30 Oct
Get out your hankies. The 20 year old toddler: 

31 Oct
SHAME: We got home from the doctor late and I’m so exhausted I’m sitting in the house with the lights out hiding from the trick or treating kids. I usually love having them but it’s been a very stressful few weeks.

1 Nov
The Sears robot is still calling to say I need to reschedule the repair appointment for the dishwasher. I’ve called the Repair Desk several times. After complaining again to them that I don’t need repair I got yet another call from the repair scheduling robot and a tweet from SearsCares. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that SearsCares breaks down to Sear Scares. It’s been my experience with them lately.

2 Nov
Compassion fatigue.

3 Nov
The Amazon Prime goodie bag went into the dumpster along with a box of other clutter. The need to purge the Room of Doom is strong.

3 Nov
Having posted about my virtuous purging of junk I then opened a box of crap I ordered from American Science & Surplus:   They’re sort of a depository for unwanted but interesting junk. Kind of like my house. Left hand, right hand.

6 Nov
Color outside the lines, but read between them.

6 Nov
I shall rename myself The Great Phlegmingo. I’d really like to stop coughing now, weeks after getting the cold.

11 Nov
Another epic starring Bird, this time whistling Blue Danube and imitating my mother and I coughing: 

11 Nov
Every once in awhile, after not reading one of your novels for a long time, you surprise yourself with how much you like it. Mostly it’s cringing, though.

16 Nov
Why do people adopt children only to abuse them or “give them back” when things get challenging? It sickens me.

17 Nov
The only thing worse than watching jury orientation online is watching it at the court house.

17 Nov
Sears now claims they never got the plumbing invoices I sent October 29. I think sarcasm is in order, don’t you?

18 Nov
I postponed jury duty because my legs are not up to the hilly walking conditions in downtown L.A.

18 Nov
In other science news: You are what you eat may not be just another outmoded hippy slogan: …

19 Nov
You know what I don’t need? Someone who doesn’t know a thing about the day to day of my life giving me advice about what I “should” do.

19 Nov
I stayed home from work today because my knee was in such bad shape I needed to sit with ice on it for as many hours as I could stand. It’s somewhat better.

20 Nov
Some days Mom is victorious over the microwave. Other days it is beyond her and I get these phone calls asking me to diagnose over the phone. On those days, I wish to be shot in the head. But not really, Universe! I’ve got too much to do.

20 Nov
I just bought a mystery solely because the detective is named Pamela Thompson.

21 Nov
Well, I’ve had my Christmas miracle. My mother apologized to me.

21 Nov
The only thing certain in this world are death, taxes, and Kardashians.

22 Nov
Dear PJ: you cannot hide the similes by using “as if” instead of “like.” We can still see them.

23 Nov
Apparently I needed to be punished more. My knee was just starting to get better and I fell at Ralphs and wrenched it worse.

26 Nov
Mom went back in the hospital this morning. She either has an infection or a persistent virus. Either way she’s spending the night for tests and evaluation. Thanksgiving seems cursed as something happens every year. But she seemed better tonight.  I hope that direction continues. (She came home November 27 and has been strong and doing well since.)

28 Nov
Hope y’all had a great Thanksgiving. Ours was great. Carl cooked the entire meal and brought it over. Delish–and a wonderful surprise. I have the best friends in the world.

29 Nov
Mom remembers her dad going for supplies by horse and buckboard wagon to Watson UT when she was a kid. It’s now a ghost town.

30 Nov
My fantasy of buying a small smart TV lasted all of 24 hours before I got real. Too much other important stuff to spend the money on and we don’t need fripperies. Got caught up in Black Friday madness without even shopping. But sometimes being a responsible grown up sucks. 🙂

2 Dec
The guy in the Pinocchio suit stares into the abyss of his existence and despairs. Disneyland, 1961:

2 Dec
This article encapsulates the caregiver situation quite well:

The loneliness of the long distance carer. May I just add, **** you Amy F. Grant and Katie F. Couric, and anyone else who talks about the “privilege” without understanding the facts of working class people having to deal with this.

4 Dec
RIP Willis Ware, brilliant engineer and lovely, lovely man.

5 Dec
The resolution to a plot point that has been hanging unsolved for years finally came to me in the shower this morning. Unfortunately, I was in the shower, couldn’t write it down, and I was so busy after the shower I forgot, and now I can’t remember what it was or even which novel.

5 Dec
Adorably awesome! Lea Salonga and Darren Criss sang A Whole New World together at a bar:

6 Dec
RIP Irreplaceable Nelson Mandela.,34755/?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=SocialMarketing&utm_campaign=Default:1:Default …

6 Dec
I put on an episode of Finding Bigfoot last night. Mom fell asleep just after it started and woke just as it finished.

