My Covid-19 journey of self-isolation: Day 21

March 30: I feel like I’ve been training for this pandemic pretty much my whole life, but especially ever since my life exploded and I became a full-fledged hermit in a self induced cocoon to try and survive and heal from my own tsunami of pain.

A loner by nature, I’m peaceful while everyone around me is in a frenzy. I find serenity in projects at home, the garage, and the garden. I have always enjoyed solo exercising, working out at home instead of the gym, and I’m even more self sufficient now. Beaches are closed, but my own backyard sanctuary is open 24/7.

There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. It’s a mindset. Home is not a prison; it’s a sanctuary. What a perfect opportunity to slow down and create your own retreat.

Image may contain: shoes, plant, tree, outdoor and nature

Social distancing is a way of life. Not a problem. Avoid close contact? Not a problem. Shelter in place? Def not a problem.

I’m taking all the necessary precautions; washing my hands so often that I feel like LadyMacbeth minus the fact that I’ve never murdered anyone.

Doctor:
What is it she does now? Look how she rubs her hands.

Gentlewoman:
It is an accustom’d action with her, to seem thus
washing her hands. I have known her continue in this a quarter of
an hour.

Lady Macbeth:
Yet here’s a spot.

Probably because my mom was an RN and cleaned so often with Lysol that I’d often tell her I had Lysol in my veins instead of blood, but my house is VERY CLEAN. Like eat-off-the-floor clean. To me, the smell of bleach is as sweet as Chanel perfume.

Now I’ve ramped it up a bit. I disinfect food containers and cans before they come in the house, open mail with gloves on, and I have enough food to last three weeks.

The worst part of all of this is that Angel Boys 1 and 2 were supposed to visit and they had to cancel their trip. 2.0  just turned four and I missed his birthday as well as my son’s celebration, something that has really never happened in the 39 years he’s been alive.

When we FaceTimed, little Angel Boy 2.0. told me that all the libraries and toy stores and restaurants are closed. When I asked him why, he said it was “because of the virus.” I asked him what a virus was, but he didn’t know, only that all of his fun places weren’t available to him. Dad’s home because the university is closed and he’s teaching online. Mom and baby are home too, and I wish I was there to help, but I can’t go to them.

Everything is beyond surreal.

So far, I’ve had some good experiences and only one bad one.

This happened on March 11 and I wrote about it that day…”This virus is bringing out the absolute worst in people, including my own community. I was at our library, buying a couple books from the little store cos I’m going to have oral surgery and need to stay put for a bit. As I was paying for the books, I saw a huge bottle of hand sanitizer at the check out counter. I attempted to use it and the volunteer (about my age or maybe a little older) said it was “only for the workers” and “didn’t I carry my own hand sanitizer in my purse”. Needless to say, I immediately went over to the librarian who apologized and assured me that the volunteers are not supposed to HOARD the sanitizer, asked me to write up a complaint (which I did) as well as request of her to make sure all employees, volunteer/paid, knew that the library is a public institution paid for by my taxes and that was egregious behavior. What she should have said was “help yourself”. 

Except for the odd hoarding of toilet paper, that was really my only negative experience. Everyone else seems to have a feeling of community, that we’re all part of this strange Twilight Zone time, that 2020 will never be forgotten.

Image may contain: 1 person, possible text that says 'I can't be worried about that shit. Life goes on, man.'

So far, I’ve used five rolls of toilet paper. I know that seems like a lot, but I use it to clean, too. Did you guys hoard anything? How are you doing on paper products? Has this slloowww down changed your life? How? In what way? What kinds of adjustments will you keep when things go back to the way they were? What is it you’re missing?

I think we’re in for the ride of our lives. As above, so below.

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There is Before and there is After

beforeafterboxHave you ever experienced an event so traumatic that inevitably forevermore all things will be mentally placed in two boxes labeled Before and After?

