Friday, May 31, 2013

It's A Real Good Night

Call Ripley's

We're going out tonight.
Yeah, I know. The very infrastructure of the universe may crumble. But Lon and Lis are playing at the Mockingbird and I miss my girlfriend and it's been a coon's age since we went out, Mr. Moon and I.
I wonder how long it's been since I put on make-up. I literally have no idea.

Hank's coming out to meet us and May's working so it'll be a win-win-win-win-win. Or something like that.

So. I better go get ready.

Here's a picture I took this morning when I went to get my paper. It's an aloe bloom with a spider on it which you may be able to see if you click on it. The light's pretty nice.

See you tomorrow. If the universe stays aligned, that is, and the good Lord's willing and the creek don't rise. Etc.

A Good Death

A year and some ago, I wrote a post that you'll have to go back and read for this to make any sense. You can find that post here.

I just refound and read it because I came across an obituary in the paper this morning that read:

Phyllis Straus

Phyllis Lindsey Straus was born on July 20, 1928. She died peacefully in her bed next to her beloved dog Solly on April 19, 2013. There is no doubt that if she could have chosen her death that would have been it.

There is more. The tender, bare outline of her life events but it is in those first lines that I am dumbfounded because in the conversation we had which sparked the post, that is exactly how I told her I wished she would die.

And she did it. 

I am thinking about her this morning and how I'd see her car at the Post Office, a beat-up old Volvo with a Janet Reno for Governor bumpersticker on it. She was not a small woman, she was a woman who even as she became frailer and slower you could just look at and know that once she had been very powerful, very strong, and she had to have been in order to do the giant sculpture that she did. She had those bright blue piercing eyes. She was fiercely independent. She was something. 

When I lived in the house she had bought from us and that she died in, I had planted a rose on the garden fence and it was the reddest, most blooming, fragrant rose I've ever seen and ever since I've been trying to figure out what its name was but I have never been able to and none of the roses I've looked at after talking to nursery people are the same. I wonder if that rose was still growing in her yard because if it was, it was probably blooming when she died. 
I hope it was. With all my heart, I hope it was.

I am thinking about that and her and I am thinking of how that little Cracker house which I did love so very much had two front doors and I was told that back when the house was built, that's how they did it. One door was used for the everyday comings-in and goings-out of the living and the other only used for coffins to enter and leave, empty and then filled. I wonder if they passed Phyllis out that door. I doubt it. Who observes customs like that anymore? 
It doesn't matter. 
What matters is that Phyllis Straus was able to die there, in her home that she loved with her dog whom she adored, some of her giant sculptures in the yard, her art which gave her life purpose. 

Well. It is a slow, quiet day in Lloyd and one of our inhabitants is gone and has been for a month and a half and I am not sorry she's gone because the way she left was perfect and exactly what she wanted. I am not sad at all, but thrilled for her. She got that job done and she did it right. 

I would wish the same for all of us- such a death. 

Meanwhile, life goes on for us who still live here. I took my walk and I saw a few people and said hello and I've taken the trash and gone to the Post Office where I will never see that Volvo again and don't remember rightly the last time I DID see it but I don't think it was that long ago. We never did talk again, me and Phyllis. We didn't have to. We said what we needed to say when we had that conversation back in January of 2012. And I'm glad we said it. 

All right. I've got stuff to do. The living are so busy, aren't we? But I'm thinking about Phyllis and I'm thinking about that house I loved and over the course of this one morning two magnolias which I can see from where I write on the back porch have opened up from their tight buds into full-flung and white-petaled flowers and their scent drifts on the air. It all goes by so quickly. Pay attention and do whatever it is that makes you feel alive because life is so short and the years that we can do what we love are even shorter.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Dear god it was a busy day.
Here's a partial list of the things we did:
Let the chickens out of their coop and fed them their scratch.
Checked for eggs. Found three.
Had choose-your-own breakfast. Owen chose Honeynut Cheerios. Gibson choose a scrambled, very fresh egg. Damn. You should see that kid eat eggs. It's...almost scary.
Fed goats.
Played with the rope that's been hanging down from a branch on an oak tree since before we moved here.
Played tea party AND washed the tea party dishes. Washing up was done by Owen in the bathroom sink.

Played with animals on Mer and Boppy's old bed (now known as Jessie and Vergil's bed).
Went to the side porch and sat in the swing for a little while.
Walked around the back yard a lot. We discovered a darling little begonia reborn from one planted last year in the old cement swan.

Climbed the fig tree. Okay, only Owen did that.
Discovered many baby figs. We won't get to eat any because the squirrels will eat them all but it's a cheerful sight anyway, to see all those nice little green figlets.
Pretended to ride horses across the yard. Gibson's and my horse was pretty slow. And no, WE DID NOT PRANCERCISE NOR WILL WE EVER!
Made popcorn in the Whirely Pop as predicted and shared with the chickens. More on the Whirely Pop in a moment.
Told jokes. I decided today to try and introduce Owen to the elephant joke. He sorta didn't get it but he laughed. Then he told me some jokes. I sorta didn't get them either but yes, I laughed. We are a polite people.
Cleaned up a poop.
Cleaned up a broken shot glass. ("Don't tell Boppy!")
Had lunch. Here's Owen munching on the most beautiful heirloom carrot that our friend Tom brought over last night.

Rested. Haha!
Played one and one half games of Candy Land.

I'm sure there was more. I know I also washed dishes twice, got two loads of clothes done, and tried until I almost cried to get Gibson's car seat put back together with all of the straps in the right place after I washed the pad because it got wet yesterday in the unexpected rain storm. Long story. Anyway, I never did figure that motherfucker out and Jason had to do it and I feel like an idiot and think that maybe they should use this exercise as one of the challenges on Survivor. Owen kept saying, "That's not how it goes, MerMer!" and dammit, he was right. Unfortunately, he was too busy playing with his Megazord and breaking shot glasses to do it for me.

Needless to say, MerMer is exhausted. Mr. Moon just asked me if I'd gotten those seeds planted yet. He is lucky that he still has a head.

Okay. The Whirely Pop. I've been meaning to discuss this. I got everyone in the family one of these things for Christmas and they are absolutely fabulous. If you, like me, are somewhat suspicious of microwave popcorn and don't mind twirling a handle for a few minutes you can enjoy fabulous popcorn with very little added fat.
It looks like this:

Go HERE to check it out.
I highly recommend the Whirely Pop for all of your popcorn needs. 
This is a completely unsolicited and unpaid recommendation. 

Well, I guess that's it. An action-packed, fun-filled day in which jokes were told, chickens were fed, popcorn was whirled and Owen won Candy Land for about the ONE MILLIONTH TIME IN A ROW! 

Here's hoping your day was every bit as exciting as mine. 

Love...Ms. Moon

This Part Of The Amusement Park We Call Life

The breeze is coming up now and then and rustling the magnolia leaves and they give up the water they collected last night and it pelts down, a time-released bit of rain, time-relief, too. The frogs sing in voices of croaky ecstasy.
Before we got the storm last night, it rained just a tiny teaser bit in the afternoon and the boys sat out on the back steps and let it fall on them and Owen collected the drops from the roof in a shot glass, his favorite thing to drink out of.

Yesterday was such a good day that I had a hard time falling asleep and I am sure there is a bit of mania involved when anxiety leaves and life is just plain good with nothing special except everything is special because  the shackles of the dread and fear have been removed and it makes sense that I would float freer, a bit reluctant to let go of the sweetness of it, the relief, even to sleep which is, let's face it, normally my favorite activity on earth. So I am tired today and a bit hip-achey (Gibson loves to be held more than any child I've ever met) and they're about to come back to play and play all day, as I used to say in the Mr. Peep story. We shall take it easy, whatever that means with a three-and-a-half year old and a fourteen month old who is determined to keep up with his brother unless he is wanting to be held.

