resolutions 2014 part one


I’m working on some resolutions and here are some ideas that are coming to me.

1.  Eyebombing.



2.  I want to wear pajamas in public one day a month.  Starting with the Tempe Town Lake pedestrian bridge in January–a good place to make a wish.


3.  This:


That’s all I got so far.


lost and found



I drove back down from Sedona yesterday after a week of festivities to work for a couple of days and I’ve noticed a small theme around this small boomerang trip (heading back up tonite I think after work).

I whipped in to town around noon yesterday and ran three errands before heading home to check on my cats then over to my office:  office, bank and naturally, Target.  I mean it was the day after Christmas right?  And I did have my eye on these teal Mercury glass trees that I should have gotten when I saw them, then saw them again when Amy actually did get them then by some insanity thought they might still be around for the after Christmas sale.  A girl can dream.


two are there on that shelf

And no, they weren’t there.  But some tiny crystal battery operated lights were and Sofia in the 4 pack cans was on sale for only $13.99.  So there was that.  😀

Oh, and some new pajamas.  I am going to Vegas this weekend for two nights with Rob and Barb and we’re all sharing one suite.  New pajamas are a necessity in a situation like that don’t you think?  Plus the best flannel ones always come out only at Christmas.  Arizona, remember?

I finish my small shopping spree and head out, reach in to the outside pocket of my purse, pull out my keys and they look normal, they don’t feel normal, something is odd.  Well that odd thing would be the fact that my CAR KEY IS NOT ON THE RING.


You know that expensive irreplacable smart key that opens the back door and all the other doors and starts the car?  The one where a thief could just press the button and see which car in the parking lot lights up then steal my car including my iphone I left in it?  Or just the iphone if they wanted to keep it simple?  That key.

I push my cart back in to the store (ok I got a few things, don’t judge!) and go straight up to Customer Service.  The gal happily holds up a key ring, with an entire set of keys on it!  Not mine.  😦  No key.


I push my cart back to my car looking all over the ground lamenting inside about how this is one of the times I really realize how single I am.

Yet I’m also remembering I live basically across the street.

And remembering as well I have a client in about an hour now.

I decide to run back home, grab my spare key (whew!), run back and get my car then hope the key shows up later.  But I’m nervous about leaving my car there unattended with that stupid car thief who has my smart key lurking potentially anywhere waiting to steal my iphone which would be worse than my car in some ways right now.

So I go back in to Target and ask to speak with the Security Guard I saw earlier.  I intend to ask him to keep an eye on my car for the next 10 min or so it takes me to run home and run back (ok, walk fast).


This young tall lanky hispanic man with his hair slicked back shiny, I mean real shiny, reaches in his pocket and produces yet another key ring full of keys, with his own smart key on it.  I have a moment of glee thinking he’s got my key!  But no, he just says “does it look like this?”.

Crestfallen, I just say yes and request he keep an eye on my car for a few minutes.

As if he’s standing on his own slick head, the security guard pivots so fast away from me I only see a black blur with a flash of a badge as he reaches over the counter at the now defunct or closed or something photo booth, opens a drawer backward and pulls out…………MY KEY!!!!!!!!!!!


I just about fainted and/or kissed him.

I asked him where it was and he said he just saw it sitting right there on the counter and so put it in the drawer.

I figure it fell off my key ring as I pulled them out right there, someone picked it up and just placed it on the nearest counter.  Then Mr. Security saw it sitting there and secured it in the drawer. All within minutes of this moment.

Had I not gone back to ask to speak to him, exactly him, that man, who knows how long my key would have sat there in the ghost of a booth, the NOT Lost and Found area, unattended.

My key found it’s way back to me against all odds!

Smiling and relieved, I drove home.


Excited to check my mail as I was gone for the few days before Christmas so I knew it would contain cards and maybe a gift or two (one).  😀  Also my Dad’s mail he has forwarded to me.

I opened my door, greeted the kitties, zipped around the corner to the key hook and……….NO MAIL KEY!

What?  Where on God’s green Earth is my dang mail key?

Trying to remember where I last had it, when I last saw it, I had a vision of the floor of my car.

I ran out there, poking around, no key no key no key, where is the dang key???  This one is worse because I don’t have a backup and no time to get a new key and my Dad really wants his mail and…………..

