Woke up this morning with zero pain and zero buyer’s regret.  I absolutely love my tattoo and feel like I’m somehow changed because of making this statement to myself.

When the thought downloaded to my brain last Sunday, the statement came with it “you will always have Cindy at your back”.

I think growing up without a mother and losing my one and only consistent protector at age 29 created a hypervigilant exhausted woman at age 54.

Something about this tattoo feels like protection to me.  Like she’s just always watching my back so I can rest, finally.

There’s also something about doing this in a location where no one but in very rare circumstances will see it.  It’s kind of low between my shoulder blades.  And I have no regret about that either.  The little bits of discomfort I feel this morning remind me of it’s presence and I feel so comforted.

I can’t wait to show my family today.  They had not one moment of ambivalence about this for me.

That’s the thing I’ve found–when I’ve been 100% sure about a decision for myself, I’ve gotten very little flak from others.  BIG decisions like graduating from college, getting a great job and new car and deciding to chuck it all and move to Mexico for love.  I also got no flak from that either.

I’ve been awakened the last two nights with clear and unexplained sounds.  In Sedona, a singular bell chime woke me up twice night before last (nothing in the room to make that sound) and last night a strange human snore woke me up.  Nothing I’ve ever heard my cat make.

I think someone’s trying to get my attention.

I think I’ll spend the weekend listening extra hard.

But for now, off in to a fantastic day of fun with family and friends and great wine and food.

What a life…what a LIFE!



love shield



taken right after so still semi bleeding–sorry for the freshness!

What a day what a day what a DAY!

Woke up in Sedona, zipped down the hill and in to a spectacular Valentine’s Day.

After a bit of work I got to exchange Valentine’s gifts and cards with my Dad and brother.  Awww…out of the six cards exchanged I think 4 were Peanuts themed.  In fact, Alfonse got me the exact same card I got for my Dad!  Buddha would have said “mental telepathy”.


I remain so grateful to have them so close to me and to be spending so many meaningful and fun times together.


I dashed over to meet Aaron for the tattoo pregame of ginger ale and chat before our appointments began.


The tattoo parlor was very cool;  clean, spacious, artwork everywhere, friendly.  I loved the vibe the second we walked in.

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“induce”?  Whaaaaat?

Our tattoo artist, Mary, talked to me for a bit about my ideas then whipped up a drawing in about a half an hour and I took one look at it and gasped “its’ perfect!”.  I loved it immediately.  She absolutely nailed my vision.  Every aspect of it is perfect…beyond.


the stencil she placed perfectly between my shoulder blades

I went first and I’m not gonna lie, it hurt like hell.  So glad Aaron was there to literally hold my hand or rather I squeezed the daylights out of his.  He made me laugh and stopped a couple of times to take a pic.

 It was over before I knew it–maybe 40 min total?  Aaron took a pic for me and it was absolutely perfect in the absolutely perfect spot.  For me since virtually no one but myself will be seeing this very personal tattoo, it was definitely a feel type of thing.  When I got the inspiration last Sunday of what to get and where to get it, I felt in my body exactly where it should be.  And Mary nailed it.  How funny that by accident the vine scrolled right around a mole I didn’t even know I had back there.  Love it.

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Cindy’s signature transferred perfectly

Then it was Aaron’s turn and his went much faster as his stars were all identical in a neat row on his shoulder.  I held his hand too but his wasn’t nearly as sensitive as mine (or maybe he’s less of a wimp).   We had such a great bonding time together doing this and had such heartfelt conversation before/during and after.  I just love my dear friend Aaron and am so grateful for his presence in my life the last six years or so.  He’s like family to me, well he is family to me (along with his darling daughter Maddie who I nicknamed Skinny Buddha).

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After our tats we just couldn’t stop smiling. I think we were in some kind of endorphin-rush zone.  It was an absolute blast!  We walked back to Liberty Market and found a table outside, got some libations and snacks and continued our post tattoo Valentine love fest.


