Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Such A Small Thing

Jesus. I was feeling pretty okay about everything this afternoon and I'd had my walk and filled out my forms to take to the dermatologist and it felt so great to check off all the diseases and conditions I do not have and to be able to say that I am not on any medications and I just felt so grateful and healthy, you know?
And everything went fine at the doctor's. Really it did. I just have a few spots of Actinic Keratosis which is a very common sort of skin damage and which is also called a precancer which, according to the doctor can result in a true cancer in 20% of cases or, if you believe the hand-out brochure he gave me, 10% of the time. So, you know. No panic or anything. And I've had these before.

Once, my old dermatologist simply froze a place on my face where one was and that's actually a place which has "reactivated" but that was a long time ago. It left a white spot, that freezing treatment and the doctor today told me that he doesn't like to use this treatment on women's faces because of that resulting white area. And I told him that I really am not a vain woman at all, not that not wanting white spots on your face is vain but really, it doesn't matter much to me. I mean shitfire. I'm not going to win any beauty contests from here on out. And if I do want to cover them up, that's easily done with a little make-up. But he really didn't want to discuss that treatment and for some reason, I let it go,  not even  thinking much about it until I left and realized that what he had said was incredibly sexist. That he didn't like to use that treatment on "women's faces." WTF?

Moving on.

There are drugs you can use on your face which burn the crap out of it thus, eliminating the precancers but I have done this before and I will never do it again. And the doctor even admitted that anyone who has gone through this regimen will never do it again. It was horrendous and painful and scary and weird and I bled on my pillow and I scared small children and it goes on for a month.
So no. Not that one.
There's a "new" drug, he told me, which doesn't cause that reaction but you have to use it for three months, twice a day, instead of one month, once a day. I told him that I put stuff on my face twice a day anyway so...sounded okay. He said it was very expensive but they'd give me a coupon to use to help with the cost if I decided to go that route and I said I would certainly consider it and he had the 'script written out and given to me along with the coupon. And a few samples.
Now there's another possible treatment and I could tell this was the one he likes best. It's a solution which goes on the area and then you undergo fifteen minutes of a light treatment. Done. Except that for forty-eight hours you cannot expose your skin to the sun. AT ALL. You gotta do like a mole and go underground.

All right. Diagnosis given, possible treatment options explained.

I hopped in the car and drove over to Lily's to kiss the boys and we decided to go to Costco. I took my prescription and the coupon to the pharmacy there and the very, very nice pharmacist who was named Harsh, who most certainly was not, said, "This is a very expensive medication."
"I hear that," I said. "But here's a coupon."
He put in all my insurance information (and we have very, very basic insurance which doesn't cover much, believe me) and announced that without the coupon, the three month treatment would cost $790.00.
Are you fucking kidding me?
Then he put the coupon information in.
"I don't believe this," he said.
"They have discontinued this program."
We checked the coupon again and it has not expired. But the program, according to his information, most definitely has.
Yes, I will be calling the dermatologist's office tomorrow to inform them of this. You better believe it.
And I will probably set up an appointment to get the damn places frozen and live with the white spots. I mean- the light treatment may work well, I don't know. But that costs three hundred bucks AND there's that staying inside for 48 hours thing. And it involves some weird chemicals too.

So it was all sort of crazy and the really, really fucked-up part was that Harsh told me that the drug in the three-month, $790.00 treatment is actually a very, very old drug, almost a hundred years old and is not expensive in and of itself. And that the treatment has nothing in it BUT that drug.
He kept saying, "I'm so sorry," and I kept saying, "It's not your fault," and we agreed that the pharmaceutical industry is fucked up and ridiculous. And so is our so-called "health care system."
"America pays for the world's medicine," he said.
I think there is more to it than that. Things like greed and lobbying and so forth. But ain't none of it good. And look- my life does not hang on the balance according to whether or not I get that drug. I know that. This is just a small, small thing. But still, it's frustrating and as Lily said, for the truly poor in this country, it is almost impossible to stay healthy. We all know this to be true. And I think of Elizabeth and her trials and tribulations with the whole health care industry and the drug companies and the insurance companies as she tries to do her best to care for her beloved Sophie and I am shamed at even saying a word about this.
But it all makes me wonder- how long is our country going to put up with this sort of bullshit? How long?

Well anyway, here I am and here I will be. Until I'm not. And when I die, I'll probably have white spots all over my face and you know what? I will not care one damn bit as I lay on my death bed. Those white spots will not concern me in the least.

The Dark Side

I walked into the kitchen this morning and told my husband who was eating his Honey Nut Cheerios that we need to move to Hawaii. This after my heartfelt and emotional words about how much I love Florida and all of its heat and craziness and beauty and wonder the other day.
"Why?" he asked, looking up from the sports section of the newspaper.

And then I went into my long, sad story which actually and truly brought tears to my eyes by the time I got to the frog.

I've had a little bit of poison ivy on the back of my left knee which I haven't even mentioned because Mr. Moon has had one of the worst cases of poison ivy I've ever seen on both forearms and I'd have been in the hospital with it if it was on my body but he has been so stoic about it that I couldn't even mention my tiny little bout with it. But last night it kept waking me up and there was another place in the sweet spot between body and leg, in that crease which is one of the delineating borders of the delicate fertile delta on the female body which was also driving me crazy with itching so I got up and went to the kitchen to see if I could find some Benadryl cream or something to calm the fire. Before I started rummaging through the drawer where I keep such things, though, I checked the place on my body and goddam motherfuck it was a fucking tick, swollen and feeding from my nethers, probably giving me Lyme disease and THE FIRST OFFICIAL TICK ON MY OWN PERSONAL BODY OF THE SUMMER!

Of course my glasses were at the other end of the house which is about a tenth of a mile from where I was standing and so I trekked through the darkness to go and get them and returned to the bathroom off the kitchen where the light is so bright you could easily perform surgery in there and then I proceeded to try and perform said-surgery on myself, a tickotomy, perhaps, but I realized I needed the tweezers which were back in my other bathroom and so I made the long hike again through the darkness and by the time I'd finished mutilating that tick as best I could, the head was still embedded in me and there was no more I could personally do and that is not a good feeling but shit, Martha, it was 3:45 a.m. and I was not going to wake up my husband. So I applied antibiotic ointment over the whole mess and went to wash my hands when a tiny tree frog scrambled away from the faucet where he'd been perched unbeknownst to me and hopped up the wall.
That's when I really started to lose it.
Fucking Florida. Jesus.

It took me so long to get back to sleep I don't know why I bothered trying.

So that's why I told Mr. Moon we needed to move to Hawaii but of course that's ridiculous. They have plenty of ticks in Hawaii (I just looked it up) and probably far more frogs than we have here. I see via google that they do not have poison ivy but then again, there's the active volcano factor.

There's just no place which is perfect, is there?

And it's so beautiful here this morning. Cool and yesterday's rain making everything sparkle and gleam. Here's a spiderweb bejeweled and glowing.

The garden, due to my husband's care and tending and certainly not mine, is looking pretty good. We will get at least one good meal of squash, maybe two.

And it's all just so green. 

Everything is just as fresh and perky and happy as a new set of titties and of course we're going to have ticks and mosquitoes and frogs and poison ivy. You just can't have the glory without the pain. And believe me- I have nothing against frogs. I love them in theory but I do not want to touch them and do not want them in my house. It's sort of like bats, which of course we also have. 

And sunshine. Which reminds me that I have an appointment with a dermatologist this afternoon to get some places on my face checked out. Everyone I freaking know who is my age in Florida right now is getting carved and burned and cut and lasered to have skin cancers removed. While out in Beverly Hills they line up at the dermatologist to get their faces smoothed out and pulled up, we here in Florida don't give a shit how we look, we just want the damn skin cancers removed. 

