RIP Mr. Terry Jones, one of the pillars of my faith.

After two weeks and holding of fighting with my drug plan insurance over a medicine which keeps me alive that I was running out of I finally used GoodRx to buy it out of pocket. It wasn’t cheap but it gives me a three month grace period to sort things out with the insurance. Insurance is nothing but legal extortion. But even with the hassle I know how incredibly lucky I am to have such a plan. I won’t get back that out of pocket expense, but I do expect things will get sorted eventually and I will get help paying for this medicine. I know many people are not that fortunate.

Not only that, my milk went bad before the pull date.

Life is never going to be exactly as you want it to be. There’s always going to be some little zit on the end of your nose that makes you look at life cross-eyed.

I really need to get some new cats. It’s been a year and clearly my brain has rotted with Kitty Need because when Betty White came on TV on her birthday I said in kitty voice, “Is da Betty White girl.”

When it rains at night I like to turn off all media and just sit there reading while listening to the rain.

Sometimes my life seems like the bumbling slapstick sitcom dads of the 60s.

Pick something up from the floor, lose control of it, have it fly across the room, walk across the room to fetch, it kick something else, stub my toe and send that flying, bend over to retrieve the other thing and have it fall out of my hand again. You know, the usual.

Sometimes I even hear an opening theme soundtrack while I’m doing it.

(Which is way before the time of many of you and very American teevee sitcom.)

Next time you think corporations or billionaires care about you as an individual human being remember that soylant green is people.

Well that’s embarrassing. For quite some time I’ve had a tag for my blog of “aesthetcism” when what I truly meant was “asceticism.” Hoist on my own Picard.

Public service announcement: don’t get the shingles shot unless you’ve got a couple of days to spare for feeling like crap.

(You should definitely get the shingles shot if you are of a certain age because a couple of days of feeling like crap is way better than the shingles.)

I’ve had three friends who were “taken by surprise” and it was a very unpleasant experience. Months of misery. One of them had what they call internal shingles, which means her nerve endings were on fire for months. Horrible.

When you know you’ve used VRS too much: you are leaving a voicemail for a friend and at the end of the sentence you say, “Period.”

Writing is the thing I most want to do in the world and yet every day I reach a certain point where I say to myself, “Have I written enough that I can stop now?” Sometimes I push beyond that point if I think there’s still water in the well. Other times I know the well is dry and I’ll have to wait until it fills up again overnight. The urge to quit is always there, sometimes more insistent than at other times, but always whispering to stop.

You know the worst thing about Hellier? I have hundreds and hundreds of books and I’m at a stage in my life where I’m trying to slim down the library because I don’t have room for all this and Hellier is forcing me—forcing I say—to buy more books! So many damned books!

I was reading a recap of Whitley Streiber’s new book, A New World, at
and something reminded me of the God helmet/Estes method session with Dana and Connor in Hellier S2 :

“He said that they ‘communicate completely differently than us’ without ‘an evolved language.’ Strieber’s experiences led him to conclude that they lead an existence that is nearly unfathomable to us…”

Random quote of the day:

“In what language does rain fall over tormented cities?”

—Pablo Neruda, The Book of Questions, LXVI (tr. William O’Daly)

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Orville and Wilbur, Katy Perry, or the Avengers. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.


The windows are too
high to see the rain but I
hear its staccato
splatter notes and the subtle
music of splash on wind chimes.




*For a definition of what constitutes haiku, tanka, and cinquains, and for an explanation of this poetry project, go here.

*To see all the poems in one place go here.


Jun 6
I do have the sweetest cat on the planet: I open her mouth, drop her thyroid pill in, and she swallows it. This morning, she even purred.

Jun 6
Anyone who tells me what I should do is probably full of horsesh*t.

Jun 8
Riding the back of a flying dragon defies the laws of physics, but it’s become an entrenched fantasy trope. And hey, dragons aren’t real, PJ. My own solution to the Dragon Problem was painfully ludicrous, and I’m the only one who thinks dragon-riding is a problem, so I should just give it up.

Jun 8
To think I once got really excited and emotionally involved by beauty pageants.

Jun 9
I suppose it could be construed as unprofessional that I am sitting at my desk popping my gum loudly.

Jun 10
I’m in the process of reinventing myself yet again, always a slow and painful process, but more so because I am so distracted. I wonder who I’ll wind up being this time?

Jun 10
Jawdropping map: The 74 school shootings since Sandy Hook. 