When they left last night, Owen insisted on taking home the bowl of leftover noodles from supper. I told him he could eat them here today for lunch but no, he wanted them at home for his breakfast. He was so tired but still in a good mood and how could I refuse that? "Take the noodles, boy," I said, and he did and why not? I'd give him anything he wanted, almost. I am a lenient grandmother and he knows it, just as Gibson knows that if he wants to be held, I will hold him.

Oh, I am sleepy and I need to eat something for breakfast myself but not noodles. They will be here soon and the day will truly begin and here we go, I am stepping on the merry-go-round, we twirl around and around and Owen knows how to operate the CD player now so we have music as our horses go up and down, mostly The Rolling Stones, Gibson dances, bounces and "You want to do a puzzle, MerMer?" and "I am hungry, MerMer," and perhaps I will make popcorn in the Whirly Pop again and we will sit on the porch and share it with the chickens and maybe we will read books and play feed-the-animals and pick the peas and feed the goats for real and the day will pass like that, up and down and around and around and perhaps, maybe, there's a good chance, that this is the best time of my life so far.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

And Then

The earth became a place of more ease and a storm came through and burst the sky with first thunder and lightening and then rain, powerful and beautiful.
And this.

And then, this.

I even got my closet squared away.

Twenty-four hours can make the biggest difference in the whole wide world. 

Why Does Gravity Suck So Much Today?

The anxiety has diminished greatly for which I am overwhelmingly grateful but it in its place there is a grave heaviness, a denseness which is physical as well as mental. These are all certainly connected.

I took a walk. I made myself do it. I know it's the best thing possible to be done for any sort of mental problem whether anxiety or depression or grief or indecision or whatever is troubling the mind and soul. There is very little which cannot be helped by a walk. This is something I do believe although I am not one of those who thinks that exercise can cure any ill. When I was going through my worst anxiety a few years ago, I was doing yoga three days a week and walking quite regularly. I was eating as well as I've ever eaten in my life, and yes, taking my supplements.
Hell. I think I was even drinking green tea.

But. I have walked. Not so fast and not so far, but I have done it. The blackberries which I had so much hope for during our earlier spring when we were getting rain daily are still tight and hard and green. I so wish it would rain. We are back to bone dry. The sun just went behind a cloud and in that very second, a few frogs began to croak. They are as thirsty for the rain as I am. Probably more.

I have to do something about my closet. And when I say "do something" I mean that I have to get rid of things. This is a common theme for all of us, isn't it? It is spilling over with clothes which I have not worn in a decade and yet, which I am loathe to cull. And yet, oh. I must. When I went shopping with May and Lily yesterday, I actually bought two shirts. And a sweater.
One, a Frida Kahlo T-shirt and May got one too. We bought them in a store in the mall which none of us should even be seen in for more than one reason but the main one being that when I went to check fiber content, I felt that it should read, "10% cotton, 90% Bones of Bangladeshis." I mean really. There is no getting around this.
And yet, it is such an awesome T-shirt. And extremely reasonably priced. Of course.

Then we went to another store. The Gap. What's up with fluorescent-colored garments this year? You could wear those things to direct traffic in. We were not impressed with the Gap's offerings but both of us, independently of each other, found and selected the same exact black tank top. She held hers up and said, "I'm sort of liking this."
I showed her what I was holding.
"Me too."
We bought them. I also bought a very nice sweater for ten bucks. It was on the sale rack and very soft and thus, made of the bones of the softest and tenderest of Bangladeshis, and I will be surprised when I find it next winter because I will have forgotten that I bought it. It is this sweater which is forcing my hand on the closet situation. I know that if I don't do something about that closet, I won't find it next winter. It will have disappeared into the chaotic morass of clothing in there, never to be seen again. And really I do want to find it. I do want to wear it.

I have a few hours before I become MerMer and so I should get in there with bags and determination.
I do have bags.
It's the determination which I am sorely lacking. And energy. I know that if I laid down on the bed I would never get up and so the best thing, I think, is to keep moving.

Well, it's a plan. One should have a plan and a goal, right? When life is overwhelming and you cannot do a damn thing about the Big Things, it is best, perhaps, to do as much as one can about the tiny ones.

Take a walk. Clean a closet. Wash the dishes. Do the laundry.

Don't lay down. Unless you do. That can be a plan too and has a certain dignity in it if done correctly.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Head Fuckedupedness

The anxiety has come again and it's tough. It's so tough. I hate the way it makes me feel, removing me from the immediacy of experience as I crawl inside my own head.
It feels as if I am carrying a very ugly ill gray creature in my belly. That. Is how it feels.
It is way too illogical and too formless to capture and release. It erases joy and anticipation. It is dread and it is constant heart-cramp. It is a soul-eater and brain-deceiver and I want it to go away.

I know it will.

I am just always so afraid after that summer those years ago when it came and stayed and stayed and stayed until I went quite mad and finally had to ask for help that it will do it again. But even then, eventually, it did go away. Mostly. It would seem to me that once anxiety has descended into your bones it is always there, or traces of it, ready to rage back with vigor and vengeance at any god-dammed time it desires. And it makes the living of life so difficult for those it has chosen to take residence in.

But we go on. We go on because there is no other choice and we wait until any particular period of exacerbation passes which we must have faith it will.

Birth Story

Last night, since Mr. Moon was out of town, I finally sat down and watched my copy of Birth Story which I received a few weeks ago. I had donated a few bucks to the effort of getting it out into the world and in return, got my very own copy and there it had sat in the kitchen on the center counter where things collect and I even took it to the beach for Lily and me to watch but we never got the block of time to give it our uninterrupted attention and so last night, I was ready. I steamed my peas and potatoes and a squash and went into the Glen Den to watch it and of course I couldn't find the damn DVD player remote but somehow I managed to manually work the thing which is a small miracle.

I had thought that the movie would be mostly about childbirth practices and perhaps a lot of hospital versus home-centered birth information and so forth but in fact the movie makers have made a documentary which was, to my very non-objective eye, a love letter to Ina May Gaskin and her Farm midwives and to the Farm, the commune that a group of hippies led by Stephen Gaskin, Ina May's husband, formed near Nashville, Tennessee back in the seventies. I was captured by it. Completely and lovingly. I've spoken so many times about how Ina May, first with her chapters in Hey Beatnik! This Is The Farm Book

and then with her incredibly beautiful Spiritual Midwifery

changed my life as I am sure it did many, many others. 

And watching the film was like watching the book come to life, all of those midwives whose pictures I had looked at a million times, the women who told their birth stories in the books, older and some of them still practicing, grayer, rounder, but still here. Still dedicated to the practice, to the art of midwifery and still convinced of the ability of the human female mammal to give birth with little intervention, given the chance, but always with a watchful, trained eye. 

It was beautiful.

There was old footage of some births including a breech birth and a shoulder dystocia birth and watching those was so very mind-blowing. To see women deliver babies in such situations is to see power so intense and so primal that it is no wonder that men are afraid of it, that they have tried to take it over and replace it with surgery, which is, after all, what a Cesarean birth is. The shoulder dystocia birth was especially moving for me because Lily's shoulders got stuck (she weighed over ten pounds at birth) and I did what Ina May says to do in such a situation which is to flip over to hands-and-knees, thus allowing the pelvis to open up more fully and she was born and here she is, having now had two babies herself, one at home. 

And I have been at a home breech birth, too. No one realized that the baby was coming breech until that butt appeared and there we were in the loft of a handmade hippie house and the father, who had delivered at least one of his other kids delivered this one too, and all was well. 