So. That's what's happening here. Mr. Moon put on his headlamp and dug out the rest of the tick before he went to work and I guess I'll go take my walk now and try to avoid having to pee which is how I believe I get the poison ivy and ticks. By ducking off the path into the woods and pulling down my shorts and squatting over the ground. You'd think that I could go for half an hour without having to pee but you'd be wrong. That has nothing to do with Florida and everything to do with old age. 

I'm sure that frog is still in the kitchen and eventually I'll have to deal with it but at least it's not a snake and yes, I've found snakes twice in my kitchen in my life here in Florida and you know what? There are NO snakes in Hawaii. I hear the coffee's really good there too.


I've always sort of wanted to play the ukulele. 

Good morning, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, April 29, 2013


So obviously I can't read a radar map. It has rained and poured and strangled toads and there's been lightening and thunder, huge great peals and cracks of both. And still it comes down, steady and sweet, and I rejoice along with the garden, the trees, and every holy growing green thing.

Jason came and he pressure washed that fence you see, the closest one, the one in our yard. He pressure washed in the pouring down rain. He's a hard worker, that one. He brought Owen with him and it was nice to have that boy all to myself again. Just him. We even read books on the bed and I asked if he wanted the Mr. Peep story, which is the story I used to tell him when he was younger to get him to fall asleep, and he did, but not too much of it. It was so sweet though, to have him lie there and for me to start our old story, "Once upon a time there was a very old turkey named Mr. Peep," and to go from there and he smiled and he giggled and he remembered.

While we were on the bed reading, Jessie called from Bhutan. Oh my god! How is that even possible? How can someone who crossed those mountains in a plane call me on a phone? I could imagine her voice bouncing off of satellites all across the vast sky above us and there was hardly any lag and I couldn't help it. I cried.
"Are you okay? Is everything okay?"
"Yes. Everything is wonderful," she said and they are leaving Bhutan in the morning which will be in the middle of the night here and after traveling for so many hours and spending eleven hours in New Delhi and six hours in Chicago, they will arrive home on Wednesday night, her birthday, around eleven. I think of it all. The airports and the flights, crossing back over those mountains, the highest on this planet, the people, and she is so far away and in such a different place (those mountains, those mountains!) and she is so tiny compared to it all, even with her husband and their true, great love and my mother's heart quakes.
She will be fine. She and Vergil will be fine but oh I will not lie to you. I cried and I can't wait to hold them, behold them, again.

Owen doesn't like it when I cry. "Don't cry, Mer-Mer," he said.
"It's okay. I just miss Jessie," I told him. "It's okay for Mer-Mers to cry sometimes."
"You got Boppy," he offered helpfully. "I love you."
"Oh Owen! I love you too."
And I hugged him to me hard and we went back to reading about the little fish Otto who is fed too much and who grows and grows and grows.

He's not spending the night tonight. We discussed it, he and I. He thought he would only be spending part of the night and I told him that no, he would be spending the whole night. He pondered this.
"My mommy be so mad," he said.
"No she won't, Owen. She doesn't mind at all if you spend the night."
"I love my house," he said. Then he thought about it. "I love this house too but I love my house best."
"I understand," I told him. And I do. His house has his mama and his daddy and his brother in them. Soon, though, on a day when he has spent enough time with them that he misses me and Boppy enough, he'll come with his jammies and his pillow and he'll spend the night with us. It'll happen soon. I just want him to be perfectly and completely ready. To be a pure peace with it. Soon. Very soon. Maybe even this week. It just all has to be considered in that brain of his, to be turned over and thought about. It takes courage, you know. Which he has.

And this man has courage, too- Jason Collins- the first male U.S. athlete in a major sport to come out as gay. I read the essay he wrote for Sports Illustrated and it is a fine thing. 
It would, of course, be a finer thing if it wasn't such a big deal but the truth of the matter is that it IS a big deal. Professional athletes are not known for their great tolerance when it comes to gay teammates. But bit by bit, that will change. Is changing. Has changed.
So yes, I think he has great courage. In some ironic way, it may well take more courage for a seven-foot tall, 255-pound man to come out as gay than it does a man built more like Tim Gunn. Whom I also respect tremendously. I don't know. But I do know that eventually, it won't matter. And here's another thing- I am damned glad to live in a time when I see these changes happening. When I see things like our first African American president elected not just once, but twice, when I see a Jason Collins come out and say that he is gay. I'll tell you what else I've seen in my life- I've seen the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. I've seen the murder of Matthew Shepard. I've seen racism at its worst and most vile and horrific and I've seen the gay, the transgendered, and the bisexual shunned, made fun of, bullied and threatened in every way possible.

Well. Perhaps a time will come when all of us are no longer judged by our skin color or our gender or our sexual orientation. Or disabilities.
We shall see. Meanwhile, every time someone tells the world that they will no longer try to conform to some cultural standard of what should and should not be, we get one step closer to that better world.

It is still raining. Even in the prematurely early twilight the new growing-green glows. My baby and her husband will be home soon, my husband is home now. My grandson is considering his bravery. The world changes and does not change.

Me too.

The Himalayas And A Link

Good morning. It is Monday. I feel certain you are aware of this. But you know, just in case...

I am not feeling especially wordy this morning. It's gray and a little warmer and more humid and the weather thing says it's going to rain but I've looked at the radar and I'm not sure how that's going to happen. Anyway, I wish it would, since I went to all that trouble to plant the damn beans and cucumbers. And I need to take a walk and Jason and Owen are coming out. Jason is going to pressure-wash our fence which in my opinion is only going to highlight the fact that our house looks like something you'd visit on Halloween to get the bejesus scared out of you but it'll be nice when it's done, I'm sure. And I'll get some Owen time. I can't wait for him to walk in the Glen Den and see the new rug. Here's what he'll say:
"What happened here?"
Maybe that's what he'll say.

Life in Lloyd.

So while I was feeling like I'd punched through some space-time continuum on Saturday by going to town and buying a rug, here's what Jessie recently posted on the Facebook:

That's what she was seeing as they were flying to Bhutan. 

It's like we're on different planets. 

So here's another thing I saw on Facebook this weekend. It's a link to an article called "29 Signs You Were Raised By Hippies." 
Click on that to go to the article. 
I keep thinking about it and laughing. My poor kids- I'm sure they can relate to some of those things, although not all. I did not make them pose like this:

Although there was a lot of tie-dye in their lives. Look- their Aunt Lynn worked for a company that made tie-dye. What can I say? And okay, sure, I tie-dyed a few baby shirts. So sue me.

All right. I need to take a walk before Owen gets here. 

Happy Monday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Purple Tank Top Day

When my darling May was a baby-child she used to change her clothes approximately every four hours. At least. I would have wondered why, but I am the same. Each and every activity of my day seems to require a different change of clothes and sometimes there's no other reason to change except that whatever I am wearing just will not do.
I am currently in my fifth outfit of the day. There have been two dresses, a pair of overalls, a pair of cargo pants and a black garment. And a purple tank top.

You know, nudity would be so much simpler.

And if I was young and cute, I would consider that. But I am not.

Anyway, Mr. Moon and I just took a lovely sunset cruise in the convertible down oak-lined roads to a lake where we saw a gator swimming, heard frogs croaking, and admired the cypress trees.

It's been another real good day. I'm almost afraid to start tallying up these good days, superstitious as I am about alerting the gods to my contentment. I did a little garden work despite my vow that I would do no more of it  and finally got the beans planted as well as some cucumbers. Mr. Moon has been doing the heavy lifting and hula-hoeing and so much more and I just can't help but be involved. I've kicked bamboo and watered porch plants and had an hour-long conversation with my brother on the phone. The brother who is still talking to me. It was good and he gave me some things to ponder on and I am real grateful for that. 

The leftover pizza is in the oven and tomorrow another week will begin. I wonder who invented "the week." I have no idea. 

Owen may spend the night tomorrow night. We shall see. My world right now smells of dirt and green things. I can hear birds twittering themselves to sleep. My neurons are somewhat aligned. 

I am wearing the nunnightgown. And the purple tank top. 

