real (magic) estate



Although my normally magical life seems to have been disrupted by, well basically being run down by a car in a parking lot and healing from it, the sparkle I live with is still ever present among this temporary pain and halt I’ve been placed in to learn.

I’ll tell you a little story now that might make you remember there are other levels always happening and something beautiful always operating on our behalf in all circumstances.


Several years ago while my father was still living the RV lifestyle I convinced him to buy a place out here in AZ. He and John would come for Christmas and frankly it was too much for me to host them in my condo for long periods (I’m an introvert, remember?) and since I was the only homeowner in my whole family, I rather strongly convinced him to purchase something. He found a small condo about 3 minutes away from me which was in foreclosure and bought it during the downturn so for a great price. I spent quite a bit of time working with a contractor to get it remodeled (it needed a whole new kitchen), painted and move in ready.


Since I was the only one living here, my father asked me to help get it furnished and outfitted for his friend who wanted to come out in less than a month to visit. There wasn’t even a spoon in that house much less a chair or a towel. It was  a bare shell.

I broke down on the phone and told my Dad I had no time to run around and completely outfit his house for a friend to come visit. I was working full time, my health was in question (right when i was getting diagnosed with basically a non functioning thyroid) and I was already exhausted. It was not an easy conversation as I’m usually very high functioning and get most anything accomplished and I’d just handled the whole remodel project. But I was spent.


I stood out in front of my office in tears telling him I couldn’t do it–if he wanted his house set up, he needed to fly out and do it but I just couldn’t. Like many of you readers out there, setting boundaries is not easy but I was at the end of my rope to be able to do it, in tears.


Of course he told me to put it on the back burner and that was that. I had let him down, oh well, I had backed up myself.

Literally that very day I had a client come in who got on my table and asked me this question:

“Hey Kathy I have a situation and wonder what you would do. My daughter is selling the house in Sedona I sold her a few years ago and needs to get rid of everything. I know you buy stuff on Craigslist sometimes, would you do that? How would you go about it?”

“What is she selling?” I asked

“An entire two bedroom household of furniture and everything–I just hate to have to  move it all but we need to get it out within 3 weeks”.

“I’m going to buy it all from you, every last thing” I shocked her with my reply.


And that’s what we did. We arranged the U-haul–the daughter drove it down because she wanted to keep a few large items and move them, get this, half a mile from my Dad’s condo. They loaded it all up and we caravanned down with my friends from Sedona and in one morning and for $2000 I outfitted my Dad’s entire place from a BBQ grill, patio furniture, wastebaskets, beds, linens, dishes, pots and pans, you name it, an entire household.  Boom, done.  Oh and I gifted him my washer and dryer as I wanted a new one.

I was kind of annoyed as I still ended up managing it all as it ended up but still…this was a no brainer, a gift from God for all of us.


Now this brings me to the present time.

My father subsequently sold the RV and has started to relocate more permanently to AZ. As you know, about a year after purchasing that condo, we relocated my brother out here permanently so after living with me for a summer, he made that place his home. Perfect.

Right up to the point where they outgrew the perfection.


You see this place is 872 square feet, one tiny bathroom and no real dining area. The two of them have been living in there together now with their two cats, two litter boxes and you get the drift. Too many bodies, too little space.


An incident propelled me to initiate an intervention of sorts which was not fun or easy on any of us but it had to be done. I frankly didn’t feel it was a safe or healthy environment for either of them anymore so convinced my Dad to find something larger. And as long as we were considering moving, something in my complex only made sense.

I live in a lovely modest townhome community that is divided up in to what they call “hamlets”. They are basically squares of townhomes that open to a parking area in the center. It’s like a square culdesac. I have lived here for 14 years now and feel very safe and comfortable here. It just made sense to look for a place in here but now is a moment where real estate is moving FAST.


We knew we’d need a single story (mine is 2 floors), 3 bedroom, 2 bath unit for them. I always think an end unit is good for everyone’s privacy. My brother spends a lot of time on the patio and sometimes, well I’ll just say it, sometimes, as in often he talks out loud. Sometimes he sings. I’m concerned about my schizophrenic brother being disruptive and ostracized. So an end unit would be the preference.