Anyway. Anyway. 
I watched that movie. Those graying midwives, Stephen too, now seventy-eight years old, the man who gathered this group of hippies together first with his Monday Night Classes in San Francisco and then with the Caravan and finally, to the Farm. The man who inspired Ina May to be brave enough to begin to catch babies in the first place, to not be airy-fairy or superstitious about it but to dedicate herself to learning everything she could about childbirth from books and from doctors and from other midwives all over the world and from the women she assisted in birth. Stephen's eyes still twinkle with the sort of light that only comes from those who are in on the Cosmic Joke of it all, who have chosen quite definitively to love. 

It was lovely to see Stephen and Ina May in their home now, still married, still taking care of each other. 

It was just a lovely film. 

Somehow, it reminded me that I was part of something important. That being a hippie did mean something. That one woman can change the lives of thousands, if not millions. It reminded me of my own strength and it reminded me of how incredibly powerful women are, how well-constructed our bodies are made, how joyful and correct it can be to give birth unmedicated and freely so that we can receive these children to us knowing fully how their passage into life from our bodies where they were formed and grew felt. 

Well. If you get a chance, watch the film. You can order it, you can attend a screening of it, you can probably Netflix it. Just google it. 

And now I'm off to my day. I'm going to go shopping with May, one of my own home-born babies. It is beautiful here today and I'm just in a very grateful mood for it all. For having been born in the times when I was, for being able to have my children the way I was intended, safely and with pure intent and purpose.

For Ina May Gaskin and for the movie makers who created that love letter to her and who have now shared it with the world, her work going on even as we speak, her message that women are stronger than we know.

Something to ponder always.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, May 27, 2013

I Think Peace. I Dig Potatoes

I dug the potatoes today and that was two hours of hot, sweaty work. But rewarding. We now have an old canning kettle over three-quarters full of the things and they will keep well for a long time. Some of them are tiny- marble sized and some of them are large, chunky things. But most are un-nibbled by ants or moles or whatever it is that so often gets to the potatoes before we do and I am grateful.
I, myself, am not un-nibbled though. The damn ants got to me through my overalls and above my gloves, biting and stinging and it was rather miserable work although there is great pleasure in the finding of the potatoes under the dirt, round and smooth and red. I simply waited too late to begin and thus, the sun was blistering down and it was hot.

I came into the house when I was done and took a shower and and heated Mr. Moon up some lunch and then I took him to where he rents a car to drive down to auction. The rental car place is way on the west side of Tallahassee and we are beyond the east side and so it takes forever and on the way home, I stopped at an Ace Hardware to buy okra seeds and cucumber seeds to fill in where the potatoes were. They had no okra seeds but I bought the cuke seeds and also some zinnia seeds because I have not planted any this year except for the ones I put in the old rusted reclaimed wagon from the dump with the lemon balm and the mint and the flowers were quickly eaten by the chickens although they have spared the mint and lemon balm. I also bought a clothespin bag and a higher quality type of clothespins than the ones I have been using. I love the Ace Hardware. It has a bit of everything and I was fantasizing that they might even have some young chickens I could bring home and set in the coop but of course they did not. It's probably too late for that anyway.

When I got home I was starving and ate a very sensible lunch of some cottage cheese and a mango and then, unsatisfied, I dove into the leftovers from yesterday's lunch in Panacea which was a stupid mistake which I have paid for already in part and will no doubt, be paying for all evening. Fried food. Oh Lord. Why? But it was so good. Cold fried shrimp may not sound like a treat, but trust me- it is.

And then of course I was exhausted and full and laid down on the bed and slept for about forty-five minutes and woke up feeling itchy in my soul and I washed dishes and folded laundry and felt as if I had accomplished nothing at all today, nothing whatsoever of any importance but I am trying out a new mantra which is "I don't give a shit," and it works. Sort of. I think I am completely weary of giving a shit about everything on this earth, from the things which I can do nothing about to the things which I can and which I fret over like a cat worries over a dead mouse which it is not even hungry enough to eat.
I went back out to the garden and picked almost a gallon bag of snow peas and I pulled up two bolted and gone-to-seed collards and fed them to the goats next door and turned on the sprinklers and planted the little azalea Lily gave me for Mother's Day and put the sprinkler on that bed and also set a sprinkler in the fern and camellia bed and put some more laundry away and here I am. Here I am.

All day I have been thinking about the things I touched on this morning in my post about Memorial Day and what Elizabeth said in her beautiful post (her posts are all beautiful) and how we are all on holiday today to honor the war dead and how, of course, in this country that means we get off work and we  grill good ol' American food such as hot dogs and the Florida State Troupers had cars lined up in the shade in Lloyd, ready to jump on the interstate less than a quarter of a mile away because surely this must be one of their biggest money-making days because as Americans we always seem to have to drive somewhere on a holiday, never, I suppose, being satisfied with where we are or who we are with and so must go elsewhere to celebrate with others and it all seems so wrong to me. If we were truly to be acknowledging those who have died in wars, shouldn't we all be shutting ourselves into dark places and keening and moaning over the losses, the unimaginable losses? But no, that is not how we do it. We cook out and we drive places and we put up patriotic posts on Facebook (although it never seems to be actual veterans who do that) and some people, I suppose, shop the Big Memorial Day Sales! advertised in the paper and we do nothing, nothing at all to try and contemplate an end to war and we are still laughing at people like John Lennon and Yoko Ono who had the completely idiotic idea to put up billboards saying "Imagine Peace" and "War Is Over If You Want it" which, it would seem to me, would be a far more fitting tribute to those who died than waving flags and posting pictures of service men and women with their heads bowed in grief.

I mean- aren't we Americans? Aren't we supposed to be able to figure shit OUT?

Doesn't it say in the Bible in Isaiah that they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks and nation shall not lift up sword against nation and they shall not learn war any more?

Yes. It does.

Well, so what? It says a lot of shit in the Bible and you get to pick and choose as you want but that verse, that's one of my favorites. But really, is that any crazier than imagining peace? Than saying that war is over if you want it?

I heard our president on the radio today and he was talking about how we all need to be worthy of the sacrifice that our fallen soldiers made for us and again, that sounds way too much like Jesus dying on the cross to me. Here's what I think- I think that most of the soldiers who die in battle are not thinking one iota about freedom or liberty or even the United States of America. I think they are probably thinking, "Oh shit."

Well, thank god I do not really know. But I will tell you this- I am quite sure that every mother whose son or daughter was killed in battle did not have, as an immediate reaction to the news of her child's death, the thought that there was any glory in it at all.
There is NO fucking glory in war death. And I am not ashamed or afraid to say that I believe that. Not for god, not for country.

There is just waste.

I should go move the sprinklers. The sun is setting and the sky is golden and actually, I do give a shit although frankly, I don't think the planet does. It will go on or it will not. We humans can lie to ourselves about everything from our poisonous effect on our very mother Earth and her salty amniotic birthing oceans due to our greedy gas-guzzling needs (me too!) to the glory of war and death. We make up stories and we choose to believe them while we ignore what is right in front of us, be it flood or draught or the melting of the icecaps or the blood of our children.

I'm gonna cook me some peas and potatoes. I am a human being and an American and I am at the top of the food chain and I can eat whatever I want and I can use the earth's water for the benefit of myself.

And I'm going to keep telling myself that I don't give a shit, meanwhile being so crazy in love with the trees and the light on the magnolias and sound of the water falling on ferns and flowers and tomatoes and the vision I have in my head of the way the sun is looking right now setting over Dog Island and the little bonnet shark that kept visiting us every day in the very shallowest waters of the bay like a friendly little puppy that I sort of want to swoon.

