Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Keepin' It Real For You, Folks

That's what Mr. Moon and I picked last night. I already had half a dozen cucumbers in the refrigerator.
And today would be a fine day to make pickles but I have no water.

Sigh. It's one of those days.

You move to the country so you can grow cucumbers and then your well breaks so you sign up for the community water and then you wake up and there's no water flowing from your taps and you check the place outside where the community water hooks up to your meter to see perfectly good water boiling into the street so you go down to the water office and there's no emergency number and you know darn well that the entire county has one man to go around and fix things and who knows when that guy'll get here after you leave a note on the door?

And besides that, Mr. Moon has already asked you how you could spend all the money in the bank account that he put in there on FRIDAY and all you can say is...Target.

And he gives you the speech about buying what you NEED versus buying what you WANT and so then you ask him what he needs and wants for supper and he says he probably doesn't need anything and he doesn't know what he wants and so you say, "I knew you'd say that," because you've been asking him the same question for 26 years and he's been giving the same answer.
And then he says, "Cucumbers," and you're tempted to give him a bowl of cucumbers for supper, unpeeled and undressed and say, "Here you are."
And then he says, "Clam spaghetti," and again, you knew he was going to say that too.
It's almost like you're psychic or something. Haha!

So. You can't do laundry, and the dirty overalls from Sunday are in the basket, mouldering like John Brown's body in the grave and you can't make pickles because pickles require a hell of a lot of water to process and you can't even boil pinto beans because you have no water to boil them in and let's not talk about flushing the toilet and you'd take a walk but it already looks like hell out there, the sky gray and ominous and by god you'll not be caught out in a forest in one of the thunder storms we've been having lately.
Certain death, for sure.

And you can't go to town because you'd just end up buying a lot of things you don't need but suddenly decide you want.

Perhaps you should just go back to bed which requires no water and no storm protection and no money whatsoever. Sleeping is about the cheapest thing you can do. Did you realize that? If you already own the bed and the sheets, it's free.

Grumble, grumble, grumble. As if I didn't need a bathing suit and some t-shirts and I damn well needed a new trash can because the whole bottom of the old one rusted off and stayed on the floor when I went to pick it up to sweep under it and okay, I did not need a new begonia, I admit that but it only cost $4.99 and it's one I've never seen before, much less owned, okay?

Sigh and sigh again.

But before he goes to work you both giggle a little because you've had this discussion so many times in your life together and you kiss and say I love you, and that's life, that's marriage, and you hand him his lunch and he goes out the door to go to work to earn the money for you to buy things you want as well as need and you, well, you get another cup of coffee and decide to write about it all because this, this is marriage, this is life, this is the way it is some days in Lloyd and probably in every house and hut (did you NEED a new pot to boil cassava in? really? my mother's pot, god rest her soul, wasn't good enough anymore?) in the world.

Keepin' it real, folks. That's my job.

Did you go read what my son wrote about the Stonewall Riots? If not, please do. You NEED to.

No running water required.

Monday, June 29, 2009

And Why Don't They Teach This In Schools?


It's His Birthday

Over here at the Church of Batshit Crazy the services got very exciting yesterday. Mr. Moon finished up the biddie coop in the big coop while I made his chocolate layer dessert and some deviled eggs and then I got out in the garden and finished up some of what I'd spent six hours on the day before.
It was hot. My god, it was hot. Entirely too holy hot and too hot to eat and by the time I'd finished what I was doing and he'd finished what he was doing we were both exhausted and filthy. But what a great feeling.

While he was finishing up the coop I went out to check on the babies and determined that instead of eight chicks being in the box of death, there were only four. And Elmira was one of the missing. As was Buttercup. I freaked and yelled for Mr. Moon and he came trotting over and we found the little birds, sitting up in the jungle of canna lilies right by the box and we hunted them down and put them back in. I'd propped the box up a little to give them air and I now know that chickens can get out through very small spaces. So that was one adventure.

When the biddie coop was done, we moved them into their new coop. HoneyLuna was here to take pictures.

It's such an entirely clever little coop that Mr. Moon designed with a screened-in porch to prevent snakes from entering and a covered place with a tin roof on a hinge that we can lift up to get in to feed them and fill up their water container.

Here's me and Mr. Moon, arranging the furniture for the babies.

I was curious to see how the hens would take the presence of the new babies. Here they are, checking out the chicks:

Is that like the cutest thing you've ever seen? I spent thirty minutes on my knees watching this whole hens-meet-babies show.

By this time, the kids had arrived for the Dad's birthday cookout. It's Mr. Moon's birthday today and so we all gathered and May had brought marinated vegetables to skewer and grill (would you LOOK at those vegetables?!) and HoneyLuna brought meat to make into hamburgers for the carnivores among us and I made a little cucumber salad from the cukes in the garden and just as everything was ready to eat, the entertainment portion of the evening began.
It started thundering and lightening. My mother called to tell us there was a tornado headed our way. We went out to the back porch to watch the wind whipping the trees, the lightening slash the sky and feel the thunder rumble the very boards we were standing on. The rain began to fall from the heavens in sheets and curtains and torrents. It was, to say the least, dramatic.

And there were my baby chicks, their first time out of the house at night, and the biggest storm of the year was happening all around them. Mr. Moon and I decided to go out and get them but just as we were about to go outside, the biggest flash of lightening of all hit and the thunder was immediate and deafening.


We ate dinner instead. And although it was delicious, I was too worried to enjoy it.
As soon as it calmed down enough, we went out to check on all our poultry and the babies were fine, huddled up on the straw in the covered portion of the coop but the big girls hadn't taken shelter in their coop and were piled on top of each other in the corner of the pen. They were in complete shock, I think, and let us pick them up and calm them and we put them in the coop and they stayed there, dazed and quite confused, I'm sure. But alive.

We went back to the house. The power was out by this time and Mr. Moon opened his presents by candlelight and blew out the candles on his dessert and we all ate it and it was good.
The kids cleaned up for us and then went home to their places where there was electricity and air-conditioning and Mr. Moon and I opened up the house and resigned ourselves to a hot, sticky night without even a fan but every time we'd fall asleep, the lights would come on and we'd get up to shut windows but by the time we'd get out to the mud room, the lights would go out again and we'd lay back down, only to have the whole cycle repeated again.

At exactly midnight, the power came on for good. 12-12-12 the clocks flashed, and they were right and it was Mr. Moon's birthday.

We finally got back to sleep laying in the sweet conditioned air, the windows closed to the frogs' chorus again, and the day was behind us.

Before I fell asleep I thought a lot about how much electricity has changed our lives and our attitudes. We think of it as a right, you know? It's our right to have lights and refrigerators and radios and computers and AIR CONDITIONING when the temperatures are in the nineties and the humidity is too. When it's not there, there is no other option but to submit to whatever nature brings us and believe me- nature can bring us plenty to worry about. Plenty to fret over, plenty to submit to.

I like to think of myself as tough but that storm and the ensuing heat brought me to my knees and yet- what to do but wait out the storm, lay my sweaty body down on the damp sheets and close my eyes?


Light a candle, sure, but no use to curse the darkness or the storm or the fate of the chickens.
We have a completely different mind-set about things, I believe, than people did a hundred years ago. I'm sure of it. And I wonder (as I always wonder) how this affects us in our minds, our bodies, our hearts.
Mr. Moon says I think too much about things. And I'm sure he's right. I over-analyze everything.
Storms and electrical outages and the meanings of chickens in our lives.

But I know one thing I do not over-analyze and that is this:
I am married to one of the best men on earth. It's his birthday today and I am thinking of his mother and father and how happy they must have been, fifty-five years ago today. Their son was born. Their third child, their only son. And they, as all parents, must have hoped such great hopes for that child. They must have dreamed great dreams for that baby boy. And because they were wonderful people and because they were incredibly loving parents, they raised that child up to be a man that any mother, any father would be so proud of.

