Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Hanging Out With My Littlest

Well, there you go. Ho-ho-ho. That's my Christmas decoration. I made that wreath before Jesus was circumcised. I do like the cardinal although it's obviously going through a molting season.
I'd bring in the Norfolk Island Pine and decorate that but it and the pot it's in weigh upwards of fifty pounds and I'm not up for that. My husband, being out of town, can't help me and there you go. He called today to ask my permission to make an unexpected trip to Arkansas to duck hunt which means he'll be gone longer than expected.
I just laughed.
"Sure, baby. Go. Have fun."
He didn't really call to ask my permission. Mostly just to see if I minded. I often wonder what he'd say when these things come up if I put on my headmistress voice (I have one, trust me) and said, "No, dear. I don't think so."
He would fall over.
And it's a moot point. As long as he is able, it's fine with me.

Levon was here when he called and he talked to his Boppy. He and I had a fine time together today. He's acquiring so many words lately. The thing he kept saying today was, "That's so RUDE!"
He also likes to say, "That's so funny!" which he said a lot while we were watching "Mighty Little Bheem." I love that series. The artwork is beautiful. It's set in India and Bheem is a preternaturally strong baby who is the joy and the torment of his mother.
And Levon is right- a lot of it is so funny.

Besides watching a little of that, we read books but he's mostly interested in the ones with trucks and tractors, etc. He had snacks and dipped graham crackers in milk which made a huge mess but I did not care. We sat out on the front porch for awhile and rocked in the chairs. He kept making me switch chairs with him because whichever one he was in was "too hard" to rock although he certainly seemed to manage fine.

Such a beautiful little boy.

Here he is showing me how he can raise himself up on his arms so that his butt is above the chair seat. I'll be honest- I was impressed.
I was also impressed that he noticed and commented on the fact that I was wearing a dress he'd never seen before when he got here. It got up to almost 80 here today and so I switched out my overalls for a very old hot pink linen dress. "What's this?" he asked, pointing to it.
"That's my dress," I told him. "Look! It's the same color as your shorts!"
He pointed to my dress again and then his pants. "Green, green!" he said.
"Um, well, close!" I said.
But I tell you what- the kid can count to thirteen. At least.
He's a precious little guy and I probably told him two dozen times, at least, that I loved him today. I was a bad Mer, though, in that I did not get him down for a nap. I don't think I realized the importance of that and I could tell that Jessie wasn't thrilled that his schedule was so screwed up. But hey! I asked him if he wanted to take a nap. He said no. 
Who was I to question that?
Oh yeah. The adult.
I'll try to do better next time.

When Jessie and August got here to retrieve the boy, I asked August about the movie. He'd loved it. I asked him how big the screen was and he said, with many exuberant hand gestures, that it was bigger than my whole house! I asked him if there was much kissing and he said no, but there was a lot of hugging.

So that's been my day.
I'm going to make some spinach pasta tonight. With baby peas. The longer my husband is gone, the more baby peas I get to eat.
Here's what my baby garden greens salad looked like last night.

The perfect salad. There are probably ten different types of greens in there along with vinegar, olive oil, salt and a little feta cheese. I could eat that every night of the week but at this stage of the garden, I have to pluck and pick very sparingly. Each and every tiny leaf is precious to me. 

The hens are back on the nest for sure. I got three eggs today. Before I know it, the problem of having too many eggs will be a reality again. What a lovely problem to have! 

Another thing I love about Baby Bheem is that their chickens lay green and blue eggs. Just like some of mine. Levon and I took a walk around the yard and when we got back in the house, Liberace and one of the hens were in the kitchen. I have to tell you that a full-grown rooster is almost as tall as a toddler. Levon sort of hung by the door while it took me a second to register that the birds were in the house. 
"Scat, y'all!" I said. "Get on out of here!" 
And I chased them out while Levon watched with great interest. We talked about that all afternoon and when we were watching Bheem, there was an episode where all of the animals came into their house. The cows and the pig and the goats and the chickens. We both laughed because we could relate. 

Have you seen the moon tonight? 

Life in Lloyd. Not so very different than life anywhere. Or least anywhere that chickens lay green eggs and sometimes wander into the house.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, December 9, 2019

In Which I Get Stuff Done With The Help Of Magnolia June (And Her Mother)

I had a few errands to run today and Lily and Maggie came with me. We started out at Costco where I bought a new set of headphones. I'd bought a set at Best Buy yesterday but despite the clerk's insistence that I would love them, I did not. The sound was tinny to my ears. Why do I listen to employees? His name was Dakota although he looked more like a Sherman to me.
"Okay, Dakota!" I told him. "I am going to trust you!"
"You can trust me," he said. "I've owned more than eighty pairs of headphones."
I thought about that for a second and said, "Well, if you'd found the perfect pair you wouldn't have needed eighty pairs."
I should have realized then that perhaps Dakota was not to be entirely trusted.
Anyway, when I got home last night I opened a Costco mailing and they had a pair of the same brand I've been using and which I like very much but which I fucked up due to a fault design (in my opinion) user error involving the charging port so I decided I'd get a pair of those. And be more careful in my charging technique.

So we went to Costco and I got the headphones and we looked at a bunch of stuff and Maggie wanted toys, of course, and Lily did end up buying a huge box of goop for her to share with her brothers and I got a few Christmas presents and then we had to go to lunch because I was hungry.
We went to Jason's deli where Lily and I like the salad bar and Maggie loves the cream of broccoli soup. Yes. She actually chooses that soup over pizza.

After lunch I took my Dakota-recommended headset back to Best Buy where I had a completely pleasant transaction with the customer service lady.
Some people were just born to be in customer service.

Then on we went to Joann's fabric so that I could pick out a nightgown pattern and some flannel to make Magnolia a nightgown. She was not in a good mood because she wanted to go home and play with her goop although her mama kept telling her she couldn't play with it until the boys got home anyway. But she had no desire to look at patterns or material with me and in fact, told me quite bluntly that she did not want a nightgown.
Too bad, little girl. You are getting one and you will wear it!
Well, I don't really care if she doesn't want to wear it.
One of the sweetest things my mother used to do for me was to make me flannel nightgowns. I did love them. They always had eyelet on them and so shall Maggie's. But instead of a sweet little flower pattern on the fabric like mine always had, Maggie's looks like this.

