MIDlifestyle blog. I'm the mom of a wonderful son affectionately called Professor Angel Boy and grandma to Angel Boy 2.0. Love to camp and hike. I've been in a few films, co-produced a surf-related radio show, co-owned a couple small businesses, and co-directed a non-profit organization. I love seashells and rocks, gardening and baking, Hello Kitty, Chanel, and anything sparkly. I've been a veg since 1970 and an ardent animal activist forever. Fashionista...veganista...animal activista...If you don't find me crying myself to sleep, I'm off on a mission to find the perfect shoe!
The defendants, both transients, were arrested in a known homeless encampment near Agua Hedionda Lagoon, not far from the scene of the home invasion, hours after the attack, and blocks away from where I live.
Initially, at the arraignment on March 13, the prosecutor testified that she was stabbed about fifty times.
However, the murder was even more brutal than originally reported. The autopsy of Marj Gawitt indicated she suffered 142 knife wounds.
142 knife wounds. Let that sink in for a few minutes…
Leslie Anderson, a forensic pathology fellow with the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office, said Marjorie Gawitt had 142 knife wounds, including 95 deep stabs, on her body and head from a March 11 attack in her home on Outrigger Lane.
Prosecutors in the March 13 arraignment for defendants Ian Bushee, 37, and Malissa James, 26, had said Gawitt had up to 50 knife wounds, causing people in the courtroom to gasp.
During a preliminary hearing Thursday, Anderson said the wounds were so extensive that the autopsy took two days to conduct, while most take one.
The attack itself was forceful, according to Anderson, who said one facial stab knocked a cap from one of Gawitt’s teeth. Some stabs were made so violently that they penetrated four inches deep, although the knife believed to be the weapon was only three inches, she said.
At the end of the two-day hearing Superior Court Judge Brad Weinreb said that there was enough evidence for the defendants to stand trial on charges of murder and special-circumstance allegations that the killing happened during a burglary.
Deputy District Attorney Nicole Rooney argued there was ample evidence, including DNA on the knife, to show James wielded the weapon that killed Gawitt.
James’ attorney, John Patterson, asked the judge to dismiss a charge of torture against his client. The judge declined to do so.
Dan Segura, Bushee’s attorney, argued that there was no evidence that Bushee was with James at the scene of the killing.
Rooney said DNA and other evidence links Bushee to the crime. The prosecutor also said Gawitt used the word “they,” and may have said “people,” when she called 911 to report the attack, indicating there was more than one assailant.
The District Attorney called several witnesses, playing 911 calls and never-before-seen police body camera footage in the courtroom. The 911 call was from the victim, Marjorie Gawitt.
Dispatcher: 911. What’s your emergency? Marjorie: (inaudible) I’ve been attacked.
That was the beginning of Gawitt’s dying message on the morning of March 11, 2019. The 63-year-old woman was sleeping in her Carlsbad home alone when police said Bushee and James tortured and stabbed her fifty times in the face, neck, and back.
Dispatcher: We’ve got help sent out to you, Marjorie. Who did this? Marjorie: I don’t know.
It took everything Gawitt had left in her to make that 911 call. The call was so tragic, officers testifying on the stand became choked up while listening to Gawitt’s voice. Because of her final act of courage, Officer Randy Noa found her minutes later, still alive. On his body camera video, you can hear him trying to speak to Gawitt.
“You okay ma’am? Oh. Ma’am. Is he still in here or did he leave? (PAUSE) I can’t hear you, ma’am,” Officer Noa said, breathing heavily.
“It looked like she was trying to say to me that he was gone. But it was hard,” Officer Not testified inside the courtroom.
The District Attorney also played a second body camera video, worn by Officer Derek Harvey. On it, you can hear him trying to console the victim.
“Ma’am, you’re going to be okay. The paramedics are going to be here, any second, okay?” Officer Harvey said. Minutes later, Harvey’s camera recorded him finding what looked to be the weapon on the counter.
“Her eyes were clouded, dilated and fixed,” Officer Harvey said. “I knew she was… probably not going to make it.”
Sadly, he was right. Despite the paramedics arriving quickly, Gawitt died at Scripps La Jolla Hospital.
