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Found a great quote on Twitter today:

“…people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou

It doesn’t get more true than that.

Specifics fade or morph. They take on lives of their own. But in the end, what drives the things you say or do into another person’s soul like nails into the proverbial coffin are the feelings that resulted.

Good, bad and freak show ugly, what matters at the end of the day is how people feel.

Last evening a friend of Will’s mother contacted me on Facebook.  I haven’t heard from her in five years.  In fact, the last conversation we had concerned her calling on MIL’s behalf to inquire about Will’s burial.

Which I had not invited anyone to attend given the fact that his mother and friends hijacked his visitation and made it all about them and their loss.  Dee and I weren’t even afterthoughts.

At the time, this woman had been acting as a go-between for about six months.  MIL moved shortly before Will went into hospice and refused to allow anyone to tell me her new address or phone number.

And no, there wasn’t any trauma-rama incident that led up to my being persona non-grata.  She just hated me and preferred to let others talk to me and relay information to her.

In our last conversation, I told MIL’s friend that in the future MIL was to contact me herself if she needed information.  I wasn’t catering to her Queen of England fetish anymore.

Okay, I didn’t make the “Queen” comment but I was clear enough.

I didn’t hear from MIL for 8 months and last evening was the first I’d heard from her friend.

“I was searching for friends and thought I would try to find you. I am curious to see pictures of Will’s daughter to see how she is growing up.”

And yes, she referred to Dee as “Will’s daughter”.  I don’t imagine any of his friends remember that Dee is a separate entity with a name of her own.  She’s simply a legacy.

Some Facebook buddies responded to my slightly ranty status update bemoaning having been tracked down. They’d been there and advised using the various privacy tools to limit access to my personal page while still relaying information to interested parties about Dee.

But my sister, DNOS, was more to the point in her reply,

I wouldn’t Annie, you owe them nothing!!!! or completely block em!! It is time to end it!!! All they will do is bring you and everyone else misery!! I know that is mean but I had watch them and that is all I can say!!!!!Well I could say more but can not here.

DNOS is still a bit indignant on my behalf and she is a fierce mama tiger. It was all I could do to keep her from ripping his family and friends to shreds during the funeral.  She did lay waste to one of Will’s pool league buddies who wandered outside for a smoke and ran into her.  He, according to her account, “blubbered like a baby and boo-hoo’d about how he should have been there for Will. And I just gave him a look of disgust and told him he should have before I walked away.”*

My sister is a strong person.  She has no use for the weak, indecisive or those who look back on their poor behavior expecting sympathy. “Fuck ’em” is her motto. You have ample opportunity in life to stand up and be worthy in her opinion.  Regrets are for the useless.

MIL asked me once to forgive her for the slights, dishonesty, malicious attempts to undermine me with the staff at the nursing home and again at hospice.

But I can’t forget what the Social Worker at hospice told me after one such attack,

“She hates you. Be careful.”

I am not at all sure what prompted the friend’s request for photos. I messaged back that she should inquire with MIL for photo access as I have sent her pictures recently.  She replied with a “thank you” and not much more.  I suspect that MIL sent her looking for me on FB with the intent of gaining access to real-time information via my page.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the hunt has even led them to this blog or the others for which I have written.

I have enjoyed five years of pretty much total anonymity from Will’s family and friends on the Internet.  Longer than I should have expected but given their mercurial temperaments and historic lack of interest in how Dee or I was faring, perhaps it’s more of a surprise to be found at all.

I haven’t forgotten the feelings associated with dealing with a single one of them. I was the Cinderella of care-taking and then of widowhood, and I broke all manner of polite society (which is funnier if you know the people I am taking about) rules by moving on and eventually remarrying.

Gut instinct says this is first contact.

*On a side note, DNOS informed friend and MIL’s sister that no way in hell would they ever see Dee again after the funeral. I knew nothing about this exchange at the time. In fact, DNOS was under orders from me not to start anything with the in-laws, whom she held in great contempt for their failure to be much help. She especially disliked MIL for her antics while Will was in hospice and when we arrived at the funeral home to find that MIL and friends had set up camp and taken over, it was all I could do to hold DNOS back. I wasn’t in the mood for a Finnegan sort of wake.


Australia Day Fireworks

Image by Sam Ilić via Flickr

Top tenning is THE new year eve’s week thing to do in the blogosphere.  Mostly because bloggers need vacation time too.

