abundance

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It’s Monday and I’m up early and getting to it! I just have four more writing days while here in Edmonds, so I’m going to make the best of them. I had a little fun last week and over the weekend, so time to buckle down. I read through almost all of my chapters yesterday, editing and making notes and I like how things are coming along. I just have a very few chapters left to write, and I’ll complete one of those today.

Not gonna lie, I’m already dreaming about my next trip here. I just love it so much.

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So to follow up with where I left off last time–the fantastic flower class I got in off the waiting list!

I always do my research, or at least as much as I can, before venturing solo in to a new neighborhood to see what I might not want to miss.  The London Plane is in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle which is kind of between the train station and the happenin area of Pike Market. There are new places popping up around there, so I decided to go early to check out a local happy hour, have dinner and plenty of time to find parking.

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Well, had no idea the traffic going IN to the city on a Thursday afternoon would be so brutal. It took me over an hour to get there and another 20 min or so of roaming looking for parking, so the happy hour I’d planned at a place I’d scoped called Good Bar was out. I squeaked in just in time for the class.

It was amazing. First there was a bar of really nice snacks, which was nice because I had been fasting all day (I’m doing Intermittent Fasting now). They had three selections of wine and delicious cheeseboard type of nibbles.

There were buckets and buckets of flowers, branches, berries, fruits etc. all around the tables that were preset with artisan vases and clippers (that we got to keep!) at each spot.  I switched out the vase at my spot for a white and blue striped pottery vase.

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The women hosting the event were both the owner of The London Plane and a local floral artist. I gleaned so much from just listening to them and watching. The LP is a unique concept which houses a flower shop/wine bar/coffee shop/pastry shop/cafe/boutique with handmade items for sale. It’s like everything I love under one really open and charming roof. I loved it and would totally hang out there if I lived in the area.

We got some intros to the flowers and their backgrounds, while the Jeni the floral artist created an arrangement as a demo.

They then basically set us free to choose what we wanted of probably 50 different varieties of the above options and we all spread out and went to town. I dumped my entire arrangement about half way through and started over…arrgh. I’m still very much in a learning curve. By the end, I was really happy with what I made. They also gave us boxes filled with tissue to easily cart them home (great idea). I learned very much about the direction of my new business and where I want to take it (and myself) in the coming year.

 

 

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I am really interested in developing my skills as an artist and have decided to break out my easel (well get a new one as mine was lost in the flood) and get to painting again.

Oh! Almost forgot. Pat, my host here, had told me that day that she was planning on taking out her dying fig tree the next morning, asking me to park my car elsewhere to make space for that project. Well….I got a wild hair. I asked the London Plane owner if they might like the dozens of green figs/ branches/ leaves that would be coming off and discarded and she said yes! She offered Pat a $50 gift certificate for her fig remnants which was perfect as I really wanted Pat to get down there to check out the place–it’s totally her, as well.

So the next morning, I pruned that tree to an inch of its life and stuffed my car with figs and branches and toted them back down to the shop. It was a great caper, got me outside and a little bit of gardening as I miss my own garden so much!

 

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After the class, I walked with my arrangement back to my car, kind of hungry still so thought about where I might grab a bite back in Edmonds. The neighborhood felt very different at night, so not a place I’d venture out on my own. As I sat in my car, checking my phone for directions, I glanced up and right across the street, just steps from my car was something that looked familiar. It was the exact type of font as the Good Bar lounge I had been researching earlier and lo and behold there it was! Literally in front of my face!

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Well, that was a no brainer. Popped right back out of the car and walked across the narrow street and right in to this very cool spot in an old bank. The vault is still there even!

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I ordered myself a cocktail and perused the menu. I had read one review where the man said he rarely would go to a swanky bar like that, but the sloppy joe was so beyond, he kept going back just for that. So, that’s what I got.

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I was looking around with this goofy smile on my face, which caught the attention of the owner across the room and she mouthed “do you need anything?”. I motioned her over because I wanted to share with her good fortune in finding her place.

Well, we ended up talking and talking as she joined me multiple times as I enjoyed my cocktail, a “not cocktail” later as I was driving, my sloppy joe and then she comp’d me this delicious “Swiss Miss” ice cream that tasted just like hot chocolate, but frozen. Complete with mini marshmallows! Thank you Nancy!

 

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I’ve found that when I travel alone, I often feel less alone because I’m more approachable and meet more people. Always sit at the bar is my motto.

I’ll end this with a snippet that I edited yesterday. Coming in to the home stretch. Once I get home, I’ll spend time getting back with the agents who expressed interest and likely reach out to new ones. True crime is at a high now, so I think my options are much better than even when I started this four years ago.