Jun 11
Bwoogity. I got rid of the Piers Anthony books a lifetime ago. I read them in junior high and thought something was off about them even then. Now Marion Zimmer Bradley is going into the recycling bin. I won’t inflict her on any library sale or Goodwill. Blech.  and 

Jun 12
A swarm of bees/wasps came in my mother’s bathroom window today. The beeman is on his way. WTF.

The bees had formed a colony in our attic. They are gone now. And we caught the wasp nest just in time. Life is exciting.

The “hilarious” part is that Mom sat there for 20 minutes wondering what that buzzing sound was. Flies, maybe. Thank God, no stings. We got lucky, considering she’s half-blind. She recognized the danger and got out of harm’s way in time.

The bees were back by evening. The bee man will be returning in the morning and my mom is sleeping on the futon.

Jun 13
The bees dealt with again this morning, vents sealed. Hopefully this will do it. I’m so stressed I’ve got hives. *rimshot* Gotta laugh. It’s a ridiculous situation. Terrifying in retrospect but we bumbled our way through.

Jun 13
Whatever you love has consequences.

Jun 14
Someone egged my car last night. The neighbor’s car next to it was untouched. Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get me. It’s a late model banged up Honda Civic and the neighbor’s car is spiffy and new. Such is life.

Jun 14
Dr. John Dee has shown up as a character in so much recent spec fic that he’s practically become a new fantasy trope.

Jun 15
That was fun. I sat on a cloth garden chair and kept right on sitting until I hit the ground. Guess I shouldn’t have let it winter outside.

Jun 16
Mom fell on the way to the door to let the medical transport guy in. She said she was okay and went to dialysis but it scared the crap out of me. Dealing with all this over the phone at work while the neighbors help her is nausea-inducing.

guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt

Jun 17
I was typing in my mother’s insurance company and spell check came up with “trickster.” Which is pretty appropriate now that I think about it.

Jun 17
Products I would like to see: InstaMan, for all your hefting and moving needs. Just add water!

Jun 19
If you describe yourself as having “clarity and courage” perhaps what you have is “smugness and self-absorption.”

Jun 20
Ironic (and unfortunate) Twitter juxtaposition. 

Jun 20
On the 24 hour Dodger station Mom never knows if she’s watching a replay or a live game, and the she thinks the commercials are also games.

Jun 21
Sometimes I think white people are purposely stupid when dealing with a person with a Latin accent. A lady at the donut shop asked why the whole wheat bagel was more expensive than the others. “It’s 9 grams,” said the clerk. The lady kept repeating “9 grams?” like it wasn’t perfectly clear and making the clerk also repeat herself several times. Finally I turned to the lady and said sharply “It’s because it’s heavier!” That shut her up. I smiled at the clerk & said, “Perfectly understandable to me.” The clerk laughed, gave me my receipt and said, “Thank you for everything.”

I think people do this because it’s a power trip, an attempt to assert (pseudo) authority over someone because of language differences.

Jun 22
Here’s one of our new Patty O’ Chairs. Please note: it is not cloth. It has lovely cushions which I was too lazy to bring outside.

And here’s the new bench that goes with the chairs.

Sturdy is GOOD. The literature said it will weather to a “nice grey.” And yes, it’s very comfortable and easy to get up from. Mom had no trouble. Nor did I. They are Strathwood Gibranta if you want to look for them elsewhere.

Jun 24
Here’s a thing I don’t get: “My team just won a big game! I’m going to go out and destroy things to celebrate!”

Jun 25
The Rasta Bus I passed three miles earlier passed me as I waited for a light on Main Street. There’s a metaphor there somewhere.

Jun 25
Life is a lot like Faery: once you enter it, you can’t go back. You must go through it.

Which is the premise of one of my novels. God and the fairies know if it will ever be written.

Jun 26
I think I’ve got outrage fatigue.

Jul 15
One of the downsides of having someone in to stay with my mom while I’m at work: snooping.

Jul 16
Min disappeared for hours and we thought she’d gotten out. I combed the neighborhood for her. Finally we heard her scratching from the underside of my mother’s giant recliner. She’d gotten trapped when Mom put the footrest down. All three of us were traumatized.

Jul 16
An epiphany this morning listening to NPR about living with teenagers: caregiving is like living with a toddler and a teenager at the same time.

Jul 17
Trust is a fragile thing, and when you have an unreliable 93-year-old narrator, it’s sometimes mighty difficult to know the truth.

