Emanuel Cleaver II For Congress: It is a Family Matter

As long as U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver has served in government, the Mesle family has supported him. Our loyalty to him is ongoing because we believe he personifies the ethics, civility and judgment essential to wise governance.

On behalf of ourselves, and my late father, we ask for your support of Representative Cleaver. We believe he is good for Kansas City, good for Missouri, and good for our nation.

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II

Carl Mesle at The K

Today would’ve been Granddad’s 100th Birthday. I’ve thought about him throughout the day today, scrolling through many wonderful memories. One of my recent favorites was the day he threw out the first pitch at a Royals game. It was September 2010, and as the oldest Eagle Scout in the Midwest, he was the lucky man who got to go out on the mound and throw the pitch. He was so happy that day, with 4,800 scouts there to celebrate with him, along with his family. So here is a photo of him on the big screen, smiling ear to ear, in honor of the Royals’ incredible third win against the Orioles tonight, and in honor of his (almost) 100th birthday.

GranddadFirstPitchBig hugs, Granddad. We will miss you always.

68 Years Of Great Living: Happy Birthday Terry

Today is a day to celebrate.  Terry Christenberry turns 68.  He lives a wonderful life, filled with travel, family and friends. IMG_4393 France IMG_3516 Great Britain DSC_0861 Cuba IMG_3584 Amsterdam It is, truly, a wonderful life.  Congratulations Mr. T.  You are the best. May your future be joyful and long.  May your family and friends love you as much as you love them.

Rudy

It is with great sadness that our family deals with the loss of our beloved friend, father, husband and the world’s best “opa”. Born Roelf Michel Rooijen, but known to all as “Rudy”, he was one in a million.  He was well-loved and respected by his family and friends.  With his partner and equally wonderful wife, Evelien, he cherished his role as a grandparent and lived life to the fullest.

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Terry, Meg and I met the Rooijens when Terry’s daughter, Laura, met and married Rudy and Evelien’s (also wonderful) son, Michel Rooijen.  Thereafter we shared our lives with them as our children and then our granddaughter, Sophia, brought us together in Amsterdam and in Kansas City.  We celebrated Laura and Michel’s wedding in Maastricht, Sophia’s birth in Amsterdam, Thanksgiving in Amsterdam and barbecue in Kansas City.  Our lives are far richer because of our friendship with this special family.

His death was a horrible shock to all of us.  A pillar of strength throughout his life, he seemed invincible.  His death leaves a hole in our lives and our hearts.

Carmel By The Sea

There are few more scenic regions of the United States than Northern California.  Meg and I spent 3 glorious days driving through and photographing the California Coastline, visiting Carmel and driving along Big Sur.  As a mother, life doesn’t get much sweeter. As an amateur photographer, even my limited skills are bound to capture some of the beauty of the area.

This photograph of the bluffs, the water and the sky , is my favorite photograph from the trip.

Carmel

Carmel

Evening in Carmel has its own beauty.  The softer colors of the sun and sky at dusk are worth experiencing.

Sunset in Carmel

The Green Lantern was a bed and breakfast located an easy walking distance from the ocean and the downtown restaurants. Definitely a great place for mother-daughter bonding.

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Happy Birthday Dear Meg, Happy Birthday To You

Say it isn’t so!   Seriously, Meg just doesn’t have time for a birthday.  She is way too busy saving the world.  Her life is in constant motion, working on Deb’s exciting campaign, protecting the environment and in all ways using her energy to make the world better, happier and more fun.

Meg In Overdrive

Meg In Overdrive

Her life is in constant motion.  Meg celebrates life, not just on her birthday, but everyday.  When she has free time she loves to:

Photograph her beloved California coast.

Meg Photographs Her Beloved California

Hike with Jake and their beloved greyhounds.

Family photo while hiking on Ring Mountain

And search for “made in the USA” clothing.

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On your special day, Meg, relax and reflect on the great year you have had and the great years to come.  DSC_0025

Love ya–Mumsy

HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Happy Birthday to my Sweet Mama!

