american monster


Just a reminder, the show on Cindy’s murder is airing this weekend — 11/20 at 9pm — on Investigation Discovery; American Monster. I was interviewed at length as was Cathy Hughes our amazing prosecutor, a detective from the case and some of Cindy’s friends. There will be some video footage of her and lots of photos, likely not seen before.

Her killers were NOT interviewed for this.

I hope and pray they do her justice.

American Monster, Brothers and Sisters


This is innocence

Rudi Apelt died of natural causes in prison this morning. Those are all the details I know. My attorney was informed and called to tell me. Over thirty years of having to deal with this evil; it’s over.

I cannot tell you the instant feeling of relief I had that has only deepened over the last three hours since I found out. My shoulders are dropping back to a place they have not visited in a very long time. I feel so free. I didn’t know how deeply I was carrying this trauma that just kept resurfacing, now that it’s gone.

This means no more parole hearings, ever. No more intrusions from his team of champions (although once they got him off death row they did exactly as I predicted in my impact statement–dropped him like a hot potato–not one, literally not ONE of them ever showed up at a parole hearing after spending about a decade fighting for him and his “intellectual disability”).

Michael, although having just launched a huge long appeal, while being on a list of 20 inmates who “have exhausted all appeals” (yeah try and figure that one out) will never be up for parole. So I’ll only have to deal with him sporadically as his appeals present themselves, but not every year like I did with Rudi.

Anyway, he’s dead. Thank God. I just wish my Dad had been here to experience this relief. He missed it by six months. Dad, he’s gone.

No press release yet, but here’s an article about one of his parole denials.



We did a big thing toward the end of last year.

After moving my brother and Dad to PA last Spring/Summer, and before Dad got as sick as he did, my brother asked a not unexpected question.

“Shouldn’t we sell the Sedona house and get another vacation home here?” which caused me to react in near nausea.

We had just spent months prepping/moving/cleaning/sorting/packing/unpacking/listing/selling/etc. to get the both of them moved from AZ to PA with many many unexpected complications. The last thing I could think of was going through that again, dealing with our packed home in Sedona, filled not only with all of our collected family furniture and heirlooms, but all the remnants of my Tempe condo that had flooded 3 years prior. The thought of sorting through, packing, moving all of that stuff was way beyond my ability to fathom, knowing of course it would fall entirely on the backs of my husband and I.

“I need a break from moving for awhile–let’s just let it sit there and appreciate,” I replied.

Then a week or so later, my husband and I started thinking out loud about this. It no longer made sense for us to retain and manage a family vacation home across the country. We knew my Dad would never get back out there again–it was hard enough to get him moved across the country, no matter how amazing my husband made that 10 day road trip through the American West for him. His mobility had made it clear he would not be traveling far again.

Nonetheless, we started thinking about it. Mainly, because I realized this family gathering place meant way more to my brother than any of us. His social outlets are minimal. He’s always relied on our family cottage in Maine and later our Sedona condo as a place to look forward to and celebrate at. Getting there would not be practical for him either–so we had to realize he had made a good point. And frankly, for many reasons, I was just done with Arizona. It was really just staying there out of exhaustion and the fact that my husband enjoyed his trips out there. I had not stepped in that home for a year and a half and to be honest, didn’t miss it. I was ready to let it go, but it was going to be a ton of work.

A fraction of what he sorted through.

So, Alfonse kept talking about a beach house. Which would also be its own huge project, distance and upkeep-wise.

Then my husband said “you know if he likes water, there are a lot of lakes in PA”.

We knew that it was a good time to sell property and so crawled in bed that evening, opened the laptop to just see what was out there in our price range. It would be nice to have a kind of lateral financial transfer from what we could get from the Sedona house, to what we could purchase more locally.

We spent three hours brainstorming and searching. “Kicking tires” as they say. We saw so many things from fixer-uppers to multi-million dollar lakefront homes. We even searched in to NY State, up in the Finger Lakes, realizing what a difference a line makes in terms of taxes (gasp! property taxes are insane in NY).

We hopped all around the State, gleaning ideas of what we liked and what we didn’t want — mainly a project.

