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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

2004-09-09 ... 9:55 a.m.


Something about being awake and on a bus well before dawn gives me strange wide-open eyes, and makes me assign equal importance to every detail. Early-morning city journeys have a being-on-acid quality of undifferentiated experience, where sunrise and broken glass glittering in a parking lot are equally Beautiful and Important. The Zen kaleidoscope of banality. (If you will.)

1. When I slipped out of the back door at 5:30 am and started walking down the alley, I surprised the following creatures: chicken, black cat, squirrel, and a cabdriver ending his night.

2. I almost missed the bus but the driver waited for me after completing his turn out of the terminal, and when I said "Thank you" he said "Ain't no big thing."

3. My iPod served up the following songs on the way down Kimball Avenue: a. Emperor X, "Florencia Tropicana."

b. The Postal Service, "We Will Become Silhouettes." I love this song up until the guy starts singing, and then I love it somewhat less. Still decent, though.

c. Garbage, "Queer." Sex on a stick. Has me mentally pulling on fishnets and heading to Neo.

d. Glossosaurus, "Snowday: 1."

e. Cadallaca, "Pocket Games." Angsty lesbian break-up songs get me all wistful.

4. There was a moth in the bus and it staggered from light to light all confused.

5. To my left, an elderly Sikh sighed and muttered to himself. In front of me was a woman with her hair in a messy French braid.

6. The city has newly erected chain-link fence on the underpass at Belmont, to keep homeless people from sleeping there.

7. As I walked east on North Avenue to the diner, the clouds gradually changed color, from hematoma to half-and-half. The moon seemed cupped and tilted like a hand for a handout. I sang along with Stereolab (half-formed pseudo-words in pretend French) and I didn't care who heard me.


My grandmother died this past weekend. This was not unexpected, and if I am honest with myself I would have to say that it feels more weird than sad. I have seen her maybe twice in five years, most recently this past July at a reunion thingy where she met Nora for the first time. That sounds like it should have been a big deal but it wasn't, mostly because [scrambling for a charitable way to say this] my grandmother was not the warmest person in the world, plus she had great-grandchildren already, plus I don't believe she had much experience with adoption or even with people of other cultures (I remember her using the word "Negro" in my presence when I was around nine years old, which totally cracked me up even at that age. Grandma's talking like an old-timey book!) I don't mean to imply that my grandmother was anything other than pleasant to Nora, but I got the feeling that she was watching my kid with a detached and slightly suspicious manner, like "What will this alien, not-related-to-us-by-blood child do next?" But I am possibly not being fair, because in some ways that was my grandmother's attitude toward all children, including her own kids and grandkids---she loved us in theory, particularly when we were cute and well-behaved, but she was not the type to snuggle you or get down on the floor and play. She was more the type to feed you well, applaud your diving-board antics at the pool while sitting in the shade with her cigarette and her Seven-and-Seven, and brag about your school accomplishments to her country-club friends. And those are fine traits, and she had many others, and she will be missed.

Because I am a bad, self-centered person, and because I loathe memorial services of all kinds, I was really hoping to use Nora as a sort of Get Out Of Funerals Free card, and beg out of traveling to Florida due to preschool, budgetary concerns, etc. However, it turns out that there will be a cremation down there, and then a memorial service in the Chicago area a few weeks from now, so I guess we have to go. I am very grateful for the "no dead body" aspect to the service, since that always creeps me out. Who would want their corpse on display like some shrink-wrapped steak for everyone to stare at and comment on? No one had better gawk at me when I am dead. I put that in my will and everything.


Maybe it is all the Death Stuff, maybe the terrible terrorist news stories, or maybe normal mommy-anxiety. For whatever reason, I have been very crazy about Nora's health and safety lately. I creep into her room several times a night to check on her, because I think she's "too quiet." OF COURSE SHE IS QUIET DUMBASS, SHE IS SLEEPING. It is getting worse, too. A few months ago it was enough for me to peek in her room and see that she was IN her crib, since my main fear was The World's Quietest Baby-Stealer somehow getting through locked windows and doors to spirit her away. Then the visual check became not good enough, and I had to peer into the darkness until I saw that she was breathing. I don't really know what would work for me now---a printed readout on Nora’s well-being, "heart rate normal, electrolytes balanced, dreams happy and pleasant"? Should she roll over and hold up a little sign that says HEY MOM I AM FINE?


Yesterday a tired cranky Nora was yelling about something in her highchair while I was trying to simultaneously clean the kitchen, unload the dishwasher, and microwave her frozen peas.* I told her to save the drama for her mama and then thought: Oh. I am your mama. Darn.

*The best non-porn** results from Googling "bag of frozen peas": More than you wanted to know about pea processing. Look at the byline! It took six people to write this pea article! Also, how frozen peas could save your limbs.

**Yeah. Really. With a little digging, you can find plenty of weird slash fiction with bag-of-frozen-peas homoerotic action. I don't recommend it.


One year ago was when I saw Nora's picture for the first time. LT was driving home when he got "the call" from the adoption agency, saying we had finally been matched, and he pulled over to write down her measurements, her Chinese name, and the word "CUTE" (something the agency worker told us on the phone!) I was on my way to the stupid dentist, waiting for a bus on State Street, when he called me and I remember being shaky and excited and royally pissed off that he would see her photo via e-mail long before I would. And then I did see her lovely, amazing, perfect little head on the computer screen and I immediately thought oh there she is, almost unsurprised and matter-of-fact, because in some crazy, hard-to-admit, mystical-crap sort of way I really do believe we were all meant to be a family. About a month later we flew to China and y'all know the rest of this story.

So happy referral anniversary, Nora. Have a beer on me. Well, have the empty cup at least.

---mimi smartypants Beatrixed your Potter.


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