My gorgeous friend Andrea joined us and we, ahem, shared some a huge carafe of Kir Royale…yum!  Perfect Valentine’s bubbly cocktail.  Aaron had to dash out to take SB to dinner and then my other beautiful friend Ann joined us and the evening was just deep meaningful girl talk; tears, laughter, all perfect sharing full of love.

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What an incredible day/evening…just incredible!

And then I came home to find this pink box of goodies on my doorstep, dropped off by the Valentine fairy my friend Amy.  🙂


I love my tattoo so much.  I’m so glad I did it.  I feel like it’s somehow going to change my life.


Positioned directly on the back side of my heart chakra, I see it as some sort of love shield/magnet/memorial.  I’m just so psyched that I got it.

And can’t wait to see where it’s taking me next as this portal opens my heart to more love.  😀




Greetings from beautiful Sedona. I’m wiped. I came up to run an errand and clean the house which took me five hours today-whew! So rewarding to clean up after the busy holiday season.

I ran to get supplies last evening and returned to this (see above) as I pulled on to our street.

Woke up this morning to some texts with my friend Aaron excited about our Valentines Day tattoo adventure together.

He shared this which just warmed my heart and brought mist to my eyes:

There are three phrases in the fraternity, one for each star. The one that speaks to me now is “most sacred friendship”. I can’t think of anyone more fitting to share this experience with, just you.


He’s getting three stars and all Ill say right now is mine is inspired by this image and will include Cindy’s signature. Of course Ill take pics of our beautiful day and blog it.


Happy Valentines Eve everyone!

stubborn persistence


stubborn persistence

This showed up in my inbox this morning from TUT. Bam! I woke up feeling this exact feeling and then I read this!

Kathy, it’s working.

No, you probably can’t see it yet, but I can. Wheels are now turning that have never turned before. Winds are now howling that have never howled before. And players from every walk of life are being drawn into place as if in some hypnotic dance. All because of you, your dreams, and your divinely stubborn persistence.

If I wasn’t the Universe, I don’t think I’d believe it.

The Universe




My sister is sending me on an Odyssey.

I feel it in my bones.

Oh and also, I’m getting a tattoo.

On Valentine’s Day at 3pm.

Have I gotten your attention yet?

I really thought I would get up this morning and write about our fantastic afternoon/evening celebration yesterday for my Dad’s birthday (which I will).


But this takes precedence at the moment.


I’m bringing it all back to my Treasure Map too as it’s started the treasure hunting process — I didn’t officially hang it up until last week and boy has it activated in my life.

It got me to the Ecstatic Dance on Sunday morning although I’ve been resisting going for some unknown reason for months.  That’s a mystery really as this kind of dance/movement is totally my thing and something I’ve devoted a lot of my life too.  This group meets at a studio very near my house where people drive from all over the Valley to congregate at.  It’s at a perfect time for me (when I’m in town).  It’s something I love.

Anyway, who cares about the resistance, I got there.


We danced for close to two hours and at the end I laid on the floor in the “legs up the wall” yoga pose for the last two songs and had this clear as a bell thought blast in to my brain.

You are getting a tattoo and this is what and this is where.

No questions or weird uh oh’s around this thought.  Clear as a bell, calm as a whisper it just arrived.


I came home, started doing my research, have my basic design and yesterday it all unfolded in an even more magical way.


I’ve had plans for weeks to go out with my darling friend Andrea for Valentine’s Day.  Our plan was to go out salsa dancing.  Yet when I started thinking about this tattoo, and the fact that I believe in the importance of ritual, I realized I really wanted to do it on Valentine’s Day.  Neither of us was finding a great place to go dancing but we definitely were going out.  I was thinking of asking her to go with me for the tattoo but didn’t want to mess up our plans.

So, when I shared a cryptic “I’m getting a tattoo” on Facebook, she wrote the commentAwesome!! Instead of dancing, let’s get yr tat and celebrate it over dinner!”.  Now read that with her South African accent and you’ve got the complete experience.


