Saturday, May 18, 2019

Life In Lloyd, Part Whatever

Well, well, well.
I was just sitting here on the porch with a very noisy fan on AND the AC unit right beside me rattling and roaring away and yet I could still hear something coming from the direction of the hen house that I immediately identified and so I walked out there and yes, I was right.

That tiny little puff of hardly anything was on the ground, fallen out of the nest, I guess, and was making her MAMA COME GET ME! WHERE ARE YOU? SAVE ME! peeps which are about ten times louder than anything you could imagine coming out of a being that small. 

So. Here we go again. 
And what to do? 
Right now I can't do much because Darla's sitting on those eggs as they hatch and I can't move that process. She's already distressed because her baby fell on the ground and I picked it up and she almost attacked me but I quick, quick handed it back to her and Darla quick, quick flew back onto her eggs. One other has hatched but hasn't puffed out yet. Can you see it there, under Darla on the green egg?
But should I try to get them all into a baby coop tomorrow and thus, try to keep them safe or do I just let Darla take care of the whole situation the way Dearie did? She kept all ten of hers safe for a long time and it wasn't until she started sleeping in the tree with them instead of the nest that any of them died and then they all died except for Clara but I will admit that the rooster brothers did not die of natural causes. 

Oh Lord. 
And oh dear Kathleen! When you brought me those baby chicks and a bag of chick-starter feed all those years ago I had no idea how that simple little gift would change my life. 
But it surely has. 

Mr. Moon went fishing out on the gulf today and he came home exhausted. He wore his overalls and a long-sleeved shirt and a hat that covers everything AND he got up at four a.m. I don't know how he does it. Hell, I don't know WHY he does it. He must love fishing, I guess. 

I went down to the river this morning and met up with Lily and Jessie and all the grands. Jessie and Vergil had planned a paddling/camping trip with some friends and while Vergil had gone to leave the tent and camping gear at the camp site, Jessie and the boys stayed at the river. 

It was beautiful there today. The kids played and the mama's chatted and gave out snacks and I wish I was back there right now in that cold water. 
After awhile, Lily and her three had to leave and Vergil arrived and the kayak was loaded up and I waved them all off on their little ten-mile journey which was supposed to take about five hours. 
Those are some brave people. 

I love how they're giving August and Levon these adventuresome experiences. The boys were so excited. Levon cried when August got to get in the kayak before he did. He thought he wasn't going to get to go. 

I dunked my body in the water one more time before I left. I have a feeling we're going to be spending a lot of time at the river this summer. 

I'm going to make risotto for our supper which means I'll be standing at the stove stirring for about an hour but that's okay with me. I went to town earlier and bought fresh spinach and a bottle of cheap wine for the dish. In a minute, before I start cooking, my husband and I will go out and check the progress of the hatchlings. I still can't really believe I heard that tiny baby over the din of these rackety machines. 
I'll report in tomorrow as to how the hatching went and if all goes well, there will be pictures of baby chickens which are about the cutest things on earth. They're a pain in the damn neck but they sure are precious.  
This is the way of babies. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, May 17, 2019

If I Had A Hammer

I have quite a few of these caterpillars eating their way through the crinum lilies in the little bed by the kitchen porch. I am not worried about the lilies. They never bloom anyway. But what are these caterpillars? I thought that it would be so easy to ID them with the help of google but so far, not at all. Do any of y'all know?

Here's another nature picture.

This is a clerodendrum specisossimum which I dug up from the yard next door when no one was living there. It is related to the stupid shit clerodendrum bungei, aka glory flower, which has taken over my yard. I have been watching the yard next door for many years and have not seen any evidence of this version of the clerodendrum taking over so I hope I haven't done a very bad thing in introducing it here. 
I probably have. 

We shall no doubt be discussing this next year when it blooms again. 

So. Today. 

I really didn't get much done at all and mostly because I didn't feel like it. Once more I am either a little bit sick or suffering from mental illness. 
Virus or depression? 
Impending death or mostly functional insanity? 
Who knows? Not me. 

I did do one thing that brings me a great deal of pleasure. 
Ever since I've lived in this house there has been a paper shade covering the windowed door from what used to be our bedroom (and hopefully will be again soon) into my bathroom. It's had a rip in it forever which came about when the door got swung open too wide and the shade got torn on a mirror which used to sit near it. A few weeks ago Jack got trapped in there for a few hours and ripped another piece out of the bottom of the shade and I've been pissed and depressed about how it's looked. It's like- I can't keep anything nice. 
You know? 
So today I finally pulled that shade down although I couldn't get all the hardware off the door and I made a temporary curtain to replace it out of a piece of fabric I bought quite awhile back. I didn't want to cut the cloth because I'll make a real curtain out of it eventually so I just did some machine basting and tacked it up and it looks about five million times better than the ripped paper did. 

It's definitely one of those "don't look too close" projects but still- a vast improvement and it makes me happy. I remember reading an Ann Tyler book a long time ago and I can't remember which one but there was a family in it (of course) and they were the sort of people who could not deal with fixing or replacing things but instead did ridiculous things like arrange everything in their pantry alphabetically while iron railings were rusting through and falling down and everyone would just sigh and walk past them because- WHAT COULD THEY DO? Their house was crumbling and falling apart and no one felt empowered enough to deal with any of it. Just keep alphabetizing that pantry! 
And man, I identified with that so much. 
I still do. 
Maybe more than ever. 
How I wish I was one of those people who, when they see a problem can go directly to the toolbox and get whatever they need to fix the problem and get to it! Who absolutely know their way around Lowe's. Who can saw and hammer and drill and so forth. 
Hell. I can't even paint. I'd probably be as good at painting a wall as I would be at painting the Mona Lisa. 
So just that small thing I did- ripping the paper shade down and figuring out a temporary solution until Mr. Moon deals with curtain-hanging hardware makes me feel incredibly accomplished. 

Meanwhile, I will just cook. My cabinets may not be very well organized but I can work around that. Tonight we are going to have some pork chops and also these:

Gjelina's Roasted Yams. 

