This blog post brought to you by not finishing Evie’s Halloween costume

I’ve toyed for some time with the idea of starting a “Five Favorite Things Friday” post series on The Evie Standard.  A lot of bloggers do this sort of thing, and it’s kinda cute, I think.

But you know and I know that “Five Favorite Things Friday” will start off great and then become “Five Favorite Things Every Other Friday” and then “Five Favorite Things Fridays in May” and then…

Yeah.

But today’s Friday!  Yay!  And here are five things.  I’ve used up all my commitment on watering plants and limiting caffeine intake, y’all.

1.  Update on last post:  After throwing up the last post, I noticed many more examples of Animals Gone Domestic in our fair city.  This is good for the blog, bad for me.  I fear I may end up starring in my own version of Life of Pi, trapped in a dingy in the middle of the ocean with a pissed off tiger.  Or an armadillo.  In my case it would be a pissed off armadillo.  Maybe I could finally convince the armadillo to trust me, and we could work together to find rescue.  Anyway.  What?  So, examples.

Evie and I attended a playdate at a local park this week.   The day was breezy, overcast and a pleasant 84 degrees.  As close to Fall as Florida is gonna get.  The park’s amenities included a path that wound through the surrounding woods. Before setting off on a walk on this path, another mom casually informed us that someone had said they’d seen bobcats in the woods.  Then what happened?  Everyone set off for the walk.

??**%%!!** (I just don’t have words anymore, folks.)

Also, a friend of mine posted on her Facebook page that her husband saw a panther walking around their neighborhood.  Ho-hum.  Panther.  Probably selling Amway.  Pretend you’re not home.

Someone help.

Oh!  And I wanted to show you guys this:

This sign is posted on Honeymoon Island, a state park located on a beach that we frequent.  I mean, really.  What’s a day at the ocean without a few rattlers?

2.   Gone Girl.  Readers, you know how sometimes you stumble upon a book that consumes your life?  That you can not put down?  My house is a mess, the laundry is piling up, and Evie’s Halloween costume is still not done.  But I could not put this book down.  I read it in three days.  And if I didn’t have this pesky homemaker gig to do, I’d have finished it in a day.  Or less.  I had to make myself stop reading it.  I considered picking it up at stoplights, and I almost, almost gave up nightly TV time with my husband, my favorite time of the day, to read it.

I’ve talked with others who’ve read Gone Girl, and they weren’t as impressed.  They didn’t like the ending.  They thought parts of it were unbelievable.  I agree that the ending wasn’t on par with the rest of the book.  It felt rushed.  It wasn’t as tight.  But I totally believed the rest of it.  It was kind of like a really good Law & Order episode meets Dial M for Murder meets…a Lifetime movie if you could admit you watch Lifetime movies.  Which I can’t.

Also, I read it on a Kindle, which I didn’t hate.  It was actually kind of awesome.  I recant my former statements about Kindles.

3.  The Neighbors.  This is a show you aren’t watching.  Why are you not watching it?  You should be watching it.  Quick, before it gets cancelled!  It’s about your typical American family who, seeing an opportunity to pounce upon a wicked-good deal in a tanked real estate market, buys a typical subdivided American house right smack dab in the middle of a community of aliens who have come to study our typical American ways.  Hilarity ensues!  Well, not consistent hilarity, but this show has so much potential, y’all!  It’s quirky.  It’s clever.  It’s charming.  It’ll probably never make it.  Or maybe it’ll fly below the radar like The Middle or Raising Hope as a nice filler between the Nashvilles and the Revolutions.

Besides, it stars Jami Gertz, a woman who’s got riding on the back of a kick-ass motorcycle in a gypsy skirt, legs wrapped around a late eighties Kiefer Sutherland AND holding Robert Downey Jr’s hair while he pukes up whatever battery-acid cocktail of cocaine, booze and wasted youth he’s consumed and then crying on a mid-eighties Andrew McCarthy’s shoulder about it on her resume.  And that, dear readers, make her awesome.