I could dance if I wanted, I could pray if I did that. 

See you tomorrow. 

Love...Ms. Moon

It's Sunday So I'm Swearing A Lot

Well, I just took the new skillet out for a test-run. I cooked our deer sausage in it this morning and it was lovely and then when I went to clean it it was easier to clean than Teflon.
Twelve dollars well spent.

Man. I am boring today. Not bored, though. It's Sunday which means I have to keep a sharp look-out for the crazies which seem to cycle by my house on Sundays more than any other day but so far, so good.

Mr. Moon used to have a receptionist and every time you asked her how she was, EVERY FUCKING TIME, she would say, "So far so good."
She spent most of her time at work researching Beanie Babies on the internet. She thought she was going to get rich off of Beanie Babies. She didn't work for Mr. Moon for very long. I wonder how she is now. I would bet the ranch on two things:
1. She did not get rich off of Beanie Babies.
2. If I saw her tomorrow and asked her how she was doing, she would say, "So far so good."

The state of Florida has the most fucked-up government you can imagine. You know what our damn legislature has been spending its time on? Trying to make laws to protect fetal rights. And laws to hasten the dispensation of the death penalty. (That's such a cliche. Wish it wasn't based on fact.) Also, the chamber passed a bill to protect the citizens of Florida from being judged in local courts by the dreaded Shariah Law which we all know is a huge threat to our way of life here.
Good god.
And of course they're busy as little doodlebugs trying to make sure that Obama knows that he better keep his hands off our guns! And while they're at it, they're trying to pass a bill which would let principals and superintendents designate who can carry guns in schools.
Good idea you stupid Republican fuckwads.

Did I just say that?
Yes. Yes I did.

The Tea Party may be losing favor in the other states but not in Florida. Hell, if Sarah Palin moved here, we'd probably figure out how to elect her as the Queen of Florida. Not just governor. Nah. That wouldn't be good enough for the likes of her. Queen. For a lifetime. You betcha!

So we had pancakes this morning. Banana, blueberry, pecan, flax. Buttermilk. I don't even bother to make pancakes if I don't have buttermilk. (That's a lie.)

Okay. Here's a question for you poets: How come when poets read their work they often sound as if they are so fucking weary of the entire world and especially their own words that they can't keep their voice from falling off at the end of every line? And the drone. God! The drone! Is this a thing? Did it start with TS Eliot or something? And of course not all poets read like this but more than you'd think possible by sheer coincidence. Am I just being a bitchy-McBitch here?

So I'm not sure what I'm going to do today. Mr. Moon is right now moving a bird feeder that one wily squirrel has figured out how to get on by jumping from the branches of a nearby camellia bush. I was afraid he was just going to shoot the squirrel but no, he's going to be humane and stuff and move the feeder farther from the bush. I am glad because I'm getting sort of attached to the little fucker. He's obviously the smartest and most agile of all the squirrels in the entire yard. And the birds don't seem to mind him. They eat right alongside of him, all of them munching in companionable inter-species peace. Still. Squirrels can eat a lot.
So wait- what was I talking about? Oh yeah, what am I going to do today? I am going to hold the bird feeder for Mr. Moon when he needs me to do that. That should take up a good five minutes.
Besides that, I'm not sure. I think I might just get in the office and start back to the old novel. Why not? I surely don't need to cook today. I have leftover soup, muffins, and an entire pizza. Plus other stuff. Maybe I'll try out the new Hula Hoe. Just for fun.

All right. I guess I don't have anything else I really need to talk about. I have skipped religion today out of a gross disinterest. But wait. Hold on. Here's one more thing.
A very short little video of The Rolling Stones' gig at echoplex last night in L.A. Elizabeth- did you go? Haha! It was one of those surprise gigs and I suppose they're warming up for the tour they're about to take. "Fifty Years And Counting."
You know what I think is amazing? Mick Jagger's hips. THE DUDE IS GOING TO BE SEVENTY YEARS OLD IN THREE MONTHS and he has hips like a teeny-tiny snake.
Check it out. If you want to.

I'm still in love with Keith Richards. I can't help it. It's religious or something. The thought of him protects and comforts me.

Portrait by Sebastian Kruger

The thought of Mick Jagger amuses me.
These are very good things.
Each to our own.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, April 27, 2013

An Unusual Saturday

Do you see that picture? Well, of course you do. Click on it if you want.
There. That.
My children's real inheritance from me. Sure, there's some nice pieces of jewelry they can fight over but it's my iron skillets which are the most valuable. And I have a few more pieces of iron cookware, including one pot that I use approximately every day but those are the skillets.

Mr. Moon and I went to town today. Probably a good thing seeing as how I had not been in a car since last Monday but we didn't waste the gas just to go take a pleasure trip and to prove that yes, I can leave Lloyd. No. We had a mission. To buy a new rug for the Glen Den because we finally threw out the faux oriental rug which had been in there and which was so filthy that there was no bringing it back. Jessie had been pleading with me to throw it away for years. I think she witnessed a gastric "event" on that rug a long time ago when Mr. Moon and I were out of town and we'd left her in the care of some of her older siblings and there may have been a party and the event was somewhat, uh, traumatic, and she never really got over it and add to that the dogs and their own events and well, it was time.
But the little coffee table sitting on the rug has since been digging on the wood floor and we needed a damn rug.
So we went to town to buy one.
We stopped off at a thrift store where I have found many treasures and I found some today but there were no rugs at all. I did, however, buy the skillet on the bottom left in the picture above and I feel as if my collection is now complete. I love it. LOVE IT. I also bought six huge gorgeous linen napkins, each beautifully embroidered with a different spray of flowers and five place mats, green, also embroidered with flowers. And a darling pyrex 8-inch pie plate. So. Good day at the thrift store but no rug.

We went to an actual flooring/carpet/rug store and we looked at a lot of rugs and we ended up buying a nice old-fashioned braided rug. It's still a little wavy but I think it's nice and homey and fits right in with our decor of no-decor which includes deer heads, mounted fish, kid toys, beer mugs and glasses collected by Mr. Moon when he played pro basketball in Europe, fishing, uh, stuff, and the TV. And lace curtains which I laundered today.

Yeah. Martha Stewart takes tips from us. She comes by once a month, at least, to check out what we have going on here and then she uses it all in her highly successful magazine and TV show. Sure, she pays us. Big bucks. Uh-huh. 
Also, Pioneer Woman. I keep telling her to quit taking so many pictures of cows but she just won't listen. I don't know about that woman. I swear. Good thing her kids are so damn good looking and let me just say this- if her husband ever loses that good-looking ass of his, she is out of business. 

But I digress.

When we got home I decided to try and organize the kitchen a little better. I actually dumped about seven jars of pickles which I had canned four years ago. Yes. Four years. They're gone now. The world is a safer place for it, too. Then I went through the cabinet where I keep all of my precious thrift-store placemats and cloth napkins and threw a bunch of that shit out and made up a big bag of cleaning rags for Mr. Moon. 
Feels good. 
I've got pizza dough rising and I'm about to go make The World's Best Homemade Pizza. I've tried and tried to teach both Martha and Pioneer Woman how to make it but they just can't get the hang of it. 

Mr. Moon's out in the garden, ripping up bamboo to make tomato stakes. We're stubborn people, he and I. While we were out spending our money like crazed nouveau riche monkeys on crack, we also bought something called a Hula Hoe which Lon recommends. I haven't used it yet but Mr. Moon claims it is amazing. I don't understand how it works but I suppose it really does. 

Prairie Home Companion is on and they're all talking about George Jones and him dying but I don't care that he died, not really. I saw him play once and he was so late to get onstage and so drunk when he did and so cruel to the sound man that I was embarrassed for the whole human race. I'm sure he had a lot of redeeming qualities but I didn't see a one of them that night. Yes. I hold a grudge. 
But. You know. Bless his heart. 

Time to go fire up one of those skillets and cook some spinach and mushrooms and peppers and onions for the pizza. 

