Monday, June 30, 2014

What Can We Do?

I am in a fine mood this evening. After days of joyful chaos and a hug or a kiss or both at the end of every arm-span, I am alone again with Maurice and the dogs and the chickens and it is good, like eating the most simple of salads made with bitter greens and inky-sweet balsamic vinegar after days of foods rich in every way.
Take a breath. Inhale. Let it out.
There. That feels good.

I am purposely pushing to the back of my mind what happened today in Supreme Court Land. I think Elizabeth said everything I need to say right here in her final paragraph.
Why say it all again in an inferior way?
I will add that I cannot believe that this has happened and I am devastated and I am aghast and I am horrified and I think this is going to lead to the biggest shit storm ever.

Some things are not for me to decide however, and I have absolutely no control over the evil fuckery which is going on in this country. I do, however, have some control over things here in this house in Lloyd and I have attended to a few of them today.

The house that we saw this morning was not only charming in its bones but also in the way it had been decorated. I would not have made all the choices that were made but there were so many spots that had one or two beautiful items, some perhaps family antiques or well-chosen pieces, and some just beautifully placed little things, arranged with a true artist's hand and eye.
Glass bottles in a window sill, a slender side-table up against a wall, a set of painted china light fixtures in a bathroom.
And no clutter! Well, a little clutter but not much and even though the rooms were small-ish, they felt so light-filled, so airy.
It all made me want to come home and throw out all of my stuff and paint (oh- if only I knew how to paint!) and start again.
And so I did begin on the smallest scale and opened up a closet and filled up a bag with things to throw out and collected things to set aside at the trash-place for people to see and take home if they want. This is how it is done in Lloyd. Things too good to toss, things which maybe I will never use, but someone else might find a need for or find a place for. I like this way of getting rid of things. It feels more natural and right than just donating to Goodwill or even a thrift store dedicated to a humane society or some other good cause. I mean, I do support that and when I decide to truly go on a tear, I'll donate, but on a small, day-by-day scale, this just seems a doable thing.
Free. Free to you today if you want it.

I feel the tiniest bit lighter, the smallest bit more in control.

If I could do this every day, just imagine! Oh, just imagine.

And I am doing laundry and have tidied up the area in the kitchen where I keep bowls and vases and liquor and liquor glasses and shot glasses. Owen loves to drink out of shot glasses and has a very special love of the martini shaker which he fills with ice and water and sips from. I do not mind. It is part of his ritual at my house. Eat Chex Mix, drink from shot glasses, play Tarzan on the play set, pirates on the swing porch, collect eggs, want the Mr. Peep story as a lullaby, want to watch Tom and Jerry cartoons on the TV, feel that pancakes and bacon must be served for breakfast.
And Gibson is establishing his own rituals which, at this point, include listening to the Stones, feeding the dogs a treat, applying dusting powder to my shower glass with great, puffy pats (it smells very nice!),  and having me read two special books to him (Dr. Suess's ABC and Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb which was one of his mama's first favorites as well). He likes to drink from the "mouse" glass which I believe jam came in and which is decorated with Micky Mouse.

Oh, my babies.

Anyway, as I said, I am alone and sent Mr. Moon (who works harder than anyone I know and I have no idea how he does it but he does) off to Orlando with his snack bag and coffee drink and giant bowl of popcorn and I have the water on in the garden which is only going to make the weeds grow another foot or two tonight and give the stinkbugs which are ruining my tomatoes a nice, refreshing drink of water, and filled up the chicken waterers and hung some towels out on the line and swept floors and discussed artwork for my Shebooks book with the editor and well, it all feels very, very peaceful.

There is so much I want to do, want to change, wish I could change, and will probably rail against at some point but right now, this second, I am content.

And part of me feels so guilty for that. How can I be so selfish as to be so happy in the midst of all of this insanity that's going on and why didn't I become a lawyer and maybe, at this point in my life, have some actual influence in this world, and why do I think that my chickens, my grandchildren, my cat, my trash have anything to do with anything?

They don't and that's the bottom line and yet, here I am, living this particular life as you are living yours.

And in a few moments I am going to go hang some more clothes on the line even though night is about to fall and I am going to feed my chickens some grapes and figure out what to eat for my supper and hope that Maurice is in a better mood tonight than she was last night when she was so miffed at me that she slept without touching me until five-thirty a.m. when she suddenly decided to forgive me and want head scratches. I might listen to this tonight.

No matter what goes on in this world, music is going to be incredibly important as long as humans live here. There are going to be chickens (which, as I always say, have done more for the human race than religion so take that, Hobby Lobby, and suck it).

There are going to be houses and homes built of wood and bricks and grasses and sticks. There is going to be clutter and art. There are going to be stories to be told and babies to make and babies to be birthed and raised and food to be planted and cooked and eaten. There are going to be cats to hunt vermin with bloody and clear intent and who will then ask to be scratched behind the ears. There are going to be flowers to bloom and seas to cross and to live beside and if my place here on this earth right now is to remind us of this, then so be it.

And when all of this is over, so shall we be.

Until then, here we are.

Let's make the most of it.

With all of the love in our hearts we can muster and all of the anger in our souls we can use for good.
Feed the babies and the chickens. Give away freely. Notice that which is blooming. Eat that which is fruiting. Do what we can to protect the waters which sustain us. Don't be afraid to dance, love, kiss, cry, ask for help. Look people in the eyes. Tell the truth and shame the devil.
Inhale, let it out. Enjoy.

That's all I got tonight.

Love...Ms. Moon

My Babies And So Forth

Oh my god. It's barely noon and I've already been to town with Jessie and Vergil to look at the most charming house which is just down the street from where Jessie was born. Mr. Moon came too and even he was like, "Yep. This is a good one," and that's something in that Lily has recently given him the new title of The Dream Crusher because he can find ten thousand things wrong with any house you look at no matter how much you love it and how much you want it.
But this one?
Nope. No crushing of dreams here.
And we shall see. It's always so tricky- that falling in love with a house, that wanting it so bad you can feel it in your toes, the walking into a room and thinking, "Yes, I could have a baby here."
Oh wait. That's just me.
And, yeah, Jessie. Her someday babies shine through her eyes already. Hers and Vergil's. I can see them there, pure as the daylight shining through the windows of that house.