4.  Cats.  Why are cats such a pain in the ass?  I recant my former loving statements about cats.  Just kidding.  Sort of.  The newest little member of our family, Izzie, has upset the balance in our home.  Which I knew would happen but secretly hoped wouldn’t happen.  Sam, our other pathologically neurotic, always-on-edge cat, is determined to…just…just…make somebody pay for this!  She’s  righteously pissed that all the time she formerly spent being fat and shedding now has to be spent standing in doorways and at the top of the stairs, looking menacing.  Seriously, folks, it’s like living with an early-nineties Glenn Close.  I guess that makes Izzie Anne Archer and me Michael Douglas.  I’m fine with that.

It’s really all worth it, though, because there’s this:

Evie and Izzie reading a book together.  Izzie also sleeps with Evie every night.  Granted, it’s because I shut the door to Evie’s room so Izzie can’t get out, but still.  I have to protect Anne Archer from Glenn Close!

5.  Growing my hair out…again.  Oy.  This again.  Over the past ten years I’ve cycled through short hair, long hair, short hair again, highlighted hair, long hair with my natural color, badly highlighted hair, short hair again.  Really short hair.  And now I’m growing it out.  As she’s expressed to my many times, Evie likes my hair longer.  As he’s not expressed to me many times but I know it’s how he secretly feels, Gill likes my hair longer, too.  And I’m ready for a change.  I miss my ponytail.

But, holy moly, what a pain in the ass.  Worse than the cats!  I haven’t had my hair colored in a year, so the blond is now only at the very ends of a small section of my hair right in the front.  And the cut I had was many-layered, so, depending on the humidity, my selection of hair products and my level of giving a damn that day, I can look like this:

Or this:

It just depends, really.  What I really want to look like is this:


 And, dammit, one day I’m gonna find a hairdresser who’s knows what the hell I’m talking about.

Meantime, I’ve got Gene Wilder hair most days, my eyeballs have decided to reject my contacts on the same days as the Gene Wilder hair, and my skin, appalled and offended by my hair and 15-year-old glasses has decided to break out all over in mighty protest.

I’m about as far from Ms. Bancroft as one can get, friends.

But I live in Florida among the ferocious beasts.  And it’s October 26th, and I still have a kick-ass tan.

So there.

Welcome to the jungle. OMG.

Living in Florida is…different.

For one thing, there’s the weather.  I remember glancing down at the temperature reading on my car’s dashboard last Christmas Day and seeing 72.  That’s just crazy, y’all.  I also fondly remember enjoying a day at the beach last January.  And that is awesome.

Speaking of the weather, there’s the typical Florida wardrobe.  Evie and I have gone grocery shopping in our bathing suits, and no one batted an eye.  I mean, we were wearing cover ups, but still.  Also, lots of bright colors and white pants.  Oh, and sandals and jewelry bedazzled with tiny sea creatures.  Gold jewelry.  BIG gold jewelry.  One day I wore a coral-colored flow-y blouse with a bright pink camisole underneath, white capris, gold sandals and lots of gold jewelry.  I declared to my husband that I had gone full Florida.  Like Downey, Jr.’s character in Tropic Thunder, I was “head to toe legit.”

Then there’s the darker side of Florida.  The thing they don’t tell you, that you would never suspect.  But I’ll warn you now before you get to thinking, “Hey, I’d like to grocery shop in my bathing suit, dress up like a Jordan Almond and decorate my Christmas tree with pink flamingo lights!  Let’s move to Florida!”  Wait.  Just wait.  You should know something.

So, you know how you’re just sort of casually aware of nature where you live?  Like, you hear the birds, you see the squirrels, yada, yada.  Maybe on an odd day you’ll see a little green snake or some damn raccoons will turn over your garbage cans.  But that’s about it.  Well, friends, here in Florida nature is aware of us.

I submit this recent news story into evidence.  I mean, what the hell?  Right?  This poor woman walked out to her car one morning, travel mug in one hand, car keys in the other, thinking about her grocery list, and out of nowhere she was attacked by a monkey.

What?!

And that’s not all.  A friend of mine posted this picture on her Facebook page.

This prehistoric and horrifying creature was, you know, just hangin’ outside her family’s hotel room.  My favorite part were all the comments on this jaw-dropping nightmare of a Facebook post.  Commentators casually shared their own stories of alligators coming up in their backyards, alligators charging across golf courses, alligators breaking into houses and mercilessly devouring whole families.  Okay, that last part isn’t true.  BUT IT COULD BE!

