Bless Our Hearts

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Bit Of Quiet Heaven

Because I Can

So we watched the first episode of "Stranger Things" last night and I am pretty sure I can't do that. It made my stomach hurt. Seeing children in danger does that to me.
Hank- what's that show I was supposed to watch years ago? The one you kept telling me about with what's-his-name in it? From Deadwood? You know what I'm talking about. "Unforgiven?" "Unbidden"? "Un-something?" Lis told me to watch it too.
Ah. The aging brain.

So. Good morning. Had another walk. Trying to get out a little earlier and it's helping. Had some delicious yogurt with sliced almonds for breakfast. Made my poor husband eat vegetables with curry spices last night. I think he may actually have liked them. He said he did but he was starving so who knows? The chicken was okay. It would have been a lot better with skin on it.

Guess what I think I'm going to do today? Something I've been threatening to do all summer, which is to take my book and my chair down to the river and spend a little time there, all alone, just me and my book and the river and I'll read and then dip and then read and then dip and then...
You get the picture.
So the book I'm reading.
Oh my goodness. I want to eat it up in one sitting and I about halfway have.

As you can see there, same author who wrote the Olive Kitteridge stories. 
I had to force myself to put it down last night, close it up, turn off the light, close my eyes. 
Deceptively easy to read. A glass-shined ballroom floor upon which your eyes glide so quickly but you know that it might very well end up, this dance, in a fall. So many dances with mothers end that way, I have found. And this is definitely a mother-daughter dance. 

Well. We shall see.

And here I go to finish a few chores around here (isn't "chore" a delightfully old-fashioned word?) and then off to the river where I hope to find a bit of shade in which to sit in-between holy immersions in the Wacissa. Some of us find that one Baptism is not nearly enough and must repeat the ritual frequently for full effect.

Speaking for myself, at least. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

But Bread Is The Staff Of Life! And It Tastes So Good With Cheese On It!

Ugh. When I'm hot, everything is so damn annoying. Right now my glasses keep slipping down my nose and you'd think that my nose itself was threatening to fall off, the amount of pissed-offedness this is causing me. I need new glasses because these are scratched and it's been over two years I think since I got an eye exam but my doctor anxiety is to such a degree now that the idea of going to a doctor, even an optometrist, not even a real doctor, makes me shudder and shut down.
Did you know that optometrists can see into your brain?
I think that's true.
God. That is so terrifying.

Ah well. It's been a good day and lunch at Japanica was terrific, as it always is. I am wanting to start eating all healthy-and-shit again and I think about that- that period of time in my life when I actually did that- and I can't even remember what I ate.
I know what I didn't eat:
Processed food. This includes chips and crackers and nearly all breads and anything that comes in a box almost, and even veggie burgers and so forth and almost everything that makes life worth living.
Pork. Mostly. I still had a pork chop about once a month.
Cheese. Life without cheese is so fucking sad.
White rice, white flour, white sugar. Or any sugar for that matter unless it came wrapped up in the original fruit in which it formed.
No chicken skin, no bottled dressings or mayonnaise or sour cream or any of those delicious foods.

Again- is this life?

As I recall, once I got used to it, it was all fine and it was glorious, not worrying about how much I was eating because honestly, I had no desire to overeat things like quinoa and lentils or whatever the fuck it was I was eating.
Oh Lord. But something must be done.
I've let things slip to an intolerable degree and am paying the price and hate the way I look with a burning passion. Let's not even talk about what this extra weight is doing to my knees and joints and poor little old feet.
Age is insult enough, must I add to it?
So. Food. Real food. (Oh, you've heard this before, have you?) Food that is close to the dirt. I need to get out the cookbook that Rebecca sent me with it's heavenly sounding bean and vegetable recipes and not just read it, but make lists and buy ingredients and cook these dishes because I know they are delicious. I can tell just by reading them. And good for me, too. And for my husband.
I've gotten so sloppy with it all. We still eat good food. But I've had sort of a live-until-you-die attitude about it all lately, grabbing a Cuban sandwich at the Publix deli far too often when before I would not even have considered such a thing with all of that processed meat and the cheese and the white bread.
The soft, white Cuban bread. The Swiss cheese. The ham, the pork...
Oh shut up. Shut up.
Do you know I think I saw exactly ONE Cuban sandwich on a menu in Cuba?
I am not surprised.

