Post Thanksgiving


Cards with caramel apples on the patio.  Turkey sandwich outside. Wizard of Oz. Turkey stock. Our lost and found family heirloom Santa. New and first artificial tree (yay). My view from the bathtub nursing my back I tweaked on the ladder.

And random oven baked bacon.













Greetings from the hammock while my butter|thyme|garlic basted turkey is roasting and I’m outside on the hammock chillin while Alfonse and my Dad enjoy seizure inducing channel hopping from the parade to football to…??

Some delicious pics from our day so far.  Starting with last night’s bacon bourbon hot chocolate by the fire with my boys Rob and Sean.  Thanksgiving Eve tradition. 🙂








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I’m rushing out to get on the road to Sedona but just wrote this in another venue and thought I’d share it here as it’s a Thanksgiving message that sprung in to my brain while making coffee just now.

I’m thankful to you all out there reading too who are making this little blog worthwhile and making me feel less alone in this big ol’ world.

I sincerely hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving whatever you are doing with whomever you are doing it, even if it’s by yourself.  There is always something to be thankful for.

(note “John” in this post is my teacher for 25 years: John F Barnes)

Something John has said only about a gazillion times hit me in a deep way this year. It was (and please forgive if I’m not getting it 100% perfect) “the purpose of your life is to enjoy your life”.

What a simple permission slip. For those of us who have been struck by trauma and tragedy (I know who you are), it’s often left scars in our very identity. Like “this is who I am now: victim”. Survivor guilt becomes a very real fiber woven in to the fabric of “who I am now”. And we become literally that: filled with guilt about being happy and finding enjoyment.
“If that person I lost isn’t here enjoying their life I don’t deserve to” or “If this terrible thing happened to me I have to live with it forever, I owe my sufferering to this event”. These are unconscious deeply rooted belief systems that lock in to the matrix of memory which is our fascial system. They drive decisions, relationships, emotions, daily experiences of life (I know none of this is new I’m just writing it out).

I retook 6 classes this year and dug in to some very deep nasty aspects of my memory matrix and rose up to hear John say those familiar words one day in Advanced Unwinding I think. He said them with such a twinkle in his eye and a light hearted spirit that it hit me like a white burst of happiness inside and it started to grow.

I started renegotiating my life with myself. I thought of my mother and sister whom I’ve lost and how they wouldn’t want me to grieve them forever, they would want me to move forward and live a brilliant life that I deserve. How it releases them as well from any guilt laden attachments to me. I looked at everywhere I’ve tried to “save” others thinking “how about saving myself for once and how about ENJOYING MY LIFE?”.

So I did. And every choice I’ve been making from that point forward is from that pivot point and that permission slip and I’m creating a hell of a fun, interesting ENJOYABLE life right now and feeling this new metamorphosis every day. Like I have a secret and my secret it “I’ve been through Hell and I’m not only still standing, I’m having an absolute ball”.
Then I realized THIS is the gift I’m to give. This being, this living, this enjoying. THIS is what I’m to share.
So, in Thanksgiving, I say Thank you to John Barnes for injecting this deep in to me with your words, for saying it over and over and over all these years so it could finally penetrate and clear the way igniting this permission inside me.
Happy Thanksgiving!


stuffed pumpkins



I intended to write the whole story of my birthday scavenger hunt this morning but *miracles in progress* are happening related to it which are gonna blow your dang mind so I will write it once I have the complete wild outrageous knockyoursocksoff story to tell.

I got invited to a pre-Thanksgiving dinner today at my dear friend Aaron’s house.  Let me just show you the menu he’s posted (burp!).  He’s a gourmet cook, a master backyard gardener and the most knowledgeable person on wine that I know so you know it’s gonna be a hullaballoo.