Trying to piece together what evidence they had, police was that the victim’s boyfriend’s car was missing. Hours later, surveillance video captured the stolen car in San Marcos. The suspects were taped walking around near a masonry warehouse and at a 7–11 store. Investigators said the two later ditched the car in San Marcos, and for some reason, ended up back in Carlsbad.
Police said it turns out Gawitt’s home was not the first the pair had ransacked that day.
“I looked up, and I said something is missing here,” neighbor Patricia Gapik said.
That same morning, Gapik noticed her sewing basket and her daughter’s flute were gone. Random items were also scattered near her sliding glass door.
“I then realized that someone was in my house,” Gapik testified. “I was scared.”
Luckily, Gapik was asleep the entire time, and never confronted the burglars. But investigators later found that the two cases were connected. They found some of Gapik’s belongings inside the car left in San Marcos.
According to court documents, the next trial date is scheduled for late December. If I’m in town, I’ll be sure to attend. I feel like I need to know why and how someone could commit just a heinous crime against an innocent woman and maybe I’ll discover some answers to this senseless murder.
If I took a poll, I surmise that most females will agree that there’s trial and error in learning how to walk in high heels. A learning curve. I realize that not everyone likes to wear stilettos; some may even feel that it’s another indication of how we women are oppressed and repressed, and I can certainly understand that point of view.
But not for me.
I swear, and my mom would agree if she were still alive, that I begged and begged for my first set of heels when I was three years old.
Santa Claus brought them for me (we celebrate Christmas AND Hannukah lol) The little high heels arrived as a set with a faux mink stole and tiara, but it was the shoes(OK, I admit it, and the tiara) that became as natural to my persona as my curly hair and snarky repartee.
Yes, I was an extreme girly girl. I mean, did you ever stop to think of why I refer to myself as Princess Rosebud? My dad first started calling me Rosebud cos it’s similar to my IRL name, and after the tiara became part of my daily fashion accessories, it was only a matter of time before I became royalty. I’d always felt that I was born into the wrong family and this was all the proof I needed.
I really wish I hadn’t lost the tiara…I could still rock a sparkly rhinestone tiara, I know I could.
But here’s my dilemma.
I can walk for hours in heels and I don’t care if they hurt my feet, either.
But I can’t for the life of me, walk in flats. I’ve tried, I really have, but I don’t know what to do! It’s such a quandry.
I’ve practiced…but HOW? Do you shuffle? Kind of like shuffling bare feet through sand at the beach to avoid a jellyfish sting? Is it a heel/toe movement? Do you bend your knees? When? I just don’t get it at all. I feel very awkward in flats.
Even cute ones like the vegan Tory Burch’s. The Jimmy Choos are the worst. I mean, they’re super cute, but it’s impossible to figure out how to walk gracefully. It’s not a pretty sight, trust me. Even the less expensive ones don’t work right. They’re comfortable, that’s for sure, but I am definitely challenged. I keep buying more and more shoes in case I find the magic formula, but I haven’t found them yet.
There are many YouTube instructional videos–“How to Watch in Heels and Stilettos” –but nothing for flats. I guess I’ll have to only wear heels or suffer the embarrassment of lumbering and shambling down the street.
I love to meet famous people. I’m fascinated by them…their fame, their accomplishments, their notoriety, and how they did what they did to become recognized by strangers. I wanted to be famous but I’m not. Sigh.
Over the course of my life, I’ve met a few people of fame: (in no particular order) His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Jim Morrison, Captain Paul Watson (Sea Shepherd), Bob Hope, Marty Feldman, Rob Reiner, Chuck Norris, Gene Wilder, Peter O’Toole, Al Gore, and a few more I can’t recall right now, but as I’m thinking about it, I see that it appears that I’ve only met famous men and most of them are now deceased. Hmmm, I will have to reflect on what all that might mean at a later date.
I ALMOST met Sir Paul McCartney on Saturday night, but it didn’t happen ‘cos the person I was going to be with got sick and he was my conduit to Sir Paul. I was THAT CLOSE. For real. Sigh again. I really wanted to chat with him, vegan to vegan. SIGH.
But now there’s a new level of FAME to achieve in YouTube videos, whether it’s a cooking show or how to apply makeup properly to achieve that perfect smokey eye — or how to identify and heal from narcissistic abuse.
Last week, I had an opportunity to meet someone who has a certain level of international FAME from his YouTube videos that spawned books and coaching and speaking engagements.
Richard Grannon, also known as the Spartan Life Coach, was in my SoCal area. He’s from the UK and has a huge following on YouTube and social media. With a background in Neurolinguistic Programming (NLP), he graduated with a BSc in Psychology from Aston University, his coaching modalities employ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Zen meditation, Hypnotherapy, Systems Thinking, Classical Psychiatry and Psychodynamics and Stoic philosophy.
What I found to be super cool about him is that he also developed a globally recognized brand with his company streetfightsecrets.com which combines simplified applied psychology with self protection concepts.
What that means to me is that you can learn to beat the shit out of people who attack you, while at the same time understanding their motivation for being horrible and mean. A win-win for sure!
Did I mention that he’s really charismatic AND a VERY good looking man? Well, he is. And he’s funny and says “fuck” a LOT, which is a plus in my book.
Notwithstanding the fact that this pic doesn’t look like me one single bit AND my hair isn’t even that color, it was a cool encounter with a famous person, that’s for sure, but there’s more!
The room was packed and as I looked for a seat, I did a double take when I noticed ANOTHER YouTube famous celebrity. We chatted for a bit during a break and she’s just as lovely as her videos portray her to be.
Sheri is a psychotherapist helping to provide support on difficult topics including abusive relationships and ways to recover. She has a BS in Political Science from UC Berkeley and an MS in Counseling from California State University, Fresno.
“I have spent years of my career working passionately for the disadvantaged, traumatized populations. My goal is to shed more light on the nuances of abuse and trauma in the hope that some people can gain some healing”
So…tell me…who have you met that qualifies as being FAMOUS?
This is the first color video of my nightly visitor. It was about 6:00 a.m. Isn’t he absolutely gorgeous?
In this black and white video, there are now two coyotes and since we know they mate for life, I have my fingers crossed waiting to see if they bring me any grandchildren! Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Some coyote facts:
Urban coyotes can create territories out of a patchwork of parks and green spaces.
While many urban coyotes make their homes in large parks or forest
preserves, this isn’t the case in all situations. Urban coyotes don’t need one
cohesive piece of green space like a single park or a single golf course to
call home. They manage to make do with surprisingly small patches of hunt-able
land woven together as a whole territory.
Coyotes can thrive in a small territory if there is enough food
and shelter, but if there isn’t — such as in sections of a city with only a
handful of small parks, soccer fields, green spaces and the like — then they
will expand the size of their territory to include enough places to hunt for
food to sustain themselves. The size of an urban coyote’s range is dependent on
the abundance of food and can be anywhere from two square miles to ten square
miles or more. Urban coyotes tend to have smaller territory sizes than rural
coyotes because there is so much more food packed into smaller areas, even if
that area has only a few scattered parks.
Studies have shown that coyotes much prefer forested areas and large parks where they can steer clear of humans, and they try to avoid residential areas. But when that’s not available, they still figure out how to make do. In a large-scale study of urban coyotes by the Urban Coyote Research Program, it was discovered that “29 percent of collared coyotes have home ranges composed of less than 10 percent of natural land and 8 percent having no measurable patches of natural land within their home ranges.”
Urban coyotes may live in family packs or on their own at
different points in their lives.
It’s common to see a single coyote hunting or traveling on its
own, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it is alone. Coyotes are highly social
animals and this didn’t change when they entered the urban ecosystem. Coyotes
may live as part of a pack, which usually consists of an alpha male and female,
perhaps one or two of their offspring from previous seasons (known as a
“helper”) and their current litter of pups. The pack may also welcome in a
solitary traveler if their territory can support another member. Packs living
in sizable protected areas can have as many as five or six adults in addition
to that season’s pups.
