Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I Love You

Strange picture, don't you think? Kind of sweet and kind of creepy, all at the same time.

Sort of like New Year's itself.

We tremble on the edge of one sliver of time and then dive off it into another, like stradling the crescent moon or something. Of course it's all man-made and as I said in last year's New Year's post, we had to invent time and clocks and calenders so we'd all get to your dentist appointments at the appropriate moment. But it's one of those things that as a culture we agree to pretend exists and so we all live by it, Eastern Standard Time, Pacific Mountain Time, Whatever Time.

All I know is that we like to think in chunks and blocks of time and this chunky block of 2008 is about to come to an end and GOOD FUCKING RIDDANCE!

Oh, 2008 had its great moments. My daughter Lily getting married to her man, Jason, giving us a new son to play with. And we do love to play with Jason. So that was a happiness.

And Obama got elected and I still catch myself shaking my head sometimes and thinking, "Really? The United States did that? Who knew?"

And we must admit it was an entertaining year, what with the election and all. Who could have dreamed up Sarah Palin? Not me and I have a good imagination.

And of course there was the joy of knowing that 2008 was the very last full year that George Asshole Moron Total Idiot Fuckhead Bush would be president. Sort of like the joy of knowing that labor would someday be over, but without the option of an epidural.

But it was also the year that I lost my mind and I'm still sweeping the floor and trying to gather all the scattered pieces of it, then sitting here with a bottle of super glue, attempting to figure out which piece goes where. Let me say this- it's never a good sign after you reassemble something to find extra parts leftover. Or big gaping wholes where parts are obviously still missing.
But I'm working on it. It's an ongoing project.

I made some new friends this year and that has been a blessing and one I did not expect at this advanced stage of the game.

Mr. Moon still seems to like me okay and that's the sort of blessing I can't even begin to fit my heart around. I was thinking the other day how each and every thing that happens to us as a couple takes on new meaning and depth, the older we grow. When you're young, it would seem that you have billions of years before you and so why bother cherishing the tiny moments that really, in retrospect, make up the whole of a goodness? As you age, you realize the weight and meaning of it all and know that it will not go on forever because we will not go on forever. Some days those things are almost too weighty to bear and I think this may be why some couples start doing a drifting apart-thing as they age. It's like a practice for when the inevitable endtime comes.

I'd rather not do that. I'd rather collect the tiny stones until my pockets rip. There's no way to prepare for some things so why try? I'm just trying to appreciate it all.

My Lynn died this year and that was a blessing in its way. I still see her dancing with her long hair flying behind her, her arms raised up to the sky and so, for me at least, she is.

My kids are all doing well. Some of them have made some giant, huge, brave steps and jumped over their own personal Walls of China or maybe even mountain ranges that put the Himalayas to shame, and let me tell you something- I am in awe. I knew when my first child was born that my schooling had now begun and I was right but I had no idea the amount of learning I'd be doing from my children. So they, as always, are right at the top of my joy, my blessings.

And here I am, about to celebrate New Years with my man and two of the best friends anyone could ever have, right here in Lloyd, Florida in the house I love which has offered itself as my home for almost five years now and I couldn't feel any more blessed about that. Big Lou and Mr. Moon are going to grill us some grouper and we'll eat oysters and shrimp and cocktail crab claws and whatever else Maxine and I cook up on that new stove of mine.
And tomorrow there will be black-eyed peas and greens and cornbread and sitting on the porch and taking it easy, having made the sharp slide into 2009.

And there's not much else to say except to hope that Barack Obama is the man he appears to be and that he surrounds himself with sage and powerful thinkers and moves through his term with eyes wide open, ears too. And that he faces the truths of the messes we're in with a courageous heart and has the wisdom and power to help us face them while he tries to untangle with wicked webs which have been woven over the past eight years.

We're all going to need courage and wisdom and we're going to have to be innovative and adaptable and we're going to have to replace a lot of priorities and I hope we're up to that because it's high time.

And one more thing- if you're a reader of this blog of mine, I'd like to thank you from the very bottom of my heart. Some days, this blog is what gets me out of bed. I'm serious. And if you've never left a comment, I wish you would, just to say hello. It would be more than swell if I heard from some of the people who come here, read, and silently slip away. I would be more than grateful to hear a little hello from some of you. And for those of you who do comment regularly and who write your own blogs, please know that you have bouyed me up on your shoulders and given me the strength and humor and wisdom that I've needed to help me get on with life so many times I can't even begin to express my gratitude.

No man is an island and this woman certainly is not.

I know for sure that I would not have made it through this past year without my family, my friends, and this blog. And by this blog I mean _you_.

And so to you I say:
Get ready. Check your wings, get your battleaxes and horns in place. It's almost time to jump.

Be safe. Soar high. Be sweet.

Bless our hearts.

See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Real Pirates Eat Apples

Well, luckily for all concerned, the pirate made his drunken way out of the Dog House before Mr. Moon returned from fishing. Mostly luckily for Mr. Pirate, I would say as Mr. Moon could have kicked his ass.

Oh wait. Mr. Pirate didn't have an ass.

But he was fun, nonetheless. He and I, drinking rum in the middle of the afternoon, him perching on my shoulder and pretending to scowl whenever I'd reach over to kiss his bristly cheek.
Yeah. Good times.

It was good times on the island. The weather was purely perfect although three types of biting insects were present, all intent on sucking our blood. The mosquitoes, the no-see-um's, as well as the horrendously quick biting flies. We got one really fine sunset but I think our camera's broken because there's not one picture from it on there. Perhaps Mr. Moon uploaded them to his computer. I do not know.

We ate some fish and took a good walk and we slept. A LOT. I didn't know we were capable of sleeping eleven consecutive hours but it would seem that we are. That was strange but I suppose we're the better for it.

But anyway, we're back in Lloyd, the dogs are still alive (sigh) and Mr. Moon has already changed his fishing persona into his hunting persona and is off for deer. He's a busy man, that Mr. Moon. He spent a lot of time yesterday fixing the screens on the back porch at the island and he did his usual great job. He can do anything. I swear. After he got the new stove hooked up before we left for the island, he said, "You didn't believe me when I told you I could do it, did you?" and I said, "Honey, the only time I don't believe you is when you tell me you CAN'T do something."

So I'm back home and glad to be. Dog Island is probably one of the most beautiful places on earth and has the sort of quiet peacefulness that people pay the giant big bucks to experience but I must admit that I get a bit antsy there. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I do. And even though I did sage the place when I got in (which I do NOT believe in, really, I don't, but what the fuck?) I still felt a bit of the old crazy-shadow falling on me now and then and I'm struggling a little. We had some great, great moments which made the whole trip worth it. One of them was the dolphin we saw coming in this afternoon and another was the way the Gulf water felt on my feet during our walk two days ago. And I did curl my toes in the sand and it felt wonderful.

But still, I'm glad to be home.

I need to take the Christmas tree down which should take about ten minutes and I need to put the rest of the decorations away and I need to do laundry. But it's good to have chores. That's part of the problem at the island- you think it would be heaven not to have bothersome things to do but really, it's the bothersome things which make the moments not involved in those bothersome things more fun.

We stopped by our neighbors' house on the island on our way out and they said, "Oh, it's the most beautiful day yet, we can't believe you're leaving!" and I said, "Well, it's always the most beautiful day when you leave, plus we'll be going to Lloyd and that does not suck either."

And it doesn't. I'm glad to be back, watching that stupid guinea hen next door trying to figure out how to get back into her pen and I'm glad to see the way the light is shining through the Spanish Moss on the oak trees. I guess I'm even glad to see these damn dogs.
And I'm glad to be able to brush my teeth with water that comes from the faucet and I'm glad to have my wireless back.