(the following is from Aaron):

Some of the things I’m cooking
turkey breast
Spiral ham
Pork tenderloin
Mashed potatoes
Bacon mashed tatoes
Couscous (with the turkey, shrooms, cippoline cuz I love Andrew & Nicole)
Cranberry sauce
Sweet potatoes
Baked apples
Banana bread
Ginger bread
And whatever random festive shit I find on the food network

I will have sodas and waters and beers and of course wine

Gulp!  And everything is homemade of course.

I decided to bust out my foolproof savory stuffed pumpkins so thought I’d share a little tutorial on them.

First off, here is the recipe which I first heard about on NPR then thought “ohyeah I will be trying that”.

It’s a dish that looks really dramatic and impressive but is totally simple to make.  If you can make a Jack-o-lantern, you can make this.  You can also adapt it in so many ways it’s not even funny–gluten free, grain free, dairy free, you can just put in that pumpkin anything you want to try.

I decided to stuff mine with this asiago/black pepper italian bread from Trader Joe’s, bacon, cheddar/gruyere cheese, lemon thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and half and half.


You basically prepare your small sweet sugar pumpkin like you would for a Jack-o-lantern.

Pull out all the strings and seeds.

Then you prepare your stuffing just kind of rustically. I like to taste the elements all separately so I keep the pieces big (bacon, cheese, bread).


You stuff all this dry stuff in your pumpkin, pour the half and half on top, close it up with the lid, put it in the oven at 350 for 2 hours and voila,it’s done.  It’s that easy.


Mine are roasting right now.

When serving them I prefer to scoop the pumpkin from the sides and mix it up with everything else like kind of a bread pudding type of situation just because it tastes better to me.  You can also slice it which is very pretty but by that time I’m all about the eating aspect. 😉

I’ll edit with another pic once they are out of the oven but for now I’m gonna take a little rest as I hit the ground running this morning.


Ready to come out of the oven!


Last night my Dad and I did a father/daughter banquet and went, of all things, to a hockey game!  We had family friends in town who’s son plays for the University of Illinois hockey team so we met them there.  It was super fun and COLD in there.  Dad and I decided we will keep trying new things for our F/D banquets from here on out.


Ok gotta lay down and work on expanding my stomach for the foodfest later.

And I’ll fill ya in on the MIRACLE IN PROGRESS once I have the complete details and maybe some more pics.  I’m super excited!  😀

i declare



a small preview of our spectacular day/evening

My friend Mya did something absolutely AMAZING for me yesterday.  I am going to post in detail on it later because my car is dead in her office parking lot at the moment with many of the photo ops in it (dead battery and I’m waiting for my Dad to give me a ride) but let me just say she took me on an amazing birthday scavenger hunt with clues and presents and experiences that lasted for HOURS.  I will give it the proper writeup when I have all my material but while waiting thought I’d share this DECLARATION I made that kind of came in to my head while Mya and I were working on patients in her office yesterday before the magical afternoon/evening unfolded.

I hope this flies out to the Universe and lands on whoever needs it and back to me like a supercharged boomerang.

Yesterday these thoughts hit me while thinking about recently turning 55 (I LOVE this age and want to squeeze everything out of it I can).

I declare:

I will spend the rest of my life getting more expanded in mind/body/CURIOSITY (that’s the vehicle)/energy/inner space/thinking/feeling/etc.
I want to, as I age, get more expansive in every way I can. I vow to feed my curious mind, take risks, dig deep, reach high, defy logic, refuse to “age” in any kind of expected or conventional way.
Another phase of my life is just beginning and I’m on the runway. I’ve decided to use this gifted life to be all I can be and to continue to learn and be inspired and become more than I ever believed moment by moment until my last breath.
I will be an old woman with aged and learned hands offering treatments to babies seeing their potential reflected in my own that I’ve nurtured for decades paving the way with my own feet. And heart. And courage.
I will expand and feel entitled to every bit of it.
And I will make myself proud as I look forward and back.
That is my declaration!!!


missing 2


Popped out of bed here in Sedona and grabbed my notebook and  my second chapter started expressing itself.  As soon as I get my book blog up and running I’ll be posting these snippets there but for now, a small taste.




this photo was taken just this last September on the Monkeyspoon porch

“I guess I’ll need to call the Urbana police soon” he said staring that long stare in to the expanse of the Atlantic ocean.