Looking at it now I'm not sure why I bought this particular print. But I did. Lily liked it and it is sort of interesting in a goth-rainbow-unicorn sort of way. 
And then, to Maggie's even deeper annoyance, we went to the shop next door to look for presents but we bought nothing there. 
When we got in the car to FINALLY go home, Lily gave Maggie a small can of Pringles that she'd gotten for her at Joann's. The picture at the top of the post is of Maggie saying NO! to my request that she share a few with Mer. No sharing of the Pringles, people. Just forget it. 

When we got to Lily's road, Gibson had already called about four times. When he and Owen get off the bus they are allowed to turn their phones on so that they can be in touch with Mama on the mile walk home. Lily says that they call every day to ask her to come and pick them up which she generally does not do. But today we saw them on the way home and stopped to let them get in the car. They were delighted. They were even more delighted when they heard about the goop. They both wanted Maggie to share her chips with them but she refused. However, she did offer them to me at that point. 
The child could teach a class in How To Piss Off Your Brothers And Weld Your Power Against Them. 
She also wouldn't give Gibson a kiss. 
"Oh, come on, Maggie!" he said. 
"No," said the little princess and that was that. 

While all of this was going on, we kept getting texts from Hank and Rachel. They adopted a new cat! 

They are both so thrilled. They have named her Honey Belle which I think is the perfect name. All I can say is- that is one lucky kitten. If your Facebook isn't working it's because Hank and Rachel have completely exploded it with pictures of their new baby. 
And who could blame them? 

Before I'd left Lily's house, the goop was out and being played with. Warnings had been given about not taking any of it out of the dining room and specifically not off the table. Glitter was involved. 

When I got home the quiet and peace were lovely. I did some laundry and plugged in my new headphones (which seem to work nicely) and punched down and kneaded a new loaf's worth of sourdough which is now in the last minutes of its baking. 
Tomorrow Levon might come stay with me for awhile so that his mama and brother can have a little movie date. I don't think that August has ever been to a movie yet and I know he'll love it. And I think that Levon will have a good time here with his Mer. I hope so. 
I've picked enough tiny greens and lettuce leaves to make myself a small and tender salad. I got one egg today but it was in the nest and that is good. I haven't heard from Mr. Moon since this morning but I'm sure he's fine and I know he's enjoying himself. 
And I am enjoying the time alone as I generally do. 

I better go check that bread. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Warning Or Invitation? Nudity Ahead And Vulnerability Too

December 8th is a tricky day for me. It's a double-anniversary in way.
It's the day that thirty-nine years ago John Lennon was murdered.
It's also the day that forty-four years ago I married my first husband.
Both of these days are deeply embedded in my memory and they are entwined together.

I woke up this morning alone. Mr. Moon had gotten up at five a.m. to start his journey to Tennessee. I felt adrift and weepy. I stayed in bed as long as I could because I just couldn't face the day and it soon came to me that it was December 8th, that deeply emotional day.
I got up and nothing cheered me.
I think that the body does remember anniversaries, both the good and the bad. Maybe especially the bad. The ones I call "death days."
My first wedding anniversary is not a death day, not at all. The man I married that day gave me my first babies. We had some lovely and loving times, some fun times. We tried. And he was never physically abusive or less than loving towards the children. He was, and is, a decent man in many respects and we still love each other in some ways and are amazed at how things have turned out so beautifully. We talked about that, briefly, when I went to hear him play Thanksgiving Eve and he even said a few words to me that I have always hoped to hear but never thought I would.
Words that mean a lot, even after all of these years.
But there is still and always will be sorrow for the breaking up of a family. And the day I truly knew that we would be breaking up was on our fifth anniversary. "Double Fantasy', John and Yoko's last album together was released a few weeks before that day and I had been listening to it obsessively. It was the ultimate love letter from one partner to another in a long-lived marriage that had been through hell and back and there was such brutal honesty in it as well as so much tenderness.
It was the story of a marriage that had been through fire and which had survived and which was being celebrated with all of the genius of two remarkable artists.
And I knew that my marriage was never going to reach that place. It simply wasn't going to happen.
Not only that, we both were hoarding our own piles of resentments and disappointments which were way too sharp and painful to hold. We were so young.
We went out to supper for anniversary and on the way home we argued. I remember that so well.
And when I got up the next morning and went to take my run and then stopped at the newspaper box to get our copy and saw that tiny article bordered in black with the headline, "John Lennon Shot And Killed," something in me just died right along with him.
And not long after that we split apart, my ex and I and I made many huge mistakes and I did a few things right and I mourned for Lennon and I mourned for my family and I mourned and I grieved and I upended everything that I'd known.

I will never, ever recover from John Lennon's death. Those of you who did not grow up in the sixties and seventies can have absolutely no idea how my generation felt about the Beatles. And John was...well, I can't even describe what he was to us. He wasn't a god. But he, along with his band mates, had absolutely, as Yoko said, "changed the world."
Does this sound ridiculous?
Well. It wasn't. It was profound and it was true and I guarantee you that this world is indeed a different place for them having been here and for John and Yoko's passion to work for peace no matter how they were ridiculed or criticized.
And suddenly, John was dead.
Want to hear something funny? (Not funny.) When John was murdered, I had just finished reading some trash biography of Keith Richards which was full of lies and gossip and one of my first thoughts on hearing of John's death was, "Why wasn't it Keith Richards who got shot? He's been trying to kill himself for years!"
Well. There's a bit of irony.

So December 8th is filled with all of these emotions for me. Sadness and grief and yet at the same time, gratefulness that we DID have John Lennon. And that I did marry a man who not only fathered two of my favorite, most beloved people on earth but who has been a loving father to them. Those are two completely different things and I am well aware of that.
And as always, I have to say that Yoko Ono is in my thoughts today and my heart as well. My god, what a woman! What an artist and survivor and a true believer in peace. And in love. A woman whom the world vilified simply because she was not a blond model but a Japanese artist whose voice was as shrill and loud as it needed to be and John fell in love with her and jumped from the safe path of being a Beatle to being brave enough to bare his naked soul as well as his naked body.

