Friday, April 29, 2011

Blue Mountain Mom's the Word Sweepstakes

Create a poem for that Mother you love and win a prize!

Blue Mountain Mom's the Word Sweepstakes

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Philip Radford: What Would a Chernobyl or Fukushima Disaster at Indian Point mean?

This is something to think about:

Philip Radford: What Would a Chernobyl or Fukushima Disaster at Indian Point mean?

Poke Salad Granny: Granny's love multiplied by many

We will miss you, Granny.

Poke Salad Granny: Granny's love multiplied by many

Erupting Volcano's Incredible Impact (Slideshow) : Planet Green

Dr. Zahi Hawass and a team of leading archaeologists have selected the ten most important discoveries in Egypt. See the best of the best: from major battles, to mega-construction, the discoveries uncover the amazing stories of the lives of kings, queens and ordinary people. Watch "Egypt's 10 Greatest Discoveries", a 2-hour event, Wednesday at 6 pm on Planet Green.

Erupting Volcano's Incredible Impact (Slideshow) : Planet Green

Shawn Campbell--Handyman Killer--asking for Assistant D.A. as witness



Yesterday, my son, Shawn Campbell...who was labeled as the "Handyman Killer" was in court again...asking for another trial, as well as having an unusual request: that the Assistant D.A. Brooks Baker be called as a witness.  

What this means is that IF Mr. Baker is called as a witness, the D.A.'s office will have to be replaced by a special prosecutor!  Go Shawn and Mr. Valley!

Again, Shawn's former lawyer, Mr. K. was mentioned...as having coerced Shawn's guilty plea, as well as with-holding important evidence that would have changed the course of the trial. That is likely to be addressed in the weeks to come.


Shawn's Aunt Kathy (Overholt) said it all in the video:  "The truth will come out in the end."

 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Before the Internet

I found an interesting question this afternoon, that I thought I'd throw out there..."What did you do before there was internet?"  What a question, right?

But really, what DID you do before the internet?  What did I do before getting on the internet...and that question made me think!

The things that I can remember doing to replace the time that I spend online, included:  housework, reading, writing letters (by hand, not typed), crocheting, watching TV, spending more time outdoors...!

Wow--right?  What does that say about my time now?  I still do most of those things, but in limited quantities.  

What I don't do is read whatever book that I have at the moment during the day...that is saved for at night, to read in bed.   I haven't crocheted in years, and to be honest, most of my letters are now typed and printed from my computer vs writing them by hand.

I don't watch much TV at all and when I do it's at night, or I watch TV programs online.  (Where we live now, we aren't able to get cable and antenna only gives us 3 channels.)

But it is an interesting question...what did YOU do before the internet?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Remembering Childhood Easters

When I was a child, Easters were much different than they are now.  Time has commercialized the holidays, and this one is no different.  There is some sadness because children today, aren't taught what Easter is really all about.

As I child, I was brought up not only in a religious household, but a dual one...my dad was Catholic and my mom was Protestant.  I learned both religions, as well as learned their differences.  But that is of little importance to the memories I have of those childhood Easters.


Easter was celebrated knowing it was when Jesus was resurrected, but also we knew that the Easter Bunny came too...bringing sweet treats in baskets overflowing with green plastic (or paper) grass.


It was a time to color eggs, and decorate them with stickers and whatnot.  

As well, it was a time for getting a new Easter outfit, which for us girls, would include not only a dress, but a hat and even gloves, so that when we went to church, we were dressed all nice and pretty.  

It was a time for family gatherings, where my aunts and uncles that lived out of town would come and we'd have a big dinner together.


It also meant that we, as the extended family, would go visit my grandmother where she was...in a psychiatric institution.  She'd been there most of her adult life.  And though she was aging, she did not know that my uncles and mom were her children...mentally, she lived in a time in her past childhood...her marriage and her children were lost to her.


These are times that I remember with much sadness but also much joy as there is nothing to compare those times with.  They were simpler times, times when families were close even though geographically far away.  


As time has passed, so too has those things that those of us who are older once cherished.  However, we do have our memories and can pass them on to those who will listen.

My Bucket List

By definition, a "bucket list" is defined as:  A list of things to do before you die. Comes from the term "kicked the bucket".
 I don't know anyone who has actually made up their own bucket list, but for fun, I thought I would!  Here goes:

1.]  Road trip to the Oregon coast.  (I am very fascinated by the rugged coast there!)