Thanks to the wonderful tech team at WordPress’s need to constantly justify their paychecks, I have a plethora of data aggregating goodies to help keep track of posts by popularity.

So here are the top ten posts by page views at anniegirl1138 for the year we are about to bid adieu:

10) Brad Pitt shaved the scraggly thing off months ago, but it lives on in my post about goatees and dead husbands.

9) Though I’ve successfully steered my daughter away from the cash-grabbing universe of “dance” studios, my contempt remains. Remember the Single Ladies? 9 year olds hoochie dancing for the dirty old men who troll the Internet?

8) Although I wrote this ages ago and it’s true intent has been repeatedly misunderstood, Angelina’s non-weight problems continues to be a big draw.

7) Another oldie but goldie, Lisa Parker still pulls readers and comments.

6) It’s hardly the only Facebook Meme worthy of scorn (I ignored the equally awful Movember Movement), but breast cancer awareness meme’s, and pink ‘s co-option by Susan Komen for that matter, sparked a rant that people read.

5) Jennifer Petkov was another post that missed its mark but certainly got read.

4) I’d originally planned to write this for Care2, or maybe I did and it got rejected, regardless, young and dumb in America was a huge hit.

3) Jillian Michaels is a poor role model and apparently I am not the only one who thinks so.

2) Musing on my life of plenty.

1) And the biggest post of the year? Women with no basic understanding of dressing for body type.

“You know,” my husband observed as he glanced through this list, “not one of these posts is about your family … or me.”

“Can you believe that? ” I said, “No one wants to read about you guys.”

“I am dismayed, disappointed and disgusted, ” he replied, ” but not surprised.”

Nor am I.  My best stuff is usually not the most popular, but that is the bane of all bloggers.

I hope you enjoyed the year’s effort and will continue to read in the new year.


reiki cat

Leslie, my old college chum, sent me a message via Facebook not long ago asking if I would be interested in helping her out. She’s studying Healing Touch and needed to practice her distance healing.

Iowa to Alberta is a purty fer distance so it qualifies.

I’ve mentioned Les before. She has always been the most interesting and open to all things of my friends. Her training includes Reiki and she is at master level, but she is exploring Healing Touch too. Similar and yet not, it involves tapping the cosmic energy or the universe or God – whatever resonates most for you in order to wrap your understanding about what amounts to super-sensitive/charged beings manipulating life force to promote well-being, health and healing if necessary.

Do I believe in this?

Totally.  I can see the air after all. Multi-colored specs ripple all around me. I was probably five or six when I realized that not everyone could see them, and as it is hard to explain exactly what I see without alarming people, I learned to keep it to myself. It’s a bit like my useless talent for knowing when/if people will have children or not, or my daughter’s ability to dream snippets of her life in advance.

She took my “history” and asked about problem areas in much the same way a massage or physical therapist would and we set up a time.

This morning I experienced “healing touch” and I must say it is in no way magicky or new age. It was very much like massage in that it can be felt in an immediate and tangible way.

I’d explained to Les that my forearms were sore from yoga. The muscles are tight and they are one of the last remaining holdouts in my quest to liberate myself physically as the low back and hamstrings have long since surrendered to the void and my shoulder unknotted ages ago.

Quickly into the session, they warmed and began to feel as though wrapped in soft warm flannel or cotton casts.

Since my allergies are acting up, I asked her to focus on the sinuses too and throughout the session they drained. The fullness and pressure vanished and an intense flushing occurred.

When we talked later, she told me that she’d also done a lymphatic flush and mind clearing. The latter was truly interesting because close to the end of the session I was suddenly aware of a thin red line swirling around my head at eye level. It reminded me of the scanners at store check-outs, but instead of being a steady line, it gave the impression that it was shooting around my head.

Right now I am feeling a little wrung out. The lymph flush no doubt. Therapeutic massage has the same effect though it tends to lag about 24 hrs whereas this hit within hours. Not likely something that would happen if I were not battling allergies and had a good night’s sleep under my belt. Last night was fitful because I am not tolerating the sawdust. My eyes swelled and itch intolerably. Gogi berry caps are good but not decisive in quelling the histamine reaction entirely.