The other day I sent a friend a picture of some camellias I'd picked on my walk that are in the yard of an abandoned house. I asked him if it doesn't make him a little bit sad to think about such beautiful flowers growing where no one can see them? He replied that it shouldn't, unless you're looking for a reason to be sad, which made a lot of sense so I'm not going to be sad that a glorious sunset is cooking up behind the house on the island without me to see it.

La-di-dah and I am not the center of the universe and camellias can be beautiful without anyone to see them and so can sunsets and I'm mighty glad for the ones I got to see and I'm mighty glad to be here in Lloyd where the sky turns colors too, but tonight I'll be thinking of that night sky down at the island where the stars are so thick they're like sprinkles in a Christmas cookie, only more so, so much, much more so, and brighter by far.

I have the memories, I have the now.
And that's okay with me.

Monday, December 29, 2008

You Ain't Never Partied....

'Till you've partied with a pirate.
(That'll teach Mr. Moon to go off and leave me to go fishing.)
Yo-ho-ho, y'all.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Going Back To The Island

Well, it's two days past Christmas and the temperatures here in North Florida are in the seventies and Mr. Moon has decided to take some time off and so we're going to the island.

I haven't been there since August when I completely lost my mind, my sanity, my shit. Not a good time in my life. In fact, one of the most horrible. And I, not being a person who believes strongly in facing her fears, am having a bit of anxiety about going back.

How am I going to feel when I open that door to see the place where I walked the floors endlessly in panic? To see the way the light falls on the bed where I curled up into the tightest ball imaginable, trying desperately to make a smaller target for the demons who were torturing me? To walk along the bay and the Gulf where I walked so far and long everyday, trying to outwalk the panic, the demons, the fear and crazy?
Listen- Dog Island is not big enough for that particular exercise in futility.

I don't know.
I only know that here we are in Florida with this beautiful place to go on an island where pine trees offer homes to the osprey who wheel and soar across the sky above the bay and then dive down from incredible heights to snatch a fish with their talons and then rise again to fly to the nest, their prey alive and wide-eyed to find themselves flying through air, not water.

A place where there is nothing to do but read and write and play cards and walk and sit on the bay at sunset and watch the sky turn pink and orange and golden and purple. Where on quiet days you can hear the sound of the Gulf from across the island as it slaps itself against the sand, over and over and where the wind whistles through the dunes, the pine trees, the sea oats, the wild rosemary.

I want to go. I am afraid to go.

It will be different this time. I have medication, my man, and I am not swimming in that darkness alone. I am not swimming in that same darkness at all.

I have begun a new book (writing, not reading) and it's enchanting me and I feel like a woman who's just taken a pregnancy test and found it to be positive but who is yet afraid to trust the result. I can sit at old Captain Farnsworth's desk and write on it or on the back porch in a rocker, sitting on two pillows with another in my lap to hold my baby Mac on.

I can. I can. I can.

I can do this.

Even if I'm afraid, I can. A feeling is just a feeling. It can be replaced with a different feeling. Light can enter a pierced heart. Early morning light, soft and rosy, late evening light, powerful and golden.

I'll report in IF I can access via the dial-up, which is always a tricky and excruciatingly slow thing to do.

And I'll be back on Tuesday of next week because Big Lou and Maxine are coming to celebrate the New Years with us and Maxine wants us to dress up in velvet and lace and it's always, always a celebration with Big Lou and Maxine.

But right now I have to pack up the ice chest and decide which overalls to take and water the plants and oh, honey, don't forget the Lexapro and remember to grab your sunglasses.

It's time to go to the island. It's time to be happy there again.

God, I wish I had some sage.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Let's Make Soup

Mr. Moon is in the process of taking out the old stove and installing the new one and since I started writing this, about forty-five minutes ago, I've been called into service several times to help with a door or to tilt the old stove up onto the dolly and of course he asked if I wanted to clean under where the stove was and of course I replied, "Of course I want to clean," as if I really did but of course I did not. What good does it do to remove the detritus of one stove's life right before a new one is to be put in its place? But it's one of those things that must be done and I wished I'd found a diamond ring back there, but I didn't. I did find sixteen cents and a Sam Adams Light beer cap.

It will be nice to start the new year with a new stove, especially since in my life, the kitchen is the heart of my home and the stove is the heart of the heart and so it's appropriate to sweep up under the old in preparation for the new which is why, at the end of an old year, we think back as we are looking ahead.

It's coming up on the anniversary of my friend Lynn's death and I'm feeling that today. A year ago I was consumed with thoughts of her, watching her fade so quickly after so long an illness. I knew her time was coming to leave us and I wanted freedom for her but still, it was hard. All the chores and setting-right that need to be done before a new year begins is of nothing compared with what Lynn had to do and with what those of us who loved her were required to do. She had to pack up and go and we had to help. And as much as you pray for a loved one to be released when her being here is no longer a viable option, it is so very, very difficult to hold her hand at the station and help her onto the train when you know this journey is not one she'll ever return from.

So 2008 began with all of that, watching her get ready and then go. And my brother-in-law died and I suppose those two events were the beginnings of my dive into the murky, terrifying waters of insanity. A slow, slow dive off a very high cliff which took months and then, when I finally found myself in those roiled and rocky waters, I had no idea which way to swim to find solid ground beneath my feet and everything around me and inside of me felt shark-filled and turbulent and dark.

Thank god I did get help, some I asked for, some came unbidden and thus was even more blessed. There has been light, there have been calm waters but sometimes I still look up and see that place I fell from and it scares me. I suppose I'm doing a bit of that now.

I wish I could sweep all the detritus left behind from that fall away from my heart and replace it all with something new. More courage, renewed faith, a willingness to tread a little closer to the edge sometimes without the fear of falling overwhelming me and sending me back to safety.

I wonder what I'll cook on my new stove first. Probably, knowing me, something I've cooked a million times before like a pot of soup and a loaf of bread. But also, knowing the way I cook, that soup and that bread will not be exactly like any other soup or bread I've ever made. There will be differences.

And this year coming up will be somewhat the same. There will be surprises and there will be comforting samenesses.
A new year but the same life.

I just checked and the stove is ready to fire up. The floor where it will sit is clean and is ready to receive it.

I want this old heart of mine to be clean and ready to receive this new year and what ever it brings to this old life.

Bless our hearts. Let's go turn on the flame and see how these new burners work. We're still here and we're still living and we all need to eat. Let's throw out all that holiday fat and sugar and make a pot of soup that nourishes our souls AND our bodies. Let's go through that refrigerator and drag out the things we need to toss and find the things we can use to make that nourishing soup.

It's all in there. The good and the bad. It's up to us to decide what we want to keep and what we want to get rid of.

Let's make soup. The new year is coming. We need to get ready.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

We Made It

Well, believe it or not, that's me at 1:07 pm on Christmas Day.
Wearing my beautiful new earrings. Sitting in my office. Wearing a long-sleeved t-shirt and thinking maybe I should go change because oh, well, it's a bit warm today.
Lovely warm.
And it's been a lovely Christmas.
Yes! Call Ripley's. I've gotten through Christmas without losing my shit or going insane or weeping or gnashing my teeth or wondering if I have a single-edged razor blade.
Well, in the last twenty hours or so, at least.
Which is, in fact, a real Christmas Miracle.

Here we were last night, Mr. Moon and I wearing our formal Christmas Eve holiday wear, having a kiss while enjoying our delicious Christmas Eve supper of tamales, pinto beans, collard greens, chicken salad, pico de gallo and guacamole.
I mean, how can you beat that?
Well, besides an entire dinner made of bacon but really, that would be crazy.
And then we played our new game, called the Game of Things, which I highly recommend. I tell you what- this game will give you insights into your nearest and dearest that you just would not have gotten any other way.
Well, unless you did acid with them or something but we're not THAT insane.
Maybe next year.

