Bless Our Hearts

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Remembering

Thinking, for all sorts of reasons, of old hippie days tonight.
It was such a time.
Perhaps it's because a couple I knew then who were sort of Mom and Dad to so many of us young Tallahassee freaks are celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary today.
Good Lord.
I remember when I met them and found out that they'd been married for seven years. Seven years! And they had two beautiful daughters and became a very important part of my life.

Or maybe it's because I'm listening to a book by TC Boyle and in it he described a guy who kept a bottle of vodka in his freezer and it flashed me back to when I was with my first husband before we were married and we lived in a predominantly black neighborhood (which is now High Dollar White People World) and rented a little Jim Walters home from a lady named Willie May. Her son, Ben, lived across the road and he was the first person I ever met who kept a bottle of vodka in the freezer.
He told me that when he got home from work, he loved to smell whatever it was I was cooking that night. Black-eyed peas, greens, corn bread...
I was a southern hippie girl.

We lived two doors down from a juke joint called Muzzes'. Muzz, real name Mabel, made the best fried chicken sandwich you'd ever want to eat. She was grace and kindness incarnate.

We had a bulldog named Beck, we hunted mushrooms in the acres and acres and miles of cow pasture behind us. We tripped a lot.

This was all before I had children, but not long before.

It was a time, y'all.

It was a different time and I swear to you, I never gave the least thought to living to the age of 62 in the 21st century and I certainly never thought there would be a president worse than Richard Nixon.

Well. My friends are still married and he's still a musician. My ex-husband is still a musician too.
I don't have a bulldog.
I don't keep my vodka in the freezer.
I don't hunt mushrooms.

But I still cook greens and beans and cornbread and the cornbread is cooked in the same skillet I had then.

I still live in a very mixed neighborhood but goddam it, there's no juke joint in Lloyd at all.

I'm still a hippie in my heart, true to the blood.

And that's what I'm thinking about this Saturday night as greens simmer on my stove.
What a long, strange trip it's been.

Love...Ms. Moon



Staying Home Today

Owen has a basketball game this morning but I decided not to go. Mr. Moon went, of course, and he will represent for me. And also and much more importantly, help with Gibson and Maggie while Owen plays. Jason is at work so it's just Lily and I feel a tiny bit guilty but it's been a very, very busy week and Old Mer is feeling old and needs a little time at home.

And to be quite honest- time alone.

I plan on getting outside and working in the garden a bit, weeding, tidying, perhaps adding more leaf mulch if I can force my lazy ass to do some raking. The oak leaves are truly and finally falling as the new leaves are appearing, forcing the old ones off the limbs and to the ground.
The garden looks so beautiful right now. That mushroom compost we spread last year was absolutely the right thing to do. I've never grown collards so pretty.


Can you see the little row of peas coming along to the far right?

The mulberries are not just leafing out but also fruiting.


And the fig leaves are beginning to come out.


(For Rebecca.)

The Buckeye is leafing and the bloom is there, just waiting to turn red and yellow.


And the Ashe magnolia is unfurling it's lovely leaves.


It's gray today as you can see, but cool and that will make for a good day of outside work. 

The chickens are already busy with their work which is scratching and inspecting for bugs and tender shoots.


Not to mention bird seed, kicked and flicked off the feeder by the cardinals and red-winged blackbirds. 

So. Yes. A day to spend at home enjoying what is here and all around me. 

Happy Saturday. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Difference In Brothers


Three days short of two years ago I wrote about Owen's Fairy Tale Ball when he was in pre-K and how terrible and awful and embarrassing and mortifying and frightening it was for him. You can read it about here, if you want. And if you don't want to go back and read all of those words, here's a picture.


It truly was a most traumatic experience and I seriously doubt he's gotten over it yet.

But today was Gibson's chance to be a prince at the same school and here's what he looked like as he entered the room with his princess on his arm.


He was like George Clooney on the red carpet. I swear. He was waving, he was holding that pretty little girl's arm, he was ready to DANCE! And dance he did, twirling his lady, taking the job seriously but having fun doing it. 
After the slow dance, they all lined up in rows and sang and did the motions for another song that was way funkier and Gibson was so into it. When I say that he was the most into it boy there, you can believe me. He raised his arms in the air and made a beak and did the monkey and made it funky and he wiggled his Gibson butt and he grinned like he'd never done anything quite as fun in his life. 
And after THAT, when it was time for the children to dance with one of their parents, this happened.