We started just looking. Nothing available right then.

Ironically the same client who we bought all the furniture from, the one with the daughter, is a mortgage banker so knows real estate. I told her about this decision and she suggested I make a flyer and distribute it in the complex just putting out a feeler in case anyone was on the fence about a sale–ya know so they knew they had an immediate buyer.


So that’s what I did. I took my flyer to Staples and printed off 30 copies and asked my Dad and brother to go around taping them to people’s doors on the one story units.

The day I got the flyers to my Dad I went out with some friends for the evening. When I got home I went out to check my mail and stopped like I often do to pet Shayna, the dog who’s owner walks her in a totally supported wheeled walker as she has no more use of her arms and legs and barely her head now from a neurological disease. But she communicates and is the sweetest so I always stop to pet her and say hello. Shayna’s Mom April and another neighbor I’d not met yet were out chatting. I discovered that the dog owners know everything that’s going on in the complex. They have their own society.


We were chatting about this and that, who’d moved in, who’d left. They were so in the know I felt like I was in the Cool Girls Club. As I petted Shayna one last time and walked away I casually mentioned my flyer they might see and that we were looking for a place.


Well their heads did one of those quick jerks to the side in to each others’ knowing eyes like “omg did you just hear that?” and I knew something was up.

They went on to disclose a little secret to me–that Tom and Rita in the corner of the complex had just put money down on a new home in a retirement place on some kind of contingency basis for the sale of their END CORNER 3 bedroom 2 bath single story unit which had yet to go on the market.


“I bet if they knew you wanted it, they’d sell it to you immediately” they both said asking me to keep it on the downlow as they didn’t know who was supposed to know what. Rita and Tom have dogs too ya know, the dogwalkers have their own rules.

I devised a plan. To casually go over with my flyer and knock on their door to chat as I know them well instead of my Dad taping it on their door. Just open the door as they opened their door to me kind of thing.

And that day, the very day I was intending to do that exact thing when I got home, I ended up in the ER instead, plowed in to by that car.



The day after I was hit, after my friend Marianne spent the night and morning with me watching over me and bringing me breakfast in bed, I realized I hadn’t checked my mail in two days. I hobbled out in my pajamas and slippers to the community mail box and thought “oh hell, I’m halfway to their house and their cars are there, I’m just going over”.


Tom opened the door and although my Dad had the flyers I just told him I was putting out feelers for a unit like theirs to buy and that I’d seen a Uhaul in their vicinity the week before (which was true). Tom almost immediately burst in to tears, yelled “Rita, come here!” and invited me in (me and my leopard pajamas Marianne had picked out for me).


( posture on the inside)

They showed me around and first thing I saw were the tangerine walls thinking orange is my Dad’s favorite color. A big area for a dining table (they’ve been eating off their laps in the living room), a split floorplan with large bedrooms and two full baths –one with a sliding door to the patio for my brother. I knew it was their home and literally IN my hamlet and on the corner. The patio borders an alley, a parking lot and their neighbor’s shed. It’s almost completely free standing.


To make a long story short, my Dad made an offer on it 2 days later and bought it. They close July 8 I think. It never made it to the MLS officially. No one else ever looked at it. Tom and Rita’s move is now smooth as silk. My Dad didn’t even require an appraisal as I’d done the research and knew he was getting a good price. The inspection revealed minor things which will get fixed and next week Alfonse and I will commence shopping.


I am insisting on him getting a new proper bedroom set as, well, he doesn’t have one. I bought him a new Marilyn Monroe shower curtain (shhhh don’t tell) and we will go out in search of the new large round dining table he’s dreamed of. Even a spare room for guests now.

Alfonse’s bedroom is a beachy sea glass color about twice the size of what he has now with a custom walk in closet. I’ve been all about upgrading his life since I moved him out here and this is the next step.


And my dear brother, being himself, keeps saying to me “we will be so close now we can help you out more when you need it”.


I’ll put pics of course when I get them.


I bought my house the very first day i went out looking “kicking tires” my realtor said in 2001, we bought the Sedona house the same day, also not making it on the market yet but Alfonse seeing a sign in the distance and now this one. I made the flyers but didn’t even need to distribute them.

