Random quote of the day:

“Television is like the invention of indoor plumbing. It didn’t change people’s habits. It just kept them inside the house.”

—Alfred Hitchcock, New York Journal-American, 25 August 1965


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Lucy and Ethel, Justin Bieber, or the Kardashian Klan. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.


7 Sep
Feeling as stupid as Hoda Kotb this morning. Sat in the driveway listening to a This American Life story and ran my car battery down. The AAA guy is changing it out for a new one now. It was old and on its last legs, he said. Glad I didn’t have to have the car towed. The other irony? I never did hear the end of that story.

Not much energy today, even less after The Battery Incident. Desperately want a nap.

7 Sep
My 92 year old mother just declared that she wants to cook Thanksgiving dinner rather than have it catered as we’d planned. “It will taste so much better.” It will, but neither one of us is up to it anymore. At least I’ll have three days to recover. I may just be able to walk again by Monday. Mom doesn’t like having Tgiving at other peoples’ houses, either.

Mom has a huge spirit and can’t accept her frail body. Who’s to say she’s wrong?

But I need knee surgery on both knees and that much cooking will involve a lot of time on my feet which will require a lot of recovery.

9 Sep
First sign of autumn at my house.

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12 Sep
Called DPSS to find out exactly where to take the form they insist on getting in person (no email) before actually taking the day off tomorrow to bring it to them. 

”That’s not a walk in office,” the person on the phone said. “You can’t bring things there until we transfer your mother’s case to a new office.” Which won’t happen until October 1 when her case worker comes back from vacation. Apparently, no one else can help me.

On the one hand, I should be irate for the sodding great waste of time. OTOH, yippeee! I don’t have to go to DPSS tomorrow!!

12 Sep
So I walked outside last night to put scraps out for the wild critters and came face to face with one—fortunately. I’d hate to be face to tail with a skunk. A skunk! In the middle of the city near LAX. I beat a hasty retreat back inside.

13 Sep
WUUUUUFFFFFFF! That’s the sound of a giant gust of wind going out of my lungs in relief. Doing a little caregiver dance!  Dancey dancey dancey! Take that Amy F. Grant and Katie F. Couric! I got someone to take my mother to dialysis on Mondays and Wednesdays so I don’t have to leave work in the middle of the day and make a 50 mile round trip! And I don’t have to wait on DPSS to pay for it!

18 Sep
Remember when newsreaders actually understood the news they read?

19 Sep
She actually simpers. I didn’t think anyone did that anymore once past the age of 16. Or who weren’t employed in a cat house.

23 Sep
Mom was not in a good way after dialysis tonight. Had to call the paramedics to assist in getting her out of the car and into the house. She’s okay. It just takes it out of her sometimes, makes her weak and very disoriented. She’s usually fine by morning.

24 Sep
Procrastination is not a good thing. Then again, neither is exhaustion.

25 Sep
Note to Pam: you can’t rely on the 92 year old to say when she’s running out of things. It sucks but you have to monitor Every. Blessed. Thing.=

27 Sep
Mom came through her outpatient procedure very well. Unclogged the fistula in two places which may explain the excessive bleeding Saturday.

27 Sep
Got an absolutely brilliant idea for a story this morning. Unfortunately it was while laying in bed. I fell asleep and now can’t remember it.

28 Sep
So relieved that necklace I’ve been ogling on Etsy sold. Close enough to my price range to be so tempting, but not money I needed to spend.

28 Sep
The nights when Mom is hallucinating from a combo of dialysis and pain medication are not at all stressful. Not at all.

It is what it is. She’ll be fine in the morning once she’s had a night’s sleep, once I can get her to bed. It’s been an occasional ongoing situation for awhile, just been a stressful week and harder to deal with today. Hoping things settle soon.