Then we stopped on this one listing and gasped. It was one of the most beautiful homes we’d seen–every bit as grand as some of the million dollar-plus ones– and in our basic price range. We could hardly believe it. Suddenly what had just been a curiosity expedition started to seem like something.

We had already planned an overnight to Ithaca that week–something we were doing to get breaks from the intensity of caretaking my Dad and brother–which was kind of in the area of this lake home, so we planned to just cruise it. John called the realtor to see what was involved in seeing it. She had Covid at the time and was quarantining, so we had time to gather the proof of funds required and set an appt. to go back in a few days. We had a sense that we needed to act quickly on this home. It was just on the market three weeks.

View from our lower dock.

Fast forward: we made an offer on the house after touring it that first time. Dad was rapidly declining at the same time. It was a lot to juggle. We knew if we didn’t act fast, we would lose this incredible opportunity and be haunted by it forever, yet my Dad was rapidly slipping from this world. We talked to him about selling the Sedona house which he was on board with, but by the time our offer on this was accepted, he was declining so rapidly neurologically we chose not to tell him. It was clear he would never make it to the house and I just felt like it was too hard to show him where our future was headed without him. He passed within days of us signing the contract for the house. It was a time of very intense emotions.

Yet, having this house in our sites, helped all of us deal with the extraordinary and somewhat sudden loss of our Dad. It was a lot though.

Miss you Dad.

Meanwhile, my husband stepped in to major action mode and took some trips out to Sedona to completely pack up our home there and prep it for movers. In fact, he was in Sedona the day Dad passed and on my birthday. There was just no time to waste. He was the true MVP of the whole situation for us. I was managing everything related to Dad, my brother, the dealings of being simultaneous buyers and sellers while navigating my Dad’s sudden decline/death and pretty complex estate.

We bonded with the sellers who designed and lived in this amazing home for twenty years. They invited us up twice to help inservice us on it which has systems upon systems for everything from multiple heating/cooling zones to specific garbage collection rules (it’s in the woods–there are BEARS!).

My view yesterday from the new sofa where I was stuck for about 6 straight hours.

ANYWAY, I really came on here to share about the SOFA SECTIONAL we got for the new house, but I went on a few tangents. We had very few things we needed to purchase for the lake house between all the furniture coming from AZ, some pieces we repurposed from both our homes in Lewisburg, plus all the furnishings we had accumulated. But our sofa was shot, so we decided our one big splurge would be a leather sectional sofa for the Great Room, that opens with a two story stone fireplace to a large loft upstairs. It is a room that requires a grand piece of furniture. Plus we are a family who likes togetherness in terms of seating.

Exhibit A

The fellas trusted me with making this selection, so I went about the daunting task of choosing a custom made sofa for a room we didn’t have access to yet. I knew I wanted to get it moving as furniture acquisition is incredibly slow at the moment.

I finally landed on a website called Sofas and Sectionals and thought it looked like a good place to get what we needed and I was right. I spent hours and hours perusing their collections and leather options, requesting MANY swatches to see in person. I mean I had one shot to get this right.

This was the house layout when we saw toured it.

The sellers of the home had a beautiful navy leather sofa, but a regular size–not a sectional. I realized how this very tall room needed a darker shade to ground the space. Plus with all the wood–floors, grand window, mantle, etc. needed some contrast. I had many chats with their sales person Matt who never seemed to tire of my questions and changes of mind.

I could barely find any examples of the leather color I landed on with online photos, so made my decision based on a 2 inch swatch I’d received. Which is one of the main reasons I decided to make this post–so anyone else out there searching on either this design and/or this specific leather, they might find this post to help them make their decisions.

We ended up with the Arlo sectional with recliners at both ends, in Bronco Carbon leather (it’s so soft and buttery, yet rustic).

The only photo I had to use to choose with

We were given a 12-16 week window to receive it and requested the White Glove service which meant they would set it up and take away all the packing material (smart move it turned out).

We set up the house, which we named Northstar, very quickly with just enough to get through Christmas up here which was WONDERFUL. We lined up 4 recliners in the Great Room for seating, had our tree and mantle decorated and the kitchen set up enough for all our cooking. Nothing on the walls, but our bedrooms functional. We are still living out of suitcases and have no real decorative elements yet, but it will take time to get fully settled.