I wish they were here to see him with his family around him in this life he's built for us with his two huge, strong hands, his smart head, his immense heart. They would appreciate how much their son loves his children, his wife. They would glow with pride and joy to know that Lily is going to be a mother soon herself. That their love is still visible in her; the spark is glowing so brightly.

Look. I don't have the words to say how much I love this man, my husband. All I can say is that he was born fifty-five years ago and I've been with him for almost twenty-six years and I want more, more, more.

I submitted to his love a long time ago. I did not look at that man and immediately think, "Oh yeah, he's the one for me." He was too tall, too happy, too eager to love me. I was too sick in my heart and my soul to accept that at face value. But something inside of me said, "Submit, you fool. You'll never have another chance like this again."

Thank every lucky star in the heavens I did because every day I find more reasons to love him. Do you know how rare that is? How precious?

And it's his birthday. And I am celebrating him. He got up at six and went to work out at the gym and now he's at work and I'm here in this house he bought me, keeping my eye on the chickens in the pen he built and I'm thinking about how lucky I am, how very, very lucky I am. And how lucky our kids are.

Look- here he is, holding the tiny, brave chicken he saved with Centrum Silver and sugar:

I love that man with all my heart.

Happy birthday, Mr. Moon. Thank-you for giving me the best years of your life.
So far.

Let's make whatever we have left even better.
Although I can hardly see how that can be. But you've always surpassed every expectation I've ever had- so maybe.

I look at that picture and I think of how it's going to be when we're in Mexico. How it's going to be when we're looking at our daughter hold her baby for the first time. How it's going to be every minute we're together for the rest of whatever and I think- really? We're going to get all of THAT when we already have this?

One never knows. One has to submit in this life to certain things.

I submit to your love, my husband. I do.

And I say Happy birthday, my hero, my brave, good man, my sweet tender lover, my children's father, my strength and my salvation.
Every day I love you more. Every year, more than that.
So let's keep getting older. Because that only means it's better.

I love you. Forever and ever, amen.
Your wife.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Sunday Church Of Batshit Crazy

I took the camera out of the house which had been air conditioned all night and into the morning humidity and before I wiped the sweating lens off, this is what happened. I like it. Ethereal, sort of.
It's Sunday which may be a day of rest but for us is a day of getting done what we didn't get done on Saturday with the sleep-in option.
That feels holy to me.
Ten years ago, when we lived in another house in Tallahassee, a fine house made of bricks with a pretty little oval pool of cool blue water, a neighbor gave me some phlox sprouts from her yard. I planted them in that yard and when we moved, I brought some with me. After five years of planting around the yard, they are everywhere now. And they are blooming. Every place you look in my yard almost, is pink/purple-shot with their blooms. They are hardy beyond belief. They appreciate water but if they don't get it, they struggle up and out anyway.
I love my phlox and I think of that neighbor every time I see one. I fell hard in love with her and for awhile, we were tight. But then something happened. I don't know what. She grew cool and distant and it was a mystery. I still mourn that but I am grateful for those phlox of hers which make my yard more of a glory every year.

I went out to see my hen-ladies. They are up and happy, pecking around in the masses of weeds I pulled up yesterday and put in their pen. They love to hunt among the roots for bugs and every day they seem more beautiful to me with their glossy feathers and sharp little all-seeing eyes. They come running to me when I open up the door because they know I bring them treats. I can't say this enough- I think humans were meant to live with chickens. One of the things I'm looking forward to in Mexico is to wander around in the hoods and check out the Mexican chickens. Did I already say this? If so, I apologize. I am not only batshit crazy, I am getting old.

Mr. Moon just stopped by and gave me a kiss and made me cry. He's on his way out to the chicken pen where he is building a smaller coop/pen in the big pen for the young chicks. It's time. He has on his nail belt and his overalls and his cap and the way he made me cry is what he said about his family being the most wonderful thing he can imagine. How proud he is of each of our kids. It's his birthday tomorrow and I'm going to make him his favorite dessert which is a several layer thing of chocolate and pecans and sugar and whipped cream and so forth. Kids, if you're reading this- call me.

Here are the some of the little chicks who are about to move on up into the world:

Elmira is still tiny but doing fine. It will be interesting to see how the hens take to having a pen full of babies in their midst. Mr. Moon is building the nursery coop to prevent them from pecking the young ones to death which I hear can happen. Somehow I can't imagine MY hens, my sweet, pretty hens, doing such a thing but it would be awful if they did. Sorry for the chicken shit in that picture but you know what? Chickens do shit.

Here's a zinnia:

There is about to be a treasure box full of jewel-colors out there beside the garden. This is the first bloom of the ones I planted. I can't wait to see the reds and yellows and oranges and greens and dark purples that are budded up right now.

And here's my kitchen door- the one you'd come in if you visited.

I wish you could.

Come in! I'd say. Please come in. We're having services today. Services for the Church of the Batshit Crazy, the Full-Blooming Phlox, the Chicken Worshipping Heathens, The Grateful Living Church Of The Our-Dreams- Come-True-People-Of-All-Colors-And-Colorful-Names-And-Light-And-Love. The Believers in All-Is-One. We're so glad you're here. Sorry it's so hot but it's summer. Here, let me turn the fan on you. Would you like a glass of cold water? Did you eat yet? What can I get you? Oh, I am so glad you're here.

That's what I'd say. That's what I'm saying. I can hear your voices now. What shall we sing first? Amazing Grace? That's a good one to start with. Then we'll go on to some Patsy Cline, some K.D. Lang, maybe a little Rolling Stones, and of course a Springsteen anthem and what's a worship service without the Beatles, Bob Dylan and maybe even a little Buffet. Hey! It's my church, I get to pick the hymns. And Aretha. Can't forget Sister Aretha. And I'll bet we can get Jason to do Billie Jean. THAT is something worth seeing, believe me. It's a full-bore praise fest.

Wait. The crickets are singing now. Let's wait until this chorus of theirs is over.

Yeah. Come on in. It's Sunday. Let's worship.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Let The Crazy Begin

So it's ninety-seven degrees and so of course I've decided today is the day to get that garden under control.
I've been weeding for three hours now and the job is not nearly done and my arms are broken out from bugs and scratchy things and I am a sweaty piece of womankind- barely woman at this moment, more animal than human.
We have a next-door neighbor on the west side of us (not Petit Fleur who lives on the east side of us) whom even yesterday I would have described as batshit crazy. She has an unknown number of dogs, same with goats, all named (often after living family members), chickens, donkeys, mules, guinea hens and a turkey. This neighbor was outside working today, too, and her dogs got into my yard, at least the two labs, and we chatted for a bit about chickens when she came to retrieve them. I took her over to look at my chickens and then she brought me some eggs (three dozen beautiful yard eggs for six dollars- please!) and I realized something as we chatted.
I am as batshit crazy as she is.
I am as dirty, as sweaty, as poorly dressed, as insanely hatted, as obsessed with my yard and chickens. Okay, I don't have goats or those other animals (nor do I want them) but still...
What's the difference?
Well, she believes that Fox News is the only place you can hear the truth and I believe Fox News is the anti-christ and she goes to church and she's tougher and older than I am but beyond that we have more in common than I feel quite comfortable with.
Holy shit.
I've done it.
I've turned into a batshit crazy old southern lady who gardens in the midday sun wearing a stupid hat.

And my neighbor gave me some good advice- if I turn up with more roosters than I want, I should take them to Mango and Pinot's mother who will gladly take them for her stew pot.
Yes. I live in a community where there are people named Mango and Pinot and their mother will take your extra roosters off your hands.

Life is good.
And dreams do come true.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Am Sending You Elsewhere Today

I just read a post by Maggie May at Flux Capacitor and it moved me so much I have nothing to say today except that you should go read it because she is a hugely gifted writer and her voice is so strong and she has suffered a loss recently which she writes about with such fierceness that I know there is nothing I can say today that could touch the hem of her garment.
I think it is her honesty which moves my soul so deeply. I wish I could write that honestly and I doubt I ever will.
I am like the pretty little lamp I bought for Lily at the thrift store and she is like some great beacon of light, sending her words across the universe.