Oh my god. He was the happiest, proudest kid in the room, dancing with his mama. 
Lily's little bear cub. My Gibson. Our Gibson. 

This whole Fairy Tale Ball thing is sort of whiffy of non-political correctness and quite possibly guilty of a whole bunch of gender-role and cultural sins but goddam it, it's fucking cute as hell. And there are no rules about what the kids have to wear. They are told to wear whatever they feel best in. And it would seem that most of the little girls feel best in long, fancy princess dresses and tiaras or maybe that's their mothers' influences but all-in-all, it's just pretty sweet. 
And seeing all of the parents who have somehow gotten off of work whether in offices or on construction sites to come and watch and then dance with their babies is enough to make your heart melt. Add in the grandparents and the younger siblings and just try to get out of there without feeling better about life. 

As always, it's all about love. Love for our babies and as Gibson was dancing with his mama and I was holding Maggie, Mr. Moon leaned over and gave me a kiss. 

A Fairy Tale Ball. 

There's still room for some of that in our world. Or at least, that's what I think.

Love...Ms. Moon


Thursday, February 23, 2017

Some Of The Oldest Kinds Of Magic


How often in life do we get to have an experience which is absolutely what we had envisioned, what we had hoped for?
Very rarely, I think. But tonight, well...we went to the circus and it was everything I would want in a circus.

Like I said this morning, the Zerbini Family Circus is a small operation. Everyone involved does everything, it seemed to me. The man who walked the boys around on the camel, so slowly, so patiently,


appeared in the Big Top just moments later wearing a spangly jacket. He was the ring master and animal trainer. I guess he could be called an animal trainer. He put the horses and camels through their paces. Those and the dogs were all the animals represented. And I loved the dogs. They were just a group of little mutts who did silly little tricks and got big applause because who doesn't love little mutts doing silly little tricks for an exotic woman with knee-high boots and eye lashes out to here?


There were beautiful ladies in sparse and sparkly costumes doing things high up in the air!


And babies trying to imitate them from the safety of their mama's laps. 



There were clowns who were not scary at all but who made us laugh so hard. I swear, the children absolutely were enthralled. Not just my grandchildren but ALL of the children. There were no screens, no TV's, no nothing but thrills and skills and grace and color and music.



There were jugglers and acrobats, there were roustabouts who ran from one set-up to another, who handled the ropes that the acrobats performed from, dangling from the top of the tent. These men fascinated and amazed me as much or more than the performers and sometimes, they were working the ropes one minute and performing the next. There was a magic lady who could change her costume in a tenth of a second, hidden from view in a silken cover. She looked a lot like the dog handler. There was the smell of popcorn and of horse and camel poop. There was cotton candy and there were cheap toys and the lady clown involved Gibson in her act and he glowed with the joy of it. 
It was hokey and wonderful and beautiful. 


It was a little bit of genuine, exotic magic, right here in Lloyd, Florida with the pine trees in the background. And when the clown turned into the man on the death-defying wheel, I had to hold Owen's hand because I thought my heart could not take it. 


I don't think there will be any circuses around in a very short time. They are disappearing as we speak and, well, I don't know, but there was just something that felt so human and real about it all which is exactly what I had wanted to feel and it was there. Right there in the costumes and the muscular bodies and the gasps and the roaring of laughter and the clapping of hands and the smiles on the faces of the babies and the children and the mamas and the daddies and the old grandmas too.


Think about it- think about the hundreds of years that little troupes of performers have traveled around, setting up tents and taking money for the pleasure and enjoyment of the people who stayed in one place, who so rarely got to see anything exotic or thrilling or magical or colorful. For whom church was probably the only real entertainment except for the village storyteller, the local musicians who played now and then at festivals or fairs. 
How people must have craved this entertainment! 
I think we probably still do although we don't realize it, our senses dulled by videos and movies with surround sound and every special effect they can cram into them, all of it sort of a faux excitement which you can be reminded of by the toys that come in Happy Meals at MacDonald's. 

But tonight, we went to the circus. And Owen and Gibson will never forget that bumpy lap around the little field so high up in the air on the back of a camel. They will never forget the lady who wrapped herself in the velvet chiffons hanging from the top of the tent and then, let herself unroll in them so fast she was a blur until her feet touched the ground safely again. They will probably never forget the tiny dog who climbed the tall, tall ladder as quick as a minute and then who leapt into space to land in the arms of the pretty lady. 