When I went to the store with Jessie after we had our lunch today I didn't know what the hell to buy. For one thing, I was so entranced and distracted by this little guy that I could hardly keep my lips off his face.

I mean- who wants to look at fruit when you can look at that?
He loves to do his stand-up trick wherein he puts his feet in his mama's hands and rises up big and strong like a man. 

Hurray, indeed! 

But anyway, tonight I am cooking a recipe with chicken that Lily has fallen in love with. A slow-cooker Adobo thing although I bought my chicken without skin and so it looks nothing like this recipe. 

Nothing at all. Still, it should be good. And I'm going to make some rice and a green bean and other vegetable dish. From Rebecca's cookbook. I shall ease into this. 

We live in a culture where there is so much food that we don't know what to do with it all and so we break it down and add all sorts of crap to it and fry it and pour sugar and/or delicious chemicals on it and if we don't eat that shit we feel deprived. 
Or at least I do. 
Not that I buy Doritos or anything but I will admit that I did for sure and for real buy a bag of Lays Kettle-Cooked potato chips a while back and over the course of a week or so I ate every one of them. 
40% fat less than regular potato chips! the label promised. 
Which is still 60% too much fat and I know it. 
I am not a fool. 
I just play one in real life. 

My glasses are driving me insane. Have my ears gotten lower on my head? 
Oh wait. I just figured this out. Even my head has gotten fat, thus my glasses are stretched out. 

There you go.

Off to cook some vegetables now. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Simple Stuff

Watched the last episode of season four of OITNB and I gotta tell you- that's some damn fine TV. It just is. The story-line got a little out of control this season as far as I'm concerned, but truths were told, even so.

I've had my walk and now I have to go to town to get some errands done. My mood has improved and I'm sure that part of that is the good night's sleep I got. Sleep truly does knit up the raveled sleeve of care and can you imagine if Shakespeare was writing screen plays or TV scripts?
Holy Crap!

So. Speaking of good writing- what do you recommend we watch now? Something with good writing? And acting, of course. That goes without saying.

I have to go to town today but Jessie and I are meeting up at Japanica! because we are both craving it hard. I feel as if we are cheating on Lily and her boys but a craving is a craving and so it goes.

Drink your water, y'all. Eat your vegetables and fruits. Get good sleep. Get off your butt and move around. Take note of that which is beautiful when you can.

That's all I have for you today.
Well, that and a picture of Otis.

Isn't he a pretty thing?
I still mourn the loss of his hens. I wonder if he does.
We will never know.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, August 22, 2016

Another Day

We went down to the river when Mr. Moon got home from work and jumped into the cold clear water. Whatever is going on in body or mind, a swift mermaid dive into that will chill you and calm you for at least a little while.

I've got okra and tomatoes cooking. For those of you who have only ever had stewed okra and fought the slime and hated it, try cooking it with tomatoes and onions. The acid of the tomatoes eats the slime so you don't have to.
Trust me.

I also made a gourmet tuna casserole with these vegetables:

Red pepper
Snow peas
Tiny green peas

I think that is all the vegetables.

Last night we watched an episode of Orange is the New Black wherein a major character got killed.
All day the theme song of that show, which is the most insidious of songs, has ricocheted from one of my ears to another, worming its way into my brain over and over again.

I am a bit crazy right now. I admit it.

But I washed our sheets today so there is that. I saw the Sheik on my walk this morning.
"Where you been?" he asked. "I thought you got lost."
"Oh honey. I get lost and then I get found. You know."
"I do," he said and we did a side-hug.
"Let's just keep on going," I said.
"Let's do that," he answered.
And we both walked on our separate ways.