Jul 23
Isn’t the idea of in home care to take the burden off rather than add more stress? Did I miss a memo? We recently received a grant from the VA allowing us 12 hours of help a week but it has problems of its own.

Things could be much, much worse. June was hellish. This month things are looking up. But there are always complications.

One of the nice/complicated things: a very nice, mature, solid replacement to a snooping, manipulative, thievish sort, but with scheduling conflicts. I’m going to ride it out and let next month take care of itself because I’m exhausted and can’t take more time off and because it’s not a perfect world.

Jul 23
Proof that there is a God: 

Jul 25
So Mom fell in her bedroom today when she was alone. Not hurt, thank G–, but the neighbor who came over to help took the opportunity to lecture me about having someone stay with her full time. “We don’t have the money. What do you suggest we do?” “Oh, well, it looks like you’ve got a situation,” she said. Indeed, we do have a situation. Mom and I will have a talk tonight about using her medical alert button next time she falls rather than calling the neighbor. I work a half hour away so it’s difficult to get home to her in a timely fashion.

People are real free with the lecturing and advice, whether they have experience with caregiving or not.

Jul 25
I used to think I was a good judge of character but recent events have shown me that may be an illusion.

Jul 27
Thunder, lightning, and downpour. What are these things?

Rain pouring down, all the windows wide open, and fans going at full blast. We are not use to humidity. It sucks.

Poor Minnie is hiding under the bed. Every thunder strike is followed by sirens. We Californians really don’t know how to drive in the rain.

Turns out the sirens were due to a lightning blast a couple of miles away at Venice Pier. One killed, several injured. In fact, today 9 people were struck by lightning on Venice Beach CA, and a man and a girl hit by a plane forced to land on Venice Beach FL.

Jul 28
I suppose it’s too late to cry, “Foul!” on spoilers for The Big Lebowski, a movie I’ve always meant to see.

Jul 28
Discuss: “All depression has its roots in self-pity, and all self-pity is rooted in people taking themselves too seriously.” ― Tom Robbins

“All” is a bit broad. Some depression has roots in brain chemical imbalances and that cannot be said to be a character flaw. There’s a constellation of causes for depression. Self-pity and taking oneself too seriously may be two.

Perhaps Mr. Robbins is a dick.

Jul 30
My latest Etsy obsession: 

Jul 31
The whole “Unfriend a Man” thing?  I can’t think of anything more boring than being surrounded only by women. Besides, when has reverse bigotry ever solved anything? When has blaming an entire half of the species because of the actions of a few led to anything other than Elliot Rodger? If you want to live in an estrogen-only environment, more power to you. As for me, I prefer a more varied hormonal environment, with give and take and the possibility of dialogue. Keeps life interesting.

Aug 2
Mom’s confusion tonight is too vast for 140 characters but too exhausting for anything larger.

All the perky caregiver advice experts make my ass burn.

Aug 4
A lifetime ago I read Malamud’s “The Magic Barrel” and adored it. Gave me the warm fuzzies. I read it yesterday for the first time since. I barely remembered it and when I was done I thought, “Why did this loom so large in my young imagination?” I mean, I liked the story, but it wasn’t the epic turning point it had been back then. And I remembered it as much more romantic, less downbeat. Could it be that I myself was more romantic and less downbeat? One must draw the conclusion that it is possibly so. Maybe the reason it loomed so large was because for the first time I saw one could be a fabulist and still considered literary, an important distinction for me back then.

Aug 4
I just learned that my cousin, the one who was going to stay with Mom while I had surgery, passed away in her sleep last night. Shock and sorrow.

She was diabetic and had COPD, and about five or so years ago, successfully fought off breast cancer. But when she realized her health had deteriorated to the point where she’d have to go to an assisted living situation, she decided she wouldn’t take her meds anymore. Her independence was everything to her. She wanted that last bit of control, I guess.

She wanted peace. She was done. She wanted to go be with her husband, the love of her life, who passed when he was only 35. She didn’t have an easy life. I hope she found that peace she was after.

Aug 5

To make the week even more perfect I am currently sitting in the jury room at the L.A. Metropolitan Courthouse.

Aug 5
I’ve gotten to the age where when I think back to how long it’s been since I did X activity the answer is often a bit frightening.

I’m also so old I have no shame. I am wearing my steampunk bifocals (reading glasses over my distance glasses) in the jury room. I’d take a pic but, alas, no pictures allowed in the jury room.