At least, I hope they never forget. 

I won't. 

Love...Ms. Moon

All Right. Now I Really Want To Take The Kids

On my walk this morning I saw this.


It was in front of the old truck stop. So of course I had to go check it out.
It's a tiny, tiny operation. Here's the Big Top.


And as I was taking pictures, I saw some horses and thought to get a picture of them when I suddenly saw...


Oh my beating heart!

Well. I think we might just have to go to the circus tonight. 

Who says nothing ever happens in Lloyd? We have camels today! 


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

And The Sunset Sure Is Pretty

Ay-yi. What a day.
I went to the dentist. I have bone loss (I guess) around a tooth and there's an infection in there and luckily it's a back molar and he says I can try to save the tooth (bone transplant was mentioned) or get it pulled and get an implant or just get it pulled now and leave that space blank or do some antibiotics and limp along with it and see how long we can keep it healthy enough to stay in my mouth.
I chose Option Four but if it continues to bother me, I'll just get it yanked.
Whatever.
Yet another glory of getting older and in the whole scheme of things, this ain't much.

So after the dentist I went by Publix to get my amoxicillin and because I was going to have to wait on my prescription, I decided to go to the Waffle House right down the road because I hadn't eaten before I went to the dentist and sometimes you just need some goddam hashbrowns and raisin toast. You know?
So two ladies that I know were in there, finishing up their breakfast and I ended up sitting with them and talking for about forty-five minutes and it was really sweet and fun and one of them bought my breakfast when I wasn't looking and I just felt like a queen.
But as I pulled back into the Publix parking lot, Lily, who had been at work right there at that Publix, called me and Owen was having a seizure at school.
Shit, shit, shit, shit.
It's been six weeks and a few days since his last one and that's a week longer than he's gone between them before and of course we were all just holding our breath. But Lily was on her way to the school as was Jason who'd been at home with Maggie, and I headed on over to their house to wait for them to bring our boy home although what I thought I was going to do is beyond me.
Be there.
Just be there.
This one didn't seem to last as long and by the time Lily got to the school, Owen was already present enough to ask if Gabe could still come over this weekend and when he got home, he seemed tip-top and if anything, hyper, unlike the last one he had where after it was over, he needed deep sleep for a little while.
I tried to get him to settle down and listen to some Harry Potter but he just couldn't concentrate. He talked about the seizure a little bit and absolutely understood he'd had one but he didn't remember it. Both times he's seized at school have happened when he was in the lunchroom and we're wondering if that's a trigger- the lighting, the noise, the smell?
Who knows?

After things settled down I came on home and decided to defrost my little dorm refrigerator that I keep my grains and beans in and I used the hair dryer and I chipped away and I worked on that sucker for an hour and was almost done when I punctured a freon line and so that's the end of the dorm refrigerator.
I should have just taken a damn nap and let it go.
But no. I was trying to be productive. 
Ah-lah, let it be. Who cares? It was just a little old used dorm fridge and I don't even remember where it came from. The old barn, I think.

So that's the way it's been today and now I'm going to cook some supper and at least I got clean sheets on the bed and I do have a nice looking loaf of bread rising.

Oh! Here's a beautiful thing.


The trillium has come up without me even noticing and there you go- what else am I missing?
I'm certainly not missing the mosquitoes that are pestering me right now. I can't even imagine what they're going to be like by summer. 

And so it's been a day of it-sure-could-have-been-worse but it hasn't been great. 

And such is life so very often and on the whole, I am grateful for the part where it could have been worse and yet was not.

Love...Ms. Moon




Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Yin/Yang

In some ways, today was a great day and I have the pictures to prove it.
Grandkids make days great. They just do. They offer love on the purest, simplest level, and besides that, they're funny as hell.
I went and stayed with August for a little while this morning so that Jessie could go to the doctor and she told me that when they were still in bed this morning she told him that Mer was coming to see him today and that he crawled right out of the bed and ran to the living room to see if I was there yet.
That little goofball loves his Mer and I know it's only because I love him so much and yes, even babies know that sort of love and appreciate it and bask in it.
Lily brought Maggie over too, while Jessie was gone and the babies tried to play and they listened to some books and Maggie loves her Mer too for the same reason August does.
She knows already and with all of her heart that she's got me wrapped up around that teensie little finger of hers.
Then Jessie got home and we went and sated our deep need for the food at Persis Indian Grill. How we love that joint! And at the end of the meal, the handsome server brought each of the children a lolly pop.
Now, August being an only and first child has never had a lolly pop.
Up until today, that is.



