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Sixty-year-old Frances Pia lives alone on a thirty-foot sailboat anchored near Sausalito, where she communes with the fog, sea lions, cormorants, and two sailor friends, Otto and Russell. She performs random acts of public defacement--painting drainpipes, public restrooms, and murals on the sides of houses--which she believes are beautification projects, and struggles with bouts of depression and mania. Frankly, she's a bit of a nutcase.
But Frances wasn't always this way. She was once a Catholic nun with a sister, Anne, who loved her dearly. But then she slept with her brother-in-law, Greg--and ashamed and pregnant, she fled, leaving Anne, her art, and her vocation behind. When she also lost her baby, Nicola, in a freak accident, she lost faith in God and became a keeper of sorrows.
Through a series of wacky adventures, including bouts with the cops and the sea, Frances opens her heart to love for the first time in years--and begins to really paint the town, redeeming herself with Anne and freeing herself from her guilt over Nicola's death along the way.