Honey and red pepper and yogurt and lime juice are all involved in their preparation and it is one of my favorite recipes. I don't have any scallions but they'll be okay without. It's nice at the age of 64 for this old southern women to find a sweet potato recipe that does not involve cinnamon and brown sugar. And butter. 
Although there is nothing wrong with cinnamon and brown sugar and butter. 

Darla is still sitting on her eggs. I need to go back through my posts and see when we would reasonably expect those eggs to hatch if they aren't hard-boiled by now. 
Supposed to get really hot this weekend. Summer is here. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

You Can't Break His Heart

Here's August listening closely (literally on the edge of his seat) to one of the stories at Story Hour in Monticello today. There were only a few of us there but we carried on as if it were a crowd. He and Maggie both look to me like their arms and legs are suddenly just stretching out and they're losing all of their baby looks and becoming kids.
I mean, obviously, but still...

So we went to Story Hour and then we came back to my house and ate leftovers here because we do eat out a lot and I got to read books to my boys and mostly I just feel a bit crazy and not very functional today so I think I'd just rather briefly discuss Mick Jagger than anything else.
Have you seen the video of him dancing in a studio that's all over the internet?

Here he is along with a few words from the ABC (FAKE NEWS!) team.

I showed Jessie the video of him dancing and she said something along the lines of how usually, when you see a video on Facebook of a 75-year old man dancing it's like at a wedding and he looks like an old man dancing and you go, "Oh, that's so sweet!"
But this ain't that.
We don't even need to throw in the part about how he just had heart surgery.

Dear god.

So the Stones have rescheduled all of the concerts that had to be canceled due to the surgery and it looks to me like old Mick is going to be fine and that once again, the original Bad Boys of Rock and Roll will be hitting the road and doing what they love to do and what no one does like they do.
Here's a little lagniappe picture of my spirit totem animal.

And hey, just for the hell of it- I offer you this. 

Bless you, Mick. Dance with the devil, dance with yourself, dance with your band. Just don't stop.
Thank you.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

This Is Not Cheerful And It's Not Funny In The Least

I've got a soup of white beans and parmesan rinds and onions and fennel and garlic and celery and kale and collards simmering away on the stove right now. It's yet another NYT's recipe and I guess it'll be okay. I don't know.
Not really sure how anything can be okay right now.
These anti-women laws that some states are passing are fucking with my mind. What is wrong with us as a society that we allow these goddamned white men to pass laws that they not only do not understand but which are cruel and hateful towards women and which will surely lead to the deaths of women if the courts don't shut them down?
And how can women have allowed this to happen?
I heard a woman today on NPR saying that she's been pro-life and on the front lines of trying to end abortion for years and that this is all a great victory.
A great victory.
These people saw Trump's win in 2016 as their chance, their shot, to finally load the courts with "their" people, judges who are as ignorant and as short-sighted and as hateful as they themselves are. And it looks like their plan is working.
Almost every day I wonder how on earth so many Republicans can be so very cruel. Take the separation of families at the border situation- is there anything more despicable than that?
It goes without saying that the same people who claim to believe that a fertilized egg is a human being with rights refuse to see that once one of their precious zygotes gets born they still have rights. Rights like having health care and enough food to eat and decent child care and the right to not be ripped from the arms of their parents. And if they're female, the right to grow up and not have to worry about being forced to carry to term a baby conceived in rape or incest.
I mean, it would be great if no one had to worry about rape or incest but I seriously doubt we're going to be able to eliminate those any time soon.

What am I doing? I'm preaching to the choir.
Y'all know. Y'all know what I'm talking about.

Evil. Pure, unadulterated evil.

And hey- let's go to war again. I swear to god- I bet you any amount of money that Donald Trump will not consider his presidency a true success unless he takes us to war. You just know that's the truth of the matter. He's a bully and he's the bully with the biggest military in the world. You think he's going to let that opportunity go to waste?
Fuck no.
He is not. The man who of course never got within a continent's distance of actually having to fight in a war is probably panting with the anticipation of putting hundreds of thousands of other mothers' children in harm's way.
And mothers.
And children.

Yeah. Well. Hey.
Got that soup simmering.
Probably going to make some cornbread.

You know what? I'm not going to live forever. So why do I care? Why do I care that our planet is dying? Why do I care about any of this stuff?

There's one reason. 
My baby. Your baby. Our babies. Their babies. The ones who are already here, the ones who are just a gleam in the eyes of two people in love. 
All the babies. I want them all to have the best possible lives. Which means that they have to be wanted. Which means that their possibly potential mothers need to have the right to discern whether or not that's even possible. Which means that no one but that woman has the right to decide. Certainly not some bullshit supposed "Christian" man who doesn't even have the most basic understanding of what pregnancy and childbirth and being a mother means. 
Not in the medical sense, not in the economic sense, not in the emotional, spiritual or any other damn sense. 
Sometimes I don't even think that these people understand what it means to be human.
Sometimes it is easier for me to believe that trees and chickens are more sentient than many people. 
Always, I believe that a lot of folks have no concept of what love is. What compassion is. What respect is or what wonder is. 

I should try to work on all of that myself. I know I do. 

Meanwhile, I'm awfully tired. 

