Sunday, January 26, 2020

Well, Another Sunday

It was so beautiful this morning and after we'd had our breakfast and I'd gone over to the neighbors' to help pull a tiny line that had fed lidocaine into a shoulder after surgery, Mr. Moon and I tried to decide what we should do today. I really do think he's had a sort of flu, perhaps a lighter version due to the flu shot he got, but he's still not feeling great. He was in his chair with Maurice snugged all up in his lap, head down in her paws, staying warm and he had been dozing, on and off. I felt lazy too and could easily have sat on the couch and watched TV and crocheted but it really was so blue-skied out, clear and cool. So we decided to drive down to the St. Mark's wildlife refuge which is a state park of over 70,000 acres of protected land with miles of trails, and ponds and tidal pools and alligators and other critters and many, many birds.
We got ourselves ready and drove there, down the back road that leads to the Wacissa, and to the coast. By the time we got to the refuge, the sky had grown clouded over and the colors all seemed to be gray, green, and brown.
Sunday colors somehow.
We parked and got out near the lighthouse which looks like this.

Can you see the actual lighthouse at the top right? 

We walked down the pathway there, a slender peninsula of land bordered by water and trees. I took that top picture when we were walking back, the palm trees (there are so many) reflected in the little lake. Or pond. I don't know. Despite the wet, chilly weather and the gloom, there were many people out taking pictures and just strolling about. A young family with a dog, elderly people with walkers, youthful olderly people with backpacks and wearing gear that would be appropriate for the Appalachian Trail. 
And us. 
There were plenty of water birds. Herons and egrets, ducks galore. These seagulls and penguins were hanging out on old dock skeleton. 

I'd love to say it was all thrilling and amazing but honestly, it was just Florida on a winter day. We did appreciate it though. I suppose it was just too...Sunday. 

And then we drove home because I had sourdough rising and needed to punch it down and let it take its second rise and it was all okay. We enjoyed being together, doing something, chatting about this and that. 

We got home and I punched down my bread and gave it a quick kneading, set it to rise and picked greens for our salad tonight. I checked Facebook and found out about Kobe Bryant's death which is tragic enough but his beautiful daughter died too as well as a few other people. 
Life is so incredibly tenuous, isn't it? 
Lily got a tattoo after a friend of hers died years ago that says, "We don't always have tomorrow," and that's about as true a thing as I can imagine. We all know this but we don't live like we know it. I suppose that only the true saints and enlightened among us really remember this fact daily. Know it in their souls. 
I think the last time I'd been to St. Marks was when we went to sprinkle my friend Lynn's ashes. Or, in my case, fling them to the wind. This may not be true but that day is one of the things I was thinking about when we were there today.
"Fly free!" I had said when I threw those unrecognizable flecks and fragments of one of my oldest friends. And I meant that with all my heart. She'd struggled and suffered for so long from the rare neurological illness which slowly and methodically take everything away from her that makes us living beings, saving release for way too long like a cat cruelly toying with a lizard unto death. 
My dancing friend could finally dance free again. 

And as we walked today down that same pathway where her ashes ended up on land and in the brackish water, I thought of all of that and how I could not feel one part of her spirit there. 
Her spirit is in my heart and in the hearts of others who loved her. 
And so it is. 

It's raining now, a gentle drizzle. It's time to go heat the oven for the bread and make the rest of the supper. 

I hope all of you have survived this Sunday with your hearts intact. Rain and tears can help wash us into healing and comfort. I do believe that. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Chopping And Stirring And Washing And Baking. My Almost Perfect Day

Last night's pizza party and sleep-over was excellent! Maggie helped me in the kitchen and we ended up making four separate not-tiny pizzas. In the picture above, as you can see, she is eating black olives which I had placed on each of her fingers.
"This is the mommy, this is the daddy, this is the sister, this is the brother, and this is the baby," she said and then she proceeded to chomp them all up.
She was surprisingly good at helping to roll and stretch the pizza dough. We are not experts but we got the job done. First we pounded the dough with our fists and then we rolled and then we stretched.

