Monday, November 30, 2015

In Which I Leave Lloyd And Then Come Home

Well, today had its ups and its downs.
I sure did enjoy going to the doctor with Jessie to get August all checked out. He weighs 11 pounds and 6 oz now and he's twenty-three inches long but Jessie and I personally do not believe that the nurse really got his true length. Anyway, he did fine and gurgled and smiled and chatted with everyone and was called "adorable" and I told the doctor to write GENIUS on front of his chart because obviously, he is.
It was not fun watching him get his vaccinations. Now, this doctor does not force them on anyone. He sat and chatted with Jessie and August for quite awhile about any problems or concerns, about his temperament, his eating and peeing and pooping habits and then he asked what Jessie was planning on as to immunizations. Jessie, who has educated herself on this matter, had a few questions and the sweet doctor answered them and they came to a very reasonable agreement and so August got two today. The way they give babies their shots at this office is to bring in three nurses. One to hold feet and two to give the injections at the same exact time so that the baby does not have to suffer the sting but once. And Jessie held his little hands. He did cry. Oh! That look! As if...You have betrayed me!
"Put him on the breast!" the nurses said, and Jessie did and he quit crying after about twenty seconds.
Jessie just this minute posted a picture from our adventure on Facebook and here it is.

Now that is a happy, healthy two-month old baby. And he sure does make his old Mer happy. 

As you may recall, I have not been exceptionally, uh, satisfied, with my own medical practitioner for awhile and I've been planning for a long time to change over to this office where August is now a patient, where Owen and Gibson and Lily and Jason are patients and where Jessie is about to become one too. It's a cheerful, down to earth place and they see patients of all ages. There are several nurse practitioners whom I hear are very, very good and it just seemed like a smart thing to do and so I asked them at the desk when we were checking out about that possibility. 
And guess what? It turns out that they are not taking any new patients over the age of thirty. 
Fuck me. I almost cried. 
"But!" I pointed out to them, "You'll be done with us old people so much sooner!" 
They neither found that exceptionally valid nor funny. 
I'm still not over it and have no idea what to do. Lis keeps trying to get me to become the patient of their beloved doctor friend in St. Augustine but that's sort of a long drive. Like, three hours. 
I know the man, though, and he'd be worth it. 
Still. Doesn't seem prudent. Or practical. 

But we went to lunch after the appointment and met up with Hank and Lily and Gibson. Gibson is starting to really want to interact with August more. When we were sitting at lunch, Gibson told me to "hug baby August!" 
And after lunch, Gibson started talking to him which cracked August up and they had a good little time. 

I have long been aware of the fact that babies adore children and August is no exception. 
Plus, Gibson is pretty cute to look at. 

In fact, I'd call him "adorable." Which he is. 
Oh. My boys! 

I went to the Publix because I was out of potatoes and onions and I don't know about you but I can't keep house with no potatoes or onions in it. I can't make a meal without an onion. I mean- it's just not possible. Garlic is the same but my friend Tom grows garlic and keeps me stocked up on that. 

I took the trash and recycle when I got home and someone had left a fine fat pumpkin on top of the place where people leave stuff that others may want. I brought it home for my chickens and hacked it up and put it by the coop. It was too late in the evening for them to have any interest in it tonight but I think they will tomorrow. Someone else was a little curious about it. 

Before I took this picture, she went right up to one of the pieces and sniffed it and looked at it closely and then backed away slowly. Then she kept her distance. Maurice obviously does not trust a pumpkin. 

How many of y'all remember this picture?

That was from years and years ago. Still one of my favorites. 

And so it goes. 

Let me say again how much I appreciate all of your recent comments and support. I do feel freed to talk about the hard things now in a way I hadn't before. As I said recently, I feel no need to protect anyone any more and there is no shame in writing about it for me. I did nothing wrong. No child of any sort of abuse did anything wrong. The wrong was done to them and shame is just one of the methods that the abusers use to keep the child silent. 
I am sixty-one years old and by god- if my talking about all of this helps any person on this earth, I have done my job. 

All right. Signing off now. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sometimes I Just Have To Wonder About My Brain

Ugh. Horrible night of sleep. Dreaming I was dreaming and thus, just below consciousness.
Which was better than the dream where I was washing my baby's ears and there were endless colorful little salamanders in them.
I guess they were salamanders.

Speaking of babies, I'm about to to to town to accompany Jessie and Gus to the doctor for his check up. I can't wait to see how much he weighs now.
I hope they don't find any salamanders in his ears.
Colorful or otherwise.

Happy Monday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Reflecting On Oddities

That particular grouping of flowers is one I have never seen before.
There are camellias which are normal for this time of year and there are also zinnias, blossomed off volunteers from the zinnias I grew this summer and which I should not see until next summer. There are Japanese magnolia blossoms which, as I have said, we should not have until February, and lastly, there are violets, those eternal harbingers of Spring, but which I discovered already blooming in the side yard by the burn pile.
I have never in my life seen a November like this.
At this moment I am wearing a pair of overalls and a tank top. It is six o'clock in the evening and I am as comfortable as I can be.
There are also mosquitoes, the size and ferocity of which I have never seen before either. As I was turning on the hose to fill up the chicken waterer, I felt something stinging me through the nitrile glove I was wearing. I looked down to see something so large I thought surely it had to be a spider, but no, it was a mosquito. Besides the huge ones, we have small ones. We have many, many, many mosquitoes. And they are hungry.
The azaleas are budding up. The hydrangea I cut back is putting out new green leaves.

Odd times. Things I've never seen before. Well, I've seen all of these things but never all at the same time. Never all in late November.

