“Be a part of a human kaleidoscope!”

I wrote that yesterday as part of an invitation to a dance/movement class I teach in Sedona coming up in a couple of weeks.  We explore all different forms of movement together including that one–the human kaleidoscope.  It’s super fun and something I look forward to when I get the opportunity to teach it a few times a year up there.  The kaleidoscope part of the class is all about experiencing yourself in different positions and shapes and continually changing, yet still part of a connected whole that’s also continually changing around you.  Really physically embodying that.  It generates the most feedback of any other part of that 90 minute class.


Funny I woke up this morning thinking about that very thing.  I guess I gave myself an admonition through my own words yesterday.

I got real sad yesterday afternoon/last evening.  That kind of sad where you’re driving and your jaw is quivering and you’re holding back tears because you’ve just put on makeup and don’t want it ruined before you even get where you’re going.  Yeah, that.

It was good that I was going up to Late Night Love to eat Charleen’s soul food again and share with my friend Marianne who I knew would exactly understand what was making me sad.


The details aren’t important but the theme is what I want to share.  Let’s just say I got hit with a reality that comes up, understandably, in my life from time to time.  I say understandably because when a person is 53 and single, you do get to be reminded, often, about how the world is often spinning on it’s axis in a two by two posture.  And just when you feel like you’ve found a place of belonging, the world will remind you again just where you stand.  Just a little bit on the outside.  A little bit looking in.

It often feels like there’s this race and the goal is to get on the Ark and once you get there, ahhhh…I made it, I can now be amongst the world of two by two and thank God I don’t ever have to be out there swimming again.  I know I’ve written about this theme before and I guess I will keep writing about it until…well until I don’t need to anymore for any reason.  It’s a deep one for me.


I got hit by that reminder within 24 hours yesterday by two well meaning people who had no intention really of pushing that button.  In fact one did so in the middle of an apology for doing just that thing.  And at the same time, did it again.

Being single, I don’t know, sometimes people think it’s just ok to let you know that you’re considered on the back burner in case a slot opens up for you in the world of couples.  That somehow you’re just sitting around waiting for that lucky, coveted spot.  The one that why would you ever consider yourself deserving of, all by your self, all by your lonesome when it’s part of a PAIR, that spot?  But oh, now there might be a last minute cancellation of one of the pairs so surely you can fill it now, right?  Would love to have you.  Would really love to see you.  In a couple of hours.  In case the other person doesn’t show.

Or in the form of “I sure am thinking about all the fun times we used to have doing this one thing now that I’m doing that exact thing we discovered to do together with someone new and reminding you we will never do it again even though it was OUR thing, but I’m thinking of our special times together!”.  Great.

It’s not intentional salt in the would but nonetheless it’s there, stinging.  And we’re just supposed to take it.  Or rather, I’m just supposed to take it.


Oh I’m so happy for you that you’ve replaced me with what you were really wanting all along.  I’m just so happy for you!

Oh, sure of course you wouldn’t think to invite me on the front end but gee, if I’m lucky enough a space will open up at the last minute and since I’m always just sitting here, alone without plans on a Saturday night, I’d be honored and so blessed to fill that for you!.


It stings, of course it does.  And I got real sad last night thinking about it.


But instead of staying home, feeling sorry for myself, I got my ass dressed, makeup on and went out for Pho with Marianne and just let it out.  She’s single too so this is not a new story for her.


But I cried, I sure did cry.  And I felt like crap.

As I drove up to Scottsdale, shoving tears back in my throat, I remembered right after I lost Cindy I knew I’d lost an irreplacable and very specific thing that I’d have to navigate the rest of my life.

I lost being the most important person in someone’s life.  Being that person their axis spins on and they’d drop everything for.  It’s a huge commodity.  I knew I’d have that every day of my life with my sister and I lost it.  I’ve never felt it again.

I don’t know if I’ll get it again but this world is a scary and lonely place when you stare that fact in the face.   Like I did last night.  Like I’m doing right now.

And that’s about all the time I can give that thought at the moment.

Yet I woke up this morning thinking about that kaleidoscope.  How it’s always just so subtlely shifting but always changing your perspective in to something new, something equally as beautiful as the last and the next image.


How fortunate I feel to know this and have the freedom to live it.  That sometimes it’s just that, a simple shift in perspective.  Oh, now I know what this is and isn’t so I’ll just shift my idea/expectation/plan and see what it is vs. what I thought it was.  And if it’s something that fits for me.  Because there’s another view waiting, that’s for sure.


Like the reminding myself that I do have coupled friends who make me a priority.  I don’t know how they do it but they manage to pull that off with finesse.  Also I have a cousin who does.  Interestingly it shows up when you least expect it, just like a new pop of color entering in to that kaleidoscope image.


All three of the women I’m thinking about right now have little kids at home, one of whom has special needs.  And then there’s the boys in Sedona.  I have more of that other thing than I realized just writing about it right now.  There’s another one I hadn’t considered.  Hey, I’m not doing so bad.


this is actually a kaleidoscope image I made of my own face

Then why do you invest in these relationships? Marianne asked last night.


Sometimes in life you don’t know, until you know.  Then you gotta make that subtle turn.  Or hang on, continuing to get stung.  But today, I choose to let go and turn.   Ever so slightly, maybe imperceptibly, but a strong, committed turn for me.  As A Course in Miracles says, a miracle is nothing more than a change in perception.


In addition to this awareness, I’m also grateful that I have a life with the freedom and wherewithall to dust myself off and drive at 10pm on a Saturday night for soul food and conversation.


If someone’s gonna toss me crumbs, I can still create my own banquet.


And with that being said, I’ve got a Soup Swap to attend and will write it about that later.

