Saturday, February 28, 2015

Ace Is The Place

Mr. Moon had activities which promised to keep him away all day and I looked at my options which were stay here and wallow in the dreary day and dreary feelings or go to town and run some errands.
I chose Option #2 and my first stop was the Ace Hardware. I wanted a new broom, dammit, one that worked and one that was sturdy and wouldn't be worn out in six months. I found three choices at the Ace (not counting those plastic, fake brooms which I will not even consider) and with the helpful advice of Jessie via text, I chose the Warehouse model and it is a very fine broom. Heavy with a good wooden handle and plenty of snap and strength. And when it is finally worn out, I can use that handle as a sturdy walking stick for the rest of my life. I've been craving a good walking stick since I saw an episode of Genealogy Roadshow where a guy brought in his great, great grandmother's own walking stick and I thought, "Yeah. I need one of those."



I ended up meeting Mr. Moon at the Costco. He had some time between the T-Ball meeting (he is going to help Jason coach Owen's team) and his dinner meeting about some sort of hunting thing. We walked the aisles and blocked the aisles which were full of people on a miserable Saturday, buying huge amounts of stuff and eating so many samples that they were lined UP at the pimento cheese sampler place and employees were frantically scrambling to get more food out for the hoards to sample. There was plenty of organic trail mix, however.
I did not try it. I'm sure it was absolutely delicious.
We bought bird seed and beer and blueberries. When we checked out, the guy behind the cash register made some comment about our selection and Mr. Moon said, "You need a lot of beer to wash down those seeds," which I thought was hysterical. I do love my husband.
After we checked out, we kissed and parted and I went to Publix and bought a few things I need for tomorrow when Jessie and Vergil and Vergil's mama, who is visiting, are going to come out for pancakes. Lily and the boys are coming too and then the boys are staying when their mama goes to work. So it will be another busy day. I am so sorry that the weather has been so vile for Julia's visit. She brought her bike with plans to explore a bit around here but I don't know if she's done that or not. I think she helped Vergil with the kitchen project today. She is a very fine carpenter, as well as being a professional musician and potter and fabric artist and gardener and, oh, take my word for this- the woman is extremely talented.
And nice. I am honored to have her as a sister-mother. And soon, sister-grandmother.

I'm glad I got out and I'm glad to be home. I'm glad people are coming over tomorrow morning and it will be fun to make great platters of pancakes and maybe some fruit salad and bacon, of course. I wish it were going to be pretty and we could eat outside but I fear it will not be. Oh well. The house will be cozy and warm and smell of bacon and coffee and pancakes and the boys will be running around, happy to be back at Mer and Bop's where there is always something to do, somewhere to hide, some adult to coerce into doing their bidding.
Me, usually.
And perhaps the rain will back off and it will be warm enough for Boppy to take them down to Bug's house to fish for bream in the pond.

The sun has set, I suppose. I never saw it all day long but it is darker than it was before.
And the chickens have taken themselves to bed and the frogs are starting to call. The wind rattles the bones of the bare pecan trees and I can hear raindrops falling from the leaves of the magnolias, drip, drip, drip. Maurice has just gone out and I can hear her bell tinkling, even though I cannot see her. She is no doubt waiting for me to come and shut the chickens up. She accompanies me on this task, as she does when I let them out in the morning.
I am so grateful for that cat. I cannot really sleep these days unless she is cuddled next to me. She does not ask for much- indeed! she does not tolerate much, but when she lets me stroke her soft fur at night when it is darkest, I so appreciate it. My fingers sink into the softness of her winter coat and although she does not really purr, I know she likes it because when she no longer likes it, she grabs my hand and bites it and then I stop and we both settle down and go to sleep. She is not subtle and I appreciate that.

Good night, y'all. Be well.

I am SO glad you are here.

Love...Ms. Moon

Today's Script Plus Menu

Gray, chilly, raining.
This is what depression looks like.
Throw in a side-order of anxiety and you've got the perfect meal.

To eat in hell.


I'm such a whiner.

Hey! The sun'll come up tomorrow!

Unless it doesn't.

(Little redheaded optimist slinks off-stage, left.)

Friday, February 27, 2015

Riding Alligators And So Very Much More

It's been some day. It's had its up and its downs. Boppy and Lily and Gibson and I went to Owen's school for the Fairy Tale Ball. I dressed up! Okay, I put on make-up. And a bra-like garment under my dress. Shall I tell you about how my slip almost fell off now or later? Okay, now. It is old. The elastic suddenly lost its grip and I noticed that it was hanging about eight inches below my dress.
Ah well. At least they were both black. Who cares?

Owen did NOT enjoy the ball. In fact, I doubt he will ever truly get over the trauma of it. He absolutely hates people watching him do things that he does not feel comfortable doing. Especially people he does not know and there were a lot of people. You can see by the expression on his face in that picture that if, given a choice, he would probably have chosen to have his face drenched in ashes water again rather than participate in the Fairy Tale Ball.
He did dance although, you go. He's the one with his back to the camera at the very beginning.

But hey! At least he wasn't the poor boy who, as soon as he took his position with his princess, immediately needed to barf. Nope. Owen did not barf. He did not cry. He did what he was supposed to for three songs but his face was a rictus of agony the entire time. I wanted to grab him and run away with him. And bring him home to dance to the Rolling Stones in the hallway where we could twirl and whirl with no one watching at all.
When it was over the children were invited to dance with a parent and Owen ran to his mama and she held him and he cried and cried. I told him that he had been the bravest one because he had been afraid and done it anyway. And that I was so proud of him. We all were. And we told him over and over.

By the time the juice and cookies part of the event was over, he was pretty much okay and we let him choose where to go to lunch and as you can imagine, we ended up at Japanica! for more miso soup and sushi and so forth. He was in a good humor by then but refused to discuss any part of the Fairy Tale Ball. 

Right before we got to lunch, I talked to Hank and he told me that a woman we know, a very good friend of his for over twenty years and someone I have felt a connection with for almost as long, killed herself on Wednesday night. 
Such shock. Such sadness.
No one seems to know any details and really- none of it matters now. She had to have been in unbearable pain. She left five children. Our community is stunned. How could we not have known she was so close to the edge? Well, we didn't. And she had moved to a town south of here and so she was not surrounded by her community. Not in the real world way. 
There are no answers to something like this. None. We can only grieve and reach out to each other. 
It's not enough. But it has to be. 
She was unique, that one. I'll tell you that. She was like no other.

And then of course Leonard Nimoy died and he was not part of our community but he was part of the universal consciousness, wasn't he? A different sort of sadness, but still. 
And I found out that a woman whom I have admired for many years, Eugenie Clark, also died. She was a marine biologist who loved sharks and I'll never forget a show on TV I saw about her years and years ago and she was diving with an absolutely immense whale shark to such a depth that when she came up, she said that she had had to force herself to leave the shark and surface because she knew she was reaching that point of euphoria caused by nitrogen narcosis. She was so beautiful, so amazing. She was ninety-two when she died. Leonard Nimoy was eighty-three. 
I'm not sure how old Megan was. Way too young, I'll tell you that. 

Nimoy was famous for playing Spock who adventured into deep space.
Clark was famous for adventuring into the deep seas.
Megan was not famous. She adventured right here on earth in ways that I can't even begin to describe. She was one of the bravest people I ever personally knew. 

Well. We are still here now and despite all, I had a good day with my boys and their mama and we even went by to see Hank and take him lunch from Japanica! Here is his cat, Humbert, on his leash. 

Yes. Humbert goes outside with a leash. Humbert is a very special cat. He may be the most be-here-now of all creatures on earth. And he is so lucky to have Hank and Hank is lucky to have him. 

And we went to the library where Gibson cried and cried to ride on the alligator. 
Which, of course, means elevator. 
He got to ride on TWO alligators.
And Owen hugged me so tightly and so long that I cried a little bit, feeling as if I have never in my life been loved quite like I am loved by that child. 

Life is fucking short, y'all. Even if you live to be 93. Some of us live long and prosper. Some of us dive with sharks and experience that sort of euphoria. Some of us do the best we fucking can until we can't. So let's ride all the alligators we can while we're here. Let's love with as much of our hearts as is humanly possible and show it in every way we can. 
Let us please reach out for help before the pain gets so bad we cannot. 
Let us be brave enough to dance. 

Love...Ms. Moon


A gorgeous essay is up on the New York Times website, written by Betsy MacWhinney who writes one of my most favorite blogs ever here.

The essay, entitled "Bringing A Daughter Back From The Brink With Poems," can (and should be) read here. 

Thank you, Betsy.

Once again I am reminded how much richer my own life is through the community I have found in this ethereal and so very real world of ours.


Dear Elizabeth,
Here is a bush hog:

That device in back cuts through anything. Bushes, small trees, garbage. 

Dear Mick "Spare Parts" Jagger, 
I am sorry that Elvis makes you a pariah. Hang in there, boy. Your day will come. 

Dear Owen, 
I am coming to see you dance in the Fairy Tale Ball. I will wear my leopard stockings. I am very excited. Don't be nervous. 

Dear Everyone Else, 
Happy Friday.

Love...Ms. Moon

P.S. I just saw Mick have his way with Miss Mabel. I guess his day is here. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Oh, How Grand We Are And Made In God's Image, Too!

The tuna lasagna is in the oven and I did nothing special at all today and when I walked I discovered that a lot of my woods path has been bush-hogged and trimmed and instead of picking up the garbage people have dumped, they simply bush-hogged right through it and right now I bloody well think that humans are about the least deserving creatures on this planet.

I may feel differently tomorrow.

We shall see.


Cold and gray again today and last night it stormed up a witch's brew of wind and pouring rain, lightening and thunder. The power flickered on and off as I made cookies for Mr. Moon and Vergil to take hunting this morning and for Vergil to take home to his pregnant bride. Pregnant ladies need cookies as much as hunters, you know.
Anyway, yes, the storm and today's gray and I've been texting a friend this morning and we've discussed it all from genealogy to cooking and on from there and it's nice to have a friend like that.
Mr. Moon and I have taken to watching "Genealogy Roadshow" on the PBS and it is fascinating. Those people can find anyone's history! When we were watching the other night, my husband said, "I'd like to know your family history."
"Well, I would too," I said. "But I think everyone's family history is probably pretty fascinating at some points. Boring as hell in others."
I don't know. I just don't seem to have a great need to really know all the details about my family history. I think it's interesting but it doesn't change who I am or what I am. Might explain more of it. But isn't it all just a sort of crazy crap shoot? All the millions of sperm that get get sent out and the relatively few who hit the target and and then the resulting human babies who grow up to live their human lives? Some live lives of great adventure and are maybe even famous or infamous and some live lives of possibly quiet desperation or perhaps contentment, raising their own babies, feeding chickens, taking joy in the every day.
And really, those are the stories on the show that make me cry. The people born to former slaves who managed to grow up and raise huge families and support them and even buy property by sheer hard work and determination and who hopefully, passed on those hardworking, determined genes to their children and grandchildren and great grandchildren along with the houses, the land.

As to my history? Well.
I know that my mother said that my father was in the KKK at one time. Or maybe it was his father. I know that my many-times great grandfather was a plantation owner, i.e., slave owner. Can I be proud of that? Of course not. But they were who they were and their sex lives led to me being here. I have their genes and I am not a racist any more than I am a musician the way one of them was or a genius investor the way a few of them were or a brilliant lawyer the way some of them were.
And as to the women who I am just as related to- who knows about them? I feel certain that if I went back to census records and found their names they would be listed as "Housewife," because most of them were.
So am I.

Ah well.

The hog dogs are at it, barking fiercely. Luna, the outdoor cat is especially vocal in her bitchiness this morning, the chickens and ducks are doing what they always do. Here I am, my children are alive on this earth, my grandchildren too, one more coming. The lines continue, I think of Mr. Moon's own grandmother who was widowed early and supported her three children and doctored those of her community too poor to go see a real doctor, who wallpapered her house and collected beautiful china and made quilts to pass on, and Christmas cakes for so many that the batter had to be mixed in buckets. I am glad that her genes are part of some of my children's too. And that her son, my husband's father, was a part of all of my children's lives because it's not just the genes that influence the coming-up generations but the love and the examples set as well.

It's not just the pirates and the rogues and the kings and the queens and the rich and the famous who determine the future. It is all of us in a myriad of ways, some involving genes, some not.

At least that's what I think. I could be wrong.

Good morning.

Ms. Moon

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Not Going To Kill You" Being The Operative Words

Well, I did go to the Waffle House, after I went to Publix after I got out of the dermatologist's office. I really like this doc. I was sitting in just one of the regular chairs when he came in and I pulled down my shirt over my shoulder and showed him my spots.
"Might be a little basal cell," he said. "It's not going to kill you."
Then I had to get in the chair with the light although they didn't make me take off my shirt and put on a gown and the nursey girl (who called me sweetheart and I liked that and she was pretty) deadened the area, as they say, and then he came in and said, "Now for that great smell," and he took a little slice of the places and off they'll go the lab. If it is basal cell (and I feel sure it is), they'll do a little surgery.
He shook my hand and somehow, I didn't get charged anything. What?
The hardest part was finding my way out of the joint and when I did, a woman who was also just leaving said, "Mary, do you remember me?" and surely I did. It was a woman who used to work with my friend Sue who died twenty years ago. We stood in the front entrance, out of the rain, and caught up with each other. We talked about Sue, how much we miss her still, to this day. I ended up crying a little and then we hugged and each got in our own cars and went off into our own worlds.
A true moment of sweetness.

I wandered around Publix and texted with May. I told her I didn't know what to cook and she suggested tuna lasagna and I thought that was a good idea and got the stuff I need for that.
I had to send her a picture of something I found in the Badia section.

I did not buy any although pinto beans are my favorite. But I like the way I make them just fine.

So I checked out with my tuna lasagna ingredients and then went to the Waffle house where I ate what you see above all though the bacon sucked and I did not eat most of it. It was absolutely the most pleasant time. I sat and read my book and took my time with those delicious hash browns with onions and that raisin toast and apple butter, listening in on conversations, the people behind me, the grill men flirting with the servers, the grayness outside, the bright lights of the Waffle House making everything cheery and bright inside. The coffee was excellent and I left a three dollar tip.

I decided to stop at one of my favorite thrift stores on the way home and I bought a little, lightweight stroller for Jessie and Vergil's baby bean. If they want a real and newer and more bona fide stroller I will gladly keep this one here for when they bring that child over. I spent a good long time looking at stuff and ended up buying old spools of ribbon and this lamp which reminds me a whole lot of the lamp I had as a child.

I showed it to Mr. Moon when he got home tonight and said, "I bet your sisters had one almost like it."
He said, "No, but my mama did."
I am quite pleased with it. It replaces one that tipped over all the damn time and it is pretty perfect.

I sent Lily this picture since she's now obsessed with cross-stitching.

She texted back, "Omg. That is hilarious."
I did not buy it. And for once, I doubt I'll be kicking myself.

Then I drove home through the gray misty day and my neighbor called and asked if I'd like some leftover lemon chicken they weren't going to eat and I said, "Sure," and we met at the gate and he gave it to me and I said, "Who says there's no food delivery in Lloyd?"
So we'll be eating that tonight and have tuna lasagna tomorrow and it's still drizzling and I'm cooking some lentils and brown rice to go with the lemon chicken and I'll heat up the greens we had the other night and it all seems pretty perfect to me. 

I took a long nap this afternoon, curled up with Maurice after I read a bit more and Lily's invited me to Owen's Fairy-Tale Ball at school on Friday and I can't wait. He showed us how they've taught them to hold the arm of their partner and I have no idea what this is about but I think it's going to be fun. 
I'll probably cry. As I do.

So yeah, I'll be sleeping pretty peacefully tonight, I think. The sun will come out again at some point but until it does, I'm happy to have the sound of the rain falling so gently. 

It all feels like a fairy-tale ball to me sometimes. Magical. The gifts I've been given by the benevolent spirits, the giant trees, the true loves, the animal gods. (Thank you, Rebecca.)
Let us dress up in fancy dress, corduroy and cashmere, crook our arms into each other's, and wander through the forest together, dancing when we hear the music, holding tight when go through the dark and spooky places, reassuring each other that soon we shall see the light again, perhaps sparkling diamonds on a swift-flowing river. 

I'm going to go make muffins. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Early Birds

Insane-A-Cat (aka, Maurice) woke Mr. Moon up a half hour before he had to get up at six and of course I woke up too but I don't get up to indulge her sudden needs to go outside but when she meowed outside the door five minutes before I had to get up, I just bowed down to the inevitable and got up.
Five minutes. Whatever.
It's still dark as pitch and birds are singing and it's really lovely and balmy outside. I have to leave in about an hour and I don't know whether I'm being a foolish ass for spending the time and money to go get this little place checked out or whether I've waited way too long and will be dying soon.
I'll let you know.

Some of you know that what Mr. Moon does for a living is to sell cars. He has an office in a bank and yet, he does not work for the bank and people call him and tell him what sort of vehicle they need and he finds it for them. He is good at this and entirely honest and won't buy a car for someone unless it is absolutely faultless. A few weeks ago a woman I know went to him about buying a car and he talked her out of it because the car she is driving now is a better car than the ones she was thinking of buying and etc.
So anyway, I haven't "picked out" a car in decades and I never know what I'm going to be driving and sure enough, yesterday, he texted to tell me that he'd sold "my" car and last night he brought me a different car and informed me that it, too, has probably been sold but that I can drive it for now.
He even put the CD I was listening to in the player and put it on the proper track, not to mention moving my junk over and also Gibson's car seat.
Can you imagine what a difficult time I sometimes have trying to find "my" car in a parking lot?

I'm not sure why I related this story but I think it's sort of funny. A few weeks ago, Owen looked at the car I was driving and asked, "Are you going to keep this car, Mer?"
Even he knows this is not quite the way it's usually done.

I wonder if I'll really go to the Waffle House. That, too, is a mystery I've yet to solve. I'll see how I feel when I leave the dermatologist's office- relieved and happy or needing to go and get my will updated, post haste.
Yes. I am a drama queen. Yes, I am nervous but not overly anxious. Still, I will have my emergency Ativan in my purse, just in case. I think I am getting to the age where I am going to start making one of my children go to the doctor with me, just as I went with them when they were young, just as I went with my mother in her last decade or so. I need a hand to hold even if I do not need someone to fill out the forms.

But I'm not quite there yet.

The sun is coming up, the sky is silvering. Mick is crowing out there in the hen house. So is Elvis. I can't believe Elvis hasn't torn the young rooster up yet, but he has not. He has, however, done his best to make him feel unwelcome around the flock. Such interesting creatures, these birds.

I better go get ready.

If I go to the Waffle House, I will take pictures.

I hope we all have a real good day and that tonight we will lay down again in peace.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Good Morning

Tiniest bit of rain dripping, drizzling, three cardinals, one red-headed woodpecker, several finches at the feeder. Preternaturally pink camellias with redbirds.

It's peaceful in my head today, too. This is delicious and just as it's hard to put together the words to describe the place I find myself in when I am having anxiety, it is hard to find the words to describe what this relief feels like. It is not a perfect peace, but it is nowhere near the red zone. And just as I have no idea why the anxiety comes, I have no idea what lets me release it.
And I feel that even saying that is wrong. I do not "release it." I don't think I have the ability to do that any more than I would have the ability to release the feelings I might have if my head was on fire.
Does that make sense?

I don't know and I don't care.

Yesterday was so busy. The appointment with the NP went okay. They seem a bit spacey there. But they drew my blood (the little nurse said, about the vein in my left arm, "Ray Charles could hit that!") and my NP actually gave me a prescription for a few Valium and I didn't even have to beg. And that was that. I called and made an appointment to go see the dermatologist to check out these places on my back that just don't go away. That will be early tomorrow morning and my plan is to take myself to breakfast afterwards and sit in the steamy bacon-and-fried-potato smelling warmth of the Waffle House and eat raisin toast with apple butter and eggs and watch the grill man do magic.
One needs something to look forward to. The nice little carrot at the end of the stick.
After I got home yesterday, the boys came out and then Jessie and then May and Michael and it was so nice to have everyone here. A large puzzle of a T Rex was done in the hallway

and the girls went shopping in my closet which made me happy. I picked greens from the garden and sent everyone home with some. I gave May and Michael eggs. And after everyone went home, I asked my husband if he would take me out to eat Mexican food and he did and then we came home and watched two episodes of The British Bake-Off, the last being the finale of season four, and it was so fun. Both of us love that show and I'm not even sure why.
It's just so sweet. Pun very much intended.
Then we slept very well, watched over by our cat.

This morning's mail brought my new (used) CD player which I ordered weeks ago AND a beautiful article from the NYT about the new book of photographs of the Rolling Stones, sent by Ms. Coyote in a real envelope all the way across the country. I am doing laundry. I don't have to go anywhere today. It is getting chillier but it is not going to freeze. I bought a new broom yesterday and I hate it and I am going to take it back tomorrow.
Is that a first-world problem? I feel certain that defective brooms are a problem everywhere in the world. Somehow it's not the same as getting a new $400.00 Dyson and finding that it doesn't suck properly. I never take things back just for the reason of "I don't like it," but in this case, I believe I will.

And there you are. I feel as if I have awakened from a nightmare, even if I am still in bed and in danger of falling back into it. That may happen but for right now, I am okay. It feels as delicate and tenuous as spring, this peace, but I will take it and love it for all it's worth, for however long it lasts.

Much love...Ms. Moon

Monday, February 23, 2015

So Short

I'm alive. All is well.
I just don't have it in me to say much. It was a fine day and I didn't have time to wallow and I'm just tired now.

I hope you are well too.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Not An Easy Day

Well, I hear that there's some big awards show on tonight. That's the rumor, anyway.
I really have no idea who should win anything because I'm not sure I've seen but two of the movies nominated in any way. Grand Budapest Hotel and, well- was St. Vincent's nominated for anything?

I'm sure I could find out the answer in about two seconds if I only cared to look.

One of my favorite things about awards shows is the running commentary my friend Billy makes on Facebook. It's usually far more entertaining than the actual events. But honestly- I'll be lucky if I watch more than an hour of the show or read all of Billy's commentaries tonight.
It's been a bit of a difficult day for me and I have withdrawn into myself quite tightly and the idea of going to bed and sleeping under my covers even with the crazy bad dreams I've been having is a pretty enticing thought.

Until then, I'm cooking a big pot of greens from the garden with tomatoes and onions and I'm going to make a meatloaf and bake some potatoes. Food which is easy to make, easy to eat.

It was cathartic for me to today to read that article by Matt Haig and I read another article which made me laugh quite literally out loud. It is by Dave Barry and is about Fifty Shades of Gray, which I have not read.

I laughed. I cried. I cried some more.

I potted up a few of my rooted giant begonias today. I swept porches and watered plants. I spoke on the phone to Lily, to May, to Sarcastic Bastard. I spoke in person to my neighbor and of course, to my husband who really does not know what to do with me in this state. He is so kind and asks over and over if I need him to do anything. To take me somewhere for an outing, to stick close. I tell him no, I am fine, and I am. That I only need him to come home when he is done running errands and I am telling the truth and he does.
Last night I kept waking up and it was such a comfort to me to hear his soft snoring. I am the monster snorer in this house and I admit it, his snores more gentle. Maurice slept on my feet all night and I would hope she does so again. Night before last she stayed out until two when she knocked on the window above where I sleep and meowed and I let her in and fussed at her as if she'd been a teenager, out past curfew, worrying her mama.

The meatloaf and the potatoes are in the oven. The greens are simmering on the back of the stove. Tomorrow I have to go to my nurse practitioner to get bloodwork done for my hormone replacement thingees. She is trying out a new form of delivery for them, a grain inserted under the skin. I may try it. Who knows? But of course any visit to a medical practitioner makes me hugely anxious. And I have to call the dermatologist about two little places on my shoulder which are really nothing but don't go away. Are these tiny things the source of the anxiety I feel? Or is it just an accumulation of it all? Perhaps it is nothing but the time of year, the pull of the moon, the exact distance the sun measures from the earth. Perhaps it is the anniversary of the deaths of so many people I love. The hangover of worry about Mr. Moon's surgery. My fear that I am not taking enough care, spending enough attention on each of my beloved children. Dovey's death? Being at Kathleen's yesterday to do a little animal tending while Bug is out of town?
Who knows?
Not me.
I just know that it will pass.

The little anoles are skittering about again. The frogs are calling again. In LA the limos are lining up to deliver our own unique American form of royalty to walk down the red carpet to be judged on dress, on jewelry, on hair, on thinness.

Shit. I'll probably have to get on a scale tomorrow. I will be told that it is time to repeat all of my bloodwork. That is time to get another colonoscopy. Oh, to be eighty and know that none of these things is really necessary any more. Which is a very sad thing to say, if you think about it.

Perhaps one of these days I will find a practitioner with whom I can feel comfortable. Compassionate and who really listens and does not suggest that all of my problems could be solved with supplements and perhaps hypnosis by an eighty-something year old man who creeps the shit out of me.
Is this too much to ask?

Perhaps it is.

At least I will see my boys again tomorrow which is such a pure and perfect thing. And May might possibly come out to visit. And of course there is bed and my husband and my cat and the sweet balmy air which I will open the window to tonight.

Let us have sweet dreams, dreams that represent the sweetness in our hearts and minds which is, despite all evidence to the contrary, very much still there, no matter what.

Love...Ms. Moon

So I Guess This Is My Sunday Link

If you suffer from anxiety and/or depression, or if you love someone who does, read this today. An extract from the forthcoming book Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig.

Thank you.

Mr. Moon took that picture of the goldfinch. It is a day for birds and trying to remember hope.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Saturday Night Addendum

In my next lifetime, if I don't come back as a toad, I hope to be born with the ability to sing harmony.
I am not kidding you in the least. I can't think of anything that would make me happier.

In Which I Bless Us All, Etc.

Well. Damn. Dovey went on today. When I got up this morning she was standing by the door that has glass in it, seeming to want to get out so I took her and put her in a sunny spot under the bird feeder where the chickens have been spending most of their time these days. She stood there, so motionless and huddled that Maurice went over, sniffed her and just walked away. And a few hours later I found her in the little duck pond a few feet away, still and gone.
Shit, shit, shit. 
That's what I texted to Mr. Moon when I found her. I lifted her out of the water and buried her in the little yard of my office right next to Pearl's grave. I honestly think that something had happened to her eyesight and if so, that could explain whey she stumbled into the little pond.
Anyway, that sweet little hen will no longer be sad or sick and for that I am grateful but I am sorry to have to tell Owen who did love that bird. Mostly because she let him hold her and because she was so soft, but still. One more death he will have to incorporate. He suggested yesterday that he should maybe take her home but I pointed out that they had no place to keep her. He said that his daddy could build a fence and a coop and then both she and Nicey could come and live with them. He thought about this a moment and then he said, "Or...maybe we could just live here!"
I think this is his dream. Then all of the chickens would be his to share and better yet, he would have his Mer Mer and Boppy to accommodate his every wish.
Bless his heart.
Bless Dovey's heart.
Hell, bless us all.

Owen also asked me yesterday how babies get into their mama's tummy. I immediately thought, holy shit, this is far above my pay grade!
We had been talking about the cradle in my room that Mr. Moon made for Lily before she was born. It's a large cradle, big enough to hold two decidedly non-babies who are willing to share space.

Owen moved it yesterday so that he and Gibson could watch TV from it and he wanted to know if, when he had a baby sister, they could borrow it. I told him that they surely could, if and when he had a baby sister but that Jessie and Vergil were going to get it first.
This led to a discussion about how a baby has to grow in its mama's tummy for nine whole months and that, in turn led to his question.
"How DOES a baby get in there?"
I told him that first off, two people had to love each other very, very, very much. Which of course is one of the biggest whoppers anyone will ever tell him and I was sorry to do it but I was scrambling. He then told me that his mama better love his daddy a whole lot because he really does want a sister. I went on to explain that babies need lots of time and attention and money so that it is very important to make sure that families have enough of all of those for every baby.
He seemed to accept this and we went on from there to some other activity. Swamp adventures, as I recall, which is a whole other story.
I gave Lily a rundown of the conversation later as a head's-up via text. She responded by saying, "So now when I don't have a baby it will be because I don't love Jason enough."
As Andy Griffith used to say, "What a wicked web we weave when first we practice to deceive."
Although I wasn't trying to deceive so much as I was trying to baffle with bullshit.

Well, babies SHOULD be about love and that's the truth and so if I misrepresented one truth for another, sue me.

And there you go. Stuff that happens. Death and how-do-babies-get-in-there?
One is as mysterious and complex as another. And as simple. And as powerful.

I talked to an old friend on the phone tonight who is getting chemo and although it was hard to make the call, I knew I had to. I've been dreaming about her lately and we ended up having a very good chat with lots of laughs. She is brave and getting on with it and I love her so much and I think she is going to do very, very well and that we shall have many more good chats. I'm counting on that.

I'm going to go heat up the chicken I baked last night which was absolutely the very best baked chicken I ever made, possibly ever tasted, and a spinach and rice casserole. If Red Sky At Night, Sailors' Delight is true, tomorrow is going to be one very fine day.

At least here in Lloyd. I hope it is where you are too.

Love...Ms. Moon

A Sort Of Imperfect Perfection

I've only been up for two hours and I've already...eaten breakfast!
I made an omelet with two small brown chicken eggs, greens left over from salad pickings last night, and some aged Havarti cheese.
Let me just say that perhaps carrot tops do not really belong in omelets.
Oh well.

I've also walked to the post office in case you think I'm a complete slug.
Fuck. I am a complete slug. I don't care. Today is so sunny and so warm. The cold air has taken off to give someone else a nip. Fine with me. That bird who sings, "You're sweet! You're sweet!" has been praising me all morning. Is it a mockingbird? It must be. Is he mocking me? Is he telling me I'm sweet because I'm really so mean?
It is possible.

This is the sort of day when anything is possible. The cold replaced by such warmth that I feel as if I could melt in it. Suddenly my sweater feels itchy and I want to replace it with a cotton shirt. The wind comes and goes and shakes the magnolia whose leaves roar with it.

And then are still and the clucking of the hens becomes the most predominant sound again. Far down the tracks a train blows its whistle and it will be here soon. Noise and then quiet, peace and then great mechanical rushing.

Did I tell you that Owen has a loose tooth? His mama told me yesterday and when I saw it was true I actually cried which charmed Owen to pieces. He talked about it later. "You really cried, Mer Mer!"
"Yes," I said. "You are growing up so fast!" I can barely stand the thought of him growing out of his current stage in life where he so sweet that he runs upstairs to get a chicken Beanie Baby to put in the basket we have lined with a towel for Dovey so she will have a friend. But I have felt this way from the very beginning and felt it with my own children too, and I should know by now (I do! I do!) that each stage brings its own sweetness.
Well, with the possible exception of puberty.
And by the time fall rolls around, we shall have a new baby and then it will begin all over again. And thus it is, and so it goes, and before you know it we shall walk together down Main Street in Lloyd, pushing the new baby who will look up out of the stroller to see the leaves dance against the sky.

Did you see this?

The cover on the anniversary edition of the New Yorker, just arrived here yesterday. Artwork by Kadir Nelson who is an author, illustrator, and artist. My eyes keep going to it. It is magnificent.

Ah, the world is in such a panty-twist. He said this, she said that, they claim this, they claim that. A little opinion piece in the local paper today was about the lines from the Bible about beating their swords into plowshares and their swords into pruning hooks. Why is this verse so ignored while so many others are taken and shoved down the throats of all of us as justification for prejudice, for ignorance, for intolerance and for war?

I do not know but I know for today, on this good and warm and sweet day, I am not caring to get my panties in any sort of twist at all. I am concentrating on the wind in the leaves, the ducks in the little pond, the birds singing in the trees, the light falling from the sky, the thoughts of my grandchildren, born and yet-to-be, this moment of solitude and gratefulness. The magnificence of art which humans can make, the silken tendrils of words written which I can read, the great and profound mysteries and glories of it all.

Here I am. Right this moment. And I am ever so glad that also, for this moment, that the chemicals in my brain are right enough to appreciate it all. The battle between thinking and feeling not quite won, but there is a moment of admittedly uneasy truce, enough to feel the warmth around me, to hear the sighing of breath of wind, to see Elvis's tail feathers shine and ripple in iridescent splendor.

I'll take it. With joy.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Yes. I Said Yes.

Now y'all know how, um, reclusive? I am. You know how I struggle with social interactions.
And yet today I let someone come to Lloyd and visit me (hell! I invited him!) and I knew it was going to be great and it was great and I just had the best day.

Here's a hint:

An absolutely atrocious picture I took of him but one which is a very fine example of shadows and light. 
All the way from London! Well, via Tampa but still. He's been in Tampa helping his mama get ready to downsize from the family home and he took an entire day to drive up here to Lloyd and I'm so glad he did. 
I've felt a kinship for Steve for some time now, knowing that he used to live in Winter Haven where I spent a good many of my formative years. A Florida boy, even if he does live across the ocean now. And, well, I don't know. I just didn't have one qualm about meeting him in real life. Sure. I was a tiny bit nervous because what if I was wrong? What if my intuition had lied to me? 
Guess what- it did not.
He got out of the car, we hugged, and I felt like I'd just met my long-lost brother. 
He immediately began taking pictures of Mick and the chickens and I showed him the yard and the house and then I heated us up some soup and bread and we ate in the kitchen where all the best stuff happens. 
We talked like we'd always known each other, catching up the way you do. I knew the boys were coming so I took him down to the post office so he could take pictures which is where I took that photo of him. We came back to the house, the boys arrived and we decided to take a little jaunt down Main Street so that I could show him the fally-down house which I knew he would love with his photographer's eye. 
The boys were a little shy at first but warmed up to him very quickly and when we walked past Papa Jay's Country Store Coming Soon, who was there outside but Papa Jay himself! 
"When are you opening?" I asked. 
"A month!" he said. "Would you like to come in and see what we've done?"
Well. Of course! 
And oh, how nice it looks. Vienna sausages and many other canned goods lined up as pristine and clean as rows of jewels. The coolers are all ready for milk and bacon and eggs ("so you can cook breakfast for your children!" said Papa Jay) and hats hanging up from the beams and there will be subs and beer and there is even a good selection of over the counter medications including children's Tylenol and cold medicine so you don't have to drive all the way to town if your child gets sick in the middle of the night. There's penny candy and Tide and bleach and toilet paper, all of it arranged with mathematical precision on the shelves. Papa Jay is so proud and we also met either his son or his brother or his cousin, I am not sure which, who shook my hand and the mama, the MOTHER,  was sitting in a chair in the corner and she was so sweet. 
This is going to be a very big thing for our little community and it was so cool that Steve could be there for that, as well as Owen and Gibson. I told the Jays that we would be customers and we sure as hell will be. 
We walked on down to the the fally-down house, passing Ms. Liola's on the way where the Sheik was doing some yardwork. We stopped to chat with him a moment and when we walked on and I told Steve that that was the Sheik, he said, "I thought it might be!"

I can't wait to see the pictures that Steve took of the old house with the wallpaper in it. I took some of him.

It was such an adventure and the boys had such a good time. Owen kept showing us how to run with power speed and told Steve to try it too. And he did. He was such a good sport. 

And the thing is, I felt so completely comfortable with him. So comfortable that by the time we got back to the house I said, "Can you keep an eye on Gibson? I have to pee."

I mean...there you go. 

Before he left, Owen whispered to me. 
"Tell SteveReed that I like him. And tell him to take some pictures of nature."
And so I did. 

He is now and forever SteveReed, all one word. 
And before he left, we took a selfie together. 

In the kitchen with the Cypress Gardens fan behind us. 

What a good, good day. I have a new friend in real life. I told him that if he and Dave get back to Florida, they are welcome to come spend the night. 
And after he left, the boys and I had more adventures and we moved Miss Dovey into the house because she is still alive and I want to give her one night of not having the stress of the cold. After spending weeks in the coop she actually left it yesterday and spent the whole night somewhere outside. 

She is obviously far stronger than she appears and so I want to just give her one night of being warm. 

There she is, head tucked under her wing in what I call the "mud room" where the outdoor plants are wintering. 
She is such a beautiful hen. 

It's been a beautiful day. 

Thank you, Steve, for making the drive here and back. 
I've felt less anxiety today than I've felt in a week and a half. 

For right now, all is well. I have a martini beside me, I have a stuffed chicken in the oven. (Yes! I am a huge hypocrite!) The SNL fortieth reunion's rebroadcast has just come on and I have greens for salad in the refrigerator. 

Yeah. A very, very good day.  

Let There Be Warmth. Please

Well, good morning from cold-as-fuck Lloyd, Florida where there's about three inches of solid ice on the duck water.
Hell's bells! (I remember the first time I ever heard my mother say that and I was so shocked I almost passed out. My, how times have changed.)

Anyway, it's Friday, the boys are coming and I might get a visitor today. More on that later.

I should go take a walk but honestly, the idea of going into my freezing cold bathroom and putting my walking clothes on is enough to make me sort of want to die. My heater just can't keep up with all the air leaks in this house.

Am I a wuss or what? Yes. Yes I am. And I am also a Florida girl and we don't take to the cold that well.

I'll report in tonight. Martini in hand.

Much love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Well. News

Do you remember this day?
If not, you can go here and read about it, if you want. It was the day of Kathleen's memorial service and all of my children were there and didn't we look happy?

Approximately three minutes after that picture was taken, we were even happier.

Can you guess? 

When Jessie and Vergil came over before the service to help me with the food they told Glen and me they had something to tell us, which was all they needed to say. 
I screamed, I cried. Glen did too. Well, he cried. He didn't scream.
There were such hugs and there was such happiness. And then, right before the memorial service, we gathered everyone outside so that Jessie and Vergil could give the whole family the news together.

My baby is having a baby. 

This child is due at the end of September which is when his or her daddy's birthday is, when his or her Aunt Lily's birthday is, when his or her cousin Owen's birthday is. When Billy has his birthday and Shayla too. 
Oh, these after-Christmas babies!

Jessie and Vergil wanted to keep the news in the family for awhile. You know. And they wanted to go up to Asheville to tell Vergil's grandmother in person although his mama and stepfather and sister already knew. So they went to Asheville and told Grandmother last week and now they're back and telling people, a little bit at a time. Jessie is a little over nine weeks. She's had an appointment with the midwife, Diana. The same midwife who helped Lily with Gibson. She very much wants a home birth and we are all hoping that for her. She was born at home and so was Vergil. She is strong and healthy, she feels well, just a little uneasy in the tummy, mostly in the evenings. 

And she is glowing and gorgeous.
The day they told us, Vergil looked at his wife and then said to me, "Isn't she beautiful?" and oh, yes, she is, and so is he.

And so things are moving apace, although these are early days. I was talking to Jessie the other day about her desire not to announce things too early and I told her, "This is YOUR baby and YOUR decision and that is the way it is. And that is the way it's always going to be and let me tell you right now that I am not going to tell you how to do anything. If you want my advice you can ask me. But no one in the world has ever given birth to this baby and that's all there is to it."

And I mean that. 
But this morning I texted her and asked if I could write this post today and she said I could. And so I have.

Some of you have been reading here since before Jessie and Vergil even met. You have been through all this from the beginning, from their dancing in the hallway to their beautiful wedding, to their move back to Tallahassee. 

And now this. 

This miracle, this joy, this sweetness. This right-ness.

This much more love. 

Well. That's what I came here to tell you about today and now I have done so.

It is a beautiful cold day in Lloyd. Just writing all these words down and looking at these pictures again has cheered me so. I think it has been hard for me to really believe this is happening and this makes it a little more real for me. You know, in my heart, Jessie is still my very own back-pocket baby. I carried her in a sling for three years. She was such a tiny thing then and even though my own eyes tell me that she most definitely is a grown woman now, it's difficult to wrap my mind around that truth. 
But she is. A grown woman married to a grown man who works so hard and is going to get that kitchen finished soon and they are going to bring this baby into the world with love and that baby will be received in love. 

Lucky baby.

Lucky family. 

I am so grateful for this new gift to soon be given unto us.

And so happy to share. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

This Is What Happened: For Posterity's Sake

Owen gave me the complete spa treatment today. He massaged my shoulders, did my hair, gave me make-up, filed my nails and...wait for it...flossed my teeth!
Gibson helped a little bit.
I feel so much more beautiful now even though I have scrubbed my face and filed down my nails into a shape more suitable for a human being than they were after Owen did them.

They were only here for a short while this afternoon, just enough to have sweetness and fun and not one tear.
That Darth Vader which Owen is holding is one I got him yesterday at the Big Lots. I let them both pick out a toy and Owen chose Darth and Gibson chose some Aquanauts? Is that what they are? Owen adores that Darth Vader. He has a light saber, of course, and it lights up and Darth makes his Darth noises and Owen knows all about the relationship between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker and some other dude I never heard of and today he told me that Princess Leia was a BAD girl. That she kissed her brother on the lips! He told me this as he was painting my face, his face just inches from mine and his eyes grew wide when he related this information.
"Well, she didn't know he was her brother," I told him. "Plus, I'm your grandmother and we kiss on the lips sometimes."
I don't think this redeemed the bad girl in Owen's eyes. He knows what's what.
Gibson could not care less who kisses anybody unless he's involved. When I went outside to kiss them good-bye when they were leaving, Gibson absolutely would NOT kiss me.
"I can't," he said, which is one of his favorite things to say along with "I need you."
I begged, I pleaded. "Just one little kissy?"
"Well, I love you," I told him and I closed the door, my lips feeling the distinct lack of those still-baby cheeks for one more kiss.
I went around the van and kissed Owen who will always kiss his Mer and then Gibson changed his mind. So I went back around, opened his door, kissed him good, told him I loved him once more and closed his door again.
Before they got out of the driveway he was yelling out the window, "One more kiss!"
Which of course I gave him.

They slay me. They slay me with their love, their curiosity, their smarts, their humor. The things they say and do. Their sweetness. Their boyness. Their slyness and cunning and complete openness.
And I tell you what- if there is one thing I am put here on earth for, it may be to show these children in their earliest years that they are deserving of absolute unwavering and unconditional love.
Yes. I think that is what grandparents are for.

So they made it a good day for me and I made a garbanzo bean soup with cabbage and onions and peppers and garlic and tomatoes and potatoes and venison sausage. And oatmeal-sweet potato bread.
I have covered up a few plants but I know that the spirea, the azaleas, the redbud, the Japanese magnolia and even the camellias will drop their buds. It's okay. Somehow it will all be okay.
It is not unusual at all for us to get these late freezes. I have seen it snow in March. Once. Thirty years ago. It snowed in the Bahamas that year.

Still, my potatoes and peas survived. How is it that I can remember these things? I do not know.

Will I remember this day? Probably not but here, I have written it out. With pictures.
One more of those.

Riches. And a crazy cat who doesn't know whether to kiss me on the lips or tear my hand off.

I bet she sleeps with me tonight. There will probably be kisses and teeth and claws. It's okay. I understand the ambivalence of loving something so much you want to eat it. She and I share this trait and it's probably why I love her so damn much.

Love...Ms. Moon

A Heart Of Darkness Even In This Good Light

There's El in mid-crow, the ducks just having had their morning sips. The sun is back out although it is getting colder. It feels good. It feels like warmth and cold and brisk and gold. It feels as if the light is searching everything out to shine on it, at least for awhile. Each thing in turn. Each tiny fern, moss, leaf, fallen or still on the tree. Each bud, bug, bird.
Each human heart.

I keep waiting for that moment when I know that anxiety is truly ebbing. That moment when I have a knowledge that truly, all is well. Not a moment of bliss or happiness or euphoria or even contentment. Just a second where there is trust in my life that there will be goodness, I will find ease. I do not ask for bouquet of roses and camellias and sunflowers.
Only a tiny violet of quiet calm.

There were violets scattered on the roadside where I walk. I took note but they were not a message for my heart today. Still. There they were. The light fell upon them so strongly I knew that a picture of them would be nothing but yellow.

This is what anxiety can be. No matter how light, how loving, how right, how fine things are, there is that black worm in the brain whispering, "Oh, but..."
"Don't be a fool," it says. "Nothing is ever all right. Ever. The sky is falling and it will continue to fall. Don't you feel your heart race? Don't you feel your hands and feet go numb? The body knows."

The body does not always know. Not if the chemicals are wrong. The mind, the logic, can gather every bit of information saying this dark worm lies and it doesn't really change a damn thing.

Ah well. Here I am and I know it's okay. There is beauty all around me and this warmth and this light and I have beans simmering for a soup. My boys will be out to play. All will be well. All is, in fact well, despite what my gut, my stupid chemicals tell me.

It is wearying though, this constant fight to stay upright. To see the light.
Am I to accept and let it all flow through me?
Moment by moment it changes.

I am waiting for that good moment, that second in time where I can hear the universe saying again in my soul, all is well.

The funny thing is, I am not afraid to die. I am not even sure what it is I am afraid of, in fact. Which makes anxiety the impossible, unknowable beast which lies outside the firelight, waiting for the exact moment of darkness to pounce.

This will pass. I will have that moment.

Until then I will soak up all the light I can and be quiet for this moment and listen to the birds twittering, the chickens clucking, I will know that the light will finally find even the most hidden parts of shade and illuminate them.

In me too.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Things We Did Today

That is a picture of me squishing Gibson with my love at the Big Lots in a strange sort of basket daybed. Or something. Please note my tights.
Thank you.

We had a good time and went to the Japanica! where we had miso soup and salads with ginger dressing and sushi and tempura and curried tofu and all sorts of delicious foods. FEAST!

Owen pretending to be pensive. Or a poet. Or a pensive poet.

Gibson eating BEANS!!!! He can suck those down. Isn't Jessie pretty with her glasses on?

Two of my daughters. I wish May and Hank had been with us. It is so precious to have Jessie back in our arms, especially with the bonus of having Vergil too. I am such a lucky mama.

Owen in the Big Lots, dressed for St. Patrick's Day. He's ready, y'all.
After we got some stuff there (not the St. Patrick's Day garb OR the basket bed) we went to Costco and bought all sorts of fresh vegetables and cheese and nuts and I don't even know what all. And so, despite the rain and the bone-chilling temperatures we had a most delightful day. 

And now I'm home, waiting for my husband to arrive and I think I am going to try and make a polenta-like substance with leftover grits topped with a sauce made from leftover shrimp and tomatoes and basil and whatever else I decide to throw in. 
If it ain't fittin', the chickens will always eat it. 

Which is one more reason to love them. 

Stay warm, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

And The Beat Goes On

So far, this morning is insane.
First off, Elvis is frantically trying to keep a hormone-infused Mick off the hens. Mick is frantically trying to get ON the hens. This makes for a lot of activity in the back yard. Also, the finches are here in droves as well as the cardinals and an occasional red-headed woodpecker. Maurice is observing all of this with great interest and feigned disinterest.

I slept late because I stayed up and watched a BBC show after the British Bake Off (they sent Martha home! sob!) about the Tower of London. Then I read into the wee hours.
Now Jessie and Lily and I are trying to decide if we're going to do something today and if so, what? I have spoken on the phone to Jessie, to Lily, to Owen and to Gibson. I finally told Lily to call Jessie.
We are so wishy-washy.
And now Mick has thrown caution to the winds and is crowing.
So Elvis is crowing. Trixie is singing her little song. It is gray here and it rained all night and tomorrow it's going to get so cold.

Front-of-the-newspaper-headlines cold. 

Okay. I am going to town. We are going to Costco which is not just a retail experience but a recreational experience. Then lunch. 

I suppose I better eat some yogurt or something and get dressed. 

I hope these birds all behave themselves while I'm gone. Willy has just exited the pond after her morning swim. I'm a bit worried about the ducks because for the past two days I've only gotten one egg from them. 

Do you see how exciting my life is? No wonder I am so stressed out and agitated all the time. Who wouldn't be?

I'll try to keep it together. 

Love...Ms. Moon