And thus, he freed himself from being Beatle John and allowed himself to be exactly who he was.
On the last day of his life, Annie Leibovitz took this picture. 

Still naked. Still in love. And as vulnerable as a man can be. 

Well. Here's a love song. 

At the very beginning of it, and you have to listen closely, he says, "You hold up the other half of the sky."

There was no one like him nor will there ever be.

Love you, John. Love you, Yoko.

Always...Ms. Moon

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Royal Tannenbaum Day

Today was the day that Hank and Rachel had scheduled to go to the little town north of here, Havana, and cut a Christmas tree at the Christmas tree farm. They invited us all to go and Lily was going to go just for the fun of it (they already have their tree) but Gibson seems to have some puking situation going on so she bowed out and of course, May was working.
That girl. She works her ass off.
But I got in my car and drove up to Havana and Jessie and her boys came in Vergil's truck so that she, too, could get a tree. It was a gray day and a bit gloomy but all was cheerful and bright at the Christmas tree farm. Lots of people were wearing their holiday clothes for picture taking and the boys were beside themselves with the excitement of it all.

August was in the very best mood, as excited as a puppy on a walk in the woods. He had a chat with Uncle Hank about typewriters and he has been promised his very own typewriter which he's going to have to help fix up and then, he can type words. That's what he wants to do. Type words. 

We had to look at every tree, of course. But that was fun. Measurements were taken and all sides of trees examined.

After a pretty good look-around, two trees were chosen. One for the Weatherfords, one for the Thigpen-Tullius family. Rachel and Jessie sawed their respective trees and we carried them back to the place where they shake and trim and wrap with the tree with netting because we are not weakified wimps who must use golf carts to haul our trees! No! We are STRONG! 

Well, some of us. August and Levon somehow needed to ride on hips. August claimed that he was tired and that, uh, his leg hurt. I didn't mind. Any time that boy lets me carry him I will gladly do it. He's still not very heavy although I tell him that he is and that I am just a strong grandmother. 

Here's one of my favorite pictures of the day.

Levon was standing there like a man, hands in pockets and chewing gum like it was his job. 
Our baby men. 

In the little place where you pay, they have various trees set up with ornaments for sale and the boys got to pick their own. Guess what Levon chose?
A front-end loader! 
Which, before we got to Maria-Maria's, where we ate lunch, he had taken off the ornament string and turned it into a toy. Which was fine. 

And yes, we ate lunch at Maria-Maria's, which was delicious as ever and helped a tiny bit with my visceral memories of Cozumel which start appearing this time of year. As usual I am having a hard time with Christmas. Haven't bought one present. I am sticking my head in the sand and singing la-la-la-la-la! as loudly as I can, fingers in ears. 
I did sing a verse of Happy Christmas, War is Over to August while I carried him. 
Mr. Moon is at his credit union's party right now and I am not there. I...just...couldn't do it. 
He may tell them I was not feeling well. I don't know. As far as I care he could tell them the truth- that I have social anxiety and also, that I detest Christmas. 
Despite the fun I had today- and it was fun, truly!- I am in a funk. That's all there is to it. 
Eventually, I'll crawl out of it. I always do. But I swear to you that I am simply tired of feeling this way. One does tend to feel that this state of mind is as eternal and unchanging as the popularity of Dolly Parton when one is in the midst of it but again, I tell myself that no, this is not true. 
And again- I don't really believe that. 

I read a thing the other day on Facebook which is where all the fucking wisdom comes from these days that said, "One cannot be both grateful and depressed at the same time," and I thought, what a bunch of crap that is. 
I consider my fortune and luck every day and know that I am as rich as anyone on earth with the things that truly matter. Not for one moment do I forget that. But it doesn't prevent me from being sad, too. 
Days like today bring back every sadness, every failure, every flaw, every dream disappeared, even as I can pair every one of those with something beautiful. 
Eh, well. Whatever. This is who I am and how I am. 

Oh! Mr. Moon dispatched the two extra roosters this morning. 
"It was not easy," he said. 
He took them to No Man Lord. I asked him if NML had seemed glad to have them. 
"Yes," he said. "He told me he was hungry."
Which made me too sad for words. 

But right now I'm thinking about two Christmas trees, lovingly and carefully chosen, taken home and put up and decorated with lights and ornaments, of children enchanted by the magic of a tree in the house, the scent of pine, the pretty decorations, the sweet shining lights. 
I am thinking of how grateful I am that I was there today to share in a little of that magical process and ritual. 
And also, that someone who was hungry has something good to eat. And that the hens' lives will be so much easier now. It always comes down to the simplest things, doesn't it? 
Light and love. Enough to eat. Warmth and shelter. Freedom from fear. 

Why is this so hard? 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, December 6, 2019

Homemade Medicine

Three eggs in the nest today and from the past week I have gathered a beautiful bowl of ten, just waiting for whatever my heart's desire is for their use. Somehow this makes me feel richer than almost anything else could.

A small rightness has been restored to my world and after tomorrow, when Mr. Moon takes care of the two extra roosters, things will be even better. I am tired of watching the two younger males chase and beak the hens cruelly. The poor hens, especially little Violet, are in terror and Liberace is in a constant state, trying to keep the boys off the ladies. This is so not fair. And look- that top egg is one of Violet's, a tiny bantam egg. She's my longest living hen ever. I don't even have any idea how old she is but she is smart and fast and I am pleased to see that she can still lay eggs. 
I feel a quite undeserved pride in her. 

This morning I woke up in deep angst. It's okay, I kept telling myself. Some days start out like this and turn out to be the very best days. 
I didn't really believe what I was telling myself, even though I knew it was the real and honest truth. As I so often say, logic has nothing to do with these things. 
I did the things that I know make me happier. I washed the sheets and hung them on the line, I took a walk. I did not feel like taking a walk in the least. It was only by dint of some sort of stubbornness within me that I could ride long enough to put on my walking clothes, my shoes, drive to White House Road, get out and start striding. I won't lie to you- it wasn't much fun and I didn't walk that far but I did it although I swear to you, if I'd been walking on a treadmill instead of a road, I would have stepped off and said, "Fuck this," and probably gone and gotten a Cuban sandwich somewhere. 