She was really good at helping put the toppings on too, from cheese to pineapple. I was seriously impressed.
I wish I had taken pictures of those pretty pizzas but I didn't. Everyone was hungry and I had to get them in the oven. When they came out, Owen cut them all up for me and he did a great job with that.

And then we ate. Everyone was quite pleased with their own personal choices.

Next up- bath time! Owen showered by himself in Boppy's shower because he's like a man now but Gibson and Maggie wanted to take their bath in my tub which is quite large and deep. Gibson wanted me to be the beauty parlor lady which is something I've been doing since my own kids were little. I adopt a (terrible) English accent and pretend to be not myself and I swear that the children sort of forget that I'm actually someone they know. They'll tell the beauty-parlor lady things that they would never tell Mer. Or, Mom, going back in history.
Last night Gibson told me, as I scrubbed his head and told him in my different voice that he had such "lovely, thick hair" that he is in love with a little girl named Aida but that he's not sure that she loves him too. But he's making her paper hearts.
As the beauty-parlor lady I counseled him to be very sweet to her and yes, give her the hearts, and see what happened.
Maggie didn't care at all about the beauty parlor lady and she didn't want her hair washed but she did play with the ducks and had a good time getting clean.

Then pajamas and purple cows and figuring out sleeping arrangements. Gibson and Maggie shared the bed and Owen slept on the floor on the fold-out mattress. Once we got the pillows and blankets and covers all figured out we read about six books although Owen fell asleep before we were finished and Gibson was nodding at the end of Banjo Granny, the last book. Kisses, tucking in, etc., etc.
Maggie kept telling me she was sleepy but I had my doubts. I told her that I'd be taking a shower which would require me to walk through their room. She said, "When I see you, I'll probably say, 'What do you think you're doing?'"
And then she asked if she watch me take a shower and I told her that I like my privacy when I shower and she understood. It did take a little while to settle her down but it wasn't a huge production and soon she too was fast asleep.
So I got an actual nine hours of sleep before all three of them appeared in my doorway this morning like three little bears and I said, "Come get in this bed and cuddle me!" and they did for a minute and then went to find Boppy who'd already gotten up.
I got up and realized how much easier it was to be cheerful about making breakfast when I was fully rested.
We had our traditional sweet potato and banana pancakes with bacon.

Maggie wanted to sit in "Levon's" high chair and so she did. I thought her new black dress looked lovely on her but the boys said she looked like she was going to a funeral. "No," I told them. "She is elegant!" She likes it.

Soon enough Mama came to get them and I got the house back in order and the kitchen cleaned up and got a call from my across-the-street neighbor. Her husband had rotator cuff surgery on Thursday and yesterday SHE tripped and fell and broke her elbow! 
Are you kidding me? 
So I promised her some food and Jessie texted me that now she feels like she is getting sick and so I made a huge pot of venison and vegetable soup and two loaves of very pretty bread. 
I would love to bring all of Jessie's family here to tend to but I guess I don't need the flu. Somehow I feel as if I've had everything and am immune to it all but I know that's probably not true. Mr. Moon dropped off her soup and bread on his way to a basketball game and I took the neighbors' supper over. 
So between all of the soup making and bread baking and laundry-doing and whatever else it was I was doing today, I never did take a nap but didn't feel as if I really needed one. 

And honestly, this is the sort of day that soothes my soul although knowing that Jessie's whole family is sick is not soul-soothing at all. But I had fun with three of my grands and I got to brush and braid Owen's hair which is so much like his mama's hair although hers was never as long as his is. I got to have good chats with Gibson and sweet times with Maggie and I never had to put on my stern voice to get her to stay in bed. 
It's going to get cold again tonight and I have heat and food to eat and people to love and care for. 

I listened to some of the orange intestinal blockage's lawyer's testimony and it was fucking pathetic. Basically all they have is bullshit lies about procedural issues. Honestly- even if no more witnesses or documents are allowed in the trial (what a travesty of justice), Americans are watching this and we can't all be idiots. 
Of course that's what I thought before the election too, and see how that's turned out. 