I just needed to say these things first.

Now here’s a Sunday morning moment of Zen.  Enjoy. 🙂



Well, I got Alfonse out hiking with me this morning per our agreement.  He was really challenged, complained of feeling depressed and kept asking when we could turn around.  I took him as we both agreed on to a road in a mountain park that is 1.2 miles each way but at the end of which are all the trail heads that lead in to the park.

South Mountain

1.2 miles out, just as we turned around

I told him we’d start with the road then progress to the trails in time.  Poor guy was miserable.  But he kept going.  I found myself getting frustrated as he consistently walks several paces behind me even if we are walking the same pace.  What a metaphor.  I constantly am working on getting him to walk next to me.  But today he was simply having a hard time keeping up with my pace and I was having a hard time slowing down to his and listening to his complaining.

So on the way back, I just decided to walk at my own pace and wait for him back at the parking lot.  As I walked ahead, getting the exercise I came to get, I reflected on the metaphor of this too.  How if I keep slowing my own pace down to meet his, in any form, I get frustrated and he gets reinforced in his limitations.  If I just go at my own pace and let him go at his then we can both feel we got what we needed.


At the end of the hike, which took just over an hour, he shared how his depression had lifted and how he was proud that he accomplished it.  And that he still wanted to keep doing it twice a week with me.  He said “I don’t think I can do the Ridge Trail just yet” so I replied that that was fine–we could hike out on the road, he could go back that way and I could go on the Ridge Trail and we’d meet back at just about the exact same time I figure.  He agreed that it will be a good template to see how much we both improve in strength and stamina.


We’re finding our way on how to stay connected, each walking our own paces in life.

We see the lawyer on Monday with Manny Walker, John’s heroic advocate (who we both LOVE) to strategize how to get Dr. Yasinski on his team as his primary Psychiatrist even though they’ve told us we can’t do that.  Well, guess what?  I think we can.  Especially since his Psychiatrist moved to another State and has not been replaced and the “drive by” fill in Psychiatrist didn’t appear last week for John’s appt.  So…we have some leverage now.  It’s time.

He’s way over medicated and sluggish and flat.  We need a good, steady Dr. to manage all of that so we’re bringing in the big guns to make that happen.  Manny even said “Chick may just show up with us to the team meeting this week”.  LOVE IT (Chick is the lawyer).  It’s sad you have to get so much support to just get minimum services but we’re lucky we can do it.  And John, unfortunately, needs to stay connected to that system for classes, labs and meds.

Meanwhile I feel like I’m getting stronger.  My cardiovascular strength was a lot better than I expected this morning and my legs much stronger (30 DAY SQUAT CHALLENGE!).  I also filled up my bike tires this morning and went on a little ride.  COOL AIR finally!

We got fruit smoothies after our hike and are finishing up our soups tonite for tomorrow’s’ soup swap. Alfonse made his own veggie soup all by himself, including googling the recipe!  And it’s delicious!

Will fill ya in on soups manana.  I love me a Soup Swap!!


Happy Trails!


deal or no deal


I posted this on another blog about my thoughts regarding Jodi Arias potentially getting a deal and pleading guilty for Life Without Parole.  My comment is in response to this blog post:


Movement in the Jodi Arias Case?

A reporter for an Arizona newspaper tweeted some interesting news about the Jodi Arias case.

Jodi StandHe noticed that “the Maricopa County Superior docket shows a settlement conference set for Jodi Arias at 10:30 am on October 24, 2013.”

The reporter noted that “settlement conferences are used to reach a plea agreement.” Since there has already been a conviction they may be discussing sentencing options. If so, it’s expected that her lawyers will try to spare her from the death penalty.

Even though the conference is “on the docket,” there is no guarantee that it will take place. Delays are characteristic of this court. If the conference does take place, it’s unlikely that it will be open to the media.

The wait continues.

If you were Travis Alexander’s family, would you forego your desire for the death penalty and settle for life in prison?

Michael Kiefer digs deeper into what the settlement conference means and the potential outcomes for Arias.  For those concerned about her potential release in the event of a life with parole deal, he notes that it is no longer an option. “Even the chance of “release” after 25 years has been eliminated for murders committed after 2012.”

Kiefer also makes a good point about the appeal process in the event of the death penalty compared to a life without parole sentence. If Jodi Arias is sentenced to death, an appeal is automatic whereas if she receives life, “her appeals would go instead to the Arizona Court of Appeals [as opposed to federal court], then to the Arizona Supreme Court and then back to Superior Court for what is referred to as “post-conviction relief.”

Debra Milke and Johnathan Doody both had their death-sentence verdicts tossed out of court on federal appeals cases.

In that case, life without parole all but guarantees that Jodi Arias never leaves prison.

The comment I posted is this:

As a family member of a murder victim who’s killers were sentenced to death in the State of AZ, I can speak with some clarity on what the system does to family members. One of my sister’s killers DID get off death row with a “mental retardation” claim. In fact, appeals attorneys argued that for both of her sophisticated premeditated murderers. The worst treatment my family ever received was from death penalty appellate lawyers.
This family however, has been tortured by Arias’ defense team from Day One. They’ve also been maligned and demeaned by the local reporter you mention here: Michael Kiefer who has shown sympathy to Arias time and time again in articles and to my ears personally. He is firmly planted in the Arias defense team camp so take anything he reports as “objective” with that knowledge.