So, send up a good thought on that one for Jessie and Vergil because the house is darling and solid and filled with original hardware and a yard that chickens could live in and that children and Greta could play in and know.

So we came home and they loaded up their car and said, "Come on, Greta," and I said, "Let me take a picture," and here it is.

You know what? I just want all my children's dreams to come true. All of them. And I know that's not life but it's human nature. And I have dreams for my kids too and of course some of those dreams are for my daughter May who is the most amazing writer. Many of you know that from her old blog and most of you know her from my blog. Here she is, my little mini-me, my daughter whom I always say about, between the two of us, one of us is redundant. We are way too much alike.

And oh, golly. I have many dreams for May. She's one of those people so blessed in talents and joy and humor and intelligence and heart that it doesn't seem fair but it is fair because she's May. And her ability and talent in writing are just...well. I know I'm her mother but she blows me away.
And she's just started a new blog. 
You can find it here. 

She had told me she was doing it and I got an e-mail from her just a few minutes ago and I was already all weepy at telling Jessie and Vergil good-bye and then I read what May had written and I was crying and I was laughing because it's so lovely and well-done and funny and about love and cooking and okay, I'll shut up now. Just go read it.

And here I am, the luckiest woman in the world and knowing it. Not only do I get to live in my own dream house and not only did I already find three beautiful eggs this morning and not only do I have a husband who is the kindest, best man I've ever known but I have these four children, each so incredibly different from the others that they might as well be stars in different universes and maybe that's what they are, maybe that's what all of us are.
And I am so fucking proud of each and every one of them and I want all of the very best for each and every one of them and I am so grateful for the chance to write about them here, to cherish them out loud, and now, of course, those grandboys too. 

And so it goes. 

Go and get you some May Makes Meat. 

Love you kindly...Ms. Moon

Sunday, June 29, 2014

We're Here

Ah, what a day it's been.
I woke up this morning completely disturbed by the dreams I'd had. They involved everything from murder and kidnapping to my stepfather in full-on lingerie drag. And somehow, I was going to have to support and take care of my younger brothers.
Not a good way to wake up on your husband's sixtieth birthday.
But the fug cleared and we all went to breakfast at the Waffle House, Mr. Moon and Jessie and Vergil and Jessie's friend Melissa and me.
Then we gathered up things to go scalloping, drove down to the coast, put the boat in the water, drove down the river to the Gulf and way out and after three different stops and searches for the sweet little shellfish with Paul Newman eyes, all of ten had been found.
About enough for an appetizer for one person.

But we had fun. And we drove to Spring Creek for supper and ate vast quantities of delicious fried seafood and hushpuppies and trash-talked our governor with our server who was an awesome woman.

And now we're home and exhausted and Jessie's driving Melissa home and Mr. Moon and Vergil are cleaning up the boat and I'm trying to get some laundry done and some tidying-up before bed and it's one of those exhaustions where you're sunburned and full and the idea of taking a shower is almost too much to bear. But, you know. You do it.

I think it was a very fine birthday for Mr. Moon. He kept saying it was. And when we were out on the water we suddenly realized that we were surrounded by dolphins. They were jumping everywhere, sometimes five at a time, all at once, and there were babies and juveniles and we spent at least twenty minutes just watching them, delighted and excited and unbelieving. They came right up to the boat and swam underwater beneath it, rolling on their sides to watch us. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

An unexpected miracle, an unasked for gift, a very fitting celebration of life and living, especially for a man who loves the water the way my man does.
And I am so glad he got that gift and that we could all share it.

So. He is sixty, he is beautiful, and I love him and he is my my miracle and gift and may all of our dreams be sweet tonight.

Saturday, June 28, 2014


When I drive to town or come home by the back way, I pass this house. It never ceases to disturb me. An acre at least of plain grass yard with not a bush or a tree. A straight-up brick house and that cop car is always parked there outside the garage so I suppose a police officer lives there. I don't know how that works. The car parked out front is on a slab of white cement and is a step or two from the front door.
A few months ago one small bit of ornament did show up. Two pots on either side of the entrance filled with plastic flowers. You can't see them for the car.

This disturbs me because it seems so unnatural. Who lives like this? What sort of people who choose to live in a relatively rural area don't want at least a few flowers, a fruit tree or a crepe myrtle? Bushes under the windows? A garden patch? I just don't get it. I swear to you- I worry about that place. Or at least its inhabitants. What does the inside of the house look like? Do they have a couch? A picture on the wall? Rugs? There are the hints of plain white curtains at the windows in front but they could be there simply for privacy. I do not know.
It is certainly nothing like my house. Not one bit. It resembles the place I live as much as a stick and palapa-roofed Mayan house resembles a New York City Brownstone.

I took that picture on the way home from town today where I went swimming with Lily and Jessie and the boys. We went down to a local lake in a State Park, Maclay Gardens and ate our picnic of salads and various other delicious foods from Publix which we'd picked up and there were hundreds of people at the park. At least one major family reunion was going on, maybe more than one. There were kids and babies and adults of every color and shade and proclivity and age and ability and we just floated around and soaked in the warm water, letting the boys splash and play and we talked and laughed.
"Mer!" Owen would say. "Pretend you a little girl and I'm an alligator and you not supposed to be in the deep end but you are and you say, 'I not in the deep end,' and the alligator comes up and..."
I couldn't even follow that one. His pretend scenarios are getting pretty complex. Small little plays which he scripts and I follow his lines and improvise and sometimes he has to step in to correct me, to nudge me back to the story.
Oh, that child.

