Thursday, August 31, 2017

And In Local News

So. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
Remember last night when I wrote about the hawk and the three baby chicks?
There is now one baby chick. Just Rose.
I'm sure the hawk got Amethyst last night and Pearl today and I'll be shocked if tomorrow he doesn't get Rose. He's learned they're right there for the taking and take he will.

I guess Dottie had kept them under the radar until yesterday late afternoon when I heard that hawk calling his whistling cry. Or hers.
Maybe I should try to keep Rose in the coop tomorrow.
I guess I'll attempt that.

Not only should you not count your chickens until they're hatched, you obviously shouldn't count them until they grow up to be adults, I guess.
Add to that the fact that old Miss Trixie has spent all day long in the corner of the hen house. I've thought she was dying so many times before so I won't say that I think she's dying but she does have that sort of flat look about her as if at least half of her spirit has already flown off. It takes all of a spirit to keep a chicken or any living being looking entirely animated as if spirit were directly connected to bones and muscle and I guess it is.

I got involved in some cleaning today. Mostly spider shit and Lloyd black greasy dust out on the back porch. Wiping things clean and then cleaning a shower and a sink and not one thing that I did will ever be noticed.
I also finished up the Magnolia dress and made a pair of panties to go with. The power went off as I was sewing the panties but it came back on pretty quickly and I finished them up.


Oh my goodness! I just heard a chick calling and went out to find little Pearl running into the hen house where she jumped up on a roost pole and then I looked above her into one of the nests and there was Dottie with Rose so Pearl is fine. Dottie's trying to teach her how to get up into the nest with her right now.
Pearl seems to need extra tutoring. And Dottie is so patient with her.

So that is good and so is this:

After thirteen years of living here, my bananas are actually making bananas.
Do you know how thrilled I am?
Last year Jessie told me that she'd heard that bananas need lots of organic material so I've been throwing my kitchen scraps underneath them (which is so handy because all I have to do is lean over from the little kitchen stoop and toss) and the chickens come in and scratch it all into the ground and they poop, too. So that might be why this beauty finally bloomed and is fruiting and I have to believe that all of the rain we've had this summer has helped.

I have decided that I am going to stop apologizing for not writing more about what's going on in the world. Everyone who comes here can read the news from dawn-to-dusk and then on to dawn again and if I feel compelled, I will talk about something and if I don't, I won't.

This is my world, right here, my life and my village and my family and the blogs that I love the most are the ones which talk about the lives and villages and families of others. Anyone can know what's going on via CNN or Huffpost or even BBC News but it is these windows into the worlds of other people which I am most interested in knowing about.
It is our connections and our shared commonalities and our quirks and our strengths and our joys and our fears and our loves which we and we alone can write about which hold my attention and educate me.

So. A tiny manifesto right here at blessourhearts.

I'm going to go make some pasta with tomatoes and peppers and onions and artichoke hearts and olives and capers and goat cheese.

How does that sound?

Love you...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Such A Tiny Life

I think I took that picture yesterday. Amethyst and Rose are so well camouflaged that it's hard to get a picture of them where you can actually see them. Pearl, of course, is easy to see as is Dottie, the devoted mother. But there they are, sipping water before they start on their day's adventure. This afternoon I heard a hawk calling and went out to find Joe Cocker with Dottie, the chicks, and another hen in the brush back by the railroad tracks which is where I heard the hawk.
"Get back to the coop!" I told Dottie. Both Joe and Mick (who was in the coop) were raising hell. By the time I got out there, the hawk was gone and I hope it was dissuaded from chick-taking by the thick bushy brush. A full-grown hawk can take a small hen and a half-grown one would be naught but a morsel for a hungry hawk, albeit a tasty morsel and certainly big enough to mess with. I would hate like hell to lose one of these chicks at this point. Dottie has worked so hard, keeping them alive and well.

I've been anxious all day long. I won't go into why but I will say that it involved a dream (of course) and then Mr. Moon not telling me all day long via text that he loves me which is most unusual.
Yes. After thirty three years together, I still worry terribly that he is suddenly going to stop loving me.

No one ever said I wasn't crazy.

But he came home and reassured me that he does and I feel better now. Also, I just saw Dottie and her three grazing in the back yard and oh! now they're all sitting on the fence! It's so funny watching chickens fly. They certainly can but only do it when they really, really want to get up somewhere high. All of the chickens seem to like to sit on the fence in front of the coop before they go to roost. I really don't know why they do this but maybe they just like to take in the view before bedtime. I would not put it past them.

I went to Costco today with Jessie and August. Good Lord, but that child charms me! He wanted some of the blackberries his mama had put in the cart and he kept holding up his index finger on both hands saying, "One, two!"

Here he is with two blackberries.
When we left the store he waved good-bye to everyone as if he were blessing them like the royalty he is. I hear that he after his nap, he went to visit his Boppa at his office in the bank where this picture was taken.

And in Amazing News You Can Hardly Believe, I have finished Maggie's dress except for a little bit of handwork I need to do. 

When I tell you that I have had more trouble with this dress than the prom dress I made from a Vogue wedding dress pattern in high school (and it was gorgeous!) I am not lying. 
Oh well. Just one more homemade cotton dress for the Woman Baby and yes, I'll be making matching bloomers too. Those will take about fifteen minutes. 

And having said all of this, it occurs to me that I should probably be talking about the horrible flooding in Houston, the loss of life and homes and property. Not to mention the death and devastation going on in other parts of the world which continues apace, as it does. In fact, I feel ashamed. But what am I going to do about any of that? 
Not much, is the answer. 
And so I sit here and live my life and am grateful for it. A life where roosters and gingham have meaning. And I wish I didn't feel so guilty about that. 

Ellen Abbott, may the waters recede and your house stay dry. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Not That I'm Prejudiced Or Anything

This morning Jessie and August came over on their way to our friend's house who had surgery where Lily was helping out again today. August got out of the car, looked around and said, "Boppa go?"
Oh well.
This was a conversation we had several times today. I didn't mind though.
He remembered all of the fun stuff at Mer and Bop's house and played with the toys and rode the horse.

August is a gentle cowboy, going at a slow, delicate pace. But he likes to ride. 
We read some books and when we were playing with a toy on the coffee table he patted the ground beside him and said, "Down."
And I sat down. 
He wanted to climb the stairs and Jessie followed him up with her arms out and when he got to the top he said, "Tired now."
"No you're not," I told him. "I've seen you climb a mountain."

That's when he got back down. His mama told him to smile for the camera and he did. 

