Evidence 101

EVIDENCE 101...Wherever you go, there you are...







Saturday, December 10, 2011

Picking Up Butch

I asked one of my favorites, Slamdunk, to do a guest post. I forgot to tell him not to give me goose bumps or make me cry. Oh, well...what the hell, I cry a lot lately, so I'm used to it. When you are done reading his fantastic post, go visit him here.


The question I gave him came to me one day when I was on duty dealing with yoots. The kids were trouble. Pretty soon..everywhere I looked I saw troubled yoots, yoots in trouble, yoots smoking trouble, yoots selling trouble.


Then I thought to myself...why aren't we reaching these kids? Why are they falling through the cracks? What motivates kids? What inspires them? Why are they dropping out of school? Why aren't they picking up a basketball or going to piano lessons?  Reading a book? Getting a hobby...other than selling crack on the sidewalk and walking around like a Prostitot? These questions can be answered, but ...the hard question lies with Slam.


Seriously...my community is looking more and more like mini Vegas.


I don't have a solution. However, Slam might be on to something here...





Picking Up Butch

The great Momma Fargo asked me to respond to this:

How can society effectively motivate young people?

Wow, it is difficult to answer such a broad question without making an audience yawn.

So, rather than me requiring readers to consume two cups of coffee or, in the tradition of the teenager, downing a 16 oz. Mountain Dew before reading this, I'll address the question about motivation with a specific example.

One that started inauspiciously many years ago in rural Vermont.

On a snowy day in 1960, Middlebury College sophomore Roger Ralph noticed an elderly woman struggling with a young man in a wheelchair.  They were all attending the College's football game.

Ralph stopped and helped the pair. 

He learned that the handicapped boy was 13-year-old Richard “Butch” Varno and that the older woman had taken her grandson to see the game.

Butch was a big sports fan and loved watching Middlebury's teams, so Ralph offered to assist him in attending the next game.

Then he helped Butch go to additional games.

Soon other students wanted to help Butch enjoy the sporting competitions, and a tradition was born.

Amazingly, one that continues today--even 50 years later.

For every home football and basketball game at Middlebury College, varsity players pick-up the now 63-year old Butch Varno at his nursing home and transport him to his courtside or fieldside seat.

Not only do student-athletes drive him, but they also sit with him.  Sharing the joys and sadness that sporting events offer to true fans.

And, Middlebury students also go beyond just sports.

A few years ago, pole vaulter Sara Smith worked weekly with Butch and helped him earn his GED.

Last year, Butch's story attracted lots of local media, and even some national attention.

And that is how Tara Bedard, a fourth grade teacher at the McAuliffe School in Lowell, MA, learned about Butch.

Moved by the story, Ms. Beddard showed a video about this tradition to her classes.

Probably this one:



The fourth-graders then wrote letters to Butch in his nursing home.

Lots of them. 

They thanked him for sharing his story, and included statements like this hoping that they: "Could be as kind and generous as the athletes they saw in the video."

The teacher was then able to coordinate a visit to McAuliffe School by Ryan Wholey, a member of Middlebury College's basketball team who had "picked-up Butch" during his first-year of college.

Ryan talked to a packed room of young students about his experience, and encouraged them to seek ways to help others.

He presented the school with a group photo of a smiling Butch surrounded by Middlebury College's basketball team, and also brought a basketball for each student to sign. 

When he returned to Vermont, Ryan gave the basketball and 80 handwritten letters to a floored Butch.

A gift from young yet inspired strangers.

Ms. Bedard facilitated an experience that her students will likely never forget.

So what can be learned about youth motivation from how a 63-year-old sports fan who uses a wheelchair attends games and a dedicated teacher who provides practical learning experiences for her 4th grade students?

Encourage children to become involved.

Foster them in seeking opportunities to help people; and offer tangible examples.

Show them that they are connected to others--despite differences that may exist.

Help them to realize that one individual can make a difference in this world.

Inspiration will translate to motivation.

As teacher Tara Bedard is doing in Massachusetts.

As Roger Ralph did 50 years ago on a snowy afternoon in Vermont.

How can society effectively motivate young people?

Challenge them to "pick-up Butch."

--------------------

Thank you Momma Fargo for allowing me to invade your blog today.