Anyway, after all of that I drove home to find Mr. Moon and Vergil, drowsing in front of the World Cup. They had spent most of the day trying to sight Glen's bow and were hot and tired. It was after four and they had just had their lunch of leftover chicken and dumplings. Jessie and I had discussed the fact that they probably hadn't eaten, had flat forgotten to eat, which both of them tend to do. Sometimes I get so angry at my husband when he does that. I suppose I worry that if I died, he would never eat at all and would grow faint and follow me into an early and unnecessary grave.
I'm sure that would not happen but for goodness sake! Who in the hell forgets to eat?

I did a few things around here and then laid down on the bed to read. Maurice came and got on the bed with me and I found myself saying something completely idiotic and embarrassing like, "Oh, is that my sweet wittle baby? Does she want to lay down with Mama?"
And I almost gagged but didn't and we snuggled up and I read for awhile and then I had to put the book down and snooze a little.
I got up but Maurice still hasn't. She looks like this.

When I got up, I went out and gathered some eggs and watered the porch plants and took some pictures. I suppose what I'm really thinking about here is the contrast between that bare brick house on that piece of yard and my house and yard which are the very antithesis of minimalism in every way.

This is the circuit breaker box right outside our kitchen porch which of course, everyone who comes into the house passes on their way up the steps except for people running for local office and Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormon boys in their white shirts and ties who knock on the front door.

The east end of my front porch, just after watering.

One of my lady spiders who is growing big in that end of the porch. She has several small males within the world of her web, awaiting her pleasure, I suppose.

My bottle tree and oh! how it needs cleaning. Still, I love it. Can you see Elvis? 

My older chickens getting their evening sips. I love how Miss Trixie's comb looks with the lowering sun shining through it.

Sometimes I look around me and I feel overwhelmed by the so-muchness of it all. The skulls with their teeth and the postcards and cards and pictures and aprons and chickens and phlox and madonnas and mermaids and seashells and Buddhas and books and Fridas and year-round Christmas lights and toys and bad art. And sometimes, like right now, I just revel in all of it.

Might as well.

Life is messy. Clean it up.
Or just enjoy it as much as possible.

Every child who ever comes in this house looks around and says basically what Owen has asked me so many times which is, "Where did you get all this stuff?"
And I just say, "I don't even know."
And they say, "I love it here."

I do too. Maybe I'm just trying to reclaim some bit of childhood which I never had- that which is playful and whimsical and light-hearted and not serious or scary or black-and-white at all but which is colorful and light-shot and silly and mythical and sensuous and which no one in this world would spank you for if you broke it. It would just make room for more.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Love...Ms. Moon

It Was A Slumber Party Too

As you can see, it was a fine birthday party. And Lily and the boys spent the night and and Jessie and Lily are in the kitchen right now tending to the bacon and pancakes and Vergil and Greta are having fun with Owen and Gibson and I am not sure where Boppy is but a little while ago when Gibson got up he marched right down the porch past me and into his grandfather's arms.

I AM chopped liver when it comes to Gibson these days. He'll love on me if I'm the only one around. Otherwise, nah.

It really was fun last night. Chaos and crazy and the best pizzas ever and Mr. Moon blowing out his candles and I kept forgetting to take pictures but you get what you get. 

When it was bedtime, Owen wanted The Little Red Hen Makes A Pizza read to him. Bethany sent that book to Owen and it is so charming. Owen does the voices of the dog, the cat, and the duck and he does them perfectly and after we finished he said, "That is the best book in the world!" and then he demanded what he calls "The Lullaby" which is the Mr. Peep story and he helps me tell that one too and then he fell asleep and Gibson was still jumping on his aunts and uncle who were all laying on Glen's and my bed and making us all crack up and finally, his mama got him to sleep too.

My heart is pretty full.
The pancakes and bacon smell delicious.

Good morning.

Friday, June 27, 2014

To Sum Up- Sometimes It Is More Than I Can Bear

It's quiet here just now. Jessie and Vergil have gone off to look at houses and Mr. Moon has gone to work. Maurice and I sit here on the back porch, listening to the birds chatter, Elvis crowing, frogs chanting.
I have to go to town to get ingredients to make the pizzas tonight. We're gathering here, the whole family, to celebrate Mr. Moon's birthday early. Pizzas are good because I can make everything from a vegan pie to one with all the meat. And those in between.

I feel weird. Don't I always get a little crazy this time of year? Summer, the birthdays.
Glen turns sixty on Sunday and I will turn sixty in a month.
This seems impossible. Quite simply not possible.
Sixty is retired and living in Florida because you're done with shoveling snow. Sixty is white hair and a cane. Sixty is separate bedrooms because she snores. Sixty is going out to dinner after church on Sunday. Sixty is shuffleboard and a gingerale at sunset. Sixty is a week's worth of pills in a container labeled S-M-T-W-TH-F-S. Sixty is you've lived your life now get of the way.

Sixty is not the new forty and anyone who says so is a fucking idiot. Sixty is sixty.

Of course, all of these things are true/not true.

Sixty is also still working and sixty is also still loving. Sixty is, I suppose, what you make it within the limitations of everything you have done and which time has done to your body, your mind, your soul, your heart. Sixty is younger than Keith Richards by a decade. Sixty is dancing to the Rolling Stones in the hallway with your grandsons, hands backwards on hips, arms out chicken-winging and butt-wiggling like Mick. Sixty is damn, I shouldn't be doing this, my knee's gonna blow. Sixty is making pizzas and a red velvet birthday cake. Sixty is regret and sixty can be renewal. I hope.
Sixty is as crazy as sixteen without the innocence but with the wisdom. Sixty is just a number but in the terms of human years, not an insignificant one.

Sixty can be exhausting and sixty can be a time of wonder at the simplest things, all-over-childlike again.
Sixty is tallying up the long list of those we have loved who are no longer here.
Sixty is knowing there will most likely be more babies to love, still yet to be born.
Sixty is avoiding mirrors. Sixty is looking at the one you love and loving him all the more for what time has done to him because you were there for each and every minute of the past thirty years and time has done it to you too and sometimes he still tells you that you are beautiful.

