Sunday, April 30, 2017

You Know It's Windy...

When you have to pretend blow your candles out because the candles themselves are having a hard time staying on the cake.
No. Seriously. They kept flying off.

But we had a good time and ate tasty snacks and even got in the cold, cold water. It was a beautiful day, celebrating Jessie.

Because we take dinosaurs everywhere. Almost.

Big brother, little sister.

War paint for Surfer Dude.

Sunscreen mohawk.

Ruffly butt. 

Lemon buttermilk poundcake. The only ones who loved it more than the grownups were the babies. 

The birthday and Wacissa seasons have now officially begun!



Not a great picture but that's the bloom of the rattlesnake beans- a tiny orchid, a miniature masterpiece of a flower.

I just picked sugar snaps to take to the Wacissa for Jessie's birthday gathering. My cake turned out lovely and I hope it tastes good. I will bring candles and Mr. Moon is washing the convertible. The chickens are running the yard and look like a wave, a dancing field of wheat, when they all run together from one place to another. Mr. Moon saw two of the teenagers bow up yesterday like...roosters.

I got ant bit on the feet as I picked and it is well and truly starting to feel like summer. Taste like summer. Look like summer.
Please. Could we get some rain?
I feel heavy as lead encased in granite, heavy as the heart of the densest planet.

The chickens scratch through the dry leaves beside the porch, they murmur softly about what they find. The old convertible's engine rumbles as Mr. Moon pulls it closer to the house.
A woodpecker drills a tattoo.

We are going to the river where sometimes all is forgiven, all is washed clean.
We are gathering at the river on a Sunday, today.
If nothing else, the cold water will sooth my ant bit feet and boys and girls will jump from the rope hung high in a tree, swinging out over the water to fall, to splash, to sink, to rise.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Saturday Morning

Mr. Gibson and his hot-chocolate mustache.

Goodness but we're slow around here this morning. It probably has something to do with my air conditioner not working. We finally turned it on night before last and by last night it had quit working. This has been the suckiest, worst, stupid doody headest whatever-you-call-a-heater-and-air conditioner unit in the world.
In winter the fucking heater doesn't work and in summer the fucking AC part conks out.

Okay. It's not really that hot. But still. It's going to get up to 90 later and it will be then.

So. We've had pancakes and bacon. Of course. And! Owen made his first salad!

He was quite proud and it was quite tasty although we don't usually eat salad around here at 9:30 a.m. It was a project which segued from cutting up bamboo which turned out to be inedible to making an actual real salad with greens and carrots from the garden, dressed generously with ranch dressing. 

Now my kitchen looks like a tornado hit it, there's bamboo all over the back porch and Bop and Owen are out back shooting the BB gun and Gibson is doing something in the Glen Den and I hope it's not dangerous. He just told me his version of the Mr. Peep story and it was awesome! Mr. Peep married Mrs. Peep and then they turned into humans and then Mr. Peep became a cowboy and Mrs. Peep became the Little Red Hen. 
He's got a good imagination that one. I'll answer something he says and he'll respond disdainfully, "I'm playing."
Oh. Sorry, dude. Play away. 

I better start cleaning stuff up. And then I may spend the rest of the day laying on my bed with all of the fans on. 

Did I mention the mosquitoes which are as fierce as I've ever seen them? And as Owen pointed out, we wouldn't have so many bugs if we'd fix our screens. 

Keepin' it real in Lloyd. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, April 28, 2017

Let's See. I Talk About Babies And Food. Yep. And It Won't Be The Last Time, Either

I'm being sort of bad Mer right now by not being at Owen's baseball game but sort of good Mer by getting ready for he and Gibson to come spend the night. Don't tell the boys but there is a plan afoot to possibly add a dog to the Hartmann household and after the game Lily and Jason are going to speak with a friend of Jason's who trains service dogs to see if he could train this little mostly-Lab pup which has been offered to Lily to be a service dog for Owen. I think getting the dog is already a done deal in that Lily has fallen in love with her and she's sweet and wiggly and curious and all of the wonderful, charming, delightful things that a puppy is.
And Owen wants a dog with a passion akin to the burning surface of the sun.
So anyway, all this means that my big boys are coming to spend the night and we shall be dining on pizza and sugar snap peas with Purple Cows for dessert.

I had a fairly good day today and got a few things accomplished that have been worrying me at night, the main one being getting Miss Jessie Moon Weatherford a birthday present because on Monday she is turning 28. TWENTY-EIGHT! This is vastly and completely impossible in that I am only forty-two but we'll just leave that there. I also got shopping done at both Costco and Publix AND I went and bought the purse.
Of course. Y'all told me to and I did. You are the boss of me.

But best of all, I had lunch with some of my babies. Hank and Rachel met up with Jessie and August and Magnolia June and me at that crazy place called the Wilderness Cabin Buffet where they have many, many taxidermed examples of formerly living wildlife which can be found in and around the native woodlands of North Florida and South Georgia. This delighted August who pointed at each one he spied and said, "Deah!" which is how he says "deer." I suppose that to him, all dead animals are deers due to the fact that his Boppy's den is rife with them.
Maggie did not seem to care and was, in fact, a little bit less happy than she usually is although she was cuter than a bug and wanted me to hold her a lot. August wanted me to hold him too. Here's how we worked that out while we were waiting on Hank and Rachel.

August is looking a bit wary of his cousin, as he sometimes and sensibly is although I don't think she's slapped him in months. She seems to be over that stage and thank goodness. 
What you can't see in that picture is her shoes. 

My Lord but Lily sure does dress that baby girl with style and panache! 

And August ate a fried chicken leg all the way to the marrow. 

He was serious about it, too. It may have been his first. I am not sure. 

