Yesterday was not Tuesday

Yeah, so I put up the missing person of the week yesterday cause I spent the entire day under the mistaken impression that it was Tuesday. It was not Tuesday. It was Monday. My apologies.

And my brain is still broken apparently cause I just took the trash to the curb under the impression that today is Wednesday and trash pickup is tomorrow. It is not Wednesday. Oh well.

I haven’t felt very well lately. I know what’s going on — I’ve just hit the depression cyclce in my bipolar-ness, that’s all — and I know that nothing is really wrong, that all the problems I am worrying about were the same problems I had last week and the week before that, that this terrible feeling will eventually cycle back up. But it doesn’t make me feel any less terrible. My feelings don’t care about the facts.

Later this month is the missing persons event in Wisconsin that I go to. Obviously the event in 2020 was canceled, and last year’s was a virtual event, so I haven’t been since 2019. I am really looking forward to this one, not only cause it’s been a few years but also because this is the first time my husband will be accompanying me to one of these events.

It’s on April 23, at the Brown County Sheriff’s Office, between 1:00 and 4:00 p.m. Maybe I’ll see some of you there.

I hope all of you are doing well.

Taking a rain check

Yeah, so I’m sick.

It was a massive Weekend of Suck. Horribly sick on Saturday. Horribly sick on Sunday. Maybe I’m not horribly sick anymore, I’m not sure. I thought I was better yesterday at this time but then I became horribly sick again later in the afternoon. No, it’s not covid. My husband took me to Urgent Care for medical attention and they gave me a covid test and some medicine.

I’m talking about “going back and forth between bed and bathroom for two days too miserable to care that both you and the bedclothes are soiled” sick.

My kitten, Viola, has developed a persistent peeing-in-the-hooman-bed problem. (I do not need advice. We are working with a vet and trying to fix the issue as quickly as possible.) She peed on me 3+ times over the weekend and I was too sick and exhausted to care.

Right now I no longer feel sick, but I do feel very tired. And I can’t even go back to bed because I finally felt good enough to get up and start washing all the bedclothes down to the bottom sheet. Right now the first and second loads of bedding are in the machines and the bed is covered with piddle pads cause I’m not sure our mattress protector could hold a large direct hit from Viola.

Anyway, obviously I got no work done over the weekend and I highly doubt I’m going to get any work done today. I MIGHT go out and pick up a prescription refill if I feel good enough.

As far as the Vehicle Change goes, the change is now integrated into the letters A, B, E, I, O, Q, U, V, X, Y, and Z. I just finished B before I became sick.

Home again, exhausted

So I was away for a bit cause my dad to have his thyroid gland removed at a hospital several hours away from our respective homes and I went with him to help out. Everything went fine in the surgery but they made him stay overnight, basically cause he’s old. So I had to stay overnight in a nearby hotel. They don’t let you camp in the waiting room anymore cause covid.

Dad has, or had, an extremely indolent form of thyroid cancer. So minor that for the past ten years he’s left it untreated because it was not causing any issues at all so why fix it? But the cancer did eventually start messing with his thyroid hormones so they decided to yank the whole gland out, cancer and all. As it had (still) not spread, no further treatment is necessary. Just replacement thyroid hormone medicine.

I’ve got a vested interest in all this because there’s a significant chance the same thing is going to happen to me. Dad’s cancer is caused by a genetic issue and there’s a 50% chance I’ve inherited the bad gene too. And if I did, there’s a nearly 100% chance that I too will get thyroid cancer, unless I have my thyroid removed before it can get sick. In fact, as this illness usually occurs in young people, I might have it already and might have had it for years, like Dad did.

Dad’s cancer is so ridiculously wimpy and pathetic that I’m not terribly concerned about my having possibly inherited the cancer gene, but I need to have a screening done anyway.

In other news, a woman is threatening to sue me for supposedly libeling her father, which I really don’t understand because the woman and the Charley Project are pretty much in agreement as to the facts of the case. In fact I’m not 100% sure she’s even actually read the casefile cause she’s wasting her time emailing me the story, the details of which I know already, having already written them all on the Charley Project. Sigh.

