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Darth Vader, Miss Piggy and the Holy Grail. Welcome to my world.

Oh lordy.  So tired.  So full from dinner.  Still have a list of things to do.  Help.

I will tell you this, though.  I’m sitting here watching Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and becoming irrationally yet increasingly annoyed with George Lucas.  While on a trip yesterday to see The Muppets, we saw that the Star Wars franchise is being re-released in 3-D.  Also, my husband told me that Lucas’s plan with Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, that ridiculous homage to a character who should now be writing his memoirs and advising post-grads and not running through quicksand with a tired-looking Karen Allen, was to have Shia LeBeouf take over that franchise and start anew.

Seriously, Lucas.  The eighties are over.  Hey, I miss them, too.  They were awesome.  You were awesome.  Go out on high note, dude.  Here’s an idea:  come up with new movie.  No.  No.  I mean an entirely new movie. 

By the way, The Muppets?  A very good movie.  Jason Segal really gets what the Muppets meant to my generation.  The world may be too cynical now for a comeback, though.  But, Miss Piggy, I want you know that my daughter, Evie, loves you as much as I did.  And thank you, Mr. Henson, for giving us something that is genuine, sincere and timeless.  Thanks for not messing with perfection.

(I’m looking at you, Lucas.)

Maybe the mother had seen Pretty Woman too many times

Yesterday Evie, Evie’s Auntie and I visited a store at the mall called Forever 21.  If you’re not familiar, Forever 21 is a store that features clothing aimed mainly at high school girls.  The prices are cheap, and the clothes are of the sort seen covering those misguided souls standing in line for the recent Twilight premiere.  Okay, okay.  So I’ve bought several pieces of jewelry there while under the influence of the pounding house music and sparkly flooring.  Also, you can buy, like, 10 t-shirts at Forever 21 for twenty bucks.  I had to do this, however, while navigating around sullen teenagers wearing oversized blouses with ripped necklines, suede jeggings, approximately 421 bracelets on each arm and half a stick of blackest black eyeliner on each eye.  It’s not really a place I visit often.

But there we were.  While we waited in line for Auntie to buy a t-shirt for fifty cents, I saw one of said teenagers come out of a dressing room.  She was a beautiful girl — tall, with long brown hair, heart-shaped face and long, tanned legs.  What she was wearing, however, shocked me.  It was a green, off the shoulder tube dress, cut low in the bust and high on the legs.  It hardly covered anything.  She had also slipped on a pair of platform shoes with three-inch heels and covered in rhinestones.  I couldn’t help staring at her.  She walked to the three-way mirror, tossed her hair and spun around to look at herself from the back.  As she faced forward again to take herself in, so did I.  She looked like a hooker.  A high-class hooker, but a hooker nonetheless.

And who was there with her?  Who smiled at her and said she looked “fantastic”?  Her mother.

I wanted to grab this woman by the shoulders and shake her.  How could she approve of this?  Why didn’t she throw her jacket over her daughter, swiftly usher her back into the dressing room and demand her daughter immediately remove everything she had on?  How could this mother not only let her daughter dress like a prostitute but also buy the dress and shoes for her?  What the friggedy-frack was she teaching her daughter?

When a sixteen-year-old girl puts on a dress like this girl had on, she does not fully understand the message she’s sending.  She thinks she does, but she does not.  In fact, a sixteen-year-old girl is only beginning to understand her body, her sexuality and how and how not to express it in ways that develop her self-respect, character and dignity.  And whose job is it to teach her these things?  Her mother’s.  To me, one of a mother’s biggest responsibilities is to guide her daughter through adolescence.  The things her mother teaches her during this time will affect how a daughter interacts with the opposite sex for the rest of her life.  Her mother can teach her that her body is special, the only thing she truly owns.  That the way she presents her body to others says a lot about how she feels about herself and how she’ll allow herself to be treated.  A mother can also tell her daughter that her brain, personality and spirit are infinitely more valuable than her boobs and butt, and that a guy must get to know one very well before he’ll be allowed to get to  know the other.

Or, a mother can buy her daughter a hooker dress.

