Wednesday, April 30, 2008


How DARE our president state, as he did yesterday in the Rose Garden, that we are justified in being in Afghanistan because they do things like deny girls the opportunity to go to school and deny women their God-given rights when things like this are going on in our own country and the law knows and turns a blind eye until it's such a huge big problem that something HAS to be done?
Don't even get me started about the way he bragged that now there are health clinics and schools in Afghanistan where there were none before, when a large percentage of Americans don't have access to health care and our schools get less and less money. I don't mean to imply that Americans deserve health care and schools more than any other people on this earth but if we weren't hemorrhaging money into the various wars on "terror" and if we hadn't quit taxing the incredibly wealthy, there might be a little more availability of things like decent education and health care here at home.

Just Curious

In all the images I've seen from the Texas polygamist compound raid, I've seen only pictures of women and children. WHERE are the men and why weren't any of them taken into custody?
I have a lot of thoughts about this whole issue and I certainly don't think that there are any clear answers but really- WHERE ARE THE MEN?
My basic feeling is that if girls are being given to men as "brides" then this is a clear-cut case of child sexual abuse. Fuck freedom of religion because that's just a bullshit cover for what it really is- the abuse and rape of girls. And from what I hear, the young boys are pushed out of the compound to fend for themselves at an early age to prevent them from competing for the available female children. This too, is abuse, if it is true.
Frankly, I don't care at all how many consenting ADULTS want to enter into a marriage together. But they have to be consenting and they have to be adults.
In a situation like this where religion has obviously been used to brainwash the members, I don't know that "consenting" could actually be possible or proven, but you sure as hell can prove that girls below the age of eighteen are being used as sexual partners for men two and three times their age.
The idea of children being separated from their mothers makes me weep but obviously, these mothers are not protecting their children, whether through ignorance or belief in some sort of fucked-up ideologist brain-washing, so perhaps it is, in this case, the right thing to do.
I don't know, I'm not sure, but again I ask- where are the men?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

How You Know The Baby-Child's Home

You will recognize her by her sparkly teeth and fancy earrings.


Another beautiful morning here in North Florida and we got some rain in the past few days so you know things are green.
The guinea hens from next door are rattling their rusty gossip talk as they pass through my yard and I'd pay them a dollar to eat up all the squash vine borers but they have no pockets to put money in so they're of no use to me. Neither will be the squash, dammit.
The baby child is back home from college where she had a stellar freshman year, whipping the ass of chemistry and biology and making it look easy. She's thinking about looking for a job and about to have a birthday.
I should be happy, I should be enjoying this cool morning in late April but truthfully, I'm in something of midlife crisis #197 or early-elderly crisis #42; I've lost track.
Same-old, same-old: go out and get a job you lazy old Ms. Moon. Make some money and help out with the bills but it's got to be a good job to make the drive into a place of employment worthwhile, not to mention the fact that you'll have to buy a new wardrobe since most places don't let you come to work in a pair of overalls.
Here's what I did yesterday:
Went to yoga, did a thousand loads of laundry (okay, maybe only seven), swept some floors, took the trash and five types of recycle to the place where you do that, filled in a ditch where an irrigation line had been laid, did a little garden tidying, cleaned a bunch of spinach and shallots, cooked some small red beans for dinner and made fresh corn tortillas, mended a pair of jeans for my husband.
And...I also filled out an online application for some sort of position with hospice.
Not easy.
Work experience?
Weight Watchers and the Birth Center.
Describe your position:
Tried to help people loose weight, encouraged women in labor and then cleaned out the jacuzzi.
Basically, that's it.
I'm sure hospice will personally drive to my house and award me with a high-paying job any second now.
I've said it before and I'll say it again- the only work I'm qualified to do is the sort of work we used to call "women's work" (and which mainly and realistically, still is) and the sort of work that people (women) do for free.
The kind of work you can do in overalls.
How much DO they pay ditch-filler-inners?
Today's Blog-o-meter says: Feelings of worthlessness, despair, anxiety and fast-approaching old age.
Better go eat my prunes and fiber-flakes and take a walk. I definitely want to live to the ripe old age of 65 so I can collect that $90 a month that Social Security projects I'll be getting.
I can't seem to come up with a snappy ending line here to tie all this self-pity and wallowing together so I'll just apologize and we can all get on with our day.
Really. Sorry.
Go have fun.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

No Jivin', Just Hivin'

The scene above is what I see from the porch at Dog Island, the two sentinel pine trees looking out onto the bay. I usually spend a great deal of my time on the island on the back porch at a wooden picnic table facing the bay, reading or writing or playing cards with just that scene in front of me.
This weekend, our partner in the house was also on the island and he was refinishing the table, making it unusable, so that discombobulated me a bit.
It was a discombobulated sort of weekend, truthfully.
On the way over I realized that I was in such an absurdly good mood that I barely recognized myself. And I even told my husband that I was so excited to be going to the island that I was eager for any adventure we might have.
Haha! says the universe.
All was well until Saturday morning, early, early, around four-thirty when my husband woke me up, apologizing but saying, "I really need some help here."
And indeed he did as he was in the process of breaking out in hives of such ferocious redness and itchiness that he thought he might go insane. Obviously he was suffering from some sort of allergic reaction although we have no idea what might have caused it.
Me, being the nurse, immediately went to find some Benadryl but could only find some that was two years past its sell-by date. I gave him two anyway but an hour later, the rash had gotten only redder, more ferocious looking, and itchier.
Not only was it the middle of the night (and these things always happen in the middle of the night, don't they?) we were on Dog Island, which means you can't just hop in the car and drive to the all-night drug store OR the emergency room. I gave him an ice bag to rub on the rash instead of using his fingernails on it and I also found another type of antihistamine and gave him two more of those.
By seven a.m. he had finally fallen asleep, sitting up in a chair, and I crawled in bed and went to sleep myself but I kept getting up to check on him.
He slept pretty soundly for quite awhile, as well he should have, having ingested enough antihistamine to bring down a horse, but did get up long enough to crawl into the bed where he slept some more. The rash abated, faded, and was no longer itchy, so all was well.
But Saturday was pretty much shot for fishing or walking or anything that required consciousness.
So it was a fairly different sort of trip to the island and brought home the point that going to a barrier island with no bridge may bring its own sense of freedom but it also brings its own sense of despair if an emergency arises.
I never panicked and never felt that he was in danger of suffering from anaphylactic shock, but it was extremely worrisome and almost agonizing to watch him in such agony. I felt helpless.
You can be sure that Benadryl has been added to the list of things we need to take to the island on our next visit and by God, I wish I could get my hands on some morphine because if we'd had some, I would gladly have given him some.
There's nothing in the world so frustrating as seeing someone you love in pain and not being able to do anything about it. Thankfully, this was not a life-threatening event but it makes me pause and think about the fact that we're getting older and "things" are invariably going to happen.
I guess we just have to carry on though, as if we believe that we're invincible and will live forever. I mean, what are the options? Sit home all the time? Go ahead and move into an assisted living facility?
Life, no matter what your age, is apt to throw you a curve ball now and then, and discombobulation is just part of it.
But I will take Benadryl to the island and I will make sure it's fresh.
Now. Does anyone know how I can get ahold of some morphine?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Gone Fishing. Be Back Soon.