They went over to the friend's house after awhile and here's the picture I got of the two babies kissing.

Have you ever seen anything sweeter? In your life? 
I don't think I have. 
My precious babies. 

I picked up the boys again and we drove directly to the Bad Girls Get Saved By Jesus Thrift Store which thrilled them to pieces and I was happy to do. Toys were fifty percent off. For $4.60 I bought Gibson a giant box of youngster Legos and Owen a kid digital camera which, after he borrowed a screwdriver and replaced the batteries (himself) actually worked. 
I had told them that when we got to my house there was going to be no Wii and no iPad. They didn't fuss too much and Gibson settled in on the kitchen floor to build things with his Legos, and Owen and I started putting together a pirate puzzle on the hallway floor while listening to Keith Richard's CD, Crosseyed Heart. Loudly. It was fun. 
While I ate my lunch today, I watched an interview on Facebook that Theodora Richards had done with Sean Lennon for Sirius XM. 

Lotta hair there. 
Can you imagine the dynamics of that pair? 
It was not the greatest interview ever but it was fun and I especially liked it when Sean gave Theodora a second to say something. That guy knows a lot and he's not afraid to talk about it. I believe that Theodora knows quite a bit too but she let Sean do most of the talking. They answered questions being asked on Facebook and one of the questions was, "Have you ever broken one of your dad's guitars?"
Sean said that his dad's guitars hadn't really been around when he was a kid and Theodora was absolutely horrified at the idea. 
"I wouldn't be here if I had!" she said. 
She looked like she meant it. 

Anyway, it was fun to listen to Keith's CD with my Owen and then Lily and Lauren and Maggie came over to get the boys and chaos ensued. Maggie rode the horse and unlike August, she rides like someone on the pony express being chased by robbers. She also climbed the steps all by herself while I was giving Lauren a tour of the house. Thank god she stands at the top of the stairs and yells at us to come and get her. 
Lord, that child is going to give me a heart attack. 

Lily finally got everyone packed up and buckled in and they drove away after kisses and I came in and got the house back in order and then sat down to try and figure out that Maggie dress once again. And guess what? 
That pattern has terrible instructions. 
Plus, I'm completely inept when it comes to three dimensions. 
I feel like I discovered the lost treasure of the Inca or something. I haven't finished the dress but I think I know what I'm doing now. 

So. Completely successful and terrific day and we're getting a nice drizzle from Harvey, I suppose, and Hank probably saved a friend's life but that's not my story to tell. Still, it's worth saying. 
And needless to say, I am very proud of him. 

I have the most amazing family, I think. We may have our faults and our vast imperfections but we are good people and we make gorgeous, brilliant babies. 

Can't ask for more than that in this life. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, August 28, 2017

Reasons To Live

The last of the zinnias which never did very well at all this year. I never got my beautiful colors, I never really got any large ones. I planted three separate packets, all different varieties so it wasn't that. I think I waited too long to get them in the ground. I will try to remember that next year.
I won't.

Oh, what a morning.
I had an issue with the Publix pharmacy in that I thought I'd picked up a prescription last week but when I ran out of the pills I had yesterday, I checked only to find that I did not have it but had two bottles of the same prescription, issued on the same day.
Little bit of a cluster fuck.
So on the way to Jessie's I stopped at Publix and went over the story with the pharmacy guy and he insisted I'd picked those pills up and signed for them and so forth. I must have them at home somewhere. So. I drove all the way home. I ransacked the place. No. I did not have the pills. I called back to Publix where I spoke to a different woman. She finally said, "Oh! I see what happened! Your prescription is still in the bin!"
Back to Publix.
It wouldn't have been a big deal except that quitting taking that particular drug abruptly can lead to many things including heart attack. And I was feeling really weird. And why am I taking these drugs anyway?
Oh god, I don't know.
But. I got my 'script, I took my pill, I went over to Jessie's where August ran to meet me and the first thing he said was..."Boppy go?"
Of course.

He heard I had a cake and demanded to see it.
"Happy cake!" he said. All cakes are for happy birthday. He and Jessie split a piece after I sang him the happy birthday song.

He is so happy to be back with his dog and his toys and his books and his bed. He showed it to me and said, "Nap!" 
"Yes," I said. "This is where you nap. 

And then he got dressed and we met Boppy and Vergil for lunch and he was so happy to see his grandfather. And his grandfather was over-the-moon to see him. I think they have a special bond. After lunch I went back over to Jessie's house for just a little while before I had to go pick up Owen and Gibson at the bus stop. Their mama and Maggie were at a friend's house who just had surgery and Lily is helping her out some. In the few minutes we had, Jessie and I talked about what she needs for the new baby, which is not much, and a few things she'd like to change a little in labor. 
It was...precious. She's so pragmatic, this child. This she gets from her father. And in the midst of the pragmatism, she can be emotional, too. This she gets from me. She did not get emotional today but I did, a little bit. When she was talking about labor she said, "Now you remind me of this when it's time," and I felt as if I'd been given a golden chalice filled with the sweetest wine ever made on earth. I have been given a task, a responsibility. I am so honored. 

I had to run to go pick up my big boys and they got off the bus and ran to me and I was almost afraid of being knocked over. They are getting so big. "Are we going to your house?" they asked and I told them we were and they were happy. 
And when Lily got here, Maggie wiggled and giggled in her seat and said, "MerMer!" over and over and had an entire conversation with her mother about me as Lily unbuckled her and then she handed her over, sticky as she could be from a lollypop that someone had given her at the store. 
Oh, she kissed me and loved on me. 
I can't wait to see her and August together again. 

So my day was mostly babies including my OWN baby, and Hank and Rachel came into the restaurant just as we were leaving so we got to see them too. 

He's home. This one is back in his Florida Swamp Home, just returned from his North Carolina Mountain Breezes Home and he's talking so much more than he was just two months ago and he knows what he wants and he likes avocado and chocolate happy cake and his grandfather and his dog and his mama and his daddy and his books and his bed. 

The ache in my arms has been relieved somewhat and I even got to palm-cradle the little brother in Jessie's belly some and no matter how I feel in the mornings when I wake up, sad and fuzzy and hopeless from my dreams, there is some part of me which knows that there is indeed reason for me to live and that reason gleams from the eyes of these children, each of them so different and requiring different things from me but mostly the same thing, which is absolute unconditional love and attention. 
That is something I can give, still. 
And so I do. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday Again

Another day where I've felt useless and also, looks like a dog got in and snatched Little Richard. There's a trail of feathers right out the gate and possums don't usually use the gate.

