Sunday, September 30, 2012

Then Give Me Another Word For It

It rained this afternoon and now the sun is out, going low in the sky and it's powerful beautiful. Just powerful. A second ago the wind blew and pecan leaves clattered down and raindrops shimmered off the leaves like a second tiny shower, like diamonds and rust, as Joan Baez sang, back in the old days, so beautifully that it still makes me shiver, all this time down the road. Here. Go ahead and click on this and if you don't want to look at the video, that's okay. Just listen to that voice.

A good fall song, isn't it? Long ago love calling again from a phone booth in the Midwest on the full moon.  Some of you are way too young to remember what it meant to live in a universe in which Bob Dylan and Joan Baez were lovers and that's okay although I feel sad for you.
It was something.
And then...well, that song that came from it. We've got that forever.

Diamonds and rust.

But that isn't what I was aiming to write about. It's just that that phrase came to me because I always think of the falling pecan leaves as sounding rusty, they are full of sap  and I think I might be able to identify them by their sound alone, were I blind. And then the infinitesimally small drops of water, like soft shards of diamonds. They came together. They reminded me.

I counted the churches between Lily's house and mine today on my drive home and there were six or seven, I've already forgotten AND a Baptist Children's Home and there's probably a church there too and then, right down the road, there is this:

It's not a church. I can't really tell you what it is beyond that a man lives there. He makes these signs. He collects cans to recycle. He collects junk for reasons I am not privy to. I do not know this man but my next door neighbor does. She says he is filled with some sort of spirit and I believe that. We all are, in one way or another.

After it rained I walked around in the yard for a little bit, putting the compost in the compost thing and collecting my eggs and checking out the rain drops decorating the Cherokee Rose, the ferns, the palms, every living green thing in my yard. I bought a snake plant today at the Publix and don't ask me why. When I was young, I thought that snake plants were perhaps the most boring, useless plants in existence and in the last few years, I have become drawn to them for no apparent reason. Maybe, like watching birds, it's an old person thing that happens and there IS no explanation. Anyway, I stuck that snake plant in a pot of dirt that was vacant and this winter, when it gets cold, I'll bring it into the house and put it in the library. It'll look good in there. I just know it. It's hard to think that it's going to get cold. Our few days of coolness have disappeared although it is not nearly as hot as it was a month ago. It is pleasant if one doesn't try to work outside and even then, it is tolerable which is far better than unbearable. 

It's been a good Sunday. I found myself in the grocery store wheeling Owen around in the race car basket remembering how, when I was a young mother, I had fantasies of going to the grocery store all by myself and now here I am, a grandmother, actually calling my daughter and asking her if she wants to go to the store, her and the boys, with me. And it's just as crazy as it was when she was a baby, Owen grabbing things and throwing them in the cart when I'm not looking but I get lots of kisses and once, when Gibson was fussing in his seat at the Costco, I reached for him and Lily said, "Do you want to hold him?" and I said, "Oh. So much." And I did. The child is kissing now. Hugging and kissing. Six months old and how can you pass up any opportunity to get some of that? 
I found some artichokes that were as big as Gibson's head at Publix and I tried to get Owen to pose with one. He gladly obliged, as long as the choke was obscuring his face. 

That boy. He kept sitting up on the bar and leaning back, trusting me to hold him up and I sang very softly into his ear a song that I made up about holding my beloved boy and we got away with that until his mother told him to sit in his seat! and she was right. 

So that's what I've done today. Counted churches and bought artichokes and sung to my grandson and kissed my other grandson and been kissed by him and wondered at the beauty of a sudden breeze kicking rain drops and pecan leaves into the shining air and sticking a snake plant into some dirt and so forth. 

I am really tired this evening and I have no idea why. I haven't done shit in the physical realm. But now I'm going to go cook some supper including those giant artichokes and tonight I'll probably dream about old days, or the people from old days who still come and visit me in my dream life, unaccountably but regularly, and yeah, it'll be like diamonds and rust. It always is when that happens, and I wake and here I am, but there I was too, sure and real and sharp as eggshells, strange as the call of distant crows, powerful as the beauty I saw here just a few minutes ago when I started writing this, diamonds and rust but already I only feel rusty and the train is calling from far down the tracks, so far that it, too, might just be a dream. 

Working For Love

Pancakes this morning. Today's offering is oat bran, peach, sweet potato, banana and pecan.

I know.

That's ridiculous.

And oh yeah, buttermilk is in there too.

I'm moving slow today. I had so much fun last night. I swear, it takes a damn atom bomb to get me out of the house on an evening but last night I went to Monticello and walked into the back door of the kitchen and before I knew it I was hugging beautiful ladies and snipping basil into vats of tomato and hauling trays and filling water glasses and sprinkling dried parsley with abandon onto plates. It occurred to me as I was cleaning up the tables after the diners had gone upstairs to watch the show that the happiest hours of my life in elementary school were the ones I spent working in the cafeteria and maybe I should have just become a food worker.