4 Oct
“[Those]…otherwise very good at math may totally flunk a problem that…goes against their political beliefs.” 

4 Oct
Plumbing. Plumbing, plumbing, plumbing, plumbing.

5 Oct
My new dishwasher has been down since Sunday. Turns out rat(s) gnawed a hole in the drain hose. Min’s a good mouser but can’t get under the kitchen sink/counter where the bastards are coming up.

5 Oct
Emergency Kittens:

7 Oct
Sears customer service sucks. My dishwasher purchased in April has a hole in the drain hose and even though I told two people at Customer Service what the problem was, they sent an installer crew not a repair crew and they didn’t have the part needed to fix the washer.

 When I called Customer Service/Repair back I did get an intelligent, responsive person on the line who is sending the correct part to me, but even if they had sent a repair crew, I was informed, they wouldn’t have had the part on their truck and I still would have had to wait to get the washer fixed. This is illogical, inefficient, and non-responsive and I am DONE WITH SEARS.

8 Oct
Apparently no one on service desks listen anymore.

8 Oct
So sorry people are leaving Goodreads over the review pulling. Sorrier still about pulling reviews because of some whiny authors.

9 Oct
Not surprisingly, the part needed to repair the dishwasher, which Sears promised would be here on Tuesday, has not arrived.

9 Oct
One of the worst aspects of being home sick is having to watch tea party wipes talking out of their ass. Oh right, I can turn the channel. Senator Buck McKeon claimed that less than 10 people in the whole country had signed up for the Affordable Care Act. Wolf Blitzer corrected that: over 16,000 in the 3 states reporting.

10 Oct
Tipping the potato chip bag up to get the last crumbs in your mouth: ladylike or beyond mortal definitions of assigned gender roles? Asking for a friend.

11 Oct
Guess what? Wonderful Sears ordered the wrong part for the dishwasher. The repairman won’t be back for yet another week. That will be three weeks without a dishwasher plus taking care of a sick 92 year old and working full time. I’m so happy.

(Insert primal scream here.)

This morning as I was reminding Ma about the repairman coming I had a premonition about the wrong part. I’m furious but not really surprised.

13 Oct
Friday Sears said someone would call me within 24 hours. Do I even have to type the rest at this point? Sick as a dog since Friday. Probably just as well they didn’t come.

14 Oct
My mother doesn’t understand the concept of laryngitis even though she had it in the early days of this cold. What? What you say? What?

“The disease is nothing, the terrain everything”—Louis Pasteur on his deathbed.

Well, at least there’s a UFO Files marathon on.

Fun: trying to get VRS to understand you when you have laryngitis.

18 Oct
Sears has gone beyond incompetence into criminal neglect. The part to fix the dishwasher is on backorder until November. At the crucial moment when I thought I was getting some resolution, we were disconnected. I called back to try to get to who I was talking to and the clueless helpdesk folks had no idea and connected me to someone who decided to stonewall and say “I see no record of you talking to anyone who made you such an offer. We can’t do anything more for you. You’ll have to wait until November.” At one point the Sears stonewaller said, “I’m sorry you’re unhappy with your dishwasher. Contact the manufacturer.” “It’s a Kenmore,” I told him. “You are the manufacturer.” He sputtered some but didn’t have much else to say.

18 Oct
In other corporate news, Alka Seltzer Plus Nighttime is most excellent. First good night’s sleep in days.

20 Oct
Hilarity of the morning: the bird and Mom coughing at one another. Or the bird saying “Ouch!” when I cough.

20 Oct
Birdie between coughing fits.

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20 Oct
I suppose it’s not possible to hope both teams lose the World Series. No hard feelings.

21 Oct
Every time I look up there’s another Sears commercial on TV. The Universe is mocking me.

21 Oct
The ironies pile up.  “18 Depressing Photos That Show Why Nobody Wants To Shop At Sears” 

22 Oct
I gave up on Sears and called plumber. He fixed the dishwasher in about 20 minutes with the parts the Sears tech said were wrong. The only reason I stuck with Sears this long was because the dishwasher was still under warranty.

