Apr 30, 2007

Just Dandy

The First Dandelion
Simple and fresh and fair from winter's close emerging,
As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics, had ever been,
Forth from its sunny nook of shelter'd grass--innocent, golden, calm as the dawn,
The spring's first dandelion shows its trustful face.

Source: "Leaves of Grass," by Walt Whitman

Apr 29, 2007


Last night was the Art Gala for the library and today I can finally exhale. This last week was spent on the phone with the caterer and gathering art, getting things matted and worrying about a bazillion details, and even finishing the piece I donated. It was all worth it; last night’s party was wonderful. Everything fell into place and even the cellist had a nice time. I donated an acrylic painting of down town called “Our Town” and then made my mom promise to bid on it, but I didn’t have anything to worry about it actually went for quite a bit. Shortly after the bidding was over I received two commissions for various parts of town. Dan also bought me a beautiful handmade sterling silver and onyx necklace and matching earrings. While I was pretending to be Vanna White parading around with the item in hand through the crowd and amongst the tables I couldn’t see who was bidding, when they said “sold to Dan” I was delighted and surprised. Thank you sweetie.

Apr 23, 2007

Doing the right thing is hardly ever easy

I’ve been removed from the Rockford Rage Roller Derby League. If you planned on going to see me skate or to support my team, I will not be there.

On April 11th 2007 three days before our last bout at the ISC I received an e-mail from a nice student film maker asking if she could meet with our team. She wanted to do a five minute documentary about the Demolition Dolls. I forwarded the e-mail to my captain and I called SR a corporate director to see what she thought. SR said it sounded fun and I called the student film maker back and told her where the next public practice was. She said she wanted to come and talk to the team.

I went to practice, I saw the film maker, some of my team mates overheard the conversation we were having and got excited about the idea of a documentary about us. She wanted an answer about filming soon so she could get a camera on loan form her school for the bout. I asked if we could get four skater board members together right there at practice and get an ‘ok’. The four came together and decided it would be ok as long as she didn’t get in the way or create confusion. The next morning I awoke to a message from the president of the league stating the filming would not happen because no one called her and she hadn’t seen any paperwork.

I have always operated under the understanding that four votes (of seven) from the skater board made something acceptable and so I asked the president of the league what gave her the power to just override four votes. I was told “Because I own the league and I am liable because my name is on the business license” I filed it away in my brain until the bout was over but not without telling the President of the League I thought that was terrible. I brought it up the next day at the end of the Sunday meeting after the bout. I waited until the meeting was over because I didn’t want to raise alarm or rumor about the not for profit status of the league. I stayed after that night for three hours asking questions of SR. There were other skaters present for parts of the conversation. I was told the President, Secretary and the Treasurer have their names on the business license and so they have final say on any and all corporate matters. The “Skater Board” positions are what the skaters actually vote for hold only influence but no real power. The skater board decisions can be overturned by the corporate directors at anytime.

This didn’t sit well with me. I’ve been paying dues thinking it gave me a voice - my vote. I went on to ask if the directors paid themselves and was told no. I asked if they could vote to pay themselves and was told yes, I asked what stops the three from splitting the money currently in the bank account three ways for compensation of their efforts in forming the league and dissolving it all tomorrow and the response was “You just have to trust us.” When I asked what happens to the position if someone wants to quit, moves or passes away. I was told that the director can sell those shares or even will them to a family member. To say I was alarmed is an understatement. My mouth was agape during this conversation and I commented several times “Really?” And “You have to TELL people this, we need to have a league meeting to explain this to people” I went home and couldn’t sleep. I called my captain the next morning and expressed my concerns; I talked to a few other skaters who had mentioned the same kinds of questions to me. We got together and decided we needed to fully understand how the vote and who is chosen for the corporate board works as well as who has the authority to spend the money of the league.

Tuesday I ran a fever and stayed home from practice, Wednesday wasn’t better I stayed home again, both days I talked to my captain and told her that I’d be at practice on Thursday. I called SR the Corporate Director on Wednesday to ask her for a copy of the bylaws. She didn’t call me back.

