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.

 

beginning again

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Today is my first day since arriving in Edmonds of really beginning this book project. My husband graciously drove me here from Arizona (yes he did 100% of the driving as I relaxed co-piloted) and with one fun overnight in Portland for a Portlandia style Valentine’s Day, we basically high-tailed it up here. Gorgeous scenery by the way through Utah and Idaho–States I’d not visited before except SLC briefly as a child. My thoughtful husband even had roses delivered to our table at the restaurant unbeknownst to me–actually I didn’t even realize he knew the name of the restaurant as I’d made the reservations. A fun tapas place showcased on the crazy show Portlandia.

We rested a day and a half here in Edmonds going to see The Revenant (!!!) and eating Oprah’s favorite fried chicken, then John left yesterday to fly back to PA and for me to begin this writing journey again.

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I’m here for 4 solid weeks this time so can work at a more organized and leisurely pace as I truly feel confident I can complete the major parts of writing this book now. Editing will come later but the vast materials I am sifting through and the organizing/writing part will be doable. I’m also working with a writing coach/editor this time and will be sending out some proposals. Wish me luck.

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With the luxury of more time, I decided to start with reading Juan Martinez’ book about convicting Jodi Arias. As I sat in that courtroom nearly every day with the family, this case is near and dear to my heart. I’ll ease in to the horror of our own case through his story telling of that one. Ironically his book was released the day I arrived here so I had it sent to me in WA. Per my plan I woke up before the crack of dawn this morning and began reading by the dim light of my cozy studio.

The sociopathy of Jodi Arias is so astounding and mind boggling as I read it described again through Martinez’ words. Her initial interview, which I’d watched on video many times, still blows me away. “Seamless” is such a perfect word he chooses to describe her velvety style of moving from story to story manipulated to defend herself while showing absolutely zero sign of anxiety. THAT my friends is a hallmark of sociopathy. And, I believe, evil manifested in this world. No shame, no remorse, no guilt, no fear.

I was also struck by the things Arias was interested in during the initial interviews. She desperately wanted to see crime scene photos and to know how Travis’ family was doing.

I believe Arias is far more dangerous than most killers including the Apelts for one reason: she took pleasure in the killing of Travis and by proxy the pain she inflicted on his family. She was demonstrating that from day one. I think she got a taste for that power and pleasure in killing and was setting off at her arrest toward her next victim with her newly purchased gun and two knives. I believe she was a budding serial killer aborted by her arrest. I just wonder who she was headed for next and also wonder if Martinez has speculated on that. Who do you think she was headed for with her concealed weapons when she was arrested?

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yes those are the roses my husband had sent to our table

I’m about a third of the way through the book and may make more notes as I go along. The sun came up and I needed a break. It’s very heavy material. I’ll continue to make notes here on it as I go along.

In addition to Martinez’ book, I had some other documents delivered to me here. One key piece of documentation was missing from all the case files I brought with me last time which was Michael Apelt’s testimony. Like Arias, it’s stunning in its display of sociopathy so for the book I have to get the exact quotes. It will leave your jaw dropping as it did all of us in the courtroom that day. Sociopaths think they can convince people by making up reality moment by moment as they go along. The sad thing is this does work for them much of the time. They will use terms like “you heard me wrong” or “you are making that up” or “that’s not what I said”  when confronted on their indiscrepancies and move, seamlessly as Martinez notes, to their next oleaginous fabricated stories. This process is confusing to most people but not to seasoned prosecutors like Martinez and our Cathy Hughes. They are expecting and waiting for it. Martinez was doing this research on her from Day One which is what is required. Sociopaths are generally the best at this game in town so it’s challenging to keep up with their slippery maneuvers.

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I’ll get to this file likely tomorrow. I have to be ready to open it all up again but will likely start there, the newest material I have. Plus I have to pick up some more highlighter pens today as I forgot mine ;).

The weather here is partly cloudy and gorgeous. I love it. I feel so peaceful here as I gaze out at the Puget Sound and breathe this lovely humid air.

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I’m for the most part alone here, as planned, so it helps to know you are all out there reading as I go along. For some reason, this is hurting my heart more to go in to this time than it did last time. Maybe it’s because I know what’s in there. Maybe because I’m thinking of Travis and his family. Maybe because this is just all part of the healing through writing for me.