He cautiously checked it out and he decided that he liked it.

 

A lot. 

Jessie and August went on home and Lily and I went to Costco for some things she needed and then Lily picked up Gibson from his cousin Lenore's and I came home. 

I'm having a huge amount of anxiety. Like- well, I'm swimming/drowning in it. Even with the medication. Part of it is that I have a little problem (I hope it's little) that I need to go see the dentist about and I'm hoping beyond measure that it's not another damn abscess because the last time I had one it cost about a million dollars and it took months and months to complete the process of treatment and I really just don't think I can go through that again. 
And of course, if I have to I will and of course, no matter what it is, I'll deal with it, and I'm just such a goddam baby and what in hell happened to me in a medical office to make me this absolutely insane about anyone wearing a white coat? 
I have no idea. 

But. This happened tonight, too.


Owen's choral performance and it was darling and although he did not sing one word, he did have a small speaking part which he performed quite well. 
And then, when we were leaving, 


all of his own accord, he took the hand of his cousin, the darling Lenore, and walked her out to the parking lot. 

This may be one of my favorite pictures ever in this world. 
My good, good boy. My Owen. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, February 20, 2017

And Where Do You Suppose Wisdom Resides?

I've had a day of peculiarly strange emotions. I've run the gamut of sadness and of anxiety and especially anxiety, to be truthful. When I took my walk, instead of gaining a measure of peace from being in the woods or from the simple motion of purposeful movement or of sky or of trees, I felt a keen apprehension and the garbage which has been dumped and scattered along part of my path affected me more profoundly than usual, my tattered self making of it a metaphor for everything going on these days.
My nest, as it were, felt especially soiled by those who do not care, who do not value the things I value. Every day that I pass this trash I am reminded once again that there are people I share the planet with who are absolutely thoughtless on a level which I simply cannot understand.

Mr. Moon had gotten up very early to go to Apalachicola and get the paperwork approved for tree removal and to hopefully get water hooked up to the property. He did both of those things and got home just in time to take a shower while I fixed him some egg sandwiches which he took with him to the FSU basketball game he is going to this evening with a friend.

The friend, who came here to meet him so that they could drive to town together, announced as he came in that he had seen something this morning he's never seen before which was two owls mating. He got up just as it was becoming light and as he made his coffee, he heard the pant-hoot call of the female and saw her in a tree and then heard the male's response from another tree and then, suddenly, the male swooped in and landed directly on her and in five seconds, the act was completed and the male flew away.

Although I have often heard the calling of the males and females to each other, I have certainly never seen them mating and I am thinking of that, dispassionately, thinking of all of the things going on around me which I do not see whether because it is hidden in the darkness of night or because I simply do not notice. All of the teeming life of both flora and fauna, and all of it with its own rules and customs and directions and impulses and desires and triggers and meanings and outcomes and repercussions. All of this happening every moment of every day and every night as I blindly go my human way, noting with such human pride the tiny opening leaves and buds of the spirea, the green, swelling tips of the native azalea, the ash magnolia, the multitude of robins and redwing blackbirds, the sprouting of peas, the sacred dance of the bumblebee in the azalea blossoms, not even having the least idea of the micro miracles and pragmatic goings-on of which I have, if anything, only the vaguest idea of.

Well, I suppose that if I was so mindful of everything that I missed nothing (which is an impossibility anyway), I would get as little accomplished as a woman spending endless hours on her knees, her fingers on her rosary, eyes closed in order to feel closer to a god who whom she no doubt believes has given her those very eyes to see the exact things I regret not noticing.

The older I get the more I absolutely believe and understand that I don't know shit.

Which in a way is liberating as hell but does not (I am sad to say) dispel anxiety or sadness or worry or fear and this is the way it is for me today, a woman of sixty-two years who lives under the oak trees beside the swamp where mysteries abound, both sacred and profane and I freely admit I have no answers.
No answers at all.

Love...Ms. Moon






Constitutional Question

What the hell is it going to take to get this president out of office?

Sweden? Really?

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Reaching So Far Down Into The Bucket Of Memories

When the bug man came a few months ago to inspect for damage in this old house, he did find two pieces of furniture out in my office which had some sort of wood-boring pests in them and he said we either need to get them treated (which involves taking them to a facility where they do this) or burning them.

