Beautiful Family

“Your beauty is in the way your hair moves, and the smile you give to everyone. Even when you really don’t care for them and I know it’s not a real smile, you still do it. And I love the fact that your eyes sparkle when you’re being a shit. I see beauty in your brown coat that you’ve had for so long and you love and you’re comfortable with and it’s beautiful.” —Beth, Oct. 7, 2017

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Last Christmas, my friend Beth came over to do our first family photos — indoors, which you see here.

The session was quick and painless, taken around our house around the holidays, kind of on the fly. I know Beth from a church we both attended back when our children were babies, and I trust her.

Except for our son James, 15, we’re not very photogenic. We’re aren’t family photo session people, either. Both James and Ed would rather get a root canal than have their pictures taken. But after the hell we’ve gone through the past three years, I feel we deserved this; we needed to celebrate our casual, oddball family unit in a way that we can concretely look back on, with fondness, and maybe share with a handful of others who care about us.

I’m about 20 pounds overweight from where I’d like to be. I could lose 50 more pounds, to tell you the truth. But I figured if I don’t do the pictures now, I never will  — to hell with waiting until I’ve got my act together, the story of my life.

Around the tail-end of summer, I decided to engage another photographer friend for an outdoor session. She’s a fellow soccer mom with a thriving business, M.E. Life Photography.

I tried to drop the 10-20 pounds I gained from our Labor Day Weekend trip to Montana, in time for the outdoor family photo session with Meghan. In vain, of course.

Because I’d broken my eyeglasses the night before, I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to remember to thoroughly prepare for our photo session later the next day.

The session in front of our house two weeks ago was fun, actually. Meghan allowed us to goof around, at one point asking us to yell our favorite curse word (“Fuck!”). My best friend Gen even came out of her house in the same cul de sac to join me for an impromptu shot or two.

Meghan texted me one of the shots — the proofs will be ready in two weeks after she settles in her new house — and said they turned out awesome.

I only saw the flaws: my sagging boobs, the left one lower than the right, why did I wear that tight blue pullover sweater? why didn’t I wear a support bra? I forgot to take off my Depend adult diaper! I look like a fat freak with a flaccid penis…

She insisted I looked great, as did the rest of my family. We looked natural, real. My son’s red Calvin Klein underwear was showing, but his smile lit up the neighborhood. My husband’s entire face crinkled in one huge grin, completely for the first time in his life taken by surprise. I leaned into my son, caught mid-laugh, like the three of us were sharing an inside joke.

We weren’t even looking into the camera.

Meghan did a damned good job of capturing us, as is. She photographed the Weber clan with love, as a friend would, just as Beth did last December.

For the first time in my life, I began to believe someone else’s narrative. I began to believe her when she said that we looked happy, and that’s what matters.

I began to see myself through her eyes, Beth’s too. And let me tell you, it wasn’t an ugly sight.

I’ll show you when we get the proofs.

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10 Percent Different

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Photo by Takahiro Sakamoto on Unsplash

I had to laugh. My son posted a SnapChat of his hospital bracelet with, “Fuck my breathing.”

He’s about 10 percent improved from his last checkup three months ago.

We sat in an examining room at a Seattle Children’s clinic when he said, “I really hate these breathing tests [PFT].” He always looks like a little boy, trying very hard to be brave when we go.

I smiled at him, feeling tears welling up. He saw my emotion and forgot his own anxiety. We both remembered the many back-to-back ER trips, staring at each other, an unanswered question between us.

I kissed the top of his head. He let me. We joked around. Normal shit.

His Pulmonary doctor showed up after the breathing test. “Improved breathing from last time. Not ideal but I like that it’s 10 percent better. That means your two puffs twice a day is working. Keep it up,” he said.

He asked us routine questions, based on my son’s initial uncontrollable asthma attacks three years ago.

James said that he didn’t need his rescue inhaler, he hasn’t been coughing in the middle of the night or any other time, he recently survived a cold without needing to go to the ER, no Prednisone. Out of the ordinary for a case like his.

His doctor couldn’t believe it. He seemed quite baffled. He stared at us a couple of times, as if we were lying.

“You don’t need an inhaler before exercise?”

“No.”

“What sports do you play?”

“Basketball and Premier soccer.”

“And no shortness of breath?”

“Nope.”

“Huh.”

