Wednesday, March 30, 2011

And the winner is...

I've been so caught up in the mayhem of my current situation that I almost forgot that today was the day to draw the winner of the Macleans Giveaway. Fortunately, there are still about, er, 75 minutes left of the 30th so I just made it under the wire.

I consulted with Random.org and she picked....(drum roll) Donna from NappyDaze!!  Yay Donna!! You have just won a lifetime supply, truckload, whole lotta Macleans products! Email me your address (kb@flaghussy [dot] com) and I'll pass it along to Macleans and they'll ship the loot to your door! And thank you Macleans, again, for your generosity on all levels.

I also want to say an immense thank you to everyone who responded to my last post, whether with encouragement or offers of help. I still don't know what I'm going to do but I so appreciate your support. Sometimes life offers no guideposts. Right now I feel as if I'm feeling my way in the dark. I have no idea what the next day or week or month will bring. Thanks for walking this path with me.



Bookmark and Share

Monday, March 28, 2011

Falling through the cracks of the system

In three days I am due to go home.

I am afraid to go home.

The kids and I will be returning to a house where we are not safe; to a house where I sleep lightly and wake to every sound, wondering if that night will be the night it all falls down around us.

In the beginning I was so naive. I thought the police would protect us. I thought it all worked the way it did on TV. I trusted in the system. I thought a restraining order meant something. I was calmed by the presence of badges and blue uniforms.

The more I discovered around the house, the more I came to realize that my husband was a man I didn’t know at all, the more frightened I became for our safety, the more vocal I became with the authorities. And the more disappointed I became with their lack of response.

Finally, I contacted a friend of mine who is a human rights attorney and former family law judge. He suggested I call the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, anyone who would listen. He said to list out all of my concerns. So I did. This is what I told them:

• My husband was currently under investigation for child pornography and his involvement was extensive enough to have his case passed up to the federal level for review.

• I had also found “horror porn” in his collection, which included hundreds of pictures of dead women, presumably taken from crime scenes.

• He had assaulted me in August of 2010 while the children were present and had been arrested and charged. He said the assault was my fault for “making him angry”.

• I had found a weapon resembling a tire iron tucked into the bed frame on his side of the bed. This was in addition to another weapon he kept under the bed for intruders.

• After my husband was ordered out of the house, our six year old son found a cache of weapons in the bottom of my husband’s office closet that I hadn’t known about. It included an axe, a studded flail and a dagger, which my son had unsheathed. I hadn't known he'd had any of these.

• My husband has a history of slipping in and out of psychosis when under stress.

• My husband has already violated the restraining order on several occasions. I have reported these violations to the police. He has not been arrested or charged.

• It is my understanding that my husband has focused all his rage over the investigation and assault charges on me. It is my understanding he is looking at a sentence of at least 12-15 years based on evidence collected as of October, 2010, and that he has stated he will commit suicide rather than going to prison.

• It is my fear that he will attempt to take my life and possibly the children’s at the time he attempts suicide.

The NCEC took a report but could not assist with safety concerns. They said to call the FBI. The FBI said that the case was still at the local level and they did not have the jurisdiction to interfere. They suggested I call the KBI. The KBI said that the case had not been shared with them either, but remained at the local level. They suggested I approach the court for permission to sell the house and move. When I spoke to my attorney about this he consulted with his colleagues and said that, barring any charges in the criminal case, he didn’t think I’d be granted permission to leave the state.

Why?

Because even though I have temporary sole custody of the children and a restraining order on their behalf, which I got at the urging of the detectives on his case, who would not even grant him supervised visits, I’m still not allowed to take the children more than 50 miles away from their father. Who has no right to see them. Who didn’t even bother showing up to the hearing to contest the restraining order.

How is it that the rights of a man with a history of violence and child exploitation take precedence over the safety of myself and my kids? How is this possible?

How can the federal and local police forces NOT act on the information I have provided, when their investigation has put our lives in danger? They have the power to intervene and get us to safety. Why have they not done this?