So. There's one rooster the hens don't have to worry about, I guess.

The dishwasher decided to stop functioning properly. It was a problem that Mr. Moon had fixed before so he (hopefully) did it again. It's running a cycle right now. He did indeed fix the food processor. He and Owen spent most of the day working on a deer blind over at Owen's house. They had to run to town to get parts and there's a rumor they also got milkshakes.
Maybe some french fries.

And me? Well, I still can't figure out that damn dress. I'm about to stash the whole project. Stash or trash?

I made a German chocolate cake.

Looks great, doesn't it? 
Too bad it's a little burned at the bottom of all the layers. 

Jessie and Vergil and August are safely home and it's been such a long day they decided to just get on to their own place and settle in a little. I'll take them food tomorrow. Here's a picture Jessie sent of their lunch. 

They stopped at a huge, brand new Korean market which Jessie said was about as big as a Walmart. They ate in the food court. Look at that boy using chop sticks! Look at that soup! Puts my ramen soup to super-shame. 
I swear, I just saw the pun there. 

So another Sunday and at least I'll get to see Jessie and Vergil and August tomorrow. I'll take them chicken stew and dumplings and German chocolate cake and apologize like crazy for the burned parts. 

One more picture.

Gibson and the darling Lenore. Gibson asked Lauren, Lenore's mama, to take the picture and then proclaimed that they were so cool. And Darling Lenore said she looked like a queen or something. 
They are right.

Have you seen what's happening in Houston and in that area? Fifty inches of rain? Trillions of gallons? The irony of all of this happening as I listen to "Flight Behavior" has not escaped me. 

I'd say "God save us all," but of course you know what I believe and what I believe is that if there was a god, he'd be crying at what we have done to his creation. 

Sorry for the bummerness. Sunday, etc. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Don't Amount To A Hill Of Beans

Dadgummit, it's been one of those days when all has seemed for nought and the thought has occurred to me more than once that just staying in bed might have been my best option but as we all know, unless I'm pretty sick that's not happening.
So I cut out a new dress for Maggie and I have to tell you that I don't think the people making patterns these days have a clue as to how to write instructions. I mean, you'll be merrily moving along with your project and then it'll say, "stay stitch yoke facing" and I'm like, "what yoke facing?" and I'll go back over the damn cutting diagram and sure enough, it does show that one has to cut out facings when you're cutting out the yoke but on the pattern piece itself it says, "Cut 2," not fucking "Cut 4."
And that's the least of my problems with this pattern and I seriously think my mind is melting into dementia, even as we speak.
Did I tell you what I did in the grocery store the other day? I don't think I did.
I not only grabbed the wrong cart while shopping in the produce section, I just kept merrily throwing my peaches and orange juice into it, not even noticing that it wasn't my bags and purse up there in the child seat until a woman came up and pointed out that I had her cart.
Okay, that's not really the worst of it. The worst was that micro-second where I was like, "Fuck- where's my cart?" Not because I was worried that someone had stolen my purse but because I just had no idea how long I'd been pushing the wrong damn cart around without noticing a thing.
I apologized profusely but I could tell the woman thought I was insane.

I absolutely hate getting old.

So. The dress has been put down and the sewing machine light turned off and I went to make a little loaf of bread using my at-least-twenty-seven-year-old Cuisinart and it simply stopped in the middle of the project. was on and then it was off.
Mr. Moon may have figured out how to fix that and if he has, I'll be so happy. I use the hell out of that food processor. God love a man who can fix things.

I've been listening to Barbara Kingsolver's Flight Behavior for two days and it's a damn fine book but it's pretty darkly pessimistic about the odds of the planet surviving in a way that will support life. So that's a bummer. Not that I'm not already aware of the problem. But being human I just don't want to deal with outcomes which are less than jolly.

To add to the frustration, I've been trying for a week to get an Apple ID situation sorted out and thought for sure I had done it but just got another message indicating that no, I have not. In fact, I've probably made it worse.

But, tomorrow the Weatherfords will be on their way back to sunny Florida and that of course is a most cheerful thought although I feel terrible for them, having to enter the heat cage again when they've been enjoying the much milder and more comfortable temperatures in Asheville.

I think I'll see if Mr. Moon wants to play some cards. I'll lose but I always lose when we play cards.
Also? I've just looked at some of the damage Hurricane Harvey left in its wake.
I got no problems. No problems at all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Love Song To Poultry And A Nod To Summer's Graces

I knew that Ellen was sending me something. She'd FB messaged me and asked for my address and written about it on her blog, too, I think. All I knew was that it was something she got at an estate sale and I was excited because, well, everyone likes to get something in the mail, right? She said that it was something that when she'd seen it, she knew it belonged to me.
These things can be tricky. People can give you things believing with all of their hearts that it's something you will love. And sometimes you do! And's you even know me?

Ellen knows me.

Look at that little lidded bowl with a beautiful egg for a handle!

It is absolutely perfectly perfect and the way those hens and chicks and duck and ducklings are portrayed are absolutely adorable and precious. See the one hen talking to her baby with the baby paying such close attention? Or is she feeding her a juicy bug? And the other hen with her beak in the grass, finding something delicious to eat? The artist certainly had been paying attention. 
People love chickens and ducks. They are just such merry creatures and persistent and hard-working and chatty and friendly and they give us such perfect protein. 
Remember when I had Lily and Willy, the two ducks? How they'd talk to each other all day long? Such chatty conversations they had, such long narrations of what they were seeing and doing. Remember how they'd make lesbian love together? 
I'll never forget the time that Kathleen's husband came over after she'd died and he'd given us the two birds and they heard his voice in the yard and came running over to stand in front of his feet and looked up at him and then began to excitedly talk. I KNOW they were discussing him because they'd recognized him. 
Oh, sigh. 
I miss those ducks. 
I'd get more but their poop is just offensive. But if I had a pond, I'd have ducks. They have terrific personalities, as do chickens, but different. 
I have noticed today that when Little Richard runs, he actually gallops. 
Tarumph, tarumph, tarumph he goes across the yard to score his latest love. It seems to me that the roosters have all worked things out except for Dearie who mostly only shows up at sunset when he flies into the tree to roost with some of the hens. 

Anyway, I am so grateful to Ellen for seeing that dish and knowing I'd love it and packing it up so well and so tenderly and sending it from Texas to Florida for me. 
Send her good thoughts- they are in the path of Hurricane Harvey and that sucker is huge. 