One of the pieces of furniture is my grandmother's desk which, at one time, was a beautiful thing. But the wood veneer has started to peel off of it and it's sort of a wound in my soul because my mother was so mad at me for "letting it go." And I suppose I could get it all fixed up and treated and maybe I will but the other piece is just a large bookcase which I'm sure isn't worth the expense.

But I've put off clearing those two pieces of furniture because both of them were where I stashed things like pictures and cards and letters. Also, several of the versions of my novel, printed out and boxed, along with the correspondence from the literary agent who took my novel on and promised to sell it. Oh! The interest she reported from different publishing houses was so very, very exciting.
Until...well, nothing happened.
And I'm sure I've said this before but I never really allowed myself to believe that the book would be published as a way to protect my heart and so, it wasn't really that big of a deal but of course it was, in a way.

So today was weird and sort of hard. I went through so many things that my children have given me over the years. The first childish scrawls on Mother's Day, the pictures of flowers as big as the humans, stickfigured in crayon on construction paper. The many, many letters May has sent me over the years. I was actually amazed at how many letters she sent me while she was in college in Sarasota and when she traveled the country in her truck and when she lived in Phoenix and in Connecticut and I didn't even stop to start reading them because I never, ever would have come up for air.
Letters from camp. I think Hank was the only kid of mine who liked camp. The rest of them sort of hated it. May flat-out said she hated it. And all of them complained of the heat.
The books my kids made me with pictures and illustrations.
The poems they wrote me. The sweet cards and letters my husband has sent me over the years. So much, so much and it's all like a time machine and then the pictures, too, the photos of my babies when they were babies and when they were toddlers and I can barely stand to look at them because so much time has passed while I blinked an eye, did a load of laundry, took a breath, a nap, a shower.

And my journals! Jesus Christ! I never really thought of myself as someone who keeps a journal and yet, I truly have. Or used to, at least. Journals bitching about young motherhood and on the next page, how heavenly sweet it could be and how tired I always was and the entries I wrote from Cozumel- so many from Cozumel- and I even found the pictures from our first trip there, thirty years ago.

What to keep? What to toss? What to do? Do I ever want to go back and read those journals? I doubt it. Do I want my kids to read them? After I'm dead they can if they want to. I'll be dead. I won't care. But do they really need to know all that shit? The ratio of profound to deadly boring daily stuff is not balanced so that they would really learn anything from reading them.
But I kept most of them. Put them up on a high shelf in the library where they will sit and probably rot, eventually.

I threw away so much stuff. Cardboard boxes of different versions of that long manuscript. Photos that were blurry or stupid or of subjects that no one on this earth cares about. Four turtles on a log? Throw it away. I threw away stuff that was mouse-tattered and stuff that had been rendered unreadable by mildew and moisture. I threw away stuff that I'm sure people could have used and now I'm wondering why but it's too late, I did it, it's all at the trash depot.

And my office is rather a mess but I got to a point where I just couldn't do any more. I need to organize the stuff I've kept, or at least make a stab at that.

Here are some pictures. Some of pictures.


Me nursing baby Jessie. I was thirty-four. I felt so old.


Jessie and Lily.

Us at a wedding. I don't remember when it was but I remember I bought that dress at JC Penny's.


My silver baby rattle which was in Granny's desk. I think that my brother Russell repaired it for me when he was working as a jeweler and warned me that it wasn't really strong enough for a baby to gnaw on and play with. But it's as familiar to me as my thumb.


The incredible hotness that is my husband, carving a Thanksgiving turkey.


Stuff. With mouse poop. 

So that's been most of my day after Lon and Lis left this morning and may I mention that we stayed up until 1:30 in the morning? Dear god, I am tired, but it's okay. It was lovely, spending the morning with them, eating heated-up quiche and toast, looking at house plans and the garden. 

Mr. Moon spent most of the day spreading wood chip mulch and now I'm going to make us a gourmet supper of tuna casserole and salad. We still have enough salad greens to make a fine salad and as the season comes to a close and everything begins to bolt, we appreciate each and every one. 

Lily just posted this on Facebook. 


There. That's the sort of picture I need. Not my past with all of its ghosts and memories, but my now. 

Love...Ms. Moon



Yes. She Does Sing Like An Angel


I went out.
It was really, really hard.
But I did it.
And it was really, really worth it.