Tag Archives: community

Nobody Wants to be THAT Silent Bystander that Could Have, but Didn’t, Prevent Tragedy

25 Mar

Walking about-July 2012 030Today, when I went to class I saw something a little unusual.

I drove to the parking lot and parked, and saw a man walking through the lot.  He was around 50 years old, so not your traditional student.  And he was wearing a green army jacket–not typical of faculty.  He didn’t seem to be DOING anything in particular, I just thought he looked out of place.  But really, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice under normal circumstances.  The real thing that caught my attention was what he carried.  He didn’t have a back-pack or a brief case or any kind of binder of notebook, or even a rake or something that screamed student, staff, or maintenance.  All he had was a crow bar.  And he walked down the row of cars, and sort of meandered further into the middle of the parking lot, instead of the road or exit he had initially been approaching.

And I thought he looked like he could try to break into cars, smash windshields, or worse shoot up a campus.  He just didn’t seem to fit the environment.  And I thought some desperate homeless person or veteran with terrible PTSD could have come from the train tracks behind us or from downtown very nearby the campus.  I didn’t especially WANT to find out what he was doing, and being the only person in the vicinity I did not want to become victim #1, so as I walked I kept an eye on him.  Even through he was now sort of behind me, I just ignored the flashcards in my hand and glanced back every few steps.  And he watched me too.  So I was a little suspicious and unnerved.

I didn’t want to over-react in any way, and certainly I was not alarmed at this point.  BUT if the guy was up to something or intended on some horrible crime, I didn’t want to be that person that everyone interviewed afterward who looks all dumb.  Dumb because they saw something that wasn’t right, realized it, then ignored it and let tragedy ensue.  So I planned on reporting the incident (or non-incident as the case may be) to the front desk when I got inside the school.

But before I made it, there were 2 guys who looked like part of the school’s landscaping crew.  I said excuse me and asked if there was a third man working with them–which confused them greatly.  So I just mentioned the unusual man carrying the crow bar through yellow parking.  I didn’t want a scene or anything, in case the man had been doing something perfectly legit, but I didn’t think it would hurt for someone to ask him what was up either.  And I think landscaping headed over there to check it out, but I’m not sure if they followed up.  So I didn’t report it to anyone else–that felt like over-kill.  And luckily, no one shot up, bombed, or vandalized the school that I know of.

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Color Me Rad

19 Jun

june 2013I saw this on 125’s blog and knew I HAD to do it.  It was running, but more importantly, it was rainbow colors and 1980’s.  What’s not to like?  I also knew I couldn’t do it alone.  Lame.Not knowing anyone in Spokompton made it difficult though.  My Nevada and Missouri friends are too far away.  My Aunt–too old, shy, and out-of-shape.  Cool.  Honestly can be a real dud when it comes to physical activity or crowds.  Especially in combo.  Convincing her to run with me would be a chore.  Co-workers–well have to WORK.  Especially if I’m not there.  And speaking of that ALL of these races (and every fun public activity) falls on Saturday.  And I work every Saturday morning.

So the odds were stacked against me from the start.  But I traded my life away at work and the other tech agreed to take my color blast 2race Saturday (5 hours at MOST) and birthday Saturday (open for 3 hours)  if I worked a Wednesday (9 hours if I’m lucky) and Thursday (a Forster day which would make me have to work 4 days in a row) for her.  I got the short end of the stick, but both Saturdays were that important to me.

Next, I tried to convince Cool.  And of course, she was having no part of any run, colored or not.  So I bought my $30(!) admittance.  This secured me a shirt, sunglasses, my number, 1 color color blastpacket to throw, and a fun-run.  I worked and worked.  And worked on Cool, really trying to talk up the race, guilt, and coerce her.  What finally got her?  I asked her to line dance with me.  Apparently, running is a better choice than cowgirl line dancing. . .  Good to know.  By the time (6 weeks later?) I got her to come with me, the price had gone up to $50!  Bummer, and ouch–but it was going to be fuuunnnn.

I’m not certain what all that money goes toward.  A charity WAS involved, but I have a hard time believing they saw all of color bomb 2my $80.  And the shirt?  Royal blue–not good for color-running purposes.  The white ones?  Extra$$$.  More color packets?  More extra dough.  There was also other merch and you could buy photos of yourself running.  And buy food.  And beer–though I never saw any that wasn’t just the raceway’s concession domestics–ick.  So I deemed it over-priced greatness.