2.]  Publish at least one novel.  (Lifetime dream of mine, as you know!)


3.]  Go on a cruise to Alaska.  


4.]  Road trip to Maine's coastline.  (I want to scope it out because I'd love to move there!)


5.]  Cruise to Caribbean.


6.]  Buy my own home.  (Where ever I do settle for my final years on this planet.)


7.]  Travel to Michigan to spend time with my friends there.  (You know who you are!)


8.]  Travel to Ireland and/or Scotland.


9.]  Buy a new, expensive camera.


10.]  To go shopping for my home without any worry of how much things will cost!  (Yeah--right!)




Of course, ideally, there should be many more things to do...but but I just listed those things that I could think of right off the top of my head.  Most of these are things which I have wanted to do for a very long time...with the addition of just a few that are newer.


Have you tried making your bucket list yet?  You may find, like I did, that after you get the ones down that you know you want to do, that the rest come a whole lot harder to think of!


Try it...you'll see what I mean!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tuned in on Another Frequency

It was a warm, pleasant day to go out for recess at lunch time, and the child I was then was as eager as my classmates to get outside to play for a bit before getting stuck in the classroom again.  I recall being in being in a higher elementary grade...4th or 5th...old enough to remember but yet not old enough to understand what was about to happen to me.

After eating my lunch, I quickly walked through the hallway that led to the play ground area that was reserved for those of us that were in grades 4 through 6. I plowed through the glass doors and as I rounded the side of the building, something happened to me, and it happened so fast that I had no time to react.  It was a sudden vision of two boys fighting on the playground around the corner from where I was at that moment.

I only hesitated for a few seconds then went out around the corner of the building, and there...two boys were fighting, just like I witnessed in the vision.  That did stop me in my tracks.  I remember being confused, scared, unsure of what had just happened to me.  I know that for the rest of the time we were outside for recess, I didn't speak to anyone...what would I say?

I asked my mom about what had happened to me and she told me that it was called a premonition and she herself had that happen to her before.  She told me not to worry or be afraid...some people had the ability to see into the future.  Apparently, we fell into that category.

The next time that it happened, I was 13.  Mom had gone with my aunts and uncles on a trip to Florida to visit family, so it was left up to me to make sure that my little brother and sister were taken care of as well as put to bed.  Dad was close-by, on the farm just a few minutes walk up the road from our house, but he wasn't involved in the day to day care of the house or us kids.

The sun was going down, and night was fast approaching as I went through and did the chores that were required of me, as well as getting my homework done for school.  My brother and sister were already asleep, dad was still at the barn milking cows, so the house was very quiet.  

I suddenly heard what sounded like a baby crying, and it sounded very close-by.  The baby cried and cried and I worked my way first through the house, room by room, finding nothing out of the ordinary.  Both of my siblings were sound asleep, so I ruled them out as being behind the crying that I'd heard.

When the crying started again, I went into the cellar and finally, walked all the way around the outside of house, looking for the source of the crying...with no luck.  By now, I was beyond curious, and was down right afraid.  I already knew that a panther "could" make that kind of sound...and I knew that we had them out there in the country where we lived.  But that still did not make sense either because if I was in the house, the crying sounded like it was inside with me, if I went outside, it came from outside.

I gave up and went back inside, knowing that if something was wrong, dad would be home soon to help me find out what was going on.  The phone rang a little bit later, it was mom calling and she was crying up a storm.  She said she missed us kids sooo much, which was why she had been crying.

I told her about the sounds of a baby crying, and she said it was probably due to her crying before she actually got on the phone to call.  It was just that it presented itself as a baby crying instead of her...that I had in a sense had a premonition that wasn't as clear as the ones I'd had in the past.

Over the years, I've had more but they are sporadic...maybe one every few years.  I've been told time and again, that I need to open myself up more to allow them to come (the premonitions) although I have never pursued it...I didn't know that it's something that I wanted to be a part of my every day life.  As it was, the ones that I have had, although not in any way bad or sinister, was enough to scare me and it messed with my mind and emotions.

Now--it wouldn't be so bad if a premonition did come...I think that I am better prepared to handle them.  I won't force the issue though...I have enough to boggle my mind daily as it is!

DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN....?


DO YOU REMEMBER WHEN....?       


All the girls had ugly gym uniforms?


It took five minutes for the TV warm up?


Nearly everyone's Mom was at home when the kids got home from school?