I don’t understand it either. I’m just grateful. Very grateful.

My son’s never behaved typically. He was always a step or two behind other kids in growth development, whether it was riding a bike, kicking a ball, and speaking in complete sentences, or writing his name in cursive, reading a book, and eating foods beyond the toddler toast phase.

(A nurse once questioned me after noticing a few autistic red flags in my infant son: the hand waving, hating to be hugged, always crying.)

Why would asthma be any different?

When the checkup ended, I felt the urge to turn left instead of right to buy a green tea latte and a slice of pumpkin bread from Starbucks — knee-jerk from the many previous hospital trips when we were in fear for our lives. But I went right toward the exit, instead, laughing at the thought of my son as the hype guy for his school, which is what his counselor recently suggested.

Normal life. For now.

Bad Attitude

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Photo by Nick Hillier on Unsplash

this one bites, that one barks at the moon, is that a leopard?

eenie meenie miney mo, the one-hit wonder sounds the same as the legend

he still looks stupid bouncing behind his guitar

I hate everyone now you will see I am a better actress than the one you fell in love with rubbing her out with every affirmation in 140 words or less

no you can’t read the plot of my demise your discomfiture by spotlight, it is Marc Anthony, not the celebrity death du jour tomato soup for lemonade you will never see me coming they almost took my life my family my my my must be careful with mental fiction

as the sun peaks over the horizon somewhere far away Brisbane Aiea Tampa why not I wear your hand-me-downs, use the gifts you hand-picked for yourselves with my name scratched over the recycled tag, as thoughtless and ignorant as the day I checked my bags

leaving security for a panting, sweaty five inches of pulp fiction

some for simply breathing, eating with a fork not a spoon, the common way he said a word, how she always brought the conversation — we haven’t seen each other in months — back to herself, their Silpada excuses for fellowship

oh, that bright November morning when Mr. High Horse showed (off) his godless porn, hijacking Matthew for Catechism when none of us really wanted to suck dick, it’s a numbers game, and our number was up

close doors, close chapters, close my accounts, I will soon be left with nothing but the shit on my back, and the memories I managed to keep during my garbage dumps

I’m sick of Marc Anthony now, but you didn’t know that, did you?

checking out with five books, no date

Sun Over Marymoor

 

Photo by Hanny Naibaho on Unsplash

The sun always comes with consequences. The burn of blistering skin cancer that always kills you between courses, just as you work up an appetite for the first time in 20 years.

I enjoyed the sun playing tricks with summer and fall, in the digital photos I click in a thumbnail box on an LG screen one by one. Hours later, skipping sleep. My entire life experienced in status updates, tweets, and video uploads.

Soon, I promise to sit with the other parents and remember when you lay in the hospital bed afraid to move, as the best nurses and doctors gathered with their notepads and their Prednisone shots, with a wrinkled, metallic soccer balloon floating above the wires and the tubes in this sterile sunlit room by the little park wealthy patrons bought and paid for.

Today, I ate the last meal of the condemned, not knowing if my hunger would ever end. I ate for tomorrow and the next day, and the holidays in between this eternal waiting.

Somewhere in the distance of this four-lane collision, people died. A helpless passenger stuck between Bellevue and Totem Lake pissed into a half-empty Kleenex box. Because of the cancer. Febreeze and baby wipes should remove most of the stink.

Mad, Fake World

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Photo by Kayla Velasquez on Unsplash

In this world of fake news, nothing is real.

For someone who grew up in a Master Class of Fake, that is devastating, a game-changer.

After the Vegas shooting, conspiracy theorists everywhere took to social media to spread the message that this wasn’t real, that this was, in fact (LOL), another elaborate government-orchestrated fabrication designed to push a political agenda. And nobody blinked.

(Granted, they were probably too busy making their own YouTube monetizers to notice.)

Buzz surrounding the Vegas shooting resurrected Sandy Hook. Truthers had the audacity to accuse survivors — parents, First-Responders, other authorities — of faking the shooting or worse to score a win for gun control in D.C. Like humanity was nothing more than an end game.

What? How are these people going on the record about such slanderous accusations, and not getting sued?

I’m constantly amazed at the new playbook of the 21st century, where it’s okay to post anything you want without legal repercussion. I mean, Madonna and a host of celebrities of her kind went on public record against Trump, going so far as to admit they’ve thought of doing away with him, in so many words.

