Saturday, October 31, 2009

Time Changes And We Sleep Longer

Oh good God, y'all. We're fucking with the time again. We humans are so proud of our abilities.
Well. At least we get an extra hour.

And here in North Florida, the wind is bringing cooler air to us and chasing the humidity away. We can't take one bit of credit for that. All we can do is open the window and lay in front of it, letting the breeze make us slip deeper under the covers. For an extra hour.

Good timing! Thanks, Pagan Mother!

Depression, Love, and Adventures In Babysitting

Well, I had a first last night.

No, not while babysitting my grandson. That was a first all by itself and went quite well.

What I'm talking about happened in my busy dreamworld in which I dreamed I was depressed. Like- the clinical depression that we sink into sometimes which prevents us from feeling anything, anything at all but a gray sort of despair which we cannot, no matter how much we want to, claw our way out of. Our claws, in fact, are gone, along with colors or feelings or hopes or dreams (except the nightmare kind) and we know for a fact that no one has ever loved us or will and that this is what hell is.

So that was my dream and then I woke up and went to pee and while sitting on the toilet I noticed the toilet paper roll needed changing out and so I went to do that and my roll thingee is made of three parts- two metal ends that fit together and a spring in the middle and of course, in my morning fog, one of the metal ends slipped between my legs into the pee water and settled down at the very bottom of the bowl and there was nothing for it but to start my day reaching my hand deep in pee water to retrieve it.

Well, it could have been worse and we all know it.

But still- one can't help but wonder at the advisability of actually getting up and starting a day when one has had depression dreams and has had to put her hands in pee water or, as sometimes happens, she steps in dog shit before she even gets to the bathroom.

I told Mr. Moon this morning that I am so tired of being me. Why do I have to wake up like this, day after day? Not the pee or shit part, that's just life. The depression/despair part? I'm sick of trying to figure it out. I want no more of that! I just don't want to be this way. Period. The end. Done.

We watched Gaslight last night on Lily and Jason's TV while alternating feeding, walking, bouncing, singing-to and changing our Owen. He was a good boy, mostly. He was crying when Mama and Daddy left and I had a bottle in his mouth before they were at the end of the street. Lily called to see if he had quit crying before the bottle was finished. He had. He is an equal-opportunity breast milk drinker, taking it from the bottle eagerly, but I don't think it agrees with his tummy the way it does when he takes it from the breast. He spit up numerous times and I gave him a bath, his beautiful naked body on the big foam pad in the tub and he answered my conversation with serious proclamations of his own and gave me a few smiles as I gently washed him with lavender baby wash. When I wrapped him up in the towel he was not so happy but after I'd dressed him, Mr. Moon took him and walked him around, bouncing him and singing to him about how they would soon be hunting and fishing together, how they would work in the garden together. This is funny because Mr. Moon never sings and also because when I sing to Owen, I talk about how we shall be feeding the chickens together and reading stories together and picking beans together. I had him out in the front yard at one point and was making up a song about how fast he's going to grow, how much I love him, and I actually started crying, thinking of how precious this time is- this infant time when the sound of a voice singing a song that makes no sense quiets him.

We didn't take him to the bar. We did put him in his stroller for a late night walk but he seemed happiest when we were going over bumpy parts or singing to him as we walked. That boy loves to be bounced almost to the point of abuse. He seems to enjoy the feeling of his body rushing through short space, up and down, up and down.

There were many bottles, there were many diapers, there were several phone calls from his parents. And we watched the movie, which I had never seen before, believe it or not. It was a good movie and Ingrid Berman was a jewel in it, her beautiful face registering fear and longing and defiance and and relief, those huge eyes making you believe it all. I thought about how much people have always feared mental illness. It used to mean the end of life as we know it and women were often "put away" or sent away, to insane asylums where real and truly mentally ill people were kept strapped and howling and because their husbands were their masters, they had no recourse but to go and perhaps spend the rest of their lives behind barred windows and high stone walls, probably no crazier than anyone else walking the planet merely because their husbands were tired of them. I wonder how many post-menopausal women were put away. Some days I wouldn't blame Mr. Moon for putting me away but he's so kind and he merely picks up my medication and brings it home and says, "Those are expensive pills!" and then he kisses me and says, "I love you."

And I love him too. I love him too. I loved watching him quiet Owen and sing him songs. I love watching the way he is becoming a grandfather. I love the way he told me last night, "Good job, Grandmama!" when I got Owen to sleep. I loved the way when Owen was still fussing but didn't want any more bottle and wouldn't take the pacifier and I said, "Do you know how much I want to give him my ninny?" he looked up and said, "I won't tell."
Okay. I did not give Owen my ninny but I love the fact that if I had, my husband would have understood and not ratted me out.

I didn't start out this morning to write about how much I love my husband but here I am. Again.
I've made him biscuits and deer sausage and two fried chicken eggs and now he's out in the yard doing something hunting-related I believe. And I don't feel quite as much despair. Not quite as mentally ill, certainly not clinically depressed. I suppose I can tolerate being me another day, at least. This is good.

My emotions are like the weather here now. One moment it is gray and drizzling and the next the sun is blasting through the naked branches of the pecans, blinding me. It's hot and humid one day and chilly the next. No predicting this shit, no way to know what is coming next, how long this phase will last. Like the old joke goes, "Don't like the weather? Wait ten minutes and it'll change." That's me. Hang on, hang on. Drink the coffee, make the biscuits, go feed the chickens. It'll change.

So many changes even in such a small life as the one I lead. And even the good ones like babies growing so swiftly can make me cry. And that's okay.

Happy Halloween. I believe I shall be the Crazy Chicken Lady this year and my costume will probably involve overalls. I hope I don't scare the trick-or-treaters if we get any.
I doubt I will since I will look the same as I do every other day of the year.
A mother, a wife, a grandmother, wearing funny old clothes, as crazy as any other woman, as sane as any other woman, passing out candy. Perhaps I shall have a martini in my hand. One never knows.

I wish you could stop by. You often do in my dreams. My good dreams.
Which is really what my life is, when you sum it all up. A very good dream with colors and hopes and a tiny baby boy and a daughter who comes home and wants to grab up her child from my chest, even though he is asleep and she is still in her beautiful red devil dress, who sighs and says, "We're home," after being away from her baby for three full hours! and Granddaddy and I kiss them all and come home to our place, where when I wake up I may be in despair, but when I wash my hands of pee water and drink my coffee I slip that desperation and know how glad I am to be here. Home. I am me and even if sometimes I don't think I can bear that any more, I know I can because I get to do this:

I get to hold Love on my chest right above my heart which is bursting when I hold him.
And if it means I have to have hard mornings every morning of my life to have this life, then so be it.
It's a good trade.
I wouldn't trade it.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Elvis Is In The House

So Elmira crowed today so yes, there is no longer any doubt that she is he. Elvis. And what a fine-looking queen of a rooster he is. That shot does him no justice.
He has his hens and Sam has his.
Sam, however, has no qualms about getting to top of Elvis's hens and having his way with them. I have a feeling if Elvis tried this with one of Sam's hens, the feathers would fly.

Anyway, mostly I'm just writing to say thank-you to everyone who posted comments today. Such thoughtful comments on such a sticky, weird, hard issue. Keep talking if you want to. I'm ready for more thoughts.