Yours truly...Ms. Moon

Life And Love, Per Usual

When my friends Spencer and Marilyn were here visiting many months ago, I handed over my copy of Keith Richard's autobiography, Life, on CD's for them to listen to as they traveled which they do constantly because Spencer is a musician who plays everywhere from here to there and all the way across the ocean and back again.
When they took it, Spencer asked if I wanted them to return it or to pass it on and for some reason, I said to go ahead and pass it on, which I instantly regretted because my children gave that audio book to me and because for years it has been a part of my silly hallway altar where my beloved Virgin of Guadalupe from Mexico lives along with pictures of my children and grandchildren and seashells and beach glass gathered in Cozumel and candles and my silver baby cup and so forth and so on.
I even looked online to buy another copy for myself but it would appear that maybe they're not making it anymore, probably because everyone listens to everything on their devices and by devices, I do not mean CD players.
Or something.
Anyway, today when I went to the post office on the last leg of my walk, I got a package slip in my box and so got in line (and there was an actual line which is most unusual) and the post master handed over a box sent by Marilyn and when I got home and opened it, I found my audio book, held together with rubber bands now because Keith has traveled far which is only appropriate.

I had a little cry, quite literally, and placed my spirit totem animal back on the alter in the hallway between a large conch shell and the beach glass and there he is and I am glad. 

Right now I feel as if I need all of the spirit totems I can gather and frankly, most of my familiars have lost their luster for me but I somehow, Keith Richards never does.

Here. I've posted this before. More than once. But sometimes, it's the only thing that can go directly to my heart and pierce and heal it at the same time. 

Such a beautiful song, written by Gram Parsons, a Winter Haven boy whom Keith Richards met and fell in love with a long time ago.

Substitute the word "life" for the word "love" in the song and it means even more although love is life and will get you through times when life is just too damn hard and hurts too damn much.

Well, that's what I think.

Thank you, Marilyn, for sending old Keith back to me, scarred and used and held together by rubber bands as all of us are by the time its over if we've done any living at all.
Any loving at all.

I don't know much but I know that for sure. Hurt and heal. Keep on.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, August 21, 2016

It's Sunday. What The Hell Do You Expect?

I had to stop by Lily's on my way to Jessie's because I missed those other three grandchildren too. Maggie was asleep when I got there so I got to talk to the boys about school. Gibson crawled up and snuggled me as he does and I asked him how school was going.
"Bad," he said, his voice somber.
Lily says that the teacher reports that he is doing very well and seems to enjoy learning and is well-behaved and gets along with everyone.
"If you can believe it," she added.
I'm not sure why Gibson is refusing to admit any affection for school but he is.
He seems to be handling it well though. This badness.

Owen seems to like first grade. He does arts and crafts, he said. Also? He thinks his teacher must believe that they are in kindergarten because they are doing letters and numbers again and he already knows them. Plus? There's a kid in his class who is EIGHT YEARS OLD!
"Does he shave and drive a motorcycle?" I asked. I was remembering a guy from my 9th grade class who did that. Shaved and drove a motorcycle.
"No," Owen said. I told him about the guy in Jr. High I was remembering.
"I had a crush on that guy," I told Lily.
"I bet," she said.
Owen reported that he likes a girl in his class. Her name is Kimberly and she has long hair and freckles and she rides the bus with him! He is riding the bus this year to the end of the road they live on and his mama picks him up there. It's about a two minute bus ride but I think he likes it. Especially since this little minx Kimberly rides the bus too.
I asked Gibson if there were any cute girls in his class.
"No," he said.
"Any cute boys?" We are a completely equal-opportunity family around here.
"No," he said.
I should have told him that there was at least one cute boy in his class and that his name was Gibson but I did not.

Just as I was about to leave, Ms. Magnolia June woke up and so I delayed my departure in order to visit with her for a few moments. She woke up from her nap in the best mood, all smiles and happiness and waves of joy coming off of her like rays of sunshine and rose perfume and amber waves of grain and the waves of country-girl beauty queens riding on the back of vintage red convertibles in the 4th of July parade down Main Street.
She is so happy, that one.
I held her kissed her and snuggled her and squished her with my love and the boys loved on her and her mama loved on her and she smiles so big and so freely and so completely that I think that her smile is going to overtake her entire being one of these days and she'll disappear into it completely and we'll have to make her mad to get her back.

