Thursday, April 30, 2015

Good Morning, wine. Is that you?

I've been hoping to drink a bit less wine. I poured a third modest glass last night and then said hey, I don't really want that. So I carried it upstairs with me since it might have been downed by my mom if I'd left it in the kitchen. This morning as I got ready to brush my teeth, I thought, hmmm. Maybe before I brush, I should have that.

This is not a plea for help. (I didn't drink it until dinner this evening.) I'm just telling it how it is for me on the island of Pillville. I'm sure many caregivers find their escape in a bottle or think about it anyway. I have narcotics in the house too, and don't think that they don't occasionally whisper my name. They do. So far I have not indulged.

I'm reading an excellent dark and funny memoir about caregiving. It's called "Bettyville." It's odd to sit on the couch after my mom has gone to bed and read what writer George Hodgeman probably wrote after his mom was in bed.

Speaking of writing, I was inspired by my mom's conversations with the dead (mostly her twin sister) to begin writing a few daily lines to the man who loved me.

Tired of death, drink and drugs?

Let's talk about dancing. I'm dancing two nights a week now. Two hours each session. Swing, Foxtrot, Rhumba. Tomorrow I'm going to buy some real dance shoes. I'm dancing with the same guy. He still goes east out of the parking lot. I still go west.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pillville to Become Clothing Optional

"I've been cold all day," my mother said as she shuffled around the kitchen after dinner.
"Well, the air-conditioning was on when I came back home at noon."
"Well, I didn't touch it."

 I didn't belabor the point. Maybe the caregiver goofed, but since she's a regular, I doubt it. My mom studied the above note intently off and on all day. It's a new addition to the many notes around the house that help the caregivers. Notes on the coffee canister. Notes on the microwave on how long to nuke each of our five microwave hot packs. If I leave a grocery list on the counter, my mom can linger over it like it's a novel.

So I'm hoping it will be more temperate here in Pillville with the addition of my most recent note. But we are now clothing optional in case 74 or 75 is just too hot for you. Or you could remember to pack a thong if you visit. Or maybe I should stock thongs in the guest bath the way I have sunscreen and bathrobes and extra toothbrushes and toothpaste.

The other main topic of discussion today was the hummingbird feeder.

My brother and I hung it outside the dining room directly across from her chair. It's been getting an occasional visitor, but just a couple of sips and the bird is off. Tonight at my mom's urging I made some homemade nectar.

Is this a refrigerator that belongs to a couple of old ladies or what?

I will be sure to fill the feeder with the new stuff early tomorrow before she wakes up. Yesterday the recycling mysteriously made its way outside to the trash bin. I can never be sure what she's going to do to try to help out. 

So now that the relatives have gone back to Iowa, we'll be ready for more visitors soon. Wouldn't you like to be a regular (Ahem. See above photo.) visitor? 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Pillville: Population 4

My brother and my aunt (my mom's baby sister) have been visiting Pillville.) They arrived on Thursday afternoon from Iowa and are leaving tomorrow morning to return there.

It has changed the basic equation of everything here in Pillville to have doubled the population. It's made me realize the enormity of my job in Pillville as the sole resident child, the sole blood relative, the sole responsible financial planner, the sole cook and medication dispenser, microwave hot pack heater, chauffeur, and cheerleader.

I'm not really into second-guessing myself. Not into regretting. But my life as my mom's caregiver would be substantially different if I were doing it in Iowa. I left my hometown when I was 17 and never went back except for the summer after my freshman year of college. I tried going back after I'd quit college and had just returned from a year in Europe. I began working full-time at the factory job I'd had part-time my senior year of high school. It wasn't good. The way I remember it is that I left my mom a note after packing my bags on impulse one afternoon after I'd gotten off work: Call them and tell them I quit. I'm on the bus back to Minnesota. (Where I went back to college.)  So that was that. And now my mom lives with me in California thousands of miles from the rest of her relatives. Sometimes I think she'd like to leave me a note.

She says she wants to die in Iowa.  Let me know when, I say, so I can buy the plane tickets. Planning is good. But sometimes you just have to pick up and go.

Other residents of Pillville of late include this pair of ring-necked doves. Last week we spotted one. But now there are two. I'm happy they have each other.

And here's my mom and her baby sister, the last two surviving siblings in a family of seven kids. I'm glad they have each other.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tequila the Wonder Drug

My neighborhood looked like this yesterday morning.