Mom: What happened?
Me: They didn’t find him.
Mom: Oh, okay then.

8 Dec
I keep buying books I haven’t got time to read.

8 Dec
And after two years of living as if this is a temporary situation it’s finally setting in that this is probably a long haul. I’m okay with that, but it’s a necessary shift in perspective that may allow me to handle things better.

8 Dec
“It’s not the Calvary coming to save us, ” said the sportscaster. Which is a whole different save than Kobe returning to the Lakers.

8 Dec
I read so slowly these days that I can go from comfort read to comfort read. No more waiting for release days. *sigh*

9 Dec
People and ghosts in rooms talking. *sigh*

11 Dec
Hurray for heated mattress pads!! My poor mom has been freezing, but she’s snug now. 🙂

11 Dec
Is the big reveal ever worth playing the reader? Does that answer ever have a yes? Why is there air?

12 Dec
Baby Pygmy Marmosets

And now for something completely different… The Marmoset Song: 

12 Dec
When Mom gets really down she threatens to stop dialysis and I have to josh her out of it. Today would be one of those days.

13 Dec
I love it when people driving Smart cars make a really big dick traffic maneuvers. I originally said “really idiotic traffic maneuvers” but VRS decided to go with big dick and I left it that way.

13 Dec
Dear Sir: Most sentences should not be a paragraph long. Less is more. A tortured use of punctuation does not remedy this problem.

15 Dec
RIP to the great Peter O’ Toole.

16 Dec
Sears finally kept their promise. They’ve sent me a check to cover my plumbing costs for the Abominable Dishwasher Incident. Thanks, Sears.

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.

 photo autumn_zps8f88ead2.jpg

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.

 photo birdie_zps14d47d14.jpg

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.

16 May
Man, are there a lot of people who are terrified of mature women. If they can’t be sexualized in a cliché way they must be mocked & crushed.

 Mature women: 

16 May
And in other news, Jon Hamm’s camo wad still has the most clicks on my Bitmarks. Although “Kindness” by Naomi Shahib Nye is a close second.

Camo Wad is the name of my next band. That or Ironic Sexualization.

20 May
Ricky Gervais says, “Atheism is a belief system, like ‘OFF’ is a TV Channel.” That’s because he confuses his belief system with fact. He can’t disprove God any more than believers can prove God. When it gets to the point of foaming at the mouth, as it does with Mr. G, then we’re dealing with emotion, not rationality. Emotion is the core of a belief system.

20 May
I try to pretend things aren’t hard on me in order to save Mom from feeling bad, but some days, I’m so tired and it’s so hard the mask slips. And I always feel so much worse when she gets a glimpse and feels bad. Guilt is my constant companion. Not a boon companion, either. Not trying for sainthood, just trying to be humane as much as possible. It’s really hard.

22 May
My friend, M., wonders if insurance companies have special classes for their workers on making well-crafted “mistakes” that delay payouts. I certainly believe JOHN HANCOCK LIFE INSURANCE OF THE BUNGLING IDJITS do. I am informed that this scenario was a plot element in The Rainmaker by John Grisham. Which only tells me there are many people who have had my experiences with insurance companies, alas.

26 May
Life is good. Bird is sitting on my shoulder and hasn’t pooped yet. This will probably change soon.

26 May
“We do not decide to believe or actively change our minds.” —Dennis Gaffin, Running With the Fairies

28 May
Our neighbors in the back have chickens. I find their “bwoks” and “cluck-cluck” oddly soothing. Of course, there’s no rooster.

29 May
Pope Francis: Even atheists can go to Heaven if they do good.

30 May
Just found in Australia—giant, florescent pink slugs:   If you wrote this in a fantasy, people would laugh at you.

31 May
Greenies Pill Pockets saved my life. I have to give Min pills twice a day but she thinks it’s a treat!

31 May
Celebrity gossip makes me so damned weary. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

31 May
In case you missed this Awesome Thing from CC Finlay: “My son sent me this comic about old super-heroes. Read it all the way to the end.” 

2 Jun
I had the weirdest dream about the Magic Castle last night. Instead of being in a large Victorian Mansion it had been Disneyfied into a theme park, so instead of being able to enjoy an intimate exposure to magic and magicians, and those lovely bars, you were lost in cavernous spaces and large groups of people. I got separated from the people I was with and couldn’t contact them because the Magic Castle staff wouldn’t allow cell phones. I spent all my time searching for my companions and feeling left out instead of enjoying the show. 🙁

3 Jun
I wish Google Images had a -no -crappy -pastel -art setting.

3 Jun
Feeling extra glad this week that I didn’t get involved with Game of Thrones.

4 Jun
Another intense dream last night, a thriller: chases, betrayals, assassinations. The details are fuzzy or I might try to write it. Eh. Who am I kidding? Although at least two of my seven completed novels started their lives as dreams. Back when I was still a real writer.

