C’est fini, beotches

Well, here we are.  November 30.  Thirty days of posts from yours truly.  I did it.  I really did it.  Holy crap.

I was dubious from the get-go about my ability to stick it out.  During the month there were days when cleaning my toilets seemed preferable to posting.  On those days I thought about you guys and how I’d put myself out there on November 1st.  If I failed, I’d have an audience.  I didn’t want y’all to watch me fail. 

Also, there was KeAnne.  Beautiful, wonderful, talented, infuriatingly diligent KeAnne.  She was dutifully posting every day.  I thought if she could do it, I could damn well, too.

True, there were days when a post on the The Evie Standard consisted of one or two sentences.  Those were the bad days, folks.  You know what I mean.  Those were the days when I was so tired that pressing buttons on a remote was physically draining, and my brain was leaking out my ears.  If you can believe it, I was genuinely afraid I’d forget to post one day.  I imagined jolting awake at 11:59pm and falling all over myself to get downstairs to throw something, anything up on the blog.

I think I’ll probably do this challenge again some time in the future, especially now that I’ve got one under my belt.  Notice I said some time in the future.  I don’t know when, parentals and parentals-in-law.  Simmer down.  It was good exercise, and in the end, it gave me something to be proud of.

Thanks, everyone, for hanging in there.  See y’all in a few days.  My fingers, they are tired.




It’s a redneck Christmas!

BEHOLD!  The window at the top of the stairs…

Now, wait just a second.  Before you start feeling sorry for me, you should know that this is ironic.  I saw an opportunity to redneck up my house, and I took it.  I mean, what would you have done?  I ask you.  Plus, I knew my husband would have to live with it for 25 days, which made me a cackle and rub my hands together maniacally .

Thaaat’s right.  The lights are Hershey’s Kisses.  Red and green ones.  With hands and faces.  It’s my new favorite Christmas decoration!

The entire thing is held up by 1,287 pieces of Scotch tape because we’re renters. It’s what renters do. I give it a week up there. And when it finally does fall? I will put it back up!

The best part was after I finished taping the mother up, I told Evie to hit the lights so we could fully admire its glory.  The second the room went dark and the landing was illuminated with our string of softly glowing red and green anthropomorphic chocolate candies, Evie’s eyes grew wide and she gasped at the magnificent wonder before her. 

 “I love it!” she exclaimed.  “Thank you, sweetheart!”  Then she ran headlong into my legs and hugged them.

It’s the first time she’s called me sweetheart.

Everybody’s gettin’ a giftcard to Outback…

Today is Cyber Monday.  In years past, I would have gotten a good start on my holiday shopping today.  This year, not so much.  I haven’t even started looking.  I have a few ideas, but mostly I haven’t thought about it much.  This weekend, the busiest shopping weekend of the entire year, I’ve watched Elf three times with Eve, wondered a little about where to put the Christmas tree and decided to make cheese straws with the cookie-press-thingamajig I bought last year.

I love Christmas.  I really, really love every almost every single thing about it.  The songs, the smells, the anticipation, the cookies.  But I absolutely, unequivocably and without a doubt do not love the rushing, stressing and 25-day freakout over buying Christmas presents.  Don’t get me wrong — I enjoy giving presents, especially when I know the recipient will really like what I’m about to give them.  Too many times, however, I’ve bought a mediocre to terrible gift for someone I love simply to check their name off my list. 

Also, online shopping is one thing, but shopping the brick and mortars is quite another.  During the holidays people go, quite simply, batcrap crazy.  There’s this look in their eyes, you’ve seen it, especially as we get closer to D-day.  It’s a mixture of panic, exhaustion and steely resolve.  They grab for the last Hilshire Farms basket before you get it, jump in line at Customer Service for free gift-wrapping and mill around the food court like deranged lab rats.  Crazy.  I prefer to stay home and make sausage balls with Eve or move my nativity scene around 2,132 times.  Like Alice, I don’t want to go among mad people.