Another friend of mine shared a helpful hint with me regarding alligators.  They can’t run in a zig-zag motion, so if you happen to be chased by one, run in a serpentine fashion so as to avoid being brought down to the ground and to your death.  Just, you know.  In case you happen to be mowing the lawn one Sunday afternoon and find yourself faced with an alligator and your own mortality.

HELLO!!!

My fellow Floridians!  YO!  There is something wrong here!  This is not a normal way to live!  It is not normal to be attacked by a monkey in your driveway!  It is not normal to have a “neighborhood armadillo”.  It’s not normal to go to the park and see a sign forbidding patrons from “feeding or molesting the alligators”!  Yes!  I actually saw this sign!

Obviously it is normal down here in the Sunshine State.  Or should I say the State That Has Lost Its Mind.

For those of you still not freaked out and actually kind of over me right now, check this mess out.

This is a sign.  Something is watching Florida.  Something monstrous.  Something sinister.  Something with only one eyeball now.

Oh, and by the way, a GIANT EYEBALL washed up on the freakin’ beach!

I was chatting with a friend in her driveway late one evening when we heard a strange noise coming from the side of her house.

“What was that?”  I said, not a little worried for our safety.

“This is Florida, Katie.  It could be anything,” she replied.

OMG, you guys.

Oh, hi!

You can be sure that when I change the blog’s theme, I’m trying to make a fresh start.  To post more.  To, you know, blog.

Here’s the thing.  Social media by its very nature requires frequency and consistency.  A good blogger will post at least twice a week.  This keeps the blogger’s content fresh and plentiful, thereby attracting and keeping readers.  A loyal following is necessary to keep the blog alive.  Also, consistent and frequent posting keeps the blogger from getting rusty and keeps ideas for content flowing.  To write more, one must write more.  Otherwise, the muse moves on.  And so do readers.

Here’s another thing.  I’m my own best yes man.  No one else can make me feel better about slacking off than…me.  I am so good at telling myself that my major focus is not attracting and keeping readers —  that I created this blog for Gill, Evie and me as an online baby book.  It’s my blog, and I’ll post when I want to.

The lies we tell ourselves, friends.  They’re worth their weight in bullshit.

I’m afraid that I’ll give up on this blog all together.  I haven’t posted since June.  I really don’t want that to happen.  I do want it to be a chronicle of Evie’s life that she can one day read and enjoy.  I also think it’s important to keep friends and family updated on what we’re up to, especially since we live so far away from many of them.

And I like to write, folks.  I used to do it a lot more.  I’m afraid that I’ll just stop all together.  It’d be so easy to do.  Writing requires self-discipline, and there’s nothing in the world more fragile than that.  At least for me.  I still have a goal of one day being paid for what I write.  Whether I reach that goal or not, I still want to keep doing it.  Even if it’s just for me.

So I’m gearing up again.  Fresh resolve is also worth its weight in…you know.  Maybe I’ll play around with the content a little.  Maybe I’ll throw up shorter posts more frequently to make the incredibly arduous task of tapping on a keyboard less strenuous.  Maybe I’ll set myself up on a schedule and make posting a priority rather than a task I insert below “express cat’s anal glands” on my to do list.

I don’t know.  Maybe I’ll just change the theme again.

11. The four-year-olds are probably scared of you, too.

This past week I had the good fortune to participate in our church’s vacation bible school program.  I did it because I love my church and really enjoy helping out there and because my friend Susan, who heads up the program, told me I was going to.  Also, I absolutely adored VBS when I was a kid, so I wanted to help provide the experience for other kids.  I’m so glad I did.  I loved every minute of it, and I learned a lot.  And, oh look!  I got a blog post out of it.  The Lord really does work miracles…

HOW I SPENT THE FIRST WEEK OF MY SUMMER VACATION, OR HOW I OVERCAME MY FEAR OF CHILDREN NOT MY OWN, OR WHAT I LEARNED WHILE PLAYING JESUS AND DRESSED IN A DECADES-OLD HOMEMADE CHURCH COSTUME THAT SMELLED LIKE A COMBINATION OF OLD SPICE, COVERED DISH SUPPERS AND MOTHBALLS

1.  Surround yourself with people who know what the hell they’re doing.  They can tell you what works and what most definitely does not.  A good mentor never hurt anyone.