Thank YOU, Slam. It was an honor to have you be my guest.  I think you are on to something great. What's better than having the positive role models change the world?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

On The Sidelines

So...we like to trip up NFL MAN's friends. Especially, Detective Action. He gets all squirrelly. Detective Action and I were working on a search warrant. He and the other cops made me climb a rickety old ladder with a broken rung to take a fantastic picture. I am deathly afraid of heights. As I was descending the ladder... Detective Action's phone rang. I only knew what happened on the other end because NFL MAN later told me...

NFL MAN: What's up?


ACTION: Nothin', man. Just working with Fargo on this homicide.


NFL MAN: Oh, yeah. Tell my wife I love her.


ACTION: Ah..sick. You two are going to make me puke.


ME: What?


ACTION: Nothing. I am not repeating that crap. Ick.


ME: *blink*blink*


ACTION: You two need to calm down.


ME: What? What did  he say? [knowing full well NFL MAN  said something juicy and was messing with him]


ACTION: I'm going to go take some Rolaids.


****************************

After a long day of work, we took a break for lunch...


ACTION: You know when he's on the field, you will have to be in the stands. They don't let women on the sidelines.


ME: So what? I can see all those tight buns better from the stands. And all of them.


ACTION: *blink*blink*


ME: Bam! Got you on that one.


****************************


ACTION: You know, he's my friend. He's like family.


ME: Oh yeah.


ACTION: Yeah. You can't be messing up our man stuff.


ME: Oh yeah.


ACTION: Yeah.


ME: Oh yeah.  [sticking my corn dog all the way in my mouth] Can you do that?


ACTION: [laughing]You are a sick freak.


ME: I win!


****************************

NFL MAN and I had a little alone time...


ME: I think Action is a little jealous.


NFL MAN: Oh yeah.. [giggling]


ME: I think he's afraid you will stop spending time with him.


NFL MAN: Oh, poor guy. I will have to pay extra attention so the little fella doesn't get all pouty pants.


ME: [giggling] I'll send some corn dogs.


NFL MAN: Corn dogs?


ME: Yep. Seems he loves them.


NFL MAN: Strange.
*******************************

Monday, November 7, 2011

BugOrama

The drive to Denver was wretched. Somewhere in Wyoming...the roads cleared up...
Super! Once I reached the Heartland...the weather was amazing....a view from my future barn looking out to the paddock...notice the green..like everywhere...



And at the dining room table with my realtor...it was serene...


To answer the mystery...yes, I will move someday. No, I will not bring my House of Popo with me. First I have to sell my River War House. 

NFL Man called me often throughout the days I was in the Heartland and we talked for hours long into the night...throughout the early morning hours. Yeah. Sleep? None. I was used to that anyway.  We really enjoyed each other's company. He is also a big history and wine person as am I, so we giggled and talked about our travels. The most fun was talking reminiscing about college and him telling me about his NFL career and current works. Busy man. He found time to text me in between his engagements...little thoughtful things. He was a sweet and kind as I remembered him. He didn't forget who he was despite the fame and fortune. It was nice. Perhaps it was the dead body class that intrigued him...

The last night after class I spent traveling around and exploring...visiting places I had been and finding new. Sadly...I had to depart and return home. I couldn't wait to see Bug...but part of me wanted to be there. She was excited to share the pics with me and wanted to go next time. Her eyes lit up when I told her about NFL Man...

BUG: Mommy! You got a date?

ME: [giggling] You make it sound like a miracle happened.

BUG: I don't know but I know I worried about you getting old and not finding a man.

ME: Why?

BUG: Who is going to take care of you?

ME: You. I will make you fetch me beers...and rub my feet...push my wheel chair near the river so I can fish...and cook for me every day. One day you will have to change my diapers.

BUG: MOMMY! I'm not doing it! You can't make me.

Oy. Perhaps we can skip the diaper part, anyway.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Caregiver Village

I can't imagine what it's like to have Alzheimer's...or watch the one you love slowly disappear into it's grasp.

 It's been hard to see my Aunt Sue staying so steadfast and strong while the loving uncle I grew up with has struggled with facing the diagnosis...then denial...and now the memory losses. The years my father had cancer was difficult. I didn't think at that time anything could be worse. I was wrong.

Now...on the job...I see both...cancer patients die every day here....and I chase loved ones down the street with Alzheimer's, rescue them, and encourage the families to seek help and at least get Project Lifesaver if they can't afford the expensive in home health care or a resident health home. If I had a choice, I would choose cancer.

I have to say my Aunt Sue showed me what it is to love ...really.

Without further ado...let me introduce you to Caregiver Village...
*********************************************
Family Caregivers Can Find Relief from Stress
By Sharon K. Brothers, Exec. Vice President, Caregiver Village


If you’re like a lot of family caregivers you might be feeling stressed, overworked, overscheduled, exhausted and lonely.  You might feel like you’re all alone, doing a job that’s just too big, with no one cheering you on.  You’re probably getting a lot of second-guessing but not much support from your family.  You might be feeling like it’s just too hard. Have you ever done something really, really hard – for fun?  Have you trained for a marathon, a century bike ride, a hike up a mountain?  If you’ve ever done this you probably remember feeling exhausted many times during training and the event.  BUT – here’s the big difference – you were doing it by choice.  You were in control.

Imagine the difference between running a marathon by choice and running 26 miles because someone is forcing you to do it. The big difference is in how you experience the stress.  Running a marathon – or doing anything else that’s really, really challenging – is stressful.  But when you do it by choice - when you’re in control - it makes all the difference in the world.  Your body interprets the stress as a good thing.  You feel exhausted – but like you’ve achieved something BIG. 
If you’re doing something this challenging because you feel forced to do it the negative stress can make you sick.  You’re at risk for all kinds of illness, including stroke and early death, just from the negative stress.
The work of a caregiver is hard.  It’s exhausting much of the time.  You don’t earn a medal for doing it – you should, by the way – but you’re also doing something that’s an even greater achievement than completing a marathon.  You’re giving of yourself: your time, your energy, your work.  And you’re doing it selflessly.

In Caregiver Village (http://www.caregivervillage.com/), a virtual community that is filled with family caregivers caring for people with all kinds of problems, the hard work of family caregivers is celebrated.  Tips, suggestions and tools to reduce the stress of caregiving abound in the Village.  Even more importantly, caregivers share their stories through journaling and in group discussions, giving each other help with problems, support and encouragement. There’s even a game to give caregivers a break while they follow the travails of Cara and her friends, learning along with them how to better manage some of the tasks and stress they encounter along the way. Caregiver Village is a community specially designed for family caregivers so they no longer need to feel alone, stressed, and without choices.  Instead, they can feel proud, supported and happy with the hard work, and the tremendous gift of care and time they are giving to their family.





Check it out.

And if you so feel inclined...click on my badge at the top right of my page to help the fight against Alzheimer's.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Book Winner!

We have a winner! The lucky reader who gets Confessions of a Catholic Cop is....Bob G.!

Bob,

Please email me your contact information and address so you can get a special delivery and your own copy of Thomas Fitzsimmons' novel. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

BOOK 'EM

I often get absorbed in the characters in a book. If it's good. I guess it's an escape.

When I was a kid, I would often get in trouble because I would hide under the covers and read until late into the morning. I was addicted then. I guess I still am because every time I'm in a book store, I spend the family fortune. It's like crack, only legal.

Sometimes my purchases collect dust until I get to read them during the time snow falls. Turning pages is the greatest place I can get away from reality when I need a break without being in a straight jacket. And I prefer a REAL book...made of paper products.

Rarely do I get to read except after landscaping season. I do, however, have several started. I finished one recently because I couldn't put it down.
Have you ever read Confessions of a Catholic Cop by Thomas Fitzsimmons?

You should. Especially, if you like crime stories.

While I was lost in the last pages of the book....I was assigned to guard duty at the ICU room which housed one of our State Park Rangers who was shot Friday night by a drunk driver in the line of duty. The bad guy was killed.

The good guy is recovering and very lucky. He is an honorable cop. This watch with THE ROOK was just something you do with honor and sorrow. I have been there for several of my brothers involved in a police shooting throughout the years. I hope it is to be the last, but the changing of the times may tell a different tale.

The Park Ranger was sleeping while I read Fitzsimmons's novel, so I read some passages out loud that he may not remember and I talked about the book to THE ROOK, an avid reader himself.  I will pass it on to THE ROOK tomorrow for him to enjoy.

