Welcome!

Welcome!

Many people have asked to read chapter excerpts from the book I am writing about Asha Veil and the crime which took her, and her unborn daughter, away forever. I have decided to create another blog for the specific purpose of posting chapters for my readers. Please click on the link and it will take you there.

ashaveilbook.blogspot.com



Sunday, July 05, 2015

Planetary

Just want to show my first attempt at photographing the night sky: Jupiter and Venus in their race around the sun, viewed close to the horizon, Santa Cruz, California.  Much more spectacular view "in person."




Saturday, July 04, 2015

The Upper Crust

Someone forwarded to me a post by m. and his friends mocking Southern accents as a sign of ignorance, with m. happily instigating that. Nice. It does not surprise me in the least. I could not have predicted that someone could display themselves as a more elitist and thoughtless boob than they have in the past, but I have been proved wrong yet again.

 I have no idea why an educated crowd  (peace-loving, New age, vegans and vegetarians) thinks such things are remotely funny, but it does show something I've long thought: Facebook has opened the world in marvelous ways, yet also has shown how often people swiftly and unquestioningly engage in knee-jerk reactions to things that prove to be half-truths, or not funny, or hoaxes. A recent hoax about McDonalds supposedly using french fry grease in their coffee provoked reactions such as "My God!  Why would they do that, those f-ing corporate BASTARDS!! There must be LAWS about the french fry grease!! We must gather and protest the french fry grease in our coffee!!!" Two minutes of research showed that the story was a hoax.  I mean, really...think about it...grease floats on liquid...hard to deceive people about that.  Some time ago, I decided to research every tidbit of information which crosses my path on Facebook before liking or commenting on it.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Stranger Sleep

Insomnia tonight, big-time. Cannot sleep at all.  Napped today, that's probably why.  So much to do tomorrow, and yet so little: a hair appointment for Thistle and me.  A search for loose change and dollar bills in the house because it is the end of the month and I have, as usual, little cash at this time and want to buy her an ice cream after her swim lessons.  CG might give me something, in fact said he would leave five dollars for me before he goes to work, but he will probably not remember. He is a good person who tends to float about in a world of his own; he forgets many things.  It is okay; there is plenty of change here, and my hairdresser will accept a post-dated check.   So it goes.  I am accepting of whatever position I need to occupy in this life, to make Thistle's life okay.  Her life is more important than my own.

Recently, I was very appreciative to see Asha's childhood home in photographs.
 She must have been an absolutely adorable little girl: I can almost see her at five or six.  She lived in a beautiful, magical house with a huge datura plant (aka Angel's Trumpet) in the backyard, yellow trumpets of flowers.  There is a huge expanse of grass in the back; it must be a meadow, with a stream bisecting it, and a little bridge, I think (not sure of the bridge because I don't have the picture in front of me).  There are amazing trees in the picture.  One looks like a cedar tree.  No wonder she loved the trees here, the mountains.  I was drawn to them because of the ugliness and urban landscape of my hometown in Los Angeles; surely she was drawn to this place because of the beauty of her childhood home.  She certainly carried an imprint of such beauty because she had grown up in it.  The place looks like a fairytale landscape; it is not hard to imagine a beautiful witch or wizard appearing next to the stream, promising to give out wishes.

She must have filled her days as a child in that backyard; I wonder what games she played, what she dreamed up in her imagination.  I have a picture of a view from her bedroom window that brought tears to my eyes; it looks out on the huge sweep of the meadow, trees, and stream.  What did she dream for herself, what life, when she looked out that window, perhaps thinking of what her life would be when she grew up.

She was the princess in that landscape.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Marilyn

As an aside from all the work on the book, I wanted to share a quote about Marilyn Monroe which I found in my book, An Unfinished Life: John Fitzgerald Kennedy.  The quote is on Marilyn's lack of self-esteem, despite the fact that she was an intelligent women and a terrific actor, though she was rarely given a role that really let her show her depth.

The quote is, "She held all the cards.  And she didn't know it."

I have to remember for myself that, despite what m. and many others might feel about me and those who do not really know me, that if life can be compared to a card game, I'm holding a pretty strong hand...and so do many, many women.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Magic Happened.

My little house in Lompico is very liveable now inside, though I need to start getting a coat of Kilz (a sealant which permanently destroys odors on surfaces such as wood) in all my kitchen cabinets and drawers, and probably the floor of the closet in the larger bedroom (it is a two-bedroom house).  They have that "old cabin" sort of musty smell and I want to get rid of it.  There are ceiling repairs that still need to be done and all the outside work, but I can spend time in the house and enjoy it.