Frankly, I think there should be a cutoff for Christmas presents.  I propose 12 years old.  After that, you will receive gift cards and/or cash until you reach 21.  After that, the party’s over.  I figure if you can vote and buy alcohol, you’re too old to be opening a stack of presents.  It’s unseemly.  Maybe this would relieve some pressure for the poor souls wandering the mall and bring the focus back to where it should be at Christmas: watching all 12 renditions of A Christmas Carol, singing your child’s version of “Jingle Bells” and driving around looking at people’s Christmas lights.  And cookies.

If you like to buy Christmas presents, that’s great.  Some people do.  I’m not suggesting there’s anything inherently wrong with that.  I just think it’s gotten out of hand, and I’m guessing most folks would agree. Last year on Black Friday a Walmart employee was trampled to death.  Not to bring everybody down, but if most of us concede that it’s gotten out of hand, what are we still doing  out there every year?

Just wonderin’.

A life lesson

Lately Evie and I have taken to hanging out with her friend Charlie and his mom at the pool.  The water is too cold to swim in unless you happened to really, really want to take a dip, but the kids like playing around the water with various detritus they find while Oolie and I take in the sun and talk. 

Today, as Evie and Charlie were playing, Charlie decided to take a bathroom break in one of the pool’s restrooms.  He walked in and closed the door.  Evie walked over, opened the door and stood at the entrance.  Below is what I heard:

Charlie:  Eve.  I have to pee.

Eve: (doesn’t close the door)

Charlie:  Eve!  I’m peeing!

Eve:  (doesn’t close the door)

Charlie:  Close the door.

Eve: (doesn’t close the door)

Charlie:  Eve!  Close the door!  Close the door! I’m peeing! (slams door in Evie’s face)

Eve: (begins to cry hysterically)

Charlie:  (finishes peeing, comes out of the restroom)

Eve: (continues to cry loudly)

Charlie:  (curls up in a ball in a nearby chair, hands over his ears, face scrunched)

Eve: (continues to cry while staring at Charlie)

Charlie: (walks over to Eve, puts his arms around her and rubs her back)

Eve:  (accepts the embrace, stops crying, starts hiccupping and sucking her thumb)

I looked at the two of them and sighed.  Poor Charlie.  I thought about trying to explain things to him.  But, I figured that this wouldn’t be the last time in his life that  although he did nothing wrong, because she cried, it was still all his fault.

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.)

My two non-reading sisters may become nauseated after this post…

I am officially reading my first book via Kindle.  The book is Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, and it’s for my book club, which meets on Monday.  I tried to reserve the book through my local liberry, but there were no copies available.  I wanted to go to Barnes & Noble but never could plan a day that would take me there.  So, I was left with downloading the book onto my smartphone. 

I have mixed feelings about this.  I think there are definitely pros to reading digital copies of books.  First, and most important to my liberal-commie-bastard self, downloading books saves trees and reduces the use of other non-sustainable resources it takes to produce printed copies of books.  Second, downloaded books are more portable.  I can whip out my phone and read whenever and wherever I have a free minute.  Third, downloaded books take up no physical space, which makes room for more shoes.

There is one con: downloaded books are not books.

I’ve loved to read all my life.  I credit my mother, who devoured books when I was growing up.  She was always reading at least one thick paperback, and I was always surrounded by books.  The act of reading was like second nature.

But I’ve also always loved books.  The dry, pulpy smell, the comforting, familiar heft in your hands, the way they look lined up on a bookshelf.  A book, especially a really good book, becomes a companion as you make your way through its pages.  It literally opens up a world to you and contains that world while you’re away, waiting patiently for your return.  When you read the last word on its last page, you can close it, stare at the front cover for a few seconds and then hold it to your chest while the story settles over you like a blanket.  And if you ever want to read it again, there it will be on the bookshelf, its spine bent back from your first reading, the chocolate ice cream stains on the back flap from where you took it to the kitchen, the scattered, raised bumps on page 243 where you cried when the best friend died. 