After the tables were all cleared and I'd told my good-byes to the women I'd shared my evening with, I went upstairs myself and I tell you what- the Stage Company's performance of The Mouse Trap was nothing short of wonderful. I truly and really enjoyed every moment of it. I went backstage during intermission and collected hugs and gave hugs. I didn't have one moment of regret that I hadn't been part of the performance. For some reason I just don't have the motivation right now to do that sort of work because it IS work. And it's stress and it's pressure and yes, it's a beautiful and creative joy as well, but it was lovely to just sit in the audience and enjoy the fruits of others' labors.

And as a bonus to the evening, Kathleen showed up with her man, the man she just traveled across the whole United States with on the back of his Harley, from Lamont, Florida to the Pacific Northwest and back and she looked amazing and happy.

So yes, it was a wonderful evening but today I am stiff and sore (I weeded for a few hours before I went to the Opera House to sling trays) so I am moving slowly but who cares? I'm going to town to go to the grocery store with Lily and the boys and I've got sheets in the washing machine and Mr. Moon is working on the deck today between the house and my office as he did yesterday.

He pronounced the pancakes "maybe my favorite ever," which he does most Sundays and it's just been a good weekend.

Since it's Sunday I will say that I just listened to a thing on NPR about Scientology and it seems like that may be the most advanced religion of all in that it directly charges you money to control your mind in ever and ever more bizarre ways. Plus, I'm not sure that god is even involved. I'll just offer my own opinion and say that I think god is involved in work and in women who work together. Women will notice your earrings and they will ask about your grandchildren and they will laugh as they do the holy work of feeding people and then cleaning up. They will set aside the salad that people didn't eat for you to take home to your chickens and they will hug you like crazy when you say hello and when you leave. They will make your soul at ease. 

And thus, my soul IS at ease today.

Now to go shop for food and kiss babies. I wanted to put up a video of Springsteen doing I'll Work For Your Love but I can't find one I like very much and yet, somehow I love them all so here's the lyrics and if you want to hear the song, just go find it. Any version will do. I think I've actually done a whole post around this song before but hell, after ten gozillion posts I get to repeat myself plus I'm old and that's what old people do, repeat themselves. 
There are only so many stories, y'all.

Here's the words to one of them. Have a good Sunday, whether you are working at something for love or resting from work you've already done and are about to, no doubt, do again.

Love...Ms. Moon

"I'll Work For Your Love"
Pour me a drink Theresa in one of those glasses you dust off
And I'll watch the bones in your back like the stations of the cross
'Round your hair the sun lifts a halo, at your lips a crown of thorns
Whatever the deal's going down, to this one I'm sworn

I'll work for your love dear
I'll work for your love
What others may want for free
I'll work for your love

The dust of civilizations and love's sweet remains
Slip off of your fingers and come drifting down like rain
The pages of Revelation lie open in your empty eyes of blue
I watch you slip that comb through your hair and this I promise you

I'll work for your love dear
I'll work for your love
What others may want for free
I'll work for your love


Well tears they fill the rosary, at your feet my temple of bones
Here in this perdition we go on and on
Now I see your pieces crumbled and our book of faith's been tossed
And I'm just down here searching for my own piece of the cross
In the late afternoon sun fills the room with a mist in the garden before the fall
I watch your hands smooth the front of your blouse and seven drops of blood fall

I'll work for your love dear
I'll work for your love
What others may want for free
I'll work for your love
What others may want for free
I'll work for your love
What others may want for free
I'll work for your love

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Words In Different Delivery Systems

I am reading with my ears the book you see above. It is absolutely killing me. It's lovely and weird and the subject matter is hard- a convicted sex offender- and homelessness too.
The narrator is fantastic. Scott Shepherd. I just looked him up and he is famous for his memory. He can recite from his very own mind The Great Gatsby. When you listen to audio books, you come to find different readers who actually and really create with their voices the perfect presentation of the world of the book.
At least for me. And some narrators are so bad that it destroys the experience for me. But that's not what I'm talking about here. I'm talking about the combination of a very fine piece of literature (to my mind, at least) with an incredibly talented reader.
For some reason, I'd never read a Russell Banks novel. Why? I do not know. I will read more. Lately it has become very obvious to me that some authors immediately let me know from the very beginning pages that I am in good hands. I do not need to worry or fret. They will deliver the story unto me and I can trust them. This is not always the case. Some authors make me fretful. They make me uncomfortable and not in a good way like having to think too much. No, it's more that I don't trust them to take me where they were aiming to go.
That is not the case with Russell Banks and Lost Memory Of Skin. 

I am in good hands. Skillful hands. Hands that have fashioned a story and a world and a place that I have entered and will not leave gladly.

I am also reading (with my eyes) another good book by another skillful author. Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue.