2.  Don’t be afraid to act like you might know what the hell you’re doing either, even if you don’t.  Speak up.  Suggest things.  A fresh approach never hurt anyone.

3.  It’s very, very hard to throw away something you’ve laminated.  Even if it’s 10 multi-colored fish cut up to look like a puzzle pieces with bible verses scrawled on their backs in your non-teacher handwriting that you will never, ever use again.  They’re laminated, not bronzed, for Pete’s sake.  Stop moving them around your work table and just THROW THEM AWAY.  Free yoself, Miss Scarlett.

4.  Sticky-tac, folks.  Sticky-tac.  It will affix anything to anything.

5.  Blessed are the troublemakers.  The same kid who makes every streamer in your room literally shake with fear any time he comes near them will later offer a perfectly beautiful explanation of what it means to be a “fisher of men” that will blow your mind.

6.  Cursed are Internet lesson plans.  Yes, it’s 10pm, and your brain much resembles a warm, squishy ball of sticky-tac.  Yes, all you want to do is curl up in your chair and finish watching The Hatfields and McCoys with your husband and snicker together at Bill Paxton overacting his way through another movie.  But take 20 minutes to make sure the bible verses your Internet lesson plan uses actually say what the writers of the lesson plan say they say.  Otherwise you will be very embarrassed when the game you try to play with kids the next day quickly dissolves into a depressing pile of abandoned Adventure Bibles and crumpled clip art.

7.  Full access to every supply closet in the church all week, friends.  That is all.

8.  Have a snack around 10:30am.  This will prevent the massive blood sugar drop at 11am that keeps making you forget what you were saying and confusing the kids with random blank stares instead.

9.  “Mrs. Langston” sounds weird when you hear it said out loud by 80 children.

10.  Watching children actually learn what you teach them and have fun doing it is worth every minute you made a fool out of yourself playing Noah’s wife with a redneck accent or turning the story of Elisha and Naaman into an homage to Monty Python.

So, like I said, I learned a lot.  And I’m gonna miss those little buggers next week.  Not today.  But next week.

I will also offer this:  Chances are good that with my bachelor’s degree and all the education courses I took in college there would be very little I would have to do to get certified to teach in the state of Florida.  I really, really liked teaching the 4th and 5th graders.  That’s all I’m saying for now.

Mommy learns to be a big girl, too

May you build a ladder to the stars
and climb on every rung.

“Forever Young”
Bob Dylan

When Evie and I moved to join her daddy in Florida a little over a year ago, there was a period of adjustment for all of us.  Gill adjusted to sharing the TV again, I adjusted to lugging groceries up the 4,876 stairs in our townhouse, and Evie adjusted to adjusting.  One of her major adjustments was actually a backslide.  Evie refused to go to sleep by herself or to stay in her bed the entire night.

Before we moved, I would put Evie in her bed at night, kiss her forehead, tell her I loved her and walk out of the room. The next morning I would know she had awakened by the chattering I heard coming from the other side of her bedroom door.  After we moved, all of that came to a screeching halt.  Bedtime became a battle which I eventually lost, i.e., surrendered, and you could find me each night in Evie’s room, rocking in the the rocking chair, waiting for sounds of soft snoring coming from her bed.  And after we moved, I knew she was awake by the kidney-kicking I received each morning from the little body pressed up against my back.

After awhile, I adjusted to Evie’s refusal to adjust.  I could have fought it.  I could have put another child lock on her doorknob like she had in North Carolina.  I could have Ferberized her again.  I could have dutifully carried her back into her room each night and put her back into her own bed.  But I didn’t.  The truth is, I came to enjoy that quiet time in her darkened room at night, softly rocking and thinking my thoughts while my baby drifted off to dreamland.  And I enjoyed rolling over in the middle of the night to find her warm little body snuggled against me.  And I knew she enjoyed these things, too.  They made her feel safe.  I made her feel safe.