Well, we're off to the island this morning if I'll get off my butt and pack. We'll only be gone for two days and Lord knows I need a little rehab time. Get this World Wide Web monkey off my back, drink a little rum, take a little walk, check out a few sunsets, make some biscuits, eat some bacon, read a book.

Hey! I might even write a poem or two.

Don't worry. I won't be posting them here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


I just spent a good part of the day with my friend, Billy, which is always a delight and a pleasure. Today we went to Monticello and had lunch at the Mexican restaurant and then went to the place on Highway 319 that has tons of cool Mexican stuff including a tiny merry-go-round that I desperately want for my yard but will never get because it costs $1500. We did buy a ristra of red, yellow, and green peppers for Billy's Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw because their house in Kentucky burned down and they lost everything in it, including Maw-Maw's ristras, and this one is for the new home they are about to begin building.
Billy and I always have a great time, no matter what the circumstances, as long we're together.
We're friends. Real friends.
But here's the funny thing- if you put me and Billy and fifty other people in a room together and asked someone to pick out the two people least likely to be friends, they'd probably pick me and Billy.
For starters, he's younger than my son, whose best friend he is. He's also tattooed and pierced, which I am definitely not unless you count my earring piercings. Billy loves country music, which leaves me cold, and he pretty much hates Bruce Springsteen whom I adore and I think he even hates John Lennon but he loves me too much to admit that out loud. I eat mostly vegetables and Billy would live on bacon if it were humanly possible while most vegetables make him sort of want to throw up.
And yet, and yet....
This person is someone I adore.
Now why is that?
There are so many people I meet with whom logically I should be friends. People with whom I have so much in common. And yet, I just don't feel the love. I'd rather go to the dentist with Billy (which I have done before) than go to Paris with a lot of people I know and logically should be friends with, but I think this friendship stuff has everything to do with the heart and nothing whatsoever to do with logic.
Because appearances and age and all that other stuff don't mean shit to the heart. You meet someone and your heart sighs a little and says, "Good one, here," and you just know that this is a person with whom you can trust your real and honest self with and your heart throws open the door, flips on the porch light, and slings the welcome mat down and next thing you know- you've got a friend you love.
If you're lucky.
And if you know Billy, you are. Because not only is he one of those people, so is his wife, so you sort of get two for the price of one.
There are all sorts of lotteries in life.
If you're Billy's friend, you've won a big one.
Which I have, and I'd like to thank my son's wise heart for buying the ticket that brought not only Billy into our life but his mama and his wife and his sister and his grandparents, too.
They're all the sort of friends that are more like family.
Family of the heart. Friends of the heart.
The wise and happy heart that defies logic and knows joy when it sees it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Update On The Jennifer Lopez Ass

Well, sadly, it's gone. I no longer resemble Jennifer Lopez in any way whatsoever unless in the way that we're both female bipedal human beings with eyes on the front of our heads.
She's a famous Latina singer and actress who recently gave birth to twins and who is married to a talented but unfortunately not very handsome man, while I am a completely unknown writer and mother who had her children one at a time and who is married to a talented and very handsome man.
It all works out.
While I do still have quite the discolored lump back there, it doesn't in any way, shape, or form look like the eighth wonder of the world that Jennifer so proudly (and justifiably so!) displays.
It's healing. It itches. And it's a sort of hurt-itch. Not the end of the world, but the tiniest bit annoying.
And I am reminded that I am incredibly fortunate that when I landed I fell exactly where I did because otherwise, I'd be on crutches.
Or in a wheelchair.
Just thought you might be wondering.
Plus, I just like saying Jennifer Lopez's ass.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day Awards

I'd like to thank all the people who throw trash out of their cars as they pass down Main Street in Lloyd because picking it up for you gives me something to do with my vast amount of spare time.
I'd especially like to thank the incredibly thoughtful person who always seems to discard enough plastic bags for me to use to collect the trash in.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
We all do what we can.

Learning To Stretch

I go to yoga classes at my teacher’s house which is right down the road from where I live. I love my yoga teacher for many reasons, not the least of which is that she was the one who got me started in this practice which seems to be exactly what I need to stay flexible, to stay balanced, to try and stay centered but I have to say that she and I could hardly be more different if we'd been raised on two separate planets.
When I first met her, I was somewhat astonished that she was, indeed the teacher. This was a flash-first impression and frankly, after a year, I’m still sort of shocked. She fits none of the yoga-teacher stereotypes I’ve ever heard. She’s not a former or present hippie, she doesn’t talk about colonics or chi, she doesn’t wear her hair in a long braid, she doesn’t wear batik or filmy gauze things and she’s not a vegetarian.
What she is though, is the mother of three very successful grown children, the wife of the man she’s been with forever, a practicing Catholic, an award-winning quilter, and a Republican.
And of course I’m a past and present hippie, for all intents and purposes an atheist, and if there were a party more liberal than Democratic that had a chance at election, I’d be in it.
I hang everything on my walls from aprons and hula girls to hats and cool shirts while she hardly even has pictures hung on hers and the ones she does are mostly of her children.
She’s a member of the Garden Club and the Woman’s Club and I don’t know what all kinds of clubs while I refuse to consider being in any organization having the word “club” in it’s title.
I’m a die-hard Mac user and her husband actually WORKS for IBM. I think. I’m pretty sure that Bill Gates is his ultimate boss.
She and her husband are avid Gator fans and I couldn’t care less about any team anywhere in the world and although I went to FSU and have a degree from there, I would only be slightly more apt to put a Seminole sticker on my car than I would be to put one of George Bush on it, which is to say- none whatsoever.
So yes, we’re two completely different people and lately I’ve been feeling out of sorts in yoga. Why, I find myself wondering, am I coming to this class where this woman and I have absolutely nothing in common? Her class is long on talk of our “cores” and short on “oms.” Frankly, I could do with a little more oming. Once she said, “And now we’re going to chant,” which I got sort of excited about, but then I realized she was joking.
This is not spiritual yoga except that we do sort of transcend ourselves sometimes and we do say Namaste at the end of class.
So yesterday, when I found myself feeling a little pissy about things, I realized that I need to check my damn ego and remember that this woman is doing and has done quite a bit for me. She cares about me and she cares about my yoga practice and for crying out loud, if I can’t appreciate that and get over myself then how can I expect peace in the middle east?
Well, I don’t really EXPECT peace in the middle east, but some secret part of me retains the slightest hope that all mankind will beat their swords into plowshares and come together to chant, if not Kum Bah Yah, than at least a tiny Om here and there.
But as a cynical and realistic person, I know this is not going to happen in my lifetime and I know that my yoga teacher and I are not alike in very many ways but darn it- we can come together in her living room where the sun spills through her windows and we can balance on one foot and we can stretch our hamstrings and yes, we can use our core muscles. And we can do this together and we can agree on the pleasure and the need for all of that.
And I can respect her for what and who she is and what she believes, even if it’s mostly diametrically opposed to what I believe.
And we do have common ground that goes beyond yoga. We’re both mothers. We both love our children and our husbands and we both hold our families to be of the utmost importance and neither one of us wears gauzy clothes.
And I could Om on my own if I really wanted to.
I don’t think she reads this blog but if she does, I want to say this:
Thank-you. Thank you for all you’ve given me and all you do give me. Thank you for telling me to straighten my back, to bring my shoulders down and for offering me recipes. Thank you for allowing me to come to your home and do yoga.
The Divine Spark in me goes out to the Divine Spark in you and I know that to be true.
Namaste, Yoga Teacher. Namaste.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What's Our Hurry?

