missing 2

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Popped out of bed here in Sedona and grabbed my notebook and  my second chapter started expressing itself.  As soon as I get my book blog up and running I’ll be posting these snippets there but for now, a small taste.

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this photo was taken just this last September on the Monkeyspoon porch

“I guess I’ll need to call the Urbana police soon” he said staring that long stare in to the expanse of the Atlantic ocean.

My father and I had many, if not most of our deepest conversations just like that.  Two Adirondack chairs side by side on the Monkeyspoon porch, both facing straight ahead at the sea.

Crossword puzzle in his lap; pen in hand.  My tan hands wrapped around a  coffee cup that had likely resided in that cottage for decades allowing countless of our ancestors to wrap and warm their own exactly as I was that chilly morning.

“Maybe give it one more day Dad?” I asked in futile resignation knowing that crisis had once again crashed in to another family vacation.  With my brother though, it had seemed neverending since his diagnosis all those years ago.

By the time we landed in that quiet porch summit, things like this had been going on for decades.  I was more annoyed than worried.  “He’ll turn up soon” I reassured my Dad as we attempted to move forward in to our beach day.

Inside, though, we both knew what a missing family member can mean.  We were way past the luxury of full denial by this time.

“Let’s see what happens today” he said and managed to give it one more fitful sleep before phoning the police and filing the report the next morning.

It was September 2010 and my brother John had been missing for a week.

 

true love

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In my family, we were not well trained on the art of an effective apology.  I’ve learned some about this this past year being on both ends of this equation.  Stay tuned for more on that.

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Yesterday I received these gorgeous fall flowers from my dear Alfonse.  The back story of why he sent them isn’t important.  One of the miracles of a sincere and heartfelt apology is that it dissolves the story that necessitated it.  Such is the case here.

Somehow with minimal and inadequate training, my brother managed to learn the fine art of expressing sincere remorse.  I’m learning from him.

He phoned me a little while ago asking me to text him a picture of the flowers and again telling me how sorry he was but my heart was long melted.  The power of Love.  True love.

beauty day

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Greetings from cool cloudy Sedona!  I drove up last evening and arrived to fireplace weather…finally.

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I slipped in to my jammies, got the flames going and red wine poured then scared myself in to insomnia with about four Walking Dead episodes back to back. 💀👽👻

I came up to among other things, get my hair done.  Eduardo nailed it with caramel lowlights and chunky highlights like I wanted.  I love it.

 

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I showed up rawfaced as I’d forgotten my makeup so popped in to Walgreen’s after to just create a set to just leave here. The Boots rep was there so offered me a free makeover and I bought 5 things from her including green eye pencil that I have to say she also nailed. It’s good to get second opinions on yourself sometimes.

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I texted my friend Sean to see if he wanted to hangout this weekend and he suggested we go see  the movie Interstellar.  Which is a great deal for me as Sean is a serious astronomy buff with a backyard observatory.

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I wasn’t even kidding.

After all that I landed at my favorite lunch with a view place and a half glass of fume blanc and their famous Cobb salad- famous at least to my friend Mya and I.

 

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It’s cold but refreshing as I sit out here and write this.  I just got a call from a local flower shop saying I have a delivery.

 

What? Who? Why?

 

Stay tuned…I’ll letcha know as soon as I do.

 

In the meantime, bacon.

 

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arrogance

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I don’t mind arrogance, I really don’t.  If someone has the goods to spread their peacock wings and strut, I can celebrate that with the best of them.  I do it myself from time to time in my own way.  If I know I’m right about something or championing a cause I can and will strut out loud in living color.

What I don’t have patience for though is arrogance without the goods to back it up.  That will trip my Scorpion tail to rise like most any other thing.

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And I ran in to it yesterday on twitter.  Now let’s get something straight, I rarely participate on twitter.  I do have over a thousand posts but they are kind of OCD looking. Meaning I don’t do anything then when there is something I need to engage twitter to express myself in, like this Jodi Arias retrial, I will bite the bullet and go there.  I don’t really get it, it’s not my natural vibe, I don’t want to get it but if it’s the only place to be I will suck it up and do my best.  My best is often bulleting the twittersphere with my point then disengaging.  Now I’m not saying this is the correct way to go about it.  In fact it’s likely something social media advisors would, well, advise against.  I don’t really care.  I’m not there to be social, I’m there to make points generally.  Just keepin it real.