We're going to go babysit Owen tonight and boy, are we excited! Lily and Jason are going to try and hit a few Halloween parties and we're going to try and keep the boy happy. Golly. I've already told Lily that if he gets tired of the bottles of milk she's left him and won't stop crying, I'm calling her to come home because I can't stand to hear a baby frantic and desperate. She agreed that that's what she would want.
But maybe he'll just be a happy little camper and we'll all fall asleep in the living room before they get home. I hope so. We might even walk him down to the pool hall (which is smokeless) to see if he likes the barfly life and the sound of pool balls.

Y'all be so careful out there this weekend. Halloween can be crazy. So be safe while you're on the your way to all the tricks and all the treats and know how much you mean to me.

Michelle Put These Thoughts In My Head

Okay. First, go read this if you have not yet done so:

It was written by our lovely Michelle and I just can't stop thinking about it and it is pulling thoughts out of me like crazy and I've already commented THREE times on it and now I want to talk about it some more.

The long story short is that Michelle is a pediatric nurse practitioner and she is talking in that piece about a drug-addicted mother who has given birth to ten children, all of whom are in state custody. The mother won a lottery which gave her $100,000 and so she has the money to support her habit. Her children are not what our society would describe as highly adoptable because not only were they mostly born with cocaine in their urine but are black. These children have come through the newborn nursery where Michelle sees babies after birth.

Okay. Let's get some stuff out of the way: I have great compassion for this mother because something in her life happened which was so horrible that she has been able to ignore the strongest emotion and instinct that I believe a woman can have, which is to protect her children and keep them with her if at all possible.

BUT- does this mean that in the interest of not getting into a person's freedoms at the level of ordering her sterilized or forcing her to have a birth control device inserted, she should be allowed to go back out and have who-knows-how-many-more-babies who will have, at best, a vague sliver of a shot at a life of health and happiness?

See- I don't think so. Not because I am not passionately compassionate for the woman but because I feel more of that for the children. I think about tiny babies who will not be delivered into the arms of a mother who desperately wants them, but who desperately wants to get out of there to get more drugs. I think of them having to go through withdrawal, I think of them being taken to foster care, I think of them growing up knowing that their mother abandoned them at birth, knowing that they have many siblings whose lives they will not be a part of and I don't think that the woman is practicing a victimless crime by abusing drugs.

Michelle said that her first reaction was to feel all sorts of Rush Limbaugh-like thoughts. That this is wrong and should be stopped. But then she tried to think about how the mother feels and tried to imagine WHAT the mother would feel.
She put it so well:

How does she feel? Is she tormented? Is she in unbelievable psychic and emotional pain? Was she brutally sexually abused as a child? Has she considered suicide? Does she not care at all? Does she not love her babies? Does she hate them? Does she want them back? Does she worry that they will spend their childhoods in foster care? cause there's not a chance in hell they'll get adopted Or is she thankful that they're in foster care?
Can she care?

And she cited me in a post I wrote about a mother who abandoned her baby in a hospital bathroom. I feel so honored that Michelle would use that post to try and make herself feel more compassion for this mother. To try to understand why she did what she did. But I have to say that
I think this situation is more complex if only because of the number of children abandoned to state care.
I don't think there is any rationalization for allowing this woman to keep on having children. There. I said it, as Michelle might say.

I wonder why the mother has not been arrested for drug use. I don't know the law on this, but it seems to me that anyone testing positive for drug use can be, if not arrested, then at least put into a facility to help her try and get off drugs. I say "try" because if she doesn't want to get off drugs, the odds are very low that she will. But come on- you have to start somewhere.

There's just so much in this story that makes us uncomfortable. The unadoptibility of the children because of their race, for one.
As Michelle pointed out, black children are very much apt to be passed over in the adoption process. Why else would so many Americans go to all the effort and trouble to go all the way to China to spend vast amounts of money to adopt a Chinese girl when there are so many children here desperate for adoption who are of different (darker) races? This is a sad and hideous truth. And we, as mostly bleeding-heart liberals here at Bless Our Hearts (well, at least that's how I describe myself) try to pretend that race doesn't matter which is fine if we're talking about ourselves but sadly delusional if we are talking about the realities which exist in our country.
So there's race.

And of course there's drug use. I tend to lean toward the libertarian position of drug use. You want to ruin your life and loose your teeth? Go ahead and use meth. You want to feel love for all of humankind and dance your ass off? There's a drug for that- Ecstasy. Want to feel a little mellow? Try weed. You want to flush your life down the toilet? Do all the crack and whatever-form-of-cocaine you can peddle your ass for. Want to pretend you're a jazz musician? Heroin will help you on your way.

You get my drift. We all use drugs of one form or another, legal and non-, except for the purest eschewers of alcohol, caffeine, sugar and chocolate among us.

How about irresponsible sex? Again- I have no need to tell anyone who they should or should not have sex with and I can't even begin to say that some reasons for sex are better than others. In a perfect world, having sex as a part of love is the ideal but sex is odd and a very powerful thing and as we speak I am certain that millions of people around the world are having sex that has nothing to do with love.

Not my business.

And honestly, it isn't my business what this mother does or doesn't do except for the fact that as a part of society, I would like to hope that I would look out for the best interests of children, however that may be. And this woman's actions are having the most profound negative effect on her babies that anyone could imagine.

BUT, and again, I have to say but...where do we draw the line? There are lines drawn, of course, about what constitutes parenting so horrible that society must step in and take the children for their own safety. Neglect, abuse, etc. And I would assume that this woman's actions fit into all the categories therein. And I didn't get the idea from Michelle's post that the woman has fought for her children. But can I look at another mother whose ideas about parenting are vastly different from mine and accuse her of being a bad mother?
No. I cannot.

I don't want to be a Rush Limbaugh groupie here either. And I'm not. In the slightest way.
However, if he said that this woman should be prevented from having more children, I would have to agree with him.

And there- that is my truth.
Not because I disapprove of the woman's actions or lifestyle. They are the result of things I don't know or understand. They are part of a very serious and hard-to-treat disease.

And I'll go on record as saying that I don't think Octo Mom should have had eight babies at once, either because I don't think she did it out of love or sanity and I don't think she's able to take care of all her children the way children should be taken care of. If she really wanted a whole bunch of kids, she could have adopted them. I think I know of ten siblings that need a really good loving home and she wouldn't have been risking their lives to bring them into the world in such an absurd way.

I know I've made some pretty bold statements here. I know I've probably crossed some lines which others may perceive as rights and freedoms and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
But this is the way I feel.

Because while the mother's rights and freedoms and liberty and pursuit of happiness are to be respected, the fact remains that she is bringing innocent life into the world which she has no desire to take care of, much less love and raise and provide for or try in any way to guarantee those same rights for them.

Well. That's my soapbox today. Michelle- I love you for writing about this in the first place. You are, as you say, in a position to observe some of the realities of life that some of us, in our little liberal palaces don't directly see. You observe, you relate, you make us search our hearts.

And there's part of me which says I have no business writing about this because it's not my story and I really have nothing to offer but my feelings, many times removed from the reality of it all. But once again, it's something I can't stop thinking about and mostly what I'm thinking about is a tiny baby, lying in a plastic nursery box, crying for his or her mother and never, never, NEVER going to get her. Not her arms, not her milk, not her love, not her support, not her caring, not her touch, not her voice, not her heartbeat, ever again.