I bet our planet is too. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

From The Annals Of Aging

It's been a slightly unusual day.
First off, I had to go get my teeth cleaned and we all know how much I love going to any sort of medical appointment. I don't usually get too stressed about these every-six month appointments. Knock wood but except for one rather major problem I had with a tooth a few years ago, I am generally found to be fine in the dental department.
So why worry at all?
Also, I made the mistake of accepting a friend request from my dental hygienist (I've discussed this before) and well, let's just say that it would be best for all concerned not to discuss either politics OR religion with her and I don't. We talk about our kids and our grandkids and that's fine and sensible because she has sharp and pointy objects which she uses in my mouth.
So all went well there and then I drove over to Mr. Moon's office where he helped me sign up for Medicare.
Ooh boy.
You know what that means, don't you?
It means that in two months I'm turning sixty-five years old and that's blowing my mind. I know this is exactly the wrong attitude but it's sort of embarrassing to be sixty-five. I mean, in our culture. How in the world have I allowed myself to get this old? It almost seems that if I had tried hard enough, done the right exercises- especially yoga of course, eaten a pure and non-toxic diet with a heavy emphasis on raw foods, drunk sufficient quantities of green tea instead of vodka, meditated, used the right cosmetics, stayed out of the sun, and of course mostly HAD THE RIGHT ATTITUDE! I never would have had to suffer the indignity of turning such an advanced age. I could have stayed right there in the middle of my forties, my favorite decade, or even in my fifties which wasn't that bad either, come to think about it.
Of course, DEATH would have prevented all of this too but that's another subject and I'm not feeling especially suicidal today.
You know what I hate? I hate it when people say really stupid shit like, "Seventy is the new forty!"
No it fucking is not.
I'm not seventy yet but I can already tell you that it's going to hurt more when I am than now and everything hurts so much more now than it did when I was forty that there's no way I could confuse the two ages.
Plus, I was hot, hot, HOT at forty.
I really was.
Not as hot as this lady.

Who is eighty-three years old! I was never as beautiful as she is and I'm surely not getting any closer now. 
Go google "beautiful older women". First of all, about seventy percent of the women pictured are Helen Mirren. 
Secondly, a great many of these "older women" are like in their forties or fifties. 
So, to be considered beautiful even in our older years, we still have to be thin. 
You know why I used to be thin? 
Because I obsessed about it. My entire life. I spent way too much time dealing with diet and exercise and denying myself foods that I loved up until a few years ago at which point I just lost interest in all of that. 
I still exercise and I am active and I try to eat a pretty good diet and I think I do but I have given up my eternal vigilance in the matter and I'm paying for it by becoming someone I don't want to see in my mirror.
But guess what? 
Cheese is awesome. 

Anyway, what in the hell was I talking about? 
Oh yeah. Today. 
So it isn't that hard to sign up for Medicare. I promise. But please don't think that you can just sign up for that program and never have to worry about paying medical costs again once you get your card.
That would be folly. 
Nope. You have to get SUPPLEMENTAL insurance to cover what Medicare won't. 
Haha! Surprise! 

Anyway, I signed up so the process has been set in motion. 

And then I took myself to lunch and that was so disappointing. I won't go into it except to say that why some restaurants manage to survive for decades despite horribly mediocre food is proof that Americans really don't care what they eat. 

As you can probably tell, I am in a better place today than I was yesterday. At least I have been since I got out of the dentist's office clutching my little bag with tiny tubes of toothpaste, tiny plastic dispensers of dental floss and a new regular-sized toothbrush and especially after the half of an Ativan I had taken earlier really kicked in. 

Also? I went to Goodwill and the polyester trend seems to continue but I did get eight beautiful snowy white linen napkins which I am sure were never used. I'll use them. You can bet on that. 

Oh! Do you like that magnolia in the picture up top? Isn't it gorgeous? Isn't it just magnificent? I think it is. Also, it's blooming in my very own yard. 

You know what the best thing about getting your teeth cleaned is? You don't have to feel guilty about not flossing that night. 
Well, I don't anyway. 
It's the little things, people. 
And cheese. Always cheese.
Trust me. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, May 13, 2019


Curious yard decorations on Old Lloyd Road

On the bad days, the days that weigh five million pounds, the days that are bereft of anything resembling joy or even contentment, it seems impossible to believe that there have been good days in the past and even less possible to believe that there will be good days in the future. 
It is all just a thick wad of gray density, something to fight one's way through which necessitates a slow and deliberate plod. 
Today has been one of those and my walk reflected it. It was so muggy and I pushed myself harder than I probably should have and yet, not nearly enough. 
Or so it seems on the days when nothing one does seems right in the least. 
But so what? 

This did catch my eye. It's on my neighbor's fence and is, according to google, Gloriosa Rothschildiana. A very fancy name for a very fancy flower. I would lust after it, wanting one of my own but it's not native here and as such, would only add to the ridiculous number of invasive plants in my yard. 

But do you remember this?

The blooming Red Ring Milkweed that I saw on a different walk? Which is native?
Well, I did a probably terrible thing last week and pulled up a small piece of it and brought it home. I berated myself because I did not do a good job getting roots and had very little hope that it would survive but I stuck it in a vase with water until yesterday when I pulled it out, still very much alive, and stuck it in a pot of soil. 

I've got it right by the kitchen door so that I'll see it and be reminded to keep it watered while it hopefully roots. 
And this small thing, this plant that I pulled from its woodland spot where it was so obviously happy, brings me comfort in its merely remaining alive. 
For now. 

We got a bit more rain today on and off. It would come and pour down, stop, and the sun would come out as quickly as it had left, as if it had merely gone into another room to check its make-up and then reappeared. Good growing weather, I think. 

The baby cherry tomatoes are coming along.

The figs are swelling, still green and tight on their stems. 

These seeming promises of future fruit (and I am not here to debate whether tomatoes are fruits or vegetables- quite frankly, I don't give a shit) are false promises. Between bugs and birds and heat and squirrels, the odds are not great that we will be eating any of of these things. 
I did count my chickens before they were hatched today though. Or at least Darla's eggs. 
There are eleven. 

I just took a tick off of Mr. Moon's back in almost the same location he removed one from my back a few days ago. It's a ticky spring. This makes a total of three we've found on ourselves. 

I know how lucky I am. I know that not everyone has someone to not only love but to pull ticks from unreachable places. I know that not everyone has a little tiny plot of land to grow vegetables and fruit on, to keep chickens on. I know that not everyone has children who not only survived childhood intact without a prison record but who also grew up to love each other and their parents. I know that not everyone has the privilege to get beautiful, perfect grandchildren. 
Hell, I know that not everyone has enough to eat or a place to sleep and I do! 
I know all of this and thus, having a day like today wherein everything just seems so very dark and hard makes me feel all the more guilty. 
And then I feel guilty about feeling guilty because if I beat myself up for beating myself up, what does that say about my attitude towards depression in general and in others? 
Oh well, of course I believe that everyone else's depression is far more valid than mine. 
Because I have everything. 

