Saturday, December 28, 2013

In lieu of the Christmas letter, I give you one day.

If you're going to try on every piece of clothing in your closet and decide if it stays or goes, this is the person you want to advise you.

Age 8
 "Absolutely not," said the person (who once believed she was cat) when I tried on a long narrow skirt

and matching top. "It looks like a nightgown from a Victorian insane asylum." She explained that the pieces were nice enough--good even, if worn separately, but together were too matchy, drab, and shapeless. Another matching outfit made me look like a nun from some remote country in the Far East, she said. With C's advice, I mixed and matched things that hadn't occurred to me, and they looked great. Of course, I never go anywhere these days, and given the state of affairs around here, what I probably need is an insane asylum nightgown.

Earlier that day C also helped me by impersonating her sister over the phone. "Hmmm," she said when I asked her if she would. "I've impersonated you a lot," she said, (I didn't ask) "but I've never pretended to be M." Who, by the way, has always been able to rock a good outfit herself.

age 5
After a brief review for fluency in uttering M's birthdate and phone number as her own, I got Triple A on the line and had C (pretending to be M) cancel M's membership so I could add her to mine since she lives here. A $70 savings! Triple A had previously refused to cancel M's membership without speaking to her personally despite the fact that it is my credit card that has always paid for the membership. I suppose that maybe ex-spouses go around canceling one another's Triple A memberships right and left, perhaps just after inducing a slow leak in a tire. I live in Margaritaville now--not Divorceville, so I don't know anything about that.

C and I also had some quality time by spending an hour or so going through the box of Barbie dolls my mom trash-picked a few years back (a former favorite hobby of hers--and yes, I am aware that I have a weird family.) My mom had always meant to clean them and wash their clothes, but never did, so C anti-bacterial wiped and shampooed while I washed clothes. There was also a bit of Barbie surgery which invloved a switching around of heads. C is nearly done with her surgical technician training, and I'm proud to say that she handled the needle-nosed pliers and matte knife expertly. We plan to outfit two Barbies for each of my granddaughters if we can successfully remove the taint of years spent in a a cardboard box in a home fogged with cigarette smoke. Why in the hell are we doing this? Because my mom grew up during the Depression wearing church rummage sale shoes, and she can't stand to see anything usable go to waste. There was a talking Barbie in the box, too. We have to buy a battery, and we're hoping she's one of those Barbies that made the news a few years back for saying, "Math is hard," and "Let's bake some cookies for the boys." I'm not sure what we'll do with her if that turns out to be the case. Hire a hacker to re-program her? Sell her on e-Bay? Post her photo on a Barbie shaming site?

C and I also spent a good chunk of time researching chicken pox and shingles while calling back and forth with my daughter-in-law, and one of my mom's doctors. My oldest grandchild has chicken pox (despite having been vaccinated.) The verdict is that the sick child cannot be in the same house with her great-grandmother. So in lieu of buying a new wardrobe ( I would never even entertain the idea of buying a new wardrobe, really) I am putting my son and his family up in a motel so we can visit with them. C has not seen them since her wedding two years ago, and this trip of hers from Minnesota was meant to coincide with theirs from Arizona. So now my mother and her great grand children will smile and wave and talk a bit through the patio windows, and all of my children can get together. And me, too, because after viewing my Kaiser records online, which took about one minute, I see that I was vaccinated for shingles in the most efficacious time window. Really, can't we just merge Kaiser and the ACA and call it O-Kaiser care?

C's wedding two years ago
Oh--and yesterday, there was a one-hour beach walk as well, during which time we left my mom home alone with instructions to be very careful. When I get all my ducks in a row, there will be no more of that. The leaving her home alone, I mean. There will be walking or I will be donning that Victorian insane asylum nightgown. 

And during the beach walk I took a moment out of the here and now and made a vet appointment for our 20-year-old cat so she could get a rabies shot (even though she is an entirely indoor cat) so that she may get her license renewed (her license for catting, C calls it). Last year Piper was caught up in the City of Oxnard door-to-door dragnet and cited for catting without a license.

And I should mention how the day began. T'ai Chi Chih. I even got to student teach a mini-lesson. T'ai Chih Chih, I'm certain, is making a substantial contribution to my well-being. Immediately after I came home, I found my mom's glasses, which she'd lost behind her recliner, and I'm happy to say that she did not try to get them, thereby propelling us back to the ER with another fall. 