So we all dined on southern gourmet cuisine which is just so good for us. Even the vegetables have meat in them. Well, of COURSE the vegetables have meat in them. That's what makes them Southern and Gourmet. And by the way, the pregnant lady chose the venue. 
There were pole beans and lima beans and collard and turnip greens and black-eyed peas and macaroni and cheese, sweating under its blanket of cheddar. There was potato salad and cole slaw and banana pudding and what looked to possibly be jello cake and pineapple upside down cake and cornbread and yeast rolls and cinnamon rolls so deadly, wicked good I won't get near one. There was fried chicken and baked chicken and fried fish and fried shrimp and barbecued pulled pork. 
Basically, it is the buffet I imagine will greet me when I enter the Pearly Gates. 
The best I can say is that I did not hurt myself. 

And then we paid up and all went outside and hung out and kissed each other goodbye about fifty times and there were some old ladies on the porch who looked like they might be visiting from a nursing home and one of them observed everything we were doing and cackled every time August or Maggie reached over and kissed one of us and there was another old lady who was holding her own baby- a doll- and I said, "Well, that'll be me. Both of those old ladies. I'll just laugh at all the babies I see and I'll be holding a doll," and my kids agreed that this is probably true. 

Jessie texted that as they were leaving, August was yelling, "Yuv oo" to all of us and thus, he can now say "I love you," and that makes my life pretty complete. In some ways I feel as if my work here is done but probably not until I get this pizza cooked for Owen and Gibson and tell them the Mr. Peep story tonight which Owen still insists that I do although he always falls asleep before Mr. Peep does. Plus, oh yeah, I really sort of want to meet this newest little bean that Jessie and Vergil have co-created and August might need some special Mer and Bop love when that happens and, okay, well, yeah. 

I guess I'll stick around. 

You do too, okay?

Love...Ms. Moon

A Small Perfect Thing

Chickens and bolting lettuce.
A match made in heaven.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Because I Really Have Nothing To Discuss This Evening

I give you these...

Night-night kisses for Maggie and Owee that Lily sent last night. 

August Glinden and Curtis Glinden, about to go get frozen yogurt today. 

Love...Ms. Moon

A Beautiful Book

From the book I'm reading right now, The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O'Neill:

"She understood that everyone was living a great tragedy. Her tragedy had taught her the language of tragedy- and made her able to read that of other people. In that way, she supposed it was a sort of blessing."

And this:

"Every day the average person will witness six miracles. But it isn't that we don't believe in miracles- we just don't believe that miracles are miracles. There are so many miracles all around us."

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Got Peas?

Well, as always in the garden, it's pretty much either feast or famine. Right now it's a feast of peas and we've already eaten them steamed with potatoes and a light cream sauce, cooked very lightly in soup, and raw in salads. And out of hand. I am making another noodle soup tonight, this time with leftover chicken, and peas will be involved again as is kale. And carrots.

It's been an okay day. I just accepted that it wasn't going to be one of the best days and dealt with it. I asked Jessie if she wanted to go to Monticello with me. Lily had plans already. And so Jessie and August came out and we went to see the chickens and he spat his pea onto the ground when we gave him one to try.
Well, you can't please everyone.
We drove to Monticello and did a tiny bit of shopping but August is not so good at shopping these days. He not only wants to name everything he sees, he wants to hold and explore everything. I find this completely reasonable and I didn't care if we shopped or not. We did get lunch.
"You want to get food, August?"
"Food?" he says. "Food!"
We had good food and August ate about as much as we did.

He had french fries, shrimp, mahi-mahi, asparagus, fried green tomatoes and part of a Clementine. I watched in disbelief. I mean- how big can his tummy be? The size of a golf ball? Maybe? 
I'm trying to get in as much Jessie and August time as I can because they're leaving in a few short weeks to go and stay in Asheville for the summer. I don't even need to talk about how I know without a doubt this is the very best and most wonderful thing for everyone involved. August will get to hang out with his Asheville cousins and his Asheville grandma and grandpa and his aunt and uncle and they will get to hang out with him. Not to mention the fact that Jessie and Vergil have friends that they love and will get to spend time with them. 
It's ALL good. 
But even though I know that to my bones and to my toenails, it doesn't help. I think about them leaving and I am bereft. Of course we'll go and visit but...
Well. Obviously I need to pull up my big granny panties and get over it. 
Or at least stop crying every time I look at August. 
And summer will go by so quickly and then they'll be back and it will be time to start getting ready for this new baby that Jessie is growing. 
She's already arranged for a midwife in Asheville to do her prenatal care this summer which is a very good thing. The woman is Vergil's sister's midwife and when she talked to Jessie she said, "I'd love to get my hands on your belly!"
Which is funny and cheering and all will be well. 

See you tomorrow.

Love...Ms. Moon

Every Day

Every day, every day of my life I wake up and wonder why I'm still here.
Every day I get out of bed because there's no use staying in it, because even if I don't know why I'm still here, it is obvious that I am and if I am still here, I might as well do the things that need doing and so I do and the first business of the day- brushing my teeth and getting dressed- seems harder than anything I'll have to do for the rest of the day or maybe ever.

This is how it is.

I wonder why it is I do this. Why I wake up feeling like this every day.
Is it chemicals? Is it my life? Is it a curse that was put upon me at an early age, being fatherless, being abused, being worried all the damn time about everything that a child should never have to worry about? Did the worry and the fear dig a rut in my brain so deep that it takes all of my every day energy to pull out of it and then every night when I am asleep, I fall back into it?

I don't know.

I just know I get up and I get dressed and I keep on living and I keep on doing. I look around me and I see that I love just about everything in my vision from the red impatiens in a pot to the chickens scratching around the bird feeder to the green of the magnolia tree to the floorboards of my house to the way the light falls and hides and skitters and shines on the impatiens, on the red bird at the feeder, on the squirrels running across the yard and into the branches, their tails flicking as if they were crazy in love with life.