In the 1970s, if any of them were caught stating this publicly, they’d be hauled off to court and/or prison, no questions asked.

Seems every major news event is a Hollywood production in disguise, the byproduct of a record-breaking proliferation of attention whores and Narcissists unleashed into an unsuspecting universe.

Everything you do in life requires a rating and a survey. WTF is this bullshit?

It’s to the point where I don’t trust anything anybody says, and I’m already fairly cynical about the authenticity of the human race in general (see my shitty upbringing).

You don’t believe me?

My brother calls. Not to see how I’m doing. Not to tell me he loves me. But because he needs me to facilitate a new cell phone transfer to my husband’s family plan.

FYI, I re-joined Facebook a few years ago, so I could keep in contact with him and his then-newly married wife on their latest after they moved in with my mom in Hawaii. I left Facebook a second and final time (I only use my husband’s now) after seeing that I will never get a real moment with them.

When my son landed in the ER three-five times in the span of two months three years ago and my husband was scared sick from his bladder cancer diagnosis two short years ago… radio fucking silence from my crew. I had to pick up the phone and tell them, practically beg them to give a damn. My mother reacted as if I were reciting my grocery list.

I can’t even take what you tell me for granted, even if I see the event with my own eyes. Because images can be doctored, minds can be reformulated with chem-trails, or so they say.

Nowadays, every historical event seems up for scrutiny as ever having happened, including the Moon landing, the Holocaust, wars, deaths. The Flat Earth theory is even getting around.

Ever hear of the Mandela Effect? Even the ever-changing past is up for grabs. Absolutely ridiculous.

Used to be that we’d watch news anchors report on events as facts, and call it a day. Not anymore. We question everything, because we’ve become self-aggrandizing, lying, manipulative, deceptive Facebook-using attention whores.

Nobody believes anybody anymore. We’re too busy with politics, protecting our side, to be polite, to listen, to compromise, to look outside ourselves, to be human for fuck’s sake.

No wonder the entire world’s become a branding machine, everyone in it for themselves and their 15 minutes of reality fame, pitching love like the next big thing, instead of living meaningful lives, instead of connecting with one another the way we’re supposed to… the way I thought we used to.

Personally, I feel like dumping 99.9 percent of the people I know based on their bullshit social media updates. On a particularly bad day, like today, I feel like dumping a whole shitload of truth on them in front of everyone until they’re completely and utterly ripped to shreds, standing naked like the pathetic fuck-ups they really are before a merciless grand jury of their peers.

I can’t find one mention via Google search of misanthropy where you feel physically sick to your stomach just looking at smiling, happy total bullshit pictures of these fake motherfuckers. This one looks like she’s been ridden hard by every aging cowboy in town. That one probably smells like semen-encrusted tilapia and gum disease.

I don’t like this world very much. I often question why I ever came here (if you believe that we chose our paths before we were born), if it’s gonna turn into this colossal shit show, where the winners are douchebags and the losers are placing bets on which one of them can spread their jewels widest for a piece of that tainted prick.

What really scares the hell out of me is wondering if my entire life has been a lie — an elaborate, fantastic fabrication designed solely to advance the agenda of a soulless regime of Narcissists bent on power.

Isn’t that a kick in the head?

Flyer

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Before the world rushed in.

I’ve learned to study your face in seconds before a storm. The time you kept falling on the grass while dad buried his own father in paperwork, the stoic look that threatened to turn before you’d ever let me hold you.

My little nature boy, on the teetering edge of a spectrum disorder.

That first night you stood guard in the house of the damned, all you could say in your shaky two-year-old voice, “Sound!” It’s just us, buddy, your blanket, and my ghosts.

You’re almost 16 now, this full-grown badass in Hollister and Nike, blending in with the rest of the crowd trying not to stand out too much. We stand side by side in the middle of the road, smiling for the camera.

After all these years, I can still see what breaks you: the cool rejection of the coolest kid on the block — the one everyone says is an asshole, the one who taught you soccer, gave you the condensed diss tape of every teacher a grade ahead, and once almost made you cry when you thought he hated you. Maybe he did.

People tend to do that.

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I watch you watching these boyhood friends you thought would never leave, go without a backward glance — it’s the same indifference you work so hard to perfect when I ask how school was, or when I cry because you almost convince me that you don’t care.