 And then at 6:00 p.m. with the closet purged of this: 

C began boiling water and chopping onions while I ran out for a zucchini and some mushrooms. We made spaghetti with vegetarian sauce. My mother proclaimed it delicious and went to bed early. M came home from work at some late hour. C and M and I gathered in the kitchen and found something to laugh and talk about, but I don't remember what. Then I put some of M's laundry away. (She is in grad school, has a job, and an internship with a 100-mile trip one-way from my house to the farthest point in this busy routine--so I assist in a little thing or two. She calls me an angel when I do these things.) 

And somewhere in here, I spoke to the man who loves me. He was doped on the pills to kill his pain. Someday soon his surgery will be scheduled. And maybe, if I'm lucky, things will line up so he can come here to recuperate. Actually, I would be happy to have him recuperating on the moon or anywhere he chooses as long as he's well-cared for and not alone.

So there was a nice symmetry to the day. A box of things out of my closet with help from C, and clean laundry into M's closet with help from me. 

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. That's one day here in Margaritaville. 

May your 2014 be filled with love.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

And a fine Christmas it was!

the daughters
Thanksgiving is our holiday.
Christmas is when the daughters go off to be with the families of their significant others.

This year was different. With  C's husband off doing his four-week shift of work out on a boat, and M's girlfriend with her family on the east coast alone, both daughters were here. Old friends had their adult children home for the holidays too, so I made dinner. I was waaay to busy to take pictures, so you'll have to believe me when I tell you the lemon bars were better than ever and that the flourless chocolate cake with the powdered sugar snowflake stenciled on top was divine. I made a green salad with mini heirloom tomatoes that looked like Christmas lights and  roasted veggies that were white and red and green with a little orange thrown in for good measure (cauliflower, red peppers, brussels sprouts, and carrots.) I made salmon in vermouth with dill and I grilled a marinated tri-tip that I wish had been more tender--but people ate it. My friend Ellen brought her  famous wine jello. There was pink champagne and ginger ale and lots of coffee, and I stayed up talking until 1:30 a.m.

I meant to take a picture of all the dirty glasses this morning, but I washed them instead.

I meant to tell everyone how happy I was that they were here--and I think I did that, but if I'd said it fifty times it still wouldn't have been enough to express how much I love these people I got to spend Christmas with.

And the day after tomorrow the son and his family will arrive, so the love will multiply.

the mothers

Monday, December 23, 2013

If you're going to fall on your head....

Note the goose egg and cut above her left eyebrow.

Never blessed by good timing is how I've often regarded my life. Tonight I'm thinking that perhaps the good timing gene skipped only one generation. While I was a Trader Joe's musing over the ingredients for pumpkin cheesecake and lemon bars and puzzling out the price point of diminishing returns for some decent champagne, my mother was at home alone where she fell and hit her head. Only just as she fell, M came through the front door for her holiday break.

Off we went again (for the 4th time in less than a month) to the emergency room, my mother and I. On blood thinners for her atrial fibulation, she was at risk for internal bleeding and given a brain scan. Luckily no bleeding was detected. Five hours later, after a quick stop at the foot doctor to pick up her remodeled orthotics, we were home. I made dinner. We ate it. Back to life as usual--except we're not.

The new year will bring changes to Pillville. One of those I've-fallen-and-can't-get-up-buttons. Someone to stay with my mom for a few hours in the morning while I am out. (Dear siblings, say good-bye to your inheritance.) We had a good run here with things as they were. Sixteen months. I feel quite confident that my mom can continue to live here, but unless I wake up after the holidays and find that I've been cloned, I'm going to need some help. Until then M is here; C arrives tomorrow; my son and his family will be here a few days after Christmas; friends will be here. We'll eat, drink, and make merry. Happy Christmas from our house to yours.

I Don't Care--A Cautionary Tale

I slept in this bed just as it appears here for two nights this past week. One of them in my clothes with sand in the cuffs of my jeans. Outside the frame of this photo are heaps of books intermingling with dust bunnies and that trail of books continues down the steps to the front hall where my mother has stacked the books she wanted out of her room. Until the man who loves me arrived on Sunday morning, the bathroom trash had begun to overflow onto the floor. Suffice it to say that I had motivational problems this week. While downstairs I managed to keep up appearances as my mother's cheery cook and companion, upstairs I became surly and apathetic muttering about all the things I didn't care about. Just like Pierre. My daughters would gasp when I read this book by Maurice Sendak to them. I loved the fact that Sendak had the balls to let the lion eat that miserable little boy. Of course, Pierre got a second chance when a doctor was able to retrieve him, whole and unscathed. And I'm giving myself a second chance too. Of course, this being real life, that would be for this week.