How can I hold all these things in one mind? The fear and the dread and the worry and the sorrow and yet, at the same time, the love and appreciation for it all?

It's a conundrum. It's a mystery.

It's just the way things are and by now I know that at some point in the day, for a moment at least, maybe many moments, I'll be free of most of the thoughts that chain me to sadness and will tomorrow too and we're going to need clean clothes and the chickens need clean water and there's so much to do and it surely helps if I do it and so I do.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

I Think I May Need A Vacation

Well. It's been an interesting day but not a vastly interesting day. Okay. I'll be honest. It's not been that interesting at all if you have a normal life, whatever that is, but when you lead a life like mine, anything out of the ordinary can be classified as interesting, I suppose.

The mute button on my phone had quit working. Like- it was stuck on mute. I could move the switch but it didn't un-mute. Thank the Lord and all the little angels, I could still listen to my book with my headphones on but I was getting no alert sounds, no phone-ringing sound, not that my phone ever rings unless it's someone trying to get me to buy a condo or aluminum siding or something.
And yes, I had dropped it recently. Without a case on.
So I took it in to the Computer Doctor place and the guy at the desk said, "Blah, blah, blah, $95."
I said, "Okay, here's my phone."
He said, "Two hours or so."
I said, "See you later."
Then I got into my car WITHOUT A PHONE and proceeded to live for two and one half hours without it.
Amazing, right?

I went and got my new glasses. I'd show you a picture but I'm so vain and old and ugly that I don't want to. You'd think that glasses which cost ten thousand dollars (okay, slight exaggeration) would make me look at least five years younger and four times more beautiful but no, they do not. I look the same. Old and ugly.
I want to sue someone.
But, I can see better and there are no scratches on these lenses and that's worth about five thousand dollars so it's okay.

I then did some shopping. Or what some would call shopping in that I walked around TJ Maxx with one of those mini-carts and I found a purse I loved so much and I put it in my cart and I walked around with that thing in my mini-cart for about thirty minutes, occasionally stopping to fondle and explore it like a mother cat might fondle and explore her new kitten, and looked at other stuff and didn't put anything else into my cart and then thought and thought and thought and steeled my resolve to buy it and got in line for check-out and actually got to the register, looked at the woman and said, "I've changed my mind," and I went and put it back.

True story.

I'm still thinking about it though.

I went to Goodwill and bought a book and then I went and got some lunch (had to have the book to read while I ate lunch, of course) and then it was time to go get my phone. Which had not been repaired because what they thought was wrong with it originally was not the problem. The problem was a bent frame. (Oh my! How could THAT have happened?) So they gave it back to me because fixing the bent frame thing would have cost a whole lot of money.
But then I discovered that actually and in reality, something they did, did fix the phone because now the mute button works properly, bent frame or not and I didn't give them a penny AND they apologized for not being able to fix it.


So that was my exciting day, excuse me, interesting day.

That picture up there has nothing to do with anything except that it's what my Canary Island date palms look like when the sun is doing down. I hate those fucking things and should be shot for ever planting them because each one of the spikes in the fronds could be used by James Bond to kill a villain and there are hundreds of spikes per frond.
But they are kind of pretty.

Golly. I bet you just can't wait to see what all I get up to tomorrow!
(Spoiler alert: It may involve chicken shit.)

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, April 24, 2017

There you have the Plesiosaurus which lives in the swamp by the Junior Museum and if you look closely, you can see that it would appear that Van Gogh had stopped by and painted the water with pollen to resemble his Starry Night. There is always something new and interesting and beautiful and funny and amazing to see at the Junior. Lily and Jessie decided to take their littles today for a visit and asked me if I wanted to join them. I had woken up so filled with dread and anxiety and the images from dreams that no one needed to have had and the sky was so gray and it was so chilly that I almost said, "No," but then the thought of being alone in the chill and in the gray enveloped me with its cold tentacles and I said "Yes" and got my necessary chores done and drove from East Nowhere to West Nowhere and caught up with the girls and babies just as the wolves began to howl in their enclosure. There was a board and a sign across the walkway over the wolf enclosure which asked people to stay behind it because one of the females was about to have babies and they did not want to upset her. We wondered, as they howled, if indeed the pups were coming right then, but we left them to their privacy and walked on to see the bear who was sleeping. August kept putting his finger to his lip and saying, "Ssh."
Yes. Best not to awaken the sleeping bear. I have heard that this is good advice and I believe it.

August was a little more interested in the animals and in the exhibits than Maggie was although I hear that I missed the part in front of the otter habitat where, when she saw them playing in the water, she tried to take off her clothes to get in with them. And who among us has not wished to do the same?

We didn't have time to do the whole museum. We skipped the farm part entirely and didn't even stop to play on the playground but Lily had Gibson to retrieve and Jessie wanted August to get a good nap but it was still a good time and of course I was glad I went. 

When I got home, Mr. Moon was here, getting ready to leave for auction and I got his snack bag together, his popcorn made. He downloaded another book to listen to as he drove and I walked him out to the car and kissed him and asked him to please be safe and to let me know when he gets to his hotel safely. He said he would and he will. 

And so here I am, alone and it is fine. I went out to give baby chicks grapes and found these guys lined up so nicely. 

Those are three of the four that Kelly gave me and the only one I've named is "Honey," the one on the left. Owen reminded me that we used to have a Honey hen. Not really ours, she belonged to my next door neighbor but for a long, long time would stop by and get treats and then lay me an egg. I wonder if the bird in the center there is a rooster with that growing red comb and wattle. It may be that it's merely a hen whose breed grows a comb and wattle more quickly than the others and as I always say, I'll figure it out when it either lays an egg or begins to crow. 

