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.

Lucky

luckyHappy St. Patrick’s Day out there!  I had my celebration over the last two nights with my brother as I made a delicious (I must say) corned beef dinner in the crock pot.  We shared it two nights in a row and watched our favorite TV show “Chopped” and also saw Birdman (which I thought was brilliant and want to see it again) and Sleepless in Seattle.

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My Dad is gone for a couple of months so I’ve been spending more time with Alfonse, going out to eat and a movie (we saw Into the Woods which was stellar!), and basically just hanging out.  He has been doing well for the most part and busy with his various activities at his mental health center, his personal trainer, the Chorus and now he’s been assigned a counselor from a local University who he really likes.

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I’ve not been working on the book because I’ve been busy with other things and my writing has been primarily on the end of the Jodi Arias fiasco trial.  If you haven’t and want to check out any of my posts about the Juror 17 scandal there are are few on the other blog www.twoinnocents.com.

I’m getting my ducks in a row to head out to PA to spend two weeks with my love, writing and hanging out together (and getting a marriage license for our upcoming wedding–not this trip though).  Very exciting!

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I had to go to the Courthouse Public Records division to unearth a copy of my prehistoric divorce decree from almost 2 decades ago.  Since it required a full on archeological dig, I had to go back twice to pick up the papers.

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Picture this:  a busy government office where you pull a number and look up your case (if you’re lucky to get one of the computer terminals that someone else isn’t monopolizing or doesn’t have an Out of Order sign on it) then wait for the half hour or whatever listening for numbers to be called.

They had a system that jumped from letters M – R as far as I could tell like M114 and P479.  I pulled R444 the first time I went and I only remember this as the system called me to a window and an older lady was already sitting there.  My number was flashing over her window but she already had someone there who showed her number which was R442 so I knew she was ahead of me.  I said that (“she’s ahead of me so I’ll wait”) and the worker said “just have a seat in that chair and I”ll get to you next”.  I struck up a conversation with the nice lady waiting who was also getting her divorce papers but hers were from 1983.  They also required a Fred Flintstone intervention and we laughed about that.  She was getting hers to prove something related to her current spouse’s social security benefits.  Such entirely different reasons to be there.

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It was going to take about an hour so I elected to split and come back later in the week which I did.  Lo and behold, in this busy office with many people seeking passports, marriage licenses and other records, I went up to the number generating machine and pulled…you guessed it…R444 AGAIN.

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(you know I love my signs)

I literally turned around and flashed my number to the various people sitting there sharing “OMG I got this exact number last time I was here!”.  I couldn’t hold it in.

My papers were waiting for me so it was lickety split I was out of there and what a weird walk down memory lane seeing bills we had and things we split up and how we did it.  I barely remembered that other life.  I’m so grateful it was amicable.

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I’m equally grateful that my fiance John’s divorce was amicable as well.  I’m not walking in to a mine field.  They have a young daughter so have to negotiate that of course and it’s so easy compared to other situations I’ve either been involved with or witnessed.  He’s an easy going guy so it fits…still what a relief.

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So now my dress is being made, our wedding arrangements are set, our mini honeymoon plans are made (super psyched–simple but fun) and our custom made rings are in progress.  It’s very exciting!

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I’ll pick up writing the book some this weekend as I head to Sedona with Alfonse for a long weekend (I left all those records up there) and then intensely over those two weeks in PA.  What a wonderful thing to be marrying a fellow writer.  We will write side by side in his cozy rural home.

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I told him I have two goals–cooking and writing.  I want to show off my home cooking for him and that is a nice way to be creative for me.  I can’t wait.  I love him so much.

That’s it for now.  Just a little catch up.

Hope you all out there feel as lucky as I do today.

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value

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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.

B-zzWFiVEAAugAA

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

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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.

Day 18 – day’s end

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I’m glad I went out last night.  It was nice to just get dressed and put on makeup and go somewhere.  I’ve become so dialed down now in comparison to my usual life that one outing seems like a big deal.  It would be nothing for me to go out to dinner/shopping/a movie and work my day job in one day at home.  I’m not that person up here and I like it.