Nobody owned a purebred dog?When a quarter was a decent allowance?


You'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny?


Your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces?


All your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done every day and wore high heels?


You got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time?


And you didn't pay for air?


And, you got trading stamps to boot?


Laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box?


It was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents?


They threatened to keep kids back a grade if they failed. . . and they did?


When a 57 Chevy was everyone's dream car...to cruise, peel out, lay rubber or watch submarine races, and people went steady?


No one ever asked where the car keys were because they were always in the car, in the ignition, and the doors were never locked?


Lying on your back in the grass with your friends and saying things like, 'That cloud looks like a... '?


Playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game?


Stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger?


And with all our progress, don't you just wish, just once, you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace?


Share it with the children of today. 

When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited the student at home? Basically we were in fear for our lives, but it wasn't because of drive-by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc. Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! But we survived because their love was greater than the threat. 

Share this with someone who can still remember Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy, Howdy Dowdy and the Peanut Gallery, the Lone Ranger, The Shadow Knows, Nellie Bell, Roy and Dale, Trigger and Buttermilk.. ...as well as summers filled with bike rides, baseball games, Hula Hoops, bowling and visits to the pool, and eating Kool-Aid powder with sugar. Didn't that feel good, just to go back and say, 'Yeah, I remember that'?

I am sharing this with you today because it ended with a double dog dare to pass it on. To remember what a double dog dare is, read on. And remember that the perfect age is somewhere between old enough to know better and too young to care. 

How many of these do you remember?    Candy cigarettes  Wax Coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside.  Soda pop machines that dispensed glass bottles..Coffee shops with table-side jukeboxes.  Blackjack, Clove and Tea berry chewing gum.   Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers.   Newsreels before the movie.P.F.    Fliers.   Telephone numbers with a word prefix...(Raymond 4-601).    Party lines.   Peashooters.   Howdy Dowdy.Hi-If's & 45 RPM records.   78 RPM records!    Green Stamps.  Mimeograph paper.   The Fort Apache Play Set.

Do you remember a time when...Decisions were made by going 'eeny-meeny-miney-moe'?    Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, 'Do Over!'?     'Race issue' meant arguing about who ran the fastest?   Catching the fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening?     It wasn't odd to have two or three 'Best Friends'?    The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was 'cooties'?  Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot?    Saturday morning cartoons weren't 30-minute commercials for action figures?   'Oly-oly-oxen-free' made perfect sense?     Spinning around, getting dizzy, and falling down was cause for giggles?     The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team?    War was a card game?  Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle?     Taking drugs meant orange-flavored chewable aspirin?     Water balloons were the ultimate weapon?

If you can remember most or all of these, then you have lived!!!!!!!

Time Spent on Listening to Music Indicator of Teen Depression | Exami.net

Time Spent on Listening to Music Indicator of Teen Depression | Exami.net

Encouragement


"Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country."   — Anaïs Nin
 Back years ago, as I started really getting into keeping my journals I read a book titled, "The New Diary" by Tristine Rainer with a foreword by Anaïs Nin, that gave me the encouragement that I needed to begin my process of journalling to work my way through my past toward healing and understanding...to find the "me" beyond the mother, wife, friend, and any other titles that I may have went by.

Much of what I learned was that journalling can take on many simple forms, that there are no strict forms to go by.  A journal can contain, lists, sketches, doodling, anything that helps to get you from one place to another.

My own journals took the form of writing down my days, not only the physical things I do but more-so my emotions and feelings. I "talked" to my journals as if they were a living person, expressing everything I thought and felt, even to the point of asking questions.


I also had a second, tandem, set of journals that I wrote in a few times a week, where I put to paper my past...every bad thing that had happened to me from the time I was a child through to the present time.  


I talked about the sudden death of my mother, being molested by an uncle, being raped by a school chum.  I talked about the Hell I went through in my first marriage, the problems I was having in my then, second marriage.  I put to paper, all my highs and lows, my shame, anger, hatred, love, curiosities, everything...between these journals.


Over the years I'd held back so much that I was getting bogged down mentally and emotionally that these empty pages that I filled day after day for several years, helped me to get through the hardest of times.  I began to see the real "me" appear.


With my third marriage, I didn't feel the need to journal and never attempted to journal again until after my breakdown in 2001, after my divorce and a relationship which ended a mere 2 months after it had begun. But I found it really hard to write down my thoughts and feelings, my mind was such a jumbled mess of tangled thoughts which had no direction. My spirit was crushed...my desire to do anything...seemed to have disappeared.