You can’t get any of that from a Kindle.  A Kindle, like a cold, indifferent lab technician, provides the book to you without even making eye contact and walks back out of the room.  I plan on reading in bed tonight, and I know it’s not going to feel right to curl up with my smartphone. 

Publishing is slowly but surely going the way of the digital reader.  There are some publishers who are still holding out, but we all know that in fifty years books will have gone the way of the VCR.  Electronic publishing is easier, cheaper, and the people like it.  It’s inevitable. 

I’ll still keep and re-read my favorite books, though.  After all, I’ve never had to plug my copy of Jane Eyre into the wall to charge it.

Pull on up to the table, y’all…

Some of you have told me that my posts about Evie are your favorite.  Okay, just my Aunt Ginger told me that.  But I assume it’s true for most of you.  So, in the Thanksgiving spirit of overindulging, I’ve decided to treat you today to a buffet of Evie.  Please enjoy.

1.  Today I removed Evie’s existing carseat and installed her booster seat.  I figured since she kept flinging her legs over the sides of her old carseat thereby honoring approaching drivers with a daily flashing, she was getting too big for it.  Little kid carseats are strapped into the backseat of a car using a complicated rope and pulley system that would probably contain its occupant even in the case of Rapture.  I found out today that you simply toss a big kid booster seat into your backseat all willy-nilly and throw a seatbelt across it.  I decided to see it as a metaphor for my grip on Evie growing weaker and weaker.  Then I decided to play 3-D bowling on my smartphone.

2.  For lunch Evie had a slice of pizza and water to drink.  She took a sip of her drink and observed, “Mommy, water is not very exciting.”

3.  Charlie’s mom, Oolie, told me that upon seeing Charlie’s bed strewn with toys and clothes, Evie shook her head, rolled her eyes and declared, “Boys.”  She then proceeded to “fold” Charlie’s clothes and tidy up his room.  Much learned have you, young Jedi.

4.  Evie’s Aunt Boo and Uncle J gave her a pink tricycle a couple of years ago for Christmas.  At the beginning of the summer, Evie could barely make the pedals turn with her little feet.  Today I watched her zip around the courtyard in it, taking the little hills without a second thought.  It’s amazing what they learn to do when you’re not looking, isn’t it?

5.  Evie let herself out the locked front door and into the courtyard.  Once found by her almost hysterical mother, she was given a very stern talking to, probably her sternest yet, and told that if she did it again, she would get a spanking.  Please, Evie, don’t do it again.  Please. 

6.  Last Sunday, Evie said a bad word in church.  While being led to Sunday School, she said, “Sh–, I forgot something!”  Her Sunday School teacher couldn’t wait to tell me about it after the service.  In fact, she could barely get the story out without laughing.  Her daughter and my friend, Susan, was helping with Sunday School that day, and she had a great time making fun of me.  I love my church.

7.  While getting ready for her first choir performance, I tried really hard to convince Evie that putting her hair up in pigtails was a good idea.  I suggested that most of the other little girls would have their hair up.  Evie still refused, saying, “I just want to be different.” 

8.  Evie and I were riding along in the car in reflective silence.  Suddenly, she informed me that when she grew up, she would have big boobies. 

9.  Evie knows the lyrics to almost every song on Adele’s new album and is not afraid to belt them out.  She also enjoys Beyonce, Maroon 5, Lady Gaga and Kelly Clarkson.  So far she is not a Belieber.  But that’s not really music, is it?

10.  Dontcha just love Evie?


Aren’t Papillions dogs for cat people?

Evie wants a dog.  She’s campaigning pretty hard for this.  During dinner at church one Wednesday night, we noticed that there were some icebreaker questions scattered across the table.  One of the questions was “Would you rather have a dog or a cat?”  Evie looked me dead in the eyes and with great seriousness declared “Dog.  I wanna dog.”  It wasn’t even her turn to answer.

