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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

2007-11-10 ... 1:45 p.m.

Dick Fucking Cheney! I have jury duty! I am sitting here next to one of a grand total of TWO outlets in the drearysad Daley Center, although using the present tense is sort of a sham since there is no wireless here (wtf?) and I guess I will be uploading my drivel at a later date. This summons is very different from the last time I was called, in both good and bad ways. The good: not side-by-side with felony-warrant Latin Kings at 26th and California, many more lunch options than simply the Dolor De Estomago combination platter at El Trichonoso, somewhat less muttering and drooling among my fellow jurors. The bad: whereas my 26th/California experience was very loosey-goosey "be aware you may not even be called," the piece of paper I got on arrival pretty much makes it sound like I will be sitting in a courtroom at some point today. Unless, of course, I am deemed unfit! Luckily I have a Sharpie in my purse for spontaneous inappropriate "tattooing"---it will be hard to draw a neck-swastika freehand and mirror-reversed but I will do my best.

It is also completely non-awesome that on this, my jury duty day, is also the day when I am eating double fistfuls of PAMPRIN MAX at precise four-hour intervals. You know, I used to scoff at such specialized products: is your cramp so otherworldly and feminine that it cannot be tamed by plain old generic Advil? Is a uterine cramp fundamentally different from a leg cramp? But now I am a complete convert. Somehow there is a huge psychological boost from using something specially formulated, however cynically and profit-motive-ly, for your particular problem---plus PAMPRIN MAX has caffeine, which I think goes a long way toward helping me not kill people. I also really like the name. The delicate nasal whininess of "pamprin" followed by the eXtreme-sports balls-out suffix of "max." It is truly a gender-confused product name, and that's something I think we can all get behind.


I don't want to sound like some sort of Alfie Kohn acolyte, but Nora and I spent some time at a busy playground recently and some parents really need to cool it on the "good jobs." Good job swinging! Good job going down the slide! Good job, inertia! Good job, gravity! Then Nora and I went to lunch where I overheard a kid get good-jobbed for drinking all of his chocolate milk. What kid needs to be self-esteemed into finishing chocolate milk? Good job, sugar! Way to taste delicious!


Nora got some bad news from the dentist a while back. Although she has no cavities, it seems that one of her top front teeth is loose, and x-rays show that there's no permanent tooth to make it so. The dentist's conclusion is that her index-finger sucking habit is causing damage to that tooth, and that it needs to stop.

During the day this is no big whoop, she almost never has the finger in there and if she does it's a HOLY SHIT red flag heralding the arrival of illness or serious meltdown spaz-out fatigue. But at night, in bed, it is a fingerfest all night long. And right now I am giving myself an award for the #1 Dirtiest Out -Of-Context Sentence I have ever written.

Nora was pretty sad about the dentist's directive, and said many heartbreaking things, such as "But it makes me feel better" and even worse, "I don't think I can stop." Because I can count on one hand the number of times I have heard Nora say she can't do something, that one sort of got to me. So I have been internally debating the importance of this whole Finger-Free Campaign, in terms of dental vs. emotional health. Sure, I don't want her to grow up with Cletus-mouth, but neither do I want her sad and defeated and wearing gloves to bed. There is a small but vocally capitalist part of my brain that wonders if we can't just table the issue and agree to write a giant check to some orthodontist in a few years. We are Americans! We deal in symptoms, not causes! Leave us be!

More amusing, depending on your tolerance for guts and gore and grave desecration, is Nora's renewed mania to dissect something. At some point, probably during one of the many times I was patiently explaining why we cannot handle the dead pigeon/skeletonize the dead mouse/gaze enraptured at the splattered squirrel, I told her about how in later years she may actually get to indulge her innard-viewing jones IN SCHOOL, and told the story of dissecting stuff in biology lab. Now my creepy darling is quite excited, and makes lists of the creatures she will someday dissect, with the only sticking point being that she seems convinced it will happen next fall, in kindergarten (the Next Big Educational thing on her horizon). I try to be the contrapuntal voice of reason here, because no matter how magnet the school I just don't think she will have a wet lab there, and I don't want her to be disappointed when she bursts into the kindergarten room looking for scalpels and finding only fingerpaints.

At one point the list of fish and bugs and mammals available for dissection turned into a discussion of where these dead things all come from, and it turns out there was a misconception that students just sort of bring in roadkill and get to work, like a Show and Tell gone horrifyingly wrong (Show And Tell And Slice). So I got to explain, as best I could, the very weird world of lab-dissection supply houses and the plastic-fying of veins and so forth. Then Nora started asking about the dissection of dead people, and sure, if you go to medical school I think you get to do that, and but you can't mail-order a dead person, right, mommy? You need to go to the cemetery. Whoa, hey my little Burke, not so fast there with the grave-robbing.

You know, I have every single possible permutation of the sex-ed talks pretty much flowcharted in my mind, adjusted for age and maturity level, but I never thought I would need to give coherent parental reasons for Why It's Not Nice To Steal Corpses. You have to teach kids to tie their shoes, share the toys, use the toilet, refrain from desecrating the dead, the teaching moments just never fucking end, oh the wonder of it all.

---mimi smartypants will meet you at the cemetery gates.


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