Like how people always remember where they were on September 11, 2001, or where they were when Kennedy was shot, or when the first man walked on the moon. Or when your mom died, things like that…you know where you were, how old you were, even what you were wearing or what you were doing. These moments are indelibly stamped in your heart and brain as well as the accompanying emotions.

I have my own personal tragic date of profound sorrow that will forever mark my future. There was happiness BEFORE: sadness and confusion AFTER.

My life is split in two now. What was will never be again as I dwell in a mostly perpetual state of grief, of dysphoria, of purgatory, of anhedonia.

That’s not to say there aren’t moments of brightness, moments that bring a smile to my face and lift my heart a little, but then I see a certain date or I remember a certain event and I mentally place it in its appropriate container: BEFORE or AFTER. I say to myself, oh yeah, that was before. Now we dwell in the after box.

If I see a story or read an article about, for example, Yellowstone, that memory goes in the  before box. Ironing perfumed sheets for a homecoming or walking to the beach, Sunday morning buckwheat pancakes–or any one of the thousands of sweet daily memories since 1991–all BEFORE. Don’t get me started going down THAT road. There are actually about half a dozen dates that signify different aspects of after-and those recollections are even more painful to tidy up and allocate to their designated container.

BEFOREANDAFTERBEFOREANDAFTER. I do it automatically now.

For me, it signals panic attack time. I never experienced a panic attack BEFORE–now I know the triggers and force myself to use the tools I went to therapy to learn so I don’t once again spiral into a paralyzing dissociation with reality.

There is so much that is before. Why wasn’t I able to foretell the future? If I had only known. But I didn’t know, I couldn’t have known,  and the abject shock of it all still colors my waking hours–and my sleep.

ravenIn my case, every single day I mourn the death of someone who’s still very much alive.

Unless you’ve walked this same journey, you might not  understand how I can grieve for someone who still breathes and eats and sleeps. Although they aren’t clinically deceased, they are gone, and it feels like a true death in every sense of the word.

And now for me, I will forevermore be tormented by BEFORE and AFTER.

Image may contain: possible text that says 'One of the hardest things you will ever have to do my dear is grieve the loss of a person who is still alive. unknown'

 

Soulshaping/Shapeshifting/Soulhealing

Tough truths from Jeff Brown.

Someone– I can’t remember exactly who it was–shared these words with me, and they resonated. Deeply.

I don’t often post words written by others, but his thoughts are so much what’s on my own mind lately, so I will because he expressed it more succinctly than I ever could have, which is saying, something ‘cos he’s a guy and all… I don’t know much about his writings, but he considers himself a grounded spiritualist.

Jeff Brown…http://soulshaping.com/

It’s up to you- its always up to you. You can deny, repress, distort, and bury your unresolved wounds all you want. You can re-frame them, pseudo-positivity them, detach from them, spiritual bypass them. You can re-name yourself, hide away in a monastery, turn your story around. And you can spend all your money on superficial healing practices and hocus-pocus practitioners. But it won’t mean a damn thing, if you don’t do the deeper work to excavate and heal your primary wounds. Because the material is still there, right where you left it, ruling your life and controlling your choices. This is the nature of unhealed material- it is alive, and one way or the other, it will manifest itself in your lived experience. It will language your inner narrative. It will obstruct your path and limit your possibilities. It lives everywhere that you live. And so you have to decide- excavate it and bring it into consciousness where it can be worked through and integrated, or repress it and watch it rule your life. It’s one of the hardest truths we have to face: If we don’t deal with our stuff, it deals with us. There is no way around this. Choose.

http://www.Jeffbrown.co

 

Call to action for Luna, a coyote

What has happened to Luna is nothing short of intolerable cruelty. 

Personally, I am absolutely heartbroken and disgusted. There is no justification for her suffering.

One of the valuable tools of being a blogger with a following of about 5,000 inclusive of all platforms-is the ability to ask for help, to send a message, to build awareness. 

This is an urgent call to action.

Please read this post, visit the links to learn more, make the calls, and do something good before the end of the year.