Fitzsimmons describes his characters in such detail and since he is a former NYPD officer...they have a lot of New York flavor. His lead detective, Michael Beckett, is full of core values and a decorated police officer. You can't help but like him. I felt his heaviness of being somewhat burned out or ready for a change after so many years on the force...the flip flop of cop drudgery. Perhaps he is even distracted by his other career move. Yet, he still chooses to do his job well and tackles the investigation with determination to seek out the perpetrator. He can't help it. Like any good cop, he likes to unfold a mystery. Oh, and yes, there is a girl.

Vinnie D'Amato, Beckett's partner, actually wore me out. Fitzsimmons built his character in a such way that I felt his burdens, was frowning at some of his moves, and hoping for him to pull himself out of his misery. After all, he's a cop. And cops are good. I can't tell you what happens, you will have to read it for yourself.

The book is full of twists and turns to keep you intrigued along the way. It has political corruption, cop humor, and of course, a bad guy or two. It definitely brings you to the streets and it takes you to the thin blue line. 

I will be picking up my next novel from Thomas Fitzsimmons. Soon.

Confessions of a Catholic Cop is well worth the read.

************************
This is the first review I have ever done on my blog. No pressure or coercion. Thomas didn't even have to read Miranda to me before I gave a statement. I truly liked his writing style and perhaps I connected with the book because I am a cop. I was very honored to have reviewed Confessions of a Catholic Cop and with that...enjoy the famous man below...

************************
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Thomas Fitzsimmons

Photo Credit:  Thomas Fitzsimmons



Thomas Fitzsimmons didn’t need to hire a team of researchers to write gritty crime stories. For Fitzsimmons, it was as simple as recalling his life.Fitzsimmons was raised in a family of career cops in an Irish neighborhood in the Bronx, New York. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Fitzsimmons joined the New York City Police Department. During his 10-year career in the South Bronx precinct dramatized in Paul Newman's “Fort Apache-The Bronx,” Fitzsimmons notched numerous arrests, collaring armed robbers, drug kingpins, and arsonists. Currently, Fitzsimmons is a top security consultant to celebrity clients nationwide. A recognized security expert, he has appeared on television shows including “Good Morning America,” “Geraldo Rivera” and “Montel Williams.”



Photo  Credit:  Thomas Fitzsimmons


Q & A WITH THOMAS FITZSIMMONS


Fargo: What inspired you to start writing books? 

Thomas: Working as a street cop in the highest crime area in the USA inspired me to start writing books. The terrible things I saw on a daily basis affected me—most I will never write about. I think I always wanted to express myself artistically. I can’t sing, or play a musical instrument. When I left the force, I became a lukewarm successful actor. Worked the soap operas, a few films, and TV shows, (in which my character was killed off pronto), and stared in about 150 TV commercials. But I didn’t have any passion for acting—maybe because I was a really lousy actor—or anything artistically until I tried writing. Writing became therapy for me; a catharsis. 

Fargo: Talk about developing Mike Beckett, your character in Confessions of a Catholic Cop, and how he may or may not parallel your own persona when you were a police officer and an actor.

Thomas:  Michael Beckett shares my values. He acts in the same manner I did when I worked the streets of the South Bronx and when I was acting. But Beckett, and all of my characters, “speak to me.” (Does this mean I need a shrink?) I don’t consciously develop them. Sometimes I feel more like a medium then an author. The characters do their thing, I’m their audience. 

Fargo: Which one of your books are you most proud of and why?

Thomas: To an author, books are like our children, they are part of us. I feel the same about everything I write. 

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GIVEAWAY:

I am very excited to give a lucky reader their own copy of Thomas Fitzsimmons's book.

In one comment-one entry per person- tell me why you want to read his novel.

“Confessions of a Catholic Cop”
The rough streets of the South Bronx - home to countless gangs, pimps, and hustlers.  Where a gunshot is as common as a baby crying and a day without a murder is an oddity.  This is where 10-year police veteran Michael Beckett has spent his career.
 
When he lands a walk-on role on “Law & Order,” Beckett hopes to trade chasing criminals for a new life in front of the camera…and maybe even to settle down with the show’s beautiful writer, Solana Ortiz.  But when Solana’s South Bronx neighborhood goes up in flames in a string of arsons, Beckett must put aside his caviar dreams and do what he does best – police work.  With the help of his fanatical partner, Vinnie D’Amato, Beckett unlocks a heinous scheme that reaches into the deepest pockets of power and greed in New York City. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pumped Up Kitchen





Ride to the bus....