I was in Target today, which was relatively uncrowded, buying a yoga block and some batteries and I noticed that the cashier started ringing up my order before the woman in front of me had gathered her bags and put her wallet back in her purse.
Then she did the same thing to me and I don't think she was trying to be rude, just efficient, but you can't help but feel a little bit foolish when you're trying to get yourself together to leave the area and you're obviously slow and the next transaction is taking place before you've really felt closure in your own.
And I've noticed this happening a lot more recently. Not just at Target but in a lot of stores.
And it makes me wonder- what's our hurry?
I just, well, I keep thinking about how, as computers were becoming prevalent in every aspect of life, that we were promised that they would speed things up. We could get more things done faster and thus have more leisure time.
What a lie that's turned out to be. Does using a debit card really make a purchase go faster than writing a check? Not much, if any. Pick your language. Spanish or English. Swipe your card. Put in your pen number. Press enter. Do you want cash back? Wait for the total. Is that amount correct? Yes or no. Waiting for Authorization.
And so forth.
How many times have I sat there with a stupid look on my face, waiting for my receipt, not realizing that there was yet one more question I needed to answer before the transaction was complete?
A bunch.
And all of the debit card machines are different and why is this?
I don't know. And I don't know why we're all so intolerant of the idea of having to spend more than six seconds waiting for the person in front of us to finish up paying for their groceries or their Pampers and then finding their keys and glasses and moving on.
I frequently offer the person behind me in a line the option to go ahead of me if they only have a few items and I have a lot. I rarely get turned down. And I do this because I hate feeling rushed by someone behind me.
So I get somewhere two minutes later. Big deal.
And so what if a person standing in line gets checked out twenty seconds faster than she would have if the cashier had waited until the person she'd just finished checking out managed to get herself together to leave the store before she started with the next person?
Is this going to make or break someone's day?
If so, we're obviously not managing our time very well.
It all seems a part of this crazy attitude we now have that OUR time, OUR day is the utmost, important thing in the entire world and that we all must rush, rush, RUSH to get to the next place.
It's weird.
And it makes me fear for the day (coming soon!) when I'm old and perhaps feeble and not as spry as I once was and people might have to wait for me an extra sixty seconds while I figure out just what sort of retina-reading device THIS grocery store has which is hooked up directly to my bank account and I'll hear all sorts of sighing and see all sorts of eye-rolling in the people behind me in line as I struggle.
Can't we be a little more patient? Can't we be civil in our one-on-one transactions?
We all seem to be hurrying through our days to get home and sit in front of the TV so we can relax and unwind from all the pressure.
I don't know.
Maybe I'm just old and cranky.
Or maybe I'm just wishing for a little more graciousness in this ever-increasing depersonalized life of ours.
So if you see me in line and I have a basket full of groceries and you're trying to get out quickly with your sandwich and drink, and the express line is full- just ask. I'll let you go ahead of me.
It's got to start somewhere.
Might as well start with me.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Good Damp Earth and The Things We Grow In It

I'm just back from the Goodwood plant sale on a drizzly Saturday morning and I just feel so good.

I didn't buy much. A native azalea, a begonia, an old rose.

I hadn't been to the sale in years and probably wouldn't have gone this year, either, but my friend K. invited me to go with her and so I did. I think the rain kept a lot of people away this year because it wasn't very crowded and no one was knocking anyone over to get to the camellias. But the people who were there very cheerful, despite the drizzle; a typical Tallahassee mix of black folks and white, men and women, old and young, dressed in everything from pearls and ponchos to overalls and rubber boots with no common bond except for that of being passionate about plants.

This has gotten me wondering why exactly it is that humans just love to plant things. It's probably firmly encoded into our DNA by now to cultivate the plants and trees that we eat the fruit of. That I can understand. But where does the impulse come from to grow plants that offer us nothing but flowers? Why do we plant trees that offer us nothing but the delight we get from the way the wind sounds in their leaves?

I don't know, but I'm one of the people who definitely have the impulse.

I can be seduced by the spring offering of gaudy annuals from Lowe's and Home Depot and Target and I adore my pots of ornamentals on my porch, but what I really love, what makes me almost giddy with delight are the plants I find at places like Native Nurseries and Goodwood. And nothing in the world makes me happier than finding ferns in the woods and digging them up and bringing them home. I love the plants that are native to the area. Ones that I don't so much cultivate as just bring home and allow to flourish. The ashe magnolia, the oak leaf hydrangea, the palms, the ferns, the wild violets, the Buckeye.

I'm also a fool for camellias, which strangely, this yard was severely lacking in when I moved here. There was one lone bush, grown almost to a tree, but I have planted a dozen more and this year's relatively rainy weather has given them all new growth, and me great hope that one day they, too, will be big, strong, adult camellias, offering their color to winter's drab gray. I get as much pleasure from seeing new growth on something I've planted as a mother does, seeing her child go from baby to toddler to child, learning to walk, to talk, to read.

When I was a young gardener, I ordered a rose from Burbee that I planted next to my garden fence and over the years it took off, climbing the fence and giving me deep red, almost magenta roses that were full and as fragrant as any rose you can imagine. I used to pick the blossoms and put them in a bowl and their scent would fill the house. I have spent the ensuing thirty years since I left that house trying to figure out just what in hell that rose was. I've never been able to find it again but yesterday I drove past a yard where an old house has recently been torn down and there, growing on a fence, was a rose that I do believe may be the same kind. I instructed my husband to go by with his knife on the way home and cut me a few pieces and I am trying to root them right now. The delight I am getting from those four pieces of rose plant stuck in a pot with rooting hormone is beyond what I can quite describe. There is no pleasure greater for me than taking pieces of plants or seeds I've collected and nurturing them into something that will grow in my yard.