Friends , this is very important to me personally as well as to our wolf and coyote communities. PLEASE HELP.

Please try to help this tortured soul Luna get back to her safe haven of 13 years with Tomi Tranchita  in Illinois.

This is an emergency.

The State of Illinois is trying to get a judge to dismiss her case NEXT WEEK

We need you all to make calls immediately asking that the  Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton‘s office steps in and stops this nonsense that continues to hurt Luna.

Please comment and make calls to her office as well — Be prepared to leave an informing message asking her office to step in as we rightfully expect this judge to order the state DNR attorneys to STOP BULLYING Tomi and to mediate and settle this matter — NOT DISMISS IT.

Phone: (217) 558-3085

Fax: (217) 558-3094

Phone: (312) 814-5240

Fax: (312) 814-5228​

Fax and/or calls better than emails right now. 

Luna should be allowed to return to Tomi’s Federal and State licensed facility without fear of another illegal raid.

Bring Luna the Coyote Home
https://www.facebook.com/bringlunathecoyotehome/

Tomi Tranchita
https://www.facebook.com/tomi.tranchita

Donate:
https://www.facebook.com/donate/2687929711226109/10156970303414353/

History:
At dawn on April 24, 2019, Tomi Tranchita’s Wildlife Education facility and her home were invaded by armed officers brandishing assault rifles and beating on her doors. These Illinois State agents seized Ms. Tranchita’s four coyotes, needlessly shooting them with tranquilizer guns, and dragged the animals by their throats with pole chokeholds, leading to the death of all but one of her perfectly healthy animals. The brutal handling of the animals was in violation of federal regulations governed by the AWA. In actual fact, the raid itself was done on a fraudulently obtained warrant, violating Tranchita’s property rights and her 14th amendment right to due process.

This raid wrongfully shut down Tranchita’s long-established, licensed Wildlife Education Program. Therefore, we ask the State to affirm that Ms. Tranchita has satisfied all state requirements to resume her Education Program and that her surviving ambassador coyote may be returned to her facility.

The excessive use of force and intimidation was orchestrated by one “peace” officer (“Officer M”) employed by the IDNR State Fish and Game Agency (IDNR). Having recently moved into her neighborhood and hearing a coyote howl, Officer M was determined to seize Tranchita’s animals. He investigated her program and found that she had inadvertently forgotten to renew a $25 state permit.

However, in applying for a seizure warrant based on that technicality alone, he neglected to inform the magistrate that Tranchita’s facility has been federally licensed the entire 13 years of its operation.

Fraudulent warrant in hand, Officer M led the violent raid showing no regard for the animals’ well-being. Beautiful, healthy coyotes, all crate-trained, were dragged by their throats, choking and bleeding. When Ms. Tranchita offered to crate the animals for their own safety, Officer M would not allow it, saying he was in a hurry because he was going on vacation. 

The traumatic, brutal handling in this seizure of her four long-established educational coyotes is portrayed on several videos like this one. These animals had never before experienced violence in their lifetimes. 

The brutality continues to outrage more than 40,000 citizens. The stress perpetrated on Ms. Tranchita’s animals resulted in three dying, still with no confirmed explanation. Luna, the last survivor, has been moved three times and was in state custody for five months — all on the taxpayers’ dime

Officer M also lied to Ms. Tranchita, saying her coyotes would be taken to huge one-acre enclosures. In fact, Ms. Tranchita’s facility is significantly larger than the small enclosures they were moved to. Before he left her property, Officer M told Ms. Tranchita he knew she was upset, and he suggested she call a mental health hotline. 

The IDNR denied Tranchita’s court-ordered visitation for weeks.

The agency still refuses to return any of Ms. Tranchita’s personal property, licenses, and documents Officer M took from her. 

Officer M attempted to instigate neighborhood concerns but failed. By his own admission, no other neighbors had any problem with the coyotes in the 13 years Tranchita operated her facility. Every neighbor, every facility visitor, and every annual federal inspection report for 13 years stated Tranchita took excellent care of the animals; they had no concerns about her facility, or her educational program, which has also had a flawless safety record.   

