Monday, May 31, 2010

Gather And Grow

Memorial Day. So yeah, I took a walk. I checked in with the news of the day. Israel, Korea, BP.

Hey, you: Get offa my cloud.

I went to yoga. I took my antidepressant. I worked in the yard. I talked to Kathleen and Jessie. I took a nap. I sliced the first red tomatoes from the garden,

fried bacon and made sandwiches. I wrote a poem. I went blackberry picking with Mr. Moon.

A wasp who was hiding in a pine branch I grabbed stung the shit out of my finger. Big deal. I was doing my job, he was doing his. Which is not to say I didn't yell at him. "Motherfucking cocksucker!" The curses helped deal with the pain so that I could continue to pick.

Can I tell you how thick the bushes are with fruit this year? They are barely beginning to ripen. We worked for about an hour and a half to get enough berries to make a cobbler and I made the kind that was talked about in Steel Magnolias: "A cup of butter, a cup of flour, a cup of sugar, a cup of fruit. And I need some ice cream to cut the sweetness." Or something like that.
The cobbler and a venison meat loaf are in the oven. I am boiling potatoes with garlic to mash. I will make salad with more tomatoes and a garden cucumber.

Summer is here.

Why can't it just be about blackberries and tomatoes and cucumbers and eggs? Why do we have to worry about Israel and Korea and BP?

Why can't it just be about grandsons and going to the truck stop to buy vanilla ice cream to go on the cobbler?

Because it can't. That's why.

Go wash the dishes. Go fold the laundry.

I'll try to lighten up tomorrow. I promise.
Waylon is going to be here for me to take care of.
The frogs are talking with their throats.

The rest- well. We'll just hang on and see what happens.

Happy Memorial Day.

We're doing the best we can, beating our swords into plowshares, one acre at at time.
I have heard that walking is nothing more than controlled falling
We push off into a fall and swing the other leg forward to catch ourselves
And push off from it and swing the other leg forward again.
A stop, a push
And thus we travel along the ground as we do
I think this must be true.
Observe a baby learning to walk
Or an old person making her way along
And you see someone who is quite aware of the possibility
Of the fall with each step.
But most of us, we walk along and never think of
That fall we are controlling so well
Today I felt it though
Even as I felt very strong in my walk
But strong like a big lurching animal
Each step a plod against the earth, each fall
A bit of a distance back down and then a tiny
Well. It was a good walk for all of that plodding, thudding stuff
And I stopped several times to pick blackberries
And went to the little graveyard and left a late-blooming flower
On the oldest grave there.

Edward Albert Willie
Memorial Day

I guess I did my part
Or at least, as much as I can do.

I carried the blackberries, one exact palm-full
Gently cradled in my hand without crushing one
Only the merest watery ink of black sweetness leaked
As I plodded those hundreds of falls
And recovered from each one
Before damage was done
Kept myself upright
Through the woods and down the road
The sweat streaming off me
Holding the purple distillation of sun and rain
In my hand
Careful to protect them and myself
With each falling step
With each deliberate recovery

A human animal walking over earth
With blackberries in her hand.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

I Have No Idea

There are lilies and then, there are lilies.

Here is a lily we saw today at Just Fruits and Exotics:

It is a voodoo lily and that is one incredible lily. Here's some perspective (and Lord, I wish the picture was in focus but it will serve for its purpose)

That is one huge motherfucking lily. My mind can't even grasp a flower like that. You're just walking along looking at persimmon trees and blueberry bushes and then...

It was hot there at Just Fruits today. Not as hot as the last time Kathleen and I were there but throw in a hot flash or two and it would do as a preface to hell. Add in the damn yellow flies that found my ankles to be succulent and it was as close to a heavenly hell as I ever wish to experience. My eyes were in heaven, my ankles and skin were in hell. Or something like that.

I kept the buying to a minimum. I bought a few prosaic things from the fifty-percent-off area and two blueberry bushes and...a Royal Star Magnolia.
I couldn't help it. I had to buy it. And where in this yard am I going to put it? I have no idea. It needs some sun. I have no sun. It can grow to be fifteen or more feet tall. I have trees everywhere. I am not sure what I am going to do with this beauty but by god, I'm going to do something with it.

Here's part of a bog garden. These are pitcher plants. Most of them had bugs in them which they were slowly digesting:

Here's a grasshopper. Whoo-hoo! A grasshopper!

I believe it may be the nymph of the giant yellow Georgia Thumper which can take down a plant like a plague sent by god.

Kathleen bought a bunch of things. She's a planter, a grower, a nurturer of green growing things. And dogs. And cats. And chickens and bunny rabbits. And oh yeah, people. But today was about plants and she got some beauties. A Korean Persimmon for one thing. She has a sister-in-law who is Korean and SHE loves persimmons so there you go.
I don't know what all she bought. Another blueberry. A parlor maple in pink. Pretty things. The orange tree, I think.

Judy and Denise walked around considering each and every plant with great concentration. They bought mostly flowery things. Some nice ones.

Rich joined us and bought a gardenia and two blueberries and then we all went and dried our hands at the Kangaroo Express. Dang. I laughed. Very loudly. Denise came out of the restroom shaking with quiet laughter. I tried to get a good picture but failed. But here's one of Kathleen's hands under it. Can you see how the powerful jet engine of the XLERATOR is moving the skin of her palms around?

The picture doesn't do it justice. Sigh.

We drove down to Spring Creek for our lunch. I sent a wine bottle filled with salad dressing flying across the table when I tried to replace the cork in it. Judy tried so hard not to laugh at me but Kathleen told her it was okay and pointed out that I was laughing too. We ate some seafood and it was good. Who knows how long we'll be enjoying that particular pleasure? I've been going to this restaurant for over thirty years. Seriously. The mullet net ban almost closed it. The oil volcano may finally do the trick.

We walked around a little bit after lunch. Spring creek is literally at the end of the road. It's mostly a small fishing community. Here's a house that was once a place where very lucky people lived. Well, geographically speaking, anyway.

No one is living there now.

I took this picture

because that is Florida to me- live oaks, Spanish Moss, palm trees. And an old cracker house. The creek is a few hundred feet down the road.

It was a perfect road trip. Absolutely. Short, sweet, and to the point and with people whose company you truly enjoy.

I got home and unloaded my plants and Mr. Moon had to run over to a fish camp to buy some bait but they only had four fucking crickets. Four! He wants to go catch some bream tomorrow morning and I am all for that. There is no fish sweeter than bream. I hope he makes good use of those four crickets.

He got home while I was out planting the blueberries and let me tell you how bad I smelled and how hot I was. Jessie pulled up with some friends on their way back from the Florida Folk Festival and I was embarrassed for her because I smelled so bad.
They took off after a short tour of the house and yard and then the damn electricity went out.
I felt like my world had come to an end and realized, once again, how fucking wimpy we are.
I was hot. No air-conditioning.
It was supper time. No microwave to heat up the leftovers and no light to slice the cucumbers in. I got the kerosene lantern going and we made up plates and were about to sit on the porch to eat our supper, hot and slightly pissed off and me resigned to a life of misery when all of a sudden, the lights came back on.
Glory hallelujah.
Cool air. Lights. TV. The microwave to heat up the potatoes with dill sauce.
And oh, honeys, it was heaven to sit there and eat supper with the AC on and the fan blowing on us. I swear it was heaven.

"How did they used to DO this?" I asked Mr. Moon at one point while we were struggling with how to fix supper. No refrigerator, no ice, no cool air, no fans, no lights.

Jesus. I do not know.

All I know is that I am so damn grateful that I don't have to know.
And yet, it's impossible to ignore the fact that here we are, sucking up oil to live this plain, simple, ultra-luxurious life and the Gulf is being spoiled as we speak and no one- NO ONE- seems to know how to end the gush, the leak, the spouting of petroleum from the bottom of the ocean.

Are ALL oil wells this productive? Really?

Obviously, there is an awful lot I do not understand.

And obviously, my happy day of a road trip and then tonight's supper and rest depend on that poisonous oil.

I don't understand shit but I know that I have skipped back and forth today from things growing in the dirt, to delight in a machine that blows warm air, to my home where I grow food and live in a house that was built before electricity and to resignation and misery without electricity and now, electricity restored to here, where I can write on the computer and send it out on the internet and I have no more idea of what to do or how to live or what to think than I ever did or probably ever will.

And maybe I think too much and shouldn't try to connect dots that don't connect at all but isn't that the human thing to do? Try to line up the stars and make bears and archers and virgins and lions out of them?

I don't know. But I do know it was a beautiful day and I had a wonderful time and I know without doubt that I am addicted to oil and the gifts it brings to me and when those gifts are suddenly and without warning, taken away, I can barely stand it.

So once again, I have no answers, I have no wisdom. I just have questions and thankfulness that for now, right now, tonight, I don't have to choose between the ocean or the air conditioner.

I think the choice has been made for me and I am not proud of that at all.

Exotic Day Trip Planned

Sunday morning here at the Church of the Batshit Crazy and I'm about to travel down to Medart, Florida with Kathleen and two other friends from the play to go to a crazy, wonderful nursery called Just Fruits and Exotics.
If you are any sort of gardener at all you can get into serious trouble at Just Fruits. They have plants you've never heard of but upon seeing realize you have wanted your entire life and must have immediately.
Mr. Moon cringes when I go to Just Fruits. Lucky for him we don't have enough sun here for me to plant, oh, an orchard so I usually just pick up a few little things that I think might do here in this shady yard.
Kathleen already knows she wants two kiwis and an orange tree. That's Kathleen. She thinks things through, knows where she wants to put her plants and executes her plans with no muss and no fuss. She's a Druid and a scientist so that makes sense. And she has a lot of sun in her yard.
I don't know what Judy and Denise are wanting to get. I am just now getting to know them and I'm excited that we're going to make this little day-trip together. It's wonderful to make new friends, especially at my age.

Anyway, that's what I'm doing today. Traveling down to Wakulla County to a plant nursery and maybe we'll find lunch somewhere too.
And without a doubt, we'll be stopping at the convenience store where they have the XLERATOR hand drier to pee and wash and dry our hands. I have written about the XLERATOR before. Here.
I still laugh out loud every time I use one. I laugh so loudly they can probably here me in the parking lot. I laugh because this drier is so powerful that it pushes your skin into weird and unlikely shapes which ripple and move as you move your hands and arms under the drier. It's freaking AWESOME! I'm surprised there isn't a cult of XLERATOR devotees. An entire website dedicated to its awesomeness, a search engine for everyone to find the nearest XLERATOR.
So yeah, we'll be stopping at the Kangaroo for something to drink and to wash our hands.

It's going to be a fun day.

I hope yours is too.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Funked Up And Happy To Be

I went to a cast party tonight. Mr. Moon went too and Kathleen went with us.
I think it was my favorite cast party so far. It was held at Marcie's house. She is the woman in the picture above, second from the right. She and her sweet husband Fred live in a house even older than mine- built in 1840. They moved it from the little town of Quincy to a few miles down the road from where I live and it looks as if it had grown there, right out of the dirt. It's the first house I've been in since we moved into this house that I thought, "Hmmmm. This is an idea I could use." I don't envy them their house- I love mine too much, but I sure as hell admired it and I love how it feels with its wide boards and tall ceilings and funkified charm.
I am all about the funk whether it's in a house or in a song. Give me some tilt to a floor, give me some unpainted ceilings, give me some tuba solos, give me a backbeat and let me dance.
Another great thing about this party is that it was close enough to the actual play to let us all still feel that tangible/intangible connection that forms between us all. We have all been together the last three weekends- makes sense to let this one be the fourth in a row.
We mostly all ended up in the dining room under a gorgeous chandelier around a table filled with party food. Deviled eggs topped with caviar, meatballs, quiche, chicken salad sandwiches, berry cheesecake, chips and humus and pico de gallo, brownies, and mock apple pie made with Ritz Crackers. That was made because it was mentioned in the play and let me tell you something- you can NOT tell that pie didn't have apples in it. Strange, magical, white trash and yummy, probably born out of the depression and a sleeve of saltines.
There was also chili, and wine and beer, of course, because we do like our beverages. And we sat around the table and we talked and we laughed and we quoted lines from plays and we were silly and we gossiped and we talked about my Mortal Enemy and it was all just a very good time.
Our funky little stage company sitting in a beautiful old house with its funk intact and I was glad to be there. I felt comfortable. I felt at home.

I feel so lucky to have this group of people to play with, to call friends. Really good friends. There's something about people whom you trust enough to let yourself become childlike enough with to become someone else in the service of a play. I can't say it any plainer than that.

And now I'm home in my own house which is plenty funk-filled. Peeling plaster and paint, spiders everywhere, and birds nesting on the porch. It has rained and it's cooler and I can feel the trees and plants drinking it all in, taking it all in, doing their own funky green dance in the darkness. I can feel them breathing in and breathing out and I take their outbreaths in like I would a lover's whose face is close to mine and I close my eyes and take it in deeply, that green wet breath and I know I will sleep well tonight.

It's been a good day. It was a lovely evening.

I am feeling blessed and that is really the very best way to slip into dream-world because my mind is enough at peace to let me dance through sleep without hindrance, without regret and thus, to be at peace.

From The Divine To The Absurd And Back Again

Some days I go out with my camera and come back in with a pocketful of eggs, something from the garden and about fifty pictures, forty-nine of which should be deleted.

This is one of those days.

I really have no idea what I'm doing with a camera but I am learning that light has everything to do with success or failure. And today I went out when the sun was either killingly bright or else there was deep shade and besides that, I tried to take a picture of a bee on a hydrangea blossom and let me tell you something- bees move fast.
They are all over the fancy hydrangea, skittering across the surfaces of the flowers taking in sweetness and collecting pollen. Multi-tasking as it were.
Out of many, many shots, here's the best and it ain't good. You're going to have to click to see the bee at all.

The tiny flowers of the giant begonia are opening, showing a bit of a yellow tongue. The flowers are the creamiest shade of pale salmon/ivory you can imagine.

The tomatoes look to be the best crop we've ever had here but I am not counting my slices before they are ripened. But every plant is heavy with shiny green ripening fruits. The large ones, the tiny cherries. We had a few of those in our salad night before last. Heaven.

Kathleen gave me a tiny sprig of a rooted fairy-rose a few weeks ago. I put it in a bigger pot and set it out on the rotting tree stump in front of the house where I have bromeliads and a spider plant growing. It has, quite surprisingly to me, buds. I could plant it in the ground but it seems to me that that would be like putting a newborn in a king-sized bed to sleep. All by itself. Not cozy.

This is what sago palms look like when their new fronds are starting to uncurl and before they develop their cruel spikes. They are still, at this stage, soft and velvety.


And this split-leaf philodendron is recovering from winter's cold nicely. I am glad as I have had that plant longer than I have had Jessie.

All right. Perhaps the only decent shot I got. A banana leaf and I took the picture with the sun behind it. To me it looks more like a painting than a photo which pleases me and is strange because my favorite paintings are ones which look like photos.
Yes. I am an artotard.
I admit it.

So good-morning on a Saturday. I slept late, I've done nothing of value and it is blisteringly hot already.
I hear that Owen is better and slept fairly well last night so my world is practically perfect.
Mr. Moon and I watched Zombieland yesterday with Lily while Owen slept on her lap and if you, like me, have a deep affection for the absurd and think that Woody Harrelson is a completely underrated pleasure (artotard- I told you but White Men Can't Jump is one of my top ten favorite movies of all times) and would like to see him both attract and kill zombies with a banjo

then I recommend you watch the movie. The kiddies will love it- it's SO gross. Plus, in the movie, Woody's character is named Tallahassee.
And if that's not enough reason to watch it, well, this guy is in it:

Playing himself. God I love that man.

And after Lily and Owen left to go home Mr. Moon grilled steaks for our bi-monthly beef fix and THEY WERE AWESOME. I cooked potatoes out of the garden and made a nice dill cream sauce to go over them and we watched a Northern Exposure episode and well, compare and contrast if you want but I say that although I hate the expression, for my purposes it is all good.

Friday, May 28, 2010

What I Want

This is what I want to do as a blogger. This.

Ed Chigliak's movie.

My Babies (And Spider Picture Warning)

Well, it had to happen.
Owen is sick for the first time. I had thought he felt a bit warm yesterday and was fussier than usual and he wouldn't let me put him down when he was asleep but he full-bloomed it last night as babies do. His temperature shot up and he cried and cried and fussed and couldn't sleep and didn't want his nurnies and scared his mama and daddy.
Lily did all the right things. She gave him his ibuprofen and got out the Dr. Spock who is always on call, always reassuring at three a.m. On his advice she gave him a tepid bath and when he fell asleep sitting up in it, she was more worried than ever but they got through that long night and this morning I went to see the pediatrician with her and Owen.
Upper respiratory infection, probably viral. His ears are clear and so are his lungs so that is good. He isn't vomiting or coughing very much he's just a little pitiful and not his happy, singing self.

I asked Lily if she wanted to come out here with him this afternoon so that I could take care of both of them and let her rest some and she said that would be nice, so they are both here, taking a nap right now. She felt guilty about not going in to work but she knows that he needs his mama today because no one can get him to sleep and rest the way she can.
We have some movies to watch later and honestly, except for Owen being miserable, I'm as happy and content as I can be. As I just wrote in an e-mail to a friend, I would have made a horrible nurse- I am too scatterbrained and probably would have killed someone by accident, but when it comes to nurturing and caring for my loved ones in simple ways, I am not so bad and there is a part of me which loves the fact that my children might still need their mama sometimes and will let me take care of them. They don't realize that it's a mitzvah for me when they let me tend to them now and then.

So here we are, back in Lloyd with our sick boy. He's a sturdy one and will be fine. And so will Lily. She had a taste of another side of being a mother last night and it's a frightening one. A child or a baby with fever can just scare the bejesus out of you and that's a fact. The listlessness, the burning feel of their skin and the way it becomes so dry feeling, that cry you've never heard before, their refusal of the breast or the bottle- it's just plain scary, and scary at three in the morning can turn into terrifying.
But I am so proud of Lily and the way she did everything just right. She loves that boy so. And he can still smile. My usual tricks are not giving him the chortles but his happy nature is still in there.

My little sheriff and his beautiful mommy.

And now, just because I can, I'll give you this picture of a small spider which has built her web on the swing porch:

And look! My zinnias are coming up!

The chickens did not scratch all of them out.

And that's it from Lloyd on this Friday afternoon. It is hot and muggy but that's to be expected and it's the beginning of a long weekend and I hope that all of us have a good and safe one with our families or our critters or in the dirt or by the water or under a tree. Whatever it is that you want to do this weekend- enjoy it.
Let us all take care.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Murder Most Fowl (Bethany- Get A Hanky)

Well, to compound my funky mood today I discovered quite a number of feathers scattered around a few yards from the hen house this morning. I determined that they must have come from Miss Sukie, my butterscotch-colored hen.

Here she was just yesterday, running behind Owen. (That's strawberry or watermelon juice on his diaper- don't freak out and don't call HRS.)

Anyway, I looked and looked but did not see Sukie. Mr. Moon had not seen Sukie. She was missing and I'm afraid the trail of feathers tells the tale.

The ones in front of the hen house look like this but there are lots more. The soft downy ones, mostly white but some with her trademark butterscotch color.

I followed the trail east and found more downy ones and then this:

The trail ended with these two

right beside the giant oak on the railroad property.

I feel quite certain she is gone.
Mr. Moon and Kathleen think that a coyote or a fox must have gotten her. For some reason, I want it to have been an owl or hawk or even an eagle. Danger which suddenly appears from the sky seems more fitting for some reason. And less cruel, although of course that probably isn't true. Mr. Moon does assure me that when an owl snatches prey, it breaks its neck immediately and I would want that to be the case.

I heard no ruckus whatsoever and it had to have happened before it got fully dark. Last night was one of those rare nights I forget to close the hen house. I'd gone out to do it, thinking that surely they had gone to roost but when they heard me pour out catfood they all came running and I don't remember if Sukie was part of that group or not. Anyway, I let them stay out and went to take a shower and hell, I just forgot to go back out. But I don't think it happened in the hen house anyway as there are no feathers in there beyond the usual number. I think it happened right there in the yard, maybe while I was taking a shower or maybe so swiftly and silently that I wouldn't have heard it anyway.

Well, when you let your hens run free in the yard, you have to expect something to happen eventually. That's just the way it is. And I could keep them locked up in the coop but they're so happy outside. Every morning when I go out to feed them they are lined up, looking exactly like a group of elderly cruisers waiting for the doors to open for the first serving of breakfast. Well, except that my chickens don't wear fanny packs.

Just YESTERDAY I was saying to Mr. Moon that we were so lucky not to have lost any of our chickens since they were peeps and I KNOW better than to say things like that out loud. I knocked wood when I said it but I guess that wasn't enough. I was feeling a little bit proud, too, because every time I go over to look at the chickens next door there are one or two which are obviously sick or even more obviously dead and they lose chickens to foxes and snakes and all kinds of things even though they're all in a fenced area.

But what are you going to do? Mourn the loss of one little hen named Sukie?

Yeah. I am.

I'm not insane about my chickens. I mean, I wouldn't take one to a vet. But still. I know them by name and I know their personalities and I have my favorites and I feed them by hand and they rush up when they see me, running their funny waddling run, and the way they spend their days working for food and resting entertains and delights me. I love to watch their chicken-ways, study their chicken culture, the way they communicate and share a husband who never eats the treats I give him but who offers it to the sister-wives in a most generous fashion.

Well, I guess one of the sister-wives is dead. None of the other chickens seems to have noticed but how would I tell if they did? I am sure they will miss her at roosting time when they all line up every night in their own places. She will be missing.

Poor Miss Sukie.

I hope she didn't suffer.

She was a good hen. We shall miss her.


Harumph. I am not in a good mood this morning. I don't know why. Perhaps red-ant toxicity.

I have been thinking about things to talk about such as Gwyneth Paltrow and what's up with all that cleansing and how is that different from your garden-variety-non-celebrity eating disorder and oh, I don't know- Willie Nelson cut his hair!

But what's the point? Willie Nelson's hair doesn't affect me and neither do Gwyneth Paltrow's cleanses. Nor does who won American Idol although that little girl sure was cute and every time she smiled and showed that missing tooth I swooned a little.

No. I'm more concerned with the fact that my chickens have probably scratched up all my zinnia seeds which is hardly of earth-shattering interest to anyone in the entire world.

I suppose I should go take a walk and see what's happening in Lloyd and in the woods and over by the horse farm. The world will go on no matter what sort of mood I'm in. Oprah will gain or loose weight and fifteen different experts will tell us why, including that weirdo spiritual guru of hers. Sex And The City II will be discussed endlessly and there will be a plethora of pictures from openings in Morocco to Milan to Miami and the outfits the women wear on them will be discussed endlessly too. The Pope will say something, Jesse James will cry on TV and Sandra Bullock, if she is smart, will say nothing at all but will stay at home with her baby and bask in real true love. Tom Cruise will remain shorter than his child bride. Glenn Beck will come up with another ridiculous theory. People will demand that Barack Obama put on his swim fins and super hero outfit and swim a mile down and plug that oil leak up with his bare hands, goddammit- you're the president, DO SOMETHING!

Gwyneth Paltrow will instruct us on how to stimulate more effective bowel movements.

Not me, baby. Try some prunes if you're having a problem.

Willie Nelson won't give a shit what you think about his hair.

I'm going to take a walk, see if I can improve my mood after I make Mr. Moon an egg and cheese sandwich. Maybe I'll put some bacon in there too.

At least one of us will be in a good mood. Why don't "good" and "mood" rhyme?

Maybe the Pope could tell me.
I doubt it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fuck Fucking Red Ants

And yeah, I need a pedicure. I am aware of that.

Eight Month Old Adventures With Grandmother

I can't believe how much Owen has grown in eight months. I mean- really? Eight months ago he was to be commended for his ability to find the tit. And pee and poop. And oh, you know, breathe.

And here he is, less than a year later, sitting up, pulling up, crawling, climbing, chortling, laughing, holding out his arms for who and what he wants, flirting, singing his Owen song, eating real food, and driving a tractor.

Okay. He's not really driving a tractor yet. I just wanted to know if you were paying attention.

But since today was a bit of a special day, I took a lot of pictures. And that would be different from every other day how?
Oh hell. I don't know. But anyway, here he is, doing cute things and making cute faces and being an eight-month old boy which hardly seems possible. But here's the proof.

Lily's contest thing has the theme of "behind bars" this week. This was the best I could do. He had a good time posing.

The requisite Owen and Elvis stare down picture. And you have to be brave to stare that rooster down.

We were sharing fruit with the chickens and Miss Penny REALLY wanted that fruit. She saw some go into Owen's mouth and she was trying to figure out how to get it back out. I swear.

I know. This is almost sickeningly sweet. He's the one who pulled that sheet up over himself.
Snuggle Fabric Softener- give me a call. Or better yet- Seventh Generation. Y'all are woefully lacking in a cute mascot.

Just...a precious baby.

He addresses the masses. Of chickens. I think he is blessing their hearts.

This is Owen trying to see me around the camera. This expression is SO Owen.

In the bathtub getting all the strawberry/melon/grape juice off him.

And to get some perspective- this is what he looked like eight months ago:

Ah well. When you consider that nine months before that picture was taken he was two-cells big, it's not THAT amazing.

Except that it all is.

And the most amazing part of the whole dang miracle of it is the way he's managed to capture my heart.
They say that babies teethe on your heart and I think that's true. He's gnawed on mine so thoroughly that he's softened it up to the point of ridiculousness. To the point where whatever that boy wants, he gets from his grandmother.
And THAT, my sweeties, is why grandchildren are so damn spoiled by their grandparents.
It's our teethed-on soft hearts.

And God. It is splendid.

This Boy

Is eight months old today.

Well, Wouldn't You Know It?

I opened my newspaper this sweet cool morning to find the picture above on the front page. That's Ms. Lloyd's daughter, right there, working on the train depot. And there was a nice article about the whole restoration.
I went to the paper online and found more pictures and you can find those here.
If you have the slightest interest.

It was just funny that I wrote THREE blog posts yesterday in which the train depot was mentioned and even pictured in two and then this.
Well, life is funny.

What's not funny is how my refrigerator and increasingly, my entire kitchen smell.
When I bought shrimp last Saturday for Sunday's birthday feast, I put the shrimp, wrapped in TWO strong plastic bags directly on a shelf in the refrigerator instead of setting them in a bowl the way I usually do.
Bad mistake.
Bad, bad mistake.

I may have to replace the refrigerator.

But first I have to clean the whole damn thing and I have a feeling that there's going to be a lot of food taken to the chicken coop this morning because the shrimp smell seems to have permeated almost everything.


And Owen's coming in an hour and a half and so I better get busy because honestly, it's too nasty to live with. As in- if you walked into a seafood market and it smelled like my kitchen does you'd walk out as quickly as you could and go buy pork chops.
As in- if my dogs could get in the refrigerator and roll in it, they would.
As in- there ain't enough baking soda in the world to get rid of this smell.
As in- okay. You get it.

On the big scale of life's problems this is a small one and I know that and I'm grateful.

Not like I'm trying to rebuild a train depot here.
I just need to de-gagify the kitchen.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Meeting Notes

Now you know, I learned something tonight. And what I learned is that I need to not predict the future and more importantly, not to pre-bitch.

That meeting was one of the most pleasant experiences you can imagine. There were nine people there including Ms. Lloyd and her daughter. And a man came from the Gulf Wind Chapter of the National Historic Society to talk about the train depot where our post office is located and I learned a lot. We've always thought that our depot was the second oldest train depot in the state but new evidence is showing that it may actually be the oldest.
Not that I really care about things like that but it's nice to know.
And that what Gulf Wind wants to do is get the old depot to a good place and hand it over to Lloyd to use as a community center and it will have some artifacts and pictures and displays about the history of the railroad. And it is going to have plumbing and it has electricity!
Of course they need a LOT of money and work to get everything accomplished and the state funds have dried up but there are possible federal funds...
Anyway, it was interesting and informative and I brought up something I learned earlier today by cruising around the online Florida Photo Archives and found pictures of a train wreck which had occurred in Lloyd on Thanksgiving Day in 1937. The man from Gulf Wind knew exactly what I was talking about and a lively discussion got going on that subject. A train wreck! Right here! In my backyard, practically!

It turns out that someone donated $1,000 to the Lloyd Trust this year so we're flush with money and there was no talk about parades or hamburgers being grilled. None.
I was right about the store. It was discussed. A lot. And there is still no use designated for it. Ms. Lloyd sighed at one point and said that she might have to come off her idea of leaving it unwired and unplumbed.
Bless her heart.

I did bring up the grower's market idea and everyone liked it a lot and different approaches were discussed but NO ONE ASKED ME TO DO ANYTHING!

So there you go. I had a pleasant stroll down there and a pleasant stroll home and a fine time while I was there. I was one of the young people as was demonstrated by the fact that I only had to ask what the dues were once, as opposed to everyone else who had to ask at least four times apiece.

But anyway, I just wanted to say that I was wrong to dread the meeting and wrong to bitch about it.
When I'm wrong I'm wrong and I'm not afraid to admit it. Sometimes.

If you want to see more pictures of the Lloyd Train Wreck of 1937 you can go HERE and see several.

Signing off from Lloyd, Home Of The Oldest Train Depot In Florida.

Ms. Moon

P.S. There were cookies. A bag of gingersnaps. Which is funny because I have a bag of those here leftover from making the pies. And I NEVER buy gingersnaps. But I had two at the meeting anyway and they were quite tasty.

Pre-Meeting Bitch Fest

It's almost six-thirty and it's time to get ready to go to that meeting and I am dead tired and have no desire whatsoever to go. None.

Yeah. Sucks to be me, doesn't it?

My walks are great and I am feeling strong again and capable but they do wear me out as the day progresses. They just do. And I stayed up too late reading last night which I tend to do when Mr. Moon is out of town.

And I went to town today to go back to the doctor with Kathleen. All seems well and she is healing and we left his office (which is in the hospital building so that doubly sucks) with lighter hearts than we went in with although we both knew she was feeling better. By now I think this doctor must think that I am Kathleen's "partner" because I sometimes speak for her and tell him things like, "Oh yes, she is getting better. I can tell."
He listens to me too. I like that in a doctor.

After the appointment, I went to Cosco with Lily and Owen. The cool thing about taking Owen to Cosco is that the aisles are so wide I can swing that giant buggy around with him in it in complete circles while his mama is looking at the yogurt. We can go fast and make crazy loops and turns. He loves that. He thinks his grandmother is insane. He is right. Insanely in love with him. Lily just looks at us and shakes her head.
Owen and I don't care how foolish we look. We laugh our heads off and go find more samples to taste.

Well, I better get off my butt and hope this espresso kicks in for the meeting. I should have bought cookies to take but I didn't. I feel certain that Ms. Lloyd is going to try and get me to take some office. Secretary, treasurer, president. She's tried every time I've ever gone. Never works and it is not going to work tonight, I can assure you of that.
Which means that her daughter is going to have to take it all on her shoulders. Again.

I'll report in tomorrow. Owen's coming at ten and I am planning on getting up early and walking before he gets here. We shall see how that plan unfolds.

Oh- I think the baby wrens may have hatched because there is certainly a lot of traffic on the porch and bugs are being brought in now. Sweet little birds taking care of their young.

Ah. Life is good.



Preserving The Past

I got a phone call yesterday from the unofficial matriarch of Lloyd. She is an eighty-something year old woman who lives across the street from me, catty-cornered, with her son and his wife and their five children. I understand that she takes her meals with her daughter who lives next door to her and who lives alone.

This woman has lived in Lloyd for most of her life. She is the descendant of the first white people to live here. She may have (I get confused about this) grown up in this very house and I know she raised her children here. I have heard tales of the boys peeing out the upstairs windows. There is no bathroom upstairs and knowing boys as I do, this story does not shock or surprise me one bit.

I need a name for this woman. Hmmmm. I think I shall call her Ms. Lloyd which is NOT her name. But it will serve for our purposes.

Anyway, Ms. Lloyd called me yesterday to remind me of the meeting which is going to be held tonight down at the Woman's Club which is no longer used as a Woman's Club but which is used for AA meetings. The meeting Ms. Lloyd was reminding me about is the yearly meeting of the Lloyd Preservation Trust. I have been to perhaps three of these annual meetings and I have no desire to go to the one tonight. None. But dammit, don't you know I told Ms. Lloyd I would? And that I would try and get Ms. Fleur to come as well?
(Ms. Fleur- the meeting's at seven. Call me.)

The first meeting I went to was attended by Ms. Lloyd, her son, her daughter-in-law, some of their children, her daughter, and a few others.
The next year's meeting was attended by Ms. Lloyd, her daughter, and a few others.
Same with the last meeting I went to.
She can't even corral her son to come to these meetings! That's how pointless they are.
The agenda is always the same. Ms. Lloyd wants us to come up with ideas on how to raise money to restore the old store. The old store is a building on Main Street which was...the store...when Ms. Lloyd was growing up.
And because of Ms. Lloyd's efforts, along with a few others who have worked with her on this project, the store is now mainly...restored.

Restored in that it has been patched and painted and new doors a front porch have been affixed to it.
Grants were acquired for this project. What to me seems like a fairly obscene amount of money was used in this project.
And fine. If there is money out there for this sort of thing, then why not?
But here's the problem: the store is a fairly small, very plain building. One room. There is no electricity in it. There is no running water in it. There is no bathroom in it.
Which leads to the fact that there is no earthly use in modern day life for The Store.
And so it sits, its coat of red paint shining like a false beacon, mostly empty and locked.

I think it needs a new roof.

And tonight's meeting will be about The Store. As it has been for six years now. Seven. Whatever. And probably back twenty more if the truth be known.
We will discuss The Store and what it could be used for. An unheated, unairconditioned old barn of a building with no bathroom and no lights in it.

Poor Ms. Lloyd. She wants the sense of community that Lloyd held when she was young. I understand that. But Lloyd is no longer a bustling village. The train does not stop at the depot any more. There is no hotel which sells fried chicken dinners. There is no school or library and the Woman's Club is used to hold twice-a-week AA meetings in. Even the corner store which was open when I moved here and where you could at least buy beer and milk is closed now.

We do have a post office, of course.
And a truck stop. With a Subway.
And a lot of churches.

And that is it.

But Ms. Lloyd will not and can not give up on the idea that we can become something again. I am not sure what that something is, but she isn't giving up. She always suggests a parade and that we grill hamburgers and hot dogs to sell to raise money. Her daughter always patiently reminds her that when they last had a parade, there was no one to watch it because everyone who was interested was in it. And the last time we (her daughter, actually) grilled hamburgers and hot dogs to sell, we (her daughter) lost money on it. I think some money may actually have been raised with a yard sale. I am not sure.

There will be talk of the sign which another neighbor has been working on for at least six years that I know of which says, "Welcome to Lloyd!" or something like that. There may be talk of finishing the restoration of the train depot where the post office is.

As far as I know there are no concrete plans as to what that part of the building would be used for once finished either. But at least there is plumbing there and electricity.

"How can we get people involved?" Ms. Lloyd will cry out. And everyone at the meeting will look down at the table where the AA literature is scattered and we won't know what to say because obviously, if we were the sort of people who got involved, we wouldn't be living in Lloyd.

I had the idea that perhaps we could have a growers/farmers market once a month in the little area by the post office but I am afraid to bring this up because Ms. Lloyd will insist that I be the one to figure out how to do that and as we all know, I can't stand to make phone calls and besides that, I don't have TIME. It's actually not a bad idea and I would love it if one were organized but I AM NOT GOING TO BE THE ONE TO GET IT GOING! So I'll probably keep my mouth shut.

Ah lah. Poor Ms. Lloyd. She who remembers the glory days of Lloyd when the train did stop and there were fried chicken dinners and people visited each other and cared about the community and before crack and meth were invented. When people met each other at the store where they went to buy coffee and sugar and nuts and bolts and nails and hell, I don't know, calico to make bonnets with. She will try with all her might to rally us tonight, the four or five of us sitting around that table. She will refer to me and Ms. Fleur (call me, honey!) as the "young people." Fifty-five years old and I am one of the "young people."

And I am not making fun of Ms. Lloyd. I understand completely her longing to see the things which were part of her community so many years ago restored and for that very community to thrive again. But...
Until Jefferson County has schools fit to send our children to, we are going to remain as a very small rural bend in the road, populated by a vastly diverse group of people who really don't have much in common and who get in their cars and drive to Monticello or Tallahassee to shop and go to events and to libraries and to eat in restaurants. That is just the truth of it.
And although the store really is a cool old building, there can be no use for it until another gozillion dollars have been raised to put in lights and water. There is a handicapped ramp, which cracks me up because what would a person in a wheelchair find to do in the store once entry had been gained? Or a person who could use the steps for that matter?

I love my little community here in Lloyd but it is things like the trees and the blackberry bushes and the tiny hidden graveyard in the woods which make me love it so.

And it is the people whom I see on my walks and in the post office. As I was going in today to get my mail, a woman was coming out. She stuck out her hand and introduced herself to me because she teaches horseback riding at the farm which I walk by almost every day and she recognized me. THAT is Lloyd to me. And Ms. Liola who comes out of her trailer house to talk to me when I am on my walk. And Willie who has one leg. And my neighbors. And the gay guy who lives a mile down the road on the county line who flies not one, not two, but THREE rainbow flags from his front yard.

Ah well. I'll go to the meeting tonight. I wonder if there will be cookies. There were cookies one year and I keep hoping there will be cookies every year. Sadly, there are usually not.
I will take my checkbook and I will pay my family dues to the Trust and I will sit and listen as Ms. Lloyd tries to raise the few people who will be there to action. I will not volunteer to do anything, most likely. And it will make me sad that this woman's spirit is being crushed once again by the silence in that room, by the way every suggestion she makes is struck down.
I love her for her spirit. I love listening to the stories she tells of the way Lloyd once was. I love the pictures she has shown me of my house in the olden days.

I will be one of the young people. I will be a disappointment to Ms. Lloyd as I am every year, whether I attend the meeting or not.
And then I will walk home and admire the blooming cactus at Mr. Kinsey's house and I will wonder what is to happen to the church and I will look at the light of the setting sun in the oak trees which were here even before Ms. Lloyd, even before The Store, even before Lloyd was Lloyd at all and I don't think they care one bit whether the store is restored or whether the depot is rebricked or whether there is a farmer's market in the space by the post office.
No. They just stand and reach their moss-draped limbs to heaven and watch with an uninvolved eye at the foolishness of such short-lived busy creatures, always scurrying around in futile attempts at some sort of immortality or something.

And that is life here in Lloyd, Florida, today, May 25th, 2010 where some of us are completely content just to take it all as it is, eyesores and blackberry bushes, oak trees and trashy trailers, heat and humidity and hidden graveyards and do not have the energy to try and bring back what once was.

Not even for a strong, sweet woman like Ms. Lloyd to whom we are all a grave disappointment.

And so it is and so we are and I need to go feed my chickens.