Although I don't journal today per se, I am finding myself through my blogs and through friendships that I have made along the way.  The broken woman has refound her footing in this life and is healing, a letter, a blog, a conversation at a time.  I know now the direction that I want my life to take...and I am starting to love the person that I am...becoming!


Monday, April 18, 2011

Pieces

I believe in...
             dreams, stranger things and
   fleeting memories, which gives perspective
        to an often blited world,
              mysteries, intrigue and mischievous
    eyes, innuendos that hide truth and
                the tears on aged faces after seeing
                           what the future may bring,
  laughter, pain and the quiet grounds
               in-between,
        tomorrow's hope, conception in every form,
                    the beauty of
   hidden thoughts,
          and that our necessity for
                          written words will never cease.

(Originally written by me 1/4/1990)

The Beginning

Writing is the most powerful way I know of to sort through all the inner voices. ~ Rebecca Maddox

As a teen, I did what most teens did by keeping a small diary of my days at school, my crushes and frustrations with school mates, but it wasn't until my second marriage that I started journaling again...because I felt so lost, so miserable inside, and needed a place where I could find some small piece of sanity.  A place where I felt at peace.


For the duration of that marriage, some 11 years, I filled literally dozens upon dozens of spiral single, three and five subject notebooks, and as each one was finished, I placed them on my book shelf.  I had no fear of being spied upon by my husband or step-children because they had no interest in what I was writing. 


I had learned a tip from reading about journal-keeping: what's obvious isn't interesting to others.  Hide a diary, then others will want to know what it is you are writing about. 


I had a lot to write about...the death of my mother, being molested at age nine, being raped while pregnant with my oldest child, my first marriage being a living trip through Hell, my current marriage being highly stressful between my older husband and three step-children (the oldest being just eleven years younger than me).

My writing daily in those journals, worked to help me make it through those things that haunted me, and I really believed I was making peace with my past losses, pain, loneliness, feelings of self-doubt, lack of self-esteem and self-consciousness.  I was growing, becoming stronger emotionally and mentally.

After that marriage ended and a new one had commenced, I quit writing in journals and focused on my passion of writing...poetry, short stories, and I even had a newsletter that I wrote at the time, called "Circle of Friends", that was written, submissions put together, it all printed and mailed to around some 25-35 people that I made friends with (and friends of friends) from being pen pals.

But, as life has it, some things end or get put on a back burner because daily living consumed my time...and thoughts.  (Not to mention two teenagers and another divorce!)

My passion, writing, has never left me, but has lingered throughout my life...but now seems to have an urgency that tells me it's time to focus on it, because it's there...stories begging to be wrote, life's trials and travels need to become black and white.  Characters and story plots churn in my head...and soon...soon...it'll be time for me to become (my old CB handle) the "Dream Weaver"!

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful day!

D.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Passion Developed


If there's something you haven't done that you've been wanting to do, then by all means, don't wait any longer.  Do it!  -- Julianne Moore
From the time I was a little girl, I've always wanted to write and be an author. I am not sure when that wish/desire started but I think it was around the time I was in 5th or 6th grade.

My mom was an avid reader and from the time that I was able to read without help, my mom gently pushed me to start reading more at home. In our bookcase, she had acquired dozens of Reader's Digest Condensed books which is, I think, what devloped my deep love of reading and appreciation of literature. I remember that during the years between my 5th and 6th grade, I didn't read...I inhaled every book within my sight!

I had a close friend at that time, who also was a book worm...and we'd often talk about the books we'd read,sharing them back and forth with each other. I don't recall what made both of us start "writing" stories...but we did. And those stories, bound in spiral notebooks, we shared with some of our closest class mates. From then on, the flame grew and grew, becoming a passion, not only to read but to write as well.

During my second marriage, from 1981-1993, I not only wrote a few short stories but journaled daily. (More about the journaling at another time!) But on a dare...after hearing about a poetry contest...I wrote a poem to enter, and found that writing poetry came easily to me. Although I didn't 'win' I did get honorable mention! My confidence was found and I was featured in a local newspaper every week for a short time and was published in a handful of poetry anthologies.

Since then, life has taken me down a few different roads which led me to put my passion and dreams on the back burner. I still continued to journal and write poems but didn't take the time to enter them in contests or magazines.