Hallelujah!  Just what I wanted!  No disappointment anywhere!

It gets better now.

Yesterday my friend Marianne was still over as she came over Sun. night to watch Downton Abbey and stayed (which turned in to 3 other shows as well til midnight and a slumber party!).  She knows tons of people with tattoos at the restaurant where she works and threw out a name of a tattoo parlor they go to.


I looked it up, saw the portfolio of a gal there and loved it.  Lo and behold, she had openings for Friday afternoon! Perfect!

Now that timing didn’t work out for Andrea BUT in the middle of all this, my friend Aaron texts me “hey I’ve been wanting to get a specific tattoo for 20 years, let’s do this together!”.  Eureka!


He got the appt. after mine saying “I’ll hold your hand through yours and you hold my hand through mine”.  Awwwww…

Aaron also busted in to tears when I texted him what I was getting.

All I’ll say is it incorporates Cindy’s signature.

Just her first name.  And a little flower she used to draw.

That’s just part of it.

Whew!  This is a lot to write as so much has happened in the last 48 hours on this front!

Andrea is coming to meet us when she’s out of her meeting and we’ll all go out and have a celebration.  I’ve been wanting to introduce the two of them anyway for awhile and now that they’re both single………….uh huh, that.

What an incredibly meaningful and fun Valentine’s Day this is turning out to be.  Love is in the air!


So….back to the Odyssey.

I woke up this morning realizing I need to find a copy of Cindy’s signature today as tomorrow I’m headed up to Sedona for two nights then will be basically back home, working then headed to the tattoo shop.

I got out of bed, brushed my teeth and went straight to my guest room closet and on an archeological dig.

I can’t begin to process all I found, some things I had absolutely no idea I was even in possession of–how is that even possible?

My mother’s last wallet with the photos she placed in it, letters she wrote to both my Grandma’s as she was dying.  A letter she wrote to Cindy and I while she was in the hospital (I’ve not even read it yet; there’s another moment for that).


she called me “katie” but spelled it “KT”

So many photos, so many mementos.  Just impossible to even chew much less digest.

And then I found it.

The thing I’ve been searching for, literally for years, maybe decades.  I thought I’d lost it.

The Ziggy card.


Back in 1979 I’d guess, Cindy and I were living together in a house in Normal, IL while we were in college. We nicknamed that house “Deliria House”.

One night, a school night, a friend of mine who was also a hair dresser convinced me to do this henna treatment on my mousy blonde hair.  She came to the house with her supplies and applied this seaweed masque type glop to my hair in kitchen. The kitchen without a mirror.

She rinsed it off in the kitchen sink and said these kiss of death words “wow you have a lot of red in your hair”.

My hair does not have red in it but that green crap turned my hair bright orange.  Not any kind of normal redhead type color but neon orange!


yes, basically this – also henna but she looks like she likes it

Now in this particular phase of my life I prided myself being kind of a granola girl–natural.  No one was dying their hair back then. At least no one cool was.

And now I had this bright orange hideous hair!  She ran immediately to the hair supply place and got this color remover stuff that sort of took the edge off but just say I was a redhead for months after that and I was not happy.

Sad Teenage Girl

That’s putting it mildly.  I actually got very depressed over it, my stupid decision, my vanity gone bad.  It brought out a dark demon in me and I wouldn’t leave the house or go to classes.  Ok truth be told, I sat inside and basically smoked pot when I wasn’t going to work (and getting teased).

I came home one evening and this card was waiting for me.

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She just had way with me (tears now).  She just had the right words and more than that, the right timing.


I’ve literally heard these words in my head since 1979 (how many years is that now?  35?  Wow.).

  Unlike Ziggy, at least you’ve got hair!

That’s the signature (on that card) that’s going in my tattoo this Friday.