Again, I am in good hands. I am actually reading it on my Kindle. I downloaded it (uploaded it?) before we went to Dog Island and it's the first book I've read on the Kindle since I went to Mexico back in December. I do not feel comfortable reading on the Kindle. It's odd that I am completely thrilled to listen to a book but reading one on a device is uncomfortable. Maybe because listening is not the same at all as reading with eyes while the Kindle tries, sort of, to duplicate the book experience but to my mind, it does not.
Oh sure. I love the convenience. I can tote that little thing around and have it wherever I go, even if that is merely from room to room.
But it is not a book.
I try to convince myself that it is. That it is, ultimately, about words on a page. That whether paper or screen, it really makes no difference. But it does, you know. It does.
I think that probably most of us here have an almost totemic relationship with paper and ink and that is hard, if not impossible, to replace with pixels or whateverthefuck they use to make that illusion of ink upon paper on the device.
The very word conveys such a different meaning than book. 
And I am trying very hard to get over this prejudice because that's what it is- a prejudice. And I know it. But somehow it just doesn't make me as happy to think that I have a book stored on a device which yes, I'll be able to go back to whenever I want (as long as the device still works and by god, no device ever created, at least these days, is going to last as long as a book can potentially survive, which is centuries) but it does not esthetically please me the way even a paper-backed book on the shelf would.
Even though I get most of my real books from the library these days. Even though, the older I get, the less stuff and fewer objects I want in my life.
On paper (haha!) the Kindle is perfect.
But it's not ON paper, which is the problem.
And as I sit here typing this, I realize that I have completely adapted and adopted the computer for writing but I am not yet there for reading.
I think it must be a brain/neural pathways thing. Maybe. I don't know. It has something to do with the tactile pleasure of paper too and I am sure of that.

Anyway, I recommend both of these books even though I have not finished either one of them. I can safely state that you will be in good hands if you decide to enter those author-created worlds.

It is Saturday morning. I slept for approximately one thousand hours last night although I did get up and read for about an hour in the middle of all that sleeping. Can y'all be a witness for me? That when the day comes when I can no longer read, either with my ears or with my eyes, that I be taken to a state or country where euthanasia is legal and be allowed to go on? Lily and Jason were having a Whose Mom Is Crazier discussion one day and Lily won because when she was a child (and I did this with all of my children), I would have her watch the red lights for me to tell me when they changed to green so that I could read at the stoplights. So really, even if reading on the Kindle isn't the same as reading on the page, it is still reading and by god, I'm going to enjoy it to the best of my abilities. And now I'm going to go do Saturday chores and maybe work in the garden and I am going to wear a garment with big pockets so that I can put my Discman in one of them so that I can listen while I do laundry, wash dishes, sweep, pull weeds, whatever. I need to finish Lost Memory Of Skin because someone has asked for it at the library and they are waiting for me to return it and I understand that. They will just have to be patient, though, because I ain't rushing this. I am savoring it.

So that will be my day and then this evening I am going to the Opera House to wait tables and then see The Mousetrap which I hear is fabulous. It's the closing night and I'll be glad to see all those beautiful people whom I have worked with before, from kitchen to stage. And the stage is yet another way to enjoy a story. Words interpreted by my mind or an actor's voice and eventually, I'll feel compelled to do that again. To be part of a play and to lend my own voice and body to that process.


Can't get enough. They make my life so damn rich. Yours too, I'll bet. Aren't we lucky?

Yes. Yes we are.

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, September 28, 2012

Shit! I'm Going To Die At Some Point!

I walked into the Glen Den this afternoon after getting Gibson down for a nap to see Owen standing on his head on the couch watching Daniel Tiger or whatever that Mr. Roger's spin-off show is. Which, let me just say, is an awesome show. I've only really watched it once but the message that it was pushing that day has stuck with me and I have remembered and used it more than once and the message was that when you have to go to the bathroom, you need to STOP whatever you're doing, go to the bathroom, flush, wash your hands, and go back to what you were doing. Because no one wants bathroom accidents to happen to them.
Mostly I think about this on my walks and because of circumstances I can skip the flushing and washing of hands but dammit, sometimes I really do need to duck off the path and pee and I now think of Daniel Tiger when I do that. And then I think about Mr. Rogers and what a saint he was and anyway, dammit, where was I headed with this?

Do you think I have early-onset Alzheimers? I'm a little worried about that.

Well, whatever.

It's Friday night and Mr. Moon and I have had a porch martini and I'm about to go cook our supper. I had a good time with those boys today and if I listed everything we did, it would take about ten thousand words so I won't do that but I will say that at one point I heard myself saying to Owen, "If you can't play by the rules then we're not going to play," and I just wanted to shoot myself but dammit, I meant it.
We were playing Candy Land. He wanted to only go on the red spaces because he is the red Power Ranger and I get that logic but this was Candy Land.
Candy Land.
So we eventually did get through an entire game (sort of) and he won so it was a good experience for both of us.

We play lots of games, Owen and I do. My favorite one these days is the one where I'm sitting on the bed and he's standing on it and he's holding his arms up and I say, "NO! Don't knock me over with your love!" and then he rushes towards me and knocks me over and I grab him up and wrap myself around him and we laugh and laugh and then he stands up and I say, "Help me up," and he does and then we do it again. Gibson sits on the bed and watches us. He is amused. Almost everything amuses Gibson. God, I love that baby.

So Owen was also playing that he is dying these days. He throws himself down on the bed or the floor and says, "I am dying!" and I say, "Oh, Owen. Don't do that. It makes me too sad," but he continues to do it and he lays still for a few seconds and then he jumps up with his hands facing outward and says, "I ALIVE," and then he grabs me and hugs me and kisses me and I tell him how happy I am that he is alive and then he hugs his baby brother (who is always right there beside us) and it's a freaking love-fest. I don't know what Owen really understands about dying. We talked today about how Buster is getting old and Owen said, "You need take him to the doctor," and I told him that everything gets old and that doctors can't do anything about that and I reminded him of Pearl, our old boxer who basically raised Owen and who died. I think Owen has a wisp of a memory of that.