It probably has something to do with my maternal instinct and I'm not ashamed of that.
I can think of no scenerio for my future that makes me any happier than to be an old, gnarled woman in a big hat with a trowel, clippers, and a shovel and garden cart, moving stiffly from one area of my yard to another, trimming, weeding, transplanting, planting.

Perhaps it is this impulse to plant green things that really differentiate us from the animals. It's certainly not tool-making, we're discovering. I don't feel any need to separate myself from our great ape brethren but I think it's interesting that we plant stuff and as far as we know, they don't, although some chimps seem to treat illness or injury by hunting out specific plants and eating their leaves, which indicates a knowledge of plants that transcends what's good to eat and what's not.

All things to ponder as I enjoy this quiet morning, a perfect morning to plant my new (old) rose, my azalea, and my begonia which sit in their pots waiting to be introduced to their new homes.

The mother in me, the human ape in me, the old Southern lady gardener in me- all of these parts of my soul are completely content to putter around in the wet, black earth, getting dirt under my fingernails and planting things that hopefully will bring joy to future generations as I receive joy from the things that have been planted in this yard by people unknown to me, many of them long, long gone.

I planted a tiny live oak tree in the yard of the last house I lived in and sometimes I drive past that house, just to see how big it's getting. It'll be two hundred years before it's anywhere near as big as the oaks in this yard and I'll be long dead by then, but instead of depressing me, that thought just brings me joy.

Nothing lasts forever, not a good meal I've cooked or words I've written or a clean kitchen floor but a live oak- plant one of those and it'll last, if not forever, long enough.

And of course a rose won't last that long and certainly not a begonia, but the babies of the rose, the offshoots of the azalea might.

And even if they don't, just the momentary pleasure I'll get from putting them in the ground and tucking the soil firmly around their roots and then watching them flourish is plenty.

More than plenty.

It will be a joy.

It will make me feel good.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Wedding in the Words of the Officiant

One Picture

Not to be too multiple-personality here today but I just watched a slideshow of the photos from the wedding and I'm feeling all mushy and joyful again and since I spent SO much time talking about all things wedding for so long, I thought I'd at least share this one picture of the cake, which was such a thing of beauty and which Lis spent three days working on, along with the groom's cake AND the truffles.
Isn't it gorgeous?
And it tasted even better.

Shut Up

Shut up, shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!

I watched some of the debate last night between the two Democratic candidates and that is my response to what I saw.

What tore it for me was when they ran the video question from a snarky woman voter in Pennsylvania who asked Senator Obama why he doesn't wear a flag pin on his lapel.

She REALLY needs to shut up.

As if wearing a fucking flag pin on your lapel would qualify you for being president. Or as if not wearing one indicated your lack of love for the Greatest Country Ever In The History Of The Entire Universe With God On Its Side.

The questions posed to the candidates have gone below what they scrape from the bottom of the barrel. They're ridiculous, meaningless and reflect exactly why we have the president we have now. We obviously want a president who is no smarter than we are and with whom we would not feel uncomfortable if given the opportunity to hang out and slam a few shots and beers.
Because that's going to happen, right?
Forget all that bullshit about actually knowing something about foreign policy, the economy, the environment or health care.
Nah. That stuff is too BIG for us to understand and anyway, we have GOD on our side and His Mighty Magic Wand will be taking care of all that so let's elect a president we feel comfortable with and certainly not one who's elitist. Heaven fucking forbid.

Yeah! Let's go bowling! Let's go hunting! Let's go to church!

Oh. But not Reverend Wright's church. And by the way, Senator, do you think that Reverend Wright loves his country as much as you do?


Here's what I think- I think that Senator Clinton and Senator Obama know at this point that one of them will be the presidential nominee and the other will be the vice-presidential nominee. Has to be. And that this silly, sniping crap coming out of their mouths about each other is not going to serve them well when they're running as a team.
And they know it. You can see it in their faces and hear it in their responses.
But what can they do? Tell the media to fuck off?

Because the media is fanning these tiny fires of bullshit like frantic Survivor contestants trying
to get a fire going to cook their tasty rats on.

I've said it before and I'll say it again- why would anyone want to go through this process? Here these two obviously well-qualified and intelligent candidates are having to answer questions about their elitism-levels while McCain gets a free ride despite the fact that every time he opens his mouth about something important he gaffes another big one.

I don't know what the answer is to ending this farce of a process but perhaps spending less time on it would be a start. Looking into the faces of Clinton and Obama last night revealed two people who obviously need a month's worth of sleep.

And maybe, if everyone would just shut up, they could get it and we'd all be better off.
They could wake up, have a cup of coffee, face the results of the final primaries, join as a team and get this job done.

Because if another Republican gets in the White House, the only people who are going to come out as winners are the people who make flag pins.

Which we'll all probably be required by law to wear in our lapels.

And I'll be in Mexico, wearing a huipil, which has no lapels, sitting outside watching the sun set right off the balcony of my house. Where I'll be living. Because I can't stand this bullshit any more.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What's Yours?

The last post's title got me to thinking about "Southernisms," which I would define as usage of the English language found in the (mostly) rural south.

You know, things like "I'm fixing to go to the store."

Or even the way certain people pronounce things. Like, the way old African-American folks call their children "chirren" and their grandchildren are "grands."

I love that.

I just love my chirren and I hope someday they give me some grands.
Maybe some great-grands if I live long enough.

Here's one that I'm not sure is Southern but a real Southern man said it to me- "My give-a-damn-meter's just about at zero."
And he was quoting his daddy, so I'm pretty sure that's a genuine Southernism.

What are yours? What phrases or words make your heart happy? They don't have to be southern. They could be Mexican. Quien sabe?


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Borrowin' Trouble

I have no idea where I first heard that expression, but it's a good one, isn't it? As in, don't borrow trouble.

Good advice if you're the sort of person who can heed it. Me? Nah. I'm a world-class fretter and obsessive worrier. I have the lines on my face to prove it. If I don't have a real thing to worry about, I'll create one. I'm not just one of your wake-up-at-two-a.m.-worriers. No, I worry all day long. I come up with imaginary scenarios that take me from point A (innocuous event) to point Z (horrible, dreadful, painful, death), stopping at every point of the alphabet on the way to visit yet another horrendous part of the story that COULD happen.

And all of this is at least part of the reason that planning Lily's wedding was so stressful for me. Do you have any idea how many things can go wrong with a wedding? None of them fatal- well, mostly none- but there are so many that if you add them up, it's almost unbearable. Toss in a new pain that had me convinced that I was indeed dying of a dread disease and you'll know why I was not fit to live with for the past few weeks.