I think the Dalai Lama said it best:magichouse6

But the action doesn’t have to be the grandest, making a flyer with a prayer that never gets used, sometimes is enough.


Quick check in


Just a quick note to say I’m still alive. In Sedona receiving lots of therapy- ups and downs. Was feeling much better then a setback yesterday and a lot of pain which is to be expected. Was in bed again all day and evening. Thanks be to Netflix and medication.

Heading back to my Dr. today for some more anti inflammatory intervention which will help.

My darling husband is taking great care of me but I fear exhausting himself in the process.

Thank you for all the good wishes and prayers sent my way.

I still feel very very lucky to be alive and still able to walk.

Hurting but a miracle.   

anne lamott-your words crushed my heart



I sure got my feels in a twist this week over something, so after tweeting about it for a couple of days, and it still not feeling right or complete, I decided to go ahead and blog about it.

I’m talking about fallen icons here. About true apologies. About championing the downtrodden. About mean girls. About people revealing their true nature. And about just doing the right thing.

I wouldn’t say she’s been a hero of mine but she has been someone who’s words I deeply admired. I’m talking about the writer Anne Lamott. She’s written a whole lot about being real, telling your stories, recovery, speaking your truth–things like that. She also looks the “real” part with her 60-something white lady dreadlocks. I thought of her as a hippie, a person with some life experience, a person with a unique voice.

Well she used that voice this week to cause real harm. And apparently she’s standing by it. I usually don’t want to repeat terrible words to propogate them even further but in this case, this post only makes sense if you read them. So here is what “real progressive” Anne Lamott had to say about recently revealed (as in just barely recently like she’s just been born recently) Caitlyn Jenner:


Yeah, I felt like I’d been hit with a spear right in the gut and sat there saying “WHAT THE FUCK?” to myself. I may have even said it out loud. It was the very last thing I expected to hear from Anne Lamott about someone so new, so vulnerable, so real.

Anne Lamott called her a mannequin. And she is continuing to do so as, even with thousands of “calling out” type tweets, even with her removing the second offensive tweet, she stands by the mannequin words. Her words, the ones that popped in to her head, traveled down her arm and through her very own fingers in to the twittersphere.

Even with all of that, she stands by her “mannequin” slur. It’s astounding. And it leaves me with only one conclusion: it’s how she really thinks about Caitlyn Jenner.

Why does this bother me so much? I’m not even sure I can answer that question to myself. Maybe through writing this I will. I’m a middle aged white heterosexual woman without even one transgender friend (yet). I have a transgender client who I really admire. I have a gay brother so there’s that. It’s not like this world is super personal to me.

But, I can say this. I was deeply moved by Bruce Jenner’s interview with Diane Sawyer. I kept it on my DVR to watch again when I need a good cry. I sat on my white living room feather sofa bawling my eyes out, stopping occasionally to process. It really hit me in the feels in a deep way. I don’t know why but it did. I just know I’m not alone.

He was identifying as Bruce in that interview so I will refer to him in the male pronoun for that purpose. He talked about a lifelong struggle with his gender identity. He shared about this prevailing in his childhood trying to manage it. He revealed how he actually started transitioning in the 80’s, taking hormones then, but stopped due to the extreme pressure he knew he was under.

How incredibly sad! We as a culture did that to him–not blaming you or me just saying, our ignorance forced him to sublimate something so basic to his own human nature for DECADES.

I guess I can relate in a very very small way to this having suppressed some of my own stories for decades. I was terribly abused in childhood by my stepmother–physically and emotionally. She stopped attacking me physically after I kicked her back down a staircase at age 19 when she came after me with a kitchen spatula about my head and upper back chasing me up the stairs. All because I intervened with her vicious attack, with that weapon, on my brother for no reason. I was in college when that happened. It had been going on for nearly 10 years at that time.

Yet I didn’t start talking about this, even in my own family, until I was 50 years old. I suffered major anxiety problems in my early adulthood, depression, relationship failures all while being highly successful in other areas. I identified this abuse in therapy and it’s impact on me. The fact my father brought her in to our home and did not protect us–yes all of those things I dealt with behind closed doors and still didn’t discuss it in my own family. For decades.