I've been dragging myself through life the past couple of weeks. Gray sky inside my head. Mail piling up. Tasks accumulating. The layer of dust over everything in my house growing thicker. A dead plant on top of the armoire in the front hallway. Tired. So fucking tired. 

It occurred to me that I'm drinking too much wine. There was a time when I was making a point of not drinking. After my mom's fall on Thanksgiving and the post-fall rules which dictated she could have a mere 2 ounces of martini every evening, I decided I'd top that by foregoing alcohol all together Monday through Thursday. Things were pretty wobbly in Pillville back then. I needed every bit of focus I could muster. Then things changed. And I needed every ounce of wine I could justify. I'm never sure how these transitions get made here in Pillville. I'm just the boss of everything here in Pillville, and I guess, being the boss of wine, I declared that I should have more.

Yeah, so, yesterday I cooked my weekly dinner for my L.A. friends. (Chicken and cauliflower curry, roasted carrots and cucumber salad.) 

                                                            This is the chicken and cauliflower curry.

We had tequila afterwards. And chess pie. And more tequila. And more pie. And cookies. And more tequila. Honest to god, I thought I'd killed myself. And then this morning I woke up feeling fabulous and felt fabulous all day. I actually did stuff. Rectified all of the above-mentioned problems, plus called doctor's offices for my mom and sat on hold and then explained that no, she doesn't owe them money, that they have to bill her supplementary insurance (I'd had a complete mental block against doing this until today.) I ran errands like a champ, filed all the papers that had been teetering on every surface in my room, did laundry, made up the beds for guests, caulked the crack around my fireplace molding,  texted the Someone (which I'd been dreading) and asked about a check I thought I had coming, and THEN a neighbor brought a mis-delivered piece of mail to my door which turned out to be a check from the Someone. 

I mean. Really. It's got to be the tequila. Right?

Monday, April 20, 2015

Monday Beach Report

The by-the-wind sailors have arrived.  No longer bright shiny blue, the beaches are covered with the fading dead, still pretty in a way with the blue of their bodies casting a sort of pale turquoise light on their cellophane sails.

There must be tens of thousands of them. What are these creatures like when they're alive?

I read a bit about them last summer when they arrived. And here's what I've found today at

     Springtime visitors to much of the coast of California are frequently mystified by the appearance of long bluish rows consisting of jellyfish-like creatures that litter the beaches.  These are actually masses of thousands of unusual mobile hydroids that normally travel at the surface with the aid of buoyant float tissue.  Propelled by winds that act on a somewhat rigid triangular sail held above the float, Velellanormally inhabit open ocean waters.  The sail is made of a chitinous material and has a distinctive cellophane-like texture.  Wind patterns in spring and early summer may cast thousands of these long-distance wayfarers onto beaches all along the U.S. West Coast.  Individuals with two types of sails that are mirror images of each other exist in a population - they are thus pushed in opposite directions by the wind.  Although previously classified in the Order Chondrophora, recent considerations indicate an alliance with the anthomedusae.  
    The float and surrounding tissues are endowed with an attractive deep blue pigment.  The float contains a series of sealed air chambers that provide buoyancy.  Total width of the floating polyp is usually less than 6 cm.  Beneath the float is a grouping of several types of zooids, colored brown by the presence of zooxanthellae.  A large central mouth is surrounded by shorter reproductive stalks with mouth openings that bud tiny adult medusae that produce eggs and sperm.  Multitudes of tiny brownish-green medusae that never grow to more than 3 mm tall are cast off (last photo).  These then release the eggs and sperm that produce free-swimming larvae which eventually develop into more floating polyps.  It's not known if a planula larva is produced initially, but during the early stages oil droplets are formed that bring the young Velella to the surface.  Dangling beneath the rim of the float are hollow tentacles that ensnare fish and invertebrate eggs, copepods and appendicularians.  Velella is found in warm and temperate seas throughout the world.  Although not dangerous to people, it's best not to handle them or touch your face or eyes if you've been touching beached individuals since some irritation may result.

What I don't know never ceases to amaze me.

Here's a photo of some living things: Marbled godwits, I believe.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Dispatch from Los Angeles--Part 2

The book salon feast and its creator, reflected in the mirror.