I decide to open the console between my seats and see this random mailish key looking key just sitting there.  No key ring.  You see my usual mail key always, ALWAYS was on the pink leather heart fob for YEARS it was on that fob along with the pool key and one of the times I went out of town, poof, disappeared.  Sigh….I still miss that steady predictable comfort of that pink heart key fob and keys.

This one WAS my spare.  And it had a little wooden whatever key ring attached to it, also nowhere to be found.

Mail key found by my garage

I pulled out the little mailish looking key with a weird metal clasp thing as it’s only attachment.

It looks like it should fit I think as I confidently carry it toward the mail box.

I insert it, rotate my wrist to the right and voila!  It turns!  It’s the mail key!


Now I have no idea how/what/why/whatever it landed in there without any kind of key ring attached or which one it even is.

But the fact that I lost, then found, two very important keys within a matter of minutes, caught my attention yesterday.

Today I’m reflecting on this message and I’m listening to it too.

Keep listening is basically what I think it’s about.  You can never been too busy or too distracted to listen.  You always have your listening skills in any situation.

Keep being confident in a solution. Don’t crumble.

Listen, then follow.

Everything is waiting for you.  Now go find it.

And don’t forget your keys.


find the full poem here:

christmas eve



I’m still in my warm cozy bed taking my time getting up thinking about our day and evening we have planned.
We have many memories and traditions as a family that we do our best, mostly due to my Dad, to keep alive at Christmas. One is our holiday movies.
So far we’ve watched Miracle on 34th Street, Holiday Inn, and of course The Grinch and Charlie Brown Christmas. I’ve purchased all of these on DVD so we can watch at our leisure.

But today’s movie sets the theme for the whole day/eve.

We’re watching Alistair Sim in A Christmas Carol which we’ve watched most Christmas Eves our whole lives. It’s our favorite.

And I decided we’re cooking a total Dickens style feast to go with it. We’ve invited the boys to come too so it will be extra festive.

Here’s the menu:

Christmas punch and small nibbles for mingling.

Roast leg of lamb (not so traditional but I picked one up as my dad loves lamb)
Bubble and Squeak (yes that’s the name)
English peas with mushrooms
Ombré carrots with citrus and thyme
Stuffed baked apples
Trifle for dessert (Rob is bringing)

We will watch the movie early to get inspired then set about cooking. We all have our dishes to make. Me- I’m on the bubble and squeak and carrots. And of course will help as needed.

We are all doing well, including Alfonse who’s been a great help around the house cleaning, emptying the dishwasher , taking the recycling etc. I never under appreciate the days he’s doing well.

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

God bless us, Every One. 20131224-085550.jpg



twenty five years


Cindy Monkman, our beloved sister, daughter, friend.

9/16/1958 – 12/23/1988


I lay in the dark last night and this thought flowed in through my insomnia. The veil can be thinnest on the anniversary of the day a person drew their last breath on this planet.

I’ll be seeking signs today, grateful the rest of us are here, together, living and loving.

I still miss you every day Cindy.

Every single day.

first sedona christmas 1

















In those last photos is Julie Spicher Hedine who was Cindy’s best friend when she died. I hadn’t seen her in over 15 yrs and she just happened to be in Sedona with her family and came for dinner with us. It was so wonderful and healing to see her (tears) meet her husband and son and hear my name as “Katie” from one of the originals. ❤

katie wick



this photo was taken the guilty verdict was read in the Travis Alexander trial, surprising we have any eye makeup left at all

The first day I showed up to the Arias trial for the murder of Travis Alexander, I just came after working all morning, after lunch, out of curiosity to check out the lay of the land (courtroom).

I had been waiting for this trial for around four years.  After the first time I’d heard of this terrible crime and terrible loss in my community and terrible sociopath who committed it.  I kept contacting my journalist friends telling them they needed to cover it.  I’d say “there’s this female sociopath at the Estrella jail who’s talking to media, you should get down there!”.  None of them bit.  I just had a gut feeling on this trial but also had my own, unconscious motivations that I learned much later.  I outlined them here, the similarities between this case and our own.  Between Travis and Cindy.

I drove downtown to the courthouse that day, parked in the expensive lot, wound my way through the buildings to finally find the courtroom on level 5.  Lunch break was still on and the public area was somewhat chaotic.  An informal line was growing and yet I saw this tall blond standing outside the line area, alone, just looking around as well.