I am thinking that very soon I need to let the four little Ace Hardware Americaunas out of the baby tractor coop. They are growing nicely and I have named but one of them- Little Bear. Of course this makes me want to name the other three for characters in the Little Bear books, so beloved to my heart. I have one of the chicks whom I think would make a good Owl and one I could call Emily who was Little Bear's best friend, and perhaps I could call the last one either Lucy, who was Emily's doll, 

or even just "Hen," which was another friend of Little Bear's. 

Hen and Grandmother

Mr. Moon will kvetch and moan saying, "We can't name a chicken Owl and we can't name a chicken Hen," but honestly- what does it matter? I'm the only one who remembers any of these names and it's not like the birds come when I call them by name. They do come when I whistle my "bringing grapes now" whistle, running like little dinosaurs across the savannah, their two legs stretched out as far as they will go, to come and get their treats. 

Well, I shall study the birds and the situation and names shall be given eventually. 
Meanwhile, Hawk and Dearie and Nora and Trinky and Tronky and Nicey are indeed named as is Honey and of course Mick and Violet and Camellia and Butterscotch and Trixie and Dottie and Darla and Little Bear, which leaves three white ones and three Americaunas to be christened and none of it means a damn thing except in my own little imaginary anthropomorphic world and I don't have any idea whether this is all whimsical or ridiculous but it's my little world and I cherish it, I really do and on certain days it is what sustains me along with my children and grandchildren and as such, I honor it.  

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, April 23, 2017

It's In My Nature

I asked Vergil and Jessie and Lily out for pancakes and bacon this morning but our menu changed when Vergil asked if he could bring his brand new vintage Sunbeam waffle maker which he is currently in love with.
"Of course!" I said, and I made up the batter and cooked the bacon and he cooked us one delicious waffle after another in his waffle maker and they were all crispy on the outside and perfectly cooked on the inside and we ate them like little waffle piggies.

August is learning to use utensils! 

I took pictures of everyone else but none of them came out well. I was using my iPad because my iPhone started refusing to charge last night and my heart was breaking and I was worried because how do I live without my phone, meaning, how do I go about my life without listening to a book at all times, not to mention all of that other stuff like taking pictures and texting and looking up random things on the internet whenever I have a question?
And so forth.
So I asked Vergil to take a look at it and he did, quite literally, look into the little charging port and he said, "Oh, I see your problem right here," and he took a needle and dug out a little piece of something, probably leaf mulch, and now it charges perfectly and all is well in my world again. Or at least that part of my world, anyway.
Thank you, Vergil. 

And I have not done much today. I have rested, just like the Bible tells me to do on a Sabbath. I did finally go out to the garden and plant two more rows of peas, one black-eyed and one zipper cream. My garden is now, at this very second, almost exactly the way I've always wanted a garden. When it's time to plant something, all I have to do is go out and rake a row naked from the mulch and plant my seeds in that earthy breast. Of course it's still early on in the year and there's plenty of time for weeds to take hold and then take over but right now, it's almost weedless and beautiful. 

Those are shallots on the left, then a line of black-eyed peas, then my new row which I just planted in zipper cream peas, and then the winter kale. Also, behind the shallots are lettuces which we are still eating in salad although their time is coming to an end and they are starting to bolt. 
It's been a real good run though. 
I need to pull some of that kale. We will never eat all of that and I could put something else in there like maybe zinnias or cantaloupes. It's just so hard for me to pull a perfectly healthy plant out of the dirt. The collards are in the same category. They are huge and glorious still, but dear god, we're not going to eat all of them and they are literally shading out the tomatoes. 

Owen and I went out and picked sugar snap peas this morning after our waffles. 
"I'm on a pea rampage!" he said. Rampage is one of his new favorite words. When we were eating he announced he was on a bacon rampage. 
As we picked, he and I were talking about the garden and about chickens and he said, "Mer, you're a farmer."
"No I'm not," I told him. "I'm just an amateur gardener."
"No," he said, picking another pea and putting it in his mouth, you're a farmer."
Well, I'm not and thank goodness because I couldn't keep any of us alive with what I grow. It's all just lagniappe and joy and extra but it does feel good not to have to buy too many vegetables at the store and no eggs at all. I hate the thought of going through those bags of salad greens in just a few weeks, looking for one that doesn't look like the greens need to go directly into soup with no stop in the salad bowl. We are spoiled by the freshness of our greens, picked, washed, and made into salad with olive oil and vinegar, salt and garlic. We never get tired of it. 

I often wonder where this desire and need to get in the dirt and plant came from. It is strong with me. So strong that even my stepfather's love of gardening did not ruin it for me and that's saying something. He used to plant a big garden on the lot across the street from our house in Winter Haven, right on the lake, which was not something one did in those days. I never participated in that garden but when I grew up and moved out of the house, the desire to grow things arose in me as strong and true as the desire to cook and make bread did. 

I suppose I am a peasant woman and that is simply that. 

Oh well. It all keeps me out of the pool halls. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, April 22, 2017

This And That, Here And There

Oh dear god, I am exhausted.
I'd say that I've spent all day working outside but that is not quite true. I did sit and write a bit. The man who owns the beautiful place on the Sebastian River where I stay when I visit Roseland asked me if I would write a letter about the community center in Roseland which is in need of county funding for repair from the perspective of a former resident who remembers it from long, long ago. And so I did. Here's a picture of the building itself that I took on one of my visits.