Well, we shall see, right? November will truly tell the tale. 

I think I'll go heat up some pizza. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, January 24, 2020

Spend The Night Time Is Here

The gang is all here, the pizza dough is rising.
Owen wants bacon and pepperoni, Gibson wants cheese and Maggie wants olives. Boppy likes ham and black olives and pineapple.
Mer likes whatever is left but I did get some spinach to put on one.
I have stocked up on lime sherbet, grape juice and ginger ale for the traditional spend-the-night dessert we call a Purple Cow. It's sort of like Methodist Punch but we don't serve it in a punch bowl although WE COULD!

We haven't quite figured out the sleeping arrangements. Maggie, not unlike her mother when she was a small child, doesn't like to go to sleep until well into the night and the last time she stayed here she ended up sleeping with Owen and Gibson in their bed which led to Owen saying the next morning, "I didn't sleep LIKE a baby, I slept ON a baby."
I know she really wants to sleep with me but there is no bed in the world big enough for Magnolia, Boppy, and Mer. She's made out of velcro when it comes to sleeping and I'm just too old to be clung to throughout an entire night. Yes, it sounds delightful but trust me- it's not so much.
Perhaps one of the boys will sleep on the fold out bed that August sleeps on and Maggie can sleep on the big bed with one of her brothers.

I did take a nap today and I feel certain I'll be taking one tomorrow too.

It's almost dark and the birds are tweeting themselves to sleep. This morning a giant Pileated Woodpecker was looking for his breakfast in one of the Bradford pears outside the porch. He was glorious but I could not get a picture without disturbing him into flight. The camellias seem undaunted by our recent weather.

Another beautiful Dr. Tinsley. 

Miss Curly Pie wants to have a conversation with me so I suppose I better go. 

I wish all of us sweet dreams and peaceful sleep. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Anti-Gratitude Post (i.e. Bitch, Bitch, Bitch)

That was Maurice last night being finger-fed whipped cream from Mr. Moon's dessert. She loves sweet dairy products like flavored yogurt but she won't touch milk or plain yogurt or cottage cheese. She'll eat any brand or flavor of dry cat food I buy but turns up her nose at organic roast chicken or venison, raw or cooked. However, she loves deli turkey. 
Wherever it is that she first got her start in life must have been somewhat humble. Jack's pretty much the same way although he doesn't even like sweet dairy products. Mostly he just wants cat food. Whatever's on sale is fine with him. 

I've been in a bad mood all day long despite that fact that some overalls I ordered got here today and they fit me and I sort of love them. When I'm in a bad mood I figure I might as well do some cleaning so that's what I did today. I scrubbed the kitchen bathroom and rearranged stuff on top of the kitchen hutch and on what should be the place where I roll out pastry but in all actuality has become the place where everything from vases to liquor to plastic mermaids get stashed. 

(And this is the tidied-up version.)
This put me in despair. 
Why do I have all this shit? 
Not the liquor. 
I have spent half my life buying things at thrift stores that not only do I never use but which do not begin to strike any damn joy in my heart. I am getting rid of a few things and wish I could just take a hammer to the rest of it. The cabinets over that place where everything gets stashed are all arranged rather precariously and sometimes when I open a door to it something gets out of balance, causing platters to push forward and things to get knocked over where they land on the marble and instead of weeping I just laugh with delight. 

I do have some bowls that I love but I love bowls. And I love some of my vases too and I use my vases and when I say "vases" I include in that all the different things I put flowers in ranging from pitchers to silver coffee servers to little bottles to real vases. But dear GOD, the vast majority of the stuff doesn't get used from one end of the year to the next. I used to have big dinners here but lately Lily's taken over that role and so my gravy boat, my platters, my serving bowls with lids, my relish trays- there is no need for them in my life. 
We won't even discuss the punchbowl. 
What? Do I look like a lady who serves punch? 