While I was home sick I learned, you cannot own a not for profit. You cannot sell shares and you cannot bestow them to a family member upon your death. Should you leave your position for any reason the voting members remaining on the board vote to fill the position. I also found that when setting up the corporate bylaws for a not for profit, the corporation must indicate the length of the term for each corporate director in the bylaws. It can be one year, five years, staggered, or even indefinite. Indefinite seemed unreasonable but fixable because two thirds of the voting body can change the bylaws by vote, making it possible to change the term of the directors from forever to limited. I needed to see the bylaws to clearly understand how it all worked. On Thursday at practice I asked for a copy of them was told by SR she would have to check with the other two corporate directors to see who might have a copy but they are public record. Then SR said this:

“You’re gonna be a little surprised though…”

I replied “Oh, why?”

SR informed me that the only members of the league listed as “members” when they filed with the state were the three also currently listed as corporate directors. I clarified by asking her if that meant they were the only three voting members of the Rockford Rage. She agreed that they were the only three voting members of the corporate board; (meaning they can just keep electing each other.) She added we all have a vote when it comes time to vote for the skater board and they always pay careful attention to the skater board opinions. I asked if we would be added as voting members before the July elections and was told they had never planned on it because changing the names on the business license with the state all the time was hard and with skater turn over it would be really hard and besides who would really want all that liability. My heart sank and despite the fact that my husband and I were invited to attend a “skater appreciation dinner” paid for by the league, last month where a big speech was made and we were all told what a boon to the league we were and how “it all never could’ve all happened without us” I knew I was now at the mercy of the corporate board. I again encouraged SR to inform people in a league meeting what she had just told me and I added sooner was better than later.

On Friday, I e-mailed a request for the corporate bylaws to the three board members the President, the Secretary and the Treasurer. On Saturday April 21st 2007 I was removed from the league via a phone call with the three corporate board members on one end and me on the other, for the following reasons

Not meeting the May marketing deadline

Not updating the website timely manor

Not passing on business contacts to the corporate board

I can address each one of these and explain to you how the accusations have no merit, however, it really wouldn’t matter; the prosecutor, judges and jury are all the same people; the three corporate directors and the trial happened behind closed doors without me present. Besides, I don’t think it’s really my burden. In a democracy people are innocent first.

The thing is, we all worked so very hard putting time, money and boundless effort into the league thinking we were working for our fellow skaters all the time not knowing about the unchecked power of the three corporate board members. All the time listening to them tout “By the Skaters for the Skaters” What I had my eyes opened to this week broke my heart. I feel totally exploited and lied to. I feel misled about the original intent of how the league would run. I feel used and deceived. I’ve spent hours and hours a day working on marketing for the league. I’ve spent my own money on derby projects and my whole family and many friends have invested time, money and emotions in this league. I would like to add that I only agreed to take the marketing Director position after the corporate board fired the last person and begged me to salvage what was left behind. I had been doing the marketing for a total of two months.

I paid dues to be treated like this and was thrown away without due process.

This has astonished me and the more I thought about it the more I decided telling my story out in the open was a good thing, especially in light of the accusations of collusion surrounding my departure and the possible blame that may be laid at my feet should the league fall to pieces. Normally I don’t air my troubles to the internet (its true look back over two years of mostly happy posts) yet, today I am. It’s important for me to tell my friends and family what happened and why I no longer skate for the Rockford Rage Women’s Roller Derby.

The good news is I’m back to blogging. I have all kinds of time now. I just am not sure what to do with the non-refundable plane ticket to Roller Con/Las Vegas I bought for the middle of August.

Apr 21, 2007

First They Came by Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent; I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent; I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out; I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Apr 18, 2007

Puny Pete

Puny Pete was a bathtub pirate,
She sank toy ships all day,
She’d often stop right in the middle
And you could hear here say;
‘Yo ho ho and a bottle of milk
It’s a pirate’s life for me
Let’s make my mother walk the plank
and then we’ll go out to sea’

Apr 15, 2007

Cat Fight!

I've received these in my e-mail today. I can't report on the validity of any of this I just find it interesting that local politics has turned to You Tube again. I also find it flattering that someone thought of Bombadee's Garden when sending out the e-mails. Thanks for inviting me to the cat fight and now I will stand on the sidelines and chant... "Fight, fight, fight!" (We vote Tuesday).

It's also important to add I don't know much about either side and so I take no sides, in fact this isn't even our school district. I just find the whole process of the campaign interesting and would like to share it with you all. Forget the message and behold the direction local small campaigns are taking in the new millennium. "Fight, fight, fight!"

Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2007 15:14:43 -0400
Subject: New YouTube Video Attacks Saudargas

Vote Incumbents OUT!