One day last week, you confided in me, as an afterthought before the punchline, “Mom, you know I never got over that reading specialist who labeled me developmentally disabled for the rest of my life. I was in kindergarten! Ever since then, I get mad when anyone calls me stupid. Dumbass is okay, but stupid… I’m not stupid.”

Should I have gone back in time and called that woman worse? Maybe overturned her desk? Lodged a formal complaint?

Then the next, and the next, and the next… That’s how this world works.

A highly regarded, award-winning reading specialist in her field could only give us five or 10 minutes of her time to scare our only child, and make him feel stupid in front of another parent waiting with her daughter and his classmate in this office full of open cubicles in the house of the Lord. A fucking church I will never forgive.

This fucking bitch, your tin god, doles out a lifetime sentence to an innocent, fun-loving, earnest little boy who once charmed an entire floor of nurses. He could make strangers at a Costco smile. The moment he talked, giggled, said, “I love you, mommy,” I thought I could fly.

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I wish I could tuck him in, under my wings, fly fly all the way back to the park by the baseball fields where he split a gut laughing at the magician, the first time he saw a beach in Maui, Santa Claus, oh he believed, believed with everything in him — until some overly-caffeinated kid who thought cat was spelled with a K came and corrupted him … on YouTube and video games. For Christ’s sakes.

Funny, I never really hear him laugh out loud anymore. I think kids beat it out of each other with their soulless definition of popular. He used to laugh so easily. He used to love to laugh.

What was I like before the world broke me? Was I fun, fearless? happy? When did I hide inside myself? At seven? In 8th grade when I ate lunch sitting on the broken toilet in the last stall, reading a book about the scared pitcher from the 1950s in the 1970s?

One day, I believe after I’ve died, my spirit will rest in my grown son’s pocket as he races down the Autobahn in his shiny new Lamborghini with his ride or die. Oh, and he’ll laugh and laugh and laugh, like he used to, and no one will dare make fun of him, or call him stupid.

99.5% won’t be able to do it

They showed me the distance from my stand to my soul. I asked, Would I miss very much? The equivalent of the pain index.

It’s your soul, child. You’ve been distant for too long. Would it be so wrong to come back?

I grow attached. It’s been too long here, here where I am no longer fixing breakfast for your families but waiting for them to turn out the light. Each star dims, I count the ones that lead the way toward a familiar bridge, a bridge I’d almost forgotten.

My soul, I’m coming home soon.

dream, Oct. 1, 2017

Tom Petty

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Photo by Adam Grabek on Unsplash

Today, I tried to explain who Tom Petty was and what he meant to me growing up as a teenager — to my own teenaged son.

I put my shock and grief aside to give James a small music history lesson, in a kind of daze. As I did so, I felt sorry for him and his auto-tune-loving generation, because they will never know a musician like Petty in their lifetime.

Petty, 66, was pretty damned special, although he’d be the first to look at you strangely if said this out loud.

The Gainesville, FL native suffered full cardiac arrest last night, found in his Malibu home — right around the time a lone gunmen went on a shooting rampage in Vegas.

As usual, the mainstream media went with ratings instead of responsible journalism, sending out early reports that he died, that his family pulled the plug on his life support. His daughter’s pissed at “Rolling Stone” for the premature ejaculation.

Her Instagram post is a thing of beauty:

“my dad is not dead yet but your fucking magazine is ⚡️⚡️⚡️your slim😵has been pieces of tabloid dog shit. You put the worst artists on your covers do zero research. How dare you report that my father has died just to get press because your articles and photos are so dated. I will fucking shit down your throat and your family’s . Try not being a trump vibe. This is my father not a celebrity. An artist and human being. Fuck u”

The guitar rebel who composed and performed music his way — fuck the establishment — provided a huge chunk of the soundtrack of my childhood growing up in Aiea in the late 1970s-’80s.

While everybody else vibed to the fleeting trends of the day — mindless electronica, disco, funk-lite, Journey (vomit) — I listened to Tom Petty, my life raft in a sea of manufactured, corrugated pretense.

Petty lived for music. He refused to settle. Not exactly Loverboy or Poison pretty, the rock guitarist nevertheless shook his own special brand of rebel next door, the kid who sat in the back of your class, looked out the window, and bolted the second the bell rang.

He voice was real, his songs, casual, honest musings with friends while cruising empty one-horse towns.