And then, of course, the stockings were hung with care and we all posed for pictures and this one was taken by The Spaniel so that's why he's not in the picture. Also because his beauty would outshine everyone else's and that wouldn't be fair. But we're pretty cute, aren't we?

After Santa attended to his chores Mr. Moon and I went to bed and fell asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillows while the children stayed up and did whatever it is they do after we go to bed. I think Downtown Guy made all his Christmas presents between 1 and 5 am. They're swell Christmas presents, too.

And then we all got up and I made the feast and we ate it and then we unwrapped presents and then everyone made to-go bags of cookies and fruitcake and tamales and chicken salad and went on their way to other festive destinations. Except for HoneyLuna who is still here and Mr. Spaniel who is back asleep as he had to work a double yesterday and is somewhat exhausted.

There is probably going to be a nap in my future today, too.

And that is that.

Christmas 2008 is, for the most part, over. And we kept it small and we kept it fun and I am so grateful not to be in the depths of depression and feeling blessed beyond all measure. Not because of my presents, which were pretty great, but because of all those people you see in that picture above. My babies, my loves, my heart. All here. All healthy. All shining, glorious people who came home to spend the night on Christmas Eve with their mama and their daddy.

And now it's Christmas Day and Lloyd is quiet and there are birds singing outside and my dog Buster is lying on the rug in my office, snoring softly and I'm not feeling guilty or weird or freaked out. Just plain old content.

And there's nothing wrong with that.
Nothing at all.
In fact, it's so not-wrong that I would wish the same for everyone.

That and a nap.

Merry Christmas, y'all. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

So It's Been A Good Day

This is the official Moon Chicken Salad. (Don't tell my husband- I put onions in it which is some sort of Moon Sacrilege.)


Don't they sort of look like titties? Who couldn't use a nice, sweet Christmas titty? (That's not a sacrilege, right?)

Venison, spices, peppers, herbs. Uh-huh.

Tags made and glittered.

Now if I were Martha Stewart, I'd have taped a week's worth of programs, planted a rose garden and thrown a cocktail party, too.

But I'm not Martha. I'm just Ms. Moon. And I'm exhausted.

But pretty happy.

Start Grinding That Nutmeg, Start Simmering That Cider

Well, here it is. The day before Christmas Eve and as John and Yoko asked, "What have you done?"

And the answer to that question is, "Not much."

Yesterday, YESTERDAY, I decided it would be a good idea to bake two kinds of cookies and a fruit cake. Hey. No fruit cake jokes. You've never had my fruitcake. It's awesome. It makes you want to go off into a closet and eat the whole damn thing by yourself, maybe taking one small dog with you to eat the crumbs which spray from your lips, your eyes closed in ecstasy, your fingers digging into the cake- who needs a fork? Yep. It's that good.

So, the cookies and the fruitcake. And how, Ms. Moon, you may ask, are you going to bake these holiday confections? I thought your oven was kaput.

Well, it still bakes although it takes an eternity to preheat and it does, yes, smell slightly of gas. Mr. Moon located a new range yesterday at a close-out price and we will be taking possession of it shortly. But until it has been brought home and hooked up by a gas-professional, I will be limping along with the old one here and by golly, if I made it work for a forty-four pound turkey, I can make it work for two measly batches of cookies and one damn five-pound fruitcake.
No fruitcake jokes!

And yes, we are having venison tamales. So I must crockpot that deer meat today with spices and peppers. And of course we have to have the traditional Moon Christmas Eve Chicken Salad (don't ask me why) and so I need to cook the chicken and check the cabinets to see how much Miracle Whip I have because oh, my children, this chicken salad requires a great deal of Miracle Whip. Perhaps the chicken salad IS the Christmas miracle, what with all that delightful, tangy whip of miracles in it.

So. Bake the cookies and the fruitcake. Get the venison in the crockpot. Boil the chicken. Check on Miracle Whip.

On to presents. Like regrets, yes, I have a few. I have not wrapped one. Not one. And since I bought so few gifts, I thought I'd make the tags for them myself, just to make each one a little more special and so the table on the back porch is strewn with tiny pictures of the Virgin of Guadalupe cut from an old calender and that's as far as I've gotten with that project.

So. Bake the cookies. And the fruitcake. Prepare the tamale filling. Boil the chicken. Look for Miracle Whip. Make the tags, wrap the presents.

Are you with me?

On to the present I have not finished working on because I am making it by hand and oh yes, I decided on this one about four days ago. Uh-huh. I need to sit in front of the TV and watch old Christmas movies and work on it. Lovely hours of enforced old movie watching while finishing the present. Sounds lovely, lovely, lovely.

Uh. When? How?

I was going to work on it last night after play practice but instead I wrote that really horrible poem about peeing in our holiday pants. And here's the really scary thing: I had not had so much as a drop of liquor when I wrote it! NOT ONE DROP! Sober as a judge I was. I should be ashamed to admit that but it is two days before Christmas and I have no shame. None at all.

So. Time to chop candied and dried fruits and nuts. Time to boil meats. Time to get out the glue and the glitter. Time to cream butter and sugar and eggs. Time to preheat the oven if I want to bake within the next 24 hours. Time to sit and sew.

Time to take three minutes and twenty-nine seconds to watch this:

I just did and my heart is happier for it.

So here I go, off to do my chopping and creaming and sewing and glittering and I get to do it all in this house that I love which is warm and cozy and tomorrow all my kids will come out and spend the night and hang the stockings and eat fruitcake and I am grateful. So damn grateful.

I survived this year. And we're about to have a new one.

Let's hope it's a good one.

Without any fear.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Little Holiday Poem From Ms. Moon

Let us dance and let us prance
Let us pee our holiday pants.
Let us sing and wear our bling
Let our croaky voices ring.
Let us eat our venison meat
Let our tamales be wrapped neat and sweet.
Let us all be happy and gay
At least if the Lord made us that way.
Let us remember that it's all about light
Let us all get a non-stop flight.
Let us pay and pay and pay
Let us play and play and play.
Let us think of every baby
Each one a Jesus, probably, maybe.
Let us visit the malls and survive
Let our online gifts arrive.
Let us sleep both well and warm
Let us be free of strife and harm.
Let our dreams be sweetly serene
Or if we'd rather, let 'em be obscene.
Let it snow and let it rain
Let us catch that outbound train.
Let our hearts be merry and bright
Let us not fuss, fume or fight.
Let us kiss under the mistletoe
Let us grab love and never let go.
Let our family be who they are
Let us be blessed both near and far.
Let us sing and let us prance
Let us pee our holiday pants.

An Artist's Mind

Last night I got an e-mail from the world of people who get out and do things. A friend of mine is in New Orleans and as is his wont, he has been going out and looking at art. He sent me links to an artist who has captured his attention and now, looking at those pictures, the artist has captured mine too. And my attention and perhaps my heart.

His name is Douglas Bourgeois.

Here's a painting of his entitled The Virgin Of Guadalupe At Dusk:

And another called St. Anthony Appears To Tony:

And one more (I'm sorry, I just can't stop) called The Refrigerator:

And looking at these paintings I'm finding it hard to be snarky about anything. I wish I was looking at them in real life with those colors, that incredible detail, that amazing dreamy imagery. It's as if Frida Kahlo has come back to life and is living in Lousiana and I want to wrap myself up in every bit of Mr. Bourgeois' mind that he has transmitted into oil and be still and humble and grateful for that mind.

I want to shut up and be in wonder.

And so I will.

The painting at the top of the page is entitled Darkness Into Light.

