Colorado · Documentary

Murder Porn

I’ve been sucked into an endless marathon of murder porn. I tried watching documentaries about historical events, or literary figures, or food, but my brain wants crime. The rhyme & reason behind the full English breakfast is nowhere near as interesting as the sordid details of the BTK Killer case, or all of Henry Lee Lucas’ false confessions.

Chalk-Scene-Murder

I’ve always been fascinated by crime, and criminals, whether in detective stories, films, or on television, and I even considered studying criminal psychology. (There is too much math involved in any kind of psych degree for me, so I stuck with books.) I’ve read my fair share of true crime books, and am a big fan of Ann Rule. These days, it’s documentaries, though. I stumbled across the website DocumentaryAddict.com a few months ago, and have been going back ever since. They have a wide variety of programs, ranging from episodes of crime television shows, to award-winning documentaries. Back when I had a television, I watched several of these crime programs on a semi-regular basis, along with shows like ‘Law & Order: CI’, ‘Bones’, and ‘Rizzoli & Isles’. (These days, I do everything online.) However, I can’t remember ever seeing an episode of any fictional show that got under my skin the way some of these real life programs have.

 

I’ve learned about an 11-year-old girl in England who murdered two little boys; she was convicted, but they didn’t know where to send her! So she spent 12 years in a state school, getting therapy & an education, then did 12 more years in a women’s prison. She was released, and has led a normal, happy life since then, apparently. I share a house with an eleven-year-old, and even at his worst, I cannot imagine him killing anyone! Then, there was the man who lived in my home town, Grand Junction, Colorado. He called 911, saying his wife and daughter were missing, and that there was blood in the master bedroom; he claimed that this was how he found things when he returned home from work. After nearly a year of investigation, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department (which includes some folks I know!) found this poor woman’s body buried in the landfill. Her husband had shot her in the head while she slept, then put her in the trash compactor at the plant he managed; they never found the little girl. It was heartbreaking, and at the same time, made me very proud of my home town; dozens of people gave their time to comb the desert and foothills around Grand Junction, looking for them, and spent weeks sifting through garbage, all for people they didn’t even know. There are stories of women who kill for a baby, literally. Stories of truly evil mothers-in-law, who go after their daughters-in-law with guns, knives, and in  one case, run her down with the car! (I want to take this moment to say that my former mother-in-law is not in this category. No way, no how.)  And these aren’t even the BIG serial killer cases! These are just “normal” people. Well, not the girl from England. Not any of them, really.

One of the first things I watched was about some great unsolved cases in history. Among them were Jimmy Hoffa, the Black Dahlia, JonBenet Ramsey, and Adam Walsh. Watching the Adam Walsh story reminded me of what an amazing thing John Walsh has done; he has taken a tragedy, something that easily could have destroyed his family, and turned it into something good. He & his wife were instrumental in getting the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children  going, as well as getting the Child Protection and Safety Act passed. His work on America’s Most Wanted led to the capture of over a thousand criminals. It’s said that the show has captured more criminals than it has aired episodes! John Walsh is a hero.

 

Colorado · Facebook · finances · goals · Portland · resolve · seizures · writing

First Step

After months of being unsure about what to do with the next in my life, a Facebook post on conversation with an old friend has clarified some things. I know what I’m doing next. Kind of.

Yesterday, my friend Elissa, who I’ve known since wee both were students at what was then Mesa College in our hometown of Grand Junction,  posted that she’s thinking of opening a school. After five years of saying no to God’s prodding, she’s saying yes. She called, and we talked about it, and about the possibilities of my joining her in this venture (along with the reasons for the school, which I won’t get into, because that’s her story, not mine), and somehow, we got into a discussion about my returning to school for my Master’s degree.

I have a BA in English, and a few years ago, right after my divorce, I began classes for the graduate program in Early Childhood Education at Portland State University. I enjoyed the classes, but I was very nervous about taking the test required for actual admittance, and my financial aid was shaky. So I quit. (I’ve quit a lot of things in my life; it’s a pattern I’m not proud of, one I’m trying to change.)

I always loved being in school, and I miss it. If you look at my college transcripts, that’s obvious: I studied at three different schools, changed my major a number of times, and took ten years to finally graduate! Then I took courses at two community colleges later!  Up until the last four years, I’d spent most of my life in a classroom of some sorts, either as a student or a teacher. No wonder I’ve felt so lost these last few years; I’ve away from my native soil!

