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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

2005-07-02 ... 5:01 p.m.

Whoo! Boring! Biographies of all the North Dakota governors.

I tend to get North Dakota and Wyoming mixed up, probably because I cannot think of a single noteworthy thing about either state without resorting to Google. (Fargo happens to be one of my favorite movies, but I have to make a conscious effort to remember that it is set in North Dakota.) If you asked me to free-associate "North Dakota" I would probably say "South Dakota," and then probably "Pierre," which is the super-sissified name of South Dakota's capital. Ooh la la! Oh no you didn't, South Dakota! Snap! I have even fewer associations with Wyoming, except that I once got chatty with a telemarketer (in the dark days before Caller ID, when I used to actually answer the phone). I asked him where the call center was, and he said "Wyoming" and I laughed and said nobody lives in Wyoming, and he said yes they do, lots of people live in Wyoming, and I said that they most certainly DO NOT. And then I think he hung up on me, instead of the other way around. Good times!

If YOU live in Wyoming, please email me and explain why!

I think the only other state I have strong feelings about is West Virginia, and that is only because of its physical shape, which makes me irrationally angry to the point of consciously trying not to let my eyes slide over to its general vicinity when I see a map of the United States, because I know it will just get me all worked up for no reason. God! Stupid sideways obese pineapple of a state! I once was told I had an ovarian cyst, which turned out to mysteriously not be there on the follow-up ultrasound (uh, okay), and during the few weeks between supposed cyst and definitive not-cyst I always pictured it (ie, the presumed cyst) as being exactly the shape of West Virginia, all evil and bulgy and with those weird tentacles poking into my ovary.

Anyway, I am back from England, which has much more amusing place names than here. I don't have many mental associations with said place names because they are all new to me, although if I followed soccer I'm pretty sure I would root for West Ham because that's just hilarious, and my favorite near-Brighton destination that we kept seeing on bus signs was Moulsecoomb. "Moulsecoomb" is several buckets worth of fun to say, particularly if you take all of its vowels very seriously when you pronounce it, which unfortunately the locals do not.

Nora did well on her European adventure, probably helped by the fact that we didn't have terribly high expectations of sightseeing or Big Huge Fun. We were there to see my friend get married, to soak up the wonderfully tawdry atmosphere of the British seaside, and to drink multiple pints of bitter at evocatively-named pubs such as the Leek and Winkle. Why did this pub not sell t-shirts or bumper stickers that say "I Took My Winkle For A Leek At The Leek And Winkle"? I cannot say. Nora cooperated by sleeping on the plane, sleeping in a big-girl bed for the first time with only a minimum of drama,* and generally keeping her shit together with a few notable exceptions.** We quickly found this kick-ass playground/sandpit/kiddie pool just a bit past the West Pier, and if I were a stay-at-home mom in Brighton in the summer you could bet money that my ass would be parked there in the shade every single day. It even sold snacks and popsicles (which Nora was calling "ice lollies" by our third day---Nora, you little mockingbird! Don't go getting all Madonna faux-British on us!)

*She did require me to lie down with her the first few nights, although sometimes I could get around that by promising to check on her "in five minutes." Ha! The kid has no watch! Out like a light! And once, when I did get up in the middle of the night to check on her, I pulled the duvet back to see only Purple Dog and no Nora. Cue the horror movie music! For some reason I immediately thought that she must have gone wandering, and I was running around our hosts' flat yelling NORA WHERE ARE YOU like a crazed mommy-panic lunatic, when I heard whimpering from underneath the bed and pulled out a still half-asleep and very dusty toddler.

**It must be hard to travel when you have no clue why you're doing it. Nora nearly broke my heart when, after listening to my upbeat rundown of we’ll get something to eat, and then we will go back to Susy's house and take a bath, and then you'll get in bed with Purple Dog, won't that be nice? she burst out crying and said, "I don't want Purple Dog in Susy's bed. I want Purple Dog in MY bed." Then I felt like shit for the rest of the night, wondering if taking her on this adventure had been a mistake, but beer for me and another day of swimming and ice lollies for Nora improved both our moods.

On the one rainy afternoon we stayed inside watching some of our hosts' collection of Muppet Show videos. Since Kermit is the only Sesame Street crossover star, this collection of puppets was entirely new to Nora. She asked "who's that?" about every human guest star, which was kind of weird, and was particularly entranced by Beaker and all his misfortunes. So every single day now we have multiple baffling-to-strangers conversations like this one:

Nora: Remember that funny guy, Mommy? The one who says mee mee mee?
Me: Beaker? Yes, I remember him.
Nora: Remember when he ate too much paper clips? And his nose fell off?
Me: Yes, I do remember that. Tragic, really.
Nora: Also, remember Bob Hope?

There is more to say---about my friend's wedding ceremony (Quaker, and you can't really get much plainer than a Quaker wedding---coming from a background of high-Catholic hoopla, I was alternately charmed and enervated by the simplicity), about the bride's unintentionally hilarious father (a ten-minute monologue about how the military cooks and serves turkey!) and frighteningly-similar-to-my-stepmother-in-law stepmother (is there a factory where they make all the sixty-something second wives?), about my renewed dedication to the cheese-and-pickle sandwich, and about how I threatened bodily harm to a rat-faced git of an English schoolboy, who splashed me on purpose, told me to fuck off when I asked him to stop, and then faked like he was going to push Nora’s head underwater. And about how much I hate Heathrow and their stupid "zones" and their you-can't-check-in-until-we-say-you-can crap. And about how good it is to be home, and not going back to work until Wednesday, huzzah! But someone will be getting up from a nap any minute now, and then it will be cocktail hour (she and I have soy milk and Merlot, respectively, in matching sippy cups), and I am lightly sunburned and slightly jet-lagged and all typed out.

---mimi smartypants with a side of mushy peas.


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