Our sofa arrived yesterday- just two days over the 12 week mark- and I’ve barely gotten off it since. It is AMAZING. It fits in this room like a glove, is the perfect color (a kind of mottled charcoal) and is so comfortable right out of the gate. My husband had to go back down to our other house and just missed the delivery, but we will cuddle together this evening while continuing our Round Two binge-watch of Succession (what a show!).

Here are a ton of photos of the sofa in different lighting which I so wished I’d had while making that blindish decision. If you look closely, you’ll see all the recliners we were using stacked up in the library room behind, to be moved around to new spots later today.

So, sharing photos of some of the house in this Winter Wonderland (there will be more photos as we get more settled) and mostly of this awesome sectional. Hope this helps someone else out there make their furniture decisions. I desperately searched the internet for photos of this style and color of leather–so wanted to try and make it easier for someone else. I highly recommend Sofas and Sectionals though-if you have any questions about the whole deal, feel free to ask! I was kind of flying blind when I ordered this, but I know a lot about it now. They made the whole daunting process reliable, affordable and seamless for us.

A video I took this morning of the Winter Wonderland from the deck.

Happy New Year all! I have a good feeling about 2022. My word for the year is RECOVER as last year involved month after month of major life stress/events–even some good ones such as this amazing home. Still, stress though, that I intend to recover from right on this buttery soft sofa.



Right after my husband and I got married and were getting some photos taken, I looked down and something caught my eye in the grass. It was a small square card with the letter C handwritten on it.

“Thanks for coming, Cindy,” I thought as I picked it up and tucked it in my lace bag.

I still have it with my other keepsakes of the day.

I picked up Dad’s ashes the week after he passed. In passing our lawyer had mentioned that the cemetery where Dad’s grandfather is buried, does cremations. So, anticipating what was coming, I had pre- arranged for him to be cremated there- the place just a couple of weeks before we had roamed with a map searching for his grandad’s grave. And we found it.

Dad was still alert and speaking then and remembered being there as a child doing the same search. He remembered the grave on a hill overlooking the mountains in the distance. Just as it was.

When I picked up his ashes that day, I drove back up to the gravesite and just sat the open white cardboard box next to the headstone. I wasn’t ready to take the black plastic box out, which will come in time.

I stood for awhile with them both, in the peaceful air, reflecting on what a miracle it was that my father came back to his roots to complete his life cycle. And how none of us realized this when I felt so drawn to move to this area.

So many other synchronicities that I may write about another day.

When I brought Dad home I didn’t know what to do with that box. We will spread his ashes later next year in grand style , but for now I don’t know. I’ve never been in possession of someone’s ashes before and don’t want to just stick them away in a closet or cupboard, but where do I put them?

As I walked back to our bedroom, John’s piano in our dining area caught my eye. The marble lazy Susan on top was just there, empty.

I knew that was the spot to place the box, at least for now.

When I walked up to set it on the marble circle, something caught my eye.

There she was again at a momentous time, reminding me she’s never far when we need her. No idea how or when that little bead ended up there, and it was the first time I’d seen it- and the only one.

Just one C. There was just one Cindy. And I sure felt her presence that night as I sat with Dad in those final hours coaxing him to look for her, and the motion sensor alarm that I had set in the off position earlier, started alarming. Someone had entered the space and the motion sensor (positioned on the floor for fall risk patients) picked it up. Who else would it be?

So there he sits with Cindy, again.

I find comfort in these signs. I went over to look at it again this morning and there they are, still together.

And here John and I are, still together as well, grieving and dreaming of ways we will take our family name out in style.



Our father, the icon, Jack Monkman, passed peacefully in his sleep this morning at 3:45am. I had been at the bedside for 11 hours, then went home for a shower and sleep and got the call three hours later.

Earlier in the evening, I had turned off both the motion detector devices on the floor the facility placed by the bed for patients who are fall risks. They set off a smoke alarm kind of beep when detecting nearby motion. All of a sudden an hour later, one of them started going off randomly across the room – no one had passed that area or even near it.

