Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Camellias


Well, my vast relief and feelings of rebirth faded rather more quickly than I would have liked.
Today has been a day of pondering what on earth I need to do with my life.

I have come up with no answers.

In lieu of any sort of real post tonight, I'll just give you camellias.


I keep trying to write something of value or interest but it's just not going to happen tonight. 
It's been that sort of day. 

Let's see what tomorrow brings. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Not Planning My Funeral Quite Yet

Look. I just love my doctor.
That is all.
He is so freaking kind I can't believe it.
"How've you been?" he asks as he swings into the room. And as always, I am taken aback at just how darn cute is. Look- cute doesn't hurt in a doctor, especially if it's the friendly kind of cute that simply makes your heart happy. He seems so entirely approachable.
And then he started going over my blood work, congratulating me for GETTING the blood work done because he knows me and knows how hard that is for me. And everything was pretty good except for my cholesterol which is a fucking mess. I told him that I'd like to try and do something dietarily to help that.
"I will admit," I told him, "I could eat less pork."
He laughed. And agreed that I could try that.
We discussed Mexico. We discussed his little boy. He showed me his picture. He's adorable, just like his dad. He told me that he did not have one thing to fuss at me about. I told him that I wished, in that case, that I HAD brought him the dozen eggs I'd thought about bringing him. He let me know that he would love fresh eggs. That he's a vegetarian and eggs are an important part of his diet. He got me talking about chickens. He excused himself, went out for a moment and came back with a picture of a chicken that said on it something like, "When I grow up I want to retire and raise chickens."
"I keep that in my cubby," he told me. And then he told me where he'd gotten it and some backstory there which concerned his wife and a special place that means a lot to him. And we talked about chickens some more and all of a sudden he says, "Let me check your blood pressure again," because it had not been that good when the nurse had taken it because my blood pressure always spikes when I go to the doctor.
"No," I said. "It'll just be awful again."
But I got up on the table and he took it while I was still talking about the problem of too many roosters and damn if it hadn't gone down to a level that is not only normal but also the lowest of any reading I've had in a doctor's office in years.

I am so grateful I found this kind doctor. He is not afraid to transcend that wall between himself and the patient which is so very rare but which, for a patient like me, is so very important.

So. That's done.

And then I met Lily and Jessie at Costco with Maggie and August. Levon was at home with his daddy and the two three-year old cousins had already been to the library story time and were in a merry mood.


First it was tickle time.


Then Magnolia decided to ride on the bottom of the cart. "Come on, August!" she said. So he joined her.


This made them happy for at least half an aisle.
When we left the store, Maggie ran to the wall outside and said, "Take our picture!"


And so we did. I suggested that they kiss which only inspired August to jump off the wall entirely.
Sigh...

I love those kids so much. I told them at one point that they cracked me up.
"We crackies," said August.
"Yes you are," I told him.

And so the rest of the day has gone by with me in the best of spirits. Getting a doctor's appointment over with is tantamount to the relief a junkie feels when he's scored.
At least I would imagine.
Of course the feeling won't last forever but for right now, it's a real good high.

I got to see August again later on when Vergil and his friend Sam came out to borrow Mr. Moon's Jon boat. Not only did they bring August but they brought Sam's ten month old little boy who is gorgeous and has huge blue eyes and indescribably thick, long eyelashes. I wanted to grab him up and start nomming his big, beautiful cheeks but I did not. I just flirted from afar. August and I went to the trash and recycle place- our so very special Mer-and-August thing to do. He just loves sitting in that booster seat like a big boy and we even stopped at the Post Office on the way back.


"Thank you for helping me," I told him. 
"I help lots of people," he said. 
He does. 

I got six nice eggs today from my sweet hens. I have determined that perhaps at least five of the young chicks are roosters. 
I am making venison chili. 
I feel somewhat reborn and renewed. 
And although there may be chicken shit on my porch I would never, EVER serve fast food hamberders to any guest in my house. 
I'm just classy like that. 

Love...Ms. Moon




Monday, January 14, 2019

Gray Matters


Anxiety ate me up this morning and spit me out and I drove to town to meet my kids and some of the grandkids at an Indian restaurant for lunch. I know that tomorrow's appointment is making me this kind of crazy which is ridiculous crazy and illogical crazy and stupid crazy and irrational crazy and I know all of that and yet, here we are. This time tomorrow it'll all be over except for the part where I'll be trying to figure out how to tell everyone I'm dying of some dread, horrible disease which is what I never fail to think is going to happen when I go to a doctor.
Even my sweet handsome doctor.

Enough of that. I may be too sick to go to the doctor tomorrow. Suddenly, after being hardly laid low at all by whatever this virus is, I feel terrible. Well, terrible-ish. My skin hurts. I am cold.
But before I succumbed to that and laid down on my bed and fell asleep, I did have that lunch with the children and it was sweet. August is feeling better but he didn't want to sit on a chair because he says he's been feeling dizzy and was afraid he'd fall off. So he sat on my lap which was lovely for me. He had a rough time of it in that May had brought Maggie her belated birthday presents and August was sorely jealous. Maggie grudgingly let him play with one of the two mermaids she'd gotten AND wear one of her new pink bracelets. So he brushed the mermaid's hair while I ate my lunch as he'd had a peanut butter sandwich before they got there. Levon sat on his mother's lap and shared her food. Maggie sat on her own chair, her birthday crown atop her head, mostly upside down but still regal.

After that I went to Publix and almost all of the cold-section things were not in place due to an unexplained cooler breakdown throughout the store. Luckily I needed neither yogurt nor lettuce and got the things I needed and came home.

It's been gray today, and wet-cold. Just miserable.
I'm going to make our supper and then take a hot shower and get in bed, wake up, get that appointment over with, come home and plan my funeral.