4 Jun
Is it just me or does the Miami Heat’s logo look like a flaming butternut squash?

4 Jun
Reviewing a very old ms. I realized I’d used my least favorite cliché line in all of writerdom: a character not realizing they’d been holding their breath. Curse those double realizations!

5 Jun
Be careful who you diss because you might end up working for them. God help me. I don’t need this crap on top of everything else.

5 Jun
Sequestration sucks, and nobody’s doing anything about it. Everyone says, “It doesn’t affect me. Why should I care?” You know what? It will roll around to you eventually. We need to insist our Congresspersons get off their butts and do something.

5 Jun
I got this from someone on Twitter but can’t remember who. You literally are the stories you tell: 

6 Jun
Never say never. Unless, of course, it’s to say “Never say never.”

7 Jun
In the waiting room while Mom has a routine outpatient procedure. Routine, nothing to worry about, but I still do. She came through just fine. We were home by one.

7 Jun
I picked the right day not to go to work. In Santa Monica. SM College is an alma mater of mine.

11 Jun
Weird: is that memory fragment something I saw on TV or something I dreamed?

19 Jun
Things you have to be really old to remember:

“Calgon, take me away.”
Bubble Up
One Step Beyond
Carbon paper and mimeograph machines

21 Jun
I once circled a scene for three months. I couldn’t figure out why I was stuck until I admitted I didn’t want to do what had to be done: break my protagonist’s heart. Once I admitted that to myself, it came unstuck. Still not fun to write, but at least the story progressed forward. It doesn’t take me nearly as long as three months anymore. I assume. Once I write again.

21 Jun
C: Why do people act so damned weird?

Me: Because they lose track of the fact that life is short and our time here is very limited.

21 Jun
I’ve been researching retirement options that last few weeks. They are: slim, none, and hahahaha.

Hot off the presses, and prompted (as many things are) by a conversation with asakiyume and with bogwitch64.


What dreams does the captive bird know?
Is it of flying in vast, swooping clouds
of bird bodies, or soaring solo through forests,
playing the leaves like xylophone keys,
singing along with the notes?

Does she know she is a bird, or does
captivity define her as human-not-human?
Does she squander her days playing
with the baubles provided by her keepers,
or do they bring her real joy, a settled peace?

Or a peace with a ribbon of black threaded
through the chattering whiteness of her hours,
a ribbon that ruffles with the slightest breeze,
pulling, tugging, longing to burst all the doors,
break through the windows, touch the blue-grey sky,
and once and for all sail away on the wind?

These guys have been at the bird feeder all week.

They have one of the strangest calls I’ve ever heard: like a baby dragon. Or a hawk on acid.

It’s quite unnerved the wild finches, sparrows, et al. All the little birds have kept away from the feeders since they’ve been around. I have to think it’s that call that’s frightening them—too much like the hawk, I suspect. But no worries because these blackbirds are seed eaters.

They come up from the marshland less than a half-mile from our house, but I’ve never seen them here before. Quite a wonderful surprise to look out the window and see those yellow heads.

The beautiful singer from last year has returned, too.

The peach tree is absolutely laden with fruit, fecund branches hanging so heavy I’ve had to prop them up with a ladder. We’ll be having peach cobbler very soon now. The entire neighborhood is tingling with anticipation.

…but I’d rather starling.

My mother’s 90th birthday is coming up soon (April 7) so I wanted to do something special for her. Her surrogate sons and daughters and I are giving her a little party on April 9, but I wanted a nice surprise for her, too. For her 80th birthday, I made her a book, and I didn’t want to repeat myself. So I found some pictures, wrote some captions, and our own hominysnark of F-bod Studios took them and turned them into lovely wearable art (Mom loves her some sweatshirts). I’m so happy with them I wanted to share—but shhh! Mom doesn’t know, so don’t tell her.


Mom making kissy face with a starling


Mom riding the range (or, rather, the marshes that are now Marina del Rey)


Baby, the starling Mom is fond of kissing


Yep, that’s Mom jumping that horse bareback

So I fought my way home last night in beach traffic from Santa Monica to Westchester. Traffic’s been ugly lately and there just isn’t any good way to pass between these two areas. I was so looking forward to getting in my jammies and finishing the book I was reading. But no. Mom had another bird crisis.

Gotten herself worked up again, too. “I hate to do this to you but she’s acting sick again and I called that bird place in Santa Monica and said we’d bring her in as soon as we could.”