(I think I smell flatbread–private joke 😉 )

My initial impression of this beautiful young woman was that perhaps she was a witness waiting to be called in as she wasn’t really joining the public fray.  I also decided, in my head, that she had to be Mormon and involved with this case.  That conclusion was entirely superficial as I think some of the most beautiful women on the planet have landed in that religion and they always seem so well put together fashion wise, etc. that I just assumed she was a Mormon, part of the trial and was waiting to be called to testify.

But I was wrong on all fronts.   What I had no way of knowing was that this beauty would wind up becoming one of my very good friends one day.  Life has a funny way of surprising you sometimes doesn’t it?

Due to some nitwit cutting in front of me in line that day, who I guess I now have to thank, I ended up being the very first person to be excluded from the afternoon session so went and sat on one of the chairs in the hall.  I do think I approached Katie first and we sat together and began talking.  She’d already been there in the morning but didn’t realize the chaotic line up procedure for the afternoon session so also missed out on getting a seat.  We began talking about what was going on in the trial while swatting off one of, who I later referred to as the “Nut Factory’s” regular residents.  Lots of people with lots of motivations show up at trials.  I’m not saying I’m not one of them but trial watchers can be a, say, colorful group.  This woman in animal print leggings and wild hair kept cutting in to our conversation sharing texts about her much younger boyfriend and things I know I wasn’t the least interested in, as Katie and I tried to discuss the case and what drew us to it.

Katie was much nicer to this woman than I was but that’s not surprising.  Katie is nice to everyone.

I found out that Katie’s big dream was “to become a criminal prosecutor” yet she felt it had already passed her by.  She was interested in justice, law and order and had come downtown for a job interview at another State organization so thought she’d stop by this trial.  I found her very easy to talk to and unusually approachable for someone who, I”ll just say it, looks like this.


  There I go with my superficiality slip showing again.

I document in detail what happened the day Katie and I met here in this post so I won’t reinvent that wheel but it was nice reminiscing about it all last night, at the end of this tumultuous life changing year, together.

Katie and I were the very first “Dr. Drew’s Jury” the following week.  Our other new friend, the darling Bill Hinkle, approached us as we sat in that hallway about being on the show.  We were laughing last night about how I leaned back, flashed him one of those wide eyed “oh, you’ve landed in a gold mine” faces and said , pointing at Katie “this is your girl right here”.  I wasn’t interested in doing the show but I did intend on going back to the trial the following week.  He called me over that weekend.  How ironic now that I’m remembering, Bill called me just as Alfonse and I were leaving the house, our now house, in Sedona after walking through it with the realtor for the first time.  It’s interesting when major moments collide sometimes.


Katie with our darling Bill Hinkle

I agreed to do the show as I felt I had something to say and right now I don’t remember what it was.  But I was terrified and uncomfortable as you can see in this lovely photo.  HA!  And what was up with all that big hair anyway?  Did I think we were broadcasting from Texas?  Oh brother.


Katie and my destinies were solidified on that day.  We started out together and we will be in each other’s lives for the duration.

Here is a link to that clip which I can’t even bring myself to watch right now.  My stomach is in knots just looking at the small photo. 😉

Needless to say I learned I’m not really cut out for, nor interested in a life in front of a camera, but Katie is exactly the opposite.  She ended up getting a regular gig on Dr. Drew’s Jury, every night it aired during the trial for months and months.


What most don’t know though is what it took for Katie to follow through on that commitment.  She would get up in the dark, every day, for days and weeks and months and head over in the wee hours to line up in the hall in the public section.  The hours kept getting earlier as more and more people caravanned to the courthouse for the trial.  And there was Katie, faithfully lining up with everyone else, every day.  She never got any special favors.

She wouldn’t be able to leave for lunch as she had to secure her spot so would sit in the hallway, in the Nut Factory, for hours between sessions then hopefully get an afternoon seat.  Then she would usually go to Happy Hour with the rest of us decompressing from the day as she waited for the taping of the Dr. Drew Show in a van on the street outside the courthouse.  Then drive home, usually after 9pm and wash , rinse repeat the next day.

(here we are again, this time I agreed to go as I had something to say!)