I left Lloyd today. I came back with new stuff. And old stuff. 

I plan on staying home tomorrow. I don't need any more stuff. Maybe I'll hoe the garden which, obviously, I have not given up on entirely. I'll let you know how that goes. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Today's Post Brought To You By Jessie Moon

Dear sweet Mama, 

Vergil and i are now in the absolutely gorgeous country of Buhtan! We got here 
yesterday morning after getting to the New Delhi airport at 0300 in the morning. 
So most of the time we've been here I feel as if I am walking around in a dream 
state due to the lack of sleep, changing of so many countries and also because 
this wedding is already been so jam packed full of events. 

Today, a small group of us (7 out of about 300 people going to this wedding) 
took a trek up to the famous Tiger's Nest temple on the side of this huge 
mountain. Man, it beat me up. I had many moments of feeling like I was going to 
pass out due to lack of oxygen and my muscles giving up on me. But it was 
totally worth it. We got some good photos I think, so I can't wait to share 

We are in the hotel right now and have to get ready for another fancy ass Indian 
dinner and then a dance party. Phew. I'm just ready for bed. Oh well- guess I 
will have to have the time of my life instead. 

Love you soooo much!!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Just A Splendid Day

Do you see that face? That's how it was today. That purely lovely.

I'm not sure I remember an April ever being this cool and temperate. I have not been tempted to turn on the AC once. Not once. This is unheard of for us in North Florida. And today was the epitome of a splendid day. The sky was a blue like the blue of the bluebird's wing and the new pecan leaves a hue of green which only they own, shining against it. We were having a picnic, me and the boys because it was too beautiful outside not to and I directed Owen to look at that and see. That green against blue.
"Isn't it beautiful?" I asked him.
"Yes, it is," he said.
I wonder frequently if Owen really grasps half of what I say; if he will remember my lessons in botany and gardening and housecleaning and cooking and bedmaking and chicken-raising and rock and roll at all. Or the stories I tell him about my childhood, my grandparents. I mean, he's only three and a half. I wonder but I don't really care because I am certain that the essence of some of it all will remain. If nothing else, the child has adults in his life who carry on conversations with him. Who see him as a repository of wisdom gleaned.

Or some shit like that.

So yes, we had a picnic. I toted a blanket and food and a small boy out to the back yard and I let Owen have almost an entire bottle of ginger ale which was like- oh- THE GREATEST THING EVER IMAGINED IN THE UNIVERSE! and we had toasted cheese sandwiches and Chex Mix and apple slices. I told him that if he drank all that ginger ale he was going to pee like a racehorse, which he thought was funny. Later on in the afternoon, as he was peeing off the steps for about the fourth time in an hour, he said, "I been peeing all day."
I reminded him about the ginger ale. I said, "See? I do know a few things."
He solemnly agreed. I like to make myself seem smart to him and it may seem as if making oneself appear to be smart to a three-year old isn't that big of a challenge but three-year olds can be pretty damn hard to impress.

We ate more snow peas from the garden and for old time's sake, I guess, Owen had a bite of collard leaf. He also picked a baby squash and as soon as he picked it, he looked up and asked if he could. "No," I said. "You can't. Do you want to eat it now?"
He declined but I'll cut the poor fetal thing up and put it in our salad tonight. We fed goats and chickens and then we fed chickens again. It's no wonder those chickens follow us around. Even Gibson likes to feed the chickens, holding out a piece of bread for Elvis. He has no fear of the giant rooster with the big red eyes.

Here's a picture from yesterday. One of Gibson's words is kitty. Of course.

That particular kitty is Luna who has lived with us for at least fourteen years and who is not as domesticated as the chickens.

Some of Gibson's other words are, as I said, more, and also bye-bye and ma-ma and da-da and Mer-Mer (yes he does say that!) and also, what sounds a lot like I love you. And brother. Oh god, he loves his brother. 

Here's a picture of him from today, gnawing on a piece of bamboo. See that curve in the thing? That's because it was growing under the little porch of my office. I have a feeling that if I hadn't discovered it and broken it off, it would have pushed the porch right off its foundation. I am not kidding you about the ferocity and preternatural growth rate of the bamboo.

Speaking of bamboo, Mr. Moon has just arrived home and it is time for a Friday night martini and a round of bamboo-kicking. Don't you tell me we don't know how to live around here.

Splendid. Yes, it has been a splendid day. One of those rare days where moments of the awareness of complete contentment hit me over and over again. I didn't try to do one thing besides take care of and have fun with those boys. I believe this is the secret, which of course is not a secret at all. To just be. Which is not often possible when you're a parent but which is extremely possible if you're a grandparent.

Who knew it could be like this?
Not me. But now I do.

Time to kick bamboo.

Love...Ms. Moon

They Are Always My Babies

It's been almost two weeks since Jessie and Vergil's wedding and I can't believe it. It's as if that all happened on a different planet in a different time and in a way, it was. And now Jessie and Vergil are in Bhutan if all has gone as planned and I haven't heard from them in days.
It's okay. I didn't expect to. But there is part of me which is lost and drifting somewhere on the other side of the planet even as they are, I am sure, quite firmly planted on it.

When my oldest two were little ones I got divorced from their father and having grown up without a father of my own, it was of utmost importance to me that their father play as strong and important a role in their lives as could be arranged. He was a musician and so his weekend was generally on Monday and Tuesday and those were the days he took the children to his house and those days without them almost killed me.
I realize now I went through a horrible depression. I was in nursing school and I couldn't stop for anything. I had classes, I had schoolwork, I had a house to take care of. I had them. And so I managed in those days before there were decent antidepressants by simply putting one foot in front of the other but on the days when they were gone it was a terrible struggle. I finally learned to cope by simply shutting off, as much as possible, the very thought of them because if I didn't, I would have gone mad. If the weather changed and I realized I hadn't packed the right clothes I would panic and the anxiety would consume me. I would cry and cry, wondering if they missed me, knowing how much I missed them, feeling sick with the knowledge that I had broken our family even though, in truth, I had not broken it so much as simply made legal the break that was already there.
But. The guilt. The pain. The panic. The fear.
And so I finally learned to just shut it off because if I had not, I truly think I would have gone quite mad.

When each child moved out of the house as they grew to adulthood, I think I used that same coping mechanism. Not quite, but a bit of it. I used that ability to just...let...go. What else could I do? At one point when she was perhaps nineteen, twenty, maybe not that old? May decided to buy a small truck, fit it out for camping, and drive across the country. These were pre-cellphone days and every molecule in my body screamed, "No! Don't let her go!" but there was nothing for it but to give her my blessing. She was legally an adult and besides, when I was nineteen I myself had driven from Denver to Tallahassee all by myself except for two parakeets in a cage in the back seat of my car.
And so I did. I let her go and as she traveled I was grateful for that ability to shut off the images, the thoughts of all that could be happening to her and she was fine. And I, too, survived.

But now I am older, so much older, and I believe my ability to let go and let the universe (to put it in  terms which I am not quite comfortable with but it is the best I can do at the moment) has either grown less strong or else I am just more aware of what is truly going on in all parts of my mind and heart. I don't know. But I do know that even as I am perfectly confident in Jessie and Vergil's ability to make their way across continents and countries safely, I know that I am feeling some anxiety and it is nothing more than the loosening of the cord which binds us as she has stretched it so far- from Asheville to Bhutan- and this morning I dreamed that her father and I had moved into a new house and that all of my children were there and it was chaos but wonderful, too, not unlike how we all were together in Asheville, and perhaps my mind is going back two weeks to that time, to remind me that no matter what, no matter where, all will be well. We are family. We always, no matter what the circumstances or place, come back together again.

I do not think of myself as a clinging mother. Not at all. I have sent off each of my children with full-hearted blessing at one time or another and they have all survived, although I am sure that they all went through things which would give me one heart attack after another if I were to truly know about, and so, quite frankly, I do not wish to know. But is this really my true personality? Is this seeming-ease I have at letting go merely a survival instinct which I have tapped into out of desperation when necessity arose?