I did not get nearly as much done as I had hoped today but the chickens are sleeping on fresh straw in their nests and their feeder and waterer are filled up. I swept porches until I formed a blister. I watered the porch plants which, let me point out, should not BE porch plants by this time of year, but huddling together into a tangled jungle in the mudroom, waiting out the freezing weather. The beds all have clean sheets and I tidied up the cabinet where I keep my baking dishes and pizza pans and pie plates and all of that stuff. I also cleaned out the food cabinet and made room for all of the jars of preserves I've made recently, clearing the counters of those. I scrubbed sinks and folded and put away clothes and gave the chickens leftover pancakes that needed to be cleared out of the refrigerator. Maybe I'll get a little more burst of inspiration and straighten out the skillet and pot cabinet. It needs it.

As I've worked today, I've spent a lot of time thinking about my brother, a lot about the things that happened this week, the things we said, the things we did not say.
I am glad for the unsaid things, mostly.
I know that if I had not asked him to leave, those things would have been said and that's what I was afraid of. And the very sad part about it, is that I feel as if we are both puppets, our jaw-strings being manipulated by the circumstances of our childhood.

As dear Jo pointed out in a comment, yet another of the curses bequeathed to the children of dysfunctional families is the inability to have the sort of relationships with each other that siblings should be able to have. Although I was aware of this, it never really hit home with the entire true honesty of it until I read what she said which was this:
"One of the things my father said at his brother's funeral was that the awfulness of their upbringing had precluded a real relationship between them in their adult life."

Oh god yes. It's been another odd thing in that since my mother died, this particular brother and I have gotten along for the most part better than we have in years while the brothers I have been close to my entire life and I are barely communicating. 

Here's another thing I realized- my brother's very presence is a powerful trigger for me. It throws me back to the many years when we lived in the same house where I spent my days and my nights in a veritable sexually and emotionally fueled terror. This is not his fault. But it is part of the reality of the situation. 

When we talked on Thanksgiving night, my brother and I, there were moments when he heard me. When I would say something and he would say, "Oh. Wow. That would explain this..."
And then immediately, it was as if he had not heard a word of it. As if the understanding had suddenly vanished under a rushing wave which had washed over it, deleting meaning and any understanding he may have had. 

He is SO angry at me for writing about our mother here because the things I write are not in line with the woman he knew. 
"Mom was joyful!" he said. 
"She was joyful around you," I answered so very quietly, "And I am so glad that she had that."
"She couldn't be that way around you," he told me. "You didn't have the connection."

The connection. The connection. The connection. 

No. We didn't have the connection. 

It wasn't until my older children were approaching the age I had been when my stepfather began abusing me that I had the epiphany that there was something horribly wrong about the connection my mother and I had. Had always had. As I said yesterday, my love for my children came with them and my overall feeling at their births was one of protection. I remember as if it was yesterday. I was raking my yard and I had just gotten married to Mr. Moon and I felt as protected and safe as I had ever been in my life and out of the blue came the realization that this was the first time I had ever felt safe and protected in my life and that felt incredibly wrong. And impossible to accept. 

And I became so angry that it took me years of therapy and going to a group for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to even begin to sort out why I suffered the depression, the anger, the sadness, the resentment, the fear that I did, much less do a damn thing about it. 
It's unbelievable that my husband stuck with me during those years. I was horrible. I was incapable of loving him the way he deserved to be loved. And I was NOT the mother I should have been. 

My mother did try to apologize to me once. But it was not unconditional. She said she was sorry that my stepfather had abused me but that I had to understand that she was not aware of any of it. That it was not her fault. 


The good result of this is that I have, as a mother, been so willing to admit my transgressions to my children. Even up to the point where I recently apologized to Jessie for telling her that she didn't need this fancy stroller/car seat/infant seat system that she wanted to buy. 
Turns out it's pretty awesome and I wish I'd had something like that when my babies were babies. And I told her that. 
"I was wrong," I said. 
"Yep, you were," she told me. 
And we laughed. 

And that is the least of the mistakes I've made with my children. I know it. They know it. 
But they also know that I am willing to admit them and I will apologize to them whenever it occurs to me that I have transgressed. 

Well, I'm rambling. But as I said, I have thought about all of these things a lot today. 

I know that my mother was not a monster but I also know that she had very deep problems which got in the way of her ability to love and protect some of her children the way she should have. I feel deep sorrow for her because I know she felt horrible guilt. 
She WAS capable of great love. I saw that not only in my own childhood but with her grandchildren at times. 
She could be joyful. I remember her dancing, singing, being silly. 
She was not Joan Crawford. She was not Sybil's mother. And I am quite aware of the fact that as my brother points out repeatedly that so many others have suffered so much worse. 

But that doesn't always help and it doesn't erase the fact that so many of us suffered horribly from our parents' inabilities to take care of us the way we should have been taken care of. 

I remember my wonderful, wonderful therapist telling me when I kept saying, "But I wasn't raped! It really wasn't that bad!" that one of her most damaged patients was a woman whose father never touched her at all. He simply would not let her close the door to her room. Ever. And that she always knew he was watching her. 

This is not a contest of who had it worse. This is just the way it is. 

The Japanese magnolia is blooming with the zinnias and the violets and the camellias. To the casual and unknowledgeable observer, these flowers look beautiful together. 

But it's not right. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday's Worship Program

I have thrown the chickens all out of whack this morning by sleeping for eleven hours last night. I woke up once about four when Maurice threw herself against the window to be let in after her night's work outside. What does she do outside all night? Does she nap in the moonlight? Raid squirrel nests? I have no idea but around three or four she wants to come in and eat and then get in bed to snuggle. I stroked her a long time and then we fell back asleep and when I woke up, I could not believe how late it was.
I guess I needed the rest. My neurons probably more than my body.