In our cases, there was no LWOP in the state of AZ. It was either Life WITH parole in 25 or death. So the DP was a no brainer as they were both in their 20′s and had a chance of release. The odds of a death row inmate actually being executed are in the single digits in terms of percent. The odds of families being tortured are about 100% throughout the lengthy, decades long appeals process.
Those very people championing for “life” will be the very ones putting completely innocent grieving family members through the ringer. Then blaming them for their suffering (I had Michael Kiefer do that exact thing to my face during the Arias trial in the courtroom). So it’s not an easy road for families.
I’m a proponent of something called “Life Row”. Let the “worst of the worst” of our society not get the “best of the best” legal assistance but get what they deserve: to be forgotten in isolation. Remove the access, the web pages that read like singles ads, the high paid attorneys fighting to put danger back on the street, get rid of it all. Let them rot behind some closed door not profiting even in attention for their crimes.
And let the family members move forward without the constant harassment. WE DID NOTHING WRONG.

With all of that being said, I support the Alexander family 100% in whatever they want for whatever reasons they want it, which by the way, they don’t have to justify to anybody.

If they stand steadfast to the DP for Jodi Arias, I stand in solidarity with them holding their hand every step of the way. It’s their life and they are standing in it and they get to decide.

I’m going to PS my post with this:

While we’re at it, let’s limit, legally the number of appeals they get on this Life Row.  In years or actual numbers.  You get ____ shot at an appeal then you are done, case closed.  Now that would be a breath of fresh air and maybe we’d finally start to see deterrence enter in to the picture.

restaurant week



we were both having trouble with our iphone cameras last night so kinda grainy

Got kidnapped last evening by my foodie pal and wine guru Aaron and off we went to Restaurant Week!  He’s put me on his list of dining companions for these weeks when they come up twice a year.  It’s our time to eat drink and catch up with our lives.  It’s so fun to have friends who share the same interest and go after it with full gusto!

We checked out this new restaurant Renegade by MOD last night.  I love going to see all the cool decor at places and Aaron also takes it all in.  Restaurant Week is kind of our Superbowl. 

We also love to order as many things as we can try off the three course menu and share it Family Style.

Here was our menu selection for last evening:




Finally we’re starting to get a Fall chill in the air and when I say chill, I mean something in double digits.

You know how at certain times of year, you just naturally start remembering things that occurred at that time in years long past?  I woke up this morning with such a feeling of freedom.  Yesterday, unexpectedly, all of my clients wanted to move appointments which made my day off switch from Thursday to…today.  I feel like I have a snow day in this 80 something degree weather.

After completing my 70 squats (had to get that in there) and cleaning /prepping my kitchen for soup making, while grinding my coffee beans, I became consumed with a memory of a very very long time ago.  From my late 30’s in fact.  I started thinking about this old love who I will just refer to as P.  P is or at least was a very well respected OB/Gyn.  In fact, he delivered one of my good friend’s baby back in the day.  She’s the person who encouraged me to date him.  She said “I’m not sure if you will be attracted to him because honestly I don’t know if he’s even straight but you two have so much in common, I think you should give him a chance”.

P was a short, balding, bespectacled, chubby, bow tie wearing kind of hip nerd.  I fell in love with him on the first date over sushi, naturally.


not him obviously but you get the idea–although less hot, more ordinary looking

He was funny, charming, smart, interesting, a great cook and creative type as well as an Ivy League educated physician.

He was also very VERY recently separated.  As in a matter of weeks.  He shared with me early on that he was sort of busting on the singles scene after 18 years of marriage to his high school sweetheart.  A marriage that, like many, had fallen in to boring routines and asexuality.  Part of P’s busting out included exploring pornography, going to Las Vegas to “sex clubs” and hanging out with a Nurse Practitioner he’d has his eye on for awhile.  He shared “yeah the rumor going around the practice was she got caught in bed on a cruise ship with her friend and one of the crew members and I thought ‘that’s the girl for me’ “.  He was , as he explained, exploring a field of sexuality he’d never gotten to during the normal phases of a person’s life that they do that as he was married so young, then invested in medical school and….blah blah blah.


I fell for it all. I’d come out of my own asexual marriage a couple of years earlier so I was looking for someone with a pulse.  But I was also smart about things as we were sincerely falling in love.  I wouldn’t let him even in my condo.  I would only make out with him in the car on dates.  I dated him for months before I would get involved sexually.  I just said “that’s all fine and good but unless you want an exclusive sexual relationship with me, we’re just going to date”.  Of course I increased his desire for me doing it that way but I was just protecting myself.  I understood his kind of “busting out” phase and he was in a major transition so I could ride it out.  Or so I thought.


We would meet for coffee, wine, nice dinners out.  He was an amateur photographer and I was in to ceramics at the time so we talked about creativity a lot.  It was a nice. fun, stimulating relationship.  And one, as you can imagine, I was in total denial about.

He was so clean cut, so Harvard, so nerdy that it didn’t even occur to me that the kinds of behaviors he would describe to me were indicative of a problem.  Staying up for hours watching porn, engaging in group sex, frequenting adult bookstores where back room anonymous sex occurred.  Primarily with men on men.  None of this as it peppered occasionally in to our conversations hit me for what it was, well, until it was all over.  Then it all came crashing down like an avalanche.

P was a sex addict. 


He’d also shared that his first sexual experiences were being abused by a male babysitter along with his brother.  His parents would take long trips in the summertime and leave the two boys in the care of a young man they’d met once on a cruise ship.  As he said “as soon as the door closed behind our parents, the games would begin”.  P was in therapy (another good sign to invest in him) but still didn’t recognize the impact of this on himself, although was able to in terms of his brother.  P’s brother had grown up to also live a double life in the suburbs with a wife and teenagers and an online alter ego as a “Master”.  P showed me his website, after he’d had a serious surgery, where his “slaves” had created a place to share their concern.  He had these slaves all over the country and would travel for “business” but hook up all over the place.  While his Laura Schlessinger loving wife was at home raising the kids totally in the dark.  That is until the day she tried to kill herself by throwing her body in front of a train (she survived).