I don't know what Owen understands about dying because I don't know what any of us understands about dying. Nothing, mostly. And that's why religion was invented. Mostly.

It's odd to think that someday Owen is going to have to deal with the fact that I've died. I mean, it's one thing to think of my kids having to deal with that, but it's another to think of Owen having to. I can't get all emotional about it, I'm just thinking that the reality is, it's going to happen.

Here's what I hope- that long after I'm gone he'll think of me and be flooded with the knowledge that he was so incredibly loved by me. Gibson too. And whoever else gets born between now and then. And all of my babies.

I'm not depressed at all. I'm just thinking of these things pragmatically and knowing that hellfire, it's gonna happen. So really? What I'm talking about is living in such a way that the babies remember how much you loved them.

All right. Time to make supper.

Yours truly...Ms. Moon

Too Little Time, Too Many CAPITAL LETTERS!!!!

I feel like I'm so behind on my life which is absurd, because my life is exactly whatever is happening right at this second and that's all there is to it, nothing more, nothing less. The older I get, though, the more of a routine freak I am and anything that comes along to disturb that, my sacred routine, throws me off and makes me a little crazy(er).

It's all sort of been like that picture. Bits and pieces of everything strewn around, they fit somewhere, they all go together to make some sort of sense, right? And all that really matters is the fact that it all has to do with love and taking-care and, well, I don't know. 
Birthday cake? 
Mr. Moon got new glasses. Isn't he handsome? Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head have plenty of optical eyewear choices. 

Okay. What was I talking about? THIS is what I'm talking about...distractions. Or, something.

We had a great time taking care of the kids last night. They were happy boys and Lily and Jason had a good time, I think, going to the new bar for fancy cocktails to celebrate Lily's birthday. Gibson was the funniest little thing. He got the tiniest bit fussy at the end of the evening but then he settled down and was happy again and then his mama and daddy got home and he lit up like a Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and when his mama grabbed him up he looked at me with such love and started chortling as if to say, "Now! Now I have EVERYTHING!" and he did and we got home about 11:30 and the boys will be here for me to take care of them in less than an hour. 

But I didn't even walk today and I haven't answered comments and y'all have given me some of the sweetest and funniest comments lately and I love and cherish them all. Believe me. I wonder if all bloggers love comments the way I do. Appreciate them the way I do. I actually and really lay in bed and think about them when I'm falling asleep. They are my money in the bank, they are the candied pecans in the spring-greens-and-granny-smith-apples-and-goat-cheese-salad of my life. 
Thank-you for each and every one of them. 

So, I wanted to say that and I need to go wash a few dishes and make a bed before my grandsons get here so this is going to be a slut of a post, nothing new here folks, man you should see my toenails. You should see my FEET! I wanted to adopt the guy who did them, who turned my beast-feet into works of art. Lily and I had so much fun. (I was so proud of her. When the guys were slaving away over us in the fancy nail salon where the fancy, thin ladies go to get their feet done she said, "So what's the deal? Do all you nail guys have to have awesome hair to get this job?" because they DID all have awesome hair and that was the sort of thing I'd say and it would embarrass her but yesterday SHE said it and we all laughed and we were the only ones in there who laughed, all those other ladies, fancy and tanned and thin were too busy doing things with their phones to even admit they HAD feet, much less that someone with awesome hair was tending to them AND OFFERING THEM BEVERAGES AT THE SAME TIME!) and I need to get busy.

Happy Friday, y'all. 

I LOVE YOU...Ms. Moon

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Another Birth Day

Today is my Lily's birthday and I am thinking of that, how twenty-seven years ago I was in labor, walking around my back yard with my husband, stopping to hold on to him for contractions, Hank and May playing in another part of the yard, making an entire pretend city underneath the camellias and pines, waiting for their baby sister to be born.
It was a difficult birth and there was shoulder dystocia and she weighed over ten pounds and the midwife had to revive her at birth but it all worked out and it was such a beautiful day and after she was born I felt reborn myself in a way I have never experienced, before or since, just so grateful for my precious baby to be born and safe and pink and gorgeous, looking like a two-month old.

So grateful.

And I feel so grateful, still, for that child. That child, my daughter, Lillian Rose Moon Hartmann who has grown up to be a mother herself, who has given me the gift of two grandsons. One just never knows. One can hope, one can dream, but one really and truly never does know. Life can go this way or that. I am a pragmatist and I have a hard time believing that things are "meant to be" or that there is any plan and so, somehow, this makes it even more miraculous when things do blossom into a sort of grandness and glory, far beyond any expectation.

Last night we ran into some people I'd known a long time ago and the man of the couple had recently had a massive heart attack and according to them, had been clinically dead for fifteen minutes and yet, here he is, almost 100% fine and it was because when he had the heart attack, his daughter who is an ER doc was there and cops and paramedics got to the scene with the right equipment and the daughter knew how to do chest compressions and it all somehow, miraculously worked and instead of being dead or having brain damage, which by all rights one would think he would have, he is fine. He plays softball. He can still enjoy his life.
And the wife, after telling me this story said, "God sure must want him to stick around for some reason."
Of course, you know me. I wondered and wanted to say, "Then why did God give him a heart attack?" because honestly, it makes no sense to me at all to think something like that. And if he'd died, would she be saying, "God sure must have wanted him dead"?