Look, I know.  Your body will never look again like it did at sixteen.  Who wants to wear full-length denim skirts and turtlenecks with cat pictures on them?  Young girls want to feel young, and they want to wear fun, young clothes.  But are the choices available to young girls only prude or hooker?  Isn’t there some middle ground?  Isn’t it a mother’s responsibility to help her daughter find that middle ground? 

I also know that the media plays a big part in this.  Teenagers want to emulate celebrities, and celebrities aren’t exactly bastions of dignity and discretion.  Clothing designers are at fault, too.  Judging by what’s available at Forever 21, all young girls should look like hookers.  But they don’t.  I do see teenagers dressed appropriately in clothing I would approve for my own daughter were she sixteen.  Where are they shopping?  

There is another sad part of my Forever 21 tale.  The mother also had a teenaged son.  What was he learning as he watched his pseudo-stripper sister preen in front that mirror?

Crafty

Evie comes home from preschool almost every day with the cutest little things she’s made.  Last week, she made a Native American baby that slipped inside its own papoose stitched together with black yarn.  Evie called it a “caboose”.  She’s also made a turkey out of farfalle pasta and an itsy bitsy spider that slid up and down his water spout via a straw affixed to the paper.  I tape all of her creations to the wall at the top of the staircase, right above her alphabet stream of letters that runs down the stairwell.  Glued to each letter is an item that starts with that letter.

Evie takes great pride in the things she’s made.  Whether it’s a coloring page she’s attacked with a rainbow scribble of colors or a construction paper lantern in the shape of a spider, she thrusts each one at me, awaiting praise and admiration.  I know I’m supposed to show discretion, to make much over the ones that are really good and make suggestions for the lesser ones, but I have a hard time doing that.  I also have a hard time throwing away all the million pieces of paper filled with various shapes, mutated-looking “animals”, glue smudges and pieces of wrinkled tape.  I do, of course, because, you know, clutter.  But I wish I could save every one.  

The legitimate crafts she makes I do keep.  Each “caboose” and spider and each this and each that I save.  I imagine myself going through them after she’s all grown up, examining each one, touching all the places her little fingers touched.  Weeping like a banshee.  I’m also keeping them for Evie.  I want her to be able to see herself growing up through them, to match up her class picture with something she created or a piece of schoolwork she did that year.  I think that would be pretty neat.

I’d like to start assembling a sort of “craft closet” for Evie at home.  Jen at The Short Years described in one of her recent posts all the various crafty stuff she’s collected for her girls  and how much fun they have making their masterpieces with it.  I think Evie and would have fun with something like that.  Especially since Evie’s still at the age where she thinks anything I draw is nothing short of brilliant.  I drew a pineapple the other day that took her to another place.

So what should I start collecting for our craft closet?  Any suggestions?  What sort of stuff will give the me the most bang for my buck?  Also, what’s the best way to clean up dried glue stick in the carpet?  Marker off the couch?  Oh, and just so’s you know, we are a strictly anti-glitter household.  Been there, done that.  Still vacuuming it up.

 

 

Five fat turkeys are weee…

Please enjoy the following excerpt from First United Methodist of Clearwater’s Thanksgiving program:

 

Now, there is some back story here which you as the viewer should know.  Evie was among five other three-year-olds chosen to play turkeys.  At the end of each verse of the song, one of the turkeys sits down until the last turkey remains to sing a solo.  I found out from Evie last night that she was not singing the solo, which was, in her opinion, total BS.  She wanted me to speak to someone about this.  

You’ll see at the end of the video as the fifth turkey sings her solo, that Evie makes her displeasure, along with which panties she’s wearing, known to the entire audience.  I wish I would have zoomed in so you could see the way she cut her eyes at me as if to say, “See?  Total BS!”

What do I think?  Well, all the kids were so cute and practiced so hard.  Their little turkey headdresses were adorable!  I think it’s amazing how the teachers get, like, performances out of these little kids.

Oh, who am I kidding?  Evie was robbed!