Sears corporate types have been reading my Twitterfeed complaints and calling me, but the situation never got resolved. The weird thing, when corporate Sears calls me they go direct to voicemail. Those are the only calls that do. And when I call them back it goes direct to voicemail. This only increases my frustration and adds paranoia.

23 Oct
I’m not so much hoping the Sox win as I’m hoping the Cards lose. The Cards are a team of prigs. No hard feelings.

25 Oct
#1. Act 3 is broken and I don’t know how to fix it and haven’t got the time. #2. It’s been out there so many times. #3. I never did find the time for that final read through. I don’t know what I’ve got there. Could be brilliant, could be crap. #4. There are holes in this that still haven’t been plugged. Plus #1 and #4 are part of trilogies. Oh the humanity! If I haven’t got time for a one-off, how can I find time for 3???

I’m thinking of changing my name to Oh!TheHumanity! Thompson.

29 Oct
Sometimes I seem nearly psychotically cautious, other times the feckless, trusting fool.

29 Oct
Sears, to be perfectly fair, has promised to pay my plumbing bills for the dishwasher. I have not yet seen cash. I will keep you posted.

19 Apr
All I can legitimately talk about is my own process—in whatever. It’s presumptuous to assume everyone’s process will be the same. However, talking too much about one’s own process is talking too much about one’s self, so it’s something of a No-Win.

19 Apr
Conspiracy theory is just another form of denial.

19 Apr
I just realized I forgot to take the poem out of my pocket from Poem In My Pocket Day. But at least it’s in “my other pants.” 🙂

23 Apr
In May it’ll be two years since I last worked on my last novel. I’d say where did the time go but I know: down the whirlpool of caregiving. I was born to take care of people, apparently. My life has no other meaning. There’s just no time for anything else. I can’t help feeling much of the time as if my life, everything I valued about my life, is over. I’m so tired most weeks I wonder if I’ll make it through to the other side. There are good days, but most days I just grind it out as best I can. Some days, it just piles up. But I’m still moving.

And being free of caregiving means someone I love is gone. There’s no happy ending, as my friend Lisa says.

There are millions of people out there just like me. Caregiving is the unrecognized and unacknowledged crisis in this country

My friends tell me my creativity will come back, that everything is cyclical, and I believe them, but it’s sometimes hard to see that from here. I keep trying. “I’ll just read a chapter a day, or part of a chapter.” But something always happens. And writing from scratch? Unthinkable at this point.

Okay, enough of the self-pity party. I took the time to reread the first chapter of that last novel and tweak it. Holds up well.

23 Apr
In the deserts of the heart
Let the healing fountain start,
In the prison of his days
Teach the free man how to praise.


25 Apr
Jacob’s Dream was playing in the cafeteria so I just had to tell everyone about the Lost Children of the Alleghenies: 
Everyone was properly riveted and scads went to You Tube and the links I provided.

26 Apr
Back at the ER this morning. Mom got an IV of antibiotics. Now we’re waiting to see if we can go home.

27 Apr
Even in stressful times there are compensations in this world: hearing David Sedaris sing the Oscar Meyer bologna song as Billie Holliday. Laughed so hard I cried. The guy in the car next to me looked concerned, like I might be having a fit. I was. The good kind. 

27 Apr
So my printer and my dishwasher went belly up the same night.  I’m sure there’s a pattern there but I’m too tired to figure it out.

29 Apr
Leaving Mom on mornings when she’s not doing well are heartbreaking but if I didn’t leave on those mornings I would have long since lost my job.

29 Apr
I find it absolutely hilarious that Hitler was a vegetarian. Even funnier? The ardent vegetarians that try to backpedal that fact. I know many fine human beings who are vegetarians but there’s a vocal minority that do seem to have something in common with Nazis.

30 Apr
“Dammit I’m mad” spelled backwards is “Dammit I’m mad.”

3 May
I guess the house is officially mine. I’ve just had my first plumbing disaster. This time it was the 50 gallon water heater that went belly up.