Indeed, the IDNR has known all along of Tranchita’s facility and her coyotes. They had been to her facility. They had themselves licensed the facility for years. They also knew of her USDA-issued federal license and that she’d held it for 13 years.

Even though this officer is under investigation by the Inspector General’s office for his failure to uphold due process procedures before instigating this raid, as well as his unprofessional and derogatory comments and brash behavior, IDNR proceeded to file charges against Ms. Tranchita instead of firing this rogue officer and apologizing for the damages his actions caused. 

Months of court hearings followed the seizure, beginning in traffic court. The judges there had no wildlife law experience. Therefore, they deferred to what the IDNR’s attorneys claimed the obtusely complex rules meant. 

So what did the IDNR ultimately conclude Ms. Tranchita was guilty of? 

The only violation they could charge her with was the lapsed $25 “furbearer” permit — a document you can simply acquire online from the IDNR agency’s website. Conversely, the USDA-APHIS license requires annual onsite inspections of the facility and the animals, as well as acquiring the same from the veterinarian of record. These requirements, and their costs, are mandated of all licensees annually. A renewal packet is sent to every federal licensee each year prior to their renewal date, while the state IDNR offers no such oversight, not even a renewal reminder.     

Is it unreasonable for a citizen to presume that she is not violating any laws when, for 13 years, her federal government renews its approval to continue operating? Further, is it unreasonable to expect that our federal and state agencies, which both regulate these activities, would communicate with each other?

Clearly, Ms. Tranchita’s missed permit payment was inadvertent; she was not trying to get away without paying a $25 fee (and immediately acquired the permit). Consider the expense and investment: She invested tens of thousands of dollars in her 13-year Wildlife Education Program and facility; and since incorporating the non-releasable coyotes as ambassadors into her program, she has paid all costs and requirements of annual inspections by both state and federal veterinarians and officials. Due to her investment and her dedication, her renewal has always been approved, and she has remained licensed under a USDA-APHIS Federal Class C Exhibitors educational use permit. There has not been a single infraction or complaint in 13 years. The facility exceeds recommended requirements for caging, public safety, and federal AWA animal care standards. And it certainly exceeds the IDNR’s standards.  

This disturbing, unwarranted, and completely unnecessary action was an egregious civil rights violation by the Illinois wildlife agency. The State is blatantly exhibiting a double standard. The IDNR makes many allowances for various captive wildlife purposes and pursuits, and Tranchita’s interests are not unique among them. Selective enforcement is unacceptable.

Wildlife values

Americans’ wildlife values have been shifting for decades. How long must we be forced to wait for our state wildlife agencies to govern accordingly? These agencies do not own our wildlife, we do. They work for us — for all wildlife and for all people EQUALLY. 

All non-releasable wildlife is required by the State to be euthanized. One of the very few exceptions is the rare availability of a licensed sanctuary or education program willing to accept such animals. Rare, because it is a tremendous undertaking requiring extensive knowledge, expenses and personal sacrifice to meet these animals’ needs for the duration of their lives. 

Tranchita took pride in these animals and found it rewarding to educate the public about coyote biology and behavior, their value to our ecosystem, and methods and solutions for coexisting with them to reduce human-wildlife conflicts.

These animals were not house pets. The four non-releasable coyotes were safely held in large enclosures spanning her property. Tranchita’s program is clear about its position on the risks and challenges of responsible, qualified possession. Contrary to the State’s attempt to now repudiate Ms. Tranchita’s program despite its acknowledged approval, her program’s tutelage has fully supported the State’s opposition to keeping coyotes as “pets”. Education program animals are always given names and provided personalized care and attention. That does not define nor classify them as that of a house pet, and it is not a crime. Belittling the value of 13 years invested into such an animal is malicious manipulation of public opinion and of decision-makers unfamiliar with this professional pursuit. 

