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!!!  😀

13 thoughts on “how are you?

  1. I just read Shanna Hogan’s Picture Perfect yesterday–I read it in one sitting & I totally had the same reaction as you: Travis was an amazing human being. He has really inspired me to fight for myself & to do things that scare me. Hogan really did an awesome job with telling Travis’ story. I got inspired to go ahead with a home business I’ve been mulling over and to start reading positive books that inspire change–I’ve been too focused on murder cases and people like Jodi Arias that keep me in a very negative space.

    Thank you for sharing so much of yourself on your blog–I feel like I know you and feel connected to you through reading your entries…while you don’t know me, just know that I pray for you and your sweet brother. I’m housebound a lot due to my autistic son and 2 other young children–getting out is a huge production number, so I cherish my online friends.


  2. Chris

    That video clip says it all..LOL (where do you find this stuff!)
    This is all very heavy stuff and it’s great that you’re grabbing the bull by the horns and charging forward. Why is it so hard to take care of yourself? You’re worth it!
    It’s good to hear that John is doing better and hopefully even more so in the coming weeks.
    Enjoy your time together.. I’m sure he is thrilled you’re back home.

  3. Fernanda

    Wow – you inspire me – making hard decisions and posting about them. I also started the 5:2 plan and find it easy to follow on fasting days but have noticed a bit of an issue on non-fasting days… hmmm… something to continue working on… I am glad John is a little better. Many hugs.

    • What kind of issue are you noticing Fernanda on the non fasting days? I’m curious as to the things to anticipate. I’m feeling really right about this way of eating and am excited to see results flowing in. 😉

  4. His are you.? 😉
    I am watching Notre Dame Football …for me! Nice to have about 6 hours of ME time before I go back into caretaker mode. Thankful for the Break Away!
    Make it a Great Day…

  5. NancyB

    Love your blog. Starting the 30 day Squat Challenge tomr morning! So thanks for that. Totally get your former abhorrence to reaching out and asking for help – speaking as a former club member! You always seem to find just the most perfect pics & graphics to go with your posts – it’s uncanny.

  6. Shelley

    Good for you for taking care of yourself. It’s so important. Self-love is always the limiting factor in loving others. If we can take good care of ourselves, we will all be much better at care-taking others – that is what I think.

    Breaking the chain of emotional eating can often by accomplished by a 48 water fast. It’s easier not to eat at all than torture yourself with limited portions in the beginning. That is what I was reading anyway! I’ve been helping a friend overcome emotional eating. I read a great book – from my library- called “Shrink Yourself”. Dr Gould says anyone who is 10 or more pounds overweight eats emotionally. Dr Gould is a psychiatrist who wrote the book called “Shrink Yourself”. He also has a website:

    and he discusses using food as a coping mechanism. This is the problem of my friend. She has been using food to suppress feelings.

    ” emotional overeating can be overcome – it’s about learning how to handle the feelings instead of soothing yourself with food…”

    I read that on:

    My friend and I are going to do a 48 hour water-only fast soon. I want to do it for health reasons. I just think it’s good to give our digestive systems a rest now and then. I am not overweight and have done many 24-36 hour water only fasts – but never a 48 hour one. So I am curious to try a 48 hour one. I am hoping she will get an “appetite re-set” out of this as she has problems overeating. All the best to you !

    • I’ve done lots of fasts before including the Master Cleanse for two solid weeks! I loved it! Just for the rest of every system of my body and the discipline/simplicity involved. I’m looking forward to the routines of intermittent fasting and incorporating that kind of rest and relaxation in to my body/mind in those ways. We’ll see what emotional/mental issues surface as I scamper along like this…good thing I have a shrink on board! 😉

  7. Shelley

    Yes-! I also did the Master Cleanse about 8 times for 3 days each time and I loved that for the reasons you say – the rest of every body system-!! And to take a break from food prep. And then once you eat again, you are more mindful of every bite you take. At least that was my experience. I do enjoy cooking but it’s amazing how much time/energy you can free up by taking a total break from it. I’m glad you have a shrink in your corner too. Everyone needs one! I sure love mine ! Much love + good wishes for your continued health & success!

    • One of my bff’s contacted me again and is going to do the 5:2 deal with me as a buddy system..also some exercise training…off we go…! I’m incorporating some of those “restful” approaches to my fast days on this too. I’m psyched but right now I’m cooking for a party. lol

  8. I couldn’t help but notice the expression on the animated girls face is identical to the furrowed brow of the facial expression of little Kathy, at the top of the blog (sans the darting eyes). No little girl is supposed to grow up without the love of her mother. Certainly no little girl who loses her mother is benefitted by being raised by an unstable, violent step mother. I am sorry- you were robbed- and while I don’t fault your father- he was flying by the seat of HIS pants, with three small children to raise, he didn’t notice what his choices had led to. My mother had major mental health and substance abuse issues (which I was not aware of until my teens and early 20’s) but she was gentle, loving and kind… she was kind to everyone and somehow that was enough to sustain me, and pass on to me some real stamina when making choices for myself as I navigated through my life in relationships and self care. You are a wonderful person Kathy Monkman and you deserve to be loved and adored, just as you love and adore others. I can only imagine what your mother must have been like by the two little girls and little boy she brought in to this world- individuals with kind, loving, generous spirits. I am watching, listening and rooting for this transformation you are going through…with the kind of woman you are right now… it is going to be amazing!

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