After I finally peeled myself away from those three, I went to Jessie and Vergil's house where August was seemingly fine with seeing me but he didn't lose his mind about it or anything. He is starting to do that thing that Hank did when he was but a baby where he points to things and asks what they are. Hank always pointed and said, "Dat?" and I would tell him the name and this would go on all day and all night until he finally fell asleep, his little finger still pointing at something he wanted to know the word for. August says it more like, "Dis?" but it's the same-same.
He gave me his goofy grin and let me hold him and we played on the couch for awhile and then Jessie went outside to help her husband with the garden project and I took him into his room to read him books. He loves his books, especially the ones with the pages he can turn himself to reveal new pictures. I knew he was sleepy because Jessie had told me that he'd missed his naps entirely and so we rocked and we read and we talked and I sang to him and then we read some more. When we got to the First Book Of Animals, I could feel him getting heavy on my bosom and before we'd gotten through the jungle animals, he was asleep.
I felt as if I'd won a Nobel Peace Prize.

It is astoundingly precious to me that this little guy lets me hold him and play with him and read to him. He doesn't know me the way Owen and Gibson did. He's been such a mama's boy and there's nothing in this world I love more than seeing their love for each other, the way they both beam with such pure joy-light when they smile at each other. And he adores his daddy, of course, but he doesn't really know me that well and so today felt very, very special.
Jessie came in and she put him into his crib and covered him up and turned on the baby-monitor system she uses which involves an old iPhone and her phone and we tiptoed out of the room and went outside. 
I pretended to help with some yard digging for about five minutes and that was enough for me. I came on home and finished up the laundry and unloaded the dishwasher and thought about things. 
I'm struggling. 
I don't know why. I just feel so worthless, so useless. 
Even though, of course, all of the above. 

I suppose it's mostly a problem of chronic low-key depression. I never, ever wake up in the morning excited about the coming day. No matter what's going on in my life I always feel a sense of dread in the mornings. Always. And you'd think I'd be used to it by now but I'm not and sure does take up a lot of damn energy to fight my way through it to the other side. 

This is not to say that I don't love my life. I do. And there is so much in it to love. 

There's old Scar Face Maurice whom I do adore, and the zipper cream peas and rattlesnake beans I picked this afternoon. This damn garden is determined to keep giving, even when I have so very little to offer it. 

Which is probably a metaphor or something fucking spiritual. 

Well, as we all know, I will struggle on and there are always books to read and babies to love and a husband to continue to love and learn about, even after all of these years, and thoughts to have and loaves of bread to make and changes to make as well, should I have the fortitude and discipline to try and make them. 

We shall see. I know without doubt that it's all up to me and no one else in this entire world. 
Gosh. That's scary. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thought For Today

If anything ever convinces me to quit Facebook for good and forever, it may well be the phrase so often left in comments, "Sending healing thoughts."
"Sending healing vibes" comes in a close second.
"Sending prayers" is just the cherry on top of the cowgirl of my deep disdain for such expressions.

No one ever says, "Sending money."

One wonders why.

Actually, one does not.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bye-Bye, DI!

Well, we woke up this morning and I said, "So. Do you want to go home today?"
And Mr. Moon said, "Let's talk about it after coffee," and after coffee we figured we might as well. I mean, there really can be too much relaxing if you want to know the truth.
We'd done all of the Dog Island things we needed to do. We'd eaten too much and had plenty to drink and played cards and laid around and taken naps and been sweet and lounged in the bay (for what THAT was worth) and it just seemed like a good idea to come on home.
I missed my cats and chicken and oh, okay, my grandkids too.

Jessie sent me this picture this morning.

August is standing up all on his own although he shows absolutely no signs of wanting to walk. I've never seen quite this sequence of development, but there you go. August is his own man. 