I ran in to something that ignited that tail rising yesterday or the day before.  It has to do with the death penalty appeals process in Arizona which I am, unfortunately, far too intimately acquainted with.  My sister’s killers have been appealing now for 24 years.  One got off death row in a ridiculous mental retardation claim which cost taxpayers at least 10 million to hear it.  I don’t want to go in to all of that but will say what I’ve said before.

The worst treatment my family ever received in the entire legal process around my sister’s homicide and two death penalty trials was from appeals lawyers and their representatives.  Including the Judge who presided over those proceedings.

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Back to now.  I ran in to an uninformed tweeter who claimed that another tweeter, a lawyer, had educated her that Jodi Arias will receive only one paid appeal if sentenced to death and the rest will be on her own dime. This was in response to a video I saw where Arias’ parents are soliciting money for “legal defense”.  Of course I know, totally, that they don’t need to come up with any funds for Arias’ legal defense. That will all be, and has been, covered by the AZ taxpayers even though, like the men who killed Cindy, Arias never contributed a dime to AZ tax coffers.  Ok maybe a couple of dimes when she claimed to have worked as a waitress for about 5 seconds.

This tweeter then pointed me to the “lawyer” who she found credible on this topic, so I began addressing him.

His name is Brent J. Kleinman and he apparently has a law practice in AZ focusing, what it seems like, primarily estate planning law.  I don’t see anything on his website about criminal law, much less death penalty law.  He does however boast “entertainment law” there which may explain why he’s been hanging around this high profile Arias trial like so many others seeking the spotlight.  He also boasts a video on his site where he is…wow…on the Channel 12 news talking about the trial!  I wonder how many times a day he watches himself there.

I’m only being snarky about Brent because he’s continuing to tweet entirely misinformed bullshit details about the Death Penalty appeals process and seems to claim some credibility because he did go to law school and pass the bar.  He also claims to have volunteered time for the Justice Project AZ but then anyone can say anything.  If that’s true, he’s also been misinformed there, is not paying attention or intentionally propagandizing in support of killers.

i have not walked through one as you have. I worked with the Justice Project AZ that donates legal services to help DP inmates

Among other tidbits of wrong information, he claims that Jodi would get only one paid appeal by the State if sentenced to death and in reality it is the STATE who incurs most of the costs in death penalty appeals.

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Pardon me, I just choked there for a second.

Let’s get this straight.  He claims the State sentences these killers to death, then proceeds to waste millions of taxpayer money  fighting to overturn their own sentence.  Or somehow their responses to these decades of claims against the trial/case/police/judge etc. are the things that cost the most.

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oh yes he did

Cindy’s killers are from Germany.  Her appeals lawyers flew to Germany on at least one occasion to research their “mental retardation” while flying witnesses over from Germany to testify.  That’s just some of many expenses they burdened AZ taxpayers with for seven years once the Supreme Court decided a decade after these sociopaths were sentenced to death that we can’t execute the mentally retarded and they all overnight became mentally retarded.  See here.

Yet Brent Kleinman, is with a straight face, tweeting that it’s the STATE’S fault these death penalty appeals processes are so costly.

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I don’t like anything that blames the victim.

Appeals lawyers make their entire living pouring over trials seeking loopholes for which these murderers to leap through.  One I know personally (and believe it or not am friends with) charges the State $350 an hour to do just that.  And she’s good at it.  And one of MANY who do this kind of tedious research.

And yet Brent Kleinman wants the twittersphere to believe that somehow all of these destitute death row murderers are paying for all of this on their own.  Or they are having other raise funds for them to cover these millions of dollar invoices.  Like Jodi Arias parents are claiming to do.

He pulled his tail between his legs this morning and retreated with this:

I understand the personal nature of this discussion for you. DP appeals can’t be properly discussed in 140 characters or less.

Let me provide the subtitles for you:

It’s clear I’ve gotten over my head in this discussion so I’m going to bow out and go work on someone’s Will right now.

But he’s made his mark and I’m gonna keep letting him display this bold caricature of ignorance if he keeps trying to pull the wool over uneducated AZ taxpayer’s eyes.