"Despite the shock of walking into an empty flat, the absence isn't immediate, more a fade from the present tense you shared, a melting into the past, not an erasure but a conversion in form, from presence to memory, from solid to liquid, and the person you once touched now runs over your skin, now in sheets down your back, and you may bathe, may sink, may drown in the memory, but your fingers cannot hold it."--from Anthony Marra's novel "A Constellation of Vital Phenomena."
A story set during the two recent Chechen wars, Marra's novel has a lot to say about loss, love, cultural identity, betrayal, survival, war, and the art and objects we humans use to connect, commemorate, and remember one another.

The meal was sublime. Yes, of course there was vodka. We poured it into white creme de menthe to make a cocktail called a stinger and we poured it into pomegranate lemonade. There was also dovga--yogurt soup with greens and herbs. There was beef manti and stuffed grape leaves and a dish with peppers that I wish I could be spooning into my mouth right now. And you might want to lie down in case you feel faint when I tell you that we had homemade halva ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce and salted peanuts for dessert.

Then I dove into my bed for the night where I looked out over the City of Angels. Really.

I went to LACMA again this morning, as has become my habit, where I visited the Art of the Americas Building. It lives up to that rather broad name. The heyday of American furniture and decorative arts, and all that, and in a sort of reverse chronology, on the top floor there's this:

The photo can't capture the experience at all.
I gasped when I rounded the corner and caught a glimpse of this gallery with its draperies of reds and greens floating above and its curving walls fashioned of wooded slats. There are one of a kind chandeliers and  lighting that cannot be captured in a photo, and in about 5 seconds you forget all of this because the ancient art is positively stupendous.

And there's this somewhat more modern piece, which was different from everything else, but quite fitting with the larger theme of this 24 hours.

And downstairs, before I walked up the steps to the long, long ago past, there was this:

It fits right in. There were several conjoined couples in the ancient Mexican/Central American clay pieces.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Friday Beach Report /Dispatch from Los Angeles

It's hard to see in this photo, but all of the white thing are velella velella (by-the-wind sailors) In real life they're shiny and look a bit like discarded condoms, as if there'd been a safe sex orgy on the sand.
Today there were hundreds of washed up dead by-the-wind sailors. Who knows why they aren't blue. The question mark from the stalk of some kind of reed or tall grass is not staged. I guess the universe also wants to know why the velella velella aren't blue.

But I saw dolphins on my walk. So we haven't killed everything yet. A stroke of luck.

And I found a parking spot on La Brea Ave. (I'm writing this from L.A.) so that's lucky too. I'm having a latteé at a nice little coffee place in preparation for my 24-hour break from caregiving. I'm hoping for a good night's sleep after my friend Elizabeth's fabulous book salon. Last night my mom yelled a lot in her sleep. This morning while I made my coffee, she was still at it. "Well!" she said, "I'm going to need the car!" Maybe she was trying to get to L.A. so she could be here waiting for me. That could be fun. She's a little unclear on this book salon thing though. Every time I tell her that I'm going to a book club, she thinks it's to a discuss a book I've written. Thanks, mom. I appreciate the vote of confidence.

So yeah, if you want to buy my book, scroll down.

I also highly recommend "A Constellation of Vital Phenomena" by Anthony Marra. It is profoundly amazing and my favorite book salon selection so far.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wednesday Beach Report

I can't tell the difference sometimes between procrastination and dread. Is one the other's shadow? Are they conjoined twins?

It might just be the dullness of the  house after the departure of friends. The Santa Ana winds that blew in and then shifted. What is this sense that I'm forgetting something when I did finally manage to put my tax payments in the mail this morning? What is this dread?  I find myself in a procession of days when I cannot open my mailbox. Then when I do, I cannot deal with the mail. It sits unopened, scaring me, a troupe of ghouls behind the curtains.

I walked miles on the beach this morning. No dead sea lions, but I found these:

These creatures are by-the-wind sailors or Velella Velella--except they're not blue. I saw about a dozen of the clear ones like the photo above, and maybe a half dozen of the iridescent greenish black one as in the photo below. Wikipedia says they're usually blue. Remember THIS from last summer?

Now more dead ones. Just a few. But why aren't they blue? Why am I blue?