However, a coyote may also spend part of its life on its own,
known as a solitary coyote. This is common when young coyotes disperse from
their pack and go in search of their own territory, a new pack to join, or a
mate with whom to start their own pack. A coyote may also spend a stretch of
time as a loner if it was an alpha in a pack but lost its mate. According to
Urban Coyote Research Program, between a third and half of coyotes under study
are solitary coyotes, and they are usually youngsters between six months and
two years old.
Because coyotes hunt and
travel alone or in pairs, it is often thought that they don’t form packs. The
study of urban coyotes has helped to correct this misconception and has
revealed much about the social lives of coyotes.
Urban coyotes mate for life and are monogamous.
Speaking of mates, coyotes mate for life and are 100 percent
faithful to that mate. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Mammalogy found
that “among 18 litters comprising 96 offspring, [researchers] found no evidence
of polygamy, and detected a single instance of a double litter (pups from
different parents sharing the same den).”
This loyalty holds even when there are other coyotes in adjacent
territories and plenty of opportunity for cheating. But coyote pairs stay
faithful and faithful for life. Some of the pairs followed by the research team
were together for as long as 10 years, only moving on when one mate died.
The researchers believe that this monogamy plays an important role
in the success of urban coyotes. Because a female can adjust her litter size
based on the availability of food and other factors, she can have larger
litters of pups in a city where there is a buffet of rodents, reptiles, fruits,
vegetables and so much else in a relatively small area. She also has a
dedicated mate to help her feed and raise the pups, so these large litters have
a higher survival rate, resulting in more coyotes reaching an age to disperse
to other areas of a city.
Even when food is less
abundant or there is territory pressure from other coyotes, the couple stays
together year after year. Coyotes may be opportunistic about matters of food
and shelter, but not when it comes to love.
Urban coyotes do not feast on pets and garbage; they typically stick to a natural diet.
Due to sensationalistic reporting, many urban residents think all
coyotes are out to eat their dog or cat at the first opportunity, or that
they’re dumpster divers of the first degree. On the contrary, studies have
shown that urban coyotes stick mainly to a natural diet.
Coyotes are opportunistic omnivores and will eat fruits and
vegetables along with animal prey. A study by Urban Coyote Research
Program analyzed over 1,400 scats and found that “the most common food items
were small rodents (42%), fruit (23%), deer (22%), and rabbit (18%).” Only
about 2 percent of the scats had human garbage and just 1.3 percent showed
evidence of cats. “Apparently, the majority of coyotes in our study area do
not, in fact, rely on pets or garbage for their diets,” say the researchers.
This aligns logically with urban coyotes’ preference of sticking
to parks, preserves, cemeteries, and other out-of-the-way areas as much as
possible. The food available in these locations is rodents, reptiles, fallen
fruit and other food items that are part of a natural diet.
Coyotes of course take feral cats or the occasional domestic cat
that has been left outdoors, and there is certainly evidence that coyotes that
have become habituated and overly bold will go after small dogs. However pets
are not primary prey for them, not by a long shot.
Urban coyotes often switch from naturally diurnal and
crepuscular activity to nocturnal activity.
When urban residents see coyotes “in broad daylight” it is often
assumed that the coyote has grown overly bold or is ill in some way. Actually,
it is perfectly normal for a coyote to be out during the day, as this is their
natural time for hunting.
Urban coyotes have made a behavior change to avoid humans,
switching from being active at dawn and dusk or during daylight hours, to being
mostly active at night. This strategy lowers their risk of encountering a
species of which they are naturally afraid while still hunting in an urban
However, if a coyote needs
to be out during the day to hunt or to get from one place to another, there
isn’t necessarily anything wrong or odd about the coyote’s behavior. In fact,
in the spring and summer when raising their pups, coyotes need to find more
food and so may be more active during the day and thus spotted more often.
Urban residents frequently misinterpret daytime sightings as a rise in the
urban coyote population or that the coyote could be rabid, neither of which are
Urban coyotes help control the populations of other problematic urban wildlife like rodents.
It’s so easy to think of urban places as home to humans, pigeons,
crows and raccoons, and that’s about it. But our cities are increasingly home
to an ever more diverse array of wildlife species rats have been an issue in
cities ever since cities were invented. Coyotes play a role in limiting the
populations of these species and more, helping to keep a balance and increase
biodiversity in urban ecosystems.