Mother’s intuition is a son of bitch.  A real bastard.  It told me that all of this had to end.  It hissed in my ear that I had set up and was continuing to foster bad habits.  It stood behind the rocking chair and crouched by my bed, lecturing me about how I would feel still doing all of this when Evie turned six, eight, ten years old.  I ignored it.  Then I ignored it some more.  Then Evie turned four, and I was ready to listen.

One day, out of the blue, I started to talk to Eve about acting like a big girl.  Not just being a big girl but acting like one.  I told her that all of her friends were big girls.  They didn’t need their mommies to stay with them at night, and they slept in their own beds all night by themselves.  Evie offered that they also didn’t wear Pull-ups to bed.  I panicked a little and told Evie not to get ahead of herself, i.e. rush Mommy.

That night we began the experiment.  I have learned this over the past several months:  If you want Evie to do something, don’t offer a reward.  Threaten to take something away.  Sound cruel?  As Bill Cosby so wisely observed, “This is not your child!”  So, I told Evie if she didn’t go to sleep by herself, she couldn’t watch her favorite show the next day.  I figured we’d tackle the going asleep first and then work on staying in her own bed all night next.  I asked Evie to explain back to me the deal we were making.  She said, “I have to go to sleep by myself and stay in my bed. Not get in your bed.”  She threw me off guard, but my brain quickly rallied and caught up with that of my four-year-old daughter.  “That’s right.  Yeah, that’s right.  Evie, you have to stay in your own bed,” I managed, strong disciplinarian that I am.

And she did.  Holy mother’s intuition, she really did it.  And she kept doing it.  And she also doesn’t wear Pull-up’s anymore at night.  My child, bless her little Type A heart, is an overachiever.

And I?  Am a freakin’ mess.

My baby.  My baby.  Where is my baby?  I’m sad. I’m happy.  I’m proud.  I wish I’d never started this.  Mother’s intuition rolls its eyes at me and tells me to get over myself.  It explains through gritted teeth that Evie has to learn how to make herself feel safe.  That part of growing up is pulling away.  That part of being a parent is pushing away.  That if I don’t help Evie instill a firm sense of independence and pride in herself, that she and her good-for-nothing unemployed boyfriend will still be living with us when she’s 37.

I know, I know.  But can I just say one thing?  One of the most unnerving things I’ve had to do in my short parenting career is stay downstairs.  My baby is upstairs in her dark room with three nightlights burning, her blankets pulled up to her chin, who knows what lurking outside the window, trying, trying, trying to be a big girl, and I have to stay downstairs.  Stay downstairs and piddle.  Flip through the channels.  Check email.  Pet the kitty.  Wait…was that Evie?  Was that her little voice?  Does she need me?

No.  In this case she doesn’t.  And she’s so proud of herself.  She’s acting like a big girl.  I would never, ever take that away from her.  I will find a million little things to do before I walk out of her room at night, though:  Hang up a dress that was on lying on the floor.  “Night night, sweetie.”  “Night night, Mommy.”  Straighten up a few books on her bookshelves.  “I love you.  I’ll see you in the morning.”  “See you in the morning.”  Hand her another stuffed animal.  “Mommy, are you leaving?”  “Yes.  Sorry.  I’m going.”

I have to deal with my issues around the act of pushing away a person who has depended on me for so much for so long.  But.  When I roll over in the morning to see that little pink-nightgowned figure standing in the bedroom doorway, waiting for me to see her, I don’t hesitate for a second.

“Come here,” I whisper.

FOUR!!!

Well, my goodness.  You’re sure a big girl now, Kimosabe.  Can you believe that four years ago today when I held your unfamiliar little body, stared into your scrunched little face and thought about how I was your mommy, it scared the crap out of me?  My, how times have changed…and how they’ve stayed the same.  I still get scared sometimes, especially when I look at you and see almost no sign of that baby.  Just a big girl.

The past year has certainly been an adventure.  We’ve moved miles and miles away from where we used to be.  And, we also moved to Florida.  You and I have learned and seen and done so much together over the past year, and I wouldn’t trade a moment of it.  There is no part of me that regrets the decision I made to quit my former life to hang out with you.