I figured Cindy announced her entrance to the space and a few hours later shepherded our father Home.

We will love and miss you forever Dad. And as I told you, we have John carefully tucked under our wings. All is taken care of. Be free. We will be looking for you when it’s our time- and in the meantime, we are going to enjoy every minute of our lives and take the Monkman name out in style.

Jack Monkman 2/1931 — 10/2021



I just finished listening to an Instagram Live where a man I admire and am entertained by daily (George Hahn) was describing someone else’s coming out story. He burst in to tears as he spoke of this and his emotion fueled my own. He talked about how courageous his friend was for making this bold move at this juncture of his life.

This all spurred me thinking about my gay brother, whose life I’m actively involved with right now.

When someone has a chronic mental illness (or any chronic disability really), they tend to get defined by just that. My brother, who is schizophrenic, for example.

When John first moved to AZ at my urging, nine years ago, he lived with me that summer and together we worked toward stabilizing him and finding him a meaningful life. He had been living alone–largely untethered– for years. Left to his own devices to find his way.

John had been out of the closet for decades at that point, but in many ways was living like he still was ensconced there.

When he came to live with me, I looked at his whole life and saw this gap; unrealized. I started investigating ways I could help him get involved in the gay community at age 50–bars were not an option, but what else was there?

That’s when I got the spark about the Phoenix Gay Men’s Chorus, pushed him to audition and we all know what happened there. He spent two years singing with them all over Phoenix and beyond. He even bought a tuxedo and learned, with his challenged brain, songs in Italian and Latin. Memorized them.

I find myself in the same boat here in Pennsylvania and we are working on it. We’ve been very busy the last three weeks getting him unpacked, settled in the house/community, my husband helped him buy a bike, sorting through countless items that were sent here that we are donating, on and on. It’s been very busy. But he’s met his neighbors and yesterday the nurse coordinator at the Assisted Living told us one of his neighbors was raving about how friendly he is. Today he explores the art class there for the first time. We are doing it.

The smoking issue at the house has worked out easily (it’s a non-smoking campus, so we got a house just feet from the property line and I got him a chair he can easily transport and he sits between two large trees and has his cigarettes–which has dropped off dramatically since he moved).

We got him his own large TV for the living room, so he can also have his own space in the house. John admitted he was taking so many smoke breaks because he didn’t want to always watch Dad’s shows and smoking got him his own space. My Dad will be basically living in the sunroom–we all know that. So we are shifting that with John having his own room for music and movies. It’s important he has his own life which is defined by his preferences/choices/style of living. I am adamant that he not become consumed with caretaking our Dad, which is what was happening in AZ. He has enough on his plate taking care of himself.

It’s been a busy and fulfilling time. My Dad comes out in about 2-3 weeks (my angel husband is driving him on an extended road trip in my brother’s car across the country), so we are doing our best to get as much sorted out and set up before he comes. There is a lot to it!

This week we’ve been christening his new TV with a Michael Douglas movie marathon. First, Basic Instinct and last night Fatal Attraction. He served me dinner that he made both nights. It’s been great.

Anyway, back to the George Hahn’s emotions this morning and my own. It brought me back to the time when my brother came out. He had his first serious psychotic episode right around the trials for Cindy’s murder. He lived in Minneapolis then, and traveled to AZ only one time for the trials–toward the end of one of them. It was during that visit that I noticed he was experiencing significant paranoia. I was a Psych RN at the time and came home from shopping with John and pulled my Dad aside and pointed out what I had observed. There was so much denial about that, even within my mental health professionals family. He had to fall much farther before he got proper help and it was during that acute episode that he also came out of the closet. I can only imagine the psychic pressure he felt holding his sexuality in for so long. He had been living out of the closet in Minneapolis for a few years at that point, unbeknownst to our family. Those were likely some of the best years of his life.

Cindy never knew he was gay.

I had one conversation with Marj–our stepmother–about John’s coming out and her response haunts me to this day.

“Well, you know, it’s probably the only community that would accept him,” she said, making it clear that she didn’t think his being gay was really real. He just chose that life because he didn’t fit in anywhere else. Ya think?