That is my dream and wish for all of us today and perhaps for every day. It's as good a dream as any. It's as good a wish as any. Better than most, I think.


Sunday, December 21, 2008


I have no idea why, but those numbers popped into my head this morning. Those were the "ideal" measurements for a woman back when I was a child. How do I know that? Well, because we were told that ALL THE TIME.

It seems to me that every TV show from Petticoat Junction to the Dean Martin show had so slip in those numbers in reference to a young woman at some point. And every contestant in the Miss America or Miss Universe had her measurements announced as she high-heeled it down the runway in her bathing suit.

And when I think about that now, it just seems so ODD.

Mr. Moon and I were watching an old Andy Griffith show episode the other day and it was one where Andy was dating Miss Peggy. Now Andy didn't exactly refer to her measurements, but he did refer to her as a "fine lookin' WO-min," and she was. And I'll bet you that her measurements were indeed 36-24-36. At least when she had on a girdle, a bra, and stockings which I do believe she was wearing under her blue jeans and checked shirt when she went fishin' with the boys.
Not only was Miss Peggy a fine lookin' WO-min, she could fish like a man. Except for that part with the worms. She wasn't so great with the worms. But then again, what little woman is?

And I only bring all of this up because even though a lot has not changed in how women are treated in our society (just go watch ten minutes of MTV, or actually, don't), at least the measurements of a woman's chest, waist and hips is not generally discussed by others in polite society. Or on sitcoms and variety shows, as the case may be.

I remember feeling, even as a little girl, that these discussions of the sacred numbers were somehow demeaning and dirty. They objectified women in a way that was just creepy. And I somehow knew that I was never going to be a 36-24-36 type of women without profound undergarmenting and I also knew that was not going to happen. Girdles, like the measurements they helped to artificially create, were torturous and cruel.

And taking a woman down to the lowest common denominator- those three numbers- was torturous and cruel as well. And yet, it never seemed to occur to the men discussing those numbers that it was demeaning and weird to define a fellow-human being by her breast, waist and hip inches.

Here's another thing: 36-24-36 was like the really-pretty-girl-next-door's measurement. But a real ooh-la-la woman might have measurements like 42-22-35. The breast size was allowed to get bigger and the waist and hip measurements were allowed to be smaller but never bigger. Ever. And when the breast measurements got bigger, it was just assumed that the woman's "sex drive" (yeah, that's what they used to call it) rose proportionately. So if you were blessed with ginormous titties, then you were no doubt hot! hot! hot!

Seriously. This was a commonly held belief.

Which is still probably commonly held or else the plastic surgery industry would not be what it is today.

BUT at least we sort of pretend that what goes on in a woman's head is as least as important as what her breast-waist-hip measurements are. And at least little girls watching TV aren't being told that those three numbers are more important than the numbers she'll get on her SAT scores someday. And little boys aren't either.

Which is just as important when you get right down to it.

Biology being what it is, men will always take as a first impression of a woman the relative shape and size of her body parts. But I don't think that's the end-all and be-all of what they take away from that first impression. And at least women aren't expected to come in the one-size-fits-all scheme of things. We only need to look at the glorification of Jennifer Lopez to realize that.

Big butts can be gorgeous. Tiny breasts can be perfect. Women, like men, come in all shapes and sizes and there is room for all in the eye-of-the-beholder and his or her definition of beauty.

Things are changing. Not fast enough and the way Hillary's appearance during the campaign was constantly discussed is proof enough of that but at least the idea of a woman being president is one that is now taken as not only possible but inevitable and in the near future, perhaps.

Hopefully. And hopefully someday the exact numbers on a tape measure will be held for what they are- only good at defining what size jeans and bras we wear, not as defining how desirable we are or how sexual we are or any damn other thing.

Because women are complex creatures and trying to reduce us down (another pun!) to three numbers is ridiculous as well as wrong.

Dean Martin, bless his soul, is dead. Not sure about Miss Peggy. But I'll bet you that if she's alive, she still may not like to handle worms but she for damn sure isn't wearing a girdle under her blue jeans.

And that she's still a fine lookin' WO-min, no matter what her measurements are. Although I bet she still can't cook as well as Aunt Bee could. Wonder what Aunt Bee's measurements were?
Funny. No one ever discussed that.
They just talked about her biscuits.

But she was old and so her measurements didn't matter at all.

But that's a whole 'nother topic for a whole 'nother day.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

And Goodwill To All

Mr. Moon and I took the convertible up to Thomasville today, driving down the back roads through Medart and Miccosukee and it was a gray day but when we stopped for coffee, the guy at the convenience store was so nice, as he always is, and he made fresh coffee for us.

I had one of those moments on the drive where I felt perfectly and utterly at peace. No niggling or nagging of my soul was going on, or if it was, it was under the radar-type niggling and I couldn't detect it. I reached over and rubbed Mr. Moon's neck very softly with just my fingertips and he smiled at me and my prayer was this:
Don't ever die. Do not ever die.

I was perfectly content and perfectly happy with no schedule, no expectations, just traveling down a country road with my man in a noisy blue car with the top down.

We got to Thomasville and started a bit of downtown shopping in the fancy stores but we were suddenly hit with hunger, and despite the fact that we'd decided not to go back to the All-you-can-eat-'til-you-bust-good-Southern-cooking restaurant, we did anyway.

And we didn't eat until we busted but we ate too much, as always when we go there. After I ate, I ended up spilling all my change on the ground and hitting myself with the door and I just felt drunk on something- carbohydrates? Animal fat? Whatever.

Let's GO, I said, I need to get out of here and we did and we are not going back for awhile. I promise you.

Mr. Moon took me to the Thomasville Goodwill which used to be a font of finds for me. It's an indication of the downward slide of the economy in that I can't find the fine labels I used to there and I suspect that the well-off ladies of Thomasville are taking their clothing to the consignment shops, rather than donating them to Goodwill because there were an awful lot of Walmart brand clothes on the racks and hell, the way the prices are at Goodwill now, it's almost as cheap to buy Walmart clothes at Walmart.
But I did find a picture I like and I bought it. Mr. Moon doesn't care for it but I told him that wasn't the point. I did. It has magnolia blossoms in a bowl. How can you not like a picture of magnolia blossoms in a bowl?

We went back downtown where all the fancy stores are and all I can say is although Goodwill definitely is showing signs of the recession, the downtown area is all What recession?

All sorts of SUVs were represented there such as the Mercedes SUV, the Range Rover and Land Rover SUV's, etc. And people were appearing to buy the lovely and expensive merchandise that Mr. Moon and I were only looking at. I tried to talk him into a set of Spode hunting-themed dinner ware for our hunting camp but he just looked at me and said, "What hunting camp?"
Then he got it and said, "Oh, the Georgia hunting camp at the plantation. Right." And man, that Spode would have looked damn good with grilled quail and cheese grits on it. And angel biscuits. Uh-huh.

But we didn't even buy a tureen for soup or collard greens and not even so much as a gravy boat but passed it all up and we did buy coffee. Mr. Moon and I love the coffee.

We drove home and I did air-tricks with my hand and arm out the window as we rushed down the highway and now we're home and the sun is setting and the rooster is crowing next door to tell us that fact. I suppose. Roosters just love to crow. That's what they do.

Just like Mr. Moon and I love to get in the convertible and drive the back roads and look at the old houses and pine trees and let the wind rush around us and smile at each other. We saw this other old middle-aged couple on two trike bikes (I forget what they're really called) when we stopped for gas and Mr. Moon said, "They think they look cool."
"We think we look cool, too," I pointed out, and we laughed.

Pretty soon I'll heat up some leftovers and we'll eat them on our old Goodwill china which is NOT Spode but pretty, nonetheless, and we'll be happy. Spaghetti is always better on the third day than it was on the first.

