Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Lagniappe

Jessie took this picture of me kissing Levon today.


I love the expression on his face. Like, "All right, you silly grandmother. I will tolerate your kisses because you amuse me but do not take advantage of my good mood."

He's lucky I didn't kiss him to pieces. He's lucky I didn't get every bit of sugar he has. 


Treasure Hunting

I remembered what it was I was going to say this morning and it was that Mr. Moon and I watched the first of the new David Letterman interviews on the Netflix series, "My Next Guest Needs No Introduction."
The guest was Barack Obama and it was like a breath of hopeful fresh air to see him, hear him. There was quite a bit of John Lewis in there and overall, we just enjoyed it so much. Letterman is obviously not as interested in the promotion of movies by stars as he used to be. He seems a different man but he sure does love Obama. He kept saying, "Mr. President, I know you need to get back to the Oval Office but..."
Anyway, I recommend that interview, at least. The rest may be pure crap but then again, they might not be.

Jessie and her boys met me at the Goodwill today and we actually spent over an hour in there. Maybe two. August was unbelievably good, sitting in my cart and talking to me and playing with a few toys we picked up from the shelves and looking at a few books. Levon slept for most of the time and Jessie found some really cute clothes.
I didn't.
Nor did I find any overalls. Here's what I bought:
1. An Elmo toy for August which plays a lullaby and says, "Good night." This is the sort of toy somewhat frowned upon by August's parents which of course means he loves it with all of his heart.
2. An I Spy book for August.
3. A leopard print with pink trim jacket for Maggie. It is so soft.
4. A butterfly scarf for me that I'll probably never wear but it'll look nice hanging in a window or something.

That was that. Then, because it was almost three o'clock, we went and got food. Cuban food. It was delicious. Here's August, eating some black beans and rice.


And then we all said good-bye and Jessie took her boys home and I went to the Gee Dee grocery store AGAIN. I wish I knew why it seems that I need to go to the store every freaking day lately. This is not something I truly want to do. Plus, I have so much stuff in my cabinets that need eating up that I shouldn't be going at all. We should be eating beans and ketchup and pasta and rice and quinoa and pickles. 
That's a balanced diet, right?

Here's what Mr. Moon got done today.


He's down to the studs. 
I'm amazed and impressed and truly proud and I'd like to say that on "Fixer Upper" when Joanna leaves whatever house they're working on and Chip stays behind with a sledgehammer and some power tools, saying, "I'm psyched! I love demo day!" and in the next scene you see the house with walls down, beams replaced, and entire kitchens stripped down to the walls, it's just a tad misleading. Chip Gaines must have a crew of fifty. Whom you never see. 
Which is fine. It's TV but that is not how it goes in reality. Unless Chip Gaines is actually Super Man beneath that goofy dad exterior.

Speaking of goofy-


Excuse me but that is, at this moment, the cutest child on earth. 
Sorry but that's the way it is. He talked to me today. He had things to say and I listened. It was awesome. 

That's it. Gonna get bitter cold tonight for those of us who live in the balmier climes. 
Twenty-two degrees Fahrenheit. 
Oh my god. I just spelled Fahrenheit on the first go. I'm gobsmacked. 

STAY WARM!

Love...Ms. Moon


An Apology

I would like to apologize for the comment I made about the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon not being that well written.
Or some bullshit.
Listen- I'm well into the third book and I feel as if I am living in two worlds right now. This one right here in Lloyd, and the one created in the mind of Ms. Gabaldon who is an amazing storyteller and a fine writer and I'm a jerk for implying she's not.
Also, the back-beatings have almost disappeared.

We read for many reasons. To gain knowledge, to be inspired, to enter worlds and minds we otherwise would have no access to.
And to be entertained and delighted and enlightened and, and, and...

So. Just wanted to say that I was wrong and that I'm glad I found these books (thank you, Lily) and there ain't a thing wrong with the writing of them. Right now we are sailing together across the sea to find a kidnapped nephew, and Jamie's seasickness has been cured by a Chinaman who has knowledge of acupuncture.
It is a glorious ride and compared to the news of the world, an utter escape into a different time, a different reality.

I'm grateful for it.

There was something else I was going to say but I've forgotten what it was.
Maybe by tonight I'll have remembered.
Or maybe not.
I'm also listening to a Jane Fonda book in my car and although I went into that with great reservation (she's so earnest), I am gleaning a few things there. One thing she says about aging is that yes, she forgets things but she has more insight.
I would like to believe that is true.

It's cold here! And getting colder!



Bundle up.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Housekeeping

I feel disheartened today and discouraged too.
It's nothing but a bit of housewife blues. I spent the whole day doing bits of this and bits of that around the house, none of it, as I always say, which anyone will ever notice and all of which will need doing again before I know it.

I cleaned the little altar vanity in my hallway. The new one across the way from it shamed me into it with its gleaming, almost empty surfaces. I took everything off the vanity and dusted the seashells and turtle shells, I carefully wiped down the Virgin of Guadalupe and kissed her rosy lips. I even washed all of the Cozumel sea glass that Mr. Moon and I collected one year in the surf across the street from our hotel and the vase that I keep it all in.


And then I picked and vased all of the camellias I could because the blooms are going to freeze tomorrow night. 


My 2018 calendar finally arrived in the post office today and I took down the old one which was a freebie from the Florida Seafood Council (need a recipe for fried alligator bites?) and transferred all the birthdays and anniversaries onto the new one and hung it up. 
Yo, Frida! 

I did laundry because I always do laundry. I swept but I need to sweep again. 

I took the trash and recycle.

I ironed a few of Mr. Moon's shirts, getting halfway through one before discovering there was grease on the back of it. Well. He IS the Car Guy. 

This is life. I remember I had a neighbor once who refused to pick the trash up in front of her house because people would just throw more. 
Uh. Yeah. 
That's like saying that you refuse to make breakfast because by lunch, you'll just want to eat again. 
I mean, of course, but let's be reasonable. 
Still, I understand her feelings. How many times a day does one need to sweep the kitchen? 
As many times as people walk through it. 

And that's where my feelings of discouragement and being disheartened come from. I do not feel as if I am being productive in the least, but merely reactive. 
Or something. 
Whatever. 

Okay. 
Product placement time. 
Wait! Aren't I supposed to get paid for that sort of thing? 
Oh well. 
So, a few weeks ago I got online, as one does, and ordered two things I've been wanting for quite awhile. One, the ugliest pair of Crocs ever invented and which, when you wear them, you are literally saying, "I am old, I am ugly, I do not care. I have given up."
The other was a jar of face cream. A long time ago I got a tiny travel size container of this face cream before I went to Cozumel and somehow, that stuff has lasted forever. I've taken it on every trip I've made since then and there is still face cream in it. After I finished the last miracle wrinkle reducer I'd bought which is neither miraculous nor a wrinkle reducer, I thought, Fuck it, I want that same face cream I bought to take to Cozumel because nothing in this world short of plastic surgery is going to de-age me so why not just go with the one that smells good?


There you see the big jar and the little jar. The big jar is REALLY BIG! As I said when I bought parmesan cheese at the Costco, I need to put that shit in my will. 
But I don't care how long it takes me to use up. I really do love the way it smells, sort of like a cross between old lady powder and babies and it moisturizes as well as anything and hey! Ponds has been around since the dark ages and they should know what they're doing by now. Am I right?
And by the way- these ugly Crocs have changed my life because they are like warm, comfy slippers that I can go outside in and get chicken shit and dirt and other sort of stuff on without worry. 
Now. If Ponds or Croc wants to give me some money, I'll take it. 
I have a feeling they aren't going to, however, but it doesn't really matter. These are products I like. 

Here's something else I like. 


Lily sent me that today and said, "Why does that look natural?"
Oh, Gibson. You are a precious and funny and darling old soul and I wish I was going to be around when you're old in this lifetime because I have a feeling you're going to be amazing. 

And I like this, too.


That man! He not only got the toilet out since he came home from work, he also capped off the water pipes under that bathroom which involved going under the house (which is really scary) and fluxing something? and soldering and other things which I do not understand. Hell, I couldn't even turn the water off at the meter if I had to. 
He sure does love a project and I sure do love him. 

Well, reading all of this I'm not exactly sure why I feel so disheartened and discouraged. I guess it's mainly the fact that none of the work I do leads to anything at all like a new bathroom. I just clean bathrooms. 
Occasionally. 


Here's my sweet little Dottie and Violet. They both laid me eggs today. 

And here I go to make some sort of soup. I have no idea how it's going to turn out but it'll be warm. 

Love...Ms. Moon



Monday, January 15, 2018

The Babies


I got a text from Jessie this morning asking if I wanted to go to Levon's two-month check-up with her today and of course I did. As much as I hate going to the doctor I love going to the well-baby checks because I love to hear the nurses and doctor praise the child's growth and overall health and well being as much as the mama does. Plus, when the doctor says, "Looks like you're doing a great job!" I can say, "Yes! She is!"
August went with us and I can't believe this but I did not get one picture of that boy. I got some of his brother (and everyone of them is blurry) but none of August. I kept trying but he kept disappearing as soon as I held the phone up to snap one.
I kept him mostly entertained while Levon was fussed over and examined and that was fine with August. Levon has gained four pounds and four ounces in the two months of his life. He is so very responsive and when you talk to him he grins and talks back and he chuckles in that baby way which is indescribable and one of the loveliest sounds on earth.




His mama is his world and he is certainly a huge part of hers. She sent me a little video the other day of Levon laughing at the breast and I'd love to share it but modesty must be preserved. It is the sweetest thing. 
He has rolled over three times now, once on the bed. 

As I have mentioned before, the doctor who sees my grandchildren is the very definition of laid-back and he's the one who will make a house-call after a homebirth to do the initial doctor check. When he'd finished his exam and asked Jessie his questions and asked her if she had any concerns, he said, "Well. Shall we talk about immunizations?"
And then they discussed them and which ones Levon could be most safely given and which ones Jessie wants to delay. He is fine with all of this and assured her that today's shots had no live-virus and no mercury in them. August and I stepped out of the room when Levon got the actual jabs but I could hear him cry out in surprise and in pain although his wails only lasted for a second and then Jessie nursed him for awhile and because he was already tired, he fell asleep in his car seat and off we went, to go to lunch. Of course. 

While we were at lunch, I said something to Jessie and called her "Jess" and August said, "Jessie!" Jessie said, "Yes, that's Mama's name. We've been talking about that."
And then the boy said, "Vergil!" 
And we agreed that yes, Vergil was his daddy's name. 
"Do you know what Mer's name is, August?" I asked.
He got a thoughtful puzzled look on his face and then he said, "Pretty?" 
Oh my god. 
I could have died right there in the Bamboo House, falling face-first into my noodles and been as happy as I could be. 
How I love children. 

Moving on, here we have a picture of what Mr. Moon got done last night in his bathroom.


And I took this one of him this afternoon.


It does come in handy to be tall. He's getting it done and he's tired tonight but happy. 

Speaking of happy, the chickens have been so peaceful today and I have to say that the yard just has a completely different feeling to it. Peace, yes, and a far more casual and slowed down vibe. No constant rooster crowing as one rooster tries to sound bigger and tougher than the other. No screams of panic as the hens scatter, running from one sex-crazed bird or another. No constant flapping of wings in display or hens flying up to a fence to try and escape a male. 
Just...peace. 
Lucy is still with us and I am hoping for the best. 

I got two lovely eggs today and I am thinking that as things calm down even more, the hens will be more generous. 


Here's Darla, comfy in her sleeping nest. 

Peace to all and I am holding Dr. King closely in my heart today, remembering the horror and sadness I felt when he died, the gratefulness I have that he lived in my lifetime. 
He was and always will be a personal hero of  mine and example of how we should never, ever be afraid to speak the truth, to do everything within our power to further the causes of equality and civil rights, to never give up on the dreams which represent the very best of all human desire for all of our children to know freedom from fear, and the love of fellow humans which should be given abundantly and freely to all of the babies. 
ALL of the babies. 
Dr. King had a dream and I wish he could know that despite everything, there are so many of us who try every day to keep it alive. To further it along. It is a damn slow process which is frustrating and these days it seems as if the process has not only stalled, but gone back in time. I have faith, though, that it will continue, no matter what, if for no other reason than this- it has to. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, January 14, 2018

This Is Reality. Or At Least Mine


There is a man who lives about half a mile down the road who always has interesting things going on in his yard. For a long while, it was a sign saying, "No Man Lord!" A cross and various tableaus made of various things ranging from wood to tires to rocks appear and disappear with no discernible pattern and often no clear message. He sells things in his yard that people give him or that he scavenges and Mr. Moon has given him a few things to sell and also bought a pretty wrought iron plant stand from him for me. When he bought it, he asked the man how much he wanted for it.
"Eighteen dollars," he said.
"I think it's worth more than that," said Mr. Moon.
"Nope. That's what I owe the power company and that's all I want."
When you drive by his house and he's in the yard (a regular occurrence) he throws his arms up in the air, whether in blessing or greeting or god praise, I do not know. But when I meet him on the sidewalk, walking, he always steps off of the sidewalk and takes his ever-present cart into the road, to give me full passage and this embarrasses me but I understand that everyone is different, everyone has his or her own reasons for doing what they do and it is not mine to know them.
I do not know if the man is fifty or eighty. He could be either. Or neither.
The only time he's ever really spoken to me was the day last summer when it was achingly, meltingly, fiercely, swelteringly hot and I saw him walking back from the convenience store and I pulled over and offered him a ride.
"No, thank-you," he said.
"Are you sure?" I asked. "This heat is horrible."
"No, m'am," he said. "Just you asking is a gift." And on he walked, like a prophet of old.

So today when Mr. Moon had girded his loins to deal with the roosters, he said, "I wonder if our neighbor would like them."
I figured he just might and Glen drove down to ask him and he said that oh yes, he very much would and that he would be glad to wring their necks and pluck them. Mr. Moon said that he would kill them and bring them on down and he came home and he did dispatch them both and while he did that, I picked a large bag of mustard greens for him to take as well. When he got back from taking the birds and the greens he told me that he'd forgotten to give the man the greens and so he'd driven back to give them to him and the man said, "This is just like Christmas!"
And so, that is how the story of Joe Cocker and Pearl has ended.

It makes me sad. They were beautiful birds but I could not take the daily torment and torture of my hens at the whims of their sexual needs. Every night the hens would dread going to bed because those two roosters would place themselves right at the doorway to the hen house so that they could mount each one and there was screaming and fighting as all three roosters tried to knock each other off the hens and I really think that my hens have not been laying because of the constant fear and pain and as I have said, it was not responsible chicken-tending to keep those roosters.
Not at all.
And trust me- no one around here wants or needs a live spare rooster. This is the cruel truth of it. So short of bagging them up and driving miles away and releasing them in the wild which would surely mean their death by predator, the most humane thing to do was what we did, which was to give them a quick death and then make use of their meat.
At least as I see it.

I suppose Mr. Moon could have built a separate pen to keep them closed up in all day but that would not have been a practical use of his time or materials. So.
And I am glad that our neighbor is eating well tonight.

Plus- Lucy has reappeared. She is wounded but I think she will heal. She is young.
And my hens can relax now and Old Man Mick will be the only husband and he is attentive and older and bedtime will be sweeter and more peaceful for all.
Now if only Miss Honey would reappear.

The realities of dealing with animals and even gardens is that there will be poop involved as well as unforeseen difficulties and problems and conundrums.
And responsibilities.
I am so grateful that I have a husband who is not afraid nor too inexperienced to do the sane and sensible thing when it comes time. I remember when my beloved Elvis Rooster was a baby and that same man took that little biddy, whom I was sure was going to die, and with an eyedropper, fed him vitamins and sugar which he'd crushed up and dissolved and that rooster grew up to be so handsome and so fine that when he died (of natural causes) I buried him not in the pet graveyard under the big oak tree by the railroad tracks but in the front yard where he could watch over us as he had done so faithfully when he was alive. That man, my husband, understood that completely and agreed that it was the right thing to do.

Well, that's what happened in Lloyd today. That and a little yard work and a nap and Mr. Moon is now in the process of cleaning out his old bathroom and getting it ready for, as he calls it, demo. 
I think he's been watching quite a bit of Fixer Upper. Which is fine by me.
Demo away. Do what you gotta do.
I love that man.

Let's all sleep well tonight.

Love...Ms. Moon





Saturday, January 13, 2018

Home Girl


Do you see my new green glasses? I can't say as I've had a set of new glasses in decades. We just mostly drink from mason jars which suits me fine but I was in the Dollar Tree the other day trying to find a particular kind of dish scrubber, which I did not find and I happened upon these green glasses. I picked one up, drawn by the green, and it felt good in my hand, heavy, and I bought two and then yesterday I went back and bought eight more. Isn't it nice when we find something that will be used every day that pleases us? Especially when it only costs a dollar. And they were not made in China which also pleases me although I do not know that working conditions are any better at all in Columbia than they are in China.

Mr. Moon bought something new as well and I am very excited about it.


He found this lovely old piece of furniture on Craig's list and he went and looked at it and he bought it and today I helped him tote it in from the trailer. He set it up in the hallway but that is not going to be its home. He's about to tear apart what we call his bathroom, which is not a very functional bathroom as it stands. It's got a very old tub in it with a shower and the tub is not flat on the bottom and Mr. Moon's feet are, well, extremely large, and his balance is not as good as it could be (although I swear it's getting better) and he's been showering in the little bathroom off of the kitchen for a long time now and as he says, he would very much like to be able to shower in a space big enough that he can bend over and wash his toes. The shower in that bathroom is tiny and so he's going to rip the old tub out of his bathroom and build a walk-in shower with tile and he's going to tile the floor which now has some vintage linoleum in it, and he's going to use that vanity to set a sink in with a piece of glass or marble on the top. 
Something new for this old house! Hurray! I can't tell you how much this pleases me. I do love the piece and of course the first thing I did was to go out and pick camellias and set some in a vase on top of it. 


I'm not sure what motivated him to take this step, but whatever it was, I'm glad he did. 

It was an at-home day for me today. I watered the porch plants which actually survived the recent string of cold days and colder nights quite well and then bundled them up again in sheets and blankets and old tablecloths as we are having another bout of winter. I also picked up a few fallen branches and trimmed back some dead flower stalks and that was enough of being outside in the cold for me. 
I watered the inside plants and look at this beauty of a bromeliad blossom that I found. 


My jungle plant! 

And then Mr. Moon took Owen to a basketball game and I settled down in front of the TV and watched several episodes of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee and then some Call The Midwife. And worked on August's overalls. 


I have embroidered the hell out of those Oshkoshes and I added a dinosaur to make sure that everyone can tell that August is a boy. Haha. I'm feather-stitching ferns beside and over the dinosaur but you can't even see them. Doesn't matter. It makes me happy. 
Funny to think that August will not care a whit or a bit about whether or not his overalls are hippiefied. He could not care less about what he wears, I think, which is completely as it should be for a child his age. But when I see him wearing them, I will smile and think about how much pleasure I got from doing it and how lovingly I thought about him as I stitched. And they can be passed down to Levon as well. 

In very sad news, Miss Lucy did not come in to roost tonight and I haven't seen her all day long. Two nights ago I noticed when I put them to bed that she had open wounds on the tops of her wings where the actual muscle showed through where the roosters had pinned her with their talons when they repeatedly mounted her. It enraged me and I should have brought her in and tended those wounds but I did not and I should have removed those roosters permanently before it happened but again, I did not, but it's going to happen this weekend. That's two of my hens the roosters have killed and I won't stand for it anymore. We'll let Mick live because he's older and less hormone driven than the two younger ones and is good protection for the ladies. 
But enough is enough. 
And three roosters is far more than enough. 

Love...Ms. Moon








Friday, January 12, 2018

We Shall Survive. I Swear. Plus, Greek Salads And Lots Of Love


Woke up this morning to a transformer blowing about fifty feet from my bedroom window. Sounded like it was IN my bedroom and was startling, to say the least.
Oh, sigh.
Life in Lloyd.
I called the power company, my neighbor called the power company, I'm sure everyone called the power company. The power company said that "crews have been dispatched" and after about an hour with no sign of crew or power, I figured they'd dispatched the crews from Orlando but eventually they got here and fixed the transformer and I have to say that when you wake up to no power and then get it back on, the rest of the day seems slightly more shiny than it might have.

I was going to go hang out with Maggie while Lily went to get her teeth cleaned but then she and Jessie and I decided that we wanted to go see May because sometimes you just gotta go see May because she is precious and we love her. So I drove Magnolia June over to Jessie's house and we visited and played with Levon and I read some books to August and Maggie busied herself with the novelty of August's toys until Lily was through with her appointment and then we went to the restaurant where May is now working. Same owners, just a different location and we like this location a lot better. It's funky and comfortable and it smells really good. Like pizza.
I knew I was making pizza tonight so I had a Greek salad which was delicious. Here in the south, for some reason Greek salad frequently comes with potato salad and that's just even more goodness on top of goodness and this potato salad and the Greek salad were terrific.
But not as terrific as it was to see May.

Here's Maggie looking at "the baby".



She really wanted to play with him and tickled him some and he seemed to like it. He's getting almost chunky, that Levon of ours. 


That's when we were at Jessie's house and he was getting his clothes changed. 

It was an extremely fun lunch and yes, I have gone out to lunch three times this week with my family in various arrangements and I am as happy as I can be about that. Let's face it- it's about the only social life I have and I wouldn't trade it for anything. 

And here's another cool thing that happened today. 


An awards ceremony!
No, I didn't go but Lily sent pictures.


I'm so proud of my boy! He's really getting into reading these days and he got an award for that and for being on the A-B honor roll and for good citizenship. 
Owen! You are growing up so good! 

All day, of course, I've been thinking about DT's "shithole" comments which were crude and cruel and racist and just plain wrong. I mean, I may use profanity and so can DT but not in his role as president while discussing policy. The man has proven beyond all doubt that he is a racist of the worst kind and also, that he's dumber than a box of rocks to suggest that Norwegians might want to come over here and help Make America White Again. And then he has the gall to deny saying what he said and THEN he has the gall to say that canceling his trip to Great Britain has anything to do with the new embassy when we all know that Great Britain has made it profoundly and perfectly clear that they do not want a visit from DT, thank you very much, stay home you chickenshit, dumbshit, shithead, asshat, racist, bullying, cocksucking horrible excuse of a human being, waste of air and water and McDonald's hamburgers, pretender to the office of president of the United States of America. 
Will our country ever regain any respect at all? 
Will we ever recover from the shame and embarrassment? 
Will we ever recover, period? 
And when will DT's Republican minions finally admit that yes, he's crossed a fucking line (about 2000 times) and needs to go? Because they are as responsible for this clusterfuck as he is. 
I am horribly afraid that as long as the market continues to spiral upward, they will just puke in private and count their money. 

Okay! That's enough politics! 
I have electric power, I've gotten baby kisses, daughter hugs and eaten potato salad today and I'm drinking a martini. It's going to get down into the thirties tonight but I have new Crocs with cozy, leopard print linings and we have gas in the tank and food in the pantry and gospel music cranking out from the church next door. 

As George Harrison said, "All things must pass/All things must pass away" and although that bodes a little sad for my own personal life, it reassures the hell out of me when it comes to this administration. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Thursday, January 11, 2018

For Entertainment Value Only


My day was filled with chores, just that, and a walk although when I got up this morning to hug my husband before he left for work I said, "I'm going to stay in bed all day."
Well, I did take quite the extended nap this afternoon but la-di-dah.
I weeded the beets and the carrots and I think they are coming along nicely. I made a sort of tabouli salad with quinoa instead of bulgur wheat and of course I did...laundry.
Always laundry, forever and ever, amen.
Right now I am washing a huge rug I keep in my bathroom along with my gardening overalls because when I was in my bathroom I noticed a dead, uh, something, with dried bloody bits and what we might call "chunks" and while I was cleaning that up, my shoes which I was still wearing from working in the dirt, left a big spot of damp blackness on the rug.
It's all just so damn never-ending, isn't it?
You can't clean one thing without soiling another.

Above you see a picture of Levon, of course. Isn't he precious? Adorable? Too cute for words? Doesn't it look like he's saying, "Fascinating! Tell me more! I'm listening"?
Yes. Yes it does. I swear I can't hold that little boy without wanting to kiss his tiny rosebud lips. Which I do. As I've said so many times before, babies can't stop you from kissing them which is part of their charm. I do it respectfully, though, I promise.

So. Let's talk about listening to audio books. Now, since I discovered the ease and joy of downloading (uploading?) audio books free from the library onto my phone, I walk about all day long with a long cord stretching from my pocket where my phone is stashed to my ear buds. Well, they're sort of ear buds. I go through books like a cold beer on a hot day and it's one of the joys of my life to be able to "read" as I go about my work and exercise. I tend to listen to books which do not require ALL of my attention because I'm always doing something else at the same time. So, a bit lighter fare, shall we say, than the books I read with my eyes, although not always.
A few weeks ago, Lily told me that she was listening to a book by Diana Gabaldon called Outlander and that she was enjoying it. Sounded decent- time travel was involved, the narrator was one of my favorites, it was set in Scotland, etc. Lovely fantasy escapism and perfect for listening to as I did everything from scrub toilets to clean and order closets. So, yes, I downloaded Outlander and it is absolutely not the most well-written book I've ever listened to or read with my eyes, but it is entertaining. It has lots of sexy sex in it, although...perhaps a bit too much and honestly- how well does ANYONE write about sex? There are only so many elements involved and after about half a dozen encounters, they've all been described rather thoroughly. Especially in White Bread World. Which this is. Also, the author seems to have a bit of a sadistic streak and loves to write about backs being whipped (not kidding) to the point where one simply has to wonder what in hell is going on there. But, in its defense, the book kept my attention (although I do tend to drift when the beatings begin) and I loved the concept of a woman who was a British field nurse finding herself in 18th century Scotland after accidentally slipping through an ancient standing stones time portal. (Note to self: If I ever decide to time travel, wear appropriate clothing to avoid being accused of being a whore.) There is a nice amount of pre-modern healing techniques and herbal use, which I do enjoy. And of course the former nurse falls in love with a gorgeous redheaded Scotsman, a warrior who is well-educated, can speak about forty-five languages, elicits absolute sexual excitement and wild monkey lust in her, and who seems to get lashed every fifty pages or so, leading one to wonder how in the world he manages to have any skin or muscle tissue left on his back at all.
Ah lah.
So I listened to the whole, long, long, LONG book and then what did I do but download the next (even longer) book in the series and now I am on the THIRD book in the series and there are five more to go.
I feel like such a literary loser.
I am listening to what is basically a never-ending historical romance novel which has S & M overtones.

Oh well. It ain't no Game of Thrones or Nancy Drew but it's...sort of like crack.

And on we go. Supper is going to be a broccoli and mushroom and chicken casserole and there are NO CANS OF CREAM OF CAMPBELL'S ANYTHING SOUP in it although I did use garlic powder. That and the quinoa salad with garden greens, tomatoes, onions, garlic, black olives, and cilantro which will negate any unhealthiness of the casserole, will be on the table soon.

"Here's your gourmet meal," I will announce to Mr. Moon and he will say, "Oh boy!" and sit down with knife and fork and we'll watch something on Netflix although it will not be Mad Men which I have now watched about six episodes of and cannot watch any more. It depresses the shit out of me. I may be a literary loser but as I told my husband a few days ago- "If this is how men really are, then just kill me now."
I find myself sickened as I watch it and ain't nobody paying me to do that.

What are you reading? And watching?

Let me know. Don't be afraid to shame me. I can take it and do deserve it.

Love...Ms. Moon




Wednesday, January 10, 2018

In Which I Muse About Stuff


On my walk this morning I noticed a spot of color in the old graveyard as I passed by and so I turned in to investigate. What I'd seen was an old blue coffeepot with that bit of pine branch in it at the top of the picture but then I saw another old coffee pot, this one a very vintage electric percolator with holly in it and I figured that someone had decorated a few graves for the holiday season. Shelby's grave is definitely one of the newest graves in this particular little burial plot. Some go back to the early 19th century. It is a peaceful place.

I feel as if I have not stopped moving all day long and my hips hurt so badly that I could literally cry and may well do before the evening is over. I am so tired and I can't help but wonder if the pain is part of my seemingly inexhaustible exhaustion. It probably is. It's always there, the pain, but sometimes not as bad as other times. There are constant other pains, too. Knees and legs, especially. I am not complaining here. I am simply saying that this is the way it is and has been for a very long time. Tonight I do feel a little whiny about it and I'm thinking of Sabine's post from today.  Sabine suffers from far worse health problems than I can even imagine having and I always appreciate her voice, her spirit, her insights and observations as she navigates a life which is certainly not like anything she'd ever foreseen. And her writing is beautiful. She inspires me. She calms me. She is wise. She posted a video today of Mary Beard speaking about women and aging and I watched it, took in the words, and realized with a small epiphany that as much as I am ashamed to admit it, I still very much compare myself to other women, my age-related peers (as I said in my comment on the post) especially. Wouldn't one think that by my age I would appreciate myself for the unique individual I am? I also realized that part of my inability to spend a day resting, I mean really resting, is the very mistaken and unshaken internal belief that if I am as productive and physically active as I ever was then I will not really be as old as I look and feel myself to be. I mean- I can't ignore the pain and I can't ignore the fact that I cannot do exactly what I used to do in terms of real, true physical work but dear god, I try. I try to do the work and I try to ignore. Both.
I think that on my death bed I will be comparing myself to other dying women, finding myself lacking in certain aspects and I will probably also be doing my best to hop out of bed and fix something for my visitors to eat. And then I will wash the dishes and sweep the floor.
Should I be so lucky as to have visitors on my death bed.

Oh, goodness. What a lot to think about.

And yet, I was also thinking about another thing today- about how I really, really wish that I could allow myself to enjoy my beautiful life more. To have more fun. To have more confidence in the future. To be more content and motivated by pleasure and anticipation. Why is this so damn hard for me? I do not know.
I honestly do not innately believe that suffering is good for me nor do I believe that it serves anyone or any thing in my life.

When I was at the grocery store today, a woman and a little boy were shopping too and they were talking and laughing. Especially the woman. She seemed to be absolutely filled with joy and they were having such fun. I wanted to follow them around and let some of that joy and fun into my own heart. It truly is the joyful people, the laughing people, who remind us that even though life can be so terribly hard and often is, there is so much beauty and enjoyment to be found in it.
Even in the grocery store.

Well, that's what I've been thinking about today.

We had another sweet lunch with family this afternoon at our favorite sit-on-the-deck place, El Patron. There was much laughing and joy there and I was not unaware once again of how much pleasure I get in my family.


August ran to his Boppy's lap and stayed there for an hour. That child adores his Boppy. While we were waiting for our food, Boppy drew him pictures of everything from trucks to a dog to a cow who was pooping with a farmer standing by with a pitchfork to clean it up. August asked for a picture of the farmer's wife and he got that too. Our sweet Rachel took that picture.


Ms. Magnolia with my lip balm. She was looking somber here but mostly she was very happy. She applied some of the lip balm to August's lips. One quick swipe did the trick.


Levon (who looks like he might have blue eyes) being held by Aunt Lily. That boy rolled over by himself today for the first time. Two months and one day. Clearly, a genius. For real. And what makes a baby work so hard to master the milestones they achieve? Hunger and the seeking of comfort and safety explain their desire to nurse and to be held. But what makes them want to roll over? To raise up on all fours? To begin to crawl? To take steps? Levon is way too young to observe the people around him rolling over and deciding that he wants to do it too. Lord, sometimes I really wish I knew what was going on in the fierce and beautiful minds of infants, as I texted to Jessie when she told us what Levon had done. 
We humans are a strange lot. We definitely are driven by our needs for food and water and air and comfort but we are also driven to move beyond the comfortable, the known, the safe, to walk and then to run. To explore farther and farther distances from within sight of Mama to the very surface of the moon, to the depths of the oceans, to the inner depths of our minds and hearts and souls. 

Here's what the sky looked like tonight at my house through the bones of pecan trees.


Life can be lush and life can be sere and there is beauty to be found in much of it. 
I want to seek more of that and realize, as I do, that our ability to feel joy is far more important than any bizarre, misguided need to suffer. 

Enough. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Little Boppy Pays A Visit


This little guy came out today for awhile because his mama had a dermatologist appointment. He is such a fun child to hang out with. He's generally agreeable with any suggestions I may have which makes things mighty easy. His brother is pretty laid-back as well, as long as someone is holding him and he gets nursed every five minutes.


He's already laughing! Laughing Levon, happy boy. He is two months old today! Can you believe it? 

August could barely be bothered to notice when his mama and baby brother left. We were working on a puzzle by then. I got the coolest kid puzzle at the Goodwill bookstore last week. It's a Melissa and Doug puzzle and has huge pieces and is all mostly borders. Here it is while August is playing piano, waiting for my attention. 


And here it is, all finished.


He's especially good at tapping the pieces together with his foot but he's also pretty good at making the pieces fit together. 


He played in the boat.


We also played put-marbles-in-an-old-bottle. The Mr. Rat puppet got involved in this game and there was uproarious laughter when Ratty dropped a marble. Turns out that rat paws aren't the best for holding marbles. We also read a whole bunch of books on the porch swing and we fed goats and chickens. Well, I fed goats and chickens. When I offered August the bread to feed the goats and asked if he wanted to do it, he said, "No, you do." He's not real sure about the goats next door and there are dozens of chickens over there which are a little bit scary, even though they are behind a fence. Mostly.
We also gardened, as you can see above.

When Mama and Brother got back, we drove to Monticello and had lunch which is where I took this picture. I know I'm his grandmother, but I think he's such a beautiful boy.


It's so interesting how much I fall in love with each of these grandchildren. It's certainly nothing I ever expected to happen, nor did I foresee feeling so much pride in my daughters as I watch them mother their children. It started when I saw them give birth, both so incredibly strong and capable in doing what I myself thought to be the hardest thing I've ever done in my entire life. And I am also in awe of how well they chose their husbands and how amazing Vergil and Jason are as partners and as fathers. 
And let us not forget that quite frankly, I never thought I'd live this long. I have no idea why I thought that, but when I was a young mother, and even an older mother, the idea of grandchildren was as vague and hazy as mist. 
And yet...
Here they are. Five of them. Each one unique and with characteristics and talents and abilities and personalities completely their own, just as my children were. 
I keep thinking of how yesterday, when I took Owen and Gibson home, little Wiley Cash, the boy that Lily takes care of on Mondays, woke up from his nap and we could hear him. Owen raced to the room where he'd been sleeping and put his ear to the door and when he was sure that Wiley was awake, he opened the door and went right to the Pack-n-Play and lifted Wiley out and said, "Wiley, why are you so cute?" 

I feel so incredibly blessed. Unbelievably so. It's like I tell my husband- I feel like I am dreaming a dream come true that I never dared to dream. 
And yet. Here I am. Here we are. 

And in completely prosaic news, my house smells of cat piss and I think that Jack's doppelganger, a huge gray and white feral un-neutered male, started coming into my house again when it got so cold and he's pissing all over the place, trying to claim territory. Which may be causing Jack to add his pee to the party. This is the cat that my next door neighbor who loves animals more than is even natural, asked Mr. Moon to shoot. 
But at least the horrible smell drove me to finally and at last mop the kitchen which has needed doing forever. I mopped it twice and the mud room got a good swabbing too. 
And now those floors feel like silk on my bare feet (it has warmed up considerably today) but it still smells of cat pee. 
Dammit. 

Well, that's life. The celestial and the ethereal right along with the undeniably nasty and persistent smell of cat piss. 

Life on earth. We are living it. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Monday, January 8, 2018

Simple Pleasures



This day was so un-noteworthy that the most exciting thing I did, by far, was to make tapioca pudding.
I'm not even kidding you.
I took my first walk in about two weeks and I'm pretty excited that I am still able to do that. I wore a dress to walk in! Hell yeah! It's an old long cotton knit black dress with slits in the side and I wore it with thermal leggings and a jacket and it was so free-feeling. And comfy. I may never walk in pants again.
I may never fit into pants again but that's a different story.

I cleaned the hen house and laid fresh straw in the nests. I got an egg which was not laid by either Lucy or Violet who have been consistently laying the only eggs I get so that was sort of exciting. However, I did not get a Violet or Lucy egg so there you go.

I picked up Owen and Gibson at their bus stop as a favor to Lily. Jason had inadvertently taken Maggie's car seat to work with him. We are serious about the car seats around here. The boys were happy to see me as they always seem to be when I pick them up by surprise. Gibson yelled, "MER! ARE WE GOING TO YOUR HOUSE?"
"No, baby. Not today."
"ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE CARE OF US?"
"No baby, not today."
"AWWWWW! I'M HUNGRY!"
When we got to his house he had the option of having a piece of leftover pizza or a cupcake.
"SUGAR MAKES ME FEEL CRAZY!" he said. "AND IT MAKES MY NECK HURT AND EVEN ITCH!"
He chose pizza.
Owen chose a cupcake. And then he was going to have pizza.
Live it up, kid! Life is short.

Then I came home and ironed. I know! I know! Too exciting for one human being to handle but that's the way we roll here in Lloyd.

But let me add that Mr. Moon has been working on a new screen door for the kitchen for days and days and he finally hung it tonight. The problem has been that the door space is not a true rectangle due to what we gently call house-settling.
House-tipping might be more accurate but we don't say that.
Anyway, he had to rebuild the door and also the door frame to make it work and of course, the screen door had to be painted and it's beautiful and I am so glad to have it. There it is, up there in the picture with the hugely tall, handsome man.
So honestly, that's the most exciting thing that happened today although it wasn't something that I did.

I will however tell you that my tapioca pudding has two secret ingredients in it.
Do you want to know what they are?
Okay. I will tell you.
Coconut milk and almond extract.
Is that gourmet or what? Only about a quarter of the milk I put in was coconut and I put vanilla in it too. So it's homey and comforting and so very exotic, all at the same time!
In fact, and seriously, I am looking forward to eating some with GREAT excitement.
It's the little things, people.
At least in my life.

Love...Ms. Moon





Sunday, January 7, 2018

Magnolia June Turns Two And A Monkey Friend Comes Into Being



She's a little flirty, don't you think? Those green eyes are mesmerizing. 

I got Ms. Monkey done in time for the party and if I'd had more time I would have remade the dress which was really not a great dress and the button hole I made for her tail to stick out of is a bit too high but at least she has a matching headband so she's accessorized and I think Maggie liked her although the very first thing she did was to rip off the headband. Luckily, I made it with elastic so it can come and go as it suits Ms. Mags.





When she was asked what the monkey's name was she said, "Merkis," which may or may not last until tomorrow but it made me happy because...Mer...Kiss.

I will try to start on Gibson's earlier than two days before his birthday so that perhaps it'll be a little more polished. But I do love the way these silly sock dolls take on a personality of their own as I stitch in eyebrows and lashes, give them hints of noses and carefully selected earrings, choose the color of the buttons to use for their eyes. 

We watched Moana before the pizza and cupcakes and it was a very sweet movie and I like the direction Disney is moving. No romance whatsoever in this film, and the strongest character is a young girl. There are myths and legends from the Pacific Islands and the grandmother was a beautiful soul who reminded Hank and now reminds me of our beloved Aunt Lynn, had she had the opportunity to grow into grandma-age. She danced and misbehaved and told stories and was graceful and funny and believed in the spirit and magic and was the most nurturing character in the movie. 

And then more people showed up and before it was over, all of the usual suspects were there with only a few missing. Which means the house was crowded and noisy but this is the way it is when, as Hank told me, "You have eighteen children and twenty-five grandchildren."
It does seem that those are the correct numbers, even if I know they're not. 
Here's me and Levon, Jessie, Vergil, and August all crammed onto a love seat. 


There was lots of holding going on. August wanted to sit on his Boppy to watch the movie and Gibson sat on my lap. After quite a while, he switched over to his grandfather's lap, too, saying, "You've gotten to hold me a long time, Mer." 
I hugged him and let him go. 
And Maggie sat on both our laps too, when she wasn't eating chips and dip.

Levon is really starting to smile and laugh and gurgle and he's just so precious. Vergil says his three states of being at the moment are sleeping, fussing, and chilling. Yep. That's exactly what he's supposed to be doing. We all adore him. Maggie and the Darling Lenore want to hold and hug and kiss him. Owen came up to him and took his little finger and said, "Hey, little dude, how you doing?" and of course everyone wants to sniff him and touch him and just get a bit of that sweet, calm baby vibe. 


So that was Maggie's party. Sweet and simple, easy and loving. We finally got to see Rachel who was away for Christmas and she took the Maggie-kissing-Monkey picture and also the group of us on the love seat. It was so good to see her again. She and Hank have a new kitten to love, and both appear to be smitten with the little guy whom they have named Jasper. 

It's not supposed to freeze tonight and it will be warmer tomorrow. Days are slowly getting longer and the chickens tell me the truth of it as they are now roosting at least half an hour later than they were a month ago. I am already thinking about getting new biddies this spring and we have got to deal with the overabundance of roosters we have. It is just not responsible chicken-tending to have so many. It is easy to be a new-age believer in peace among the flock but the difficult truth is that there are constant fights among the roosters and as I have said, the hens suffer the consequences and live in fear of unwanted and painful attentions. 

One more picture of Maggie on her second birthday, taken by Rachel, playing with a a new baby in her high chair. 


Can you see the monster slipper peeking out from under her dress? 
I do believe this says it all. 

Love...Ms. Moon