The packet pickup was a well-oiled machine.  Like a huge amount of volunteers, computers, tables.  Order.  Which never happens.  Everything was well-marked, and we did not have to stand in line for 1 second–despite 1500 people being confirmed to run.


They asked us to be there at 7AM.  And they were out of town, in the boonies, and charged $5 to park.  So we parked in the Casion’s lot next door.  Free.  Yay for us smart-cookies who scouted out the scene 2 days early!  Anyway, 7AM in Spokompton is chilly.  And I got the impression that the organizers had us gather early and corral right by all the for-sale merch–to stimulate us to BUY.  There was also a “party.”  They had dancers on a stage–like choreographed dance movements and all, and I was mostly embarrassed for them.  I also wondered if those people were from Spokane, or traveled around the country doing these parties???  I never did find out.  They also had a DJ trying to generate enthusiasm.  I was put-off when he said something to the effect of, “Ladies, show me what you’ve got for some color packs!!!”  Gross.  It felt a little contrived. Like they were trying too hard to be cool.  Maybe this goes over better in actual cities like New York, or places where people are–drunk.


I did, however, enjoy seeing the costumes–I KNEW people would wear them!!!  And also people-watching was amazing–sorostitutes always make me laugh–especially old-in-the-face ones.  One of them looked to be trying to hold it all inside, but couldn’t contain herself during some horrible rap song.  She was mouthing the words and doing small dance moves to what was probably her “jam.”  Extra-lame.  Next time we do a color run I have an excellent costume idea.  And I tried to get Cool to do it with me this year, but it was difficult enough just getting her there.  And you can’t be the ONLY one wearing a costume.  But I want to get a bunny-rabbit suit.  Full on head and everything.  And would start the race as the white rabbit, I’m late, I’m late from Alice in Wonderland–and end as the Trix rabbit!  So awesome!  I hope nobody else thinks of it before we get to do it.  Because it’s not at neat once someone has already done it.

-As we were run/walking, assorted stations were throwing environmentally-friendly colored corn starch at runners.  Of course, the goal is to get as much color as possible, so we came close to the volunteers.  Who were there specifically to throw colors on people.  And after the pink 1K–I was still all white.  So at the purple station, I really slowed down.  And got the littlest bit, from off of someone else.  I thought maybe I looked RBS–resting bitch face syndrome, so made an effort at green to smile.  Still, no one wanted to throw at me.  Hmmmm.  So at the final orange station, I did bird wings, ran up smiling, and slowed down directly in front of each of the 3 volunteers.  And got nothing at all.  No orange was thrown at me.  I am apparently too good at disengaging, as the volunteers were reluctant to throw color on me–even though I was 80’s-style and even when I was smiling and spirited.  Weird scene.


But we both had a lot of fun, and got some color, and pelted each other with more color.  And Cool is a 5K convert and would be open to doing another themed event.  Oh–and we got astounding pics with the waterproof disposable we purchased prior to the event (genius idea) to (over)post on Facebook.  Which is the whole point of these theme races anyway.  We would like to do a mud run or foam run, but this can never occur since I work every Saturday morning.  BUT we will certainly keep our eyes peeled for such things after we’ve moved to Colorado!!!


Aside from being all about money, my one complaint about the race was they did not have trash cans (bomb-prevention my boss suggested) but they did have plastic baggies and plastic water bottles littering the raceway.  I guess this could have been a raceway regulation or WA law or something, but I felt weird dropping trash on the ground.  But other than that, it was a good event for a birthday weekend!

Volunteerism–That’s the Ticket!