We didn't get one damn thing accomplished today but we didn't give a damn, either. It's December 20th and I'm wearing a tank top and I'm not chilly at all. I have to remind myself that Christmas is in five days. I guess I'll go plug in the Christmas tree and we'll play some cards on the porch, being glad to have had this easy day, smiling at each other and making each other laugh. The owls are doing that pant-hoot thing which sort of makes you feel like you're in Africa instead of rural North Florida and I guess they have love on their minds.

It's not Mexico where we are tonight, but it ain't bad being right where we are.

Not bad at all.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Oh Bus Driver, Oh Bus Driver, How Lovely Are Thy Brake Pads

The first time Mr. Moon and I went to Mexico, we met a wonderful Norwegian woman named Anne-Helene. She came and lived with us for six months and I learned so much in that time.
One of the things Anne taught me was that the tune we sing "Oh Tannenbaum" to, is sung in Norway to the lyrics of a song which is NOT a paen to the holy Christmas tree but which is about public transportation or something and which starts out, "Oh bus driver, oh bus driver."

Another thing I learned about Norway is that they do not circumcise their baby males unless there is a medical necessity and that she, even being a nurse, had never once seen a circumcised pee-pee.

These are the sorts of things you do not forget and are wonderful examples of the benefits of international exchange.

Anyway, above you see a picture of Ms. Moon's Christmas tree. I bought it, I tucked it under my arm, I brought it home, I set it up, I personally decorated it, which took about five minutes because it's branches are approximately two- to eight- inches long. However, as you can see, it is fully adequate to the task of holding up the approximately one dozen ornaments which mean Christmas to me, including a miniature birch bark canoe and a baby Capezio ballet slipper which I bought for one of my daughter's (well, I bought the pair, actually) and which would not stay on the child long enough to take a picture. But I love those slippers and one stays on top of a window frame in my bathroom year-round and one comes out to adorn the Christmas tree every year.

The tree is not, however, sturdy enough to hold up the cardboard angel so she is resting at the base of it.

As small as this tree is, it will be big enough to put the presents under. Believe me. Sorry kids.
Your crazy, insane mother is doing all she can.

The stove issue is still not settled. I think we have decided against repairing this one as there are more problems than just the one that the one hundred and eighty-nine dollars would solve. I don't know. I really wish we could just take the money it would require to buy a new one and go to Mexico. This will not happen, but it is my dream. I looked up ticket prices last night and for approximately three-hundred dollars apiece, we could fly there and back. Mr. Moon was not impressed. In his selective memory, we have always flown there for around "$220" although I personally think he whipped that number out of his butt.

I do know that for $35 a night we could stay at the Hotel Pepita which is in the heart of Cozumel and which is where we stayed on our first trip down there and it was introduced to us by Anne-Helene and her traveling companion, an impossibly and outrageously handsome Norwegian man named Sven (or something like that) whom I thought, upon seeing him the first time, must be a rock god, but no, he was a psychiatric nurse.
Appearances can be deceiving, y'all.

Anyway, Pepita has it all unless by "all" you mean things like a pool or a balcony overlooking the sea or toilet seats which do not cut into your buttocks. But shitfire! (whoops! little pun there, especially if you've been eating habeneros) at least they have toilet seats, which every bathroom in Mexico does not.

And as I was telling a friend, if I had the ovaries of a gnat, I would simply leave all of this behind: my beloved Lloyd, my precious family, the stove situation and all the holiday fru-fra, get on a plane by myself, fly to Cozumel, get a taxi to Pepita, check in and spend a few days eating sopa de lima and swimming in the ocean of seven shades of blue,

and sitting in the courtyard of Pepita, listening to the cardinals in the cage and sipping rum drinks that I would make with Bacardi anejo, Coca-Colas and limes.

Hell. I might even get that tattoo of Ixchel on my shoulder that I've always wanted.

All right. I've gone from my tiny Christmas tree to the Mexican Moon goddess in one semi-short blog.

Let me just say right here that if my blog posts suddenly cease, you will know where to find me.

I'll be raising a glass of rum to you all, listening to the cardinals chip and chirp, and wondering which beach I should visit and whether or not I should get a tattoo on my other shoulder of the map of Cozumel.

This all sounds festive and fantastic to me and probably, on my death bed, I'll be wishing I had done it. Dammit.

What would you do if you had the ovaries of a gnat?
Tell me, tell me. What are the visions of sugar plums going through your mind as you dream on this four millionth day of December, 2008?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Relapse Via Retail

Yesterday morning I felt so good. Yoga was held outside and it was almost too warm but then my part of the platform came into the shade and it was perfect. The hawks wheeled overhead in the impossibly blue sky and cried out, and the leaves on the oak tree nearby fell, sounding like crisp rain.

I felt so good I believed that I could do anything, anything at all, and so I went to town with stove shopping on my mind and decided I could do a little Christmas shopping too. I went to Best Buy and that was fine and then to New Leaf and got chocolate and vitamins and that was fine too and then I went to Borders and it started to happen. That feeling like my head was going to explode. I would reach for something and then somewhere inside me a feeling started that was nothing but NO, NO, NO. The lines were long and people around me seemed fine but I couldn't do it. I had to leave and in the parking lot was a couple who were so young and so obviously in first love and she was crying and he was holding her, awkward, because he hadn't yet figured out how two bodies can fit together, even in a hug. I could feel her sorrow and his sorrow for her and I felt like a voyeur, watching them and I drove away.

On to Sears, which is in the mall and all the stoves make no sense to me. The "power burner" is in the front right position, the simmer burner behind it. As far as I know, a power burner would be needed for nothing but to bring a large pot of water to boil for pasta and the logical place to cook the sauce to go on the pasta would be the simmer burner. The large pot in front of the small?


And none of the stores made any sense to me. I tried. But the head-exploding thing kept getting worse and I bought nothing. I thought to go to Starbucks and get a coffee but just as I approached the counter, about seven teenagers stepped up to it. When did teenagers start drinking coffee and Red Bulls? By the time they're my age, they're going to need IV meth to get through their days. Knowing that each and every one of them was going to order something frappee-ed and frozen and blended and would take at least twenty minutes, I walked away.

I kept hearing Christmas music, sung by sopranos with impossible ranges, throwing the most unlikely and unneeded notes into the stupidest songs as if I'm Dreaming Of A White Christmas was Ave Maria. It was eighty degrees outside and I was dressed for nothing higher than sixty-five. I kept sweating.

I went to Esposito's and bought the tiniest conifer in a pot you ever saw. It's so small that if I strung cranberries to put on it, they would have to be Craisens. That tree almost made me happy. I went to Publix, I bought salmon for my supper. Mr. Moon was going out with co-workers so it would just be me.

I drove home, so happy to get to Lloyd that I almost cried with the relief.
I unloaded everything and put it all away and dragged a little table off the porch to set the tiny tree on in the library. I wound the tiny string of lights I'd bought for it around it, plugged them in. There was no magic there.

I'm so tired. I'm so tired of feeling crazy. Normal people don't fall apart in the mall at Christmas. Normal people just cowboy up, cupcake, and get 'er done. They might bitch and they might moan, but they do it. They aren't afraid that they're going to start yelling in the mall, shouting things like, "No one needs this crap! Go home!"

Or maybe they do. I don't know. I just know that I feel crazier than I've felt in a long time but that one way or another, it'll pass.

The crazy and the Christmas.

They'll pass.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

What I Know

I went to play rehearsal last night where we finished blocking the play, which is good because we're doing it in about one month.

Or so they say.

It's a very small cast- only four- and we're not doing it upstairs in the Opera House in the theater, but downstairs. It's going to be dinner theater, which is not ideal for the actors but what I am learning about myself is that I'd act my little heart out in the lady's room if that's what they offered me.