Go read her post and be en-lightened.

Okay, L7, Part II

Here's another thought I have about Michael Jackson:
The ridiculously gifted and amazing song-writer/performer he was back when he was young was one person.

And for some reason that we'll never understand, that person disappeared and was replaced by someone else. Someone who wasn't quite male, quite black, quite as gifted. He shape-shifted.
Not by spells or magic but with knives and scalpels and transplanted pieces of plastic.

The whole world watched as this happened. As his face melted and was shaped into something neither whole nor happy nor human. I can't say this enough- he was not quite human anymore. And that part of him that was human was so deep inside of him, so lost, that we never saw it again. We never heard it again. He became a persecuted soul who, if he had not been Michael Jackson, would have been living not in the most beautiful hotels and houses in the world, but in a prison or a psychiatric ward.

The Michael Jackson who made us dance until we melted, who made us all so proud to be human because only humans can write and sing like that from the heart, can dance like that from the soul, died a long, long time ago.

And that Michael, I hope, was released yesterday.

I keep thinking about his children. Prince Michael? Blanket? What are their names? I think of them as being like those changelings, left in the nests of strange birds, fairy-children hidden among the children of the people. How will they exist now? They had no mothers and the not-human being who was their father is gone. The veils from their faces have been ripped off and I am not sure their eyes can stand the light of the real day.
I cannot quit thinking about the children, those changelings, those strange little people who have to live in this world now.

I dreamed last night that I was in a car that had gone off a cliff and I knew I was going to die. Instead of being frightened, I relaxed completely as the car (and it was dark green and the seats were velvet) soared through the air and I thought to myself, here we go. I wonder what it will be like, and I was so curious and not afraid at all.

I hope it was like that for Michael Jackson. I hope he soared and was not afraid.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Okay, L7

Michael Jackson was a genius who got really fucked up and he did really fucked up things and he's dead now.
And honestly, that is all I have to say.

I Really Do Not Want To Talk About Michael Jackson, But I Do Want To Talk About This

I'm not usually a big fan of New And Improved because it usually means New And Improved Packaging, Same Old Shit Inside.

However, in this case?

Oh yeah.

It's like dental floss has been reinvented. It's completely awesome. It doesn't fray. It's sort of stretchy. It's phenomenal. Like when they finally quit making non-stretchy bra straps with those stupid clip things that didn't work so that you could pull those suckers until your tits were under your chin and the straps would still fall off your shoulders, and replaced them with elastic straps.

In retrospect, that was a huge "DUH!"

And so, my friends, is this dental floss.

I'm thinking you could even make great jewelry with it. You know, like stringing beads?
And they would be sort of minty fresh bracelets and so forth.

Phew. The possibilities are endless.

You will thank me if you try some. You have the Ms. Moon Good Teethkeeping Seal of Approval.
And you know how highly valued THAT is.
Trust me. Try some.

A Better Chicken Mama

Elvira, who died last week, had a little sister. We have been calling her Elmira. And Elmira is not looking good. She is about half the size of some of her cage-mates, big burly chicks with necks like snakes and developing combs whom I feel quite surely are roosters.
She has been sitting quietly in a corner, often trampled by the big boys she shares space with. She has been eating and drinking but as I know by now, this is no sure sign of a positive outcome.
Last night, when he got home, Mr. Moon decided to take matters into his own hands. While I cooked his supper, he went online and then came out to the kitchen and made up a paste of chick feed and sugar and a tiny bit of a Centrum Silver vitamin. He doesn't take them but there they are on the counter, in case he decides he wants to.
He mashed all this stuff up with the wooden end of an oyster knife and I looked on rather disdainfully, trying to move around him as I cooked. I mean really- the chick is going to live or die.
He disappeared into the back portion of the house with the mash and I continued to get supper ready and then he appeared back in the kitchen and said, "Come look at this."
I followed him into his bathroom where he sat down on the closed toilet and holding the dish of yellow goop in one hand and with Elmira firmly grasping his finger, he showed me how she was eating the stuff as if there was no tomorrow, chirping cheerfully all the while.
"Look how she's going at it," he said. "And she's sitting on my finger!"
And she was.
She loves chicken feed, sugar and Centrum Silver, all ground up and watered down.
After he determined she'd had enough, he put her into a separate box with the rest of the mash, some feed and some water. She cried because she was lonely, so we put Buttercup, the next littlest chick (and a hen, I think) in with her for company. They finished up the goop before we went to bed and have gone through a good amount of water and regular feed at this point in the morning and I think Elmira might make it.
I hope so because that is going to be Mr. Moon's favorite chicken of all if she does. The internet said that occasionally, a sickly chicken will make it and called it a miracle when it happens. So if she lives, she will be our miracle bird.
And I feel... guilty. Because I was just going to let her die if that's what happened without intervention and what kind of a mother am I?
A cruel one.
I do have sort of a "root hog or die" sensibility when it comes to the animals and also to the plants in my yard. I tend them but I do not go to great lengths to nurse them. If they are having problems, well, they'll either live or die. If they are strong enough and in the right place, they'll live. If not, well...curtains for them.
Thankfully I do not have this attitude towards the humans in my life.

And today I am off to town to take my mother back to the neurologist with absolutely no personality whose advice to my mother has proven to be useless to see what his next suggestion is.
Frankly, I think she'd be better off if Mr. Moon took her, but as her daughter it is my job.
I freely admit though, that he has the bigger heart of the two of us and the stronger back when it comes to getting done what needs to be done as well as the gentler of us. Honestly. He is.

My sweet, good man.
Mr. Moon, the doer, the dreamer, the determined.

The better chicken mama of the two of us.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why We Are Fat

Theories. I got a million of 'em. I think I mostly listen to NPR so I can hear "experts" talk about things that prove my theories. Then I can say, "See! See! I told you so!"
Not that there's usually anyone around to say this to. But in my head, I'm telling everyone.
And since I've got nothing going on here except for more of the same, I think I'll present you with one of my theories.
Lucky you.

This theory is about why we are fat. It goes like this:
Back in the olden, olden days (and right now in other parts of the world) humans had to spend every waking hour doing something that would result in getting enough calories into their bodies to support basic life. We all know this is true. First, you had to go out and find the food and if that food had four legs and hooves, or swam in the water, you had to chase after it or build an elaborate trap and also, you had to find the flint to make the pointy things on the end of the sticks you used to kill the beast with and that took a lot of work. And you had to attach the pointy thing and after you killed the beast you had to drag it back to camp and then roast it and golly- think about what it takes to build a fire from complete scratch. No charcoals, no charcoal lighter fluid, no matches or lighters or anything like that. Just spark with flint and rock. Have you ever tried to make a fire without matches? It is not easy.
So, hunt, chase, build, make, drag, butcher, build fire, roast.
And when that beast got eaten, you were hungry and by golly, you better eat all you can and store what you don't need that very instant as fat to get you through the next few days or weeks or months when no beasts were killed. The better your ability to store fat, the more likely you were to remain alive when there was draught or when the game mysteriously disappeared. The fatter you could get, the better off you'd be.

Or berries. Have you ever picked berries? It is hard, hot, thirsty work. I just take a water bottle but early humans had to make something to tote water in, not just to take with them to pick berries but for all their water needs. Have you ever made a pot? I haven't. But I am sure it involves digging up a lot of clay and then firing it when you have it made and there you go with the fire again. Haul water, chop wood, make fire, dig clay, and so forth.
Then pick the berries. And again, no freezer to keep the berries in and you better eat 'em when you have 'em. Store the fat for lean times. I suppose they could dry meat and berries. Sure. But that was probably a lot of work too.
And so forth.
Whatever food came your way, you had to work hard to get it, to carry it, to prepare it and to store it.

But not any more, or at least not here in the US. All I do is get in my air conditioned car where I don't even have to roll the windows down with a crank but only have to push a little button with my little finger to make it go up or down and then drive to town to Publix where they have every sort of food available. Not just things our ancestors would recognize as food but things that have all sorts of calories and nutrients mashed up together and processed so that two bites is equivalent to an entire meal.