Anyway, whatever. Just one more thing to be pissed off about and I can only blame myself. 
But like I said, I got rid of a few things (or at least they've made it to the car to be taken...somewhere) and I rearranged some stuff and I beat myself up and swept and I mopped and I washed rugs. 
Who cares? 
No one cares. 
No one. 
Here's some good news- after looking at that picture I have decided to get rid of the old Faux Fiesta Ware platters. I went through a phase of liking that stuff but I'm long over it. When they had to stop making the great colors of the originals because of the high lead content, it just wasn't the same. 

We're supposed to start getting rain tonight with chances of it continuing throughout tomorrow. That's fine with me. My hips are telling me that it's going to rain. 
Pain. Rain pain. A fairly reliable weather forecaster which only the injured and elderly have access to. Or olderly, as I say. And trust me- by the time we're olderly or elderly, we are all the injured. 

Vergil and Mr. Moon are both feeling better although honestly, I can tell that Glen's not feeling great. He went to work but he probably shouldn't have. But now August is sick. 
Good god. 

Let's see. What else can I bitch about? 
I'd say the impeachment trial but that goes without saying. 
Adam Shiff, however, is awesome. 

Here's a picture Lily just sent me of Magnolia and her grandfather at a basketball game of Owen's. 

Nothing to complain about there. 

And Maggie and her brothers are coming over tomorrow to spend the night. I asked if they wanted pizza and the response was yes but the kind I make. 
And you know I will. 

I better get my bitchy achy ass off this chair and go make some supper for that handsome guy in the picture above. He'll be home soon. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

I Love That Big Boy

This morning I felt almost merry as I bustled about getting ready to go to town. I had convinced Mr. Moon to stay home today and I made him a nice bowl of oatmeal and I let the chickens out and fed them their scratch. I got dressed and got in the car and took off. When I got to Jessie's I helped get the boys in their shoes and jackets and buckled into their car seats and off we went to see Melissa. Levon seemed neither excited nor worried about getting his hair cut. He's a fairly pragmatic little guy for the most part, not unlike his brother and his dad. When we got to Melissa's shop August said, "I know this place. I can see how it looks inside, too."
"I bet you can!" I told him. And we tromped in to be greeted by the beautiful and lovely Melissa. She trimmed Jessie's hair first and then they discussed what Jessie wanted Levon's hair to look like. Melissa, who is so wise in the ways of children, asked which part was the most important because if a little one starts crying in her chair she says, "That's that!" and sends them off because she refuses to traumatize the child. Jessie said that the bangs were probably most important and Levon sat on Jessie's lap and accepted the cape being put around him. It was the same cape that Owen used to wear when Melissa cut his hair.

Both boys were given lolly pops and the hair cut became a group effort. I just sat and watched and took pictures. The little guy didn't seem a bit worried about the process. He let Melissa do her thing and if there were an award for a stylist getting a child's hair cut in a short amount of time, she would win it. 
Snip, snip. Reassurances. Praise from all of us. Lolly pop rinsed off in the shampoo sink. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Here's what Levon looked like when it was at the mullet stage. 

We considered leaving it like that. 
"I do love a mullet!" said Melissa. She's from Alabama. We discussed Joe Dirt. She continued to snip and then she did a little buzzing which made the boy laugh and then, TA-DA! It was done. 

He's still our Levon but he's a much more mature Levon. Don't you think? 
Again, he was neither impressed nor worried, just accepting his new hairstyle and still enjoying his lolly pop. The brush on his neck with powder did make him giggle. 

Once again, Melissa worked her magic and we love her. 

Off we went to Midtown Pies to see May, meet Lily and Maggie, and have lunch. 
We had delicious salads and pizza and Maggie played with the salt and pepper and cheese shakers again and May changed the channel on the TV to something for kids at August's request. 
He was in heaven. 
It got very busy just as we were finishing our lunches and we waved our good-byes and kisses to May. And then the children posed for me at my request. 

"Cheese, cheese, cheese!" they are chanting.
My beautiful babies. 