It's complicated. 

But yeah, overall I am aware of my good and vast fortune. 

And why do I even have to keep repeating that? 

Who knows? 

Not me. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Jesus Gave Me Rain For Mother's Day

We got rain today. A good hard downpour for at least half an hour, maybe more, and there was thunder and there was lightening and I loved it. Now everything feels cooler and renewed and the white acre peas that Mr. Moon got planted in the garden today got a great watering-in. So did the second row of corn I planted. My Mother's Day present from my husband was the planting of those peas as well as a lot of weeding and mulching with leaves that he'd raked. And I appreciated that.

Just as I was planting my corn, Lily and Jason showed up with the boys and Magnolia and I was so happy to see them. It was a quick visit, but a sweet one. I got hugs from everyone and also a card and flowers and chocolate.
Pretty perfect.

I couldn't figure out anything special I wanted to do today for Mother's Day and when the rain came we just settled down in front of the TV and I made a Whirley Pop's worth of popcorn which was our lunch. We watched a few more episodes of Bloodline which we've been watching on Steve Reed's recommendation. We're enjoying it although it's one of those series where you think you know what's going on and then something happens that may or may not be a flashback and you may or may not be able to tell who's in the scene with the eerie music and murky darkness which leaves Mr. Moon and me saying, "What? What just happened? Who was that girl?"
And the other person saying, "Fuck if I know."
Also, a lot of the acting seems to be in the category of Overacting 101 but maybe that's just me.
The best thing about it in my opinion is Sam Shepard who dies in the series (not really much of a spoiler alert) and who is dead in real life but even more than that- the setting. The piece of property where most of the action takes place is on the beach in the Keys and I'd happily live there for the rest of my life.
Sissy Spacek has a major role as the matriarch of the family and I have to say that this is not her best effort. This could be more about the scripts than her acting ability. And yet, we are becoming sucked in by the show as always seems to happen.
Or, sometimes happens.

The one thing that I did keep thinking about today as a Mother's Day activity was going out to get a great seafood dinner. I think I had something in mind like this:

That is from a Red Lobster commercial and although Red Lobster is absolutely not the best place to go eat seafood, especially here in Florida so near the coast, they have the best ads in the world. Their food stylists are genius. 
Once again, however, the idea of going out to eat on Mother's Day is so disturbing on so many levels that I couldn't bring myself to do it. Mr. Moon suggested that we go to Ouzt's for boiled shrimp which almost made me cry because that was so far from what I had in mind but I love him for the offer. Ouzt's is a place on a river near the coast and its clientele is at least do I put this?...people who would go to Ouzt's for Mother's Day. 
Bikers love the place. I'll just say that and leave it there. I'm not saying that I haven't had some good times at Ouzt's. I have. But those days may be over. 

I think that Jessie and Lily are having fun on their child-free hotel room get-away. 

This is a picture that they sent us. They look pretty happy to me. I just hope they use ALL the towels. And washcloths. And toiletries. 

And I'm pretty happy too. I've gotten the sweetest texts and calls from my babies and they absolutely make me feel celebrated and cherished every day of the year which is far more important than anything that could happen on one Sunday in May. 

I'm going to go finish making our supper which does not have one bit of seafood in it but that's okay. There will be more seafood available for me to eat at a later, saner date. 
Just probably not at the Red Lobster. 
Although...did you LOOK at that picture? 

Much love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Let's All Just Drink Bloody Mary's And Lay By The Pool

Today was a very big day. August and Levon both got their first real, professional haircuts by our beloved Melissa. August actually asked for this to happen. I think that he got to thinking about how pretty Melissa is and also, about that drawer where she keeps lollypops and that led to a boy wanting a haircut. August does love candy and he also loves the pretty women. This is just how it is. All of my grandsons gaze at Melissa as if she were a work of art that they can hardly believe they have the good fortune to be in the same room with. 
As well they should. 

We trooped into the familiar room where the magic happens and where the candy is stored and where the box of toys is kept. August went first. First he and Melissa did the "well, what do you think you want?" part of the appointment. August mainly wanted her to use the little trimmer. He loves that thing. Melissa said that all of the kids love it. Beyond that, August wasn't sure except that he wanted it shorter. 

Oh, look at those curls! It seemed sort of a sin to cut them but it's just hair. 

So curls got cut and the trimmer was used. 
Levon watched very closely, as he does. 

Then it was his turn. He sat on Mama's lap and Melissa gave him a lollypop. He sat as still as could be. 

She didn't cut much of his hair. Just enough to get him familiar with the process. Melissa knows what she's doing. 

And guess what? I didn't even get a picture of both of the boys after they were shorn. Or trimmed. I was too busy taking note of August's deep pleasure in eating his first ring pop. Levon gave me bites of his candy. 
"Ta-too," he said if I forgot to tell him thank-you. 

Jessie wanted to buy a few things at the make-up store and so we drove over there after the hair cuts and I sat in the car with the children (Levon had fallen asleep) and read books to August while she got a moment's peace to find what she needed. And she did. 
And then, glory of glories! We went to El Patron where Melissa met us and the boys spent the entire lunch flirting and vying for her attention. And doing a little running around. And eating some food. 
It was so nice. 

I will tell you that today has been another "what's the point?" day. Even with grandboys' first haircuts. Even with Mexican lunch with them and their mama and Melissa. This may or may not have something to do with Mother's Day. 
Just throw the word "mother" out there and I tend to go into a crazy state. 
Other ugly beasts have raised their prickly heads recently and sometimes I just get so tired of it all. Why in the world is it that something that happened over fifty years ago still has such a deep grip on my heart, my throat, my mind, my gut? 
I've given up trying to figure that out. I just know it does. 
One does get exhausted, though. At least I do. 