Even I, as a former Psychiatric nurse, was so blinded by my love for P that I didn’t see the glaring warning signs there.


Finally, after months of dating, on my birthday, I let him in to my condo.  He arrived with one of his framed photographs with a beautiful inscription on the mat, a dozen roses, a crisp suit and champagne as we embarked on a date with fine wine and multiple courses to the swankiest restaurant in town.  And landed back at my place, after.  At that dinner he proclaimed “I’ve gotten all that other stuff out of my system and I’m now afraid of losing you, so I’d like you to consider a one on one relationship with me”.  Done.  We were official.  His playtime phase was over.


It was bliss all through that Fall, then Christmas where he took me away and gave me a cashmere sweater and a diamond necklace.  You can imagine how having a nice Christmas felt for me and the prospect of a lifetime of Christmas’s I could look forward to vs. dread.

New Year’s weekend we stayed at his place as he was on call.  He said “you’ll have to see just how it is living with an obstetrician on call — it’s a lot of staccato rhythm”.   No problem I thought as I stayed at his place all weekend cooking, picking up, waiting for him to come back from delivering babies. It was so domestic and honestly, blissful. During that weekend we talked about our leases coming up and moving in together.  We drove around neighborhoods looking at houses, floor plans, making our own plans for the near future.


P came home that weekend from one of his calls and stripped off his scrubs and crawled in to bed.  Yes we did a lot of staying in bed that weekend too.  Sex was always great between us.  Later when he’d left again, I emptied his pockets to throw his scrubs in the wash and found an odd appointment card dated for that day.  With his name on it.  It was for a massage parlor in between his home and the hospital.  I was first incensed as I owned a massage studio at the time.  Why would he go somewhere else?  I rationalized it thinking it was on his way and he didn’t want to upset me that he ran for a massage between deliveries.  Until I called the number.

“We will satisfy you inch by inch….” the breathy voice said.

And do you know, to this day, P doesn’t know I found that card.  I went immediately in to denial.  We were looking at houses for God’s sake!  This was my future right here!


Two nights later, P took me to the very sushi restaurant he’d taken me for that first date and nervously said across that platter of raw fish “I don’t know if I’ve ever loved you”.


I don’t think he and I ever had one fight.  It wasn’t some kind of conflict that came up.  It was an earthquake.

I walked right out of the restaurant and sat on the curb sobbing.


He took me home and we then embarked on one of the stupidest, most self denying plans I may have ever engaged in.  We agreed to continue seeing each other as he’d decided “I guess I didn’t get that single stuff out of my system after all.  I mean you knew the risk you were getting in to with me”.  Yeah, like somehow I’d gotten in to this recklessly.  For once I was smart about it and this is what happened?  I was devastated.  But still thinking we could salvage this somehow.  It was just all so shocking.  That wall of denial is an inpenetrable surface sometimes.

So we separated but continued seeing each other occasionally.  I was a mess. Pretending to be ok with it all.  Yet he was masterful at keeping me right there.  Like on Valentine’s Day, he prepared a four course gourmet meal,  invited another couple over and he showered me with gifts, a ruby heart shaped necklace–a book of Spanish love poems inscribed with “to the first of many Valentine’s Days together”–a heartfelt card and great sex.  Until the next morning when it was clear, we were back to the disconnect.  It was totally disorienting.

Woman unmasked

I finally ended it that Spring, just before his 40th birthday, when he picked me up for a date–a play and dinner.  P was usually impeccably groomed but this time was disheveled, distracted and anxious.  At the play I saw one of the gay theatre workers flash him a second glance and P glance back awkwardly.  It was bad enough feeling jealous of women your man may have been playing around with, but that night I realized it also included men.  He was just out there. 

We went to dinner and he nervously spilled some story that he needed to get off his chest.  “You’re my best friend and I have to talk about this to someone”.   It was a strange story that really didn’t match with his level of panic about meeting a woman from online in a bar, taking her back to his car, getting involved in some  heavy petting and somehow him thinking she was going to accuse him of raping her.  He was asking me questions like “what if she goes to an emergency room and gets a rape kit?”. This whole thing made no sense coming from this seasoned gynecologist.  He was terrified he was going to “get sued and lose everything”.

Something had happened that scared the wits out of him the night before but to this day I don’t know what it was.  I don’t think he raped anyone or anything like that.  I do think he got caught in something terrifying–maybe a hooker, maybe a man, maybe a patient’s husband or wife or something that terrified him to the core.  It was all over him.  Panic.


Finally after listening for awhile to this mumbo jumbo I said something like “you do realize it’s me you’re telling this all to, right?”.

For God’s sake.  And I sat there listening to it, quietly, not just walking out away from this lunatic.

He apologized saying “I don’t have anyone else to talk to about it with”.  Whatever.

The next day I received a sickeningly sweet apology and invitation to go to Las Vegas with him to see the Rolling Stones for his upcoming 40th birthday.  I stuck to my guns and declined as we were not being intimate and I was certainly not going away with him to stay in a hotel room.  He got snotty with me and fired something passive aggressive back and just like that I ended it.  In an email.  Done.


I had that one smart thing I did to hang on to as I set about recovering.  It was excruciating.  It was a very tough breakup on me primarily because I’d spent those last months losing so much of myself in the process.  Giving up and putting up with way more than I ever should have.

I’ll never forget, during that recovery time, sitting at my computer up in the loft with Oprah on downstairs and she had a show about sex addiction on.  There was a check list at the end.

You know this person is a sex addict if they have 5 of this list: type of thing.