And that thought just fucks me up. We all know this is not the only time this sort of thing has happened, which just fucks me up even more. This is just one I've personally heard of from someone involved. And so when I speak of "the mother" I am speaking of many more mothers, of course. Although this one's situation is somewhat unique in that she won the lottery and appears to have an incredible fertile reproductive system.

And of course I haven't even begun to discuss the fathers of these children mostly because I don't know any of that situation at all. But of course it's not right that we should be discussing the mother and her problems and shortcomings without pointing out that men got her pregnant and then did not participate in the result. Not fair, but like racism, a part of reality. Women are the ones who get pregnant. And yes, if the father should be able to walk away, I suppose the woman should be able to as well.
In my perfect world, neither would happen.
This ain't my perfect world, though, is it?
I suppose in my "practically perfect world," if the woman had to be sterilized or somehow prevented in having more children, so should every man who has impregnated her.
But there you go- stepping over boundaries which should not be stepped upon.

So in the end, I don't have any answers except to say that children are generally the last to have rights. Their vulnerability is immense. They cannot speak for themselves and so we have to.
Sometimes it's time to just cut the crap and say, "This is wrong."
And I could be wrong. I could be so far from right that I don't know what the hell I'm talking about. But this is my little blog, my little place in the world I can say what I feel.
So that's what I'm doing.

What do you feel? There are so many parts of this sad, cruel puzzle. Which parts have I missed? Which parts do you see through the lenses of your own experience?
I would like to know.

From Lloyd with a questioning heart....Ms. Moon

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday Leftovers, Tidbits and Tapas

I hate not having a camera. I hate it. But I can't say a thing about it right now because Mr. Moon is about THIS far away from saying, "You want a new camera? Go get a job and buy one."
Land taxes are coming up. Blah, blah, blah.
Of course it's not blah, blah, blah to him. It's very, very real.
But honestly- do you KNOW how awkward it is to take the MacBook out to the dripping ferns and try to get a shot of the new sasanqua? The dew gets on the MacBook and before you know it, I'll need a new one of those, too (and I'll have to sell something and I'm too old to sell my ass and most of my stuff comes from Goodwill so how much can that shit fetch on eBay? Not much is the answer to that) and besides all of that, the pictures aren't that great. Obviously. I could use my phone but then I have to do that thing with the tiny "card" which is so small and has a tendency to pop and fly like a diaphragm lubed up with spermicide and I am dearly afraid that one of these days that little chip of a card is going to fly right down one of the cracks of the porch which it could easily fit through and well, shit.

So okay, obviously I don't have a whole lot to write about today. My water did come back on, miraculously sometime in the middle of the night. It was not on at one a.m. when I got up because my whole entire body was twitching in pangy pain which is the new turn this old beat-up corpsicum has taken. Is "corpsicum" a word? I think not. Oh well. My brain is as old as my body and if I can't think up the right word, I'll just make one up. Why not? I don't have an editor.
As if you couldn't figure that out by my insane comma placements.

I believe I broke my pinky toe last night because it still hurts and is black and blue and I've broken it so many times before that it doesn't have much of a bone left in it but whatever bone is in there, I do think is broken. I tried to move an immovable object with it while dashing from the hallway to the kitchen and this happens all the time to me. I am not so much clumsy as just too casual about where I am in time and space. My other foot is on the mend, finally, proving my theory that if you ignore something long enough, it will either kill you or heal. Inflamed tendons cannot kill you, as far as I know, so it healed. Thankfully, broken toes can't kill you either. The proof of this is that I'd be dead and buried if they could.

Yesterday Harley came over. His mother is at her wit's end with him. She asked me if I wanted a boy and even offered to take one of my dogs if I'd take him, so you know she's desperate. I refused because I know that by the time I really got attached to the kid in that way in which you'd cheerfully die for him, she'd want him back. Actually, I would throw my body between his and a bus already. He's a fine young man and she knows it. He's just going through a stage of misbehavement (another made-up word) and it's driving her crazy. I understand. But golly, that kid is smart! We were feeding the goats next door with the invasive air potato vine which grows all over that part of the yard and he said to me, "Mary, those goats really like those vines!" I said, "Yes they certainly do!"
"Do you know that means?" he asked.
"They are HERBIVORES!"
So the kid won't be four until next month, right?

And that's about it. I feel like instead of cooking a meal for you, I've just offered you some bits of tastes of whatever is leftover in the refrigerator. Sorry. Some days you just don't feel like cooking. Hopefully something's simmering on the back burner that I can dish out later on.

I have to go finish washing all of yesterday's dishes, take a walk, take a shower! and then get to town to see Owen because he called me last night and said, "Grandmother, I miss you. Please come and see me immediately!" and so I shall. When I was talking to Ms. Liola yesterday she said, "I know you spoil that boy," and I said, "Every chance I get." Which of course, it's hard to spoil a one-month old and since Lily won't let me nurse him I don't have too much to work with but I'll figure out something.

What day is today? Oh yes, Thursday.
Have a good one.

Love....Ms. Moon

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mmmmm. Extra, Extra, Part II

It's been a rather odd day. The Jefferson County Water System had a break somewhere and we've had no water all day long.
My kitchen is filled with dirty dishes. This drives me insane but what can you do?
I know I do not smell very good so I took a paper towel and put some Purell on it and swiped my armpits and there you have it.

No washing of dishes or bodies or floors. And I feel stupid because we don't have a back-up. I want one of these:

I was reminded of them when I was on my walk today and stopped to talk to a neighbor named Ms. Liola. Her water was out too and she was bemoaning the fact that her pitcher pump isn't working these days. I was reminded of the year I spent with no running water except for what came out of a pump which looked like that in my back yard. I had an infant and we managed. How did I do that? And how did I forget? You can lose your electricity and the damn water system can go down but if you have one of those babies you can pump enough water to take a cat bath in. You can pump enough water to wash the dishes. You can pump enough water to make a one-year old very happy in a canning kettle on the front porch, splashing and playing in the coolness.

And speaking of infants, I haven't seen Owen since Monday. MONDAY! And it's Wednesday. Don't worry. I'll see him tomorrow. Here's a picture Lily sent me on my phone:

Do you see that goofy smile? God. I can't wait to see him again. His smell is like the air I need to breathe. Like the water I need to drink. Liola and I talked about our grands. (And for those of you who didn't grow up Down South- grands are grandchildren and what could be more honest?) Her grands are older and live in Texas and her daughter-in-law, the mother of these grands, calls her EVERY DAY to report in on how the children are doing and what they're up to. I'd say Liola did something right.
And she reminded me of the pitcher pump and I want one badly.

Sometimes we have to be reminded of simple things. That may come in the form of a conversation with a neighbor and it may come in the form of a text message.

Once again, here I am, in more than one world and lapping up the information I need to know.

I feel so blessed to have all these avenues of communication. I feel so blessed to have all of you.

Extra, Extra. Read All About It.

Oh my God. A train with passenger cars just went by. With lights on in the windowed compartments. I don't think I've ever, in my five and a half years here, seen passenger cars go by. And now, same train- flats of trucks and truck containers are slowly making their way past my house. Strange to see vehicles meant for the road slip through my back woods on rails.
When people see how close the tracks are behind my house, they ask me how often the train goes by and I can't even tell them. I don't know if one seldom does or if I'm just so used to it that it doesn't even register any more. I do know that after a big storm the silence of no train traffic at all makes me realize that more trains go by than I probably realize.