It's been a good day. A quiet day. I walked, I hung laundry, I ironed, I took a nap. 
I have been thinking about what I'll make for supper on Sunday just in case Jessie and Vergil and August come through in time to eat on their way back from Asheville. It is truly starting to feel real that they will be here in just two days. 
Oh, my heart! 
To get my hands on that little sprite of a boy, to be able to place my palm on the curve of the belly where Jessie is carrying this newest boy! To be able to hold that daughter in my arms, to hear Vergil's voice and see his beautiful eyes...
Goodness, goodness. 

The air tonight is heavy with the heat and the humidity too. It weighs down upon us with its own gravity. It is the kind of weather which leaves dogs panting in the cool dirt under porches. Thunder boomed a little while ago but I don't think we're going to get rain. It is almost time for a martini with a pickled okra in it. Mr. Moon is shelling a few late-season peas. The air conditioner rattles and runs and runs and rattles and I just pray that it continues to make its annoying song. 

Tonight I am grateful for so much, even with the heat and suddenly, I remember that I took a picture on my walk this morning of the late summer bloomings. 

And there is one bend in the trail where the sulphur butterflies and the zebra-wings and the Gulf fritillaries dip and dart and pause and sip and lift and float and I know that there are good things about this dog-pant heat. There are things which make it bearable. 
There are gifts given by both nature and by friends which lift the heart. And I am not unaware of any of it. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I'd Say I'm Not Complaining But I Am

I have to say this is NOT my favorite time of year. The heat has oppressed me to my limit. No matter how careful I try to be, I am constantly running into spider webs. The chickens are beginning to molt. Mick is already down to one tail feather. Going out and trying to work in the garden is hellish torture between the biting bugs and the heat. Every day my weather widget says that it will rain tomorrow.
Tomorrow never comes.
My last stretch of walk between Lloyd Subdivision Road and the post office looks like a strip of surface-of-the-sun burning agony and it feels that way too. Sometimes I have to disassociate so hard that when I get home I can barely remember anything from my miles. For about a week I simply said, hell no, and did not bother but yesterday I knew that foolishness had to end and if I walk tomorrow it will have been three days this week that I did.

I have the last five pints of okra I'm pickling in the canner right now. I have seven pints cooling and sealing on a towel on the counter and that is all of the okra I'm pickling this year and that's a promise. A lot of you have asked about okra and the slime factor. It is true that okra can be slimy. Really, really slimy. I knew a man who said that he would not eat okra because he would not eat anything that he could not control in his mouth. But, if you cook it certain ways, or pickle it, it is not slimy. If you cook it with tomatoes, somehow the slime magically mostly disappears. And if you fry it, it entirely disappears. And pickled okra is crisp and lovely with no mucous-like tendencies.
I know, I know- none of this makes okra sound like your favorite vegetable but please trust me that if cooked properly, it is one of the most delicious things on earth. I will admit that fried okra, especially, is one fried food that I rarely pass up if it's available. We eat it with ketchup. Sometimes I "fry" it in the oven and that's fine but it sure isn't as good as what you get in a restaurant that knows how to deep fry. But okra and tomatoes is a very fine dish as well. I cook mine with onions and soy sauce and we enjoy it tremendously.

On to chickens. I went into the hen house this morning after I hung the clothes to see if anyone had laid an egg, only to find Dottie on the nest. The little mama hasn't been on the nest since she sat on her eggs and hasn't laid an egg since she started that process. She certainly laid one today. I wondered where her babies were as they were nowhere in sight.
"Where are your children, Dottie?" I asked her but she did not answer. However she had a bit of an anxious expression on her dinosaur face. I knew she must have stashed them somewhere safe and told them to stay there until she came and collected them and when I got back from my walk, they were all together again, scratching merrily away.
Don't tell me chickens can't talk to each other because I know they can. And it amazes me that the young ones did what their mother said to do, which was to lay low until she came to get them. Very well behaved young'uns and I'm impressed.

I went into town today and made a day of it as I ran my errands. I went to a consignment shop and got some sweet little long-sleeved onesies for Baby King Richard as well as a little preppy outfit with madras pants and a polo shirt. It's so darn cute. I also bought myself a falafel pita because I have been craving falafel and it's not something I'm likely to make at home. It was good. I also went to Publix and while I was there, Jason came in with the kids because Lily was working. So I got to see all of those people. Maggie was wearing her Virgin of Guadalupe dress and she was so excited to see me. She held her cookie out for me to admire, which I did, and then she leaned her head on me, which is just incredibly endearing. Owen and Gibson hugged me and asked, "What are YOU doing here?" even though I had a cart-full of groceries. I imagine that they tend to believe I spend all of my time when I'm not with them simply sitting somewhere quietly, waiting to see them again. This is not an unreasonable assumption and it reminds me of how little kids tend to think that their teachers have absolutely no life outside of the classroom and probably sleep there at night, curled up contentedly on their desks.

So that's been my day and I am worried to pieces about Texas and this damn storm heading their way. Harvey looks to be a really bad hurricane and even as I am grateful that it's not heading this way, I feel terrible for the people in its path. A hurricane of that size is no joke. Coincidentally, I saw my first hurricane lily of the season today, growing across the street in my neighbor's yard. Mine will be popping up soon. Hurricanes are another reason that this is not my favorite season. Add those damn tormenters to the general weariness from the heat and the humidity and the insects and you get a toxic brew of complete ennui and adrenaline-fueled fear.

"Kill me now," you sort of think to yourself, even as you obsessively check the tropical weather forecast.

I think of the poor folks who moved to Florida with promises of temperate weather and blooming flowers and fruiting trees year-round

and discovered instead a sweltering heat, snakes, every sort of biting insect, bears, panthers, hurricanes, and also winters where it actually snowed and killed their tenderly planted and tended orange groves and I know exactly why we are known here as being generically insane.
We had to be to survive and stay.

Steve Reed, I stole that image from you. Thank you.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Okra And Despair (Didn't Flannery O'Connor Write A Story With That Title? She Should Have)

I pickled a lot of damn okra today. Eighteen pints, five half pints and two quarts to be exact. I used every jar and lid in the house I had and made huge batches of brine twice.
One of my pints is in the refrigerator because I touched the lid and it popped down and I never trust that sort of seal. I am keeping my hands off the rest of them. And oh, one half pint jar broke its bottom out as soon as I put it in the canner of boiling water.
These things happen.

For some reason I do not feel my regular sense of satisfaction at all of these pickles. Maybe it's because I didn't grow the okra myself. I don't know.