I don't know. But I do know that as happy and thrilled as I am for Jessie to be seeing and experiencing things far beyond the world that I know of myself, I will also be so very happy when she and her husband are home and I hear that they are safe.
I would never, in a million years, want them not to have gone and when I say that, it is the real and honest truth.
But it is also the real and honest truth that when the return (on Jessie's birthday, the birthday which, up until this year, she has always shared with her grandmother), and I hear her voice again, there will be a settling in my heart, my gut, my blood and bones.

I want to have given my children wings and I want them to use them to fly away and to see what there is to see, of course. To experience new things, to learn, to become aware that this is a great, huge, beautiful, planet. To have their eyes opened, their hearts opened. But oh, Lord. How I also want them to use those same wings to fly back, too, where I can get my hands on them if need be.

That is what I am thinking about this morning as I wait for my grandsons to arrive.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, April 25, 2013

I Think Something Is Eating The Moon

Let Us Be Tranquil In The Midst Of Our Confusions

It's so odd how days turn out, never the way you think they will, but almost as if they had their own accord. Yesterday I woke up in so much pain and aching in joint and heart and tearing up at the least little thing and then something happened, I have no idea what, and the day turned itself around and it turned out to be one of the very, very good ones, as I said, and why?

This morning I got up ready to rock and roll. By the time Lily and the boys got here a little after nine I'd made up the soup and got it simmering, made oat bran muffins with three kinds of fruit in them and had them in the oven, written my little post, read some of the paper, taken out the compost and had the kitchen cleaned up. And I was kicking ass but I never seemed to get into a flow with my grandsons although the day went quickly. We did everything and more and they were loving and funny and we ate peas off the vine in the garden and I even paid Owen four M&M's for letting me read him a book that I wanted to read him (I am not ashamed of that, not one bit and he loved the book and then he loved the M&M's) and then Boppy got home and Owen ran into his arms and Gibson hugged and hugged on him and then Owen and Boppy went off to the garden to do stuff and I got Gibson down for a nap and then Jason came to pick the boys up and they kissed us good-bye and they left and I just feel like EVERYTHING IS FALLING APART, CHAOS AND ENTROPY ARE WINNING and again...why?

No idea.

I feel like I'm running six ways behind in every detail. I have New Yorker magazines I haven't read and a Vanity Fair and an Esquire too and I'm reading one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read and I just take bites here and there of all of them and there are areas of complete and utter disorganization and just pure-T mess and stuff, just CRAP on several surfaces in the kitchen and on the back porch, and the floors need sweeping and so do the two front porches. We are sleeping in one room and it's not set up as a bedroom, not really and, in a way, that is charming. I no longer have a clock beside my bed beaming me with bright fluorescent and lurid numbers but merely keep my phone plugged in so if I do wake and want to know what time it is, I have it and I swear to you that this may be at least fifty percent of why I am sleeping better. But there's a desk in that room with a printer on it and kid books and puzzles and the wifi router and there are doll beds with odd pillows and quilts folded in them, and the cradle Mr. Moon made when I was pregnant with Lily and it is stacked with folded baby quilts and cloth diapers and disposable diapers, and a TV that we almost never, ever watch (who has time for TV with all this reading material? and besides, the remote is broken) and a chest of drawers with all of my never-hardly-ever-touched-anymore sewing stuff in it, and so all of our clothes and dressers and closets are in the other room, our "real" bedroom and I just feel scattered.

"SERENITY NOW!" I can hear Frank Costanza on Seinfeld screaming that every time he felt his blood pressure rise and haven't we all felt the urge to do the same? Just scream it and make it so?

It's time. It's time to do a major clean-up, toss-out. I say that with such conviction and then I think about  truly doing it and I wither, I wilt, I go into a metaphorical fetal position at the thought. It's all so much easier in the yard where you know that this is a weed and this is not, pull the one, leave the other, get on with your life.

Well, maybe it's the bamboo which I can't seem to stay on top of or maybe it's the full moon or maybe I really, honestly do need to get rid of some shit (a lot of shit, a WHOLE lot of shit) and maybe I need to meditate on the idea of the Sea of Tranquility on that full moon and maybe I need to think about the Caribbean gurgling and being every shade of blue and green and indigo and violet and Just Be and maybe I need to slam a beer and maybe I need to smoke a joint and maybe I need to take a run around the block and maybe I need to just settle the fuck down and realize that days, like seas (at least here on Planet Earth) have their own tides, their own waves, and it is best to rest and ride them.

Okay. Mr. Moon, while trimming some branches over my clothes line with a chain saw, just dropped a limb that fell on the lines and pulled over one of the beams which was set in cement and SERENITY NOW at least he didn't hurt himself.

I believe I will go make a pie of the dewberries which that sweet, good man picked and brought home this afternoon. Yes. Nothing as soothing as making pie crust. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That's a joke. I suck at making pie crust and I shall probably be weeping in fifteen minutes to tell you the truth.

We shall go on whether floating on the ethereal plane or drowning in chaos.

Don't forget to look at the moon tonight and also, it is my darling Lis's birthday and so whatever has happened today (and none of really that bad), it is a good day because it is the anniversary of the day she was born and I am so very, very grateful she was.

Much love...Ms. Moon

Such Good Sleep

The boys are coming, the boys are coming and we slept well and this thing of sleeping well, both of us, is a bit life-altering, it's like a miracle, a slamming-back into the body of two ghosts who roamed the house at all odd dark hours.
Now we sleep.
I mean sleep.
And the chickens were raising such a ruckus I made Mr. Moon go out and see what was up- is there a snake in the hen house or are they just having an argument and if so, what do they argue about, those hens? "My eggs are prettier than your eggs?"
Who knows, not me but they are vocal.
I also told him to grab some venison sausage out of the garage and before the boys get here I am going to cut a cabbage out of the garden and chop a bunch of stuff and add it to the garbanzo beans I've been soaking all night (while we slept) and that will be tonight's soup.

The boys are coming and it's a good thing because I ache to see them. Gibson says "More!" now and I am not surprised. He always wants more, that child. More noodles and more holding and more action and more kisses. I have more kisses stored up than he will probably want. Too bad. It is his job to receive them.

I need to get busy to make the bed and cut the cabbage and chop the peppers and onions and garlic and get ready. There is bamboo to kick, there is Candy Land to play, there are puzzles to put together and cards to deal and chickens to feed and boys to love on and love on and love on and I slept well and I can do it.

Good morning.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013


It has turned out to be sweet day. One of the plain, simple good ones.
I took my little walk but I didn't push it hard, there was a post card from Rome waiting for me at the Post Office and I came home and I made up bread dough and set it to rise and I washed clothes and hung them on the line and I cleaned up the kitchen and took some Ibuprofen and had my lunch and laid down for a little while and read and rested and slept.

I woke up and went out to my office and pulled up an old novel I wrote five years ago but which has never been finished and which I cannot seem to just discard and I began working on it again. It was a novel which I began in spite and in anger and in frustration and in jealousy and it has all of that in it as well as something else which arose from the writing, completely unplanned and it's more that part which calls to me still, after all these years.

Anyway, bliss to write in my office, to consider words, to add, to delete, to change, to accept. The world disappears when I do that. I consider this to be a good thing.

When I walked today, I took a picture of what I have come to call the falley-down house.

I wrote about it five years ago, HERE. 

Still one of my favorite posts. 

And the old little house still stands although I can't quite see how. The leaves on the rusted roof must be heavy, especially after a rain, the trees are growing into it, the vines are pulling it towards earth where eventually it will lay in pieces. 

What is it about an old, abandoned place which catches our attention, which holds our eye, which sends shivers through our imagination? I do not know but this little place does all of that for me.

Well. The grouper is thawed, the cucumbers and onions are sliced and are resting in their vinegar and soy sauce bath, the artichokes wait to be trimmed and put into the pot. We will feast tonight. 