It would be comforting to think there's always a reason, there's A Plan, there's meaning in everything and maybe there is but I don't think so. I think it's all just a fucking miracle. That horrible things happen and amazing things happen and that the very fact that a man and a woman can fall in love and create a life in the form of a baby girl who makes it to adulthood and then creates life herself and that all of that results in more and more love- well, that's just plenty of miracle for me.

Twenty-seven years ago I was in labor and I did the hardest thing I've ever done and the midwife was strong and wise and brave and so was that baby and so was I, or least my body was, and here we are and Lily and I are going to go get our toes done and maybe have some lunch and then I'll come home and whip cream with brown sugar and vanilla and confectioner's sugar and frost the cake layers I made for her yesterday and that cake has roughly chopped unsweetened chocolate in it and yet, it comes out all delicious and sweet and we'll put candles in it and she'll make a wish and blow them out and I will make a wish, too, the same wish I always wish whenever there's candles or a shooting star which is simply More. More of this.

That is always my wish, even with the unsweetened parts, roughly chopped, mixed in with the butter and the sugar and flour and the eggs my chickens laid and the love and the work and the pain and the fear and it was a beautiful, beautiful day when Lily was born, my beautiful darling daughter who grew pink, finally before my eyes while I touched her perfect body, chanting come on baby, I love you baby, you are my Lily Rose, and her eyes opened and she began to breathe and she looked at me and her daddy and I guess she decided to stay and her brother and sister loved on her and we all loved on her and to this day, we love on her and she loves back on us, and her other sister too, born three-and-a-half years later, and this was never what I had planned because I didn't presume enough to have a plan but it is a miracle and today, I am remembering that. I am wishing for more but at the same time, I am astonished at what has already been.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

He Made A Wish

 The child would NOT pose for a picture. Okay. That's a lie. He posed for this one.

Nice, Owen. Very nice. He got new teeth today. A bit horrifying but that's a three-year old for you.

I snatched this one of him tasting the frosting on his cake.

Auntie May was looking on. That's about as much cake as he ate, too. But he was very patient and even suggested that everyone should finish their cake and ice cream before he opened presents. I was not only impressed, but shocked. He really is a sweet boy. 

It was a good party. His mama and daddy, two grandmothers, two great-grandmothers, a grandfather, two aunts, an uncle, a new baby cousin, his best friend Waylon, Billy and Shayla and a few other friends. 

And his brother. Who desperately wanted to eat his grandfather's iPhone. 

He got lots of cool presents and I think his favorite was a Mr. Potato Head set. A giant Mr. Potato Head with Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head inside along with all sorts of new and awesome Potato Head accessories. Let me just say that Mrs. Potato Head is hot, hot, hot these days. She is bangin' in that blond wig of hers. Trust me.

Man. I'm tired.

And tomorrow is Lily's birthday. She and I are going to go get pedicures. I need to go rest up for that.

Night, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Our Birthday Boy

 Owen is three today. Three years old. How is this even possible? 
And when I ask that question, I don't mean how did he get to be three so quickly, what I mean is- he's only been here for three years? On this earth? In our lives?

When I had my first child, I realized that in some way, in some realm, it seemed as if he had always, always been here. Yes, of course I could remember the time before when he wasn't, but, somehow, once I'd met him, I realized that in some way, he had always been here. Just not palpable, perhaps, but still, very much a part of my universe. And I am not a woo-woo person. It just surely felt that way.
And then did again when each of my babies were born and now, I have the same feeling about Owen and his brother Gibson, too.

Yes, their physical presence is relatively new, but their spirits- well. Let's just say that I recognized them immediately at their births.

Three years ago today. There they were. The brand new family. Don't Lily and Jason look like, "Yep, he's here! Our Owen is finally here!"?

So now, of course, I've just been going through old pictures and my god, the child has been such a happy and beautiful little soul for his entire life. 

Every stage of it. I could put one million pictures in here because that's how many I have. Not so many lately because he's learned to hate the camera. But occasionally he will still pose. Mostly with his brother. 

He's so gorgeous, that grandson of mine and he's brought us so much joy. Not just his mama and his daddy but his Mer-Mer and his Boppy, of course. He snatched our hearts out and kept them in his pocket from his first breath.

And of course, his uncle and aunties all adore him. In fact, Owen's entire life has been about being adored. 

 And I think that has a lot to do with the kind of person he is which is a wild, loving person. A curious and demanding and sweet and funny and glorious kind of person.

Yesterday he told his mama that he loves Baby and that he does not want her to put him back in her belly but that we should keep him always.

We feel the same about Owen.

We shall keep him always and he shall keep us. He and his brother both are the latest and most tangible of the heartstrings which bind us all together because in adoring them, we adore each other and we see the love in ever more visible ways.

Happy Birthday, Owen Curtis Hartmann. You are three years old. As impossible as that seems, it is the truth.

