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Mike's Blog

Belated St. Patrick's Day Greeting

by Dick Blanchard on 03/26/17

A belated St. Patrick's Day to everyone! I am writing a post in an attempt to stay in touch and to keep everyone somewhat up to date with my situation. It is hard because it all just feels so stagnant and I sometimes feel like life has moved on without me. I try very hard to stay positive and to maintain hope, but it is draining. I don't want to be a burden on anyone, but I know that this situation is hard on everyone involved. Writing this blog is challenging too because I know that nobody wants to listen to someone wallow in their misery, but I also want to be honest and to let people know what it is like to be in prison as an innocent man because I know that I am not alone in my situation. Many people are in the same boat as I am, and it is beyond frustrating to feel like I have lost control of my life.

Anyway, my appeal is still in progress. We are currently waiting for my lawyer, James Hardy, to finish a motion for writ of certiorari to the Colorado Supreme Court. This is due to the Supreme Court by April 9th. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court doesn't tend to look at cases that have not been published, and the Appellate Court has refused to publish my case. In the mean time I am working with a couple of individuals in the law library looking at different angles for my 35C. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the 35C is the next step after all appeals have been exhausted.

This step is good for me because it looks at my actual case and mistakes that my lawyer made in defending me. We have a laundry list of things that were missed, and things that almost certainly would have changed the original verdict if they had been disclosed. The appeals can only look at mistakes that the judge made during the proceedings, and there were not many. Unfortunately, anything beyond the original appeals, are not covered financially, and our family will be hard put to afford a lawyer.

The more I read about our legal system, the more I find myself astounded at how convoluted the system has become. There are many things that seem to defy logic and common sense. But, you have no choice but to play by the rules of a game that I feel like I will need a miracle to win.

As far as my daily life goes, I find that I do better if I keep myself busy, otherwise I start to think too much and I feel myself getting pulled down into a hole. I can function better if I stay on the surface and focus on daily tasks and routines. I read a lot. I get the Denver Post, and I love the "Week" magazine. I am using Rosetta Stone to work on my Spanish, and I am also studying Gaelic. I love to read history. I am currently working in the recreation department, but I am hoping to move into another job soon doing administration for the maintenance department.  This would be an opportunity to have a bit more work, and more management experience. I am taking a business class, and I can use some of the things we are learning if I get this job. This job would also still allow me to be a part of the core group for the 7 habits of highly successful people, and a cross fit coach.

I am awaiting the arrival of a tablet at the end of April, but I am not convinced this will really happen. We don't have any access to the internet, but if we end up getting them I should be able to use it as a phone, and type letters to my family. Right now we use J-pay for communication. People can write to me on this site, but I get the letters in a printed version, and I have to respond using paper and a pencil. I would love to be able to type my thoughts. Amy got me an old school type writer, but it is loud and cumbersome. It is amazing how much different it is to type on a computer than on a type writer.

If the tablet can act as a phone it will be amazing because if there is one daily constant source of strife and disharmony, it is access to a phone. I call my family at least twice a day. These calls are like my life line. I live to talk to the kids and to Amy. It keeps me connected. No matter what, I get to say good morning and tell them to have a good day and I get to say good night and sweet dreams. Kylie plays me the piano over the phone, Mikaela sings, and sometimes Kiernan plays parkour music as he jumps around with the phone on speaker. I can' t see videos, I only get pictures, so this means more to me that you can imagine. The phones we have are like old school pay phones. There are not very many, so for every call I need to wait in line. Then, many times the phone calls are scratchy and nearly inaudible, and they are also very expensive. Amy deposits money to a phone account on a monthly basis so that I can make these calls. Many people don't understand how much money the families of prisoners have to pay to keep up with daily expenses. Of course I have a job, but I make $0.26/day.

As far as my family goes, life is moving at lightning speed. I look back at pictures, and I can't believe how fast they have grown. Even the guards at the visiting center are astounded at how fast they are growing up. Everyone loves the kids when they visit, and I get lots of compliments about how amazing they are. Many people here have watched them grow up. When I was arrested, Kiernan was only 3 years old, and now he is finishing 2nd grade. Kylie was 5 and she is about to start middle school, and Mikaela was 7, and she is nearly finished with middle school and talking about high school and college. They are all doing amazingly well, despite this situation and that warms my heart, but I want to be a part of it, and I don't want them to feel as though I am a burden. I want them to want to see me and talk with me, and yet, I know that it is very hard to find a balance in life where they can not miss out on things at home, but they can also spend every other weekend driving to Canon City and staying in a hotel and visiting me for a day.