And she was always steadfast in her opinions on the side of the prosecution.  Unapologetically so.  She was there to see justice for Travis and his family and would give her opinions but never waiver in her position.  I knew this for a fact.


Katie endured, eventually, a barrage attacks about her motives for being on TV, that she was using the trial just to get discovered, even a twitter acct called “Katie Wick’s Teeth” sprung up to lampoon her (her teeth are exceptionally straight, and white ;)) . And she took it all in stride, keeping her eye on the ball.  I would have crumbled from the weight of all that but she just kept getting up every morning and showing up at the trial, lining up like a trooper.

I remember telling her “So what if you get discovered and get a career out of this?  Do not apologize for that!  Great things come from tragedy and if that happens for you, then this is a beautiful thing!”.   But I always knew where her heart is.  Justice.  Travis. His family.


And right now I’m thumbing my nose at those naysayers and backstabbers telling you that Katie Wick has decided to pursue that dream she thought she’d lost her chance at and she’s starting law school in 2014.  With the focused goal of becoming a criminal prosecutor.  And I have no doubt that’s exactly where she will land.  She will take this God given voice and use it for justice, just like she has always felt the need to do.  And she will pay her dues to get there.

Katie is a young woman with a solid backbone.  And she uses it.


She wielded that backbone for me a couple of weeks ago, taking a perhaps “not with the crowd” position with me on an unfortunate incident where I was getting, well, um, severely disappointed by a group of other people who let me down then blamed me for it (yeah one of those) and she took a strong stance in support of me.  She was the only person in this group, despite my many attempts to communicate with multiple people, who contacted me directly.  She phoned me up just as the dominoes started falling in this bizarre sequence and shared that she understood completely where I was coming from and she had my back.  She was the only person who stood up for me or even talked to me during a bizarre several days where I basically got my heart broken and humiliated all in one fell swoop.  She was the only one in this entire group who seemed to understand that I actually had a valid set of ideas relating to this incident.  Validation is a great feeling, particularly when you’re being bulleted by words about how wrong you are.  Don’t we all just sometimes want to be heard?  Understood?


It was Katie who kept showing up on my phone, the day after this debacle occurred with messages like “you did nothing wrong” and “how are you doing today?”  and “that was not right, none of it”.  She even threw in there “My Mom even thinks you did nothing wrong!”.  haha bringing Mama in to the equation was some serious artillery to deal with the bunker I’d backed in to.  😉

She was the one person who reached out to me in an entire group of others with absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose (you know, group dynamics) and yet she held her position firmly.  “I don’t think you did anything wrong and I’m here for you”.  And she proved it.  For days.  Unsolicited, she just reached out to me in friendship.  That really gets a person’s attention.


These are the kinds of brave acts I know Katie for.  She takes a stand and commits to it.  And she really doesn’t care what anyone else thinks.  I wish I had more of that in myself now at age 54 that she does at age 27.

What’s funny and one of many things we talked about last night at our end of the year Christmas get together, was that our paths would likely never have crossed any other way but through this trial.  We are very different in a myriad of ways and I’m old enough to be her mother yet we forged this strong bond that day in that hallway.  One that has never wavered not for a second.

It was so nice to have a leisurely evening with Katie last night, look in each others’ eyes, reflect on all we’ve been through in the last year together and separately and wind that down together.  I was so appreciative for that time with her.


After we parted last night I received a series of texts from Katie expressing her feelings toward me and her love for me and respect.  She has said to me so many times “you are the strongest woman I know Kathy” and she said it again last night.   Then again later right before I went to sleep through a text.  She adores me and I adore her right back.

How beautiful it is when you don’t feel strong, someone still sees you through those eyes?  How lucky is a person to have someone like that in their sphere?

I am so fortunate to have crossed paths with Katie that day in that terrible hallway.

Katie, I love you dearly, am honored to be your friend, grateful for your being mine and I’m here cheering for you now and forever.

May your light always shine brightly!


still swimming



Happy Thursday!

I’m back after two days of utter exhaustion and a degree of depression/full on crankiness.  Pretty sure I got spun in to that state by all the head banging I did for hours on Tuesday followed by another session yesterday dealing with the mental health system for John.  I don’t want to keep going on and on but I do want to document our struggles because I intend to take it to a higher level and just want to have a chronology to rely back on.  I also know that they are reading here, at least some of them, and I hope they do (not that I think most of them care but it just feels good to know someone’s getting called out and knows it sometimes).