Why have they left us to spend month after month trying to navigate our way through the bureaucracy of the justice system, which won’t allow us to leave until he is charged? Until it hits the papers and he loses everything: his professional career of 25 years, his homes, his reputation. They must know that is the most dangerous time for us. When he has nothing left to lose. By then it will be too late.

I am a well-educated, articulate woman. I am able to advocate for myself. And still, brick walls. I think about the hundreds of thousands of women who live with domestic violence who aren't in a position to navigate their way through a complicated system. Is it any wonder so many go back to their abusers? End up in the hospital again and again?
Today, for the first time, I am publishing the words child pornography. I have said nothing about the case before because I've wanted to honor the integrity of the investigation. But all this begs the question, who is honoring the integrity of my family’s safety? What about us? We matter too. We deserve the attention and respect of the authorities on this case. They have put us in a very precarious situation. They need to deal with that reality.

Some may argue that by writing these words I'm placing myself in more danger. But the truth is that safety does not lie in silence. That is the great myth of domestic violence. That if we sit placidly with our hands in our laps and remain silent, that we will be safe. That is so far from the truth.

While the NCEC, FBI and KBI could not help me, they did all turn around and call the local detective on my husband's case and coincidentally, his case was offered up to the feds that same day. **Edit 5/12 - The KBI agent told me that the lead detective from Olathe P.D. reported curing their phone call that the case had been sent up to the Feds that day. I later learned, during court testimony in May 2011, that this was false. It was not sent to the feds at this time, per testimony of the forensics detective. One year and nine months after the case was opened, it still has not been sent to the Feds.**

The last few nights I've slept fitfully. I've lain in bed wondering whether or not I should put up this post. Should I speak? Remain silent? Once published, the words could not be taken back. I prayed for an answer.

Yesterday morning I opened my email and there was a message from a woman I didn’t know. She said she had found my site from reading Lori’s, and had found Lori’s site from reading an article about depression in her local Texas paper. She was writing to tell me that two years ago she thought she had the perfect life: a husband, a young daughter. One day she awoke to discover her husband had murdered her three-year-old daughter. She was shocked. Completely blind-sided.

Never. Saw. It. Coming.

She was writing to thank me for telling my story, because it made her feel less alone. I sat there for several minutes just staring out the window.

Three years old. Jesus.

And so I published this post.

I will not allow myself and my children to be the jetsam of an overworked, imperfect system. I will not have us sit in that crime-scene of a house with bulls-eyes on our backs and wait and wait and wait until we become another statistic to be swept under the carpet.

I want help. I want a real solution. I want the authorities to realize they have a responsibility to deal with the fallout this case has created. If I have to go to the media next, I will.

The other day I lay down and cried. I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I’d played every card I had. My hand was empty. I only have one thing left that I know to use. I have a voice.

I don’t have a lot.

But I have a voice.


* * * * *


• American women have more to fear from the men they know and once loved than from any stranger. (Jane Brody, New York Times)


• A third of all women's injuries coming into our emergency rooms are the result of deliberate, premeditated acts of violence. And frequently they occur over and over until the woman is killed. (Dr. Kevin Fullin, American Medical Association, public service ad, Time magazine)


• Thirty-four percent of women homicide victims are killed by their husbands, ex-husbands or boyfriends. (National Women Abuse Prevention Project)


Bookmark and Share

Friday, March 25, 2011

Just a bunch of AusBlogCon pics and a shout out to Stevo!

Because I finally found a way to get the pictures off my camera without the cable I left at home....


Nikki (Styling You), Lori (RRSAHM), me, Brenda (Mummytime), Woogsworld


Kelly (Be a Fun Mum)



Lori (RRSAHM)



Fiona (Calm Blue Ocean)



Eden (Edenland) EEEEEEDEN!!!




Dorothy (Singular Insanity)



Nicole (Planning with Kids)



OMG! Is that Beth? From Baby Mac??



I'm so excited I have to grab her ta-tas.com.au



Sawhole (after she discovered the frog I put in her bed)



Kirrily (Sunny Side Up) and I got up to some shenanigans in the elevator. We wanted to do something for our friend Steve at Bloggertropolis, so we decided to take some silly pictures for him.