Anyway, good morning and I am going to partake of some therapy and worship here today in Lloyd. There will be clothesline therapy, chicken-shit removal therapy, house tidying therapy, porches sweeping therapy, and perhaps a little garden dirt therapy. Also, James Lee Burke as read by Will Patton therapy. All of this accompanied by the worship of chickens, trees, clear blue skies and peace.

What are you doing today?

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Ephemera And Musings

It's been a pretty perfect day. I had so much fun with my boys. All three of them. And with Jessie, too. Before she got here, the boys and I walked down to the post office and of course I made them pose for the traditional picture.

Owen is enamored today with his Winnie The Pooh pillow. I think he's really revving up for his sister to be born. He was extremely interested today in playing with and holding August who is definitely not a skinny little newborn any more. 

He's very good with him. Protective and interactive and gentle. I think he's going to be actually helpful as a big brother with this coming-soon baby. Now Gibson? Well...I think maybe he's undergoing a little uncertainty about the whole deal. He's been the baby for quite a while. He'll come around, just as his mother did when Jessie was born. 

We took August out to the swing porch today for the very first time. It was an event! 

And then of course he decided that he needed to eat. Jessie and I were laughing at him later for fussing while she was getting ready to nurse him because he's probably never had to wait for longer than maybe an entire minute before getting what he wanted.

Would you look at all of those long legs? 

August is smiling quite reliably these days. His whole face opens up the like the sun and that pretty little cupid bow of a mouth makes the prettiest smile. He will also stick his tongue out at you if you stick your tongue out at him. And he has complete conversations now in that sweet baby-language, already learning the patterns of human verbal communication. I couldn't stop kissing him today. I would have a very serious little chat with him and then just dive in and kiss his face over and over. He's going to think I'm crazy. 
He will be right. 
I told him today how lucky he is to have the mama and daddy he has, the grandparents he has, the aunts, the uncles, the cousins. And then I told him that we are all so lucky to have him. 
He agreed. 
He is, in fact, a most agreeable child. 

So yes, it was a good day. We did a puzzle and read a short book. We took that walk. There was treasure-hunting in the driveway with a spoon to dig up glass and pottery, and tweezers to pull out the tiniest bits from the hard dirt. We played with the baby. 

We had deep and meaningful conversations. We laughed a lot. Owen drew a tattoo on my arm of a baby and then he added his mama so that the baby was in her tummy. He took a picture of it but it doesn't really show very well, due to the fact that he did the tattoo in orange highlighter pen. 

He did it on the inside of my arm so I can hug it to me any time I want to hug the baby. 
Let's face it- the child is pure sweet. 

The sun is down now and I have the house tidied up, laundry running. I'll eat some more leftovers here in a little while. I feel peaceful and at peace. Both. All of my chickens are put up in the roost and I keep thinking about spring when I'm going to get a few more biddies. Just a few. I can't wait. 
But I will. 

Let's all be warm tonight, let's all be at peace. 
Let us all have sweet dreams. 
Let us have sweethearts or soft cats or dreaming dogs to sleep with, or a book by our side. 
Or a Winnie The Pooh pillow. Whatever brings us comfort. 

Love...Ms. Moon

In Which I Use The Word Miracle More Than I Normally Do

Good morning from Lloyd where I am feeling a bit shaky in my boots today. I ain't gonna lie to you. But it is the most beautiful morning and Owen and Gibson are coming out soon and Jessie says she's bringing out August and it's going to be a good day. 

I keep going over things in my head from yesterday, of course, and I keep second-guessing myself. Did I do the right thing?
I have to honestly answer that I did the only thing I could.

I think of all of the positive and beautiful things in my life. I think of the visit I had from my friends yesterday and how they seemed more loving and less stressed than I've seen them in years and that makes my heart so happy. I think of these boys about to come out. I think of Lily offering to come over last night, another friend offering to come out with tequila and her pajamas. I think of the the way the light is painting the oak trees in my yard right this second, the chickens letting me know that they're ready to come out of the coop. I think of the love. The incredible amount of love and the miracle of it. The miracle of all the different types of love in my life and how, over the course of thirty-something years my husband has taught me, showed me, finally, how to love and trust love. To trust enough to love.
My babies came with their own love. That was the easy kind of love.
I think of all of these things and I realize that life is short and there is no reason to spend any more of it than I have to fighting my way towards accepting it, fully accepting the miracle of it.

Sometimes my life feels very small and yesterday my brother told me that I have become so insular that I do not know how to have true, heartfelt conversations. That may have been the thing that ripped it for me because heartfelt conversations are the only kind of conversations I'm interested in.
And my world is not small. It goes all the way up to the sky. It is as big as the human heart. It is as vast as whatever it is you could possibly use to measure love.

Which, I personally believe, would be the universe.

Thank all of you so much for your comments yesterday. It is an unfortunate truth that so many of us have had similar experiences. But here we are.

And now my boys are here and I've cooked two eggs, made a bacon sandwich, and dispensed a giant dill pickle. And I realize I haven't eaten my own breakfast.

Life. The way I like it.

And I don't feel shaky at all anymore. I just feel good.

Friday, November 27, 2015

My Brother Helped Me Grow Up Some Today

I had to tell my brother to leave this evening.

It was hard and so weird but I had to and I did it. He told me I was fucking crazy but he packed up and left.

It's all okay. He's a grown man. I'm a grown woman. And I refused to participate in the conflagration that was set, dry wood piled to the sky with gasoline poured all over it. I would not toss that match.
There's nothing in that sort of bullshit for me any more. I have nothing to prove and no one I need to prove it to.

And I am fine. When I went out to shut the chickens up, Nicey ran to me and let me scoop her up and hold her close to my old bosom where she sagged in relaxation and I petted and stroked her and set her gently on the roost and here I am, alone again in this house that shelters and holds me as gently as I held Nicey. Owen claims that Nicey is as nice as she is because he gave her that name.

Have I told you what he's planning on calling his sister as his own, special name for her?


What the hell have I got to feel bad about?

Not much. In fact, not a damn thing that matters.

I got Keith on the box and I'm about to eat some leftovers. I stretch and breathe in and out, and my boys are coming to see me tomorrow. I ain't no martyr and I don't need to wah-wah about any of it. In fact, I'm just grateful that I finally understood that I was not put here on this earth to protect anyone I did not give birth to.

My brother loves to quote Keith as saying, "Know thyself."

I came to know myself a little bit better today. I have dried my tears and stemmed my fears and as my husband says, "I ain't afraid."

I may have had a horrendous childhood but I've got this life now. And I will not be cowered into believing that I have to believe one fucking part of the lies and deceit of any of that house of horrors of my upbringing any more.

I guess I have to say I'm grateful to my brother for bringing me this realization, finally and at last.

Know thyself. Keith is right. Trust that. Ain't no one on this earth who has your story, your heart, your history, your feelings, your unique and powerful and meaningful presence on this earth. Don't let anyone tell you different. And if they try, tell them to pack their shit and get the hell out.

And don't feel bad about it.

Love...Ms. Moon

These Miracles, Great And Small

The day after Thanksgiving and Mr. Moon has headed up to Tennessee to hunt and hang out with a guy he played baseball with in high school and some other old friends, which is pretty darn cool. He's taking up a bunch of Florida seafood and I think a lot of delicious eating will go on with the guys up there.

My brother has headed up to Thomasville, Georgia where a direct forefather of ours is buried. General Vaughn, and yes, of course, a Confederate general and my brother is obsessed with history and spent a part of this trip in Virginia with a man who's written a book about the general. I think White is going to travel down south either today or tomorrow to visit Roseland where we share so many memories from childhood. And perhaps to Winter Haven to see our brother, Russell.
We talked last night and for once, we did not come to blows. It was hard, though. Very hard, and I feel myself unwrapped and undone and vulnerable.
It is impossible for us to reconcile our memories and our feelings about our mother, our family. They could not be more different if we were discussing two completely separate human beings, two completely separate existences. And I do very much understand that both of our versions of reality are completely honest and true.
But as I said, the reconciling of them is probably never going to happen.
And he resents deeply that I have presented my version of things to "the world" here. It angers him. And it angers me that it angers him.
Oh god.

Things just feel strange. My Japanese magnolia is blooming and that should not happen until January, at the earliest.

The Bradford pears are still barely showing color. It is warm and cloudless and the plane that flies back and forth over the interstate to catch speeders is droning above. 

Some of my dearest friends in the world just stopped by and we drank coffee and chatted and that was wonderful. They live in Nashville and are here to visit family for Thanksgiving. The man part of the couple is the violinist we went to see the other night. He and my ex-husband have been friends since they were boys in strollers. We all went to the same high school. We have a lot of history and if there's anything better than knowing and loving people and maintaining relationships with them for years, I don't really know what it is. Karen, the wife, was with me when I had May and I was with her when she had her first child, Sarah. They kept getting texts that it was time to get back to the family because the ribs were ready and I kept saying, "Don't leave! Don't leave!" I could talk and laugh with them all day long. But I sure am grateful for the time we had today. 
They know me as well as anyone. 
And yet, they love me. 
Can't ask for better than that. Their visit restored my soul and that's the truth. 

And so it is quiet right now, even the droning plane has gone away. 

Jessie texted that August rolled from his back to his tummy today. That child is so obviously a genius. I am fairly sure he will be walking next week, reading by Christmas. 

Anyway, I am glad to be alone for this moment in the peaceful afternoon. The boys are going to come over tomorrow for awhile and it won't be peaceful then but it will be fun. 

We go on, we go on. We sometimes find ourselves in the murky bottom of rivers we had no intention of falling into and there is nothing for it but to trust that light and air are indeed still above us and that we will slowly but surely make our way back up into it. Others are here to help us up and sometimes we don't even have to reach out, they simply wade in and there they are. 

The simple miracles that happen all the damn time. 
Over and over again.


Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Mostly Pictures

I just feel bereft of words tonight. But here are a few pictures. Jessie took that one. I didn't even know she was taking them with my phone until I started going through my photos.

Probably about a third of the food.

Our friend Joanna came and brought a hammock and the boys would hardly get out of it. I stole this picture from her FB. 

Pretty mama and her babe.

Three of my favorite fellas.

Beautiful May and her handsome Michael.

My Hank and the lovely Joanna. She and Owen gave each other tattoos. Jessie got one too. 

My good-looking brother. 

I suppose I did not get a picture of Lily because she was running all over being the hostess. Trust me- she is absolutely gorgeous and glowing and as full of life as, well, a woman who is about to give birth can be. Oh hell, I didn't get a picture of a lot of people. I'm sorry. Next year? 

It was truly a wonderful thing, having our dinner at Lily and Jason's house. I kept thinking of all the months of negotiations that they went through to get that house but Mr. Moon just never let them give up. He kept saying, "I can just see those boys running around that yard and we're going to make it happen."
And they did. 

What a joy. And we ate outside, as Thanksgiving should properly be eaten, the sun going down through the oaks and pines, the blooming camellias beside us, the sweet air around us. 

And as a lagniappe, another picture stolen from Facebook. If your Facebook was broken this morning, here's the reason why.

All love...Ms. Moon

That Night Of The Year

Last night was one of the best nights of the year.
I just oozed around the restaurant in a glob of love and happiness.
All my babies were there. All my grandbabies.

Boppy got to hold the baby for an hour, at least. Owen was incredibly sartorial. 
Old, old, old friends playing the songs that make us weep and make our feet dance.

Music made, quite frankly, with and from love. 

Holding people close, catching up, all of it, all of it. 
Watching Jessie holding her baby and swaying to songs played by people I've known since long, long before she herself was born. Telling Owen about the musicians, introducing him to people, watching him get to know my brother. Seeing my children so beautiful. 

A dream that comes once every year. 

And this morning, my brother and Mr. Moon, getting a fire ready to smoke the venison. Onions and celery on the stove. 

Happy Thanksgiving. 
No matter what else happens, it's already been perfect. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

And So...

This happens every day. One of the Chi-Cha's gains access to the porch through a hole in the screen to eat cat food and then acts as if I am chasing her with an axe in one hand and the stew pot in another. I wonder if it's at least partially a game, like Gibson and the train.
Faux fear.

If the gut tells all, I am a mess. But is it real? Or is it faux?
I don't know.

My brother will be arriving soon after traveling through the southland a bit, staying one night with a cousin of ours in Asheville. We haven't seen him in years and as some of you may know, our relationship can be...fraught.

I pray for peace. He is my closest blood relative. Our love for each other is not in question. Our history is...complicated.

Anyway, good morning from Lloyd where the sun is shining and it is cool but not cold. I will do a little more cooking and make lists of everything I am taking to Lily's in order not to forget tomorrow. Tonight we will be going to town to hear music at a restaurant where my first husband and a very, very dear old friend will be playing. This is a highlight of my year and that is not an exaggeration in the least. My kids will be there, the wives of the musicians who are both very special women-friends in my life will be there and I will not be cooking. I used to throw a huge wing-ding of a party every Thanksgiving Eve and it was always the best party but I am sort of grateful that I'm not going to spend my day cleaning and preparing and stressing. Over the party at least.

There is my required and much-needed daily picture of August. He is napping after his morning nursies. 

Blooming sasanqua. That color. 

That cat, who always seems to show up when I'm outside. The sun is bleaching her fur. 

And now I feel better. The soothing abilities of the baby, the flowers, the chickens, the cat. 

I better go see if that turkey is anywhere near thawed. And make angel biscuit dough. And go stay with the boys for a little while this afternoon.

And be thankful. For all and sundry, for every bit of this raggedy, magnificent quilt that is my life. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2015


I have spent all day cooking with very little to show for it. I probably could have done everything I did in three hours instead of the eight it took me if I hadn't been so spaced out.
It's a real thing, y'all.
Anyway, that picture shows the pecan pie recipes I use every Thanksgiving, both of them recipes from Mrs. M, or Granny Matthews, to be more specific. I have spoken of her often on this blog so I will simply say that she was the first real cook I ever observed and at least 50% of my cooking skills come from watching her in the kitchen as she moved slowly from pot to pan, sprinkling this, adding that, usually wearing her nylon negligee set and with a cigarette ever-present, dangling from her lips.

Here are my pies.

Regular pecan and chocolate.

I did not go to Monticello but drove down to the intersection of Highway 27 and Chaires Crossroad where I had seen a guy set up selling collards earlier in the week. I figured that way I wouldn't have to put on a bra. Turned out to be a good decision.
Here, my friends, is what we might call "a mess of greens."

I also bought two sweet potatoes, both rather huge. I was only going to buy one to chop up into the bean and sausage soup I have been cooking all day in the crock pot but the greens man and another guy who was there laughed at me. 
"One?" they asked incredulously. 
"Okay. Two," I said. 
They laughed some more. 
For all of this I paid $3.50. 
It was the highlight of my day. 

Peace, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

A Mess, Both Definitions

Here is what Miss Camellia looks like today. As you can see, she hasn't gotten her tail feathers back but she doesn't look plucked anymore.

I think I've finally got my phone sorted out but am not quite sure. I've talked to tech help twice already but that had to do with messaging and activation. I've got beans cooking on the stove and laundry going. 

I am feeling eight thousand kinds of anxious. Like I've taken some bad speed for those of you who may ever have made that mistake back in the olden, olden days. And I'm sure that it's mostly about Thanksgiving. Not the meal itself. I could do my part of the cooking half asleep with one hand tied behind my back. 

But I don't feel like talking about it and I'm going to just get on with it. Make my cornbread for stuffing, make my pies, go buy greens at the farmer's market in Monticello because my collards aren't big enough to make a decent mess of yet. Not "mess" like messy but "mess" like, "Mama made a mess of greens for Thanksgiving." 

And so forth. I have two venison roasts brining in salt and brown sugar that Mr. Moon is going to smoke. I need to make my angel biscuit dough. Lily keeps offering to just buy rolls but I don't know- I like making the bread. I guess I'm just not ready to give up all of my Thanksgiving duties as of yet. Not ready to abdicate my matriarchal role entirely. 

So it goes and so it is. I'm trying to find my lotus flower as Lis says. 
This helps. 

Six more months, good lord willing and the creek don't rise. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, November 23, 2015

Transfer Complete. I Think

New phone. The camera works. My kitchen's a mess.

Love...Ms. Moon

I Told You I'd Bitch

Who said it could get cold? Wah-wah-wah. It's like forty-something here which is cold for us. Our blood is thin and not up to the rich salty levels of those of you who live in the more northern climes. It is infested and invested in mosquito toxins, it is cold blood, not warm blood. We are hot-blooded but only in the sense that the heat which usually surrounds us and sustains us causes us to be quick to anger and macho foolishness. When the temperature drops we are like the lizards who want nothing more than to find a warm place in the sun to lay. We crawl slowly and have a hard time doing the simplest things like opening a new bag of chicken scratch, our fingers stiff and useless, scrabbling at the little thread we need to pull to gain access to the corn, the chickens looking at us as if we were the ridiculous creatures that we are.

Ah well. It's not that bad.

Here's a picture of August who looks toasty warm, wrapped up next to his pretty mama.

I have much to do today including going to town and buying flour and Karo syrup and picking up my boys and I better take a walk. At least I won't sweat to death.

Stay warm, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, November 22, 2015

We Shall Not Perish For Lack Of Apple Butter

There's my beautiful old Trixie. She hasn't laid an egg since late last spring but she still sings a most beautiful song as she goes about her day. I would like her to live forever, just so I can hear her voice which is a constant pleasure in my life.

On Friday while I was outside, I realized that I could smell the tea olives again. I went and checked and sure enough, their tiny blossoms were out.

May and Michael were here and I asked them, "How often does a tea olive bloom?"
No one knew. 
I looked it up and one source says they can bloom several times a year. I'm here to say that is true. Their scent is so strong and so spicy sweet that you can smell it all over the yard. 
Speaking of scent, my house does indeed smell like apples and cinnamon. I am not sure that my entire day's labor and a whole bunch of sugar has added up to anything fit to eat. I canned a few quarts of apple slices in cinnamon sugar syrup for pies but they may not be any damn good. I started the apple butter in the crock pot but soon became impatient and now the sugared and spiced pulp is in a regular pot on the stove, simmering its little heart out. I do not have a food mill and if I do, I don't know where it is so I processed the soft chopped apples in the food processor and to tell you the truth, the texture of the goop is now more like applesauce than apple butter but I refuse to do it all again. Okay. Maybe I'll put it through the blender. I am about to get tired of this project although I have enjoyed it and have been listening to an audio version of a John Grisham novel and don't you judge me. I love it. "Sycamore Row." The narrator is fine and does accents and voices well. Grisham has a rare grasp for the southern characters and the racism and dynamics that can be seen in any small southern town. This book is set in 1987 when things were even worse than they are today. At least in some ways. I don't know. But I do know that Mr. Grisham is good with twists and turns, with characters and plot. It's like watching a good movie in my mind for hours at a time while I chop and simmer and measure and boil and sterilize and wipe up the kitchen over and over again. My floors are sticky and I just redid the goop in the blender and NOW it looks like apple butter and I have no real idea how long I need to cook it and I don't have nearly enough jars sterilized for this batch and this could go on all night. 
Oh well. 
Remember when blogs used to do contests? Perhaps I should do a win-a-pint-of-apple-butter contest. Or maybe a gallon. 
Mr. Moon took an entire truckload of crap to the dump today and that makes me feel better. He said that if he did ten more just like it, the garage would be pretty nicely cleared out. 
One step at a time. 
And so this day has been like that. The temperature is dropping and before too long I'll have to bring all the plants in and somehow, they've gotten away from me this year. Where will we put them all? Why are so many of them so huge and in such heavy, heavy pots? Dear Lord. Why do I love to root plants and make more of them as much as I do? 
I guess it's because my ovaries no longer function or something like that. 
I am grateful that I have soup to heat up for tonight's supper and I am grateful that I have a dishwasher. It is on its second run of the day and I'll probably be able to fill it again before bed. 

Bed. Wonder what I'll dream of tonight? 
Please let it not involve dysentery. I feel certain I covered that one pretty well last night. 

Much love...Ms. Moon

A Dream And A Recipe

Well, you don't know what fun is until you've spent an entire night in a dreamworld where your task is to take care of JFK, Jr. in a third world country. Sounds okay until you realize that the reason you are taking care of him is because he has like the world's worst case of dysentery.
Pretty gnarly and bathrooms are hard to come by. At one point I almost told him that the was going to die in a plane crash in the future but I realized that would be cruel so I kept my big all-knowing mouth shut.
HOW do I come up with this shit? I am talking literal shit and a lot of it.
Also, I needed to do laundry for about fifty people and we were trying to check out of a huge hotel.
Why? Why? Why?
Anyway, I carried on dreaming, toiling tirelessly and finally woke up at 10:30! Mr. Moon had been worried that I was dead. But I was not and made him some pancakes and now I better get to some sort of apple preserving. I am, strangely enough, still in an excellent mood and it is going to get cold here tonight. Thanksgiving is barreling down the pike and I have a turkey thawing in the garage refrigerator. I am going to stuff that bird and take it to Lily's to cook. I'm also making angel biscuits and two pies and the greens.
My brother from Washington State is actually going to be here and I'm looking forward to that if we don't hit one of those places wherein we curse each other and go insane. I'm going to do my best to avoid this because when we're good we're very, very good but when we are bad, we are horrid.
"Lock up the guns!" I told Mr. Moon cheerfully this morning.
Actually, neither my brother nor I knows how to shoot a gun, or at least I don't.

And so, tra-la! I am off to gather apples from the refrigerator and do something with them. At least my house will smell good.

Oh! How to make pineapple chicken:

You can use any chicken pieces you want. Currently I am loving the thighs. A mix of thighs and breasts is good. You CAN use skinless but it isn't nearly as good as the kind with skin on.
So get you some nice chicken pieces (I cut the breasts in half) and brown them in a little oil. Olive, coconut, whatever kind of oil you have. Of course I use an iron skillet to make this. As the chicken browns, sprinkle with salt and cinnamon. When they are browned a little, slice up some fresh pineapple OR get a can of pineapple, either rings or chunks. The kind with the syrup works best. If you don't have that kind, or if you use fresh, you're going to need a little brown sugar. So, put the pineapple on the chicken. If you're using canned, pour some of the liquid in the pan too. If you're using unsweetened pineapple, sprinkle a little brown sugar on top. Like...less than a tablespoon but more than a teaspoon. Slice up an onion and put those slices on top of the pineapple. Sprinkle more cinnamon on top. Cover and let simmer. At one point, you may want to turn the chicken under all of that pineapple onion goodness. When the chicken is almost done, go ahead and take the lid off and let the liquid sort of reduce and thicken.
That's it.
I like it with rice.

There you go.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Yes. Thank You

What a thoroughly good day for me. I mean it. I took that soup and bread into town, stopping off to buy what new house-owners really need on moving day which is, of course, vodka. I slipped the soup in the refrigerator and the vodka in the freezer and got a grand tour. It's a grand house.
A perfect jewel of a vintage Tallahassee home, surrounded by oaks and camellias and tea olives and I don't even know what. The house is located in an old Tallahassee neighborhood called Indian Head Acres and all of the streets are "nenes." Which, I suppose, is supposed to be the Native American term for street. I get lost every time I go in there but as I drive aimlessly down the nenes, I recognize one house after another that someone I've known and loved lived in at one point. Or still does. I got lost today and asked Siri to help me with directions and listening to the way she pronounced Chowkeebin Nene alone was worth the drive into town and the putting on of a bra-like garment.

Then I went to the Costco and bought my new Crock Pot. It came with a little miniature Crock Pot called (oh god, this makes me want to die) "The Little Dipper." The Little Dipper is for dips. Like nacho cheese dip and artichoke dip. So- awesome! I also bought prunes which I put in our smoothies. If you put prunes in your smoothies, there is no need for any other sweetener. I swear. Plus...fiber. You can thank me for that tip later.

Then I ran by the library and ran into a man I've known since I was five years old. He's from Roseland and his mama was my favorite teacher ever (I had her in the second and fourth grades) and his daddy was the preacher of the Unitarian-like Roseland Gardens Community Church.
We do have a history.
He told me that he reads my blog and he even thanked me for opening my life up to share with others and I just kept saying, "You're so sweet. Thank you." At one point in his life he actually lived in the magical little pool house that I rent in Roseland to stay in when I go down there. This was before the guys who own it now had bought it and restored it but it was a beautiful place, even so and he remembers that time as being extremely important in his life.
So that was absolutely lovely.

And then I went to Publix and got to see my Lily and then I came home and got to see my husband and now I'm about to cook some chicken and pineapple which is one of my most favorite things to cook and eat and the recipe originated in some magazine that my mother read (probably Good Housekeeping) and tonight I'm going to make it with fresh pineapple and onions and cinnamon and I am in an extremely good mood.

A train is blowing its horn, about to pass by and I think of Gibson and how he runs and clings to me, even now, when a train passes, although it's mostly a joke. Still, whenever he is here and I hear the distant whistle, I run to him and hold out my arms for him and yesterday when it happened I said, "Oh Gibson! Protect me from the train! Keep me safe!" and we clung together in faux fear and that is one of our rituals. He doesn't want his Boppy or even his daddy or his mama when the train goes by. He wants his MerMer.

I better start cooking.

I sure am grateful for this good day.

Love...Ms. Moon

I Am Useless

By the time I got up this morning Vergil had already mostly field-dressed a deer in the garage with Mr. Moon.
Whoa! The man is serious about providing meat for his family.
Meanwhile, Maurice and I missed the whole situation.
But I got busy and started laundry and cooked a big breakfast and unloaded the dishwasher and I'm thinking I might better get to town and buy a turkey and whatever else I need to make the food I'm taking to Lily's house for Thanksgiving. Also, some friends of mine are moving and no, I am not going to help them move. Please! I am hoping to take them soup and bread.
I could/should make some apple butter and jar it up and I should also start on Lily's baby's quilt.
Procrastination is being carried out a little too seriously around here.
By me, at least.

So. I just looked up apple butter recipes. That's a start. Right? A lot of them involve a crock pot. My crock pot came from Goodwill and isn't very big and doesn't cook right. Maybe I'll go buy one of those crock pots on sale at Costco. Shopping is a great way to procrastinate.
At Costco. On the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Oh Jeez. I don't know. And who cares? WHO THE FUCK CARES?????

Do you realize that I still think I am looking at dog pee or poop on the floor sometimes? Poopatory hallucinations? Do you realize that I am so freaking happy never to have to clean up dog pee or poop again?

Do you also realize that obviously I have nothing to say today?

Until I do...

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, November 20, 2015

Friday Nights

My mood tempered today to fit more appropriately with the bluesky fall day and did I ever tell you that when I was a young hippie mama I knew a baby boy named Noah Bluesky?
I still like that name.
Some hippies got pretty out there with the names and there were plenty of Rains and Rivers and so forth and I knew one couple that decided not to name their child but to let him grow up and name himself. So he was called "Bumpy" for the longest time until he chose his name and he chose Michael which I find pretty amusing but also cool.
I stuck with more traditional names for my own children. Even though I totally believed in peace, love, and understanding, I was quite aware that names should be considered carefully. I had seen the confusion and turmoil that my brother's name had caused. He'd been named for his great grandfather, White Burkett Miller, although he did not get the Burkett, but Alexander instead, for my mother's father. At one point, my brother decided that he no longer wanted to be "White" but Jim and lo, it was done but then even later, he decided that White was a fine name and he has gone by it ever since. Still, I will never forget being a small, small child telling people, "No, it's not Dwight. It's White. Like the color. W-H-I-T-E."
White was the first word I ever spelled. And I've been a little bossy, prissy know-it-all ever since.

But. That is not what I came here to talk about.