BUG:  Mom, what's this song about?


ME: I don't know. Sounds like something you would listen to while on Esctasy.


BUG: What's that?


ME: Never mind. It's a happy song. Catchy beat.


BUG: But it says...you better run...better run...outrun my gun...


ME: Hmmm. Faster than my bullet. You are right. It's about violence.


BUG: I think it's about a nice house. I don't understand why a kid would be jealous of another kid with a nice house or want to shoot him because his house is nice.


ME: What?


BUG: Yeah. Pumped up kitchen.


ME: *head*dashboard*

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Blog Visitor

I recently had the wonderful privilege of having a visit from a blog buddy. She and her daughter were absolutely delightful and I enjoyed their company immensely.

In case you were wondering...it still proves I can determine good people spot on...even without having a personal encounter prior to having them stay in my home. Cop Jedi mind skills are good for personal reasons, not just to catch bad guys. Just kidding, Deb.

Anyfriends,  I wasn't afraid they would stab me in the night or steal mother's precious pearls. They weren't pirates...just fabulous ladies on a journey that you must read about as she posts along her 3,000 trip.

It was the first I had heard of couch surfing and spending most of your time on the road in adventure with your daughter as a last hoorah before school. She is one brave mother and I admire her even more so now. Jeff Dunham is a favorite comedian of mine and she and I so happen to share that adoration along with good wine. Here's her clip to our discussion about bicycle cops. Go visit her. You won't be disappointed. She is a great lady!

Thanks Deb and Em for the wonderful time and I look forward to our trip to our talked about midwestern metropolis soon. I also plan on visiting them in Michigan for a tour of their great upper state.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Being A Narc

I've been a narc. Not a snitch, mind you, but narcoleptic. I can't stay awake. Broken sleep and long hours are taking their toll. No matter how hard I try, the last two days have killed me on duty...or should have. I was just lucky I had Officer Squirrel to keep me in line. And we haven't lacked action. Fires. Burglaries. Assaults. Officer Squirrel and I even witnessed a drive by shooting. At least at that moment I had been wide awake.

We were writing reports in a parking lot when two GOOBS and by GOOBS, I mean the dumbest criminals ever, decided to do a drive by shooting in front of the PoPo. They were so dumb, it isn't even worth writing about, but I'll share just a little.

Not only did they shoot at people in front of the PoPo,  but they threw the gun out the window in front of the PoPo...on film.  Oh,..and they had  drugs. Needless to say...they went to jail. We also discovered they were burglars and had a fencing business (not structural).

However, the detectives didn't want to come out and work the case because "Fargo is certainly capable"...so I got stuck with it.

During the interview...the "Mastermind" had a few choice words that struck me as funny. Not only funny, but I downright smiled big during his confession of the crimes and his "bookkeeping" explanations.

MASTERMIND: I keep everything written down for the IRS.

ME: Oh do ya? Do tell.

MASTERMIND: Well, I don't really have to report my business and income to the IRS because I keep everything on the books under $4,000 so I don't have to pay taxes.

ME: You don't say?

MASTERMIND: Yep. All the stuff is in my backpack on paper so if I ever get audited, I have my books.

ME: You are very brilliant. So...running a business like that, you must know where to get the best inventory.

MASTERMIND: Yep. Mostly electronics. They sell the best.

ME: I see. Locked or unlocked?

MASTERMIND: What?

ME: Do you retrieve your inventory from locked or unlocked warehouses?

MASTERMIND: Oh. Unlocked. I don't break into anything.

ME: Good plan. Since the doors are unlocked, do you feel they are allowing you to get into their vehicles or giving you permission?

MASTERMIND: Yes. It's like an open sign on a business, you can walk right in.

ME: I see. Perhaps we should see if the State agrees with you. [pulling out a statute book]Oh, lookey here. It says in this state statute book that conducting business like that is a "No No." In fact, a felony. But then again, you knew that, didn't you, being a smart business man and all?

MASTERMIND: Uh. I guess this means I am going to jail?

ME: Well, I think so. Oh and don't worry about the IRS. I won't tell them a thing. I'm not a fed.