You are loved. You are beloved. You are our destiny, our fate, and our joy.

Happy, happy birthday. We'll see you tonight.

Love...Mer Mer

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Yeah. Me And Heidi Klum. We're Sisters.

This Old Mermaid

On Sunday when we were loading up the boat to come home, I was walking on the dock with a huge Rubbermaid bin in my arms and there were two men, leaning on a rail, talking, and there wasn't room for me to pass because one of the men's butts was sticking out and it was as if he didn't see me. As if I was invisible, standing there with my heavy burden, needing to get by him to the boat.
Just as I was saying, "Excuse me," a woman who was on another part of the dock said something like, "Honey..." and the man straightened and let me pass but he never said anything like, "Oh, sorry," or "I didn't see you," or, well, anything.
And it's completely impossible that he didn't see me. My footsteps alone on the wooden boards had certainly alerted him to my presence.
I am still wondering what that was about.

I realized a few years ago that I was no longer really on the radar screen. This happens to most women, I think. No longer do we walk into a room or down a street and garner any sort of attention. It is only when this happens that we realize that we had been getting attention all along, all of our lives since we became teenagers, perhaps, and to cut even more deeply, we realize that no longer do we seem to register with check-out people except as another cog in the wheel of their day. There is no longer any need for anyone in the service industry to register us at all except with the merest of polite attention.
Unless we are asked if we qualify for the senior discount.
Which does not help.

It's odd because like I said, we may have not even realized we were getting any sort of special attention, attracting any sort of gleam of real connection before it disappeared. I see it again when I am out with my daughters- there it is- I am not making this up. It happens all the time.
Until it does not.

I was thinking about that this morning as I walked. Today's walk was a sort of agony, as so many of them are. My iPhone's pedometer app said that I took 7,957 steps on that walk and each of them was filled with a sort of hate on my part for the action. And as I almost always do, I wondered why in HELL I was doing this, this hateful thing, this painful walking which never fails to remind me of the Little Mermaid and how each step she took after legs replaced her tail was an agony.
And why do I do it? Why do I force myself out the door every weekday morning to experience that again? Oh sure. Because I want to lose weight, I want to lower my cholesterol, I want to feel stronger, many good reasons.
But mainly, I think, because I feel that at the age of fifty-eight I have given up so much, and so much has been taken from me by time and living, that I need to hold on to whatever it is that I can, no matter how effort it takes, no matter how much it fucking hurts.

Does this make sense?

I don't know.

When you're young, the whole world and its possibilities seems to stretch before you. You are told, as a child, that you can do ANYTHING. Be a doctor, be a lawyer, be a dancer, open a restaurant, a bakery, travel the world...anything.
And then you take this path and then that one and before you know it, you've eliminated the possibility of one thing and then another. Or at least, in your own mind. It seems impossible to go back, start down paths which would take so much time and so much effort that reaping the benefits of them would be, to say the least, hardly cost effective. And some things, well, unless you start to train for them young are never going to happen.
Beauty pageants and dance careers, for example.

And so life seems to narrow. Maybe not for some. Some people seem to have a gift for reinvention. I think of Jimmy Carter and how his life expanded after he left office and how vital his life and mission are, perhaps more so now than when he was president.
I am not Jimmy Carter.

Perhaps I am only feeling sorry for myself today. This is quite possible. Pain can do that to you. It can sap whatever confidence and ambition and enthusiasm you have right out of you. So can being ignored on a dock by a man your own age on a beautiful Sunday morning, your arms straining to hold a Rubbermaid bin, thinking that surely he will move his damn butt, surely, and let you pass by. You are two inches behind him, he is obviously neither deaf nor blind.
Have you disappeared entirely?

I wonder if this is why some older women adopt a gypsy-sort of demeanor with wildly colored clothing and heavy make-up and tons of jangley jewelry. Why some women chop their gray hair off into crew cuts and wear earrings the size of stop signs? Paint their nails and lips brilliant scarlet and wear silk scarves and shawls with fringes that tremble and wave as they walk?
"Look at me!" these women seem to demand. "I am not only still here, I am most definitely alive and you will notice my presence, you will see me, you will hear me, you will stand aside when I want to pass!"Is that what those fucking stupid red hats are all about? Red hats and purple scarves? Merely an attempt to recapture some of the attention that youth had provided so easily?
Older age and old age do not even garner respect any more. Not in our culture. Not usually. Maybe for someone like Bill Clinton or yes, Jimmy Carter, or even Hillary Clinton but certainly not for most of us.
We are simply dismissed. We are no longer worthy even of true eye contact.

I should have told that man, "Move your ass, you rude motherfucker."
Why didn't I?
Do even I myself feel as if I have disappeared? Do even I doubt the fact that I deserve to take up space on a dock, on the planet?
Does my pain remind me that I no, I have not? Is each one of those 7,957 steps a tatto that I am stomping into the earth telling it in no uncertain terms that I am still here? Still very much alive, still capable of...something? Even as I withdraw more and more into myself, this small place where I live?

I think T.S. Eliot said it all in his poem The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufock, a poem which I loved and which captured me when I was so very young that the very idea of the mermaids not singing to me was nothing more than a wisp of smoke on a far distant horizon.