I am such a ham.
Who knew?

How is it possible that I've carried around this huge desire to act without knowing it? What else do I not know about myself? Would I have been good as the CEO of some huge corporation? Would I have been an an amazing microbiologist? Could I have a secret desire harbored in my soul to be a world-class dominatrix?

Who knows?
Not me.

When I first auditioned for a play in Monticello, several years ago, I was so shy. I asked my youngest child, HoneyLuna, if she'd like to go with me because they were calling for a teen-aged girl, too. She, with her usual why-not?-life-is-a-joyful-adventure attitude agreed and what I discovered that day is that the joy I'd felt as a teenager in high school being onstage was still right there. They gave me a script, put me on the stage to read a part, and I felt like I was home.

The next year I auditioned for Casablanca and got a role in which I only had a few lines, but I sassed it up as much as I could and again, it was just magic for me.

But it wasn't just the being onstage part that was so wonderful. It was being a part of something creative. I've always loved to write, but that's such a lonesome occupation. Not that I have any problem being alone. I require periods of being alone. That's a part of the fabric of who I am. But I found that every time I walked into the Opera House and saw the faces of the people I was working (playing) with, my heart just opened up and gave out whoops of delight. And several of those people have become good friends. The kind of friends that are rare and precious.

And I'm working with them again in this little play and my heart is still whooping and it's even more fun because I'm onstage a lot and I have all these different characters to play. I slip into their skins and dance around saying their words and the guy playing opposite me is throwing himself into his roles so wholeheartedly that it's just FUN!

I literally find myself hopping in place with the excitement of it.
Isn't that crazy?

I love all my characters who have different accents, different attitudes, are completely different people who come from flat black words on a flat white page but who come alive when I say those words. I think about the man who wrote the words and I wonder if he would be happy with the way I'm saying them, the way I'm trying to make those characters come alive. I hope so.

It's all about creation.

We're put here on this spinning planet in this giant universe and we create. We create more people and we create meals and poems and gardens and theorems and cities and pictures and quilts and music and the instruments to play that music on and somehow, I think it's all about creation.

There is so much I do not know but here's one thing I know for sure:
When you find some activity which takes you away from where you are and WHO you are and when you come back to yourself you find that the clock has whirled its hands around without you having the least idea of time and your heart has been whooping and your mind has been buzzing, then you are doing something you are meant to do.

And that you shouldn't question why or if it's worth doing or anything. You shouldn't question anything.

You should just keep doing it.

In the kitchen, in your yard, in your office, in the dirt of a garden, in a classroom, in your workshop, in your living room, in a factory, in a studio, in a theater, in the lady's room if need be.

Wherever you can find a place to do that thing which brings you joy and makes time stop. Whatever it is you're creating, the world somehow needs it. Even if you can't see why or how.

Because any sort of creation is magnificent.

In fact, I suppose my holy trinity would not be the father, the son and the holy ghost, but would, in fact be light, love, and creation.

I sound like some old hippie, don't I?

Well, I am. An old hippie who is still finding new things to create.
Which I think is magnificent.

And which makes my heart very, very happy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Rest Of The Story

Life is funny and sometimes the coincidences just make you laugh.

The man who did indeed show up to look at the oven was no Swearengen and no Mr. Wu but if he lost about one hundred pounds he could be a Dan Dority. Long hair and all. Mustache, too.


He was a pleasant fellow and showed me where the mice behind my stove have been stealing things and trying to get them back out to where they lived. Two wooden spoons, one soup spoon, a quarter and a wine cork. The wooden spoons were both chewed almost in half and one of them was jammed up into the wall where the mice have been getting in. What in the world would mice want with a wooden spoon?

Anyway, the mice had nothing to do with the malfunction of the oven. No, that's a part that's going to cost $189.00 with labor and at what point do you say, "Oven, your time is over"?

I don't know.

I don't even know how old it is because it was here when we got here almost five years ago.
Dan told me he didn't know the answer although his mama does sell real nice stoves up in Quitman.


Well, Mr. Moon and I will discuss this issue tonight.

I gotta have an oven. It's as important to me as Dan Dority was to Al Swearengen.

And thankfully, an oven is far more easily fixed or replaced than the magnificent Dan Dority ever was.

I miss Deadwood. Obviously.

Waiting For Godot. Wait. I Mean Waiting For The Oven Guy

I've been here in Lloyd for two entire days waiting for a repairman to come and look at my oven which is not working. Well, sometimes it will work, but other times (like on Thanksgiving day) it refuses to heat, although if you turn it up high enough and kick the shit out of it, it generally responds.

But. Ms. Moon needs a reliable oven. I mean, I do. It does not have to be a fancy oven. I had one of those once. It was a Viking- stainless steel- and it cost a fortune and it was "restaurant quality" and it slowly and surely turned into a piece of crap. The company refused to do anything about it until I wrote them a letter which got their attention and a small army of Viking officials came to my house and basically rebuilt that stove for free.

That was one hell of a letter. They told me it was the best letter they ever got. Perhaps one day I'll reprint it here for fun. And I have to say that Viking ended up doing me right.

But I have learned my lesson about paying for a name when all I need is reliability.
And until recently, this stove has been fine. Gas, which I must have, and it came with the house and I've had no problem with it.
So I don't want to kick it to the curb. I just want someone to come and fix it.

And this guy, whom I will not name, has promised me for two days that he's coming. But he doesn't come. And I can't leave the house, which would normally be a dream come true, but it's nine days before Christmas and I have got to go shopping.

I'm getting frustrated.

He was supposed to call me today around noon to tell me he was on his way. It is 2:41 and I have not heard from him although I have called him and left a wimpy message which basically said, "Uh, This is Ms. Moon. I'm waiting to hear from you."

If I have not heard from him by the time I have play practice tonight at 6:30, my next message to him will say this:
Don't bother, cocksucka!!

We've watched a lot of Deadwood around here and Cocksucka!! is one of our favorite words.
I probably won't actually call him a Cocksucka!! but I feel sure he will get my drift.

Meanwhile, here I sit, twiddling my thumbs, feeling guilty that I'm not out in the Christmas shopping frenzy, knowing it is getting worse out there every second.
What's a girl to do?

I don't know.

But right now, I wish I had Mr. Wu here to sic some pigs on the guy because even though I understand that schedules can get screwed up, it would be only courteous to call me and tell me about it.

Or if not Mr. Wu, then Al Swearengen who would definitely be able to get my oven fixed and quickly. Blood might flow and cursewords would paint the sky black, but damn, at least I'd be able to bake some motherfuckin' bread.

But I am timid and I am nice and so I will just sit and fantasize about such actions and tomorrow, when Mr. Moon is home, I'll let him go all Deadwood on the guy.

And he will because he knows that without an oven, he's not getting any biscuits anytime soon.

Which could bring out the Swearengen in a man.

Watch the sky for curse-painted blackness.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This Is What Happens When All Your Children Grow Up And Move Away

Good Lord. I need a child to help me.

I can't take a decent picture and I can't get the Magical Spinning Angel Chimes to work. They will not spin! I followed the directions!

This is ridiculous.

How the hell I am supposed to get into the holiday spirit if I can't even make the fucking Magical Spinning Angel Chimes go around and chime?

Wait. Ten minutes ago my children didn't know how to hold their heads up or poop on the potty or count to five. And I knew EVERYTHING. And I taught them everything.
Everything they know.

And now, suddenly, I have to call one of them to ask how to take a picture with the flash off.

Don't even get me started on how many times Miss HoneyLuna has had to instruct me, by phone, on how to get the TV to stop doing that thing it's doing.

