Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Long Winded Diatribe But I've Got A Lot To Say

Okay. I'm trying to come to terms with how all of these accusations of sexual harassment and abuse and rape which are coming forth make me feel because I have been having very confusing reactions to them.
First off, let me say that I believe these women whether they are talking about Harvey Weinstein and rape or the Foggy Fogey GW Bush and an ass grab. And let me also say that I believe the men who are starting to come forward as well because god knows it's not just women who are abused but  for right now, I'm discussing the women because I am one.
Secondly, I will say that I am not surprised in the least. I am not surprised at the abuses and I am not surprised at the complicity of those around these men of power.
I am also not surprised that it's taken so long for these men to be named by their victims. I understand that.
I understand all of these things and it's not because I've seen what happened to women who were drugged and raped by Bill Cosby and it's not because despite being an admitted sexual harasser, Donald Trump got elected president and it's not because Harvey Weinstein got away with his evil for so many years.
These are just a few of the public examples of what happens when women report.
They are disbelieved, they are accused of leading the abuser on, they are accused of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, their past sexual histories are made public, they are called liars, they are called attention-seekers, they are called complicit in what their abusers insist are consensual acts.
And so forth.
Hell, Freud's theory about father-daughter incest was that it was due to a "cold wife and mother and a seductive child."
How's that for blaming an innocent victim?
But you know what else?
It's also because women themselves have internalized the message that this is just how men are. And that no, it's not exactly right but hey! Shit happens. And maybe we did lead someone on. Maybe we flirted a little bit and the message was mistaken. Maybe we knew that that sweater was a little low-cut. Maybe we knew that if we smiled and joked with the boss, our chances of getting a raise were better. Maybe we knew that if we were just a little more personable with our customers, we would get better tips. Maybe we know that if we hadn't had those last two drinks we wouldn't have ended up in a situation that led to something we really did not want at all.
And so forth.
Listen- even I have internalized this message and you want to know why?
I'm not sure.
But I think of things that have happened in my life that were not related to the sexual abuse I suffered as a child (of which I am in NO doubt that I was not in any way to blame for) that I shrugged off and accepted and just "forgot about it" which I have not actually forgotten at all.
In fact, I still think of these things which were done to me, some by strangers, some by bosses, some by acquaintances, some by a few of my dearest male friends, and when I do think of them, I still feel deeply uncomfortable and creeped out and if that's not an indication that we never really get over this shit, then I don't know what is.
And I am ashamed of myself for sometimes thinking when I hear some of these stories, "Well, that's not so bad," because it IS bad.
Anything that a man does to a woman from a place of power which makes her feel uncomfortable is simply wrong.
And although we may consciously think that well, nothing REALLY happened or okay, but it wasn't actually rape, in our hearts and in our souls and in our very guts, we know that something did happen. And it all adds up in every woman's life and becomes a part of her in ways that she doesn't even realize because it is so fucking common and so fucking accepted that boys will be boys, hahaha! and because we are told over and over and over again that if we just hadn't had too much to drink or hadn't been in that parking lot at 1:00 a.m. or hadn't worn that damn short skirt nothing would have happened and anyway, it's probably our fault.
Because (say it with me) boys will be boys. 
Except, we've all had men do things to us, say things to us, when we absolutely knew we were not to blame. That the only thing we were guilty of was being young and pretty or older and vulnerable or merely being female. 
And yet, to call a man out on his behavior is so very often unthinkable.
And why is that?
Oh yeah, because we might get fired or we might be perceived as being a bitch or we might get told we can't take a joke or we might get told we're out of our minds because he would NEVER sexually harass a woman. NEVER or...
things could escalate and we might really get hurt. I don't care if the guy is Donald Trump or Harvey Weinstein or that creepy boss you had at McDonalds or a guy you're just really good friends with or some fellow at a bar or the oldest man in the nursing home- there is always the potential for some sort of retaliation which could be in some way, extremely dangerous.
So we ignore. We "forget about it". We tuck it away and get on with it. We think, "Oh, he's really a good guy. I don't want to get him in trouble." We convince ourselves that the guy didn't really mean it. That he was just being funny. Or it was a compliment!
Or something.

I haven't discussed any specific incidents that happened to me here and maybe that's because once again, I'm just internalizing that message- oh, it wasn't really a big deal- but I just thought about a professor that I had once and how I was struggling so hard in his class. I was older than the average student and this was a class that mostly women took because it was a requirement for nursing school. But I was still relatively young- 28, 29? Something like that. The single mother of two.
And I went to his office during his office hours to get help and the first thing he did after I sat down was to get up and walk around the desk and LOCK HIS OFFICE DOOR.
He didn't do anything besides that which was out of the ordinary. He didn't make any moves, he didn't say anything that went beyond mild flirtation (which was inappropriate anyway, of course) but I sat there, knowing that he had locked his door and that if I cried out for help, no one would be able to get in to help me.
This of course was improbable BUT because I was a woman, because he was a professor on whom my entire degree and career might depend, but mostly because he was a man, I felt threatened and creeped out and fearful and completely unable to speak up and ask that he not lock that door.

And thirty-four years later when I think about that, my stomach still tightens.

Again- on the surface nothing happened.
But you know what?
Something did. And even that was sexual harassment, subtle as it was and I dare anyone to say, "Oh well, that really wasn't such a big deal."
Not even myself.
I can't even say that.

And what I hope will happen as a result of these public examples of women finally coming forth to name and shame their abusers, is that it won't just be the Ashley Judds, the Angelina Jolies, the Mira Sorvinos who gather all of their courage and step forward to say, "No! This is not right and you are NOT allowed to treat me this way and what you did was wrong and immoral and inappropriate and and also- against the law."
It will be the waitresses, the students, the secretaries, the bartenders, the teachers, the bank tellers, the nurses, the doctors, the chefs, and the artists. It will be the women who have not been given power by society but who deserve to be able to live their lives free of the fear of molestation and retribution if they report it. Who deserve to be believed. Who deserve the respect that any human being deserves.

Being able to write "me too" on Facebook is a start but dammit- it's got to go so much farther than that.
All of us are "me too's". Virtually every last one of us.
And now we have to go on to the next step which is so much harder than admitting the truth. We have to claim the power.

John Lennon said that women are "the other half of the sky."
Why do we forget that? Why do we give so much power to men to make the laws that govern our bodies, to let the rapists go, to make us feel as if we are to blame for the crimes committed against us?
It is not our job to let boys be boys. It is not our job to protect those who harm us.
Could we please, in the name of all that is holy and right, stop doing that?
It is not easy. Hell, I'm not even sure it's possible.
But I think it might be.

Especially if we stand together.


Me too, of course. You too, of course. All of us.

I love us all for surviving and I encourage us all to never forget. No matter what we are told, let's not forget.
As if we even could.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, October 30, 2017

I Am Such A Wuss And I Don't Care

Well, I took control and turned my mood around today.
How did I do that? you may ask.
Simple. But not easy. (For me.) I picked up the phone and called my doctor's office and rescheduled my appointment for next month!
Now I'll just have to go through it all again in a month but hey! That comet may hit the earth, destroying all earthly life forms before then which would mean I never have to go to a doctor again! Kinda puts a little spin on the old perspective, doesn't it?

After the phone call I took a walk. I saw Ms. Shelly and had a chat with her. First thing she said was, "I gotta wash my windows."
I looked at her windows. They appeared to be pristine to me.
"Woman!" I said, "Every time I talk to you you make me feel bad about all the housework I do not do!"
She laughed.
She'd die if she walked into my house. One look at the mold on my walls and the dirt on my baseboards and she would flat pass out.
Anyway, I enjoyed my chat and then I went to town and met my husband and Jessie and August for lunch. We ate at a Cuban restaurant and I'm still full and August ate about half my sandwich. It was delicious and it was fun.

While August was sitting on my lap eating my sandwich I snuck in about fifty kisses. He's not a real kissy boy so I felt like I was getting away with something. I hope the poor child doesn't end up in therapy one day telling a professional how his grandmother would just never quit kissing him. 
If he told me to stop, I would. I swear! 
No does mean no. Even when it comes to grandchildren. 

While Mr. Moon and I were waiting for Jessie and August to arrive, we shopped around in an Indian grocery store which is a marvelous place. Lily and I had gone there when it first opened but it has expanded quite a bit since then. There were all sorts of mysterious vegetables I've never seen before and an entire aisle of rice and there were pickles and beans and grains and, well, everything. I bought some beautiful small yams and also, this. 

Super Honey! It's the most beautiful jar of food stuffs I've ever seen. Layers of different nuts and seeds, all in honey. I mean- I had to buy that. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it. Does anyone know what you're supposed to do with it? Eat it on pancakes and on ice cream? 
That has to be about the most calorie dense food in the universe. 
After candied bacon, of course. 

So anyway, that's been a lot of my day. I also went to Costco and Publix which was fine, although strangely boring without any of my children or grandchildren but sometimes boring is okay. 

The news is never boring these days and of course the Russian thing was the main topic of discussion today and I just have to wonder what's going to be coming out in the near future and I would not be the White House spokesperson for the money in the world and someday, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is probably going to write a book and make a  fortune but her soul is already gone. 

And speaking of coming out- Way to go, fucking Kevin Spacey. Apologizing for a supposedly drunken assault on an underage boy thirty years ago and revealing himself to be gay in one breath. 
As if so many ignorant people don't already associate male homosexuality and pedophilia. 
I don't even have the words to say how despicable I find that and for a man who appears to be extremely intelligent, it was a stunningly irresponsible thing to do. 

Just my opinion. 

Love...Ms. Moon 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Another Sunday Brought To You By The Holy Ghost Whose Name Is Melancholia

Some days I just feel loathe to share anything about my day. These are the days where I have felt too weird and strange to even try to describe and what's the point anyway?

Today is one of those days. It's definitely chilly and getting chillier and maybe it's just the weather, that foreboding of another winter which will lead to another spring, another year, another segment of time that will be in my past and oh, how time goes by so quickly now and I can hardly stand it. And maybe on November 1 the walls between the living and the dead do get thin and wavery and I feel this approaching and all of my beloveds who live on the other side of those walls weigh on me with a heaviness that feels too much like foreboding itself.

Should I make an altar with marigolds and chocolate and tequila and cut paper banners, candles and avocados, images of the Virgin and sugar skulls to appease the dead and the gods? 

I don't have the energy.

The cold creeps into my bones, I feel my joints stiffen and see my skin and muscles loosen. I feel my mind having to reach for things which used to live right on the tip of it, I go to get my pastry blender out of the drawer and can't find it, glance to the bowl with my flour and shortening in it to see that the tool is already in it and I had begun to cut the shortening in already before I stepped away to do something else.
Still, somehow I manage to make very decent biscuits.

I guess I can hold on to that fact if nothing else.

Mr. Moon found the possum that's been tormenting my hens and who probably killed little Rose, dead in the yard this morning by the mulberry tree. He said he had no idea what killed the creature. It had some blood on its fur but whatever killed it, did not take it home and eat it.
A chicken's revenge?
I rather doubt that.

After all of my years on earth I am still beset with mysteries most every day of my life and that is one thing about the prospect of dying that I truly rue- no more chances to solve the mysteries.
Because you know what? I don't really think that the dead know all the answers any more than we do and in fact, I do not think they know anything at all although wouldn't it be wonderful to have one tiny moment of complete enlightenment as our souls take leave, even if that moment was about as long as it takes a spark from a firework to sizzle out on a lake?
Would be rather ironic, though, wouldn't it?


That is enough of THAT! And so forth and so on. May I be more cheerful tomorrow.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Babies And Bellies

Today was such a sweet day. Jessie and August came out for a visit and August was absolutely delighted that his Boppy was here and didn't want to be parted from him. He followed him around like a little puppy and then they went down to the nearby horse farm for a visit and Jessie and I stayed here and she knit on a blanket for King Richard and I worked on the quilt and we watched Grace and Frankie and were happy and content.

And Boppy sent us this video.

When they got back we had a little lunch of leftovers and I read August some books and he peed twice on the potty while he was here and he got sleepy and his mama took him home.

And also? He called me "Merm" today which I thought was hysterical and I will proudly answer to that name any time. We also did a little dancing to the Rolling Stones in the hallway. So just about a perfect visit.

Lily took her kids to the Fall Festival at Owen and Gibson's school and we got these pictures.

Owen does NOT like having his picture taken these days.

And Maggie met her first candied apple. She appears to approve. 

I was going to post this picture yesterday but forgot.

This is what King Richard looks like right now in his mama's tummy. Although I cannot wait to see him on the outside, I have to admit that I am going to miss seeing Jessie so bloomy and ripe. It has become apparent to me, watching Lily and Jessie go through their pregnancies, that tall women definitely have an advantage over us shorter ladies when it comes to pregnancy. That little boy in there still has room to stretch and move about and I swear, Jessie doesn't seem to be hindered by him at all. 
And may I please add that I am so glad that the days are over when women felt as if they had to dress like this during their pregnancies?

I think it is absolutely right and proper for a pregnant lady to show off her belly and there is nothing more beautiful to me in the world. 

I am boring as can be tonight. 
Oh well. 

At least you don't have to pay for this stuff. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday Doin's

This morning was fucking hard. I had the shaky anxiety, the stomach in nautical knots anxiety, the flaming anxiety and all of that was accompanied by the I-ain't-never-done-nothing-right-in-my-life depression.
Such a lovely bouquet of emotions for a fine fall morning.
Then I went to let the chickens out and dammit all to Jesus hell, little Rose had been murdered in the coop, her head pulled through the wire probably by a possum, leaving behind a small and feathered body.
I say possum because when Mr. Moon went to shut all the chickens up last night he saw one out near the coop.
I just cried.

But you know, life goes on despite anxiety, depression and dead hens, and Rachel texted and asked if I'd like to go to lunch with her and Hank and she'd text everyone else to see if they wanted to go and so after I got the sheets on the line and some other chores done around here, I went to town and met everyone. August was wearing his overalls and Jessie told me that when she brought them out this morning he said, "Like MerMer!" and he gladly put them on. When I saw him I said, "What are you wearing? Overalls like MerMer's?" and he said, "MerMer overalls go? Home?"
"Yes," I told him, "My overalls are at home."
I wish I looked half as cute in mine as August does in his.
Maggie hugged me to pieces and patted me as she does, with me patting her back

and we all ate delicious mostly Asian food although fried plantains were on the buffet right along with the curries and Mongolian tofu and I swear one of the best dishes today had chayote in it. One time they had tamales and we have determined that there are probably some folks from Mexico who work in the kitchen and doubtless, that is true. As Anthony Bourdain says, if every Mexican in the US suddenly disappeared, there would be no more restaurants. 
Anyway, it was just perfect to see my kids and laugh and enjoy delicious multi-ethnic foods. Both babies had ice cream cones and wanted more so Hank came up with a healthier solution which was to stick chopsticks into watermelon chunks. Maggie wasn't having it but August thought it was awesome.

Maggie simply walked over to the refrigerated dessert case, opened it up and snatched Hershey's kisses out of it. Because she's Maggie and that's how she does it. 

After lunch we hung out in front of the nursery next door, checking out the fountains. 

If you put your finger on the place where the water comes out it sprays everywhere which is wonderful!

Look at those cute baby butts! Maggie actually tried to take her clothes off so that she could get in the water. Her cute little baby butt was exposed for a second or two as she almost succeeded. 
In a perfect world, she would have been allowed to strip nekkid and get in that fountain but we do not live in a perfect world. 
But I will say that baby butts ARE perfect and that's just the truth. 

So. Here we are. Friday night. I'm making a cauliflower gratin and a roast chicken (not Rose because I'm a big fat hypocrite) and martinis are involved. 

I hope everyone's having a decent Friday and that your weekend goes well. Mine will go better in that our heater which WAS NOT WORKING (are you surprised?) has been fixed and also, the gas guy came and made a delivery so that when it gets down to patchy frost temps on Monday morning, we won't die. 
The folks at the church next door are belting out the worship and I can hear cats fighting somewhere in the darkness. I hope that Maurice isn't one of them. Her face is already torn up once again. 
She is a warrior, not a lover. 
But I love her and she can just deal with that. And she hasn't drawn my blood in maybe a week. 

Much love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Short Words

The red passion flower is still blooming and although the vines are definitely not covered with flowers, I've had more this year than in all the years before. It will probably bloom until our first freeze. If we have one. I have to tell you that I've actually complained a teeny-tiny bit about it being so chilly in the past few days.
I know. I KNOW!
I am an ungrateful wretch and a wimp to boot but y'all- it's 56 degrees in my hallway right now! For us Floridians, that's like where's-the-igloo? weather. And it's supposed to get down to 39 degrees Sunday night so you can just mark it on your calendar that I'll be whining like a little bitch when that happens. I've already gotten out the duck (which for those of you who do not know, is my down comforter) and used it for the past few nights. Of course I still keep my window open and have two fans blowing on me. I love being cozy under the duck and the cooler air and the fans enhance that experience.
I've also had to wear slippers and I hate that but at least I do have slippers and I should not complain although that's never stopped me.

I've been thinking a whole lot about the whole Harvey Weinstein thing and I have a lot to say about it and the fall-out and what so much of that says about us, about our culture, about the relationship between power and abuse and how it just might possibly change the whole world if suddenly women realized the power that we ourselves have based on speaking the truth of what has been done to us and exactly who did it and exactly who enabled it.

But that's just all too much for me tonight.

That's a picture of Still Creek, a tiny little rivulet that I walked by this morning. It soothed my soul which has been roiling for days.
And years.
And a lifetime.

Let us gather again tomorrow and talk about things.


Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

An Anniversary

Mr. Moon and I drove to Apalachicola for the day and just the day because it feels a little too close to King Richard's birth to spend the night out of town. We had some permit something-somethings to hand in and get something-somethinged, don't ask me, I don't know but I signed my name and it was notarized.

We sort of didn't plan things too well and by the time we got to Crawfordville we were starving so stopped for lunch in a little place called The Fisherman's Wife which is in an old house and we got salads with broiled shrimp and scallops and fish on them. They were fine salads although the scallops were tiny enough to use for a pencil eraser and the fish was a generic fish but all-in-all it was tasty and the massive amount of blue cheese dressing which was brought with the salads with real blue cheese crumbled in it made up for some of the fish and scallop deficiency.
Two tables in the same room we were in both said grace before they ate.
One table had two parents and two tween kids and the kids looked Asian and the parents did not but they were the All American family, eating seafood and french fries and onion rings and cheeseburgers, the kids teasing each other, the daughter looking at something on the mom's iPhone with her, the dad giving the kids the side-eye when he thought things were getting the least bit rowdy. The other table was a group of men, all manly looking and there was also a baby in a seat whom everyone seemed to know and cherish. After careful eavesdropping, it was apparent that this group of men were doing church work that day, clearing things out of the church and taking it somewhere. One of them was the pastor, I'm sure, and he said the grace and he blessed the work they were doing, the people who had prepared the food, and the food itself and that was nice.
I sort of loved watching the way the men dealt with the baby. It was just so damn cute. They all had opinions to offer about what he should be eating and how to deal with things like the baby crawling over and dumping out the dog bowls and what to expect when he started walking and so forth. The baby seemed very happy and content and made the sweetest little sounds.

So that was nice and on our way out of the restaurant I spied a bush which looked to me like a bay tree and it had the most amazing blossom on it. The leaf of the tree/bush smelled bayish and this is what the bloom looked like:

Soft little feather tendrils coming off of pods and I have never noticed anything like this before. I google-imaged bay tree blossoms but none of those looked a thing like this. Isn't it wonderful? Sort of Dr. Seussian. I posted it on Facebook and no one seemed to have an idea about what it was so do any of you? 

I went and did a little Apalachicola shopping while Mr. Moon was flirting , charming,  dealing with the ladies in the permitting office in a business-like way. I had to go to the Grady Market, of course, to see if by a miracle there are any Johnny Was garments on major sale and there were not. A few were on 20% off sale but that means they only cost thousands instead of billions. 
Okay, that's a bit of an exaggeration. 
So then I trotted over to River Lily because how can you go to Apalachicola without going to River Lily which is the very best ladies' shop in the entire southeast? I did buy something there. I bought a cotton dress of beautiful blue because the ancient blue linen Goodwill dress which I have worn to every one of my grandchildren's births is literally falling apart and although I am going to try and repair it, if I can't do that adequately, I will wear this new one. It is soft as a cotton ball and blue as the fall sky. 
One more step in being ready for this birth. 

And I went to the bookstore because I have to go to the bookstore but the owner whom I am trying to seduce into being my friend was not there but that was okay. This may be a lifetime project and I am patient. I did buy a gorgeous ball of yarn and a pattern to make a hat with it which is ridiculous because goddam it, I have one million gorgeous balls of yard that I've been too weak not to buy there even though I can't knit for shit and my crocheting is just as bad if not worse. 
Oh well. I am supporting a beloved local business and there's nothing in the world wrong with that. 
Who knows? Maybe I'll actually knit a hat. Miracles do occur. 

And then we met up, me and my husband of 33-years and had coffee and then drove home, stopping in Carabelle to buy rock shrimp and I'm going to cook some of that for our supper. We had thought about eating supper in Apalach but we just weren't hungry and yes, we could have parked our butts outside of the brewery on this beautiful day where the temperatures were perfect and the air was sweet with the breath of fall, but really, I just wanted to come home. 

And so we did. 

It wasn't an anniversary filled with dramatic and overt gestures of love and romance but it was a sweet one. We made yet another step on the road to fulfilling a goal we've shared for twenty-four years and we talked about our lives, our grandchildren, our children. How incredibly unbelievable it is that here we are. Maybe after this new baby is born and things have settled down and the holidays have passed, we will go have one of our wildly-inappropriate-for-our-age honeymoons. 
Meanwhile, because it is chilly this evening and going to get chillier tonight, perhaps we shall snuggle under the covers, holding each other tightly as we have done now for so many years. 

And isn't that what it's all about? Having someone to hold on to through the good times and the bad, to always have that person to nest with, to feel safe with, as the rest of the world goes about its business?

I think so. 

Going to go cook rock shrimp. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

There May Be A Quiz Later

Oh, but I really have nothing to discuss tonight except that I went to Costco with Lily and her children and then I stayed with them while Lily went to a parent-teacher conference with Owen's teacher and my chickens must be hiding their eggs because I am only getting about two a day and I was getting as many as eight and yes, I have lost two hens but still, the math is wrong and oh yeah, I made white bean chili for our supper.

Joe Cocker is being the back-door man and just fucked one of the hens and she fussed and ran back into the hen house and I know that Mick knows what he did and yet, he did not get off the roost and come and beak him.

And so what does that last sentence have to do with this picture? 

Once upon a time there was a rock band called the Rolling Stones and some said that it was the greatest rock band in history who, for better or for worse defined what a rock band should be and there is no doubt that when they were young, the boys in that band were considered to be some of the sexiest fellows in the entire world and redefined what sexy was in a way that's probably never been seen since. Say what you will- this is a true fact. 

Anyway, one of the boys, named Mick Jagger, had a girlfriend named Marianne Faithfull and she was the epitome of sweetness and beauty and she became famous not only for being Mick's girlfriend but also for recording a song called "As Tears Go By" which Mick and one of his band members named Keith Richards wrote. It was a beautiful romance and they were a beautiful couple and represented something of the time which was primal and true. 

There was a sense of innocence, even as the Rolling Stones made their names and fortune being the very opposite of innocence. 

At the same time, Keith Richards, who was the guitar player for the Rolling Stones had an equally beautiful girlfriend and her name was Anita Pallenberg. Anita's beauty was a different sort than Marianne's. A bit more dangerous, a bit sharper but she and Keith had children together and represented another sort of relationship and love. 

And as things will happen, one of the Rolling Stones seduced the girlfriend of the other and in retaliation (and probably desire and hormones and so forth) the cheated-on Rolling Stone seduced the girlfriend of the original seducer. 

Life happened. More children happened. Drug addictions happened. 
Marianne's songs went from something like this

to something like this

which is so soul-searing it still knocks me to my knees and takes my breath whenever I hear it.

And that picture above, of an old man toasting an old woman?

Well, that's the guitar player and the lead singer's girlfriend all these years later and what Keith Richards wrote on Facebook where he posted the picture was, "Loved seeing Marianne."
Oh, that smile on his face tells me that is true. He did love seeing Marianne.
Anita, whom I wrote about a while back, died in June of this year, but I am so glad to see Marianne looking very much alive and well.

Roosters and rock stars.
They have so much in common. In my yard, sometimes even names.

And there, my dears, you have your history AND biology lesson in one go.

Thank you for indulging me once again.

Love...Ms. Moon

I am so, so tired of being crazy.
Anxiety is exhausting.
And right now I am feeling very crazy and am beyond exhausted.
Why? Mostly because I have a follow-up doctor's appointment in a week. And I've been dreading it for a month. Have I gotten the blood work done I was supposed to get?
Have I gotten a mammogram, a colonoscopy, or an appointment with the dermatologist?
Of course not.
I simply cannot make myself do these things. I believe I would literally rather die.
And I adore my doctor. He is all things good.

No matter how hard I try to figure out why I have this horrible aversion about going to the doctor and anything medically related, I can't but I know I've had it for as long as I can remember and it's only gotten worse with each passing year. And for the past few weeks I've woken up every morning feeling as if might puke or pass out. Mostly pass out. Which I have never done in my life. And I cry. A sixty-three year old woman who cries because she has to go to the damn doctor.
And I'm not exaggerating here. I am not just being dramatic. This is simply the way it is.

Tomorrow is my thirty-third wedding anniversary and there is not enough room left in my psyche to appreciate that one bit. I mean, I do. I do. But to feel the joy about it that I should?
And that is how evil anxiety is. It wipes away logic and enjoyment and joy. It washes everything with darkest charcoal and lurid scarlet.

Well. Time to take a walk and try to work off some of this damn adrenalin.

That's what's happening in my world.
What's going on in yours?

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, October 23, 2017

Doing What I Do

God, I have been such a damn housewife today doing housewifey things which is exhausting. And no one ever notices any of it. Clean laundry just appears in drawers and closets as if by magic, same with always having toilet paper and Miracle Whip and coffee and milk. That bed straightens out its wrinkles miraculously every night before we get in it and our dishwasher loads and unloads itself. Toilets are self-cleaning, as are floors. Obviously.
But I must be honest here and tell you that my husband does indeed notice things and he does thank me. Okay, not the trash I take or the toilets I scrub and I'm pretty sure he does think that the groceries arrive from the store to whisk themselves onto the shelves and into the refrigerator by themselves.
But he thanks me every night for the meals I make, even the ones with tofu, and he often texts me to thank me for his lunch. He always calls it his "gourmet" lunch. This is our joke. And he helps clean up the kitchen a lot. And to tell you the truth, I am not a good housekeeper in the sense that things are always clean and dust free.
Well, they almost never are. I mean, kitchen counters are and I do sweep a lot but dusting is ridiculous and I haven't cleaned a baseboard since 2014, most likely. Windows? Oh please. Give me a break.
It rained this morning and so instead of taking a walk I finished up going through books in the library and tidying there and rearranging and organizing a bit. I have seven boxes of books to give away.
It only took me what? Two months to finish this up?
And I still have to get rid of the boxes. May said that she wanted some of the books and so I am going to wait for her to go through them before I start donating them somewhere. Maybe I'll just put one box at a time outside the fence with a sign that says, "Free books," and see what happens.
Could be interesting.

So. Library cleaning, Publix shopping, bread making, soybean cooking, laundry doing, and then ironing. I guess I'm allowed to be tired.

It's supposed to get down into the forties here in the next few days. I can't even believe that. Is King Richard going to be born on a cold night? Well, cold for us. Or a warm day?
I had every one of my babies in the day time but had labored all night before they were born. Hank was born about ten-thirty in the morning, May at dawn, Lily at five o'clock in the afternoon, and Jessie about six in the evening, I think.
I just know that everyone got to go home for dinner and bed and that made me very happy.
And come to think of it, all of Lily's children were born in the daytime except for Maggie and she was born before suppertime. And August was born in the morning.
Jessie had a few regular contractions last night that kept her awake for awhile but then they went away. Her body is tuning up, letting her know that the time will be soon. I think that she is far more ready than I am.
Who are we going to get this time? Will he be like August? Gibson is certainly not much like Owen and Maggie is like neither of them. None of my children were very much like each other. And each of them was born with their exact personalities already intact. People who say that babies don't acquire a personality until they learn to talk are simply not paying attention. And when the argument comes down to nature versus nurture, let me point out that they ARE born with their very own unique nature firmly in place and while I know without a doubt that nurture has a lot to do with how a child turns out, it's still the child's nature which takes that nurturing (or lack thereof) and turns it into who they become.
At least that's what I believe. And none of this is any excuse not to do our very, very best raising our kids because we want them to be the very, very best version of themselves they can possibly be, right?
And then, we love them to eternity and back for the person that they are and appreciate each of them for their differences, their strengths, their unique characteristics, and yes, their weaknesses.
Not like we don't have any.

In short, we do our best and I tell you what- that is not an easy thing to do. Not easy at all.
In fact, it's probably the hardest job there is, raising sane children in an insane world.
Or at least, children as sane or saner than we are.

That's pretty much been my goal. That and making sure they know they are loved.
And that may be the most important thing.

Okay. I have to go start the brown rice. I'm being all hippie and shit tonight which is probably a rebellion for being all housewifey and shit.

Praise the Lord and pass the organic wheat germ!
(Just kidding. That shit'll kill you with all the gluten in it.)

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, October 22, 2017

And Pancakes Were Made Once Again

It was a pancake brunch Sunday here in Lloyd today. Lily and Jessie brought all the kidlings and I made blueberry, apple, banana, oat bran pancakes and bacon.
Does it go without saying that there will be bacon?
Oh, how we love bacon.

Gibson did not make us do the pre-meal hand and chant thing. I believe he was too hungry to remember it. Owen said he was starving too. 
"But you already ate a whole bag of carrots!" his mother said. 
I sure wouldn't want their grocery bill. And it's only going to get worse as those boys get older. 

Maggie and August went out to play on the swing set. Mostly they wanted to climb the ladders to the towers and Maggie wanted to slide. 

That child kills me. She'd climb the ladder to the tower, get on the slide, say, "Ready, set, go!" in her own language and then shoot down that thing like Dale Earnhardt on the racetrack. Inevitably, she'd hit the ground hard and sometimes even her little pumpkin head and she'd cry for about one second and then she'd run back to the ladder and do it again. 
We kept asking if she wanted us to hold her hands. 
"No!" she said. 
From his perch on the swinging thing August said, "Careful, Maggie. Hold hand."

She ignored him. 
I do not think it is too early to predict who is going to be the daredevil, risk-taker here. 
She is not unlike her mother and all I can say about that is- Hang on to your hat, Lily. 

August wanted to climb the towers too, and did. Jessie followed him, slowly and carefully, to stand on the ladder so that she could prevent him from falling down. He tried to push her off but he was quite polite about it and said, "Sorry, sorry."
I do like a child with good manners. 
Maggie rarely neglects to say, "Thank-you, Mer," if I do something for her or give her something. Sometimes within seconds of protesting another issue at the top of her voice. I am not sure I've ever met anyone quite as mutable as my granddaughter. At least the pissed-offedness is balanced by the contentment and sweetness. And my god. She is so cute. That hair. Those perfect bow lips. 
Look at this pair. 

Jessie and I just stood and stared at them for awhile. 
"They are so different looking," she said and I agreed with her.
"And both so beautiful," she added. 


And another beauty some to come. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Remember What The Doctor Said

I slept so hard last night that when I got up this morning my pillows were hardly disturbed and my sheets and blankets needed nothing more than a slight tug at the top to make the bed look relatively made. I don't think I even moved. And this morning I was just hanging out here at the house with my little buddy, the Anole, when I got a phone call from Jessie. She had already texted to see if she and August could come hang out while Vergil did some deer processing and of course I'd said yes and on the phone she asked if maybe I could watch the boy while she went to Costco and Publix, and again, of course I said yes.

August had wanted his mama to give him kitty cat whiskers and so she had painted some on him and also, a cute little kitty cat nose on his own cute little boy nose and the first thing he asked when I opened the car door was, "Chickens go?"
He loves those chickens.
After Jessie and I had visited for a little while, she took off all by herself, except of course for her intrauterine baby, and August and I settled in for some good times. We read a lot of books, including this one which has been one of all of my grandchildren's favorites.

August loves it too and we talk about all of the pictures and the story as we read the book and he wanted me to read it twice, and so I did. 

After books we went on to porch playing 

and playing with the toys in the Glen Den where not only are animal heads and mounted fish kept on the walls, but where there are also enough children's toys to start a preschool. 
Every man's dream of a man cave, right? 
We played with Lincoln logs and the Fisher Price farm and some little bunnies and mice that have houses and furniture and clothes. What he wanted though, was the phone from the big laundry basket where many of the toys live. He knew it was there but he was having a hard time reaching it. I got it out for him and he played with it for a little while and then we went into the guest room where there are more books and we read a few of those and I changed his diaper and then I offered him the old real phone that I keep for when the electricity goes out. 

Which he loved. 
And then I realized he was saying something over and over and I really started paying attention. 
This is what he did.

Do you hear what he's saying?

The first few words I'm not sure of but I think they involve "head" and "call doctor" and then he definitely says, "call doctor" and finally, "no monkeys jumpin' bed."

Obviously a genius.
He had the right phone and he knew what to say on it.

So that was fun and he was completely happy except when I started a load of clothes in the washer and he freaked out and I have no idea why (it's a front loader) and he made me stop it and then open it and he took the clothes out and put them, sopping, into the laundry basket.
Was he afraid the clothes were being hurt? I have no idea but he did NOT like that washer at all.
He got over that quickly though and then we had some tomatoes and pickled okra and mac cheese, as he calls it, and then mama came back and we ended up reading one more book before he left, all three of us cuddled on the bed, and then Jessie took her little kitty cat home and I've spent most of the rest of the day embroidering and have made so little progress that it's ridiculous but I had a good time anyway, watching Frankie and Grace and I have to admit that my affection for Jane Fonda has grown considerably and can I just say that DAMN! Sam Elliot! 
I feel I need say no more about that.

And now the sun has set in a fiery rose-lit glory and the chickens have made an unusually quiet retreat into the hen house.

I sure am feeling fortunate about this day, this life.

Night, y'all.

Try not to jump on the bed.

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, October 20, 2017

That Which Feeds Us, That Which Sustains

I got this picture this morning from Lily. She and Jessie were taking the young'uns to a Halloween Baby Hike or something like that and there's Maggie, looking not real happy about the whole deal. But she sure is cute. That hair. Oh my god. 

Here's August. 

He was a carpenter, a costume which utilized some of his many, many tools. I believe he could fix most anything, don't you? 

I took my walk and I hung my sheets and got a shower and went back to town and had lunch with Hank and Rachel and Lily and Lauren and Maggie. 

We went to El Patron again and yes, the food is good but the price for the lunch special AND the way they treat us is why we keep going back. The lunch special is $5.87 and for that amount of money you can get enough food to save some for later.
Or to share with your baby.
And they just keep bringing us chips and dishes of salsa and you can eat inside if it's hot or outside on the covered patio if it's cool and breezy enough and all of that makes it hard for us to go anywhere else.
It's always a fiesta!

So, speaking of food, let's talk about food.

I have a wide variety of things to choose from for my supper tonight. I have leftover pork chops with sauerkraut and potatoes. I ate that and a salad last night but it was good enough that l really wouldn't mind eating it again tonight.
There are FOUR, count 'em, FOUR frozen pot pies in the freezer that Mr. Moon brought home when I had the stomach illness and I love him so much for doing that but we haven't eaten any of them yet. I have chicken in the freezer I could thaw out and cook. I have a little leftover piece of grouper from our supper at the restaurant the other night. AND I have that smoked salmon.

But you know what I think I might actually eat?

Some vegan Tom Kha Gai with ramen.

Well, you see...when Mr. Moon is out of town I often like to cook and eat things that he would eat, if he were here, but which he'd probably rather not. The recipe I'm thinking about using is from the Darling Lenore's mother's website, Rabbit and Wolves.  (And please click on the link, if only to look at the pictures for a second.)
Lauren (a different Lauren than the one we went out to lunch with), has not only given birth to that beautiful little girl, but has also created a very fine website with her own recipes for food which she calls, "Simple but exceptional vegan comfort food."
I have had her cooking many times at family gatherings and it's always wonderful. Her vegan baking is astounding and she made May's wedding cake which was a work of art and absolutely delicious.
So. I have tofu being pressed right now and I'm about to get in the kitchen and be a little creative and industrious, all for my own self. It's sort of a sin to make something completely new when I have all of this food already made in the refrigerator but I doubt any of it will go to waste. And I won't make a huge amount of soup.
Said the woman who in a former life was the cook at a lumber jack camp. 
Well, I'll try.

Goodness but it's quiet in Lloyd. I know that the church is meeting next door but I do not hear the usual music or accompanying drums or preaching either. Maybe they are praying.
Oh! I hear the drums! Friday night service has commenced.

Love you all...Ms. Moon

P.S. I just realized there is no tofu in Lauren's recipe but I guess there will be tofu in my soup tonight.
I shall report in on how that goes.

Fucking Switch Flipped

Chickens with bananas and roses. 

I was doing so well this week and then last night, in a flick of a wing, I was suddenly anxious again. It just descended on me like a scratchy old coat, like a garment of darkness that worried my skin all the way to my bones. 

Oh for god's sake, why does this happen?
Was it those pictures? Was it looking at that little girl and remembering how she felt then, worried already about too many things, sorrowed by too-early loss, confused by a life that seemed to have some very fundamental pieces missing and no way to gather them together to make things whole? 

Maybe. Whatever. It just happened. 
And it's not like I was manic this week. I mean, I did buy a pair of velvet sneakers for Maggie but I got them at Target. No, I wasn't manic. I was just fairly what we might call normal. 
Ah well. 
I took an Ativan last night which I hadn't even thought of doing all week long and took my shower and got in bed and read until my heart calmed and then I went to sleep. 

And now I'm about to go hang sheets on the line and take another good walk and pretend that all is well because all IS well with light and shadow dappling my back yard, the cooing and twittering of little birds in the trees, the scratching of the chickens, the sound of distant traffic, Maurice tiger-creeping through the jungle of the fire spike, the air is still, and this is my life and it is good. 

I know this. I know this. I know this. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Mary Moon! THIS Is Your Life!

And it's been another very nice day here in Lloyd. Mr. Moon jokingly asked me last night if I was going to get up early today and make his breakfast before he left for Georgia.
And I asked him if he would be getting up late and making mine.
We laughed.
When I got up he had been awake and getting things done for awhile but not for so long that I was shamed for my sloth, and I did indeed make breakfast for both of us once I'd had my coffee and looked at the paper.
I've always said that there is real time and then, there's Glen time and he admits this is true.
So when he finally pulled out of the driveway, I'd done some laundry and made that breakfast and whipped up some of my world-famous gourmet tartar sauce (haha!) for him to take with him and walked for an hour but I met him in the road and we kissed goodbye again.

And I was quite productive for a few hours, hanging laundry, cleaning out the hen house, and then working in the library again, rearranging books, culling books, cleaning shelves, and dipping into photograph albums which are kept in there.
Just a little bit.
Looking at old pictures breaks my heart. I understand that this is something which is supposed to cause smiles and joy but for me it's as if all I am doing is looking at images of ghosts. The ghosts of people who are no longer with us, of course, but also the ghosts of babies who have grown up to become adults and for some reason, that is so hard for me.
Perhaps because I have loved each and every stage of my kids' lives (well, except for maybe a few teenaged moments) that I am still grieving the loss of those suckling babies, those feisty toddlers, those first-day-of school children, and yes, even those teenagers who looked at me and the camera as if they knew everything and maybe they did.
So that whole library thing is difficult for me and I even have emotional attachments to a lot of books that I know without a doubt that no one here will ever read again if they ever read them in the first place (the teachings of Plato? the complete comedies of Shakespeare?) that it's so hard to toss them into the donate box and yet, I realize logically that it's the right thing to do.
But then, I stumbled upon these pictures in a white envelope and I may have actually posted them before but they undid me in every way.

That's me, second from the right. Do you want to know a secret? Even at that age, I thought I was fat. I not only thought I was fat, I obsessed about it, despaired about it, looking at the wide spread of my sturdy thighs when I sat down in my bathing suit.

And here I am again, the little girl with the missing teeth in the back row. My brother is the cute little guy in the middle row, fourth from the left.

These were taken at Aunt Dot's preschool when I was probably about six although I can't remember going there until I was at least seven. It was during the summer because I never attended Aunt Dot's during the school year as I was already in elementary school.

Look at how beautiful Aunt Dot is! We were wearing swimsuits, for the most part, because Aunt Dot had a pool and we spent most of our time with her in that pool, learning to swim and generally being fishes. Aunt Dot is one of the people who was responsible for me being as sane as I am. She either really loved me or else she was the best actress in the world.
I think she really loved me.
I can still remember her skin, brown and warm from the sun and yet, somehow so soft. She always talked to me as if I were an adult and she is the only grown-up I can ever remember who spoke to me of my father whom my mother had left when I was five, and who I didn't see again until I was thirty.
She somehow knew I was grieving for him, for the loss of a father, no matter how lousy a drunken daddy he'd been and what she said was, "Mary, I think that your father really must have loved you and been a good person when he was around because you are such a good girl."
Or something like that. And oh! How I needed to hear those words.
My brother and I went to Aunt Dot's for several summers while my mother was in Gainesville, getting her degree in education so that my grandparents, charged with our care did not have to deal with us for at least a few hours of the day, and as I got older, Aunt Dottie gave me responsibilities from being a life-guard to helping her clean up which would never be allowed now, but it all rested easy and proud on my little girl shoulders and somehow made my life more bearable.
She took me camping, she had me over to spend the night. She made clothes for my Barbie. She didn't make a big deal out of any of this, she just took me under her wing as if it were the most natural thing in the world, and I loved her with all of my heart and I adored her husband whom we called Uncle Jack who was funny and sweet and loved the spaghetti his wife made. 

Funny. I remember that bathing suit my brother was wearing but I can't put a name on any of the children in those pictures. Not a one although I think that the boy who is kneeling in front of Aunt Dot may have been a boy who peed in his pants in first grade and I do remember his name but I will not tell you what it is. We never forget these things, do we? And I believe that's his sister, two kids down from my brother with the sash around her waist and the piercing look in her eyes. I do not remember her name but damn- even I can remember that face, those eyes.

I am almost certain that I have told these stories before and for that, I apologize, but some stories you have to tell over and over again, even to yourself because they are what you are made from, they are what have made you who you are.


After I found those photos, I absolutely had to take a nap and I slept for far longer than I had thought I would. An hour passed in a breath and Jack slept with me.

Here are two raccoon paw prints I found in the mud today on my walk, perfect in their form and their impression.

Look at that!
And here is a picture of my handsome rooster, Joe Cocker. 

Ain't he just a corker? Good Lord, that comb! 

Speaking of chickens, I need to go shut mine up. 

I wonder what tomorrow will bring. 

Sleep well, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

It's All Right, Mama

Today was a day to spend a little time with Jessie and August. Jessie is as ripe and queenly as any woman could be. If she did name her child King Richard, or King anything, it would be fitting. She moves as if through water, through sky and grace.
I am overwhelmed to be her mother, to be in her presence.
And August?
Oh, he is a clown and a joy and a joker and a singer. He sang us a song today and the lyrics were, "Boppy go? Boppy go? Boppy go? Boppy go?"
I cannot kiss him enough. I cannot hold him enough. I cannot watch him enough.
And with him I have discovered another true love and it still makes my mind reel, my heart burst, because each of my grandchildren has done this and although it makes no sense, it is the truth.

And then this evening,  Mr. Moon and I drove to the coast and he bought shrimp and oysters and smoked salmon and mullet to take to Georgia. He bought smoked salmon and shrimp to have here at home, too. I believe that while he is gone I will eat nothing but smoked salmon and rice.
With maybe a green onion or two.

We went to supper at a place on the bay in Panacea, a few blocks down from where I lived when I got pregnant with Hank. The food was underwhelming but it was so much fun to be out with my husband. We hardly ever go out anymore and it's not his fault. It's because I am so loathe to leave my house these days. The very thought of it makes me anxious but I remembered how lovely it can be and I was so glad I went.
Here's what the bay looked like as the sun was setting.

And here is an egret, fishing near the shore as the tide changed. 

I know it's only Wednesday but I have to say that so far, it's been a very good week for me. I think that not only have the lower temperatures affected me in a positive way, but also I have taken very good, long walks every morning. 
It is one thing to talk the talk but to make it work, you gotta walk the walk. 
One would think that I would not have to relearn this lesson over and over again after at least thirty-eight years of pretty much faithfully putting on my shoes and hitting the road, but it would seem that I do. Whether it is because actual physical change occurs in my brain due to exercise or whether I just have a very weird need to feel as if I have pushed my body for at least a few miles to be okay with myself, I do not know. I joke that I have an inborn need to suffer in order to be happy but maybe it's  the truth. I have no need to wear a hair shirt or walk on my knees through glass, no need to mortify my flesh, but perhaps I truly do need to sweat a little, to push it a little, to connect with my body from my feet on up to even out my inclination to live in my head. 

I don't know. 

I don't know shit. 

But it was another good day. 

Love...Ms. Moon