It is heavy-handed incidents like this — when citizens are denied their right to due process — that solidifies the public’s distrust of government authority and law enforcement. This display of authoritarian government was and is not acceptable.

We ask that Governor Pritzker advise his appointed IDNR Advisory Board to direct the IDNR agency to review its prejudice in this matter and immediately seek an amicable settlement agreement with Tomi Tranchita. Specifically, we ask that IDNR affirm that Ms. Tranchita has satisfied their requirements and may resume her Wildlife Education Program. Finally, we ask that in so doing, the State will allow Ms. Tranchita to immediately reacquire possession of her last surviving ambassador coyote. 

 

 

Update: Murder in Carlsbad

I wasn’t able to attend the preliminary hearing for the horrific home invasion murder of Carlsbad resident Marjorie Gawitt, but I’ve pulled together some details of that day.

As I previously wrote, she lived in my neighborhood and her death shook the community. We weren’t close friends, but had I had been invited to a couple of parties that she also attended and we briefly chatted. https://enchantedseashells.com/2019/03/11/not-in-carlsbad-home-invasion-and-murder/

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.

(Another) conversation with a human: “Who Misses You?”

Chatting at the table after a yummy and healthy dinner of salad from the garden, veggie kale tofu pie, and blueberry cobbler… my little guy said, “I missed you, Grandma.”

“I missed you too, Theo-saurus”

“That’s not my name. I’m a dimedatron.”

“Ok. I missed you too, Mr. Dimedatron.

“I missed you so much, Grandma. All the time.”

After another bite of blueberry cobbler,

“Why do you go away? I want you here forever and ever!”

“But I go home because that’s where my house is. I come to visit you and Mommy and Daddy and then I go home. But I’m here now, right?”

{Thinking for a minute. Pondering…}

“Grandma?”

“Yes, Mr. Dimedatron?”

“When you’re here at Theo’s house, who misses you from your house?”

Awkward silence around the dinner table. We all looked at each other.

What do I say? The sad truth is that no one misses me. No one at all.

So I replied…

“The coyote and the bunnies and the birds and the lizards miss me very much.”

And that satisfied him. For now. He has more compassion and empathy in his little three-year-old body than most adults.

No one misses me when I go away.

Harsh tragic truth.

A totally full moon post.

Glass half full.

Doris Day: Whatever will be, will be…

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.

Here’s a link to her Doris Day Animal Foundation: https://www.dorisdayanimalfoundation.org/?fbclid=IwAR1R3yb2B8aGkxZehdTWnJ3kLGMnNmKhrTwtXZU-Pl3P-jyFok2N85QXnDQ

Que sera, Doris. Whatever will be, will be…That song always makes me cry and I lose it every single time I watch that final scene where her son runs into her arms.

Conversation with Inspiration: Gold Medalist Megan Blunk

“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.

“Whenever I meet someone recently disabled, I reach out to them,” she said. “I would be there in a heartbeat if someone asked me to see someone who had just been injured.” https://meganblunk.com/2016/09/01/south-sound-magazine/

In my opinion, Megan really needs to do a Ted Talk. Her story — and her inner and outer strength — is an inspiration to everyone.

img_7343-e1557026842415.jpg

Megan holding her gold medal.

“To sleep: perchance to dream”…

Of course this is Shakespeare:

HAMLET:
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub

Yeah, there’s the rub, that’s for sure.

I used to love to sleep. Sleep came so easily for me. Almost as soon as my head hit the pillow, I could count backwards 5-4-3-2-1 and be asleep. Just like that, *snapping my fingers*. I could fall asleep anywhere. I took blissful, restful sleep for granted.

Back then, my dreams were mostly of my beloved dogs and cats that had crossed the Rainbow Bridge, sometimes bringing happy messages back to me. Or every so often, I’d have a prophetic dream about my son but never really a nightmare.

Last night was a big deal for me.