I didn't mean to write about trains this morning. I meant to write about newspapers but they are related. Both are part of our history, and still part of our present, even if we do think of them as anachronisms. I live within yards of a train track, I still get a newspaper daily. The train still provides good value for transportation dollars. I am sure of that. But newspapers? Do they still serve us?

Our local newspaper, The Tallahassee Democrat, has gotten so small and so, well, ridiculous, that every day I wonder why I bother to pay for it, why I bother to read it. It's mostly Tallahassee news and the only thing that keeps getting bigger about it is the Zing! column which is where anonymous asshats can submit witty little bon mots such as this one in today's paper:

I went to the Post Office today for some 98-cent international stamps. They were sold out. I hope when I need a stent, Obamacare isn't sold out.

Pithy, eh? And hardly what you'd call news.

Mostly what I read in the paper are editorials, which is funny, because what's a blog but a personal editorial column? For me, anyway. Leonard Pitts, Jr. and Garrison Keillor are my favorites. We have some local columnists who aren't bad. But the other stuff? I don't give a good goddam if the NCAA turns over documents about FSU or not. I suppose if I followed sports I would and actually, the sports section seems to be holding its own. I say seems to be because I don't read it.
The comics seem pretty stupid to me these days and Ann Landers is dead.

I'm sorry- Annie's Mailbox is not Ann Landers. She talked about masturbation and homosexuality when no one else did. In a reasonable and unhysterical way. She was a jewel, that old broad. She was a big part of my education about life because I was allowed to read the newspaper as soon as I could, well, read. I never could get my hands on enough reading material and so I just grabbed up anything with print on it and thankfully, my mother allowed me to do that.

It's funny. The first newspaper I remember reading was the Miami Herald, which my grandfather got daily in a box across the street from his house in Roseland, Florida which was also yards away from the railroad track. In fact, a trestle bridge built by Henry Flagler crossed the river which his house was built on. It's still there, that bridge, and it looks the same and the train still crosses it. Here's a picture I took of it in 2006:

And so the train and the newspaper are linked in my mind from an early age.

I started out reading the comics, as most children do. Or did. This was back in the DAY, people. There were comics which were not unlike soap operas, Mary Worth,

and that crazy empty-nickel eyed girl Little Orphan Annie and her equally empty-eyed dog.

They quite frankly scared me.

My favorite was Brenda Starr, Girl Reporter, because she had an exciting life and traveled all over the world to get stories and had a lover with an eye patch who was always searching for the mysterious and legendary black orchid.

But even when I was very young, it was the columnists I loved. I remember distinctly reading the columns of a man whose name I cannot remember, no matter how hard I try. I'm sure his work was not worthy of a Pulitzer and he wrote about things like hangnails but I loved it. Jack Somebody, his name was.

I've always gotten the newspaper. I read about John Lennon's death in the newspaper. I've done thousands of crosswords, lined hundreds of bird cages, read millions of words in newspapers. My ultimate weekend treat is to buy a copy of the NY Times, shelling over my five or six bucks for a week's worth of print to consume at my leisure.

And now I'm wondering- is it time to let my subscription go? But part of me, despite my frustration with the "news" I get from the paper, would feel so guilty if I quit getting the paper. Getting the paper is what grown-ups DO. It's what informed citizens do. It's what intelligent people do.
Or it used to be, anyway.
Now people watch the news on TV. You can't go into a restaurant, doctor's office or airport waiting area without being bombarded by CNN or Fox. And I'd hardly call Fox News news. I get news from NPR and the Huffington Post which is, admittedly, pretty left-leaning. Not NPR. The Huffington Post. I trust NPR more than any other source and that's just the truth.
But let's face it- by the time I get the news in the newspaper, I've heard it or read it already.
So does it still make any logical sense to get it?
I don't know.
Yesterday I read in the Democrat that one of my old FSU biology professors had died. I wouldn't have gotten that information on NPR. But I don't plan on going to the funeral. I didn't really know him although he was certainly one of those teachers you don't forget.
A few weeks ago there was an article about a house that I lived in briefly when I first moved to Tallahassee which has some history to it and which has been moved from where it was when I lived there and which is going to be restored. That was interesting and the only place I would have discovered the story was in the paper. I still get information that I wouldn't get anywhere else in the local paper. I do.
And so it does still have some value to me, I suppose.

Trains and newspapers are connected in more ways than just my own personal experience. It was the railways that made this country accessible and it was the newspapers which made it civilized. The newspaper used to be the only way to get information, just as the railways were the only way to travel, to ship things, to cross this country from one side to the other, the way for the tracks dynamited through mountains, the trestles for them spanning the rivers. And reporters used to be sent far and wide throughout the world to gather information, to bring it back, to write it up and then sent out into the world for people to read, to be informed. You weren't really married if your wedding announcement wasn't in the paper. You weren't really dead if your obit wasn't printed there.

But now there's such a myriad of ways to get information out. And here I sit, contributing to the internet, not really news, but a column of sorts.

It's sad to me to see the great newspapers and the small ones too, fail and fall. I hate it. Reporters used to be something. Journalists were too. There was a real value in what they did, there was respect for what they did. They were intrepid, they were honest, they got the story and they gave it to the world's readers.

Could there ever be a Brenda Starr, Girl Blogger? Sure, but she wouldn't be as glamorous or wear the clothes or travel to the places that Brenda Starr, Girl Reporter did. Nah, Brenda Starr, Girl Blogger sits in her PJ's and travels the world via the internet, Tweets, and hell, I don't even know. She doesn't care about black orchids. She doesn't have a mysterious, handsome man with an eye patch. She doesn't even have that gorgeous red hair and she certainly doesn't have stars in her eyes. She's probably not even brushed her hair today and she's wearing glasses.

Sad. And I guess until the day of the newspaper with its tactile pleasure, it's print and fonts and pictures and fold-and-carryablity are entirely gone, I'll still subscribe. I may bitch about it and call it the Tallahassee Pamphlet and I may bemoan the fact that I read blogs every day which are of higher quality than the columns in that paper but dammit, I'm an adult, I'm intelligent. I am civilized. I need to get the paper. And besides, what do people spread under the pumpkin when they carve it if they don't get the paper? What do they start their fires with? You can check the game scores online and you can check the movie schedule online but by god, you cannot wrap a fish in an iPhone.

No. I'll keep going out to get my paper, dressed like a homeless person, pretending that no one can see me if I don't look at them, and then bring it in to sit and read on my back porch and occasionally, a train will go by while I'm reading, picking out the tidbits that I wouldn't find anywhere else, the train carrying people who look out their windows to see this old house, these trees, my chickens and garden and they must wonder what kind of a person lives in such a place?

The kind of person who still reads a newspaper, I guess. Who fell in love with the printed word a million years ago, who perhaps dreamed a little bit of growing up to be Jack Somebody who could get paid to entertain people writing about such prosaic things as hangnails. Who harbored a desire to grow up to be Brenda Starr, Girl Reporter, a pad and pen always at the ready, a mysterious man with an eye patch ready to take her in his arms, a black orchid, waiting to be found somewhere in the world and then written about for the entire world to be awed by.