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I wanted to try out this restaurant right on the Sound called Anthony’s and they have a pretty good Happy Hour that I got in on so had a Cosmo and a couple of pretty large appetizers and sat and watched the ferries come and go twinkling along the water.  I know for some those ferries are just a commute but for me, they are pure romance.  I keep seeing this story in my mind, a romance, highlighting this ferry riding life.  I was thinking maybe it would be a project John and I might work on together. He’s writing a screenplay right now so knows a lot, a whole lot about that process.  I’ll take him on the ferry next week and see if he gets bit by the same bug as me.

I woke up early this morning feeling like it was Christmas morning for some reason.  I was just completely psyched for my day.  Another gorgeous rainy day with the door open to the Sound, the heat turned off and the fireplace going. I love it.  Fresh and cozy.

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I ended up following, on twitter, another day in the Arias trial which seems to be unsurprisingly imploding for the defense.  Demarte was still on the stand and held up well to some ridiculous grilling by Jodi’s defense attorney Kirk Nurmi.  It all just fell down a rabbit hole in to ridiculousness.

Speaking of that, I was voice-noting with John all day and we fell in to one of our famous personas with accents and started leaving these crazy redneck messages for each other.  Jethro and Katie-Jo.  I had to save one where he is laughing uncontrollably in this high pitched squeal, unable to speak, it had me doing the same.  We have so much fun together.  It’s such a great element in a relationship to have:  humor.

In the midst of all of that, I wrote THREE , count em THREE chapters today.  I was on a roll.  And I’m not finished.  I will likely write a fourth yet and maybe a fifth.  It’s that kind of day.

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view from my writing/reading perch today

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And, in the middle of all that, my host came down bringing me a Bride magazine (which I intend to browse once I’m finished writing this..awwww) and invitation for Happy Hour tomorrow night!  Yay!  I have three dates this weekend, the other two with readers out there who live in the area.  How cool is that?

Ok, here are a couple of excerpts from today’s writing in no particular order.  It will give you an idea about what theme I’m on though.

“When I arrived in the back room, the three of them were lined up like a trio of hear no evil speak no evil see no evil Teutonic monkeys in chairs all in a row as the minister discussed the service.  I sat across the room from them glaring at each one. 

None of them looked up at me.  I had just met Rudi the one time at Bobby McGees, never met Anke and of course had a few encounters with Michael.  They surely knew who I was.
After the instruction period was over I stood up and walked to the murder trio  like some kind of reverse reception line of evil and extended my hand to each one with one intention.  I want you to look in my eyes and you will know I know.  I stared at each of their eyes and only Anke looked up at me, tearfully. I glared straight in to her face “I know what you did and you are not getting away with it” was what flew out of my gaze.  I hope she caught it.”

then:

“Once there, they immediately checked her answering machine tape to make sure the message had recorded properly and just as quickly Michael phoned the Mesa Police Department demanding to speak with Detective Ron Davis.  In an excited seemingly terrified voice he shared that a message had come in to Cindy’s machine and that they were being threatened.  Detective Davis asked them to bring the tape in to the police station and that’s what they did.
This act was the beginning of the end for the Apelts and Anke.  There was absolutely zero doubt on all of the investigators’ minds that these con artists were the people who killed Cindy.  The web was getting narrower and tighter all around them, while they believed they were successfully pulling of their scheme.”

finally:

“Of course Detective Davis knew this was an entirely bogus claim as the apartment was being watched intensively by a team of officers out of their Department.
He passed the information on to Mark Jones who said “let’s go pick them up”. 
Davis then offered to come and get the three killers and give them a ride to the police station under the guise that they wanted to get more information about these “threats”. They all three went along willingly in the same car with hopes that their confiscated passports would be returned and they’d be released from any suspicion as was their plan. 
Mark Jones however had other ideas for all three of them and it did not involve any of them seeing the light of freedom anytime soon once he got them in the car enroute to downtown Mesa.
At the station, he immediately split up the brothers tossing each of them separately in two interview rooms.  Rudi’s interrogation was handled by Ron Davis and Chris Wesbrock who was still working the case.  Mark Jones decided to take on Michael.”

And on that note, I’m jumping off murder and in to weddings and hopefully some mindless TV tonite or a good movie on Netflix.

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As always, thanks for reading and for coming along for the ride.  I feel like I’m not alone in this and it feels very comforting.

Day 17 – twilight

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Greetings from another gloriously grey day here in Edmonds.  Coming from the Valley of the Sun I welcome each and every one of these cloudy days.  I saw a huge barge slowly floating down the Sound this morning.  The land of green and clouds and water.  I love it and fit right in here.  Maybe I will live here one day.  Well I’m living here right now!

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I spent much of the day glued to the tweets coming in off the Arias trial and the stellar Dr. Janeen Demarte still on the stand.  I also spent about three hours working on my betrothed’s new blog.  He’s started up a new business and we’ve been crafting his site together.  I spent so many hours and hours learning this WordPress system that what took me three hours would have likely taken him three days.  It’s a fun creative project for me and we work very well together even though technology can be incredibly maddening sometimes, esp for a novice like me/us.  I have the time and a bit of knowledge now so I was happy to help him and it was yet another little test of our compatibility.  We tend to fall back on laughter when stress comes at us–a great coping mechanism in a relationship that just comes naturally for us two.  So grateful.

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On the lunch break, I read Cathy Hughes’ opening statement from the first trial–Michael’s.  Reading that while following the Arias tweets was an interesting contrast.  I can’t say enough how fortunate we were to get her as our prosecutor.  I’ve just never seen anyone like her in action.  I’ll tell the magical story of how she “accidentally” fell in to our case in the book.  As you can imagine it had it’s twists and turns on the path of magic that landed her in our laps.

I want to share some excerpts from her amazing opening statement so you know what I mean before I lose the natural light coming in and before I take myself out for dinner and a movie.  I need a little outing.

From Cathy’s opening:

“Yesterday, I remember when we were picking you as jurors, early on in the selection process there was some humor, there was some spontaneous joking and laughter, and that was good, that was really good, because it sort of eases the tension and the stress that everybody feels when they are involved in a case such as this.

But I noticed something yesterday.  I noticed that as each of your names were finally called and as each of you realized that you would become involved in this case to decide the case, that each of you understood the seriousness and the importance of what we’re about to do.

It was almost–when Mrs. Johnson read to you the document that charges that defendant with murder and conspiracy to commit first degree murder, it was almost as though we were in a church.

And this is a very serious and a very important matter.  And I’m sure that you all understand that as in all of the serious and important things that we do in our life, we take our time and we try to do them right.  And I’m sure that you’ll understand that.

then:

“It’s been explained to me by someone older and wiser that if you had to put the devil on trial, you’d have to go to Hell for your witnesses.

And in this case we went to Anke Dorn.  We had to promise her that if she would tell the truth, that she would not go to jail.

And so I’m telling you right up front, so that you won’t be surprised, if Anke Dorn tells the truth in this courtroom over the next couple of weeks, she won’t go to jail.  “

Then :

“On December 26th, 1988 Cindy was in the morgue ready to be autopsied.  And you’ll never guess where he was.  You might expect that he would be mourning with her friends.

Do you want to know where he was?  He was at the office of his insurance agent.”

And finally,

“And I’m going to ask you to convict him.  I’m to ask you to go back in the jury room, look at the evidence, and then I’m going to ask you to come back and to look him straight in the eye and to say ‘Michael Apelt, you are guilty of first degree murder and Michael Apelt, you are guilty of conspiracy to commit first degree murder.”

Boom.

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And on that note, I’m gonna dress, finally, put on makeup and a presentable outfit and head out in to the world.

I love you all for caring.