Rodents are the primary food source for coyotes in rural and urban
areas alike, and studies have shown an increase in the rodent population in
areas where coyotes are removed.
The easiest way for city residents to avoid
negative interactions with coyotes is to avoid feeding them, either
accidentally or on purpose, and otherwise habituating them to humans.
When coyotes become overly bold or aggressive, and in the rare
instances when coyotes have bitten humans, it usually is discovered that they were
Coyotes have a natural fear of humans, and like most wildlife,
will start to lose that fear and even become aggressive if they are being fed.
This is the reason wildlife managers warn people to never feed wildlife, and
there is the saying, “A fed coyote is a dead coyote.”
Once a coyote loses its fear, it is likely to become a problem
animal and that means animal control will have little choice but to lethally
Feeding coyotes sometimes happens on purpose, but it can also be
done accidentally when people leave pet food on their porches intending it for
cats or dogs, when they leave scattered seeds under the bird feeder, or even
when they leave fallen fruit or compost in their yards.
Educating the public on the
importance of not feeding wildlife and removing any food sources, as well as
educating them on safe and humane coyote hazing strategies to maintain coyotes’
fear of humans, is the best way a city can avoid negative interactions and
instead enjoy quiet coexistence.
Trapping and killing or relocating urban coyotes does not
reduce the overall population of coyotes.
A common reaction from urban and suburban residents when they
learn coyotes are living in their area is to ask for the removal of the
coyotes, either through lethal means or by trapping and relocating them.
However, animal control officers have learned through a lot of experience that
this is not only a lot harder to do than it sounds, but it does nothing to
reduce the number of coyotes living in an area. In fact, it has the opposite
Coyotes are territorial and keep other coyotes out of their home range.
The larger the territory of a coyote pack, the fewer coyotes are present
overall. Removing coyotes from an area opens that location up for new coyotes
to come in and claim it as their own (and there will always be more coyotes
coming in to fill a void), often resulting in a short-term increase in coyotes
as the territory lines are redrawn by the newcomers. Additionally, when there
is less pressure from neighboring coyotes and more food available, female
coyotes will have larger litters of pups, again creating a short-term increase
in the number of coyotes in that area.
There are other problems with trapping coyotes. As the Humane
Society points out, “The most common devices used to capture coyotes are
leg-hold traps and neck snares. Both can cause severe injuries, pain, and
suffering. Leg-hold traps are not only cruel and inhumane for coyotes, but may
also injure other wildlife, pets, or even children. Non-target wild
animals are also caught in traps, and many sustain injuries so severe that
they die or must be killed.”
If a city wants to limit or reduce the number of urban coyotes
living there, the easiest thing to do is allow existing coyotes to work out
their own territories, naturally stabilizing the coyote population. There will
never be more coyotes in an ecosystem than that ecosystem can support, so
(despite what some may think) a city can never become “overpopulated” or
“infested” with coyotes.
We can take extra steps to make an area less appealing to coyotes by removing all extra food sources – from fallen fruit or ripe vegetables from backyard gardens to pet food left on back porches – and removing sources of water. The fewer resources available, the larger the territories need to be to support the resident coyotes, and the fewer coyotes there are overall.
Sorry, no pics to share ‘cos the video is grainy and black and white, but these were my three visitors last night at Casa de Enchanted Seashells.
In that order. The first video shows a cat sitting on the steps, looks to be dark gray and I’ve seen him before. The next is of a very large rat running down the steps, and the third one is a bat flying directly across the camera lens.
It sounds like it could be the start of a joke…”A cat, a rat, and a bat walked into a bar…” (Although I have no idea what kind of a punchline to write. Maybe Mrs. Maisel or Suzie could help.)
Or a children’s book, “The Tall Tale (Tail) of the Cat, the Rat, and the Bat”,
Or as Theo would say, “Grandma, that rhymes!”
Since I don’t have any decent pics of last night’s guests, here’s our beloved Bandit who ruled us all for thirteen years before she died of chronic renal failure.