Sixty is forgetting shit all the damn time. Sixty is remembering shit all the damn time.

Sixty is having all the ages you've ever been inside you and oh, how they sometimes tussle, the two-year old still pouting, the seventeen-year old still panting, the six-year old still crying for her daddy, the twenty-one year old still holding her first newborn to her breast. So much to hold inside and yet, so much to have to try and learn and adapt to, as well.

Sixty is a mystery and sometimes I am scared. Not because it is that much closer to death but because of what comes between now and then. Sometimes even the good things can be frightening. The more you love, the more you have to lose.

And I am not sure why this melancholic brown study has come upon me on this Friday morning when it is so beautiful and I will see all my babies tonight and actually, all my babies at lunch too.
When I am still strong enough to carry grandchildren, to make the pizzas, to work in the yard, to bear the sorrows that come.
Perhaps I am afraid I am not up to the task of bearing the love which continues and multiplies and redoubles and expands to such a degree that sometimes I feel as if it might crush me. Is my heart big enough for it all? Is the sky?
Could that be it? Just the simple fact that all of this love, so undreamed of, so unexpected, so seemingly undeserved is more than I can bear? And not just the love of family, of friends, but love for these trees, these creatures here, the small shiny brown eggs I'm getting, the little tasks that make up life on earth which even in these days of technology involve water, fire, knives, brooms, soap, sunlight and dirt, the cat who wakes me with kisses on my face, the humming of the crickets, the pleading to the rain gods of the frogs, the floors of this house, the porches, way the trees and sun come together to make puddles of silver which shift and tremble, even as I do?

I do not know.

I am almost sixty and I do not know.

But the older I get, the more I do know that love is the engine which fuels it all from babies to sunlight, from pain to joy and I stand firm in that belief and am witness to its reality and power.
And I will do all that I can to hold it and recognize it and channel it until such time as it is no longer possible, until this vessel breaks and leaks it all back out to return from whence it all came.

Good morning.
Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, June 26, 2014

If You Ain't Kissing, Something's Missing

Think someone's glad to be home? Think someone's glad to have her home?

Oh my.

And since they've been here, they've been on the computer and phone, lining up appointments to go see houses in Tallahassee tomorrow.
"Maybe one of them is OUR house," Jessie said.

Oh, how I hope so.

Owen called. "Have you seen Jessie?" he asked.
"Yes, would you like to speak with her?"
And he did. He had no desire to talk to me whatsoever. I understand.

They brought their lovely dog, Greta. Greta was actually here when Maurice first showed up and she had no apparent opinion of Greta at that time. She simply ignored her. This time, however, was different. It is now, according to Maurice, her house and her territory. She hissed at Greta and then followed her outside, stalking her as if she was a tiger and Greta an antelope. And then, suddenly, she ran and pounced on Greta. Poor Greta. Thank goodness she is so well trained because the second Vergil yelled, "No!" she stopped in her tracks and did not retaliate and Maurice ran off across the yard.
They'll work it out. Every time Greta walks by her, Maurice gets a mohawk. She's sitting in a chair in the kitchen, keeping a wary eye out.

I asked Jessie what she thought about the Buster/Dolly situation.
"Let's take them in tomorrow." she said.
So. There is that.

And so it goes.
Making the broth for the chicken and dumplings. I don't make traditional chicken and dumplings but I don't feel like going into it right now. Let's just say that there are a lot of vegetables involved that would cause traditional cooks to make faces, if not downright cry.
Too bad.

There's carrots in there too.

All right. That's all I care to discuss right now. I have to go cook some green beans and visit with my husband and my daughter and her husband.

The Adventure has begun.

Heartbreak and Healing In Music and Life

Good morning, good morning!
It is Thursday and Jessie and Vergil are coming and I have so much to do but I just watched this and it made me smile.

The craggy old men (and oh, how beautiful Charlie Watt's face is when he smiles!) played Rome last night. It's a lovely little bit of film.

Our supper was wonderful. I will be making it again.

I'm about to go over to see Kathleen and her husband's new house. Mr. Moon has been helping them move this morning and I should have gone too but instead stayed in bed. Yesterday beat my ass and I did not sleep too well and there you go but I am excited to see the new place. They have worked so hard to make this their home.

And then I will come home and do things around this house to get it ready for Jessie and Vergil. Jessie has just come off of her very strict and limited diet so I am going to make that child some chicken and dumplings and fried green tomatoes tonight. I need to boil my chicken and let it all cool so that I can make the broth, etc.

Lovely things to do on a fine summer's day in Lloyd.

May we all live on streets of love in houses of love.

Yours truly...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

This Day In My Life

So I went to the dentist. Well, I only saw the dental hygienist whom I do dearly like. We show each other pictures of our grandkids. We talk probably too much which is fine with me. We are of an age, I think, and I am sure we share many of the same past experiences. When we get down to business, I always tense up. I try not to but as hard as I concentrate on finding my happy place, controlling my breathing, I always find myself with my hands clenched together, my muscles like steel. Over and over I remind myself to relax and the sweet lady working on me repeatedly tells me, "If anything I do bothers you in any way, just tell me."
And it's not her.
We all know that.
She discussed implants versus permanent bridges with me. The permanent bridge sounds pretty all right to me. I will (I will!) make an appointment with the other guy to discuss these options.
When we were done, I paid up and flew out of that office on wings of joy, feeling as if I could now conquer Mt. Everest. I drove to the New Leaf, saw my Billy, bought Tryptophan and cheese and Tamari. On to Publix for other stuff, then Costco for olive oil and gasoline and a brand new pair of men's cargo shorts! I was home by 11:30. I unloaded it all, changed into my new cargo shorts feeling tres chic, put on my gloves and went out and cleaned the henhouse, put down fresh hay. I made myself a lunch, ate it, and the boys arrived.
Then I got busy.
They ate approximately fourteen snacks apiece and drank approximately twelve beverages. We went across the street to play with Leo, the dog who lives there. We played on the play set. We gathered the eggs. We fed the chickens corn. And crackers.
Here are my very cute farmer boys.