Day 16 -evening

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I woke up late, for me at 8:15 and immediately felt two things:  rested and leaner.  I’d been exploring my food intake and how bloated I was feeling and with the help of my dear fiance, realized I wasn’t eating enough protein.  So I shifted that yesterday, focusing on a more protein diet and spent the night peeing releasing fluid then fell in to a deep deep sleep.  Just for fun I decided to measure my waist as I’d done so last week because I’m getting married and having a dress made and was horrified at what I saw. 

I was totally psyched to see a THREE inch loss on my waist.  How crazy is that?  I’m sticking with protein now for the most part.  Wow.

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I went outside in to the beautiful grey drizzly day and decided to do a little photo treasure hunt on my garden patio.  In all that greyness, the bright life really stood out shining and posing for my camera.  I even found a little heart puddle in front of my door which is what started the whole thing.

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I then sat down to write.  I did a chapter this morning on the theme of my stepmother Marj and something that happened with her, something really blow-your-mind disastrous, after my Grandma’s funeral.  If I hadn’t lived it, I don’t know I’d believe it, it’s that strange.  Here’s a snippet:

I decided to deal with Marj directly, woman to woman, about the ring before I headed back to Arizona the next day.  I decided to leave my Dad out of it and just approach her as an adult with rationality.
I went in to her bedroom and sat down and said “I need to talk to you about something that isn’t going to be easy for either of us”.  I contemplated just grabbing that ring off her hand or from her dresser and running away with it.  Part of me in hindsight wishes I’d done just that.  I did look for it as I sat in the recliner in the bedroom but couldn’t see it.
“Yes” she said while busying herself with putting things away in drawers. 
“We both know that that ring was supposed to go to Cindy.  And since she’s not alive to inherit it, I think we also both know that that ring should go to me.  It was my mother’s engagement ring.  It holds no sentimental value to you and you don’t even plan on keeping it as a ring.  It holds extreme sentimental value to me as you know and I think I should have it.  Everyone knows you had a lifetime of conflict with my Grandma and she would be rolling over in her grave thinking you ended up with that ring.  We both know this.  I think you should do the right thing and not accept it and tell Dad that that ring should go to me as it should”.  To me, this was the easiest approach but Marj never made anything easy for any of us kids.

True to form, she, the innocent bystander in any kinds of dealings where she’d orchestrated the entire thing passive aggressively behind the scenes replied “Well you’ll have to ask ya fahthah about that.  He really wanted me to have it and yes I will make it in to a necklace so I can wear it.  It’s important to him that I have it”.

Yes you have to read the book to find out what happened with my mother’s engagement ring that she intended to dismantle and make in to a necklace for herself.  Trust me, it’s a story worth reading.

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I made my smoothie then fell  hard in to the Jodi Arias trial on twitter.  My favorite witness Dr. Janeen Demarte was on the stand and I needed to see what was going on/participate.  It was very satisfying to watch her kick Jodi Arias ass all over the courtroom while taking her unconscionable defense team with her.  There will be more of her tomorrow and I intend to tune in.  It was time for the tide to turn there and turn it has.

I crashed hard for at least two hours after watching the trial.  Woke up at 4:30, took a shower and knew what I needed to write about next.  I jumped back on my bed and another chapter flew out, also about Marj but more about me and the anxiety problems I recovered from.  Here is a snippet from that chapter:

I drove myself home finally arriving at 3am, beaten and destroyed by this demon called Anxiety that had plagued me for so long.  I left a message with someone at the Florida party house for my father saying I’d had a bad reaction to some kind of medication on the plane and had to fly back home.  It was such a flimsy false explanation but I just couldn’t say the words:  that the panic had won once again.  It was more than I could face.
I fell asleep for a few hours and phoned my therapist early the next morning.  I could barely speak I was so consumed with sobs.  She insisted I come to her home office that afternoon.  I was truly in a moment of this is the last straw and she could hear it.
I spent that hour curled and unintelligible through my deep tears and she literally put me to bed in her guest room for a few hours.  She said she was afraid for me to drive home.  You see when a truly strong person like me crumbles like that, it will get anyone’s attention.  I had no more defenses.  I just knew I couldn’t live like that anymore.
I made one decision that weekend alone steeped in my grief and disappointment as my family partied in Florida.  That was to stop trying to get on planes.  I grounded myself indefinitely.  I decided to stop putting myself through that torture and to stay put or drive if I wanted to go somewhere.