Thanks for being there. ❤

 

 

stepmothering

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John and I spent three beautiful days with his daughter Lillian this past weekend.  We decorated Easter eggs, made Springtime cookies, watched Frozen, played games and went to a town an hour away to see Cinderella (great movie by the way).

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I can’t describe the gratitude I have for this special little girl coming in to my life now. He obviously had a daughter with his ex-wife later in life so now at the time many of our peers are being introduced to grandkids, his life is focused on a 3 year old.  And I love it.

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Not being blessed with children of my own and being in a sliver of a category of women who wanted kids and felt they should have had kids but didn’t, I feel so lucky to land in a relationship with the perfect man for me who has a very young child. I didn’t allow myself to feel all of this right away and the wonderful ramifications of this darling 3 year old are trickling in to my psyche little by little. The thought of travels with her, taking her to Disneyworld, doing fun girl things with her have all started to ignite a maternal fire in me that just keeps burning brighter. She calls me “Kaffy” and asks to sit on my lap and for me to take her to the bathroom and to read to her at night. It’s just ecstasy for a woman like me.

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I woke up this morning without hearing her little voice outside our bedroom door and in that silence contemplated my own journey to land in this role. My stepmother Marj basically taught me every single thing not to do-not to be-in order to create a successful bond with Lillian.

I laid there wondering just when Marj started beating us-how early in our relationship she started to lose it like that. I know I tried to run away from home very early on after she came in to our lives. Within months if not weeks. I remember at around age 11 running down the road in desperation, destinationless with Marj finally chasing me down in our family station wagon. I remember her making me get back in the car and as soon as I did, reminding me I had nowhere to go, no one to run to. The mental abuse had started to ramp up by then. There was no attempt to understand me, just to control.  I had never, not for a second, thought about running from my home before she entered it. I thought about escape plans obsessively after that. I prayed she would leave and never come back.

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Marj had no natural maternal instincts. She was manly in stature and attitude. She was 40 when she got together with my Dad and I believe never had a boyfriend before. Later, when Cindy and I became boy-crazy and would inquire about her dating life, she would dodge those questions and only speak about some gay male friends she once had. We thought she was being private. Now I believe she was being self conscious as she had no names or stories to fill in those answers with.

She had no pets nor close relationships to friends’ children-both of which I’ve naturally drawn myself to my entire adult life. She was childless and her primary child relationships were the institutionalized children she studied at the Children’s Research Center where she worked when she met our Dad.

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I lay in bed this morning thinking although she physically abused me from age 11 to 19 when she last beat me, she did not pound her rage in to me. It just didn’t stick. I looked at the ceiling thinking about little Lillian and anyone laying a hand on her. How I only feel a tenderness for this child and a desire to enter her world slowly. How it’s natural for me to respect her mother and honor her role in Lillian’s life in a non-competitive way.

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None of these attitudes were present in Marj. She blasted right in to our lives with Behavior Modification plans. When those failed, she erupted in to immediate and forceful violence beating us with whatever she could grab nearest–a kitchen utensil, hairbrush, hanger or her hands with fingers cemented so tightly together they became their own version of a steel spatula. My brother John recently recounted a story where he’d placed his clean socks on the kitchen table as he walked past intending to sit down and put them on. How Marj saw this and immediately blasted in to beating him around the face and head with that steely hand accompanied by her vicious and controlled deep loud hiss “do NOT put your dirty socks on the table, you do NOT put your dirty socks on the table”.

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I asked him what his response to that was and he replied “I didn’t say anything, I just went up to my room”. None of us said much. We knew by then that our father would always take her side and/or look the other way and we had to just deal with it. We had somehow normalized this pattern of assault. Years later however I would speak to my father about this and he agreed that in this day and age she’d be arrested. She left marks on our bodies and psyches. Cindy and I often went to school covering extensive bruises.

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Yet she didn’t leave any scars in me that influence my role as a stepmother beyond knowing exactly the rules of what not to do.

Honor Thy Mother is an important one. Marj’s insecurities forced us to only use terminology of “real mother” with her and “first mother” about our natural mother who had birthed us, raised us even while dying, thankfully instilled security and kindness in us at those tender ages. Marj once slapped me in the face in my bedroom repeatedly for not using the term “real mother” about her “in an appropriate tone”. I don’t think anyone would have believed this PhD level educated social worker who worked with disturbed kids had this in her. Trust me, it was the dirty secret lurking in the dark corners of our home almost immediately after she joined it.

