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Showing posts from June, 2012

iPhone Blogging

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As I prepare to set out into the wilds of Newfoundland I am exploring the possibility of leaving the computer behind and just using the phone... I can tell you already that if I do this - the posts will be shorter and the spelling mistakes more frequent!!! We will see how the packing goes!!!

Over hill and dale toward home...

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I was up at 5:30AM and used the time to update the blog.  Not long after I was up, Richard joined me and made coffee!  Thanks so much Richard - and for finding the sugar!!  Richard left for work and I puttered on the computer, writing and sending a few emails and on about 8:30AM Linda work and we chatted for a bit as I got ready to head out.  We both remarked on how this CouchSurfing thing seems to connect people with similar values and the conversations quickly engage at deep and substantive levels!  Thanks Linda!  It was so great to meet you, share in some conversation and learn from you and of your life!  All the best!

Now it was time to ride!!

First off I skirted around Burlignton, VT  - pastoral farmland filled with abandoned farms!  Ir is shockingly sad to see so many farms abandoned - one has to wonder how we are able to still feed a nation with all the farms boarded up!  Once past Burlington I turned northward toward Cambridge and soon found myself just outside Snuggler's …

"All Real Living is Meeting." Amen. Amen.

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I was awake early - as seems to be the case most mornings I am on the road!  I had decided not to do any writing this morning - instead I packed up my stuff and went off and filled the bike with gas - thinking that by the time I got back Starbucks would be open!  No joy!  The morning before, staff had been there at 7:00AM and they were kind enough to serve me as soon as the coffee was ready.   I guess that only happens on Tuesdays!!


I wondered over to the meeting space and found that breakfast was set up and early risers Charlier and Pauline (CURE) were there.  It was a delight to share breakfast and hear the stories of these two amazing people (he from the deep south and she from Wisconsin) who met at a Vietnam protest march and have been involved in advocacy all their lives - she even learned to make grits for Charlie!!

Charlie invited me to consider attending the 2013 meeting of CURE International in India as a speaker...  hmmmm.... I must say I am intrigued!  We'll see where t…

The Final Full Day...

Tuesday began in the rain - and ended in the rain.  Following breakfast, in Plenary we heard an address by Vicki Shearer.  Here daughter Shannonwas raped and murdered on May 7, 1998 while finishing her first year of graduate school on a full scholarship at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

 Shannon’s killer was not arrested until 2002. He is serving several life sentences without parole in Colorado and Pennsylvania not only for Shannon’s rape and murder but for 13 other sexual assaults as well.

In a very emotional account filled with details about errors the police made and the way that the criminal justice system re-victimized her and her family she told her story and Shannon's story.  She has taught many high school and university classes on abolition, run workshops at state conferences, and published op-ed pieces in newspapers including the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Washington Post.  She also has met with and testified before state legislators in Marylan…

"But this was our life..." Kirk Bloodsworth

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Last evening we gathered at Elm Street Methodist Park to hear Kirk Bloodsworth.  The National Methodist Church has a project where it brings those who have been wrongfully convicted and freed to speak at local community gatherings - to inform people of the experience of those who are on death row and hopefully inform public opinion.  Kirk certainly informed us.

Kirk was a former Marie, a Waterman who just wanted to make a living fishing crab as he father had before him when he was wrongly identified by a neighbour who thought he looked like the guy in the composite sketch - a sketch made from an identikit by two young boys...  evidence was witheld in his case... his mother died while he was incarcerated and it was when he attended the wake - saw her for the last time, that he began to be empowered by her words "Stand up."

He stood up.  You can read the rest of his story elsewhere... but let me tell you I was so moved by his ability to put the bitterness behind him.  He told…

Justice. Justus. Please?!?

The morning began, after coffee and coffee cake with an address by Dr. Todd Clear, Dean, School of Criminal Justice, Rutgers University.  Dr. Clear offered an informative talk on community justice but failed to identify any practical steps that government and stakeholders can do to assist communities in owning justice that restores persons and relationships that have been harmed by crime.  Some interesting statements from his address:

In America the incarceration rate has risen 2% each year.  Crime rates have not risen at the same rate!Pennsylvania is a national leader in rates of incarceration.There are only two factors that influence incarceration rates: the number of people you put there and the length of time they stay there.In the three decades since 1972, there was first a slight increase in crime followed by an increase in the number of identified crimes and the capper is in the third decade the length of stay was increased - generally speaking.In 1972 the average length of inca…

A Slow Scenic Ride to Scranton...

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Sunday began with a hearty breakfast at the restaurant next to the motel - a Roll Ways Breakfast - no cholesterol sausage, eggs, homefries and toast and jam, all washed down with coffee!  It hit the spot.  Eventually the waitress just left the coffee pot on the table!  As I ate I watched a young family at the next table over and recalled with fondness the times we had travelled with our two boys when they were small and the joy of colouring at the table as we waited for our food.  The little girl was none to interested in the crayons - she wanted her juice "Gimmie my juice.  Gimmie my juice." she repeated again and again.  The third time the mom gave her the juice and allowed her to hold it on her own, cause  according to her, she was "a big girl now" the inevitable happened... the juice spilled.

I watched a mom and dad mopped up the juice just as the waitress arrived with their meals.  It was pandemonium!  The little girl reaching for her meal, mom trying to fini…

A Hummingbird in the Window of My Mind...

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It's amazing what watching a hummingbird can make you think of!  Yesterday at the base of Mt. Washington as I waited for the wind to subside at the summit so I could make the trek to the top I watched a hummingbird hover at the feeder.  It was blowing 40 MPH outside the window and yet this little bird hover there and fed at the feeder - and - we on our mechanical horses could not be allowed to venture up the hill for fear of our safety.

One of the group of Canadian riders with whom I was sitting said, "Whatever happened to 'Live Free or Die'"  His comment drew laughter from others around the table.  As I think about that experience now, I think - he was free to walk up, free to don his boots and hike the five miles to the summit - but like me he was too attached to his motorcycle and the idea of riding to the summit.

Leaving stuff behind is one of the things that I enjoy about riding the motorcycle.  Three little bags, everything has a place and that's just …

On the road and writing again...

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I don't know what it is with me... but after riding for a day, when I get up the next morning I have an urge to write - to put some of the sights, sounds and experiences to paper (Not really paper!  I haven't written more than a To Do List on paper in a long time!!)

Yesterday I covered a lot of miles, saw some rain and a little bit of sunshine - only stopping to fill the bike three times, and my belly once.  You see I had a deadline of sorts.  My host had invited me to an "open supper" at Serenity Steps.

As I found out later, Serenity Steps is a Drop In Centre and Peer Support Network for folk living with mental illness.  Over a meal of tuna rolls, macaroni salad and chicken noodle soup I got to meet some of the clients that my host Lynn had worked with.  Funded minimally by the state, Serenity Steps reaches out to a clientele in the Berlin area - many of whom would not access traditional mental health services. 

I shared dinner with Lynn and Ellen and another man wh…