And I’m a regular person, not an Olympian, no one would ever put me on a cereal box for anything. Yet I hid a secret that shaped so much of my life from everyone for most of my life. Maybe that’s a tiny bit of why I cried so hard when I saw Bruce coming out with his struggle. It’s a brave act and not for the faint hearted. Yet when he said something like “I just couldn’t hold it back anymore” I related to that.

So would the Anne Lamott I’ve known and admired. She talks about telling your stories. In fact this quote has guided me in terms of revealing awful family truths in my own memoir I’m writing right now:


And she judged this vulnerable woman, who has just cracked out of that egg and still sitting in a nest, over her looks. Rather over her choice of how she wants to present herself.

How fucking shallow.

And might I add, this is from a 60 something white woman who chooses to present herself to the world with dread locks native to countries I guarantee she has no biological roots to. How ironic.


How ironic also that Lamott was tweeting about fearing falling off a high place right before she tossed herself right off her own long earned mountaintop. (I do believe great teachers deserve reverence and being looked up to).

At first I thought she had relapsed. She was doing this random tweeting with a friend on a road trip. It was so out of character and frankly, just so mean.

I’ve now drawn the conclusion this was just like a couple of mean girls tooling down the road in their car on an adventure bitching about someone they don’t like “oh did you see her stupid sunglasses? OMG!”.

Yet they did it out loud. For the world to see.

People want to rush to judgment calling it a “mistake”, something she’s “learning from”, something she should be given a pass on.

I can’t go there, at least not yet.

After a day of glib tweets about the Grand Canyon (while she was sitting in her own as chaos erupted and she ignored it), she finally issued a lukewarm apology. To the parents of transgender children. Again, WHAT THE FUCK? Where was/is the apology to the people/person she actually offended?

Those wanting to see her as they always have glue their rose colored glasses tight to their faces claiming “whew! she apologized!”.

Yet the “mannequin” tweet remains, out and proud. She kept it up there because she believes it.

She believes this person who was globally culturally identified as a HE – MAN gracing cereal boxes due to his PHYSIQUE and PHYSICAL PROWESS facing down a lifelong struggle and presenting to the world who she really is, is reduced to how she did it in a magazine shoot.

That my friends is Anne Lamott to me now.

I’m thinking a lot about mistakes and forgiveness right now because of another relationship in my life.

I land on this.

I’m just mad at you because now when I look at you, what you just did clouds my vision of who I used to know you to be.

For me right now it’s less about what Anne Lamott did but more about who she is. And now I need to be proven wrong. One window has already passed and the sands are slipping through the hourglass of the next one as it opens.

I will get over this. She’s not that important to me. Yet when I feel a need to champion a person who is being marginalized whether it’s Caitlyn Jenner or Travis Alexander in the grave, I will use my voice. Right up until the time I feel I need to stop using it.

I will add that I’ve read some truly inspired words out there dealing with this soul twist debacle and here is one of them.

One final shoutout to Caitlyn from another Glamarama who I find totally real even with her extreme boobs and makeup, the incomparable Dolly Parton.



a letter to my husband’s ex-wife



My latest article on Elephant Journal just dropped. This was a risky one to write and send but I’m glad I did. You can read it in full here.

I want to start off this letter with one important note—I am an interloper in this blended family equation and I know it.

Before I came along, you had your rhythms, rules and nuances to your co-parenting style and I’m disrupting it by my very presence.

I understand this so am doing my best to tiptoe in softly.

Although it is my role to help my husband expand to allow me into his life, it is not my role to determine how I will fit into the life of your darling three-year-old daughter. That will come naturally over time and it is my intention to err on the side of gentleness and listening versus bulldozing into this delicate structure.

You see, I grew up as a stepdaughter.

Finish reading here.

Thinking of Travis 


 Today would be a perfect day to perform a random act of kindness and maybe you’d offer a slight nod to Travis for the inspiration.

To you, Travis.




The first thing my husband ever wrote to me on my Facebook wall, in our first direct conversation outside the writing group where we met was one word:  Coolness!