My father and I had many, if not most of our deepest conversations just like that.  Two Adirondack chairs side by side on the Monkeyspoon porch, both facing straight ahead at the sea.

Crossword puzzle in his lap; pen in hand.  My tan hands wrapped around a  coffee cup that had likely resided in that cottage for decades allowing countless of our ancestors to wrap and warm their own exactly as I was that chilly morning.

“Maybe give it one more day Dad?” I asked in futile resignation knowing that crisis had once again crashed in to another family vacation.  With my brother though, it had seemed neverending since his diagnosis all those years ago.

By the time we landed in that quiet porch summit, things like this had been going on for decades.  I was more annoyed than worried.  “He’ll turn up soon” I reassured my Dad as we attempted to move forward in to our beach day.

Inside, though, we both knew what a missing family member can mean.  We were way past the luxury of full denial by this time.

“Let’s see what happens today” he said and managed to give it one more fitful sleep before phoning the police and filing the report the next morning.

It was September 2010 and my brother John had been missing for a week.


true love


In my family, we were not well trained on the art of an effective apology.  I’ve learned some about this this past year being on both ends of this equation.  Stay tuned for more on that.


Yesterday I received these gorgeous fall flowers from my dear Alfonse.  The back story of why he sent them isn’t important.  One of the miracles of a sincere and heartfelt apology is that it dissolves the story that necessitated it.  Such is the case here.

Somehow with minimal and inadequate training, my brother managed to learn the fine art of expressing sincere remorse.  I’m learning from him.

He phoned me a little while ago asking me to text him a picture of the flowers and again telling me how sorry he was but my heart was long melted.  The power of Love.  True love.

beauty day


Greetings from cool cloudy Sedona!  I drove up last evening and arrived to fireplace weather…finally.

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I slipped in to my jammies, got the flames going and red wine poured then scared myself in to insomnia with about four Walking Dead episodes back to back. 💀👽👻

I came up to among other things, get my hair done.  Eduardo nailed it with caramel lowlights and chunky highlights like I wanted.  I love it.


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I showed up rawfaced as I’d forgotten my makeup so popped in to Walgreen’s after to just create a set to just leave here. The Boots rep was there so offered me a free makeover and I bought 5 things from her including green eye pencil that I have to say she also nailed. It’s good to get second opinions on yourself sometimes.


I texted my friend Sean to see if he wanted to hangout this weekend and he suggested we go see  the movie Interstellar.  Which is a great deal for me as Sean is a serious astronomy buff with a backyard observatory.


I wasn’t even kidding.

After all that I landed at my favorite lunch with a view place and a half glass of fume blanc and their famous Cobb salad- famous at least to my friend Mya and I.


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It’s cold but refreshing as I sit out here and write this.  I just got a call from a local flower shop saying I have a delivery.


What? Who? Why?


Stay tuned…I’ll letcha know as soon as I do.


In the meantime, bacon.










I don’t mind arrogance, I really don’t.  If someone has the goods to spread their peacock wings and strut, I can celebrate that with the best of them.  I do it myself from time to time in my own way.  If I know I’m right about something or championing a cause I can and will strut out loud in living color.

What I don’t have patience for though is arrogance without the goods to back it up.  That will trip my Scorpion tail to rise like most any other thing.