He can’t have it both ways.  Trying to promote himself by tweeting and going on TV talking about the guilt of Jodi Arias then be one of the people who claims she and those like her have been mistreated via the death penalty therefore deserve a new trial (at taxpayer expense) or worse yet, parole or even more horrifying, release from prison.

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They are out there disguised as all kinds of things–journalists with agendas helping defense teams, estate planning/ entertainment lawyers, your next door neighbor.

I’m not saying no appeals should be allowed. This thing has just gotten so bloated and out of control that it’s its own monster now.  Fueled by well meaning souls who manage to justify torturing grieving families in the name of “justice” for murderers or really in the same of some kind of other internal savior agenda driving them or in the name of having no conscience just like the killers themselves.  Yes I’ve seen a few of those too.

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One of the attorneys who championed for Rudi Apelt to be removed from death row, turned and offered an apology to me directly in open court before I gave my impact statement.  Way too late and way too manipulative. Right before the Judge made her final decision he chose that moment to express this display of fauxpology.  He had spent 7 years dragging my family through this ringer over and over yet wants to smoothe it over with a public apology in front of the judge?  Poser.  I looked straight ahead then went up on that stand and kicked his ass.  And she ruled against him.  For once.  I was later told by the AG that it was my Victim Impact statement, published here, that influenced that decision in their opinion.

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That’s what this process creates out of us.  And you have several choices–one is to ignore it completely but then they will show up on your front door without notice.

I rarely think about the Apelts.  I get notices from the AG’s office (my victim advocate) and toss them without opening.  I’ve told her/him (it’s been many over the years) to call me if there’s something I need to know.  Otherwise I don’t let this intrude in to my life/home/consciousness.

But this Arias trial has stirred things up.  I’m bonded with Travis and his family now and I won’t be silent.  Until I am again.

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Then I will hop back in to my own trajectory of the life I’m living untainted by these constant attempts at tainting.

And I’m talking to you too Brent Kleinman.  Think of that next time to try to help a death row inmate get off the row or worse yet back in to society. Think of that next time you spew your misinformation in to the twittersphere for others to believe.  It could be the mother of a child who was murdered and dumped you are tossing salt in to her open wound.  Someone a lot less strong than me.  In the meantime it’s me you’ve got to deal with.  And I will stop exposing you, when I stop.

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Arrogance with the truth?  Go for it. Arrogance from the ignorant?  You will be called out.

Without awareness there is no choice.  Be careful who’s word you are gonna believe.

believing is seeing

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Anyone who’s been following this blog for any period of time knows I live my life through seeking signs.  Signs of life I call them.  These are the stepping stones that guide me, reassure me, motivate me, calm me down.

I am a believer that once you start looking for signs, they start appearing more dramatically and more frequently.  I’m also a believer that they are there all along so once you start looking for them, you start seeing them.  You have to believe it to see it they say.

I did quite a bit of writing this past week at Rancho La Puerta. Mostly in those wee morning hours when thoughts haven’t quite woken up yet so the mind is a soft web available to catch new ideas.  I’ll share some snippets below but what I want to talk about right now are a couple of signs I’ve gotten since returning.

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This book idea has grabbed a hold of me hard and is having it’s way with me that’s for sure.  I know this is true when I can’t stop thinking about something and when seeming obstacles melt like butter before I’ve had the opportunity to name them yet.

Last night I decided to create a specific blog in which to write the book.  I know this WordPress system and instead of reinventing the wheel elsewhere, I decided to use what I know and do my draft writing there.  I’ll share that blog when it’s a little more formed as I’ll use it also for posting things specific to the book.

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WordPress has lots of templates to use for blogs.  They call them themes.  This blog for example is on the Writr theme template.  Some are offered for an upgrade fee and many of them are free.  I decided to search on the free templates for my book blog.  I immediately was drawn to one that had the feel that I seek to feel.  An environment is a very critical element for me in any project.  That’s why finding that amazing studio in Edmonds, and living in it for a week, was so important.  I’m a creature of comfort and if I don’t have it around me, I won’t have it in me and will produce basically nothing.

The blog template was no different so I clicked on one that had a good feel to it.