My god but I love those children. 

We watched some TV. We built a city with blocks. We changed a poopy diaper. We washed hands and faces. ("Tank-you," said Gibson.) We ate some more. We drank some more. 
They were only here for three hours and when they left I felt like lying on the floor because the bed was too far away.
But I did not. I made a shot of espresso. I washed the snack bowls, the glasses, the pan I scrambled an egg in for Gibson, the blender I'd made him a smoothie in.
I tidied up. 
I wrote a few pages. 
And now here I am. 

I am very excited about dinner tonight. I am going to make a sort of Eggs Benedict with asparagus. Fuck cholesterol, this is happening. I watched a little video last night of Jamie Oliver demonstrating how to make perfect poached eggs and I am going there. Seems like the most important part of the whole deal is very fresh eggs. Got plenty of those! Perhaps mushrooms will be involved. Maybe even spinach! Something different that I have never made instead of one of the four things it seems to me that I am constantly making. Clam spaghetti, beans and rice, pork chops and sweet potatoes, stuff with chicken in it. 
Of course I make more than that but as every person on this earth who cooks seven dinners a week knows, it is so very, very hard to come up with new ideas. 
Maybe we should all discuss this more often. It would be a public service, don't you think?

All right. Animal pictures. 

Chickens first. 

Sorry about the quality of this picture. I know. It sucks. However, I have designated that white chicken as Cha-Cha. Her comb is noticeably larger than Chi-Chi's. That's Butterscotch behind her.


Miss Nicey who is still the first young chicken to greet me although she does not exactly want to be held anymore. But she's still mighty nice.

All right. These two are sad. So sad that they could easily be used on those late-night commercials which plead with you to send your money to some organization to help these poor dogs find their forever home. These dogs HAVE found their forever home. And they are going to live forever. 

Again, crappy picture. I am having issues with photography. Don't judge me. Please.
That is Dolly. She is the smaller one. She walks like five feet a day. That's not only the distance but the speed. It is so painful to watch her making her way from the bed she sleeps in in the library to the door and down the steps when she goes outside. When we make her go outside. Which is difficult. 
Yes. She is sweet as pie. 
Yes. She can still bark. 
Sometimes she even lays down outside in the sun for a nap. 

Buster. Dear god. I mean...really? Does that look like a happy animal? He walks as slowly as his sister although every time I feed Maurice, he makes his way to the kitchen and as soon as she steps away from her dish he gets down on his belly and slides under the butcher block counter to eat whatever is in her dish.
Then he vomits. 

They are both so very deaf and blind but their sense of smell is quite intact. And, as I said, they still bark. And when Jessie gets in tomorrow they will be overjoyed and they will show it. 

To round things off, picture-wise, here is Maurice.

Her mama and daddy's joy. 
(Gag, gag, gag. True.) 
GODDAM IT! I'm a crone, I needed a cat. 
And she is such a fine one.

All right. I'm going to go cook that dinner. The cardinals are taking little dips in the birdbath, Mr. Moon is home, the evening-time crickets are cranking up a racket, and I could not ask for one thing more. 

And today the mood has passed and of course there were dreams of houses, always, always houses and also a dream of Maurice where she followed me everywhere, even to the dentist and I do have to go to the dentist this morning, the regular one to get my teeth cleaned and I need so badly to call the other dentist and make an appointment to start the process of getting an implant and I thought I could do fine with just that hole in my head but no, it bugs me to no end and I'm stalling, stalling, stalling.
For what?
I do this.

The dentist today and a few errands, boys coming this afternoon, and then Jessie and Vergil are coming tomorrow and then Friday a big celebration for Mr. Moon's birthday and who knows for the weekend and for someone who has no life, I am busy.

Maurice. That cat. She lost her mind a little while ago and batted a plastic ball the boys left outside that has a rattle in it and then she turned and ran through the backyard as if the hounds from hell were on her tiny feet and she raced to the ends of the earth and back and she'll probably sleep half the day away in between hunting squirrels and observing chickens and eating food and no wonder people call their cats familiars. That is how I do it too- frantic movement overtaken by lassitude and hunger.

Life is so simple, so complex, we have to run to keep up but with what? Everything.
And then we realize that the earth turns without us if we let it and oh, how I do not want anyone's hands in my mouth today but that, too, is life, and now I must hurry or be late.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

I'm Just A Mess Today

Woke up this morning wanting nothing more than to crawl in a hole and lick my wounds but I have no wounds, just the same old, old ones.
The sort of day where I have to wonder if it's the anniversary of someone's death whom I loved but which I've forgotten with my mind but my body maybe not or maybe that's not it at all, it's just a mood, a moon, and Mercury is in retrograde, or so they say and I don't believe in that shit anyway although maybe I do a little and to tell you the truth, that article I read may have been old or misinformed.

In my quest for The Great Mushroom Journey which I am hoping to take around my 60th birthday (should I be writing about this? I mean, for some unaccountable reason, these mushrooms are illegal to possess) I took a different walk today. I walked down the highway across Lloyd Creek

and it was hot and the logging trucks kept thundering down the road, forcing me to walk in the grass where ticks live but it wasn't so bad. I took a little side road where I used to walk a long time ago and it is beautiful and clay and dirt and thick woods enclosing the road from both sides like a dark, shady lover's arms. I used to dig ferns in those woods and they are the ones that grow now in my camellia bed.

I felt all alone in the world, no scat, no prints except for one dainty deer print. I walked up to where there used to be a cow pasture but now it is planted in something and no cows were in sight. I did, however, see these beautiful Morning Glories.

I trudged home, drenched in sweat and I actually took note of my shoes, which I think of as relatively new, to realize they have holes in both toes and are breaking down on the sides. 
I don't even care. My body is much the same. Breaking down, for sure. And doesn't everything? It's all constantly trying to return to chaos, to dust, to that which mushrooms would thrive on. Mushrooms and worms and bugs of all sorts which do their pre-ordained job of breaking it all down so that there is room for new growth (yes, I realize there is always new growth) and sometimes I just grow weary thinking of it all, how there is no catching up and you can eat clean and you can do detoxes and you can exercise and take your supplements and floss your teeth and you can paint your house and you can weed your garden and you can cut your grass and trim your bush (yes, I meant to say that) and it's all going to fall apart anyway, every damn bit of it.

Somehow today that just pisses me off. 

Tomorrow I may take comfort in the same thoughts. 

The young chickens have finally made their way to the little banana/flower bed by the kitchen where the older chickens spend hours every day, scratching and pooping. 

I never have to weed that bed. The Voodoo lily, which you can see if you look closely, is still growing but has no color. I wonder what it's going to do. Whatever it does, it will die after a time of glory.

But yes, of course, of course, the lily will spread and there will be more another year and it does go that way, there is that promise. 

I need to take the trash, to sweep the floor, to do the laundry, to make the bed, to do all of the things I did yesterday or the day before. All of these things, over and over and that is life and maybe that's why the creation of something, whether art or craft, is such a glorious thing- it is stopping time and making something new among all of the old, old, old.

I roasted those carrots last night with tiny cut-up peeled sweet potatoes and a sliced Vidalia onion, tossed with olive oil and a little bit of brown sugar and they were delicious. 

Thank god for food. 

I think I will go eat some. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, June 23, 2014

I'm Feeling Old

The boys just left, dirty, tired, happy and full of corn chips. Their sweet daddy picked them up and I hope they're good boys and go to bed early tonight because he has to be at work at 5 a.m. tomorrow. He is such a hard worker.

Mr. Moon came home early and tag-teamed me. Owen and Gibson both rushed into his arms and Owen was so overcome with joy he turned around and hugged me. I do not inspire such greetings. When they get here Owen gets out of the van and walks up to the house and says, "Mer!"
I practically have to hold him down to get a kiss before he starts to tell me what we're going to be doing.
Gibson will kiss me but it's hard for him to let go of his mama when he first gets here. After about five seconds he's cool but he is a mama's boy. Her little cub. After she leaves though, he is perfectly happy with grandmother bear. He is the sweetest child. He thanks me for doing things for him. Washing his hands with a washcloth, putting his shoe on (only one needed these days), changing his diaper, lifting him into the stroller. I mean seriously. Have you ever heard of such a thing?

Owen did find a tiny egg today. He wasn't as thrilled as I thought he'd be but he DID say it was "adorable."
Is there anything more adorable than a four-year-old calling something adorable? You'd be hard-pressed to beat that.

We got a lovely, long, gentle rain this afternoon. I had to rush to get my sheets off the line and finished them up in the dryer. And gave thanks for having a dryer.

The air is cool now, the brutal humidity doesn't feel as bad. The birds are singing, the chickens are finally off the kitchen porch where they stayed throughout the rain. One of them is a true lazy-ass and laid an egg right there on the porch. Not even in a flower pot. Oh well. As I said yesterday, most convenient.

I almost left a very ungodly comment on a FB thing today but restrained myself. Am I becoming soft in my old age or just wiser about what a waste of time things like that are?
I do not know.
I do not know so very, very much.

What I do know is that it's time for me to make supper and so I shall.

Here's a picture that my brother White sent me today.

I showed it to Owen and he said, "You used to be a boy?"
"No," I said. "I'm the girl in the picture."
"Oh," he said.

White sure was cute. I wasn't. I remember those curtains. They were made of fiberglass. I can still remember how they felt in my fingers. Sort of slippery and somehow slimy, too. But they were a cool print.
I realize I was rocking the gap-tooth, high-forehead thing even then.

Bless my heart.

Bless y'alls' too.

Love...Ms. Moon

Is It Monday Already?

Ugh. I can't wake up this morning. I've fed the dogs, the cats, the dog across the street, let the chickens out, given them their scratch, read the paper and drunk about half a pot of coffee and I'm still not really awake.
The air is heavy, dense with moisture this morning and we still haven't gotten rain, just teases of spits here and there. The sky is the color of a hatchet head. I need to go take a walk. I need to go to the store. I need to wake up and get out and do something and the boys will be here this early afternoon. I am hoping, hoping, hoping that another of the young hens lays an egg for Owen to find because he will be so excited. He's going to look at the cut-back azaleas and say, "What happened here?" or maybe, "I didn't see THAT coming," or, "Are you serious?" because these are the things he says.
He notices everything. Everything.

I have nothing to say.

If you grew up in the sixties and seventies, you might enjoy watching THIS. 
Jerry Seinfeld and Sarah Jessica Parker go for coffee in a 1976 Ford Country Squire station wagon.
We had one of those monsters. It was blue. With fake wood paneling.

Good times.

Not really. But it's a funny little film.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Cutting Azaleas, Not Hair, Plus A Book Recommendation And A Sort-Of Dirty Joke But Not Really

Here is a true fact:
Give a man a power tool and he will fucking use it.

Mr. Moon recently got some sort of shrub trimming attachment for something, don't ask me, and he got busy with it today. He trimmed back all the azaleas in the yard which have not been trimmed for ten years and let me just say- I hope they grow back.

I know you don't really know what it looked like before he started trimming but I have to admit I'd pretty much forgotten that palm was in there. And I planted it. 
It's a good thing.
He hauled everything to the burn pile which is now about two feet taller than my head. He worked so hard. I reminded him in the early afternoon that he wanted to go look for a new chair and he looked at me like I'd lost my mind.
"Nah. I gotta finish this," he said. 
That is one goal-oriented man, y'all. 
I just remembered the business card of the darling boy who used to cut our grass. It said (and I am not making this up), "We cut your grass, we trim your bush."
And I am sure that tongues were firmly in cheeks when this motto was dreamed up. 

Another one of the young hens laid an egg today! I don't know which one although I suspect it was another of the red hens. Either Nicey or Butterscotch. But when I went out to check eggs, I found a tiny rounded-out nest in a different nesting box from the ones they usually use (three boxes and they all want to lay in the same one, often waiting impatiently in line) and in it was a lovely, perfect brown egg. It is tiny. It fits in a spoon. Here it is with two of my older hen eggs which got laid today. The eggs that is, I have no idea if the hens got laid. 

I wonder what colors of eggs I'll be getting from these ladies. If I knew my chicken breeds, I might have a clue but I do not. I have no interest in researching this issue at all. I'd rather just be surprised and delighted. 

So I spent some time in the yard today too. Mostly I just messed around with potted plants, moving this avocado to this bigger pot and that one to that bigger pot, sticking some ferns that were neglected into a different pot, moving the maiden-hair fern into a bigger pot, etc. 
I weeded in the garden today too, first feeling as I always do that this is the most useless activity in the world and then thinking, Fuck that. I am enjoying this and so what?

Y'all, I want to talk about something. I had never read anything by Elizabeth Gilbert until all the hype about Eat, Pray, Love came out and since it WAS so hyped, I didn't read it for forever and when I did I sort of hated it. I mean, Jeez. Come on. 
But a few weeks ago I picked up a Playaway at the library of her book The Signature Of All Things and it's gorgeous. 

The production of the audio book is terrific. The narrator is one of the best I've ever heard. Juliet Stevenson is her name and oh, her voice...
Oh my. 
A perfect mating between written and spoken word in my opinion. 
But it's long. My Clash Of Kings is sitting there, waiting and I keep thinking this book will be ending soon but it goes on. Not in a bad way. And I will be sad when this one is indeed over. 
I decided a few days ago that great books are never too long and crappy books are never too short. 
I'm a genius, right?

Anyway, The Signature Of All Things is recommended by me and I must apologize to Ms. Gilbert for my previous thoughts on her writing. If one can go off and eat, pray and love and then come up with a book like this then I heartily approve of eating, praying, and loving. 

All right, speaking of gorgeous...did you EVER?
No, I did not grow them. My green-thumbed friend Tom did. He came by today and dropped those off along with some tomatoes he grew. I can't wait to eat them. Do you have a favorite way to eat carrots? I want to do them justice so I'm open to suggestion. 
And they bring to mind one of the possibly three jokes I can ever remember. It goes like this:

Two old peasant women are in a muddy field, picking carrots. One pulls up a huge specimen and says, "Ach! Dis reminds me of my husband, God rest his soul!"
The other lady looks over and asks, "He was dat big?"
"No," says the first woman. "He was dat dirty!"
Mr. Moon and I were looking at these carrots and he asked me, "Do they remind you of me?"
"Yes," I said. 
"I was that dirty?"
"No, you were that beautiful."


Here's what I look like tonight after taking a shower and washing my hair. 

I've been thinking lately that I should cut it. That this is insane, this long, long graying hair on this old lady but I sort of love my long, long graying hair. 
It is mine. It belongs to me and is as much a part of who I am as are the colors of the eggs of my hens a part of who they are. 

I have to go pick some basil now. Tomato and basil and goat cheese salad with our supper tonight. 
I can't wait. 

Love...Ms. Moon

A Quiet Kind Of Joy

Maurice has turned into quite the hunter. Not of birds so far, thank goodness, but of lizards and bugs. She brought me a little anole yesterday, left it all squished and bitten in the little bathroom off the kitchen. Last night she meowed at the bedroom door and I opened it for her but she would not come in. Instead she continued to meow and then walked a few feet to point out the beetle bug she'd crippled. It was laying on its back and doing the death dance.
I scooped her up and we carried the bug to the trash and I put it in.
"What a good kitty," I told her. "Thank-you."
And then we went to bed and slept, both of us having had productive days in our separate ways.
This morning she hunted another one of the same species. She toyed and played with it in the cruel manner that cats do and in a game of catch, release, toss, catch, release, she took it outside where she finished it off.
Oh, we have become fools for this cat. Mr. Moon refers to himself as "daddy" to her. And of course, I am "mama."
I cringe to tell you that. But it is true. We burst our buttons with pride at what a fine cat she is, so very dignified (she refuses to play with feathers or balls) as well as being modest and ladylike in her toilet. And such a hunter!
What is WRONG with us? To have succumbed to such cliches and stereotypes is simply ridiculous. And yet, we so have.

Mr. Moon wanted eggs and biscuits this morning. He brought me some Tupelo honey last week and was craving some on a biscuit. I got out the self-rising flour and the buttermilk, I started a pan of grits and some bacon in the skillet. When I went to crack the eggs, I discovered that Lucille's egg, the one I found yesterday, had two tiny yolks in it. Perfect and merry and gold as sunflowers.

I had already cracked another egg into the bowl and this is how they looked together. They were delicious, as were the biscuits with honey, the bacon, the grits. Sunday breakfast does not always mean pancakes.

I heard a racket from the kitchen porch a few minutes ago and went out to see what was happening. Elvis was doing this:

He had squeezed his body into the rosebush pot and was wallowing and making his call of Come here, hens.
I have absolutely no explanation of what this is about. I have seen him do this before in a pot of ferns on the front porch and the hens did indeed begin to lay eggs there for awhile but does he truly expect them to lay eggs amidst the thorns of the rose?
And I will tell you that the hens were completely ignoring him and so perhaps they are not as addled as he. It would, however, be quite handy to have the eggs delivered right to the kitchen door. Perhaps there is method in his madness. Perhaps he is only thinking of my convenience, being the considerate gentleman I know him to be. On the other hand, he may have just lost his mind.