Evie, sometimes I wonder what I did to deserve someone so beautiful in every way.  You’ve inspired me to build my life into one that is  full of surprises, happiness and love.  Being your mommy opens up the world for me in ways I never imagined.  You’ve made me a bigger person.

Thank you, baby girl.  I love you.

Snowbirds in paradise

Do you know what a snowbird is?  We do.

Snowbirds are nomadic souls, usually past retirement age, who take it upon themselves to climb in their American-made cars every January and fly from lands of hard vowels and good pastrami south for the winter, which is to say until early June.  Twice a week I find myself behind a Buick with a tag from Ontario or Ohio or New Jersey going 17 miles per hour in a 40 miles per hour zone, its left blinker inexplicably flashing and its driver’s head barely visible above the steering wheel.

Lord love ‘em.  They are the Greatest Generation.  They’ve worked hard all their lives, raised their kids, paid their taxes, and now they just want to wander aimlessly around the park, all decked out in their black socks and windsuits, basking in the warm Florida sunshine and taking  orangey-yellow pictures with their orangey-yellow disposable cameras.

But if another one honks and throws their hands up at me for not pulling out to block a crowded intersection just because the light is green, I will get out of my car and reign down upon him or her with my most excellent speech on Medicare for All.  And if they don’t stop buying up all the drinking water and half and half at the Walmart, I will start buying up all the cough drops and Kleenex at the Walgreens.

Funny story:  Evie and I were enjoying lunch at one of our favorite restaurants this week, when a table of three snowbirds sat down right next to us.  These ladies were dressed to the nines, complete with huge prescription sunglasses (which they wore inside), rings on each laquered finger and tissues peeking out from their shirtsleeves.  We’ll call them Janice, Barbara and Rose.  After asking the waitress, her face dewy with perspiration, to turn down the air conditioning and politely drilling her on the freshness of the sandwich bread, they settled in for a chat.  Because I am a shameless eavesdropper dedicated observer of humanity, here’s what I overheard:

Rose:  Well, I don’t know.  She’s helping me, is all I can say.

Janice:  That’s what you said.  What did you say?

Barb:  Something about swallowing?  It was something about swallowing.  Teaching you how to swallow?

Rose:  Several times a week, hand to God, I would almost choke in my own kitchen.  I couldn’t swallow water!

Janice: Oh my.

Barb:  That’s terrible.

Janice:  Terrible.

Rose:  So this girl is teaching me to chew a lot more than I was so I won’t choke.

Janice:  She’s very smart.  And a pretty girl.

Barb:  Most people don’t realize how much food collects in your mouth.

Rose:  The right thing to do is chew it until it’s almost liquid.  Little bites.

Janice:  I’m ordering chocolate cake.

Barb:  What about the eclairs?

Janice:  No, she said they were filled with white cream.  Not custard.  White cream.

Barb:  White cream?

Janice:  White cream.

Rose:  What?

Janice:  The eclairs are filled with white cream.

Rose:  Not custard?

Janice:  No.

Rose:  I don’t care for sweets.

Barb:  No, you don’t.  What do you like?

Janice: Potato chips.  She goes nuts over potato chips.

Rose:  I could eat the whole bag.

Barb:  Really?

Janice:  But aren’t potato chips hard for you to chew and swallow?

Rose:  Well, I just hold a chip in my mouth until it gets soft.  You know.

Oy.  I’m still a little skeeved out by this conversation.

Y’all, I don’t want you to think I’m hatin’ on our nation’s senior citizens.  They’re the only ones who get my old movie references, and they’ve lived long enough to gain some perspective on and a sense of humor about life, two things my generation sorely lacks.  I have the utmost respect and reverence for my elders.

But I mean it about the half and half, you guys.  Seriously.

A spoonful of Evie

A trip to the mall always includes a visit to The Disney Store.  This is entirely for Evie’s benefit.  Disney is just for kids, not adults.  An adult who likes to watch Disney movies and play with the princesses and stuffed animals in the store and is looking forward to her daughter’s first trip to Disney World more than she is…troubled.  But I digress.