You’d be surprised how often this sort of thing happens.

In the Nguyen family case there is news: they have identified Stephanie, the mom, but there’s no indication as to what happened to either of the two kids. I don’t see this as good news; in fact from my perspective it’s almost worse than finding nothing at all.

The family is still stuck in limbo, wondering if the kids were in the car when it went in, or if she did something else with them. It seems likely that they WERE in the car and are still in the river somewhere. But there’s no proof of that. The case might remain unsolved forever.

I’m exhausted. I didn’t get much sleep or eat much of anything while I was gone. I came home to the discovery that our new kitten, Viola, had made a mess, and I was almost too tired to care, but I cleaned it up.

See y’all tomorrow.

Books of 2021

So I read exactly 200 books last year. On the evening of December 31 I realized I’d gotten up to 199 books so I grabbed a collection of quotes I had lying around on my Kindle and read that. Squeaked just over the line.

Mostly my books were about the Holocaust, true crime and history. There were only a few novels. I got really interested in the Jonestown tragedy and read six books about it, including a few by survivors, and learned it was not what I thought it had been. The Jonestown victims weren’t brainwashed cultists, more like terrified concentration camp inmates. And many of them didn’t want to drink the poison but were forced to do so.

If you want to learn more about it I particularly recommend Raven: The Untold Story of the Rev. Jim Jones and His People by Tim Reiterman (who was one of the survivors from the airstrip) and A Thousand Lives: The Untold Story of Hope, Deception, and Survival at Jonestown by Julia Scheeres.

Some other notable titles I read last year, in no particular order:

Fred & Rose: The Full Story of Fred and Rose West and the Gloucester House of Horrors by Howard Sounes. It was very detailed and had some interesting insights into the relationship between Fred and Rose themselves. The 25th-anniversary afterword also had some shocking info that hadn’t been released earlier because legal stuff.

Somebody’s Mother, Somebody’s Daughter: True Stories from Victims and Survivors of the Yorkshire Ripper by Carol Ann Lee. Peter Sutcliffe’s victims are basically seen as faceless “prostitutes” in the media, but this book makes them into real people again, and debunks a lot of myths about the case. Netflix did a limited series on the case that I would recommend in conjunction with this book.

The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper’s Victims by Robert Hume. He did original historical research into the victims’ lives, instead of just going back and repeating the same stuff a thousand other JTR books have said. I don’t necessarily agree with Hume’s conclusions about the victims’ lives, but I loved learning about their lives and was impressed by how much information he was able to dig up.

The Kindertransport: Contesting Memory by Jennifer Craig-Norton. Another mythbuster. The Kindertransport was an organized effort to bring about 10,000 children, mostly Jews, out of Nazi Germany to the safety of Great Britain. Most Holocaust books emphasize how grateful the children were for the opportunity and how the UK offered themselves as a sanctuary when no other country would. This book, however, gets into the weeds of what the Kindertransport kids actually experienced, and it was not all sunshine and rainbows after their arrival in the UK.

Wearing the Letter P: Polish Women as Forced Laborers in Nazi Germany, 1939-1945 by Sophie Hodorowicz Knab. I had known that Germany forced a lot of Polish people to become slave labor in German factories and on farms during World War II, and that these people were frequently mistreated, but I hadn’t realized until I read this book just HOW bad the Polish slave laborers had it.

They Went Left by Monica Hesse. One of the few novels I read this year. It’s about an eighteen-year-old Polish-Jewish girl who was just liberated from a concentration camp and is trying to find her younger brother. It was definitely a page turner and I liked the author’s use of an occasionally unreliable narrator: the girl was so traumatized by her Holocaust experience that she had a nervous breakdown and sometimes can’t tell what’s real and what’s not.

John George Haigh, the Acid-Bath Murderer: A Portrait of a Serial Killer and His Victims by Jonathan Oates. I don’t know if there was ever a full-length book written on Haigh before, but I appreciated the depth of detail in this one. I also liked how he looked into the victims’ lives also. Before I read this book I knew basically nothing about them, except their names.