MASTERMIND: Oh. Thanks. You are doing me a big favor.

ME: *blink*blink*

Monday, August 1, 2011

Nighty Nighty


Motoring down the road during the hours of 5:00 am to 7:00 am after working a full shift from 7:00 pm, becomes fantasy land. At least in my world. Sometimes I don't know how I got from point A to point B without killing myself or others. However, I jerk awake to realize I have just driven 5 miles without remembering it.

Mirages, snow monkeys, and bouts of roadway on auto pilot plague police officers who suffer from working nights and those who lack good sleep patterns...or life gets in the way, making good rest difficult. Life's interruptions often interfere with good sleep. Our kids, spouses, pets, or persons calling or knocking on our doors often break up the day. It's worse when the daytime is your nighttime and you are sleeping.

Have you ever run errands in your mind while sleeping? Have you ever dreamt about what you needed to do the next day? How about stress? Does that effect your sleep? Imagine if this is every day. And then you go to work and get behind the wheel...protect your community...make split second decisions. The internal time clock gets all out of wack, making it difficult to function during work hours. This may have struck anyone a time or two...even if they aren't working shift work. However, a pattern of regular "irregular sleep" becomes a problem. I've been there. It happens all the time to police officers.

It effects emotions, behavior, sex, health, safety...need I go on? Not only is it a real problem, but Cephalon has found preventive measures one can take to make the best health decision for your body. Some things might be obvious like good choices in our lifestyle such as eating right and exercising. Other things might not be so obvious to us. Check them out.

Prior posts have highlighted the study Cephalon has conducted on Shift Work Disorder. Check out the results on http://www.thewakeupsquad.com/. The following is quoted and taken directly  from their results. It's all great information. I encourage you to check it out even if you don't think it pertains to you or anyone you know. You may learn something new.

"About Shift Work Disorder
One potential health impact of working non-traditional shifts is shift work disorder, which affects up to 25% of night or rotating shift workers. Shift work disorder is a recognized and treatable medical condition that occurs when an individual‟s internal sleep-wake clock is not in sync with their work schedule.30,31 Because of this disruption to the body‟s natural rhythm, people with shift work disorder may struggle to stay awake during their working hours, known as excessive sleepiness, or have trouble sleeping during their sleeping hours, known as insomnia.32 It is important that people experiencing excessive sleepiness and/or insomnia take the time to see a doctor and mention that they work nontraditional shifts, as shift work disorder can often go undiagnosed."

And below details only the PHYSICAL impact. Much more was discovered on social impact, emotional impact, workplace impact, and so forth.  Again, this is quoted from Cephalon's results.

"Physical Impact o Survey respondents report daily concern for their energy level (47%), weight (43%), ability to get enough sleep (39%), their mood (32%) their health (32%) and their sex lives (30%).o The average shift worker has not exercised in 24 days, read a newspaper the day it came out in 30 days or had sex in 54 days.Nearly two–thirds of those surveyed (62%) would sacrifice something to feel well-rested all the time, such as half their wardrobe (33%) or their next three vacations (15%)."

I can totally relate to all of this except the sex. I have had sex everyday with myself...even 54 days in a row...so that really doesn't effect me. Beat me. I need a man....or some sleep. I've been working on a homicide, landscaping, taking care of a business and a home and a child and animals. Who needs sleep?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Flood Watch 2011 July 3 Update

I may be overconfident, but I am certain the flood danger for me is over...unless the dams above me break. The river has receded. The woods are still wet and the road is still washed out, but the bastard didn't get my house. The remnants of Bocce played by Bug, her grandmother, and I are left on the far end of the lawn.



Today was the anniversary of my father's death. I remember the day well. I was young and have spent my entire adult life without a father figure. The memories have faded. I used to hear his voice clearly and now it seems like a faint familiar sound far away. It's difficult enough to lose someone who means so much to you, especially a parent when you are a young child. It is more painful to forget...or lose the memories..the sounds...the laughter...the images. I hang on to all I have. I made a tradition to plant a tree every year in memory of my dad...wherever I lived. This year I planted an apple espalier. Each row has a different kind of apple grafted on it. Yes...it's freaky cool and no, it is not a natural born tree, but one that was manipulated and contorted and well...it's just fun. It was a gift from a customer.