When we were eating I was looking at Maggie and I told her mama, "You know, sometimes she reminds me of Madonna." So many of her expressions are very strike-a-posable. That girl's going to be something. That girl is already something. 
She hugged August and he hugged her back when we split up in the parking lot. And when we got to Jessie's and she dropped me off at my car before taking the boys to a playground to try and wear them out for a nap, I kissed them and told them I loved them. 
"Love you!" said Levon. 
"I love you, big boy, "I said. 
"I love you, big boy!" he said back to me. 
Who would have thought that being called big boy would ever be something that could please me so much? 
Who would ever have thought that watching my fifth grandchild get his first real haircut could move me so much? 
Yes. I did tear up today and Jessie laughed and told the story about how I cried once when she was little and was just getting so good at roller blading. 
"You're growing up too fast!" she claimed I said as I was crying. 
I'm sure she's got the story right. I'm also sure that children do grow up too fast in the eyes of their parents and grandparents. 
That's life. 
It was a good day. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Bungling On

The Great North Florida Ice Storm of 2020

I have been terrible lately at answering comments. I have a lot on my mind but that's really no excuse. I'll try to do better. 
It did freeze last night as you can see in the picture above. That's from where I left the garden sprinkler dripping. Not very impressive, is it? Truthfully, it's rare to see ice in the wild here in North Florida. The odds of seeing a bear are probably greater. 
I saw No Man Lord this morning, hoofing it down the sidewalk towards the convenience store so he made it through the night. I threw up a hand as I passed him on my way to the dump. He waved back. 

I spent half the day in town today. I decided that I HAD to have some cotton wool to crochet some potholders with. 
I know- truly a necessity. I've been using potholders that my mother-in-law crocheted since at least before 1991 because that's the year she died and they're starting to get holes in them and holes will NOT do in potholders especially if you're dealing with balls-of-Satan levels of heated cast iron. And yes, I know you can buy perfectly good potholders but why give up a chance to sit on my butt and watch TV? I am terrible at crocheting. I can't control tension. Same for knitting. I just don't have the knack. But I suppose I may be able to manage a potholder or two. 
I also wanted to get picture frames for Mr. Moon's grandparent's photos. So I went to Michael's where I got both the cotton and the frames. Then I went to Old Navy because it's right there and I wanted some socks. They didn't have any socks that I liked but I did get a dress on the sale rack that's soft and cozy and will be a good winter house-dress with leggings. Last week in my closet I found two pairs of leggings that I'd bought last winter and never opened so I'm good there. They, too, are soft and warm. I also got Magnolia a dress for about six dollars. It's black and sophisticated with a cowl neck and it's as soft as my dress. All she needs is a pearl necklace and she could dine at Tiffany's. 

I did grocery shopping and was incredibly proud of myself for getting everything on my list and a few things not on the list that I needed but had forgotten to write down. The proudest moment of my day, however, came when I remembered to put "cough syrup" on the list. Mr. Moon had asked me to buy some last night when we got in bed and although I said I would, I had very real doubts that I'd remember. But I did. Call Ripley's. 
He's under the weather and that's all there is to it. Vergil, too, is now sick with something that sounds horrible. He had severe stomach issues and then a horrible headache and couldn't do anything but sleep. Poor man. 
2020 isn't turning out to be the best year so far. It just isn't. The freaking Republican party has overtaken the US government and used the Constitution as toilet paper to wipe their entitled asses on. Where do we go from here? Who sues them? I don't think the founders envisioned this sort of mass treason. I feel completely hopeless. 
There's nothing more I can say about that. 
I'm in such despair that I've made the most god-awful comfort food dinner you can imagine. The ingredients are as follows: 
Ground beef (or my case, ground venison)
Lipton's Onion Soup Mix
Tomato sauce

I believe you can discern what this 1970's era casserole will taste like. I'll try to balance it out with a salad from the garden but that's sort of like getting the double blue cheese burger with fries and a Diet Coke. 
I'm not even fooling myself. 
Oh well. 