I can see right now that assisted living is in my future.

Thank god I can still cook and make a martini.

When my grandmother got the senile dementia, the first thing she forgot how to do was cook.

The first thing I'm going to forget how to do when I get the serious dementia is how to scrub the toilet.

Meanwhile, the Magical Spinning Angel Chimes look pretty sweet, even if they won't spin.

And Evil Santa is all plugged in and ready to scare the youngsters.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

At the Moon's, anyway.

Christmas Is Coming, My Ass Is Getting Fat (and other things I want to talk about)

So I woke up this morning not exactly imbued with the Christmas spirit. What happened? Did the tiny tender bud of joy get nipped during the night time? Did the ghost of Father Past visit me in my sleep and sit me down to tell me that he'd cursed me for all times and to forget about slipping out of the bonds of bitterness?
Who knows?
Not me.

So what the fuck do I know?

I know:

I am going to go try and find a tiny cedar tree in a pot to decorate. Fuck all. I like trees a lot and if you haven't read Miss Maybelle's post about hers, then please do. I am a bit loathe to mention this here because she made me sound like some sort of saint, which I definitely am NOT but she maybe is and she loves her Christmas tree and gives me reason to want one too.

I made some of the best soup last night I've ever made. It had in it: chicken, deer sausage, corn, celery, onions, garlic, red pepper, green beans, lentils, brown rice, noodles, broccoli. Among other things that I have forgotten. Oh yeah, green taco sauce and cilantro. It was a sort of Mexican gumbo with no seafood. Because I had no leftover seafood to put in it or surely I would have.

I have to start learning my lines for the play. Actually, let me put it like this:
No kidding.

That study which showed that the happier your friends are, the happier you'll be is true. One of the things that got me through my terrible, dreadful, horrendous time of insanity last summer was the fact that I had a few friends who have sunny dispositions who refused to leave me alone and let me melt into a puddle of crazy. I will never be able to repay them.

Say what you will about George Bush, he has really fast reflexes.

Say what you will about George Bush's reflexes, he's really lucky he's only had shoes thrown at him.

Say what you will about the guy who threw the shoes, that thing he said when he threw them was so perfect that I sort of want to put it on cards and send them out for Christmas.
Here's what he said:
"This is a good-bye kiss, you dog!"

Oh man. Doesn't that just warm your heart?

Mr. Moon and I ate an entire household's worth of cookies which were brought as a gift by our company on Friday in two days . These were amazing cookies. I think they had crack in them. We are now calling the friend who made and brought them "The Evil One."

The sky last night when I was coming home from play practice was so amazing that it made me desperately wish I was on Dog Island so I could see the entire thing without hills and trees blocking any part of it. It was one of those sunset skies that would cause a person to invent religion if it hadn't already been invented.

Speaking of religion, I learned something on Saturday while attending a hospice luncheon where my mother was being honored for fifteen years of volunteer service: More hospice volunteers than you would imagine do not close their eyes during prayer. Some of them will even make eye contact with you and smile a little bit while the prayer is going on, which is unusual. Usually the non-eye-closers will just look down at their plates or something but these guys were looking everywhere.
Make of this information about hospice volunteers what you will.
I think it means that people who are not afraid to stare death in the face are not afraid to stare a blessing in the face, either.
And by the way, those people ARE blessings.

I know a lot more stuff but I can't think of any of it right now or maybe it's stuff I don't need to talk about and besides, I have written about enough stuff.

Oh- one more thing (and again, I am loathe to mention this but what the hell?) - Aunt Becky of the Mommy Wants Vodka blog, has nominated me for a Blogger's Choice award in the "Blogitzer" catagory which has something to do with good writing and I don't even know what to think about that. The world-famous Dooce has been nominated in that catagory as well (and probably every other catagory, too) and just to have my name (and ten thousand others, too) in the same catagory is like, well, if not like dying and going to heaven then at least like sleeping and waking up to find that all the dishes were magically washed in the night and that the dogs all disappeared at the same time. I am incredibly honored and would like to thank all the little people.
Oh wait. I AM the little people.
So if you want to vote for me (or Dooce- your choice), go click that little button up there on the top right-hand side of my page.
(Yes, Magnum, I am selling out although as far as I can tell, you get nothing but the soul-satisfying satisfaction of having been nominated but that's plenty for me.)

And I have a question: What's the most fun game you know of to play with a bunch of people? I want to get a new game for the family to play on Christmas after we eat our breakfast of pastry and eggs, etc. and I don't want to waste my time or money trying to figure out what to buy. So if you know of a game which is rollickingly hilarious and tons of fun, please let me know.

Yours truly....Ms. Moon

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Maybe, Perhaps, Possibly

It's Sunday morning and it's a gray day but it's warmed up since yesterday. We had company on Friday night and those folks were from central Florida which is, believe it or not, another geographical area entirely from north Florida and they couldn't believe how cold it was. Down in the thirties! They marveled at the fact that there was frost on their car windshield and who could blame them? After thirty-four years here I, myself, am often amazed when it gets so cold that there is frost on the ground, on the car.

We go through childhood learning all our lessons and then into young adulthood where we learn even more. There are lessons unlimited, they abound, for us to learn.

The problem comes when the lessons we've learned turn out not to be true, or maybe aren't appropriate any more. It's important to pay attention, take note, wonder at the truth of a new situation.

Things change, y'all.

I've learned a lot of new lessons recently and one of the biggest is that adaptation is not my forte.
I still somehow think that I'm going to be needed at any second. I still somehow think that I need to cook dinner for six or pancakes for ten. I still think that Christmas is going to be horrible because once again, my father is not going to show up, even though he's been dead for almost twenty years and I can just give up waiting for THAT to happen and phew, what a relief!

Last night was such a pleasant evening. We'd had a wonderful time with our company while they were here, just an amazingly great time but Mr. Moon and I had the house back to ourselves again and we played some cards and heated up some leftovers and just enjoyed being together. We've been stressing out about a lot of things recently and somehow we just seemed to let everything go for a while and it turned out to be one of the sweetest times in recent memory.

And believe it or not, I started thinking that maybe I WOULD like a Christmas tree this year. Maybe I WOULD like to have a few presents under it. Maybe I WOULD love for the children to all come out and spend the night on Christmas Eve and make a Christmas morning breakfast of overly-sweet pastries and eggs and sausage and grits.


What in the hell was going on?

And how do I feel about all of that on this gray morning?

Sort of like, hmmmm, yes, well, perhaps I would like all of that.

Maybe realizing where my Christmas bitterness and dread has been coming from all these years HAS proved to be eye-opening and perhaps even life-changing.

A little bit.

I think after play practice this afternoon I might go get the little nativity scene from upstairs and make a place for it on the mantel and cut some magnolia branches to place around it. I can stop at the Winn Dixie on the way home and buy out their stock of votive candles (sold in the traditional Mexican way of being found among the household cleaners- why?) and light those around the nativity where we always place a little Buddha statue next to the manger because he's god too.

Maybe when the Virgin of Guadalupe statue leapt off the place where I keep her in the hallway the other day was a tiny sign that there is magic- PAY ATTENTION.

Maybe it's time to learn new lessons. Maybe it's time to let old ones go.
I don't know. I'm easing into this feeling gently and slowly. I am holding my finger up to see which way the wind is blowing. I am checking my heart for reports of possible thawing and increasing warmth.

I am letting my father go.

I am welcoming and honoring all the love in my life and paying attention to signs and portents.

Maybe I'm learning new lessons.

And maybe, with less sadness and bitterness in this old heart of mine, I'll be able to hear a tiny whisper of joy to the world.

Maybe. Perhaps. Possibly.

We'll see.