I wasn’t the person then that I am today. I was struck dumb by her words. I still respected her as a parent and authority figure, in my 30’s then, and was far away from coming to grips of the damage she had caused in our lives, in my life.

Now this woman was also a mental health professional–a PhD level social worker. And she had spent a lot of time with John that summer before his major break–she was teaching up in that area and would parlay visits to his home for weekends (he owned his own home he called “Little House in the Prairie” there). She shared with me that she saw him losing weight, that he had some medical issues going on that they couldn’t quite figure out, that she had accompanied him to various Dr. appointments but no real diagnosis had occurred. They finally landed on some vague chronic fatigue syndrome.

That Fall I was with John for a few hours before seeing he was completely paranoid–claiming security guards were following him around the Mall. Had she missed all of this? Had he been better about hiding it?

In reality, he was so paranoid about the AIDS crisis, that although he never tested positive, he started manifesting the physical symptoms of AIDS. It was the first glimmer of the closet door peeking open.

I have no idea what kinds of conversations happened between John and Marj that summer, but I do know that one line she said to me, which sums up the entire dynamic.

Marj was a politically progressive person, a “women’s libber” she would be called back in that time, yet her Deep South roots still clung tightly to her basic beliefs. She never accepted John’s homosexuality and God knows the ways she shamed him about it in her unique passive-aggressive way. I know how she shamed me —and Cindy–I know what she said to me about him.

As if John was such a misfit that he went out seeking a community that would accept all the misfits, because they were such misfits themselves that they would take anyone. That’s what I took in her statement–what I take now in it. It makes me shudder, but I’m sure not an uncommon belief.

tweet tweet! a little palate cleanser for us all

It’s not easy to speak out about taboo things. Heck, it took me decades to speak out about Marj, and that started after her death in a private therapist’s office who asked me to circle back to something “your stepmother hit you?” after I glossed over it like it was normal family behavior. She held me to that fire until it all unraveled out. I always credit her for helping me see the truth in my upbringing--as she was on a quest to figure out the root cause of the reason I came to her–a debilitating anxiety disorder that stretched from my twenties in to my early forties.

Speaking out about her has not been easy for me either, but it’s been helpful and not just to me. My posts about hard subjects like that have garnered the most feedback from my readers here on the blog and in private. About their own lives. It’s important to bring things like this to light. But it’s been not unchallenged or fraught with losses, like George spoke about this morning with his coming-out story–necessary losses of relationships.

I was recently challenged about this with one of Marj’s sisters, now elderly, who had offered herself to me as a confidante for many years. A few years ago, I confided in her something I was very worried about, about another family member. I was needing help, as in many ways, I’m this middle child steering a ship I was never prepared for all by myself (until I met my husband who has been an amazing ally). I’ve navigated some very rocky waters with my family, alone. So at her urging, I reached out to her for help.

“Please, talk to me anytime,” she encouraged me. So I did.

I don’t know if it was the results of the election–she’s also still in the Deep South and we are at opposite ends of the political spectrum (as she was with her own sister). But she kind of lost her mind with me. Or maybe she just lost her filters.

I made a Facebook post about some feelings post-election and in this, I used an example of being a survivor of child abuse and speaking out about it to compare to whatever point I was making about recovering from the months of trauma surrounding those heavily-charged politics.

what I typically post about on Facebook–I grew all of these!

Out of the blue, I received a text from this former “step-Aunt”. Now, she had read the blog I originally wrote here about her sister (with a caveat and warning at the beginning that it was going to get real and difficult for her remaining loved ones so maybe stop reading there) and reached out to me in support back then. That was years ago. We never really discussed it, but I believed her when she said she had no idea it was happening. Such is the way of abuse in families–often hidden.

Imagine my blindside, when she vomited in to my text box claiming she was “sick of the crap” I was writing about her sister (as if I do it on some regular basis) and she threatened to expose the sensitive material I had shared with her years ago, about another family member “to friends and family”. She was specific too about how she was going to do that, I suppose, if I wrote any more “crap” about her sister. Of all the responses to her feelings about my post, this was the one she chose. A specific, detailed threat involving the privacy of someone else. Sad.