Last evening the man who loves me and I arrived at the beach just as the big orange ball of the sun dropped behind the islands. We approached the sand from the park and walked through an opening in the dunes with palm trees at a tilt framing the vista you see below. "This looks like the set for a movie where people are seeing California for the first time, blown away by its beauty," he said--or something like that. Even native Californians cannot believe how beautiful this place is.

Each day the beach is different in dozens of ways. The waves, the wind, the sky and its clouds, the birds. Is the tide in or out? Are there dolphins? Whales? Sea lions?
Behold, the beauty. Where every day seems like second chance.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Birds of Fortune

Sixty-some miles apart, you talk to a surgeon while I walk on a beach plucking even the tiniest fragments of beach glass from the sand. Omens and portents, I'm thinking when I see the birds in the distance. Pure white doves--as if some magician has given them the day off for a trip to the beach. They take flight. I count nine and finger the bright pieces of glass in my pocket as if they are rosary beads.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Crochet Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

last year's tree

this year's tree with twice as many snowflakes

My mom crocheted all of the snowflakes, but I made the snow people out of wool.

 And I made the elf--and found that lovely piece of wood on the beach.
The print above the mantel is the work of  an artist I met while I was doing a residency at the Vermont Studio Center. That was a lifetime ago, it seems.

In the here and now, I'm hoping my mom's health holds steady. Thanksgiving weekend there were two trips to the ER.

Given the situation with the man who loves me, I know there will be some time spent in the hospital in the coming weeks. Maybe I should consider a needlework project of some kind. I think there's a box of yarn in my garage somewhere. Will I advance beyond knitting scarves and hats? Probably not.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Notes from Margaritaville, Pillville, and The Love Shack

the love shack a.k.a. my bedroom
It is big deal to sleep next to someone you love when that someone is in pain. Somehow you are asleep and somehow, simultaneously, you are awake. You hear the moans and winces and whimpers, and you are sorry and disturbed, but you realize until that moment you have been sleeping pain free while the person next to you has not been so fortunate, and you ponder life's big questions don't. You wake long enough after the next moan to wonder if you should wake him and ask if he needs a pain pill or the heating pad or should you try digging your fingers under his shoulder blade, but you think better of it because he's silent now. You hope he realizes how completely happy you are that he's next to you despite the way things are currently because it's pure comfort to know what is going on first-hand and not have to imagine him in his own place alone and guess at how that's going. When he sits up for a second sometime in the middle of the night, knowing you're awake too, and he asks you if you're sleeping okay, you want to try to explain what comfort he's providing you by being there and how it doesn't really matter that you've been waking up between stretches of sleeping quite well, but it might be too long of an explanation and then maybe neither of you will get back to sleep, so you just mutter something positive. But later when you are in the middle of a nightmare in which your mother hands you an bloody apron and a pair of gloves and says, "These are the ones that were used in the murder," and she gives them to you like you are supposed to do something--what, you don't know--wash them? Bury them? You don't know, so you scream and scream. Then he wakes you so your terror can stop. You thank him, and you think about terror and pain and how they're alike and different, and somehow you both sleep again.

Readers, you may feel that you have missed a blog post, but you have not. I have been rendered silent (for about as long as I have ever been silent here on this blog) by the fact that the man who loves me has lung cancer. There will be surgery. There will be chemo. Right now there's pain. And in as much as this man and I have endeavored to maintain our separateness throughout this love affair we've been having for the past 5 years, I cannot say how much I will write about the part of this story that is happening to him. But it is a fact that some small part of it is happening to me. So, I will go back to silence or write about that part.

And as for the regular proceedings of life in Pillville, my mother has a stronger pain pill that required giving up her martini for a few nights. That dream recounted above--well, I think it was probably me she murdered and just to really let me know how much she detested my delivery of the no alcohol tidings, she not only murdered me, but also asked me to clean up the mess. She had terrible back pain after returning home from the hospital, but it has abated and tonight, due to the tapering off of the meds, there will be a martini, she has just informed me. As for me, I think a glass of my favorite cheap red will go nicely with this.

And in Margaritaville today the sky looked like a pile of cotton balls.