It wasn’t easy to relive that but it’s an important part of my personal story.  And in case you hadn’t noticed, I get on planes whenever I want now.  🙂

I went and reviewed and realized I have 20 chapters now.  Maybe not complete but I have 20 chapters.  In just 15 days of writing.  20 chapters.  And I’ve also been doing tons of reading and research wading through very difficult material.  I’m feeling proud of myself tonite.

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On that note….sweet dreams all….thanks for following along, as always 🙂

Day 15 – evening

Well, I bit the bullet today.  I began writing on a subject that on it’s surface should seem easy to do but for me is really the hardest.

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My memories of my relationship with Cindy.  This chapter traversed so many topics and timelines as it wound in and around itself which is ok with me.  Our relationship was so precious, so bonded, so unique that it would never fall in to some kind of definition.

I’m glad I started on it today and at least opened the door.  It ended up being a very long chapter all in all.

Here are some excerpts:

“My sister is good at everything” she told people throughout our lives.  “If she tries something, she’s going to be good at it”.
This was her explanation of why I struggled so much picking a major in college.  Not that I was failing but that I was just too good at everything so it was hard to land on one thing.  I wish that were true but to have someone perceive you like that is just something irreplacable.  She was incapable of seeing other than the best in me from start to finish.

And:

People often mistook us for twins although Cindy was always long and lean and me shorter and stocky.  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 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, almost no one ever penetrated.

And:

There was one road trip to LA where Cindy produced a tape recorder she’d borrowed from her work at the school system office.  She’d brought it home for a project then got a wild hair to bring it on our road trip to visit Buddha in Santa Monica. 
“I have a great idea for our trip” she said with a twinkle in her eye.  “We’re going to interview each other”.
She named this interview show, via cassette tape, “The Dan Rather Show”.
For some reason, she spoke this name in in a semi British pretentious accent so it came out “The Dahn Rahthah Show”.
“Welcome to the Dahn Rahthah Show.  Today’s guest will be….Oprah Winfrey!” and then she would interview me, using that five inch microphone tethered to the bulky cassette player while insisting I stay in character as Oprah Winfrey the whole time. Until she decided she was bored with Oprah and needed a new guest.

And finally:

We made it down to Rocky Point 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 in to 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,no electricity but it had running (cold) water.  “We’ll take it!” Cindy said.  It was just one night and if we decided to stay another surely we’ll make friends on the beach and crash at their campsite.  We always stumbled in to good luck like that.

I spent some time on twitter today following the debacle known as the Jodi Arias trial.  It’s almost too disgusting, from a victim standpoint, to watch but I feel obligated to speak out about victim abuse so I keep doing it.  There is a large audience there and I feel outrage is an appropriate response.  My heart is with the Alexander siblings although I can’t be there in person.  I’m always with them in spirit.

I know I picked up quite a few new followers today  who are also following that case.  Welcome aboard.  I generally endeavor to post morning and evening while I’m here in the Northwest on a Sabbatical working on this book.  Thanks for coming along.

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Finally my heart goes out to the Esteban and Corrina Flores family tonight.  They buried their 15 year old son over the weekend and there are just no words for that kind of grief.  They have set up a foundation for donations in his name.  I’m making mine as soon as I sign off of here.

Here is the link to the donation site:  click here.

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there is an blog post I wrote about my involvement in that trial and the similarities between Cindy and Travis here

As I went looking for a photo of Detective Flores, I found this one of me behind Travis’ sister Tanisha on the day of the verdict.  What an incredible flood of emotion hearing those words “GUILTY” ring through that courtroom.

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