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(Marj the only person in this picture, our holiday photo that year, gripping an oar)

Marj was never a “real mother” in any realm other than the legal world after she adopted us. She was a guardian, an enforcer, at times a teacher, sometimes a friend, a caretaker and an abuser. She rarely spoke to us of our deceased mother. Habits we’d adopted after our mother died such as saying at the end of our dinnertime Grace “please keep Mommy happy in Heaven” quickly faded away. Our frequent visits to our mother’s grave became fewer and farther between and Marj awkwardly refused to get out of the car when we did go. When she spoke of our mother it was through thin tight lips and at times snide remarks would leak out. She was clearly threatened of our mother so we naturally avoided the discomfort it would bring all of us if we brought her up. I remember laying in my bed in my teen years reaching my hand toward the ceiling, sobbing, praying for my mother to grab it and reach in to me. Her presence had been nearly erased in our home by then. All the pictures were put away.

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This was Marj’s posture toward a dead woman who couldn’t speak for herself. Her posture also included beating that dead woman’s children.

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I shudder to think of these things. I still deal with anger toward my father for allowing them to occur under his roof on his watch. She was wrong often, her entire orientation toward us was wrong and yet we knew he would side with her every time. This also was wrong. We knew early on we had no one to really trust in positions of power in our home. And we all suffered for it in adulthood.

Yet, miraculously I find myself although traumatized by those years, a person who didn’t go the way of repeating those awful patterns as can often be the case. Abused children can grow up to be abusive parents. Not with me though.

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I know I will not speak ill of Lillian’s mother to her or in her presence as I consider her role in my life from a position of gratitude and respect. It is not in my makeup to compete with her. It is my inclination to follow and not lead. I have one goal which is to learn to bond with this tiny person and learn the family system I am entering as I tread softly following their rules. If I’m lucky and maintain a loving relationship with this child throughout her life and influence her in the ways only I can from my unique personality and perspective that will be enough.

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John corrects me if my instincts aren’t correct in responding to Lillian (I tend, unsurprisingly, to over-permissiveness) and I learn from him. I am here to fit in, not impose my ignorance (I mean that in the literal sense of that word) to their way of raising their daughter.

Marj, if she’d been a different person and undamaged herself, would have and should have walked out of that car with us at our mother’s gravesite and held our hands helping us in reverence to grieve and hold the love of our mother in our hearts.

Instead she tried to beat it out of us.

And she died with none of us near her. And she died with accolades, outside of our family, for her noble role in taking us on in some Saint-like way. And no one knew she’d cut us out of her Will-her legally adopted children who she forced to call her “real mother”.She took every last dime she had of her own and what she’d gleaned from my father, all her valuables and willed them all to her sisters, nieces and nephews.

And my father held that secret for her.

She also went to her grave with no one knowing, or even being confronted herself truly, of the violence she inflicted on “her children”. Or the mental abuse that filled it’s place once she stopped beating Cindy and I.

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There are times in life when the primary lesson someone of influence teaches you is how not to be.

So in this moment, ready to embark upon the sacred role of Stepmother to my fiance’s darling young daughter, I can muster a small bow Marj’s way. For that one critical lesson: showing me now it’s not done.

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And another part of me raises two fists in the air, victorious, declaring “you didn’t get my innocence. My mother, my real mother was and is inside me all along and nothing, absolutely nothing you did took that from me”.

Or in the words of Cinderella in the movie we just saw “you are not my Mother, you will never be my mother”.

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other folder

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I’ve only recently discovered that there is this Pandora’s box on Facebook called the “Other” folder.  It’s right next to “Inbox” when you go to check on private messages.  I opened it the other day and had dozens of messages, some spam, some important that were just lurking for me in there.

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I looked again today and realized I’d missed one.  It had come in in 2013 after I’d appeared on the Ricki Lake Show in a show titled “Murder for Money”.  There is a link to it on youtube which is set private right now but if I can get it unlocked, I will share it.  It was really an experience and I met Susan Markowitz, the mother of Nick Markowitz who was murdered by Jesse James Hollywood (his true name).  The film Alpha Dog was made after that terrible crime.

