rising

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I worked all day on writing and organizing chapters. I finished one entirely that was kind of a breath of fresh air, as it was more about the rising out of the mire, than the quicksand of Cindy’s murder, the investigation and trial.

I treated myself in the evening to a dinner at a restaurant not too far away called Mkt. One of the ladies at the flower class had recommended t, and boy was she right. I had just a wonderful time there.

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snapped a couple of pics of myself before I went out to document my attempt at using the curling iron on my new haircut–I look so relaxed, and was–my skin is also really improving with the fasting lifestyle–can you believe I turn 60 in two weeks?

I’ve done quite a bit of solo travel and one thing I’ve learned that works really well for me is to eat at the bar. Whether it’s a sushi bar or in this case “chef’s table” which was a five seater bar overlooking the cooking and prep area. It makes you feel part of things sitting there.

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I had a gorgeous glass of Sangiovese and these incredible grilled green beans with lemon, then their ahi crudo and my third course was a burratta salad. I topped it off with a lime coconut sorbet with shortbread cookies for dessert. I did indulge and had the stomach ache later to prove it, but it was worth it. I just can’t eat as much as I used to now that I started Intermittent Fasting…dammit.

On the way home, these two bugs were mating on my windshield, literally the entire drive home, including on the freeway. They were serious about it.

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Been writing off and on all day. I also planned my next trip to come back in three weeks. Long story, but she got a cancellation, I needed to spend some money on the airline before the year was out and I’m riding a wave of momentum right now. Plus I need to get some more documents that are packed up in our garage at the moment.

Today was one of those days that I had my jammies on at 3pm. I was sitting on my perch–the fold out sofa in the studio–and there was a knock on the door.

My sweet husband sent me a gorgeous dozen roses to enjoy for my last days here. He’s so sweet and thoughtful.

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Well, here is a snippet of a chapter on Michael Apelt’s sentencing that I worked on some today. Still pretty raw, but it’s on paper.

Topped off with my two views–to my front and to my left. I’m sure you can see why I have such a hard time staying away from this paradise.

I sat with my family and Janine in our regular spots–the second row on the right side behind the prosecution.  There were more press in the gallery that day than on other days. The Death Penalty tends to draw that.

I had a perfect view of Michael as they brought him in, clad in the jail’s orange jumpsuit, socks with plastic sandals and shackles–both wrist and ankle—with chains.  It was the first time I had seen him like that, ever.  In the trial, he was always restrained beneath his casual slacks.

I watched him, knowing this was likely the last time I would ever lay eyes on Michael Apelt.  I witnessed 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, clanging, and restrained together at the wrist.

What happened next, is one of those moments 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.

It was as if the environment around Michael Apelt both paused and went black and white, like a scene you’d see in a movie. He became like some sort of spotlighted hologram, and he was the only thing moving in the room, but in slow motion. The air around me shifted to a stillness the courtroom had never held before. It was as if I could hear his every move, amplified in my mind.

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abundance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

Back to writing!

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

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

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

Then they went looking for Mark Maurer.

 

 

 

back in Edmonds

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Greetings from gorgeous Edmonds, WA where I am again for the fantastic Write On the Sound annual conference which was my entree to this beautiful part of the country that invited me back earlier this year to write 30 chapters of this book.

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30 chapters which I , due to my own naivete and stupidity, nearly lost. I had a mini meltdown when the first day we got here (yes I brought my darling husband this time) I realized I’d forgotten my password for the online site LitLift I’d used to write my book on, without backup (yes, I said stupid). Well, apparently LitLift exists out there with no one at the wheel. The password reset email they generated sent me to an error message and no one ever replied to my emails on their contact form–scary! I sat and sat and finally made a jab at a password that *might* have worked and voila I was in! Whew! My husband stuck his flash drive so fast in to my travel laptop and we got all of my words out of that site as fast as we could. Talk about dodging a bullet!

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Oh and Litlift finally did get back to me–via another “undeliverable email” message. It’s kind of unconscionable to me that no one has deleted that site or their Facebook/Twitter pages or made a notice that it’s defunct. NO ONE is minding the store, obviously. And people are signing up, trusting them. Ugh! I’m just glad I got my words.

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In celebration, I will share some that I just opened to randomly and read to my husband the day I found them. Hope you like them too:

Cindy and I became famous for our spontaneous road trips.  We would look at each other and almost simultaneously say “let’s go”.  We would jump in the car and head to another city to visit a friend in college or in some cases make more dramatic adventures like that one time to Rocky Point Mexico on an impulsive Spring break weekend. 
This trip was where I had the one and only foreshadowing of what was to come several years later.  It was the trip where Cindy went missing and scared the living shit out of me.
“Come on, we’re going to Rocky Point” she called excitedly that day.  “We’ll throw some stuff in the car, grab our sleeping bags, I have some food and we’ll play it by ear”.
As was often the case, this wasn’t a question or even an invitation.  It was a mandate–we’re going.  This was how things often went between us.  Maybe I was having a rough moment, stressed in college, going through a break up or she was just having an itch.  All I knew was she was driving and we were going.  She streamlined it to what I had to bring, told me what time she was picking me up and that was that.
I loved our road trips.  We had so much fun in the car.  We’d make mixed tapes for them and catch up.  Often it would start with “let’s obsess” once we hit the highway.
We were often going through something and with each other, could hash and rehash it to our heart’s content.  It was almost always about boys–a world we were collectively befuddled in and failing at usually.
“Why is it that I’m not so in to a guy, then as soon as I have sex with him, I’m suddenly caramelizing for him and he’s not in to me?”.
Cindy created nicknames for everything and everyone.
Caramels somehow became a derivative of the word “karma” which was used, inaccurately, for being attracted to someone.  “We have the karma” she’d say.
Then it turned to “I have caramels for him” which later became a verb “we were caramelizing, heavily” and on and on.
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.
“Well, thank you for joining us Oprah.  Now on to our next guest on the topic of ‘fame in America’ we welcome…Madonna!” and on and on with her in character questions. 
She would stop the tape from time to time to listen to ourselves back as we laughed hysterically all the way across the boring desert to LA.  Everything was a game with her.
Oh how I miss that.  And how I wish I had those tapes. Even one of them.

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I came here to this Conference the first time three years ago by myself. I’d never been to Seattle and it was such a magical trip, it took me five blog posts over on Two Innocents to write about it. I still feel the magic here but this time it gets doubled with my husband.  We’ve slept well and dreamed here, written, shared, eaten great food, drunk wine he carried from PA, stared and stared at the gorgeous Puget Sound. And he’s teaching me chess. I lose every single time but last night gave him a run for his money holding him off my King for over an hour. VICTORY!

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Today we take a train–the Amtrak Empire Builder–in to Seattle just for the experience of riding the train. We’ll bring our travel chess set and drink coffee and see a movie at the famous Cinerama theatre and then ride back. Not a bad Monday at all.

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Hope you all out there are enjoying your Fall. I’m energized again to finish the book and I have a plan for another Sabbatical this Fall–in another part of the country. I’m ready to take this story to the next level.

Stay tuned…