Absolute Madness: A True Story of a Serial Killer, Race, and a City Divided by Catherine Pelonero. The story of a fairly obscure serial killer in Buffalo, New York, who turned out to be… not what people expected him to be. It’s kind of told in real time as the investigation progresses, so you don’t really know much more than the police do, and you follow them as they chase dead ends.

Mud Sweeter than Honey: Voices of Communist Albania by Margo Rejmer. Before reading this I knew very little about Albania and less still about what it was like there during the Communist era. This book, an oral history, was definitely enlightening. I had read quite a bit about Stalin’s Russia and knew THAT was not exactly terrific, but Stalin’s Russia was a paradise compared to Hoxha’s Albania. Hoxha’s Albania has a lot more in common with North Korea than it did the Soviet Union.

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe. Please get vaccinated for covid. If you have already been vaccinated, please get a booster. I don’t want any of my blog readers to die on me. Whether you are vaccinated or not, please wear a mask if in a public indoor place. And not a cloth one; a single layer of cloth isn’t going to provide much protection. Surgical masks are cheap and widely available. I myself wear KN95s, which are not as cheap but provide a lot more protection.

My husband and I are doing well. We have a four-month-old kitten; we got her at the animal shelter in November. Her name is Viola and she is adorable and loves snuggles. We walked into the room where the kittens were and she flung herself against the side of her cage and SCREAMED at us until we agreed to adopt her.

Oh, and a heads-up: in mid-January I will be absent for a few days. My dad is having surgery and I have agreed to drive him to and from the hospital (it’s like three hours one way) and to take care of him after the surgery until he can see to himself.

Something happened

Yeah, so I was absent for a bit. I was super depressed and spent a lot of time sleeping. A lot of it was my pets dying one after another like that but there was more to it.

So my husband, as I’ve mentioned a few times, was teaching math at a residential school for children with severe emotional/behavioral problems. He taught there for a couple of years, up until June this year.

In June a former student made a false accusation of abuse against Michael, even contacting me over social media to gloat about it. Laugh emojis and all.

This led to him quitting his job. It was a “last straw” sort of thing: it was a high stress job, he risked his life teaching in-person through the entire pandemic, he’d had chairs thrown at him, he wasn’t paid well, and now a girl is making up stories about him and even contacting his wife? The heck with this job.

Since June, when this all happened, we have been waiting for the child protection people to investigate the girl’s allegation and render a verdict. Well, they finally have: unsubstantiated. Meaning Michael is found not guilty. Which is what we expected.

The girl was, apparently, not happy when she found out CPS didn’t believe her, because she went on a bit of a rampage. She repeatedly tried to contact both Michael and me through Facebook, Instagram and email. Although we blocked her immediately, she had multiple accounts she used to harass us. She threatened to destroy my reputation and destroy the Charley Project, in spite of the fact that I’ve done nothing to her and the Charley Project is a good thing that my husband has very little involvement with.

Then she posted a bunch of faked screenshots on Michael’s and my own social media accounts, trying to “expose” us for a crime that never occurred. She also contacted some Facebook friends of mine with the screenshots, and posted some on the Charley Project’s Facebook page (which I deleted). I had to call my entire family and tell them what was going on in case she got to them too.

She seems to have given up for now but I have a feeling she might come back. We’ve filed a harassment report with the police and are looking into getting a restraining order.

Anyway. It was an awful time and I was afraid she would come to our house, afraid her lies would be believed, afraid of a lot of things. On top of Kinsey and Carmen passing away it kind of hit me like a freight train.

So I’ve decided that, if this disturbed child does start tantruming and making allegations again, I wanted to get what actually happened out in the open.

I’m very sorry for causing people to worry. I just couldn’t do anything for awhile, could barely get out of bed.

Barring anything else awful happening, expect things to resume as normal on Monday. Probably not Sunday because I was out all day today and I’m exhausted and will probably sleep in the morning and have some plans for the evening.

It never rains but it pours

So as I noted in the previous entry, last week on Tuesday my dog Kinsey was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure and we made the decision to let her go on Friday. We took a few days to spoil her and prepare ourselves.