Jessie and the boys came out in the early afternoon and I made muffins for those grands. While I was mixing them up before they got here, a loud knock on the kitchen door startled me. I answered the door and it was a man who told me his name and then asked if I knew anything about an old Episcopalian chapel that had been in Lloyd and I said that yes, I did. That it used to be where my driveway is now. There was recently an article in the paper about this little chapel. It had been built by the Episcopalians of Lloyd around 1890 but when the congregation, sometime in the 1950's, I think, had shrunk to one, the Diocese decreed that the chapel should be moved to Tallahassee, which it was. Mrs. Miller, the lady who lived across the street from me before she died, had told me this story. She grew up in Lloyd and in fact lived in this house for quite some time and her feathers were still ruffled by the theft of Lloyd's chapel. 
So I told all of this to the guy and he said that he was an Episcopalian and sometimes attended services in that little church and he planned to make a wood communion set with wood from where the chapel used to be and also from where it rests now. He'd already gotten the Lloyd wood. He'd gone down the railroad tracks, found a wild cherry that had fallen across the tracks and been cut and stacked beside it and taken some of that. He just wanted to make sure that he'd gotten the right place. I told him that he had. 
He wanted to keep on talking, asking questions that I had no answers to and although I was polite, I wanted to get my muffins in the oven. 
I think he finally got the idea I wasn't as invested in this discussion as he was and he took his leave and I finished up my batter and filled the muffin tins and put them in the oven. 
Just as they were ready to come out, Jessie and the boys pulled up and we had a very pleasant afternoon. August wanted me to read books before he'd even eat a muffin and so we read "Tarzanna" which I love, and then two Babar books. If I paused for any reason he would say, "Keep reading!" 
And muffins were eaten and Levon did a happy muffin dance and Jessie and I chatted and giggled because no one can make me laugh as much as my kids. And grandkids. The boys are already way into joking about farts and burps, which never grows old. 
We went out to the front porch so that Jessie and I could discuss plants and I could give her pieces and rootlings of the ones that are easy to propagate and August became fascinated with the old, rusted-up typewriter I have by the front door that Mr. Moon brought home from the dump. 

He wanted to know how it had worked and I tried to tell and show him where the paper went and what one did to make letters on the paper. I also told him that he needs to go see his Uncle Hank because he has many typewriters, some of which actually work. Levon brought a yellow chair out to the porch to sit in and I took their picture. 

My boys, my boys. 

At one point when we were still inside, August asked me how Boppy had put those deer heads and fish on the walls. I told him with a ladder. He wanted more details so I tried to explain about how there was a thing on the back of the animals that Boppy could hang from a nail, trying to keep it simple. 
August thought about this and said, "I think he glued them."
"No, he did not!" I said. 
"I think so," said August. 
And then Levon who had been listening closely to this conversation said, "Gum!" 
"You think he stuck them up there with gum?" I asked. 
"Yes," he said. 
That boy is thinking. And one wonders what he's stuck to the wall with gum but that's another conversation. 

So the day turned out pretty well although I've had anxiety on and off all day long. I've got squash and sweet potatoes cut up for the delicious creamy cashew butternut squash soup we love, and dough (regular yeasted) rising for naan. I better get in that kitchen and start chopping and sauteing onions and garlic. 

I raise my martini glass to you. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Performances And Other Stuff

I got up bright and early this morning to be at Owen's school at nine to attend the Tropicana Speech contest that he was competing in. The kids who'd won first and second places in their classrooms (this was for 4th and 5th graders) were on the stage of the cafetorium and all of the 4th and 5th graders were brought in and they sat at the their lunch tables. That was a lot of kids!
Lily and Maggie joined me and we listened to all of the speeches and we were so proud when Owen got up and gave his. He rushed it and he didn't speak very loudly and he had obviously decided to disregard every bit of advice I'd given him about speechifying but it was quite the accomplishment for him to just get up there and do it. My handsome little man.
Lily and Maggie and I sat behind the students and I loved watching them as much as I enjoyed the speeches. Some of them put their heads down and dreamed with their eyes open, some paid attention for a little while and then let their attention wander. Some had to be reminded by the roaming teachers to be quiet or sit still or whatever it is that teachers have eternally told their students to do. Mostly, the kids were good and I loved watching the three little girls right in front of us. One of them had massive braids that I believe were a weave although I can't be sure of that. The other two little girls decided to braid the already-braided hair and the girl who was being hair-styled took off her glasses and gave in to the pleasure of it. They were quiet as polite little mice and no teachers asked them to stop.
For some reason, I loved this little scenario.
Maggie did very well with sitting as still and quietly as she could. I know she was bored but she handled it.
Snuggling with her mama was involved.

When the contest was over and we'd hugged a very relieved Owen, Lily took Maggie to dance and I took a pair of shoes to the shoe repair guy in hopes that he could do something about the falling-apart soles on them. These shoes are my go-to "real" shoes and I have not only had them for years but have owned at least four other pairs, exactly like them, before, buying a new pair when my current pairs have worn out. 
I was devastated when I went to put them on a few weeks ago to find those crumbling, cracking soles. I love those shoes. They are ME, in a way. Comfortable and sensible and yet, I think they're pretty. A sort of Mary Jane clog and the company who made them has gone out of business. 
Dammit, dammit, dammit. 
So in the dim hope that they could be rescued, I took them in but the shoe guy just looked at them and shook his head. 
"Those soles are biodegradable and they're just going to fall apart. I can't replace them."
It was a sad moment for me. 
"Well, okay. Thank-you," I said, and took them back to my car and that was that for the shoes. 