I had noticed that he was using this word on almost every post as a sort of punctuation and I was curious about it. Is he trying to be something, do something, say something? Is he a complete nerd (not that there’s anything wrong with that-I’m a nerd)? Is this cool or something else?


I asked him about this word early on and his response was something like he was just enjoying introducing it in to lexicon. I remembered, and shared, that this was a word my sister used frequently in the 80’s.


When you get married people are so creative, clever and generous in how they celebrate it with you. One of those people, Pam, who you may remember gifted me with this super cool encased dandelion that is still glued to my dashboard, was no exception.


Pam showed up at my office one day and casually handed me an envelope with a wedding gift in it. To my astonishment, this is what I unfolded.



Those may look like abstract letters to you but in reality they are extreme close up photos of designs within real butterfly wings. How freaking cool is that? The artist extracts letters from those images and you can make whatever word you choose. Pam, clearly, pays attention to John and I.


I brought them to Pennsylvania on this last trip and we both decided this piece of art needed to reside in our home there.


I asked John to take some photos of this glorious work of art– now in his creative den space– to share and then decided the best way to understand what this word means to him is to interview him about it. Which is exactly what I did last night.


I’ll share it with you now.

Good Afternoon John.

Hello, Kathy.
Do you have a few moments for me to ask you some questions about something?

Ok cool. In fact, that is what I’m interested in asking you about actually. This word “coolness” that you are so fond of using.


lol Ok well do you remember when you first introduced this word in to your lexicon?

I would say probably sometime last year.

Might have been a tad bit longer than that.
Was there something in particular that sparked the interest in this word?

I’ve always liked the word “cool” though it’s been overused.

I started using the word online in FB messages.

As a response to others’ posts.
Do you remember the very first time you used it?

Had you used this term before, like in earlier years?


At least, not that I can recall.
Do you remember how this word first came in to your mind?
ie did it seem like a new word to you?

No, except that I was probably groovin’ on something that someone posted and it just came out.

Can’t say that it seemed like a new word. I’ve made up other words previously during creative episodes, but it really resonated with me.
do you remember how that felt?


Like coolness!

ok good! Can you describe how that feels to you?
like what is the feeling tone associated with that word when you use it?

Ok, now I know what you are asking.
Kind of hard to describe feelings but you’re a writer so I have confidence you can. wink emoticon

Coolness, like I think I riffed to you in one of our fb exchanges, is the way a snowflake feels on skin that is out in the hot summer sun: it is invigorating without being disturbing. It pulls my awareness in a direction toward refreshment and here and now sharpness while transcending all other aspects of consciousness.

It melts into consciousness without stinging or being otherwise perturbing
Wow, that’s descriptive!


You may quote me!
Let me ask you this–do you feel differently when you use it vs. when you see other people using it back to you?
(I intend to quote you, that’s why I’m doing this! lol)

I’m flattered when people use it! Language is a dynamic process shaped by those who use it.

As (if) a word or phrase is used by others, the meaning will certainly evolve: it’s all good.
Do you hope that this word gets introduced in to the greater Lexicon?

Coolness either way!

lol. Is there anything else you’d like to add related to this word, it’s impact in your world or anything else related to it?

Yes, it does reflect the consciousness of where I was at in my life at the time it sprang from my mind. I had (as you well know) transcended numerous aspects of my life (particularly relationships and my need to rescue and be the perfect partner) and lacked a way to not only state my comfort with this new place but also lacked a way to remind myself that I didn’t need to be perfect, didn’t need to fix and could find the beauty in what/who was on my path.
And the birth of “coolness” represents this transition for you?


Transcendence in a very real way.
Coolness! Anything else you’d like to add before we wrap this up?
(my husband then started to go down a small rabbit hole about his dating life post divorce/before me that I decided to veto for my blog because, that’s how I roll so this is where the interview ends 😉  He said, of course “coolness” about that decision. I  also recommend this interview ambush on someone you love–it’s very fun! ).
So feel free to use or not use this word but now may you read it with the feeling of snowflakes on your skin on a hot summer day. 🙂
And we both say “thank you Pam!” who I know is out there reading. 😀