mardi 29 novembre 2011

As the world burns, America indulges in navel-gazing

Shaka Ponk

If this doesn't get you moving, there's something wrong with you.

And they're French!

dimanche 27 novembre 2011

Deer Harbor, Orcas Island

How much you wanna make a bet I can throw a football over them mountains? Well, if coach woulda put me in fourth quarter, we’d have been state champions. No doubt. No doubt in my mind. You better believe things had been different. I’d have gone pro in a heartbeat. I’d be making millions of dollars and living in a big ol’ mansion somewhere, soaking it up in a hot tub with my soul mate. - Uncle Rico

lundi 7 novembre 2011

Falling back is as much fun as springing ahead

It would have been nice to have some advance warning. Walt left for practice yesterday at what seemed to be 9:30 (for a 10 am start). I discovered shortly after he left that it was only 8:30 (thank you, facebook) and was able to communicate that news quickly. On the plus side, the whole day - and it was a crisp and sunny one - got immediately longer, or so it seemed until everything got dark at 5 pm. When that happens, you just want to hunker down under the covers until April or May if you live in these parts.

Only the day before, Saturday, I was marveling over the length of the period called dusk, as we drove through Blewitt Pass towards Seattle. The sky seemed to extend out west forever, and no I can't post a photo because I didn't take one. The car was moving. Those photos never come out.

We spent more time in the tourist trap that is Leavenworth than was strictly necessary. I didn't know there was so much stuff made in China and sold in cutesy gift shops. Is there anything going on in Leavenworth that I need to know about? Anything cultural, for example. I saw only shops and more shops, selling some frankly hideous looking shit. We stopped at the Icicle brewery for an IPA that could have been colder given the name of the place. It was pleasant; we met the proud owner of one of the local shops. Let's leave it at that. He is German-born, at least. Stopped in Leavenworth one day and fell in love with the place. Go figure.

Then the Huskies lost to the Ducks, which was inevitable. Then came the extra hour on Sunday and a long walk for Miss Neko in Jack Block Park, followed by an excursion downtown for a winter casual coat and then a stop at the Brave Horse. I love that place. I just wish the menu had more options. Brave Horse has a really good no meat burger made with black beans and green chilis. I don't know how they manage to achieve a texture that resembles a steak tartare. And they have great cole slaw, though sadly the sauce has mayo in it. Walt had a giant pretzel and mussels. I think having a drink and some food at 3pm helped to take the edge off the sudden darkness at 5 pm. Walt kept trying to figure out what time it "really" was; I told him this would only lead to sorrow and frustration. The cats woke up at 4:40am for breakfast, but that's okay because we went to bed at 9:30pm, which was not - as I reminded Walt - "really" 10:30pm. I'm with les agriculteurs français on this one: I wish the world would stop tinkering with time and clocks twice a year and just let things be what they are. But until that happens, and it will never happen, the best and only remedy is to live in the moment. In an ideal world, winter hibernation would also be a viable option for humans.

jeudi 3 novembre 2011

Stephanie Kercher's open letter marking 4th anniversary of Meredith's death

FOR us, this has only ever been about Meredith. She had been in Perugia for eight weeks and I had moved away from home only three weeks previously. We had stayed in touch updating each other with the exciting new things we were doing.

I had just got home from a training course when Mum called me, her voice trembling, relaying news that a 21-year-old English girl had been found under a mattress in Italy.

Trying to calm Mum down I began calling Mez on her mobile. I ended up leaving a voice message explaining what had happened, telling her to be safe and to call me as soon as she could.

I finished, as always, saying “I love you”. I even emailed her the news page so she knew what I was talking about... Little did I know I was already too late.

Dad’s was the next voice I heard. Through tears he told me the name he had been given by a newspaper was Meredith. I cannot remember what I thought – it was a mixture of disbelief and sheer pain. I did not know what to think or do and then my body just sunk.

When I arrived at Mum’s the pain in my chest was unbearable as I was told the few details of what had happened – the broken window, her door locked on the inside.

Thoughts and scenarios were racing through my head faster than I could comprehend and I collapsed into my parents’ arms, filled with the fear Meredith must have endured that night.

We stayed up all night watching the news, waiting for any concrete information. The Halloween photo of Meredith was the first to appear and I spun round to Mum and said ‘That’s not Mez! That’s not Mez, Mum!’

I was adamant it was not my little sister, but Mum stroked my hair and painfully submitted that it was.

I cried all night until I could barely see or breathe, everything just felt so empty. From the moment we received the call I knew we had to go and look after Mez.

We were told she was in a room with flowers either side of her and Mum said we had to go as soon as possible because she did not want to leave Meredith on her own. I cannot begin to imagine how my parents must have felt, I just know how numb I was and how Mum’s strength pulled us together.

We began our journey to identify her and bring her home. Arriving in Italy was surreal, everything happened so quickly. I still remember looking at Meredith lying there so still, no breath to be taken, a crisp white sheet pulled up to and over her neck.

She seemed peaceful, yet she bore a look of determination, of courage marred by defeat. It was a look that let us know how hard she had fought to be with us – and for that I am eternally grateful.

From that moment we knew we had to fight for her, too, not only for justice for her, but every day for ourselves, for her.

Others have given us the strength to continue since November 1, 2007 and we’d like to thank everyone around the world who has supported us and given us hope.

This is testament to a truly special sister, daughter and friend. She really did touch so many lives with her selfless compassion and loyalty, and continues to do so now.

Nothing was ever too much trouble for her. Mez never knew how effortlessly beautiful she was or how much of an impact she had on people. This was a quality of hers, which enabled her to make others laugh, help others when they needed someone, and become someone to aspire to.

She held such an incredible presence that the void she has left us with is noticeable every day. Marking the fourth anniversary of our loss, we now live without reason. No motive was found.

It is difficult to find any reason to want to hurt her and it terrifies me to think she may have left us that night not knowing either.

We still hope justice will prevail and, in the darkest times, the support given to Meredith and us as a family reminds us of why we are still here.

We are working with friends and colleagues to start a Trust Fund in Meredith’s name to help with the case and eventually support anyone else who may tragically find themselves in our position, so that her fight may continue and help others.

On November 1 at 9pm I will light a candle for my sister, may she rest in peace.