The bat is from one of my favorite books, Stellaluna, by (my friend) Janell Cannon.
And the rat, well, this gif says it all…
(There were no coyotes this time, but I’m happy to report that I’ve been seeing TWO beautiful creatures in the garden, which is awesome as coyotes mate for life. I would be even happier if one day they brought some little ones to visit. It would be a dream come true. I could be their grandma, too!)
Angel Boy 2.0 had a cold so he stayed home from preschool.
“I’m a little snotty today, Grandma!” He was feeling much better after a long morning nap. We were in the living room looking at the windy day while he enjoyed a protein smoothie popsicle (see recipe below).
For the past couple of days, we had noticed a big truck parked in front of his house, taking up more than its fair share of the street. No one knew who it belonged to but we speculated that it possibly was a contractor’s vehicle working at a neighbor’s house.
Recently, Theo has been noticing different cars and trucks and asking for them to be identified. “I said, that’s a Dodge Ram truck. He is so rude to park there every day. He needs to park somewhere else.”
Theo repeated, “Yeah, he needs to park somewhere else. He’s so RUDE.”
All day long we would check to see if the truck was still there and it was, so it became an ongoing joke about how RUDE it was to park in front of Theo’s house so there wasn’t enough room for HIS car.
At dinnertime, we were sharing interesting stories about our day and in a moment of silence, Theo said, “Mommy and Daddy, that Dodge Ram truck is so RUDE!”
There was such a shocked expression on Mom and Dad’s faces, I really wish I had a photo to capture it because this is what it SOUNDED like Theo said…
“That goddamn fuck is so RUDE!”
Dodge Ram truck = goddam fuck —a very expressive three-year-old with a mouth stuffed full of lasagna and a stuffy nose.
For a brief moment, I had a feeling they thought I had taught him how to swear like a merchant mariner. However, when I hastened to translate, we couldn’t stop laughing.
Until the mysterious man drove away, Theo kept saying, “He’s so RUDE with his Dodge Ram truck!”
Just another brilliant slice of conversation with this always enchanting human.
Cherries (any frozen or fresh fruit) Banana – one 100% fruit juice — 8oz Kale and/or spinach — handful Vegan Protein Powder–one scoop Cinnamon to taste
Combine kale and juice. Blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend to desired thickness. Pour into popsicle freezer containers, the ones with the little sticks. Freeze until firm.They are so healthy and delicious!
Today Doris Day died at the age of 97, and I am sad.
I don’t have a direct connection to her, but she touched my heart with her song “Que Sera Sera”, in the film “The Man Who Knew Too Much” with Jimmy Stewart. Searching for her kidnapped son, I could FEEL her anguish as she sang the words that would eventually free him.
A few years ago, I was on a blissful, happy road trip and we stopped in Carmel. Although we didn’t stay at Cypress Inn, Doris Day’s hotel, we spent the evening there listening to an amazing singer belt out the old songs, those good ones from the big band years, and when I whispered to her that it was my now lost love’s birthday, she sang happy birthday to him and the entire roomful of people clapped and offered their congratulations. It was a joyful and lovely experience. My heart was full that day.
Doris Day was an animal activist long before it became trendy; even before the internet could help promote good people with their wonderful intentions to rescue and adopt dogs and cats.
“My accident gave me a second chance at life, so I want everyone to know that you can fight it – and you can be happy. No matter what happens in life, don’t ever let it hold you back.” https://meganblunk.com
Totally rando and out of nowhere, I was in a very public place and there was a young woman in a wheelchair sort of pushing another wheelchair with slanted wheels (that I later learned was used when she played basketball). I asked her if she needed any help and she declined, but we started chatting and I learned that she is a real live HERO.
Her name is Megan Blunk. Originally from Gig Harbor, Washington, Megan is a Paralympic gold medalist for wheelchair basketball.
Megan discovered adaptive sports a year after a motorcycle accident that paralyzed her and also revived her former inner athlete. Prior to her accident, she was a five-sport athlete.
She went on to play college wheelchair basketball at the University of Illinois, where she completed a bachelor’s degree.
She’s an advocate for adaptive sports and speaks to groups and one-on-one with other athletes.