I went to Marshall's to look around for Christmas presents and what I ended up getting was a purse for me. 
I no more need a new purse than I need an owner's manual for a frying pan. 
But it charmed the heck out of me and I decided it was (once again) the perfect purse and I bought it and nothing else. Then I had to go to Publix and then I came home where I removed all of the stuffing from the new purse and transferred all of my stuff from my old purse to see how that felt and how it all fit and it was fine but I'm going to take it back. There's nothing wrong with it at all but honestly, I just don't have any business spending money on something so unneeded. And if it had pleased me tremendously I would keep it but I do still love my current purse and because of the quality of it, I won't actually need a new one for the rest of my life. 

So I finished watching a movie this afternoon that I started watching yesterday. The Florida Project.
Have you seen it? 
Man. It's hard to watch. But don't let that dissuade you from seeing it yourself. 
William Defoe is the only known actor in the film and I suppose the lead role is the one played by a little girl named Brooklynn Prince and she's one of those kids who puts grown-up actors to shame with her authenticity. I have to say that Defoe gave an amazing performance himself, very understated but with a thin wire of steel moving through him every second. The sort of performance that makes you wish you knew what his backstory was because there had to be one. 
I say it was hard to watch for several reasons. 
One is that it was filmed in Florida in a part of the state that I'm quite familiar with so that struck home hard. Another reason is that it's the story of a sort of poverty that although I've never experienced, is too close to the edge of a situation that any mother (or grandmother) could possibly find herself in and to look starkly and honestly at what sort of choices might have to be made in order to support a child or children or grandchildren is a nightmare as well as an indictment of our current social structure. 
And then there's the always looming nearby presence of Disney World which promises magic to all but which, in fact, has created a decidedly non-magical environment for so many in its shadow.  
All of the actors were spot-on. Their performances were as fine as anything I've seen lately. 
I doubt I'll forget it soon. I even dreamed about it last night when I was still only halfway through watching it. The dream was so realistic that when I woke up it took me a few moments to try and remember whether the scene I'd dreamed was actually part of the movie or something I had imagined. 

Well, two movie reviews (of a sort) in one week. 

Mr. Moon is not leaving for Tennessee until Sunday morning which means that at least he will be going to the holiday office party. He keeps telling me that I don't have to go and I may not. Is not having the proper shoes a good enough excuse for not showing up? 
Sure. Why not? 

Okay. More roses. 

The camellias will be coming along soon. 

Big love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

What I Did Instead Of Christmas Shopping

That's Jack. The "sweet" cat. He doesn't look very sweet right there, does he? He is sweet when it comes to allowing affection from humans, including the grandchildren who love him. Maggie especially. But then again, she loves animals so much. She'll beg her mama to stop the car if she sees a dog so that she can pet it. Here's a picture that Lily sent a few days ago of Maggie and Sammy.

Lily said, "She just won't leave that poor dog alone."
I responded, "She's squishing him with her love," which is a family saying. A long, long time ago May was hugging Jessie who originated the phrase. She told her sister, "May, you are squishing me with your love."
This seems to happen frequently around these parts. Squishing people with our love is what we do best. 

I took a picture of Maurice last night. 

She loves Mr. Moon. She sits on his lap and if he tries to move or even change position in his chair, she gives him the warning meow and sometimes scratches him. But I took that picture because it seemed to me that she was saying that if I so much as got one inch closer to her man she was going to do something I'd regret. Maggie is not so fond of Maurice. She calls her "Scratch." All of the children know to keep their distance from her. She does not suffer children gladly. Or adults either, for that matter. Sometimes, just because I love her even though she's practically feral, I'll give her a nice, quick little hug, being sure to pin all her limbs with my arms so that she can't take one of them off and leave me with a bloody stump. She acts like she doesn't like it and makes that warning noise but I'm convinced she does indeed like it. 
Because I'm a fool. 
The other day in the garden she came over to where I was weeding and rolled onto her back which in a normal cat would indicate that some belly-rubbing would be appreciated. I made the mistake of forgetting she wasn't a normal cat and reached down to give her a little scratching and she responded by digging her claws into my hand and drawing blood. I screamed. She leapt away and I may have cursed her. 
Okay. I did curse her. And she looked at me like I was the demon in this situation. 
Well, what can you do? I still love her. She just has some serious issues. 

It's been a pretty nice day. I upped my walk milage today. Feels good. 
And then I came home and did a lot of outdoor stuff because it was so beautiful. Just a clear cool day under a fine blue sky. I started out with the kitchen porch because it was a mess. That dang hen that's been sleeping in the fern pot had pooped all over another plant, making it the most fertilized succulent in the world. So I cleaned the poop out of that pot and put it on the front porch and moved the fern and replaced it with a little miniature rose in a pot which has been languishing under the bananas. I trimmed back a few things in that bed and then I swept the front porches and watered all those plants. I think they were happy. I have SO many porch plants. Way too many. I have reached porch-plant capacity. I sent a picture to Jessie.

She's in a houseplant mood and I told her that I have so many plants I'd like to share with her. That one is a snake plant and it's sort of a joke between us. When she and Vergil first moved in together in a darling little house in Asheville, I told her that a snake plant by her fireplace would be perfect but she laughed at me. I think she thought of them as an old lady plant. I still say I'm right. 
But yesterday, when we were at the nursery, she told me that now she wants a snake plant. We both laughed. I would be happy to share some of this one with her. 

After I got all of that taken care of, I moved on to a little bed beside the shed where there is just too much going on. There's a spirea that I transplanted because it was in a place that was too shady for it to bloom, a rose, a tea olive that Mr. Moon moved from by the back porch because it was causing water to splash off it and rot the wood, and also some sort of gingers that I stole from an apartment building where they were growing like crazy by some steps. I think that May was living there then. Although who knows? Lily also lived there for awhile and so did our friend Anna. In fact, Karen and David lived there back in the seventies but that has nothing to do with this story. The lilies have never bloomed but their foliage is quite lovely so I don't hate them but they'd almost choked out the rose and the tea olive so I dug them up and moved a few to another bed and tossed the rest on the burn pile. I'm thinking I might move the rose to inside the garden by the fence. It seems like it would like a fence to support itself. I didn't do that today because it's blooming, as I mentioned the other day. All the roses are. I don't have the heart to cut it all back to transplant it but I will be doing that eventually. It's a sweet rose, an heirloom. It smells exactly like a rose should smell which is why I bought it. 