Well. That's what I'm thinking of today. And I guess I am writing these words as my own way to ask and answer the question of whether or not I am truly fading into complete unimportance as I age, as I become so obviously and painfully invisible.

Here. Here's the poem. You probably already know it. I am going to go hang my clothes on the line on this beautiful day and then, I think, I will dare to eat a peach.
And take some Ibuprofen. And go to town.
Maybe I should wear a purple dress. I have a few. I never wear them. It may be time. Although honestly, it doesn't seem to matter much any more. It doesn't seem to matter much at all.

T.S. Eliot (1888–1965).  Prufrock and Other Observations.  1920.
1. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
        S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.
LET us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats        5
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question….        10
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”
Let us go and make our visit.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes,        15
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,        20
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window panes;        25
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;        30
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go        35
Talking of Michelangelo.
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Time to turn back and descend the stair,
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair—        40
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin,
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”)
Do I dare        45
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,        50
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
  So how should I presume?
And I have known the eyes already, known them all—        55
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin,
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?        60
  And how should I presume?
And I have known the arms already, known them all—
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!)
Is it perfume from a dress        65
That makes me so digress?
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl.
  And should I then presume?
  And how should I begin?
.      .      .      .      .      .      .      .
Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets        70
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows?…
I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
.      .      .      .      .      .      .      .
And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully!        75
Smoothed by long fingers,
Asleep … tired … or it malingers,
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me.
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices,
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis?        80
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed,
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter,
I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,        85
And in short, I was afraid.
And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,        90
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—        95
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
  Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
  That is not it, at all.”
And would it have been worth it, after all,
Would it have been worth while,        100
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets,
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor—
And this, and so much more?—
It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:        105
Would it have been worth while
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl,
And turning toward the window, should say:
  “That is not it at all,
  That is not what I meant, at all.”
.      .      .      .      .      .      .      .
No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,        115
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.
I grow old … I grow old …        120
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.        125
I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown        130
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Monday, September 24, 2012


It's supposed to get chilly tonight and I believe it. Elvis is sharing a nesting box with one of the hens. He's slept alone all summer long but tonight he has a lady snuggled up next to him.
This underscores my belief that I'm going to need the duck tonight. The duck is what I call my down comforter. Mr. Moon hates it. It makes him sweat just to touch it. I love it. I love to burrow when I sleep. How we've managed to sleep in the same bed for twenty-nine years is beyond me.
And yet, we have.
Summer and winter and every season inbetween.

He cut his hair tonight, Mr. Moon did. Well, he took the razor-trimmer-whatever-you-call-it to his head.  I helped him with the back a little and when I saw the collected hair in the newspaper in the sink, my heart almost stopped.
Let me tell you something- you live with someone for a long time, you love someone for a long time, every part of them becomes more and more precious to you.

This scares the shit out of me.

But then, so many things do.

I Am Completely Discombobulated

Oh for crying out loud. I woke up this morning thinking about all of the stupid motivating slogans I've heard my entire life. I can still hear my Girl Scout leader cheerfully reciting "Good, better, best. Never let it rest 'til your good is better and your better is best!"
And so forth.
Up to and including, "We must! We must! We must increase our bust! The bigger the better the tighter the sweater, the boys depend on us!" which is what we were supposed to chant when we did bust-enhancing exercises.

What does this have to do with anything? Not a damn thing. I just had that on my mind this morning. And then I took my walk. It's cooler here today and lovely and clear and the beauty berries are blooming and the pyracantha (which is the orange berried plant I posted a picture of from the island) and all sorts of wildflowers, yellow ones and purple ones and blue ones and no, I do not know their names but the butterflies know the taste of their nectar and they love them.

I ordered a birthday present for Owen a week or so ago and since it hasn't arrived, I started checking on that and pretty soon I had our postmistress involved and now I do believe that the damn thing has been returned. You'd think I lived in the middle of nowhere instead of fifteen miles east of the state capitol. I swear to you, if you try to mapquest my house, you get lost. It sends you off in the wrong direction. I sort of like that and sort of wish people would just freaking CALL ME when they want to find my house to deliver something. Instead, they just drop shit off in Monticello at the post office and those people don't know what to do with the stuff so they send it back. I HAVE A STREET ADDRESS!
It is confusing. My street address and post office box address are both listed as "Lloyd" but in all actuality, there is only one real town in all of Jefferson County and that's Monticello. Lloyd isn't a town at all. It's not even really a village. Mostly it's a truck stop.
So. Whatever. Now I need to go to Toys Are Backwards Us and see if they have this thing Owen wants for his birthday and I also need to buy about fifty birthday cards and a present for Lily whose birthday is the day after Owen's. If you do the math, you will see that babies conceived between Christmas and New Years have birthdays just about this time of year and I obviously know a lot of people whose parents had New Year's Eve sex.
Lily was my only child who was consciously conceived and it was not on New Year's Eve but the day after Christmas. I tell you what- I think that her spirit was completely happy up there in Baby Heaven and that she was PISSED OFF to be called to earth by me and her daddy. Or at least, that's sure what it seemed like for the first, oh, twenty years or so of her life. Now that she's a mama, I think she's pretty happy to be here.
Who wouldn't be happy to be here with a baby boy who looks like this?