And I keep thinking of the ring-necked dove that I saw outside the window the night of the miraculous dinner. They are not native to California. I've never seen one here. I keep thinking I should have welcomed it. Put food out for it on the ground so it wouldn't have to battle the hoard of finches at the bird feeder. I haven't seen it again.

Maybe they're greenish black because of beach tar---but I don't think so.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Miraculous

We had a little dinner party last night. Old friends who moved away to Virginia are back for a visit. Also here was another set of friends from L.A. who came out on a Monday despite their demanding jobs. And my oldest L.A. friends who are now traveling around the country in their travel trailer in between his chemotherapy. And a friend from Ojai drove here directly from visiting her parents in Las Vegas. 

Two in attendance have lung cancer. One had her hand in a brace from some sort of injury. One forgot to take his diabetes meds. Two of us are grieving the loss of the men we loved (not even counting my mom in this--at 90; she's grieving practically everyone.) Everything was glorious. No one turned the water into wine. No one jumped off the boat dock and walked on water. Yet I had this feeling all night that I was in the presence of the miraculous. At the end of the evening as I escorted people out the door, my rose bushes gleamed under the street lights, and every single one of us seemed filled with the same white light. 

An hour or so later my friends from Virginia and I sat on the couch in my living room talking and looking out at the night. "Oh, oh," my friend Sandy said, "I just saw a shooting star." I wanted to tell her to wish on it. To wish for this very same night a year from now. But I said nothing. If I opened my mouth I knew I'd burst into tears or laughter or maybe even hot white flames. I held all those feelings in, hoping.

Enchilada pie, broccoli salad, green salad with garlic sautéed shitake mushrooms, assorted fruit

Flan!!!!! There were actually two kinds of flan. One made with brown sugar, one with maple syrup.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Report from Pillville: Tiny gifts and an update on the possum

I've begun to look for little presents for my mom--special treats to eat, found treasures from the beach, a book, a bauble. On Tuesday I found a plastic shark in the sand during my beach walk and I brought it home to her. On Wednesday, she was thrilled to see the pile of beach glass I culled from the rocks. Thursday I browsed a bit in our local behemoth of a used bookstore before my weekly massage. On the shelf devoted to local interest, I found a book called "The Sea Captain's Wife," a true story written by a local woman, set in the early 20th century. "That's one of our most popular books," the clerk told me. "It sounds good," I said, "And I'm thinking about becoming a sea captain's wife." I might actually like to be a sea captain's wife, but mostly I was joking around. The clerk didn't seem to get the joke. "I wonder if we have anything else about that," he said, seeming a bit flummoxed. I thanked him and left it at that. My mom pounced on the book the minute I showed it to her. Right now she's in her room finishing "Epitaph for a Peach: Four Seasons On My Family Farm," so she can get started on her new book. I think she might prefer memoir to fiction. So maybe it's no surprise that I like to write it.

Right now the lovely M and her friend are getting fro-yo and will be bringing back some for my mom. They made a delicious dinner for the four of us. Grilled salmon with a sweet and savory glaze, truffle cheese mashed potatoes, and grilled nectarine salad. My mom seems to be shaving more and more foods off her list, but tonight she ate everything on her plate.

We spotted the possum prowling around the patio last night, and this morning we woke to a sucked-dry humming bird feeder. My mom has named the possum Peter. I've decided that his mate should be called Polly. I think they party out there every night. We also have a pair of mallards living on our boat dock, and a sparrow who's in love with his own reflection. Unlike the other sparrows and finches who hang round the bird feeder on the opposite side of the house, the narcissistic sparrow flies around and around in front of the mirror on our patio wall, enchanted by his own reflection. It's mating season in Pillville. Well.  Outside anyway.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Shouting in the Dark

I love the moment at dawn when the birds begin to sing. 

My mother is shouting in her sleep as I write this. Sometimes she talks. I tip-toe to the door of her room and listen if she's speaking clearly enough to be understood. I keep waiting for some profound revelation from the beyond because she's usually speaking to dead people. Like maybe she has a message for me from my dad. Or maybe there'll be some long-held family secret revealed. Usually she's lost though. She and her twin sister are in the woods and trying to find their way back home.