That's what I've done today. Mr. Moon is at some sort of duck-hunting group's annual dinner so I'll be heating up some leftovers. Last night's bread was delicious. Quite possibly the best loaf I've made so far. It had a very long rise and I didn't bake it as long as I usually do and it was soft on the inside and crusty on the outside. My man may actually be leaving as early as tomorrow night to go back up to Tennessee to do a little more hunting with his friend up there. The credit union where he's got his office is having their holiday party on Saturday night and I would love to have a good excuse not to attend it. I don't have anything against the credit union or the staff there. I just don't know any of them and, well...party. 
So far this season, no animals have been harmed by Mr. Moon. He's a very careful hunter and doesn't take a shot unless he's sure that he's aiming at something he really wants and that he's sure he can take down instantly. As I've said a million times, I never thought I'd be married to a hunter but I am and I have come to appreciate the meat he brings home. No factory farms involved at all. And it's good meat. Clean and pure and with so little fat in it that I have to add some olive oil when I cook it. 

And that's it from here. I did listen to some of the impeachment stuff today and whenever the Republicans insist that the Democrats have been wanting to impeach this president since the election I just think, "Well, yeah. Of course."
I tell you what- if all of those anonymous folks who reportedly talked about invoking the 25th amendment would have actually had the balls to come forth and be witnesses about how unfit for the presidency Trump is, we wouldn't have to be going through this shit. 
But here we are. 
Here we are. 
Meanwhile the pickled orange intestine is over in Europe embarrassing the hell out of our country and tweeting things like this. 

Yes. Yes we do. 
Resign, you motherfucker. Resign. 

A girl can dream. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Beauty Everywhere

Now that is what I call a beautiful garden. I took the picture on my walk this morning, again on White House Road. I wonder if someone plants it just for his or her own family or if the greens are sold. I have no idea. The paler greens to the left are lettuces but I can't make out what the greens on the right are. Sometimes when I think about how we humans do, in fact, get our sustenance from the sun via the photosynthesis of plants, my mind almost explodes with the wonder of it.
We are made of stardust, we live on sunlight. Okay, a few degrees of separation occur in all of that but it's still basically true.
Isn't that just something?

I took this picture today too.

Spanish Moss, hanging from an oak tree. You know, I've lived around Spanish Moss my entire life and until just a few moments ago when I googled it, I did not know that it is a form of a bromeliad. There's a very fine article HERE if you have any desire to learn more about it. 
The older I get, the more I realize I do not know. It's a bit depressing and at the same time, thrilling. 

So I met Lily and Jason and Magnolia and Jessie and August and Levon for lunch today. We went back to Tan's because Jason hadn't eaten there in a long time and had a hankering. I'll go to Tan's any time. Jessie didn't eat anything there because of her very strict study-diet but she sipped some tea and the rest of us enjoyed vegetable curries and noodles and rice and tofu and other less pure forms of protein. It was, as always, delicious. The woman who may or may not own the place but who is always there and who takes our money has the most delightful speaking voice. She teases me about sometimes paying for my children's and grandchildren's lunches and sometimes not. "What? Grandmother isn't paying for everyone today?" 
She's always cheerful and always friendly. "You come back soon!" she says, knowing that of course we will. 

After lunch, the kids played by the fountains outside the nursery next door and as always, were fascinated by the green glass stones in the gas fire place. They couldn't be more thrilled with them if they were the emeralds of the Aztec kings. 

Jessie says that Levon has become very particular and picky about what he wants to wear. Today he chose August's old fox dress that I made. That child is so beautiful these days that my heart can hardly stand it. I tear up every time I study his face. I know this sounds absurd but I truly do want to live long enough that this little boy, possibly my last grandchild, will remember me. I think if I died tomorrow, the older four would probably have at least a vague memory of me but Levon probably wouldn't. And I so want him to. And I want to see more of who he is becoming. He is still very shy and very much prone to wanting to sit on his mother's lap although if she's not around, he's far more apt to engage with me. He and his mama and August and I went into the nursery and he found one of the kid shopping carts and pushed it around like a pro, just as he did last year when he had barely begun to walk. Generally a small child pushing one of those things is just a disaster. They run into everything. But Levon seems to have a preternatural ability to steer. He pushed that little cart around for half an hour and only bumped in to one thing which is better than I did with my own cart at Publix today. 
Jessie wanted some flowers and so she and the boys picked out pansies to plant. 

He felt quite important, pushing Mama's plants around. I was so proud of him. 
And guess what? 
I bought my beet seeds. 
Now to get them in the ground. 

I am quite pleased with the way my bread came out tonight. Here's what it looked like when I plopped the risen dough into the hot dutch oven. 

I've just taken it out and it looks like this. 

All praise the power of the Yeast of Lloyd! 

That's all I have to say tonight except that it's really damn cold. Florida cold. We'll probably survive. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, December 2, 2019

The Joy Of Basic Needs Met

I have not walked White House Road in a very long time. To be honest, I've hardly walked at all lately and that's not good for me. But this morning was so lovely and chilly and I didn't even really think about it, I just put on my walking clothes and shoes and drove to where I park and got out and took off. It was so beautiful. I almost wanted to just keep on going when I got to the halfway point I had assigned myself. My damn MapMyWalk app is loony tunes right now and kept chiming in to tell me that I'd walked 2.4 miles when I knew damn well I'd only walked a mile or 3.8 miles when I'd not even walked 2 and finally I just turned it off. I walked what I walked. And I enjoyed it.
So much.

When I got home I did some chores and then made my lunch- a plate of the last of the Thanksgiving leftovers except for some of the soup I made. And I do believe they tasted better today than they did last Thursday. So, so good.
Bye, turkey! Adios, dressing. See you next year, delicious sweet potatoes, broccoli casserole, and green bean casserole.

After lunch I went out to the hen house to depoop it and what I found there made my heart soar.