The fishing was easy. If you were a heron.

Due to my inept photography, you can't see that the heron has a large fish in its beak. The seagull wants it.
And the guardian of the neighborhood was in her usual place, watching over all of us. Or at least the rodents in the empty lot. Blessings upon all of us is what I hope for. Even for the heron's fish. Even for those rodents as they feel the prick of talons as they are swept skyward.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Stand-off with an Evil Traffic Elf

You can't make this shit up.

Remember Santa on the tractor the day I brought my mother home from the hospital? How shall we top that?

 Like this.

Perhaps it was bad planning on my part yesterday morning to go to the Farmer's Market for the fresh fish and fresh veggies that I'd planned for dinner, but the signs only warned of delays, not quarantine. The Christmas Jog-a-thoners in Santa Hats and reindeer ears? Well, they weren't exactly moving like Donder and Blitzen. Stragglers, I thought. This will all be over my the time I mull over the carrots and cauliflowers, decide on Fuji or Pink Ladies.

Over the course of the hour that I was cordoned off from my home (and my ancient and frail mother) I felt more and more like the Grinch. After my fourth attempt, by a fourth route, to get back into my neighborhood when I was once again waved off into the opposite direction by an adamant and irate traffic cop who yelled at me when I rolled down my window and asked for help, I drove my cheery Christmas red Prius over the sidewalk and onto a vacant lot and got out.

"M'am," he said, as I walked toward him, "I have a job to do. You cannot approach me." I stepped back while telling him that I needed to get home. That my mother had just gotten out of the hospital and was home alone, and that I couldn't figure out how to get there. "M'am, I can't talk to you, I am directing traffic," snarled the evil traffic elf with the heart as cold the North Pole. I repeated that I needed to get home and he yelled at me to step onto the sidewalk. A Christmas Jog-a-Thon stand off.

There was no way to get to my house that I hadn't already attempted, so I just let it happen. I burst into tears. As I stood on the corner crying, a couple came up to me immediately and asked if I was all right. I explained the situation to them, and they took me by the arms and we approached Mr. Evil Traffic Elf again. He was pissy, but he listened as they explained and I cried. He told me to get into my car, turn it around, and he would let me turn right.

And then ten minutes after I got home, would you believe I had to go out again to pick the man who loves me up from the train station? Thankfully, by the time we returned to my neighborhood, all of the power drunk traffic elves had gotten into their sleighs and gone away.

It's been awhile since I've spontaneously exploded into tears. Back when I was mired in Divoreville, it happened frequently. My attorney's office, courtrooms, airplanes, restaurants. It was like I had a deck of cards (or maybe half a deck) with all of the cards the same--crazy divorced lady.

Well, I don't live in Divorceville any more.
And now, having spent most of the morning in Pillville with dispensing of antibiotics, INR testing, calls to the doctor, and my mother's financial matters, I'm now off to a suburb of Margaritaville--The City of Naps. I may end up in Oz, however, due to the winds. Plastic owls and patio cushions are sailing through the air. And earlier this morning, the guardian of the marina, a.k.a. my mom, noticed that one of the neighborhood boats had lost one of its mooring lines and was rapidly on its way to taking an unplanned sail. I called harbor patrol and they came and tied it up again. Maybe I should have called them yesterday. They could have delivered me back home by boat.

My bed is strung with Christmas lights all year long.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Death, Pain, Anger, and Santa on a Tractor

My mom is home.

I've explained and re-explained the difference between pro-biotics and antibiotics. We've gone over the changes in her pain meds. I made soup for dinner, made sure to offer her a bowl of ice cream, and I just rolled some Max-Freeze onto her back. She's not quite herself, eyes like giant hollows, walking in super slow-mo. Each hospitalization, while life-saving, delivers its own special beating and sends her home weaker.

My father died suddenly of a massive heart attack one night after dinner. I was away at college and witnessed nothing of the the actual event of his death, yet that quick drop to the floor is how I've always imagined my mother would leave this life. It's now seeming quite likely that I was wrong.

A sudden death seems a mercy to me. To be alive one moment, aware of a brief pain perhaps, and then gone. No needles. No indignities. No litany of agonies. No small chiseling away of the mind and those elements of personhood that once were so integral and now are gone without a trace.

I really don't think very far ahead these days, and I don't worry. I do the things I can do. I have confidence that I will do the things, solve the problems, and ask the questions and find the answers, and change what needs changing, and just keep going. And even after I do all of that, she'll die.