I won’t lose it again.


i sent myself this set of essays from my teenage self to the future

I walked downstairs with a few of these mementos she sent me to find and realized she’s sending me on a treasure hunt.

20140211-095605.jpg 20140211-095622.jpgletter from an old sweetheart from 1988 who i found out recently passed suddenly two years ago

Things are pivoting; I can feel it.

Something or someone is coming; I know it.

And I’m not alone on this journey, of this I’m sure.

Let’s go.





I think I’ve been entirely too serious lately.

In that vein, I’ve decided to share a story from my past that I find both funny and miraculous.  I  hope you do too so hunker down and enjoy this Sunday morning storytelling moment.

I don’t know why when I bought this house twelve years ago I had such a hard time transitioning in to it.  I have all kinds of intellectual ideas to answer that riddle but the fact remains;  I was anxious and awkward and everything other than the comforts of home in this house for nearly an entire year.


On one level I loved the house and did so much to make it my own.  I painted every single room (except the ones that still had hideous wallpaper-those came later) before I moved in.  I moved furniture around multiple times in multiple rooms to try and achieve my coz factor.  I poured a whole lotta love in to this house yet, I was just flat out uncomfortable and disoriented.  For a long time.

It was weird because I only moved about two miles away from where I’d been living.  But my grocery store and route to work shifted and it all threw me off course.


I have a large Fry’s grocery store just half a block from my house.  It used to be one of the largest Smitty’s in town, then Smiths then probably something else and now Fry’s for a long time.  I remember an old boyfriend, long ago, when I was living in the last house, said he’d travel out of his way to go to my particular Fry’s.  I don’t know why, he just loved that store.

I tried to love it as I figured he, as a major foodie, knew it had something special.  But Fry’s was also on my radar for alien territory and at some kind of unreachable distance.  That’s the best way I can describe it.  Imagine your own bedroom at an unreachable distance.  It was tough, weird, embarrassing all wrapped in to one.

The first time this thing happened was on a trip to Fry’s early in to my new tenancy at this house.  It was so early that I was still picking up new house supplies like dish drainers and sponges.  It was in the morning on a week day I do remember that.

I completed my shopping, exited the lesser used south door, walked pushing my cart to my car which might have still been my Toyota Previa at that point (God I loved that nerdy mini van with it’s two sunroofs, black bra and huge windshield).  I placed my groceries in the back and drove home, the whole half a block.   I pulled in to my carport and looked down, as usual, to grab my purse and……panic.

No purse.

My eyes darted all over the car, went to the back where the groceries were.

No purse.

I threw my car in to reverse and dashed back to Fry’s.


And there it was.  Safe as a baby in a cradle nestled in the front of that shopping cart.  Just where I left it.  Sitting all alone right in the middle of that huge parking lot.

SAVED, I thought.  You won’t get that lucky again I also thought.

Now we fast forward a few weeks later.

Again, I do my shopping, daytime.

Again I park in the southern area of the parking lot.  I don’t know, it’s less crowded there and seems easier to get in and out.  In fact I parked my car in either the exact same space or very near it as the time I left my purse.

Pushing my cart out the same south door, toward the same row of cars I reflect on the time I nearly lost my purse.  I breathe a sigh of relief again, remembering.  I think one of those prophetic kiss of death thoughts like you’ll never let that happen to you again.


I pack up my groceries again in the back and head over to the then attached gas station to fill up.

As I pull to the pump, I reach down for my wallet to the right and…well you can see where this is going can’t you?


I throw my car in to reverse, rush back to the parking lot.  And once again, swaddled in that front slot of the cart sitting alone like a neon sign Come and Get it!  I have $300 cash right here and it’s all for YOU!  It’s your Lucky Day!.

I grab it once again, breathing now a sigh of “ok how stupid are you right now?” along with relief, fill up my car with gas and go home.

Oh we’re not done yet.  Oh no we’re not.


Now somewhere along this string of incidents I found myself actually inside the grocery store this time.