I was shocked and thrilled. My hens have started laying again! Beautiful, lovely, perfect eggs. 
I am so grateful. 
I cleaned up the nesting boxes and took the old straw with the poop in it out to the garden where I spread it between rows and I stood for a moment, admiring my clean bed of greens which are all doing well. The salad we ate last night was so good that I have lost almost all of my desire to ever eat another type of salad in my life but of course, the luxury of having true, just-plucked-from-the-soil microgreens mixed with arugula and olive oil and vinegar and salt and pepper and topped with a little goat cheese is reserved for only a few weeks of the year and then sparingly because soon the greens and lettuces will be bigger but they will still be delicious. 

After I got my regular stuff done I set up the ironing board and plugged in my trusty iron and smoothed the wrinkles from shirts although before I was halfway through, my iron quit working. 
I have killed my iron! I thought. And truly, I suppose I have. Fortunately, I have a back-up iron. Jessie gave me one that she got as a wedding gift, I think and that's the one I killed. My old iron has a chunk out of the side where it fell once but it still works fairly well so I was able to finish what I had set out to do. 
I never thought I'd ever need an iron for anything but sewing but as with so much in life, things change, we change, our needs change and now I am a sixty-five year old woman who loves to iron her husband's shirts and watch TV. 
Who would have thought? 
Not me, baby. Not me. 

It's supposed to get cold tonight. It may even freeze. I should have moved my porch plants to the back of the porch and covered them up but I didn't. The forecast calls for it to get down to 34 which won't kill anything but why I think I should trust that I do not know. I talked to Lis and she said that Lon had brought in all of their plants. He's a good man, that Lon. And speaking of Lon and Lis, here's a picture that Jessie sent me last night. 

Those little boys were enchanted by the music and the musicians. 

And finally this. 

She said that the boys would just not stop dancing. This all makes my heart so happy. She also said that she got to see so many people she's known for half her life (longer than that, to be accurate) and we agreed that St. Augustine people are the best. While that was happening, our dear friend Lulumarie (nicest woman in the world) who lives in St. Augustine was texting me about how lovely it was seeing the little family. 

Perhaps all of that was the reason my morning angst when I woke up was at a minimum and didn't take too long to get over although I am quite certain that the walk also helped. And so it's been a beautiful day. I've made up another loaf's worth of sourdough and fed my starter which is already showing its appreciation by burping up lovely bubbles, not unlike an old grandpa who is enjoying his favorite meal of greens with salt pork. 
All of this and three eggs too. 
How lucky can one old girl get? 

Shall we meet here again tomorrow? Oh. I hope so. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, December 1, 2019

A Movie

In November of 1998 my copy of Esquire slid through the mail slot in the green front door of the house we lived in at the time in Tallahassee on Short Street. I'd been getting Esquire for a long time simply because the writing in it was so far superior to the writing in the "women's" magazines. However, I was not expecting to see Mr. Rogers, of all people, on the cover.
That just wasn't Esquire's style. No pun intended.
But I read the article by Tom Junod and it was the most powerful thing I'd ever read in Esquire and one of the most powerful things I'd ever read anywhere. It made me weep. Junod had captured the very essence and soul of a man I'd seen on TV hundreds of times while my children watched his show and although I had always thought his persona was sweet and I had defended him when friends (always male) ridiculed the man for his slow and gentle ways, I had never known the extent of his...goodness.
"He likes me just the way I am," I would tell the men who made fun of him, only half joking. Some of those days were hard, very hard. I was finding myself being forced into making decisions about my future and that of my children which would have consequences for the rest of our lives. And I did not feel confident in any way that I was strong enough or brave enough to make the hard choices I knew I had to make and by god, if the only positive feedback I got in those days was from a man who changed into a sweater and sneakers every day on his show, well then- that was at least something.
I mean, there was a part of my child-heart that felt as if he did like me, just the way I was, even though I knew that was ridiculous.
I loved that article. I fell in love with Mr. Rogers through that article. Somehow Junod captured the true grace he lived his life in, his genuine love for children and for the children all of us have been. I read and reread the article. I did not throw the magazine away. I kept it and took it with me to the house we moved into a year or so later. By the time we moved to Lloyd, I finally let that issue go because I knew I could find the article anytime I wanted online.
And here is the link to it. 

So I suppose you know where this is headed. When I heard that a movie was being made, based on the Junod Esquire article, I knew I wanted to see it. But me and movies? Well, that doesn't happen very often. When Mr. Moon and I went to see Zombieland 2, Double Tap a month or so ago, it was the first time we'd gone to a movie together in probably a decade. But a few weeks ago my husband must have seen a trailer for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood because he asked me if I'd go with him to see it. I'm not sure why because I doubt I'd ever heard him say one word about Fred Rogers but somehow, he was interested and today we decided to go see it. It was rainy and windy and going to the movies sounded fun and so we did.
I bought our tickets online, reserved seats and all. We drove to the theater and went in and bought our popcorn and found our seats. We sat through all of the previews. The only one that interested me was for the newest version of Little Women which made me cry because that book was just about the foundation of anything true and healthy in my life growing up and all of my kids have loved it too.

And then the movie came on and we kicked back in the super-recliner comfy chairs and ate our popcorn and watched as Tom Hanks attempted to become the man Tom Junod had written about twenty-one years ago and as much I love Tom (I mean, who doesn't?) the magic never worked for me. And DAMMIT! I wanted it to. I wanted to sniffle and cry and be touched and transported to a higher, better place but it just didn't happen.
I mean, it was fine. And honestly, I felt like a monster of sorts because everyone says that it's a two-hankie film and I didn't even tear up once.
Here's what I think the problem was for me- Mr. Roger's persona was, according to Junod, no more or less than Fred Rogers himself. And believe it or not, he was as genuine and caring and gentle and sweet as the man who sang the corny songs about feelings and voiced the puppets he used to try to alleviate the fears and worries of children. To help them to learn to talk about feelings, rather than to just act them out. And when Hanks, or anyone, tries to emulate that by acting, it's as if the act crosses out, nullifies, the real man.
Sadly, it just didn't work for me.

I asked Mr. Moon what he'd thought about it. The first thing he said was, "The chairs weren't long enough for my legs."
And then he said that he felt pretty much the same way I did. That it was a bit of a disappointment.