27 Dec

Actually, that’s kind of the wrong word, because though I would be helping others my motivation is not purely altruistic.  And I think it’s crummy when people “volunteer” to write it down.  And no one should go around telling people they’re volunteering if they have ulterior motives or hope to gain something from it.  I guess being up front about what I’m doing is the important point.  I realize I’m not going for angel-status, here.  This is mostly for ME.  My endeavor is more like work.  Unpaid work.  Much like I do now at the vet hospital–I joke.  They do pay me a little.  So Unpaid Work–That’s the Ticket!

uphill battle

Because of THIS year’s botched scholarship attempt, I have been searching the internet at large for more opportunities.  Because of my undergrad loans, there is never enough money.  If I could get scholarship funding, that loan money that I still have to take out every semester, can be used to pay undergrad loan payments, instead of current tuition.  I hardly hope to cut back any more on employment hours, or stop working all-together.  Just make ends meet.  And maybe I could take a third class each semester–which would help this seem career entry seem less dragging.  Except, most scholarships are awarded to those who do a lot of community service.  They require a certain amount of hours (which I have) but they require them from the prior year.  Which in the last 5 or so years I do not have.  Probably not a single hour in this last 5 years has been devoted to helping others.  Sad.

Not only do I miss doing community service–I got 8 scholarships in high school, and all my volunteer hours didn’t hurt in getting those–volunteering can look great on school applications.  When it comes time to apply to the AuD and back-up plan of SLP grad school, along with the 4.0 GPA, service would look good.  I just have to remember not to let the service get in the way of the grades. Meaning, I have to do this unpaid work during breaks from school.

Which is ideal, really.  Because my program doesn’t offer any of the pre-reqs I need in the summer (or breaks from school).  And sure, I could take electives or classes through the community college, but not only would it be less effective excuse to miss work, that costs more money.  And not loan money either–not enough credits or a degree program to count as loan funding.  So volunteering could take up that time, which will still allow me to work part time.  And that saves my psyche.


Working full-time makes me stressed, depressed, and anxious.  I don’t like what it does to me, and I want to avoid those negative feelings without making huge life changes–which getting a new job would entail.  So volunteerism is my way out.  Besides, I feel if I’m not getting, and not eligible to get full-time benefits such as vacation, health insurance, and paid holidays, then why should I kill myself working those full-time hours?  It’s just better this way.

And I can help people.  As an aside to my own personal goals, I would actually be helping.  Maybe I can get more in touch with Spokane’s community, meet new people, or whatever.  Plus, I’m looking at volunteering for the V.A. and for the Spokane Public Library.  Both organizations I believe in, and as a bonus, both organizations having something to do with the Speech and Hearing Sciences.  Though that isn’t why I picked those places, they will allow me to get a glimpse of the types of people that I might be working with in my future field.  Volunteering will give me a view of future career possibilities–and that’s great.

Laurel's pics 122

So unpaid work is good, good, good from what I can see.  I can rack up some hours that will help me get the scholarships, build the application to impress, take time in the summer when I’d otherwise be working and going insane, and see my future.  Oh and help people.  I don’t see a problem with that at all.  Solutions.  This is the new me.

Shoddy Police Work

13 Nov

Better late then never.  Here’s the dramatic conclusion of the murder in my neighborhood:

I really trusted them when the Spokompton police said the murderer was probably a transient. Also, they said they canvased the area and still had a (plain-cloths) presence in this area. What a load of crap.

They absolutely couldn’t have
A] knocked on doors in the murder victim’s apartment complex.
Because this guy matching the description she gave before she died–was her neighbor.

B] They did not even do a search of people with prior convictions in her own complex or in a one mile radius of the attack.

This dude was kicked out of a correctional school, threatened to kill several people including his mother and the at-risk horse therapist, and was charged with harassment just this year. He was in the system.

C]  Couldn’t have been anywhere near the Centennial Trail where the stabbing happened, the park nearby, or our neighborhood.  Because this guy stuck a couple more times.

Before she died, McGill gave a description of her attacker, “Black man in his thirties, with a funny eye.”  Pretty specific.  How many black men with funny eyes could possibly be running around Spokompton?  And yet, when a women was attacked with a mellet right on the Cinntinneal trail less then a mile from where the fatal stabbing had occured–well, the police seemed as surprised as anybody when the attacked matched McGill’s description.  And I should mention–the police weren’t the ones who found or stopped the dude.  Some good semaritan heard the screams of mallet victim, chased the bad guy, and basically handed him over to the police.

And NOW the police are saying Avondre Graham was questioned within 3 days of the McGill stabbing.  I call bull-$hit.  Because if that were true, they would have realized back in May that this dude matched her description, lived right in her apartment complex, frequented the trail, and had a criminal history.  Nothing confusing about that.  So I suspect the police are trying to cover their ass by saying they already knew of this dude.  And they are saying they JUST now got enough evidence to charge him with the murder.  Ah-maz-ing timing if you ask me.  And this evidence–has to remain secret!  Even more convenient. . .