The past couple of days has given me a chance to gab girl-style in a way I haven’t been able to for quite a while. I am reminded again of my isolation living here without family and old friends. Though it is a ways off still, the planned trip to Iowa is welcome. I plan to take advantage of proximity and indulge in old ties.

Reiki and Healing Touch are not so far removed from my yoga training as they might sound. It’s all energy based. We are essentially bits of charged matter that decided for reasons unknown to take solid shape. My yoga teachers and my massage therapist talk about transference of energy in physical adjustments, and I was a public school teacher long enough to know that there is more than a bit of energy corralling and exchange going on in the pupil-teacher relationship.

That the distance healing could work was something I did not question though the intensity was a surprise. I didn’t expect it to be as immediate and intense. Of course, why wouldn’t it be? Energy is not confined in its pure form by time and space  (pardon my ignorance of physics here because I know there are rules).

I will try this again. I don’t want to abuse or presume on our friendship though. Like yoga, healing sessions should be remunerated as we value what we must pay for in some way more than what is just given to us even when it comes from a generous intention.


kosmic blogging in samsara

Image by ~C4Chaos via Flickr

I should be writing today. I told someone – okay, my editor – that I would. But I am not. I am dorking around while I have three stories waiting on me for the paid gig, but inspiration and desire to write eludes me.

So what do I do when I should be writing but I find it task-like and unappealing?

I spam my own Facebook feed with nonsense.

This is not productive and only serves to remind me that other people are more clever than I am … and have more work ethic. And are more mentally disturbed.

What happened to my work ethic?

Oh, right, I never really had any personally. It was just pragmatism disguised as productiveness.The curse of those born in the shadow of the Valley of the Boomers. We work hard when necessary but we prefer coasting. Just look at President Obama if you don’t believe me.

I was talking about my contribution to the household finances the other day with Jade, the owner of the yoga studio where I teach, I mentioned that Rob smiles fondly at me when I talk about my paycheck. That smile reserved for cute children and pets.

“Awwww … she’s so sweet when she thinks she’s contributing.”

Because monetarily, I am not so much.

My heavy lifting is kind of just that as I make the trains run like the house’s wife should – efficiently and looking quite fetching as I do so.

And it’s not as if my husband doesn’t give due credit or is anything other than appreciative. He just thinks my fixation on my money-making endeavors – the blog stuff in particular – is not worth my worry.

If I write and get paid – awesome, and if I slack, well, then I do. It’s not like the compensation is commensurate with the effort. And that’s the problem. I put in time for a token and though I am not creating a Huffpo empire for someone exactly, I am not creating much for myself either. I am an Internet content serf.

So, I vacillate. One month, I pour it on and the next? Meh.

I was asked recently when I was going to open my own yoga studio.

“No plans for that,” I said. I’d just spent a week holding down the fort for Jade while she was on her yoga cruise, and there is no glamour in running a studio – though the studio itself is glamorous  and I always get a little thrill when I open and close up. It has, frankly, a feeling of purpose that regurgitating news sans personal commentary doesn’t.

But I am not sure I am up to run a business on my own though it would be sort of awesome.

Or I could just go back to fiction writing and pretend that people read my blog.

Poised. I am in a constant state of poised. Where is the tipping point? Poised seems frozen and first runner-up.

If only patience was one of my virtues but then I would probably be a famous blogger if that were the case.


Christmas 1979, Northeast Philadelphia, PA

Image by jaycoxfilm via Flickr

With the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday nearly upon us and our little house on the Canadian prairie covered with snow, Christmas cannot be far off, and with the holidays comes massive doses of family dysfunction.

No sooner had the Facebook brouhaha with Rob’s younger brother Tyke settled into an awkward semi-silence than noises began emanating from Rob’s in-laws that could spell trouble for the holidays.

This comes on top of my mother-in-law’s future husband’s being targeted by a Canadian Border official with a bug up her butt.

But my family can be counted on to induce annoyance too.

As I was sitting at soccer practice Saturday morning , working on a short story when I suppose I should have been raptly worshipping the mini-me of my loins, Mom called.

In the old days of yore, whenever she called me at home and got the answering machine, she would immediately call my cell. Her use of my cell as a GPS was my chief reason for fighting my late husband’s insistence that I own a cell phone in the first place.

“You need this to be safe,” was his angle. Though truthfully, he just loved cell phones and loved the idea of us being just a transmitter tower away from each other when we weren’t physically together.