He probably won't even use the letter. I got way too nostalgic and sappy and used a lot of words like inspiration, heart, magical, enchanted, etc. I also included what can only be called a condensed history of Roseland from the sixties. I stopped just short of talking about Chester, the feral man who lived in Roseland and who looked like Jesus but only because I couldn't tie him to the building in any way.
Oh well. I surely did enjoy writing it and it brought back so many memories for me and it reminded me that I need to go back soon to visit because I miss Roseland and have learned that you CAN go home again and it's wonderful.

But besides the time it took me to do that, I've mostly been outside and I'm all broken out and itchy because I trimmed sagos and Canary Island date palms and got down on my belly and cleared out the horrible cherry laural seedlings from under the fig tree along with a bunch of sticky, itchy weeds, and I trimmed the bottom branches off of the fig tree itself and also the mulberry and some camellias and hauled all that to the burn pile, one load at a time. I also did a little leaf raking and mulching and was going to plant another row or so of cream peas but I burned out and came in and took a shower and took grapes to the baby chickens and got the laundry in and folded it and put it away and tomorrow's another day and I'll try to get to the garden then.

So. Yes. I am tired but I am trying to gird these ancient loins and get in the kitchen and make some eggplant parmesan for our supper. That should be good and I am glad I got all of that work done in the yard but the hotel in Cozumel where we stay just posted this on Facebook

and suddenly I want to weep and am now homesick for two places.
That is El Cielo, which translates to The Heaven and it is.

Oh well. Lloyd is not so bad and Mick is calling in the ladies and the sun is doing that magical thing with light as it goes below the trees and I noticed a blooming blossom on the highest limb of my huge old magnolia tree, it's white face turned towards the blue sky, and little birds are chittering in the trees and I can't complain.

There are many heavens to be found on this earth and I am grateful to be able to call a few of them my own, in some way or another.

I am lucky. So lucky and good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, I will be able to visit those heavenly places again, meanwhile living right here in my own tiny plot of paradise which I am still strong enough to work on which brings me a sure and certain joy of its own.

Sleep well, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, April 21, 2017

Life And So Forth

I finally made it to one of Owen's baseball games. That's him, being a catcher.
Of course, after hitting two home runs in the last two games, he struck out three times today.
He did not seem overly concerned about it, saying only, "I didn't practice this week, Mom."
I was relieved he wasn't too upset because I certainly wasn't.

God. I am the worst at watching my grandkids play sports. I wasn't any damn good at it when my own kids were playing, either. I try. I try to focus and keep up but it all simply dissolves for me and I'm lucky if I know what color shirt "our" team is wearing by the end of the game. I mostly sit and watch Maggie who is quite amusing and who makes me laugh and I talk to Lily and to Jason's mom if she's there and I clap for everyone and wonder how much longer this is going to take.
To be honest.

But I feel like I need to go at least sometimes because, well...guilt if I don't.

But it's not an unpleasant way to spend one hour and fifteen minutes (but who's counting?) if we're not either freezing or baking.

So here it is Friday night and they are ROCKING at the church next door and there's a dog barking somewhere and I think I've pissed off my husband by telling him that he cannot use my office to put his pool table in and it's non-negotiable, even though no, I don't use it much (or at all) anymore. He has no idea of the concept of a room of one's own although if I tried to get him to let me use some space in either the Garage Mahal or the shed where he keeps stuff he'd be appalled. And no, it's not logical and I don't care. I do not care at all.

I just feel pissy tonight and there is no reason, no reason at all. I've had a fine day with another good walk and a quick trip to town and a nap too and then sitting at the ball field and laughing at my granddaughter.

But it is what it is and I am who I am and we just went out to put the chickens up and damn if the teens haven't suddenly figured out to go to bed in the hen house with the other chickens.
I'm so proud.
I feel like my babies have just graduated from high school or something.
You have no idea how thrilled I was to see them roosting in there. I'm not even kidding.
Can you imagine how I'm going to feel when they start laying eggs? You'd think I'd never done this before. It's not unlike the delight I feel when each grandchild does the things that children all normally do. I don't care how normal it all is, I find genius in each and every new step and new word, each new ability to understand and respond.

Here's August on skates today.

Genius, pure genius. 
Just like my chickens. 

Love...Ms. Moon

A Tiny United Nations, Right Here In Lloyd

It makes me ridiculously happy to see the young chickens getting along with the older ones so well.
That's Dottie and Trixie, Dearie and Nicey.
Peace in the yard makes peace in my heart.
Goodness but it's a beautiful day.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


The soup was so good that we decided we should have it once a week, at least.
Slurp, slurp, delicious.

Babies, Lizards, Soup, Samurais

By the time Jason got home this afternoon, Maggie needed to be run through a car wash and I was not far behind. She had been eating peanut butter on apples and when Gibson said that he wanted some too, I told him to just lick his sister.

Ah, but it was fun and Maggie absolutely slays me with her ways, her curls, her language, her smiles, her dancing and clapping and kissing. She is like the definition of a cherub baby, happy and curious and cuddly and loving. It would have been so fine if Lily had had a boy as her third child but I am as happy as I could be that she got this little woman baby to love on, to dress, to play with, to share with big brothers and sweet daddy.

After we picked Owen up at the bus stop, I was changing Magnolia's diaper in her room and suddenly, I heard Owen yelling, "MER! HELP!"
It sounded quite serious and so I grabbed up the girl and ran into the living room to find Owen and Gibson standing at both ends of the couch with it tipped up on its front edge. I thought that perhaps they were about to drop it on themselves, but that wasn't the problem. The problem was a fairly large striped lizard, fat and still as a bird on the ground with a hawk circling overhead. It wasn't one of our regular anole lizards and I just looked it up. It was an Eastern Six-Lined Racerunner and it looked like this, only larger.