The boys are coming tomorrow and then again on Friday and my life will change again, as it does, and I suppose that in living with such changes, I am preventing the trees from growing into me, the leaves from gathering on my head, the vines from clinging and pulling me to my eventual meeting with the earth. 
This, too, is good. 

The bread is ready to come out of the oven. I feel a certain rightness, a sense that all is as well as it can be, that all is at it should be. And it is very, very good. 

Night, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Pain And Promise

I do not feel sassy today or funny. I feel old and I feel tired and I hurt. I hurt in joint and in muscle. I feel the ache of the loss of my body's ability to function the way it used to. 

I want to cry.

How do we gracefully accept the changes of aging? Where is the line between constantly trying to push through limitations and learning to live with them?

I do not know know.

I am merely quite aware of a universal sense of loss which, perhaps, is what aging is. Loss of loved ones, loss of dreams, loss of mental acuity, loss of the glorious ability of the young animal body to function without pain, loss of flexibility in both body and in general life, loss of so many things that if I listed them all I might go mad.

Well. There is still much to be grateful for and there are still dreams, there is still love, there are still pleasures.

Last night when we went to bed, my husband and I kissed and I held the back of his neck so that he would know that I was truly meaning the kiss, that it wasn't just a good-night-I-love-you-sleep-well peck, but a sharing of my soul with his and after we had kissed, our eyes met and held so lovingly with so much feeling between us for a long second and that was one of the best seconds of my life.

I think of that and I think maybe I am learning, a tiny bit at a time, that even as there is loss in aging, there is also an ever-growing acknowledgment of what still remains. What, in fact, can still grow and in some way, be magnified and more brightly lit by the very losses we must all endure.

And I am somewhat comforted.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I Swear

My fat ass is sitting here wearing filthy dirt-encrusted overalls and I'm tired and I'm sore and I think I'm just about done with food gardening. We just don't get enough sun in this yard to make the effort worthwhile and the cherry on top of the cowgirl was what I just found lined up like tiny jaws of goddamed death on the fence where the snow peas are growing.

That picture doesn't even do it justice. There are a shitload of those little fuckers which are, if I am not mistaken, the nymph version of the Georgia Thumper grasshopper which gets to be the size of a mouse and that is not in the least bit an exaggeration. 

I stole that off of Google images. 
So anyway, fuck it. I just want to open the gate and let the chickens get in there and eat whatever they want. Thumpers, peas, lettuce. They can have it all. The lettuce got about big enough to go into a salad and it bolted anyway. The only thing that looks halfway decent is the potatoes and the ants are all in them. The red ants. The kind that will kill you. And, well, the peas look okay but I have a feeling those grasshoppers are going to go through them like Sherman through Atlanta and I don't have the energy to battle them. 

I've spent my entire adult life trying to garden and I've come to the stark realization that I don't know how to do it, I don't have the proper place to do it in in this yard and I'm too old to spend hours on my knees. And then if something does come in, like too many cucumbers, I feel guilted into making pickles  or else I just bitch about how I do not FEEL like making pickles and so there you go- I am an old, bitchy, tired, southern woman in a bad mood and I am ready to grow a few tomatoes in pots on a deck overlooking a body of water and until that becomes a reality, well, I...I MAY BE DONE!

I can't even believe I'm saying that. But I am. 

And that's the report tonight from Lloyd, Florida where we can grow the hell out of ferns, grasshoppers, mosquitoes and squirrels but where trying to grow food is breaking my heart. And my ass. So forget it.

Yours truly...Ms. Moon

P.S. The squash looks okay too. I do not know why. And the cabbage. And some of the collards. BUT BESIDES THAT, NOTHING. So forget it. Just fucking forget it. 

Billy And Mary's Excellent Auto Correct Adventures

Billy and I were texting and talking via that mode about the movie Camelot. He loves the soundtrack but said that the movie itself was even too gay for him. We shall proceed:

Morning Report

Good Lord but it is gorgeous here today. Almost ridiculously so but to balance the universe, the mosquitoes are out in force, humming their super-sonic whine as they come in for attack.
Well, what are you going to do?

When I went to let the chickens out so that they could begin their day's work of scratching in the yard, I saw the male bluebird and his mate on the fence. They are skittish birds and flew away when they saw me. But I am so glad to know they are here. Yesterday I saw a Rose-Breasted Grosbeak and he took my breath away. Also, an Indigo Bunting.
I am getting old. There is no other way to explain my intense interest in the birds these days.
Well, so be it.

Here's another wild-life experience I had yesterday: I killed a squirrel on the way home from town. I swear, I couldn't avoid the little guy who darted out in front of the car. I hate that. I mean, there are billions of squirrels around here but still, I don't like to murder any of them with my vehicle.

I had a different sort of shocking experience last night. Mr. Moon is out of town and I was in bed, all alone in this great big house when I heard a loud, prolonged crash. My heart raced and I pondered my choices as to what to do about this. What I did was to get up and put on Jessie's old bathrobe and grab my phone and do a search of the house. I even went upstairs, expecting to find a piece of ceiling on the floor but I found nothing. Nothing.
It wasn't until I went back to my room that I realized that the mirror in the dining room had fallen and it is a big, heavy mirror and it was on the shared wall between where I'd been in bed and the dining room.  It did not break. It had been my mother's mirror but she gave it to me a long time ago and I remember the same thing happening in the house we lived in before this one but that time there was some wainscoting which came down with it. Nothing was damaged in this fall and we need to get new hanging wires put on it. I would be tempted to attribute the whole thing to my dead mother but she was very much alive the last time it fell and so I refuse to do that.

Have you noticed that I never speak of my mother any more? Or hardly, at least?
Strange, isn't it? I'm not really thinking of her that much, either and when I do, it's with a feeling of almost what I would describe as dispassion. I did dream of her a few nights ago. In my dream she had decided to move out of the assisted living and had driven to my house to inform me of this.
"I am so angry at you," I told her. "Who is going to take care of you? You know you shouldn't be driving. Who is going to buy your groceries and cook for you?"
Even in my dream I knew that was NOT going to be me. It is interesting that I told her I was angry with her because in real life I doubt I ever said those words to her.
I had always wondered what I would feel, how I would feel when my mother died and now I know.
Not much. Some relief.
When the phone rings, I know it's not someone calling to tell me that she's fallen or that she has a rash or that she's nauseous. I know it's not her, calling to tell me that she wants to die.
I believe that relief is a valid emotion to be feeling. And appropriate. And I don't feel guilty. I am, quite frankly, relieved at my relief. Maybe all of those years of therapy did, in fact, help clear some of that shit out of the way. Who knows? Not me. I'm just taking what is and being grateful for it.

Well, I need to get moving. Perfect day for a walk and a survey of the blooming blackberries and then I think I'll work outside. It's way too damn beautiful to be inside.
I am the luckiest woman in the world at this very second. Or at least that's how I feel so for me, it is the truth.