3 May
John Hancock Life Insurance is dicking around about paying me the money they owe me. I guess that’s why they have cock in their name.

4 May
It’s a morning for people saying stupid ass stuff and I am not in the mood to be nice about it.

 That tenderness of a few days ago is still there but having a harder time swimming up from the cesspool.

 That’s in the nature of this process, though. If you don’t like the mood you’re in wait an hour and it may change.

8 May
Now I know what was wrong with the opening of that novel: I put a gun on the mantelpiece and never used it again (figuratively).

 How many years did it take me to figure that out?

 I really love that opening (and it works in so many other ways) so I’ll have to find a way of using that “gun.”
 Although I do seem to recall another writing truism about using that gun to murder your something-or-others…What was that again?

8 May
My old, beloved neighborhood that I grew up in, has become the Shrine of the Unknown Hipster. You may have heard of it: Silicon Beach? I literally grew up on 4th Avenue near Rose, the very heart of Hipsterville now. I way preferred it when it was the ghetto: funky, beloved ol’ Venice.

9 May
You don’t get to be a crone just by getting older. There’s a experiential component to it. And man, is that a bitch. Which is also a separate thing from being a crone.

13 May
I’ve just come up with the last line for my novel, Carmina. I guess it’s a real story now.

13 May
Well, at least I made it down to the final 800 submissions. :-/ Probably just as well. I don’t have time for a writing career right now.

14 May
John Hancock Life Insurance, the company that isn’t giving me ma money, mistakenly informed the state of California that Mom is deceased—but only on one of numerous policies they have in her name. The others are still in force. Also, they told us a few months back that no other policies existed. Now all of a sudden they’re breeding like rabbits. Do not use John Hancock EVER.

15 May
Social Medea is the name of my next band.

15 May
I’m halfway through chapter six on the read-and-clean final of that novel I didn’t touch for two years.

7. And this is a weird one. Early this morning, about 12:30, I heard this great clattering noise coming from my bathroom, which is on the other side of my bedroom closet wall. I realized that some critter had gotten into the crawl space underneath my bathtub. Ever since the guy did the remodel, I’ve periodically heard critters in there banging up against the underside of the built-in bathtub. He apparently left some opening they get into. Rats or squirrels maybe. Something small. Usually, all I have to do is turn on the water or bang the tub and they scurry off in a hurry. Not so last night.

I could tell from the particular type of hissing and barking coming from my tub’s underbelly that the critter lodged in there this time was a ‘possum. Much larger than a rat or squirrel and apparently stuck and in a panic. Those hisses and barks are usually reserved for panic, when confronted with a predator/enemy or otherwise trapped. I banged on the tub and ran the water and that only increased its panic. I heard it clanging hard against the pipes in the wall and at one point it was scratching hard against the underside of the tub, desperate to get out. I really felt sorry for the poor thing, but there wasn’t anything I could do. I also couldn’t sleep with that racket and contemplated calling the exterminators for (hopefully) a trap and release.

Finally, sometime between 1-1:30 I remembered that there was an access way to the house’s nether regions on the side of the house right under my bathroom window. I wondered if the plumber, when he inspected the pipe the previous day, had somehow locked this critter in. So I went out with my flashlight and pulled the screen and the covering board off and came back inside. ‘Possums aren’t the brightest bulbs in the animal kingdom so it took another hour for it to realize it had a way out, but about 2:30 I heard its barking slowly diminishing in volume along the side of the house. Peace and quiet reigned and I could finally get back to sleep. 5:45 a.m. came painfully early this morning.

I asked the plumber when he showed up this morning if he could take a look at those bathroom pipes because I had a horrible fear that critter might have damaged them. Everything worked okay this morning, but I wanted to be good and sure.