Back to writing!

It was all very robotic and infused with denial. I just kept reinforcing the story in my head—that Cindy had gotten a call from Mark, that he was in the parking lot of her apartment, threatening to come to the door, so she ran out to head him off at the pass. He was the “angry man” Michael was referring to. The only person she would run off like that to. Then the two of them went somewhere and were holed up in a hotel or something. This was the only story I could allow myself and I was holding on to it for dear life.

Meanwhile, the Mesa police were making the off-policy decision to forego their policy of waiting twenty-four hours to declare Cindy an official missing person. Maybe it was the fact it was Christmas Eve, maybe it was the life insurance I mentioned, or Michael’s strange drunken story that didn’t make sense. But the police declared Cindy officially missing by 6:00 that morning, just three hours after they had been contacted. And they sent a report to the media. The people of Phoenix were waking up on Christmas Eve morning to my sister’s face on their screens, declared “missing”.

With my permission, my friend Debbie had a key to my house and let the police in. They retrieved the note I left and Cindy’s airplane ticket.

Then they went looking for Mark Maurer.

 

 

 

good fortune

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As of this moment, I have 31 pretty well cleaned up and ready for editing chapters completed. I’m most of the way there, with a whole week left on my sabbatical to finish it. I’m going to bring this home on this trip!

It hit me this morning that I have only 27 days left in this decade. I asked myself what I want to accomplish before making that milestone and it’s a no-brainer. I’m going to finish this book. The challenge is on and I’m up for it.

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speaking of my birthday–I’m turning 60–and have decided to let my hair grow in, naturally silver

In other news, I got some super exciting news yesterday. Before I arrived, while planning this trip, I got to thinking about other diversions. I looked in to flower arranging classes as that’s my newest hobby and vocation. Also a write-off for my new business.

I found one that looked absolutely fun at this cafe/bakery/wine bar/flower shop called The London Plane in downtown Seattle. To my disappointment, the class was long sold out, so I let it go and looked around elsewhere, not really finding anything else interesting.

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The London Plane

Well, once we got here and my husband was visiting, we took the train in to the city as we always love to do. While we were walking from the train station to the Big Wheel (so fun!), I looked across the street from a cool glass shop we browsed and lo and behold! The London Plane!

I had to see it, so popped in and looked around–so cute! We weren’t stopping so I just took a peek, then asked about the flower class. The gal reiterated what I knew–that the class was long filled with a waiting list. I turned to leave, then had a wild hair and said “oh what the heck, put me on the list anyway”. I was number 14 I think. Then I forgot about it.

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so lovely

Well, yesterday, I emerged from the shower and had a missed call from Seattle. No message, but just a missed call. Curious, I googled the number and saw a….flower business (!!!). Just then a message came in, and it said ONE slot had opened up and she knew it was last minute but….

I cut it off and called back immediately and said YES YES YES PUT ME IN! (I hope I wasn’t screaming, but I may have been).

So….pinching myself! I’m going in just about an hour–to leave ample time to find parking (aka hit Happy Hour at a nearby place I’ve already scoped). Be assured I will be posting photos of everything! I’m so psyched!

Here is a snippet of one of my favorite chapters in the whole book, that I worked on and cleaned up over the last couple of hours:

Di Maio took the stand that morning with all his bravado and hubris, surely to convince the jury that the defendant, who hired him, was not guilty. That he couldn’t possibly have committed this crime, as only one assailant was involved. That’s why they brought him.  For his expertise, having reviewed the crime scene via photos, autopsy and all of the records, to testify that in his expert opinion, just one assailant had killed Cindy. And obviously, since that person is already convicted of the crime, done deal. Case closed.

DiMaio is a big shot and he knows it.

Cathy came to court that day dressed in her usual attire—a smart business suit and Cindy’s earrings. Today she also had an accessory—a book bag where she sequestered her secret weapon: Dimaio’s textbook.

Oh hello Ms. Hughes, of course I remember you my simple country bumpkin big fan, I imagined him thinking.

Cathy Hughes began with some niceties, reinforcing to the jury the Dr’s level of expertise.

Q:  Nationwide you would say about 20 percent of the cases that the medical examiner has to deal with are stab wounds?

A:  I can’t, I spent 18 of the 20 years in Dallas. In Texas. So all I can say is Texas.

It was clear DiMaio was already on the defensive. The small town fawning prosecutor had commanded the well and he was not liking it, not one bit.

Q:  And from your experience in seeing bodies that have suffered stab wounds you can form certain conclusions as to what occurred to the person; is that correct?

