My ears. My ears. I haven't talked to my mom for a bit, so my ears are about ready to fall off from phone damage. She is a World-Class Champion Talker, she is, and there is no quick "Hey, how are you, what's up," oh no no no. When you have a conversation with my mom, you can expect to also have to 1. Prepare and eat a full meal; 2. Go to the bathroom, maybe even twice; 3. Take a short nap; 4. Hold a simultaneous conversation with another person, thoughtfully covering the telephone mouthpiece with your hand; and 5. Answer questions on topics ranging from politics to the rise in autism to the neighbor's pacemaker surgery to the daffodils coming up in the front garden to relief policy in Africa to the plate-spinning guy on Ed Sullivan. And MUCH MUCH MORE.

I really love my mom, but DAMN. TAKE A BREATH, MA. I'm exhausted now.

She likes to tell stories (big surprise)and especially likes to tell me stories about me when I was little, because she likes me. A small story, transcribed, before my eardrums bled out for the evening:

Mom: Do you remember when you were three and asked what "profit" meant?

Me: No, I do not.

Mom: Well. You were sitting and reading in the big chair one day, and you asked me, "Mom, what does "profit" mean? So I tried to explain it to you by saying, "Well, let's say you decided to bake a pie, and you got together all the ingredients, sugar and flour and a little salt and pie crust and cherry pie filling, and all that cost you a dollar. When you go to sell your pie to someone, you charge them, say, a dollar fifty. The dollar pays for the ingredients, and you keep the extra fifty cents for yourself. That's what profit is." And then you looked at me with this shocked look on your face and you said, "I think that is horrible and wrong!" You thought it was such a terrible thing!

Me: Maybe I just thought fifty cents was nowhere near enough.

Mom: Ha ha ha! Maybe!

Me: Did you think I was a Communist?

Mom: Oh no. Your father would never have stood for that.

Me: Ha ha! Like he had any say.

Mom: Ha ha! You are terrible.

Me: Ha ha! Let's go ask him. Oh...wait.

Mom: Ha! Oh, Mari, you are awful! Ha ha ha!

Me: He'd laugh.

Mom: Oh yes, probably so.

Me: Mom, I have to eat something, it's 8PM.

Mom: Oh! Well, go! Eat! What are you going to have?

Me: I have no idea. Whatever.

Mom: Did I tell you what I had tonight? The salmon in sugar and vinegar with white onion, new little baby potatoes, and peas?

Me: Yes. Yes, you did.

Mom: Oh! It's soooo good!

Me: Yes, it is.

Mom: Well, you take care of yourself! Don't push yourself too hard!

Me: No problem. Try to get outside and get some fresh air and sun, OK?

Mom: Oh yes! You too!

Me: Right. You are funny.

Mom: Ha ha!