That “crap” she was referring to is my life story. And something I never asked, nor encouraged her to read. In fact, I steered her against it, knowing it would be difficult for that side of the family. I’ve never asked to read one word of anything I’ve ever written–on my blog, on Facebook, anywhere. She chose that freely on her own–even after being warned in a loving way–yet found a way to blame me for it. It all felt very familiar. Apples and trees, as they say.

another palate cleanser–I grew this tooall these different colors on one plant

It’s hard to talk about hard things. It’s not easy to keep talking about them. You will lose people, as I did with Marj’s sister. Her threats–a blackmail actually–told so many stories in one text that it was clear this was a person who was not–and had not been–safe for me to be around, period. Letting go of people is often necessary along the way to finding your freedom.

I accompanied my brother to his first Psychiatrist appointment here. That Dr. was amazing. After the sheer, scary incompetence of what he just left at the clinic in AZ, this was like gale force winds of fresh air. He spent an entire hour asking John about his history with me present. I was glad I was there as I knew–and it became obvious to the Dr.–that John minimizes things. I filled in many blanks for him and at one point he said directly to John “I see you have a tendency to sugar-coat things, and I’m not here as a person you need to impress. I’m here as a person to help you when things get their worst, so I need to know everything about how bad it gets.”. (Wow, I’m sitting there thinking, just wow).

John agreed and I was still surprised when the Dr. asked about childhood trauma (after John originally said “no” and I pointed out that we lost our mother when John was just 3–about as traumatic as you can get). He then asked “was there any abuse?” and John said “yes, our mother after Dad remarried”. Marj adopted us, so we were required to always call her “Mother”. As you can see, I no longer use that title for her, but my brother does and I’m not saying a word about it.

“Was it verbal or physical or….?” the Dr. asked.

With no prompting, John replied “it was verbal and physical”.

I was so proud of him that he could speak the truth.

this is a Fiesta hibiscus

I had not spoken with him about Marj and the abuse for years. Once during a really rough patch, he blurted out “you left me alone there with her for three years when you went to college Kathy–THREE YEARS!“. But beyond that, he’s been reluctant to talk about things and I don’t know what happened in those three years. I don’t push him on it–if it’s meant to be discussed it will be.

I just know that the last time she hit me, I got in the middle of her beating him and she turned on me. I was in college at that time and home for a weekend.

So he’s speaking out too. That’s good that it just comes to light. I didn’t ask him any further about that, as we are focusing on moving forward. But should he ever need to talk about it, he knows I know and am a soft place to land.

I decided not to tell him about the crazy interaction and ultimate severance of the relationship with Marj’s sister. My brother has few people on this planet who he feels connected to, and I am not taking any of them away from him. If she was nearby and I felt a danger to him in any way, sure. But, like her sister, her focus seemed more directed at me for speaking out, so I’m leaving it there.

But rest assured, I blocked her from all social media and from my phone number.

I may not have been able to protect myself from her sister then, but I know how to protect myself now. If she chooses to follow through on her blackmail, well that would just be a sad legacy for her to leave her descendants, but for sure it has nothing to do with me.

a rainbow of color

Anyway, here’s to telling the truth. Here’s to all the gay people I know (and don’t know) who have traversed all the obstacles they have to step in to their lives–freedom to breathe your own air is a great place to live.

You will lose people along the way, but you will gain more who vibe with who you are.

And God knows, my brother and I have had enough struggle.

It’s finally the time in our lives to be living fully alive–lives that our mother and our sister would be proud of.



It’s been awhile since I’ve updated here. We’ve been busy!

Not exactly sure where I left off, but I’ll start here.

My husband just got home from a 12 day tour to AZ to help “the Dudes” as he refers to my Dad and brother (lol, they love it). He set up movers, cleaners, junk haulers, attended several medical appointments for both of them, coordinated paperwork for various things and was basically their moving coordinator. He even convinced my Dad to get hearing aids and took him for those appts.