 

Now’s the point in a road trip where we’d all stop to pee…

Okay, here we are, y’all.  The halfway mark.  Fifteen posts.  Holy frijoles.  Do you realize, dear readers, that because I customarily post only once a week that so far in November I’ve thrown up almost four months’ worth of posts?  Does this mean that I can take a half-year break after November 30th?  Kidding.  Sort of.

So, what have I learned so far?  Well, to be sure, I’ve learned how to post You Tube videos.  Also, Evie now knows what “Mommy has to do some writing” means.  This is a good thing.  Posting every day has really cranked up the ol’ writing gears.  I guess Uncle Stevie King was right.  What’s the best way to come up with writing ideas?  Write, baby.  Write. 

I have to clarify, though.  Ironically, blogging every day hasn’t greatly eased the process of coming up with ideas for the blog.  It has, however, starting things popping again on the fiction front.  Which is also a good thing. 

So, in celebration of my lack of anything substantial to blog about today, I thought I’d treat you guys to a list, which is, as you know, the last vestige of any blocked blogger.  Enjoy!

THINGS I WONDER ABOUT BUT WOULD ONLY TELL YOU GUYS

1.  Why do old people always drink coffee at fast food restaurants?  Does it really go down that well with a Big Mac?

2.  Why are there 30-minute spaces at Walgreens?  Who’s spending longer than half an hour at the drugstore?

3.  I bought a huge bottle of wine the other day for only six dollars.  How far away am I from purchasing wine in a box?

4.  I have created about twenty stations in my Pandora account.  The same songs keep playing on all the stations.  Especially Cat Stevens’ songs.  What does this say about me?

5.  Why does Cat Stevens’ music grind into my brain like a 16-inch drill, causing me to click the thumbs down button with the rocketship speed of a cheetah?  Why does Pandora keep playing “Peace Train” even though I’ve made it decidedly clear that I hate Cat Stevens?  Does Pandora hate me?  Why? 

6.  I may have a crush on Gordon Ramsay.  Have I finally crossed the line?

7.  Why is it that a dress that I happily and comfortably wore six months ago is now too small?  I haven’t washed or dried it.  I weigh exactly the same as I did when I first wore it.  Did the dress go on a diet?

8.  Can my cat teleport herself?  I swear she wasn’t in this room just five seconds ago. 

9.  During a recent Rachel Ray appearance, was Katie Holmes secretly begging me for help through the TV screen?  Since she’s probably down the street from me right now, what are my obligations?

10.  When Evie sticks a small plastic-jewel-craft thingy up my nostril, am I wrong for waiting for the next commercial break of Kitchen Nightmares to go the bathroom and dig it out? 

11.  Is anybody still reading?  Anyone?  Anyone?

By the way, thank you, thank you, thank you, to all of The Evie Standard’s readers.  Your support and encouragement mean the world to me.  You are all my beotches. 

 

Yes I can!

So, one of my favorite things in the world to do, even more than eating Butterfingers or trash talking, is to attempt a momentous task, do really well at first and then rationalize my way right on out of it.  Good gracious, how I love it so.  It’s a real self-esteem boost.

My blogging compadre, KeAnne, has presented me with an opportunity to do this yet again.  Yay!  Basically, what I have to do is blog every day for a month.  The challenge is called NaBloPoMo, and it’s sponsored by a site called BlogHer.

Here’s the link for more info.

It helps that there are prizes!  Another one of my favorite things is false hope, so the miniscule possibility of my blog being picked from over 1,000 other blogs to win a prize is very exciting for me.  It’s also helps that the nice folks at BlogHer provide daily writing prompts.  ‘Cause Lord knows.

I’m really gonna try, y’all.  No, I really am.  I am.  Okay, well, you’ll see.  We’ll start tomorrow with The Evie Standard’s 2nd annual Halloween picture post.  Neener.

One thing I need from you guys, though.  Please sign up to be notified when there’s a new post.  Trust me, I’ll be so exhausted from moving my fingers across a keyboard every day that I’ll have to lie down instead of sending my usual mass email.  Just click on “Subscribe to Feed” located in the upper left-hand corner.