It was like Kinsey understood what the vet was saying, cause after we took her home on Tuesday she got very sick very fast. She had been pretty crotchety before but suddenly she couldn’t walk at all without help, often couldn’t even stand up on her own without a push from me.

I stayed up for 48 hours straight in her last days because she kept trying to walk places, getting stuck and becoming extremely distressed. I don’t know if she was in pain but she was frustrated and confused.

So on Friday we cooked a steak for Kinsey and after that the vet came over. It was very hard to say goodbye to her but Michael and I were 120% sure it was the right thing for Kinsey. It would have been cruel to make her wait any longer. She would have been 17 in a few weeks.

During this time I noticed Carmen, one of our two cats, was acting grumpy and distant and was off her food. Initially we thought she was just stressed cause of the situation. But this morning, on further reflection, I decided she probably had a urinary tract infection and so I took her to the vet’s.

The vet confirmed a UTI but also noticed some other alarming things and did some tests and x-rays. It turned out Carmen’s kidneys and liver were failing and she had a mass on her abdomen that was probably cancer. The vet pretty much said there was nothing to be done.

I called Michael and he came over and Carmen went peacefully to sleep with us holding her. She was only twelve.

Two of our three beloved pets are gone in just a few days. Both of them often kept me company while I worked on cases.

I still plan to resume updates etc tomorrow. No point just sitting around wallowing in grief.

It’ll feel so strange, working in my office with just one cat hanging around.

Everyone has been so supportive and I want to thank all of you. I love you guys more than you know.

Not sure if there will be any updates till the weekend

I got some terrible news today. I had noticed some alarming signs in my dog Kinsey and took her to the vet this morning to see what was going on. The vet says her kidneys are giving out; her creatinine level is sky-high. She’s lost ten pounds since her senior wellness visit in July (she weighed about 60 pounds then, so this is a really huge loss) and the vet reckons it’s because she feels really awful and not much like eating her kibble. Though she still begs for people food.

My husband and I have decided to say goodbye to her on Friday. I know this is the right decision for Kinsey: she’s old, she’s tired, she’s sick and she’s not going to get better. But we are absolutely broken-hearted about it. She is such a great dog and has really been a blessing to me in particular; having her depending on me has often helped me when I’m feeling really depressed and useless.

Until Friday we are going to love her and spoil her like never before. Fluffle her ears, scritch her chest, snuggles, and all the people food and puppy treats she wants to eat. We’re going to make her a nice steak. And just before her final car ride, we’re going to give her chocolate.

Kinsey would have been seventeen in November. I know since she’s been with us she’s had a very good life, much better than before. I know she knows we love her. But saying goodbye is so hard.

So I might go quiet for a few days.

I wish someone (not me) would take a look at these people

I listen to Small Town Murder every week and last week’s episode (that is, the most recent one) was about a whole family of, basically, serial killers. Two generations of people, traveling around the country with little kids (the third generation), robbing and murdering everywhere they went. The primary offenders were Sherman Ramon McCrary, his son Dennis Taylor and his son-in-law Carl Taylor; their wives and the grandkids were just along for the ride. I think the oldest of the grandkids was only like six years old or so, so not in a position to stop what was going on or tell anyone about it.

They liked to target small businesses where women were working alone; they had a particular fondness for donut shops. They would rob the business (usually not getting much cash), abduct the women, take them to some out-of-the-way spot, rape them, kill them and dump the bodies. (The wives were present, and aware of what was going on, but didn’t do anything to stop it. Love, they said.) The family is believed to have been responsible for 23 deaths. At least, that’s how many they could tie to one particular gun. They were finally caught in 1971.

The podcasters, and I also, think it’s likely the family could be responsible for other murders besides those 23. I have to wonder if they could be responsible for any of the cases on the Charley Project.

On the face of it, it seems unlikely cause these people didn’t make much of an effort to hide the bodies of the people they’d killed. For example, in the murder of Leora Rose Looney, the only one they were actually charged with, they just dumped her in a field without attempting burial or anything like that.

But I think it’s not impossible that they’ve killed people who haven’t been found, and possibly people who have been found but haven’t been identified. Someone ought to look into this. Like, track the family’s road trip across the country, and check for news articles wherever they were at, to see if anyone has disappeared or turned up murdered.