Hahahah, life, you trickster! is an attitude that I can usually muster these days. My tire pressure light comes on as I start my drive to the hospital in the pouring rain. Okay. Hahaha. We take a detour to the tire store. Oh, now there's a Christmas parade and I'm behind Santa on a tractor. Okay. Hahahaha. Oh, the home physical therapy didn't get set up like it was supposed to? Well, less funny, but we'll survive. A pain medication situation that doesn't seem to be working? Well, I could get a little angry, but anger won't stop the pain, so never mind...but still, I'd like to engage in the luxury of rage. For most of my adult life, it's been evident that the lessons learned through difficult situations don't always come up again and give one a chance to flaunt that back store of knowledge. There's always new stuff. Like never ever get discharged from the hospital on a Saturday--and especially don't get discharged on a Saturday if they're going to fuck with your pain meds.

But I'm ready. Sleeping on the couch, maybe, with the MaxFreeze at the ready. Tramadol dosages researched, ready to say go ahead, just take it 2 hours early. And aware, at least right now while I'm still wide awake, that anger at anything won't do anything good.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

How the Eavesdropping Failed but instead A Brief Soundtrack of My Past

I really did go out.
First, the moon. A photographic failure. I can't make you gasp the way I did when I saw it--a golden crescent cradling the full shadow of its past and future selves. So picture it. Then picture this:

Couple 1: They're wearing black leather jackets--not matching. She has on tight white jeans and black high-heeled boots. They're in their 30s or 40s. He has an English accent. They're drinking cosmos. The glasses glowing like rubies. His arm rests on the back of her barstool all through three rounds of drinks. Occasionally, his hand hovers closer to her back, but he doesn't touch her.

Couple 2:  Another set of 40-somethings. She's wearing a dress and hose. He has on black jeans and a black tee-shirt--and has a neatly trimmed  goatee. They're stylish, but there's something a bit weary about them. He scrutinizes the check a moment too long. She sighs and raises her eyebrows. Over the music, I hear only two words of their conversation. Pregnant and love. I'd bet a million bucks they were talking about someone else.

Couple 3: They're in their 80s, sitting side by side in a booth. Maybe so they can hear one another. But maybe because they like it. He savors his red wine. She lingers over the menu. They lean toward each other. When they leave, he aims toward the floor to ceiling windows as if there's a door there; she takes his arm and steers.

The Soundtrack of My Past (performed by a lone musician): 

I'll Get You in the End by The Beatles
I'm in my room with the liner notes to The Beatles Second Album, listening over and over again while reading the words and looking at the pictures on the album cover. I will memorize all the lyrics, who wrote what, who's singing the lead vocals on each song.

She's Not There by The Zombies
I'm probably not supposed to be there either. "There" is the new frowned upon teen club called The Web. It's a regular after school stop on my walk home. No drugs. No alcohol. Pizza. Soda. A juke box. And it's run by a cool 20-something guy. Was his nick name Spider? Parents didn't approve.

Brown-Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
Was it our song? Had we formalized it in some way or was it just in my head, the significance so dizzying because of the way he looked into my eyes as we danced to it? We are caught up in the ecstasy of a summer dance at the park pavillion. I am wearing a dress my mother sewed for me by ripping apart a hand-me-down and re-using the fabric. A couple of summers later, this will be the dress I wear home from the hospital after our son is born.
Me, wearing the dress.

Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones
A song that takes on new significance after the adoption papers are signed.

Cherry Cherry by Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond live onstage at my first college concert. Is this a dream?

High on a Mountain of Love by Johnny Rivers 
I'm wearing a red mini-skirt and a white blouse, driving to my waitress job at a supper club on the Sauk River in rural Minnesota, the job that will get me to California despite the fact that I'm a terrible waitress and my best tips are motivated by pity.

What's on the soundtrack to your past? 
Is it possible to imagine the sound track to our futures?

My mother will remain in the hospital tonight. Maybe I'll go out again. Maybe I'll have popcorn for dinner and sit on the couch with the cat.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Report from Pillville: In the revised version of Sleeping Beauty, a MRSA infection travels to her brain

November Sunset

My mother slept for 22 hours. Half of it at home and half after I took her back to the ER yesterday. When she finally was admitted to the hospital, she didn't even notice when they moved her from the gurney to the bed. Last night after I came home I couldn't sleep. The winds had kicked up while I sat next to my mom in a curtained cubicle in the ER, and I felt like I too had been transported somewhere strange and different without my knowledge. All night long trees clawed at the windows as if they were desperate to come inside. Every now and then there was the crash of someone's patio heater or trashcan. My body ached from sitting, and I wanted to be outside walking.