Imagine Peace.

War Is Over If You Want It.


In Which I Discuss Liberace, War, And Yes, Even Religion. A Little Bit

So last night we watched the HBO movie Behind The Candelabra starring Matt Damon and Michael Douglas and I have to say that it was pretty fabulous. For you young folks who did not grow up with Liberace, the movie may appear to be way-over-the-top. The clothes, the jewels, the chauffeured car driven onstage to deliver the maestro to his piano wearing a ten-foot fur train, his hair gleaming and frappeed, whipped into a lacquered froth, his face covered in make-up, his fingernails polished to a gemlike degree. Let me tell you though, the real, living Liberace would have put that to shame. The man made Elton John look drab, made Rupaul look positively butch.
And yet, to his dying (of AIDs) day, he insisted he was not gay.
He had to have had balls the size of Nebraska to make that claim while dressed like this:

Or while posing for album covers which looked like this:

And yet, he made the claim repeatedly. And women adored him. ADORED HIM! 

I remember once his show was on (and the man was a monster at the keyboard) and my mother said, "Do you think he' of them?"
"One of who?" I asked, knowing absolutely what she was saying.
"You know," she said. "The gays."

I cracked up.

Ah, different times. 

But I loved the movie and I thought that Douglas was fearless in it and Damon was fine too. The scenes where he cocaine-ranted made my stomach cramp and my skin crawl. And Rob Lowe- good god almighty! 

He looked like Michael Jackson, the end-years. Scary shit there. 

I tell you what. Growing up when I did was strange. Liberace was hot at the same time as the Stones were coming on big. Could Mick Jagger have worn eyeliner if not for Liberace? And hell, you have to give a nod to James Brown and his stage persona, too. And really- wasn't it all about sex? Confused and confusing sex, perhaps, but still. Throw in the Viet Nam war which was being broadcast into our homes via TV every fucking night of the week and it's no wonder my generation was a little...uh, apt to want to move to the country and smoke a lot of pot.

Ooh boy.

Well, it's really too early to be all analytic and shit. It's Memorial Day so we're supposed to pay tribute to the fallen soldiers who died protecting my freedoms but I have a hard time doing that. To me, it's a little like paying tribute to Jesus, who supposedly died for my sins. I didn't ask those poor souls to go fight in wars and I wish they hadn't. I didn't ask Jesus to get nailed to a cross and I would rather that have not happened either. If, in fact, it really did. Soldiers surely and in fact did (and do, probably right this very second) die in horrible wars and if none of them accepted their governments' mandates to fight, wars wouldn't happen. Of course, that is not how it works and I'm an idiot for even suggesting it. An unpatriotic idiot and as I have said many times before, I did not get the patriotism gene any more than I got the religious gene and I'm not going to pretend I did. We are who we are. 

Liberace was certainly who he was although at the time, he was afraid to admit it in words to the world, even as he lived a screamingly loud life proclaiming exactly who he was. And who seemed, in a strange and baffling way, to be incredibly proud of who he was. 

It's a crazy world. Watch that movie if you get a chance. 

I think my mission today is to dig up potatoes and so I shall. 

Good morning from Lloyd.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Is there a more beautiful word?
Oh sure, maybe, probably, depending on one's state of mind, one's inclinations but, home is home and it tugs us back as surely as the moon tugs the tides.

We are home.

And the boys and their parents are on their way to their home. Owen cried bitterly when it was time to leave Lloyd. The men had spent a few hours washing the boat and cleaning some fish and doing all the things necessary to do when we get home from the island and he had completely reinstated himself back here. Chickens were fed and dogs were patted and toys were played with and juice was drunk and  he could not understand why everyone couldn't just stay here, keep this party going, as he might say.
Yes, he really says that.
But I let him take a stuffed lizard home and he was satisfied with that and the promise that he could come back soon.
He did as he always does when they leave. He yells out the window at me.
"Mer! Take care of you goats and you chickens!" and then he thinks some more. "And take care of you dogs and Luna!" And then, he remembers one more thing for me to take care of. "And take care of you bluebirds!"
"I will!" I yell after them as they leave the driveway. "I will."

Oh, Owen.

Oh home. Oh peace and chickens and bluebirds and my own bed and these giant trees and a trip to the island done and done and done with the boys and Owen will remember it, surely, and we'll go back. Not tomorrow, as he said we would when we left today, but one of these days.

When we crossed the bay to come home today, it was a fast, easy trip, unlike the one out to the island on Thursday and I held Gibson to me, wrapped in my arms and when Mr. Moon started up going fast, fast, Gibson slumped against me and was completely relaxed, his fat little hands on my arms, his head against my bosom. And there he stayed until we pulled into the marina and I never want to forget that, what it felt like, holding my grandson to me as we crossed the water, the air rushing past us so quickly, the boat skimming over the water, the labial wake we left behind us to dissolve back into the water of the bay, the roar of the motor putting us all into a place of isolation, each of us in perfect freedom to think or create myths or fantasize or make up poetry in our heads as we sped toward shore, as we left behind one world to step firmly onto another, even as we were all in the same world together.

We are all going to sleep good tonight.

I hope you do too.

Love...Ms. Moon


It's pancakes and bacon day. It's pack it up and do all the laundry day. It's set things all back to rights day. It's load up the truck and check one more time and lock the door behind us day. 
It's the day to leave the island and let the house rest until the next group of folks come to open it back up, fill it with life again, 
It's time to head on home. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Keeping It Real

The annual White Trash Bash is tomorrow here on Dog Island and we are already seeing boats gather and people arrive and the children are melting down and the no-see-ums are out and biting with the invisible jaws of death and the sink cabinet in one of the two bathrooms is falling apart, the particle board is sort  of melting, if you will, and something stung Mr. Moon's foot out in the bay and my potato yeast rolls ARE NOT RISING, not one bit. 
Garrison Keillor is talking about Lake Webegon and Owen is in a puddle on the floor screaming about having to take a shower. 
Oh wait. Now he's laughing. 

I take a sip of my vodka/tonic/blueberry/pomegranate /lime drink and look out over the flat bay and I have clothes going in the washing machine and the sun is still far from setting and I hear Gibson saying Uh-uh-uh-uh-uh-UH and I can't help but agree. 

How We Get Up On The Island

Men up and out to go and fish and the women and children slumber on until they don't. 
Owen wakes up and asks for cookies. 
"Oh, Owen. I have made a Cookie Monster out of you."
"Are cookie monsters always hairy?"
"No. Sometimes they look just like you." 
And he falls back asleep but Gibson is awake and I cut up watermelon and Owen wakes up for real and now he wants cheese toast and we all share watermelon and Gibson wants a fork to eat his with. 
It is morning on Dog Island and little boys are in pajamas and we make our way to the porch and then outside and Owen says, "Mer, you have to come out here. The water is so beautiful."
And he is right and I do. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

And...Suppertime With Moonrise

Night Time

We'll, its been a pretty sweet day. The sun is taking it's slipslide journey down to its pink and gold descent. Owen and Boppy are flying a kite and the wind is picking up which is lovely because it deters the persistent biting flies which have pestered us all day. 
The bamboo chimes are knee-knocking like merry skeletons and the tide is going out to reveal the secrets of the flats. 
The men went fishing and I napped with Gibson and Lily napped with Owen and when we got up I made cookies and then we went down to the water again and played with the naked babies. 
I really can't think of anything much better. 

As with so much of my life these days, I am thinking deeply about what these boys will remember either consciously or -un. I deeply and truly hope that they do retain some sense of what this part of planet Earth is like. The water, the sea creatures, the sand and the great, wide sky. The way their parents and grandparents love them. 