The train still goes by. The paper still gets delivered. The world still turns in the same old way, even as it changes with the speed of light into a future we can't even imagine. What will they think of trains when we can teletransport huge cargo containers of goods and ourselves too with a tiny transmitter device? What will they think of newspapers when we have chips in our heads that give us every bit of information in the world to ponder?

I don't know and I doubt I'll be around to know.

In the meantime, here I am. On my back porch. With the newspaper spread around me, even as I type on this computer, one foot in one century, another foot in this one. At the moment, the stretch still feels comfortable. Mostly. A train will probably come by in awhile.

And now I'll sign off, Mary Moon, Woman Blogger, with the regular daily edition of the news of her heart, her life, her tiny piece of this big world linked to it with words transmitted by magic, as well as rails which pass by her house, both carrying things from one place to another, from Jacksonville to Jackson, Wyoming. From Lloyd to Lisbon.

Kinda cool, don't you think?
I do. And I'm not giving up the newspaper yet. It may be an anachronism but so am I.

So am I.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Boobs Make Everything Better

I'm having one of those days. Which kind is that? you may ask. Or, you may in fact say, Who cares, Ms. Moon? And did you know that Amy Winehouse got new boobs?

That's the sort of day I'm having. Exactly. Amy Winehouse got new boobs and I am boring. Boring, boring, boring. So boring that if I were a food group, they'd eliminate it from the pyramid. So boring that if I were a book I would be sold as an over-the-counter sleep aid. So boring that if I were a movie, they would have to give away free boobs to get people to watch it.

It's so gloomy here today. The sky is gray. All of it. And it's so humid that my mirrors and windows are all white and ghostly with condensation. My walls are sweating. Mold is multiplying as we speak. There's a tornado watch and the wind is picking up. There is thunder in the far-off distance. My dogs are laying around as if they are just trying to sleep through this day, get it over with. I understand. I might try the same but my sheets are in the dryer.

They look as sad and pathetic as I feel.

I wonder if they know that Amy Winehouse got new boobs? Her father says they are swell. I could write an entire post just about that very tiny bit of information. I do not care to. I believe that anyone who comes here to visit is intelligent enough to already know what I would think about a father who comments on his daughter's new boobs.

Ah yah though. She is Amy Winehouse and her new boobs are cause for international celebritalk. I just made that word up. It's not real. It's as fake as...Amy Winehouse's new boobs!

I am not Amy Winehouse and I am boring. Maybe I should get new boobs. I could get tens of blog posts' worth of words out of that experience. Plus- before and after pictures!
I think not.
I had a friend who got new boobs. She showed them to me. (Have I already told you this?) and I thought, "Wow! Sign me up, baby! I want me some of them!"
Then she said, "Feel them." So of course I did.
Yikes! Cancel the appointment! No. Thank. You.

I wonder what Amy Winehouse's boobs feel like. I doubt I'll ever know.
Have you ever talked to a celebrity? I haven't.
Have you ever felt a celebrity's boobs?
I have not.
Have you ever wished you could?
I have. Susan Sarandon's in particular.

I'd only like to do that a little bit less than I'd like to cook supper for B.B. King. And that's a LOT!

But I don't think I want to feel Amy Winehouse's new boobs.

Like her old ones weren't good enough?

I wouldn't mind kissing her but that lipstick does not look like much fun. Nah. It would be really messy.

I think my sheets are dry. I'll go put them on my bed now.

I'm so boring. Did the boobs help? I hope so. They helped me. A little. Which is what my boobs are. Little. Actually, they're more sagging than little.

I'm just trying to be honest here.
Perhaps tomorrow we shall talk about post-menopausal sex.
But don't count on it.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, October 26, 2009

And Bat-Shit Crazy Is Not Just A Religion

How the FUCK do people do it? Especially the ones who work outside the house. Or have a disabled child. Or run web sites from home while taking care of children.

It's after five here today and I have supper cooking and I have laundry in the process of being laundered and I have gone to yoga, collected eggs (whoo- big heavy deal- go out and pick up five eggs out of the laying box) and fed the chickens and watered them and been to town to visit Owen and Lily and Jason and they ALL smiled at me and I dropped off some stuff at the library and I went to the Dollar Store and to Publix.

I hadn't been to the Dollar Store in a very long time, but there it was, right next to the branch library with a big sign that said, "STEAK- Hurry in and get yours before it's gone!"
Well. It was all gone by the time I got there so I didn't get any Dollar Store steak which one can only imagine where that steak started out as beef and what it was fed and how it was raised and killed. I mean, really. That is just about the scariest thing I've ever heard of. Dollar Store steak. I'm a little afraid of their soap and candy.


But as I said, it was all gone so I guess some folks are eating steak tonight. We're eating venison in the form of Chili Colorado, or at least my version of the dish which is highly inauthentic but hopefully, will be tasty and which took me hours to get to the point where it is in the pot and simmering.

But anyway, back to my original question- HOW DO PEOPLE DO IT?
How do people who hold down eight-hour-a-day jobs get their laundry done, their supper on the table, their houses reasonably in order, watch reality television, write blogs, read blogs, play with their kids and bathe and feed their kids and do the shopping and walk the dog and feed the cat and keep the plants watered and still get a reasonable amount of sleep?
How the fuck do they do it?

Or, how do YOU do it?

I look around me and see nothing but dusty furniture, a garden that needs watering and weeding, a chicken coop that needs serious poop removal, mouse poop on the microwave, dirt in the cracks and oh yes, there's another dog poop on the carpet.

I'm detecting a theme here and if you're paying attention, you will notice that it's a theme of SHIT!

Which is appropriate because it seems like all I do every day is wade through the shit. I never get it all done. What IS it all? What would that mean? Those old housewives on TV used to greet their suit-and-tied men at the door wearing a chic apron, heels and pearls with an icy martini in their hands.
"Hard day at the office, dear?" the wife would ask and the husband would loosen his tie, take the drink, have a nice, long sip, kiss the wife and say, "Oh yes. Quite the day. And yours?"
"Oh, you know. The same as usual," the wife would chirp, and then trot into the kitchen on her heels to check the roast in the oven and refresh the hubby's drink.
Did these women never mop the floors? I know they did because the commercials in those days were vastly concerned with yellowing linoleum and how to prevent it. Did they never vacuum or garden or deal with recalcitrant teens? They must have, and we know this, because other commercials would show a woman in a meltdown, grabbing her head while the husband said, "I know you have a headache, but don't take it out on me!" And then he'd hand her a bottle of Bayer.
Did they not do their laundry? If they didn't, who were the women on the commercials frantic at the shame of ring around the collar?

Ah- the mixed messages of fifties TV.

And this is what I was raised on.

I was raised BY a woman who did indeed work and who spent all day Saturday cleaning house. She was not happy about it, either. But she did it. And she cooked (and I use that term loosely) dinner most nights for me and my brother. And she even sewed dresses for me sometimes. And she melted down quite frequently. Real meltdowns that a bottle of aspirin so big it would clog up King Kong's rectum wouldn't cure. And she was addicted to Benzedrine Inhalers for her sinuses. Yes, my darlings, you used to be able to buy BENZEDRINE over the counter in a handy little inhaler bottle. It was green and white. I remember it well.

So I'm pretty sure that my own working mother never felt like she got it done either. Later on, she always had a woman come in to clean, which I'm sure helped tremendously but by then she had two more children, still worked, and her elderly father lived in the house, too. Let's not even mention her evil, insane husband.
There were months she barely came downstairs except go to work. Boy! I'll bet her students were happy little campers, don't you?

