most needed," Bowden wrote. "OES 5262 also coordinates all local government resources deployed to the Mendocino Complex Fire," an ongoing wildfire that is the largest in California's history, Bowden wrote.

The Queen of Soul

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Fair winds and following seas, Queen of Soul. I hope somehow, somewhere, you are making new music.


In Pursuit of Peace

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Our Moe, with her lifelong BFF, Linda
You know, when a friend or loved one loses someone they love, my most common condolence is, "Peace to you and yours during this most difficult of times."

And for me, this is not just a platitude I say for form's sake, or because it's expected, or because I don't know what else to say. I say it because I know how very difficult it is to find peace after losing someone you love more than life itself.

After a tragedy of this sort, peace becomes as elusive as a unicorn, always just around the corner, or after the next "big" anniversary. One day I think I've found it, the very next, I'm heart-broken and grief-stricken all over again, because I glance at a photo, or I see something Moe would have liked, and my illusory "peace" blows away like the mirage it is.

Our Moe-Moe has been gone for five years today. For five years I've had this hole in my heart, in my life, in my love, where she used to be, and I still have not been able to find peace with this reality.

I'm not angry, or in denial. I know why she did what she did, and I'm not angry she made the choice, although I'm incredibly sad about it and her suffering. I know, in my heart of hearts, that she's gone, and will never come back. Given my lack of faith, I am forced to believe she really is gone, for good, and the only parts of her that remain are our memories and love for her.

Processing my grief over Moe's death has been a very different experience for me compared to the loss of other people I have loved and lost. My Dad, my Gram, my mother-in-law, my Aunties, my lost friends - all of these losses punched me in the heart, and left me bereft, but I found ways to make peace with it, and move forward. I'm even at peace with the loss of who I believed my sister to be, and the reality that she'll never be a part of my life again.

But finding peace with Moe's death appears to be beyond my reach. I remain functional most days. I enjoy time spent with friends & family. I find meaning in my volunteer work and pursue my hobbies. But my grief at her loss is still a huge part of my life. I miss her, terribly, each and every day. The loss of her and her light in this world is devastating to me, and I can't seem to find a way to be at peace with her death and all it represents.

It's not okay that she's dead. It's not okay that she's lost to those of us who loved her. It's not okay that her contribution to this world was cut so short. It never will be okay, and while I don't expect I'll ever believe it is, I wish I could find my way to peace.

A Thousand More

Saturday, July 28, 2018