But if the people around me think it's hard to live WITH me, they should try living AS me.
It's not easy. It sucks. All this worry is so toxic and I know it and I also know it does NO good whatsoever. It's not like I actually go see a doctor about any of the pains.

Oh hell no.

But today I had a real lesson in why worrying is just fruitless. Back in February, we realized we had a leaky propane gas tank and we were advised we might have to dig the whole thing up and replace it and all the lines, too. But first, we had to completely run out of gas so the tank would be empty. So I worried for months about just that. Running out of gas. I even wrote about it here. On top of the thought of having to do without the stove and the heater and the hot water, was the idea of having to spend at least a thousand dollars to fix the situation AND having to dig up a flower bed and take out part of a fence to do it.

But, we got through the cold and we even got through the wedding cake baking and that was seriously worrisome. Truly a possible catastrophe. But it didn't happen, even though we cut it really close because last night, not thirty-six hours after the last cake came out of the oven, the gas went out. Done.

I was so relieved that we'd gotten the cakes baked though, that I wasn't too upset. It's chilly here, but I just put on an extra jacket and my husband called the guy to come and get this project started. He was going to hook up a temp tank so I knew it would okay but it was still worrisome to think of spending all the money and having to dig up half the back yard.

Well, it ended up that the very, very nice man who came to fix things actually got the leaking gas gauge off without stripping the corroded bolts and this, THIS would fix the problem. He replaced the gauge, we got more gas in the tank and I am quite literally cookin' with gas again.
No problem.
He didn't even charge us.
And guess what? We don't even have a gas hot water heater. We have an electric one.


You can't imagine the amount of psychic energy I've spent the last few months worrying about all of this. And for what?
For nothing.

I heard another expression lately which is a good one. It goes like this: don't put up your umbrella until it starts to rain.

I love that one too.
And I need to remember not to walk around all the time with my umbrella clutched in my trembling hands, up and ready for the inevitable downpour I am certain is about to occur.

It's never the things we worry about that jump out and get us. It's always something else. Or even if it's not, it has done no good whatsoever to fret and moan and make myself ill beforehand because there is little chance that all this catastrophising will change the outcome of anything anyway.

I fear however, that I was born to borrow trouble the way others are born to act or to rumble or to be wild. This doesn't mean that I can't make a conscious effort to calm my fears before they become full blown. That I can't at least try to talk myself out of pointless anxiety.

Because really, there's enough trouble in everyone's life to prevent the need for borrowing any.

Wait. I think I'm doing it again.

Step away from the umbrella, Ms. Moon. Just step away and no one will be hurt. It's a beautiful day and you don't need it.

Go take a hot bath. There's plenty of electricity.


Monday, April 14, 2008

Winding Down

Wow. It's so quiet.

Every one's gone, including Mr. Moon, off on business. And it's like sixty degrees and windy and supposed to be in the thirties (thirties!) tonight. Patchy frost possible.

Is that really possible?

I guess. We'll see.

I've spent all day slowly doing one small task after another. I've taken the trash and recycle down to the local place you do that, I've done laundry, I've straightened up the kitchen and gotten rid of small bowls of frosting. My real dog, Pearl the boxer, had a very hard time controlling herself when she saw me throw out the chocolate frosting. She stood there and drooled and I could feel her beaming me with thought rays that went like this: "Stupid human! Why are you putting the chocolate frosting in the big silver thing I can't get into? That stuff is still good! Very good! Give it to me! I will eat it. I will lick the bowl for days."

Have you heard that chocolate can kill dogs?

Yeah, me too. Guess what?

If only.

Anyway, I took the man's tux back and when I checked it in, I saw a small pink rose bud by the cash register. "Did you find that in a tux that came back today?" I asked.

"Yep. And I found three other ones, too," he said.

"Yeah. I recognize that rose bud," I told him.

Pink roses. I've got 'em all over this house. I've got four bouquets of them, hanging upside down on the porch, tacked to the wall. Reminders of the wedding are still everywhere. The bride's veil, the guest book, crystal bowls that this time yesterday had candles floating in them.

Pink and white impatiens in tiny little pots that no one wanted.

I want them. I'll plant them in my yard and they'll be Lily's little wedding garden.

It's so quiet. I went out to the garden and picked a few leaves of kale, mustard, collard and spinach and three fat onions. I haven't cooked in days but tonight I'm making soup. Later I'll take a hot bath and catch up on a little magazine reading.

Glorious peace. Glorious quiet. Glorious domesticity. Glorious normalcy. As Lily is rushing headlong into the newness and joy of being a wife (I'm a wife!), of having a husband (a husband!), I am almost giddy with the joy of returning to my boring and very satisfying daily existence.

Last night my husband said, "Maybe now I can get my wife back."

"I think I see her," I said. "She's trudging down the hill. She'll be here soon."

Not to be selfish or self-centered or anything (who, ME?) but...welcome back, me. Welcome back.

And So It Happened

It's eight-thirty in the morning, the day after the wedding. I am bleary-eyed and have blisters on my toes from the shoes I wore and I feel better than I've felt in months.
The husband is off to work and to return chairs, the cake-baker/sanity maker is still in bed. The sun is shining, the birds are twittering, my house is in chaos.
And my daughter is married.
Married, I tell you!
I have all of six pictures so far and I am feeling a bit apprehensive about posting one since none of the parties involved have okayed their use in a public forum but...oh what the hell?
It was so beautiful. The day was perfect- sunny and cool. The only hitch in the whole damn thing was that my mother thought the wedding was supposed to be at four instead of three so she showed up a little bit late but no big deal. We waited.
The ring bearer and flower girl stole the show, as I knew they would. They're my niece and nephew and the flower girl's lace gloves got in the way of petal tossing. I had to run down and take them off her because the petals just kept getting caught in the lace and she was mystified as to what to do. But it worked out.
It all worked out.
The cakes were works of art and tasted like manna. Or at least what I assume manna would taste like. The room was decorated with magnolia leaves and ivy cut from our yard as well as pink roses and gladiolas and the tiny pots of pink and white impatiens.
There was dancing and toasting.
And the highpoint of the whole thing for me (and what Lynn would have loved the most) was when the groom, who is normally a very shy and reserved young man hit the dance floor and did the dance from Michael Jackson's Billy Jean video, moon-walking and crotch-grabbing and smooth-dancing the whole way, giving me an entirely new and vast respect for him.
It was a thing of beauty.
As was the bride and her smile and the way they looked at each other while they said their vows.
My son married them, my other daughters were in the wedding party. My best friends decorated and made the cakes. There were babies and ex-husbands and old, old friends and grannies on the dance floor.
It was everything a wedding should be.