I sat there dumbfounded as P had every single one of those qualities from that list.  The porn, the group sex, the double life/hiding it, the sabotaging his current life/career, history of sexual abuse etc. etc.


He was a full blown sex addict.

This nerdy, chubby bow tie wearing Dr. was living a double life in the most seedy layers of society acting out his pain.  And loving it.  This man wasn’t “getting anything out of his system”.  This was his system.  I remember once he got glazed over and this dreamy eyed look describing going to a sex club in Vegas as he oozed “I felt like I found my people”.

I’m sure he did.  At least his people in the part of his life that I had no inclusion in.  The one he was constantly hiding, telling stories and lying about.  About it all being over.  Why not just find a girlfriend from that world then?


I learned that a sex addict often gets more of a buzz if what they are doing is naughty, hidden, bad.  So it’s not unusual that they keep a “good girl” in the picture, lying to her, simply for the amplification of their buzz.  It’s the double life they get off on as much as the sex.  Ouch.  That realization also made it easier to stay gone.

I went forward from this a more educated person and with a more jaded eye. As if I didn’t already have enough jade in these blue eyes, now I look for signs of sex addiction.  And double lives.

I don’t know why people feel the need to do that.  Live a lie like that.  As evidenced by this blog, I live my life as much as an open book as I can.  Maybe that makes me a sitting duck for that kind of dynamic, I don’t know.  But that style of living confounds and deeply saddens me.  I guess it’s just all addiction and hiding, lying, splitting off like that is part of what fuels it.

How exhausting.  How destructive. How selfish.  How cowardly.


The post script to the P story is funny,  poignant and sad.

Many years later, I’d found a new gynecologist, who , after my first appointment moved to a new office.  So as I drove to the second appointment, I realized he’d moved in to P’s old office suite.  That exact office. Damn.

The same one I’d go visit him at and make out in his back office. The one I knew he was sending me sexy emails from.  That one.  Damn.

I steeled myself and walked in, my stomach in knots all those years later.  The body never lies.


Picture this.  There I am, literally up in stirrups with this new Dr. all up in my whatnots and his nurse, an older woman, sweetly holding my hand.

The Dr. was very charming and friendly and making conversation asks “so did you have any trouble finding the new office?”.

I replied “no I’ve been here before”.

He asked “ohyeah? Did you go to that practice before?”.

I don’t know why, maybe the open book thing, maybe my legs being splayed open like that invited a full frontal honesty but I blurted out “yes I used to date Dr. P”.

This kind, good man blurts back to me “oh I heard he just got married!” not realizing what he’d just done.

Yes his hands are all up inside me and that’s how I found out P. had gotten married to someone else.  Right in his old office.

The nice nurse flashed him one of those glances like “OMG shut UP!”  as I’m sure she felt my hand go in to contraction in hers.


He then made matters worse by saying “oh well, he had to move out of here because his practice was really failing” and whatever else he said as the white noise took over.

I have to say though I walked out of that office laughing my ass off at the irony of that.

I called a friend who’d just gone through some kind of ex husband humiliation and said “ok I ‘ve got you beat now” and we both couldn’t stop laughing.

It did bring some closure to me on that whole thing.

The following year I called to make my annual appointment and oddly the front desk person said “let me get you his nurse”.

The nice hand holding nurse got on the phone with me and said “you don’t know, do you?”.

Just a couple of months prior, days before Christmas, my Dr. was headed with his wife and son up North for the holiday.  The son was driving.  The car flipped and the only survivor was his wife, trapped in the car upside down, alive for two days before she was rescued.

This overly honest, transparent, kind man, my Dr’s life was ended just like that.  Leaving a husbandless wife and sonless mother behind.

Now that puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

Or something.


In memory of…and in the spirit of The Gods of Transparency.

I’m a big fan.




fall leaf

i took this photo in Canada on my 50th BD trip there

Back from Sedona, back from the lab with a bandaid on my arm and John’s back from his Dr. appt.  Good Lord they took 9 tubes of blood from me.  And they didn’t even give me a cookie after! : /


ok, guess it wasn’t exactly a donation

I was relieved to hear that Alfonse cancelled his GI Dr. appt. for this afternoon as he’s been getting very fixated on non existent health problems lately jumping from Urgent Care to ER to Dr’s offices to find out nothing’s wrong with him.  He challenged me (to put it mildly) much of our trip to Sedona obsessing and fixated on some GI issues and not listening to anything me or any Dr. told him about it.  He finally admitted he was afraid he was dying (not a new theme) which is more the issue.  I was going nuts myself with all of the various Psychiatric diagnoses he’s got going on–Schizophrenia, Depression and Obsessive/Compulsive disorder with these inconsolable thoughts about his health.  I had many long talks with him about it and finally just said “we can’t talk about this anymore” as it was exhausting the going round and round.


So for him to cancel that Dr’s appointment today saying “I don’t think I need to go see that Dr.”  was a huge sign of improvement.  Whew!

We talked a great deal on the way up and back about changes we are committing to make in terms of diet and exercise.

My friend JJ spoke to me one day at length about the success she’s been having with the 5:2 eating plan.  It’s basically eating regularly for 5 days and doing a mini fast for the other two, intermittent days of the week.  I love everything about this eating plan and it’s supposed to be very effective on a number of fronts.  All I can say is I felt better immediately after completing my first fast day last Thursday.  I think it was primarily mental as it feels good to finally take some control when you’ve felt out of control.  My eating habits haven’t changed dramatically but my stress level did for much of this year which packed on at least 15 pounds on top of my already overweight body.  Sigh…

This is a really good BBC program on this eating plan:

I love fasting.  I love the Zen aspect of it as much as anything.  Having days where I don’t have to even think about going to the store or what I might prepare to eat.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a major cook and really enjoy it.  But the day to day grind of making sure I have food in the house and organizing my meals is often stressful.  Having two days a week where I eat boring predictable 500 calories is a big sigh of relief for me.  It’s not “fasting” by definition but it’s still taking a major break from my eating routine and recalibrating things.