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The amazing thing was we were both asked to be on the same show and we’d corresponded through the Court TV message board many years before.  She was desperately seeking help and support around hunting down the murderer of her son at that time.  He was eventually apprehended out of the country and prosecuted.  It was just amazing to finally meet her in person in that terrible but serendipitous way.

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It was a wild experience all the way around and one I won’t forget nor regret.  Susan also gave me a copy of the book she’s written about her son’s death called My Stolen Son .

Ricki Lake called me a badass that day when we talked before going on the air.  It was an unforgettable day.

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Imagine it would link me to one of Cindy’s ex boyfriends.

This is what was waiting for me in the “other” folder:

Chat Conversation Start
August 21, 2013 1:49 pm

Hello Kathy, Finally!! I have look for you and your family in the past with no luck, I know this is a unconventional way to find people. don’t know if you remember me, ( Javier from Puerto Vallarta ) I was chanel surfing when I came across a familiar face, yours!! I never watch the Ricky Lake show but there you were today on my tv screen. I am now frantically trying to find some pictures that I have being saving for over 25 years to pass to your family, I am of course very sorry about your family tragedy, it was also by accident I found out about it many years ago, a pice of my soul is gone since then. Give my regards to your father, brother and a hug for you.
 
October 25, 2013 4:53 am

Hello again, don’t know if you are getting my messages , I did find the pics I mentioned, would love to send them to you.
Sigh….a piece of his soul is gone since then.
I relate Javier, I totally relate.
I wrote him back today so will see what photos he has to send me.  Hopefully he still has them two years later.
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Photos and photoshopping courtesy of my friend “A News Junkie” from Websleuths crime board who made this online photo slide show from my experience on the Ricki Lake Show.

Slide Show:  click here.

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My sister’s murderers were convicted of premeditated first degree felony murder with three aggravating circumstances of cruel, heinous and depraved and sentenced to death in Arizona in 1990.

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Their accomplice who also conspired with them and was present at the time of Cindy’s death, who could have intervened, who enjoyed a celebratory dinner with the murderers on Cindy’s credit card shortly after stabbing and nearly decapitating her, was granted immunity for her testimony and walks free in Germany.  We the People paid for her lodging and living expenses for over a year before the trial came to court.  She, like the murderers, never paid one dime in to American tax coffers.

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Both brothers, although sentenced to death over two decades ago, remain alive.  Both have drained both AZ and Federal taxpayers of tens of millions of dollars in avoiding their fate.  One was released from death row being deemed “mentally retarded” after 17 years and as soon as the Supreme Court issued a ruling we can’t execute the “mentally retarded”.  Cindy’s name, nor her murder, were barely mentioned in court in that lengthy hearing to determine his new sentence.

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The murderers while on death row were afforded support ads that read like singles ads soliciting penpals, wives and money.  In one of them is a photo of the man who slit her throat holding her puppy.  Years after he was released from Death Row and in to General Population, his ad was still online purporting he was still on Death Row.  They are seen as victims and the true, innocent victim gets forgotten.

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We the People deem this an ok evolution for the worst of the worst in our society.  The ones we’ve created the ultimate punishment for receive the best legal assistance we have to offer.  And we pay for it.  It’s a lucrative business for many death penalty opponents who make money off this passionate issue while torturing surviving victims of families along the way, dragging them back to court to relive the crime decades later, accosting them in their own homes, being abusive to them in cross examinations.

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And We the People deem this an ok policy because we turn a blind eye.  We think once a trial ends the suffering is over for the family.  It is just beginning with the Death Penalty.  In some cases, such as our own, that’s when families are preyed upon most viciously.  I believe this is for one major reason: no one is watching at that point except those who care about the murderers.

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Picture my elderly father and I sitting alone in a courtroom day after day while attorneys filled the side behind the murderer as we listened to arguments championing feeling sorry for them–the men who conspired to kill my sister for one reason:  money.  The men who took her to the desert on December 23 with promises of a “surprise” which ended up being a knife and the fists of two 6’7″ and 6’5″ vicious murderers who beat her, stabbed her repeatedly and nearly cut her head off.  For her body to be found the next day on Christmas Eve.

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Yet death penalty opponents find ways to make US, her family, somehow responsible for the “suffering” of her killers.  Try winding your way through that system when all the support and all the attention has waned from a high profile case as ours was.  This exact treatment will happen to the family members of Travis Alexander should Jodi Arias receive the one and only punishment her crime deserves under the law:  Death.