And I ran in to it yesterday on twitter.  Now let’s get something straight, I rarely participate on twitter.  I do have over a thousand posts but they are kind of OCD looking. Meaning I don’t do anything then when there is something I need to engage twitter to express myself in, like this Jodi Arias retrial, I will bite the bullet and go there.  I don’t really get it, it’s not my natural vibe, I don’t want to get it but if it’s the only place to be I will suck it up and do my best.  My best is often bulleting the twittersphere with my point then disengaging.  Now I’m not saying this is the correct way to go about it.  In fact it’s likely something social media advisors would, well, advise against.  I don’t really care.  I’m not there to be social, I’m there to make points generally.  Just keepin it real.

I ran in to something that ignited that tail rising yesterday or the day before.  It has to do with the death penalty appeals process in Arizona which I am, unfortunately, far too intimately acquainted with.  My sister’s killers have been appealing now for 24 years.  One got off death row in a ridiculous mental retardation claim which cost taxpayers at least 10 million to hear it.  I don’t want to go in to all of that but will say what I’ve said before.

The worst treatment my family ever received in the entire legal process around my sister’s homicide and two death penalty trials was from appeals lawyers and their representatives.  Including the Judge who presided over those proceedings.


Back to now.  I ran in to an uninformed tweeter who claimed that another tweeter, a lawyer, had educated her that Jodi Arias will receive only one paid appeal if sentenced to death and the rest will be on her own dime. This was in response to a video I saw where Arias’ parents are soliciting money for “legal defense”.  Of course I know, totally, that they don’t need to come up with any funds for Arias’ legal defense. That will all be, and has been, covered by the AZ taxpayers even though, like the men who killed Cindy, Arias never contributed a dime to AZ tax coffers.  Ok maybe a couple of dimes when she claimed to have worked as a waitress for about 5 seconds.

This tweeter then pointed me to the “lawyer” who she found credible on this topic, so I began addressing him.

His name is Brent J. Kleinman and he apparently has a law practice in AZ focusing, what it seems like, primarily estate planning law.  I don’t see anything on his website about criminal law, much less death penalty law.  He does however boast “entertainment law” there which may explain why he’s been hanging around this high profile Arias trial like so many others seeking the spotlight.  He also boasts a video on his site where he is…wow…on the Channel 12 news talking about the trial!  I wonder how many times a day he watches himself there.

I’m only being snarky about Brent because he’s continuing to tweet entirely misinformed bullshit details about the Death Penalty appeals process and seems to claim some credibility because he did go to law school and pass the bar.  He also claims to have volunteered time for the Justice Project AZ but then anyone can say anything.  If that’s true, he’s also been misinformed there, is not paying attention or intentionally propagandizing in support of killers.

i have not walked through one as you have. I worked with the Justice Project AZ that donates legal services to help DP inmates

Among other tidbits of wrong information, he claims that Jodi would get only one paid appeal by the State if sentenced to death and in reality it is the STATE who incurs most of the costs in death penalty appeals.


Pardon me, I just choked there for a second.

Let’s get this straight.  He claims the State sentences these killers to death, then proceeds to waste millions of taxpayer money  fighting to overturn their own sentence.  Or somehow their responses to these decades of claims against the trial/case/police/judge etc. are the things that cost the most.


oh yes he did

Cindy’s killers are from Germany.  Her appeals lawyers flew to Germany on at least one occasion to research their “mental retardation” while flying witnesses over from Germany to testify.  That’s just some of many expenses they burdened AZ taxpayers with for seven years once the Supreme Court decided a decade after these sociopaths were sentenced to death that we can’t execute the mentally retarded and they all overnight became mentally retarded.  See here.

Yet Brent Kleinman, is with a straight face, tweeting that it’s the STATE’S fault these death penalty appeals processes are so costly.


I don’t like anything that blames the victim.

Appeals lawyers make their entire living pouring over trials seeking loopholes for which these murderers to leap through.  One I know personally (and believe it or not am friends with) charges the State $350 an hour to do just that.  And she’s good at it.  And one of MANY who do this kind of tedious research.

And yet Brent Kleinman wants the twittersphere to believe that somehow all of these destitute death row murderers are paying for all of this on their own.  Or they are having other raise funds for them to cover these millions of dollar invoices.  Like Jodi Arias parents are claiming to do.