But I have strayed. And I need to get back to the laundry. And my clothes have been strewn about two rooms for weeks because it's fall transition time and I keep opening the bin where my winter things are and just pulling things out at random and my summer things are piling up because I mean to put them away for winter and my too-skinny clothes are still in the drawers and closets and my fat-clothes are on top of them and it's all a big old chaotic mess and it all makes my soul feel troubled and ruffled and definitely NOT AT PEACE!

There is never a moment in the day when I don't have dishes waiting to be washed, clothes waiting to be put away, some sort of animal's shit to be dealt with, and something having to do with food to be done, whether shopping or cooking or gardening or washing dishes AGAIN or putting it all away or making Mr. Moon's lunch and smoothie for the next day.
And I never sit down to work on a book anymore, but by God, I do write on the blog. And if I didn't, I think I would go perfectly and completely insane. _I_ would be the one drinking the martinis and I wouldn't be waiting until five-thirty p.m. either. No, I'd be mixing up those babies around ten in the morning. So thank God for the blog.

But I always, always feel guilty about taking the time to write here, to take pictures for it (and that may no longer be a problem, what with the camera's dysfunction) and I SHOULD be helping my husband financially, I should be dusting the piano, I should be cleaning the air filter or ironing something or cleaning the toilets or sewing something or mending something or making Christmas presents or just sweeping the damn floor.
I should be! I really should!

And Mr. Moon just got home and it made me feel as if I'd been busted because I was writing and then he suggested that perhaps I should pick up the pecans around the house before the squirrels get every damn last one of them. Haha! I said. Oh, that funny Mr. Moon.

So what do you do? How do you do it? How do you get things done? I didn't say EVERY thing done because that's just not possible and we all know it. Is my time different than your time? Does my time speed by faster than yours? I don't think so. Do I waste too much time here, on my computer when I should be cleaning that grill beneath the refrigerator? Should I quit making my own wheat/oat/flax bread? Should I cook Dollar Store steak in a skillet and serve it with Dollar Store green beans and Dollar Store boxed potatoes au gratin instead of taking hours to make chili and other healthy things like real vegetables? Should I get rid of my porch plants, my chickens, my garden? Should I live in a house that's smaller and easier to clean and doesn't collect bugs and mice the way this one does?
(Don't answer that last one. I mean it!)

I don't know. Tell me what you do. What are the things you let go, what are the things you can't live your life without doing? And how do you deal with the guilt of yellowing linoleum and ring around the collar? How do you justify spending time on blogging and reading blogs of people you've come to need and love in your life?

Let me know.
And now I have to go wash some dishes. The pre-supper dishes. The dishes I used to make the supper with. And steam the squash. And get rid of yesterday's newspaper and finish that laundry and ah, shit. The poop. I forgot the poop.

Those pecans are going to have to wait.
But maybe we should just let the squirrels get them all and then Mr. Moon can shoot them and I can learn to cook pecan-fed squirrel for supper. If I could just learn to grow sweet potatoes, I bet I could make a tasty meal out of the squirrel, the sweet potatoes and the collard greens.

Shit. I'm insane.

Are you?

Trip Report

So Mr. Moon and I made our way down to Apalachicola and we stopped in Sopchoppy to browse in a few shops. In one he found and purchased an entire baby camo outfit for Owen. Yes. He did. A camo onesie, a camo hat, and camo booties.

At another store down the road we found a lamp that I really had to have. Okay. Something is wrong with my camera or else I have it set on some weird setting that I need to figure out. But here's the lamp:

Can you imagine I could have left that behind? I don't think so.

We stopped in Carabelle for some beer and as we were leaving the store, we saw this:

I would apologize for my fellow-north Floridians but what would be the point? We may not be able to spell but goddammit, we love our country! Right?

The Gibson was busy with a bunch of folks taking part in a murder mystery weekend. I'm not exactly sure how that operates but people were talking about clues all weekend and there were characters walking around in costume. Everyone seemed to be having a great deal of fun. Our room was on the third floor, a small room, but a cozy one. The thing I love about going away for the weekend is that naps can be taken without guilt. I love to lie there on the bed under the covers and just let sleep overcome me and drift away and then come back to life and listen to Mr. Moon snoring gently and revel in the luxury of being completely comfortable and with nothing which has to be done, no place to be but where I am, the world busy around me, and not having to feel part of it, just me and my husband all alone in the center of this busy-ness, a quiet, still spot that we are sharing. Does that make sense? Oh. It does to me.

On Saturday we shopped around. Here's a picture of me with my head on the bosom of a pirate lady. I think we both look rather pleased:

Who doesn't love a nice bosom, even if it is made of fiberglass?

We made sunset rum and cokes and walked down to the river. It was so beautiful, the sky streaked with gold and pink and the shrimp boats lined up at the dock. It was too dark and I only had the camera in the phone, but here's sort of what it looked like:

Maybe especially after a rum and coke.

And in the theme of drinking, here's my handsome husband of twenty-five years, having a martini on the porch of the Gibson:

We ate oysters and shrimp and crab and gumbo and way too much chocolate. Yes, it is possible to eat too much chocolate. My tummy paid me back, too. And reminded me of why I need to start eating in a more sensible way but that's a topic for another blog and the subject of another day.

This weekend was about the celebration. It was about being in a town we've loved for almost as long as we've loved each other. We drove around town, remembering the days when we thought we'd buy a house down there, disagreeing on which house was which, and then agreeing, and then disagreeing but overall agreeing that Apalachicola is a beautiful place and we have the perfect lot and that yes, someday it would be so nice to live there on it, blocks from the store, the library, the restaurants, and right on the water. But I have decided that no matter what, I have to have at least a few hens. If I keep only hens and keep them hidden, I believe I can get away with it. I shall have swamp hens and grow my tomatoes in pots.
Well. It's a dream. Perhaps it will come true.
And that was another lovely thing about the weekend- celebrating what has been in the last twenty-five years and looking forward to what comes next.

And so that was our trip, in a rush and a whirl, and now I HAVE to get to town to see my boy. I know he misses me and Lily reports that he is giving full-blown smiles and I WANT MINE!

One of my chickens just laid an egg and Sam, as he always does when a hen sings her chicken-laying song, hurried into the coop to see what was up, just like a new father being called to the delivery room. I can see him metaphorically passing out cigars five times a day, that pretty rooster of mine.

And so I am home and I am glad to be. Perhaps someday we will live on the water with a dock of our own on the beautiful Apalachicola Bay with palm trees and an enormous sky above us, the always-changing water beside us. But for now, this place is where I want and need to be. Close to my children, my grandchildren, with my chickens right out back, my garden where I can easily get to to gather greens. It's gray today and a little damp and chilly, but my heart is warm. And the palm trees I have planted in this yard are growing every year and the oak trees shelter us beneath their massive branches and our own front porch looks out onto the street which leads to all roads, eventually, and then back again to home.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nothing Says Silver Anniversary Like A Sparkly Virgin Of Guadalupe From Cozumel

Home again. It was a lovely weekend and I can't wait to see what's on the camera because I have no idea how any of my pictures came out, especially the ones taken in the old, old graveyard at sunset last night.

