mimi smartypants
Seriously, though: what's with the penguins?

tomato biography


I have a touch of hippie woo lurking inside me when it comes to personal-care products. I am all about avoiding “fragrance,” I don’t trust SLS or parabens, and lately I have been using pretty much nothing but jojoba oil on my face. All that goes out the window when it comes to teeth, though. Give me fluoride! Give me foaming agents and whitening power! Yes please! Ingesting toxic chemicals (alcohol, caffeine, whatever the hell is in toothpaste) is apparently just fine with me, I just don’t want them smeared on my skin. That doesn’t make sense, you say? Yes, I am aware! Deal with it.

The best non-hippie toothpaste in the world is Crest Barrage of Adjectives. Actually it is called (deep breath) Crest Multi-Benefit Extra White Plus Scope Dual-Blast, Fresh Mint flavor. The ads for this toothpaste show a jet of mouthwash pulverizing an onion in mid-air, and that is an accurate metaphor. Perhaps it is only the illusion of fresh breath, and the chemicals are killing all the bacteria in my mouth and all the cells of my oral mucosa as well, but it sure feels great. You could probably blow a hobo down by the train tracks after using this toothpaste and still have fresh breath. If you end up liking the hobo (like maybe this started out as just another blowjob-for-crack scenario but you are actually starting to get along), you could even share the toothpaste and the two of you could have a minty-fresh makeout session.


“I don’t know what you are talking about, nigga! THERE WAS NO PENGUIN. They had snowmen and Santas, but NO FUCKING PENGUINS. You feel me?”


“Donna was a retired ventriloquist.”


After hearing two of her friends describe a fictional character’s hair as “ugly,” Nora interrupted and said, “How can hair be ugly?” (Oh. I love her.)

A line from Nora’s most recent book report: “Freaking out is not very heroic.”


Thanksgiving this year is mine, all mine! I get to shop, I get to be all control-freaky about the menu, I get to cook everything and tell other people what to bring! (I don’t fuck with pie, that is best left to experts). I get to buy cheesecloth! I have never bought cheesecloth before, but the roasting recipe for the fancy free-range turkey suggests soaking cheesecloth in butter and wine and laying that over the breast, which sounds so fun and medieval (aren’t you basically making a poultice?) that I must try it. Besides turkey and dressing (baked in a pan), I am mostly making various versions of potatoes and roasted vegetables. I dislike salad on Thanksgiving, so we’ll have Brussels sprouts for the “green thing” and the haters will just have to suffer. Oh, and I’m also making a macaroni-and-cheese-type-thing with butternut squash and Gruyere, because god forbid we don’t have enough carbs, salt, and fat. And there will be lots of wine.

Because I host Thanksgiving every other year, this may be the last year that my ugly kitchen makes an appearance. We had some contractors over to talk about the kitchen, and later they came back with some seriously big, expensive-sounding plans. This part of the space is wasted and let’s move the fridge to the other side of the room and let’s do a built-in thing over here and cut a hole in your wall for a new door and build new porch steps and put a window where the door was and WOW. It sounded cool at first but now I don’t know and I am thinking of contacting them with my own, more modest plan—which still makes use of the “wasted space”* but scales back on other things and doesn’t involve moving the DOOR. Will I make the architect sad by asking for a less-intense plan? Will he mope about and throw his T-square across the room and scratch at his architect wrist with a drafting pencil? I do not know.

*The cats would like to point out that the “wasted space” is where their food bowls are, thank you very much.


I am not working this week, which is fabulous. It will not truly take three full days to shop and prep dinner and clean the house, but I can pretend like it will and add in lots of screwing-around time as well. Now I am off to Trader Joe’s like Chicago’s biggest cliché, with my yoga pants and reusable bags. I will have to listen to ultra-violent gangsta rap on the way there, just to help get over myself.

—mimi smartypants keeps it (somewhat) real.