His songs spoke directly to the outcast and the rebel in me, dying to get out without fear of reprisal. They promised the imperfect, but eternal love of the damned, in a sinking boat together, watching the stars power out before the world went insane. He was literally that boy who winked and rolled his eyes from across the crowded cafeteria of cheerleaders, jocks, and band geeks, (the boy you wished so badly were real) — as if to share a private joke, as if to reassure you that it’ll be okay, these people are fucking morons and we’re gonna make our own rules.

I used to marvel at his effortless songwriting, blending infectious, mesmerizing hooks that rode on for miles, embedded with deceptively deep lyrics that bled and slipped seamlessly into roaming, racing musical pockets.

Just listen to “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,” “Running Down A Dream,” “American Girl,” “Don’t Do Me Like That,” “You Wreck Me.”

I would hear “Running Down A Dream” — written with Jeff Lynne and Michael Campbell — in a loop whenever I rushed from one appointment to another, trapped in my car during rush hour, watching the world whiz by in the passenger seat, on to the next mundane adventure.

His guitar in the fade took me to another place, one where I wasn’t afraid to strip down and trip out, where the mundane became quietly spectacular.

“Mary Jane’s Last Dance” featured the best opening guitar riff in the history of rock. That lovemaking riff invited you inside this sick, sad, lonely world immediately until you wanted to be a dead and gone Mary Jane.

His guitar may have riffed, but his lyrics danced in a slow-burning bump and grind. “I feel summer creepin’ in and I’m tired of this town again” defined me.

I remember hearing “Don’t Do Me Like That” on the radio my sophomore year in high school, and going out of my mind, thinking this can’t be possible: rock, grit, and this driving, awesome rhythm for days. I went to Hungry Ear Records for a 45 vinyl copy. It was Petty’s first hit in a string of them.

The post-hippie crowd embraced Bruce Springsteen as their prophet. I had Tom Petty, who IMHO, was just as profound in his own reluctant way, because he, too, spoke of what really mattered in life, beyond the bullshit.

He sang of relationships, of fighting through crippling insecurities to find one minute of bliss — whether it was one last fling, or the feel of an open road, windows down, wind at your back.

G-d I loved his music. I will miss him most of all, if he does indeed move on soon.

*Tom Petty died Monday, 8:40 p.m. PT.

Like Shit

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In the beginning of the week, my brother called from a private number. He left a voicemail asking me to ask my husband to add his new number to the family plan.

Mom gave me a new phone. I can’t do this myself. It has to be Ed, since he’s the one who pays for the family plan, was basically the gist.

I forwarded his voicemail to my husband, then followed up when he got home from work — only to be met with this, “I don’t understand what he means. Did he get a new number?”

When I got my mom on the phone two days later to thank her for the birthday money she mailed my husband — she does that for all of us, and expects me to respond with a call immediately, or I’m an inconsiderate piece of shit — I brought up the new cell phone issue.

I simply relayed my husband’s response to her. She immediately attacked me, raising her voice, getting agitated, and repeating over and over that she gave my brother the new phone, what’s the problem?

I kept explaining until she seemed to understand and promised to tell my brother. “Have him call Ed, not me, since it’s Ed’s deal. Does he have Ed’s cell—”

Mom cut me off again, “Yeah, yeah, he got Ed’s cell phone number. I’ll have James not call you but Ed.”

Five minutes later, I’m in the kitchen with my hands full when I hear my cell phone ring. Sigh.

When I check my voicemail a few hours later, it’s my brother calling me right back, sounding as if he’s on the verge of exploding. (This is a man who will literally lose his shit in a restaurant if we’re not opening his Christmas gifts before perusing the menu, or joking around about the airline accidentally breaking off a leaf in the pear paperweight he and his wife gave me.)

He said he was confused by my message, like, what was there to be confused about, aka, why couldn’t I just do what he wanted without my bullshit, like I was the problem?

He made it sound as if I was singlehandedly a) inconveniencing him with stupid questions, and b) interfering with his happiness. Just do what I say, and STFU.

My whole life…

I felt my blood pressure starting to rise, like the good old days when he would flip out for no reason, humiliate me in public, then turn it around — start some shit then point blame when I reacted with understandable anger. All my life, that jackass would try to undercut, insult, and beat me down. “You’re a psycho,” he would say, “I pity the guy you marry. Actually, nobody’s gonna want to be around you.”