With a Master’s degree in ECE, and all my years of teaching experience, I could qualify as a Director of a preschool, which would be pretty nifty. I’ve not made a decision yet what degree to pursue, just that I’m going to do it.It’s at least the beginning of a plan. Taking a step forward in my life, even if it’s a baby step.And oddly enough, I’m not scared at all this time.

God will put me where He wants me to be, doing what He wants me to do. I’ve always believed He had a plan for me, that He was watching over me for some reason, and I’m pretty sure that sitting in this chair watching Golden Girls reruns isn’t it. He kept me safe – well, alive, anyway – through all those seizures, and accidents caused by seizures – car accidents, falls in the shower, tumbles down stairs,  all that crap –  and I don’t think it was so I could end up sitting around, doing nothing, wishing for a different life, making no impact on the world around me, or even the world within me. He didn’t create me to be this barren landscape.

breast cancer · Colorado · exercise · goals · lemons · lessons · Michele · New Year · pain · realizations · Sarah Palin · Shel · Steven · yoga

Lemons and Lessons

I have to say, I’m not sorry 2010 is over. In many ways, that year sucked, big time.
I spent most of the year in pain with migraines, and various other things. As well, money was nearly non-existent, after Steven was injured at work, and then lost his job. By the end of the year, we had to move from our two-bedroom apartment into a much smaller one-bedroom, along with all our stuff, and the three animals. Instead of saving us money, we ended up owing our landlord for fees.
It seemed as if every time I turned around, 2010 was bitch-slapping me with another bit of bad news. I dreaded turning on the news, for fear I’d hear of another oil spill, hurricane or tornado, or god-forbid, a massive lay-off somewhere! Everyone I know has struggled through, either battling health issues, financial problems, or both. An optimists nightmare. I’m a glass half-full girl, but it was difficult to keep the glass from shattering during 2010.
But. (Yes, there is always a “but”)
Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.
Which means that in even though many things were awful, there were also many learning moments. I’ve learned that even when I have pain, I don’t have to be one. (I can thank Sarah Palin & Kate Gosselin for that lesson, in part. Never thought I’d be thanking them for anything!)
I’ve learned that if you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up. For me, that means if I want to accomplish anything, I have to get dressed, not spend the day in my pajamas, and actually leave the apartment. They say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we do it daily. My sister’s advice about building a habit in fourteen days was one of the best things I learned all year! (Thanks, Jolene!)
There were also many good moments in 2010, and I would be wrong if I neglected to mention them. After almost a decade apart, my best friend, Michele and I were finally in the same place at the same time, and our visit was AWESOME! She’s been battling breast cancer up there in the frozen north, and I’ve been missing her down here, so just being together in our home town, with her entire family, her wonderful kids & husband, was the highlight of my year. For a while I was able to forget everything else and just be happy. We talked, laughed, ate, shopped, cried, ate, laughed, giggled, and sang old Barry Manilow songs. We even stood in front of the mirror & did each other’s hair, just like the old days! Sharing the beauty of western Colorado with Steven was fabulous, too!
My nephew Max started first grade, was in three plays this year, and as far as he’s concerned, he was the star of each! Max and Steven have become good friends, and every time I hear Maxie call out “Uncle Steven!” in that joyous voice, my heart lifts!
Max’s big sister, Hattie Jo, turned 17 this year, and is amazing! Hattie is the girl I’d want if I had a daughter–she’s smart, funny, polite, and talented, beautiful. She’s a lot like me. Hattie has been my friend since she was born, and I love watching her grow into such an incredible woman.
Anyway. I’m rambling. This rough year has helped me to see how important my loved ones are. Memories and moments. Lessons and…something else that starts with an “s”…lemons?
Sure. Lessons and lemons. Because when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. And add some vodka. Then you have a party!!
I don’t make resolutions anymore– I learned a long time ago that I break those quicker than I break eggs for breakfast. I do set goals, and I’d like to share a few of them with you.
In 2011:
Re-read one favorite book a month, and write about it.
Make a scrapbook for my nephew Max.
Write a blog post twice a week.
Practice yoga daily.
Learn Vancouver’s bus system.
Volunteer.
Read more; watch television less.
Exercise more.
Express my gratitude daily.
So there you have it. My goals for 2011. I’m hoping this bright, shiny new year will be a better one for all of us, with little fear of shattering glass, or throwing those lemons at anybody’s head! Happy New Year, everyone!