I just wrote a political paragraph or two and then deleted them. What good does any of it do? Talk, talk, talk.

I don't really have much to say tonight. I made a lot of pickled okra. I hope it's good.

I wish it would rain.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

We Should All Be Sun Worshippers

Here is what Magnolia June looks like striding across a lawn in her dinosaur dress. I have realized that because of the way I did the gathering for the skirt part before I attached it to the bodice, the pockets are a bit wonky but she certainly does not care. She looked adorable in it. Her mother and I accompanied her to Joanne's Fabrics today so that I could buy new fabric to make her another dress and flannel to make the next new baby a quilt. I have taken to calling him "King Richard" because, of course, that is Gibson's name suggestion. I feel quite certain that he will not be named King Richard but I like calling him that now.
His quilt is going to have llamas on it. A kingly animal, of course.
I hope I bought enough fabric to perhaps make a few sleeper gowns for him too. Lily said today, "So. Sewing is your new addiction isn't it?"
I paused and said, "Yeah. I guess it is."

I'm going to have to take a break in the sewing though because look what Mr. Moon brought home tonight:

There's a man who lives down the road who keeps goats and guinea hens and I don't know what all and obviously grows okra. He brought that whole dang huge bucketful of okra to Mr. Moon at his office and charged him 12 dollars for it. He had told me that he was getting a bunch of okra for me to pickle so I bought another case of canning jars and more vinegar and dill seed and mustard seed but damn! That's a lot of okra! It would be worth it to pickle it all though because it's so delicious. So I know what I'm doing tomorrow. And you know that nothing could make me happier unless I'd grown the okra myself. I have at least a gallon bag of the rocket-shaped vegetable in my refrigerator which I did grow and I'll pickle those too. 

This afternoon I blanched and iced and then froze three more quart-sized bags of field peas and it's so nice to have the freezer filling up with those. They're going to taste so good this winter. I was watching TV the other day while I sewed the buttons on Maggie's dress and there was a commercial for some sort of processed granola bar which showed people running up a mountain at an obviously suicidal pace and then stopping to rip open an aforementioned granola bar with the voice-over intoning, "Nature's harvest of energy from the sun!" or some bullshit like that and I thought, "Well, fuck, what isn't?"
From asparagus to zucchini, everything we eat wouldn't exist without the sun, up to and including meat whose donor animals get their sustenance from the plants they eat. And it's nice to have food in the freezer that I myself have harvested from the energy of the sun. 
Even the venison we eat, the eggs we consume all, ultimately, get their energy from the sun and that's just the way of it. 
And thus, so do we. 
We are stardust, we are golden, and we live on sunlight which has been chemically altered into food that we can eat.  

Well, that's all I have to say tonight. 

We shall continue the conversation tomorrow in whatever form it may take. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, August 21, 2017

And Humanity Survived Another Solar Eclipse

So, the chickens did notice something was going on today. First the roosters decided it was time to have twilight sex. They chased hens all over the place. Then they all got quiet and hid in the plants and talked very quietly among themselves. I swear, it was a real conversation. And then, a little bit after the fullness of it happened, some of them went to roost.
After awhile they all came back out again and resumed their day and I could just imagine them saying, "So. Boy. That was weird."
It was weird. It actually made me anxious as if my ancient ancestors came forth inside me wondering what in hell was going on in the heavens and was this the end of the world and was a giant snake eating the sun? I honestly could not enjoy the whole deal because of that. It all just felt wrong, despite my modern human knowledge about what causes an eclipse and all of that stuff.
Just wrong.
I made my little viewing device from a Honey Nut Cheerios box, two index cards and some aluminum foil and was rather shocked to see that it worked. But I'd already been outside and cleaned the hen house and picked the garden and just being out in the heat again made me feel slightly nauseous so add that to the voices of the ancient ancestors and I just wanted it to be over.
Here's what I picked. I finally faced the field peas.

As well as some okra, some eggplant, and some zinnias. 
When Mr. Moon got home he said, "Did you dig any sweet potatoes?"
I just looked at him like, "Are you fucking kidding me? Fuck no."

He's shelling peas right now. He's actually faster at the chore than I am. Maybe I should go study his technique. 

Jason came over to help Mr. Moon move a pool table (or part of a pool table) into the old barn. He brought the kids and I asked Maggie if she wanted to put on one of her new dresses. I finished the sun dress today. She looked at them and said politely, "No."
She did, however, want an apple. 
Mostly she wanted her Boppa. 
When he came back into the house she lit up like Las Vegas at Christmas. 
"Boppa..." she sighs and holds her arms out to him and kisses him. 
It is real true love. 

Here's Owen in the new Rolling Stones t-shirt I ordered him because he's outgrown his old one. 
I was going to save it for his birthday but I just couldn't. Boppa wanted in on the picture. I sure do love those boys. 

That shirt is an adult small. I tell you what- that child is going to be taller than me before we know it. 
Like- by the end of third grade. 

So. That's what my eclipse day was like. The boys were thrilled by it and D. Trump looked at the sun naked-eyed and his wife looked extremely uncomfortable and because I am a mother, I won't say anything about Barron except that I feel so sorry for that child. Compare how Obama interacted with his children to the way DT interacts with his youngest son, which is to say- he doesn't. It's so disturbing. 
But there are hundreds of thousands of pictures today, I am sure, of people standing in groups and staring up at the sun with their solar eclipse glasses on, looking for all the world as if the alien invasion were taking place.

And oh! Weren't the crescent shadows after the event the best part of it? I didn't even know about this phenomena until Lily told me. And it blew my mind. I haven't even looked up the scientific explanation because I just want it to be magic. 

And according to my ancient ancestors, it is. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Random Thoughts

1. I realized yesterday when the news of the death of Jerry Lewis hit social media that my feelings about him and Jim Carrey as actors are the same. Physical revulsion. I do not know why but that's just the way it is.


Thank you, Lulumarie. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Why I Cannot Lounge, A New Business Idea, And Chickens. Trigger Warning

Well, there's Dottie and her babies. You can barely see little Rose behind Amethyst but she (or he) is there in the shadow. I threw out some old cornbread for them and they gobbled it up. I love watching them as they go about the yard, scratching in the leaves, the young ones following their mother's lead. They delight me in their adult abilities, their miniature size.
And Dottie delights me with her mothering, the way she watches over them and protects them and teaches them every second of the day, and at night she still spreads her wings over them keeping them safe as they sleep.