A:  Sometimes, yes.

Q:  You haven’t formed any conclusions at all as to the number of people that were at the scene at the time, isn’t that true?

A:  That’s absolutely correct.

Q:  And if this was one of your cases one of the things you would ask the investigating officers is, well, how many people were out there at the scene, isn’t that true?

A: Perhaps, yes. It would depend on the case, it always depends on the case.

Q: And if you are going to verify your conclusions as to what happened, you have to rely on what ultimately happened in any particular case; isn’t that true?

A: Well, you try to get as much information that you feel is relevant about the case, right? But you are not a police officer. That is what I am saying, the medical examiner’s area of jurisdiction in our state is the body. The police have jurisdiction over the whole scene.

So I mean I’m not going to go into tire prints of things like that. What I am doing here is addressing a number of specific questions that were posed to me. And not going all over the place. I’m just addressing some three specific questions that were asked of me.

Q: Then you acknowledge, you will acknowledge to this jury that to make a determination or to decide what actually happened out there, they have to take into account not only our findings with respect to the autopsy and the photographs of Cynthia Monkman Apelt, but all of the other evidence that’s available in this case including statements of witnesses and other physical evidence that might be found at the scene?

Cathy Hughes, in her inimitable style, was putting this expert in his place, and allowing the jury to give proper weight to his testimony in the grand scheme of the trial and he didn’t quite know it, yet. In essence she was alpha-dogging her way step by step toward making this witness her own.

It’s not my favorite segment of that chapter, but I don’t want to give anything away prematurely. I mean I do want you to buy the book! 😉

More tomorrow…

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the view of my cozy Studio as I returned the other night, after seeing Downton Abbey for the second time. 

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I spent almost all afternoon yesterday working and re-working a chapter on Cindy and my relationship. Brutal. Well, it’s kind of a bit of everything.

I woke up this morning to an email from a prior roommate we had in college, who literally just went googling Cindy’s name and found out for the first time she’d been killed. Astounding timing.

A sign from the Universe that I’m on the right track — messages are being sent and received.

Here is a snippet from yesterday:

Cindy made it over to pick me up for our Rocky Point adventure around noon that day. “Look what I brought KT” as she showed me a selection of sliced cheddar cheese, saltine crackers and a can of green beans.  Oh, and some beer.  “It’s all I had,” as we laughed out loud noting she did remember the can opener for the beans.

We crossed the border to Rocky Point in four hours with our bathing suits, sleeping bags, weird snacks and a plan to find people to camp with on the beach, but it was just approaching sunset.  And it was packed, everywhere.  We saw a “Se Renta” sign and pulled into an office, begging them for a place to rent with our meager stash of cash.  “Todo esta ocupada” they told us indicating basically No Room at the Inn anywhere.
Cindy begged and begged and finally we were handed the keys to an empty house. When I say empty, I mean a completely barren house save two unmade beds, no living room furniture and no electricity, but it had running (cold) water.  “We’ll take it!” Cindy said, and ran back to the dusty Nissan smiling and dangling one key on a broken fob.  It was just one night and if we decided to stay another surely we’d make friends on the beach and crash at their campsite.  We always stumbled in to good luck like that.
We had dreams of buying a pound of shrimp at the waterfront and taking it to our new beach friends, boiling it in salt water and dipping it in melted butter for our “beach party bingo” as Cindy called it. Shrimp, beer and boys—all we needed. It was perfect.
Until it wasn’t.

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these little stickies I found at while standing in line at Office Depot have been a Godsend

I’ve spent much of today editing prior chapters, organizing them in order, reassigning their chapter names, etc. It is a lot of work!

I took a break and headed out for Indian food, then a drive down to the harbor to see the ferry come in and a train roll by. The Sound is full of wind and whitecaps today.

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I’m so grateful for the luxury of this time and this space to work on this project. Trust me, nothing is taken for granted and every single aspect is appreciated.

Time to take a break and a nap or movie or something nourishing.

Or maybe I’ll just lie here and listen to the wind.

cross examination

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Just completed the first, raw version of a 4100 + word chapter on the cross examination of Michael Apelt.

Finally got to writing after two days of printing/organizing/editing/re-reading. It feels good to get back in to the process again. Here is a snippet of that chapter. I know this case so well, and it still blows my mind re-living this sociopathy and all the ways it played out.

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my writing desk

I continue to tell the story via narrative weaving with exact court documents. I think it tells itself better that way, plus gives me a little distance, not having to run every single thing through my brain.

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Please excuse my often terrible punctuation. I’ll get this edited in time.