By the by, KeAnne’s blog is Family Building with a Twist.  I give you this information for three reasons 1) KeAnne is one of my oldest and dearest, so I want to support her; 2) her blog is sweet and well-written; 3) if we both fail at this challenge, I want everyone to know she didn’t do it either.  I am awesome.  The thing is, KeAnne has always, always been much more industrious and ambitious than I, so the possibility of #3 actually occurring on her end is right on par with my chances of winning a prize.

Wish me luck…

It’s my potty, and I’ll overdramatize if I want to (except I won’t)

I have a secret to tell you and only you:  Al Gore invented the Internet for me.  It’s true.  Why? Well, he knows that I am an information junkie.  I know, I know.  Right now you’re rolling your eyes and thinking, “Whatever, dude.  You know you shop and obsessively Facebook like the rest of us.”  Whereupon I say to you that I certainly do shop but I don’t Facebook and I am deeply in love with Google.  Like, the “we’re practically married” kind of love.

It all started when I decided to lose some weight back in 2002.  A friend of mine (you know her as SchmeAnne) had gone on Atkins and her butt looked great, so I decided to try it.  But I didn’t know where to start.  So one day I Googled “low carb diet” and pressed enter.  I’ve never looked back.

Now I Google everything.  Everything.  Most of the time I get good information.  Sometimes I get bad information posing as good information.  Occasionally I run across a total nutjob who has a laptop, some programming background and a lot issues.  Eventually I pretty much learned how to tell the difference began having just the best time cruisin’ around in cyberspace, filling my head with random and useless information.

Then I got pregnant with Evie, and a whole new can of worms – she was opened.  I’ll let you in on another little secret:  There is no other being in this world capable of a more complete and total freakout than a pregnant woman.  Not only are her  hormone levels off the charts, but she has an alien being growing inside of her, her pants won’t button and she can’t seem to control her cheese consumption, her husband keeps leaving the room all deer-in-headlights when she walks in and her feet really, really hurt.  Plus, PLUS, once the baby finally bursts forth from her womb, she has to somehow keep it alive.

Aaand there’s the rub:  Keeping the baby alive.  So, what does she do in an effort to provide the best care for her eventual offspring?  Well, since said offspring in encased securely within her body and not running around outside, getting into her kitchen cabinets and trying to “pet” the cat, she has plenty of time on her hands.  Plenty of time to scour the Internet for ways her baby could meet certain and utter doom, both in- and ex-utero.  Amid all the gutwrenching YouTube videos of natural childbirth and WebMD diagnoses of brain damage, she will eventually find a message board and join in a communal freakout with other pregnant women, which is what I did.

I remember the women on my May 2008 Babies message board as being paranoid, overreactive, slightly bitchy and very, very naïve.  I fit right in!  During our pregnancies we talked about baby names, our doctors’ appointments and, depending on the day, what sweethearts/lugheads our significant others were being.  One by one, our due dates fell.  One by one, our waters broke and we delivered the wee, soft little strangers we had been ranting and raving about for the past ten (TEN!) months.  Now the freaking out could really begin.

One of the most popular topics to obsess about on my message board was sleeping.  All of our pediatricians insisted that we develop a nighttime routine right away so that we wouldn’t have trouble getting our bundles of joy to go down for the night later in life.  They instructed us to put our babies in their cribs when they were drowsy but still awake.  This would help them learn how to fall asleep on their own.  Our doctors warned that if we rocked, nursed or in any way soothed to them all the way to sleep every night, we would end up doing it until they went off to college.

And we all dutifully nodded our heads in their offices, collected our little ones and went straight home – to the Internet.

How we moaned, wailed and kvetched over our inability to get our babies to soothe themselves to sleep.  Post after post went up, detailing how one new mom couldn’t lay her baby down in his crib if he were the slightest bit awake.  Another fretful soul timidly confessed that she was rocking her barren all the way to sleep every night, and you could almost hear the collective gasp followed by the sound of a hundred tsk’s.  The group tizzy would finally peak, and then everyone would move on to another topic just in time for a longtime mother to come in and regale us with stories of how she still had to sit by her four-year-old’s bedside and soothe him to sleep because she never followed her pediatrician’s advice.  Then the pearl-clutching would begin all over again.