It wasn't until I came across a website called Digital Journal in 2007, that the passion began to slowly re-ignite. Although the site is a news site, I could write for them, using my own words to describe a news event which was linked-to in the article. The best part is that I got paid for doing so...although it wasn't enough to survive on.

Still, the flames have continued to grow, and although I write rarely for Digital Journal these days, I am spending more time writing in this blog. As well, I am taking the time to read...and learn more about the writing trade. I know I can do this, turn my dream into reality...but I am taking baby-steps to get there.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Port-A-Potty

Many years ago, when I was a beginning school bus driver, all of the drivers and bus monitors had to go to a required state training that took place up in Sodus, NY in order to licensed.  (The irony here was that we rode with others from different school districts on a school bus!)

The day was bright and sunny but still cool enough that we had to wear either sweaters or jackets, as most of the training took place out doors.  There was a bit of a breeze but as the day progressed, I was able to take off the lacy white sweater that I had wore. 

For a while, I carried the sweater draped over my arm, but after a bit it seemed tedious to have to carry that way, so I decided to throw it over the top of my purse and carry it that way.  (I didn't want to take it back to the bus as it was clear across the compound...and to do so would have also taken me away from the training sessions.)

It ended up being a pretty long day and when we were getting ready to board the buses for our journey home, we all took our turn at the port-a-potties.  When it was my turn, I went in, turned around to lock the door, and whoosh...my pretty white sweater fell into the toilet!  I was heart-broken and didn't know what to do, but I knew I was NOT going to attempt to retrieve it...yuck!  I did what I had to do...and left.

On the way home, someone noticed that I didn't have my sweater and asked if I had forgotten it.  Now, embarrassed, I explained that no...I hadn't left it...I'd lost it IN the port-a-potty.  Everyone within ear shot just roared with laughter and I couldn't help but laugh too! 

One of my friends, thought for a moment and said something to the fact that when the person came to pump the port-a-potty out, the sweater probably would plug the hose. More laughter ensued, and continued when I replied that he would be shocked to see it was a woman's sweater! 

That was probably my most embarrassing moment...and it took a long, long time before everyone quit ribbing me about it!  I still think about...and miss...that sweater, it was a prized possession from a dear elderly lady that I'd befriended years before.


This is exactly what my sweater looked like, only mine was pure white!




Friday, April 15, 2011

The Handyman…My Son Pt. 2: His Appeal for a New Lawyer

When my son's appeal was granted, he was worried about what kind of lawyer he would be appointed, as he is determined to be very active in his court hearings now, making sure that the attorney who represents  him, does his job well.  This is my son's freedom...he HAS to do something.

This is the letter he wrote in search of a new lawyer:

Although, he didn't get any volunteers to take his case, J. V. has taken it and has become very adament about setting things to right for my son. 
 
Again...we have hopes and lots of prayers...
My name is Shawn Campbell, I am a 33 year old man sitting in an upstate prison for murder I did not commit. I have been here behind these walls for almost 7 years - 7 years I have been fighting to prove my innocence.



I have a very unique case, there is no physical evidence linking me to the crime. No blood, hair fibers, DNA, fingerprints, co-defendants, eye-witnesses, and they took foot castings from around the body which did not match anything I wore or my shoe size.


But, I confessed to the murder! After 14 hours of interrogation by three senior investigators, I gave in. My wife and I split-up about 8 weeks prior, we were in the middle of a custody battle, my house was about to be foreclosed on, work was very slow and I was about to be put in jail for failure to pay restitution. (My criminal history consists of traffic violations, a DWI, and possession of a forged instrument--writing bad checks.) The morning of September 27th, 2004 when the investigators picked me up, I had not slept for two days prior and I had just taken myself off of the medication “Lexapro”.


First, the two senior investigators placed me in a small room in a New York State Police station and started asking me questions - like: “Did you know the victim?”; “When was the last time I had seen or talked to Rhonda Bilby?” I answered their questions one at a time for a couple of hours then they told me I was free to go. As I got up to leave for the first time they said that they needed my fingerprints to eliminate me as a suspect - I said fine and let them fingerprint me. After they were done they said that they had a couple of more questions to ask me and took me back into the interrogation room. They asked me about the 3 long guns that I sold to my friend T. R. the day before. I said “Sure - yeah I sold them to him,” and then they told me that they were used or stolen from the crime scene. I said, “Hell no, you are not going to tell me that the gums I sold T. are the guns that killed Mrs. Bilby,” and they said, “No Shawn, you know she wasn’t shot, she was hit in the head with a pipe or a hammer.”