I took a deep breath, shrugged him off, then went about my day.

I also forwarded his second voicemail to Ed. I was done getting slammed for being the messenger.

If Ed responds, great, they can deal with it together, and my brother can kiss my husband’s ass like he always does. If not, fuck it, and fuck him, he can find a way to pay for his own fucking cell phone.

You’re welcome, asshole.

Joggers

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Just put all his clothes up there. Photo by Caspar Rubin on Unsplash

“You shrunk my Hollister pants, mom.”

With that, I spent most of today in a ridiculous, laundry-related rabbit hole. I just finished the only meal of the day at 9:30 p.m., and I’m finishing up the last of my venti Pike Place Starbucks Roast, which means I’ll be up all night (again) until my PT appt. tomorrow at 9 a.m.

How the hell do I end up here?

It all started when I got the bright idea of joining the family photo shoot bandwagon. I know a shitload of professional photographers for some reason. One of them’s a fellow soccer mom; we go back to when our sons first played on a rec team together in grade school.

She’s very chill. Strictly casual, nothing fancy, whatever we’re comfortable in.

Except we’re not a normal family. We can’t even rustle up “casual” for the occasion. Our idea of casual is a pair of torn, filthy sweat pants and an old t-shirt, with a hundred running shoes lying around.

As soon as Meghan suggested khakis and jeans, I began to panic.

Our son James, 15, had informed me earlier in the week that all three pairs of his Hollister khaki joggers were too small, and that I’d shrunk them in the dryer.

Apparently Hollister clothes, especially the pants, need to be air-dried. And washed in cold water, with like colors.

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Mommy shrunk the Hollister!

“My pants shrunk two sizes,” he blithely informed me after I’d already sent out texts to some of my friends about whether their sons could wear any of them.

I asked him, “What size is a small anyway? A mom wants to know.”

“I don’t know. Small. Doesn’t matter anyway, they shrunk at the waist and the length.”

“But what was the waist, in-seam, and length of a small when you first bought these pants?”

“A small!”

“How did you know they fit you?” I asked, already feeling doomed.

“I tried them on! Can I go now?”

Ugh! Teenagers.

After freaking out for 15 minutes and giving this teenager a 20-minute lecture, which then made him frustrated beyond belief — doors slamming, screaming and cursing — we ordered four pairs of replacement pants from the Hollister site, in a medium this time. We vowed to remember the special instructions, even though taking the time to baby the pants is gonna be a colossal pain in the ass in an already pain-in-the-ass busy schedule.

As I sorted today’s laundry, I realized that about 95 percent of my son’s clothes belongs in the wash in cold with like colors, tumble or air dry.

Ninety-five percent.

We then agreed that from now on, he handles his own laundry except the soccer uniform. That should free some of my time, or not.

I remember when we threw clothes in the wash and didn’t think twice about them. This is why everybody wore jeans back in my day. Unfortunately, James would rather wear a dress.

When I was his age, I was lucky to wear anything remotely on trend. I wanted to wear Converse and Keds, Levis and rock t-shirts so badly, with the cool aviator jackets in the 1970s, then overalls and denim jackets in the ’80s.

My mom bought her clothes, my hand-me-downs, from Korean stores, so they were cheap and godawful gaudy. G-d knows where my dad got my clothes from, probably the Salvation Army.

I don’t think I ever wore jeans until college, and then, I could only fit in men’s, because I was such a fat ass.

When I dropped all that weight running six miles a day, I didn’t have time to buy a huge wardrobe, so I just hung around in the same hand-me-down sweats my mom got from her friends. I owned two pair of sweat pants, both ripped at the ass.

Nothing ever fit me, either, since I was always overweight.

I wore an awful lot of polyester and corduroy, Buster Browns, and generic white tennis shoes. It’s a wonder I didn’t get my ass beat on a regular basis at school.

I would’ve killed to have a Hollister at Pearl Ridge, near where I went to high school. Some of the girls’ clothes are super-fly. I especially dig the flannel and the ripped skinny pants (pink and red, please).

Currently, I’m rocking extra-large bargain basement finds from Sports Authority a week before stores closed for good. Way too small for my body, fyi.

There are two huge laundry baskets full of clothes I need to sort, fold, and put away. They’ll probably sit there for another week, until the next five loads.