I am proud to say that Mikaela is on the gold honor roll, she just had the opening of The School of Rock, which is a professional production which she is getting paid to perform in. She plays rugby, and does nordic skiing. She is also in a production of the Lion King. She has made some good friends, and is a bubbly, amazing girl, and she looks great in her new glasses.

Kylie has become an amazing swimmer. She also plays basketball, volleyball, soccer, snowboarding, and skiing, and she is on the leadership team at her school. She just got braces (cute as a button). She is also a pianist, and she just had her first competition at Federation in Denver.

 And as for Kiernan, my little man, he is an all around athlete and scholar. His favorite sport is soccer, and he will start playing a level up in a program called Academy next year. For now, he is about to start another season with a team that he loves and has played with for years. He also likes to ski and snowboard and play basketball. He has had a tough year because 3 of his closest friends all moved, mid year. This is hard on any kid, but he feels loss every day not having a dad at home, and I feel that losing friends like this is especially hard on him. He is a survivor though, and he is hanging in there.

It kills me that I have never seen Mikaela on stage, I have never seen Kylie swim in a competition, and I have never seen my own son play soccer. I lived for soccer when I was younger and I dreamed that someday I would have a son who I could kick around with. When he visits, he just wants to move and sitting still is so hard for him. But, at visiting I am not allowed to stand up from my chair. The kids can stand up, but they need to stay at the table. This makes visiting hard, especially for Kiernan who just wants to move. I would give anything to be able to just stand up and kick a ball around with him, and I am scared that I will never get this chance.

Amy is maintaining control of the ship and is our rock. Some days are better than others, of course. She is functioning as a single mom of 3 kids with a full time job and she does writing on the side to make ends meet.  She has a lot of support from her parents, and for this I am very grateful, but I also wish that it were me who was helping her. It is my place, and I feel helpless when she is overwhelmed and there is nothing I can do to lighten the load, and some days I worry that I just make it worse. I want so badly to be a part of this family, and I love them all so much, but I am not sure what the future holds, and that terrifies me. No matter how positive I try to stay, every day away from my family is excruciating. It is hard because I am stuck feeling selfish for wanting to see them sometimes. I want them to go on vacations, and do all their sports and activities, but I don't want those things to pull them away from me.

Anyway, I will keep trying to write. Thank you for all of your support. I can only ask, if you pray, pray for us. If you wish, wish for us. And please don't hesitate to share your thoughts and ideas. I am trying to take the steps I need to take to help myself, but some days I feel like I am trying to walk on a slack line above the Grand Canyon carrying a backpack full of rocks with my eyes closed. (Or something like that.) :)

Mike

Mike's Initial Blog Post

by Dick Blanchard on 01/29/17

This is my first post to my newly created blog on my web site and shared on my Facebook page. I hope you enjoy it, I look forward to making more posts to the blog over time to keep you informed about my prison activities and the status of my case.

First off, I would like to wish everyone a belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thank you to those who emailed me or sent a card. It may seem trivial but those bits of communication and stories of your lives mean the world to me. Secondly, thanks to everyone for their continued  support of our family through this nightmare. It has been a difficult time lately with the Court of Appeals denying a rehearing and even refusing to publish their opinion. Mr. Hardy, my appellate lawyer is working on a petition to the Colorado Supreme Court, though with his schedule that will take some time. In the interim I have been working with a couple of people here on strategies for the 35C (post conviction).

Amy and the kids are doing well and as usual staying very busy. I think the kids had a good Christmas visiting with me the weekend prior and getting to see both sides of the family. All three kids amaze me. They are all doing great in school, seem to be doing well socially and emotionally, and all three excel in their respective endeavors. Actually they excel in anything that they do. Amy and I are truly blessed. I am so proud of them. I have to thank Bob and Marilyn, as well as our circle of friends, for without their help the logistics would be impossible.

I continue to work maintenance in recreation and do some training in Crossfit and Olympic lifting. We just finished our volleyball season where my team took first place. I am enrolled in an on-site small business program through Adams State University, which is going well so far. At this point I am maintaining to hold onto a 4.0, which I hope will make our super-achiever kids proud. Most enjoyably I am still part of the 7 Habits on the inside core group. It's rewarding to work with the population here to effect positive change in the community and the mindset of men who had, for one reason or another, abandoned their character and principles. We just held orientation for the next class beginning next week.

In all honesty, it is a daily struggle to stay positive, though I am a very fortunate man to have an amazing women like Amy for a wife and best friend. 

Thanks to everyone for their continued support. I hope everyone is having a great 2017 so far.

Mike!