I got seven eggs today, one of them definitely a maiden egg. It is longer than a normal egg, and small, light brown. I would think that it is one of Owl's or Emily's as they haven't been laying yet but I think they will lay a different colored egg because that is a trait of their breed. So who knows?

And what I mostly did today was this:

Another sundress with a red lining and red panties. I have a LOT of red cotton. Here's a close-up of the Virgin of Guadalupe material. Which I bought at...Walmart.
Oh, the shame and conundrum. 

I'm thinking I should start making those in bulk and marketing them to rich followers of Catholicism and perhaps hipster parents. What do you think? 

So that's what I have done today and I enjoyed it tremendously. What IS it about the pinning and cutting and stitching and ironing which is just so immensely satisfying? It's like making pickles, I guess. Something a housewife can do which she can look at and say, "I did that with my two hands," and it is something which is useful or edible and in the case of the pickles, can be admired all winter, albeit in dwindling numbers, every time the cabinet is opened and in the case of the garment, can be worn over and over and then passed down to another child. 

I have been thinking about how when I was a young girl, after C. had quit molesting me (which happened about the same time I started my period which, I guess for a pedophile, makes a lot of sense) he became even weirder about me. Or at least, differently weird. He started what I can only call stalking me, knowing where I was every moment and being stricter with me and far less overtly affectionate. When we moved into our new house I did indeed get the most private room, the one farthest from C. and Mother's room but it had no lock on the door. It never did until my little brothers got old enough to want to get in my room and do their little impish boy things with my stuff, like painting everything in my room they could with nail polish, including my sewing machine case, my suitcase, and my baseboards. At that point, a sliding lock was put up near the top of the door on the outside to keep them from getting in and plundering but never a lock that I could turn on the inside which left me always feeling vulnerable in a way that even now I can feel in my gut and it doesn't feel good.
BUT, what I've really been thinking about was how C. would find me if I was in my room or just hanging out watching television and would quietly and in a creepy, threatening voice, tell me to quit being lazy and get out there and help my mother.
God knows she needed help with those two little redheaded boys, a year apart and each other's partners in crime, doing the things that little boys do. That was a full time job, not to mention laundry and meals and shopping and all of the million and one things mother housewives need to do every day. And this infuriated me. Not because I really minded doing things with and for the boys or any other household chores but because he never did one goddammed thing. He sat on his hideous weird black and red plastic recliner and watched TV (mostly a channel which showed nothing but a ticker tape of stock prices) and scratched his head and buzzed off the codeine he took to "prevent" headaches. He did not ever change a diaper as far as I know, much less rinse out a poopy diaper in the toilet or wash or dry or fold one. He never made a meal except for perhaps cooking up some of those pig brains he bought which of course no one in the house ate but him. If I'd seen him with a broom or a vacuum cleaner, I would have passed out from the shock.
And I'm guessing that my inability to actually do nothing but watch TV or read a book comes from those times. Best to always look busy. Better to appear to be doing homework than to be reading a book for pleasure. And always, ALWAYS, best to be hidden which was impossible.

This explains so much. And if I have to be honest, I will say that it's not a bad thing to want to be productive although it's probably not the healthiest thing to always feel as if I am safest if I am alone.

But, it's the way it is. I understand the reasons and if a good garden and preserved food and dresses for my granddaughter are the result, then so be it.

Yes, I love watching Dottie's babies do grown-up chicken things but it does not escape my notice that as they go about their scratching and bug eating they have a mother who stands by constantly. Who keeps watch, even as she directs her attention to her work. And that the roosters of this crazy flock do not attack or threaten the babies but allow them to go about their business, knowing somehow that they are still young and under the care of their mother.
And...although these roosters are as horny and randy as any creature could be, none of them approaches Dottie for sex while she is in this stage of tending her babies and NONE OF THEM would even think of trying to fuck one of the babies.

No wonder I love my chickens.
I wonder if they will try to go to roost tomorrow when the eclipse is happening. That will be interesting to observe.
I'll let you know.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Snapper And Okra, Dresses And Passwords

How to make a Big Mistake:

1. Lose all your passwords.
2. Don't have back-up of your passwords.
3. Allow your grandson to download a new game on the iPad.
4. When iTunes asks for your Apple password, don't remember and reset it.
5. Realize that all of your devices are now asking for your Apple password repeatedly and things are seriously AFU.
6. Google "all my devices are asking for my Apple password".
7. When all of the pages that come up for Apple support won't load, take their advice and clear all your cookies, ignoring the fact that certain things will be eliminated from your devices such as "stay logged in" stuff, meaning that you have to re-login and of course, you don't remember your passwords.
8. And so forth.

The good news?
The game downloaded fine!!!!!
Also, I finally remembered my Google account password.


Anyway, it's been a pretty fine day except for all of that bullshit which is the very definition of first-world problems which does not preclude a certain amount of tension, frustration, and possible tears.

I finished Maggie's dinosaur dress.

It would have been SO much better if I'd had the persistence to figure out the ruffles on the shoulder straps but life is just too short for some things. It's a perfectly imperfect dress but it is quite colorful, isn't it? I love the contrast between the funky dinosaurs and the ruffle. It's a happy dress. I feel like I'm relearning how to sew. And that feels good. 

And so it goes. The boys woke up a lot earlier than I did this morning (but not as early as their Boppy who got up at 4:30 to go fishing) and were sweet and thoughtful and just came in and got the iPad (the implement of my woes) and played games on it in their bed while I continued to sleep. Finally, about 8:30 they let me know they were ready for me to get up and so I did and we had pancakes instead of French toast but that was okay. Owen helped me make the pancake batter. 
I forced them to help me make their bed and they did a good job with that today and Gibson even got into smoothing out the wrinkles. They're such funny little boys. Owen had brought a stuffed Pooh pillow for me to stitch up where it had come unsewn and I did that for him. He was grateful. And when Lily came to pick them up, Maggie gave me many, many kisses and I gave her a pancake. 

Mr. Moon caught red snapper today and has filleted it and I am about to go fry some up. I'm sure he's exhausted. He said they had to hang out on Dog Island for awhile before they went offshore because of a huge storm and of course we didn't get a drop of it. I hear the lightening on the way down to the coast was tremendous. 

The AC has not quit running for days and still can't keep up with the heat which has kept me out of the garden. I did manage to get my lazy ass out there this afternoon to find that the okra had grown to inedible proportions in the past three days (see picture above) but I did manage to cut some that we can eat. I did not even look at the field peas. 
Maybe tomorrow. 
I need to dig up sweet potatoes which I did not plant this year but which are flourishing from whatever I left in the ground last summer. Even if I only get enough for two meals, it will be thrilling. 

