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

never land of the lost

When you don’t feel like writing about your life, write about books! Anyway, it’s No-Delete Thursday, so we can just go wherever this takes us. Take my hand!


  1. Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. Where are all the good clothes? Even if you have money to spend, so many things are crappy rags with sloppy seams that look terrible in six months. This book got me all fired up to learn how to sew. That impulse faded after my third glass of wine, but maybe someday.
  2. Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. I rolled my damaged-by-writers’-workshops eyes at that title, but it turns out to have an interesting origin, which I will not spoil. This book nicely avoids the “ohmygosh, poor people sure are poor” refrain and really gets into its protagonists’ lives. Recommended.
  3. The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving. This was a bit sentimental, and I got impatient waiting for The Big Bad Thing to be revealed (although to be fair, The Big Bad Thing is legitimately horrifying when you learn it). Pretty good, though, if you’re in the mood for something emotional.
  4. The Glimpses of the Moon. Of course LT and I went to Powell’s on our Portland trip. We tried very hard to show restraint and not buy a ton of books, and mostly succeeded. But I did see this Edith Wharton I had never even heard of, so that had to be bought. I adore Edith Wharton, although her social world is so far removed from how things work today that her books can almost read like science fiction. Some young female character will experience a life-ruining social disaster and modern me is left scratching my head, thinking that it doesn’t sound like all that big a deal. Anyway, this is hardly the best Wharton available—in fact after a while it starts to feel like a romantic comedy or overlong Friends episode, full of near-misses and lovers’ misunderstandings —but it is well-crafted and people call each other things like “absolute brick” and “old chum,” which I always enjoy.
  5. What’s Gotten Into Us? Staying Healthy in a Toxic World. Usually this kind of “help everything sucks” book is completely my thing, but this was pretty awful. Not enough detail to be memoir, not enough investigation to be science or even journalism. When the guy uncritically discussed MCS I was pretty much done. (Now I can get hate mail from the chemically sensitive! I will put it next to my hate mail from evangelicals, Nicholson Baker fans, and people who have suffered ritual satanic abuse.)


November has not been very great so far. I got a parking ticket, fifty dollars I did not want to spend. Totally my fault. I wonder if the City of Chicago is surprised when people just go online and pay their tickets like they are supposed to.

Then we had an election, huh? Everybody remember that? Holy hell it made me want to die. I was like that little girl on YouTube crying about how she was tired of BroncObama and MittRomney.  I voted—in fact I “overvoted” (not on purpose, I swear) and had to do it again—and then I just tried to shut my eyes and ears for the rest of the day. Then it was all over but the insufferable Facebook gloating from people with whom I sort of agree, and the equally insufferable moaning and catastrophizing from people with whom I sort of don’t. Enough! Enough, I say!

Enormous work projects with no defined due dates or specifications continue. Keep working on that thing, Mimi! Yeah, we don’t know either! Make sure you get it done, though! Soon! Ish!

Small home project (the staircase skylight) that has turned enormous due to epic flakiness of roofing contractor. He received his deposit six weeks ago. Since then he’s lost his wallet, had cell phone trouble, hurt his back, experienced some sort of plumbing emergency at his house, been stuck in traffic, had childcare problems, and been unable to find an assistant. (In this economy? Right.) He has also never been less than an hour late, and once had the nerve to tell me, via text, that he’s been “having a few problems that have really hindered my work for the last 3 weeks.” No shit, buddy. However:

Hope you’ll stay a while!

Now the skylight is in but he needs to come back to do the agreed-upon plastering and painting. Who knew that sniffly fast-talking roofing contractors could be so untrustworthy? That spiderweb neck tattoo made him appear so reliable.

Oh, and next week is Thanksgiving, a holiday I frankly only enjoy if I get to do the cooking and drinking in my own house. But no, we alternate years with my in-laws, so this vegetarian’s Festival of Side Dishes will be spent in the country with elderly horses, enormous smelly dogs, and dirty sheep. Oh, and people. I expect there shall be some of those.

—mimi smartypants heard a rumor from Ground Control.