It’s been awhile since I last wrote in here, and I have been receiving E-mails (posted here and sent to me privately) from concerned people. I appreciate all your thoughts and good wishes. To express my gratitude, I’m going to try to eke out something productive here.
The bad news is that I ran out of steam and came nowhere near close to making NaNoWriMo’s “Novel in a Month” goal. The first 7-10 days I was typing like a house afire, finding it very easy to meet my 7-10 pages per night. Once I had made my quota, there were nights when I would sit at the typewriter and have kind of an “Aww! Is that all for tonight?” attitude. Then I kept slowing down and slowing down, where even typing one or two pages became a major effort. I made the mistake of taking “a” night off to regroup. That single night has been going on for a month now. I haven’t touched the typewriter, and barely enter my office except to charge my cell phone or put down fresh newspaper for where Diana (our springer spaniel) has been doing her business. (Diana is 12, and I think she’s not going to be continent for very much longer.)
Physically, I’ve been able to stay healthy, although emotionally it’s been quite another story. I’m back to the state where getting out of bed is my biggest victory of the day. I have been able (mostly) to go to work every day and get a fair amount done, but it’s like someone who has a severe case of the flu or pneumonia sucking it up, dragging themselves out of bed, and getting dressed and going to work, even when they shouldn’t.
Susie played a toucan in a Nativity play Tuesday night at St. Mary Magdalene. She had a multicolored striped pullover shirt and a toucan nose, and her teacher let her use a Toucan Sam doll. The next night was the Christmas concert, which took place at Bishop Ready (pronounced “Reedy”) High School. Susie came home from school with a headache and a light fever, but by the time she got her second wind and decided to go to the concert, there was no practical way to get her there in time. She was quite upset about this, but when her fever spiked later that night, she (grudgingly) saw the logic of staying home.
Two-thirds of our household (Steph and Susie) sang in the Winter Concert at the Unitarian Church last Sunday, and they both did wonderfully. Susie is part of the “Peace Pals” children’s choir, and Steph is in the 11 a.m. adult choir. I am hoping that a compact disk of the concert will be available, but I’ll be surprised if that comes out before Memorial Day. We went to a reception after the concert and then to a party after that, so the minute I got home, I was asleep. I dozed off during Cold Case, which is totally out of character for me.
Snow is falling outside this afternoon. The TV stations have been broadcasting “severe winter storm warnings” since about Thursday, but I tend to take them with a grain of salt. To hear them tell it, the Storm of the Century is around the corner every time the sun goes behind a cloud.
Here is (finally) some follow-up about the death of my fellow Industrial Commission employee Angie Farthing, who was murdered by a stalker last year. This is the first time I have heard anything about it since shortly after the man was arrested.
Killer avoids death penalty
Under deal, man gets life for woman’s death
Saturday, December 15, 2007 3:12 AM
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
TOM DODGE | DISPATCH
With his attorneys Diane M. Menashe and J. Scott Weisman at his side, Ryan K. Baker appears in a Franklin County courtroom. He was sentenced for torturing and killing Angela Farthing.
The father of a murdered woman refused to look at her killer yesterday before he unloaded his pain into the court record.
“He slaughtered her like she was an animal,” Harold L. Bell told the judge in Franklin County Common Pleas Court. “He did a terrible thing. My wife and I waited nine years to have that child. We named her Angela, which means little angel.”
On the other side, Ryan K. Baker seemed to be smirking throughout the hearing as he avoided the possibility of the death penalty under a deal with prosecutors. He knew he was going to prison for life after pleading guilty to aggravated murder, aggravated robbery and aggravated burglary.
Baker, 30, said nothing in court.
Prosecutors say Baker had become obsessed with Angela Farthing, a 34-year-old mother and wife. Then, on Oct. 6, 2006, Baker walked over to her home, tortured her and killed her.
Farthing’s house on Vanderberg Avenue can be seen from the one where Baker used to live, at 770 Joyful St. in Franklin Township. Assistant County Prosecutor Doug Stead said that on the night of the murder, Baker waited for Bell to leave his daughter’s home, then he tortured Farthing for her ATM pin number.
Her husband was serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq at the time.
Baker bludgeoned Farthing with a rock and stabbed her with a knife while her 21-month-old son slept in an adjacent room, Stead said. Bell found his daughter dead in the living room the next day, hours before Baker was arrested in Licking County driving the dead woman’s pickup truck.
He had taken more than $700 from her account. Farthing was a state worker with the Industrial Commission of Ohio, friends said.
Prosecutors and the family dropped their pursuit of a death-penalty trial in exchange for Baker’s guilty plea, which he cannot appeal.
Defense attorneys Diane Menashe and J. Scott Weisman offered no excuses for their client’s behavior but asked Judge John F. Bender to accept a sentence of life in prison without parole. Prosecutors and the defense jointly recommended the sentence. Bender granted their wish.
“There is no punishment that can punish you, Mr. Baker, for the heinous act you have done,” Bender said. “I hope that each day of your life you rue the day you committed these acts and you beg God for forgiveness because there is no forgiveness in this court.”
Baker smiled again.
Before Bender handed down his sentence, Bell made clear that he felt the same way about the defendant.
“I hope he has a miserable life. He is a monster.”
I can certainly understand what the father is saying. I’m not sure I would be any different were it Susie who died. But earlier this fall I was reading about the parole of Arthur Bremer, the kook who shot and paralyzed Governor George Wallace in 1972 during Wallace’s run for the Presidency. Wallace lived another 20 years after the shooting, and was a paraplegic in nonstop pain for the rest of his life. Yet, according to the Wikipedia article on Bremer:
Wallace forgave Bremer in August 1995 and wrote to him expressing the hope that the two could get to know each other better. Part of Wallace’s letter said “Dear Arthur, your shooting me in 1972 caused me a lot of discomfort and pain. I am a born-again Christian. I love you. I have asked our Heavenly Father to touch your heart, and I hope that you will ask him for forgiveness of your sin so you can go to heaven like I am going to heaven. I hope that we can get to know each other better. We have heard of each other a long time” and “Please let Jesus Christ be your savior”. Bremer did not reply. The former Alabama governor died on September 13, 1998.
I never cared much for George Wallace, at least during his heyday as Mr. Segregation Now & Segregation Forever, but his own sea change, and trying to be so kind to the man who brought him such endless suffering, made me rethink my feelings about that part of his life.