When it came up on my screen I nearly gasped.  Not for the layout but for the stock photo they’re using on it.  Ok let me just show you.

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Now this may mean nothing to any of you out there reading but it hit me like a sharp ray of sunshine out of a Seattle cloudy sky–right between the eyes.  I knew immediately why.  Ok let me just show you again.

Remember this?

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That is the sunset view from the studio I’ve rented for a month in Edmonds Washington where I will be living and writing this January/February.

Let me just put them side by side to make this more dramatic as we know I love my drama.

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I’ve been on enough ferries now through the Puget Sound to know it when I see it.  And it looks like nearly the same view doesn’t it?  Just a little closer.

Ok so there’s that.

Then this morning I finished going through the mail that had accumulated while I was gone and stuck between junk mail and bills was this.

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Wha what what huh?  As I wrote the mail carrier, How did this get delivered to Tempe, AZ?

And now I’m curious about just who is Elizabeth  in Seattle and am I supposed to meet her one day?

See what I mean?  Signs. 

Ok, now to share a bit of my ramblings from down at the Ranch.  It’s interesting, even to me, what bubbled up while I just sat down and got busy.

They sent a Detective to meet me at Sky Harbor Airport.  My friend Deb insisted on being there to greet the plane.  Deb followed us in her car to the Mesa Police Station.  I sat in the back seat with Detective Davis driving who would over a year later, after the guilty verdict came in, apologize to me in a tavern for something I had no idea was even happening during that visit.

I was famished.  You don’t eat much in crisis moments like these and then you’re starving out of nowhere.  It’s the way grief hits you sometimes.  As we rode I realized it was 1pm and I hadn’t had a bite of food for over twenty four hours.  I asked Detective Davis to stop so I could grab a bite somewhere as we made the half hour drive from Phoenix to Mesa.  I was thinking a drive thru somewhere–something quick and easy.

It felt strange that he had to phone in to ask permission to make this stop.  Everything felt stilted.  He was too formal about this.  What’s the big deal? I thought.  It’s just a sandwich and I’m paying for it myself.  It was confusing. Like are we on some kind of tight schedule here?  I knew I only had one day to complete this interview.  I was in town for just twenty four hours and would be flying back to Illinois the next afternoon so I just chalked it up to a time factor.  But still, it was odd.

The Detective was given directions where to take me and pulled over to a dinky, non-chain sub sandwich shop in a former run- down gas station on a dilapidated corner in downtown Mesa near the police station.  Why here? I wondered. I figured it was where all the police officers ate so they had some kind of familiarity with this place. 

In reality, it was a nondescript dry turkey sandwich that Detective Davis went inside and purchased for me.  One that I choked down in an interview room alone under two way mirrored surveillance.  They wouldn’t even let Deb hang with me while I ate.  She was outside in the hall.

I had no way of knowing, that at that moment, I was being considered a suspect in Cindy’s murder.

I’ve decided as I go along writing, I will post snippets like this in my new blog.  So if you’re so inclined you can also check in there come January.  This is just a preview.

Now gotta shift in to this new day and see if I get some more signs.  How about you?

soulmates

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To cap off an already stellar, relaxing, enriching and vibrant week at Rancho La Puerta, Sebastian came down on the last day to celebrate with me!

He is there now working this upcoming week and tried to switch with the practitioner there for my birthday week but that didn’t fly so he drove down a day early just to hang with me.  We packed more in to that 20 hours than most friends do in a week.

 

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Late afternoon Friday after a full morning of water Ai Chi, Aerobics with Soul (amazing) and crystal bowl meditation I ended up back at my patio perch pretending to be reading but really just taking in the last moments of that sunset view.  I saw bunnies, a roadrunner four more times (the same one following me?), a tribe of quail and the full moon rise.  I suddenly heard a little rustle behind me and quickly pivoted and poof!  There was Sebastian!

Hugs kisses hugs kisses hugs kisses hugs kisses.

wpid-2014-11-08-06.31.47.jpg.jpegIt was very close to the dinner bell so we quickly changed clothes (he wore his new pants and shirt yay!) and we went and had a lovely last evening dinner with a group of four women I’d been hanging out with all week.  In their group were two sisters I met last year, same week–Gail and Denise.  Gail of course remembered Sebastian as she had her own life changing session with him during that visit.