Hank posted a thing on FB today that is very interesting and also, fun. If you text to the number 57251 and write in the text the words "Send me" followed by a simple keyword or color, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art will send you an artwork to represent that. 
It works. 
I just sent in the word, "Florida" and got this back. 

"Bill Maris, 'Paul Rudoph, Milam Residence, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, 1962, 1962"

Pretty cool, huh? 

Go have some fun with it. 

Levon is getting a haircut tomorrow at 10:15. I'll be there, good Lord willin' and the creek don't rise. There will be pictures of my littlest man growing up in the space of a few minutes. 

Mr. Moon just asked what we're having for supper and I showed him the casserole in its lovely Le Creuset baking dish with the cheese all melted on it and said, "I made it just for you. I know it's your favorite." 
He looked at it and perked right up. 
"That just might really BE my favorite," he said. 
I know my man. 

Maurice is not impressed. 

It's so warm in my house. I am still thrilled about that. 

Take care. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, January 20, 2020

It Was The Best Dream

I woke up this morning and did not even want to get out of bed where it was warm and safe and where Jack was firmly positioned next to my hip. Although I knew that it was a possibility that the heating crew would be here today I didn't put any stock in that idea. I thought that tomorrow would probably be more likely, even Wednesday.
But. I got a text from my husband saying that they would indeed be here between 9:00 and 9:30 which was plenty of reason to get up and get to it and so I did.
And the men showed up before 9:30 and I offered to make them coffee or bake them a cake or, well, anything.
Turns out the only thing they needed was for me to show them the vents where nothing came through and where the breaker panel is and so forth which I gladly did.
I sewed all day and the dress is done but for the hem but it looks so godawful on me I may end up wadding it up and throwing it in the trash.
It's not the dress's fault. I'll leave it at that.

Anyway, as I sewed men crawled underneath my house and rehung some ductwork that yes, critters have torn up, and took things apart and put things together and put the old unit on the truck (buh-bye,  you POS!) and put the new one in its place higher off the ground and hooked up stuff and did whatever sort of thing it is that these magicians do and the owner of the company came by and we chatted for awhile. He's a very sweet man and we've known him forever and he's been going through things that would probably kill me but he seems to be doing it with grace and fortitude.
I do not know how.
And finally a new thermostat was installed and the men cleaned up all their tools and stuff and drove away and it's warm in my house.

I am so grateful. So, so very grateful.

And that's why I didn't make it to the Junior Museum but a lot of the rest of the family did and Rachel sent some pictures. Here are two of my favorites.

I'm sorry I missed that but it is what it is. 

Of course the boys were out of school today because it's Martin Luther King Day and there have been so many tributes to him on Facebook, or at least my little corner of it, and I'm glad of that. But they also make me sad because I don't think Dr. King would be so very happy with what's happening now in this country. Perhaps if he had lived we would be in a better place but the fact is, his dream is still just a dream for so many people. 
Still, I refuse to believe that his life was for naught. The dream he dared to dream infused so many with hope and with determination, gave courage to those who believed in that dream. And there has been change, of course there has but it's been so slow and we are so far from a full realization of true equality for all. 
Let's face it- little children are still judged for the color of their skin, not to mention their parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins. And their older brothers with far too frequently mortal results. 

Okay, okay. I know that you know. I know we all know. But I'll never forget the day Dr. King was assassinated. And then, less than two months later Robert Kennedy was shot and killed. I believe that those two events along with the assassination of President Kennedy truly influenced the way I came to see this country. Not as a place where freedom rings but as a place where shots ring out to silence the voices of those who dare speak out against hate and intolerance. 

Meanwhile, here I am, a very white woman living in a very racially mixed community in a house that might well have been built by the ancestors of some of my neighbors and I am fortunate in all regards, especially as to creature comfort, to the security of having a solid and warm house to shelter me as I sleep. 
I wonder how No Man Lord is doing tonight in his RV with the blue tarp for a roof. 
Probably not so well. 

Stay warm,  y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon