Tuesday, September 30, 2014

So The Wind Changes Or The Chemicals Are Right. Whatever.

This is the fortune I got in my cookie today when Lily and the boys and I ate at the Panda Buffet which is Owen's favorite and it was a merry lunch with noodles and green beans and dumplings and chicken-on-a-stick and wonton soup and so forth.

But honestly- did I get the right fortune or what?

My walk today went so easily. I did three miles and could have done four. I know it. I skimmed over the dirt and pavement, I did not suffer fatigue and when I got home, I realized that my emotional self was as good as my physical self and I CALLED THE ORAL SURGEON AND MADE MY APPOINTMENT to get that implant started. I did it. And I asked if they would prescribe "one or two" Xanax for the surgical event and they said they would.
God. I love these people.

I went to town and had such a good time with Owen and Gibson and Lily. We did the lunch thing, and Owen kept kissing me and telling me how much he loved me and then we went to the brand new Publix which was gorgeous. They are having to keep up with the Trader Joe's and the Whole Foods and blah, blah, blah and they were selling wild dandelion greens and all sorts of new things that I've never seen in a Publix before.

I bought all my stuff and Lily bought all her stuff and after I got many, many hugs and kisses from the boys,  I came home and put things away and then went out to finish the garden. God. I planted a long row of collard seeds and wild and domesticated arugula and kale and butter crunch lettuce and salad bowl lettuce and a spicy salad mix and carrots. I have beet seeds but you have to soak them. Which I will do tonight. This is, in theory, the very best fall garden I've ever planted. I hoed and spread horse shit and got down in the dirt and mixed up the soil with the shit and made tiny depressions for the minuscule seeds and patted them firmly into the soil like I was patting baby bottoms and oh- what hopes I have for this garden!

Now I've made supper for my returned husband and I'm going to pack his lunch for tomorrow and wash the dishes and finish the laundry and whatever the hell it was that made me wake up today in such a fine mood, I am grateful for beyond words. I have no idea how this works or why but when it does, I just couldn't be more aware of the goodness of it. Who knows? Not me. I took a dozen and a half eggs to a friend of mine today who used to be all about the raw foods but recently she's been going to see a Chinese acupuncturist who is also a Chinese MD and a nutritionist who has my friend on a diet to relieve the pain of her arthritis and here's the crazy thing- the only raw foods she's allowed to eat on this diet are avocados and peeled apples.
And she's supposed to eat eggs every morning. And she feels incredibly better, her pain level going down from a 5-6 to a 0-2 every day.
We have so few true answers about these things. We read this and we study that and we think we know, but honestly, we don't.
And maybe there are no magic answers.
I'm just glad that my friend is not in the pain that she was.
I am glad I could take her some nice fresh eggs.

Tonight, I am glad I am here. And that's saying something. More than I should admit.

Ground Hog Day, All Over Again

All right. I have to come up with another word for "gray." I've overused cement and pewter. 

There we go. 
All of that. Especially the part about "the gray daily routine."

I better go take a walk while it is not-quite-raining. 

In this cloudy, overcast, dull, sunless, gloomy, dreary, dismal, somber, bleak, murky day. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Well, It Finally Rained

I planted the collard, turnip, red cabbage and romaine plants we bought yesterday. Also the seeds of mustard (oh, ye of little faith!), spinach, and green cabbage. I was just about to start a row of arugula when the rain came and it came hard and the chickens gathered on the kitchen porch and Trixie sat in the potted avocado plant and sang her little song.

Mr. Moon came home to get packed up and leave for auction and I made him his coffee drink and his popcorn and his snack bag and Maurice went into the bedroom to see him while he was packing and then turned around as soon as he spoke to her and walked out of the room as if she'd maybe been expecting to see Cary Grant or someone. Maybe Hugh Grant. I don't know. Hard to tell with cats.
She also came out to the garden while I was planting but when she realized I wasn't planting smoked turkey breast lunch meat, she left. That cat has the weirdest tastes. Last night I made a meatloaf from freaking grass-fed beef, may have even been organic and shit, and I gave her a tiny little morsel of raw beef and she turned her delicate nose up at it but if I give her some damn smoked turkey lunch meat she goes insane. She does love raw venison and cooked venison, as well, which is what we served her precious little orange ass the first night she showed up. Venison vegetable soup and she was so hungry and that's probably why she's living here. She also doesn't like plain yogurt but she'll arm-wrestle you for what's left in the Chobani lemon yogurt cup. And when I say arm wrestle, I mean she'll rip your arm off. She's such a charming kitty. And I adore her with all of my heart.

I love the rain. It's still falling but gently. I imagine the ground filtering the water through the dirt and the clay and the great oaks' roots soaking it up and the aquifer beneath us filling with pure, sweet water. It makes me feel, perhaps falsely, that all is right with the world or at least this tiny part of it. It's like the the opposite of the story of Noah- it's not the ending of the rain which promises a god's approval, but the falling of it. I do know this for sure- we had good rain this past spring and we've had decent rain this summer and in the ten years I've lived here, I've never seen such beautiful fall blooms, I've never seen quite the level of green we've been gifted with. And my seeds and plants will have a good start in the dark black dirt that I fortified with composted horse shit and my dream is to have so many greens this fall and winter and early spring that I can provide them for all of my children and for us and maybe there will be venison, too. My camellias are filled with buds and if there is anything which makes me look forward to winter, it would be that. My palms have all grown this year by leaps and bounds as well as my mulberry tree and long after I am dead, these things shall remain unless something truly unforeseen happens.

Well. Still raining. Air is cool once again. The doors are open.

I'm going to go heat up some meat loaf and broccoli.

What are you doing?

Love...Ms. Moon

Pictures From A Walk

The sasanqua camellias are starting to bloom next door. Soon the tree will be a cloud of pink and then the petals will fall and the ground will be a carpet of them. 

I've never seen the hurricane lilies bloom like this before. These, too, are next door. 

Field of flowers with caterpillars. 

Where I stopped to pee in the woods. Such beautiful fungi. 

The ones at the bottom of the tree.

Black-eyed Susans, trying to dispel gloom. 

Feeling All Nowhere, Man

Drizzle and gray, again. Today.
The old familiar cat-gut tune growls in my head: You are wasting your life. You are wasting your life. You are wasting your life...

One thing these dreams have done for me is to make me want desperately to rid myself of stuff. In my dreams I am always constantly searching for huge black garbage bags to fill with the detritus which fills the dreamscape houses I find myself so rudely occupying. I am being forced to cook for people and I open ovens to find trays and trays of left-over pizza, even a cleverly hidden tray filled with drugs and apparatus, those neatly arranged. I must throw them away, throw them away, but even as I pull one tray of whatever from the oven, more appear.
It is a Fantasia of Filth.

So. Today I've gone through closets and culled a bit. A bit. Not nearly enough. I told Lily the other day that all of my clothes either don't fit me or are worn out.
There is some truth to this.

But. What do you do with, oh, say, pictures painted by a dead uncle whom you hardly knew which you do not really care for but which none of his own children want? Do you give them to the Goodwill? Do you just keep them stacked by a wall until the time comes when you or your children are forced to get rid of them? My god, people. The stuff in our lives! I know. I've spoken of this so often before. And in 99% of the cases, it is not the stuff itself you cling to but the emotional attachment we so falsely attribute to it all. If it all disappeared tonight, we would never even notice.

This is why I really have no desire to shop any more. Whatever I may find that I briefly think I want, I remember what I already have and am crushed by the need for less. Yesterday I piled up junk I'd gathered for Mr. Moon to take to the dump. An ugly office chair, the frames of two other chairs which had lost all of their wooden parts long ago. The boys' box house. A rusted, busted dog crate. You can't see any difference. None at all.

I feel paralyzed by all of it, by everything. I need to call Verizon. I need to call the dentist to get that damn implant situation set up. It's stopped raining enough for me to take a walk and then I'll get in the garden and plant stuff.
That's a plan.
Almost like having a life.

Happy Monday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, September 28, 2014

I Yam Who I Yam And That's All That I Yam

The other day Lily and I were discussing crushes and how random they are and so forth and I said that at least my two main crushes were older than me and had faces crunched and marked by time and years- Bill Murray and of course Keith, although he is not really a crush at all, but more my spirit totem animal, as has been noted many times before, and Lily said, "I've never really gotten the Bill Murray thing. I mean, I get the fact that Keith has the rock star thing going for him and Bill Murray's a good actor and everything but I just don't really get it."
"You know," I said to her, "I think it's more that both of those men are exactly who they are and do not care at all what anyone else thinks they should be."
We pondered that for awhile.
She said, "Yeah. I understand that."

I talked to a friend today who, after many years of marriage, has just recently come out of the closet and who is getting a divorce from his wife. And he said that she is still his best friend and I felt so glad that finally, he is going to allow himself to be who he is, fully and openly. I think of how horrible it must have been for him to have to try and keep such a secret for so very many years, how overwhelmingly heavy of a burden that must be. I think that he never wanted to disappoint his parents or family, to shock or dismay them, and beyond that, he wanted a family. He wanted children. And so...he has been married and soon he will not be and his children are grown and he said that when he told his family, things went so much better than he had feared they would and isn't that almost always the truth? Those who truly know us and love us, will simply continue to do so, no matter what? And that the secrets we think are so vastly too horrible to share because of the condemnation we will receive if we speak them turn out to be little more than a blip, a small speed bump to slow as we go over, and then we go on, no different than before except for perhaps a great relief that the small mystery or the elephant in the room can now be dismissed?
Not to say that I am going to leak all my secrets.
Or that anyone on earth should be forced to speak theirs out loud.

There are some people, though, who just seem to know exactly who they are and who could give a shit about what anyone else thinks from what appears to be the moment of their birth. Can you even imagine Madonna in grade school? Oprah in Jr. High? Is this some special trait, embedded in DNA? Is it a sort of Asperger's which prevents some people from even being aware of the possibility of "fitting in," or the social stigma of being different?

I have no idea but what I do know is that so very often, it is these people who refuse to deny who they are, who have no seeming desire whatsoever to "fit in" who grow up to be so amazing, so cool, so inspiring that they become the very symbols of coolness, of hipness, of someone to be emulated.

And please- don't give me any shit about Madonna. Say what you will about her, she is definitely and always has been like no one else.

The bottom line is- none of us is exactly like any one else. Whether we're slightly (or profoundly) crazy, or gay or transgendered or introverted or extroverted to an inordinate degree or interested in only one thing which we shall make our life's meaning and work or scarred or different in any way, we are who we are.

And if we only had the sure belief that we would be loved for whatever that is, we probably would be.

And oh, the energy we would not have to expend trying to be what we think everyone else wants us to be.

All right. That's what I'm thinking about tonight in Lloyd, Florida. I bought seeds and plants today and this week I shall get my garden planted.

A new beginning again. 

Let's all try to love ourselves for who we are. Because honestly- who else can we be?

Love...Ms. Moon

Time To Plan, Time To Plant

Ugh. Sunday to the max.
Gray, drippy, and I'm still trying to escape the dreamscape that held me this morning in its horrible embrace. I feel like this.

I swear to god. 
Either I'm insane or the drug I take to help me not be insane are giving me insane dreams. 
Whatever is going on, I am starting to be afraid to go to bed which is about the worst thing imaginable for someone whose self-professed hobby and greatest pleasure is sleep.

Well. Mr. Moon is tilling the garden. He brought me the very last of the zinnias before he pulled them. They are small and pale but they still have some beauty to give.

I was talking to Ms. Sarcastic Bastard Beloved yesterday and we were discussing, as we so often do, our shared experiences with depression and so forth and she said, "I know this time of year is really hard for you. Especially with the holidays coming up."
It is no secret how much I detest Christmas. How the happiest Christmas I've had in decades (or maybe ever, actually) was the one we spent in Cozumel. 
"Can you go away this year?" Ms. Bastard Beloved asked. "Maybe somewhere closer to home, but still away?"
Brilliant woman, that one. 
I spoke to Mr. Moon about it last night. We talked about renting a place on St. George Island for the holiday week. That way we could have time to ourselves and the children could also come down and visit when they had the time and inclination. He said, "That would be fine with me."
I felt a great whoosh of stress fall off of me. 
My children are quite aware of how I feel. And it has nothing to do with them. It has to do with many other things, most of which I fancy myself aware of, quite aware of, in fact, and the knowledge does nothing to eliminate the feelings. 
I will work to make this going-away a reality.

And so it goes. I feel half-crazy, half-relieved. The chickens have been fussing all morning, Miss Chi-Cha wanting on the nest that her sister occupied, "Hurry up! Hurry up! Hurry up!" and Miss Lucille was near the woods, shouting out something which indicated she was not pleased with whatever it was going on there which made her sister, Miss Butterscotch, agitated and chattery too. Elvis was calling to all of them from across the yard, "Settle down, now. Simmer down, ladies!" but they were ignoring him. As they so often do.


I think I'll go clean out the hen house. Maybe later I'll go to town and buy seeds and plants to get the fall garden started. Shit and dirt therapy. 


Saturday, September 27, 2014

Two Birthdays, Two Cakes, One Love

Very, very successful party. Plenty of food (including Lily's delicious quinoa tabbouleh salad) and lots of kids and two lovely cakes.

Mutant Ninja Turtle Cake. Best icing ever. 

Vegan chocolate and raspberry. I am proud of that cake. I actually SIFTED the dry ingredients, y'all! It was delicious. I got the recipe HERE. 
I did not make the ganache icing but a buttercream instead which was nothing more than Earth Balance margarine, almond milk, cocoa powder and vanilla. 
Also, the recipe calls for sunflower oil and coconut milk but I used coconut oil and almond milk instead. I also froze the layers before I iced them to prevent crumbling and that worked out very well. 
Whatever. It was a very good cake and not just "good for a vegan cake." It is not one bit healthier than a regular chocolate cake but if you or someone you're baking for is vegan or has dairy or egg issues, this would be a good one to make. Hell, it would be a good one to make if you just want a really good chocolate cake. 

Owen was very brave during the Happy Birthday song. We sang it to him and to his mother and maybe that helped. 

They blew out their candles together and made wishes and if Owen wished for a whole bunch of cool presents, his wish came true. I got this shot when he opened Hank's present which was a full-sized pirate flag. 

He was even gracious about receiving a book- "Gus And Me"- because he knew how much it means to me. He is a precious boy. 

Gibson liked his little present too and he and his Boppy played with it together. I would tell you what it was but I have no idea what that creature is. Lily told me he would like it. And he did. 

So yes, it was a good party. May and Michael were there and Hank and Grandma, who is Jason's mama, and Aunt Kelly and Uncle Brandon (family by choice), and Shayla and Waylon (who is growing like a weed- my god, those legs!), and some other dear friends and also Mark and maybe that was the best treat of all, to see Mark who has recently returned from Belarus where he got some major surgery and oh my Lord, but it was so good to be able to hug him, have him call me "Mama" again. He looks good. He is his funny, brave self, and I think the next party may be for him after Jessie and Vergil move back. He wants me to make ham and shrimp salad and greens and BREAD! And I will. 

So it was all good and I got to talk to a lot of people whom I love and haven't seen for awhile and for once, I got to talk to May when she wasn't being my server OR cooking my dinner. It just all felt really, really good and I was happy to be reunited with my husband again too and we smooched a little on the couch. I forgot to take the candles and the traditional little girl candle holders for Lily's cake but it was inevitable that I would forget something. I left them right there on the counter where I KNEW I would see them and remember them but of course I didn't. Right before I left, my neighbor came over to borrow some yeast and I'd blame that but shitfire- let's face it- I would have forgotten them anyway. At least I remembered the presents and pizzas.

So it was a good day and now we are home, cozy and well and it looks like we're going to get a lot of rain tomorrow and I so hope that Mr. Moon can get the garden tilled before that happens. I am in a fever to plant my greens. 

Here's what I look like tonight. Without my glasses. 

Yes. I am wearing overalls. I did not wear them to the party but wore a skirt and a shirt that when I wore it once before, Owen told me I looked beautiful. Tonight he told me that he didn't like it so much and that he liked my black shirts better. 

Ah well. You can't please everyone all the time. 

Love...Ms. Moon

More Birthdays, More Pictures, More Damn Tears

Saturday morning and still gray around this joint. I called Lily to wish her happy birthday and I could hear chaos in the background. Breakfast was being made and the boys were clamoring and excited. Owen told me about more presents he'd unwrapped, about how he was going to get MORE presents this afternoon at the party, how Gibson wanted to unwrap his presents.
I am so glad I got Gibson a present too. He'll be able to unwrap one, at least. My littlest beautiful prince.
And Lily. She'll have presents and a cake. Twenty-nine she is and how can THAT be? She was just born yesterday in her father and mother's bed, taken to breast, loved immediately and immensely. A cool September day with the sun shining on the flowers I'd planted, Hank and May playing in the back yard, me not dealing especially well with labor (as I am wont to do) and walking and hiding in the shower and begging my husband to just kill me now but he didn't and I pushed that over-ten-pound-baby girl out myself although her shoulders got stuck and it was scary for a few moments.

Look at her now.

Or at least two years ago when Gibson was a sprout. 

Here she was last week when we ate lunch at Fanny's with that same sprout, now older. 

My beautiful daughter, a woman well and truly.

Strong and brave, wise and the person who can probably make me laugh more than anyone on this earth. Not only my daughter but my friend now. A woman I share hearts with. The kind of friend every woman should have. 

In my present state of fall-induced melancholy, every damn thing makes me cry. Not big sobs, just leaky eyes, sniffly nose. I've spent so much time in the last two days, looking through old pictures. Time traveling. 

Trips to Dog Island and weddings and showers and more birthday parties than I can count. Births. Dancing. Christmases. Cakes and cakes and cakes and feasts and Easter Egg dying parties and judging by my pictures, it's been a happy, busy life. 

Families made and babies made and of course, it's Vergil's birthday today too. Remember when he came into our family? I remember having a party (yet another!) and Vergil was here and our beloved friend Colin came by, just to check this new fellow out, to make sure he was worthy of our Jessie.

All right. Now I'm really crying. 

Their dance had just begun. 

Remember this?

The night Vergil surprised Jessie by flying in the night she graduated from FSU's nursing school. 
One of my favorite pictures in the whole world. 

Another from when Jessie and Vergil came to Cozumel when we were there. Rogelio was a little miffed that Jessie had a boyfriend. He saw her walk into Playa Corona, turned to his son and said, "Now THERE's the kind of girlfriend you need."
But. Vergil was the kind of boyfriend Jessie needed. And the kind of husband she has always wanted. And he, like Jason, the exact right sort of son-in-law to have. 

All right. I have to stop now. 
Happy Birthday, Vergil. See you soon!
Happy Birthday, Lily! See you even sooner. 

All love from the luckiest woman in the world...Mama Mary

Friday, September 26, 2014

Oh, If You Could Only Hear The Music I Hear Now

This is a little video I made this morning when I went to let the chickens out. Before I let them outside to the whole great big world, I open the little sliding door from the henhouse into the coop where they can eat and drink and greet the day on a more limited basis. The young hens and Elvis bust out as quickly as they can but the old hens like to stay on the roost and chat and gossip about whatever it is that hens chat and gossip about.
I suspect it's the wanton ways of the younger hens and the foolishness of Elvis. "Why he's old enough to be their great-great-great grandfather," I can almost hear them say. "Did you SEE the way she was flirting with him? Shameless."
Anyway, you can hear Miss Trixie's song and witness the always THRILLING flight of the hens from the roost.

Another Friday night without my sweetheart. He's gone back up to the hunting camp to hopefully get that plot planted before the rains come in tomorrow. He'll be back in time for the big party tomorrow afternoon. And it will be a big party in that tomorrow is Lily's birthday as well as Vergil's although Vergil is still in Asheville. We shall be sending him best wishes, though.

I made Lily a vegan chocolate cake today. Well, I baked the cake itself. I have not yet frosted it. I will do that tomorrow. Such a simple cake and it looks to be beautiful and smells delicious. Cocoa and almond milk, coconut oil and brown sugar. Flour, of course. A little red wine vinegar. I'll let you know how it turns out. It made my heart happy to bake. Lily is making Owen's cake.
I like that. Owen's mama is making his cake, Lily's mama is making hers.

Very quiet here tonight in Lloyd. The twittering of birds, a goat next door calling out for supper, the church folks arriving for services. I have a sense of melancholy but it is not depression. I think about the fact that twenty-nine years ago I was about to go into labor. I had made crab salad for dinner that night. I remember that. I remember going to bed and waking up in the early, early hours, knowing that my labor had started truly, going outside and looking up at the stars, wondering how all of this would unfold, holding my belly, breathing with the universe.

Quite nicely, it turns out.

Maurice comes up for one of her quick kisses and cuddles, then returns to her nap. She still pretends she has no real interest in us and perhaps she truly doesn't. Either way, she is at the door when I come home, she sleeps for at least part of the night tight against my legs. She offers her head for scratching, she closes her eyes as I oblige. She keeps me good company, uncomplaining and steady as my shadow.

The vocalist next door is wailing and the drums are beating and I am sure that there is imploring to the Lord going on. If I had half a working ovary I would put on a dress and go over there, slip into a back pew but I don't have half a working ovary.
My ovaries worked fine when I needed them though. There is no doubt of that.
And I tell you this- it is a joy of my life that I live next door to a church where praise is expressed through drums and singing. Shouting and testifying. Where chickens scratch and sing and squirrels scramble and hawks cry and cicadas buzz and frogs croak and the sun goes down with its light caught in the branches of oak trees which are older than the presence of white people on this land.

Can I get a witness?

Love...Ms. Moon

Birthday Post

I called Owen this morning.
"Happy birthday, my beautiful little prince," I told him. (Calling him "my beautiful little prince" sort of makes me want to put a gag in my own mouth and sort of makes me want to buy a smallish gold crown and crimson velvet cape for him to wear.)
No sooner were the words out of my mouth than he began to wail. "I don't even want today to be my birthday!" he sobbed.
Oh Owen. He is SUCH a drama queen. Wonder where he picked that up?
But he called me a little later to tell me that he'd opened one of his presents and I have no idea what it was but he surely was excited about it. He ended up saying, "See you at my party!"
Which will be tomorrow.

He is five.

Here's my post from last year where I sort of summed up his birthing day. 

The day he created a family.

I love that picture. I love those people. 

It's absolutely impossible for me to do justice to the way I feel about that child and the way his presence on this earth has affected me and our family. 

There are, of course, ten million more. 

But. There you are. A few moments in the five years of his life. 

Owen Curtis Hartmann.

My beautiful little prince. My firstborn grandson.  

Happy birthday. My god, but you are loved. 

Mer Mer