I have no idea what the stamp on my back says. You'll have to ask Lori from RRSAHM.



You wouldn't think we'd have this much time to take pics in an elevator, but it took us 5 minutes to realize that it wasn't actually moving. Something about my key card being deactivated.



Trying to strike a London City Mum pose, exceept I forgot what it actually was, and I didn't have my wet suit, and the elevator door was finally opening. Alas.


I had so much fun with Kirrily that after she went to bed I wrote her a love note and put hearts and kisses all over it and signed it "Wanderlust" and slipped it under her door. Except apparently it wasn't her door. It was the room next to hers.

Someone, somewhere, is wondering who Wanderlust is and how much they had to drink on Saturnday night.

We love you Steve! Next year, you're coming to AusBlogCon.


P.S. Don't forget to enter my giveaway posted yesterday!


Bookmark and Share

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Giveaway - loads of Macleans products!

Macleans, my lovely sponsor for my trip to the Aussie Bloggers Conference, has put together a large collection of their most popular products for me to give away to a lucky reader. Feast your eyes upon this cornucopia of oral hygeine goodness:


Wowness!


The Macleans Prize pack includes:

  • 4 Macleans Iso-Active Toothpastes (2 Fresh Impact + 2 Ice Impact) 
  • 2 Macleans Advanced Toothpastes (1 Fresh Mint + 1 Mild Mint) 
  • 1 Macleans Ultimate White Ice Sensation Toothpaste 
  • 1 Macleans Protect Fresh Mint Toothpaste 
  • 4 Macleans Junior Jaws toothpastes 
  • 2 Milk Teeth Toothpastes 
  • 4 Macleans Flex Toothbrushes 
  • 2 Junior Jaws Toothbrushes 
  • 2 Milk Teeth Toothbrushes 
  • 2 Macleans Milk Teeth Wiggles mini DVD

Macleans also sent me some products to try and my son kindly volunteered to demonstrate the use of the Junior Jaws toothpaste.

Observe:








Verdict?

"Mmmm, tastes like strawberries!"*


And look! His Macleans are showing!


Here be the rules:

1  Follow Wanderlust
2  Leave a comment telling me to whom you would most want to flash your Macleans
3  Tweet the giveaway (if you're on Twitter -- if not, go shout about it from your front porch)
4  Live in Australia (I promise I will do my best to find a wonderful giveaway for non-Aussie peeps!).
5  Winner will be drawn on March 30th (the day before I leave... sob sob sob hiccup) by random.org. If you plan to win, leave me a link back so I can contact you OR read my blog on March 30th!
6  Hug your mother
7  Don't bite your fingernails
8  Be kind


* Strawberries? Warning: my son did not inherit the super taster gene.


Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The GSK mummy blogger event - awesome!

On November 25th of last year, White Ribbon Day, I put up a post called Broken and Whole. It was a poem about the dreams I had when I was young, the "fall" I experienced when my marriage fell apart and I was assaulted, and the grace and comfort I found in the friends that appeared to catch me and walk with me the long, dark road that leads, inevitably, to healing.

On November 25th I had an email from a representative of Glaxo Smith Kline letting me know that Macleans wanted to sponsor my trip to the Aussie Bloggers Conference in Sydney. They had learned of my story from reading the blog of a friend of mine -- a friend who was walking that path with me -- and they wanted to help.

November 25th also coincided with Thanksgiving Day in the U.S., a day when we gather together with loved ones to give thanks for the blessings in our lives.

* * * * *

In the end, between the money donated by an incredible circle of bloggy friends and the tickets purchased by GSK, my children and I were able to fly to Sydney for the conference. It was a dream come true.

On the Friday before the conference, GSK put on a beautiful event at the Arthouse Hotel in downtown Sydney. They wanted to meet a cross-section of mummy-bloggers who were attending the conference and introduce them to several of the GSK brands, including Macleans, Sensodyne, Pronamel, Panadol, Ribena and Nicabate.