"Is it poison?" Owen yelled, still holding up his end of the couch.
"No, no. It's just a lizard," I said, and I set Maggie down and we chased the lizard towards the door but he ran behind the TV and I suspect it is still there.
After we'd settled that problem, sort of, we put the couch back down and all was well. Owen had found the toy he'd been looking for and then he sat down to do his homework and I finished pulling Maggie's britches up and then Daddy came home and I passed the peanut butter confection to her father and kissed everyone good-bye and came home where I did some ironing.

Gawd. I'm a damn housewife.

So, Hank told me about a show on Netflix called Samurai Gourmet and he said it was sweet and funny and each episode was only 22 minutes long and so about a week ago, Mr. Moon and I watched an episode. It's all in Japanese with English subtitles and it's delightful. It's about a 60-year old man who has recently retired from his job. He has been a company man his entire life, following all of the rules, doing exactly as a company man should do, and now he has freedom and he isn't quite sure what to do about it but (and this part is a little forced, if you ask me but whatever) a Samurai begins to show up who shows him the way of being his own man, specifically through food.
He has a beer at lunch!
He spends the night away from home and has a beautiful breakfast with smoked mackerel which sends him straight back to his boyhood.
And he eats amazing noodle soup.
That soup looked so good that I have determined to try and make some. Simplicity in itself and I have a broth simmering with chicken stock and a bit of kale to substitute for seaweed, of which I have none, a little soy sauce, grated fresh ginger and a garlic clove. I have tofu and mushrooms and green shallots from the garden as well as sugar snap peas, a bit immature in their sweet pods. And a package of rice Udon noodles from the Costco.
I really have no idea what I'm doing and I should have miso but I don't and none of the recipes I find online really seem to be what I want so I will just go about it as I will and hopefully, however it turns out, it will be fun to eat the noodles with chopsticks and slurp the soup from our bowls.
I will also make the simplest of salads with sliced cucumbers and Tamari and rice vinegar to go with the soup.
And that shall be our supper tonight.

My anger has dissipated as the day has gone on although the pictures going around online of Trump in the Oval Office, posed with Sarah Palin, Ted Nugent and his wife, and Kid Rock and his girlfriend do actually enrage me. This, however, is a time to try and be as Zen about things as possible, I suppose. Perhaps there is some balance as Bill O'Reilly is forced off of Fox, albeit with a shit ton of money in his pocket proving once again that racism and lying and sexual harassment pay well in the United States of America.
I don't know. I don't know shit.
All I know is that the world has turned upside down since last November and yet, here I am with the prettiest garden of my life and 21 chickens and four grandchildren and another one coming and everyone I see is just doing the best they can.

Let's keep on doing that while at the same time, staying in touch with our inner Samurais, whatever that may mean to you.

Love...Ms. Moon

In Which I Spew A Tiny Bit Of Ire

A good strong walk today. It's not as hot as it's going to get which is a shame because it's already plenty hot for me. Also the damn yellow flies are already out and biting and I hate those things with a fierce and bloody passion. They may have their place here on the planet and indeed, may be of indisputable value but if so, I do not know it and besides that, if there were such a thing as Intelligent Design, something less evil would have been intelligently designed to serve the same purpose.
That's just my opinion.

I'm feeling vaguely angry today with no real target for my feelings except for, you know- the obvious ones which would be the current administration and religion and people who abuse children in any way and short-sighted, mean-spirited asshat shitheads who are destroying our planet for their own economic gain and stuff like that.
There's a lot more but I have things to do before I go over to Lily's to do some child-tending this afternoon, the main one being to try and get into a better mood so that I can be a good Mer, a loving Mer, a funny Mer, a patient and understanding Mer.

I believe I shall start with kicking some bamboo. That's always a satisfying chore to do when I'm feeling this way.

So. Anyway, happy 4/20. Smoke 'em if you got 'em and that's your inclination.
I wish it were mine. I'd probably be a lot less angry.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Let's Be Honest, Shall We?

I did go to town today and I have to say that although it was the first time I'd left Lloyd since last Friday, after about two hours all I wanted to do was to GET HOME again.
Everything was fine and it was splendid to see Lily and Jessie and Gibson and August and Magnolia, and our pizza and salad at Uncle Maddio's was delicious as always and Costco was fine with many of Gibson's favorite foods being sampled including steamed dumplings and macaroni and cheese AND fried mozzarella sticks but it all just left me jangling and janky and ready to get back to the peace of Lloyd and my own little place in it. I had to go to Publix on my way home because I didn't want to buy a flat of pinto beans, merely a bag of them, and so I stopped there too, and forgot the damn milk. I almost forgot the bananas and I only went in there for those three specific things- beans, milk, bananas.

You know those articles on Facebook with titles like, "Normal aging or dementia? Check out these five symptoms to help you tell the difference."
Well, I don't click on them because I DON'T WANT TO KNOW. It's like- why would anyone in the world go to a fortune teller or a psychic? If they're shite, then it's a waste of money. If they're real, again, I DON'T WANT TO KNOW.
I mean, it all ends in death, no matter what. It's merely the details that we don't know.
And thank you, no. I'd rather not unless I can be told for certain sure without a doubt in this universe that I'm going to die happily in my sleep while having the most delicious dream ever dreamed.
Which is impossible.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah. Forgetting things.
I do that a lot.
But you know, there are a lot of things I don't forget. Here are a few:

1. Taking care of my grandchildren when I am needed.
2. Picking up my grandchildren if I am needed.
3. Letting my chickens out in the morning.
4. Putting them up at night.
5. How to cook.
6. How to get to Publix.
7. How to get to the library.
8. How to do laundry.
9. To set the coffee at night so it will be ready in the morning.
10. To never run out of coffee or toilet paper.

