monster

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I spent a good six straight hours today, sitting propped up at the laptop, either editing or writing or researching agents or reviewing information for the book. My derriere is killing me! In one of my searches, I ran across this video of the current Assistant Attorney General arguing an appeal for reconsideration by the 9th Circuit of Michael Apelt’s successful grant of a new trial last year. It is stomach turning to listen to the sympathy argued by the other side, now, nearly thirty years later, escalated to claims of his father being a Nazi rapist, Michael being product of a rape, his being tied up and locked in the basement, blah blah blah. I have no doubt that most, if not all, of these “facts” as she states them, came from the murderer himself.

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I’m reminded of Jodi Arias–her claims of her victim escalating further and further from anal rape to pedophilia, which all were argued and allowed in court with a straight face. And yet people think these murderers don’t get “fairly treated”. Please.

Pardon the interruption there, I had to go excuse myself to pour a big fat glass of wine to deal with the crap I’ve waded through today. I do like the way the Judges handled the arguments though, for the most part. It was easier watching this, knowing the outcome (appeal overturned). I mean, I could be sitting here right now, knowing that monster was prepping for a new trial, which I would have to sit through and testify at AGAIN. And yes, I did appreciate it greatly when the Judge on the left referred to Michael Apelt as just that:  a monster.

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I found it interesting that the female Judge (and the one on the left), both indicated that all of these “poor little abused boy” (yes I can say that in quotes because I don’t believe it at all–poverty yes, abuse, no. I mean no one knows what makes a sociopath but I do know plenty of people who grew up with abuse and abject poverty who did not end up plotting to kill people and killing them–my husband for one!–sorry for the long parenthetical comment) arguments can split both ways. Meaning a jury or Judge could see that as evidence of “what created the monster” as that Judge said OR evidence to be more lenient. Nevertheless, the facts remain–the plotting, the execution, the cover up, the brutality. Hard to mitigate, but they sure are trying. What’s next? His Dad killed Jesus?

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poor little abused monster

So, IF you are so inclined and I know many of you are in terms of viewing legal dynamics, it’s kind of an interesting hour to watch. Here’s the video, direct from Pasadena:

 

It’s been a super productive day. I’ve not even showered. I woke up thinking it was Saturday and glad I had gathered groceries, as I like staying in here over the weekends when everyone else is out and about. I did my outing last evening, when I went to a new Korean spa and had this oldish Korean woman take out all of her frustrations on my skin during a scrub. Let’s just say, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience I’ve had. I cheated on my regular spa, Olympus, to check out a different one and I regretted it almost immediately. But my skin is super soft nonetheless and it was good to get out, even if it was raining. I picked up some things at an Asian grocery store and made myself a damn good poached cod dinner. Then I slept like a baby. I was so glad to wake up and realize I have one more full day! I’m in Heaven here, literally Heaven.

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I poached the beans and oyster mushrooms first in spiced milk, then poached the cod in the same and made a little lemon butter shallot sauce for on top. Yum-it was as good as a restaurant if I do say so myself-and basically a one pot meal! Ok, two.

Ok I’ll leave you with a snippet of some writing I worked on today. I hope it’s not a repeat as I’m doing a ton of editing right now. But anyway, here it is…some hard walks down memory lane. Again, the wine. With dedication to the friend in Santa Barbara who I mention here, who serendipitously called me today wanting to connect.

Cheers.

This was terrifying to me. Cindy was always my rock. I had never seen her like this before for so long. She seemed to be getting worse, instead of better. I’d experienced those feelings myself though, so I knew exactly what she was describing. My own breakdown had snapped me in half three years earlier, and I was only just stabilizing. I’d had a severe panic attack on an airplane headed to visit a friend in Santa Barbara, hoping the trip would cheer me up from a recent hard breakup. Consumed with claustrophobia, I’d demanded to be let off the plane, as it was taxiing toward the runway. In this day and age, I’d be arrested for my behavior, which was completely out of control even to me. I was a psychiatric nurse at the time and had no idea what was happening.