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The paltry few hundred dollars allocated to our family for counseling and lost wages to attend the trial dried up long before our trials were over yet I’ve continued to support her murderers through both my federal and state contributions.  Not just their living expenses mind you. their MILLIONS of dollars in legal fees over the years.  And I’ve not received one dime from those monies for my time testifying, lost wages or God forbid any counseling support I’ve paid out of pocket dealing with the unending trauma the system has levied at me.

Just think about this.  Please, just think about it is all I ask.

What do we value?  Why do we deem this use of our own resources on our worst of the worst appropriate and necessary in the name of “fairness”?

What do you think is fair?

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quick follow up – signs

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I spent 3 hours this morning diving in to my past and in to the present with thoughts of the death penalty here in Arizona, my sister’s homicide and the Jodi Arias trial.

John, my fiance and I are attending the Sedona Film Festival right now and have signed up for so many films we don’t really keep track day to day of what we see.

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Imagine my surprise shock when we walked in to our double feature today with the theme not just around prison/prisoners but about Death Row and the Arizona State Prison specifically.

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The first film we saw was a short film, very well done, about a condemned inmate’s last meal.  It was called Meat and Potatoes (linked there) and I have to say, although done with a compassionate spirit about a death row inmate being served his last meal, it truly touched my heart.

The second longer documentary was A Place to Stand (linked there) about Jimmy Santiago Baca and his journey to poetry through, you guessed it, his time served in the AZ State Prison.  There were scenes and descriptions of Cell Block 6 there which is literally the first cell block where Cindy’s  killers were incarcerated in 1990.  Talk about surreal.

John kept holding me tight and squeezing my hands whispering “are you ok?” and “do you want to leave?” because of course he knew what I’d been writing about all morning.  One of the many blessings of having a caring loving Psychologist in my life–he’s so supportive.

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I was proud of myself that I was able to appreciate these films with no malice in my heart considering all the other things I was contemplating today.  I truly was able to embrace their themes of healing and compassion.  I do believe that those attitudes are important in this world.  My path related to these issues is a different road, at least right now.  But I’m glad I have a heart of compassion in general that still beats strongly on these subjects so injected deeply in to my own heart.

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I felt a huge weight in my chest, but I stayed through both movies and shared appreciation to the film maker of how they touched me.  All of this, to me, is a sign of my healing and I’m very pleased about that.

But really, talk about signs. Damn, I don’t know that I know totally what that was about but wow, it sure got my attention.

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Disappointed the jury did not reach a verdict today and found I needed a nap this afternoon to kind of process all of these things, including this space of limbo.  And my heart continues to open wide to the Alexanders and all of Travis’ loved ones tonite and will continue sending love and healing until this verdict comes in.

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I love you all out there for reading and sharing.  I feel very connected.

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Day 23 – twilight visitation

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What would you think if you saw a woman sitting high on a barstool in front of her laptop in a coffee shop, staring out the window up at the sky wearing her headphones and tears streaming down her face, shoulders shaking, sobbing?

I’d probably write a story in my head about that scene.  I wonder if any writers are around me right now.

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I completed my 30th chapter here in the Walnut St. Coffee Shop here in Edmonds.  I’d been wanting to get here for the entire 3 plus weeks I’ve been here but was just sequestered in my cozy nest.  I can kind of see why I waited because it’s way more stim here.

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I decided to write the biggest miracle story I have about my dear brother as it’s committed to memory and I don’t need to dig too hard for it.  Plus it’s a happy story to write in public.

I counted chapters and realized it was a milestone–30!  Yay!

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(thanks Lorna for letting me borrow your cake)

After I finished I decided to change my Pandora station in celebration.  I’ve been listening exclusively to my Pat Metheny/Lyle Mays station for all of my writing and when I say all I mean every last word.  I should owe them some royalties or something because they’ve provided my inspiration, my comfort, my muse.

Music was a big part of my relationship with Cindy so I intentionally have avoided any songs that would take me in to that deep raw space music is so famous for.  I just didn’t want to overload myself with triggers.  She used to tease me saying “KT loves that jazz jazz jazz” whenever she’d come over and I’d have my smooth jazz tunes on.  She’d walk in the door and say in this funny accent “jazz jazz jazz” every time.  She was more of a rock n roll, contemporary top 40 gal.  Well, we were when we were together.  We had lots of soundtracks.

