<bg>The Sweetie's father died a few months ago. MIL has lost what few conversational brakes she ever had; I've always found her difficult to deal with and it's gotten worse. The Sweetie has been talking to her once a week, which pretty much qualifies her for sainthood.
Also bg: MIL has been planning a trip to visit one of her sons and a batch of grandkids.</bg>
In a recent call, The Sweetie found herself hostage on the phone because MIL was trying to find her keys, with a monologue on the order of "They're not in my purse! Maybe I left them on the table? *shuffle papers* No - they're not there! This is awful!"
The Sweetie finally said, "Mom, I love you, and I don't want to be on the phone listening to you look for your keys. Tell me about your trip - are you looking forward to it?"
MIL, to her credit, laughed at being caught out, and went on to the new topic.