I made it to Santa Barbara but still wasn’t myself. I was also pretending. I found myself walking along the beach with my friend feeling trapped and claustrophobic because there were a few clouds in the sky. It was a terrifying time, which climaxed with the psych nurse being hospitalized in a psych hospital briefly a few months later. It took me several years of all kinds of therapies to work myself out of that nightmare. I knew first hand how these things take time to build, then more time to recover from, but I was still terrified seeing it mirrored in my big sister. I was desperately afraid of losing her, losing her strength. She was my everything.

I had found my footing for the most part by the time Cindy started to tumble, but it was incredibly distressing nonetheless.  I had developed some skills by then to help navigate her, and for the first time in our lives, I moved into Big Sister mode.

 

play, rest, write

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Well hello there again! I’m happily ensconced in my housesitting gig here in Edmonds, and just today, jumped heartily in to the book. I even taught myself how to embed a photo into a Word document! It’s a little off center, but I’ll see if I can fix that.

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John and I got here a week ago, via JetBlue’s Mint class (amazing!) and had a fantastic time doing one day of everything and the rest of the days of nothing. I don’t think we’ve had many days at all together without some kind of TV or movie watching and we went a full six days without turning on the TV once, or going to a movie, one of our favorite pastimes. We read books, had long talks, napped, took the ferry across the Sound for crepes and stared out the large windows at the long Sound. It was fabulous. He left yesterday and is busy at work back in PA already.

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I bought myself a candle to imprint myself for writing

After one sleepy and rainy day of transition, I woke up bright eyed and ready to dive back in, which I’ve done with gusto. I rewrote my whole query letter, edited some chapters and realized I’m way farther along with the book proposal than I’d remembered (whew!). I will definitely have it finished within the next 11 days.

John bought me the newest edition of Writer’s Market for 2018, so my next project will be sifting through agents there. I have two who I’ve been referred to, and one who has been contacting me, so I have plenty of options to launch my query to. With the recent interest in Cindy’s story on ID, and a general boost in true crime since I last sent out queries two years ago, I have a good feeling about this.

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Wouldn’t it be something if I left Washington with an agent? Crazier things have happened. In my own life I mean.

Well since I’ve been working for a few hours straight, and my AirBnB guests are settled in, and since I saved about $100 yesterday from one good decision, I’m going to head over to the Korean Spa for a scrub, soak and meditation.

I’ll sign off with a few photos, in chronology, of our trip here so far.  And a snippet from the proposal–not so juicy, but what I’ve been working on.

In addition to being a middle child sandwiched between homicide and schizophrenia, I have unique professional qualifications that lend themselves to this storytelling. I spent the first seven years of my professional nursing career working in inpatient psychiatric settings. By the age of 25, I advanced to Assistant Head Nurse on the psychiatric unit where I’d been working for four years. My father also ran a psychiatric unit in a hospital, the only one in our town, for most of his professional Psychology career.

I have a unique understanding of the dynamics related to both my sister’s vulnerability, sociopathy, and my brother’s mental illness, that makes this memoir both informative and easy to follow. One purpose of this book is to provide a wake-up call to those who might be facing a similar peril that Cindy did, and to educate on the manipulative persuasion of coercive control, distressed family dynamics and the ploys that sophisticated predators utilize to harness their prey.

This is not a true crime book geared to sensationalism, although the story itself is inherently dramatic. This is, in the end, a story of rising and demonstrating how far one can fall before finding True North again in a new way.

Happy trails out there!

Seattle’s Great Wheel, where we got stopped at the top twice. The second time we didn’t film as we were basically frozen in fear, not admitting it to each other, staring out at the Sound. 😀

 

Sunset from the Empire Builder, on our way back from a full day of Seattle sightseeing

I’m back!

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Good Lord! It’s been over a year since I’ve posted here. <<spanking myself>>

I have posted a bit over on the other blog Two Innocents.