“My mother will use this to keep perpetual tabs on me,” I told him. “She will call just to chat, to vent and it won’t matter where I am or what I am doing.”

It wasn’t until the dang-it thing began interrupting us when we were out to dinner or shopping or just flitting about from here to there that he understood what I already knew about Mom.  He considered it a small price for me to pay so that he could call me during our mutual break times during the day.

Now though, Mom rarely deploys her tracking option – unless something is up.

“Have you talked to your sister?” she asked.

I had not and being asked if I had set off internal alerts.

“I’ve decided not to give any gifts to anyone but the little grand-kids this year,” she said.

And by “little” she means Dee and her cousin N2. Not N1, the nearly 17-year-old for whom it’s been Christmas for quite some time in terms of his Grandmother’s largess.

“Did you send us a check last year?” I asked.

Long ago my parents dispensed with the hassle of actual presents and just gave us money. One hundred dollars to be precise.

“I think so,” she said. “Didn’t you get it?”

Although I couldn’t remember at all, I assured her that we did indeed get it because I didn’t need her panicking and prowling through her check stubs from a year ago.

“It’s okay, Mom,” I said. “We don’t need a gift.”

“I’m just going to be all about me this year,” she explained. “It’s been Christmas all year for some and I think I should spend my money on myself.”

Hallelujah! I can’t recall how long I have been at her to simply spend her money on herself. The less she leaves behind, the easier my life will be as I am currently named in her will as the executor of the trusts she’s set up for my youngest siblings. I am all in favor of there being nothing to care-take.

“Did they take it well?” I meant my siblings and nephew.

“I’ve only told you and DNOS,” she said.

But they shouldn’t be surprised because she’s already cut them off from the nickel and dime fountain. Which is why she was really calling me.

Baby’s live-in common-law (I guess) mate, LawnMowerMan, is not happy. Baby is used to calling up Mom and nagging the occasional $20 or $30 out of her from time to time.

The money is for cigarettes mainly but given LawnMowerMan’s heavy drinking, I imagine she buys him booze as well when his paycheck runs short.

Cut off from easy pocket change and living so far below the poverty line that it likely isn’t clearly visible from their little pocket of have-nothingness, LMM has resorted to calling up Mom and harassing her again.

Whenever he is tired of Baby, and this usually happens when Baby is broke, he uses the phone in attempt to intimidate my mother.

He’s a violent man. He’s a drunk. And he has such a low stake in life that he doesn’t hesitate to use whatever means necessary to improve his tenuous grip.

DNOS has officially declared both our younger siblings “dead to her”. When things come up with either then, who’s Mom gonna call?

But what can I do from 1500 miles away and in another country?

After speaking with her, I tracked DNOS down later in the day and asked her to help Mom put a block on Baby’s home number and to look into re-keying the locks and making sure that only she, our mother and our aunt have access to the house.

It’s all I can do.

Oh, I could call Baby and read her the riot act but she has no control over that piece of shit she lives with and I would probably put her at risk if he were around when I phoned.

I am not afraid of the guy though I am keenly aware that he is capable of hurting just about anyone physically if he is inclined. I am hoping this blows over but as Rob pointed out:

“Of course it won’t.  As soon as we show up there in March, something will happen. We never visit that Baby isn’t at the center of some dysfunction or other.”

So, I may have simply postponed the shit splattering until I can take care of business in person.

Ah, can’t you just feel the holidays coming?


Reed Family Portrait

It’s no secret that I have little interest in my late husband’s family these days. Will happily threw them, mostly, under the bus to be a part of my family when we married. He assured me even before he met them that if our two families were to ever come together in the same room, mine would be the more civilized, more familial and less bat-shit crazy – no contest.

As his illness progressed and then after his death, his family proved less helpful and even more of a hindrance to progress – mine and Dee’s – than I expected and I pushed them that last curb jump into the transit traffic. All contact is conducted through Hallmark and a bi-annual stash of photos accompanied by a bare bones update on Dee.

And good riddance to them.

But then I married into more extended ties.  Rob brought not only his own family but Shelley’s to our union. And he too assured me that whatever the state of my gene pool, his was a cocktail fit for the trailer park.