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I closed out my chapter then turned on Todd and landed right in to this song.

I immediately burst in to uncontrollable tears right here in the coffee shop.  I listened to the entire song and just bawled.  I looked up at the sky and said to myself “drink in this moment right now…the whole moment…because Cindy is here right now”.  This song figures prominently in my book and was the one I played at her Memorial service transcribing the lyrics in to the program.

And of course Cindy was 30 when she was killed, a fact I didn’t even consider with my 30 chapter celebration.

Happy tears.  What a celebration.  I’ve wondered why I’ve felt so not alone these three weeks of writing. She’s been with me the whole time.

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Here is a snippet of my chapter and I’m done writing for today.

This time he was missing for about a week when he was found holed up in a cheap motel in Indianapolis.  He spent his 50th birthday in that motel.  He was sick enough to be on his wild ride but thankfully well enough, somewhere inside that fractured brain of his, to reach out to our father.
Dad drove over to pick him up that day and said he was “variable” on the ride back–at times coherent and at times belligerent.  He dropped John off at his apartment then went back to the friend’s home where he was staying.
Bad idea I thought as I was at home, stuck in bed recovering from food poisoning that week.
Within hours John’s neighbor, in possession of my Dad’s phone number, called him to say John was out in the parking lot of the complex yelling and being generally unruly.  Someone, maybe the neighbor, called the cops who arrived before my father and later conveyed that John was taunting them to shoot him.  The fact that they talked my 6 foot 1, 350 pound brother down and took him to the hospital vs doing just that is just one of many miracles that have followed him throughout his life.

My man comes tomorrow so need to get some things done.  What a life I tell you, what an amazing Grace filled life I’m living.

I have no words and for me, that’s saying something.

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Day 23 – very early am

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I’m sorry I missed two full days of blogging.  I fell in to a rabbit hole for about 24 hours.  I guess that should have been predicted.  To think I’d be here all these weeks, cave dwelling by myself and diving in to murder, my difficult childhood moments, loss, sadness, etc.  and not have it meltdown on me is unrealistic.

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I did have a wonderful day out with one of the readers out there who lives in the area on Sunday.  We went to a little bakery in her area and I had the best HUGE latte I’ve had since I got here and soup and we talked and talked for hours.  Maybe talking to another person about all of this kind of stirred me up, I don’t know.  But by the time I got home, I was upset about some stupid superficial stuff in comparison and ended up in a full blown thing with my fiance.  We have never had a fight in the time we’ve been together so I guess it was time.  My stuff was bouncing off his stuff and we ended up in a weird cold frozen tundra that lasted most of the day yesterday.

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We had just lost our path to communication and our normally sunny fun way of of relating.  I woke up and I say that kind of sarcastically as I only got about 30 minutes of sleep (but I did catch up on my HBO in the middle of the night!) and we were still stuck.   He was much nicer than I was I will say.  Not that I was mean, I was just frozen.

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I figured the best remedy was to get myself back to the Korean Spa as I was so bummed out and so disconnected from myself and COLD.  I knew I wouldn’t get any writing done anyway–this was more of a recovery day.

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I got there and dove in to all the hot rooms–the sand room, the stone room, the salt room, then the hot baths and the steam room, then to the tea room then to the cafe where I had delicious Korean healthy food that I could barely taste, then back to the meditation room and finally I looked at the charcoal room.  “This will help detoxifying your body and also your mental thoughts” or some such thing.  I couldn’t get in there fast enough.  Then I popped across the way to the Cabin Room which is a cool refreshing room and saw a little desk in the corner set up like a cute old fashioned class room.  On top was a guest book where people were dating and signing little snippets about their stay at the Spa–a cute touch–like Feb. 9, 2015 I spent my birthday here and it was absolutely wonderful.  Thanks for making my day so special!

Then there was me, unsigned:  I just had my first fight with my fiance and I came here to recover.  Just had to say something to somebody.  I told John later and we laughed out loud at my finding a way to express myself, in spite of myself.

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All day long I kept reflecting on our thing and how I couldn’t find a way out of it and how scared I was.  He is coming TOMORROW and all I could think was he was going to cancel.  He’s finally seen this scary side of me and he’s gonna bail.  I kept checking my phone for the message I knew was coming  “I’m cancelling the trip.  I just can’t come there now with us like this” but I was getting quick messages about his dream or I love you or what’s the temperature out there?

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I still couldn’t respond in kind.  I had lost my smile.  All day at the spa I saw smiling women all around me, knowing I was in one of my favorite places on earth and all I could think is I’ve lost my smile.

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It was not a pleasant place to be, trust me.

I got home and John and I finally talked and it was stilted and awkward, nothing we have EVER experienced before and he said he was busy and had to go.  We usually talk for a minimum of an hour.  Talking is our strong suit.

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Finally I wrote two words in to the text box “overwhelming sadness” and he asked me why.  After a little more awkwardness and misfiring, we landed on the phone.  And finally the waterworks opened up and the tears began to fall and the deep sobs emerged.  It didn’t matter what I was crying about, it was just coming out.  And I could hear his warm voice on the other end just saying over and over “I love you Kathy, I love you baby, I love you…”

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Then he started crying and we admitted we’d both been checking our phones all day thinking the other one was cancelling the trip.  We are so alike and that’s so wonderful but in the conflict realm we need to know the territory as we had absolutely zero road map.  Our tears were our Kryptonite as we started sharing our fears and vulnerabilities and for me it’s just all about trust.  I’d been hiding and acting so cool and detached about some things that had built up–nothing he had done wrong–just things that were bothering me about a theme that had reached a saturation point and I melted down over it.  The theme of course was about “can I trust this person?”

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Are we surprised?  I’m writing about so many betrayals–most stemming around men and of course the hugest, Cindy’s murder.  It affected me so deeply and so personally that this trust thing has paralyzed me for years.  What we realized is I can have a hard time getting to trust and it’s nothing he’s doing or not doing, it’s just me struggling.  And then we found our center again.  We learned things we don’t even know yet I’m sure.

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But most importantly we got back to each other.

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That’s us on Facetime with tear stained cheeks.

His birthday is today, as is my father’s (I know, right?)  He leaves for the town he will be flying out of tonite and spending the night there for his flight tomorrow.  I’m so excited now I can’t stand it!  I’m so glad we went through that as it opened something up in me that clearly needed to come out.  Both of us I think, well I know.

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I started smiling again and tasting again last night and slept soundly for 5 hours.  I felt again like waking up on Christmas morning as I have every other day here.

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Today I will do some writing and some prep work for his visit (girl’s gotta get her manicure!).  I’m gonna do what I’ve wanted to for 3 weeks which is take my laptop to the cool local coffee shop and write there.  It’s taken me this long to sort of emerge which is interesting cuz usually I’m an out and about girl.

Well not the post anyone was expecting but not surprising either I’m sure.

I feel relieved and in a much clearer space.  And today, I will write about Cindy.

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Thanks for the patience guys and for holding me in a loving supportive web out there.  I feel it.

Day 20 – mid day

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Wow, I made it to the twenties!  Time has taken on an entirely new meaning with this endeavor–it’s slowed, it’s quickened, it’s stopped.  There is not one thing I’d do differently.  Ok maybe I’d work out more, that is if I was a different person born with that kind of motivation.  😉

I had a really nice evening out last night with my hostess.  We learned we have some uncanny things in common.  Her family history is nearly identical to my love John’s (that he wrote his memoir about) and she’s from the same town where we will be married this Spring…all the way across the country!  Wow.  I love everything about this place and now more to love.

I just finished my first draft of the ending of my book.  I’ve jumped all over the place which has kept me sane. Luckily I have so many stories to jump in and out of for this memoir–childhood, abuse, homicide, mental illness and somehow landing on resiliency and happiness.  Imagine that.  I found myself quoting Webster’s and Rilke and Steel Magnolias in my last words.  I have to say I’m kind of in love with those words and they generated this emotion that I made a meme out of today.  Not using this quote in the book but I found it searching for something else.

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I also wrote about John, my brother, for the first time since I got here.  That part of the book is the least arduous for me so I’ve been saving it for dessert.  But I felt like writing about him this morning so I did.  Here is a snippet:

“The kind stranger who picked him up may not have recognized the degree of his psychosis and gave him a ride to a repair shop.  The woman working there, well, there just isn’t enough to say about this person, this angel.  I don’t even know her name but she’s out there I imagine still performing good deeds.
She helped my very ill brother arrange for the tow of his car, that he had crashed in to a field due to the voices telling him to do so, and it’s repair.  She even helped him contact his insurance company.  Then she went a step further and gave him a ride to a motel where he could settle in and wait for his car.
As she left, something in this angel on Earth got a feeling she should turn back around and check on my brother.  Something about their interaction left her with an uneasy feeling about leaving him there alone and unattended.  At this point, my father and I were still in Maine, checking in with the police daily with no idea where John was, if he was ok, if he was alive.”