But this is fun- yesterday when I was with Jessie and Lily at the river, we were talking about Mother's Day and what they wanted to do for it and when they both got quite honest, what they really wanted was a break. A little time away from being a mother. 
Now anyone who has ever had and raised children understands this. I myself have had some wonderful Mother's Days spent away from my children. Flowers and brunches are fine but Lord GOD Almighty, give Mamas a little space and time to remember who they were before they became mothers. 
So I don't recall who suggested it first yesterday when we were talking but what started out as sort of a joke ended up being a plan. 
The girls have decided that what they really want is to spend the night in a nice hotel with a pool where they can drink wine, watch whatever they want on TV and get some real, true deep and uninterrupted sleep.
Sister-Mother-Friends on mini vacation! I encouraged that plan with all of my heart. 
"Do it!" I told them. "Just do it!" 
And it's going to happen. 
Their daddy, who knows how hard it can be for mommies, is paying for them a very nice room and I hope that this becomes a tradition. Those sweet girls have even asked me to join them which I appreciate with all of my heart but I want them to have the whole time, the whole space, the whole BEDS to themselves. As a mother, I am definitely on inactive duty these days and I get a good night's sleep every night and besides- they may need to talk about things they wouldn't talk about if their mother was around. 

So that makes me happy. 

Mr. Moon is out in the garden even though it is after seven. He's been working outside so hard all day long. I am going to make him a good supper although it won't be as good as last night's. I made a sort of bastardized version of Salade Nicoise which looked like this:

It was quite possibly the best salad I ever tasted. The arugula, greens beans, carrots and eggs were grown or laid right here and it was amazing.
Sometimes I do hit it out of the ball park. Sometimes I do get it right. 
For example- when I married that man. 

Happy Mother's Day to all of us who are mothers and to all of us who have nurtured. 
Sex and gender are no determiner of that nor is fertility or age. There are plenty of people who have nurtured students, patients, clients, the arts, artists, friends, co-workers, spouses, partners, dogs, cats, wild birds, gardens, parents, nieces and nephews, the planet, and/or whatever they have encountered which needed nurturing, tending, and loving. I dedicate Mother's Day to all of them. To all of us. 
Go do something nice for yourself. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, May 10, 2019

Grandchildren And The River

Now that is a happy boy. He has a shovel, a truck, and a dinosaur. He also has a nice beach worth of sand to dig in and water to splash in. He has a big brother to wrestle with and play with and to watch intently and learn from. His Auga.

He has a mommy and daddy who are there for him every moment of the day and night and he has mommy-milk if he needs it and he is needing it less and less all the time. 
Which is great!
And so sad, too. 
He has cousins who adore him and aunts and uncles who do too. He has THREE sets of grandparents and he has Florida with its rivers and oceans and he has North Carolina mountains. 
Yep. That little boy has it all and I am just loving watching him grow. He may be the last grandchild. I don't know. One never knows about these things but he might be. Lily did tell August today to tell his daddy that he wants a baby sister. Lily loves babies. So do we all. And dammit, they just don't stay babies long enough. 
He can say Lily now. He calls her Ye-Ye which is what his mama used to call her when she was his age. He is learning all sorts of words and he can mimic almost any word. He has a good mouth for speech.

He can certainly tell you what he wants. He is getting to be as golden as his brother and I am as mystified by those boys' toast-colored skin as I am by August's curls. And as enchanted. 

When we were getting ready to leave the river today Maggie wanted to help Levon with his shoes. He let her. She had some difficulty, even with August supervising the operation and I asked if she wanted a little help. She said she did and as I put the flip-flops on his tiny boy feet, Maggie kept saying, "Don't worry, Levon. MerMer is helping."

My heart, my heart, my heart. 

We had such a good time at the river. They've made some changes at the Wacissa. They've paved the parking lot and they've built a swell new dock.

I don't really like change very much. I try not to be one of those old fogies who resists all change. I mean, that's ridiculous. Some change is for the good and that's all there is to it. But I do not like the paved parking lot. Seems to me that that's only going to encourage more people to visit what used to be an almost secret little perfection of a swimming place at the very end of a road that very few people drive down. But isn't that selfish? And hell yes, I can be one of those cranky old folks who sit around and say things like, "I remember when no one but three rednecks, two hippies and an alligator used to come here!" 
Because I really can remember that. 
But so what? That ain't the way it is now and I do love a dock. Always have. A wooden pathway connected to land but over the water, almost magical in its ability to span two states of being. 
Here's a picture of Magnolia June from the dock. 

That girl. She just charms me to pieces. 

She is the boss of us all. She's learning to recognize letters and she can figure things out that I can't. 
Here she is with August on the new dock. 

Those two are a force of fierceness. They are cousins united in age and in curls. They share genes and lunches of chicken and french fries which they both love along with plenty of ketchup for dipping. They get in trouble together and get out of trouble together. They know they are loved. 

We mostly had the river to ourselves. There were a few guys who were fishing when we first got there but who moved on to the rope swings. They were neither too loud nor profane and they paid us as little attention as we paid them. Things will change when school ends but for today, it was almost perfect. Cool enough not to bake and yet, warm enough to make submerging in the cold river water a not ridiculous prospect. 

We drove to the Hilltop for our lunch. This was my suggestion. Lord, I do love the Hilltop with its menu of 157 items. At least. We all got delicious foods that frankly, were not good for us at all and I am sure that several fryers were employed in the making of them. It was wonderful. 
While we waited for our order to come up, fun was had on the long church pew where people patiently sit while their food is being prepared. 

So much silliness. 
Silliness is the best. 

Summer is coming on and as proof I present the fact that I have already found two ticks on my body that had to be removed as well as getting some chiggers. Mr. Moon is developing a case of poison ivy, no doubt from all of the raking in the front yard he did yesterday. Why do any of us live here? 
I guess because of rivers and beaches and giant oak trees and cafes in the middle of nowhere that offer everything from fried fish dinners to Reuben sandwiches to black bean burgers to red velvet cake. 
And maybe because we're insane. 
I will leave you with this. 

