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the latest waddle:

good morning, wordpress - 10:36 a.m. , 2009-07-03

elaborate murder attempt - 2:56 p.m. , 2009-07-01

building a tractor in the basement - 10:42 a.m. , 2009-06-19

ask no questions tell just a few lies - 3:17 p.m. , 2009-06-09

my long lasting flavor really lasts long - 1:10 p.m. , 2009-06-04


2006-01-10 ... 11:07 a.m.

This has always bugged me: How is "What hath God wrought?" appropriate for the first telegraph message? Samuel Morse was supposedly being "humble," but it's really just stupid. I think people should quit blaming God for everything. You made your telegraph machine, you live with the results, mister! Also, if the explanation of your second marriage is to be believed, you were really kind of a dick!

I think I am becoming a morning person, which is frightening. Nora is partly to blame, of course, with her "weekends? what weekends?" rise-and-shine policy, but it started even before she arrived, when I went through a phase of getting up early to type and wander through the darkened house sipping tea. The creepy thing is that itís not just that I get up early, but that I feel generally happier and more positive in the mornings---not jumping out of bed to greet the day with a song like a farm girl in a movie musical, but not curled up on the couch blankly thinking "what's the use" like I often am on weekday evenings. Maybe I have Diurnal Affective Disorder rather than Seasonal Affective Disorder---happy at sunrise, depressed at nightfall, unless of course I steamroll right over those bleak sunset feelings with liquor and loud rock music.

STRANGELY, I KNOW HOW SHE FEELS

Nora is very interested in all things somatic---she gets a lot of mileage out of her doctor kit, she wants to closely inspect any wounds she encounters, she likes to hear the story of how I got stitches in my thumb. It seemed like a no-brainer* to get her a book about the human body for Christmas. Except I did not take preschooler literal-mindedness into account, and did not realize how illustrations could complicate the reading experience. Cutaway drawings of the human body, showing the organs, seemed very troubling to her, and she lingered particularly over the picture of a brain. What's that? It's a brain. Is it in the head? Yes. In everybody's head? Yes. What's it for? Thinking, talking, motor functions, and lower-level stuff like keeping your heart going. It's pretty important. Why does it look like that? That's just how it looks, but remember the brain is on the inside, the picture is just showing you the inside for educational purposes. And so on. Nora repeated this round of questions at least twice before she let me turn the page, which is how I knew she was thinking hard about this concept of "brain."

I did not think the brain would be a problem, however, until Nora appeared in the kitchen doorway, looking solemn, while I was cooking dinner.

Nora: Mommy.
Me: Yes?
[long pause.]
Nora: Mommy.
Me: What is it?
Nora [not crying, but really close, with the chin-wobble and shiny eyes]: I don't want a brain.
Me: Huh?
Nora [crying now]: I DON'T WANT A BRAIN.
Me [confused, hugging her]: Well, um, it's kind of too late. You have a brain. Everyone has a brain. A brain helps you ______ [yadda yadda].
Nora: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

Then I had to kneel on the kitchen floor for some time, hugging and reassuring my kid that having a brain is a good thing. She never did end up buying it, but I was able to change the subject eventually. She is not yet three! Must things be so meta so soon? We have not yet even broached the problem of consciousness, or the conundrum of having a brain that is aware of itself, which was kind of the source of this whole meltdown in the first place! I finally ascertained that it was the memory (SEE?) of the brain illustration that was freaking her out, and who can blame the kid because the brain is not exactly a beautiful organ, and thinking (AHHHH!) too much about the wrinkly grayish-blue mess inside your skull is not a good move.

*Ha!

In a weird coincidence, Nora went on to sustain two bumps on the noggin in the following two days, one from goofing around in a pillow fort and hitting her head on the wood floor, and one from taking a corner too tight and running smack into the edge of our kitchen counter. Both resulted in goose eggs and bruises and even a small scalp laceration, and if I were a more suspicious sort I might think WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO PULL YOUNG LADY, THAT BRAIN IS STAYING IN YOUR SMALL HEAD NO MATTER WHAT SO CUT THE CRAP.

BITS AND PIECES

1. I like to play weird games with myself like seeing how long I can keep from going to the cash machine---not out of frugality so much as some kind of creative pioneer spirit that enjoys making a lunch out of random things from my snack drawer. Whenever you donít have much cash in your wallet, you become very aware of how much cash you have in your wallet, which is why I am pretty sure that I severely overtipped the waitress at the Hollywood Diner (S. and I take turns alternating bill/tip at our weekly breakfasts) by leaving her a five and a one instead of two ones. Now she probably thinks S. and I are RICH GIRLS.

2. Something that reliably cracks me up: The way Jack Black says "underpants" on the Tenacious D song "Double Team." I laugh every single time.

3. Something that reliably cracks Nora up: The "I one the sandbox, I two the sandbox" joke. You eight the sandbox? How did it taste?

4. Lately I have been reading sociological stuff about race and identity, like this and this and this, with the odd result that the Amazon recommendations wizard now seems to think I am black and has recommended some "beauty tips for women of color"-type books. A few months ago I was reading a lot of mommy-memoir stuff, which is nothing if not white and privileged and solipsistic, so the poor Amazon recommendations thingy is probably very confused indeed.

5. Another book I recently enjoyed was Home Land, by Sam Lipsyte. I laughed out loud, several times, and that is rare for me. My favorite part is when the narrator is daydreaming at the Thanksgiving table, not hearing his overbearing-jerk father's request to pass the gravy, and is snapped out of it when the father screams, "GRAVY BOAT! STAY IN THE NOW!" I am seriously thinking of getting GRAVY BOAT STAY IN THE NOW silkscreened on a t-shirt or embroidered on a sampler, as it makes a kick-ass personal mantra.

---mimi smartypants keeps hot things hot and cold things cold.

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