I think that tomorrow I may start another Maggie dress, another of the criss-crossed back strap sundresses if I can find some stashed fabric in my sewing dresser. Maybe the blue eyelet material with some of my Virgin of Guadalupe fabric as a lining. She could wear it to church! 


Don't forget to back-up your password list. I hear there's an app for that. I need to use it. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, August 18, 2017


Consider This, Y'all

I am listening to a book as I sew written by a woman who published her first novel at the age of 74.
Let's let that sink in. Her name is Harriet Doerr. Or was. She died in 2002 at the age of 92.

How amazing.

It's called Consider This, Senora and it was the second book she published. It is beautiful and very spare and is constructed as linked stories about various people in a small Mexican town, some of them Mexican, some of them North American. She herself lived for many years in a town in Mexico as her husband had business there.
I will certainly search out her other two books. I looked to see if she was related to the author Anthony Doerr, but it appears that she was not.

The boys are here and they are playing Wii with Boppy and I am only going to throw some frozen pizzas in the oven for our supper. It is way too hot to cook steaks or hamburgers on a fire outside and those boys don't care. They would rather eat BOGO frozen pizza than one of my "gourmet" (Mr. Moon's and my joke every night as I put supper on the table) meals made from the garden. I am the grandmother, and as such, am not obliged to provide their vegetables daily.

Owen is talking about making his "famous French toast" for our breakfast. I guess hyperbole runs in the family.

It's been another day of not being able to keep up with what's going on in Washington and it would appear that more and more people are distancing themselves from the Dick Tator.
I would be cheered, thinking that people are actually coming to their senses and revealing the moral fiber they indeed have, however small that fiber may be. However, I tend to agree with Trae Crowder, the liberal redneck, who posted this today:

"Welp, hard to see how #Bannon leavin could possibly result in shit getting worse" - lotsa people
"Hold my beer" - the Trump administration
I can only hope that soon things will end with another joke beloved by southerners which goes like this: 
What's a redneck's last words?
"Hey, y'all! Lookit this!"
Substitute Trump and Trumpette for "redneck" and you know what I mean. As long as the nuclear code isn't involved, that is. 
Happy Friday. 
Love...Ms. Moon

Strip The Bed

Hot and hot and hot and hot and the sheets are on the line and the boys are coming over tonight.
I am definitely missing two chickens and for the life of me, I do not know which ones.
I feel inadequate to everything today and ashamed for the inadequacy.

When I did I lose my spark, my soul's delights, my ability to at least pretend I am human?

Ah well. At least I am still here. I can wash sheets, I can hang them on the line. I can still be a grandmother. I can run to town very quickly to get things I need. I can come home and I can sew. I can read and I will be able to garden again when this heat breaks.

I guess that's enough.

I suppose.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hey! Grab That Branch And Keep Hanging On!

As you can see, Magnolia June is a little bit sick with a cold but that just gives her rosier cheeks. There she is with her handsome daddy who adores her.
And I adore him.

Yes, yes, we went out for lunch again. Hank and Rachel met us this time and Jason got to come too. Our waiter's face is becoming as familiar to me as a family member's.
"Are you just so thrilled to see us again?" I asked him as we were sitting down.
"Oh yes," he said.
Well, we do tip nicely, all of us having been servers at one point or another.

After lunch I went to the main library, the BIG library. I rarely go there anymore since they built the branch library on the east side of town but sometimes I do and when I do, I am amazed once again by how wonderful libraries are with their books and their internet and their magazines and audio books and DVD's and music CD's and newspapers and atlases and just all of it. Libraries are my favorite indoor space and as I have said so many times before, the absolute highest proof of civilization.
A building dedicated to knowledge where no one asks you for a penny.
Our libraries are handing out free vegetable seeds again. We are allowed to get three packets a month and today I got two packets of slow-bolting cilantro and one of arugula. They do this in the spring and in the summer and give out seeds which are seasonal.
Books AND seeds? For free?

I eavesdropped on a conversation between two men sitting at a table by the new fiction. One of them said, "There's something wrong with that woman," and I was so afraid they were talking about Hilary Clinton and that then they were going to go into some horrible racist tirade and I was going to have to search my conscience and heart to decide whether to say anything or not- and what would the ethics be there?- but as I kept listening I realized they were talking about celebrities like the Kardashians and other reality TV personalities and how these women freak out if they break a fingernail and other "bullshit like that," and I sort of wanted to sit down and chat with them about these issues but of course I did not. I did note that for people who are so disdainful of reality TV, they sure did know a lot about it. I mean, at least I ADMIT that the fact that Luann on the Real Housewives of NYC is getting a divorce from her husband of seven months is something I find endlessly entertaining.

And then I just came home. I did not go to Publix or Costco or anywhere else and I have spent the entire afternoon sewing and just loving it. I figured out the ruffle on the shoulder strap by completely eliminating it and I am not putting a zipper in (a zipper in a toddler dress? oh, fuck no) but have sewn little loops on the back and will go through my button box to find buttons to put there and maybe on the pockets as well. I'm down to the ruffle on the bottom but I think I may redo the attachment of the bodice to the skirt because I'm not happy with the way it's done now but we'll see. I am so grateful that I have rediscovered sewing because it's something I can do in the air conditioning which is still somewhat productive, a bit creative, meditative, and actually of some use. I just cannot bring myself to work outside right now, not even to go and pick up downed branches to drag to the burn pile. It's all I can do to walk to the hen house and check for eggs.

Speaking of which, I was looking at Dottie's babies today as they pecked at their scratch and suddenly it hit me that all three of them could be roosters. Why hasn't this occurred to me before? I already have three too many roosters.
Oh Lord.

Well, I think that's probably the down home equivalent of breaking a fingernail or some bullshit like that so I'll end this now.
I'm not going to talk about politics today. It is all too obvious what's going on. I will say that I heard part of an interview with Al Gore and he seems to be such an intelligent, hopeful, wise, and informed human being that it gave me the tiniest reassurance that perhaps this country will survive.