He pulled his tail between his legs this morning and retreated with this:

I understand the personal nature of this discussion for you. DP appeals can’t be properly discussed in 140 characters or less.

Let me provide the subtitles for you:

It’s clear I’ve gotten over my head in this discussion so I’m going to bow out and go work on someone’s Will right now.

But he’s made his mark and I’m gonna keep letting him display this bold caricature of ignorance if he keeps trying to pull the wool over uneducated AZ taxpayer’s eyes.

He can’t have it both ways.  Trying to promote himself by tweeting and going on TV talking about the guilt of Jodi Arias then be one of the people who claims she and those like her have been mistreated via the death penalty therefore deserve a new trial (at taxpayer expense) or worse yet, parole or even more horrifying, release from prison.


They are out there disguised as all kinds of things–journalists with agendas helping defense teams, estate planning/ entertainment lawyers, your next door neighbor.

I’m not saying no appeals should be allowed. This thing has just gotten so bloated and out of control that it’s its own monster now.  Fueled by well meaning souls who manage to justify torturing grieving families in the name of “justice” for murderers or really in the same of some kind of other internal savior agenda driving them or in the name of having no conscience just like the killers themselves.  Yes I’ve seen a few of those too.


One of the attorneys who championed for Rudi Apelt to be removed from death row, turned and offered an apology to me directly in open court before I gave my impact statement.  Way too late and way too manipulative. Right before the Judge made her final decision he chose that moment to express this display of fauxpology.  He had spent 7 years dragging my family through this ringer over and over yet wants to smoothe it over with a public apology in front of the judge?  Poser.  I looked straight ahead then went up on that stand and kicked his ass.  And she ruled against him.  For once.  I was later told by the AG that it was my Victim Impact statement, published here, that influenced that decision in their opinion.


That’s what this process creates out of us.  And you have several choices–one is to ignore it completely but then they will show up on your front door without notice.

I rarely think about the Apelts.  I get notices from the AG’s office (my victim advocate) and toss them without opening.  I’ve told her/him (it’s been many over the years) to call me if there’s something I need to know.  Otherwise I don’t let this intrude in to my life/home/consciousness.

But this Arias trial has stirred things up.  I’m bonded with Travis and his family now and I won’t be silent.  Until I am again.


Then I will hop back in to my own trajectory of the life I’m living untainted by these constant attempts at tainting.

And I’m talking to you too Brent Kleinman.  Think of that next time to try to help a death row inmate get off the row or worse yet back in to society. Think of that next time you spew your misinformation in to the twittersphere for others to believe.  It could be the mother of a child who was murdered and dumped you are tossing salt in to her open wound.  Someone a lot less strong than me.  In the meantime it’s me you’ve got to deal with.  And I will stop exposing you, when I stop.


Arrogance with the truth?  Go for it. Arrogance from the ignorant?  You will be called out.

Without awareness there is no choice.  Be careful who’s word you are gonna believe.

believing is seeing



Anyone who’s been following this blog for any period of time knows I live my life through seeking signs.  Signs of life I call them.  These are the stepping stones that guide me, reassure me, motivate me, calm me down.

I am a believer that once you start looking for signs, they start appearing more dramatically and more frequently.  I’m also a believer that they are there all along so once you start looking for them, you start seeing them.  You have to believe it to see it they say.

I did quite a bit of writing this past week at Rancho La Puerta. Mostly in those wee morning hours when thoughts haven’t quite woken up yet so the mind is a soft web available to catch new ideas.  I’ll share some snippets below but what I want to talk about right now are a couple of signs I’ve gotten since returning.


This book idea has grabbed a hold of me hard and is having it’s way with me that’s for sure.  I know this is true when I can’t stop thinking about something and when seeming obstacles melt like butter before I’ve had the opportunity to name them yet.