I moaned and wailed with the rest of my group.  At night I would put Evie in her crib still awake and sit back down in the rocker and stare at her.  Evie would stare back at me.  We would sit like that, staring, until one of us nodded off or Evie let me know she was “having none of it tonight, lady.  Seriously.” 

We went through this routine for about two weeks right after I went back to work.  I diligently put my little one down in her crib still awake every night.  Sometimes she went to sleep.  Sometimes she didn’t.  But then one night I let her fall asleep in my arms while I rocked her.  In her darkened bedroom I held my baby and listened to our house’s nighttime sounds: her daddy cleaning up the dinner dishes downstairs; the whir of the air conditioning kicking on and off; a creak here and a settling there; my sweet girl, her little body totally relaxed in my arms, softly breathing in and out.  Folks, it was the most precious part of my day. 

So I decided to stop worrying so much and just enjoy it.  Every night we would read a story and sing a song, then turn off the pink ladybug lamp and commence to rocking back and forth, back and forth until Evie’s eyes would start to flutter and then finally close.  Sometimes I held her after she fell asleep for over an hour, just rocking and loving my new life.

And you know what?  The world didn’t come crashing to a halt.  In fact, nowadays Evie wants the same two stories, ONE verse of “Danny Boy” and then she wants you to put her in bed, Mommy, because she is damned tired.  And, AND, the other day I was putting Evie down for her nap, thinking she might fuss a little because she had visitors she wanted to entertain downstairs.  But I sat her in her crib and said, “‘Night-night, Evie.”  She replied, “Night-Night, Mama,” laid down and went to sleep.  I saw it with my own two eyes, people.

I told you all of that to tell you this: I’m about 95% sure Evie’s ready to start the first stage of potty training, and I’m not gonna freak out about it at all. 

Oh, I’m gonna read about it.  My Google history will show searches for “how not to screw up your toddler psychologically via potty training,” and “potty seats vs. stand alone potties,” and “Everybody Poops + unused copy,” but you will not find “harrowing tales of frightened children hiding piles of poop in their closet,” or “help, my 12-year-old wets the bed!”.

This is what Evie has taught me:  “Chill the hell out already, Mommy.”  That’s good advice.  Because Evie is a smart little girl who will learn how to use the potty (with a little well-informed guidance from her parents) in her own way and at her own pace, just like everything else she’s accomplished so far.

And the fact that she likes to walk around the house with her Disney Princess toilet seat balanced on her head means nothing at all, and I WILL NOT Google it.

Farewell, Charles Manson

My little girl has given me so much since coming into my life.  I could go into a long, sappy monologue about hope and joy and love, but there are those who do that better and get paid for it, so I’ll leave it to them.  Suffice it to say that I didn’t think it possible to love someone completely at first sight only to keep loving them more and more every day.  It is.  

However, today I want to talk to you about what Evie has taken away from me.  My daughter, Evie Langston, has robbed me of  all things sick and twisted. 

Stay with me.

I read my first Stephen King novel at 12.  Pet Sematary.  I didn’t understand most of it, but the parts I did understand scared the bejesus out of me.  I began devouring books of ghost stories in 5th grade and had managed to surreptiously watch most of Poltergeist on HBO by the time I was seven. 

Some of my favorite movies are Jaws, The Omen and The Exorcist.  I think I’ve seen every Law & Order episode at least once (not including that horrid excuse for a spinoff starring BeBe Neuwirth and her forehead), and I used to live for specials about serial killers.

I don’t know why I enjoyed these things so much.  Certainly there was nothing culturally enriching to be found in a doofy documentary about the history of witchcraft or anything particulary intellectually stimulating about my favorite crime novels.  But that was the point, I think.  Everyone needs an outlet.  A hobby.  A way to escape.  Some folks play golf or crochet potholders.   I did Google searches for “Charles Manson + cult”. 

To each his own, I guess.

But then.

It might’ve been her little pink toes.  Perhaps it was the dimple high up on her left cheek.  Or the way she exclaimed with delight the other day when I turned the page of a book to reveal a picture of a pretty pink princess.  It could be all of those things and so many others.  The fact is that Evie came into to my life, and all of the murder and mayhem went out of it.