And do we stop at two bites? Oh, hell no.

Fat and sugar, which we as humans crave because the more we could get in our bodies back in caveman days, the longer we might live, are so infinitely combined and flavored that there is no end to the things our bodies tell us we need. Ice cream? Oh yes. Doughnuts and pastries and cakes and pies? Pass the fat and sugar.

And protein- the meat section goes on forever. Beans are available in bags and in cans both.

We have an infinite variety of fruit year round, shipped in from everywhere in the world and all we have to do is try to figure out what it is our little hearts desire. Cantaloupes? Strawberries? Apples? Mangoes? Whatever!

We take our vegetables (again available year-round) and pour lovely fat and sugar sauces over them (what else is salad dressing? what else is cheese sauce?) to make them even yummier.

We do our gathering by leisurely walking up and down the aisles of the store, leaning on our grocery cart and putting convenient packages in them and then taking them out to put on the conveyor belt to pay for them. And then some nice young person loads the foods into bags and takes them out to the car for us and I don't know about you but personally, I bitch to myself about having to take the food into the house and put it away.

Oh yeah. Hard work.

So we basically don't have to do anything to get food into our houses and then when it's time to cook it, we just turn our stoves on and there you go- FIRE! Yippie!

And on the flip side of that coin of trying to get as much food into our bodies as possible because that's what our bodies were designed to want, we don't have to use our bodies at all to acquire this bounty so we're already eating more than we need but our bodies were no doubt built to rest whenever it was possible to conserve the energy of the food we were able to get. Look at those "primitive" tribes. They spend a lot of time just hanging out and resting. But when they're not doing that, they're down at the river beating things on rocks or out in the woods tracking birds and beasts or doing something strenuous to make or build the things they need in their daily lives. They have to know and find and dig or pick the herbs they use for medicinal and recreational purposes and they have to know and find and dig or pick the vegetables they eat unless they cultivate them, which is another very strenuous activity. The women carry their babies on their hips or in slings when they do these tasks which is another added calorie deficit activity. And of course the women breastfeed because they have no other option. Breastfeeding takes a LOT of extra calories which means even more work.
So of course when they have a moment to rest, they want to and do. They have to in order to survive.

But do we?

Nah. We come in from our mentally exhausting days of work and all we want to do is plop down on the sofa and maybe order in a pizza. Or go nuke a frozen dinner.
It's natural that we feel that we need to rest our bodies because our minds are exhausted.
And yet, our bodies are not just meant to rest when they can, but also to work very, very hard. Our bones need this sort of work to stay strong. Our hearts and lungs and every part of us do, too. Our legs and feet are constructed to run for miles if need be. Barefooted.
But we don't use them this way. Even the most physical of us only exercise for an hour or so a day instead of the eight hours (at least) a day of our ancestors or our cousins in undeveloped countries.

And I'm not saying I want to go back there. I do not and can not do work like that. I want to eat dressing on my salad. I want chocolate and I don't want to have to go to the Amazon to get it. I don't want to grow my grain and grind it in order to make bread. Hell, I feel like a REAL woman if I go out and pick a few vegetables and come in and chop 'em up and cook them on the stove.

But I am aware of how easy I have it and I am aware that there is something just completely right about eating what I've grown and what Mr. Moon has hunted or fished and I am MORE than aware of the many, many benefits of moving my body, whether it is on a hard walk or in my garden or yard, pulling vines out of trees or weeds out of dirt or cutting branches and hauling them or sitting in yoga and stretching to the limit of my ability and then going a little bit further.
Exercise, real exercise that makes me sweat and grow weary helps my mind be more at rest. My anxious, silly rat-race mind grows more peaceful and less anxious when I work my body. I feel I am part of my community when I get out and walk in it and observe everything from rabbits by the trail to the guys hanging out in front of the post office or the lady who tends her yard so assiduously whom I stop to chat with now and then. It's good for me to get outside and do what my body was constructed to do on so many levels that there is no excuse in this world good enough not to do it while I am physically able.

And that's my theory on why we are fat. We have caveman bodies in a high-tech world where foods of all sorts are overabundant. And I try to pay attention to that and eat foods that are as close to their original form as I can (beans and rice for dinner tonight?) and be as involved as I can with growing or raising as much of my food as I can. I try to use my body every day in a strenuous manner. I try and yet, it is still so easy to fall back into bad habits and gain a few pounds here and there which I can feel and which I do not like. Not because I don't look like a fashion model but because I know even a few extra pounds prevents me from feeling as good as I can feel at my age. And I don't need to store fat in mass quantities. Even in these uncertain times, I am fairly sure I am not going to be faced with starvation in which case, fat would be stored fuel and a good thing. But my body doesn't know that. It still thinks that storing fat for short amounts of time is good. It wants me to do that. And it wants yours to do it too.

I was telling a friend about how soothing I find it is to watch the chickens and isn't that part of my DNA, too? To have chickens was a good thing. They are such nice providers of protein AND they are beautiful. And funny. To a woman back in the days when grocery stores were not on every corner, a yard full of chickens was like money in the bank.

Maybe I should get a pig. I do love the pork. And if I raised it myself on good feed and if I let it ramble around a little and eat acorns and dig up things that pigs like to snuffle and gnosh on, it would be a healthier type of pork for sure.
But I tell you- I have raised a pig before and say what you will about Babe, pigs are not tiny, cute, smart creatures. They become huge- like cow-huge- and they smell and they shit in their water. So maybe I don't really want a pig.
And maybe I shouldn't be eating pork.

Ah well. I suppose the occasional bacon and tomato sandwich isn't going to kill me. Especially if the tomatoes come from my garden, my labor.

It's all a balance, isn't it? And how lucky we are to have the knowledge and the opportunity to try and find it.

So I've walked and yoga'd today and now it's time to eat some lunch. Stir-fried squash and carrots and onions with a little brown rice and edamame beans? Maybe. And you know, I'll feel all virtuous and shit but I know in my heart that if I had been born in Nigeria instead of the USA, I would have to grow and cultivate and haul and pound cassava in order to survive and to ensure that my family did as well. Activity like that precludes the need to go to the gym to get arms like Michelle Obama's.
But I don't. And so I need to artificially substitute activity and diet choices that my body was designed to need.
And again, so do you, most likely. If you are as lucky as I am you do.

That's my theory. And I'm sticking to it.

More theories to come, I'm sure. Like I said, I've got a million of 'em.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tell Us What She's Won, Don Pardo!

Life, babies, can be cruel. You see that wasp on the cucumber vine right there? If you look carefully, you can see he's duking it out with a caterpillar, all rolled into a ball and trying to escape. I am here to tell you he did not but was flown off by the wasp like a very unhappy passenger on a cargo plane to be taken back to the cannibal island to be eaten.
Cruel for the caterpillar, but kind to the cucumber vines which will not be fed on by that particular bug, at least.

The cukes are coming in and I am delighted to see them, little nubbins like tiny Jolly Green Giant baby boy penises. Sorry, but that's what they look like to me, all decked out in one of those "Woman pleasing" (as if) french tickler ribbed things you can buy in the gas station lady's room. They are pre-gerkin size if you want to get technical. Lis asked me this morning if I am going to make pickles this year and I sighed and said that if there are enough cucumbers, I probably will. I'll get out the old canning jars and the vinegars and cloves and dill and sugar and all that stuff you use to make the dills and the sweets and even though it's a special sort of hell, boiling vinegar on the stove in 100 degree weather, it's a very fine thing to see those jars lined up on the counter, popping their lids down when they come out of the canning kettle to seal themselves.
A very fine thing indeed.

The heat has finally broken a tiny bit, like a patient suffering from malaria whose aches and chills and fever have finally dissipated overnight. You know it'll all be back, but there is a slight breeze and there's not that crazy weird baking feeling we've been having. It's still plenty hot- over ninety, but ninety-something is better than a hundred-and-something, especially with a breeze. Now if we could only get a sweet afternoon shower, life would be even better.