The arrogance of the sociopathic mind is astounding. Michael Apelt really thought he was doing well on the stand; that he was making himself sympathetic to the jury and his explanations cogent and rational, as he dug himself further and further in, with his admissions of lying to almost every person he encountered.

As the trio dashed around town fantasizing about how they would spend Cindy’s blood money, they told nearly everyone they were coming into money very soon, from Germany. He even told Cindy that who was checking the mailbox daily hoping for that check to arrive. If she’d only known, Michael was encouraging her to check daily hoping to find the life insurance paperwork in there, which to him, was the equivalent of a large check.

 

Q:  Did you tell Rock that you had money coming from Germany?

A:  Yes.

Q:  And did you tell Cher that you had money coming from Germany?

A:  Yes.

Q:  And did you tell Kea that you had money coming from Germany?

A:  Yes.

Q:   And did you tell Daryl Bass from Larson Jewelers that you had money coming from Germany?

A:  Yes.

Q:  And did you tell Flo Schoenfelt that you had money coming from Germany?

He claimed he didn’t remember this name, Schoenfelt.

Q:  You don’t remember going to Wesley Jewelers and ordering Rolex watches?

A:  I don’t know. I don’t—can you describe which store that is?

Q:  The one in Scottsdale with the older lady, Mr. Apelt. You don’t even remember her?

A:  We talked about it.

Q:  Money coming from Germany?

A:  Yes but not in relation to the watch.

Q:  You said that to the people at Scott Toyota, too, didn’t you Mr. Apelt?

A:  Yeah, we made a test. We took a test drive and wanted to enter a contract.

Q:  And the guy at the Jaguar place, a Mr. Kwak, you told him too, you have money coming from Germany?

A:  Yeah, they didn’t want us to drive. They didn’t want to let us drive.

Q:  Did you lie when you went to the boat dealers?

A:  We never said we wanted to buy a boat.

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sunset over my bed last night

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treat myself every night to a cozy fire and movie or tv show–this space is a womb to me

beginning again

Finally, I’m back.

After being derailed for over a year since my last writing trip, by my Arizona condo being destroyed in a massive water event, I’m back to finish it.

The day I arrived in this amazing writing space last time, I received word that all of my ceilings were collapsing and water flowing out my front door as well as standing throughout my AZ home. I had not been there for two weeks, so it was estimated the leak behind the upstairs wall had been flowing almost that entire time. Water is fierce!

I had to set aside my writing time as I spent that whole week dealing with flood specialists, insurance companies, friends helping rescue things for me (thank God all of my book records survived- some soggy but not destroyed–see photo below). It was a very stressful time!

Yet, all in all, it worked out for the best. I needed to sell that home but was clinging to it for many reasons. This flood forced the issue and ultimately made it easier for me to sort through, and dispose of a house full of belongings I had accumulated over 18 years.

Spent a year rebuilding the house from across the country, thanks to my amazing husband, dealt with two full Uhauls of contents, and I sold it last summer in an up market.

Seemed to be a never ending ordeal, but it’s all behind me now and now I’m back in beautiful Edmonds, WA to finish about the last third of the book, and follow up with agents who were interested in it before I had to shelve the project temporarily.

This place is my wonderland in every way- peaceful and nurturing–to finally take this Home.

Please stay tuned for updates as I’ve done before as I bring you along with me.

Today, it begins, again.

plot twist

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Ok, I left you all hanging after making promises I would share my writing retreat. I apologize, but there is a good bad reason. Things took an unexpected turn while I was up there in paradise by the Puget Sound.

I enjoyed almost two weeks house-sitting in what I call “the Mansion”, the first week with my darling husband who flew out  with me.

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The day my hosts returned home from Cuba, right before heading out to pick them up, I received some shattering news. My father had walked over to my condo in Tempe, to retrieve his car that was being stored in my carport. As he approached, he noticed a stream of water flowing from my front door. He and my brother crashed my swollen door open to find a full blown water disaster throughout my home, ceilings crashed to the ground and several inches of standing water throughout.

 

(thank God for good friends–my friend Michelle sprung in to action and ran over immediately to retrieve some waterlogged possessions–all of the documents I’ve been using for the book actually that were sitting in inches of water–and she took these photos)

Well, my entire next 5 days became consumed with managing this disaster. And we are barely, over two weeks later, still in to it. I had to spend several hours a day on the phone with insurance adjusters, water remediation specialists, etc. who sprung to action.