During today’s visit, Evie and I discovered something absolutely amazing and wonderous:

Y’all.  Mary Poppins totally was in The Disney Store and left her umbrella!  There it was, just leaning quietly against a display of t-shirts marked down 40%.  Evie checked with the saleslady to confirm, and, indeed, she had been there!  What had she been doing there?  And why would an organized, put-together lady like Mary Poppins leave behind such an important accessory like an umbrella with a parrot head that talks?

We wondered.  We discussed.  We speculated.  Finally, through deductive reasoning and her own keen sense of Disney character motivation, Evie concluded that Mary Poppins left her umbrella in The Disney Store on purpose so that Evie could find it.  Mary Poppins wanted Evie to know that she was real and that she was magic and, ipso facto, magic is real.  This was no accident, folks.  Now Evie knows for sure that when she grows up she will be able to clean up her room with a snap of her fingers, make medicine poured from the same bottle change color and taste like lime cordial and also sing songs about her favorite things with a dimple-faced band of Austrian children.  No.  Wait.

But, most importantly, magic is real.

When I was sixteen, I visited Disney World for the first time and met and talked with Mary Poppins herself.  She was dressed in the frilly white ensemble she wore during the Jolly Holiday sequence, complete with parasol and British accent.  It only lasted for a couple of minutes, but I’ve remembered that through all these years.  It was delightful, charming and…magic.

Evie’s right.

 

**Mary Poppins, copyright 1964, Walt Disney Productions.  Chim-chim-cheree, SOPA.

Dear Paris:

This is Evie, and this is the plan:  I’m going to go to you.  My mommy says a lot of things about you, so I think you should meet me.  My mommy says you are fancy, a mystery and fun.  I am fancy, a mystery and fun, so we can be friends.

I am fancy.  I have a pink dress with a frilly bottom, a pink bead necklace, a pink hairband and a pink, sparkly wand.  If I had the pink shiny shoes we saw in the Circle Store that my mommy said I didn’t need but I do, I would be the fanciest.  Then you and I would be twins!  I love to be twins.  My friend Chyler and I are twins because we are the same tall and we go to Lunch Bunch together.  Chyler has pretty curly hair, but I have straight hair.  I will get my hair curly before I come to you and my shiny pink shoes and then I will be a fancy twin with you.  My mommy says my hair is just fine and I don’t need shiny pink shoes.  My mommy doesn’t know sometimes.

I know that you have good food.  I like good food.  Good food is chicken nuggets, carrot sticks, yogurt, strawberries and the Hershey Kiss.  So you have all of those things for me, and I will eat them when I go to you.  Mommy and Daddy say I have to try other food, but that food is not good, so why do I have to try it, Paris?  I only eat good food, which is also ice cream and ham and cheese sandwiches.  We will eat together!  Like twins!

You are a mystery.  Mommy says “mysterious” but that is not right.  It is “mystery” because that is what Scooby Doo is.  I love Scooby Doo.  I get to watch it when I stay in my bed all night by myself.  My favorite is the Cat Creature.  If you are a mystery, you have Scooby Doo, and I will only watch it when I go to you.  I will not have to watch the news.

Mommy taught me a word to say when I go to you.  The word is “mousie”, and that is how you say “thank you” when you go to Paris.  Fancy Nancy is my favorite book today, and Fancy Nancy says “mousie”.  We love Fancy Nancy.  Mommy says she’s gonna write a book called Evie Peavie and make a bunch of money so we can go shopping when we go to you.  I have a bunch of money.  I have five dollars and two quarters and one dollar.  Daddy says one dollar is a hundred pennies.  One day I will have a hundred pennies, and I will buy sunglasses like Mommy’s.

Mommy will go with me to you.  We will wear our sunglasses, drink coffee and look bored.  Mommy says this is the way to go to Paris.  I can’t wait to drink coffee.  It smells good.  Daddy will go, too.  Mommy says Daddy knows a lot of your words, and not just “mousie”, so he can help us get around.  Daddy can carry me for a long time, and Mommy can’t.  Daddy never says I am too heavy.  My daddy is very strong and sometimes he smells like coffee.

Get ready, Paris.  I am Evie, and I’m going to go to you.

Love,
Evie

P.S.  First I will go to Disney.