Last night I decided to create a specific blog in which to write the book.  I know this WordPress system and instead of reinventing the wheel elsewhere, I decided to use what I know and do my draft writing there.  I’ll share that blog when it’s a little more formed as I’ll use it also for posting things specific to the book.


WordPress has lots of templates to use for blogs.  They call them themes.  This blog for example is on the Writr theme template.  Some are offered for an upgrade fee and many of them are free.  I decided to search on the free templates for my book blog.  I immediately was drawn to one that had the feel that I seek to feel.  An environment is a very critical element for me in any project.  That’s why finding that amazing studio in Edmonds, and living in it for a week, was so important.  I’m a creature of comfort and if I don’t have it around me, I won’t have it in me and will produce basically nothing.

The blog template was no different so I clicked on one that had a good feel to it.

When it came up on my screen I nearly gasped.  Not for the layout but for the stock photo they’re using on it.  Ok let me just show you.


Now this may mean nothing to any of you out there reading but it hit me like a sharp ray of sunshine out of a Seattle cloudy sky–right between the eyes.  I knew immediately why.  Ok let me just show you again.

Remember this?


That is the sunset view from the studio I’ve rented for a month in Edmonds Washington where I will be living and writing this January/February.

Let me just put them side by side to make this more dramatic as we know I love my drama.

middlechildpic edmonds

I’ve been on enough ferries now through the Puget Sound to know it when I see it.  And it looks like nearly the same view doesn’t it?  Just a little closer.

Ok so there’s that.

Then this morning I finished going through the mail that had accumulated while I was gone and stuck between junk mail and bills was this.


Wha what what huh?  As I wrote the mail carrier, How did this get delivered to Tempe, AZ?

And now I’m curious about just who is Elizabeth  in Seattle and am I supposed to meet her one day?

See what I mean?  Signs. 

Ok, now to share a bit of my ramblings from down at the Ranch.  It’s interesting, even to me, what bubbled up while I just sat down and got busy.

They sent a Detective to meet me at Sky Harbor Airport.  My friend Deb insisted on being there to greet the plane.  Deb followed us in her car to the Mesa Police Station.  I sat in the back seat with Detective Davis driving who would over a year later, after the guilty verdict came in, apologize to me in a tavern for something I had no idea was even happening during that visit.

I was famished.  You don’t eat much in crisis moments like these and then you’re starving out of nowhere.  It’s the way grief hits you sometimes.  As we rode I realized it was 1pm and I hadn’t had a bite of food for over twenty four hours.  I asked Detective Davis to stop so I could grab a bite somewhere as we made the half hour drive from Phoenix to Mesa.  I was thinking a drive thru somewhere–something quick and easy.

It felt strange that he had to phone in to ask permission to make this stop.  Everything felt stilted.  He was too formal about this.  What’s the big deal? I thought.  It’s just a sandwich and I’m paying for it myself.  It was confusing. Like are we on some kind of tight schedule here?  I knew I only had one day to complete this interview.  I was in town for just twenty four hours and would be flying back to Illinois the next afternoon so I just chalked it up to a time factor.  But still, it was odd.

The Detective was given directions where to take me and pulled over to a dinky, non-chain sub sandwich shop in a former run- down gas station on a dilapidated corner in downtown Mesa near the police station.  Why here? I wondered. I figured it was where all the police officers ate so they had some kind of familiarity with this place. 

In reality, it was a nondescript dry turkey sandwich that Detective Davis went inside and purchased for me.  One that I choked down in an interview room alone under two way mirrored surveillance.  They wouldn’t even let Deb hang with me while I ate.  She was outside in the hall.

I had no way of knowing, that at that moment, I was being considered a suspect in Cindy’s murder.

I’ve decided as I go along writing, I will post snippets like this in my new blog.  So if you’re so inclined you can also check in there come January.  This is just a preview.

Now gotta shift in to this new day and see if I get some more signs.  How about you?