Tuesday, January 25, 2022

I Drove To Town And Did Things

I had a much-needed day out of Lloyd today. My mental health is going south fast, spending all of my days and nights here in this house and on this property. I'm extremely grateful that I have a large, rambley house and a couple of acres because if I lived in an apartment I think I'd go mad. I don't know how those of you who have been limited to a mostly smaller area have done it. 
Last night I hit a pandemic wall. Jessie had gotten home from work (she spent her first two days back on the floor at the hospital!) to find August coughing again. Did I tell you that although he tested positive for Covid on Wednesday he tested negative on Friday? Neither one rapid tests, either. So. He probably did not have Covid to begin with but he did have something and we all know that I gave it to him. 
I just couldn't deal with it. I cried. Levon and Jessie are fine now and of course August could have picked up what he has at school but all of a sudden, all of the isolating and quarantining just stabbed my heart and I felt so very low that even the drops of Eucalyptus oil I sprinkle in my shower which generally delight me and soothe me immensely did nothing for me. I leaned my head against the wall of the shower and inhaled and just felt so blue. 
It's all been...a lot. Even for someone who loves nothing more than to stay home and who does get to see her family and her grandchildren. I guess I hit a breaking point. 

I knew we had to go to town to sign a lease today and I had other errands to run and I picked up some things that Jessie needed at Costco and took them by her house. The boys rushed out to see me and my heart felt so much better. August seems okay and only coughed a few times while I was there. He seemed to not want to stop holding on to me or hugging me or touching my hair which is not like August who is not a physically affectionate boy but today he was. And not because he felt sick. I think he feels pretty good. Maybe he's just missed me. Whatever, I loved it. 
The boys got my phone and started taking pictures. Levon obviously took these.

It was a huge strawberry. 

I'm not sure which boy took this one but it reminds me that children's point of view is lower than adults' and even though we all know this, I think it's good to be reminded in such a visceral way. 

Mama in the kitchen. This also inspires me to realize that my own point of view is quite different from Jessie's who is a good half foot taller than I am or Mr. Moon's who is something like a foot and a half taller than I am. So strange, isn't it? Our realities are not everyone's reality, even when it comes to what and how we see. 
I read the boys a book and then August forced me into playing Uno and I suppose that eventually I'll learn to play that game. He knows ALL the rules and cards and at one point I looked at Jessie and said, "Why aren't children this age running the world?"
"I don't know," she said. "They should be."
I'd tried to tell August that I couldn't play because my brain wasn't working and also, because I'd forgotten the rules. He instructed me to google how to make my brain focus and then, when I'd done that, to google the rules of Uno. 
This makes a great deal of sense and I could hardly argue with that logic although I did not google how to make my brain focus and I just let him tell me the rules. Which he did. 
So that was a beautiful visit and then I had to go to Publix after which I stopped very briefly at the library because it was getting late and I needed to get home. 
When I was at Costco, I saw Brenda with the Beautiful Eye-Shadow and she told me the story of her family getting covid. They're all fine but they did go through it. I just love that girl. I'm glad they all came through unscathed. 
And now I'm home and it's rainy again, the sun obviously having forgotten how to shine and it's chilly and damp. Funny how humidity makes the heat feel hotter and the cold feel colder, isn't it? But it truly does. I guess that everything is relative whether it's what we see or feel, hear, taste, or smell. Roquefort cheese smells like heaven to some people and like the nastiest dirty socks in the world to others. I go around seeing mostly chests and faces and my husband sees scalps and the tops of refrigerators. 
This is hardly profound. 
Which reminds me- I got a grilled shrimp po' boy for my lunch before I went to Jessie's house and while we were talking I told her, "Well, I have truly decided something today."
"What?" she asked, possibly thinking that perhaps I'd made progress in some sort of end of life planning or something equally serious. Jessie does worry about these things, as well she should.
"I've decided that fried shrimp is a hell of a lot better than grilled shrimp." 
She laughed. 
"Yeah," I said. "It was a real epiphany." 