Shelley’s family, who had more reason than any to not cotton to the idea of me, opened up the welcome wagon far more generously than many brides are ushered into the fold by their husband’s near and dear. Quirks in perspective, they have never been anything but kind and have graciously taken any issues they might have had directly to Rob and not out on me. I really could not praise them or be grateful enough for their efforts.

His immediate family, after the shock passed, have made tentative moves here and there. Rob’s mother has been most in our lives, a sweet gentle lady who life could have shown more kindnesses but who has risen remarkably above a bad marriage and disappointments that would have embittered many.

She is marrying again. I was not as shocked as Rob when she called to announce her engagement to an American she met on CatholicMatch.com a few months ago.

“When’s the wedding,” I asked.

“June sometime,” Rob said.

“Well, I hope Edie and Silver weren’t planning a June wedding,” I replied and earned his “La-la-la” look because he hates thinking about the reality of his oldest daughter’s quite probably impending nuptials. It makes him feel old in addition to forcing him to think about the fact that someone is sleeping with his daughter. I think that’s probably a dad thing.

It doesn’t help that he is turning fifty this coming year and a wedding with its accompanying threat of future grand-parenthood is just rubbing salt in his mortality issues.

But aside from June possibly being a hectic month for us next year, his mother’s wedding plans dredged up sibling issues.

I have met my sisters-in-law. LW, as you might remember, is widowed and quite mired in her childhood issues as well. Our first meeting involved me raking the lawn of her mother’s house, trying to help Rob get things cleaned up for its sale and their mother’s impending move to British Columbia, and as we worked, she followed me about regaling me with tales of how awful a parent their mom was.

I totally get having been parented in a manner that would horrify the uber parents of today. My own parents did their best but fell short in some critical areas here and there. Most notably would have been Dad’s alcoholism and Mom’s using us to try to change him. Did it screw me up? It left its marks. I struggled as a teen and young adult, but one day, in my early 30’s, I came to the conclusion that my parents – flawed and floundering as they sometimes were – loved me, wanted only joy for me, and if I was ever to have that joy, I had to let go off my hurts – real and imagined.

So I did. Life improved on a lot of fronts in the wake and I am glad I chose to move on.

LW? Not so much. Long story short – we only keep up with her via the Facebook status updates of her pregnant 15-year-old who, as nearly as we can tell, is in some sort of foster care right now. As we are not a receptive audience for her self-pity and self-righteous rage, she isn’t much interested in us either.

Shay is Rob’s other sister. I’ve met her too. She is a tiny woman who gives the impression that at any moment she might pounce on you. Tightly coiled and has led a harder life than most. But she makes an effort to stay in touch and has an attitude about letting sleeping dogs curl up in front of the Ghost of Christmas Past‘s hearth that matches Rob’s.

Tyke is my brother-in-law, and I have never met him. He is the pot-stirrer of the moment.

Rob posted old family photos of his family on Facebook recently. Usually, his family pics are really Shelley’s family pics. For obvious reasons, they are closest and more immediate, but he found some old photos taken of his parents at his wedding to Shelley and pictures of Tyke when he was little and put them up.

Tyke and Rob have a complicated relationship from Tyke’s point of view. They have no relationship at all from Rob’s.

Sixteen years separate them, and Rob was gone and married well before Tyke would have been able to form any solid, fact-based memories and opinions of his big brother.

For his part, Rob views Tyke from the distance that their ages naturally imposed on them. As Tyke was running wild, skipping school and getting into all manner of predicaments that resulted in their mother sending him to live with his dad, Rob was raising a family of his own and taking a squinty-eyed view of Tyke’s behavior.

Tyke commented on three of the photos Rob posted to his FB account. The first one was taken on Rob and Shelley’s wedding day by an unknown relative. It features his mother, father and mother-in-law.

“My,” I said, “look at the way your Dad is looking at your Mom. He’s obviously still in love with her.”

At this point in time, Rob’s mother had left his dad. My late father-in-law had trouble with alcohol and a temper that found its release all over Rob’s mother. She left him just two years earlier.

Shay’s teen daughter commented on that photo, amazed by her grandmother’s beauty. My mother-in-law has those exotic Hungarian features that grace Rob as well and a beautiful body for a woman who’d had four children and was in her early forties at the time.

MomInLaw replied, thank you, and Tyke commented that perhaps his niece was  brown-nosing a bit too much.