And Ms. Moon is tired. And so very happy.
Recovery will be blissful.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Still Life With Wedding Preparation

Dancing While Dizzy

I'm thinking about balance this on this glorious spring morning.
I've felt dangerously out-of-balance lately and have been spending way too much time in town, running from one end of it to another in frantic search for things for the wedding.
I don't think we're going to have to go to town today. Of course, one never knows. We could be missing some essential ingredient for one of the cake layers or piece of wedding-cake-making equipment and have to make a dash into town to get whatever it is we need.
But hopefully we'll be right here in Lloyd, perfuming the air with the sweet smells of lemon and sugar and butter and apricots and toasted almonds.
I haven't been to yoga in a week and I can feel it in my joints. I've continued to walk through this wedding-prep-madness, but the yoga has slipped through the cracks, which is one of the reasons I'm thinking about balance, which is what yoga is all about- a balance of breath and body that I certainly need to work on religiously.
I haven't been in my office in weeks- I call it an office, but really it's just a beautiful room (the original detached kitchen of this house) where I am in heaven, sitting and writing with the dogs at my feet while the squirrels and birds play outside the windows. I did spend several days weeding the yard of the office, which I love, but it's not the same as being in it, getting lost in other worlds made of words.
My whole world has definitely gone a-tilt, and necessarily so as the wedding has demanded my time and spring has demanded my attention at least a little bit, in the yard.
My routine has been altered, interrupted, diverted and that's good. Routine can become rut if allowed to. But routine can be good, too, especially if it is set up so that a balance is struck, which is what I think we all strive for, although my balance is certainly not yours.
I accompanied my mother this week on a visit to a balance clinic. For the past several months she's suffered from extreme dizziness which has certainly interrupted and diverted her life. It turns out that one of her inner ears is not functioning as well as the other, sending mixed signals to the brain which causes the dizziness and the accompanying nausea. They gave her a set of exercises to do and reassured her that the brain would indeed get adjusted and the nausea will eventually leave, which is incredibly reassuring.
It's hard not to think of her situation as a metaphor for what I'm feeling right now.
I'm getting mixed signals from the spring (get out and GARDEN!), from the fact of my daughter's imminent wedding (get busy and wrap those almonds!), from my mind which wants me to write, from my body which says please- do some yoga, and from my heart which says that all of this is important and please, just try to shuffle it all around and find some sort of balance in it, mix the worry and anxiety with the love and the fun of it all.
I'm sure that eventually, after the wedding and after things have settled down, I'll lose this feeling of constantly being off-balance, of constantly teetering on some perilous cliff.
It's just a matter of time. Life can't be balanced perfectly at all times, and the brain doesn't always have time to adjust.
Sometimes one falls on one's ass.
And if you're lucky, the fall doesn't mortally injure you, you take note of why you fell, you get up and remember to balance yourself when you reach over to pick something up.
Or reach out to do something new.
To spread your arms and embrace spring, change, new unions, more love, less sleep, less yoga.
You try to find your balance within each set of circumstances, remembering all the while that eventually the dizziness will pass, the slight, subtle signals to the brain will even out, and out of the dizziness, new thoughts will emerge, new life will come to be, and a new definition of balance can be made.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cake Baker/Sanity Maker

Lis is here. The groom cake is in the oven. All is right with the world.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I have added that stupid thing you have to do where you type in the squiggly letters to post a comment due to spam comments.
Damn it.
I apologize but really- who needs that crap?
Not me and certainly not now.

Four Days and Counting: Goodness Gracious (Not Me)

All right. We knew it had to happen. Last night something inside my brain cracked open letting out all sorts of toxic poisons, which, until then, had been safely encapsulated like some virus in a shiny shell, just biding its time for the perfect moment in the perfect host to shatter and go forth and multiply in evil.
Can't you tell just from that paragraph how far over the line I've gone?
I've lost my sense of humor about it all.
Okay- Here's a secret:
When Lily started planning this wedding sometime last year, I had harbored the dream that a comet would hit the earth before the actual event, killing off all lifeforms and thus preventing me from having to do things like put Jordan almonds in tulle bags.
Yeah, well, dreams don't always come true.
And it's time to put the Jordan almonds in the the tulle bags.
This is not the kind of mothering I'm good at. It's not the sort of womaning I'm good at. I know womaning is not a word. I don't care.
Given a choice between planning a wedding and digging a drain field I would say, "Let me go find my shovel."
My friend Lis who is coming over today keeps saying, "Oh! This is going to be so much fun!"
This is the same woman who can't believe I don't have a pastry bag and piping tips to make deviled eggs with.
I am not that kind of woman.
I am the kind of woman who can cook over an open fire. I am the kind of woman who can dig a drain field. I am the kind of woman who can receive a placenta in a bowl and examine it for missing parts. I am the kind of mother who can breastfeed and cook dinner over an open fire at the same time and then receive a placenta into a bowl and check it for missing parts. Right after I dig the drain field.
But planning and executing a wedding?
Not so much.
I keep saying that no matter how the wedding goes, the bottom line is that Lily and Jason are going to end up being married, which is the whole purpose of all this tulle and almond-wrapping and shoe-hunting. So when she called me yesterday and said that they'd forgotten to go get a marriage license, something within me died.
They still have time. They'll get it today and when they say their "I-do's" on Sunday, they will be well and legally wed. However, there is a three-day waiting period in Florida after the license is purchased, which means that they have really pushed the envelope on that one.
Do you know what that would have meant? If they really hadn't remembered in time? It would have meant that this whole thing was nothing but an exercise in some sort of tulle-wrapped illusion.
It's all going to be okay, even if the almonds don't get wrapped. Or even if they do and we forget to take them. Even if I'm barefoot at the wedding. Even if I'm barefoot and my toenails aren't painted a pretty shade of peach to match my dress.
Even if I have to walk around the reception, barefooted, with my toenails untended and bearing a clashing shade of red on only two toenails because I haven't painted them in at least three months and have to pass out the almonds directly from the box to each and every guest.
It'll be okay. I swear.
Right? Right?
As long as they get married and live happily ever after. In which case, it will have all been worth it.
Are you listening Lily?
Happily ever after.
I mean it.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

But First

The wedding is in five days.
Once again I ask- are we ready?
Once again I say- no, we are not.
And I should be doing something to further the mission RIGHT THIS SECOND and it might involve Jordon almonds and tiny tulle bags or pink and white impatiens and tiny clay pots or coordinating something with someone but....
first I need to take my ailing daughter some books to read because she's sick and HAS NO BOOKS and we're junkies and we must have books but....
first I need to tidy up the guest room because my dear friend/wedding cake baker/sanity maker is coming to town tomorrow THANK GOD but...
first I must wash the sheets and quilt on that bed but...
first I must get the beans for tonight's chili boiling and punch down the rising bread but...
first I must clean up that dried dog puke in the living room but...
first I must round up the medications to take to my daughter, Sudafed and Benadryl but...
first I must take a walk because I am not getting any skinnier and I need the sanity that comes with my walk but...
first I need to push the publish post button on this and
And speaking of but(t)s...half of mine is still black.
Thank God humans wear clothing is all I can say about that.
Thanks for listening.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Walk, Darlings, Don't Run. You'll Get There Soon Enough