Good morning, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Love Letter To Florida

That picture has nothing to do with anything except for the fact that I like it so very much. When I was five years old, my mother and my brother and I moved to Florida and it was still a very wild place and mystical and magical, especially for a child who lived in a very small village on the banks of a river where there were woods and jungle and white-sand roads and mangoes and oranges and grapefruit growing on trees and even an island which a very tall man took us to visit in his boat where the fossils of mammoths quite literally littered the ground. Teeth and vertebra, there for the picking up and taking home. The Atlantic Ocean was only a few miles away and to get there we crossed a wooden bridge which bump, bump, bumped as we crossed it and there was a drawbridge and a man with one arm seemed to live in a little hut, right there on the bridge, and when a tall boat came down the river, traffic stopped and he turned the giant wheel with that one strong arm so that a piece of the bridge swung out and the boat came through and once, I swear to you, I saw a Chinese junk sail through and that was only one bit of the magic of the Florida I lived in.
It seems to me that before we moved to Florida, everything was in black and white and then suddenly, like when Dorothy landed in Oz, everything was in a sort of brilliant, tropical Technicolor, everything red and pink and orange and bright green and blue. We had lived in Chattanooga before we moved and that was a beautiful place but it might have been a completely different planet from the place where we landed on the banks of the Sebastian River near the ocean.
Not only was there the true, real magic of the place- the mangoes and the river and the ocean and the stingray we caught off the dock and the cruising sharks we could see from that dock and the birds and the man named Chester who had hair down his back and a beard like Christ long before the hippies, who lived deep in the woods and grew turnips and sold them door-to-door and Aunt Katie who was the village's oldest resident who told stories of when she was a child and there were no roads and the rivers were the only way to travel from one place to another and the Indians who would go by in their canoes and sometimes stop to borrow her family's dogs for hunting- not only was there all of that but there were also the beautiful, wonderful, kitschy tourist attractions starring parrots and monkeys and alligators and mermaids before Disney came and the hungry mouse named Mickey gobbled them all up, never to be seen again.
And sometimes, to a child, at least, the best part of those tourist traps were the gift shops where you could buy necklaces with sunsets made of butterfly wings and earrings made of tiny seashells, painted unlikely colors, and orange blossom perfume and pecan logs and salt water taffy and intricate tableus made of shells which you could plug in and which would light up and those little Seminole dolls made of palmetto fiber with beads and earrings and dresses of incredibly colored, pieced and rick-racked fabric.

I had one, I think, as a child that a friend of my mother's gave me and I do not know what happened to that doll or to my mammoth teeth either. But I have found the three dolls you see above in various places and when I find one, I am always happy and if it's not too pricey (and oh! they are not cheap anymore!) I buy it and bring it home.

They remind me, those dolls, of the good part of my childhood- the part that no one could destroy for me with sadness or with neglect or with pain because there was that magical part which was so strong where pirates could well have buried treasure in the ground beside my house near the river or where I could still feel quite clearly the ghosts of the Indians and the wild cats Aunt Katie talked about and the beach which was still wild and free of houses for miles and miles and where Spanish doubloons were sometimes found and once I came across the body of a dead shark and I have never gotten that image out of my mind, that sandpaper skin, that jaw of deadly teeth. 

I miss that part of Florida and amazingly, some of it is still there. I have talked about Roseland, where we lived, many times. It is one of the best parts of who I am. It is the part which sustained me during what, looking back, I now realize was one of the worst times of my life. Perhaps the very worst. And being a child, I had so very few resources to help me through it all. But I had a few adults who, although they didn't have any idea what was really going on in my life, seemed to know that I needed special care and they gave it freely and with love. And I had all of that magic which my child's mind took and wove into a sort of protective quilt which I could crawl under and be safe. Or, at least, a little bit safe.

I remember one night I "camped out" with my best friend Lucille Ferger in a tent we'd made in her yard by stretching a blanket from the side of an out building to their chicken coop and we had peanut butter and saltine crackers and those coils you could burn to keep off the mosquitoes and I remember us sitting outside our homemade tent, looking up at the sky and above us in the quiet night were so many stars that the word "infinite" took on meaning for the first time.
I have never seen sky like that since then and I never expect to again but I will tell you this- the wonder of those stars, their infinite number, the infinite totality of space, gave me a perspective which, along with the river, the ocean, the magic of Chester and the Chinese junk and the presence of the ghosts of the people who had lived there so long before me, sustained me and lives within me still.

That's why I like that picture. That's why I love my little dolls.

I am from Florida, even though I was not born here. She took me in and allowed me to stay in her hot, snaky, watery, prickly, sandy, jungly, mango-stained bosom. And for most of my life now, I have taken solace in it, be it cold winter or steaming summer, in gentle salt-water waves and freezing cold springs and rivers with water as clear as gin. Now I live far from the Atlantic and closer to the Gulf; I live where oak trees which are hundreds of years old shade me and offer me a bit of that same sense of the infinite which I gleaned under the stars in Lucille Ferger's yard beside a chicken coop where a mean red rooster named Kruschev slept on his roost.

Florida has changed a lot since I was a child so long ago but great fishes still sleep in its waters, there are still old Spanish treasures to be discovered, there are arrowheads and spearpoints to be found which perhaps pierced the hide of the great mammoth whose bones still rest in its earth along with the bones of the men who hunted them so bravely with such small and deadly weapons. And one of the greatest gifts of my life is that I arrived here at a time when my need and my imagination both were greatest.

I love that picture. I love my dolls.

I still love Florida.

Now remind me of all of this when hurricane season begins, which will be soon because Florida does not give a shit that I live here and love it. She is as cruel as she is beautiful and no matter who tries to tame it with pavement and with dredging and with theme parks and with air conditioning, ultimately, we are at her mercy and we are best not to forget that, even on a warm spring night when the air is so soft and the tea olive is perfuming the air and the resurrection fern decorates the branches of the ancient oaks and good Lord! as if on cue, the first whippoorwill that I've heard this year calls so sweetly and distantly from the swamp south of my house. There are already mosquitoes which live by feeding on our blood and the bamboo grows at the rate of six inches a day or more. And you know what? I don't care.
I love it here.

Sleep well but not too long because the wisteria will cover and bind you.

Love...Ms. Moon

Maybe A Nap Later

Woke up last night with a hot flash and went to pull my little fan on the bedside table to point at me more directly and realized the fan was not on and neither was anything else. The power was out and why, I do not know as there was only a gentle rain falling outside the window. It was off for hours and it annoyed me, even as I was not really annoyed because what are you going to do? And as always, I thought of the people who have lived in this house for over a hundred and fifty years and how so many of them did not have electricity at all, never, nor indoor plumbing and I'm such a whiney butt, a wussy, because my sleep is disturbed by the lack of my fan and I couldn't believe I couldn't sleep after the day's work I'd done.
Oh well.
And then when I got up I was shocked, shocked! I tell you! to realize that my coffee hadn't gone off as programmed because the power had been out, of course, and honey, these are first world problems if there ever were first world problems and I am amused at how ridiculously dependent I am on my little fan, my programmable coffee pot.

I am trying to learn how to do the panoramic function on my iPhone camera but I'm not very good at keeping the little arrow pointed on the straight line which could be a metaphor for my life but to continue on with the metaphor, that very inability can lead to some interesting images.
See above.
I assure you that the back of my sink is not curved at all and I have tried three times to keep the little arrow on the straight and narrow but I cannot.
Still. Interesting.

It is gray and chilly here today and I need to take a walk, I need to go to town the library to return things and get new things and can I say that I really enjoyed reading The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel? You might too. Now I really want to see the movie.

What a small life I lead in this big world. I think of Jessie and Vergil in Italy and how they will soon be going to Bhutan and I can't even imagine it but I want to think of Jessie in a sari, wrapped in splendor, her tall American self made exotic like the Marigold Hotel.

My pea vines are blooming and should be making peas soon. Squirrels are chasing each other around the back yard. We have power.