“What’s brown-nosing,” she replied. She’s sixteen and, let’s face it, that’s an archaic term.

Rob stepped in. Tempers sparked a bit.

Two other photos featured Tyke as either a toddler or a child. The picture of him with a handgun would only be disturbing if it were taken today. A boy with a gun in the wilds of the Canadian Prairies was not such a big deal in the 1980’s.

More comments. More sparks.

And then the bomb dropped, MomInLaw innocently remarked about her fiance and upcoming marriage … which she apparently forgot to tell Tyke about and forgot that she’d forgotten.

Tyke is a bit like my youngest sister, Baby. His blinkered view of the world confines him to mostly him. No one else’s issues – good, bad or indifferent – really get much consideration.

And to be fair, his life sucks. If being able to puke up the saddest tale of woe was a game show, he’d clean up.

He has no education. Seriously, none. Dropped out of the 8th grade. Worked roofing under the table for his ex-father-in-law until he was diagnosed with Lupus in his early 20’s. The disease attacked and destroyed his kidneys, so he’s been on dialysis for a number of years with not much hope of a transplant because his unrepentantly bad lifestyle choices have made him a “risk”. Translated that means the medical establishment doesn’t want to waste a good kidney on someone they are fairly certain will ruin it in short order.*

In addition, he is housebound due to the nightly dialysis. He can’t receive government disability because he never paid into the tax system and his ex-wife cuckolded him on Facebook of all places.

He has a lot of reasons to be angry … with himself, but like most people whose foolishness or willfulness have brought them to their days of reckoning decades too soon, he prefers to place blame on his family.

Rob is the favorite son and he is the loser. Rob got his great life handed to him while Tyke was foiled by one and all. Blah. Blah. Blah.

I have actually heard all this before. From my own younger brother, CB. More than once he’s compared our lives and accused me of having it “too easy”.

“Really?” I asked. “And which ‘easy’ were you envious of? The fact that I remained single until I was 34 or had to go through IVF to have a child or the fact that my husband died?”

“But you have a good job,” he stammered a bit, ” and a house.”

“I worked for those, remember. The whole going to college and wage slaving away thing?”

“Dad paid for your college though and he didn’t offer to help me.” Indignant now.

“I worked my way through school, and perhaps you’ve forgotten who funded your lost ski bum years while I was living off rice and beans as a teacher?”

Baby has similar delusions about the foundations of my awesome life.

As Tyke does of Rob.

But the thing that sticks most in Tyke’s craw is the fact that in spite of the fact that he’s been mean and mostly unlikable his entire life – no one in the family will volunteer to give him a kidney.

“Not one of you cares enough even to get tested to see if you match!”

But it’s not that simple and the fact that Tyke refuses to acknowledge the sacrifice that would be expected to follow a positive match is at the heart of the reluctance.

The first time Tyke asked for a kidney, Shelley had just died three months earlier. Rob stopped in Calgary on his way to the U.S. where he was taking her ashes to spread in various places that had meant something special to the two of them over the course of the 27 years they’d been together. At the time, Rob substituted much-needed cash for the kidney Tyke really wanted – though he took the money easily enough.

One might sympathize with Tyke’s desperate request even in the face of Rob’s grief if they didn’t know that when Shelley was first diagnosed, Tyke had commented to his mother that he didn’t see what the big deal was. He, after all had just 10% of his kidney function left while she had “just a little growth on her leg”. A “little growth” at stage 4.

I could be shocked but I’m not. Baby once compared her low-life boyfriend’s upcoming four-month stint in county lock-up for a parole violation to the fact that my husband would soon be dead. And I, according to her, didn’t have as much to complain about.

So rounding back to the recent FB tiffle – which continues on in the form of incoherent rants arriving in Rob’s message inbox – Tyke blasted Rob again for not submitting to type matching.

“But you aren’t really eligible now after the heart attack,” I pointed out. “He knows that, right?”

Rob shrugged. “I don’t know what he ‘knows’ sometimes but I’m tired of being his punching bag whenever his childhood rears its ugly head. I sit here and read his words and feel my chest tightening and my heart hurt.”

Which is enough for me to toss Tyke under the bus with my dead husband’s in-laws, but he’s not my brother. If he were my brother, I’d let him have – both barrels, unfriend, have a nice life. I resent the stress he’s causing Rob because he’s not grown up enough to admit that he’s angry his mother forgot about him and jealous of the fact that he isn’t her favorite.