Sunday morning and it's gray here and still. We got some good rain yesterday and last night, and the air is cool and damp. I can feel the trees breathing, it seems, with their brand new leaves.
Everything changes so quickly this time of year. Last Sunday the wisteria arbor was full-purple, today there's a carpet of tiny violet petals on the wet, soggy ground beneath it and the vines are leafed out with brave new green.
It's just me and the dogs here today. My husband has gone down to south Florida to visit with his sister who lost her husband in January.
Seems like I've been spending a lot of time alone lately, something that even five years ago would have seemed impossible. I still had two children at home then, still lived in town.
But in the past few years, things have changed so much. We've moved, the kids have grown up and moved out, my husband's sister died, and then his brother-in-law and my friend, Lynn, too.
And I'm not grieving, just wondering and being in wonder that so much has happened in so short a time.
It's like spring, in a way, or fall- those seasons where the changes come quickly, overnight sometimes, while in the long months of summer and of winter, it almost appears that there are no changes, that the heat or the cold will be with us forever.
When the children were little, it was like that. Every day was the same. Get up with them, change diapers, get laundry going, make breakfasts, plan my day around everyone else's schedules, whether of school or lessons or appointments or projects. There were changes, but they were so slow as to be unrecognizable.
Yet now, it's hard to remember all those years of the long summer of my life. I look back and it's fuzzy. Did we really live in one house for twelve years? I can barely recall where the refrigerator was in that house. I look at old pictures and I almost swoon at the memories. I would say it's a bittersweet experience, looking back, but for me, it's more bitter than sweet. Where did those babies go, those darling little children who let me cuddle them on my lap, read to them, their warm bodies close to mine, fat little fingers pointing at the pictures, those tiny faces raised to mine with questions, or ready to receive their good-night kisses?
I have boxes of pictures, unorganized and guilt-producing. I hate going through those boxes. Not only are my babies gone, but my beloved in-laws, my friends Sue and Lynn, both of whom are in so many of those photographs because they were in so much of my life.
And it's not just them- I look at pictures of me and my husband from years ago and I wonder where those two beautiful people went. My God! We never saw the changes and yet, here we are, suddenly old, or at least so much older.
I watch my husband walk across the yard, coming in from the garden and he walks just like his daddy did. He's not a boy anymore, although I still see the boy in him sometimes when I look into his eyes, when he holds me close.
I look at myself in the mirror and am amazed at the lines in my face that don't go away when I'm not smiling, not frowning, just holding my face still to examine it.

Strange to have all these thoughts on a day in spring, one week away from my daughter's wedding.

I wish I had some advice for her and her man, some wisdom to impart about embarking on this journey they're about to vow to make together.
I guess if I do, it would just be to try and take the time to pay attention. To be here now. To realize that within every second there is an eternity that will never reappear. That each day is one that no one can go back to, no one can do over.
Slow down. It goes so fast. They are in the spring of their lives, so much going on, so many changes. Don't try to speed it up. Don't try to race towards the summer-part. That will get here soon enough and then, it'll be gone too.
One day the wisteria arbor is filled with life so thick that you can hear it, smell it, touch it. The next, the blossoms have all dropped, the bees have disappeared.
One day the house is so filled with life that you would give anything for an hour of peace and solitude. The next, it's empty and solitude is what the day is filled with.
I'm not complaining. I still enjoy being alone, still revel in being able to plan my day around my own needs and desires.
But it's strange. And just as I can't reattach the wisteria blossoms, I can't go back to those days when the children were little and life was one frantic breath, inspired when I woke up to the sound of someone who needed me, let out when I finally was able to lie down at night.

So quiet here today I can almost hear the oaks breathe.

Another season, another part of my life. Breathe in, breathe out. The train that runs through my backyard rushes by, in a noisy hurry to get from one place to another. I observe it, I let it pass, I am going nowhere today and I am in no hurry now.
I know how swiftly it all goes.

If I know anything, that's what I know.

It goes too fast.

Friday, April 4, 2008

How To Get An Ass Like Jennifer Lopez's

So yesterday evening the husband got home with a huge bag of dog food for our huge pack of dogs and he brought his gym bag and lunch box (yes, Ms. Moon packs a lunch for her man every day) up to the kitchen porch, then went back to the car to get the dog food which he proceeded to take in via the back porch.
I went out to pick up the lunch box and gym bag to bring inside, being the good wife that I am, and somehow, in reaching for the gym bag (which must have not only rocks in it but perhaps fetal elephants), I lost my grip and tumbled backwards, landing on my ass against the bottom wooden frame of the screen door.
I'm still not exactly sure how this happened as I am no wuss, no lightweight, no Olive Oyl-armed lady. I lift weights. Not huge weights, but still.
And as I was falling, I had enough time to think, "This is so absurd. How is this happening?" which is the human response to falling prey to gravity (no pun intended), which we occasionally do.
I made a huge thump as I landed, startling the dogs into silence but of course the man heard nothing because he was in another part of the house and also his hearing is not what it used to be. You try working in a tire shop for half your life- see how much you can hear after the age of fifty.
Anyway, I sat there for a second, doing that thing where you check your bod to see what's broken or bleeding and I was happy to find that nothing seemed to be, although I knew I'd given the old ass a good whack. I got up, moaning a bit and feeling sorry for myself as well as embarrassed although no one but the dogs had witnessed my fall, grabbed the gym bag and lunch bag and hobbled inside.
In the next hour my usually flat butt became a thing of wonder, and all I could think of was that half of my ass looked much like Jennifer Lopez's celebrated and glorious bottom, although of course mine was turning colors that we really don't like to see on our own bodies and I would certainly never wish on Jennifer.
I iced and went on with the business of making supper (focaccia with tomatoes and basil) and was in very little pain. Somehow I managed not to twist anything as I came down and for that and the fact that I landed on my ass and not my tailbone I am most grateful.
There is no moral to this story. I wasn't drinking, I wasn't doing something crazy, I was simply trying to get the gym bag in the house which I would not have had to do if it hadn't been for the dog food and so I am going to blame the dogs.
Why not?
The swelling has gone down today and hopefully, by the wedding it will all be gone but if it's not, I certainly know which is my best side- the right side of my backside, to be precise- and that is the side I will turn to the camera when it is necessary to be photographed.
Dolly Parton has a new song out called Jesus and Gravity and I am now wondering if that cute little ass of hers has more to do with Jesus or gravity although I am thinking that in her case it has more to do with modern surgery, but that's a matter for another day's discussion.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