“She’s probably going to lay another egg.”

“When I described to that bird place how she was acting, they said we better bring her in to make sure she’s not egg bound.”

Egg bound. Wherein a bird’s got an egg in the shoot that won’t come out. They can die from it. What could I do? I changed out of my work clothes and got back on the road, back to Santa Monica. The bird, I should note, was hopping around and acting perky by this time, but far be it from me to point that out.

Yes, she had an egg in there, but didn’t appear to be egg bound. And no, it isn’t unnatural for her to just start laying eggs now after so many years. I knew from experience that was so, but the nice vet lady reinforced it. And yes, it was probably the calcium supplements Mom had been giving her which helped her produce eggs. Sometimes they go years and years, then start laying; sometimes they go years and years and never lay. I wish Baby had been in that latter category, but alas. The nice vet lady said that if she didn’t lay an egg in the next 24-48 hours, they’d induce, and maybe later look at giving her something to inhibit egg production. She can’t do without the calcium. She had a severe deficiency last winter and stopped being able to fly. But that was another bird crisis some months ago. Returning to the present bird crisis…

Tips for natural inhibition of egg-laying: (1) Baby is to be locked into her cage. Apparently, any stimulation such as flying around the house, sitting on Mom’s shoulder and watching TV, throwing pencils on the floor and ripping paper up is right out for the next two weeks. That kind of stimulation (since she’s bonded with Mom) can bring on the egg-laying. (2) Mom must cover her cage earlier in the evening than she has been (moving from 7 p.m. to 4-5 p.m.) and leave her covered later in the morning. Apparently, the more hours of light, the more it stimulates egg production. (3) If she lays another egg, leave it in her cage. Having an egg to fuss over can also inhibit egg production.

Fortunately for at least part of this scenario, when Mom uncovered Baby this morning, she had already laid her egg. It currently resides in her cage to be fussed over.

And I sincerely hope this is the end of bird crises for the moment. Or at least, the next time Baby acts like this Mom will recognize that it’s just another egg in the oven.

I should preface this story by saying that my mother is a strong Valkyrie of a woman, even at 89. She’s also damned sharp and not frail and she most definitely doesn’t cry often, so when she called me Thursday morning at work sobbing, I definitely sat up and took notice.

“What’s wrong, what’s wrong?”

“My little bird is very sick,” she sobbed. “I called his vet, but she’s not in and they referred me to an emergency bird place in Palos Verdes.” That’s a long, unfamiliar way for someone who doesn’t drive freeways and doesn’t have Google Maps or internet access or a Garman.

She adores her baby bird, she does. He’s been a great companion for her for the last seven years or so, and she’s quite protective of him. Because of that she’s sometimes been convinced he was dying when he wasn’t, so I asked her to describe his symptoms. It didn’t sound good. He wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t talk, wouldn’t do anything, just sat on his perch (a little shelf in the back of his cage) with his eyes shut and his feathers ruffled. When birds don’t feel well, they sit for long periods with feathers ruffled.

“Maybe I can find a bird clinic that’s closer and easier to get to,” I told her.

So I got online and found a place in Santa Monica. She called them and they told her she’d have to come in for an evaluation to decide if it was a true emergency worthy of calling in the bird expert. She didn’t like that and had worked herself up into a real state by the time she called me back. I was more concerned about that then the bird, I’m afraid, but concerned for him,too. I told my boss what was going on (well, that my mom had a crisis situation going) and he told me to go take care of my family. So I called her and told her I was on my way and maybe she could call the Santa Monica folks back to tell them we’d be therre.

It took me about twenty minutes to drive from work to Mom and during that time I couldn’t help remembering a disturbing dream I’d had on the weekend in which her bird had died. So I wasn’t happy with the Universe sending me precognitive dreams when we’d made a deal after my dad’s death that It wouldn’t do that anymore. It was a long damned twenty minutes, I’ll tell you. I pulled into the driveway and rushed towards the house.

Mom met me at the door. “He laid an egg!”

Picture my jaw hitting the front steps. Picture me grabbing the porch rail. Hear in your mind’s ear the sputtering noise I made. “He what?”

“He laid an egg!” She was beaming. “And he’s just fine now! He’s talking and his feathers aren’t ruffled and he’s eat and jumping around and he’s his old self again.”

“Now quite his old self,” I told her, “because he is quite clearly not a he.”

We called the bird clinic and told them we would not be coming in. I made it back to work, having only been gone and hour, and took it as an “early lunch.” Everyone there was quite relieved that the mysterious crisis had been averted.

In our defense, I should say that even the vet said, “I think he’s male, but it’s difficult to tell with starlings.”