I watched The Big O and Magnum tool around the yard... destroy my flowers, bring me the one in a container I had not yet planted, first run through the sprinkler, then chew on it ...trying to inhale the cold water(103 degrees today high-beat me)and finally...take a huge doggie dump near my favorite flowers. All is bliss at Lake de Fargo. Don't get too close to the flowers...you could ingest the poo.


Favorite western garden flowers..Red Birds In A Tree. They look like little cardinals.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Flood Watch 2011 June 20 Update Pictorama

It rained all night and all day. Finally at 2:00 pm, it stopped, drizzled, then stopped. The sun came out for the evening. I was on the road picking up Bug from her Grandma in a town 139 miles away where she had just spent two weeks with my family in Minnesota. When I arrived home, I noticed the Game and Fish had closed the road after my house.


A dry flash flood channel that is over 20 feet deep right now and is abotu 20 feet away from the river itself. It filled from the river running over the banks.

Upper pasture. Tall, tall grass.


Diving platform for strange labs.


My prized White Swamp Oak is truly in the swamp.




Favorite birdbath with penstemon blooming in front and Six Hills Giant cat mint in back Woot woot!









We will resume normal blogging this week. I apologize for not getting around to blogs as of late, but manning the moat. Now that the storm has subsided, I can drink again. And blog. Peace out, peeps!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Flood Watch 2011 June 19 Update...Father's Day Floats

We are in the middle of a downpour. I resemble a drowned rat and my hair acts like laundry being rung out in the 1800s. Soaked to the bone. But I worked in the weather anyway. Some sandbags fell from the heavy rains. The river is really rising. We had flash flood warnings broadcast over our police computers all day and the radio was blaring the warnings as I came home.




The trees are flooded. The prairie is flooded. The pasture is flooded. The horses corral is a lake. The roads are flooded.

I was shaking so bad on a couple pics that they are blurry and gross. Good thing they aren't crime scene photos...my ass would be grass.


My house is dry. It.is .beautiful. I don't know why I am not worried today. I guess I just figure God will take care of me and this land I love. I have that much faith.



And hell to the yeah...this picture is blurry, too. Momma Fargo fail. But you had to see the happy fat chicken.


It's so green. Except my lawn. In fact, the lawn is getting so much water from the rains, it is turning yellow.My grass is over my head in the back woods.


My flowers are soaking it up. I can't keep up with the weeds. The woods are getting more and more flooded. Picnic table? Well let's just say it's a diving platform.  But...it is absolutely beautiful. And the air smells wonderful.
Front door..iris are over 3 feet high and just bloomed two days ago. River pics tomorrow in the daylight...hopefully while I sleep...my home isn't converted to a house boat. Lake de Fargo...held back so far. And yes...again...the bastard can't have my house.



It's still cozy here...I'll leave the light on...

Monday, June 13, 2011

Flood Watch June 12 Update

The water is seeping more toward the house. The flooded area has actually reached the woods by the house and is about 20 feet from the east side. I checked the crawl space and so far it is mostly dry. There are a few damp places. LOTS of frickin' spiders. I didn't kill them. I want them to die a slow painful death...either by drowning or by loss of oxygen when I throw a bug bomb down there.

Lake de Fargo...is open for jet skiing, water sports, and fishing...

My road around the bend...flooding over to the other side...


Levy de Fargo.
The lower drive for trailers is under water. The middle area is about 2 feet deep when I measured tonight.


Had to move some benches to higher ground. The old tree with the swing is under water.
Small areas where underground seeping water is surfacing. This is happening all throughout the woods and prairie. Water around the picnic table. Yeah. Not moving that heavy thing. Nor the dog. Moose was muddy and running through the water. LOL


Some things just aren't affected by the impending doom. And my..they (Otis and Moose) are fat. I better quit feeding them so much so they don't sink when we have to swim for our lives!


And this is going to be my anchor..should I need it...my favorite bird bath.

A River Runs Through It

It's named THE RIVER WAR HAUS. I gave it the fitting title many months ago.

I suppose it's silly to name your abode, the land you work, and the place you call home. I did it anyway.

It fits.

We fought the government to protect property rights, to stop the declining natural environment, and to preserve the riparian areas near the river as well as the MIGHTY RIVER itself. Add to that a fight to keep the original paperwork in force as written in 1964 when it was drafted and signed by original parties...and have the Game and Fish enforce it's paragraphs as they are required. This war went on for 6 years. We lost.