This is also this guy’s website (I’ve not gotten his book and so far don’t feel a need for it):


So Alfonse and I shook on it.  We’re going to do this program at least until the end of the year and see what results we can get.  I think he will see faster results than me which will be great.  He’s male, he’s not dealing with menopause (lovely) and he has more weight to lose.  I also think taking some control of his health in this way may mitigate some of this other obsessing going on.

We’ve also committed to hiking together at least two days per week at this mountain preserve near our homes and the 30 day Squat Challenge.  Including the pic again in case you missed it and would like to join along.  It’s surprisingly easy and I’m feeling myself getting better at it after just three days.

squat challenge

So….it’s Fall and we’re getting our bodies/minds in to better shape.

On this week’s agenda–SOUP!  I’ll have a fun post on that coming up as I’m going to a Soup Swap this Sunday.  Yeah!

Cheers everyone…to good health…and a happy week!

almost there



Just needs the hanger glued on to the back and hung and voila.  My iPad is going crazy so will post all the pics when I get to my computer later. 🙂



sedona bound



Picking up Alfonse in an hour and headed back to Paradise.  This is actually the mountain range we see from our Sedona house but from a different view.  It will be good to get some quality time with my dear brother, hopefully getting out of the city will help him too.

Stay tuned as I intend to finish my craft project in the next couple of days and…..debut it, finished and on display!  😀

Catch ya on the flip flop!

how are you?


“How are you doing”  Billy asked me.  Not just once, several times.

I remember standing there in the pantry door feeling somewhat dumbfounded and taken aback by just the question.  “How are you doing Kathy?”.

All week I’d heard “So how’s Johnny?” (Alfonse is still called Johnny by most of the relatives back there, a vestige of our youth still shimmering through).  And “How’s your Dad?”.

Of course with Katy, we jump right to it in to the deep end so such formalities aren’t necessary.

But someone asking me, how I’m doing.  It’s funny, odd-funny, the response it elicits.  Something like this:


I’m sure I said something like “oh I’m hanging in there” and tried to change the subject.  I don’t really want to think about how I’m doing but the funny thing about questions is that they inspire inquiry.

On the plane ride home, crammed in that tiny seat, I got to thinking about the State of the Nation of myself.  And realized it’s time to make some serious pivots.

I’d also read Shanna Hogan’s book Picture Perfect about the Travis Alexander murder, and was left feeling so inspired just focusing on the passages about Travis and his life.  I know so much about the trial and am honestly Jodi’d out for a lifetime but reading about Travis and his entirely motivating short life gave me a kick in the pants.  He lived those last months so consciously, literally deciding to live that year as if it was the last year of his life (how poignant and eerie was that?) and he set out to do it.

So I’ve started making some goals and changes for myself.  Operative word:  myself.

In perfect timing, I had an appointment with my shrink the day after I got back.  Remember how I accidentally ran in to her at the bookstore a few weeks ago?  Well I knew it was time to get back in to counseling and made a bunch of appointments before my trip.

I’d not seen her since last December so there was lots to catch up on.  My five months of sitting through the Arias trial nearly every day, the fund raising I’d done for his family, the writing I started back then which segued in to this blog, John’s multiple hospitalizations and the role of social worker/case manager/sister/ etc I’ve played during and since, my 15 pound weight gain (see how I just stuffed that in there hoping no one will notice?), the decisions about going in to a semi retirement mode in my practice, the Sedona house, stepping down from my role as director of the charitable project I began, ok guess that’s enough.


Her eyes kept getting wider and again the question came up:

“How are you doing Kathy?  How are you taking care of yourself with all of this?”  After she used the world “whirlwind” in a sentence.

I awkwardly chuckled and said “well, not very well, which is why I’m here”.

It’s amazing to have someone in your life who’s only role in it is to help you.  I’ve played that role for over two decades for others but have rarely sought it out for myself.  I think growing up without a mother, you learn to not value that, well, value.

“How much do you value all that you are doing?” she asked me.

That also brought back the


This time she chuckled saying “that question really threw you for a loop didn’t it?”.

I felt like saying “can I buy a vowel?”.

It was a good session.  It was great to be back.  I trust her.

I’d spent the last two days trying to figure out how I was going to afford going back to Rancho La Puerta for my birthday.  I’ve been making changes in my practice, finances etc over the last couple of months but things are still landing.  Having a job where my only income streams when I’m working, taking 10 days off for a vacation, well, is obvious when I get home.

Then I remembered, back last summer when I was crashing and burning with all the care taking, I reached out to my Dad for help.  And one of the things he offered back was to send me back there at least twice a year.  In fact he sent me there the first time I went as I was in a health crisis then and realized “it’s a rest vacation or a hospital for me”.

Yet, even though he’d offered, I was still scrambling trying to figure out how to pay for this trip myself, terrified to ask for the help.

Libby, my shrink, helped me process that too.

I walked right out of her office and drove over to mine about five minutes away (I know, lucky right?) and picked up the phone and called my Dad asking if that offer was still good.  “Of course” he said, “when do you need it by?”.

This asking for help business is utterly terrifying to me.  Maybe I’ll get to the bottom of it but right now the why is less important than the change.


I immediately relaxed in to my life now thinking I can get to a place of solace for myself and not have to grind myself in to dust to be able to even arrive there.