I have not written much while at the house, though my desk has been ready for quite some time, and I have good lighting.  There is no Internet distraction there, taking me back to the first time I had the house.

For some time, I have been balking on my Asha Veil book.  I made a determination last night to do write in the quiet of my Lompico home, which I also have been avoiding..  I have to admit that when I am not writing, I believe very little in myself as a writer.  It is almost like magic happens when I put pen to paper (though I have not been able to handwrite for a year and a half, I am forcing myself to do so).

Last night, the magic happened.  It truly did.  I wrote a page.  I hope to write other pages tonight.

It is hard to tackle a difficult book such as this. It has taken everything out of me, but just as much is returned.

It has taken for me a magic environment, in a magical little house, for the magic to happen.  It is hard and harrowing magic...but magic, all the same.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Dylann Roof's Website

Of course Dylann Roof had a website. They nearly all seem to have something like this. Joseph Edward Duncan had a blog in which you could see him getting increasingly more deranged, and friends of his read it and commented on it, but did nothing to try and get him evaluated. I refuse to believe no one knew of Dylann Roof's website. I am sure there were at least some who did.

New York Times: Dylann Roof's website.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Gift of Guns

When I read of the church shooting in North Carolina, I wondered immediately if Dylann Roof had been in possession of a gun given to him by a parent or close relative.  It was an intuitive feeling, and it turned out to be true.

This is the second mass killing I personally know has been implemented by a gun given to the perpetrator by a parent.  Dylann Roof's father, who gave the gun to him on Dylann's birthday, had a personal responsiblity to NOT give a weapon to his son, whom he knew to be heavily drug-addicted, with increasingly and publicly violent ideation, and an arrest which was partially for erratic and frightening behavior. It is nauseating that a parent could be so blind.  It was like giving this person permission to kill.  In addition, the young man was ranting publicly for six months about killing people and starting a race war (reminds me of Charles Manson). Every person interviewed about this said, "I thought he was just kidding."  No one helped him, at all.

John Holmes, the "cinema shooter," expressed repeated ideation to his girlfriend about wanting to kill people. The girlfriend said, "I thought he was kidding, though I did suggest he seek therapy."

Adam Lanza, though very good at keeping his homicidal ideation to himself, had a mother who was the supreme enabler of all time.  She kept an arsenal of weapons in her home, at least two unlocked gun safes, and enough ammunition to singlehandedly start Armageddon.  She took her fragile, mentally ill son to shooting ranges for "bonding" and gave him a gun for a birthday present, which he duly used as one of the weapons in the Connecticut school shooting.  What was this mother thinking? She was his first victim, by the way.

When are people going to wake up to the idea that a person may NOT BE KIDDING when they express any form of homicidal ideation, especially when they do it repeatedly?  Even the ranters on the "vegan animal activist" sites, with their endless, sickening pictures and calls for social violence and the murder of non-vegans (yes, really, I often hear that "people who eat meat should choke on it, be killed in the way animals in slaughterhouses should be killed," etc.) concern me now.

What if someone there is actually serious about such things, or could break and do something irrational because they feel it is "right"?  There are all kinds of groups on social media, of every stripe, not just these "activists," who rant along these lines.  One has to think there are a handful of deeply imbalanced people posting on such sites, because they can blend in.  They may not even know they are imbalanced. Certainly viewing and posting gory, bloody pictures all day and ranting about death and violence has got to affect one's mind. When and how are we going to know that a person who speaks of killing another person is serious or when they are "just kidding" or "just exaggerating?"  Everyone described Dylann Roof as a nice, quiet kid.  I would bet there is social media or a website he posted on which is going to reveal at least a hint of the violence in his mind.

 I personally allow myself no more than two hours a day working with my true crime book (including visiting key sites around town), and then mentally visualize putting it all in a box and wrapping some string around it, and tying the string in a knot.  Then I make SURE to do something really positive: a walk in nature, hooping, playing with Thistle, singing, playing music.

I have also learned through  sad and hard experience that it is VERY wise to choose one's language.  This is one of many important things m. taught me, to watch  my words and think about my self-expression.  I never once heard him express any language that had to do with killing, hurting, etc., not even when he was very angry about something.  I always admired, and in fact still admire, his ability to choose wise speech. Yes, I have a few choice phrases of his that have replayed in my mind at times and are painful to remember, but mostly he engaged in wise and well-chosen words. Violent speech is addictive, and the way to avoid that is to simply make the effort not to do so.  The brain gets used to such things, but it is possible to reverse that with hard work and time.

 By the way, all the gun owners I personally know have extremely high standards of safety, and I am sure they are disgusted and heartsick at news stories such as the ones I cited.

