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April 2024

The Importance of Big Sisters

My big sister, 13 years my senior, provided little in the way of soft and fuzzy physical enchantments. Certainly, in those many moments of family grief, she probably wished I hadn't been born. My brother became one of our biggest contentions, but as the years following his death slipped away, I could see that she became closer to my way of thinking, especially as it concerned his mental health and substance abuse issues. It's impossible to understand any of us if you know nothing about our brother and our father, men that failed to completely recover from different wars: World War II and Vietnam. None of the men in our family shrank from civic duty, and their legendary courage and military successes were a matter of family pride.

The stressful incidents became routine, first with Dad, and then later with our brother. My sister tried to shield me from the ongoing chaos, but ultimately she left home for a different life. I felt compensated watching her move forward, first with a career in cosmetology that supplemented college, and later as a certified public accountant. Her resilience made me feel inadequate and underachieving. I read everything anyone handed me, and I listened to my brother's long rants about politics and the military industrial complex, his ideas on philosophy and history. While only a dilettante, my brother's insight still caused all of us to become skeptics and critics, especially myself as I studied his state of mind. I knew the war caused him to come back changed. For me, the loss felt horrendous and unacceptable. During that time, we didn't have a name. Now the name is PTSD. My father suffered from PTSD. My brother died after a lifetime of trying to self manage something he had no way to understand, something that no one knew to help him with--PTSD.

Watching my big sister evolve out of the chaos of our home made me a better person. Over time, I took on adult responsibilities and tried to become independent and skilled. My work took me out of Oklahoma and the world opened up for me. Because of my fractured childhood, I managed to learn more out on the road than in a classroom. Finally, after a couple of decades of living life like a vagabond, I felt the urge to return to school. My sister encouraged and supported me, even if my choices were not perfect. Her own achievements were something I could aspire to, her years attending college, the obtainment of a professional license, and the way she managed her life.

The pain we grew up with caused us to feel incredibly sensitive around each other. Spending time together meant facing reality, the reality of our shared trauma and pain, the disappointments we shared, and the inconvenient, and often terrifying, memories. The differing points of view interfered in our ability to communicate effectively, silencing both of us. We disagreed on points about our mother, our brother, and especially our father. When he left the country for the last time, she was twenty and on her way into a better life, and I was only 7 and terrified. This contributed to our differences. I became isolated at home with our mother, an angry person that rightfully felt abandoned and disappointed, a single, older mother struggling financially and emotionally. I can barely remember those years.

My sister recently died. Her death was sudden and inexplicable, a pain unlike any other. Her death was completely preventable. She left behind beautiful grandchildren, a successful son and devoted husband, and most importantly, at least in my mind, she left me at my most vulnerable, when I really needed her. Like two points of star light from opposite sides of the universe finally conjoining after trillions of years in space, my sister's beliefs about my father, brother, and mother aligned with mine. We became friends. We made plans. And now she is in the spirit world.

Big sisters challenge our beliefs, make us better people, and watch over us. We don't need to live in their pockets to feel their presence, to feel their disapproval, or to access their wisdom. My sister was a gift. I will always miss her.


My sister and me (1962).

An Open Letter to the Neighborhood Bully Squad

Dear Twinkies,

The notion that either of you would ask me why I'm talking to you "like that" far exceeds the absurd. Asking me if "I'm on the board" is equally ridiculous and reveals how duplicitous and phony you are. Anyone that falls for your version of "niceness" is gullible indeed, and your pool-boy-boyfriend is on the short list of people that want anything to do with you. Save your dumb questions for someone like him that's willing to entertain them. You made false and ridiculous allegations about my pet ownership and how I care for my animals. You called out law enforcement and intentionally lied, an act so unforgivable and dangerous, an act akin to swatting, an act that could have ended in a tragedy for me and my son. You lied about me and then collaborated with other people to send me that harassing hate mail. You are the definition of a sorry, nosy neighbor, a couple of Karens on steroids.

Other people, far less honest than myself, treat you with some civility; but the hard truth is undeniable: your chronic complaining about petty, frivolous things has damaged your credibility and caused most people to completely dislike you. An example is that statement that you made about a dog barking off in the distance, but you didn't know where it was. You made it clear that you were trying to find out where this distant dog lived so you could hound its owner. Why would you bother with a dog barking during the day someplace off in the distance? Can you not help yourself? What about that time you set up those cones and tape in the parking lot? I believe this behavior is your pattern and is an outcropping that stems from your meaningless lifestyle. You are bored because you don't do anything but sit around and stew all day. You're lazy. Get a job.

I've read some of your posts about the homeless, and I want to know, why do you believe you are immune? Homelessness is a scourge on society and can happen to anyone, so why are you above the rest of us? I've read your posts about the neighborhood cats. Good grief, can't even the cats do anything to please you? Are the cats not doing their jobs? Why not leave them alone? You worry about the guest parking. You called a man's employer and complained about his work van and caused him serious problems. People suspect that you vandalized a man's truck because he parked it in the guest lot. Even if you did none of these things, it should alarm you that your chronic over-the-top complaining, your weird behavior, your lack of any steady employment, your constant griping, your meaningless existence, has everyone on edge.