And now I'm going to go fry a fish. Probably in oil and not air. We shall see. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, January 24, 2022

Another Totally Productive Day

 And that is some of what was on my little shelf above my sink. That is not including all of the china shards and feathers. Honey, I had an entire bird's worth of feathers up there stuck in various vessels. Also sea shells. It was a dang mess. 
It took me all day to figure out what to keep and what to toss, and where to relocate some things and what I should do with the space created. I wanted the space for things I use. Not clutter. I put some bowls up there. 
Eh, okay, but not really. 
What I finally ended up doing was pulling some of the vases out of the pantry and putting them up there. They are pretty and I certainly do use them and what's the first thing you do when you're putting flowers in a vase? You run water into it and voila! There is the sink. 

Not a great picture but you get the idea. I am keeping a few small bottles that I love, some that we have found here in the yard on the shelf. 

And a favorite Virgin of Guadalupe. 
My little and very old Seminole Indian dolls had to stay up there because they are precious to me and I do not want them to get lost in other groupings somewhere else. 

And of course they need their seashell and also the little leaf baby which charms me so much. I do not know why. Maybe it's his bare bottom.

That took me about forty-eight hours. I also cleaned out the hen house and cut down the bananas and hauled their trunk/stems to the edge of the woods. My husband planted potatoes today, creating the most beautiful potato beds I've ever seen. He really is good at gardening. And he started building a railing by the kitchen steps. 
Not a bannister if it's outside, is it? 
I don't know. 
Something for us to hold on to when we go up and down those steps. And our other old-timer friends. I remember when we bought this house and the insurance guy came out to look it over and he said, "You'll probably want to build a railing here," pointing the to the space where Mr. Moon is building one now. 
"Right, right," I said, but hell, we were young and spry fifty-year olds then with the balance of yogi masters. Things change. And so do needs. I expect that one day we'll need a ramp but I hope it's no time soon. 

The sunset birds are twittering away and the chickens are up in their roost with clean straw in the nests. Except for Bella who still sleeps on the same branch above the hen house every night. I hate to think about her sleeping outside in this cold. I know it's not exactly warm in the hen house but it's got to be warmer than on a tree branch. 
Thank goodness that she has such nice warm down under her feathers. I wonder what it's like to wear your comforter all the time? Probably not too bad. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, January 23, 2022

I Am NOT A Hoarder. I Am A Collector Of Nostalgia

I am, let's face it, the Queen of Tchotchkes. I am not one of those people who love a clean, spare look. 
Well, that's not true. I do like that look but I've never been able to achieve it in my own home. I've never even really tried. And that's okay. Little children sit in my kitchen and look around and say, "I want a house just like this when I grow up," which charms me to pieces. 
Adults sit in my kitchen and wonder what sort of insane mind created this chaos. Probably. 
Lately though I've been looking around, especially in the kitchen, and thinking that at least I ought to clean some of my many objets d'art. My attention has been focused on the items I had hanging from the ceiling light above the island and the aprons hanging on the walls. 
All of those things were filthy. To put it mildly. 
The things hanging from the light fixture were the mobile you see above, a sort of copy of a Chinese glass wind chime that I bought from ebay eighteen years ago, and a glittery bird. 
And this morning, I started there. Mr. Moon, because he is taller than a giant, got them all down for me. I threw the bird away. She was simply done. The mobile I put in a sink full of warm soapy water and the wind chimes I cleaned as carefully as I could because the glue holding the strings on with little gold paper dots is weakening and the whole thing is fragile. I shined up the glass on it as best I could and re-glued the strings that had come unattached, and hung it up in the window where the pantry is. 

Some of the pieces of glass have fallen and broken but there it is. If any of you know where wind chimes like that can be bought, please let me know. They have always been my favorites and I just don't think they make them anymore. 

Then I started taking down aprons and wiping down walls. I cleaned a few plates that I have mounted above the kitchen door and put them back up. I took down my ristras

and ran them through the dishwasher with a punch bowl and a cake plate that live way, way up on top of the glass-fronted china cabinet. Mr. Moon had to get those down and while he was up there he cleaned the top of the cabinet. 
"Do you need some paper towels? Rags? What?" I asked him. 
"A plow," he said. I believed him. Who cleans things that high up? 
I took down things on top of the kitchen hutch and cleaned them. I took down my precious Mexican rooster and gently bathed him. 

I took down and wiped down the...flower things? that Hank gave me long ago that I have on the doors of the cabinet above the stove. 