In case you missed it, Cindy’s case was featured on Investigation Discovery’s new show True Conviction. John and I were flown back to AZ (from PA where I mostly live now, or at least trying to) for the taping. It was quite an experience — not only the being picked up by a fancy car service, etc. part– but mostly it was the unexpected healing that came with it. I was so glad they allowed John to come with me, as I really needed him on so many levels. We hit the ground running, and rushed up to Sedona to retrieve photos and documents for them, before being interviewed the next day.

If you have a provider that has ID, you can watch the show via this link.

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There were also some videos of it available online, if you want to search “True Conviction Deception in the Desert”, you might find one.

The producers wanted all kinds of photos and documents and anything else that I had, which required me to dig through all of that stuff, when all I’ve been looking at for the last 3 years, have been police reports and trial records. Believe it or not, those things were emotionally easier for me to view than the photos, letters and a cassette tape I uncovered that Cindy and I passed between us, before the days of cell phones and internet, when she lived in Minnesota. Sigh…

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I had that tape copied to CD, so I can listen more easily. Chitchat between us, talking about boys we were dating, how much we missed each other, etc. Just hearing her voice again…well, you can imagine. All of the feelings.

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The act of being sort of forced to excavate those things, also forced me past some of my blocks in remembering good times with Cindy. That’s always been the hardest part. I know that sounds macabre in a way, but the deepest pain, for me, has always been remembering the great memories. It just led me down a dark rabbit hole to remember what I’ve lost–never to be again. It has been very, very hard for me and kind of a secret I’ve held. When people say things like “at least you have so many fond memories”, it’s like a dagger in my solar plexus.

Confronting that, through participating in that show, helped clear some of those brick walls of resistance out for me and connected me back to Cindy in a positive way. Yes, it has taken nearly three decades. Grieving has no timeline.

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It was also really wonderful to reconnect with our amazing prosecutor Cathy Hughes and some of the detectives involved, who never knew what became of me. It was so great to see them from a place of happiness in my life. There were so many tears and hugs all around. The producers and host Anna Sigga Niccolazzi treated us all (including Cindy) with such tenderness and respect. It was overall a very positive experience and I’m glad her story got to be told in this way.

I had some revelations, that perhaps I will write about later once I’ve let them gel inside me a little more. They will certainly land in the book somehow.

 

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Speaking of the book, once I was contacted out of the clear blue about this show, I realized it was a sign that I needed to finish the book. There is attention now around Cindy’s case and I need to finish telling it.

Also, around the same time, my dear friends in Edmonds asked if I would house-sit again for them. What an opportunity! You may (or may not) recall, that I have taken two fairly lengthy sabbaticals and have done about 99% of my writing there. I’ve rented their wonderful studio, overlooking the Puget Sound and read, literally, every document I have related to the case–from police interviews to testimony from both trials–and written about 2/3 of the book. I’m at the “Book Proposal” stage now, and over half way through crafting that lengthy document.

 

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So, in about two weeks, John and I will be flying to Seattle together, where he will stay with me in their gorgeous three story house (I call it a mansion because it is to me). He will leave after 5 days, then I will hunker down and finish the proposal, send it out (I have two agents interested in me, maybe more now because of the show) and see what happens. It’s time.

 

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I can’t wait to get to my creative haven again. I’m also glad to have that opportunity, because I also realized that it’s not easy to think about bringing the book in to my peaceful, spa-like home here in Pennsylvania. Did I mention we recently got a hot tub? Heaven soaking out in the snow-filled cold air. I’m really loving this life that I never expected to fall in to in mid-life. It is really, really wonderful and I am so grateful.

 

 

Well, these are my updates for now. Stay tuned. Very shortly I’ll be posting more snippets and book stuff. I’d really like to get this thing completed this year.

Thank you, as always, for coming along for the ride!

 

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Updates–this n that

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Lillian opening the door of our new home last weekend

Good morning!