Date: Sat, 14 Apr 2007 16:18:56 -0500
From: "Jim Powers"
Subject: RE: New YouTube Video Attacks Saudargas

Does catman 8938 also wear a sheet and burn crosses? Sending anonymous emails with primitive, hateful movies does not make cowardice more attractive.
Jim Powers


Apr 14, 2007

One Two Three Four

I took Ella to see Happy Feet at the dollar theatre tonight. I challenge you all to take a three year old who loves to dance to this movie, feed her Raisinettes and then keep her in her seat. At one point the little penguin is doing this fantastic shuffle tap and yelling at all the others to join in, this fabulous samba drum music is playing and Ella is dancing in the aisle. As I lean over and plead with Ella to get back into her seat, the curmudgeony old coot of a penguin on screen denounces Mr. Happy Feet and pleads with him to stop this dancing nonsense. What did I do? I let Ella dance, tap and hop in the aisle as long as she wanted. I give the movie four tap shuffles – go rent it.

Apr 10, 2007

home movies anyone?

I set up the slide projector and am going to turn the lights down and show you some slides from our weekend. This material will not be on the test but it's still important... hey wait... where are you going? It's only about 4 minutes long... hey...

Last Friday

I have a date Wednesday night with this hot young dude I met last Friday at prom. He had these plaid pants on and crazy round sunglasses, (I went home with him - shhhh don't tell my Mom). We're gonna go see the new Quentin Tarantino Film (It has guns explosions AND roller girls in it!). Here's some photos from Roller Derby Prom (ala 1987).

Apr 9, 2007


What a wonderful weekend. We ditched all our technology for two days and went to Granma and Grandpa’s Cabin in central Wisconsin. On Saturday afternoon Ella said “I wish I could play some Nick Jr. on my computer right now” and I knew we had done the right thing. By Sunday afternoon she was happily toasting marshmallows with Grandpa and Great Grandpa. Pics to come.

Apr 6, 2007

Side Dish?

She often blurts out nonsense first thing in the morning and I often chalk it up to crazy dreaming on her part. This morning she told me

"You need a body guard so you don't become someones side dish."

I think she watched Sponge Bob before bed last night.

Apr 4, 2007

Modern Country?

I’ve secured 12 artists for the Art Gala at the end of this month including myself. I’m a little nervous about that. I haven’t put a piece in a show or up for public sale in about eight years. I’m not even sure what I want to do yet. Originally I thought a few little watercolor wildflowers would be nice, but I really want to do a large impressive oil painting. Of course oil paint doesn’t dry right away and that’s not always the best mix with a three year old in the house, which naturally brings me around to acrylics. Then there’s the whole subject and style conundrum. I think my safest bet would be a painting of downtown tinytown and at the least my husband will buy it for his own office. But I’ve spent the last year taking photos of Illinois farm landscapes. To others they may seem boring but to me it’s minimalism at its finest. Flat horizon line two or three colors graduated into each other, an occasional barn or tree interrupting the flow, it’s really quite modern looking even in tonality and I could really do a whole series of them. If I’m doing a whole series, maybe I should find a place to show them and for this April show do a nice little watercolor violet… The proceeds from the art auction all go to the Friends of the Library so I want to donate something that’ll sell well. What would you people bid on?

Go ahead and click on the photo, it'll get really big

Apr 3, 2007

Who Are You?

It’s not uncommon for us to wake up to an imaginary guest in the house and only Ella knows who it is. Ella will play for hours with her friends Cinderella, Oobie, Baby Dinosaur and whomever else may have wandered in from the menagerie that day. I find it all a little uncomfortable, but I grew up with two little brothers and cousins galore. There were always kids squiggling around and getting into mischief with me. Dan grew up the youngest by 10 years and had lots of imaginary friends including, according to his mother, another family in Florida whom he would threaten to go live with if she didn’t treat him better. Dan thinks it’s all just fine. I keep talking about pretend and real with Ella but sometimes it's not even Ella I'm talking to anymore. She'll exclaim "I'm just Theresa right now Mom and I have on a crown and a stripey dress and I have a cow that follows me everywhere because he's my best friend." Maybe she’ll be a writer.

This morning:

Look mom I have a baby dinosaur. She’s very hungry

What do baby dinosaurs eat?

Spaghetti O’s but sometimes she likes oranges better than Spaghetti O’s.

Would you and your baby dinosaur like me to peel an orange for you?

That’d be fantastic, my baby dinosaur will wait on my shoulder for you to peel it.