Oh, and the police are all irate that certain witness with-held info or obscured the truth, delaying the investigation.  Duh–the guy’s mother and uncle will corroborate his alibi   Why wouldn’t they?  But why in the world would you believe the family?  Well, yes, police–if people have something to hide they will lie.  You shouldn’t base your entire flippin case on witnesses in the community.  Maybe had you ACTUALLY canvassed the neighborhood  starting with criminals IN her building, you might have come across someone matching that very specific description. . .  Idiots.

And their shoddy work put me in danger.  Avondre was out on the trail this whole time.  Attacking a Gonzaga jogger, robbing and using a mallet to attack a walker, and stabbing someone to death while she was walking her dog.  Well done, Spokompton, well done.

Take Away the Gay

7 Mar

Deafness and homosexuality are similar. The world sees these groups as handicaps. Sure there are pitfalls to being deaf, such as poor educational opportunities and not being able to hear alarms.  And there are disadvantages to being gay like the high rate of substance abuse and no marriage rights. Both groups are stigmatized or forgotten all-together. In this hetero-normative, hearing world, these minorities have to fight to be acknowledged. Both have in-groups that are wary of society at large. In order to protect themselves from harsh reality, the hearing impaired and the gays have formed tight circles of like people. Both groups have a tendency to not interact with people that aren’t in their group. And both groups would have an easier time if they could ad-hear to the standards of the wider society.

If some bigot came to me now, told me to pray the gay away–firstly, I would be angry. Not to mention that particular correction does not work. My sexuality is not deviant, it isn’t wrong, and it shouldn’t hinder me in any way. I do not need fixing. This is society’s problem–not mine.  I think it’s similar with being deaf.  The deafness isn’t the inherent problem–everyone in the entire world would be better off if they learned sign language.  It is a universal means of communication, that even babies can do.  People with no hearing eventually learn how to cope, and can manage fine.  Why try to correct it, when it’s really everyone else’s problem?

But what if someone (scientist or doctor) could legitimately make me straight? Well, I guess my answer would depend on the age at which I was approached. If someone came to me now, I would turn them down. My sexuality has made me who I am today. I found my soul-mate in Cool and wouldn’t want to lose that now.  Besides, I already went through most of the most horrible stuff that comes with being gay–Douche and questioning and coming out are at the top of the list, so changing would be pretty pointless.  I am happy in my life, and wouldn’t want to “remedy” anything just to appease society. If they came to me/my parents in infancy, and said later on I would have these different feelings, and have to deal with a harder life, and they could give me less worry, less headache, and fewer hardships in life–well, I think I would do it in a heartbeat.

And so, if I hadn’t already lived through the bad times, and hadn’t already made choices in my life–I would accept the correction to become straight. I would have had more dating opportunities–since 90% of people are straight. I would have had less depression. There would be less stigma in my life. I could post engagement photos without a second thought about who might get riled up and how much of a political statement it was.  I would be granted more rights.  Marriage.  Tax and insurance benefits.  All of the sickness/end of life stuff.  Why not take the chance for an easier life with more opportunity? Even at the risk of not appreciating gay culture. Having a bigger dating pool and less hatred would make ignorance of drag shows and trannies, dyke drama and AIDS well worth it. And just because I was straight wouldn’t mean I would have to neglect these areas. Just as a deaf person with cochlear implant could eventually learn sign language and educate themselves on deaf culture.

So there’s that.  If I had the opportunity to be made straight at a young age, before my life was so impacted by my sexuality, I would have taken it.  Because it would have granted me an easier path and more choices.  That impacts my thinking about the cochlear implant and deaf culture.  So after a break for Women’s Day, tomorrow, I’ll discuss my final thoughts on the issue.

Audiology: Why I’d Be Great

18 Oct

-My Dad has hearing loss

–one of my earliest memories is grocery shopping while he struggled to hear

—I was simultaneously embarrassed and motivated to help him

-I am practiced at nonverbal communication

–I have worked with animals my whole life, and “reading” them is a requirement

–high volume vet clinic taught me to quickly evaluate and work with different temperaments.