They asked me for my DNA and I gave it to them - I knew I didn’t have anything to worry about! The interrogation turned weird after that. A third senior investigator came into the room and relieved one of the other investigators. He was very soft-spoken and wanted to hold my hand. He would say stuff like: “Just tell me your side of the story, if it was an accident you can’t get in trouble.” This went on for hours, arguing, silence, me crying, me getting frustrated, them switching investigators - on and on and on. They wouldn’t let me call a lawyer nor was the interrogation taped or video recorded.


In the end - after almost 14 hours I was done! I told them anything to get away from them - I confessed - a false confession but I didn’t care. I just wanted them to put me in jail so I could go to sleep. I was so tired, so mentally and physically beat down I couldn’t think. All I could think about was sleep and I truly believed that when the DNA evidence came back from the forensic lab they would have to let me go - it would prove that I didn’t do it. I was right in the aspect that all the forensic evidence came back negative to me, I was wrong about them letting me go!


I was assigned one lawyer (J. M.) who walked off the case after arraignment. I was then assigned a new lawyer (Mr.  K.) who spent a total of 4½ hours with me in almost a year’s time preparing my defense for trial.


I was seven days into trial when my lawyer Mr. K. pulled me, 5 of my family members, and 2 correction officers into a conference room off the back of the court room and started yelling at me. He asked me if I was f---ing stupid, that the jury was asleep and the judge was going to sentence me to 75 to life and if I ever wanted to “see the light of day” I better take a plea of 25 to life. He said that if I didn’t, the judge would sentence me consecutively on all counts on the indictment and the Feds were going to pick me up on some charge that involved my father.


My Great Aunt P. called K. a liar and K. went across the table after her. He started poking her in the chest - yelling and screaming at her. I grabbed K. away from her and one CO stepped between her and K., the other CO stepped between me and K. I was wearing a stun belt under my shirt and when the CO grabbed the remote I let go of K. and stepped back - I did not want to get shocked by 80,000 volts in the spine!


My family and I were very upset and crying - I was shook-up and felt completely drained. I went out and told the judge I was done, the District Attorney handed me a plea agreement, I answered some questions and signed it.


I was immediately taken to the Elmira Correctional Facility. The following day I was sent to the Wende Correctional Facility where I am now. When I arrived at Wende, I went to the Law Library and filed a pro-se 220.60 motion to withdraw my plea. I filed it with Steuben County Court. I was then assigned another lawyer (J. F.) to represent me on this motion. Mr. F. filed his own 220.60 motion, argued it and was denied without a hearing, I was sentenced on the spot to 25 to life.


I asked Mr. F. if he could get a copy of my entire file (which Attorney K. would never turn it over to me). Mr. F. had my entire file copied and sent to me.


When I received my file I started reading through it. I found a folder with information from a man named L. H. who is confidential informant that works for the Federal Government and New York State. He has helped both secure more than 20 convictions on high profile murders, rapists and gang members including the murder of an off duty NYPD officer.


H. wrote affidavits to the Steuben County District Attorney’s office prior to the murder of Rhonda Bilby giving them detailed information on a ‘murder for hire’ plot that was going to take place in their county. These (some) affidavits were written, signed, dated, notarized and stamped “received” from the Steuben County DA’s office prior to the murder. All information pointed to someone else - not me! Everything H. said would happen - happened! Right down to the body being dumped in the woods to decompose. Steuben County did absolutely nothing to investigate or protect one of their own county’s citizens.


After finding this information I filed a pro-se 440.10 motion to vacate my judgment under newly discovered evidence, failure to produce exculpatory evidence, and ineffective assistance of counsel. I was again assigned a new lawyer by Steuben County, his name was J. V. Mr. V. filed a new 440.10 motion, argued it and it too was denied without a hearing. V. then filed an application for permission to appeal with the Appellate Division Fourth Department, it was granted. I was then assigned an attorney (Lyle T. Hajdu from Erikson, Webb, Scolton and Hajdu Law Firm) to file the appeal. Oral argument was January 18, 2011, on February 10, 2011 the Appellate Division reversed Steuben County’s decision and ordered them to conduct a hearing, decision attached.