Work hard. Play hard. Sleep hard. Don't forget to read. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, May 9, 2019

A Better Day

My green beans are blooming and I actually picked a good handful today and I figure that if you add in my labor, each one of them should be worth about twenty dollars.
Let's face it- I do not grow food to save money. I do it because it tastes better, I know what was and wasn't used in the growing of it, and you can't beat it for freshness. But perhaps mostly because no matter how much I bitch and moan about the heat and the ants and being too old now to do it the way I used to, it is something that I apparently need to do for my own soul and wellbeing.

It's been a good day. I have neither cried nor napped. The past few days I have slept at least an hour every afternoon and it's been that kind of sleep which I fall into, deep and dark, to escape thought and feeling, an erasing of consciousness, temporarily at least. But not today. I'm actually tired now (and there is a difference) from my walk, from gardening, from house chores.
I even cleaned out a cabinet and threw things away that I know I will never use. This is not much of an accomplishment and neither is anything else I did but the very fact that I have done something of use, have been even vaguely productive, is good. When the black dog sits on your lap or even on your porch, it is so very hard to gather the energy to do anything.
"What's the point?" is the mantra on those days.
"What is the fucking point?"
And no answer comes to mind which seems adequate.
This is hard to explain to someone who has never wrestled with depression but for those of us who have, it is absolutely as familiar and self-explanatory as, well, breathing.

My hens each laid me an egg today except for Darla who sits so patiently on her nest. My husband brought me home a magnolia blossom and put it in one of my Goodwill silver coffee servers.

I guess it's a coffee server. I really have no idea. The blossom is closed up for the evening but will open in the morning. And it fills my kitchen with its sweet, but not too sweet, lemony scent. 

I picked some arugula for a salad tonight and also, some collards and kale which will go into my chicken dish. 

The bugs are getting to those plants fast and I need to use as many of them as I can before they are nothing but lace on stems. My corn is a few inches tall, my tomatoes are blooming (and Mr. Moon just told me that they are already getting bugs), my squash are blooming, my row of black-eyed peas is looking good and the dollar weed hasn't entirely choked the cucumbers yet. Cucumbers are so funny. Some years I barely get enough for a few salads and some years I get so many that the canning kettle never cools down from the pints of pickles I make in it. 
I wonder what this year will be like? I surely would not mind making a crock of those sweet pickles that almost hurt your teeth with the amount of sugar in them. It's been several years since I had enough cukes to do that. 

Well, I better get to the third shift of the day. The cooking of supper, the packing of my husband's lunch for tomorrow, the filling of the blender jar with what he will whirl into a smoothie tomorrow morning before he goes to the gym. Right now he's raking leaves and dumping them on the garden as mulch. I have told him twice that that's enough. That he needs to come in and rest. 
"Thank you," he replied to me the second time I offered these instructions. And then he hauled the garden cart back to the front yard. 
The man never listens to a word I say. 


I am grateful for the surcease of darkness today. It's a subtle but very real shift. It would be nice to wake up tomorrow feeling the same. I think that Lily and Jessie and the kids and I may go to the Wacissa and if there is such a thing as soul balm, the river would be it, especially with little children splashing and playing and needing to be wrapped up in towels and hugged in order to warm up. 
We shall see. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Not Feeling Too Optimistic

When I come to that sign on my walk I have completed one mile. When I'm walking on White House road, that is. Here's the funny thing- I've never seen a child on this road, even though I have been alerted to watch for them.
Yeah. Not really that funny.

I want to thank everyone who shared their birth experiences here. I will answer each comment. They all tear at my heart and make me remember how it used to be. I do think things have changed but some of the changes are not for the good. For one thing, there is entirely too much reliance on dates and on sonograms to determine when a baby "should" be born and there is an emphasis on being "overdue" that is, I feel, not very helpful. Why we continue to want to put every mother and child into a graph of what is normal and not normal is beyond me and in doing this, we create a lot of what I consider to be mostly unwarranted worry not only concerning dates but also weight. Once again, so very many doctors are reluctant to trust that most women can give birth to larger babies and warning women that their babies are becoming "too big" leads directly to a great many births being induced with hormones and drugs that are not truly proven safe when with a little time and patience and trust in the process, the problems that induction can cause are eliminated.
When I had Hank, the doctor told me after the birth that honestly, he did not think I would have been capable of delivering him and that he had been thinking that I would need a C-section. That if I had come to the hospital when I was "supposed" to, I would have indeed had one. So those long, long hours of labor that I went through allowed my body to do what my body was meant to do- to shift, to adjust, to open and to allow me to push that baby out.
And Hank wasn't a huge baby. Eight pounds something? I can't remember.
The doctor didn't tell me that it was a good thing I'd stayed at home for the labor and thus prevented surgery, I think he was just a little bit stunned that I'd been able to do what I'd done but of course he wasn't happy that I'd done it. I'd proven nothing to him. The difference in having a C-section and in giving birth vaginally probably didn't mean squat to him but to a woman, it's a huge difference. For one thing, yeah, it's major surgery and thus carries risks that vaginal delivery does not. Also, that being my first birth, I never would have been able to have my subsequent babies vaginally as the trend then was to have all C-sections after the first. This is still the philosophy of many doctors.
So. In a lot of ways, not going to the hospital early on changed my life and the life of my family.
I'm so grateful that Cesareans are available for women who need them and sometimes they definitely do but certainly not as often as they are performed.

Okay. I'll stop talking about this for now.

Speaking of lady parts...
I can't believe it but one of my orchids is blooming. For years I've been saying that my orchids never die nor do they bloom. But this one has two flowers on it and I am a bit amazed. 