Without sharing all of the gory details, at this moment, every single one of my possessions has been packed out, catalogued and photographed (imagine all of your belongings accumulated over 18 years). It is all being stored in a warehouse somewhere. My home has been taken back to the studs upstairs and down. All walls and ceilings were soaked with water. Apparently a feed to the upstairs toilet burst, and it wasn’t noticed for over a week, after it had filled my home with water which started flowing out the front door.

(some of the itemized items from my home, trickling in, that have been catalogued–yes a single garden glove and two strings)

Once this is all over, I will have a new home–all new carpet, walls, paint, ceilings, cabinets, countertops throughout the bathrooms and kitchen, lighting fixtures–it was all totaled. I haven’t returned to AZ as my physical presence was not needed and my insurance company would just have to put me up somewhere. Frankly, I haven’t wanted to face the destruction and it’s being handed competently. We have tickets already to return in May/June and an AirBnb to stay at, so leaving it at that.

Now there are many silver linings going on here and let’s just say, this catastrophe knocked me right off a fence I was barely teetering on, and it will ultimately end up a good thing for us. But it’s still very traumatic to go through. Sometimes life makes your decisions for you.

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The current stress has to do with two insurance companies figuring out who is to pay for what. Meanwhile, the house sits there, gutted, while one of them is attempting to confirm coverage–over a week now. It is testing my deep distrust of insurance companies having your back (remember we sued the life insurance companies who sold the insurance that cost Cindy her life…and lost). I have been managing this stress, and the potential financial consequences on me, for over two weeks now.

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(it’s all over my face in this photo, even in spite of everything, I took a ferry ride which I love)

I have learned a lot about the toll this kind of trauma takes on a person. The first twenty four hours had me highly functional and on top of everything. Then my brain started blitzing out. I bumped my rental car in to a large rock in the parking space I’ve parked in dozens and dozens of times with my much larger SUV, causing damage. I now am also managing an insurance claim on that! (American Express has been wonderful to deal with and is handling the entire thing so I won’t be out of pocket even a penny). I left my keys in Lowe’s at the counter after running in for a small purchase. There was an incident involving my full bladder and a coffee cup that I will never disclose. I had to finally realize I was sort of out of my mind. The last day in Edmonds I chose to just stay in the beautiful Studio, read, relax and enjoy the view and let my brain settle down.

 

(my wonderful friend and host sent that gorgeous trifle down for me to enjoy)

I consider myself a very strong person–stronger than most honed by a lifetime of need–and this blew my circuits. It is a very humbling thing to realize and admit.

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Luckily, I have an incredibly supportive and insightful husband who pointed out when I started having trouble sleeping and other stress symptoms, that I’ve lived longer in this home than any other in my entire life–18 years. Of course, even if I’m ready to release it, which I am, it’s a traumatic loss. ALL of my heirlooms, photos etc., are in the possession of other people. It is a lot to manage.

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(my mother’s china on that plate rack, thankfully, survived)

So…I remain, waiting, learning new ways to manage this kind of stress. I’m exhausted, honestly.

On top of this, it appeared my brother went “missing” again yesterday and my father is out of town to a funeral, which I spent also a considerable amount of time planning for him (air travel, wheelchairs, transfers, etc.). I do a lot of managing my family from afar. Yesterday’s trauma involved John not answering his phone, or calling my Dad daily as promised for 4 days. We did a welfare check (well I orchestrated it at my Dad’s insistence), which resulted in several hours of dealing with the police, calling friends to go over and let them in, etc. And it turned out exactly as my husband and I suspected–he was in the house sound asleep, not answering his phone or the door. Sigh….

It’s time to reevaluate my family’s ability to live independently. So next month we will have a family meeting over this and it won’t be easy. Again, so thankful I have such a wonderful, willing and competent husband to help me with these complex issues. We are looking at obtaining guardianship now over my brother.

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So yes, it’s been a time.

With all of that being said, while I was in WA, before the flood, I sent out three revised query letters to agents. One replied immediately saying our case had already received too much publicity for her to consider it (!!! I had to laugh at that as I was certain the airing of the ID show on the case would be a selling point–but her deal is to get people exposure like that–not the aftermath–so I understood).

Just this week, I received a reply from another agent I’m quite interested in who wants 50 more pages. I need the dust to settle a bit on this house disaster to be able to focus on cleaning up those pages and send them. But that was unexpected! Her advised turnaround for a reply to queries is 8 weeks. She replied to me in less than two! I just know the right people to represent me will be so taken with the story–and my telling of it–that they will jump on it. And if they don’t have that response, they are not the right people!

Dandelion blowing in the wind

A good life lesson in general, right?

Those are my updates for now. I finally had a moment to string some thoughts together.

As always, thanks for being out there, and please stay tuned.

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.