And again, no, there is no point to any of this. My mind is just racing off in all directions and I need to focus, people, FOCUS, and I'm sure there's a motivating slogan I could remember to help me with this but all I can think of is Good, better, best...
Which is not helping and frankly, I wish my breasts were smaller so that other slogan won't help either.

And why did they call breasts a bust? 

Happy Monday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, September 23, 2012

We Will Now Resume Our Regular Program With Highlights From The Weekend's Special Events

Well, we're home and let me tell you something- home is a fine place to be. I got no complaints. Well, except for the way I look. We stopped on our way home to get lunch in the town of Panacea at a little place which specializes in delicious North Florida Gulf Coast Authentic Cuisine, which is to say...FRIED. 
I had fried squash, for god's sake. It was good.
I wrote Lily a text that said something like, "We stopped at the Coastal restaurant to top off our weekend's Crash Weight-Gain Diet."
I didn't take any pictures. I was too ashamed.

Anyway, here are some of the pictures I took with my actual camera this weekend. Just indulge me here. I'm not waxing nostalgic or anything. I just like the pictures.

 This is a dragonfly perched way atop what used to be a wooden flagpole (and you know WE didn't put it up) that got hit by lightening. I swear, there is ALWAYS a dragonfly up there.

 A great blue heron, fishing patiently during the changing of the tides. I took about ten pictures of him. I figure one is enough.

I love the way the sunset colors the sky in the east as it sets the west aflame. It's such a magical time of the evening, the way the light makes everything glow.

Speaking of sunsets, last night's was a cool one. There were no clouds so the sun's descent was just flawlessly visible.

I'm sort of missing one there in the sequence. A couple walked by and asked me to take their picture in front of the glory. So I did, although not in the most graceful of spirits. They were intruding on my sunset by thinking that it was THEIR sunset. This is why I go to an island where I see very few people. I'm so damn egocentric I get pissed off if people want to disturb my sunset experience. After I took the picture I said, "Your faces are in shadow, you know."
They said, "Oh, we know. That's okay. Thanks." And then they strolled down the beach arm in arm, as if they were the only lovers in the world which gave them a smug sense of entitlement. 

My lover was getting his fishing pole from the house. Just thought I'd point that out.

There. I've added the two Moon shells and a conch we found yesterday to my hallway altar. They're nestled in with my Mexican woodcarving of the Virgin of Guadalupe and some black coral I found on the beach in Cozumel and smuggled back in my suitcase and the turtle shells I found already clean and dried in the Florida woods and the beach glass from Mexico and some candles and other holy items including, oh, you know, my recording of Keith Richard's book, the audio version. 

So yes, we're home in this beautiful old house where the cool air is drifting down the hallway between the two sets of open double doors and the sun is setting here, lighting up the magnolia leaves and I can hear a cardinal making his chip, chip, chipping noises and all of the chickens are alive and well and dammit, the dogs are too, and so is Luna the Feral Cat and I feel soothed in all my parts, body and soul and tomorrow I will see my boys and on Wednesday, Owen will be turning three years old and in about a month Mr. Moon and I will be celebrating our twenty-eighth wedding anniversary and that couple on the beach last night can just HOPE that in twenty-eight years they'll still be in love. They can just hope that in twenty-eight years they look back on that picture I took and say, "Remember?" 

I'm so damn lucky and here I am and here you are too and I do not take that gift lightly either. 

Night, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

P.S. Please click on the pictures. There are some very nice ones, I think. No credit to me, just to Dog Island which is truly representative of the way Florida CAN still look and does sometimes in a few places. Which is another miracle in my life, that I get to enjoy that. I hope you do too, at least in this little way. 

Leaving Song

Ah well. We're slowly moving towards packing up and going home. This is a process which involves doing laundry and making sure all the sheets and towels are clean, the bed made up and everything ready for the next visitors.

I've gone through the cabinets this weekend and thrown out severely out-of-date foods and have finally also tossed things like cat pan liners. I have never even seen a cat on this island and feel quite certain we'll never have need of a litter box.
If there is a cat in this house it is a spirit cat and as such, its poop is not a corporeal problem.

I also bleached the hell out of the kitchen towels yesterday. The water here is dark and somehow greasy. It is a satisfying thing now to open a drawer and see relatively white dish towels. Since we share this house with a partner we like to keep it as nice for all as we can. We try.

And so it goes and so we shall go. We'll pack up the food we brought and didn't eat, our clothes and books and toothbrushes and load it all into the jeep and then drive to the dock and load it all onto the boat and so forth until sometime this afternoon we'll haul it all into the house in Lloyd and unpack and put things away.

It is a process but this has been one of those weekends in which the process has been quite definitely worth it.

And so we'll go, leaving the house and island to their own devices to do with what they will with time and wind and storms and heat and the coming cold. The birds and trees will not miss us. The pots and pans will be waiting when we return if fate decrees and the sky is very blue today, the wind a bit whippy and the bamboo chimes make their oddly pleasing clunky notes, the waves and crickets adding harmony.

This song will continue to play when we are gone and, like the idea of the white dish towels folded so neatly in their drawer, that pleases me.