This, I think is the best thing they could take with them as they grow into adults. And selfishly, I realize that in this process, they take their parents and Glen and I too into an ever-more deep appreciation of it all and in doing so offer us whatever genuine joy there is in this thing we call life.  

The whole messy, chaotic, simple grandeur of it. 

That's the report from Dog Island, Florida tonight. 

And happy birthday, May. And Bob Dylan too. Let's all live long and prosper. 



"Owen, what's your favorite thing about this beach house?"
"The water."

Thursday, May 23, 2013

We Made It

There may have been a running aground and there may have been sharks in the water when the men jumped in to push us off and there may have been wind and waves and we may have gotten soaked crossing but we made it in time for sunset. 

Low tide. Baby covered in sand like a cookie is covered in sugar and the moon is rising, fat, full belly and we're here. 

On Our Way

Almost A Birth Day

I'm supposed to meet Lily in an hour and a half and I need to scramble into town and do something first because May is having a birthday tomorrow, my second baby's birthday, coming right up, and that was another lifetime ago, when I had that child.
I was talking to Anna, Hank's friend last week and I said, "All those people who say they feel exactly the same as they did fifty years ago- I don't get it. I don't even REMEMBER the person I was a long time ago." And of course I do vaguely remember but who WAS that? That hippie girl who gave birth after a long, long day of labor and then a night of it too, and finally, as dawn broke, my May was born and we were all so happy, so glad, and there she was. Perfect, in my arms, and the main midwife had had to leave in the night to deliver another child and made it back just in time, her trusty little VW pulling into the yard a few miles from here in Lloyd, as I was already pushing.
There we were, a contingent of women determined to take back the sacrament of birth as our own, girded with a copy of Spiritual Midwifery and a few other births under our belts.
We were crazy, we were brave, we were inspired, we were right.

Anyway, yes, I need to honor that child who was born to me, came so sweetly into this world, barely cried, just arrived and was there, right where she was supposed to be.

I don't have internet on the island so I make do with the iPhone and it's not easy, blogging that way, my fingers fumbling at the tiny keyboard. I did update my Blogger app in hopes that I can once again post pictures with it because pictures are the very best way to share Dog Island with its sunsets, it's pines, its flat bay and whippy Gulf. We shall see. But my online presence will naturally be more quiet while I am there.

And see- there you go- I can't imagine not being able to write here, to be in touch, to read your blogs, and when I had May all those years ago, thirty-five years ago! I am not sure I even knew the word "computer" and if the internet had been invented, I sure hadn't heard about it. I considered myself pretty ooh-bip-potato-chip because we had recently moved from a house with no running water into a trailer with a bathroom and a kitchen sink.

Who was that girl? I was twenty-three years old, already the mother of a just-short-of two-year old.

No. I am not the same but yes, I guess I am. I don't know.

Anyway, I have to run. So much to do before we leave and thirty-five years ago today I was frantically trying to go into labor because my water had already broken and it was so hot and I had a garden with potatoes and peas in it, just as I do now, but now my grandsons help me in the garden, or at least eat the peas and we are taking potatoes I dug last night to the island and when May was born, that very night, I cooked a meal of barbecued chicken and peas and potatoes and it was delicious and my then-husband washed the birth sheets in our washing machine which I was so proud to have, and it was attached to the trailer in a little thrown-up shed and the day I realized I was pregnant with her, I was digging a ditch to lay the pipe from well to washer in that red-clay dirt.

There. That. I was that girl, that ditch-digging, hippie mama girl, and now I am a grandmother and not the same person at all but I still believe in the Holy Sacrament of Birth, the garden, the running water, and I remember my baby being born and the face of the midwife, Ellen, and I named my baby May Ellen and here we are now.
I am so lucky. And always have been.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

If I Had A Title, I'd Use It

I am a weak, weak-ass woman. As proof I offer this:

1. I turned on the AC.
2. I am drinking a beer midweek.

Fuck it. Fuck it. Fuck it.

I girded my loins and took my walk. Some asshat had dumped fresh trash in the woods. I came home and called the Jefferson County Sheriff's department and reported it. Maybe the asshats are so stupid that they left some sort of identification in there. I hope so. The deputy called me. I gave him all the information I had which wasn't much. The deputy was a very nice man. When we hung up, I told him to take care.
I hope he does.

The boys came and we played everything. We talked a lot about Dog Island and what all we're going to do. Owen seems excited. Gibson is always excited. Whenever Owen does something these days that he shouldn't and I bust him for it, he says, "Don't tell Boppy!"
I mostly agree that I will not. He knows that MerMer is not going to get mad at him. Unless MerMer is deadly tired and I was not today. Not really. And the things he does are mostly not so bad. Lamps fall over. Sometimes that just happens. Doors slam on baby brothers' arms. I understand. But..."Don't tell Boppy." Cracks me up. Like Boppy's going to make him go cut a switch and then beat his ass with it.

Sometimes he adds, "And don't tell Daddy." And if he really feels guilty, he says, "Don't tell Mommy either."
He knows I keep his secrets.

Here's me trying to get Gibson to take a nap.

Could you just die?

Boppy came home with kites for the beach and a sun shade thing to put up. We have so much to do to get ready. We're going to be up to the gunwales on that boat with all the stuff we're taking. A pack-n-play for instance. And all the food and all the water and all the beer and all the clothes and books and games and puzzles and toys and, and, and...

We might end up taking two trips across the bay.

It'll be okay. Whatever happens, it will be okay.

After the boys left, Mr. Moon went out to get things ready boat-wise. I don't know what all. Life jackets, batteries, fishing stuff. I went out and dug potatoes and brought them in and washed them. And squashes. And started dinner and tidied up the house. And turned on the AC. And cracked a beer.

I have to pack clothes (no bra) and pillows and stuff. My own books and books for the boys and tomorrow Lily and I will go do the real grocery shopping. I have an entire long list of things we need to take over including dish scrubbers and Kaboom! and Miracle Whip and pot holders and brown liquor. Getting to Dog Island is always crazy and I've never gone over with two small children although I have gone over with a boatload of teenagers. That's a whole other story but Lily was one of them and Dog Island is not unlike Las Vegas in that what happens on Dog Island, stays on Dog Island.
Owen's secrets are not the only ones I keep.

Shit happens.

We survive.

I have to go finish dinner. I should have gone with the can-of-tuna idea but I'm trying to finish up leftovers. Again- we will survive.

This is life. This is the great, messy, complete hallelujah of life.

Maybe we'll see dolphins tomorrow. I want to show my grandsons dolphins. Wouldn't that be something? And osprey and eagles and minnows and sunsets.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Love...Ms. Moon

And On This Day Six Years Ago, Another Part Of My Heart Opened Up

Damn. I almost missed realizing that today is my blogoversary. Six years.
Six years, 4109 (now 4110) posts.
Four gazillion words.

As I have said before, I may not be a great writer but I sure am fucking prolific.

And I do not feel like waxing poetic about what this place means to me. Just please know that it means the world. You people who come here, whether you've been coming here for the entire six years or  just somehow found your way here recently- you are, well, I'd say something really stupid like the wind beneath my wings but you know that's not me.
But you are.

I had no idea when I started using that picture on my blog anniversary that I would eventually begin to resemble that old lady. Or maybe I look more like the old man. Whatever.
We've been through some stuff here, haven't we?
And at your places too.

As always, thanks most especially to Hank for pushing me. In doing so, he gave me about the best gift I've ever received. And to Mr. Moon for making sure that I have a device to compose and send all these words out on. I, Ms. Prolific, have no actual words to express how much I love you.