I’m sure everyone’s wondering how John did with my absence and how things are going with him and he did well, all things considered.  Manny Walker, the new private advocate I hired right before I left is a GOD SEND, seriously.  He whipped that ACT Team in to shape, reminded them of John’s legal rights, got his case manager changed to someone appropriate and who knew how to do their job (Justin Bieber’s twin apparently didn’t even know how to get a release of info signed for John–shaking my head), has attended every Dr’s appointment with John and much  more.  He’s worth his weight in platinum.

John is doing fair.  He’s very overmedicated in my opinion.  I took him to dinner last night and he said “I just feel brain dead”.  He’s slow to respond and checked out.  But his voices are gone.  I’m pulling the private Psychiatrist back in to get his assessment.  John and I are going to Sedona tomorrow so hopefully a little getaway will do him some good.  It will be good for both of us (I had to edit that sentence in considering the them of this post 😉 ).

And back to me now as my shrink told me “I’m going to ask you to start thinking of your day in terms of prioritizing yourself, then we will take that in to the week, then the month”.  She’s going to hold my feet to the fire on this.

I started a new eating plan called 5:2 (will write more on that later but this is perfect for me in many ways) and visited a gym yesterday.  I also started the 30 Day Squat Challenge today in case anyone wants to join me 😉

squat challenge

It was easier than I thought those 50 squats this morning.

In closing for today, I got a little gift from the Universe for this hard work and these decisions yesterday..

I grabbed another bull by the horns and decided to get to the bottom of some weird dealings with stupid money stealing ADT Security who I’ve been paying on monthly but not using at my office because of a 3 year contract they intimidated me in to.  It appeared they weren’t applying payments to my account and claiming I owed them over $600 to just get out of the contract.  I went to the bank and landed on a young man there who is very motivated and friendly.  Long story short, he faxed all my statements to them to prove they were in fact drafting my account but not crediting me and lo and behold it was discovered they’d been still drafting for my old office.  The one I moved out of over two years ago and closed the account on.  I guess the new tenants got a paid-for security system.  :/

Well, instead of owing them over $600, I’m going to get a nice fat refund back of about $300.  I guess I just created a little “security system savings account” for myself unbeknownst to me.

It’s also a symptom of how little I’ve paid attention to my own life and how much outflow has been going on indiscriminately.  I guess holding some padding in my body has been some kind of weird way to balance that all out but it’s time to let that go.

In that spirit, I’m heading to the Farmer’s Market for loads of veggies to make a huge pot of veggie soup and meeting my friends from Sedona for breakfast.

Happy Saturday y’all!

What are you doing to take care of yourself today?

Wait, I’ll do it for ya first.


Now that we got that out of the way, see if you can get back to the question. 😉

Please report back to me and you know I will back to you.


Wait wait wait!  How could I forget?  I wrote Sebastian Skinner last night, my amazing Watsu practitioner, remember?

Asking if I would get lucky and it would be his week my birthday week at the Ranch to get my birthday Watsu treatment I’d dreamed about in July.

I got this back:

Hey Kathy!

Great to hear from you! Guess who gets to works on you on your birthday ? You can even be my demo at 5pm on Saturday and  I can float you for free!

Around the world and a back snap for me!!!  😀



I don’t know about the rest of you but I tend to jump across the lilipads of my life when I remember to, looking for signs and trends.  Sometimes the external world is showing me something that I’m not getting on the inside and once I notice it, there’s that “aha, I get it” moment.

This trip, there was a trend about cousins.

We don’t have a whole lot of extended family in our family tree.  My Dad was an only child, his mother was an only child, many cousins have been only children.  We’ve had to wander way out in to the grove to find each other sometimes.

The good part of this is when cousins can become like siblings.


We grew up in the Midwest but spent every summer venturing out to the East.  We’d pile in our camper and make these crazy long drives, finally landing at the edge of the world:  Wells Beach Maine.  Those summers were insane in terms of people we crammed in to that cottage.  We’d often have the camper filled with kids sleeping, mattresses pulled off the box springs and people sleeping on both, camping on the beach and all the tables in the cottage stretched across the dining room snaking through the living room to make one huge table filled with lobster, fish, spaghetti, crazy long meals.  And these wild raucous dish washing evenings after filled with wet dishrag butt slapping, music blasting, laughter, fun times.  We all bonded over those dishes for many years.  Cousins and beach cousins as we called our friends.


monkeyspoondish2 monkeydish

We’ve all grown up now and not without our personal and collective tragedies.  Cindy was killed and just shortly after that, Brad died in Thailand of an accidental overdose.  Brad who’d struggled for years with a drug problem yet who was a poet, a funny and deep young man who’s sisters Leslie and Katy miss terribly to this day.  Just like we all miss Cindy.  Just as we bonded from dish washing and beach combing, we are now bonded in grief.

Maile, who was in some ways the healthiest of us all.  While we were sleeping in as teenagers, maybe working off some creme de menthe hangover from the night before as we experimented with the liquor cabinet, Maile was up jogging the beach first thing the morning.  Fit, trim, happy, healthy, it came as a shock to learn Maile had struggled with her own demons and drove in to the desert one morning a few years ago and took herself off the planet.  It’s still hard to fathom.

Those of us who remain stand tall and hold hard and fast to our memories.  Maybe tragedy makes you dig deeper in to the roots you do have and grasp those hands more firmly to those who are still standing along side you.


All I know, is I can cram more bonding time in to a few short hours with my cousins than I can in my normal life with my social circle in a year.  As it should be.


Katy came down for the first weekend this year, drove all the way down to Boston to pick me up at the airport (I usually take a shuttle up to New Hampshire) and had a frappuccino and water waiting for me and lobster salad and champagne in the car.  Talk about service!  Her adorable little girls, Eveland and Natalie, the closest I will ever come to being a real ‘Auntie” came with and we packed more in to that weekend yet relaxed, laughed, caught up.  When I say packed more, I mean more sharing.


