Strides for Justice Complete: 60 of 60 miles!

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60 Miles complete!

60 Miles complete!

There it is – I ran 60 miles in February! At times physically and mentally challenging, I am proud of myself for pulling through to complete my February Strides for Justice goal. A Quarter Mile at a Time was my motto, and I asked my supporters to donate $0.25 for every mile I ran to my mother’s legal defense. Thank you to everyone who has encouraged me and who has lent their monetary and moral support to Mom. I ask those who have not yet donated to please match my efforts and donate $15. Together we have so far raised $950, and together we can help give Mom the justice she deserves!

$950 and counting!

$950 and counting!

Mom, I dedicated every one of those miles to you. When my body was exhausted your strength kept me moving. When I did not want to get up and run your “do what you got to do” attitude moved me to action. When I was soaked and freezing your unyielding perseverance inspired me to push through. Even now, 3,000 miles away and living on my own, you still guide me. Mom, these are for you. I love you!

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If you are also into running, biking, or other activities you can follow me on Strava. I don’t bother with the paid version but the workout tracking, ability to see friends’ training, and challenges are helpful and fun.

“Unconditional Love” & “Except For That One Thing” | This American Life

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Another great couple of podcasts from This American Life.

First, we learn all about unconditional love and explore the relationship between one boy and his adopted mother and father in this 2006 podcast . I cannot even comprehend what that mother and child went through. Brought me to tears. #317: Unconditional Love (09.15.2006)

Second, we explore the story of a man who, after avoiding jail in his younger life due to a clerical error, was arrested and taken to jail 13 years after the initial crime. Given the current lawsuit my mother is involved in I found this very interesting. I never realized how crappy our criminal justice system can be sometimes… #518: Except For That One Thing (02.14.2014)

Strides for Justice Week 3: 47 of 60 miles

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A little more consistency this week helps me stay on track, but I need a good strong start of the week to reach my goal.

A little more consistency this week helps me stay on track, but I need a good strong start of the week to reach my goal.

Wow, am I tired. While I had a chance to ‘rest’ for a few days last week after that 7.6 mile run, the same exhaustion carried into this week. When I took on this challenge I never imagined just how drained I would feel. But now, more than ever, I need to do this for my mother. Not only was the news from the last hearing less than ideal, Mom called me late last week to inform me she had walking pneumonia. I swear it is all the stress and lack of sleep – she never gets sick! Oh yeah, and the IRS is withholding money from her tax return that she apparently was overpaid in 1985 – when she was not even a legal adult!

Bad things come in threes.

Clearly, whoever said that knew my mother. I am working my butt off to support her as best I can financially but I can only do so much. Help me but supporting my Strides for Justice effort and donate $0.25 for every mile I run in February.

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If you are also into running, biking, or other activities you can follow me on Strava. I don’t bother with the paid version but the workout tracking, ability to see friends’ training, and challenges are helpful and fun.

Is it Possible to Live Car-Free in Seattle? | Seattle Magazine

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Wish I could have starred in this article…it exactly describes my lifestyle. “Car-free” is a bit heavy, especially when the transit system is imperfect and (as we are seeing in Seattle) underfunded. Once bike-ability and transit suitability catch up, I could imagine never using a car. But until then a Car2Go here and there can fill in the gaps in an otherwise car free lifestyle. Affordable, healthy, intentional, sustainable – these are the words I use to describe a car-lite life. Sure, sometimes it is a pain in the ass (a 15 minute drive could take 1.5 hours during late night times), but it is worth it.

Case in point: I run home from work a lot. Last Friday I ran home in 23 minutes. I realized I forgot my keys, and so decided to get a Car2Go to take back to work (I was not feeling a 7.5 mile run and I could not get my bike without my keys). The Car2Go ride took me 45 minutes round trip – exactly the same as my running pace. Minus the healthy benefits.

Seattle Magazine | Arts & Culture/News & Features | Is it Possible to Live Car-Free in Seattle?.

Strides for Justice Week 2: 31 of 60 miles

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I pass the halfway mark of my 60 mile challenge!

I pass the halfway mark of my 60 mile challenge!

For the record, I personally count my weeks as starting on Sunday. Having learned that waiting until the last-minute makes meeting my goal difficult, I brought to week two of my Strides for Justice challenge the same proactive go-getter attitude that I used in week 1. This week, while physically draining, rewarded me as I passed the halfway point to my goal to run 60 miles to raise money for my Mother’s legal defense campaign. The unfortunate news from the preliminary hearing helped spur me to get out over the weekend even while my body asked for a day in bed with a book.

Sunday the 9th was meant to be a short run to keep me on pace… turns out I was feeling good. When I got to the critical right or left junction I chose right because it was longer and I was feeling good. Turns that decision put me on course to run completely around my neighborhood of Queen Anne, a lengthy 7.6 mile pursuit. With that I beat my own personal distance record and set myself ahead on mileage for the first time!