There was a woman, a shelf stocker, doing her thing stocking shelves but using one of those triangle shaped super tall ladder things that sort of block the aisle to place things on a super high shelf.  Of course the thing I needed was probably straddled right between the legs of her contraption, which I can’t even get around anyway.  So I naturally, park my cart on one side then walk around her thing to grab my whatever.

This woman nearly shouts at me as she looks down and really basically yells “do not EVER leave your purse unattended in your cart! We had an incident of theft just this week where someone grabbed a woman’s purse while she was shopping and fled the store!”.


Warned. Saved. Reprimanded. Mothered. 

Take your pick.

Now let’s flash forward a few more months.  I have a feeling my house anxiety was still lingering but may have settled some.

This time it was a Saturday morning.  A group of us who danced together in a dance therapy group were taking a field trip to Sedona for a weekend to dance with the beautiful late Gabrielle Roth (rest in peace and thank you).  I’m so lucky to have met so many greats in their field in this life I tell you.


I either had my mini van or had already upgraded to my Lexus mini SUV by then but it had plenty of room so I volunteered to drive the five of us.  We were bringing lots of our own food so had a couple of coolers in the back.  I decided we could run by, you guessed it, Fry’s on our way to grab ice and I also had to make a money stop as a branch of my bank was in there at the time.

I left the car with the gals still in it idling in the pick up zone, ran in and did my banking and grabbed ice.  I ran in just with my wallet in hand instead of the whole heavy purse.

I opened the hatch, put the ice in the cooler and off we went.

A mile down the road we stopped at a red light about a quarter of a mile before entering the freeway.

Someone noticed next to us some young man was waving wildly in his car.  Now I had a car full of five beautiful women (see how I’m counting myself in this ?  haha I was younger then!) so we all assumed it was some kind of pick up.


I’m sorry I just couldn’t resist

One of the gals finally said “he’s trying to say something”.

Yes you can see where this is going too.

“You have a wallet on the bumper of your car!!!”


Yes, I’d set my wallet, in the Fry’s parking lot, on the bumper as I handled the ice situation, closed the hatch and happily drove away.

I was just moments from entering the freeway where that wallet and all the cash for the weekend would have been cash cow road kill immediately.

Saved, again.

As I look back on these events I am reminded how much protection I have around me, always.  And I mean from myself.

And I think about patterns and bad habits and how we sometimes think we’re in control of things but in reality you can be engaging in a nearly identical behavior, thinking about how you’d never do that again and step right in to the same hole.  It’s fascinating don’t you think?

And also I’m thinking of those dancers and that amazing weekend in Sedona as I head off to my first attendance at an Ecstatic dance group just near my home.  The creator of this group calls it Shedding Skins.  Dance church.

I wonder what layer I’m ready to let go of today.  I think I’ll dedicate my dancing today to Gabrielle Roth.

Happy Sunday out there.

May we all be surrounded in love and protected.  And dancing.





Ever have one of those days or one of those periods in life where you feel like you’re being pulled out of yourself in different directions?  Yes, you know.

I woke up this morning feeling that kind of disconnected, disjointed, discombobulated-ness.   So I drummed up a remedy for myself.

I took my terrible flawed weird light rays phone camera and went around my home spaces taking photos of things that I feel reflect the person I am deep down.  I know, things.  I feel we create environments in the outer world that reflect the inner world.  I carefully choose special things to have around me in my home and I’d like to share some of them with you.