And as you can clearly see, I never throw away any grandchildren artwork, whether drawn or colored or cut. 
There are more things, trust me. Ribbon strung tiny Mexican jugs, pictures, extremely tacky but colorful heads of una Senor y Senora. 
I'll never, ever achieve a Zen emptiness and peacefulness in my decor. I know it. 
BUT, I am feeling a strong urge to get rid of the things that (gag) don't spark joy. 
The senor and senora may go. EVEN THOUGH every time I look at them I think of tiny Owen insisting that they were his mama and daddy. 
I'd say that I'm not going to put any aprons back up but Linda Sue sent me some recently that are so dang cute that I might have to reconsider that prospect.
I should probably think about taking down some of the grandchildren's artwork. I doubt they even remember it's up there. 
Well. Some of it. 

And that's mostly what I did today. I cleaned tchotchkes although I did take time to go outside and appreciate the fact that the sun came out today and the sky had all of the blue that can be fit into one sky. 

Last night's gumbo was so good that we're happily looking forward to finishing it tonight. I've picked greens to make a salad to go with it. 
It's cold and getting colder. 
Tomorrow I'm going to do something about that shelf over the sink which is now a repository for hundreds of chicken feathers and bowls of china shards we've found in this yard. I told Mr. Moon that I'm going to put them back out in the yard for someone else to find. 
"Let some other kids treasure hunt," I said. He laughed. 
Maybe I should put a grow light in there and check "raise African violets" off my bucket list. 
Okay. I don't have a bucket list but I have always wished I had a good spot to grow violets in. 
We shall see. 

Be well. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Kitchen Witchin'

I woke up this morning from a dream that left me unsettled- not an unusual occurrence. For whatever reason, dreams with my stepfather in them are happening almost nightly. 
I wish they weren't. 
In his last night's appearance he was actually apologizing to me...for brushing my hair when I was asleep. 
In my dream I thought, "That was not hair brushing." 
I have absolutely accepted the fact that what happened to me as a child will always be a part of my psyche and as such, something that I cannot afford to get too worked up over. And I know that there are millions who are in the same situation. We may all handle the residual damage differently but we have all developed our coping mechanisms. Some of them healthier than others. Some of them no longer even necessary but so much a part of us that we've lost our ability to let them go. 

Well. That's not really what I came here to talk about this evening. Actually, I didn't have much of anything on my mind when I sat down. I've just had a very house-wifey day and the minutes and hours have gone by of their own accord as I've floated through the motions. 

In covid news, Jessie reports that everyone in her house except for Vergil has a snotty nose and that is that for any symptoms. Lily reports that Owen is still testing positive and she and Gibson and Maggie are still negative. I actually talked to all of them today. Maggie called me on Gibson's phone and then I got to speak to the boys too. I told Owen that even though I knew he was going to be fine, that I'd cried when I heard he had Covid. 
"That's okay," he said. 
"I know," I agreed. 
I also Face Timed with Maggie on her mother's phone. We are planning a sleepover for next weekend if everyone stays negative. She wants macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. And she says she has a surprise for me! I need to find a surprise for her too. She's such a sweet child. 

It's getting colder. Might freeze tonight so I have covered my Roseland mango and my back porch plants. The front porch plants are still covered from when it froze last week. The sun did not show its face all day long for the second day in a row but it may tomorrow. 
I've made a gumbo which is simmering and waiting for the shrimp to go in. There's a loaf of sourdough in the oven and I'll make rice because for whatever reason, there must be rice with gumbo. I just tasted it and I do think I got the roux just about right tonight. Here's what it looked like after it was done and the chopped onions, celery, garlic and peppers went in. 

Can you see how dark the roux is? It's such an interesting dish to make. You have to stir the oil and flour for a long time, patiently watching it go from ivory to the color of an old penny. Some say it should be the color of mahogany. But it's that roux and its slow, intense browning that gives gumbo its earthy deliciousness. Yesterday I made a chicken stock with the carcass of the roast chicken I'd made the day before and I added the shrimp shells to that today and let that mixture simmer while I made the roux, then poured it through a strainer into the roux and vegetables, added the okra and sausage and tomatoes and now, like I said, it's waiting for the shrimp. Every time I make gumbo I think of the Africans who brought this celestial dish here along with the okra that brings the whole thing together. Sometimes when I think about cooking I feel as if through the food we make we are honoring and actually tasting so many cultures and horticultures, too. 
It's history and art and skill and practice and intuition and science and tradition and creativity all brought together into one place. It is no mystery why the kitchen is the heart of the home. 