First of all, John is doing well right now.  Fingers crossed this continues through the holiday as we will be all together in Sedona for a significant period of time.


I don’t know about the rest of you but something that just gets under my skin are issues around injustice.  Particularly injustice toward those who can’t defend themselves (the infirm, animals etc).  It makes me absolutely nuts.  I tend to gravitate toward using my helping in the world time around these themes.  I won’t dwell on the recent issues with Alfonse but just to say, we have a young new attorney helping out in our attorney’s office who worked in the mental health system here for years before going to law school.  So he knows the AZ system inside and out.  He spent a lot of time on the phone with me this week and I can’t forget this exchange.  I said to him “I feel sometimes like I’m getting paranoid myself thinking these people are now actually trying to sabotage my brother’s mental health status by blocking him from receiving services now–not just not providing the services but actually setting out to block him from receiving any elsewhere”.  This attorney responded (paraphrasing) “you’re not paranoid.  I suspect that’s exactly what’s happening.  I saw it time and time again.  A squeaky wheel calls them out on their incompetence and then they get sort of targeted and punished”. 

Yes, he sure did say that.  Punished.

That just makes me want to bawl.  Again, what has happened to these people?  Did they ever, at any point in their career, care about the population they are hired to help?

It was validating to hear those words and he just said “You’ve been hitting that delicate balance most advocates go through–not calling them out on their not providing what they are there to provide vs. calling them out then getting targeted”.  Either way, it’s just hideous.  I just said “they messed with the wrong family if they think I will sit back and let them neglect or worse yet, harm my brother”.

The problem is we have to keep him engaged in the public system for groups and classes that are with other mentally ill people because that is his peer group.  Completely mainstreaming John is not a smart idea.  We can’t deny he has a major mental illness and needs to be around peers who also relate.  The public system is where these people are.  I have high hopes for this clinic Wellness City where, so far, we’ve been treated with kindness and respect, they have an active community and he will enroll in there asap.  The problem is, the ACT Team removed him from the mental health system entirely, having him sign a form that says not one word about doing that but effectively accomplished that.  This is the kind of thing that I mean about punishment.  He was not clearly informed nor did he understand these ramifications.  He just thought he was removing himself from their cesspool program but lo and behold he closed his entire case through signing that paper they placed in front of him knowing that’s exactly what he would be doing.  Now they don’t have an appt. until Jan. 17 to get him back reenrolled.  It’s just all so damn frustrating and designed to keep people sick and get them sicker I believe.  There are systems, as hard as it is to believe, that are in fact designed to keep participants from getting well–some of them are called Insurance and Pharmaceutical companies but I digress, sort of.   It’s just so hard to wrap my head around but living inside this with him all these months I’m getting the clear picture of the blackness that exists out there.


And my brother is the sweetest most deserving person you could ever meet.  I’m not, I’m a pitbull when it comes to protecting people I care about and I do have fangs that have a mind of their own sometimes and will arise in these kinds of situations, but not my brother.  He’s like an innocent child.  How do these people sleep at night?  Seriously?

Enough of that, I’m getting myself worked up again.

I fell in to a state of exhaustion the last two days triggered I’m sure from all of that head banging and also just from ….well, Christmas.


I didn’t even realize this year was the 25th anniversary of Cindy’s death until a producer from the Ricki Lake Show told me as I breathlessly fast-walked down a sidewalk in Central Phoenix heading for the Arias courtroom last Spring.  He indicated it was part of the reason they wanted me on the show–that anniversary. I remember stopping in my tracks, doing the math and saying “you’re right, it’s 25 years”.

Not exactly something you want to call a  milestone but I guess it is.  I’ve survived 25 years since she was taken that Christmas in 1988.  We all have.  It’s kind of hard to believe.

I’ve said it before and say it again, grief is an unpredictable mistress.  It will let you slide when you most expect her visit then land on your doorstep with all of her suitcases and carryons when you think you’re just breezing along with your life.  She hit me hard this week.  I had a hard time even staying awake yesterday, in fact I took an afternoon nap and would have stayed in bed had I not had plans that evening.