Any dog owner who happens to cross our path is not spared even a brief meeting with us.  Evie must pet their dog.  I’ve taught her to always ask the owner if it’s okay and to never jerk her hand back from the dog.  I’m trying to teach her about seeing-eye dogs and how we can never pet them because they’re working.  This is taking some time to sink in. 

Evie has enjoyed petting every manner of dog from mutt to French poodle.  We’ve met German Shepherds, Bichon Frise, French Bulldogs and Nacho, the unfortunate dog who much resembled a drowned rat.  From bounding puppies to dogs so old they can’t see anymore, we’ve petted them all.  Evie loves it.  Evie wants a dog.

I don’t want a dog.  I’m a cat person.

There have been very few times in my life when I haven’t lived with a cat.  Meredith College with their crazy selves wouldn’t allow pets in the dorms.  I considered breaking this rule not a few times.  I love cats.  I’m a cat person.

First of all, cats are low maintenance.  With a few exceptions, including my sister’s cats who are the feline equivalents of raging bulimics, there is very little care involved in owning a cat.  Feed and water them twice a day, scoop the litter box, maybe provide a little bed near a window.  Done.  Now, you can get all cat-lady-crazy and design your home and life entirely around your cat, but that’s a lifestyle choice.  We just sort of co-exist around here with our cat, Samantha, or Sam.  I come in contact with Sam only a few times a day.  When you’ve got eight naps to get in, you’re not going to have a lot of time for your human.  I understand.  The awesome thing about Sam is that not only is she low maintenance, she will remind me of the few things I need to do for her.  Repeatedly.  

As far as dog maintenance…well, it’s a little more complicated.  Okay, it’s like having a child.  One of my other sisters and her husband have two Scotties.  The walking, the bathing, the grooming, the “accidents”, walking, picking up poop, playing, bathing, “accidents”, toys, leashes, “KENZIE, stop it!”, grooming, “BERKELEY, come here!”, bathing, walking, more poop…I have to lie down after just thinking about it.  Folks, I love my sister’s dogs — they’re so awesome.  I also love that they’re her dogs.  I aspire to the least amount of physical exertion required of me.  I’m a cat person.

Secondly, I love the way cats interact with humans.  Despite what many may think, cats are not solitary animals.  They’re independent.  A dog is a pack animal.  To a dog, his owner is the alpha, and he puts the utmost faith and trust in that owner.  He loves him unconditionally.  He would lay down his life for him.  And, lord have mercy, do dogs love to express all of this to humans.  The slobbering and the jumping up on and the dirty paws and the smelly breath.  Yeesh.

A cat doesn’t do or need any of this.  A cat is perfectly content sleeping on the windowsill all day until she feels guilty for neglecting you.  So she might come downstairs, have a drink of water and a stretch while letting you pet her.  Then she’ll sit on your lap for a few minutes so that you may admire her.  A few headbutts and passes through your ankles later, and she’s back upstairs to sleep on a pile of your clean laundry. 

Also, unlike a dog, a cat doesn’t think everything you do is the most wonderful thing ever done in the history of doing things.  Cats love to perch in their favorite place and watch you with an expression of haughty amusement.  In fact, and I can’t confirm this, but I swear I’ve heard Sam snickering at me when I do something stupid.  I can’t help it, I think the fact that my pet considers herself right on my level and maybe even above it is awesome.  I’m a cat person.

Evie wants a dog.  I wonder how’d she feel about another cat instead.

They go really nicely with the dry patches on my forehead…

I used to kvetch with my friend KeAnne about the one or two hairs that grew out of our chins.  We called them our “burly hairs”.

I peered into the mirror the other morning to pluck one out, and realized that Mama and Papa Burly Hair had become proud parents many times over.  The family stuck out in wiry revolt all over the left side of my chin.

I sighed, put down my tweezers and picked up a razor.

It seems the older I get, the more fabulous I become.