I really don't have much to say today. The daily events in Washington never cease to anger me, enrage me, baffle me, and it seems that lately they have been occurring at what one of my grandchildren might call super speed. This whole executive power thing is unbelievable. The information that Trump was literally America's biggest loser of income for a decade is another. Iran? Are we going to go to war with Iran? The news that Trump and Cohen managed to get rid of dirty pictures of Jerry Falwell, Jr., thus ensuring the evangelical vote. Does Congress really have the right NOT to impeach this president? Isn't it like a cop, sworn to duty who witnesses a crime? And it's not just what Trump and his people are doing, it's the fact that his supporters still adore his motherfucking ass. Yeah, that's the worst part. That's the part I'll never understand. Or get over.
And let's not even talk about another school shooting. Or the fact that a woman can get the death penalty in Georgia for abortion. 
It's all too much. It's all too fucking much. 

I'm overwhelmed. 
And it's hot. And I'm not handling my own life very well. 

So it goes, so it goes. 

Perhaps I need to be patient with the process. That all will unfold as it should...eventually. 
Even if that means we humans fuck up the planet so badly that all life as we know it ceases. 
Yes. That would be the extreme case. 
I have no doubt it could happen. 
Lately I have little trust that it won't. 

Later, kids. 

Love...Ms. Moon 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Some History Or Why I'm Still A Hippie

Here are the pictures I was trying to post yesterday:

Again, someone was having a moment.

Moment over! Isn't she beautiful? 

And in something else leftover from yesterday- the thing that really pissed me off worse than anything about what this guy

said about the doula and the willow tree is that he had no right to be discussing anything about Meghan Markle's birth plan in a public forum. Not only was it highly suspect as to confidentiality and incredibly disrespectful, it was purely tacky. 
Just tacky. 
I hope he got his ass kicked by a higher up. 
If there IS a higher up to the Envoy of the Royal College of Gynecology. 
And yes, I AM still pissed off about this and I'm going to be probably for the rest of my damn life. 
This is just such a sore subject to me even though I haven't given birth in thirty years. I still harbor great animosity towards certain doctors who were involved in my care when I was going through my pregnancies and planning home births. With my first birth, I went to a local doctor for my prenatal care. I did not decide to try to have a home birth until I was about halfway through the pregnancy and I did not inform him of that decision because in those days, I probably could have been arrested for child endangerment. The whole home birth movement was so newborn itself that there was no such thing as a licensed midwife except for a very, very few old women in rural counties who had been trained and licensed back in the thirties, probably. A friend of mine did use one who was miraculously still alive and still practicing to deliver her baby, Dawn Rose, a few weeks before my baby arrived but I had chosen to ask a few of my friends to assist me who were very interested in becoming midwives. As I've said before, we basically had a copy of Spiritual Midwifery and a shared wish to avoid what hospitals were doing in those days which included enemas, shaving, exclusion of the partner from the process, drugs (always drugs!), wrist restraints if it appeared that the mother might have the gall to try and touch the "sterile field" which had been created with the shaving, enema, and tons of Betadine, an almost 100% episiotomy rate, the whisking away of the babies to the nursery with absolutely no opportunity for bonding, and the giving of the baby a bottle before nursing was begun to ensure that, well...what? The baby had a patent passage for liquid to pass through? 
There was more. 
It was horrible. 
Dark ages for sure. 
One of the women who attended me with that birth had actually given birth at home with her husband delivering the baby. They had lived for some time down in the Yucatan in what was then the entirely Mexican and rural area of Tulum and they had observed the women there giving birth at home and wanted to do the same. Another of the women was in nursing school. She went on eventually to become a nurse midwife and taught in various schools but at this time, was still just a student nurse. And the other woman was a friend of mine who had had two babies, both in the hospital, but one with no drugs. She had used the then almost unheard of Lamaze method of childbirth. 
This was so radical that the local newspaper had written an article about it. 

Anyway, these ladies helped me through 28 hours of labor at which point I gave up. I wanted to go to the hospital. And I did. Hank was born probably less than an hour after we got there and yes, I got an episiotomy and yes, I got shaved, and yes, I got yelled at for touching the doctor's hand, reaching for my baby after he was delivered because now the doctor had to change his gloves before he could stitch me up, and yes, my baby was taken away from me to be washed and fed in the nursery but by the grace of this doctor (deep sarcasm), my husband had been allowed into the delivery room with me. 
And this is what the doctor said to us after our baby was born: "I don't want to become known as some hippie doctor. You hear me?"

No fucking problem, man. No fucking problem. 

And we somehow had the courage to take our baby and leave the hospital a few hours after the birth. We got lectured by several people about how foolish and reckless we were being and we had to sign all sorts of papers but I am proud of us for sticking to our guns. 
We were so young. I was twenty-one, my then-husband was twenty-three. 

Two years later May was born right down the road from where I'm living now but in a trailer we lived in on a piece of property we owned. The same ladies were with me and I had begun to assist in illegal home births myself. We had bought and devoured English midwife textbooks and obstetric manuals. We had acquired fetascopes and learned to keep records. We had gotten some experience. We knew a little more about what we were doing. 
And May and the rest of my children were born at home, each one delivered by one of those ladies including Lily who weighed over ten pounds at birth and had a nuchal hand, meaning that she had one of her pretty little hands up next to her head when she was delivered. With, I might add, no episiotomy and no tearing. It was a scary birth but my midwife knew what to do and did it and all was so very, very well. 

So that's the background from whence I come with my anger at that doctor's comments. My friends and I were told we were foolish, we were risking the lives of mothers and babies, we were criminals, we were nothing but airy-fairy hippies. 
But we changed some things. 
Oh yes we did. 

Obviously, not nearly enough. 

And let me say that we here in Tallahassee had one person who supported us in a sort of quiet and underground way. This man. 

Dr. Brickler. Remember him? I surely have written about him before. Here's an article about him. 
I won't say that he risked his neck or his career but he took the women who had to be transferred to the hospital and did not shame or lecture which at that point, in the seventies, was huge. And even then, he was so highly regarded and respected that no one called him on it. And he went on to support and be the backup of the first free-standing birth center in Florida where all of the babies were delivered by midwives.
I worked there myself after I became a nurse.