Sad Teenage Girl

Like with the trap my brother landed in that has no clear exits, grief can just squeeze you in to itself and hold you there making you it’s own sometimes.  For as long as it wants to until you surrender.


I tend to jump in to creative projects when I’m down like that as it’s one form of medicine that both distracts me and opens my brain in a new way and then I often end up with something I feel good about on the other end.


Night before last I made a small tree honoring Travis Alexander and Cindy.  I have written before about the astounding similarities in the two of them–both 30 when they were murdered, both lived in the same city, both murdered by sociopaths who carefully planned and covered it up after conning them, both were killed in nearly identical ways, both left to be found by someone else and on and on….

No wonder I got so sucked in to that trial.




I’ve gotten to know Travis’ siblings, some quite well.  So I made this little tree to send one of them which seems like something that could decorate a gravesite but it will end up wherever it lands.  It has a lot of personal meaning to me this little tree and it did make me feel a lot better after making it.  It’s sitting on my porch right now waiting to be picked up by the mail carrier.  As is the bag of my sweet spicy nuts I made ten thousand of this Christmas.  They turned out pretty good (burp!).

Last night I was invited to go over to Amy’s and make cookies with her kids.  I was driving over there, exhausted, thinking of how I was going to explain I couldn’t stay long, that we’d make this one batch then I’d have to leave. I was just that flattened, emotionally drained and physically spent.


When I got there though, being with her girls, with Amy I perked right up and ended up staying for hours.  We exchanged all of our Christmas gifts (I got SO MANY cool things like a cactus garden and Tim Gunn’s memoir..yay!), watched Project Runway, had dinner and of course made our cookies.  It ended up being just what the Dr. ordered as I felt a whole lot better when I got home and this morning didn’t wake up with that terrible feeling of dread I’ve been fighting for a few days.  While trying to perk myself up making plans and doing fun things.  That feeling, when attached to you, is damn stubborn and wants to keep reminding you it’s still there, waiting. Waiting to be acknowledged I guess.

When I got home last night I ran in to the best article I’ve ever read about grief.  I’m going to share it here.  Here is an excerpt that really spoke to me:

If instead of pretending we are okay, we would take the time to wail, to weep, to scream, to wander the woods day after day holding hands with our sadness, loving it into remission so it doesn’t turn cold inside of us, gripping us intermittently in the icy fingers of depression. That’s not what grief is meant to do.

Grief has a way of showing you just how deep your aliveness goes. It’s a dagger shoved down your throat, its handle bulging like an Adam’s apple protruding from your neck, edges pressed against both lungs, creating a long, slow bleed in your chest that rolls down the edges of your life, and you get to handle that any fucking way you want.

If you have been sitting on old grief from your childhood, your failed relationships, the loss of a family pet when you were nine, and any other losses you were unable to honor in the past, this left-over grief will also come through the broken damn. Let it.

“Grief does not change you… It reveals you.” ~ John Green

And herein lies the gift that cannot die. It changes the course of your life forever. If you allow yourself the chance to feel it for as long as you need to — even if it is for the rest of your life — you will be guided by it. You will become someone it would have been impossible for you to be, and in this way your loved one lives on, in you.

Read the whole thing. I want to know this woman.  She speaks a language I understand and want to speak more boldly myself.


I’m just going to leave this post on that note so we can all ponder these thoughts together.

I’m doing ok.  I really am.  I’m looking forward to our Christmas Eve Dickens dinner party we are planning, our pizza Elf movie party this Sat. with four of our Sedona friends at our house and putting up our tree up there this weekend.  When I think about it, I think it’s a pretty damn big miracle I can look forward to anything around the holidays.  Ever.  I still don’t send out Christmas cards anymore.  That ended in 1988 and never kicked in again.


I am sincerely looking forward to it all this year…and to my heart opening wider to my family and taking the risks that I have to take to get there too.

And I’m grieving, acutely grieving again all at the same time.


And I’m going to take care of myself in a very deliberate way.  Extreme self care is what I told my hair stylist/friend this week.

That’s the name of the game right now and I’m gonna play it.

Now I gotta run and get to the gym and a mani/pedi.

Hope you are all feeling everything you are feeling right now and that’s the most honest wish I can offer up today.  For me and for you.