This year, in lieu of my usual requests for gifts of fine leather goods, genuine gold and platinum jewelry with precious stones, chocolates and flowers, I am asking you all to just say a little prayer for my immortal soul.


All joking aside, I'm the one who owes you.

All right. Let's get on with it and lead our lives and let's keep talking about it. Let's keep holding out our hands to each other. Let's keep telling our stories. Let's continue to keep each other tenderly in our hearts.

Our incredibly blessed hearts.

Love...Ms. Moon

Words To Fucking Live By (Or Not)

I give up. I just give the fuck up.
That nap I had yesterday? The most heavenly nap of my life? One of the nicest experiences of my life?
It came back and bit me in the ass and I couldn't fall asleep last night and this morning I hurt everywhere as if I'd spent all day working in the yard yesterday and I ache and I just feel terrible and okay, it's one thing to maybe drink too much and feel like shit the next day but to have a nap and feel like shit the next day?

So I give up.

Well of course I can't give up. What would that even mean?
Would it mean that I lay in bed all day and watch reruns of "The Golden Girls"? I hated "The Golden Girls". So sue me.
Would it mean that I put on that white slip and rat my hair and sit on the porch and drink gin all day and yell at people walking by the house? That actually sounds okay.
Would it mean that I give my husband a can of tuna and a can opener and tell him, "Here's your dinner?" (That was a real fantasy of mine when I was younger and there were six of us at the table every night and everyone involved had different dietary needs. That I would just put a can of tuna and a can opener at everyone's place and announce, "Dinner's ready!")
Would it mean I never take another walk? Never get involved in another play? Let the potatoes rot in the ground? Let the laundry pile up to the sky? Let the roaches take over the kitchen?

Okay. So while I was waiting at the dermatologist's office yesterday I read an article in the New Yorker by Susan Orlean about treadmill desks. Have you heard of these? The idea is that sitting for prolonged periods of time is like the worst thing you can do for your health. Forget gluten and simple carbs and oh, you know, heroin...NO! It's sitting. For prolonged periods of time. Doesn't matter how much time you spend working out or running or whatever. Nah. That eight hours at the desk is going to kill your ass. So now you can buy a treadmill desk and while you go about your daily desk-business you can also walk constantly at a low rate of speed.

Oh yeah. Just give me one more fucking thing to feel guilty about. I AM NOT WALKING CONSTANTLY ON A TREADMILL WHILE WRITING OR READING.

Fuck. Jesus.

I'm a little leery of this theory. Wouldn't this mean that servers and nurses would live forever?

When you get to be my age, you've seen so many theories come and go. You've seen so many studies indicating this and that and then go on to be disproven. Eat wheat germ. No. Wheat germ will kill you. Coffee is evil. No, coffee is like a miracle substance. Fat makes you fat. No, CARBS make you fat.
Do the fucking crossword to preserve your brain. Eat blueberries. Be in relationships. Laugh a lot. Meditate. Do yoga. Balance your fucking chakras. Drink green tea. (I hate green tea.) Dance like no one's watching. Get rid of toxic relationships. Stay involved. Volunteer. Take time for yourself to nourish your soul. Keep a positive fucking attitude! Remember your dreams! There is no failure in failure! There is only failure in not trying! Keep a gratitude journal. Check for bedbugs. Just say no. Just do it! Say YES to life! Wear sunscreen, bug spray and remember- moderation in all things. Live hard, die young, leave a beautiful corpse. Be Keith Richards and live hard, live long, and get really old and wrinkled and beautiful and keep playing guitar.


Whatever works for you.

Here's a magnolia. Magnolias work for me.

I need a nap.

Yours truly...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Oh Wolf

Go HERE to read what this picture is about.
Or, watch the video:

Would Mr. Blitzer also feel it necessary to ask a parent whose child did not survive the tornado if he or she was cursing the Lord?

I seriously doubt it.

I just woke up from the most heavenly nap of my entire life, I think. I woke up and I didn't know if it was daytime or night time or if I was in Lloyd or in Cozumel or in a bed I've never before known in my life but it was so perfect, my skin cool with fans blowing on me, my mind quiet and peaceful, smiling. Can your mind smile? Mine smiled and I didn't care where I was or when it was and even when all of that came back to me, I was perfect and I drowsed a little more, not even checking the time and I haven't even washed this morning's coffee pot, my husband's cereal bowl and I don't care. Who cares? It's okay. The crickets are buzzing, they are like an orchestra, their wing-voices rise and fall, their conductor is the temperature, the air, the sun/humidity/light.

I went to the dermatologist. Do you remember this whole story? I have these things on my face, everyone does who grew up in Florida or on the water, little rough patches and they may or may not turn into cancer one day and so the idea is to eradicate them now, you know. There are options and two of them were chemicals and one involved light and one is freezing them off, fast, fast. I chose that one because the one chemical that sounded least harmful cost $750 and forget that. So the doctor came into the room with a full, unopened tube of that chemical, the $750 one and he gave it to me because a patient had been given it by the VA, way too much of it, and he brought it back and so I guess I am a charity case now, and am going to be using government paid-for drugs and that is fine with me. I asked the doctor if this chemical was better (forget the cosmetic situation of having the things frozen) and he said it was because it got to all of the places, seen or unseen, felt or unfelt.
We shall see. And feel. I guess.
I told the doctor he had restored my faith in many things and also, that he has beautiful skin.
He really does.

After the doctor I went with Lily and the boys to a new pizza place and I got a whole-wheat crust pizza with vegetables and no cheese and the guy behind the counter asked, "How does that taste? With no cheese?" as if it were the craziest thing he'd ever heard of, and I said, "Fine." And it was. We ate, all of us with our nice little pizzas and then we went to Walmart and it was horrible as always and I showed Owen a hideous fake flower arrangement in colors of red, white, and blue for people to buy in order to express their patriotism, I suppose, and I told him, "See this? This is crap. Do not buy crap."
Then I bought him a Thomas The Tank Engine beach chair.
It's crap and he loves it.

And then we went to Costco (we are getting ready for the island) and the boys were whiney and we didn't know what we were buying and so we got a watermelon and some peppers and two chickens in a bag and sun screen and bug spray, etc. At least the employees at Costco seem cheerful and they wear what they want and I hear that they start people off at better-than-average wages and offer good benefits. I hope so. They do not appear to be barely breathing until their shifts are over at the Costco, they are open-eyed and they smile and they talk to you. Gibson waved the divider thing around at the check-out like a young, pudgy king, and the cashier said, "How you doin', Little Guy?" and Gibson grinned and showed him his teeth, his perfect little teeth and I thought, "Oh. That is my grandson."

And then I came home and unloaded everything and lay down on the bed in the room where we are sleeping which doesn't have one bedroom thing of mine in it, still, just the printer and the sewing stuff in an old dresser and the scattered VHS tapes of kid movies and we sleep in there so well that it's crazy and I'm almost afraid to move a thing but when I walk back into our old room, our "real" bedroom, that still feels like our bedroom so I don't know. And it doesn't matter. Like the cereal bowl- so what?

So what, so what, so what?
Nothing matters and it all matters and we do the best we can and we get through the crazy-terror times and we don't exactly know where they come from and we hold on as long as we can to the sweet, cool moments of nothing short of bliss and we don't know where they come from either but they do.

That's all I have to say tonight. I am a woman alive on Planet Earth in the 21st century and I have been alive for close to 59 years and I don't know shit, but I am here.
And so it is.