Let me be clear. Do not send me any more weird mail or make any more false accusations about me. Stop using your dog to terrorize mine. You know, absolutely, that you encourage your dog's menacing behaviors, this lunging against the fence and growling and barking is an effort to terrorize Travis and make him think he is under attack. You do this intentionally to make him miserable all day.

The recent neighborhood improvements are not connected to any of your behaviors. Your so-called "owner's coalition" is a joke and is the cause of the neighborhood negativity. I have no doubt that you have done this before, and this is why you moved from your old location. You are nothing but bullies. 

If you want to run a townhome community, why not buy yourself an apartment complex? Then you can bully people all day and get sued by people much nicer than myself. But I know this for certain, no matter what you do, you need to leave me completely alone. Leave me alone; leave my dogs alone; stop your childish behavior. If you don't, then I will seek a legal remedy, one that you aren't going to like at all.

You might also consider a change. The Good Book says that if you humble yourself before God, then you will be blessed. Why not try to humble yourself and respect the people that work to improve the lives of other people. Choose what you pay attention to and take power over your actions. I strongly believe that you want no noises except your own noises, and this is the root of the problem, your complete selfishness and isolation. If so, buy some Bose headphones and start wearing them to listen to podcasts or music. You don't have to sit out there and suffer the dogs, the insects, the noisy little crap cars, the sirens, the traffic, the talking, the music, the many sounds of normal life. You can live in your own peaceful little bubble without trying to destroy your neighbors. Don't look out at the guest parking. People are allowed to use those parking spaces, and they will do so no matter what you say or how many vehicles you vandalize. Leave it alone, and live in peace. Vandalizing, calling employers, convincing people to collaborate with your destruction, and spreading gossip, will ultimately be your downfall.

Tell your grimy boyfriend, if he is to insult someone like me, he could avoid mixing his metaphors when attempting a turn of speech,. His contribution to this harassment brings the whole game to a new level. The fact that you involved a man in this, a man that is incapable of logical reasoning and has no mastery over the English language, a man that tripped his own tongue over his own feet, a man that lies about everything, makes you and him look impotent and silly.

All of you are cowards, and that includes the whole group. If you weren't bullies intent on evil, then you would have approached me as a part of the neighborhood and helped me work on a solution. Except that would mean that a real problem would have to exist, and since no real problem exists, you resort to hiding behind what was once anonymity and is now common knowledge. When you use anonymity, then you advertise your cowardice and destroy your credibility. A person that is truly trying to improve lives in the neighborhood comes forward with honesty, evidence, and transparency, even kindness. You have done none of those things. All you have done is try to run a popularity contest while you terrorize Travis and bother me.

You are just bullies.

If Travis wants to go out of his doggy door and bark during the day, he is in his rights to do so. He can go out and take a pee, sniff the dirt, bark a bit, and then go back in. That is his way of living the life of a normal dog. That is the way of every dog in our community, except your dog. Your dog goes out on your command and growls viciously and lunges against the fence knocking down boards. You later go out with a hammer and nail the boards back in. You do this so that you can complain that Travis is barking. But you don't really complain that Travis is barking. You complain that my dogs are barking. Well, Gladys never goes out there unless I request her to do so. You made fake accusations about my animals, claiming they had no food, no water, no indoor access in the summer heat, and that they are out all night. What a liar you are. That has never been true. Even the officers that came out on two separate occasions agreed that this is simply neighborhood bullies looking to create problems. Just think, had you never lied, then things might be different. I might care about your peace and solace...but not now. No one cares, especially not law enforcement. You lied to them, and they know it.

Not once, but numerous times.

Your cowardly boyfriend locked his little dog up in his garage for the entire day-Saturday. It was hot outside. Every time I walked by, the poor dog was barking its head off. You crammed two huge Rottweilers into a tiny apartment, and I noticed that you are now down to one. I've never seen you walk a dog except once. You intentionally outfitted the dog in a huge cage muzzle to make it look more vicious. How could that dog enjoy a healthy life with you? What are you thinking? As I said before, your nonsense is not tenable, nor is it reasonable. I will not tolerate any more of this. If you meddle in my life again, I will take you to court. You are not immune. Every bully ultimately pays.

And finally, I would like to point out that several units were burglarized in 2018-2019. These units were burglarized by someone that watched the patterns of people's lives. That means they are either self-employed or unemployed or underemployed. I only know of a few people around like that. It seems to me that you are working pretty hard to get rid of my dogs and complain about dogs in general. You are also angry about my camera that is installed to watch the green space over my fence. My dogs and my cameras are deterrents. So the question begs itself. Why would you do this? And one more thing, the cameras that are installed around my unit, surveil my animals. I don't need to take documentation down. I can see when he goes out there, and it is automatically recorded and stored. I can also hear what is going on. I can see. I can hear. Think about that. Your complaining is like a stench slowly fading away. It comes on strong but becomes less effective with time. It is the same with all of you. Leave people alone.