He extended his stay for an additional five days, once he realized more help was needed. He drove back and forth to Sedona three times, to retrieve belongings and get a little much needed overnight R and R himself. What an angel he turned out to be for our family.

About a year before meeting him, I looked forward to the landscape of my future and started to panic. One day I found myself pleading out loud to my sister “you have to help find someone for me who can help me with Dad and John down the road”.

Thank you Cindy. You nailed it in so many ways. He’s a great husband, companion, friend, cuddler, uplifter, Dad, as well. I really hit the jackpot with John David Higham.

So the current plan is this. Cleaners are coming to their condo tomorrow (this has been an enormous task–we haven’t been able to get people to work in their place without them getting it cleaned up–that’s all I’ll say on that subject). So once it’s cleaned, the rescheduled movers come tomorrow to move the pieces of furniture and boxes they are bringing here.

My brother then will fly out, alone, in early May, just in time for his Dr’s appt. three days later to make sure his medications are ordered in a seamless way. He will be here for a month establishing himself here, before my Dad joins him. That’s mainly because my husband is flying back out in early June to retrieve my Dad and my brother’s car and taking him on a long leisurely road trip across the country to bring my brother’s car back here. They are mapping out areas in Colorado, Wyoming, etc.

Driving across the country was my father’s favorite way of life for many years. He lived out of his RV for at least fifteen years and drove and drove all over. This will be the only way he can get that experience again, so my husband is creating it for them. It will be something to look forward to after months of hard work and lots of letting go.

My Dad is releasing his car, most of his worn out but comfortable belongings, in many ways his independence. He knows it will be his last move. So this road trip will be really memory-making for both of them. He adores my husband, so they will have a good time.

Did I ever write here that they share the same name, profession and birth date?

The month with my brother here alone will also be good for him. I’ll just say they’ve become like an old married couple with lots of bickering to go with it. I’m going to be working on my brother standing on his own two feet, feeling the independence of living alone without someone to have to continually care for, assess ways we can get help for him with the caregiving, and I think I’ve found a place he can sing with if he chooses!

I’ll spend much of that time creating his new life here with him. I did this before when he moved to AZ. He’s looking forward to shopping with me for the new place and asked me what stores we have here.

Let’s face it, he will be living in that home far longer than my Dad. It will likely be his last home as well. So nesting in to it as his own will be a good thing, I think.

We are in full set-up mode here too. We’ve received beds for them both, two power recliners with massage and heat and power lift, a new TV and electric fireplace cabinet for it to sit on in the sunroom and many other furnishings.

I’ve been working with the Community for various small repairs and additions. Trying not to do too much so they can set it up how they want, but create the basics for them.

We are all still working hard to get this move completed, but we have passed through the gauntlet of most of the obstacles.

I really don’t know how I would have managed this alone. John kept saying that to me while out in Arizona. Or doing this while balancing two full-time jobs.

I do know this. I’ve learned to be proactive in my own life. SO much of the crises and angst involved here could have been avoided if there had been cooperation and not procrastination. I will not dump on Lillian the things we’ve had to navigate. May this be a cautionary tale to anyone out there reading this as well. It’s just not fair to those who will be caring for you as you age, to hang on to independence far past your ability to care for yourself. It just makes things harder on everyone. John and I have already decided that the day we need to leave this house, we will see the transition as our next adventure and treat it as such.

In other news, the day my husband left, I decided to give our living room a refresh. I had updated our IKEA U-shaped sectional with new luxurious blue velvet slipcovers. I love them! But once they arrived, I didn’t like how they competed with the deep Navy (Benjamin Moore Hale Navy for paint nerds like me) wall behind the sofa. I spent hours contemplating how to best deal with that accent wall, as I loved how the art work played off that dark wall, but it just made the room too dark and not enough contrast with the new sofa color.

So this is what I came up with! I wrapped the rest of the room color (BM Gray Owl) and left that one strip of the navy in the middle as a cool color block.

Then I realized that Gray Owl is so cool of a color I needed some warmth in the room. So I ordered this cool arm chair for the nook in the corner, which will be my Dad’s seat when he comes over. There is no way he can get in and out of our low sofa without arms, so he always uses tall chairs with arms. So that’s what I got! Also a neat pouf ottoman he can use as a foot rest.