No Real Point Here But I Love Mel Brooks And President Obama

I'm going to the dermatologist this morning to get those precancerous (possibly) places frozen on my face and of course I'm experiencing high anxiety merely because it's a doctor thing and also, we are going this weekend to Dog Island with Lily and Jason and the boys, and the men are going to fish to replenish the freezer with grouper (hopefully) and that is causing me a little anxiety, too- three days in that tiny house with two small boys and it's going to be hotter than blazes and there's only so much time little ones or big ones can be outside in that, even with sun screen and my god, I haven't had a second's downtime, it seems since January or even way before then, and then I look at the pictures from Oklahoma, people carrying children out of the devastation and I think, "Oh, shut up, Mary. Shut up, shut up, shut up."

Which doesn't work. Not really. It only adds fuel to my fire which of course is built on the flames of life's uncertainties and fragility.


Speaking of High Anxieties, we watched the PBS Master's show last night about Mel Brooks and it was a good program. One of the things I liked most about it was a clip from when Brooks received the Kennedy Center Honor from Obama a few years ago. I heard him yesterday on NPR, talking about receiving that award and how they had offered it to him when Bush was president but he politely refused it then, saying that he thought he'd wait for another president to give it to him. Which cracked me up. It turns out that Mel Brooks has suffered anxieties and depression his whole life and yet, with his comedy, he has created so much laughter which to my mind, is one of the best antidotes to those two horrible devilments of the human mind ever devised.

Here's sort of a fuzzy clip of that video. I love the part about God creating every tenth Jew to be crazy in order to relieve with amusement the perpetual lamentation of the Jews.

I wish I could be amusing today but I am not and now I need to go and take a shower and get ready to present my old, wrinkled, sun-stained and blemished skin to the doctor.

My perpetual lamentation goes on, even as I know I am crazy.

Be well, y'all. Let's all try to find something to laugh about today.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, May 20, 2013

For now my babies are staying in town.
Jason has done the math and added everything up and decided that the move would not make financial sense. I know that both he and Lily are somewhat disappointed. They are young and they crave adventure and change and so they should at their age.
But for me. Well.
I am just incredibly grateful that they are going to be here for awhile at least.
So grateful.

I feel as if I've been wound so tightly about this situation that it's going to take me awhile to uncoil, for the twitch to leave my eye, for me to relax back in to it. Or for me to relax as much as I ever do, which isn't much but everyone has their level of normality and I shall try to reattain my own.

After my bitch-a-thon this morning I actually got quite a bit done. I took my walk and remembered the hell of walking in Florida in the summer although we are not nearly as hot as we're going to be. The chill, however, is definitely gone, and I came home soaking wet from sweat and stinking to high heaven. I showered and raced to town to get a few things and return a few movies to the library, and then raced back home to get things in order before that baby boy got here. He fell asleep on the way over and his mama got him down on my bed and I laid down with him and got a short nap, such heaven. When he woke up we read some books and visited with the goats and collected eggs and sat on the porch swing and he happily ate an apple and looked at the trees and babbled away in his own Gibson language. He is an easy boy, that one. It is a treat to have time alone with him. The second child never gets the undivided attention the first one does. It's a fact of life.

And now he's gone and my body is rebelling against this heat. I feel incredibly languid and slow, despite the nap. I could easily lay back down on the bed, the fans blowing over me, to read, to nap some more, to do nothing but lay as still as possible. Mr. Moon is on his chair in the Glen Den and I think he may be resting his eyes. I have some plants to water and supper to make and those two things together seem a completely impossible task but I'm sure I'll rally. I always do. We could turn on the air conditioner but it still gets into the sixties at night which makes the AC seem ridiculous and besides, I absolutely hate shutting the house up. Even with the heat, there is glory in the open doors, the open windows, being able to hear the birds, the chickens as they move around the house, scratching and talking about what they are finding under the leaves in the dirt.
It's a trade-off and soon, the heat will make the balance tip and again we shall live in the comfort of the wonderful and beastly cold air machine which makes life possible here for us, we weak forms of human life who are so very spoiled.

I feel so very grateful to be spoiled by air conditioning and refrigeration and ice at my fingertips for cold water to drink and by water that I don't have to pump and haul, spoiled by my car which I can drive to grocery stores filled with food to choose from. And spoiled by my husband who brought me a magnolia blossom today, huge, white and smelling of lemon to place in a vase in the hallway.

But I am especially grateful to be spoiled by grandsons, close at hand. Grandsons whom I can nap with, read to, teach chicken-tending to, and also and yes, most spoil.


Monday again and our strange, cool spring seems to be over and the heat is returning and I need to get out and walk before it gets too hot and Gibson is coming over today, just him, his brother is going to Gainesville with his father.
The birds are so noisy this morning that it's like an aural wallpaper, there is an actual denseness to it.

It's Monday and so it's time to go back to my better ways. Everyone is gone and there is no excuse for biscuits and butter, no reason whatsoever to indulge in simple carbohydrates and blah, blah, blah.
Why is being a human so fucking complex?
Why did Billy bring me cheese and Buddha beer?
(Thank you Billy, and meanwhile you're all thin and looking good and meanwhile I'm all not.)

It never did rain here, I went off on my husband last night for no apparent reason out of the blue and it made me feel terrible and I want to reach back in time and pinch my own head off. I think maybe it's just all too much, or at least all too much for me who can barely handle doing the laundry and cooking a meal in one day (and we know that's not entirely true but sort of) and at eleven o'clock at night when I've finally and utterly exhausted myself in every physical and emotional way, there is no one else to go off on but him and he doesn't deserve that and he doesn't treat me that way.
You'd think, wouldn't you, that by now I'd have learned a few things about myself, about marriage, about...anything?
Well, I obviously haven't.

Move, Mary, get moving. Off the ass, sheets off the bed, into the washer, it is Monday, it is time to move and if not groove, at least plod along. Jessie left her phone charger, her red flip-flops and the sourdough starter which I was going to hand off to her to take custody of. Would that be a good enough excuse to pack up and get in the car and drive, drive, drive? Not that I really want to do that but, oh, Mondays sometimes. The very essence of them makes me want to flee, especially when I feel this way, as if human life is too complex and having the simple goal of getting from one place in time and space to another with a cooler with sourdough starter in it sounds like a plan.

It is not. Not really.

What are you doing today? Are you filled with energy and focus and are you grooving and snapping your fingers and checking your e-mail and sorting out your day and making plans for your week and GETTING IT DONE? Are you increasing your reps, your miles, your sets, your weights and are you unrolling/rolling up your yoga mats and are you EATING ALL HEALTHY AND SHIT? Are you glad for the week to be begun are you looking forward to the challenges ahead? And have you been an exemplary wife/mother/daughter/son/husband/partner/etc.? Have you written a new chapter, a new poem, are you reading a good book, is your garden weed-free and are your tomatoes ripening nicely? Is your bed made, the sheets stretched tightly across the mattress, your handmade-by-local-fabric-artists quilt spread over it all, your pillows fluffed and aired? Is your feng shui correct and are all of your fucking chakras balanced? Have you had your green tea in a porcelain cup and have you meditated this morning?

If so, please don't bother to tell me because my thighs are suddenly blobby and my hair needs trimming and I was a terrible daughter and I was mean to my husband and no, I certainly didn't win the lottery.
Except that I did, in all actuality, in so many ways and I need to remember that and I need to yes, get off this ass and I can move even if there is no groove, get going, get going, get going, it is Monday and it may yet rain this week and Gibson is coming.

Good morning.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The sky is turning purple bruise and the wind is coming up and the ceiling fan on the porch is whipping the air like egg whites and Judy and Denise just left and Mr. Donkey next door is doing his series of hee-haw songs and the smallest leaves are caught in the wind and making sssh-sssh sounds and yes, oh yes, I need to go make supper but it's so beautiful out here on the porch and I smelled the ozone and somewhere nearby it is raining and it's like knowing that somewhere nearby someone is having The Sex, it's that powerful, that beautiful.