When we got home, Mr. Moon was desperate to give me my card and I hadn't even written his out yet so I went out back and wrote a silly poem on it and gave it to him. Then he gave me his and I cried because it was so damn sweet and what every married-for-twenty-five-years lady would like to hear and THEN he gave me that necklace you see. It can also be worn as a pin and we saw it in Cozumel last summer and I really wanted it but didn't demand it and I've thought about it ever since and then- there it was today. Even wearing my overalls, I feel like some sort of noble lady, wearing it around my neck.

And that's all I have to say right now because I have laundry to do and greens to pick for salad and supper to make and dishes to wash. I've already given my chickens some grapes and made brownies for Jessie because she asked me to and I've unpacked my suitcase and have bread rising and have talked to all of my children but Hank and I'm going to call him now.

Golly. It was a lovely weekend. It's a lovely life. And I have missed everyone and I think I dreamed of you all and I hope all is well with you.

Love....Ms. Moon

Friday, October 23, 2009

And Please Go Read This. We All Need To Remember What It Says

Thank-you, Elizabeth, for this post and all your others, too.

Childlike Poetry From A Very Greatful Heart

Mr. Moon brings home the bacon
And the chickens lay the eggs
It's the sort of live I never dreamed
I drink it to the dregs.

I work out in the garden
Which Mr. Moon has tilled
I daily sweep the old pine floors
I keep the bread box filled

The lizards hunt on fields of screen
The spiders spin and wait
The rooster crows, the hawks cry out
Is this truly my joyful fate?

To live beneath these trees so old
To have this yard and house
To have this tribe of kids and grand
To have this loving spouse?

And as a child I didn't know
I couldn't even guess
That all my dreams undreamed by me
Would become this beautiful mess.

I am so far from perfect
And I am so far from sane
But on certain perfect mornings
I am also far from pain

I let the fears and sorrows
The anxieties and anger go
I sit and watch the trees dance
I really truly know

The blessings I've been given
This life, these loves, this place
These friends, these trees this heaven
And I really feel the grace

I really truly cherish
I feel and smell and see
I really truly appreciate
What all I have before me

And it all comes down like raindrops
From the vast bowl of sky above
It all adds up to one thing
I know it all is love.

And no matter what else happens
As age and years pile up
I've had these joys and graces
I've drunk from a silver cup

Of wine more sweet than cherries
Of water more pure than rain
Of love more strong than sorrow
Of love more strong than pain.

I sit and think of all of this
I send my grateful prayer
Out to all the universe
Out to all that's there

All that I will never see
All that I have known
To thank my lucky stars above
For this life, this love, this home.

Sorry folks, sometimes I just gotta make a rhyme.

I'll not be taking my computer with me and I'll be back on Sunday.
See you then.
Happy Friday, y'all.
Love....Ms. Moon

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Celebration Weekend

Apalachicola is one of those places just eat up with charm. I mean EAT UP with it. Old houses both stately and funky, palm trees, a beautiful bay, a gorgeous winding river, great shopping, great eating, fishermen, tourists, artists- hell, it even has its own homosexuals. It could be Key West but thank god it's not.

You can sit down in a bar and have the owner of some company sitting on one side of you wearing madras pants and an oyster-shucker wearing jeans and a ripped T-shirt on the other side.

And that's where Mr. Moon and I are headed tomorrow for our anniversary weekend.

Twenty five years we'll have been married on Sunday and no, I can't believe it either.

This is not going to be one of those sappy posts. I already wrote one of those today.
No, it's just a post about how nice it's going to be to get in a car (maybe the Cutlass!) and drive that beautiful road down to the coast and then crossing a bridge that looks like the back of some prehistoric reptile

which ends right in front of the Gibson. We've booked a room at the Gibson and some of you might look at it and say, "But Ms. Moon, your own house is older than that, and a lot more private and just as charming," and I'd say, "You're right!" but they have restaurants in Apalachicola and one of my favorite shops in the world, River Lily, where I can buy some of my favorite perfume and drool over the jewelry, lamps, clothing and great fun stuff I've never seen anywhere else. There are also antique stores, a fabulous book store, and the best oysters in the world, not to mention a lot on the bay that Mr. Moon and I own and which we hope to build on some day. Plus, someone else will be washing my towels and sheets and you can't beat that with a stick and it certainly doesn't happen here in Lloyd, plus, if a dog shits on the floor, I won't be expected to clean it up.

We've stayed in Aplachicola many times before and I wrote a novel based there and it's just the kind of place that grabs your heart and makes you think, "I could live here," and next thing you know you're calling a realtor and going around looking at houses. It's changed a lot since we first started visiting back in the eighties but not so much that it doesn't still smell like salt and fish and primeval funk. Makes me feel right at home, having grown up by a river in a fishing village. And the people at the Gibson will welcome us with open arms, or at least a friendly smile and we'll sit on the big wide porch and have a drink and watch the traffic, of which there is not much, and we'll walk down to the water and sit on a dock and ask people what they're catching and we'll go out for supper and we'll celebrate twenty-five years of marriage, which in this day and time is pretty remarkable.
We'll toast to each other and the kids and the grandkid and we'll look at each other and say, "How did this happen? Where did the time go?"
And we'll climb the creaky flights of stairs to our room where we'll sleep together under clean sheets and it will be fine and we'll feel at home in the little town where one day we might have a home.

And on Sunday we'll drive home and get out of the car and look around and if I know us, we'll be glad to be home in Lloyd and really, wherever Mr. Moon is, that is my home, and this life- this life of ours- this twenty-five years together of a life is worth celebrating both there and here and we shall do that.

Why Can't Words Say It All?

Lily and Jason came out yesterday with Owen to pick up some grass seed and a few other things and after Jason had gotten everything loaded up, we all sat out back for a few moments. Owen ate some, of course, and then he just hung out on his mama's lap, enjoying being outside. As do most babies, Owen likes to get out and go to different places. He likes to look at light and sky and the way the trees move in the breeze.

He's still at that googly baby stage where everything takes so much concentration to control- eyes, head, hands. But I can tell that every day he is getting better at this thing we call life.

He opens his eyes wide when I talk to him, he seems to like my baby-babbling. Of course I speak in that high-pitched voice which a few years ago some parents disdained using because, well, I don't know. They probably thought that if they didn't use it, their babies would start talking earlier or be smarter or something. It's no accident that we talk to babies in this ridiculous manner- they like it, they pay attention to it, it's part of the process. They know we are talking to them.

It's part of our nature to do this. To adore our babies, to want to hold them, stroke them, nurture and care for them. To keep them warm and comfortable and fed. I think it's funny sometimes that one of the very things we hold up as most sacred and holy- the madonna and her love for her child- is to be found in so many animals, not just human ones.

I think I learned as much about mothering from Jane Goodall's reports and stories about the chimp Flo as from any mothering book concerning humans. Protect the baby, keep her close, feed her when she's hungry, sleep with her. As she gets older, watch her as she explores, let her try new things, teach her how to hunt for termites. When it's time, send her out into the world to live her own life, stay friends, keep her in the tribe. As long as you are able, keep an eye out for her and her own young's safety, help when you can.
And so forth.

Really. That's how simple it is. Of course we humans have so much more to worry about than marauding males from other tribes. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate? TV or no TV? Go back to work or live in poverty? This car seat or that one? Solid foods? When? and on and on, our ape-brains having to deal with modern human circumstances and so we go to the internet for answers, and yet, we can still call our mothers for answers. She may go to the internet too, but usually she can say, "Oh, you did the same thing when you were a baby. It's normal."