However, in a couple of weeks I will have grown up glasses at last and my army of reading glasses will go into the recycler.

Aug 7
Much easier feeling compassion for someone’s life once they’re dead, much harder when confronted with the irritations of day to day living. I guess we always assume they’ll always be around to irritate us, no matter what our head tells us about the impermanence of life.

Aug 8
I am not a responsible adult. Whoever put me in charge of this household made a HUGE mistake.

Aug 8
A death in the family, jury duty, and two days of stomach virus. I am D-O-N-E with this week.

27 Dec
The guy in the Cadillac Escalade whose license plate included “ASAP” driving at least 10 mph under the speed limit.

30 Dec
I have strep throat. The doc said “I worked in the ER and nothing phases me but THAT’S impressive.” God knows how long I’ve had it.

31 Dec
I’ve been sick as a dog for days but tonight I feel like I may have regained my humanity. Happy new year everyone.

1 Jan
No fever this morning for the first time since Friday. I think I may survive. 

 May you all enjoy a happy and fever free 2013.

1 Jan
Having watched all the Rose Parade I can stand (10 minutes), I will turn my attention elsewhere.

2 Jan
People are the foulest species. I don’t usually watch Animal Cops because I can’t stand the cruelty, stupidity and culpability of some people, but it happened to be on when I turned the TV on and I became transfixed by a story of three horses. Happy endings for two of them, no word on what kind of ending the third experienced. I want to believe the number of good people balances out the bad, but there are days I have my doubts.

2 Jan
In other news, I still feel like crud.

2 Jan
Watching a Dr. Oz diet show while eating KFC: another fine irony.

3 Jan
Profound: doing an oracle reading re: Mom and having her interrupt it with a phone call. If I was a writer I might make something of that.

4 Jan
I felt mostly human today but still tire way too easily.

6 Jan
Who likes mimes except other mimes?

7 Jan
I think “don’t describe eye color” is one of the more bogus writing rules. Someone with a personality disorder must have made that one up. I always notice eye color in Real Life. It’s pertinent in description; eyes are the windows to the soul, etc. Having said all this, I do believe amateurs way the hell overuse eye color as a descriptor, as if it’s the only thing important about a face. It’s one more piece of the puzzle, that’s all, and perhaps that rule was generated by someone’s frustration over too many “he had brown hair and blue eyes” 
flat and lifeless descriptions. More important perhaps to note the pitted quality of his nose, how light never touches those blue eyes.

7 Jan
They’re talking about springing Ma soon from the Big House. She’s been walking real good.

9 Jan
Boycotting Olive Garden, Red Lobster and now Wendy’s: 

10 Jan
Hope seems to be my Rasputin emotion. No matter how many times and ways it is assassinated, it refuses to die.

10 Jan
Mom got cocky, thinking she was going home, and decided to go to the bathroom without help. She lost her balance and “fell.” Although she insists she just “slid down the wall.” No breaks/fractures, thank God. But they want to monitor her another week or so before releasing her. She’s doing well. They took her outside and walked her up and down the block yesterday (assisted). They’re just being cautious.

11 Jan
I’m so old that when I hear the word “butter” I have to fight the urge to say, “Parkay.”

14 Jan
Dear Man on the Cycle: your clownish bicycle clothes just got stupider with the addition of the unitard.

14 Jan
The water in the birdbath froze overnight, a very rare occurrence here near the beach.

14 Jan
It doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t mean anything, it doesn’t 

mean anything.

Don’t read anything into it, don’t read anything into it, don’t read anything into it, don’t read anything into it, don’t read anything into it.

Remember: hope is the thing without feathers.

14 Jan
Funny the things that stick in your mind: I can’t read/hear “papier maché” without hearing Rowan Atkinson’s voice (from Blackadder Goes Forth) saying, “Pap-ee-yay MASH-ay willie.” (He was mocking the artistic strivings of Hugh Laurie’s upperclass twit character.) That phrase has been rattling around in my brain for years. Sad, really.

15 Jan
Wow. I just forgot my boss’s last name. I had to get up and look at his name plate. That’s rather terrifying.

15 Jan
Stop being a writer and just write.

15 Jan
Conspiracy theory and gun nuts—a terrifying, sick combination: 

The water in the birdbath froze last night, a rather rare occurrence here near the beach.