Carry on my wayward friends. I'm going to go heat up some leftovers.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Blessing Friend

Today just happens to be the birthday of one of those friends I made in the sixth grade. She became one of my best friends and in high school, we were those two who told each other everything (almost) and got in trouble together and got out of trouble together and were the first to ride bikes to school (in 1972 it was SO uncool to ride a bicycle to school in high school) and the first to go to the Army-Navy store to get backpacks for our books (unheard of) and bitched and moaned about Mr. Fink, our algebra teacher and then two years later, Miss Smith, our trig teacher and all of that time we were still in Girl Scouts and we did all sorts of awesome teenage things and bonded for life.
She went to Emory and met a med student and married him although her daddy was a doctor and she'd sworn up and down she'd never marry one herself. He turned, eventually, into a neurosurgeon and I married a guitar player.
She had two kids and I had four, two with the guitar player and two with Mr. Moon. She's got three grandchildren now and I have four, soon to be five.
And in all of these years, which is fifty-one now, to be exact, we've always stayed in touch. Always been, in fact, a sort of touchstone for each other. We can go six months without talking on the phone but we sure as shit don't need to tell each other who we are when we do talk.
She's been through some amazingly hard things, this friend of mine. Medical challenges both of her own and her husband's. Her beloved sister died a few years back and then one of her brothers died.
Her mama though, is still with us but her father died some time back. They used to travel all over the world, her mama and daddy. I remember when they went to London and went to Carnaby Street which was probably the hippest shopping street in the world at that time and bought one of their sons a pair of paisley pants which was EARTH SHAKING and when he wore them to school in the 9th grade, he got sent home.

It's really something to have a friend for this long a time. One of us can name a name and the other knows exactly who we're talking about. We share so many memories in common. It's odd to think of that, in a way. Things that no one else in this world remembers but one other person. Memories that can make you sigh or laugh or yearn or groan or blush or wonder at, still after all these years. Memories of things that were absolutely formative in your life. That are a major part of the reason you grew up to be who you are.

I got my first kiss leaning up against her mama's car at Cotillion. I was wearing blue velvet that night, she was wearing green velvet and she caught me kissing a boy everyone called Mafia because he wore sunglasses all the time.
"Mmmm..." she said. "We won't be able to say sweet sixteen and never been kissed about you now, will we?"

So of course I called her this evening and of course she knew it was me right away although yes, we do have caller ID now but we don't need it, not the two of us.
Her husband was making her dinner and her kids are coming to visit this weekend and are bringing the grandboys. We talked and talked and one of the things we talked about was damn! how can we be this old?
She said that she'd talked to her brother who's a year older than we our on his birthday and they'd agreed that back in the day when we'd all sung the lyrics of "When I'm Sixty Four" we had no idea how quickly that day would come for us.

I feel so lucky to be able to pick up the phone and call this woman.
"Hey," we say to each other, stretching that one syllable out into three. And with the sound of her voice, there's a part of me which feels completely at home. There's a part of me which is the other half of the puzzle to her.

I tend chickens and she works full time for the American Cancer Society. She lives in Maryland and I live in Florida. She had red hair and I had blonde.
She married a doctor and I definitely didn't.

None of that matters.

We are who we are, and we also are who we were and no one knows those people better than the two of us.

Happy birthday, my sweet friend.

I will always love you...Mary

My First Baby Love: Trigger Warning

So there we were in Winter Haven and eventually and at long last, my ground-itched foot healed and I made friends and I realized that I was pretty okay in the intellect department and I loved my Girl Scout meetings where we planned camping trips and did crafts and sang, and I was doing things like going to slumber parties and reading, reading, reading from an unlimited supply of library books and all of that was good.
But as Mother's time to deliver grew closer, she became more and more worried and anxious and I surely do understand that. She was thirty-nine, no spring chicken, and her baby was big and a few days before she went into labor she showed me the new sheets she had bought that were washed and folded in the linen closet in the bathroom and told me that if the baby lived, I was to make up her and C.'s bed with these new pink sheets before she got home from the hospital.
If the baby lived. 
I was twelve.

The baby lived. My baby brother Chuck and oh, how I adored him and every sweet baby thing about him. Redheaded and perfect and rosy and glorious.
Mother wanted to nurse him. She tried to nurse him. It didn't work and she felt awful. She always blamed the fact that she couldn't nurse on the drugs they gave her after her stillbirth to dry up the vast amounts of milk she had then. This could be true, I suppose, but I also blame the thinking on nursing when Chuck was born. A strict schedule had to be adhered to. The nipples had to be cleaned with alcohol before nursing. So many minutes (exactly) on one side, then that many minutes again on the other side. Done.
Soon I had learned to sterilize bottles and make formula.
Soylac. I remember that.
I was also washing diapers and cooking simple meals for the family.
Mother may have had postpartum depression. I don't know. But things weren't perfect around the house. That I know.
She was pregnant again in three months. She began to get headaches. Terrible, have-to-go-to-bed headaches. Her OB put her on a no-salt diet. It didn't help. She spent a lot of time in a darkened bedroom. C. had headaches too.
What fun!
I don't remember a lot from then.
I remember my birthday the summer I turned 13. C. took me on another date. Another steakhouse. He wrote me a poem.
I remember before 7th grade started C. took me clothes shopping. Again- Mother thought this was so ducky. He took me to Montgomery Wards. Fashion plus, oh yes.
He bought me bras.
I read the Bible. I watched Billy Graham on the TV telling us to take our sins and cares to Jesus on our knees. I knelt beside my bed and prayed and prayed.
Often, while I was praying, C. would come into my room to "tell me goodnight."

They found a house for us to buy. It was right around the corner, across the street from a lake. Everything in Winter Haven is on a lake. It is the City of One Hundred Lakes. This is what I remember from right before we moved:
Mother and C. and Granny M. were talking about who would sleep in each bedroom. There were three. Mother and Granny M. thought I should get the room the daughter of the former owners had had. It was at the front of the house, the farthest from the room that Mother and C. would sleep in because Chuck and the new baby's cribs would be in a sort of closed-in breezeway right next and connected to that one.
C. protested about this.
(And I was eavesdropping on this conversation AND it got loud.)
"What's she going to do?" he thundered? "Have boyfriends sneak into her room and have sex with them?"
I was twelve. Maybe thirteen. Had not even started my period. The idea of me having any sort of boyfriend whatsoever was far in the distant future. I spent my days going to school, doing homework, helping with baby care, cooking, laundry, reading, and playing with friends.
Mother and Mrs. M. were horrified, shocked, incredulous.
"What are you talking about?" they asked, their voices filled with disbelief.
He was so upset. So upset.
I think that's when Granny M. got a clue or at least was put on alert.
I have no idea what Mother thought. None at all.
And meanwhile, Chuck's crib had been put in my room and frankly, I was so happy to have him there.