It’s been awhile since I’ve checked in. Things have been crazy busy over here. Tomorrow I fly to Pennsylvania for a five week stay to….drumroll…close and move in to the new home we’ve been building since last summer!

We’re super excited. It’s truly our dream home and we will be moving in from the country and all that goes with it, to the exciting but smallish community of Lewisburg, PA. I fell in love at first sight with this town as we drove through it, stopping to get gas on our way to someplace else. It’s a charming, small town with sophistication, as it is also the home of Bucknell University.

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“Can’t we move here?”, I asked my husband, who knows the area far better than me. Initially he said it was too far away from his work, our Lillian, etc. Then, out of the blue one day, he had a change of heart, we started looking and voila, we found our Rafferty Manor.

Why do we call it that? Because our address is on Baker Street and we just, you know, it just happened. I haven’t seen it in months, but John has been sending lots of photos. Our walk-through is this Friday, on both my husband’s and father’s birthday. Imagine that. We close next Wednesday. Whew!

We picked everything out of course, from cabinets to carpet. Upgraded some things (I needed my antique white kitchen, you know). We buried crystals and coins in the gravel foundation before it was poured and wrote notes, poems, drawings all over the framework. We’ve been nurturing this home from its inception. It is really perfect for us.

I’m almost packed and working up until the last second, taking my Dad out for an early birthday dinner tonight, then fly out in the morning.

I’ve been in the process of restructuring my life for a few months and that starts in 3….2….1…

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I’ll be living about 2/3 of my life in PA and commuting to AZ to work and check on my family, etc. the rest of the time. I was able to work it all out. My brother has been stable for over two years now, actively singing with the Phoenix Metropolitan Men’s Chorus, working out with a trainer and other structured activities I’ve set up with him, so I will worry less about him. I’ll keep my townhouse right across from where they live so will be here for them every month.

Most people start their marriage with that, the marriage, being their focus then build around it. We are kind of doing it hodgepodge and it’s all working out great. I’ve often thought that, after 20 years of singledom, if I had to adjust to living with anyone 24/7 all at once, well, that would be incredibly stressful at this stage of life.

This way, we got to ease into to our marriage together at a relaxed pace (as strange as that may sound for a cross country situation) and it’s been lovely. We are ready to live together most of the time now (John will travel back with me most of my trips back here too). We’ve been able to pull this off, of course, both being self employed.

I’m chompin at the bit to get there, paint walls (I’ve spent hours researching gray paint colors over the last months), pick up our new furniture, decorate and be a wife and stepmommy for the next 5 weeks solid, then most of the rest of my life going forward!

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AND, Rafferty is where I will pick up writing again. Not likely immediately because there is so much to do, but it’s where I will finish the book. We are on the hunt for an old farm table which will be in front of large doors, facing a gorgeous view of the woods toward the back. I’ll find a comfortable chair,  sit my butt there and finish bringing my story to life.

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In the meantime, I have some things to share. I entered a contest in American Way Magazine (it’s the one in all the American Airline planes) and they published my letter to the editor! They get over 35000 entries a year and publish about 3-4 in each issue and mine was selected. A friend from Canada of all places, sent me a copy as I completely forgot about it being published in January. Here’s a picture of my little contribution:

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January was kind of hot month for me in publication, as I was interviewed for a story in Phoenix Magazine, about Cindy’s case. There is a kind of creepy illustration, that oddly looks more like me than Cindy, but nonetheless, people are still interested in our case after all these years. You can read it here. It’s called Podcast PI’s.

Oh, and I wrote a pretty long blog the other day over on the other location. It’s about racism and how it has impacted my life. You can read that here.

Hope you are all out there keeping warm and happy.

More soon!

Kathy

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tap tap tapping

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I can hardly believe I’ve been here over a week and not written much at all on the blog. In addition to taking these two weeks to finish my book proposal, I also took on the daunting task of a 10 day sugar detox while here. I realized, yesterday I think, that the detox was consuming so much of my mental and physical energy, it was hard to focus on the book!