So, clearly Mum and I have been so busy the last few months that we hardly post anything, but today is a day to celebrate….IT’S MUM’S BIRTHDAY!!Meg and Ann in London, November 2013

Mumsy at Christmas 2013While I was working the 2012 campaign cycle, Mum sent me a card to keep me cheery and motivated. The front reads, “Three of my favorite words?” and then the inside says, “That’s my daughter.” Ever since then I’ve kept the card on my desk, because it always reminds me how loved and supported I am by this amazing woman.

Mum, I’m so sorry I can’t be there to give you a big birthday hug, but I hope it’s a wonderful day and that Casey gives you lots of love for the two of us! Oh, and getting on a plane with Mr. T to go to France won’t be too bad either:)

Love you,

Lil you:)

Lily is 12 today!

Campaign season has gone into full swing, but I just had to do a birthday post for our special princess. Lily Ann is 12 years young today! As a retired greyhound, she works hard to sleep as often as possible on as many soft, cushy surfaces as she can. Couch? check. Bed? check. Lots of blankets and pillows? ….well, you get the idea.

LilyHappy Birthday, Princess!

 

Graffiti Marathon: Bad, Sad and Gang Graffiti

In preparing a post on graffiti in the West Bottoms I happened upon a wall with crudely written graffiti: “One dead cop is a good start”.  Immediately my focus shifted from the West Bottoms to graffiti focused on gangs and violence.  It isn’t hard to find.IMG_3794

Kansas City has well over 3000 gang members, far in excess of the number of local police. A small number of Kansas City gangs are extensions of gangs that originated in other parts of the country. Most are loosely organized neighborhood groups.  Some are well-organized and highly disciplined. Others consistent of friends who seek community and protection within their own neighborhoods.  Kansas City has gangs of both kinds.  Both can be dangerous to the gang members and the communities in which they live.

Graffiti is the language and culture of the streets.  Often the  language is clear and threatening. More often, it is only understood by the gang members themselves and, perhaps, rival gangs to whom they are sending a message–whatever message that may be.

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Along Troost near Brush Creek, three walls were smeared with the word “Death”.  In a neighborhood where the violent deaths of young men are rampant, only a fool would ignore the potential threat suggested by the language.  Below, the inclusion of the skull on a wall of otherwise seemingly unintelligible letters is ominous.

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It would be foolish to suggest that all hostile graffiti can be backed up by force, but the intimidation is there nonetheless.

While each of us wants to believe that gang activity is in someone else’s neighborhood, that would be wrong.  I found graffiti identifying the 18th Street Gang on Truman Road, less than a mile from the center of Independence.  Surely I jest, you may say.  In fact, the 18th Street Gang is known to be located in the territories of both William Chrisman and Truman High Schools. It is certainly possible that a teenager, with just a bit of gang knowledge, painted the wall, but it is more likely the gang is marking its territory.  The 18th Street Gang is a multi-ethnic gang that started in Los Angeles.  It operates throughout the U.S. and in Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras and Canada.

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Drive through the streets of the City and you will find markers for other gangs. Surenos 13 (13 stands for the letter “M” indicating it is a Mexican gang) operates in North Kansas City.  Like the 18th Street Gang it is a national organization with most of its membership in California.  This graffiti found just off I-35 on the Northeast side of downtown indicates that the Surenos claim some territory South of the river.

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This next graffiti has me confused.  The three-pointed crown with the dots above the points appears to me to mark territory of the Latin Kings.  But crowns can be identified with gangs other than the Latin Kings.   I have seen numerous similar inscriptions East of Downtown.  The Latin Kings are one of the largest Hispanic street gangs in the U.S,  They originated in Chicago in the 1940s.  In Kansas City they operate both East and West of Downtown.  IMG_3888

Throughout our wonderful community there are telephone poles, bridges, walls of deserted buildings, walls of businesses filled with symbols similar to those above.  They are designed to instill fear, claim territory and warn off potential rival gangs.  You and I drive past these markers on a daily basis and don’t even notice they are present.

While most of the street graffiti is confusing, the language of the street is not always capable of being understood only by the “initiated”.  Some writings are easy to understand.  This expression of grief is for the death of a loved one, almost surely the victim of violence in our streets.

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There are so many reasons people join gangs.  Maybe that can be the focus of another blog on another day.  But today, I want to simply reflect on the reality that not all graffiti is fun.  Some of it is bad, sad and gang related.