The facts

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If you are so inclined to familiarize yourself with the facts of my sister Cindy’s murder, before viewing the True Conviction show about it on Tuesday 2/13, this link lays out the sequence of facts pretty succinctly. It is from the 9th circuit’s decision that denied Michael Apelt’s ineffective counsel appeal that was getting him a new trial (denied Dec. 2017).

When you read this and the details of these sophisticated con men, remember that over 10 million tax payer dollars went to try and prove they are both “mentally retarded”. That appeal was successful for one of them. That is you and my tax payer dollars going to these Germans who never paid a dime to US taxes, and who murdered an American citizen who did.

The details start on page 5 of this link under “Facts”.

http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2017/12/28/15-99013.pdf

True Conviction trailer

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Well, the episode of True Conviction on Cindy’s case is coming up next week. They are now airing the trailer for it throughout the day on Investigation Discovery. I’m really glad Cathy Hughes’ voice and face are included because, as far as I’m concerned, this show is a long overdue honoring of her (as well as the Detectives).

I just recorded this with my phone, so please excuse the poor quality. Now let’s see if i can get it to post.

Remember, it airs next Tuesday, Feb 13 at 10pm EST on Investigation Discovery.

True Conviction — Investigation Discovery

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Investigation Discovery Network is premiering a new show this month called True Conviction. The host is a former Brooklyn prosecutor named Anna Sigga Nicolazzi who had a 100% conviction rate. Her emphasis is going around the country, finding prosecutors’ most challenging cases and detailing all involved in obtaining a successful conviction.

My sister, Cindy’s case, is one they are highlighting in this six part series. They are doing a full one hour show on it. I was contacted out of the blue last Fall by a producer, who had stumbled upon our case in some Newspaper site. Kind of impeccable timing as I’ve been diving back in to it for the last three years, working on my book about it. I had so much information that they needed at my fingertips–records, photos, etc.

Yet, rummaging through all my stuff, allowed me to find more photos and even an audiotape from Cindy that I had not seen in decades. It was a bittersweet, but mostly healing  journey for me, and I’m glad I did it. The producers, show runner, crew and Anna Sigga herself treated me with such delicate respect. They also flew my husband John, out to AZ to be with me the entire time (and boy did I need him, even just for logistical things but mainly the moral support).

I was filmed in my car with Go-pro’s all installed and on top of a mountain in an outdoor set they created just for my interview. There were hugs and tears throughout the small crowd.

I also got to reconnect with some of the Detectives involved. The timing of that was perfect as well, because they got to see the end of the story with me--finally having found love and a stable, healthy marriage after all this time. It was so heartwarming all the way around.

Cindy’s killers, while on Death Row, have received so much attention (and financial support) all of these years. The spotlight definitely turned on to them as “victims”, vs. my sister. It’s been a nauseating and frustrating process to have to be involved with, say the least. How refreshing to be involved in a show that is 100% focused on the prosecution, giving them zero platform. And, most importantly, our amazing, never to be forgotten, prosecutor, Cathy Hughes who is the HERO of this entire story. It really is about her, a story long overdue. I cannot ever, EVER say enough good things about Cathy Hughes, one of the best, most amazing humans I have ever known.

I recently got a confirmation on the date the show will be aired: Tues. February 13 at 10pm EST. Investigation Discovery channel. Again, the name is True Conviction.

Here is a blurb I found:

https://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwtv/article/Investigation-Discovery-Presents-Sneak-Peek-at-New-Series-TRUE-CONVICTION-11-20171229

“Deception in the Desert” premieres Tuesday, February 13 at 10/9c
An unidentified young woman is found murdered in the Arizona desert on Christmas Eve, 1988. Detectives soon learned her name, Cindy Monkman Apelt, who was reported missing by her husband the night prior. As investigators painstakingly piece together an account of Cindy’s final hours, they move closer and closer to revealing her killer. Prosecutor Anna-Sigga Nicolazzi revisits the shocking crime with the detectives and state attorney who solved the case and ultimately won justice for Cindy’s family

I plan on doing some kind of Live Facebook Q & A after the show sometime. Not immediately after, but maybe the next day. I know there will be many unanswered questions, so I will do that in that format if you want to participate. I’ll let you know more details closer to the time.