I guess that's what I came here to talk about this evening. 

Love....Ms. Moon

Friday, January 21, 2022

Covid Math And What Does It Matter?

I got a very cute visitor today and his mother came too. The weather is dreary again. Cold and rainy all day long. No line-dried sheets for us this week. It's one of those days that make me so very, very thankful for good heating, a clothes dryer. And lots of other things too like a dishwasher and a gas stove but at this moment, I am most appreciative of having heat and a way to dry clothes. 

It was a breath and a shot of fresh air having Jessie and Levon over. Jack was happy too, as you can see. He was trying to mind-meld Jessie into offering him some of her roast chicken which he is very fond of. Levon loved the pot pie and almost finished up the last piece of it. Jessie ate what he didn't. She said she liked it too. 

So of course after their visit last weekend, Jessie and Levon began to have very slight cold symptoms. Or, at least symptoms of something. So Jessie took them all except Vergil to get tested again. They got PCR tests and while Jessie was here today, she got an e-mail informing her that August was positive. 
The one without symptoms. 
This of course led to all sorts of speculation. Were Mr. Moon's and my negative tests false negatives? We'd gotten rapid tests last week. Had Jessie and Levon's tests been false negatives? We did all sorts of math (saw Jason and Owen two weeks ago, came down with symptoms about five days later, tested two days after that, saw the Weatherfords the day after that....blah, blah, blah) and we finally decided that it is what it is and she took Levon to go pick up August from school and get three more PCR's. 
I called Mr. Moon who was in town to get two at-home rapid tests which we took when he got home and they showed negative. 

What the hell? I'm not going to get a PCR test because it wouldn't change a thing to know I had it. We're still masking religiously. I think I'm going to figure that if Jessie and Levon come back negative again, it will be safe to assume we didn't have it and if they come back positive, I'm going to assume we did. 
Does that make sense? 
None of this makes sense but it is quite possible that August picked it up at school. 
Nobody else at Lily's house is testing positive. Owen, it turns out, is the only one in the house who hadn't had a booster so that may be an explanation of why he seems to be the only one who got the virus. 
Who knows? 
Not me. 

But that's what happened over here today and in my family. 

I watched the last episode of "After Life" and I'm not sure how I feel. No spoilers because some of you are watching it and enjoying it. But I think I get the message of the last episode quite well although there is certainly a lingering question. If you watch it, you'll see what I mean. 

Mr. Moon just made nachos in the air fryer and brought me one. I think we shall try that again. I mean- what's better than nachos? Last night I air fried some cauliflower and onions and that was pretty okay although my husband told me that he'd rather eat cauliflower raw. With dip. He said this in the most loving way possible.
"Well, that's easy," I told him. He just doesn't really like cooked cauliflower which is too bad for him. He needs to go out of town again so that I can make my delicious cauliflower dish. Actually, I could make it with him here, couldn't I? What if I made that and salmon and LeSueur peas? He'd eat it but that would be so mean. 

I just remembered something else that I am extremely grateful for on this wet, cold day- Goodwill cashmere! It's just the most perfect thing on days like this. I really need to find more of it as I've inadvertently shrunk a lot of what I own. I was looking at a sweater the other day that is not only too small for an adult now but also has holes in it and I thought, "Hmmm...I could mend that and give it to Maggie!"
This mending thing is getting out of hand. Not everyone appreciates my artistic, wabi-sabi techniques. I think I need to crochet a few more potholders instead. 

What silly problems. Not even problems at all. 
I think I'll go inform my husband that I'd like a martini now. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

P.S. And hot and cold running water. I think I may be most grateful for those. I remember when I had a hand pump out in the back yard of another house many, many years ago and how it got so cold the winter we lived there that when I'd pump water, ice chunks would come out before the water did. I have a very visceral memory of this. Not to mention the cold, cold walk to the outhouse. 
I can't believe I lived that way but I do not regret that I did for one red hot second. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

When Ironing Is The Most Interesting Thing You've Done All Day

Gloom and fucking doom out there today and I've been worthless. 