I figure if I can do all of that, it'll all be okay. For awhile, at least, and as long as I remember my husband's name.
And my own name.

Well, this has been a cheery fucking post, hasn't it?

I'm sorry but that's just part of the reality of growing older. Maybe tomorrow I'll talk about skin issues and what it's like to bleed every time you scratch an ant bite a little too vigorously or bump a knuckle on something.

Unless I die peacefully in my cozy bed tonight. In which case it will all be a moot point.

Love...Ms. Moon

P.S. If there's anything I do enjoy about aging, it is of course grandchildren.

The rat tail brothers and their baby sister, going to the library. 

Reasons To Leave Home

I spent almost all day yesterday outside, working and sweating and weeding and mulching and trimming and hauling. I did laundry and hung it all on the line and then folded it and put it away. I cleaned the hen house, I laid down fresh new hay.
That is what I did.
And then I took a shower and then I laid down on the bed and I read for awhile and took a small nap and got up and did more stuff and played some cards with my husband and made our supper and then went to bed and slept again.
All day I listened to a good book which I downloaded from One Click Digital (free books to listen to- do you hear me?) which is Fingersmith by Sarah Waters about whom Wikipedia says, "She is best known for her novels set in Victorian society and featuring lesbian protagonists..." and the writing is silky and funny and good.
I have ant bites all over my left arm and today I have to go to town. We are out of milk and I want pinto beans to cook with Easter's ham bone.
My favorite meal in the world.
And I need to see some babies, real babies, not the chicken babies I have been tending, although they are lovely, these chicks and I especially love the way their warm bodies feel, their smooth, smooth feathers, their dense weight as I pick them up and put them in the roost house at night to continue their sleep with the big chickens. Sometimes they fuss and I hold them close to my chest and whisper, "Ssshhh, ssshhh, ssshhh," and they settle down immediately.

This is my life and it is a good life and even Maurice came and slept with me last night and I realized once, when I woke up, that she was gently holding my hand with her paws. You can believe that or not, but it is true.

But yes, I need to go to town and not just for milk and pinto beans but also because I need to speak to humans other than my husband and remember that I am part of the human race, we strange creatures who make it up who walk on two legs, who do not have wings except perhaps metaphorically, who use speech and have opposable thumbs and who are supposed to interact with others like us. Hello, hello, how are you? Have a good day. Can I help you? Come here and give Mer a hug. Thank-you. Excuse me. I'm sorry. Did you find everything you were looking for? How you been? Yes, it is a beautiful day. Doing okay, and you? I love you, I love you, I love you. 
Don't forget that. Not ever. 
I do.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Moving On And To And Through

Morning comes and as peaceful as it here, anxiety crawls up my belly like a snake, threatening to settle in my throat, cutting off all breath.
It is beautiful here this morning. A little traffic noise, but mostly bird song and a woodpecker, searching for his breakfast in the old oak by the railroad track.
There is nothing in this world I have to do today and yet, every small chore I have before me to do or not as I choose, seems to loom like a malevolent shadow and I feel paralyzed, a squirrel caught in the road, unsure of whether to run forwards or backwards, doom seeming to be unavoidable no matter which which one I choose, knowing though that a choice must be made, standing still not an option, not an option at all.

Just got a text. An old friend of my children's has died. Probably suicide. A gay man and he spent a lot of time in the high school years at my house. I remember once, he was obviously so stoned and I said, "Honey, do you want some orange juice?"
And he did.
He was a good boy. I am sure he was a good man.

The Buddhists say that all is suffering and that is what ties us together and maybe that's true.

I have absolutely no idea why that thought no more cheers me than the idea of Jesus hanging from a cross.

Here's what I will do today:
Tend chickens. Clean the hen house. Work in the garden. Hang clothes on the line. Make the bed.
Do what I can and keep on doing it, in the meantime, staying alive.

You too, okay? Whichever way you choose to run or stroll or roll or be, just keep doing it.

It's always hard times for someone. Hold out a hand if you see someone struggling. And most likely, everyone you come across is struggling in some silent painful way.

I love you.

Ms. Moon

Monday, April 17, 2017

Another Plain Old Day On Earth

Every day Camellia comes onto the porch through the piece of torn screen that she and Maurice and Jack use to access the back porch. Every day.
I used to feed the cats on the back porch when the dogs were still alive but that hasn't happened in years. Camellia obviously doesn't forget though, and Camellia does not lose hope.
I love that old hen. She was Kathleen's hen and she still lays me a nice pale-as-can-be green egg every few days. She's a love.

I had a walk this morning and saw a large doe, I think, on one of the roads. We stood and looked at each other for a good long while and then she took off and disappeared into the woods. Mr. Moon tells me that it might not have been a doe as bucks lose their horns this time of year which I find very amusing. He said that when the males don't need their antlers to fight for a girl (his words), they shed them.
So. During rutting season, male deers are literally horny. The rest of the year, they are not. Literally or otherwise.
How could I get to the age of 62, married to a man of the woods for 33 years, and not know this fact? I mean, I knew about rutting season and I even knew that bucks shed their antlers but I never put two and two together.
I just looked up the etymology for the word "horny" and supposedly it has to do with a male erection looking like a horn but I think that may not be exactly true.
Hank- what do you think?
"Hank" is what our family used to call google before google was invented.
"Ask Hank. He'll know." I wonder how many times that has been uttered by one of us. Which is why he's such an amazing Trivia Guy.