I have no idea what I came here to talk about. We just said goodbye to the boys who left with their dad to go to a school activity and fund raising night at Chuck E. Cheese and I told Jason that if I had to, I would pay a thousand dollars not to go to Chuck E. Cheese tonight and that poor man was at work at 6 a.m. and didn't get off until after five and now he has to go to Chuck E. Cheese with two little boys?
He is going to heaven, that Jason.
The boys were wild today. I have no idea why but they were. May and Michael stopped by for a little while because May's car had been at the repair shop right around the corner and it was just Bonus Round glory to see them. The boys were thrilled too and Owen made Michael talk to him about video games and when they left he said, "I sure enjoyed talking about video games with you, Michael!" and then, when they didn't leave right away he said, "Weren't you guys about to leave?"
I gave Michael a quart mason jar of venison vegetable soup to take with him, wrapped up in a dish towel because it was boiling hot, right out of the pot.
The big pot.
The giant pot.
Lord. Will I ever learn to cook an appropriate amount?
Probably not.
I loved making that soup and it took me all day. I put the kale and mustard greens from the garden in it just a few minutes ago and besides those, it has everything from cabbage to sweet potatoes to white potatoes to green beans to corn to tomatoes to...
In it.

Bread is rising.
It is Friday night. A martini is involved. They are singing at the church next door.
One of the truly good memories I have as a child was when on Friday nights my mother would take White and me to Vero Beach to shop at the A&P for the week's groceries and after that, we'd go to the Royal Castle for supper and we'd eat those tiny burgers and drink root beers and play the juke box from the flip-menus on the counter. Sort of like this.

Somehow, through the magic of The Beatles, I knew about their songs and we would listen to "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "Eight Days A Week."

My brother, who was probably about six years old at the time, could eat three Royal Castle burgers, french fries, AND a fried pie. His appetite then was prodigious and it still is. And yet, he is not now nor ever has been fat.
Where did THAT metabolism come from?
Well, life ain't fair.

Or maybe it is. I didn't get the metabolism but I sure did get the music.
Which saved my life over and over again.

Bread's in the oven. Soup's ready whenever.

Keith's still alive although Saint John and Saint George are not.

Love...Ms. Moon

Don't Even Get Me Started

Another blurry picture and so you know what that means- the new camera did not fix the problem so it was a software problem so I came home and wiped my phone back to factory settings and then restored it and it was still messed up but in a sort of different way so this morning I gave up and asked Mr. Moon if he could call the insurance company which I had struggled with mightily with no results for days and days and in a few hours, it was done and I'll get a new phone on Monday.

Why didn't I just ask him to handle it to begin with? Mr. Moon could make a fortune dealing with other people's problems like this. He's amazing. He manages to get a human on the line with a human heart and a human brain and he ends up with positive results. Plus, well, I've seen him bargain successfully at WALMART!
I don't understand it but I am in awe of it. He's never seen a bill that he thought was unfair that he couldn't get at least partially discounted. And we all know that billing errors are made every day, all of the time, but I think most of us just figure that it's too much of a hassle to try and deal with it and so we just grumble and bitch and pay the bill.
Not that man.
And he does it so sweetly.

So anyway, THAT is taken care of and now I just have to figure out how to transfer my old phone stuff to a new phone and I have done that before and hopefully, I'll be able to do it again but there are no guarantees. Yes, I still remember the words to the songs I sang in the first grade but do not ask me what I had for dinner two days ago.
Thank god for the internet which knows all, tells all, and I hear that Vergil was able to butcher his deer himself with the aid of Youtube videos on the subject.

So I finished reading this book last night.

I had never read a graphic novel before but I can't recommend this one highly enough. It rang so true with some of my experiences with my mother that it was creepy.

She covers it all- the dread, the guilt, the incredible amount of time and energy it all takes to care for aging parents and hell, I didn't even do that much. Ms. Chast had her own childhood issues with her parents to deal with as all of us do which adds even more density and crap to the jungle of it all and frankly, I don't know how anyone's machete is sharp enough to deal with it.
God. Just let me die quick.

Well, on that cheery note, let me say that it's a beautiful day here today and I had a walk and I'm going to make soup and the boys are coming over later for just a little while and the guy next door is chainsawing again (he CAN'T have that much more to cut, can he?) and I've already found four beautiful eggs this morning and despite feeling that the world is reaching new levels of insanity every second and not seeing anything on the horizon to change that unless aliens arrive and force us into better behavior or Jesus comes back and manages to avoid being killed by someone who thinks he's a Muslim terrorist, I guess I'll make it for one more day.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Nothing I Could Say Would Ever Possibly Be Better Than This

What Color Is Your Sky Today?

It's gray as fuck this morning and rumbling thunder to the south and raining off and on.
The chickens, bless their hearts, do not seem to care a bit.

Yesterday Mick jumped on Mabel right on the back porch steps and Owen, who'd been sitting at the table with me, got up and opened the door to view the deed and said, "Mick! Stop that!" He even tried to gently bat Mick off the hen and I said, "Oh honey, he's just doing what roosters do. Let him be."
"Do you think it hurts the hen?" he asked me.
"No," I said. Then I thought about it. "Well, maybe a little but it doesn't last long."
Life on the farm. Or, farm-lite.
Mr. Moon reported that later on Mick was hanging around them in the back yard and he asked the rooster, "What do you want, Mick?"
And Owen said, "Probably to fertilize another hen."
Oh boy.

A friend has asked me to lunch and so I'll be going to town for that in a while. I can't believe I still have a friend who would ask me for lunch but I'm glad I do. My phone camera has finally arrived so I'll go drop my phone off. I sure hope that solves the problem. I have a few other errands to run and will do those too. Lily is having Thanksgiving at her house this year but I am doing some of the cooking and need to get ingredients.

God, I'm boring.

Drip, drip, drip says the rain.

Sigh, sigh, sigh, says my soul.

Bawk, bawk, bawk, say the hens.

I will fuck you! says the rooster.

I will sleep, says the cat.

And she does.