My mom slept most of the day. Mitigating pain and keeping the sufferer coherent and awake is a challenge, apparently. When she was still asleep at 12:30 I called the hospice nurse, and she came over and checked on her. All her vital signs were great--probably better than mine at that point. She got up and ate toast and yogurt and coffee and juice. Then she went back to bed. I slept on the couch and we both woke up around 6 p.m. I turned last night's chicken into chicken salad. We had toast and an avocado with it and called it good. By the end of the meal, I had to keep my eyes on her because  she was dozing while lifting her glass to her lips. This is not a new thing. She does it regularly and the result is frequently a spilled drink and sometimes a broken glass. It pisses her off. I've never seen anything quite like it. She's here in the present and then she slips into some other reality, mumbling, talking, then she's gone and there's coffee or a martini in her lap.

The nurse made new recommendations for the meds, so we'll see if my mom Rip Van Winkels her way through tomorrow or what. The pain is pretty much gone though. When I ask her how she feels or how her pain is, she says, "Smoooth." She used our fabulous lavender microwave hot packs only once today. Before hospice the hot packs were constantly employed. The microwave blew a fuse on Sunday, and if we hadn't already had the okay to increase the pain meds, it would have been a gruesome day.

I actually sent out some writing today. Lately I've been feeling like my focus has just gone to hell, and that there's just so much rejection, and I can't apply for any fellowships, and I can't really participate in the literary scene, and I wish I were at AWP, but I'm not, and you know, whinewhinewhine. So I had some wine, and I thought, rather dejectedly, I'd see how my book was doing. It's okay. The ups and downs of book sales are completely perplexing. At least at this level. If you're on Oprah, yeah, I'm sure your sales go up. The things I'm doing to promote my book are less visible. A little like shouting in the dark.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Tuesday Beach Report

Gray-green water. The storm gathers itself.

One day you're standing on level ground, the next at the edge of a precipice.

Meanwhile, the flowers are drinking.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Monday Morning Beach Report

Post-holiday Emptiness

It was quite a bit busier in Pillville. We had a meeting with the case manager. I was barraged with phone calls from the medical equipment place. Due to the ins and outs of who pays for what, we must get rid of my mom's current hard won hospital bed and get a different one. We have to change out the oxygen concentrator too. It all has to do with who will pay for what, and hospice has its own pipeline. I really have no beef with that basic concept (well, I do, really, but never mind) but I did draw a line in the sand when I got the call that said the bed was about to be delivered, and I was having my time off, and the caregiver told me my mom was napping in her current bed. The medical supply office called me twice. When would I be home? The driver called me once. Why wasn't I home? And why wouldn't my mom's caregiver let him in?  I called the hospice case manager and asked for her help. She jumped in and sent the guy with the truck idling in my driveway AWAY. It's all funny, really. First we couldn't get the fucking hospital bed a year ago, and now they're beating down the door to give us another one.

Here's the best Pillville news today. My mom looks radiant. Most of her pain is gone. She feels good. She's a bit dreamy. While I was fixing dinner, she asked me if I remembered the time we stopped at the baseball diamond. She was sitting at the table with her martini, halfway between real life and dream life. For some crazy reason, she dreams a lot about baseball. I have absolutely nothing to say that can explain that.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter in Pillville

My dad always bought my mom an Easter lily, so I bought us one. By mutual agreement, we decided to forgo the yucky candy. 

We didn't make a big deal out of Easter here in Pillville. I was scheduled to teach T'ai Chi Chih in the park this morning at 11:00, but got another teacher to sub for me at the last minute because at 10:15  my mom still hadn't gotten out of bed. She's usually up between 8:00 and 8:30, and given the extra meds, I was uneasy with our situation. Everything turned out okay with my mom. She had kind of a low key sleepy day, but by this evening, she was totally herself.

And all this made me rise up (ahem) out of my denial. I cannot really commit to anything--not even an hour's worth of something one mile from my house without pre-planning for a caregiver. This is how it is now. I'm okay with it. But it's like a new pair of uncomfortable shoes. I'm just gonna wear the damn things and break them in. I spent a couple of hours staring at my calendar this morning deciding what to keep, what to jettison. I have a plan. And the plan will change. I'm okay with that too, though I worry sometimes that out and out fatigue is what makes me so complacent.

All in all, it's been a lovely weekend. I've reconnected with two old friends. I've counted my blessings--and I've probably been able to do that more easily because of those conversations with friends.