From what the podcast said, only Carl Taylor and his wife are still alive, and Carl is in his eighties (and still in prison; the wife turned state’s evidence and wasn’t kept locked up long). So there isn’t a lot of time left here.

So… Websleuths? Anyone?

I hope everybody is doing okay. I’m not doing okay. Bipolar is bipolar, and even while stable and on meds I find myself having downswings. Right now my depression level is pretty bad and it’s really hard to get anything done. I just want to sit in bed and watch stupid YouTube stuff all day. For this past weekend that’s pretty much all I did, and it didn’t help. It never does.

I saw my therapist today and spent most of our allotted time ranting about how selfish everyone in the world is. But the world was just as selfish earlier this month when I wrote “I am very happy and satisfied with my current life circumstances.” I know it’s just the chemicals in my head acting up and it’ll pass, but that doesn’t do anything for my current emotional pain.

I forced myself to put in a small update today but it was very difficult for me. I’m still having trouble with WordPress. I had fixed the earlier glitch by resetting my browser to its default settings; well, every time I change the settings, I have to reset them to default again before I can update. Logged out of everything I’m in, no browser extensions going, etc. And I kind of liked the (non-default) settings I had and would like to keep them. But that’s technology; it is mysterious to me.

Hoping to get some updates in today, we’ll see

Started work on updating cases only to find some technical glitch is getting in the way of everything. For some reason none of the changes I make to the “details of disappearance” section of the casefile forms are going through. I’ll change the details, save the case, and the details go back to being what they were before.

Here’s to hoping my designer works this out and I can get to at least some of it later today. But as of the moment there’s no point in trying to get any work done.

I hope everyone is doing well. Michael and I went to see The Hu last week — our first event since the Delta variant came to the US, kicked off its shoes, had a seat and decided to stay awhile. We masked up, had a great time and avoided getting sick. I had never seen The Hu before. We were supposed to see them perform in April 2020, but, well…

I’ve been getting a lot of reading done. I am very happy and satisfied with my current life circumstances, in spite of the problems in the world.

Well, this is terrible

As everybody has probably heard already, the rape conviction against Bill Cosby was overturned and he’s been released from prison. Since it was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, I don’t think the prosecution can appeal this ruling — there’s no higher court to go to — and I don’t think they can charge him again either, at least not in that particular case. Cosby is very old, blind and in poor health anyway, and he’s not likely to live through another trial even if more charges are laid against him.

Now, I think I understand why the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled as it did. Basically it boils down to the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, which grants people the right to avoid self-incrimination.

As simply as I can explain it: Cosby confessed to crimes in civil court, under an agreement by a previous prosecutor that this confession would not be used against him in criminal court. That prosecutor is gone now, and it was another who prosecuted Cosby and used his civil court statement against him. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided that this violated Cosby’s Fifth Amendment rights and should not have happened. The Fifth Amendment, like all Constitution rights, applies to terrible humans as well as good ones.

In other words, this was a legit legal error, and they had to give it to him because that’s how the law is supposed to be. This is not a vindication of Cosby; it does not mean he is factually innocent. But he is now LEGALLY innocent despite like 60-some women having accused him. I understand the law but I am angry and sick at heart.

I met one of Cosby’s victims at CrimeCon. She was there to give a talk, like me. We ran into each other in the speakers’ lounge and spoke as one rape victim to another. I’m sure she’s a mess right now, poor lady. I’m sure a lot of rape victims, and not just Cosby’s, are a mess today.

In other news, the elderly mother of a friend of mine from college has been missing for almost a month. I feel super bad for my friend (she’s the one who did the interview in the article). Of course she’s beside herself with worry. She asked for my help, and I provided her with referrals to some resources, but I felt a bit at loose ends myself since I don’t work with cases this “new”. (Mind you, the case is already in a rare category for having gone as long as it has; about 90% of missing persons cases are resolved within a week.)

I really hope my friend’s mom is found soon and I don’t have to put her on the Charley Project in eleven months and three days.