Oh, come on rain. We want you.

They Have Come And Gone Again

Jasmine still assaulting our senses, birds singing out that it's the first day again, Jessie in the kitchen making breakfast, she and Vergil are packed and ready to go.

It was such a good party. I took almost no pictures but snapped that one above as the girls blew out the candles on the cake, Owen in the middle, I hadn't even noticed he was there, so much chaos everywhere, kids and folks and everyone, everyone, it was happy.

Here's one more I got, Kati and Owen and Jessie, right before the eating truly began:

All the salads got eaten and all the hamburgers and all the fish and most of the bread and it WAS a fiesta and the boys had gone fishing earlier in the day and a small alligator followed their boat around, looking for a handout and they brought home bream but I haven't cooked any yet. They cleaned those fishes though, the men, and Owen said they were cleaning "off" the fishes, and I envisioned Glen and Vergil wiping the little bream's faces with a washcloth, delicately getting them clean behind the gills.
There was a spontaneous picking of snow peas which occurred during the party and when Owen went out with Boppy to shut the chickens up he left the Spider Man that Sweet Uncle Matt had brought him

on the ground when he latched the door and you would have thought the world had come to a spontaneous and fiery end but Boppy helped him find it and the world was restored to its natural, fine state. When Whaylon got here, Owen screamed with joy, "Whaylon's here! Whaylon's here! WHERE MY SHOES?" and the boys raced around the yard and climbed the Chinaberry tree and Waylon shared ice cream with Gibson so sweetly.

After the last people left, Liz Sparks showed up. She'd been down the road, still midwifing her ex-husband into his death. She has decorated his room and cooked all his favorite meals and played cards with him and engineered everyone coming to say good-bye and played music for him. I came up with a new saying last night and it is this: It takes a village. Or...Lis Sparks.
I gave her a shot of tequila and we sat around and talked for a little while and then she and her former sister-in-law took off for town and we all fell out, Vergil already asleep on the couch, Mr. Moon sitting in his chair. I slept so deep and when I woke up once it was merely a joy because I knew I could go right back into it. That deepness, that falling away from trouble or worry or anything at all. Just sleep.

And since I started writing this, Jessie made our breakfast and Hank and his friend Elisha came out because she lives in Asheville and Vergil and Jessie are giving her a ride home and we all ate eggs and sausage and wonderful biscuits under the trees where we ate last night, one meal after another in this house, all of them I am grateful for, each and every one but especially those shared with family both blood and not.

There is always cooking going on and always the washing of dishes and there are arrivals and there are departures and hugs on both ends and kisses, too, and the newlyweds and Elisha have already pulled out of the driveway, they are on their way home and I hugged Hank to me and I said, "You GeeDee kids. You are always coming and going. Coming and going. And I always cry."
And he just laughed because he knows not to take my tears seriously. They are as plentiful and meaningless as rain and signify very little except that Mama is that way.

I just watched a daddy cardinal feed one of his younguns with seed from his very own beak. Mr. Moon is finishing up the dishes. He says he is going to complete the pressure washing of the house today and I claimed at first that I would do nothing at all except to clean out the hen house but then I realized I need to water the plants- so what? that's nothing- and also, oh yes, there is laundry and it is a perfect day to hang clothes on the line. We shall move slowly through this day in this house and this yard, now empty again but for us, now quiet, no Rolling Stones, no kid shouts, no baby fussing, no door slamming as people come and go, come and go, dancing in and out, greetings and catch-ups and I-love-yous, just us, and so sure, there will actually be I-love-yous and hugs, and thank god for that, and it is quiet again in Lloyd except for the buzzing of the crickets, the occasional crow of Elvis as he guards and collects his hens, here where I live in this house which is for me the very essence of home, that thing I always longed for and here it is, here it is, here we are and everyone has gone except for us but I know they will come back and here we shall be and ready.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The Women

The hippie apple cake is out of the oven and bread dough is rising (I have no idea why I'm making bread it seemed necessary) and the water for iced tea is on the stove and I've made the bean salad.
It is a bean salad which is reminiscent of the three-bean salad I remember from my childhood. That salad's beans were canned green beans, canned wax beans, and canned kidney beans. There were also green peppers and onions in it and the dressing was a very, very sweet vinaigrette with so much sugar in it that you could have marinated grass in it and it would have been delicious.
My salad is not quite like that. I still use canned beans but there are black beans, garbanzos, kidney, edamame, green beans, two colors of pepper and red onions. And my vinaigrette has no sugar whatsoever but the balsamic and rice wine vinegars give it some sweetness.

I think back to my childhood when every recipe had cups of white sugar and sticks of butter and cream cheese and mayonnaise and cream and that included the salads. Or what passed for salads in those days. And I don't recall that many fat people, either. Except for me. I was the fat child. The one my grandmother's friends would give gifts of jump ropes to encourage exercise. The one they would say of, "She has such a pretty face."
Ah. Cliche. Hurtful and sharp, still to this day. But, they were the same ladies who gave me copies of books to read- Treasure Island, for one, the same ladies who told me I was smart and I believed them. Some of them had blue hair and cat glasses. Some of them wore silver bangles and rhinestone pins and simple strings of pearls. Many of them kept their little cardigans attached like a cape with a chain and clip device which was also bejeweled. Their accessories fascinated me, and when they all started wearing hair nets with tiny beads on them, I thought that they were beautiful and I asked my grandmother to get one, too. Most of them had long hair which they wore up in complicated buns and braids but some of them, like my grandmother, simply went and got their hair trimmed and permed and set and dyed blue.
And they all wore hair nets, night and day I think, in order to protect their hairdos.

Well. I am just thinking, for some reason, about those ladies. Maybe the bean salad, or maybe it's just that I am approaching the age they were then when I thought they were so very, very old. Ancient. And yet, I thought they were beautiful too. And some of them, without a doubt, were.

They have made sharp comments at times, but they meant them kindly, and even then I knew that. And when I look back on those days in Roseland, which is where we lived when I knew these women, I realize that it was mostly they who cushioned my existence. If there was any human comfort, a great deal of it came from them.
I remember their names.
Helen and Irene and Katie and Betty and Rosa and Garnet and Ruth. There were others, I am sure, but these are the ones I remember.

There were other women who made my life better, younger women. Aunt Dottie who ran a daycare and made clothes for my Barbie doll and took me camping and taught me to swim and Martha Hendry, my most beloved school teacher. Aunt Flonny, who drove the school bus and let me work in the cafeteria with her during the worst year of my life. I believe they saw something very needy in me and because they had great souls, they offered me what they could and if I am a person of any worth, they and the older women are the reasons.

So. There. Just that.

Make bean salad and a childhood appears, the river, the jungle, the birds, the other children, the snakes, the armadillos and my grandfather and his tuneless whistling as he worked his compost. The school with its oiled wood floors and two staircases, the kitchen of the cafeteria where Aunt Flonny made huge batches of yeast rolls and I scraped plates into the trash and dried and stacked those green plastic, partitioned lunch plates, turned chairs up onto tables and swept the floors.

Mostly though, today I am thinking of the women and silky dresses, their hair nets, their soft voices and wrinkled skin, their face powder, their eyes, magnified beyond all reason behind the lenses of their cat glasses.

I am remembering them. I am realizing, as I cut and chop and mix and bake the great debt I owe them.

These words aren't much, but today, they are what I have to offer to that debt.

I thank them, even as they are long, long gone. They are not gone to me, though but in some ways are as living and alive as anyone I know because as cliched as THIS is, they live on in me. The best parts of me. They gave freely and I somehow knew enough to take.

And I am so eternally grateful.