And so it goes in Lloyd on a Sunday morning. Mr. Moon is mowing and every time he makes a pass near the back porch where I am, Maurice becomes agitated and jumps off the table and runs to another part of the house. Then she comes back to settle down uneasily again, tail twitching, eyes open and tensed for possible attack by mowing machine. She'll figure it out. The Voodoo Lily bloom-to-be has grown another three inches in the night and I am panting with anticipation to see what it is going to become. We may actually go to town today to shop for Mr. Moon a new recliner. His beloved old Lazy Boy has finally reached the point where it will not recline and the guts are broken and can no longer be repaired and as we all know, a man must have a chair to call his own. I would also love to drop off a table at May's which I have promised her. It belonged to Mother, a lovely cherry drop-leaf that my grandfather found in a shed on a piece of property he bought. It had been painted green and he restored it and it is the table I ate off as a child. I want May to have it now.

It is a fine and lovely day and if it rains, perfect. Or at least, as perfect as it gets for me. I am content and I am grateful and my tick bite has quit itching for now and there is nothing in this world I need which I do not have and amazingly, I have things which I did not know I needed but which I so obviously did- chickens, a cat, a man on a mower and a yard for him to mow.
And it is good.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Pictures and Pictures.

It has been such a good day today, this day of the solstice. I spent a great deal of it doing small and simple catch-up tasks. Things I could not get around to while the boys were here. I think after all of the years of having children at home, I start to get anxious if I can't keep up with at least the basic maintenance of the household, knowing that if I fall too far behind I will never catch up. And so today I did laundry and hung it outside. Oh, my raggedy dish cloths which I use to clean everything from boys' faces and hands to spilled smoothie on the floor. But still, I manage to go through paper towels too like nobody's business. 

I got the things off the line just as a bit of rain started to fall. Not enough to really do much good besides dampening down the dust but it was cheering for a moment there, to have the tease of the possibility, the thunder rumbling in the distance, the breeze turning eerily chilly for a moment. 

I cleaned out my refrigerator and thus- goal for the weekend met! I threw out so much stuff and gave a lot of it to the chickens. It felt wonderful. It had become as dense and jungley in there as the Amazon rain forest. I was creating soil in my vegetable bin. It depressed me every time I opened the door but now it is a thing of organization and beauty. 
Well. That's bullshit. But relatively speaking, sort of.

I swept under beds and watered porch plants. I went across the street to let out and feed our little neighbor's doggie who is under my care for a few days. I tidied the kitchen. I cooked soybeans which we will have for our dinner. I am quite excited about this although truthfully, it is the goop I make to go on the soybeans and brown rice which is the best. I got that recipe from a cookbook called, "The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook" which I have had for approximately one thousand and three years. The goop is made from mayonnaise, garlic, vinegar and soy sauce. 
Does that sound odd? 
Trust me. It is delicious. 

I took pictures today of the way things look on the summer solstice, 2014. Here are some of them.

Figs. I love the way the light filters through their leaves. Oh, I do so hope that they come to maturity this year. I sent a recipe today to my sister-in-law who has a tree in her yard in Texas. It's a simple recipe and good and has figs, water, sugar, and lemons in it. If you need a fig preserves recipe, I'm your girl. If you need actual fig preserves, well, we shall see.

All right. This.
That is the coming-on bloom of the Voodoo Lily. Yes, I have scheduled the pacemaker implant because Lucille laid an egg AND that lily is blooming. I cannot wait to see how it develops.

My office yard with some of my blooming phlox. I will get into that office tomorrow to write or know the goddam reason why.

One of the phlox I have transplanted to the front fence. Some day they will grace the entire front fence area. In gardening, as in so many things, one must have patience and fortitude. The older I get, the easier this becomes.

Zinnias in the garden, sprung up from the volunteer seeding of last year's crop. They are tall, sturdy, and healthy.

The way they look after I cut some of them and brought them inside and put them in one of my grandmother's vases. This vase is most mysterious to me in that it has an outer part and an inner part. I think it is made of copper or brass. The inner part is a tube and the whole thing is somewhat primitive and I know it was made by an artisan's hand. Anyone have any ideas on its origin? I do not and I so wish I did. But I have been putting zinnias in there for forty years. It is one of my most precious possessions. 

One of the things which I almost gave to the chickens but did not was a pack of tortillas. I decided to make baked chips out of them and I did. I brushed them with some macha sauce I made a few weeks ago, or at least the oil from it, cut them up and baked them. They are spicy and good. 

Here is a picture of the older hens, scratching in front of the house. From the left there are Sharon, Ozzie, Ms. Bob, Trixie and Mabel. Elvis is nearby and appeared immediately after I took the shot.
Here he is. 

My friend Tom gave me the two palms you can see in those two pictures. I planted them and they are growing well and someday, they will be towering. Again- patience. 
When we moved here, there was a dearth of palms and camellias and I have, in my opinion, rectified that situation. There is also a mulberry tree and the figs which I planted. And the ash magnolia and all of the ferns and let us not forget the Voodoo Lily, the lemon balm, the phlox, the butterfly gingers, the Susan Suchan Day Lilies, the jasmine.

When I feel as if I have done nothing on this earth, I think of all of that and also the Live Oak I planted where we last lived and the Little Gem magnolias and I think, okay, I did that. 

It is not quite unlike the feeling I have when I look at Owen and Gibson and of course, my children. 

These are my thoughts on the Summer Solstice, 2014, and I am, for once, content and happy enough with my life so far. 

Time to make the goop and I will not have to rummage, cursing, through the refrigerator to find the mayonnaise, having things drop from the shelves onto my feet, but will be able to put my hand on it immediately. And yes, I think, I need to make a salad and there are cherry tomatoes and green peppers from the garden to add to it. 

Not so bad, I think. 

Quite fine, in fact. 
Quite fine indeed. 

Yours most truly...Ms. Moon