The ‘possum adventures continue…

8. “The good news is,” said the plumber this morning, “this pipe I’m fixing today is the last of the big pipes. You’ve replaced all the other ones and any problems you have from this point on should be a lot less expensive.” Mom and I did a rough tote of plumbing expenses we’ve incurred since my parents bought this house in 1987. Spread out over the years we estimate we’ve spent close to $30,000 for various plumbing adventures. I sure as s**t hope this is the last of the big pipes. This is the part of the American Dream of Home Ownership no one ever tells you about, children…

1. Under the heading of “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” I was asked to do a favor for someone I don’t work for. I agreed and set about the proofreading, formatting, etc., of a long document. I spent five hours at this task and sent it back to the author only to discover that I had been given the wrong version. I was unhappy, but not so unhappy as the author who had to do a compare/contrast of my changes/his changes over the weekend. Then I got it back to finish cleaning up.

2. I got a robo-call last week to remind me that I had an appointment at UCLA Med for Monday, October 31. I knew I did—it was my semi-annual thyroid check up. Yet somehow, between now and then, I dropped off the computer. They had no record of my appointment and the doctor was booked solid with other people. I’m glad I took a half vacation day to go to this appointment and that I made special arrangements for a friend to take my mom to dialysis so I didn’t have to reschedule and wait and additional 2-3 months for a new appointment. I’ll be seeing the doctor in mid-December. At least I got to go home for a couple of hours and put my sore knee up with a heating pad (crone!) before picking Mom up at dialysis.

3. Since we usually get home from dialysis between 7-7:30 p.m. (sometimes later), I knew that I would miss most of the cute little trick or treaters that I love giving out candy to. Plus, after a dialysis day, we’re usually trashed and I was so not in the mood this year. So I left the porch light out when I drove to pick up Mom. They had a Haunted House at Westchester Park, about a block from our house, right where Georgetown deadends. As I made the turn from Manchester to Georgetown, I saw hordes and hordes and hordes of older thugs pouring out of the Haunted House, and more parents driving onto our street and disgorging their vans and cars of screaming invaders. I knew we were in trouble. So Mom and I sneaked like felons into our house to avoid the hordes. Even so, as we were letting ourselves into our darkened front door some particularly ambitious candy extortionists followed us up the driveway. “We don’t have any candy here!” I yelled. “Sorry!” and quickly slammed the door. Later, as I was making dinner I was forced to turn on the kitchen light (though the porch light was still out) and as soon as I did kids streamed to our front door yelling, “Trick or treat!” I quickly turned the light out, ignored them, and they departed. Thankfully, it was a school night and everyone had pretty much departed the neighborhood by 10 p.m. Or so I think. I fell asleep in my chair by 8:30. When I woke at 9 they were still traipsing about, and when I awoke again around 10 things had quieted considerably. So I went to bed.

4. This morning while I was showering I noticed the water lapping around my ankles. Sure enough, it was refusing to go down the drain. Simultaneous to this, my mother’s toilet refused to flush and threatened to o’er top its containment vessel. I thought fleetingly, “This must be the trick for refusing to give the treats.” Eventually they both drained, but it took close to a half hour and there was much gurgling and scary sewer sounds. You may remember that we had the entire sewer pipe replaced about a year ago? The plumber who came out today (a different plumber) said that pipe was just fine…but there was this other pipe underneath the house…He’s coming tomorrow morning to replace it. The good news is, we must be getting close to having all new plumbing for this old place. It’s gotten so absurd at this point I just have to laugh. What the hell else am I going to do?

5. Mom seems to be doing better and we have no new doctor’s appointments until Thursday the 10th. I’m hoping we continue in this undramatic fashion for awhile.

6. One more than five! I continue to poke at research for The Numberless Stars, and even did some creative thinking about the plot. There still remains little to no time for actual writing, but you can’t have everything. Some day, however, I may write the Great Crone Epic. I’m wondering if anyone in this youth-obsessed market will even want to read about kick-ass crones?