I wasn’t my Dad’s favorite. DNOS was. And I used to resent it. But eventually I grew up and realized that “favorite” and “loved” aren’t the same thing. I was not someone my Dad could be “friends” with, but I was his daughter and he loved me.

In the end, Rob will find the exact measure of tact or Tyke will wear himself out. What will not happen is Tyke being struck by a maturity bolt from the blue because I have been waiting for that to hit CB and Baby for the last twenty plus years to no avail and baby siblings who strive hard to hang onto the immaturity mantle have tenacious grips.

*Getting an organ transplant here is not just a matter of need and queuing up. Age, lifestyle and willingness to follow the strict drug protocol after the fact are all used to decide who gets the organs that become available. It seems brutal, but it’s more fair than the U.S. system that almost throws organs away by giving them to people who aren’t going to make the best use of a precious resource for whatever reason.


 

Just to prove the muffin top is not limited to LA

Image by Malingering via Flickr

 

Though there are likely more than 12, I am guessing that the number one bad fit is some sort of trouser. It gathers unflatteringly at the crotch and produces a muffin-ish roll at the waist. It’s too long or a tiny bit too short depending on the female in question’s inseam because in America it’s 30″, 32″ or 34″. Period. With 31″ being the inexplicable default when manufacturers’ feel that catering to girth is duty enough.

What strikes me as amazing is that pouring ourselves into pants that obviously don’t fit has been in vogue for so long that women, more or less, can’t tell when they are wearing the wrong size.

Take muffining for example. Most young women spill over the waistband. Even those who are thin – by real life standards or Hollywood ones – feel that unless they are being squeezed up and over the top of their pants – they must be too big.

What a fantastic bit of salesmanship! Fashionista Americana must still glow pridefully for pulling off that neat trick.

A recent U.K. study* revealed that women, generally, have at least 12 outfits in their closets that don’t fit them at all. Too big.  Or, more likely, too small. And the decades old nonsense of buying something too small to encourage yourself to lose weight or get in shape is still one of the culprits behind this unsurprising revelation.

When I posted a link to the article on my Facebook feed, my sis, DNOS, replied that she probably had more outfits than that. Her husband is forever imploring her to thin the unwearable herd.  If I lived closer, I’d offer to help.  Some of the flock is mine.  Things I grew weary of or decided didn’t suit me. I bet that a good portion of my college days wardrobe is currently huddled together in my sister’s closet, discussing their days of yore – when someone actually wore them.

My youngest sister still wears a couple of my old pre-Dee pair of jeans I gave her during one of her many cash-strapped periods. Whereas DNOS will accept much of what I offer (though she considers my style and colour preferences fuddy-duddy), BabySis – a beggar if ever there was one – is choosy as hell. The only items she’s ever accepted were jeans and sweatshirts.

I pruned my own closet again mid-summer in anticipation of a garage sale that will have to wait until spring now. As I glanced through the closet the other day, I realized that Rob takes up most of the space. I would be hard put to find 12 ill-fitting outfits, but I could probably rid myself of four or five that I don’t truly love anymore.

True love is my criteria for keeping or purchasing clothing.

Which brings me to a list of sad statistics about women that this study also (re)discovered:

  • most women own at least three different sizes of clothing to accommodate their yo-yo dieting
  • Just 2% of women were happy with their looks
  • Most women think they are “frumpy”
  • 1 in 10 women thinks she is fat

I accidentally discovered I’d gained a bit of weight and am farther over my “happy weight** than I have been in a long while. The interesting thing is that I didn’t have much of a reaction. I happen to think that I look pretty good at the moment. The yoga I am doing has added a bit of muscle – which accounts for some of the weight – but it’s also changed how I “fill out” so-to-speak.  First time in my life that the number on a scale hasn’t sent me into a dieting free-fall. It was kind of nice.

It is nice.

I am whittling down my fabric possessions. It doesn’t have much to do with ill-fit. Much of what I sell or donate doesn’t fit my life-style anymore and what I can’t garage-sale, I have to pitch because it’s simply worn out. I have so few pieces of clothing that I am actually wearing them out – like I did when I was a kid.

*Boggles me a bit what people get paid to study.