Anyway, I have no idea what I've come here to talk about tonight. I have been a good little housewife today, mopping and doing laundry and taking trash and recycle and sweeping and chicken tending. I have never seen a new batch of young chickens mesh so seamlessly with an old, established flock as I am seeing with the teen chicks and the older birds. No one seems to be giving anyone much notice at all and the teens are sticking close to the coop, as new ones do when they are allowed access to the great outdoors. Every day they will push their boundaries a little farther and I think tonight I will set them to roost in the hen house with Mick and the big gals. It is time for them to learn where their roost truly is. I am so interested to see if there are any roosters in this new crop and if so, how that plays out with Mick.
I have no idea why I find chickens so interesting but I certainly do.

And so it goes. Another day in Lloyd, normal in all regards with the exception of getting to hear my newest grandchild's heartbeat for the first time which is a flat-out miracle.
I always say I don't know shit but I do know that for sure.

Let us all sleep the sleep of the deserving tonight. May our dreams be sweet, our bones rest easy, our souls rest easy too.
Like Camellia, may we never lose hope.

Love...Ms. Moon

Vergil Makes A Movie!

Ah...there's that newest one! A star is (soon to be) born!
And we can already dance to the beat of this baby's heart.

Jessie said that after Diana had turned off the Doppler, August asked for "More, more."

Oh, my little August love...there will be so much more.

What a beautiful day for that family.
What a beautiful day for old Mer.

All love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Another Year's Easter Feast

Just look at that picture and you'll know what a good day it was.

Or this one.

Or these.

And my big boys. 

And yes, that is the way it was here at Mer and Bop's today. August is a little under the weather which would explain his constant somber expression but he had a good time and I hear (don't tell anyone) that he and Magnolia June were caught kissing in the hallway without being prompted by crazy adults who think that's just the cutest thing in the entire world. 
Because it is. 

I got so much help this weekend, starting with Owen doing that cleaning for me and then this morning the boys and Boppy made the beds and did the chicken tending and Boppy grilled some of his delicious grouper and Lily made the pineapple casserole and May made the fruit salad and the Bloody Mary's and everyone peeled eggs and Jessie did the deviling part and Rachel made an incredible blueberry lemon buckle and Jessie made a carrot cake and Hank picked out the music and helped set up and put away as did Vergil and Michael, and Jason carved up the ham and bagged the trash and Rachel washed about a million dishes and May, of course, because she always does, finished up the kitchen and everyone helped with putting food away and tidying. 
There was so much more than that. 
And of course it was a beautiful feast of delicious foods but the real joy, as always, is everyone being here. Together. 
It's been amazing that Lily has sort of taken over the hostessing of holiday parties but she needed a break today and I really did enjoy having this one here. Although there is always a moment when I am overcome with the chaos and busy-ness and sheer amount of activity going on, there is also always a lot more joy at seeing it happen, at welcoming it all home to me again. 
All of us sitting at one table, new people sliding in and taking their rightful places with us, babies whose growth we can mark by their new abilities to do things and their language skills and yes, simply growth. 
Oh. Maggie running in the backyard, looking for her brothers, saying, "Owee!" 
August, sitting in my lap, carefully and soberly stabbing beans with a fork to feed me and his grandfather. 
Gibson, in the bathtub having a serious talk with me and when I ask him if he knows how much I love him, replying, "A lot."
Owen, putting a record on the stereo himself, hitting a baseball so hard that when his Boppy caught it, it made him fall over backwards, hugging me tight and telling me, "Mer. I love you so much."
He will be as tall as I am in two years, I predict. 

Yes. The ham and the greens and the bread and all of it were delicious and wonderful but that's the least of it. 
And damn, that in itself would have been plenty. 



There was plenty for all. 

And then so much more. 

Love...Ms. Moon

An Easter, A Sunday, A Day In This Amazing Remarkable Plain Day

Wild azalea blossom.

It is a good day to celebrate the continuation of life. Even as we speak, the challah is rising in the miracle of the wheat and the yeast, the chickens are chirping, a man and his grandson are hitting balls in the yard with a bat and laughing together.

I wish us all life and I wish us all the every day miracles which bless us profoundly whether we pay attention or not.

I believe. In all of that.
And of course, the love and the light.

May we be well.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter Feast Eve

Well, collard greens are cooked and in their pot in the garage refrigerator, the umpteen bean salad is mixed up and in the refrigerator in the kitchen, the kid swimming pool is inflated and filled, boys have played in it and taken a shower, Owen and his Boppy are sharing an apple with peanut butter in the Glen Den, Gibson is sitting on my bed playing with my iPad, and the sheets from that bed are in the washing machine because of a small Icee accident, and, well, a few other things have happened.
But the Rolling Stones are on the record player (Sticky Fingers) and the teen chickens got let out of the big coop this afternoon. Here's Maggie, checking the situation out and smiling her beauty pageant smile.

I mean, please. Get out a camera and she is in Beauty Queen Mode. Like Lady Gaga, she was born that way. You should see her when her Boppy walks in the room. 
"Boppy!" she says, and holds her arms out to him. 
That child has it going on. 

So not only did I let the teenagers out of the coop, I've got the bathtub babies in the little tractor coop in the big coop. I could be wrong but it seems to me that it's time to let those children breathe some fresh air and get ahold of some dirt. The teens love being outside. They're scratching all about and eating the big chicken's food and drinking from the big chicken's waterer and having the time of their life while the baby chicks are nibbling on fresh lettuce and exploring their new apartment.  

And so it goes and it's all sweet and now Owen is washing windows for me and cleaning other things. He WANTED to. What a boy! What a sweet, fine boy. 

Tonight we'll all get good sleep, I hope, and tomorrow we'll wake up and get started on preparations for our Feasty Day. Bread will be made, ham will be baked, avocados will be smushed into guacamole, eggs will be hidden and hunted, people will arrive and kisses and hugs will be given and received and hilarity may ensue if things go as they generally do. 

Once again I ask- how did I get so lucky? 
No idea but I certainly did. 

Love...Ms. Moon