The last few days have been filled with friends and so much fun and it's strange how all these social events stacked up into three short days and every moment was a joy but it's rather lovely to have the place to myself this afternoon. I've been out to see my hens several times to feed them a bit of cantaloupe that Kathleen brought over for them last night, and a few collard leaves. Dolly P. actually clucked at me. CLUCKED! This was the first cluck I've heard out of my lady birds so far. They are indeed growing up into real chickens and nothing soothes me like watching them peck and then nap in a cool place in the dirt they've wallowed out with their feathers. Perhaps I should find a couch at the dump and bring it home and put it in their pen to lay on and read while they cluck around me. This sounds like heaven, even knowing they'd shit all over it.
Have I lost my mind?
Well, maybe, but it's a gentle losing and I don't care if I have. So there.

The young birds are still fine. I gave them a bit of sugar water last night as a tonic and they loved it. I hope I have not turned them into diabetics. I put them out into the box of death this morning for a bit for some fresh air while it was still cool and they have all survived and are back in their indoor cage. Mr. Moon is going to have to come up with some new in-coop open-air arrangement for this babies because they are getting too big and too strong to stay inside for
much longer.

And speaking of Mr. Moon- he and I are in the pre-honeymoon phase of our honeymoon trip and I have to say it's mighty fun. We are acting a little like teenagers and just for your information, that IS possible, even when you're old and besides that, we all have all the ages we've ever been inside of us at all times if you can just locate them and so there!
I've gotten my confirmation stuff all printed for our flights and our room and I have bought new skirts. I also want to say that if the Gap adjusts its sizes any more to make us all feel thinner than we are, they are going to have to start having sizes like 00 and 000. I have decided that they just took all the sizes and removed the ones in front of them so that an old twelve is now a two and an old fourteen is now a four and so forth.
Well, this works for me and I don't feel nearly as obese in the Gap dressing room as I do in the Goodwill dressing room (HoneyLuna, you are RIGHT ABOUT THEIR MIRRORS!) and between being able to buy skirts with a ridiculously small size printed on them and on major sale, I am now ready to go to Cozumel. Linen, linen, more linen and some cotton. That will be it. Flipflops. And some waterproof make-up because believe it or not, Ms. Moon actually wears make-up in Cozumel because...I CAN! Again, so there. Eye make-up, at least, in mermaid colors, of course.

I am not taking my computer to Mexico because I want to do nothing but read, journal, and concentrate on my husband. I am sure I will be jonesing but that's just too bad. I am thinking to have a few guest posts at the ready but haven't finalized that plan yet. I have four weeks and two days before I leave (but who's counting?) so there's plenty of time.
Oh wait. I haven't bought a bathing suit yet.
Hmmmm. Well. It will happen. I saw one the other day that I sort of liked but it cost one hundred dollars and that's just ridiculous. I will swim in the nude before I pay a hundred dollars for a bathing suit.

And so here I am in this delightful place of being at home which I love with all my heart and having just been able to visit with and play with some of the people I love the most and also, having fun with my husband and at the same time, looking forward to a trip I think is going to be amazingly magical and wonderful and then after that I am going to have a grandchild.

You know- I feel like I've just won one of those old game shows on TV where when the prizes are listed at the end, they just keep going on.

Don. Tell us what Ms. Moon has won today! Well, Monty, Ms. Moon has won this beautiful new stainless steel, side-by-side refrigerator with ice and water in the door as well as this stackable brand new washer and dryer set in ruby red! But that's not all. We want to make sure that she has plenty of food to go in that refrigerator so we've given her a one-million dollar gift certificate, good for the rest of her life! to Publix! And...to make sure she has plenty of laundry to do in her new machines, a gift certificate to ANY STORE SHE WANTS TO SHOP AT FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE for another million dollars. But that's not ALL, Monty! To give her a break from the routine of shopping, cooking, and washing, we're giving her a trip around the world that will take her to every continent, every ocean and every island on the planet. It will take fifteen years to complete and she and Mr. Moon will make the voyage on this beautiful, state of the art, magnificent antique sailing vessel with a full crew to cater to their every need! (Insert picture of smiling pool boy and smiling massage boy and happy, smiling cook boy.) But that's not ALL! She also gets every wish her heart ever desired and if she runs out of wishes, we have a special wish therapist expert to help her wish for more! AND, to complete the package, she will magically be at her ideal weight for the rest of her life no matter what she eats, drinks, or whether or not she exercises. (Did we mention the lifetime supply of beautiful, soft, leather purses?) And that's not all!

Really. That's how I feel.

Sitting on my porch, not sweating, being happy.
And now it's clouding up and maybe it will even rain.

In the game show of life, I believe I chose the right door.
The one labeled Love And That's Not All.
The one with all the chickens clucking behind it, happily eating collard greens and cantaloupe.
The one with wasps and caterpillars and cucumbers and spiders and yes, even dogs.
The very best one for me.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Surprise Party

Oh my goodness, y'all. The innocent little porch visit turned into a big old Monday night wingding with smoked fish dip and salad and fruit and bread and pasta and drinks and raspberry leaf tea and games and everything. Almost all the kids were here and Billy and Shayla and Kathleen and Herb (for awhile- Herb was having some issues with an intestinal bug) and Lis and a new friend named Rob. And Hank's girlfriend Leila, too.
And I haven't had time to comment on your comments and that makes me feel so guilty because I love to do that and tell everyone how much I really appreciate what you wrote.
But I will tomorrow. I promise.
But now it's eleven p.m. and I've been up and busting it since seven and I have hit the wall.
Sweet dreams, sweet sleep.
See you tomorrow.

And here's a picture of me and Billy because I talk about him so much and I just thought there should be a picture.
Ain't he cute?
Yes. He is.

Things I Do Not Know

So you know, some days I just feel like I need to enlighten the world about something. You know I do. It might be love or it might be politics or it might be religion or it might be gay rights or it might be chickens. Whatever.

And then some days, I just feel like I don't have the right to tell anyone anything because honestly, I don't know shit. Which is why I find it hysterical that I've been nominated for that award in the category of Blog You've Learned The Most From.
If there's one phrase I have used over and over here on this blog, it is I don't know shit.
So if I am teaching anyone anything, I think it would be about the vast black hole of stuff I don't know which seems if anything, a rather futile exercise for us all and today is one of those days.
For instance- see these?

Those are my blue potatoes. The ENTIRE crop. We are not impressed, are we? I think I got more ant bites than I did potatoes. Oh well. Live and learn. Perhaps blue potatoes are not meant to be grown in North Florida sandy soil or perhaps they are but not the way I tried to do it.
I don't know.
See what I mean?
But oh- they do remind me of an old, favorite joke. It goes like this:
Two peasant women are in a field, harvesting carrots. One of them pulls up a monster of a carrot and holds it up to show to the other woman.
"Dis reminds me (they are speaking in fake Russian accents, okay?) of my husband, God rest his soul."
"He vas dat big?" asks the other woman, impressed.
"No," says the first lady. "He vas dat dirty."

Did I make you laugh? I hope so.

Okay. On to the next thing I don't know. Check out this picture:

That is a picture of the fish which the fisherpeople caught this weekend. Nothing was won in terms of the tournament but I won because some of this fish will be in my freezer. But here's what I don't know- what kind of fish they are. That long skinny one in the middle is a King Mackerel. Some of them are red grouper, some are red snappers and some are something else. Gag grouper? GAG? Yes. I think so.
I do know who the fellas in the picture are. They are Jason, my son-in-law, Mr. Moon, and our neighbor Paul who went fishing too. I also know why they are smiling. It's because when I took the picture, I said what Kathleen always says when she takes a picture. She says, "Say tiny penis!" This always works. Even the people around you (if you are in a public place) will smile.
So see- you HAVE learned something today.

Next picture:

This is some of what I also picked from the garden yesterday. Everything you see is a tomato except for the white thing. What is it? I think it might be some sort of dwarf butternut squash. I suppose I'll have to cut it in order to find out.
Here's another thing I'm not sure of- what do I do with these tomatoes? Not enough to can but too many just to eat. I believe I may make bruschetta though, which is butt-easy and tasty? Oh my. I'll just whirl them in the food processor with some garlic, basil, salt and olive oil and top some crusty french bread slices. Sound good?
Sounds like something I could live on here in this heat. Eating sort of loses its appeal when it's this hot. You still get hungry but there's nothing on earth that sounds very good although right now, I think I could eat some bruschetta for sure.

And here's yet another thing I wonder about- why don't I get up every day at an early hour and get my ass out to walk before it gets hot? I did that today and I got some laundry done and even read part of the paper and took the trash and then went to yoga and it's not even noon yet and I feel GOOD, babies. Really, really good. I have to run to town to do some errands and I am DEFINITELY GOING TO THE NEW LEAF MARKET so I can see me some Billy because as he and I say to each other- I miss his guts. Mostly.
Sometimes he tells me he loves my guts.
I love his guts too.
And I need to pick up a few of those overpriced supplements which make me feel like I am being a healthy person (and I swear- the fish oil does seem to help with memory- I am not making this up although I could be and not even know it) anyway so oh boy, oh boy! I'm gonna go see Billy and bother him at work.

Another thing I am not sure of:

Is this bird a rooster? He is about twice as big as the other chick-chicks and he is so strong I was having a hard time controlling him while his picture was being taken. I am wondering if the reason these chickabidees smell so different than my other batch of chicks (and when I say different I mean- ick) is because some of the birds are males.
Okay, okay, that could be just a really wrong theory but do any of you know anything about this? They smell completely different than my sweet hens did.
I could look up the little birds' anal tubes or whatever they call those things down there in the chicken nether regions but I'm sorry. I can't do that.
I'll just wait and see.

And another question for today- of all the pictures I took last night with my phone (because of course I forgot the camera) of Jessie playing music and posing with her music friends, why is this the only one that came out?

The other beautiful girl in the picture is an old friend of Jessie's who has now left the bluegrass world to sing jazz and I just have to tell you that one of the very best weekends of my life was spent with those two girls and another friend of theirs (who also played last night). I took them over to St. Augustine to the Gamble Rogers festival and they kept me laughing and smiling the entire weekend with their music, their sweet young-girl wisdom and their joy.
I love those girls.
Jessie played last night with two other gals and together they were the Cicada Ladies and they were terrific. They started playing bluegrass music together when they were in high school and they still love to get together to play and they sound terrific.
It was so much fun to see them. Hank and May and Glen and I were there and we got to hear the high school's newest bluegrass band (and how awesome is it that instead of a marching band this school has a bluegrass band?) and what a joy that was. A darling girl the size of an elf played stand-up bass wearing a vintage dress and she could sing- oh, she could sing! Boys with long hair, girls with short hair, girls with wild hair, the teachers smiling as big as the kids, playing onstage with 'em.
Ah. It was a joy.
I do know that for sure.

And here's the last thing I do not know- why am I so damn lucky? Hell, I'm so lucky Ms. Lis is coming back to visit tonight. Maybe we'll smooch again! And Kathleen's coming over too! We'll have a ladies' porch visit!

No one knows the answer to why I'm this lucky. No one.
But if you know anything about that chicken smell, please let me know.

Love....Ms. Moon

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers and Daddies

Father's Day is going swimmingly over here at blessourhearts so far. The fisherpeople chose (quite rightly, I think) to come home last night rather than to spend another fiery hot night in the un-airconditioned house on the island. I know that those of you who do not live in this part of the world cannot imagine why I keep talking about the heat but as my son Hank said last night, "It really is impossible not to talk about it."
It's that hot.
Sure, we've had heat in these temperatures before. But it's so still. There is no breeze, just the bake of the sun on the earth and it's quite literally like opening the oven door when you open the the door to outside.
It's a force to reckoned with.
I let another baby chick die yesterday and I'm sure it was my fault. I've had the chicks outside in the bigger outside box and although I checked them frequently yesterday, I was gone for quite awhile and when I got home, one of them was dead, lying stretched out in the dirt, already stiff.
I will not be taking those chicks out today.
I buried the poor thing beside the canna lilies in one of my flower beds. It was the chick we'd named Elvira.
The other ones seem to be fine and they are growing at a phenomenal rate but I have decided that trying to raise baby chicks in any other season but early spring is not a good idea. There is a reason things happen when they do- that babies hatch in the spring and not in early summer.
At least here in Florida. Probably in most places.
I find it telling that my own babies were all born in either May or June except for the one I "planned" and that pregnancy was so different and so much more difficult than all the others that it makes me wonder about things.

But back to Father's Day.
I hadn't planned on cooking Father's Day breakfast this morning because I hadn't planned on Father being here but he was and he wanted eggs and sliced tomatoes and bacon and biscuits, of course. I found I didn't have either enough butter or ANY shortening to make the biscuits with but I had some cream cheese in the refrigerator and to tell you the truth- I don't know how long it had been there. But it smelled and looked fine and I used that in place of the shortening and I tell you what- those were some of the best biscuits I ever ate.
I peeled the tomatoes from the garden and sliced them up and scrambled eggs and put the biscuits in a shallow bowl with a green napkin to keep them warm and fried up the three pieces of bacon I had in the house and I think he was pretty happy with it.
Now he's out, cleaning the boat. When the fisherpeople got in last night they were exhausted, overheated, and wanting nothing more than a shower and to crawl into sheets that weren't dripping with humidity.
It was a fishing trip they'll never forget and I think it's one telling metaphor that they didn't see any dolphins the entire trip but saw a crazy number of sharks.

Why am I having such a hard time writing about Father's Day?
I just looked at the Father's Day post I wrote last year and I said the same thing.
But I said a good piece about the man who is the father of two of my kids and the Daddy of all of them. I don't think I can say it any better today so I'm sending you back there.

And because I do truly have a lot of love and affection for the other-father of two of my kids, I'd like to send you to a post I wrote about him here.

Look. I didn't have a good daddy. I didn't have a daddy at all. But perhaps because of that, I knew what I wanted and didn't want in a father for my own children and if that's so, it was worth it not to have a daddy of my own.

I think so. I do. And since I am the most blessed-beyond-belief woman in the world, how can I bitch about something that led me to here? I don't think I can.
I can only say I thank my lucky stars and every powerful force that I have what I have, that my children have the love of their fathers.
And I want to say Happy Father's Day to all the daddies out there. The ones with kids here and the ones with kids coming (Jason! Billy! Xbox!).
Happy Father's Day, y'all. Thanks for loving the babies. Thanks for loving the mamas because when you love the mamas, you are loving the babies. Two-for-one. Thanks for being the men who make the children feel safe and loved. Nothing on earth can make up for lack of that. Believe me.

And the pictures I'm posting are from Lily's wedding. Her daddy is walking her down the aisle and my other kids' father is there celebrating with his beautiful wife, my kids' other mother.

You see what kind of life I have?

Tonight we're going into town to see Jessie play some bluegrass at the Legion Hall and that's going to be fun. She fished hard all weekend and tonight she'll dress up and play mandolin and I'll hold her daddy's hand and we'll be so proud of her.

And in a few months, we're going to greet our grandchild together and this is going to be one lucky child because Mr. Moon is going to be his or her granddaddy.
I still haven't gotten my mind around that one, but it makes me cry to think about it.

Well. My brains are baked. I can't figure out any ending but that's okay because really- there is no ending to this story of fathers.

I will say this- when my kids go to write about Father's Day sometime, they're going to have good stories to tell. Really, really good stories that make them laugh so hard and maybe make them cry, too. In a good way.
And that's my every wish come true.

Happy Father's Day, y'all. I mean it.

P.S. Roll Up The Rugs
I love you, baby.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lisa-Lisa, Beautiful Red-Headed Lisa Whom We Adore

When I met Lisa I was thirty-eight years old and she was twenty-two.
Now she is thirty-eight and I am fifty-four.
When I met her I had a seventeen-year-old, a fifteen-year-old, an eight-year-old and a four-year-old.
Now Lisa has a four-year-old and a two-year-old.
That's her and her daughter Grace in the picture above.
They visited me today.

When I met Lisa it was love at first sight for both of us, I think. She is one of those people whom when you meet, your heart recognizes as if there were an empty chamber in it, just waiting for her to show up for it to open and let her in. And thus it was.

She was going to FSU at the time and we met through a mutual friend and boy, there she was and there I was and hell's bells, I fell in love. So did all my kids and Mr. Moon, too. We named her Lisa-Lisa, Beautiful Red-Headed Lisa Whom We Adore.
Really. That's what we called her.

She eventually graduated from FSU and moved back down to Tampa where she was from and she began a career and pretty soon, the next thing I knew, she had some high-powered job in the communications field and was traveling all over the country and she had started doing yoga quite seriously and we didn't get to see each other very often, but when we did, it was glorious.

We're the kind of friends who, no matter how long it's been since you've seen each other, just come back together like the two halves of a puzzle, like bacon and tomato, like sand and sea, like joy and delight.

When she decided to marry her honey-man, Jon, they asked me to perform the ceremony and that was one of the high points of my life. My god! but that was a beautiful wedding on the beach on Santa Maria Island and one of the happiest days of my life. And what an honor.

When she had her first baby, she asked me to come and be with her and I did. Another honor. Beyond belief.
That's the girl you see in the picture, Miss Grace.

And two years ago, she visited me with both her babies and we had a beautiful visit. You can read about it here.
She was in the very midst of children-and-babies and bless her! She was having to work so hard and she was drowning in the blessings and burdens of it all.
And since that visit, we've hardly spoken.
Who knows? She is so busy in her world of yoga teaching and being the director of a yoga studio and raising those babies and she's just one of those women who can't stop, can't stop, cannot stop.
I seem to be attracted to those women. I do.
Lizzie's like that and so is Kathleen. They all keep telling me that they need to slow down and concentrate on what's important and I've learned to nod and smile and say, "This is the way you like it, darlin'," instead of suggesting ways they can slow their lives down. They don't want slow lives and I celebrate that. I admire them and I love them and I watch them speed through the universe doing this good deed and that while I hang my clothes on the line and measure my days, as T.S. Eliot said, with coffee cups.

Anyway, this weekend, two years exactly since Lisa and I saw each other, she was in Tallahassee and came out this morning with Grace to visit.
They pulled up and she got out of her mommy-van and we hugged like we were trying to get inside each other's skins and we laughed at the joy of it.
It's always like that with Lisa. There is no moment of awkwardness, there are no moments of silence. We immediately begin a dialogue and we cry and we laugh and we are amazed at each other and we did that today and Grace was grace-full and let us talk and yet, she was herself and I took her out to the chicken coop and gave her a cupful of corn-scratch to feed the hens and I saw in her something like I will see in my grandchild. Because I have known her from birth, there is a part of us which is bonded, too, no matter what. And she seemed to recognize me and she trusted me.
What an honor to be trusted by a child. That may be the greatest honor of all. I don't know.

And Lisa and I told each other as much as we could in the hours we were together and we discovered that we'd both faced similar beasts and we'd both lost our minds and we'd both found them again too, or least some facsimile of them and we cried.

Ah yah. Lisa and I always cry.

She went with me to the tea party at my yoga teacher's house and Grace was the queen of the tea party and my yoga teacher had made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in case there was a young princess in attendance and Grace loved them. Lisa, as I said, is a yoga teacher too, and such a different sort from my Catholic yoga teacher and I could feel myself, pulled between the two of them, wishing I could go to Lisa's classes, knowing that here in Lloyd, I am lucky to have the teacher I do have, Catholic or not. And Lisa was so gracious, as was my yoga teacher, and I think in the few short moments we were all together, sipping tea and eating cucumber sandwiches, something was exchanged between them.

And then it was time for Lisa and Grace to leave and I sobbed. I am crying now.

How can it be that someone so very important to my heart is someone I so rarely see? This wise, incredible woman, this mother, this sister, this child of my heart, this wild-redheaded woman who lives five hours down the road?

I don't know. Maybe this is the way it's supposed to be. Perhaps if we lived closer, we would burn out like two meteors smacking together in space, turning into a fiery ball of flames.

I don't think so, but you never know.

And now it's hours later and I am holding the memories of her visit with her daughter in my hand and I am cherishing it and I am astounded by it.

That woman. Lisa-Lisa, Beautiful Red-Headed Lisa Whom We Adore.

She thinks that I am older and wiser and she thinks she learns from me.


She is like a fire that warms my heart. She is like a cool blue lake who soothes my soul.

She is part of my life, my heart.

When she was leaving, already strapped into the mommy-van, and I was crying, I said to her, "You know, I am always there for you. No matter where or what or when or why. I am there."

And she said, "And you know the same is here for you."

I do.
She is like a treasure, that Lisa.
She is a sunrise and a sunset. She is a mother/sister/daughter.

She is my Lisa-Lisa, Beautiful Red-Headed Lisa Whom I Adore.

What a blessing to have her visit today, this solstice day.
I am at once changed and also reminded of who I am at my core.
I got to hold her daughter's hand and kiss her perfect cheeks.

I got to be, for a small moment in time, part of her life.

What an honor. What an incredible honor.


Yesterday was a mean day for me. I didn't do shit. I went to yoga and did the laundry. I slept for two hours in the afternoon and had a dream that was so twisting and turning and so blatantly filled with every problem in my twisted, overheated psyche that I woke up panting and afraid, disturbed and demonized.
Thankfully, I had planned to go to the Opera House to watch a children's play that Kathleen and Herb were in and have been working on for months so I got up, scurried around and made iced espresso, got the clothes off the line, the baby chicks inside (they've been in the outdoor daytime chick box for the past few days), took a shower, put on a new skirt and an old shirt and went to Monticello.
The theater was filled with families and kids. There are something like forty-five kids in that play (no exaggeration) and if each and every child had two relatives there, it would explain the packed house. And the theater was not very cool. Okay, it was warmish. So add up crying babies, everyone fanning themselves, and the fact that the director of this play is someone I will not work with for personal reasons and for whom I have a rather un-Ms. Moon-like disdain, and I was not exactly sure what I was doing there.
But. Oh, but.
It's the Watermelon Festival weekend in Monticello which is the biggest weekend of the year. There's a parade and there's a Miss Watermelon Festival and there is music and there are all sorts of big doin's. Last year's Miss Watermelon Festival was at the play last night, wearing her beautiful crown, looking quite queenly and sweet, just as a Watermelon Queen should look. She didn't look stuck-up or unhappy that this was the last night of her reign. Although, come to think of it, that could have been the NEW queen. I don't keep up with these things but I thought to myself, THIS is my community, every color of person, every age, all of us here to see these children, these beautiful children.
The curtains opened and the magic began.
Listen- this woman for whom I have personally unhappy feelings towards is one hell of a director. She somehow managed to get all these children, from the ages of what looked like about four to nineteen in fantastic costumes, singing, dancing, prancing and playing and the set was lovely and the music was fabulous. And she had written the entire thing with the help of one of the kids and well, it was great. I love to watch children act. There is so little distance between their normal lives and acting a part.
"You are a cat," says the director and they are.
The magic set in, I forgot the heat and the crying babies and just got swallowed up in it all.
Kathleen was a grandmother cat and she was wonderful, sleeping as a cat would on a rocking chair in the center of the stage and Herb was a statue and was absolutely the best statue I've ever seen. He has the face for it, believe me.
It was lovely.
After the play I sat in the office of the Opera House director with Herb and Kathleen and the director and other folks I've acted (played) with and had a beer and some crackers and it was just so much fun. I miss the Opera House. I miss it so much.
I came home fairly early and ate some leftovers and went to bed and slept well all through the night and got up early. I have the sprinkler on the garden and I've given my hens some collard greens and I think a very dear old friend from Tampa is coming by this morning with her daughter and we might go pick blueberries and at two I'm supposed to go to a tea party (don't ask) given by my yoga teacher and then I'm off to my son-in-law's birthday celebration. He's back from the island and I hear he caught the biggest grouper.
And so it goes.
The heat continues, it's unrelenting, and we can sleep through it with heat-boiling dreams or we can move slowly through it, still open to magic and friendship, or we can fish through it or we can do all of that.
We can give credit where credit is due, we can take responsibility for our own days, we can give it all up to Jesus or Mary or the goddessess of the chicken coop. We can celebrate the summer solstice which begins at 1:45 am tonight and pick the fat tomatoes, bursting their skins and we can wade through the Georgia Thumper grasshoppers which are so big the chickens run from them, and wonder at snakes in holes and we can water the plants and we can hang our clothes on the line because they will be dry by the time you're back in the house, sweat pouring off your body, the prickly heat keeping you up half the night.
It's summer. There are blessings and there is magic and there is a reason to slow way down and watch where your feet go because the baby frogs are everywhere and the earth turns again and we do a little hop-step to catch up with the turning, in this case, a slow hop-step, a lazy tiny leap into the steam and the bake of the planet as she rolls, another ancient ritual celebrated, the moon slipping down, the sun slipping up, we are turning, even as we sleep. Even as we dream.
Even as we wake into this morning.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Looking Forward To That Cold Front On Tuesday

Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday
Partly Cloudy
101° F | 74° F
101° F | 76° F
Partly Cloudy
101° F | 74° F
Chance of a Thunderstorm
97° F | 76° F
Chance of a Thunderstorm
94° F | 74° F

I hear from the fisherpeople that the air conditioner on Dog Island is not working. It appears to have been hit by lightening. So they're out all day on the ocean, fishing hard under the blistering, unrelenting sun and then coming in at night to rest in the swelter of a small, un-airconditioned house which has been baking in the waves of heat coming up from the white sand and the water.

I can't even find the words to express how sorry I feel for them.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Bigot Is A Bigot Is A Bigot (Even if he's a bishop)

I was listening to the Diane Rehm Show yesterday on NPR and she had, as a guest, Bishop Harry Jackson, senior pastor of the Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Maryland. The topic was gay rights and President Obama's signing of a directive giving new benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees. Some are saying that our president's directive didn't go far enough. Some say that he went as far as he could under current federal law. But this pastor, Bishop Jackson, was arguing vehemently against the directive. He called it the beginning of the slippery slope of the national recognition and legalization of gay marriage, which he finds abhorrent.

Now you know, I have heard these Christian... (I am trembling with the need to call them dickwads but I am a polite southern lady, as you know) believers who think that gay marriage is proof positive of the end of times and I am used to that. But when I was listening to this particular Christian, I was struck by how much his arguments reminded me of the arguments during the sixties against integration and civil rights. He had nothing of any value to say except that he believed it was wrong and that it was wrong to force people to accept this wrongness. He even cited, as an example, photographers who would be FORCED to do wedding photography for gay marriages.
That photographers, if they were of the belief that gay marriage is immoral and wrong (as the bishop does), would somehow have THEIR civil rights violated if forced to take those pictures.
Now, as far as I know, no photographer in this entire country has ever been forced by law to take a wedding gig that he or she did not want.

Really. That was the level of argument this man was using. That those Americans who believe that it goes against god's word for people of the same sex to join legally in love and marriage are going to be forced to accept the evilness of the result of such marriages in their everyday lives.
He also used as an example a daycare that his church runs which, if gay marriage is recognized in Maryland, will be forced to take the children of gay couples and how that is just not the type of people whom they want around "their" children.

And all I could think about was how bigots spouted off the same exact words about what would happen if integration and equal rights for African Americans became the law of the land. If Negroes were allowed to eat dinner in the same restaurant as you, the next inevitable step would be that your sister would be forced to marry one.

It was just so blatant, the words pouring forth from this man's lips- his fear, his intolerance, his prejudice, his blindness, his use of his religion to rationalize his bigotry.
The Bible was used to rationalize slavery for hundreds of years, was it not?
What is the difference between that bullshit and the bullshit of using Leviticus to rationalize not giving equal rights to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people?
There is none.
Either we live in a country which provides equal rights for all or we do not.
I think we do not.

And I am tired of this.
Come on, people! Can we not grow up? Can we not see that we are all different and that there are so many variations of loving human behavior?

Who do we think we are to deny human rights to others because of differences?
And how do we get away with it?

How do people who hide behind religion to defend their bigotry against others of different colors or beliefs or born-gender preferences get away with being the ones who make our laws and defend them?
They should NOT be allowed to make the laws of our land. Not OUR land- the land where everyone, do you hear me? EVERYONE should be extended the equal rights guaranteed to all.

Those old sick arguments are not worth listening to anymore. They never were but it is 2009 and the voices of these sad people should be exposed for the vile ignorance they represent. And it's time to quit giving these people soap boxes to spout their vileness from.

Any two consenting adults who want to be married should be allowed to be married. And don't drag incest in here, either. I'm not talking about that.
And also, while we're at it, let's get rid of that ridiculous Don't Ask, Don't Tell law. There are too many problems and denials of basic human rights wrapped up that little package to even begin to go into here.

If Bishop Jackson doesn't believe in gay marriage, he should not marry a man. If a gay woman wants to join the Army she shouldn't have to pretend she's straight and fear that some disgruntled fellow soldier can force her out of the service.

We should all be allowed to say, "This is who I am." Because who else can say that?
No one.
No one else at all. And we should be allowed to say that without fear of repercussions or violence.

And I am tired of all of the time and energy we spend on trying to legislate and regulate such matters when children are hungry, when people die for lack of health care, when the world is teetering on the very brink of disaster as ice sheets melt and seas rise and we can't figure out how to replace the internal combustion engine with something that doesn't wound our planet.

We're better than this. Not just Americans, but humans.
I refuse to believe we're not.
If we could just shut up the nattering naybobs of hate and ignorance, maybe we could start to make the changes we have to make.
I think our president knows this and I think he is trying.

I think I'm on his side.
I know I'm on the side of love. Whatever that means, I'm on that side.
The side that says that all true love is good. That any love which can abide the light of love on its shoulders is one that we should encourage.

Bishop Jackson- read what Jesus said. And weep at what you're trying to defend.
Because right now you're sounding like George Wallace when he stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama to prevent African-American students from entering.

We all need to vote for leaders who are not afraid to give equal rights to all.

This is America, goddammit. And I am an American. And this is my voice.

My heterosexual, love-believing voice which is just as important as Rush Limbaugh's or Bill O'Reilly's or Bishop Jackson's, even if I don't have as big a soap box as they do.
I'm just as important. And so are you. And so is every single person in this country.
This country where human rights are so highly valued. In theory if not in reality.

Please. It's time. Let's make it a reality.
Let's give everyone's love the chance to shine as brightly as everyone else's.

That's all I'm saying. Equal rights for all. Yesterfuckingday, as my friend Lis says.
And let's quit basing the laws of our land on ancient religions that have no place in today's society. Basing who gets to enjoy the rights they deserve as Americans on prejudice and ignorance and fear.
Let's let our children grow up knowing that whoever they are, they can marry whom they choose, legally and with all rights.

Okay? Is that so much to ask?

I don't think so. I really do not.

And on a somewhat related note, I see that Cher's child is bravely and publicly declaring a gender change. And Cher has announced that although she does not understand, she pledges to be "understanding" and that nothing will change the abiding love she has for her child.
She can't understand? Cher, the woman who has had almost every one of her body parts altered to conform to the vision she has of who she really is and wants to be?
Come on. Cher- you can do this. Just open the little gate and walk across the dewy grass and there you are on Chaz's front porch.
Open the door and hug your son.

It's Friday. I'm hot. And I feel heated.
Thanks for listening.