—I have worked with cats, dogs, horses, cows, sheep, primates, birds, rodents, and reptiles

—-each species and individual has a different way of communicating

—-I can easily become attuned to most styles

—noting aggression before it occurs

—seeing if a pet is scared

—noticing pain when they can’t tell you

—looking for signs of health/behavioral/comfort issues

-I have compassion for working with people with disabilities

–again, my work with animals proves this

–I also donated my eggs to infertile couples

-I am capable to working with the public/people

–communicate to crowd through clogging performances

–taught clogging to all age groups

–convey crowd control, motivate players, and show school spirit during cheerleading

–cheerleading youth camps

–volunteered at elementary Christmas party for 2 years

–volunteered at Senior Citizens Prom for 3 years.

–I got an A+ in my college speech communication class

–I volunteered with LGBT youth and other organizations

–I talk to owners about their pets when I take vitals/history/phone calls

-As in vet med, I like to have a different kind of day all the time

–this is good for working with youth, hearing deficit, and senior citizens

Jaycee Lee Dugard [posted 9-2-09]

17 Jan

Here is a half-poem/half list of my feelings on the Jaycee Lee Dugard story:

Infuriated with the case of Jaycee Lee Dugard.  Mostly because it never should have happened.

.. ..

Saddened that Phillip Garrido’s first wife didn’t press charges for battery or for the time when he tried to gouge her eyes out with a safety pin.

.. ..

Horrified he kidnapped a woman, dragged her across the California-Nevada state line and repeatedly raped her in his “sex palace.”

.. ..

Terrified that Phillip was calm and collected when a Reno police officer stumbled upon his rapist’s lair.  He told the officer she was his girlfriend, as she screamed for help in terror.

.. ..

Exasperated the judge in the Callaway-Hall kidnap/rape case ruled to exclude the first attempted kidnapping, meaning Garrido was not on the books as a repeat offender.

Astonished that “Crazy Phil” only did 11 years of a 50 year sentence when he did such a violent crime, and had prior offenses.

.. ..

Angered that Nancy, (obviously disturbed) married Garrido while he was in a Kansas prison.

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Incredulous that Garrido was transferred, mid-sentence, from a maximum security facility in Kansas to Carson City, where they so obviously dropped the ball.

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Astounded that Carson City not only released Garrido on his 4th parole attempt, but they let him leave the state and go live with his mother in California.

.. ..

Furious staying away from children was not a term of Garrido’s parole, because the woman he raped for 5 hours straight was 25 at the time.

Pissed that Garrido drugged and raped a 14 year old (4 years prior to Jaycee), and was released because she didn’t testify against him.

.. ..

Disturbed that an 11 year old Jaycee Lee Dugard was grabbed (by a woman) from her bus stop, in the sight of her father.

.. ..

Alarmed that the Garridos swiped a child in plain daylight, then were able to just drive home in the same car without lawful intervention.

.. ..

Amazed that with the palpable fear in Lake Tahoe, neighbors who saw Jaycee Lee didn’t recognize her as a missing child.

.. ..

Startled that neighbors or law enforcement had no idea of the “secret backyard,” when it was visible on google maps.

.. ..

Disheartened that nearby residents left well enough alone, and learned to live with tents and sheds, weird noises, and children in the backyard of a known sexual predator.

.. ..

Shocked that Garrido masturbated while looking at children in parks, schools, restaurants, and drive-ins.

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Stunned Garrido’s mother and his wife stood by while Phil harbored and raped a child.

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Flabbergasted that a parole officer checks a sex offender with a sketchy, kidnapper’s past, but does not walk through the entire house and yard on every visit.

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Staggered that Nancy Garrido still kept Jaycee Lee captive when her husband was thrown back in prison for a parole violation.

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Infuriated that a person could get a 50 year sentence, be released on parole after only 11 years, BREAK the terms of that parole, then be re-released in a matter of months.

.. ..

Dismayed to think about the emotional, and physical damage that must have occurred when Phil made Jaycee Lee pregnant at 14 years old, then made her give birth in a filthy tent–twice.

.. ..

Troubled that when children and prostitutes were disappearing near a known sex offender’s home and work, nobody thought to connect the dots and investigate.

.. ..

Affronted by the fact Jaycee Lee Dugard worked for Garrido’s printing business, met with clients, spoke with them on the phone, and wrote e-mails, yet no one recognized her as anyone but “Alyssa.”