Well. That's my story for the day. And a bit of an explanation of why I am the person I am and how I became that way.

Believe in what you believe. Create change with your knowledge and your heart and your work.
I guess that's enough.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, May 6, 2019

Power To The Women

Well, hell. AOL (yes, AOL and go ahead and laugh) seems to be down which is a pain in the ass for all fifty-six of us who still have our email accounts with them. What this means for me right now is that I can't send pictures from my phone to my laptop where I write my blog posts which sucks because I have a really cute picture of Magnolia that the world is the worse off for not being able to see.
Honestly, I hardly ever have a problem with my AOL account so I'm trying to be all Zen about it and shit because what else can I do?

I had a very nice day with my daughters. All three of them and Rachel, my future daughter-in-law had lunch with us and so did Magnolia, my granddaughter, so you can imagine that I was very happy to have been lucky enough to enjoy the company of all of these beautiful women and a woman-baby. It was a good thing because I woke up at 1:30 this morning in existential despair and although I was able to go back to sleep I woke up many times after that, still in that horrible state of mind and when I finally got up, I was no more cheerful than I had been in that deep part of the night when things are traditionally so very, very dark and seemingly insurmountable.

We all went and got pedicures and I have to say that this was the first time in my life that I ever got a pedicure when I still had the polish from a previous pedicure on my toes. We had a really good time, May and Lily and Jessie and I. We so rarely get to hang out with May but she was off work today. We were all pampered and painted and polished and prettied (or at least our feet were) and we talked about everything from podcasts to the prison system.
Afterwards Jason dropped off Magnolia on his way to work and we all met Rachel at a sushi restaurant, where there was only one server for many people but he was so cool and so professional that we never felt ignored or slighted and just reveled in the extra time we had together. It was a beautiful meal in every way.
After we said our good-byes, Jessie and I went to a Goodwill but it was not a very productive experience. As I said to Jessie, it looked as if the entire Nation of Polyesters had died and someone had donated their clothing to this particular store. Not just polyester but DOUBLE KNIT which some of you may be so mercifully young you do not remember. Jessie did score a lovely little kid piano with a bench for August and Levon so that was good.
And then I came home and did a little bit of ironing and I'm back to feeling somewhat dismal again. I don't know what's wrong with me. It's possible I'm going through an old-age crisis which I have discussed here before and it's also possible that I should not have weaned myself off of my antidepressant.
I was taking so little of it and it didn't seem to be doing much and of course you read all of these articles about how placebos work as well as the medications do but perhaps I've made a mistake. I don't know. I do know that it took me months to wean entirely off of it and going back on it seems as if I am admitting defeat but defeat against what?
Fuck if I know.
And I will admit that I am still taking a very, very lose dose of another antidepressant which my doctor prescribed to help with side effects that the first one was causing so I'm not entirely brain-altering drug-free.

But you know what? None of that is really what I came here to talk about. What I came here to talk about, what is foremost on my mind right now is something that I heard about on NPR as I was driving home. I had read on the news on my phone that Meghan Markel and Prince Harry had their baby today and I was happy about that. Yeah, yeah, what's the point about getting excited when a royal has a baby and who cares and blah, blah but dammit! It's a lovely thing when the world stops for a second to celebrate the birth of a child, I don't care whose it is. And although no one has confirmed it entirely, it would appear that the baby was born at their home which, granted, is what most of us would label a palace even though it's called a cottage.
And you know me- I'm all about home birth when it's a safe alternative and I am quite sure that it was indeed a safe alternative for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. There was probably an entire surgical ward set up and staffed in case there was need of an emergency C-section.
But guess what Dr. Timothy Draycott, envoy of the Royal College of Gynecology said recently at a meeting of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Nashville, Tennessee about the Duke and Duchess's birth plan?
"Meghan Markle has decided she's going to have a doula and a willow tree...let's see how that goes!" And the room was filled with laughter and merriment.
He continued, "She's 37, first birth...I don't know."


Fuck him.
Fuck doctors (especially male doctors) who make fun of women who want to have their babies at home in their own beds with a midwife.
You know what? I have been fighting for women to have the choice to birth in their own homes with midwives since 1976.
And guess what?
This shit is still happening.

According to what I've read, Meghan went into labor in the early morning hours and gave birth at 5:26 a.m. Mmmm...even if "early morning hours" means 12:01 a.m., that would mean a less than five and one half hour labor. For a first baby. With a "geriatric" mother. Yep. That's what they call women who are giving birth after the age of 35.
And hey! I could be wrong and Meghan had to have a C-section. I don't know for sure but when you have a papa who looks like this:

who says things like, "How any woman does it is beyond comprehension," I think maybe not. 

And what I have to say is FUCK YOU, DR. TIMOTHY DRAYCOTT! 
Even if the birth was Cesarean, it is entirely and perfectly correct for a woman to be able to choose how she would prefer to give birth and to have faith in the process and in her own body. 
Which is the problem. 
Doctors are trained to believe that women's bodies are not capable of what women's bodies have been doing for tens of thousands of years. 
Not always perfectly- I understand that. 
But when there is back-up and when there are trained assistants who help a woman do what a woman can do, it is a beautiful thing. And a safe thing. Study after study has shown that women who have low-risk pregnancies are just as safe having a baby at home as they are in a hospital if they have proper assistance. And as for doulas? Studies show that women who have them when they labor and give birth have better outcomes and lower rates of complications and interventions than women who do not. 

You'd think that someone who is the envoy of the Royal College of Gynecology would know that, wouldn't you? 

As to the willow tree- not sure what that's all about but if having one available makes things easier for laboring women, I wish I'd had a few. 

All right. 

Congratulations to the newest member of the British royalty. 
And to Amy Schumer too. And to every woman who gave birth today on this whole entire planet. 
Every damn one of you is amazing. 
As are women and our bodies. 
Trust me. Trust us. 

Love...Ms. Moon