On March 2nd I went to Steuben County court for a “conference” and the reassignment of counsel. The court reassigned J. V. as my attorney to represent me on this upcoming hearing which is scheduled for April 20, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. The judge (J. L.) is completely clueless as to what to do. He told my lawyer J. V. that if he denies the motion then I am just going to appeal it again, that tells us that he is already thinking he is going to deny the decision after the hearing.


The District Attorney (J. C. T.) is very upset with me because I have exposed them to the media and the county wanted this to be kept quiet. All because they had information about the murder before it took place and did nothing to investigate or prevent their own county’s citizens from being murdered.


The ADA B. T. B. who is representing the “People” in my case was very nasty with my lawyer at the court hearing, telling J. V. that he himself would testify to the fact he was in the conference room with K. and I when Attorney K. told me about the exculpatory evidence which is a bold face lie! They are already scheming on how to keep this quiet and prevent me from being released or a new trial ordered.


There is another twist to the story, Rhonda Bilby was married, her husband’s name is R. Bilby. Not only was it a well known fact that R. was having an ongoing affair on his wife, but he admitted to it on the stand. His mistress (K. S.) was also married, her husband died a couple months before the murder of Rhonda Bilby. A few weeks after the death of Mrs. Bilby, R. moved K. into the house he had shared with his wife. Within months, they were married, sold his house, her house, his antique store and had a house built in Costa Rica. About a week after my trial the fled to Costa Rica where they live today.


I need help, I am truly innocent and will go to the ends of the Earth to prove it. I don’t know if there is anything you can do to help, but anything is better than nothing. I have two children, ages 8 and almost 7, I have already lost most of their lives and I will fight to the end to come home to them. Please, if there is anything - anything at all that you can do to help me, please let me know as soon as possible.


I would also like to let you know that not only was I interrogated by 3 senior investigators for almost 14 hours, at that time I had 3 attorneys and they wouldn’t let me call any of them. I also had 5 violations of probation warrants out on me when they picked me up. The county also denied me my right to testify at Grand Jury and not only did they with-hold the exculpatory evidence from me during my trial, but it was never presented to the Grand Jury by my Attorney W. K.

Emotional Vampires

"When encountering emotional vampires, see what you can learn. It's your choice. You can simply feel tortured, resentful, impotent. Or, as I try to do, ask yourself, "How can this interaction help me grow?" — Judith Orloff

Over the last several years, there has been a lot of talk about Emotional Vampires and although I never knew the terminology, I knew the signs and the results of being around such people.  It's not only not pleasant, but very draining on anyone's mental, emotional and physical well-being.

I've lived with people who were extremely pessimistic and negative in their outlooks on life, literally sucking dry anyone who stayed around them for any length of time.  But what of people who are so deeply and religiously convicted to the point that they have a completely different demeanor that instead of being joyous because of their belief and love of God they have become doom-sayers and very unhappy...even to the point that they are angry?

I live with such a person, someone who I have watched go from a very optimistic and happy-go-lucky individual to someone who has become so moody, so obviously miserable and in turn, it is making the rest of us miserable as well.  

I know that she doesn't see it within her, I don't think she realizes just how much she has changed...not just because of bringing religion into her life, but also because of the man that she now calls husband, who dictates her every move. 

I struggle daily with maintaining a postive sheild against the both of them, and some days, I know I am too close to faltering...not giving in, just exhausted in the attempt to block that negativity from doing harm to myself and her children.  She is completely unaware that her children have drifted away from her...almost at every turn, she is yelling at them over the most minute things.  They come to me and want me to explain to them "why" mommy is so mean, "why" she is mad, "why" she yells so much...etc.

What do I say to them?  They are so young and innocent in their understanding of things...so what can I say...when even I don't understand?



Thursday, April 14, 2011

An Inspiring Quote:

I think that it's true; more women writers make a good living out of writing... whether they are married or single.

Drifting

 “The further you drift from shore, the more likely you are to be lost at sea.”

No truer words could be said.  They imbody exactly what I've felt like and have been doing for years on end...drifting and drifting away from shore.  It's felt like the more I tried to swim back to shore, the more the current took me further from the shore.

From the time I was 16, when my mother was killed in a vehicular accident and throughout most of my adult years, life took me in the direction of not only being a wife and mother, but taught me about the struggle to survive through poverty, abusive husbands, and eventually...lifethrew me the hardest curveballs of all: a nervous breadown and the arrest/coviction of my oldest son for murder.  What small steps I had taken in my recovery were slippery at best...for every few steps I took, I seemed to slide backwards at least half of them.