Come to think of it, most of my social time this year was with two sets of sisters I’d met last year.  The others were Randy and Terry.  Now that’s kind of interesting.  There was a time in my life I’d have avoided pairs of sisters like that just for the sheer pain of it but I don’t seem to have that reflex anymore.  This is good.

Even though it was the last evening party, we were all exhausted.  Sebastian’s been doing this wild restricted eating program (vegan, no alcohol) this Fall so he couldn’t really eat much and his body is going through it’s own stuff and I was frankly just tired.  It was a very full week.

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We finished the meal, said our goodbyes (of course many folks were coming up to Sebastian for hellos and hugs not having seen him all week) and headed back to the room.  We put on our jammies and got under fluffy blankets and headed for the patio where we sat for a couple of hours stretched out on lounge chairs under the full moon catching up on everything.  Sebastian and I are like long lost siblings ourselves–we have a natural ease and comfort around each other, even with the silent spaces.  It’s a pretty unusual and special friendship–one that kicked off like that pretty much from the start.

“Kath, you’re falling asleep, let’s go inside” and as we walked in, freezing now, we forgot we’d planned on lighting a fire.  So he lit it up for us and we sat now again on the sofa talking and drinking herbal tea for another hour or so sinking deeply in to the bright Mexican cushions.

“We better go to bed” he said as I was probably half-talking in my sleep around 11pm.

We crawled in to the King size bed side by side and crashed, comfortably.  Or at least for me as I woke up and Sebastian was on the sofa.  Oh no I’m sure I was snoring I thought.  When he woke up and I asked him he said “no it was the bugs–I was getting eaten alive over there by mosquitos”.  He said his blood is just sweet.  And so is he.  Ok truth be told he did say I was snoring a bit “it wasn’t that bad”, he kindly said. ;)

We made our way down to breakfast and sat outside by the fountain, talking and eating fruit, oatmeal and scrambled eggs.  Sebastian, in his usual gentlemanly way, got me coffee “I put a little mocha in there, thought you might like it”.  A woman approached us wanting to join our table and I was feeling especially selfish with my birthday present so I said “ya know we are engrossed in a private conversation right now so maybe another time?”.  She understood and we were both relieved.  This time was precious and I didn’t want to waste any of it on small talk.  Neither of us are really small talk people anyway, being introverts.

I had left my bathing suit in the locker room so had to go retrieve it so we went there after breakfast and lo and behold right past the Watsu pool which was open and unused.  So…my darling Sebastian offered me an informal partial session and OMG.  It was the best yet.  He kept taking me deeper and longer under the water and I thought maybe I was more tired or something as I was really challenged on the breath part a couple of times.

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“No, I was challenging you this time to face some of your blocks.  You were ready for it, so I took you there because you trust me now”.

Boom.

This is a video made by the Wave Academy where Sebastian is a volunteer and they’ve done amazing research on Aquatic therapy and PTSD.  Please take a look. Sebastian is in this video as well.

I was wiped after that but we ended up having to rush back to my room to check out and then to lunch then….”let’s go walk the labyrinth” he said.  Thankfully he reminded me as I’d not walked it the entire week.  We each walked in silence passing twice on the path, the second time we did  a low five grazing each other’s palms.

After walking and doing our wishes, we did a little photo session as the light was just so gorgeous and Sebastian is a photographer and wanted to play in it so we had great fun with that.

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As I walked in to do some business in the Admin building, two of the young women working there, said “you’re so lucky” which of course I am, just being at the Ranch which was I thought they were referring to.  Lucky to have been there all week.  Then I looked at the mischievious or in Spanish travieso looks on their faces and they said “Sebastian”.  They had just seen our affectionate goodbye on the front steps outside and began to tell me how jealous they were.  Hey I get it, I’d be jealous of me too.

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He’s of course gorgeous on the outside.  He’s a model (in fact just did a photo shoot the week before) and stunning.  And he’s as beautiful, if not more on the inside.  He’s one of the gentlest, kindest, deepest, most thoughtful and naturally charming men I’ve ever known.

And I’m so fortunate to have met him and call him friend.

I love you Sebastian Skinner.  Now and forever.

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(a little more on Sebastian here)