.. ..

Disappointed the system lost track of Garrido’s sex offender status when someone DID call the police on Phil.

.. ..

Upset that people thought “Crazy Phil’s” crazy behavior and religious ranting were harmless.

.. ..

Confused at how Garrido (a registered sex offender, who wore a GPS monitor) was able to parade 2 young girls around town, and even take them to a birthday party, and no one sensed anything out of the ordinary.

.. ..

Wonders if anyone in Antioch reads the news when I hear stories of Jaycee going to the store or a college campus with Garrido.  Especially when her kidnapping was all over the news in Nevada, a whole state away.

.. ..

Anxious to think “Crazy Phil” was only caught because he wanted to be.  Why else would he bring a kidnapped girl and two children of rape to a college campus and a parole meeting?

.. ..

Revolted at the audacity it takes to not only plead innocent to 18 years of crimes, but to call the story “heartwarming.”

.. ..

Annoyed when I hear the media call Nancy Garrido the “true” monster because she allowed this to happen.

.. ..

Upset some members of the media are blaming the victim for not escaping or trying to reach out in some way.

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Tired of hearing psychiatrists and media diagnose Dugard with Stockholm Syndrome, despite never meeting her.

Hungry for more facts about the case and all the people involved.

.. ..

Disgusted that informants are now requesting the media pay for any information.

.. ..

Eager to see what Jaycee Lee Dugard looks like today, after having grown up seeing her missing posters.

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Excited to hear what Jaycee Lee Dugard has to say about the entire situation.

.. ..

Suspenseful to find out if the Garridos will get the maximum sentence and really suffer for what they did.

.. ..

Hopeful that Jaycee Lee Dugard and her two (unfortunately named) children, Angel and Starlight can fully recover from their ordeal.


Traumatized [posted 9-1-09]

17 Jan

I’m not certain why I feel so invested in the Jaycee Lee Dugard case.  Maybe the event traumatized me in my childhood.  Maybe it’s because it could have easily been me.  Maybe I feel so strongly, because it was the first really terrible thing I knew about–it was the end of my innocence.

.. ..

I remember when Jaycee Lee Dugard was kidnapped.  She was 11 and I was 6.  I identified with the girl:  We were both blond, both petite girls who were in elementary school, both had slightly big front teeth, both of us loved cats, both had a sprinkling of freckles, both of us had unusual names.  When she was taken, Jaycee Lee was wearing an outfit I regularly wore—pink stretch pants and a pink shirt.  She was snatched from Tahoe—I went to Tahoe with my family often.  The face on that poster haunted me.  It was familiar, and reminded me of what could happen—how vulnerable I really was.  She was taken while her father watched—how could I possibly feel safe again?  I felt as if she was just a little more unlucky than me—that time.  I suppose everyone felt this way.  Most little girls fit that description, no little girl thinks she will be taken away from everything.

.. ..

I also remember the resulting panic in the community.  The event was splashed all over the news, everyone was talking about it, parents in the area went into protective mode.  Fear was palpable.  There were pink ribbons and “missing” posters, featuring that little girl, on every doorway, window, and bulletin board in Lake Tahoe.  I don’t think there is a single person from Northern Nevada or the nearby California area (1991 to 1995, especially) that wouldn’t recognize Jaycee’s smiling face.  For years afterward, Tahoe looked for any sign of Jaycee Lee.  Every young girl (and her parents) worried SHE could be next.

.. ..

Things changed when Jaycee Lee Dugard disappeared.  The area was no longer a rural area free from sickos and predators.  Fun at the lake or on the slopes was no longer as carefree as it had been.  Kids were no longer safe to go anywhere (even the bus stop) alone.  They weren’t even particularly safe if their parents were watching.  I had to constantly hold someone’s hand when we visited Tahoe or Reno.  New reports gave suggestions on kidnap avoidance, stranger danger.

.. ..

I ALWAYS wondered what happened to Jaycee Lee Dugard.  The case was close to my heart, and also piqued my curiosity.  When I found out some answers, I was relieved.  Not especially relieved she was alive (because maybe death would have been a blessed end to her suffering) but relieved to KNOW.  Now, I’m troubled at the circumstances that led to her miserable 18 years of captivity.  That’s the next blog though.