Yesterday I got an email from my mom, subject line: “Sad.” The first line was, “I should never, ever, ever try to do this kind of project on a computer.” Here’s the thing about Annie: she’s the most ebullient and stalwartly cheerful person in my life. Of course, she’s my mother, so we’ve had our moments, and she’s as deeply flawed as any of us. But Mom wears her optimism like a neon yellow pinny in a touch football game. When she gets angry, she rages around exactly as somebody in a Broadway musical would storm around on the stage. She is so rarely morose that her email about trying (and failing) to set up an online account for something or other alarmed me. I called her and her wife answered the phone: “Thank God you called, she is refusing to eat the tilapia with romesco sauce I made for her dinner.”

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