Most likely it has to do with how wonderfully awful it can be to love a child.  Everything changes.  The world becomes a Louis Armstrong song about trees of green and clouds of white, but it also becomes a cesspool of pedophiles, car accidents and toys dipped in lead paint. 

I just can’t seem to unwind with a good true crime novel anymore when all it does is make me think of what could happen to my little Poopy Doo.  And I find much more pleasure in watching reruns of The Andy Griffith Show than letting the evening news determine just how much crap it can scare out of me.  Like I said, everything changes.

The other day there was a huge article in the paper about some teens who were heavy into the occult and who had killed another kid as part of an elaborate ritual involving black magic and Satan worship.  Sick stuff.  Judge me if you must, but back in the day I would have been all over that article like white on rice.

I saw it on my boss’s desk and wanted to cry without even reading the first line.  My first thoughts went to the mothers of those teenagers and what they must be feeling.  I thought about the murdered boy’s mom and how, years ago, as she rocked her baby to sleep, she had no idea such a horrible thing would happen to him. 

Last night I tried to test myself.  I watched part of an episode of Law & Order: SVU, which used to be one of my favorite shows.  Scenes from the episode have bothered me all day, and I wish like hell I had just turned the channel.  I guess I failed the test.

There just isn’t room in my life for both Son of Sam and Little Miss Pink Toes.  And I am totally fine with that.  Those who have always found my peculiar tastes less than ladylike are totally fine with it, too, I’m sure.  Truth is, I like Reba and Food Network, and I fill my weirdness quotient now with random documentaries involving the Duggars.  My favorite movies are still my favorite movies, but, truthfully, I always loved The Exorcist for non-pea soup reasons, Jaws for Captain Quint’s speeches and The Omen for Gregory Peck’s earnest and unabashed cheesiness. 

And I gave up reading for sleep about eight months ago.

Stephen King will always be my first love, though.  And when Evie’s ready, I’ve got It all ready for her.

You gotta raise your daughter up right, after all.

Dear Santa:

My name is Evie, and this is my first Christmas.  I like it so far.  Everybody has lights and everything smells really good.  Mama made these things called chocolate chip cookies yesterday, but she said littles couldn’t have chocolate chip cookies.  Only bigs.  I did get some bites of fudge, though, from Mama’s finger, and it was really good!  Do you eat fudge?

Mama said Daddy couldn’t have any chocolate chip cookies either, but he kept sneakin’ them.  I saw him.  He had so many!  Do you know my Daddy?  He is so funny!

I’m writing you a letter because I want to make sure you know I’m here.   Like I said, I’m a little, and I’m worried I might be hard to see from high up in your sleigh.  Don’t miss my house, Santa!  Daddy put lights in the tree out front so you could see us.  He said some bad words when he did it.  They are still pretty lights, though.

Mama said you have reindeers that make your sleigh go.  She said they are like the big animals that almost ran really fast in front of our car last week.  They made Mama say bad words, too.  Do your reindeer make you say bad words?  Mama said your reindeer are smaller, like the size of  my Jojo’s doggie, Gabe, but they don’t bark, and they wear bells on them.  Gabe is really nice to me and licks my feet.  He barks loud, but he doesn’t mean to.  Do you know Gabe?

I liked when we saw you at the mall last weekend.  Your beard was funny, and you a had a big tummy like my tummy.  Do you like the mall?  My mama and Auntie think it’s the best place in the world!

Mama said I’m supposed to tell you what I want for Christmas, but I told you when I sat on your lap.  I really do want blue sky for birdies and clean water for fishies and green grass for moo-cows.  I like birdies and fishies and moo-cows the best.  Also, I would like to not wear socks anymore.  And world peace.  And to eat some more fudge.

Tell your elves and Mrs. Claus that Evie said “Hello, elves and Mrs. Claus!”, and I promise to leave chocolate chip cookies for you and a carrot for your reindeers.

Love, Evie Langston

P.S.  I’m sorry if Daddy eats your cookies.