April 1, 2019 marks the first night I slept an entire night without waking up once in dread, in a cold sweat, without my heart beating a million beats per second ready to jump out of my chest, without the gasp of that split second between sleep/awake and remembering that my daytime reality IS the nightmare, that there really IS hell on earth, and I am living proof.

When I first woke up this morning, it took a moment for me to perceive that it wasn’t 3am, that the earliest of early morning birds had started to sing and there was a faint hint of dawn lightening the sky.

There was no swirling of dreams that made waking up a death unto itself. A shard of glass to slice at my heart and torment me, poking at me with each inhale and exhale for the rest of the day.

There was peace. OMG, so much peace.

I had to help my brain process this miracle of healing, a painfully slow process of realization that FOR THE FIRST TIME, I had slept unfettered by the bondage of painful memories that morphed into night terrors so incredibly lucid that they haunted me during the day.  Sleep was walking into a dark tunnel with not the slightest glimmer of light at the end of it. Depressing, huh?

I couldn’t endure another dream of a gigantic mottled black plague-infected rat with oozing sores climbing in my bed to curl up next to me, no more continuation of the abject panic that permeated my waking life.

No more dreams that weren’t even really dreams, simply the continuing of the day’s macabre horrors.

For more than three years, thirty-six months, 1,095 days, 26,280 hours, and 1,576,800 minutes, I couldn’t sleep, and I’d cry out to no one into the silence of the night to please wake me up from this nightmare, please take me out of my misery; only to realize that there was no respite for me.

“No sleep for you!” said the sleep Nazi (an homage to Seinfeld’s soup Nazi.)

The nightmare WAS the reality.

The dark soul of the night became the abject despair of the day.

There is the saying “follow your dreams” but if I had followed those dreams, I would have ended up in a vortex of Sartre’s No Exit. 

I was in a neverending episode of the Twilight Zone, caught in a purgatory that I could never have prepared myself to endure. Drowning.

I tried everything: meditation, EFT, mantras, deep breathing exercises to control my out of control hyperventilation /tachypnea, conscious mindfulness, and lessons in neural plascticity to nurse my wounded brain. One of the best pain relievers was and is listening to raw binaural beats with headphones. Some nights, that was the only way I could even attempt sleep.

I dreaded going to sleep, the actual sleep, and the waking up from an unhappy sleep.

The simple tortuous action of closing my eyes created a canvas where I’d be subjected to an endless loop of conversations, images, mirages spanning more than twenty years.

I wished for a lobotomy, to be in a coma, to erase all that was etched in my conscious and subconscious.

Through pain and fear and sadness, I discovered that the only cure is radical acceptance. I couldn’t run away from it. Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. Wherever you go, there you are.

I had to stand my ground and surrender to the pain.
To love it, honor it, respect it, and learn from it.

Now. Right now. I hear a hawk, I hear a scrub jay, I hear the angry chattering of a nesting Bell’s Vireo. Off in the distance, I hear a train. I hear an airplane. I hear a symphony of wind chimes. I see blue sky, I see lush green grass that’s been lovingly tended, I feel a gentle breeze lifting a swarm of Painted Lady butterflies from the yellow marguerite daisy bushes to settle for a moment on the Pride of Madeira. All the rain we had this season birthed an incredible floral display.

Everything around me seems to be conspiring to show me that there’s still beauty after a storm, that there’s happiness to be discovered if you look and listen.

IMG_7039Oh and I see a bunny. Always a bunny.

My heart is wounded and scarred; I’ve been through a war zone,

I had no weapons to fight the enemy that raped and pillaged my life and my innocence. And my heart.

I’m collateral damage,

I’m eternally sad.

But I’m alive, and that’s something to be grateful for.

And…for the very first time in a long time, I slept an entire night and woke up in serenity and peace.

(But that peace wouldn’t last, as I soon learned…)

 

Not in Carlsbad. Home Invasion and Murder.

***UPDATED***

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This doesn’t happen in Carlsbad.

I’ve lived here for about thirty-five years, and was obviously lulled into a sense of complacency and maybe even a tad smug…we don’t have THIS kind of violence in our little beach town.