I did iron some shirts. I did that because it offered an excuse to binge watch "After Life", the Ricky Gervais series. The third season has recently come out and I'm lapping it up although I'm not sure why. It's not exactly cheerful and I absolutely abhor some of the characters. 
But there's something about Gervais's humor that grates on me in an interesting way. Does that make any sense? 
It's a very dark and yet surprisingly sweet kind of humor somehow. And I can completely understand why some people feel about him the same way I feel about Jim Carrey which is to say- please never appear onscreen again and also, while you're at it, make everything you were ever in disappear. 
Although I do like the "Truman Show." 
Anyway, I do not feel the series is going to end well which would be just about what I would expect. 

I have absolutely nothing to offer the universe today. No advice, words of wisdom, poetry, pithy observations, jokes, lyrical descriptions, book recommendations, recipes, household tips, or relationship suggestions unless you want to piss off your partner. 
I just pissed off my partner. 

And so, as the rain falls down and the sky grows dark and bed time is still hours away, I leave you with nothing but the knowledge that perhaps tomorrow will be a better day and if it isn't, the one after that. 
Or, you know, some day. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

No Title

I've been posting this same R. Crumb cartoon since I started blogging. Some days, you just have to think about Mr. Natural affirming that it don't mean shit to get over your damn self. Facebook is full of self-affirming memes and quotes that are supposed to make us feel better about ourselves and our choices and our efforts and frankly, most of them make me want to gag. 
Or at least roll my eyes so hard they threaten to fall out of my head. We're all so self-caring and enlightened and positive, aren't we? 
No. No we are not. 
Mr. Natural certainly isn't. Get on with your bad self, Mr. Natural might say. It don't mean sheeit.

So yeah, I'm having one of those days. First off, Jessie had to test herself and Levon today because of minor cold symptoms. Although they are negative, I still feel guilty. I knew this would happen. 
Fuck me. 

And I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about choices I made or didn't make when I was young. I don't really regret them so much because every choice I made has led to this life I lead now which is pretty damn sweet, not to mention Hank, May, Lily, Jessie, Owen, Gibson, August, Maggie, and Levon. But there has been a lot of pondering going on this old wrinkled head of mine, wondering mostly why I never had the courage or determination to really try to do some of the things I wanted to do. There are thousands of reason, I'm sure, or at least a few. Some of them good and some of them simply because I didn't have the backbone, I had the fear instead. Not so much of failure but of making too big of a ripple in the universe in which I live. 
I know, I know. I'm being cryptic. Forgive me. I am still afraid of that ripple, that possible rend in the fabric of my life. I think that if you gathered any group of older women (and probably younger, too) in a sort of group therapy way, most of us would have similar stories to tell. The details might differ but the stories themselves would be as familiar as the contents of our purses. Or pockets. 

In this mood, I did a little closet purging today. Not nearly enough. But some. Enough to yield two large bags and a box of things to take to the Bad Girls Get Saved By Jesus Thrift Store. It's hard for me to let garments that I have loved go, even if the only way I could ever wear them again is to contract some horrible wasting disease that ended up killing me. I remember where I wore the dresses, the jeans, the blouses, the skirts, how I felt in them, how I looked in them, how I danced or walked or talked in them. 
Who I was in them. How much I loved who I was in them for a moment, at least. 
So it's hard. I try to shrug off and ignore these feelings and sometimes I can but sometimes I just can't. 
I did find a pair of shoes buried at the bottom of a basket in my closet that I have no idea why I stopped wearing. 

They are what I would call winter shoes in that I can wear socks with them. Also, they are as comfortable as can be. 
Not only that, I found a pair of my favorite style Croc flip flops still in the package they were shipped in! I must have ordered two pairs at one point and put one in that basket as spares. AND I found a wrist brace that I've been looking for that I need to start wearing at night. I knew it was here somewhere...

So I took the things I no longer need to donate and I threw away a few things that no one wants or needs but which were once beloved to me. While I was at the BGGSBJTS I did a bit of browsing. Didn't find a thing I really wanted but did see this. 

It looks a little like a souvenir thing, but the weaving is absolutely beautiful on it. The construction of it, the colors- so very lovely. I didn't buy it and now I regret that. I didn't buy it because I thought to myself, "Just what I need- something else that I do not need." 
Well, maybe I'll go back and get it and maybe I'll just let some other person who appreciates the art and fine craft of it find it and be thrilled. 
I appreciated and admired it and perhaps that is enough. 
Besides- what's it all mean, Mr. Natural? 

You know. 

Love...Ms. Moon