My marriage fell apart over time, slowly. Not slow enough that I couldn't have seen it coming. Perhaps the red flags went up and I tried to ignore it. In time it became a battle of things I can't even explain now. The battle wounds still show and are beginning to scar over. I can't look back. I'm not sure if one ever wins a battle involving marriage. Somehow, it just doesn't seem proper to tag it with victory or loss. Failed marriages are always a loss of some sort. Is a battle ever a victory? We call it that. When our side wins. But is it really so?

They say we often have to go to battle to get ahead, to forge forward, to make things right. We have to sacrifice for the greater good. Fight for our cause, our lives, our beliefs...

Another such war has begun.

This time..it's me versus the river. Tonight I placed my mark. The river pushes forward. I build walls and hold it back. Divert. Clean up. Pray. I think I'm going to win this war this time because I have God on my side. 


Ahoy Mateys!
The river might want to invoke it's right to parley...

No...Momma Fargo hasn't lost it.
She's just not going to let the bastard (river) get the house... just like the first time.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Changing of the Guard

Today is my first night on my new shift with Sgt. Gruffy. He already told me he is putting the hammer down on me and has taken away my seniority, my Charger, my area. Says I was running amuck under the Sarg's direction. Sarg was so angry when he heard that...I think he almost wanted to punch Sgt. Gruffy. See....Sgt. Gruffy...hated our team. We received several awards and commendations...were always involved in taking the big guys down...were the first choice when the feds wanted to go hunting for fugitives...jealousy.

I'm the second senior cop and veteran on the shift. I just smiled and said, "OK, SARG. Whatever you say, I will obey. I'm just happy to be here." I think it made him mad that I didn't get upset and throw a fit. It's all good. I don't really care about things like that right now. I have other things to worry about.

Last night...THE ROOK stopped me in the briefing room.

THE ROOK: I guess this is our last night together.

ME: Yep. We will be two ships passing in the night. I will probably see you at the beginning and ending of each shift.

THE ROOK: [big cheesy smile] I am hoping you will be one of my FTOs, mam.

ME: [big smile] I bet not. They probably don't want me to corrupt you.

THE ROOK: Ha.

ME: You would have to listen to rap music and roll dirty in the g-ride...learn how to talk to the locals. Check out licenses on lemonade stands, arrest bad guys, walk stealthy in the neighborhoods, drive blacked out...shit like that.

THE ROOK: I have been listening to rap music.

ME: Ha. Officer Shiny Keys told me you never listened to music until last week.

THE ROOK: True. I read books. My whole life. I am a bookworm and a jock. A true nerd. [smile]

ME: I can appreciate me a good nerd. [big smile]

THE ROOK: [red and blushing] I really hope I get you as an FTO.

ME: I would like that. You'll do great. Good luck. And erase all our previous conversations Officer Shiny Keys and I had with you from the other night. You still need to wear a shirt when you are working out, tho. I can't concentrate. And I don't need to get fired.

THE ROOK: [laughing] Will do. I think you are cool, mam.

ME: Thanks! Back at ya. I am really glad to have you aboard. Have a great time with Officer Shiny Keys. You are very smart and I am hearing good things. You do well when I am on calls with you. Keep it up.

And so we departed. He is a great kid. And super sweet. And hot. The police department is putting him on a recruiting billboard. Ugh. Why can't we hire the ugly ones?

Flood Watch June 6 Update

The river is still rising. Not flooding too bad at my house...will get pics of town to post later. The police department is beginning to flood from high water tables rising and goo is coming up into the basement. YUCKO!

The River Pathway we run and ride bikes on....20 some miles of it...is under water in several places. Restaurants under water...flood water within inches of houses. Retaining walls on river homes...collapsing. Most of the damage thus far is in basements. Behold...the castle...it is still  OK at this point.

The dam (damn sandbags) are holding so far. Island almost underwater. Trees over there aren't even budding out. Too much water. Yikes.


Water seeping under road now has gone 40 more feet toward the house....but still not a big problem.


Lake de Fargo


Arnold's Red Honeysuckle to color coordinate with Old Glory.

The flag is still sailing...so high tide or not...I am still flying it. If water gets to her..then it's time to evacuate.