Tonight at dinner my mom told me about a very vivid dream she had of her deceased twin sister. She told me about how, in real life at age 13, they were grown-ups, sent out to work waitress jobs. How people didn't tip back then, and that the one customer who did tip would cause a stampede among the waitresses when they saw him coming down the sidewalk toward the door. How, in that restaurant, she lost the beautiful rings that her mother gave her. She took them off in the locker room to put on her nylon stockings and her uniform. They were gone just like that, and nobody would admit to taking them.

We talked about how people want mementos of their dead loved ones. Rings, and pictures, and other things. It made me think about my dad. I wish I had his vintage silk ties and the neon sign from his business.

It's funny though--all this He Has Risen religiosity. Spring and fertility. Eggs and pretty colored candy. Exactly one year ago, I was at Dan's place cleaning out his refrigerator. I was on a mission. Chemo, radiation, suppressed immune system, spoiled food. He was in terrible shape. And here I am again this spring, in yet another season of decline.

But hey everyone! I have that number I can call!

Hope your Easter was sweet.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Report from the Love Shack

Hahahaha. Just kidding.

I went to a wedding today though. The bride and groom kissed like crazy.

That looked like fun.

And in other news:

My mom got accepted into hospice care this morning.

Hold your horses.

All it means right now is that there's better pain management--and I'm happy beyond measure about that. I had a glass of champagne (all by myself) when the nurse left. The champagne was already in the fridge, opened and re-corked. Because friends.

And it made a big difference in my mom's day, taking those pills in four hours instead of six.

The big thing--and this is huge. I can call a nurse any hour of the day or night. The nurse will come to the house if I say we need her. Amazing. I keep looking at that piece of paper on my fridge, thinking, oh my god, there is a number I can call and someone will be right over.

That's what people do when you live near family members, right? I was away at college when my dad died very suddenly of a heart attack. It was evening. February. The roads were probably icy and it was mostly likely colder than hell. People came over. Yes, I have friends, excellent and generous and gracious friends, but I find it harder to impose on friends, especially in the middle of the night. Shortly after my divorce when I was living alone, I took a bunch of pain pills and bandaged my eye and went to sleep after my dog poked her toenail in it. I knew I had a scratched cornea. In the morning I drove myself to the eye doctor while holding a towel over half my face.

And here's the really amazing part--my mom can still go visit relatives in Maryland (which means I can take a trip with a friend) and be on hospice there. And then come back and be on hospice here. Well, the arrangements aren't totally solid yet, but it's in the works.

Originally, the word hospice meant simply an inn for travelers, I think.

And we're all just traveling through.

Sleep well.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday Morning Beach Report/ Report from Pillville

Sometimes I smell the bodies before I get close enough to the water to see them. A couple of days ago, I came upon four in a walk that was barely a mile, one so emaciated it looked like a sea serpent.  Sea lions are starving. Last year I saw quite a few pups and juveniles awaiting rescue. This year it's mostly bodies. Someone told me about the northern elephant seal pup that washed up yesterday. It was alive, she said, but didn't look good. This morning I came across the sign and the orange tape. Normally, elephant seals aren't this far south.

Also on this morning's walk, I saw a back hoe dig a big hole and mound up some sand. I guess this is how the dead ones are buried. It being Easter weekend and all, I suppose there's some concern about freaking out the tourists. Maybe we should put up signs marking all the spots where sea lions died. So people know and we can all freak out communally. There's a large sea lion colony in the islands. Maybe they'll survive this crisis.

As for life in Pillville, we have an assessment scheduled with a hospice nurse. Nothing has changed dramatically with my mom, but her slow motion slide inches downward. A walker instead of her cane. More pain. Less energy. But odd as it may sound, we're happy enough here in Pillville. Yesterday friends came by to drink champagne. They're all so pretty, my mom told me afterwards. She wanted to know if they all had husbands. No, I said, oversimplifying things quite a bit. I knew where the discussion was headed, so I changed the subject. I think if I hadn't, she would have told me once again I should have a husband--or at least a man in my life. I'd love to fall in love, but I don't think I'm ready. And I absolutely can't imagine how a man would fit into life here in Pillville. He'd have to be a saint. That's not exactly what I'm looking for.

"I'm no saint. I got papers to prove I ain't."-- fragment from one of Dan's songs.

So thanks for visiting and taking time to read about the dead and dying.

Here's a pure white dove for you. Peace.