We've been talking about our place on the island and whether it's really wise to keep it now. We bought it almost eighteen years ago and let me tell you- the difference between being forty-five and being 63 is pretty huge when it comes to a place where you have to pack in all of your needed goods. We used to go there a lot and we've had some amazing times there but things change. Hell, I used to go out there by myself and have a wonderful time and I could tote my ice chest and all my stuff and not really worry about it but now it's not as easy for any of us. And I used to be able to handle having the whole family out there (and of course, the family was much smaller then, pre-grands) but now the idea of sharing the place with a whole passel of other folks is so overwhelming. It's not big. And somehow, there's just never been time for us and our partner to get it together and do all of the repairs and make all of the changes we thought we'd make. Fixing the shower in the second bathroom. Replacing the old shag carpeted plywood flooring with new, more beach-friendly flooring. Fixing the side-deck which is now rotting off and completely unsafe to walk on.
Oh, the men have done plenty of things. Completely redigging the septic system and fixing the roof. And replacing the water heater and the air conditioning and the washing machine and dryer (I think- did we do that?) and all of the things that one MUST have, even in the most primitive of glamping experiences. Screen replacement on the porch has been done so many times that I can't even count. Ceiling fans have been replaced or installed where there had been none before. 
But it is what it is and although the little house is comfortable in a shabby sort of way, it's never going to be easy and it's never going to be done. Not by us, I am coming to realize. The old couch and chairs which were there when we bought the house are ugly as sin and they are now on their second hippie Indian print bedspread incarnations and those now need replacing too as they are faded and ripping. I mean, there's a certain comfort in not worrying whether dirty and wet feet get on the furniture but there's also a certain sigh which I sigh when I walk in and see those ugly things. The bed in one of the bedrooms is almost completely unfit to sleep on and the one in the room we call ours has been rendered only slightly better by a memory foam topper. Still, after two nights on that bed, my old bones ache. And to replace these things would require bringing the new items over on either our boat or on the boat the island management keeps to haul things back and forth across the bay. Which is not free, of course. 

It's a completely unique situation- owning a house on Dog Island. The privilege of having a place in Florida (or anywhere, for that matter) you can go where nature is almost entirely preserved, where there is absolutely no commerce, no pavement, no hunting or condos or swimming pools or street lights or any of what interferes with our interaction with nature as it is except for a few dirt roads, some wooden walls, electricity, and a place to take your garbage, is not to be taken for granted. This is not your typical beach vacation. You aren't going to be able to order pizza or hit the beach bar for daiquiris or call the rental agency if your dishwasher doesn't work. 
No. You're going to make your own pizza if you want pizza (if your oven works!) and your own daiquiris (don't forget to bring the ice!) and I suppose some people have dishwashers but we certainly don't and as Mr. Moon said when he washed a peach off before eating it yesterday, "I'm not sure whether this is helping or hurting." You can certainly wash your body in the water and we've never gotten sick from washing our dishes with it but I use bottled water for cooking and drinking and brushing my teeth. It's like a third-world country but within a few unbridged miles of a first world country. 
But. Where else can you sit and watch the sunset and the mullet jump and the osprey hunt and find shards of pottery and see snakes and butterflies and dragonflies and and hike through piney woods and down Gulf beaches and bay beaches and catch fish and crab for your supper and go to sleep on temperate evenings with the windows open and the sound of the waves crashing on the Gulf to lull you to sleep? 

Well. I don't know. But I know that we're home and decisions like whether or not to keep the Dog Island property need to be made with the input of not only our partner but also of our children because if we do decide to keep the place, we're going to need their help and we're going to need to know that they want to be part of this thing. That having a place where they can bring their children to see and experience a piece of nature not available anywhere else is something they find worthy of the effort. 

I'm glad that we bought that house on the bay because I know that all of my kids cherish the memories of the times we've spent there, both as an entire family and on their own. 
But sometimes? 
Lord, I just wish we'd bought a place on St. George thirty years ago when a regular person could possibly afford a cement block shack on the beach which would now be worth gazillions simply for the land and we could be all civilized and shit and drive there in a car and yes, order pizza and hit the beach bar and if the dishwasher quit working, call a plumber. 