 

So I decided to cut it short by 3 days, finish it today (yeah!) and get back to some kind of normal eating tomorrow. Once I made that decision, my mental energy returned and I have been at the computer, literally for hours today, writing and cleaning up my prior writing.  Oh, I also made some shortbread cookies which I am calling Hypocrite cookies. I have lots of ingredients from the detox I want to use up–lemons, cranberries, tumeric, etc. My host here always has breakfast bread in the freezer for the bnb guests so yesterday I made her some cranberry lemon loaves and today lemon thyme shortbread with chia seeds. Yes, they only appear to be healthy with their golden tumeric glow and tiny chia polka dots. But yeah it’s all sugar and flour and deliciousness. Yeah, I cheated and tried the dough, and a cookie, so there’s that.

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(something has changed on wordpress and I can’t figure out how to resize the images so sorry these are so humungous–they are actually quite dainty in person, these hypocrites)

 

I haven’t left the house for several days. A huge storm was anticipated this weekend. “The biggest the Pacific Northwest has ever seen!” they said. I had not only myself up here in the big house to worry about but my tenants downstairs in the Studio! I prepped with lanterns and candles and chargers and batteries and we were met with a little bit of rain and a few gusts and that was it. Everyone was disappointed. Everyone but Home Depot I mean. I even made a meme about it. 😀

 

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I dove back into a few of my chapters today and will share a snippet. I don’t have the mental energy to go back to see if this has already been shared so if it’s a repeat, please forgive. Not the easiest chapter to write–about Cindy and my relationship.  Here goes:

People often mistook us for twins, although Cindy was always long and lean to my shorter and stockier physique. She was brunette to my blonde, and our faces were really not that similar. Yet our voices were nearly identical, and our mocked expressions were the giveaway.  We played a game at times of fooling people on the phone. Once, in a boring conversation with a friend we had in college, we passed the phone back and forth between us, it’s your turn now-style, and our friend never noticed.  

When sitting side by side, Cindy would often reach down, under the table or under a coat, and discreetly squeeze my hand or my leg, hard. Depending on the circumstance, I always knew what message she was conveying—we need to leave right now or can you believe she is saying that? or if I don’t squeeze your hand right now, I’m gonna lose it. I squeezed back and the squeeze conversation could traverse an entire awkward encounter or family dinner. We created our own little world and relished living in it. We had our own language, our own symbols, our own private jokes, and our own intimacy that no one, or almost no one, ever penetrated.
We differentiated ourselves in natural ways.  Cindy, being five foot nine, always wanted the taller guys. At the average height of five foot six, I didn’t really care, so I went for the shorter guys. She went for blondes, while I magnetized the dark and exotic types. We would walk in a bar, scan the room and I first looked for the tall guys, blonde was even better. I’d give her one of those eye-points toward him, then redirect my gaze at more eye-level options for me.

Cindy, being the oldest, was more the instigator of plans and ideas, and I willingly went along with almost everything. We became famous for our spontaneous road trips.  We would look at each other, and almost simultaneously say “Let’s go”. We’d jump in the car, sometimes late into the evening and head to another city to visit a friend in college, or in some cases explore more dramatic adventures, like that one time to Rocky Point, Mexico on an impulsive Spring break weekend. 
The trip where I had the one and only foreshadowing of what was to come years later.  It was the trip where Cindy went missing and scared the living shit out of me.

(note: this has not been edited yet!)

Hope you all out there are staying safe and warm and happy! I know I am.

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Whaaaat?

Holy Robin Leach! I’ve landed in the upper levels of Paradise now!

Let me see if I can get this video to launch here (see below).

I have been literally roaming from room to room exploring where I want to set up my laptop and stuff and have finally decided on not deciding and basically continuing to roam.

I thought the downstairs view was amazing (and it is!) but this is over the top!

Pinching myself I get to spend two weeks here…as a watch the ferry head out to Kingston which I think I will ride on tomorrow, just for fun. God I love this place so so SO MUCH!