Now I’m heading back in to the trial.  I’ve realized I’m missing some important pieces I thought I had like Michael Apelt’s testimony.  It’s ok, I can hunt for it in Cathy’s study when I get back.  I have plenty else to read, trust me.  This is the stack I’m getting ready to dive in to in 3…2…1…

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Hope you are all out having a great Saturday.  I look out at these big grey clouds whisking by over the big Sound out there and feel nothing but grateful…not one thing other than grateful.

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Day 19 – morning

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I guess I’m a person who works under pressure.  Since I have three invites for the next three days I decided to get busy this morning.  I’m up to 26 1/2 chapters now having written 2 1/2 more just this morning, before noon!

I started writing about the jail house snitch that Michael was trying to hire for a copycat murder or murderS.  Then moved on to the female witnesses who came forward detailing their own encounters with the brothers with the same MO–marriage, money, etc.

Then the memory of something very profound and deep that happened to me the very last day of Michael’s sentencing – actually the day he was sentenced to death–in the courtroom.  I hadn’t visited that memory in years.

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Then I made a really healthy smoothie.  I’m rockin and rollin so I can go out with my hostess tonite for wine and not feel like I’m wasting precious time.  Just six more full days til John comes!  Then I don’t think I’ll be doing much more writing after that. 😉

Some excerpts from this morning so far:

DM:  Okay.  Well after he told me you all didn’t have all the evidence and all this stuff, what was the best thing for him to do and I told him that they probably didn’t have no causes, they just, you know, kick you out of jail.  I think he said his Court was coming up in April, his trial’s coming up in April, just kick you out after your trial, you don’t go no evidence, uh you’ll probably beat it, had asked me which was the best, should he have a Jury trial or should he just go in front of the Judge.  Yeah, I believe you ought to go to a Jury trial, that’s the way I always did mine, you know, I htink you got more people judging your cases instead of just one man and he said, you know what I think, I think the best thing for me to do is get somebody to kill somebody just like I did my wife.  I said you get somebody to do it like you did your wife, I said what, what happened and he said, uh, well her throat was cut, she was stabbed, uh, once in the heart and twice in the back on the heart side and, he said if I knew somebody that could do that for me, I’ll pay them four hundred thousand dollars and then he said, could you do it.  I said, yeah, I could do it, he said, yeah, you look strong enough to do it, he says I need somebody like you to do this and I thought he was playing and he said uh, you know the money won’t be no problem, I said it won’t uh, then he reached up under his bunk and he pulled out, I guess like uh, insurance forms…

Michael Apelt managed through much of his initial jail incarceration, to keep a hold of papers related to Cindy’s insurance policies, sequestered under his mattress like some kind of security blanket.  He flashed those around as needed while attempting to secure copycat murders “on the outside” in an attempt to exonerate himself.

And then this:

I had a perfect view of Michael as they brought him in clad in the jail’s orange jumpsuit, sandles and shackles–both wrist and ankle.  It was the first time I had seen him like that, ever.  In the trial, he was shackled inside his pants with some kind of device that made it impossible for him to run–it caused him to walk with a limp and a straight leg.  Whatever was strapped to his one leg was clearly very heavy.

I watched him, knowing this was very likely the last time I’d ever lay eyes on him ever again.  I watched him awkwardly sit down.  I watched his always present interpreter hand him the headphones he wore daily in court.  I saw him pick them up with his manacled hands tethered together at the wrist.

What happened next is one of those events you will never quite catch the essence of in either telling it much less writing it.  It was a miracle of sorts that occurred in my heart that day.

I watched this man, this monster, this killer who had inflicted the most trauma in to my life that I would ever endure for the rest of it suddenly morph.  As he nervously picked up that singular arch of the headphones, he realized he literally could not get them on his head being handcuffed like that.  A simple act he’d been performing effortlessly for weeks on end suddenly was impossible to perform.  The entirety of his fate became manifest to me in that one self-conscious moment.