Anyway, we're home now and all is well and I've got some extremely sensible zipper cream peas and green beans with onions simmering on the stove and Maurice let me hug her when I got home although I know she hated every second of it and I've got laundry going and tonight I'll take a shower in water that doesn't stink and brush my teeth with water from the faucet and sleep on a most comfortable bed and tomorrow I am going to go hang out with that August Man Boy who is standing on two legs while his parents work on some raised bed gardening. I realize with all of my soul that I am beyond lucky to have the choices that I have to make. 
And I have to admit that I am rested and relaxed from my most recent trip out to Dog Island, Florida where right now the cicadas are cranking up and the sun has set and left the sky with every day-glo color there is and the light is magical, pink and orange, and the tide is going out and no one cares whether I am there or not, my presence nothing but a slight disturbance in the atmosphere. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, August 19, 2016


In all truth I found that dead scorpion yesterday and honestly, the scorpions we find here will not kill you unless you're allergic to them. Their sting just hurts like hell. 
Just another one of the charms of Dog Island. 

The old baby-poop brown wall oven which I've baked a million biscuits in over the years despite the fact that the top elements have never worked has now gone completely upside-down and the top elements work fine and the bottom, actually operational elements, have quit working. 
Can you broil biscuits?
No. No you cannot. 

Anyway, the bay which looks so enticing and lovely from the house is, in reality, the color of coffee right now, warmer than body temperature, smells pretty stinky and has great pods of some sort of grass floating in it. We did actually go and get in it but it was just not that pleasant. ("It's like trying to swim in the fucking Sargasso Sea," I said as we tried to relax and enjoy ourselves.) And when we got out we rinsed off in the hose water which is only slightly less offensive in sight, temp, and odor but which hopefully does not carry within it the flesh-eating bacteria which the bay probably does. 

So. Why don't we just go over to the Gulf which is less than a half mile away? 
Well. I will tell you. It's because it's so fucking hot that even the idea of getting in the car and driving over there, parking, getting out and walking the ten yards to the beach is just...not...acceptable. Plus then we'd be in the direct sun and I doubt the water over there is that much cooler. Maybe we'll check that out tomorrow. If the battery charger works and the car will start. Because I will tell you right now that I am not about to WALK over there. That would be suicidal. 


At least I've had plenty of time to read which has been heavenly and the fact that we are just about the only insane assholes on the island means that clothes are completely optional, not that I'd walk around naked even if no one was here but me because even I (especially I) just don't need to see that. 

All of this is not to say that I'm not having a good time. 
I am. 
It's just weird to be so lazy and sedentary. I'm having a good time with my husband although I'm not so sure he's having a good time with me. I keep trying to talk to him about Cuba because I finished that book and have found some extremely interesting blogs written by Cubans and also, I just beat the shit out of him at cards which NEVER HAPPENS, EVER and no fish are biting when he does get the energy to wade out into the surf. 
Plus- no biscuits. 

Oh well. Just one more day in Paradise. It could be so much worse. At least the only things we've been stung by are biting flies and not a sting ray or jelly fish.  And I'm about to go cook some shrimp and make some coleslaw and cheese grits. Also?
And air conditioning. 

All right. That's enough for now. 

Your Honest Reporter From Dog Island, Florida...Ms. Moon 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

We Are Here

When we got to the dock on Dog Island the heat was brutal and we had a moment of controlled panic when the car wouldn't start and we weren't sure we'd packed the jump box because truly, this is the kind of heat people die in. But we had the jump box and the car started and we didn't die although when we got to the house the thermostat read 99 degrees and I'm not sure I've ever been hotter in my life than I was by the time we got everything unloaded and up the stairs and into the house. 

The AC is working though and the temperature is now a downright frigid 83 and we went out and laid in the bay for awhile after we'd cooled down enough to even consider such a thing. 

The waters are rising and we are about to lose our pine trees. What can you do?

Still, it's beautiful and we've watched the sun go down and set. 

Coconut pirate is still here, guarding the porch. 

The great blue heron is fishing the sand bar as the tide recedes and the cicadas have begun their evening symphony. 

Dog Island, Florida.

Love...Ms. Moon
It stormed so hard last night. I'm not sure I've ever heard thunder quite like that. It sounded like bowling balls being dropped down stairs, it shook the house, the ground, the world.
And then it rained and I couldn't sleep because of my hips, my legs, and the power was off and this morning I'm awash in the anxiety.

One foot in front of the other.

And so forth.