When I did sleep, I woke from dreams in which I was neglecting a houseful of guests. All the women I'd travelled with in Greece had come for a visit. No one had clean sheets or towels, and I'd forgotten to buy coffee, and where was the blowdryer?

And there was the thought of my mother dying. I lay in my bed, dreading the ring of the phone. She had rallied by the time I'd left the hospital, but it seemed unbelieveable that she'd awakened from her Sleeping Beauty spell. Maybe the bacteria had made it to her brain, and that was what had jolted her awake before it pulled her back under.

This morning she was awake and fully herself, though pale. She ate breakfast and lunch sitting up in a chair. This afternoon she told me I shouldn't come back in the evening. She'd be okay, she said. Having  already made two trips to the hospital today, and having spent a total of 15 hours in the ER spread over three separate trips since Thanksgiving, staying home seemed like a fabulous idea. I saw bacteria in the stack of shirts she'd worn once and piled on a chair in her room. Bacteria in the bedding and the sink and the shower. And oh my god, there's got to be a fresh nasal canula for her oxygen around here somewhere.

The sun is setting and I've done a dozen loads of laundry, finally given the floors their first post- Thanksgiving cleaning after nearly jumping out of skin at a dust bunny I thought was a rat. I might walk to bar on the marina and eavesdrop on other people's lives.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Report from Pillville: Upside Down and Empty

Normally the clouds pile like pillows over the mountains with a dome of blue overhead. Not today. The sky was a bowl of cotton banded by an edge of blue.

Here in Pillville the daughter was the mother and the mother was the daughter. Everything out of whack and ugly. Back to the doctor for follow up on the  cellulitis lump which once again is MRSA. Antibiotics and anti-nausea. I am anti-everything.

I'm in charge of the clean dishes and the clean laundry, I pleaded and then screamed a half-dozen times today as I sprayed my kitchen counters with Clorox. I took away the towels and replaced them with anti-environmental rolls of paper towels.

All the house guests have gone away, and if I had a hazmat suit, I'd wear it. I am anti-skin, anti-mucus, anti-pus, anti-refrigerator door handle.

The house is empty. So is the bottle of champagne. So is the spot where my mother's magnifying mirror stood. But the sunset was bursting.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Elderly Woman Nearly Killed by Magnifying Mirror /Daughter Seeks the Peace of the Wild Things

A bleeding head wound, an irregular heartbeat, a swollen and infected ear, kids sick and cranky with fevers, a woman on crutches with a wrapped up foot, two men immobilized with back pain, a guy writhing with a kidney stone, a woman with a neon red face, a guy smashed by a baseball. This was the cast of characters in the ER today.

After a wait of more than four hours, a sweet and patient doctor briefly discussed the current issue of the New Yorker I was reading and then lanced the infected lump on my mom's face. Oxnard is perfect during the day I told him. At night I'd give just about anything to be transported to New York. Yeah, he said. Oh yeah.

So maybe my mom is on the mend with a new antibiotic and a anti-nausea drug to combat the effects of the antibiotic. Maybe not. I told her she has to stop plucking the errant bristles on her chin, the stray eyebrows, the little pimples (that I think she imagines) and the brown spots. She's often perched over her magnifying (20X) mirror when I pass by her room. "Your death certificate will read: Cause of Death: magnifying mirror," I told her today as she lay in a uncomfortable ER bed. Not my most compassionate moment.

This evening as we scrutinized the labels on her new meds, I advised her that the anti-nausea drug may cause dizziness when alcohol is consumed. "May," she said. "I'm having my martini."

And also in the household: C, coming down with scratchy throat. M, finishing up a sinus infection.

My current fantasy: Hiking in Greece (or fucking anywhere with a bunch of people who feel fucking fabulous.) I will sprout chin hairs and a unibrow while wearing a shapeless black dress flaunting my waistless spreading body. Power to the crone, I will screech when I reach the mountain top.

I actually took this picture of a goat in Greece!

Dinner: Pizza. I took a long, long walk on the beach after my post ER trip to the pharmacy.

Alternate fantasy: Doing an Icarus in an ultralight.