Thanks for the support guys.

gold watch me

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When you retire from twenty six years of loyal and dedicated service to your employer, and when your employer is you, there are many things you don’t get.
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You don’t get the big tribute dinner, where your coworkers, friends and bosses celebrate your work history with you, while telling poignant and funny anecdotes from a podium, over a mediocre meal. You don’t get flowers or balloons at your desk on your last day, with random cute notes poking fun of your quirky habits like “the break room will miss the aroma of your mud-thick coffee” or “sorry I hid in the next stall and listened to your conversations with your boyfriend over the last year–haha!” (making you wonder if that’s true or not). You don’t get the plaque engraved for some special wall in your home (or random drawer), with your name, date of retirement and a big “26” right in the middle. You don’t get the gold watch. You don’t even get a pen. You might not even get one person saying to your face, on your last day, the words “thank you for all you’ve done”.

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What you do get, however, is something no one else can give you, or tell you.
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You get the deep vein of gold at the core of your being, carefully cultivated over years of pressure, waiting for this day to be mined. By you. You get the knowledge that you once had a dream and didn’t stop to talk yourself out of it, but stepped right in to it fearlessly. All by yourself. You get the self-respect that you made it all happen, on your own terms for over a quarter century, the bulk of your adult working life. You get the flexibility that allows you to reach with both arms and pat yourself on your back on both sides, knowing that you gave yourself utter freedom in your life, by making the sacrifices you did. You paid that price for no paid time off by paying it forward yourself, and crafting the work/play life you wanted with no one else’s permission but your own. You gave yourself the gift of looking back with your own, deeper voice, telling you “JOB WELL DONE” remembering that when the going got tough, you just got creative.
When 9/11 hit, and you went from a booked practice over a month out, to every single phone call in a three week period being people canceling but not rescheduling–to a good week being three clients in the whole week vs the six a day you had become used to. When your bills increased but your income dropped by 2/3 that year; you never gave up. You stayed the course. And you sent out that tri-fold stapled flyer on the cloud paper, offering a steep discount for your clients to come back. But more importantly, you crafted that flyer with two words opposite the address side, blazing in bold, 50 point font visible to every postman and every recipient: HAVE FAITH. Of course you knew, those hundreds of mantras sent out in to the world were for yourself. And you did have faith, and they did come back.
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That deep vein of gold is something that will never be tucked away for your kids to find later tucked away in that drawer and not know what to do with. It’s not something that will run out of ink or ever stop working. In fact, it is something that has, and will, continue to make you stronger.
The stories others may have told at a podium are written in your heart and engraved in to your soul. Because you wrote them yourself, year by year.

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I walk out of my Heart Space tomorrow, for the last time as its owner and creator. My baby is being handed in to capable and grateful hands and I couldn’t be more pleased.
I won’t be carrying a bouquet of flowers or a handful of “enjoy retirement!”cards. I won’t be feeling the weight and tangible gratitude of a time keeper on my wrist to reflect on.
I have become my own gold watch. And world, I’m still ticking.
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(as an addendum, I wrote this piece before I realized that my husband and I had purchased FIRST CLASS round trip tickets to return from this trip, the day after my last day of work, before we knew this transition was going to take place. The person I’m selling the practice to, bumped up the date to months before I anticipated. The reason we purchased FIRST CLASS tickets for this specific trip was because we both wanted to achieve….drumroll….GOLD status on American Airlines before the end of the year. Divine choreography indeed)

swerve

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“Hi Kathy, nice to meet you, but that’s not what I need,” he said.

I was so lost in thought while pushing my cart out of Costco yesterday, that I handed the checker at the door my Costco CARD vs. my receipt.

Two incidents occurred there, both sort of connected, that sort of took me over and I’m still thinking about it.

It was a busy day and there was a lot of competition for space with those humongous carts scurrying around. I was there looking for nutrition shakes for my Dad, a urinal (they don’t carry those), paper towels, chicken soup and of course, coffee.

Where are those dang paper towels? I said to myself, after getting as far away from them in the warehouse as possible. I pivoted my cart and found an opening in the cart-crowd and began my mad dash to the very back of the store.

That’s where the first thing happened.

You know how you can see someone coming toward you in an aisle sometimes and you don’t know which way to swerve to avoid them and at the same time, they don’t know which way to swerve, so you both are semi-swerving with these micro-swerves that seem like a little Dancing with the Stars opening to a number, until you either stop, laugh and/or wait for the other person to complete their swerve and move past you?

Yeah, it was one of those. But something struck me as different this time.

The man I was swervecart-dancing with, apologized.

I replied with a laugh “I was just trying to read your swerve”.

But his apology somehow struck me to the core.

You see, this was a young, bright smiled black man, in very, very white Gilbert, AZ.

Why did he apologize? I wondered.

And why was I feeling so bad about that?

Neither of us did anything wrong.