Good morning.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Too Tired To Title

I have spent most of the day working outside, first in my little office yard and then in the camellia bed. What I have been mostly doing is pulling weeds and picking up fallen limbs, trimming a bit here and there, transplanting a fern or a phlox when needed.
I had to quit before I was done which frustrates my OCD'ish soul because my wrist and my knees were screaming at me and I found myself sitting on my butt behind some large lilies, pulling every weed within my reach and wondering, truly, if I was going to be able to get back up.
It's so odd. I love nothing more in this world than spending the day in the yard and yet, I would never even consider doing something like laying out in it in a hammock or in a comfortable chair to read or just doze. I have to be working or...what? The world will come to an end?
Perhaps. I finished listening to Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book" and it was such a joy. If you ever take long trips and want a lovely thing to listen to while you travel, see if your library has it. And if you have any teenaged boys in your life, I think it might especially please them to read it with either their eyes or their ears.
I saw bluebirds today. They are nesting in the boxes back by the chicken coop and possibly in the martin houses we put up but which martins never nest in. It is always a bit of sky-blue glory to see the bluebirds. The chickens kept me company some as I pulled weeds and small seedlings, and some infernal thing which does have a nice big colorful bloom later in summer but which does not smell good and which is as invasive as anything I've ever come across. I do not know its name but I wish I did so that I could curse it more personally as I work. The place where I dump my weeds at the edge of some woods by the train track is covered in the things which, like Lazarus, have sprung forth from the dead and taken root and taken hold and I imagine them growing up and down the railroad tracks from Jacksonville to New Orleans, all because of me.
I'm sorry, beloved planet. I really am.
As I worked today I kept thinking about that fertilizer plant which exploded in West, Texas the other day, killing fourteen and injuring two hundred. The news is still full of the Boston Marathon explosions and there are people (including, I think, a senator) calling for the remaining suspect to be tortured without mercy until he comes forth with details and confession, I guess. Since he's been shot in the throat this is not going to be happening any time soon. And as awful and horrendous as that event was and as disturbing to us all, I don't understand why this little Texas town is being all but ignored in their tragedy. Homes and businesses were flattened by the explosion and quite simply, their community will never be the same and it would appear that no one from OSHA has inspected that place since 1985 although I think that most of us are aware that fertilizer can be as deadly as dynamite. Why is there not more in the media about that?
I guess that fertilizer plant explosions, no matter how dire and deadly the damage, are not very sexy, as they say.
Well, I don't know and I don't know shit, as we all know, but I do know that I'm exhausted.
I hung the laundry out on the line today too, and that brings me a great deal of pleasure. I have made up the bed with the sun-dried sheets and have picked collards and washed them and have them on the stove, simmering away to go with Friday night's leftovers of pork chops and sweet potatoes.
Yes. I am a southern girl. Or rather, a southern old lady now, who revels in being outside and tidying her yard on a sweet spring day with her laundry flapping in the breeze.

Lily called to tell me a funny story about Gibson which I feel I must relate because one day when he is a famous musician we shall look back and say, "Remember?"

She and Jason both opened this morning, which meant that they had to get up very early and get the boys to their other grandmother's house and be at work by some ungodly hour and Gibson WOULD NOT GO TO SLEEP last night so they brought him into their bed where the small boy began to quite recognizably sing with his baby words and sounds "Oppa Gangnam Style" which, for better or for worse, has been Gibson's favorite thing in the world for a few months now and if he hears so much as the opening notes, begins to rock and bounce and laugh. Lily said that it was completely recognizable and that as he sang, he did dance moves in the bed and kicked his parents in his baby-dancing delight so that despite their frustration and need for sleep, they couldn't help but laugh. And be slightly amazed.  Can one-year old children sing?
I guess they can.
And if Youtube is any indication, Gibson is not the only baby entranced with this song and the video.

Well, Mr. Moon left to run an errand a few hours ago and now I can't raise him by phone or text and so I must focus all my energy on worrying. I know he's fine. But it is my place on this earth, my duty, my GOD GIVEN TASK to worry so worry I will do.

Also, the chickens need putting up. They have pecked their last tasty bug and shrimp shell for the day and they are in the henhouse on their roost.

I wonder what Jessie and Vergil had for dinner tonight. I hope it was amazing. I hope that whatever you are having for supper makes you happy and that we all sleep well, whether your sheets are freshly clean or not.

Let us all be grateful for the great, small miracles of our lives and our appetites, for our beds and our abilities to do the tasks which make us happy. Sound good? I hope so.

Love...Ms. Moon

P.S. Mr. Moon just called. He is on his way home and so I can quit worrying now. And you can too. Ha!

Joy, Joy, Joy

A cool Sunday  morning, sun rays through leaves making pockets of shadows and pools of light where the ferns glow like emeralds, one blooming begonia blossom spotlit from above like a dancer on a darkened stage.

Mr. Moon has already gone back to town to work on our property there and so no excuse to make pancakes today. Ah well. I have plenty to do and glory in the time to do it. I am thinking of a week ago when Jessie and Vergil were freshly wed and we all gathered together again to eat breakfast and hug and cry and wonder and revel and clean up and get ready to go. Really? Just one week?

A very beautiful woman named Dana Villalas

 took pictures all throughout the wedding and she has put up a Picasa site of 210 photos which she has made public. Go HERE if you want to see them. I sort of want to put every one of them on the blog. They are that gorgeous. Dana works with Jessie at Mission Hospital in Asheville on the Mommy-Baby floor and is married to a friend of Vergil's. So- once again- an example of what love and community can come together to create which is far more than each of the separate parts. I am so grateful to Dana for her talented eye, her steady hand, her generosity of spirit.

Shit. I'm crying again.

Here are just a few.

I swear to you, that wedding couldn't have been more beautiful if Martha Fucking Stewart had been the wedding planner and designer. It couldn't have looked more perfect if Ralph Lauren's ad team had set it up.

All right. I'm sobbing like a little baby right now. Just...go on and see for yourselves if you have the notion.

Thank you, Dana. Thank you so very, very much.

With all my heart....Ms. Moon

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Joy And Tantrums And Decisions And Shrimp

Turns out that Elmo made an appearance at the Great Cloth Diapering Event which Owen and I missed the actual diaper-changing part of which saddens me but he and I were busy across the street, splitting a bagel. There were so many darling babies and kids that I felt like I might pass out from the sweetness of  it all. I may not have the religion or patriotism gene but I sure as hell got the baby gene.

Along with the bagel I let Owen have a chocolate milk and then at the Event they had cupcakes and by the time we got to Publix afterwards, he was in fine form and did a full throw-himself-down-on-the-ground-and-scream Event of his own. This is rare for that boy but his mama did the same every time we went out in public when she was his age and for one tiny millisecond I had a heart-clinch of muscle memory of being a mama with a screaming out-of-control kid in the store. But then my grandmother heart took over and I bent over and picked that big boy up and cradled him in my arms and kissed his face and whispered into his ear, "I love you, I love you," and he settled right down and all went very well after that.

I swear. I do love being a grandmother.

When we were having our bagel he told me that he was pretty sure that that was not the real Elmo. That, in fact, it was just a man wearing a hat. 

"You think?" I asked him.
"Yeah," he said.
"Could have been a girl," I said.

Gibson, however, took the entire thing as presented and was thrilled. He has no idea who Elmo is but a big stuffed animal was paying attention to him and that was enough to make him happy.

After awhile, Elmo disappeared and then Dora The Explorer showed up and he was even more thrilled. I wish I had pictures but I don't. He kissed Dora repeatedly to the point where I thought she might have to file a complaint. That child just loves to kiss.

So it was a very fun time and although I did not go to the Art In The Park in Tallahassee or the music festival in Monticello, I did get to see a lot of darling children and after we had lunch and had gone to Publix and Costco I came home, unloaded the groceries and fell on the bed and took another coma nap.

Mr. Moon and I just did a tour of the yard and kicked the bamboo and now I'm going to make mustard shrimp and brown rice and a salad. It got cool here last night after the rain and I am looking forward to another great night of sleep. We have to figure out this bedroom/bed thing, Mr. Moon and I. We are now sleeping in the guest room on the magical mattress and sleeping better than we've ever slept since we started getting the Senior Discount and part of it for me is sleeping in a corner under a window, cozy and yet with the air blowing over me at the same time and I don't know whether we should trade out the beds and return to our own room or trade out the furniture and make that room our bedroom.

Well. Whatever. We have choices and we shall make one.
Until then, I am so happy to crawl into that cozy bed with the fan right beside me and the window right above me and I better end this and get to making supper. Brown rice takes an hour to cook and cleaning shrimp takes awhile too.
My husband spent all day working like a demon clearing vines and trees from our commercial property in town and I need to feed him.

It sure is a beautiful evening. I am most grateful for this day.

Yours truly...Ms. Moon