the eczema sky, the asthmatic trees
Nora has turned four, and has become (vertically) giant. She just shoots up and up and never out. For a joke the other day I dug some 18-month-size leggings out of the giant bin of giveaway baby clothes and told her to put them on, and while they stopped well above her knees the waist fit just fine. I am growing a stalk of a kid, a crazy sunflower or obelisk child with 3% body fat. On her actual birthday she took doughnut holes to school and was the Big Cheese for a day, and then we went to Chinatown to stuff ourselves with noodles and stock up on that disgusting rice candy that she loves so much. Then a few days later we had her parties. Oh wait did I make a plural?* Yes. We had two birthday parties in one day because we are hardcore. In the morning the little kids came over TO MY HOUSE** for anarcho-preschool-birthday bliss, and I am proud to say that we went retro with a beanbag toss and clothespins-in-a-bottle and good old-fashioned juice-box-and-frosting mayhem. Although I sympathize with those who have no space to party or no inclination to clean smashed raspberries off wood floors, in our case I wanted to make a firm stand against the fancy venues and overhyped entertainment of the little-kid birthday parties I have attended in the past. Sugar and stickers is all Nora requires in a party, and I hope to deny the birthday-industrial complex their blood money for as long as I possibly can. FIGHT THE POWER!
*(“Make a plural” would be a good euphemism for a bathroom occurrence. When Nora was potty-training, she was often surprised at how often the two main bathroom events occurred simultaneously, and would remark on such: “Poop AND pee-pee, Mommy!” With the gravest possible face and inflection, I always solemnly replied, “That is called a combo.” It amused me then and it amused me now, with the only bad part being that she still sometimes informs me of having done a combo.)
**(Once again: SO FUCKING HARDCORE)
The evening birthday party was just family, so the performance anxiety was greatly lessened and I could just kick back with beer and bean dip. My “culturally lesbian” daughter*** is going through a cowgirl phase, and thus her cake had a Western theme and her presents included an adorable red hat, real heeled boots, and items relating to her current objects of worship, Jessie from Toy Story 2 and Patsy Cline.
***(Oh boy am I going to get email about that one. Just in case anyone is stupid: I kid. I joke. I am not even remotely speculating about my 4-year-old's actual sexual orientation. Okay?)
I RAN SO FAR AWAY
Don't worry, I am not planning to turn this diary into some bullshit fitness journal or anything, but because I am strangely proud of it I feel compelled to tell you that this month I have run a total of 32 miles. I wonder where I would be, if I had just picked a direction and kept going. Every time I lurk on running message boards everyone is bitching and moaning about bad weather and “having” to run on a treadmill, and I feel like a weird outlier because treadmills rule! I love data! I love the absence of weather/windburn/darkness/muggers/traffic, and I love the way I am forced (out of pride) to do my piddly three miles instead of just thinking “eh, that's probably enough.” Let's face it, if I ran outside I would probably just run to the nearest bar.
I even got new shoes. Running shoes. Previously I had been running in these walking/hiking sneakers, because shoes are shoes, right? But then I said that to a running friend and she was like uh no, your super-stable hiking sneakers probably weigh a pound each, and running shoes are about half that. So I splurged on some hideous silver Asics that make me feel like an extra in a 1980s space movie, and the difference is indeed profound. Zoom zoom watch me go.
DIMESTORE VERBS AND GIMCRACK NOUNS
In the middle of Topics in Calamity Physics, I took a weird break and read books of poetry by two of my favorites, August Kleinzahler and Aaron Anstett. Both of these guys can, at their best, write perfect, amazing lines that crash around in my head like a moose on Ecstasy—that furry, that large, that happy and antlered. However, reading their respective newest efforts reinforced my belief that poetry should never be published in books, or at least not in single-author collections. It's not natural to read more than a few poems by a single poet in a sitting; no one's voice is so original that you don't start to notice the little devices, the tricks used to get from here to there. Reading too much of the same poet is like having sex with someone who is just a bit too experienced and sure of himself. It feels great but it's all a little too perfect, a little too I Can Orgasm You In Ten Moves Or Less Oh! You Have Sunk My Battleship! (Wow, I should totally have a sexy party where everyone plays Strip Battleship.)
I also finished a book about Jazz Age women and it was very very bad for me in that now I feel a serious need to drive around in a roadster clutching a bottle of gin. Where is my roadster? Where is my gin? Nowhere. Instead I have frigid El cars and one sensible beer in the evenings, in that dreadfully thin space between Nora's bedtime and my own overwhelming sleepiness. Although this Saturday my beloved little minx will be experiencing her first overnight away from me and LT (indulgent grandparents). I have been invited to a cocktail party and later there is a Dials show at Empty Bottle and WATCH OUT. Knowing that there will be no small voice pulling me from sleep at 6 am may mean that Mimi's Saturday-night gloves come entirely off. Join me if you dare!
—mimi smartypants excuse me wtf are you doing?