And so the new mother learns and the grandmother learns too.

When I was taking pictures of Owen yesterday I thought about how, if it were acceptable, I would probably still be obsessively taking pictures of my children, even though they are adults. They walk into a room and my heart still leaps up with such love for them. What very few people tell you is that when you have a baby you fall in love. Romantically with roses and pink hearts and goo-goo eyes and gushy words that come from your mouth and like with a new lover, you want to kiss them all day long.

And guess what? This doesn't go away.

I would aim my camera at Hank and May and Jessie and Lily every moment I was with them if that wasn't so ridiculous because I am still so in love with them.

My child, my child, my child my heart beats. My heart can still barely hold the glory of them, that glory it knew first when I held them first, cradling their still-wet bodies to my chest. And when I see Owen, it brings it all back to me and as I witness the love his parents have for him, I am hurtled back in time to when my babies were that small, that young, and they needed me every minute and I was so gob-struck, god-struck in love that every thing they did made me melt in wonder, in awe and the need to protect them was so fierce that I could have died.

None of that goes away. When there's a storm, I want all my babies around me. I know this isn't logical but what of a parent's love is? I still want to protect them, even as I know I can't. But I look at Owen and I know why I feel this way.

I took this picture and it was, quite obviously, posed for.

And then, right after I took it, I clicked another.

Jason and Lily were already curled back around their baby. Look at the way they look at that baby. Look at the way they are adoring him.

I still look at all my babies like that. And there is part of me which wishes I could still hold them all in my lap, gather them all into my arms. I can't nurse them any more but I want to give them soup to take home, eggs, bread, whatever I have in my cabinets, my refrigerator. "Take it- eat it- let me nourish you." I want to have them here when they are sick or hurt to take care of. I want to protect them from winds and rain and from hurt and disappointment and frustration and all the things that humans have to go through and I can't and it literally hurts me that I can't.

It's so amazing how being a grandmother brings all of this back to the forefront. Like I said in another post, it just adds another layer of love to it all. When I am loving Owen, I am loving his mother, his aunts, his uncle. I am loving his grandfather. I am loving our tribe and in some ways, I am feeling fiercer than I have ever felt in my life.

It all feels right. It all feels like what I was put here on earth to do. And Owen is the ten-pound essence of it all and no wonder I need to touch him, hold him, sing to him, smell him, kiss him as often as I can. He sums up the love-drug of motherhood in his tiny arms, his perfect body, his round, sweet head.

"I'm your grandmama," I tell him when I hold him. "And I love you."
I tell him that over and over again. I sing it to him in silly rhymes. I whisper it into his ear. I kiss it onto his face. I breathe it into his heart where he will know it forever.
He lets me do that because he has no choice.

And I wonder if my children know how much I still want to sing words of love to them. How much I want to stroke them, kiss them, take their pictures.

I doubt it. But I'm telling them today, clumsily, because as we get older, the ways we can show our babies we love them becomes more complicated.
But it doesn't become any less, that love. It doesn't become any less fierce.
Take my word for this.

This is my high-pitched crooning. This is my deep soul loving. This is my holding you in my arms. This is my message to you. You are always my babies. Can I take your picture? Can I kiss your head? Can I hold you close? Can I let you go?

I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.

And I love you. Always.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hang On To Your Uteri, Girls (Or, Things In Round Places)

I had pregnancy dreams last night. The last time this happened, Lily turned up knocked-up. Now I don't think Lily's quite ready to get pregnant again and last time I checked, neither May nor Jessie were engaging in baby-making ceremonies although I am quite aware we do not tell our mothers everything.
And the good lord knows I am not about to get pregnant so who IS IT? Is it you????

I was reminded of the dreams this morning when I saw old Pearl curled up in a small dog's bed. She loves to do this. It makes her feel cozy. I have even found her asleep on Zeke's bed which is more like a little hut than a flat bed but Pearl just lays down on it and smashes it out and snoozes away. Anyway, here she is in the small dog's bed as opposed to the tiny dog's bed:

She has a Pearl-sized bed and Dolly, a small dog, snoozes there:

No. I do not put those pretty ribbons in her hair. The groomer does and they will be gone by tomorrow, I am sure.

Anyway, seeing Pearl in that bed reminded me of the dreams because not only was I pregnant, so was Pearl. Now Pearl has never had sex as far as I know and was spayed at a very early age, plus in dog years, she is far more ancient even than I who, as we all know, is ancient and hoary and filled with wisdom but no functioning eggs.

So despite all of this, Dream Pearl delivered her puppy and at first it was a normal puppy and she bit the string-like umbilical cord but then, as things will happen in Dream World, the puppy turned into a creature which had a head like an adult Lab's head and I said, "Holy fuck! That puppy's head is as big as Pearl's head!"

I was amazed.

And I was walking around with this giant pregnant belly and just waiting for that tipping point which casts you into labor and I liked having the belly. This probably comes from my near-fat experience yesterday and I've spent my entire life being depressed about my fat stomach except for when I was pregnant which were the only times in my life I could walk around without holding in my stomach and it was glorious and I loved my pregnant belly more than I can say. It was my glory, my joy, my round Buddha vessel of life. Ah.

So in the dream I was waiting to go into labor and instead of my usual pregnancy dreams where I think This time I will get an epidural! I thought about Lily and how brave she'd been in labor and I knew I could do it again if I could only begin this process. I searched my body for how things felt and I realized I was guarding against pain by holding my muscles in to keep my belly from dropping down because THAT triggered what could have been a contraction and so I tried to relax and let that contraction-thing happen, even though it was painful.

There were lots of people around and one of them was a woman I used to know in high school and to whom I am still somehow connected through a mutual friend. I know she has been through troubled times recently and in my dream she was beautiful and well and I hoped she would be there for the birth. I took her aside and said, "Sally, if you are here when I'm in labor, please remind me...."
And I can't remember what I told her to remind me of but perhaps it was something like, "Don't be afraid of the pain and don't hold back from letting it happen."
I think that may actually have been it because I think now, as the sun is shining on me and I am coffee-ed and yoga-ed up that this was the message of the dream.

Don't be afraid of the pain. I have to relax into whatever the pain is because through pain there will be new life.

And beyond that, I haven't a fucking clue.

And then there was Pearl, a big dog in a round space and I thought of her having a puppy and me having a grand round belly and the message came back to me and maybe that's all there was to it- inner wisdom being transmitted to my consciousness and it had nothing to do with anyone I know actually getting pregnant.

But just in case- if you don't want to get pregnant, be careful. I'm warning you.

But if you do want to get pregnant- go for it! Attend the baby-making ceremonies with great joy and energy. Relax and give in and surely, one way or another, through pleasure and/or pain, there will be new life.

And that's it for today. Or until I get inspired again.
One never knows here at The Church Of The Batshit Crazy, does one?

And it is the anniversary of May's near-death/rebirth and as I think about it, perhaps that was part of my dream as well.

I love you, May. I love watching you be reborn again and again and again, each time more beautiful, each time more filled with light, each time more sure and strong and true.

My children are my teachers and if I do indeed have any wisdom at all, it is because of them.
And of that I am quite sure.