When we got home, I opened up my laptop and reread the original article by Junod and just now I've reread an article in The Atlantic entitled My Friend Mister Rogers. Junod does like the movie and I'm glad of that. And I didn't dislike it. It's just that it does not seem to me to translate his article successfully. That may not even be possible. Even with Tom Hanks as the star.

So. That's what I did today. Mostly. Went to the movies with my sweetheart.
As he said, "Well, at least it was a fun date."
And it was.
I'm glad I came home and reread Junod's words because they gave me what I was seeking- some sort of hope for humanity, I suppose. Because if there are people like Mister Rogers who live or have lived on this planet, all cannot possibly be lost.
I'd like to add that Fred Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian minister and that his belief in his god informed everything he did or said. As we all know, I am generally disdainful of all things religious but there are a few people whom I have respected and even loved who seem to me to actually live the lessons that Jesus was said to have given us.
Jimmy Carter is one. Mister Rogers is another.
But in my heart I believe that even without religion, these people would have been as purely good if they'd never even heard of the Bible.

That's just me, though.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Links And Links And Bread Baking And Mushy Peas And Climate Change And, And, And...

I'm pretty sure that Miss Magnolia June lined the tub toys up like this the other day. I hadn't noticed it but when I went into the bathroom this morning the little ducks and whale and octopi were shining in the sliver of sun from beneath the curtain and caught my eye and pleased me.

I slept so long this morning that I'm embarrassed. I think the holiday has really taken it out of me. When I woke up, I was having a terrible dream about driving in an old VW in the dark and it had no lights and I was lost and I had kids with me and when I saw police officers I pulled over and said, "Thank god you're here."
Which is something I've never said in a dream before to police. Trust me.
I was just figuring out that it must be a dream because I was trying to use my phone and when I'm dreaming and trying to use my phone I never can. Oh, how I wish this was a dream, I thought. There was also an issue with how I was going to support my children.
I dream that a lot- that I have no idea how I'm going to feed and house my babies.
It's stressful, that dream. To say the least.

So it took me quite awhile to truly wake up this morning. Mr. Moon had gotten up a long time before me to go hunting and I had two texts already. One from him with a picture of the woods in the early morning and one from Jessie telling me that they were going to go to St. Augustine for two nights. A little mini-vacation. St. Augustine is a beautiful place to go. There are plenty of touristy things to do and see and it's a charming town on it's own. There's a fort and the oldest house and Ripley's Believe or Not museum and also, the beach. There are excellent restaurants and giant old trees and the Alligator Farm and the Lightner Museum. Something for everyone in the family. And tomorrow night, Jessie's fairy godparents will be playing at the Creekside Dinery there which is child-friendly and an outdoor venue and I'm sure they're going to have a wonderful time.
I've spent a lot of time in St. Augustine because Lon and Lis used to live there before they moved to Gatorbone. Some of my favorite and best memories are from those times. There is a sort of magic to the old town and I've always been extremely susceptible to its charms.
It never hurt that being friends with Lon and Lis was like holding an enchanted golden key to the city and I doubt I've ever felt more welcomed into a community than to the beautiful one there. For years I'd take Jessie and Lily over for the annual Gamble Rogers music festival when they were just little girls and I'd volunteer in the hospitality tent (which of course Lis ran, even as she performed in many various bands) and do what I do best which is to cook and serve and stay out of the way but I made a lot of friends doing that and the last year that I think we went, Lily was already grown up and Jessie was in high school and I took her and some friends of hers and they had the best time ever, listening and jamming with musicians because by then they were all playing music themselves.
So yes. I have the most fabulous associations with St. Augustine.

I finished the greens-thinning today and now have enough of those and some still-growing, late-crop arugula to make a beautiful salad which I will do tomorrow night. Last night's soup and sourdough will be our supper tonight. Karen and David did eat with us and although I think they liked the soup, it was the bread (right out of the oven) that everyone loved.
I've been using the simplest recipe to make my bread and it always seems to come out very nicely. I usually mix up the dough the night before I want to bake it but yesterday I actually made it up in the morning and coddled it a bit on the warm setting of a heating pad with a towel over it to hasten the whole process and it worked fine. This afternoon I decided to search for other recipes to expand my repertoire, as it were, and I've about decided that the recipe I've been using is good enough for me. Especially after reading through all of THIS recipe with instructions. For god's sake! If I want bread on Wednesday I have to start preparing it on Sunday! There is information there about "scalding" flour and all kinds of different steps to follow for what I would hope is the very best bread in the world, sourdough or not.
One commenter said: "THIS is one of the longest most ridiculous most complicated recipes I've ever heard."
I could no more follow all of those steps than I could walk into a room, take the New York Bar Exam and pass it tomorrow.
Nope. Not for me. Thank you very much. I want to love baking bread, not turn it into a science experiment requiring various thermometers, exotic equipment, and three damn days.

Besides working in the garden I went to Publix today. For some reason I decided it was something I really needed to do. That was relatively painless and while I was there, looking for a bottle of HP sauce (thank-you, Mr. P- I have developed a fondness for it) in the international foods section, I happened upon these:

I've heard of "mushy peas" many times before but have never, ever had the desire to eat any. They may be the most delicious things in the world but with that name, they're never going to be big in the States. I was quite pleased, though, to see that Publix carries them now. I mean, you never  know- I may want to try some and if I do, well, they're as close as my nearest Publix. 

And finally this.

Because we are not really having winter here anymore, my roses just bloom and bloom.
One may think this is a good thing but it's not. The natural order of things has been disrupted in the most obvious ways. The Japanese Magnolias are already blooming and they should wait until at least February or March. The camellias are starting to open up and that is as should be but to have those and roses blooming at the same time in winter is simply not right.
Still, I could not pass up the opportunity to stop on my way out of the garden to pick a few of the roses, pinching their stems between my fingernails, and bringing them in to put into a vase.
I suppose I'll get around to pruning them before spring at some point.
Meanwhile, I am hoping for a good freeze to knock things back to where they should be, despite the fact that I'll have to do something about my porch plants. It's just all too weird.


Well, may we all have sweet dreams tonight, none of which involve the police or worries about how we are going to feed our children.

Much love...Ms. Moon