1. I finally got around to watching the taped season finale of Castle and the fourth season premiere. This is what I hate about episodic TV and why I stopped watching it: every season, no matter how dramatic or world-changing the finale, by the end of the premiere episode everything has been reset to square one. There’s no regard for character growth, the hard left turns in the script give you whiplash, but everything goes back to the way things have always been. Even on Castle, which is a better written show than most episodic TV. Yeah, there are hints that things will continue in a slightly altered vein, but the premiere really had to do some unlikely contortions to achieve their reset.

2. We’ve got summer weather this October, as often happens in L.A. in October. I wore short sleeves today, forgetting the fall/stress rash on my forearm which is now on display for all to see. Oh well. It had mostly simmered down so it isn’t too humiliating. Driving back from taking Mom to the clinic, everything was sunny and bright until I got to Santa Monica. Then the fog seeped down the highway and I wished that I’d brought my sweater.

3. Driving to the clinic, my mother and I discussed the weird perception of waking up and not knowing where you are, thinking maybe you’re in some place you lived in two or three moves ago, or whatever. These days that sensation has gone a step further for Mom: she wakes up and although she knows where everything is and everything looks the same, the neighborhood is familiar, she feels as if the house isn’t where it’s supposed to be. Somehow it’s moved, she knows not where. I said, “Maybe we’ve slipped into an alternate reality and you’re the only one who realizes it.” She laughed. “Maybe so.”

4. I sometimes have moments of hope these days—and that scares me. So much is beyond my control. I can concentrate only on the here and now. I have to let go of the rest. Whenever I get caught up in anger or frustration or trying to will my will in situations where my will has no effect, I tell myself, “You haven’t got time for this. Let it go. Save your energy for fights you can win.” This is a very difficult lesson to learn, not just for me, but it’s one the Universe has been trying to teach me for many long years: live this moment, and this moment, and this moment, and this . . .

5. My creative life is stretching taut over my bones, but it’s swimming in my blood. I thought it was dead for a time, but it isn’t dead. It is not dead.

No tweet puns in the immediate forecast.


I’m still awake, don’t know how. 25 Feb

On this date in 1808 Stendahl bragged in his diary about killing three hares, his “first quadrupeds.” 25 Feb

I was awake from 4:30 AM Fri to 12:30 AM Sat then slept ten hours. Torrential rain when I went to bed, bucolic sunshine upon waking. 26 Feb

I decided to celebrate the weather change with a massive sinus headache. Fun times. 26 Feb

Snow in the San Fernando Valley, first since the 1970s. More rain tonight and lows in 30s even here at the moderate beach. 26 Feb

I went to the garage to clear more boxes. Only got thru 2 before my nose and fingers froze. 26 Feb

Oh, now the weather guy tells me that wasn’t snow but graupel, small snow pellets in great quantity. 26 Feb

lilithsaintcrow True. RT @sblackmoore: If a character survives a book without losing something important you’re not trying hard enough. 28 Feb

Something to give some perspective. Beautiful progression: 28 Feb

pj_thompson @lilithsaintcrow re: characters losing something by the end of the book – Do you think that’s true of comedic novels as well? 28 Feb

When I was a kid I thought writers wrote the books in one shot all the way through and figured the plot out as they went along. 28 Feb

How did they know to plant clues and foreshadowing, I wondered? When I’m doing rewrites planting clues I remember that and laugh. 28 Feb

Of course, I was right about them making it up as they went along…At least for the pantsers like myself. 28 Feb

Spent a few days adding new material to WIP when should be cutting but that new stuff will allow me to cut other stuff in the saggy middle. 28 Feb

lilithsaintcrow Lilith Saintcrow @pj_thompson Yes. Definitely. 28 Feb

pj_thompson PJ Thompson @lilithsaintcrow So that’s what I got wrong. :-)  28 Feb

lilithsaintcrow Lilith Saintcrow @pj_thompson Tragedy is easy. Comedy is much, much harder, because it skates that edge.  28 Feb

TrishaTelep Trisha Telep @lilithsaintcrow @pj_thompson That’s not funny! 28 Feb

lilithsaintcrow Lilith Saintcrow @TrishaTelep @pj_thompson *snork* 28 Feb

pj_thompson PJ Thompson @lilithsaintcrow @TrishaTelep Dying is easy, comedy is hard, but comedy don’t get no respect. 28 Feb

On the drive home I realized that the MCs in my comedic novel did lose something. Not body parts unless you count the holes in their hearts. 28 Feb

Yet if it hadn’t been for a good friend reading an early draft I would have skated over that exquisite pain. Thx, Kev. 28 Feb