This is the kind of place where neighbors talk to each other, host “get-to-know-your-neighbor” parties, and watch everyone’s children and grandchildren grow up and have their own families.

But it did happen and it was blocks away from where I live.

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There was an initial report of a home invasion where the victim, a woman, was stabbed multiple times but was able to call 911.

Despite the best efforts to save her, she died at the hospital.

She had been home alone.

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(Out of respect for the victim and her family, I’m purposely not posting her name.)

Later we learned that there were two suspects. Her car was stolen and eventually abandoned near Highway 78 in San Marcos.

In hearing this shocking news going on in my town, I checked the address and was horrified because it was the exact street where a good friend of mine lived.

I tried to text her, but got no immediate response, and immediately started to worry.

I headed over to the street which was now a crime scene with a command post and yellow tape blocking access.

Hanging around the many news vans and journalists, I learned that it was not my friend, but a woman who lived two doors away from my friend, someone I had known from attending neighborhood parties.

This is not an easy area to locate. It’s comprised of many little cul de sacs tucked away in a lovely community of attached homes overlooking Agua Hedionda Lagoon.

According to information provided by Carlsbad Police, “Through the preliminary investigation, it appears a male and female suspect attempted to burglarize the victim’s home. ”

I got a tip from a reporter that a man and woman had been arrested just minutes before I arrived. They had been hiding under some bushes in the lagoon. The police that were on scene confirmed that there were two arrests but would not confirm that it was connected to the murder.

I am concerned that the local elementary school very close to the lagoon was not put on lockdown.

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My friend finally texted me back and confirmed that it was her neighbor who had been murdered, someone with whom she had dinner just a couple nights ago.

We are all waiting for more information, but I wanted to post what I have initially learned, and will update as more details are released.

This doesn’t happen in Carlsbad. But it does. Even though it shouldn’t. And if it can happen here, it can happen anywhere.

Please be extra careful, friends, and look out for your neighbors

Statement from Carlsbad Police Department:

Update – Two Arrested for Homicide on Outrigger Lane

CARLSBAD, Calif – Update – “The Police Department shares the communities’ concern over such a tragic incident,” stated Police Chief Neil Gallucci. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim’s family.”

It is important for the community to know that, with the assistance of the community, investigators have made arrests in association with the Outrigger Lane incident.  The suspects were arrested in the 4800 block of Park Drive.

The suspects are identified as 37-year-old Ian Bushee and 26-year-old Malissa James, both transients.  Bushee and James are both on probation in San Bernardino for residential burglary.

Bushee was arrested for Homicide, Burglary, Conspiracy, Auto Theft and Accessory after the Fact. James was arrested for Homicide, Burglary, Conspiracy and Auto Theft. Both will be booked into the Vista Detention Facility.

At this time, investigators believe there are no additional suspects. The investigation is ongoing.

If a community member has additional information about the incident, they are asked to call the Police Department at 760-931-2197.

The department would like to help the community cope with the concern caused by this incident. Most residents know, Carlsbad has always had one of the lowest violent crime rates in the county.

A last note from Chief Gallucci, “Be certain, officers are out-and-about patrolling our neighborhoods 24/7 and are just a phone call away. Call us if you need us. We are all a part of the community of Carlsbad.”

A little research revealed more info on the suspects…

April 12, 2018T

wo transients — including one who authorities say tried to discard a sock containing $70,000 worth of valuable coins — were arrested after an Upland-area homeowner walked in on a burglary.

The incident happened Tuesday, April 10, in the 2600 block of North Mountain Avenue in San Antonio Heights, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said.

The burglars, after being confronted by the resident, fled with thousands of dollars worth of jewelry and electronics. Deputies identified the burglars as transients known to them, Ian Forrester Bushee, 36, and Malissa Deanna James, 25.

More at: https://www.dailybulletin.com/2018/04/12/burglars-arrested-with-70000-in-coins-in-a-sock-near-upland/