Later, after I checked out, I ran in to a hot mess of Costco stuff, and people blocking the post check-out area turning it in to one-lane traffic only. I began to push out with my cart and another man, who was actually ahead of me, stopped in his tracks to let me out.

I thanked him, moving forward, still haunted by this feeling, now, exacerbated. You see the gentleman who just let me out, was also black (and very very tall).

My mind was flooded with recent memories of travel, and the norm I’ve been experiencing lately of these rushing Caucasian men, who can’t seem to bear to let me out of my airplane row, unless I have a foot firmly planted in the aisle, as we deboard the plane. Even if they are in a row behind me. I have actually said out loud to their backs before “I guess chivalry is dead”.

I am sounding like I am making generalizations, aren’t I? In fact, I am just describing my own, personal experiences. Glad I have a gallant, polite man who lets most everyone out before him, but always me. He is, in my experience, the exception, sadly.

Back to the young man who apologized, because that seems the one mostly stuck in my craw.

I have experienced this many times. If there is a little kerfuffle or something like that, it seems the black person is sort of trained, by ALL OF US, to give deference. Like I, with all my privilege, should naturally go first. Should naturally be deferred to. Like he had something to apologize for, for being in my path, when I was equally in his path!

I have to say, this broke my heart in a way yesterday.

That this exists at all. This vestigial tail of what our black brothers and sisters were required to do–take the hit for the white man, apologize if anything went wrong or didn’t go wrong. But the consequences in our not so distant past were far more devastating.

I am heartbroken also, thinking of ways I may have contributed to this, even unknowingly.

I wish I could go back in time to yesterday and say directly “you have nothing to apologize for!”. Or something. I feel unfinished about it.

I know I’m supposed to hand the checker at the door my receipt leaving Costco, but I was consumed in sadness, flanked at the back with chivalrous generosity, and it was all a bit too much.

I need to be better. I need to be more aware, more sensitive, more something.

But first of all, I just needed to write this to get it out of my head.

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heartbeat

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“I miss my Mom.”

At least once a day, her bottom lip swells and shivers like a newborn kangaroo peeking its head out of the soft pouch for the first time. Sometimes there are full blown tears, but not always. Usually, it’s when she’s tired or doesn’t want to go to bed. Or both.

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“I know,” I usually say and leave it at that. I let her have these feelings and how they need to come out. Sometimes I distract her with a fun memory of our day or a thought of tomorrow. Sometimes I tell her that her Mom must be thinking of her right now, too.

One thing I always do, is relate.

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We have Lillian this summer for almost the entire month of August–the longest she’s been away from her mother. Somewhere along the planning stages of this, the reality of this irreplaceable sliver in time hit between the heart chambers like an ultrasound heartbeat, heard for the first time.

We will have Lillian with us for the longest time we’ve ever had her, at the very stretch in my own timeline, that my mother was dying.

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“Kathy came in to my room today and said ‘Mommy, you’re dying aren’t you?'” my mother wrote to my Grandmother in the months before she did just that. “What do you think I should have said?” she asked her mother in law.

My mother died twelve days before my sixth birthday. Lillian turns six this September 10.

This is sacred ground I’m treading on right now.

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I woke up this morning thinking of my routines; the altar I worship at of my alone time and the fact that I get almost none of that right now. I felt the walls starting to close in, wondering how I would make it these next few weeks.

“You have to change. It is time to evolve,” a small voice inside said. These words from beyond brought me an unfamiliar comfort. Big changes like this don’t usually come along in midlife. Just because I have always used that method–extreme bouts of alone time– to restore myself, does not mean it is the only way things have to be. In fact, it simply is not possible right now anyway. Maybe for a reason, I thought.

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My mother spent most of that last summer of her life in a hospital bed dying of cancer. It was back in the day that children were not allowed inside the hospital, so her last visions of her three children–3, 5 and 7–were peering down from a tall building, in a wheelchair, at them–at us–holding hand drawn pictures from the grassy lawn. I was the five year old–Lillian’s age. These are my last memories of my mother.

Oh, how she would have loved nothing more than having her time consumed by us.

Sometimes in life you get to have a do-over for somebody else.

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This time is sacred. I feel my mother near. I am not afraid. I am a stay-at-home stepmommy now, and she is steering my ship. I can feel it. I know what to do, how to cook, the right temperament, the patience that is needed. It is all being given to me.

I need to evolve. She is evolving me. Both shes are evolving me.

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There is no time to waste. There is no alone time more precious than every second I get with this precious girl–with myself in this unique way. I have never in the fifty two years since her death, felt my mother so near, such a part of me.

And still, Lillian, I get it.

I miss my Mom too.

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