Unfortunately, about 5.5 miles in I was tired and in the last two miles my form was poor and thus my body felt it the next day. Between the weather and feeling exhaustion in every part of my body I did not get back out until Friday. Modest runs over the weekend kept me moving but I am once again down 5 miles. Time is one of my most difficult challenges – with Wednesday and Thursday largely removed I need to stuff more miles into the other days. And therein lays my biggest challenge – running consistently is difficult given that I live a very physical lifestyle: biking for travel, volleyball for fun, and significant heavy lifting at work.

I can feel it…

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If you are also into running, biking, or other activities you can follow me on Strava. I don’t bother with the paid version but the workout tracking, ability to see friends’ training, and challenges are helpful and fun.

Better Place’s Failure Is Blow to Renault | WSJ.com

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Two and a half years ago (I cannot believe it was so long ago!) I visited Better Place while studying in Denmark. My friends and I received a tour of the Renault Fluence Z.E.,  an overview of the systems and concept behind the battery-transfer, and even our first drive of an all-electric vehicle. I remember well my thrill over the quiet power of the electric engine and my excitement for the possibility of a large network of electric vehicles.

After all, who better than the Danish to make it happen? Denmark has everything the United States lacks – a sustainability-minded policy framework for support, a progressive taxation system for financial leverage, wind energy for grid integration, and an aggressive national goal to reduce CO2 emissions and increase renewable energy generation mainly through wind power. Unfortunately for Better Place, things did not work out as planned.

Last May Better Place finally fell apart. It seems this outcome was more a result of poor strategy than an indication that electric vehicles would not compete. Luckily, the Danish Energy Authority is continuing to work on electric vehicles in Denmark. For me, the question that remains is this: did Better Place’s battery-swap concept go with the company to the graveyard?

Better Place’s Failure Is Blow to Renault – WSJ.com.
http://www.ens.dk/klima-co2/transport/elbiler (In Danish – get a browser to translate for you)

Mercer Mess Cleaned Up: Cyclists, Drivers, and Pedestrians Rejoice!

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From Dexter & Mercer, looking east down the new temporary bike path on the north side of Mercer St. underneath Aurora Ave.

Woohoo! Just in the last week construction on Mercer St. under Aurora Ave took a huge step forward by providing a temporary bike and pedestrian path on the North side of Mercer St. While not perfect it will definitely make it easier for everyone using this area and will give a much-needed westbound connection for cyclists. Personally, I am just glad I no longer need to cruise down the center line on Mercer to get through the morning rush hour!

Temporary Mercer walk/bike path under Aurora finally connects Dexter to Lower Queen Anne | Seattle Bike Blog.

Lawsuit Update: Hearing is Good & Bad

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My mom’s hearing was today and, while not the full dismissal we were hoping for, there were some good points. I do not have all the information, transcripts, etc. but only what my mother reported from her perspective. A number of people have already asked for updates so here is what I know:

The good: The judge dismissed all three counts of identity theft – with my mom’s name on the checks there was no evidence of intent to steal the woman’s identity. The judge also dismissed all three counts of “Access device fraud” because my mother never had access to any credit or debit cards and the plaintiff confirmed this.

The bad: The final 9 charges (Forgery x3, Receipt of Stolen Property x3, and Theft by deception x3) stand and must now move to the Court of Common Pleas. The next arraignment date is set for March 12, 2014. According to her lawyer, my mother does not need to appear at this since it will be a simple presentation of charges and plea of guilty/not guilty. Another hearing date will then be set, probably 4-6 weeks later. Thus this lawsuit has extended at least into April, maybe longer, and the $$$ required to continue the defense is sure to increase.

My thoughts: Well, you have to look on the bright side here and at least 6/15 charges were dropped. We are talking felonies here, so that is good news. Also, the plaintiff apparently contradicted herself on several occasions and it seemed from my mother’s perspective that the charges should have been dropped.

I am no legal expert and this is entirely my opinion but it seems plausible to me that the judge may not have dismissed all charges because of the at-risk nature of the plaintiff. Senior abuse is not unheard of and elderly persons are not always able to defend themselves well. So even though there is no clear evidence and the plaintiff’s contradictions question the validity of the charges, letting the case pass to another court is a safe bet.

Unfortunately for my mother that means paying more attorney fees and missing more work. Not to mention the mental and emotional stress that is being dragged out for another two months or more…

Thank you everyone for all your support. I will post any new information as it becomes available. While we do not yet know what costs will be associated with this continued defense, I can assure you the financial burden and uncertainty is no small cause of my mother’s stress. As always, you can continue to help by donating here. And your moral support goes a long way too!

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Mom’s Hearing Tomorrow

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Moment of truth. My mother’s hearing is tomorrow (February 11th) at 10:00 EST. It is a preliminary hearing, meaning a lot of things could happen – including walking out of there with all charges dropped. Please, keep your thoughts with her.

I love you mom!
 

Help me reach my campaign goal to raise $3,500 for Mom’s defense! You can donate as much or little as you want. Check it out: http://fundly.com/help-my-mother-the-falsely-accused