I have no answers to any of this: no answers at all.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

About a House





I have worked so hard on my Lompico house.  This is a very dark and blurry photo, taken at night, of the kitchen and living room.  Sorry it's hard to see things, but it was eleven pm when I took the picture. The house is very spare and very neat and clean right now.  I like it that way: after too long of letting this little house get neglected, I want to care for it always. It is humble.  It is simple.  It's not a showpiece, but it's mine.  I wish I could have been more brave about m. being here, but there was some instinct I had.  I did not want to be mocked and made fun of, and it was what I feared.

Hard to see, but near the refrigerator, there is a little bookshelf by the wall, and next to the window, an antique maple table and chairs, with a teapot embossed with a sunflower, and salt and pepper shakers shaped like a tomato and an onion.  They are on a colorful dishtowel.  Nothing fancy.  In the dishrack are some of my grandmother's Franciscanware set, in the apple pattern.  I wish the photo showed a little more of how the house is responding to my care.

By the way, a lot of my wall decorations and other things are down as the walls are being prepped for painting, and my cleaning supplies and water are out.  And yes, there are mismatching covers on the old couch.  So it goes.  I do plan to get either a new couch or a nice slipcover.  My sister showed me how to put a slipcover on a couch; I had no idea such things existed.  I plan to get nice curtains once everything is painted.  Considering painting the kitchen in a warm color. 

I was too ashamed to show m. this place, because I was afraid he would have ridiculed me about it.  S., my boyfriend from long ago, used to work on the place. He never treated me badly over it; he loved me and wanted to help out, the way I helped him out so much with his girls and with acceptance of him, also.  He was a very compassionate man, an ICU nurse, and though we had a hard breakup, he checked up on me for literally years to see how I was doing; we still have short communications from time to time.  I had given him a beautiful Honey Pot yellow rose for his birthday because he once had a rose garden in another home and missed it.  After we broke up, he sent me photos of it in bloom, and told me it was beautiful  He wanted to see me again then, and I was still too angry. I don't think either of us really understood why we broke up, in the end.  So it goes.

At any rate, here is my house, humble as it is.  It will, in a few months, look better.  A couple of years ago, I had no idea how to tackle the task of cleaning and repairing it, inside and out.  Now I know that it is done in small steps, and one of those small steps is learning not to be ashamed. So many small steps later, and I am on my way to having a house I can be proud of.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Appreciation

I want to let people know that I am getting a great deal of pageviews on my other site for the true crime book I am writing.

I really do appreciate everyone who has viewed it so far, and have given me such support and encouragement.  As you can imagine, this is a very difficult book to write, and it is often a lonely task.  I have already seen the very best and the most courageous things a person can do, from Asha herself, to the people who knew her and, despite unimaginable grief, have spoken to me about her. 
I have learned how much every human being is precious.

This might sound odd given my rants a few days ago about some "vegan activists," whom I do not think are "bad" people, just horribly misguided souls who call people murderers just because they eat meat, or send forth a tide of horrid pictures every day on social media. I often think so many of these people have no idea what a murderer really is.  You want to really learn about a murderer?  Google "Michael McClish" and you will get more information than you ever wanted to know. 

Speaking of Mr. McClish, I did a drive by his house last night in order to try and figure out how the detectives surveilled him without being seen..  He was under surveillance within two days after Asha disappeared, and the detectives saw him washing his truck over and over, first by just using a garden hose and detergent a couple of times, then power-washing it and vacuuming the carpet repeatedly, focusing on the passenger side.  (TRIGGER ALERT HERE): this is why I have come to believe that he carried Asha's body in the passenger side of his truck and covered or wrapped her in a tarp to conceal her. It is easier hide someone, and get a person out of a passenger side than a truck bed.  Plus, some of Asha's DNA was found in the passenger side.

When I drove to his house, I saw very few places where you can park and watch the house without being seen, especially as the driveway curves and it would be hard to see someone washing a truck unless you were pretty much across the street.  I suppose I will learn more when I talk to the detectives, if they will speak to me.

At any rate, onward...

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Facebook Amusements

I have nearly five hundred friends on Facebook, so see posts which have been shared by others from time to time. In the past few days, I was amused (but saddened) to see a share where a woman suggested that a musician (whom I also dislike) kill themselves.  Her further comments indicated she was dead serious,  and my friend thought it was a good idea, too. Then, an hour later, she shared a maxim on compassion and congratulated herself for her highly evolved compassion for all beings.

Yeah, right. Personally, I don't crow about my great compassion because I myself have a lifetime of work to do on it, and compassion is a journey which involves self-scrutiny, another lifetime of work. I probably should not criticize but it is funny and sad at the same time.