Somehow, somewhere over the years, I had lost a part of myself...the part that is me.  My daughter has told me time and time again that she wants her "old mom" back...the one prior to the breakdown.  My response is, I don't know how to get that person back because I am no longer that person...but she doesn't understand.  I tell her that I am struggling to find out who it is that I am...and that I am finding myself...but it takes time.  She doesn't understand that I am not the person that can take things at face value, but have to dig deeper, understand those various facets that make up me; why they are there, where they came from and how do I accept and promote these pieces of me that comprise the whole.







Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Handyman…My Son Pt. 1

On January 16, 2008 I published my first blog, titled “The Handyman...Who Is He?”. What I didn’t say then, but what might be intuited was that this story was about someone close to me, but I didn’t say…didn’t want to admit…it was my oldest son. When I wrote that entry, I was still angry…mostly because of the fact that it was my son in prison, and I was having a extremely hard time dealing with that.

Even back then (and now), I hated the term 'handyman' because the local media had really played up that term to describe my son...linking that term so that it equated to "murderer".  Thankfully, for the most part, the media has dropped the 'handyman' when they talk about him and his case, which has some new developments. (2 separate links.)


My son was accused of murdering Ronda Bilby at her home in what the police and the District Attorney referred to as a "botched robbery-gone wrong".  All the evidence was circumstantial, there was no blood found on my son's clothes, the actual murder weapon was never found although the police claimed that they "thought" they had the murder weapon.

Where the case got royally messed up was that after 13 hours of intense interrogation, my son, who was exhausted, told the investigators what they wanted to hear: he did it.  He gave the false confession just so that they would quit badgering him.

Once the case prepared to go to trial, my son was appointed a lawyer, who immediately (after hearing the details) decided he didn't want the case and another lawyer was appointed to him.  During the time that this particular attorney 'worked' Shawn's case, Mr. K. kept calling me and telling me that "your son is guilty", that "he did it" and continually kept after me to get my son to plead guilty...because "this was election year and the DA needed a win" (on this case) to shoo him back into office.  As well, K. told me that if it went to trial and Shawn lost (which he was 100% certain would happen) he could face a sentence of 75 years.  I refused to talk my son into pleading guilty but I did tell Shawn what his lawyer said to me.

Another thing that K. did was he did not tell my son about specific exculpatory evidence that would have freed him.  This evidence was that an inmate in an upstate prison had written the DA's office several times (a month or two) prior to the murder "to warn" of a "murder for hire" scheme that was being circulated through the prison. The DA blew off the information as being a load of B.S.  I have copies of these letters between that informant and the DA.

When the case did go to trial, within the first few days, K., while in a conference with family members (however I was absent), he insisted that Shawn plead guilty and take the plea deal the DA was offering of 25-life, or face a sentence of 75-life which he claimed he KNEW the judge would give him otherwise.  My son...felt he had no choice to take the plea simply to get K. off the family's back and to end the harassment by K.

Now, after years of appeals, all of which have been denied, until this last appeal...my son has sought justice and is fighting for his freedom.  The court action now is to prove that the lawyer (Mr. K.) did not represent him in the proper manner, as well as having withheld the exculpatory evidence.  That is to take place April 18, 2011.

Now...all we can do is hope and pray...that this will lead to a new trial, one that will exonerate my son.







Quote of the Day:
All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.
--Jane Wagner

Wet Wednesday


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It’s said that April showers bring May flowers…however, gray days seem only to deepen my depression, something that I have been aware of since I was a child.  Even as a child, I have hated gray days…they make me feel so listless, drowsy, and in general just depressed so that I’d rather be left alone.

It’s not been much better as an adult.  I find that the rain makes me moodier, and quicker to fly off the handle at the least little upset, and even with medication, I still don’t like these wet days. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

In the country…





There is something that can be said about living in the country.  Here, the typical noises of civilization are absent…the sounds of traffic, of dogs barking, children playing and being noisy. 

Instead, all one hears is nature’s silence punctuated with the chirping of birds and the wind blowing through the trees. 

Peace.

Now that Spring has arrived, the night-time sounds are of hundreds of peepers singing their songs in the swampy areas surrounding this place we call home.  The peeping is so loud that it drowns out the other noises of the night.