It all ties together somehow in the end.

One delightful summer many years ago I was in Las Vegas for a convention, and I ventured away from the gaudy, steaming Hell of the Strip to a wee little -- I guess you'd call it a day spa. It was in the back of someone's house, where I got an allegedly nontoxic manicure, and then the woman who ran the place psychically diagnosed what sort of aromatherapy I needed. Rosemary, lime, and something else, as it turned out, and I said to this woman (whose father, she told me, was the spitting image of Don Adams) -- this woman who lived her life as the faux daughter of the guy from Get Smart, I said to her, This smell reminds me of my mother's kitchen.

The rosemary? she asked. She had red hair.

No, I said, Lime popsicles.

This photo is far too artful to show the real difference between Palmolive green (left) and Method green (right). Palmolive green hasn't changed in fifty years, and I love that about it. It's science-y and it smells like Madge and you know how many germs it kills? ALL OF THEM. Method green, on the other hand, is rhododendrons and Martha-fresh. It rounds up all the germs and carries them down your drain to a free-range germ farm.

I'm writing this from my mother's bedside. She's turned another corner on the long road to checking out altogether, and on this street the air is fresh and the lawns are trimmed and she only eats a couple of times a week. She doesn't know who I am, I'm pretty sure, but she smiles at me as though she likes me anyway.

When my dad died two years ago, every night for three weeks I watched 40-Year-Old Virgin and read Doonesbury cartoon books in bed before blacking out for the night. This week I've got a Netflix'd copy of Darjeeling Express in my laptop and I've developed a terrible crush on Adrien Brody. Yes, I'm much older than him and it would never work, but all the same, my apologies to his fiancee.

Yesterday I went out for a groceries and ended up cruising the Southwest Plaza mall. I bought a copy of Tootsie at Target and some tights at Macy's and some school clothes for Jackson off the Gap sale rack and then I went to Border's to laugh at them for going under*, and then I went to Spencer's because it was the only place I could think of that might possibly have incense. They did. After a quick stop at the liquor store for margarita fixins, I went home and lit a stick of what turned out to be fairly traditional (in my limited experience of such things) Indian incense.

*My apologies to all unemployed Border's employees but do you have any idea how many independent bookstores you displaced over the last decade? Quit pointing at What goes around comes around.

My brother, surprisingly, said, Oh, you're going to clear the energy in the house? And I guess that's what I did. I walked at a moderate pace through every room and closet (and the garage), smoking out the ghosts. I don't know how deeply I subscribe to this sort of thing, but it felt pretty good when I was done. And at bedtime, the traditional hour when I get spooked out of my skin and have to watch a movie or read a book or pray to Satan to leave me alone, instead of any of that for the first time in years I felt nothing at all, just quiet, and I went to sleep.

The birds that start singing at 5:00 a.m., however, need to die. And this foam foldout couch is bullshit. But apart from that everything's fine. How are you?