Katy and I sat on the porch for hours that first night drinking wine, eating potato chips and digging deep in to our lives.  This is what life is for!  These kinds of experiences.  When she left, she left me her down comforter to use for the rest of the week.  We grew up to be very similar in certain ways…we both love comfort and a certain degree of simple luxuries.  I’d love to go to the wine country with her–she loves wine, food and spa experiences just like me.  Who’d have thought we’d land together in these ways?


After the week was over, Dad and I decided to head down to Portsmouth , NH where Katy, her family and her Dad live for one night en route to Vermont.  My father and Katy’s Dad grew up similarly, like brothers, 10 years apart like Katy and I, but close.  The cycles of life turning in unison.


We picked up lobsters and steamers and Katy of course made a feast of everything.  As soon as I got there, I saw a hammock way in the back of their yard.  I love hammocks.  That little hammock sit turned in to Katy appearing with glasses of wine for us both, a seat for her and at least an hour of catching up in the cool evening air.  I mean we hadn’t seen each other in at least 5 days…lots had happened! 😉


see the hammock situation in the background?

IMG_2931 IMG_2932 IMG_2938

that stuffed spaghetti squash was my entry in the cooking competition the night before–more on that in another post


Big lobster dinner with the kids and family, then more wine and jammies and Katy and I landed in the living room, sharing, talking, laughing, crying until 2:30 am!!!  We were shocked when we looked at the clock through our slitted eyes and saw that time.  I know we both hated to go to bed as we could have stayed up all night talking.  These are experiences worth traveling for, worth working for, worth opening yourself up for.

I think we both felt so full, for lack of a better word, that we knew we could sustain ourselves for another year until we see each other again.  Aren’t those kinds of relationships just so amazing?  Where it’s like no time has passed and we pick right up where we left off?  Yes, like that.

The next morning, my Dad and I hit the road on a Father/Daughter Road Trip to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont.  Wow.  How breathtaking the drive!


On the way, we passed an exit where “The Old Man in the Mountain” lived (a rock formation that’s fallen now but is still a spectacular vista).  We poked around a bit and saw a tram that heads up to the top that looked so fun so decided to take our cousins there during our trip to their house.


IMG_3028 IMG_3026 IMG_3030

Those cousins, who I call Aunt Ruth and Uncle Bill, are 91 and 92 now and live, literally, on top of a mountain with one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen.  I’ve visited them before but not at this time of year to see the trees just start to change and a cool crisp attitude in the air.



Ruthie and I went almost immediately out to their “viewing section”, the chairs facing this extraordinary view watching it change over glasses of wine and catching up.  She’s an amazing person.  She knew my Grandma Buddha very very well, like best friends, also cousins, so is full of stories about her.  I wish I’d had more time one on one with her to extract more of those memories.  Next year.



Ruth and Bill’s son, Billy, and his wife Annie, live very near and spend a lot of time checking in on them so they can continue to live there independently, at least for now.

Now Billy and Anne are also amazing, interesting people.  My cousin and cousin in law.  They literally built their house themselves and lived in it, raising their kids, without electricity or modern plumbing.  For YEARS they lived like that, off the land and off the grid.  Buddha absolutely adored them both and even stayed at their log cabin a night or two I think.  Which cracks me up as she was such a proper city lady.

Billy and Anne are just full of stories and experiences.  We sat at the table, our last night there, hearing them share about swimming with manatees in Florida and a warm mineral spring place they discovered down there.  And that was just one adventure of last year.

Annie was out of town the first night we got to Sutton (Bill and Ruth’s house) so Billy came up for dinner.  My Dad had seen a few recipes in one of those free magazines you get at the grocery store so decided to make it. I have to say, it turned out amazing!  Pork Schnitzel and sweet and sour red cabbage.  YUM.  We also picked up the most delicious maple ice cream for dessert that we found from a local creamery in Vermont.  We sat around the table, sharing, laughing, talking, eating, drinking wine, for hours that night.


don’t miss Billy’s hand there to the right dangling his solitary noodle contribution

Shortly after that long meal, the adults went to bed and Billy and I stayed up finishing cleaning the kitchen and catching up.  I brought something in to the pantry to put away and Billy finished loading the dishwasher and somehow that’s where we landed.  Me standing in the doorway of the small pantry and Billy at the counter a couple feet in front of me, conversing.  For at least an hour.  At least.  Finally I said “you wanna sit down?” and we moved to the table and continued our conversation until 12:30 am.  Another marathon cuzzin convo!


It was great as we’ve both grown up in our own ways yet with many similarities in interests, personality, life traumas, etc.  We’ve both though become seekers.  When a seeker finds another seeker, well it’s game on.  We talked about our family dynamics, our aspirations, our challenges and the ones we see upcoming with aging parents, the gamut.


looks like our brains disappeared in to the ether here

Although I’ve only had these kind of heart to heart talks with Billy as adults a few times, it’s a deep river that runs through us and one I felt so refreshed jumping in to.

So as I reflect, two nights in a row, two long marathon talks with two cousins.  One ten  years behind me and one ten years ahead.  There is some kind of order in the Universe with all of that and a mystery as well.  All I know is this is what I live for.  This kind of connection making.  This kind of soul stirring fulfillment that often shows up unexpectedly.

Like standing in a small pantry losing all track of time, captivated by this person you once knew as a wild teenager with a long curly ponytail who was living off the land, falling in to your past and your future at the same time.

They say we don’t pick our family.  We get what we get.

But I say, if you look hard enough, and broad enough, you might just find a few shimmering diamonds out there waiting to be discovered.