I added some gold velvet pillows and replaced the lamps with these retro looking teardrop wood-look lamps. I just set those up yesterday so haven’t taken a photo yet, but I will share once I’m feeling less lazy. 😉

My husband absolutely loved the changes. He’s easy to please when it comes to my home decor ideas with the exception of the wallpaper in the powder room but we don’t need to go there right now.

I also added this carpet of stars to the inside of our pergola. I just love it. They are solar so pop on every night on their own. They even look cool from inside the house.

We have one cold snap this week, then I think we are pretty in the clear for gardening. My back garden is in full color mode with my dozens of tulips, fragrant hyacinths and narcissus, daffodils and other Spring bulbs. Also my 6 peony bushes are coming up as well as dozens of huge lilies (I went crazy with lilies in the Fall) and my 6 garden rose plants, 4 of which are brand new!

I put a bunch of plants in pots this week, but will need to cover them tonight. I’ll be planting my snapdragon and lisianthus seedlings this week as well as pansies and lots of other goodies I picked up at the garden store last week!

My cutting garden is also going crazy with tulips and daffodils right now. So far I’m filling my house with cut flowers and figuring out what to do with them. It’s a learning curve. I think once my super fancy tulips come up–likely later this week–I’ll try selling some out of my friend’s flower shop. We’ll see how it goes! I’ve been gifting them here and there as well. 🙂

I have six more peony bushes there and five more garden roses and dozens more lilies for cutting there also.

So, flower season is well under way! I will be sharing them with The Dudes as well, of course!

Oh and how could I forget? My insomnia has taken a major turn for the better! I went on the sleep Dr’s program, including a medication (Trazodone) and it was getting slowly better. Then one night last week I found myself getting very sleepy naturally, so decided to try and do it on my own. I slept even better than on the Trazodone! So it’s been several nights now sleeping unmedicated and I’m getting better and better sleep every night, waking up refreshed and think I’m over that hurdle. Whew! That was months of struggle, now balancing out and getting back to something I recognize.

I’m so glad I didn’t go on Ambien as I desperately wanted at the time. I feel much more confident relying on my own body to do what it’s designed to do.

That’s it for today.

I’m deeply paying attention to the Derek Chauvin trial and think the prosecution put on an excellent case. I think we will get convictions this week. I hope so anyway. Justice for George Floyd. A bit of peace to his loved ones. Healing for Minneapolis.

new life


Just a quickie to share, we got some very special keys yesterday!

As I pulled up to meet the sales person there, it was just in time as THREE of my orders I made just three days prior, had already arrived. And we got snow yesterday!

Now, my husband and I will get busy assembling furniture (rather, he will and I will hand him tools).

We got them a corner TV stand with a built-in electric fireplace for the sun room where they will spend most of their time. And a new frame and mattress for my brother.

Next week comes the matching recliners that have power lift, massage, heat, etc!

The place looks amazing. It’s been totally flipped since the last tenant–new flooring throughout, cabinetry, appliances, counters, paint, trim. It’s gorgeous! I’ll share more pics later.

I took both of them through a live Facetime yesterday room by room. Exciting!

It’s cold here today in Central PA. Woke up to snow on the ground! But my flowers are still thriving. I check my cutting gardens daily and so far, so good with the rabbits. Now hoping the raccoons and deer don’t find any of my blooms once they come up.

These are my first harvested ruffly daffodils. They are tiny, but so cute!

In other news, got my first Moderna vaccine yesterday. A sore arm, but nothing else really. My husband also got his vaccine, so I’m especially glad for that as he travels to AZ again next week to help my Dad and brother. What a sweetheart.

I’ll be here continuing to set up their lives. In addition to the home, we need to get them doctors and services set up. Working on that today! Luckily the Community has a nurse on staff who does a lot of that for people moving in. Many many excellent support systems built it–what a relief for all of us.

And my brother continues to be stable, which is amazing.

So far, things are continuing to look up, which let me tell you, is a welcome relief.

Have a great Easter weekend out there everyone. We got a spiral ham! 😀