I was a little intimidated by seeing my face splashed all over the place. I've never been the focus of an event before. While the guests arrived I was whisked upstairs and treated to cocktails and a massage. The cocktail was even named after me! I promise this won't all go to my head.

I was nervous about giving a speech, but when I walked in the room and saw, for the first time, the faces of so many of the incredible women I'd been corresponding with over the last year, I simply felt overwhelmed with joy. I saw Lori and she ran up to me and we embraced for a long time. The room went quiet and we both just held each other and cried.

I spoke about my experience with blogging and how it has been such a saving grace for me. One of the reasons it has meant so much to me to come to Sydney, is that it gave me the opportunity to thank, in person, the women who supported me and offered me comfort during the darkness of the last eight months.

I also spoke about the potential I saw in the Australian blogging community. There is so much opportunity right now, enough to go around for everyone. One person's success does not take away from anyone else, it only enhances the blog community as a whole, which serves all of us. I hope we can all support each other, whether our blogs are large or small, whether we have 1,000 followers or 10, and I wish for everyone much success, however each of us defines that.

The only thing that could have made it even better would have been if more people were able to attend.  It was a small venue with limited space and GSK had to work within those constraints. I was thrilled to share the evening with those who were able to attend.

* * * * *

I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here. I am so grateful to Macleans and Glaxo Smith Kline. I know they are looking for opportunities to work with other bloggers and I can't recommend them highly enough. They were consistently polite, respectful and generous in all their dealings with me. They took the time to read my blog and get to know me.

I have a giveaway coming up of GSK products. That will be my next post. Stay tuned!

Here are some highlights from the event. You can see all the photos here:






GlaxoSmithKline mummy blogger event



GlaxoSmithkline mummy blogger event



GlaxoSmithkline mummy blogger event





GlaxoSmithkline mummy blogger event



GlaxoSmithKline mummy blogger event



GlaxoSmithKline mummy blogger event



GlaxoSmithKline mummy blogger event


Bookmark and Share

Monday, March 21, 2011

Shopping with Nikki from Styling You

Ever since I discovered Styling You I've dreamed about going on a shopping adventure with Nikki. I'm not one who inhereted the style gene and I need someone with me to point out what works and what doesn't. I got my wish on Friday!

It was a busy day. Mrs. Woog and I started out getting blow dries and doing our nails in preparation for the GSK event that evening and AusBlogCon on Saturday. We had a window of a couple of hours to complete our shopping and get back to the hotel to change. We had to stay focused!

After lunch we met Nikki who had just arrived from the Sunshine Coast. Hugs, squees, face pinches, more hugs. Then, down to business. We hit the shops on Oxford Street.

If you remember my earlier post with Nikki, you'll know we were looking for something soft and flowing to wear in lieue of my usual jeans and t-shirts.  Our first stop was Country Road.




I tried on several outfits and finally settled on this sweater dress. I wanted something I could wear with my over-the-knee boots and we thought this would do the trick. I also bought a long, black wool cardigan that can be dressed up or down.





Next we headed off down the street and ducked into a trendy little shop that Mrs. Woog had spied earlier that morning. Nikki thought my life would not be complete without a maxi skirt, so I walked out of the shop with this:



At this point my credit card was crying uncle and the girls were muttering something about wine o'clock so we found a nice little pub and had a glass before heading back to the hotel for a quick change.

Power shopping. Check!

Thanks Nikki for the wonderful shopping adventure. You are a national treasure!


Bookmark and Share

Riddle me this

My first week in Sydney I stayed with Mrs Woog in her beautiful guest suite. I had read on her blog about how her husband would deliver to her coffee in bed. How thrilled was I when, upon waking my first morning in Sydney, a steaming flat white was brought to my bedside by young Harry. This contined each morning I was there.

This week we are staying with the equally lovely Eden in the apartment above her garage. And this morning, her son Max appeared at the foot of the stairs with two steaming lattes.

Wow.

Seriously?

What I want to know is this. Is this something that all Australian males are taught to do from a young age? Because if that is the case, I'm absolutely staying in the country. With or without a visa.