Friday, December 12, 2008


It's a full moon tonight and it's also the Virgin of Guadalupe's Saint Day and perhaps I love her because she came into my life when all the good things did.
I wrote about her last year here and I have to go light a candle for her because last night as I was walking through the hallway where I have a carved image of her, a small gust of wind came through and she leapt off her perch and onto the floor and that has me a bit upset.
Really, it wasn't a big gust of wind. Just a tiny one.
See? I'm just as superstitious and fearful as any good Pagan when you get right down to it.
But I live in a very old house which some say is haunted and maybe my house-spirits don't love my Virgin the way I do.
Who knows?
Not me.
It would appear that I really don't know much these days at all.
But hell, a candle never hurts.
I'll put my money on light any day.

Killing Several Birds With One Stone

I think perhaps I have had an epiphany and figured out where this Christmas dread comes from. It's a long, pathetic story and I'm not going to go all into it here but I think it has to do with me being a little girl who did pray and who prayed all the time and especially at Christmas for a father to show up and a world that kept telling the little girl that Christmas miracles do happen, especially when it's a child praying for them because Jesus, he was a child and God, he was a father, and what could be more fitting than for a father to show up for his children? What more worthy miracle to perform?

The miracle never happened, the father never showed up.

I hear that once he WAS on his way from Tennessee to Florida, where we lived, but only got as far as Tallahassee where he left the woman he was traveling with and went out on a bender and she, left behind in a strange place and probably insane, too (I present as evidence that she was traveling with my father) and abandoned for days, hung herself in the motel room where he'd left her.

And then my father was arrested for possible murder and jailed for a bit until the powers-that-be let him go and well, I guess by then he wasn't in the mood to come see his children.

And it's probably all for the best that he didn't.

Doesn't it make sense that in one fell swoop, the belief in god, the belief in Christmas, the tolerance for the true meaning of that particular holiday was destroyed? That all those Christmases when what I really wanted wasn't a Barbie or a Chatty Cathy or a new bike but a father, my father, as useless and toxic as he was because he was, after all, my only father and that his continued absence killed something inside of me?

Listen- there are many ways to kill and many things to kill. Souls and spirits and hopes and faith and dreams. And women and children left abandoned.

And I suppose this could explain some of my bitterness, some of my dread.

I wish that now the Christmas miracle would happen. That now, because I know why I feel the way I do, I could heal this old heart, I could let it open up to some of the joy that the world seems to feel Christmas offers.

Forgive the father for never coming. Forgive the mother for never trying to figure out what was going on in my heart. Let go. Let god. Etc.

I will talk to that little child within and see what she says about all of this.
If I can find her.
If she'll talk to me.

I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Pleasant Evening Indeed

Last night I babysat for the just-turned three-year old next door. We shall call him Harley because that's what Mr. Moon called him when he was a baby for some indeterminate reason. Certainly not because that's his real name.

Anyway, I have known Harley since birth because I was there when he was born, a mighty child from the get-go. He's grown up here in Lloyd and is like the village mascot, having charmed the hearts of the post mistresses, the local wine-o's and all the neighbors as well. Hell, he's probably friends with that guy who throws his beer cans in the ditch for me to pick up.

Harley is a loving child.

His mom and dad dropped him off here at six to go on a much-deserved night out in town and Harley, as is his wont, headed straight for my piano and there he pretty much stayed the entire time he was here. He plays the piano with great and dramatic technique and sings along.
He knows quite a few songs.

I tried to get him to eat supper but he wasn't interested and headed back to the piano to serenade Mr. Moon and me while we ate.

The little man is a born performer. At Lily's wedding back in April, he took the stage during the reception and played air guitar and sang during every song and the seriousness with which he took this gig was amazing. He looked as if he was being paid the big bucks to stand up there and by golly, he was going to make sure he gave his money's worth.

I'm not sure I'd ever seen a two-year old display such serious intent. No ADD for that boy. He had a job to do and he did it for two hours.

I have a feeling that "performer" is written in his chart somewhere.

But he was quite open to going back to his house and leaving the piano behind. We read some stories before he went to bed which I loved and probably enjoyed more than he did. I realized that although I had thought I wasn't doing any acting for many years, I actually was because the way I read stories to a child is a thing of beauty. I'm not kidding you! They should film me! I am as dramatic a story-reader as Harley is a piano player.

When it was getting close to bed time, I asked him what he sleeps in and he, being in the literal stage, gravely replied, "I sleep in a bed."

Well, yes. But what do you wear when you sleep in the bed?

"Night clothes."

And so I got him into his night clothes and he used the potty and brushed his teeth which mainly meant he sucked the training toothpaste (really- they make training toothpaste) off the brush while saying, "Round and round and up and down," and so forth.
Not being his parent and responsible for his oral health, I was merely amused.

I offered him two choices before bed- one more story or a game of Candy Land. He tried to bargain me into both, but I stood my ground and after a rousing game, he amiably agreed to go to bed, which he did. He turned off his own light and got in his bed and told me that he sleeps alone, which I took to mean that I should leave now, so I did after I kissed him good-night.
He called out to me several times to make sure it wasn't time to get up but there was no whining or fussing.

It was really a lovely evening that I had with Harley and I feel like he's crayoned on my heart, which already looks like a parent's refrigerator, all filled up with the scribbled drawings of dozens of little children whom I have loved, some of them my own, some of them belonging to others, but all of whom have left their mark there.

I thought of this as I walked home under the dark, drizzly skies of Lloyd, the village where Harley is growing up, the place where he is loved.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Deck The Halls With Balls of Folly

Well, Christmas is almost upon us and I have been notably silent with a few exceptions on the subject.

As we all know, I hate Christmas down to my very bones. I have no idea why although I have some suspicions and at this point, it doesn't matter; it's not going to get better and I am not going to be suddenly and miraculously blasted through with the "true meaning of Christmas" like some Hallmark special.

Ain't gonna happen.

I still don't know what I'm going to "do" about Christmas and there are many factors to consider, some out of my hands, so at this point I am ignoring it and hoping it will simply go away. It's easy if you stay out of the mall.

I was discussing this at yoga today with my teacher and the one other student in the class. Both of them are Catholic and they were tolerant of my heresy as I pointed out that Christmas is essentially celebrated when it is because of the ancient Pagan holiday which was no doubt created to get us through the long days of winter and that also, yes, I do think it's very cool that Jesus was born, etc., but in my beliefs, EVERY baby that is born is Christlike or Buddha-like and so what's the big deal with that one particular baby?

I mean really, do we believe his mother was a virgin?
Hmmm. The midwife must have had a few problems with THAT delivery but oh well.

So my teacher, bless her heart, suggested lightheartedly that I COULD become a Christian and then I would have reason to celebrate and I said something like if Jesus wants me, he's going to have to find me, quoting a Lyle Lovett song, but to myself I was thinking that it was just about as possible that I would become a Santeria priestess.

At least that way I'd get to wear really cool clothes and smoke giant cigars and drink mass quantities of rum and slice through chickens and other small farm animals with a machete and dance myself into a trance where I could speak to the dead and channel their voices and I'd get paid for it!

Man. That would be AWESOME!

And I just keep thinking about the poor baby Jesus who has been dragged from the manger to the mall in a short 2000 or so years- as if it wasn't bad enough that he was born with the unbearable weight of being destined to save mankind by being nailed to a cross.

And I think about the poor Christians who have been waiting for his imminent return for these 2000 years and who are passing the time by buying junk no one needs and putting up Christmas trees which are Pagan in origin and continuing to talk about a baby born in a manger while all around the world and even in my neighborhood, babies are being born every day, no one noticing that they, too, are god, they too are born of a miracle, destined for who knows what while the world keeps turning and the days will begin to become longer and the light will return again.