It Must Be Spring

Golly. Yesterday's post was so grim. Sorry. Really. I don't know what came over me.
But today's another day and I'm not thinking about death as I sit on my back porch, the dogwood by the train track still in full-bloom glory shining through the mist.
It's spring here for sure and the mosquitoes are back in full and the last few nights I've heard the deepest rumbling chorus of frogs in the swamp behind us. It SOUNDS like they've got enough members in that men's choir to eat every mosquito on earth but I guess they don't because every night before bed my husband spends at least ten minutes, jumping around the room with a folded-up newspaper whacking the hell out of the ones on the wall who have crept in and are waiting to suck our blood as we sleep.
Last night he got so sprightly with that newspaper that the smallest dog, Zeke, ran out of the room and hid in the hallway, thinking that surely the giant man would come after him next.
Ah- the rituals of spring. The birds mate, the flowers bloom, the goats next door give birth and my husband whacks mosquitoes.
It's all good.
The wedding is now only ten days away and I'll say it again- we are not ready. I still haven't bought shoes. At the bridal shower, I told my daughter's future mother-in-law that if she went barefoot, I would too.
I believe she thought I was joking.
But no, I wasn't. I was drinking, however. Which doesn't negate the fact that I was trying to broker a no-shoes deal for real.
Of course shoes aren't the only things we haven't gotten yet, but we're getting there. My second-oldest child who is a bridesmaid just found her dress yesterday. I made the mistake of calling her and asking if she had a glue gun while she was shopping for the dress. We needed the glue gun for a whole different project that Lily was coming out to work on that night which involved one-hundred flower pots, ribbons, and heart charms.
"No, I don't have a glue gun!" my daughter said with a bit more hysteria in her voice than lack of a glue gun might require.
I made the mistake of asking if she could go buy one and she said (screamed), "Yes, yes! I can go buy a glue gun!"
"Honey. You sound stressed out," I said. "Are you okay?"
"No. I AM stressed out. And you are stressing me out more!"
For this child, that was like a full-on-breakdown Mama cussin' but it just tickled me that she'd come back at me the way she'd done.
"It's okay," I reassured her. "Don't worry. We'll get along without it."
"Okay!" she said (screamed).
She called me back about a half hour later to apologize.
"I'm so sorry. I'd been trying on dresses for three and a half hours and..."
"Say no more," I said. "I'm surprised you didn't reach through the phone and rip my throat out."
And we laughed and I pondered the way this wedding has got every one of us caught up in the whirlwind of planning and execution and if we don't keep a sense of humor about it, we're all going down.
So Lily and her man came out last night and I fed them and they finished up the flower-pot project and then my husband and her almost-husband went outside and kicked the bamboo which is another spring ritual. We have some terrible-bad bamboo and if you don't kick those new sprouts coming up they will turn into fourteen foot stalks overnight. It's like a horror movie.
I'm really developing a huge respect for this fella, this man Lily's marrying. He ties bows on flower pots and he kicks the bamboo and he really, really loves my daughter and they're being so pragmatic about plans for buying a house in a good school zone and besides that, he has really pretty eyes, sort of like Elvis and maybe I'll get a grandchild with eyes like that.
It's spring. We're having a wedding. Some of us may not be wearing shoes but that's okay.
Lily's got a man who is willing to take on the responsibilities of marriage and future children and I've got a man who smacks the mosquitoes and kicks the bamboo.
Who could ask for more?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

That Which Offends Us

When did people get so easily offended?
Yesterday on the Dooce blogsite, Heather Armstrong linked a site that very artistically showed portraits of people before and after their deaths. One of her readers had been deeply offended by the link and wrote Ms. Armstrong to tell her that. By the time I read the blog, there were over five hundred comments and what amazed me was how many of the people who'd taken the time to go to the site had never seen a dead person. Most of them were not offended- the pictures were, if anything, way too artistic and the dead had been composed to look peaceful and hardly dead at all.
But it really got me to thinking about what offends us and why.
Then this morning I read Jonah Goldberg's column in the local paper wherein he stated that he was deeply offended by those little Darwin fish on the backs of cars. Instead of interpreting them, as I do, as witty responses to those Christian magnet fish, he finds them evidence of religious bigotry.
Good Lord!
It seems to me that we find everything offensive these days from Doonesbury comic strips to the sight of a woman breastfeeding her infant and I think it's because we are so removed from the very realities of life that make us human beings. Somehow one person's take on current events or the idea that yes, mammals feed their young with their breasts makes some of us squirm. We don't want to think about things. We find them offensive.
Like death.
Why can't we grow up and quit being offended by the truth? Or even someone else's version of it. If it's not true, why should it bother us? If it is, let's face it.
"You can't handle the truth," Jack Nicholson said in that stupid movie with Tom Cruise. And I admit that there are many truths I don't want to face and can't handle. This doesn't make me a better human being though, or a deeper thinking one or a more compassionate one.
It makes me a dumbed-down ostrich willing to stick my head in the sand.
But at least I know that. And I'm sick and tired of do-gooders trying to censure anything from print to TV that might offend someone because the truth is, we're a big bunch of pussies as a society and it's getting to the point where everything has the potential to offend someone. I am not advocating cruelty here. I'm just saying that taking offense at a bumper sticker is a big fat waste of time but looking into the face of a dead person is facing a very real truth and makes us realize how very short and precious life is which shouldn't be offensive at all.
Words that can sound offensive must be used if we are to deal with the very real problems of homelessness, racial discrimination, poverty and sexual abuse. Trying to eliminate these words actually eliminates our being able to discuss them and do something about them.
So I guess what I'm saying here is that I am offended by people being so damn offended by stupid things. Or what I consider to be stupid, anyway.
As one nurse commented on Heather's blog, we come into this world pretty funky and we go out the same way. As far as I can tell, life itself is a pretty funky business and although we may not want to think about that, it's just the truth.
Let's quit being offended by the funk and get in there and clean it up. Let's quit being so squeamish and silly.
Let's try to save our getting offended by the things that deserve it.
We all, in our hearts, know what those things are.
The life and death things. Not the bumper sticker things.
Let's quit getting distracted from the things we should be offended by. It's a waste of time that we don't have.
Want to be reminded of this? Check out the web site and read the text that accompanies the pictures.
Unless you're offended by the stories and pictures of the dying and dead.
In which case, please don't. It's really okay to go on believing you'll live forever because if you do, you'll have plenty of time to be offended by anything you want to be offended by. Including bumper stickers.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

With My Friend's Permission

Here's that handsome Marine.
Bless his heart. Oh yeah.