I recommend this exercise as it is so grounding and soothing.  It creates a pause for reflection from outside to inside and can reveal yourself back to yourself.  At least it did for me.  It made me feel more full of my own unique stamp as I looked in all of these mirrors.


my friend Amy gave me this fox for christmas-I left the tag on it that has my name


my mother watches over me in bed


hand made inspiration


my bed is one of my top favorite places on earth


found this antique lamp and someone made me the cord cover


i made this lamp shade


my sister Cindy made this plaque


these hydrangeas were once alive in my living room-perfectly dried


lifted this quote from the film Dear Zachary-you recognize the photo on the left


a wall decal – my friend lora saw 3 birds, one flying away-me and my siblings


i collect the art of the talented gavin hugh troy from tucson


love this reminder


my first gavin–purchased off the wall at pita jungle right after telling my aussie friend sarah the dream I’d had the night before about a wild river ride–we both looked up and saw this and knew it was my dream–i took it home that day

It even makes me feel good sharing these photos.  My house isn’t grand;  it’s humble and quaint but it’s all a reflection of the person I am.  Including the mountain of laundry I avoided today.  And the Christmas wreath on one wall I keep forgetting to put away.

This evening, I’m appreciating all of it.

It reminds me I’m still alive.

compass revisited



I can’t stop thinking about Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

I’m seeing a variety of commentary online, mostly in homage to his stellar acting career (which I stop to read) and the occasional snark regarding his heroin addiction.  Like it’s something he chose to do:  die.  Like it’s something he had full control over with all of his senses.  Like it’s something he wanted to leave his children for.


I also got to thinking about some of my own self sabotaging choices this morning and along with it my 2014 compass :

Does this make you weaker or does this make you stronger?

Aha moments are called moments because they don’t necessarily inform your entire lifepath…or even the rest of your day.  They are peak experiences and bring you information long buried or hidden that you can now utilize, in a new or old way.


Yet they don’t pick you up right where you are and transport you to the Promised Land of Nirvana exempting you from any struggle or learning curves along rocky paths.

A compass isn’t a tool which allows you, while lost in the wild, to look at once and set you on a such magical course that you never need to consider your sense of direction ever again.


A compass, if you’re smart, is something you remember you have in your pocket.

Then smarter yet, you remember you have the capability to put your hand in your pocket, grasp it and pull it out.

Then, if you’ve grown a bit of wisdom, you will remember how to use it.

And finally, in a more intermediate stage of development, you choose to do just that.

Use it.

Or not.


You can actually get that far to be standing there, lost, holding that compass in your hand will full memory and knowledge of it’s effectiveness;  yet choose to slide it right back in, unused, and take the path you think is best.

Until the next fork in the road.

I did that just this week.  In fact, I operated on so much bad habit and lack of conscious thinking that I forgot about my compass entirely.

But not for long.  My compass reminded me this morning of itself as I walked down my staircase getting ready for my day.  Ohyeah, I said to the second to last step.  That.


Compasses are built for sturdiness for a reason.  They are designed to withstand all kinds of weather conditions and general abuse.  Yet, in their simplicity, they remain always at the ready to point to True North.


I’m thinking this morning that the trick of having a compass is to know there will be times that you forget about it.  Times that you will remember it and willfully choose to not use it.  Times that you will damn that thing thinking you know the way yourself much better.  Times you will not remove it from your pocket because you know it knows the way much better yet you want to go your own direction.  Again, and again.

Yet you don’t throw that compass away.  And it doesn’t suicide itself out of your pocket and throw itself off a rocky cliff due to the despair of neglect.

It waits patiently for your memory.  My memory.

And it quietly does it’s job.  Which is merely providing information.

It informs then slips away quietly back to it’s warm soft bed close to your femoral heartbeat.


Minding it’s own business.

Just waiting.

For you to remember.

To let it do the one function it gives it’s whole life to you for.

To be your guide.


I’m thinking, Mr. Hoffman, mistakes were made.  Sometimes they go too far but not usually.  I think we are given chances upon chances to check ourselves.


I can’t stop thinking about the role you played in Magnolia and the healing you facilitated.  Not just for the characters in the movie but for all those who watched it and walked through the popcorn soaked lobby with tear stained faces afterward.

I’m going to watch that movie again this weekend.  While holding my compass and with a heart of appreciation.  No judgment for your choices nor my own.

And thanking my life for sparing me a few more rocky cliffside paths to navigate.

And the opportunity to keep choosing stronger.