Make mine extra hot, please


Bookmark and Share

Sunday, March 20, 2011

AusBlogCon -- What a ripper!

I hardly know where to start. I have about five posts in my head that I want to write and unfortunately no pictures to go with them yet as I brought the wrong cable so I can't download them from my camera (though I have a Plan B).

This past weekend has been, hands down, one of the most magnificent of my life. It was quite surreal. It began with a lunch with Mia Freedman of Mamamia and group of other bloggers, a shopping trip with Nikki from Styling You, an absolutely UNREAL evening put on by my sponsors, GSK, in which I got to speak and also meet, for the first time, many of my wonderful bloggy friends, a Nuffnang cocktail gathering, and then on Saturday the ABC conference itself and the dinner and dance that followed.

Yes. Surreal.

I will post about all of them, in more detail. With beautiful photos.

But for now I want to say... AMAZING. What a stunningly talented and big-hearted group of women (and men). And you know what I was most struck by? To a one, each person I met was JUST like I imagined them to be from reading their blogs. Their personalities really shone through in their posts, because no one seemed a bit different from their writing. There were a lot of faces I didn't recognize, but once I sat down and started talking with each blogger, I felt right at home, like we were old friends. I will repeat myself...amazing.

My only regret is that I was only able to spend short snippets of time with each person. The conference was one day and that day flew by. I wanted to sit and talk for hours to so many of my friends, but that just wasn't possible.

I read my poem Woman, A History, and it was emotional for me, especially in the aftermath of everything that's occurred since I wrote it. I fought to hold back tears. There were so many incredible presentations and readings. I just soaked up all of them and didn't want them to end.

Thanks you Brenda, for conceiving the idea and following through with it. Thank you Veronica and Tina and Nicole and Karen and everyone else who pitched it to make AusBlogCon 2011 a reality. I know it was a lot of hard work and required endless amounts of your time and energy.  But know this. This conference was a pivotal event in the lives of so many people. I know it was for me. I cannot tell you how much it has meant to me to be here and have the experience of meeting everyone.

You did this. You made this a reality. You brought us together and changed our lives and cemented friendships and elevated the Australian blogging world to new heights. God love you. You are all amazing.

...and now for a few pics stolen from the gorgeous inside-and-out Bern Morley (So Now What), because I know how to pilch photos off Facebook:


Wanderlust and Bern - GSK Event





Woogsworld, Kerri Sackville (Life and Other Crises), Wanderlust, Bern



 
And this one pilched from the Nikki of Styling You. Is she not stunning?
I now have a girl crush on Nikki. Entire post to follow.


Kristin and Nikki

Wanderlust and Styling You!




Bookmark and Share

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The case of the disappearing chocolate

Wednesday I spent the day with Ms. Forks in the Road. We had a lovely time chatting and supping on delicious food and strolling along the beach.



Bondi


When I returned to my penthouse suite at the Woog residence I did what any good blogger does when they first walk through the door. I went to fire up my computer. I pulled the bed out from the wall a bit so that I could plug in the power cord, when lo, I noticed a curious collection of shiny bits on the floor, previously hidden from view.



Exibit A



How very odd.

That hadn't been there when I left the previous day. Upon closer inspection I found out they were Hersheys kisses wrappers.  At which point I opened up my suitcase to find this:



Exibit B


Alas. Candy I had brought from America for sugar-deprived Aussie mummy bloggers.*

I showed the evidence to Mrs. Woog and she quickly deduced that one of her sons was involved in this mysterious case of vanishing chocolate.  However, when questioned, both boys claimed to have absolutely no knowledge of how the chocolate had disappeared. They looked at us with expressions of pure innocence.

Since it is widely known that children are incapable of telling anything but the truth, all eyes in the house then fell upon the only remaining suspect:




Never trust a kitten.


* Don't worry lovely ABC mums who requested kisses, I was smart enough to buy a second bag.


Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Give me some flag!



Rock and roll!

I got me some new undies.

Woog calls them my Reg Grundies.

I have no idea what she's on about.


Bookmark and Share

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails