Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Day With That Boy, Chickens, Dogs, And A Very Tall Man

video
Well, a day. And a damn good one! And you know what? When you are confronted with a dear friend's "incurable" cancer and proceed to have a party with martinis and music and chicken soup and hot wings and cookies and stay up until after one a.m. and get up feeling fine, you know you lead a blessed life.

And then, when your son-in-law brings you your grandson and the boy can hardly contain himself for joy when he sees you and leaps into your arms and it's a cool day and your husband comes home early and both of you lay down on the bed to get that boy to go to sleep and you get to take a nap with that boy with the cool fall air breezing in through the window over the bed and you do every fun thing with that boy you know to do- well, yes, you know you are blessed.

When you take that boy for a walk down Main Street and you stop to chat with a neighbor and you stop and ask that boy how he's doing and he gives you the biggest grin in the world- okay- blessings.

Yeah. It's been that sort of day. The sort where you have been reminded in no uncertain terms that there may be a tomorrow and there may not be, when you are presented with an entire day spent with a one-year old who is learning to pick up his toys and help you put them away and who laughs like a hyena when you tickle his ribs and who grabs your hands to tell you to tickle him again and where you and your husband reach across a sleeping boy to find each others' faces and kiss- well, you have to stop and pay attention to every damn thing you can fit into your brain and keep.

That sort of day.

I made bread for the first time in forever. It is baking now and Mr. Moon is in the woods and will be home soon and Owen has gone home with his mama and I've talked to Kathleen on the phone (she went home this morning, feeling fine and reports that she is still feeling fine) and I've done laundry and changed about fifty diapers and shared yogurt with the boy and played with him. I am going to share soup and bread with my husband soon and we will go to bed with the windows open and I am just so fucking grateful for this day.

I wish that the doctor hadn't told Kathleen that her cancer is incurable. Or that he had told us sooner. Like, when he told her that yes, she has cancer. I wish because she could have made choices based on more realistic information but you know what? It is what it is and it is what it was three days ago and when I go to sleep tonight, I am going to be thinking of Kathleen on an open cockpit airplane, wing-walking.
That is one of the few things she would like to do that she has never done.

That girl. She flies already. Hell, I don't know how anyone could ever accomplish and do what she does without the power of wings.

Wing Walking.
Truth talking.

The truth is, we have today. We go to sleep and if we are lucky, we wake up and have today again.

Yeah. That's it.

I'm going to go check my bread and I am hungry. As Anthony Bourdain says, "For more." But whatever comes, there cannot be less.

Bonne chance!

Love...Ms. Moon

Today's Agenda


No message here. Just love.

Today's Message

Kathleen tells her story.

And I am humbled and awed to part of it.

And let me tell you something else- she does not look like a sick person. She looks like an extremely healthy, vibrant, gorgeous woman who has no hair on her head.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Not Too Excited




See that?
Well.
Not a great day at the hospital. I'll let Kathleen tell you all about it. She hasn't posted yet about it because we're too busy drinking martinis but she will.

And look- she really wants to get twenty-five followers so...
I'm just saying.
It's not like she's asking to go to Disney World, okay?

Here's some pictures:




We're having a sleepover. Judy, Kathleen and I.
And by the way- Kathleen is an amazing woman.
And isn't she beautiful?

Later, folks. I have a martini to drink.

Caution! Partial Nudity!


This'll be a short one because I'm going to the hospital with Kathleen today. Judy and I will be accompanying her for her third chemo.

While I'm there I may try to find someone to deliver this alien which is inside my body trying to itch its way out to be born. Seriously. This is some welt. I have no idea what bit me but whatever it was, it was wicked. Maybe it's just a chigger. I'm hoping. And if you can't tell, that's my right upper hip on the outside part. I guess my flank? Do people have flanks?

I don't know. But anyway, that's where I'll be, in the chemo ward.
We'll be chatting up a storm, I'm sure, meeting the people who share the room getting chemo of their own. Everyone has a story, you can bet on that.

It's cool today and we slept with the windows open.
Joys.

Have a few yourself.

Love...Ms. Moon (and her alien baby)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

HELLFIRE!

Once AGAIN I did not get a MacArthur Grant.
Shit.
Why does this keep happening to me?

The Light Has Shifted; The Air Is Clear

I'll tell you the truth- I am tired.
Grandmother did not get so much sleep last night and not all of it was Owen's fault. I had a very hard time getting to sleep and then, well, Owen did wake up and let's face it- it's hard on a one-year old who has never before in his life woken up not to find mama and daddy to wake up and not have them around but instead, Old Grandmother with her hair down trying to poke a bottle into his mouth.
That sentence does not read well.
I am sorry. Like I said, I am a bit tired.

But it is the most beautiful day and when Owen did wake up this morning, he was as cheerful as a bluebird, ready to play and eat bananas (which he can say- yes!- banana!) and get his clothes on and play where's-Owen's-hand? as I took his pajamas off. His mood was not so good when he and his mama and daddy and I left the pediatrician's office after getting four shots. It was horrible and I had to look out the window and I got a terrible hot flash while he was crying.
I am way too sensitive to a baby's cry. Let's face it.

But now I have all the doors and windows opened and have scrubbed three toilets and am washing sheets and making all ready for Kathleen's stay with us tomorrow night. I am boiling a chicken (not one of mine!) and am going to make her a soup and try to have things tidied up and swept, at least. The dust may coat everything and the baseboards are beyond imaginably filthy and the floors need mopping but the outdoors has been washed clean by the rain and the air is dryer and cooler and for all of my sleep deprivation I feel good.

It is Billy's birthday and I am quietly celebrating that in my heart. That boy...
And if I get everything done and maybe a small nap, I will meet up with him and Shayla and Waylon and probably a ton of other people for pizza in town tonight. We shall see.
I am drinking cold coffee and trying to stay awake and doing the best I can. It's almost too beautiful a day to consider wasting any of it sleeping anyway.

The confederate rose is blooming.

The light is sheer perfection.



My five hens and Elvis are happily scratching about the yard.


It is a very, very good day here in Lloyd where my grandson slept (mostly) last night cuddled up close to me and where the sheets, at least, will be clean tonight.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, September 27, 2010

Another Birthday And A First Overnight Stay At The Grandparent's


Lily and her BFF, Kelly. Aren't they beautiful?

Owen feeds Uncle Hank a chip.


Lily and Sister May.

And with Sister Jessie.

The beautiful little family.

A teeny-tiny birthday cake.

Owen waving to a guy sweeping the parking lot.

All of us.

Night-night time.

Sweet dreams.

A Good Plan

Let's see- I'm wearing a white shirt to a Mexican restaurant where a one-year old will probably be sitting on my lap.

Real good idea. Smart thinking.
Uh-huh.

This Day


It is Lily's birthday today. How unfair of life to make her birthday one day after her son's. From now unto eternity, her birthday will be overshadowed by his, although perhaps eventually we shall combine the two into one celebration. It's birthday season and if you do the math, you realize that a whole lot of people do the deed on New Year's Eve and the result is...birthday mania at the end of September.
Anyway, I just called Lily and sang her Happy Birthday in my croaky old voice. She liked it, I think, since no one was around to hear me, just her.
Two years ago I wrote about how she got her name, my Lilian Rose Moon, and that post is here if you want to read it. It's a sweet story about a sweet girl who is now a sweet mama and will explain the picture I've used today if damn Blogger ever lets me upload it. I shouldn't blame Blogger. My internet is wonky today, probably because it is raining.

Yes. It's finally raining. The crispy grass is green again and unfolding itself into springy blades. I've let the chickens out for the first time in two days and they are so happy, going about the stations of their cross, different parts of the yard where they find the things they love to eat. I hate keeping them penned up. Elvis paces back and forth and his hens look worried. As well they should be, I suppose, after last week's tragedy. I shouldn't really use that word as applied to chickens, but it was a tragedy for me. And for Betty and Red and Penny and they are (were) only chickens but I loved them, all the same.

So here it is, Monday, and it is raining a bit and I've taken the trash and recycle. The man I went off on at the trash place is there today. For those of you who do not know the story, I witnessed some overt racism and did not keep my shut (could not keep my mouth shut) and he and I don't talk much any more. I heard that he was in a terrible car wreck and his leg was broken and he was gone for quite a while. I am sorry that he was injured and I keep wondering how many times he pushed that button in the hospital in the deepest, most painful times of the night and a person of color came to relieve that pain.
Well, life is full of tragedy, both profound and less so.

I'm not sure what I'm about today. Tonight Owen will be spending his first night here without his mama and his daddy so that they can go out with friends to celebrate Lily's birthday. I hope she has a good time and I hope that Owen and I have a good time. Pop-Pop may be here or may not, depending on whether the cars he needs to buy at auction are going to be there or not. We shall see, and either way, it will be fun to have that little boy here. I haven't slept with a baby in a long, long time and I hope he lets me cuddle him. I think he will.

I really don't have much to say today. Twenty-five years ago I was in labor.
Today I am not.
I am doing laundry and writing this, thinking about what I need to do on this Monday in September. The ground is receiving the water, I am receiving the day.

I am thinking about twenty-five years ago and much I desperately wanted my baby to be born, how I despaired that she ever would be, how scared I was when she didn't breathe right away, how vast the relief when she began to cry, how joyous we all were.

Yes. That is what I'm thinking about and also that we're out of frozen berries for smoothies and I need to go to town and isn't it odd that twenty-five years after Lily was born I will be taking care of her baby for the night and I remember what it was like, that first night in the bed with Lily between her daddy and me and how we looked at her and then at each other and we couldn't believe our good fortune, this beauty we had created together, born safely and in our arms, our bed and we both cried.

We had no idea how swiftly the time would fly from that baby to this one, Owen, and it is still flying, time, even as the morning creeps through its hours and my rooster announces its passing.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Monkeys Abounded

Nine-thirty p.m. and Grandmother is cooked. Done. Don't you get that fork near me, don't you think about sticking it in me- take my word for this. I am really done.

It has been a long day and a good one but that party? Oh my god, there must have been forty people there including a barrel of those monkeys and Owen looked like I felt- completely overwhelmed. I kept taking my camera out but it just never seemed like a good moment to take a picture.

His other grandmother videoed the entire party I think and I kept getting in her way. I took about thirty seconds of vid and that was enough for me.

But here are some pictures and let me say that Lily and Jason did a FANTASTIC job. Their friends Kelly and Jeremy helped them and the house was decorated and festive. There were hamburgers and hot dogs and potato salad and deviled eggs and fruit salad and bean salad and guacamole and chips and vegetables and...there was Monkey Cake!


Lily Rose Moon Hartmann made that cake herself. And for her son, she made a banana cake. They refer now to the little cake that you make for the baby the smash cake.

It got smashed. But not until Owen had cried because four thousand people were watching him and waiting for him to smash it. He was not happy about that. And then his mama put his hat on him and well, that was it. Tears did flow.

But eventually he got the idea and warmed up to it.

He even shared with his mama.

He's a sharing sort of boy.

Here he is sharing a ball with Waylon:

That's my boy. And my other boy. The one who will call me Aunt Granny.

When it came time to open presents, there were so many that some of them got saved for later. I mean, we would have been there all night long if all of them had been opened. I think his favorite was his little boy doll. He loved it. He loved on it. They are going to be good friends, Owen and his boy doll.

We were talking about this doll a few weeks ago and I think it was Jessie who asked if the doll was anatomically correct.
"It only cost ten dollars," Lily said.
We thought it would be funny if for an extra five bucks you could get a pee-pee on that thing, maybe another five for a set of testicles.
Owen didn't care if it had man-parts. He just loves it.
You'll note that by this part of the evening Owen was naked except for a diaper. That's because he had to have a pre-bath to get some of his cake off of him. I like him when he's almost naked. His body is more beautiful than anything he could possibly wear.
And he's anatomically correct!

So it was a lovely evening and Lily made a beautiful party for her son. I was proud of her. I've been proud of her mothering skills and patience and strength since she got pregnant with Owen. Amazed, quite frankly, at how easily and handily she took to the whole thing. I had an inkling of how it would be when I saw her pushing Owen out when he was born. She just blew my mind, the way she got that job done and didn't complain or whine.
Yeah. I sort of figured then that she was going to be a fabulous mother. And she is.

Well, I guess it's about time for Grandmother to round up Grandfather and see if he wants to go to bed. It rained today, finally, and it's a bit cooler tonight.
Here's a picture of Grandfather and that grandboy of his this evening.

My fellas.

Been a lot of changes in a year.

But I still think they're mighty beautiful. Together.
My boys. Well, two of them.
The oldest and the youngest.

A year old. He made it. Owen made it to one.
And I made it through the party.

Blessings.

Owen Is One

It's official! Owen is one! One year old today.
No way.
And yet- it's true.
He has been with us for 365 days and in those days he has gone from nursing/sleeping/peeing/pooping infant to smiling, walking, running SUPER SMART BOY with a full set of teeth and the ability to understand everything you say to him.
He's going to be cracking jokes before the end of the week. I have a feeling. He's THAT smart. And funny.
So today's his birthday and his mama and daddy are pitching him a big old monkey-themed birthday party. I think Lily's been planning this party since about last, oh, October.
I can't wait.

But. That's not until five this afternoon.
Right now I'm about to go to town to be in another little film of Mr. FC Rabbath's. In this one I play a therapist. Psychologist. Whatever.
I get to play!!!!
(Thanks, Freddie, for letting me play.)

I swear- a year ago, I had no idea what my life was about to become, how things would change. And isn't that the way of it?
Today- a chance to play AND my first grandson's first birthday.
Tomorrow- Lily's birthday and I'm going to keep Owen overnight for the first time.
Tuesday- We take Owen to his year-old check-up and, oh, I'll probably sleep half the day AND it's Billy's birthday.
Wednesday- Back to the hospital with Kathleen.

And that's just the next four days.

Well. I better get busy.

Happy Birthday, Owen Hartmann! I can't wait to see you, Mr. One-Year-Old! I will kiss your one year old face with 365 kisses and hold you so tight.
It's a good day.
It's an amazing life.

And the world keeps on rolling along.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

For Lily And Jason





A year ago tonight my daughter Lily was in labor with Owen, my grandson.
She labored so long and hard. She labored for days and nights. She danced with her husband, the father of my grandson, swaying and letting that baby settle down into where he needed to be to be born. They would have done a C-section days before but my daughter said, "No thank-you," and she did the work and was patient and strong and the family was there with her.


Mean Aunt Jessie was there. She and I slept for awhile together on a bed hardly big enough for one. "I am spooning my mother!" she said and yes, she was, and it was the only way we'd fit and oh, we must have gotten at least four or five moments of sleep.


Uncle Hank stayed in the waiting area unless he was walking around with us, all around the damn circle of the labor floor, past this room and that and when he wasn't walking with us, he was reading or sleeping and keeping watch over our little flock by night.


Mr. and Mrs. Moon cuddled and waited. Mr. Moon went out and bought a rotisserie chicken for us to eat and he gave his daughter encouragement. Mrs. Moon tried to, as well, but at one point, after I had given Lily my best advice she said, "This is not helping," and I knew she was right and I shut up. She had it covered, my Lily. She knew what she was doing.

I am thinking of all of this tonight- how we all gathered together to help Lily and Jason bring Owen into the world and how May was sick and couldn't be there and how she cried on the phone and how none of us had any idea of what it all meant and how much Owen would change our lives. I am thinking of Kathleen bringing us muffins and how time was that sort of spacey place and how much we loved our nurses and mostly, how brave my daughter was, how strong. How when they told her she could push, she was an Amazon of a woman, giving birth to the universe, giving birth to the boy, giving birth to the joy of the child who is Owen.

We had no idea. But we knew, all of us, that something of the most amazing sort was happening and we couldn't stop smiling, even as we walked the hallways, even as we drank the coffee, even as we tried to sleep on the single bed, even as the day turned into night and then day again, even as my daughter labored with her husband's arms around her and I had an inkling of what sort or parents they would be but we didn't know for sure.

And now a year later, we do. We know what sort of parents they are- which is the very best kind, and we know what sort of boy Owen is, which is the most amazing kind, and we know what sort of grandparents and aunts and uncles we will be, which is the most loving kind and one year ago tonight, there we were, hoping for the best, not even beginning to know what the best could be.

Lily and Jason- I am in awe of you.

And I love you so much....Mom.

Fashion Disaster Alert

We all know that Ms. Moon is a fashion-forward type of gal. Oh yeah. She was wearing cargo sorts and overalls before cargo shorts and overalls were cool.
(What? They're still not cool? Fuck that.)
She has a closet full of clothes which are older than some of her children. (All of her children are of legal age to drink in every state in the nation.) She wears them sometimes. When they fit.

Yes. Ms. Moon knows fashion and she is here today to alert you to the newest trend of all:
Jeggings!
Yes. You see, you combine a legging and a jean and you get...JEGGINGS!
Which, the ads purport, will make you look like this:


Now first off- do we WANT to look like this?
Of course we do. We all want to look like our legs are seven feet long and end in a flat places and curvy places (in the right places) and we all need to wear cruel black heels to emphasize that and to announce to all and sundry that we are BITCHES, YO! DO NOT FUCK WITH US AND OUR CRUEL BLACK HEELS AND OUR SEVEN-FEET LONG LEGS!
Right?

I think so.

But let us consider.
Would we look like that were we to put on Jeggings and cruel black heels?
Speaking for myself, I have to give that a big HELL NO! In fact, let me give that a big HELL FUCKING NO!

And how many of us actually would?

No. We would look more like this unfortunate woman whose ass was obviously photoed without her permission by someone using a camera phone:

Look- here's the deal as far as I'm concerned- Just because you can squeeze your ass into something doesn't mean you SHOULD! Do you hear what I'm saying?

Now I feel quite certain that none of my friends here at blessourhearts would ever fall for this Lycra-infused fashion faux pas. We here at blessourhearts are sensible people. We are people who try to do our best in every aspect of our lives and we even know that every time we buy a garment with Lycra in it, we are supporting these people.
In fact, we look upon Lycra with suspicion all the way around. Oh sure, it's been a godsend when it comes to bathing suits (although mostly we hate bathing suits) and yoga pants but let's face it- it has done not one damn good thing for the fashion industry as far as we are concerned. And we here at blessourhearts would rather put a stick in our eye than go out of the house wearing something named Jeggings. The very word itself makes us shudder, and it should! Jeggings is not a word, people! You can't just go around combining words in ways like that. It sounds too much like jogging and jiggling and if you put on a pair of Jeggings and went jogging you know damn well there would be jiggling.

It would not be pretty and neither would we were we ever to try such a stunt.

No. Let us wear our loose overalls and our baggy cargo shorts made of fabrics which breathe and which do not support right-wing religious extremists. Let us leave the compression stockings for when we are immobile in the hospital and need to prevent deep vein thrombosis. (Thromboses?) Let us not fall for fashion trends which, in a few short years, will be featured in magazines with the caption, "What were we thinking?"

Trust me. I have seen fashions come and I have seen fashions go. And Jeggings can't go soon enough for me. If you want to wear jeans, wear jeans. If you want to wear leggings, wear leggings. But for god's sake- spare yourself the embarrassment of this poor garment which is a confused bastard of a piece of clothing. It will do you no favors. It will give you a yeast infection. I am a nurse. I know these things.

All right. I'm done. I've done my good deed for the day. I have given you the information and now it is up to you to do with it as you will.

One more thing- the cruel black heels? They are fine. Ms. Moon approves. Mr. Moon would too. So would Natasha.


But they should be worn with a black leather mini-skirt. Or even a plain pair of skinny jeans with just the least amount of Lycra you can find. Which means that you won't be fitting your ass into something you shouldn't.
Which means your ass won't be getting photoed without your permission with a camera phone and spread around the internet.

Just doing my part to prevent such humiliation.

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, September 24, 2010

Really?

Owen is looking at a hurricane lily which a butterfly is sipping from.
I showed him that today.
Treasure.
My life seems so very full of treasure right now.
And I am just here to say thanks, to give thanks, to be thankful.

This life of mine is not a dream come true. It is richness that I never dared dream of. Never knew was possible.

I just want to mark that right now, right here.
Boy, flower, butterfly. And all that goes with it.

Unbelievable.

A Quiet Friday


It's fairly quiet here in Lloyd today. Owen is here and we have been on our walk and chatted with Miss Liola and fed apples to the chickens who would come out to be fed. It is quite apparent that all of the hens which disappeared and then reappeared have been traumatized in some way. Shalayla will not come off the nest and she is not laying an egg. She is scared.
Owen and I took her apple pieces and chicken food and water and she seemed grateful.
We all need a day in bed sometimes. I understand that.
I still don't know what happened to my hens and I doubt I ever will but I am just grateful to have the ones back that I have, to hear their clucking, to see them, as I coax them with fruit, coming out from under the shed.

It was overwhelming to me yesterday, the number of people who came and commented. I had no idea that so many people love my chickens, or at least are interested in them. It goes far to prove my theory that chickens and people are bonded in ways we may not remember consciously, but certainly know in our bones.

And so here we are- the boy and his grandmother, the four dogs, the rooster and the five hens. And of course the cat who lies in the flower bed all day, watching everything.

It is fall but it is still hot and we need rain but the butterflies are taking their moisture from the firespike and hurricane lilies and the light is perfect. The garden is doing well, the peas and cucumbers and beans that I planted are up and so are the lettuces and greens. There is weeding to be done but there is always weeding to be done.

Owen will be one year old in two days. His mother will be twenty-five in three days.
Owen is feeding crackers to the dogs.
It is a good day, a quiet day. A day of simple pleasures for me, for sure.
I hope the same for you.

Happy Friday, y'all.
Love...Ms. Moon

Haiku My Heart, Sacred Places


My holy water
Flows between two jungle banks
What church can compete?


This is a picture I took in 2006 of the Sebastian River in Roseland, Florida where I spent some of my growing-up years. I continue to revisit Roseland and every journey back puts a lie to "you can't go home again."
It remains there, as if time had forgotten it, that tiny village beside the banks of a slow-moving river, and whenever I return it welcomes me back with the same roads that accepted my footsteps so many years ago, with the same small houses, the same small glories, the same mystery and beauty.
It was the perfect place for a child to live- jungle and water, wild mangoes and white water birds, trees to climb, white sand roads to play marbles in, and a mysterious character named Chester who grew turnip greens, lived off the grid before there was a grid, who wore his hair and beard like Jesus when no man dared go more than a week without his visit to the barber shop.
Roseland was the womb of my imagination, and the river was the heart of it all.

It is calling me now, that river. I need to go back soon.








Haiku My Heart is the only formal blog-related thing I participate in. I do it because I love Haiku and because I love rebecca who is our gracious and glorious hostess.
Go visit for more haiku links or better yet- to join in.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

UPDATE!

So. Wow. I am so happy. All of a sudden, Miss Mable showed up. She was walking around with the other hens like, "Whoa. What the hell happened?"
And then...there was Miss Bob, too! Whether she found her way home or the lady next door caught her and sent her home- either way- she is back.
AND, Mr. Moon and I just went out to say goodnight to the chickens and shut the door and Shalayla was there too. Freaked out, but home.
I am SO happy.
I wish I could ask them what happened. Don't you?
I am now thinking maybe it wasn't a human. Maybe something scared them to death and scattered them before I shut them up last night. Which means...it's my fault because I didn't notice a thing.
Well, hell. I am as good a chicken mama as I can be. And we have five hens, which is wonderful.
I will always mourn poor Betty and I wish like hell that Red and Penny would show up. And maybe they will.
I will go out and check before bed to see if they are by the chicken coop.

But for now- right this second, I am so happy to have five hens in the hen house. Bob and Mable are in the same nesting box as Elvis, cuddled beneath his wings. I think he is happy too.

Thank-you all again. I will let you know if more of them come home.

And I have to add a P.S. which is that I feel so silly being so caught up in this disappearance of my chickens. Chickens. Just plain old chickens.

But they are my chickens and I do love them and they have been a huge and delightful part of my life for a year and a half now and dammit, they matter to me a good deal and they represent a harmony of home which I never knew before I got them.

So. Sweet dreams. Cluck-cluck. Night-night.

More Chicken News And It's Not That Great

I swear. I have spent half the day, wandering the yard and crying.
I have located two of my chickens, one alive and one dead. Above you see Ms. Betty's feathers- a pile of them were at the base of a tree in the yard which I missed but which Mr. Moon found.
My sweet, sweet Betty. My favorite hen whose head mean old Sam pecked bloody practically down to the brain and which I healed with golden seal and Neosporin and for which Mr. Moon butchered Sam and we ate him with dumplings.
You know, I am actually happier to have found Betty dead by a predator than to think of other endings for her. I am.

Miss Bob is over in the yard next door. My neighbor, the sort-of Crazy Chicken Lady, saw me looking for my chickens and asked if I was missing one. I said, "I am missing six!" and began to cry again.
She said that last night she and her husband were awakened by a big commotion from the dogs. They went out front and saw a chicken running down the road. Running like they'd never seen a chicken run before.
They corralled her into their side yard and tried to catch her, but could not, and went to bed. This morning they had looked for her but hadn't seen her.
Look- I've said some uncomplimentary things about this lady and her chicken-keeping but she does care about animals very much.
Anyway, she told me about the chicken and described it and I thought it might be Miss Bob. She called me later- the chicken had reappeared from the woods. I went over and yes, it was Miss Bob. She and I and then. Mr. Moon, too, when he got home, tried to catch the poor hen but she was freaked and had trees to run behind and wagons to hide under and we were unable to get her but I know she is safe and there is food and water there she can get to. We might go over in a while and see if she has roosted in a tree and can bring her home or we might just see if Elvis's calling will bring her back.
Poor Miss Bob.
I still think a human got into my chicken coop. I can't think of a predator who could have gotten them before they went to roost without me knowing about it. And if they had been in the yard, they would have gone to bed. The sun sets, the sun rises, chickens go to roost at night. It is like gravity- you can count on it. So my theory is that someone got in there and bagged a few and Betty and Bob got out and Betty got caught by a critter and Bob escaped. Believe me- chickens do not run down the road. Especially not at night. Unless, that is, something is chasing them.
Caroline says a lot of her chickens have gone missing too with no signs of a struggle. Not a feather. She thinks it's a person.
I know times are hard but really?

Well. We'll never really know, most likely.

And dear Ms. Bastard-Beloved called me from Buttfuck, Ohio because she was worried about me and Freddie offered to come and catch Miss Bob for me. And May offered to come over and pat my hand. And so many of you have written to give me your sympathy in comments. And you have no idea how much that sweetness means. I thank each and every one of you.

It's so odd- Kathleen has lost a lot of her chickens lately but she knows it's a fox. And foxes? Well, it's their job to kill chickens. That is understandable. And perhaps a fox or a coyote got mine. Or even a bob-cat. I don't know. But I think I'd have found more feathers.
But Kathleen and I both want some peeps to start again. We know where we can get grown chickens but we want to raise them from babies so they know us and trust us. And so we know and trust them.

And here I am- a grown woman who has gone through some tough times lately with friends who are so very dear to me and THIS- this disappearance of my beloved hens has been the thing to bring the tears. I feel so damn silly but I think every one knows just how much I love these birds of mine. My sweet hens. I know them and their ways, I have raised them from babies.
And I will never get another small brown egg from Miss Betty and that, that thought right there, just makes me want to cry again.

Well. Bless their hearts, those hens of mine. They brought me so much joy, they gave me so many perfect eggs. I will miss them.
And I hope we get Miss Bob home soon. Three hens are better than none and perhaps Elvis will not be so depressed.

I hope so. I really do hope so.

Sad and Mad and Just Plain Confused

I am sick at heart.
I went out to feed my chickens this morning and let them out and there were only Elvis, Miss Dolly, and Daffodil in the coop.
Six hens completely missing.
Miss Betty, Miss Red, Miss Penny, Miss Shalayla, Miss Mable and Miss Bob. All gone.
I have searched the yard and can find no sign of them. No clusters of feathers, no broken bodies. Just...nothing.
In over a year I have lost one chicken to a predator and that was Miss Sukie. I found feathers. A bunch of them. And then a trail of them leading off. I think an owl took her.
But today- nothing. Just no hens.

I was so mad and so sick feeling on my walk this morning. I took a trash bag with me today to pick up some of the crap I've been ignoring on Main Street lately and that made me mad, too. Why do people throw their cups and bottles and cans and bags out of their windows? And why can't people who live on that street pick up that shit? Why do I do it?
Because I hate seeing it. That's why.
I saw Miss Liola on my way and she told me that she was glad to see me picking up trash and that she picks it up in front of her house (and she does- her yard is as tidy as a pin) and down the road a bit. Now see- if we all did that...well.
We don't.
Anyway, I told her about my hens.
"What could have taken them?" I asked.
"A two-legged animal took those chickens," she said. "I know it."

She may be right. See- last night when I shut them up in the hen house, I did not go in to pet them and do a head count. I had my camera over my shoulder to take pictures of the moon and that's where my head was at. I just assumed- as I always do- that my sweet chickens were all on their roost and it was dark in there. I just said, "Sleep well, hens," and shut the door and went and took pictures of the moon so I don't know if they were in there or not. I was on the back porch a great deal of the late afternoon and early evening and heard no disturbances at all.

And now Elvis is walking around the yard, crowing for his ladies. He is confused.
And so am I.
I'm going to go walk around the yard another time and see what I can find.

I feel awful.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

It's About Damn Time



Shine On Harvest Moon

Picture And Links And A Movie, Too. Oh My.



Ah. It was a good day. But a dangerous one.
I went shopping.
And you know, I haven't been shopping in a long time. Okay, Kathleen and I went to the mall a few months ago but somehow, that wasn't so dangerous. Today I went with Owen and Lily because Lily's birthday is next Monday, the day after her son's, and she asked me if I would get her a new pair of jeans because she has lost a lot of weight and wanted something to look nice in for her birthday.
So we loaded up the boy and set out in the mall and one of the very first things my eye lighted on sent shivers through my spine.
Have I ever told you about my purse obsession?
Well. I have one. And for about a year I fed it via E-Bay, buying one gorgeous Coach leather bag after another. ALL FOR REALLY GOOD PRICES, BELIEVE ME!
But then I realized that the answer to life is, sadly, probably not really a fine leather handbag. No. Plus, that rack I hang them on kept falling down from the weight. So maybe that was enough.
And I haven't seen a purse in a really long time that made me just stop and want to fondle it. Made me search out the price tag. Made me want to OWN IT!
But dammit, it happened today. It was everything I want in a bag. It was...bag-like. It was soft leather. It was called...The Abbey Road Foldover purse!



Can you say match made in heaven?
The red one (which is the one which caught my eye) is TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS and the brown one, which would do just fine (no- better than fine and maybe the black one is even better), is ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-EIGHT DOLLARS!
I wiped the drool of my chin and we moved on.

We got to the part of the mall where they have all the little kid rides. Lily immediately wanted to put Owen on one. We both knew he was too young but neither of us could stop ourselves from finding the seventy-five cents it required to make one of them go.
We choose the train engine. It seemed the least intimidating.
Owen was not impressed. Okay. He was impressed. But not in a good way.


Well. What can you do? We'll be back when he's older. We strolled on to the places where Lily wanted to shop for jeans. Here are me and Owen in front of the mirrors while Mama is trying on jeans. Owen was tired. Owen was laid-back. For that moment, anyway.



So Lily ended up getting jeans and a beautiful new shirt and then we went up to Sephora and we got her some glittery eye shadow and a new mascara. Birthday bounty! It was a good trip to the mall although Lily was NOT so happy with me when I started dancing to the Muzak and who can blame her? Who wants to see their mother, a grandmother for god's sake, rocking out to rap? Not Lily, I can tell you that. So I only did it when she was in the dressing room. Owen was highly amused (trust me) and joined in.

Then we got in the van and sped to a local restaurant where we met Billy and Waylon.
Ah. My Billy. Ah. My Waylon.



I usually say that we had a "lovely lunch" but in this case, the word would have to be "lively."
Here's a very short bit of recording I did and I am kicking myself for not making Billy tell the What's the difference between a Corvette and a hard-on? joke.
Okay. Next time. I promise. Meanwhile, how country do I sound? "He can be cute TEW!" Oh yeah.

video

Those boys were wild. Waylon and Owen, I mean. They wanted to clear the table of everything on it and they have long, long monkey arms with which to sweep the area clean.
We left a really good tip. I promise you.

By this time, Grandmother was exhausted. We kissed Billy and Waylon good-bye and Owen fell asleep in the van immediately and I sat with him while his mother ran into various places to get things she needed. While I was sitting with the sleeping boy, I took this picture:

Is he perfect? Oh yes. He most certainly is.

And when I got home I found a message from Freddie who sent me this link:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5811038/technology_and_the_apocalypse_of_fear.html?singlepage=true&cat=2

Now I do not know who Diana Zaragoza is, but let me tell you this- she is welcome to come to Thanksgiving dinner at my house this year. She gave Freddie's film an amazing review AND she gave me a nice one too.
Do you know what? Those few nice words she said about my performance mean more to me than a bucketful of money and are sweeter to my heart than a bucketful of honey.
My first review. Ever.
And of course I love the fact that she obviously loves Mr. FC Rabbath and his films. I was talking to Freddie yesterday and he was somewhat depressed. He's had a difficult past few weeks and a few people were being a bit tarty in their opinions about Disconnected on the forums. And of course it's the negative things people say about us which seem to have the most weight, especially if we're already depressed.

"Fuck them!" I told him. "It's so easy to criticize. It's the easiest thing in the world. You're out there doing it, Freddie. And they're not."

Poor Freddie. He's such a good Christian man and here I am, an old woman (a grandmother!) saying things like "Fuck them!"
Ah well. He was a Marine. He can handle it.

And that was my day.
I can't wait for the moon to rise so I can take pictures of it. I hope some of them come out. We need rain badly but this dryness may mean that we get one of those huge, orange moons and if that happens, it'll be worth the dryness.

It was a good day. A little bit dangerous, but I didn't buy the purse.
You go out of your comfort zone and yes, it can be a bit dangerous. But you survive. And the adventure we call life becomes even more amazing.

Why I Feel Comfortable In Such An Old House


I am old. I remember when men were wiry and thin and squatted on their haunches to talk when they got together and built boats, not because it was their life-time dream to do so but because they fished to feed their families and they needed a new boat in which to do so.
I remember when those men, upon rising from their beds in the afternoons after fishing all night would spend hours and hours and hours mending their nets.
Really. I remember that.

I am so old I remember the Fuller Brush man and boy, was he thin! toting that big case of his, door-to-door, and he'd come into the kitchen and squat and open the case and give my mother free fingernail brushes and show her new products and she would buy them. He had a Yankee accent, our Fuller Brush man and he always wore a suit even though this was in Central Florida and he sweated a lot but he never complained and he had a crew cut that he'd rub his hand over.
I remember that.

I remember the old lady my mother would sometimes hire to babysit my baby brothers and how I would always end up being the one to take care of them because she was OLD! She barely moved, but would sit in the rocker in the living room (the same one that my grandson pulls himself up in these days in my library) and she would rock and rock and rock. She would also sit at the piano and play chords and sing along but this was not quite music- it was eerie and dirge-like and it drove me crazy but sometimes, oh sometimes, she would get in the kitchen and fry a chicken and make potato salad and she put apples in her potato salad and honey, it was so good.

I remember spending the night at my best friend's house. Her name was Lucille and she and I would make a tent by stretching a blanket from an old out-building to the chicken coop and we'd burn a mosquito coils and I can't remember the brand name (do you?) and they were a sort of incense which no adult in his or her right mind would now allow a child to burn in a homemade tent but these were the old days when children were believed to have enough sense not to kill themselves. We would peek our heads out from under the blanket and the stars were so plentiful that it was like the rash of the worst case of Chicken Pox you ever saw, that crowded and thick with stars and we were in wonder.
I remember Chicken Pox.

I remember when girls were named things like Jeanette and had fiances with names like Dorsal. Or was it Dorsel? I don't know. But I remember. And I remember when a girl named Jeanette and her fiance, named Dorsal, took a bunch of us kids to the Tastee Freez and bought us chocolate dip cones and when we stopped at a gas station, Jeanette walked over to the hose that always used to lie in front of gas stations with that bell in it that rang when you pulled in so that the attendant (there was an attendant!) would know you were there and would come out and pump your gas and wash your windshield, and Jeanette put her heels over the hose and brought down the weight of her skinny body and it made the hose ding and I thought that was the coolest thing in the entire world.
She wore flats that showed toe cleavage and I was sure that Jeanette was the coolest, sexiest woman in the world and she and Dorsal were like sex on a stick, that full of hormones and kisses and she had a transistor radio in a little leather case and I wanted everything Jeanette had- the boyfriend, the shoes that made toe cleavage, the sass and the transistor radio.
I remember Jeanette.

I am not old enough to remember dinosaurs walking the earth but I do remember walking on a dredge island in the Indian River where mammoth teeth and vertebra were there on the surface to trip over and we picked them up and brought them home and kept them in the laundry room. I don't know why we kept them in the laundry room but we did. We had mammoth teeth in the laundry room, right next to the Tide and the Clorox.

I remember when the president was shot and I remember when Cuba was the place that was going to send the bombs to kill us and I remember sulfur water and I remember the dark, brackish river that flowed under the dock where we fished for catfish and I remember when my grandfather and all of his man-friends wore bow ties, even to visit each other and their wives all wore those little clips that fastened on to their sweaters so they could be like capes, draped over their shoulders, and hair nets with tiny beads on them and I remember I loved those hair nets on the beautiful white hair of those old ladies who were so sweet to me.

I remember when kids were expected to have the sense not to get snake bit or drown in the river or run away and I remember when kids knew how to treat the wounds they got when they fell off their bikes with Iodine that stung like holy hell and Band-Aids. I remember pulling sandspurs out of my body and cactus needles and there were a million ways to die but we didn't. We were tough little people and the bomb didn't kill us either.

I am remembering so many things today, this quiet morning, and it's the Fall Equinox and the moon is almost full. The earth tips a bit today and perhaps it is the moon pulling these memories out of me, or the gravity of the earth in its tipping; they are pouring out of me like milk from a tipped pitcher.

I remember when men squatted on their haunches, wiry men, and kids played in the jungle-woods all day and women said, "Go play outside!" and they wore curlers in their hair, sometimes even to go to the store, and they were never still, and men like Dorsal had blond hair they wore Bryl Cream in and it flipped up a little bit in the back and women teased their hair into beehives on their heads and smoothed over the top layer and it was something to see. I remember the wooden handle and the pig bristles of the beautiful hair brush my mother bought me from the Fuller Brush man and I remember when we washed our brushes and combs in the sink every week with ammonia and water, and summers lasted forever and ever.

I remember when the world which came to us from the television was all in black and white and so the President's wife's dress was gray with black splotches all over it when her husband died and the flag draping his coffin was black and white striped and we had to fill in the colors in our minds and our minds were so busy then, filling in the colors, the details of that black-and-white world but not the night sky which was black as ink with stars as white as new-born silver because those were its colors and the mosquito coil burned with an orange tip, eating itself, sending acrid but somehow pleasing smoke up into the night air and the mosquitoes, invisible in the darkness, still hummed in our ears and when we looked up at the sky to see all of those stars, we somehow knew in our child bones that this was something we would always remember, even when we were very, very old.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Blatant Currying Of Favor

Favor? Por favor?

Mr. Rabbath has asked me to please, if I didn't mind, ask any of you who have watched Disconnected and who liked it, to please share it around.

And so, because I think that Mr. Rabbath's films are really something special, I am doing so.
The link is http://www.facebook.com/l/dfeaffCq6TJqgK5JEeA1FdJbYCg;www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMWSQTvNPNU
and if you'd like to help out an unknown (sort of) struggling artist who depends on the kindness of strangers and friends, please post the link on whatever sort of social media you enjoy.

If you'd like.

You know, it's funny. I know a man who calls himself a film-maker and he has oodles of the very, very best in equipment and he's always talking about raising money here and raising money there and getting interest from this person or that for the movie he is going to make...some day... and I know this is how it's done but really?
Freddie just takes that camera out there and he has a story and he films it.
And he puts it up and makes nothing on it and he is doing it. He is not talking about it. He is doing it.

That impresses the hell out of me.

So- there you have it. And I swear- I would have posted this even if he hadn't told me today that he thinks I am a very fine actor and that if he ever makes it in the movie business and has lots of money he'll HIRE me to act in his movies.

I swear. That did not influence me AT ALL!

(Was that okay, Freddie? Now hurry up and get rich and famous because I ain't getting any younger and I sure ain't getting any cuter.)

Plain And Fancy



After my past few weeks of incredible busy-ness, I am loving having "normal" days which for me means doing things like hanging the laundry on the line and taking care of Owen. Sometimes the two coincide.

I like to think that if there were a diaper-hanging-on-the-line contest, I would win.

Mr. Moon brought me a water bottle full of flowers home from the woods this morning. Do you know how much that means to me? Anyone can stop in at a store or a shop and buy flowers. He saw these and he stopped and he picked them for me.
They are plain, they are fancy, they are beautiful.

It is so often the very most smallest things which add up to the huge glories, don't you think?

The diapers hanging on the line, the wildflowers picked just for you, only you.
The grouper cooked with some panko and crushed pecans and almonds



after an hour or so weeding in the garden with your lover, your husband, the grandfather of your grandchild.
We gave Owen a bath yesterday, both of us kneeling beside the tub, playing duckies with him and coaxing kisses from the boy. "Look," said Mr. Moon. "I will kiss Grandmother," and he did, and then Owen kissed us both. I never want to forget that. Ever.

Ah, the fanciness of a boy in the bathtub, the simple and yet unexplainable miracle of his body, his mind, open to every new thing, delighting in all of it, bringing us along with him in his delight. The way he so bravely lets me rinse his hair, his trust, his beauty.

The hurricane lilies are sprouting all over the yard. They send up tall, sturdy stalks and then they blossom into alien life-forms which the butterflies hover over. I wonder where they came from, these lilies. I did not plant them and yet, every year, they come back, a wonder and surprise to me, even as I expect them.

They rise up out of plain, hard dirt, even in the heat, even in this spell of dryness we are having and they open and I have to stop and wonder at them, over and over again.
Fancy from plain. Glory from dirt.

My rooster is losing his beautiful tail feathers- his fanciness, and yet, they will grow back. He looks a little silly now with only two of those beautiful curved iridescent feathers where normally there are many.

What is more prosaic than a rooster? What is more fancy? What is more complex?
His feathers will grow back in but I think he is beautiful now, too, even as I carefully collect the feathers I find on the ground which have had their life-span connected to his rooster-butt and put them in a bottle over my kitchen sink.

I am having that sort of day, the sort where I can take the time to stop and appreciate all of this plain and fancy beauty which is my life. My chickens, the diapers on the line, the flowers I did not toil to produce, the love of my husband which I will never quite feel I deserve and so, always feeling that it is a gift I never even dreamed to ask for.

And now I'm going to town to stay with Owen at his house for a few hours and I can't think of anything in this world I would rather do. He will hold out his arms for me and I will settle him on this old hip of mine which has been carved into the perfect seat for a baby by the bottoms of so many babies before him. He loves to sit on that hip of mine and I love to shove it out to provide that perch, my strong right arm around him.

This. This plain and fancy day may be one of the best days of my life. Who knows? If it IS all of the little things which make up the glory, it may well be.

Funny how when we're young, we think the grandest things would be fairy-tale things like being the most beautiful girl in the world or being famous or being rich, rich, rich.
And then we grow up and we find out that no, the grandest things are not those things at all. They are the real things, some of them tiny, which make up the reality of a lifetime lived as best we can live it.

And that's what I have to say today. My grandson is waiting.