Sounds about right.

I'll check in tomorrow night and let you know how it went.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Chickens And Poop And Dirt, As Usual


Mr. Moon is home and Owen has been delivered safely to his baseball practice and they did not bring home a deer but they did get stuck in the red Georgia clay-muck and I hear that Owen loved the mud-bogging which was done not exactly on purpose but happened anyway.
I am glad to have my fella home and I'm sure that Owen's mom and dad and sister and brother are glad to have him home too. When Maggie was here she would occasionally ask, "Where Owen?" and when I woke Gibson up on Saturday morning he said, "I can't go to soccer! Owen is one of the coaches!"
He seemed genuinely distressed about this.
I assured him that the other coach could handle the situation but I'm not sure he believed me.
Owen is definitely the beloved big brother.

Okay. See that picture up there? That's three of the not-so-babies who were on the back porch today along with a bunch of other chickens. After I got them all off of the porch and back into the yard where they belong I blocked up the hole in the screen where they come in and made a pronouncement which was NO MORE CHICKENS ON THE BACK PORCH!
Look. It would be far more fun to have them keeping me company if they didn't just poop so randomly. I will never own another dog because of the poop factor and goddammit, chickens just poop everywhere and I don't need to be spending my time cleaning it up. Their poop should be outside where it can fertilize the yard.
So. What this means is, we probably need to fix the hole in the screen and also, no more feeding of chickens on the porch.
Ever.
Dearie is going to be pissed. The other day she actually pecked my leg so hard it made a bruise, trying to alert me to the fact that she was indeed right there and needed food.
Good lord. Chickens are domesticated but not THAT domesticated.

So anyway, I had a pleasant morning and afternoon. Temperatures were warm and the sky was blue. I cleaned the nests in the hen house (speaking of chicken shit) and pulled up some more of the invasive Glory Flower and weeded a few rows of greens in the garden and also replanted beets.
Maurice helped me.


I finally have enough greens to make salads and I am thrilled beyond all appropriateness about this. 


I realized today that the chickens have been eating the collard greens. Collards are their favorite greens and my plants all look as if someone with a pair of manicure scissors has gone crazy with them. They can fly over the fence and they do and well, also, I need a new gate on the garden fence. The one there now is falling apart and hard to close all the way. 
What I really need is a system of raised beds to grow my vegetables in but I'm not holding my breath on that one. Mr. Moon already has about fifty projects ahead of that foolishness on the to-do list. 
Or possibly one-hundred and fifty. 

So that's what my day was all about. Chickens and poop and weeds and greens. After all of my bitching about my hens and roosters, you may wonder why I keep them in the first place. 


And that would be one answer. 
Of course the fact is, is that I just love them. They entertain and amuse me. They soothe and delight me. They sing and croon to me. And now, thanks to the lovely Jennifer at Sparrow Tree Journal, they have helped me to define myself. She sent me a link on Facebook which you can find HERE
By god, I am a Hen Wife!


And now I know. 

Thank you, Jennifer. I feel so honored that you thought of me when you read that piece. 

All right! That's enough. Gotta go cook some supper. Spicy mustard shrimp tonight with rice and of course, a nice green salad. A really, really fresh nice green salad. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Saturday, January 12, 2019

I Have No Idea How Any Of This Happened


That was what things looked like last night before sleep was achieved and peace reigned over the house. I have got to take that walker some place, whether Wag The Dog, to donate it, or to the dump depot where I can set it aside where people put things they think someone else might want. I really like doing that. It eliminates the middle man, as it were.
Maggie and Gibson were actually very good. Here's Maggie, helping me make pancakes.


Smushing the banana and sweet potato for the batter.


Mixing it up. She also helped me crack the egg. Which reminds me of something Gibson said when he and Maggie were carrying some eggs that we'd found on the nest. 
"Here, Mer. You better carry them. I like to smash things."
The boy is honest. 
We ate our pancakes and bacon and I did not burn the eggs I cooked for them. Then it was bath time and they had a good time in my big tub with duckies and an octopus to play with. They did not splash vast quantities of water onto the floor and neither one slipped or fell so it was a successful aquatic experience. I dried them off and helped them into their pajamas and then I read the same three books that I'd read to their brother the night before and to their cousin the week before. Gibson was tired and after the stories he was ready to go to sleep but wasn't quite sure he wanted to sleep all by himself in that bed in the guest room. I offered to make up the little bed on the floor in my room that August sleeps on but he decided that no, if I would just get him some animals to sleep with, that would be okay. Maggie and I collected a nice assortment of stuffed friends for him and he was content and fell asleep about as fast as I turned out the light. 
Magnolia June was a different story. I put her in my bed and covered her up and she wanted cuddles and I told her that as soon as I cleaned up the kitchen I would come and give her some and I did although she was up and out of bed to check on the progress several times. After I'd cuddled her for awhile and she had not fallen asleep, I told her that I had to take my shower and that I'd be right back after that. Of course, when I got out of the shower, there was a little cherub in pajamas peeking underneath the paper shade of the door that leads into the bathroom. 
"Mer! You finish your shower?"
"Yes, Maggie. I'll be right there."
More cuddling ensued and water was sipped and reminders were given as to lay down and go to sleep!
Eventually, around eleven, this happened. 


If that's not the very definition of an angel, I don't know what is. 
I turned out the light, exhausted myself, and we slept pretty well. She has a little cough that woke her up a few times and there were more water sips and she woke up and wanted cuddles a few more times. I'm not sure I've ever met a child as desirous of physical closeness as Maggie. She also kisses so spontaneously. Like, if I pick her up to show her something, she'll just reach over and kiss my cheek as naturally as a blossom turns towards the sun. Gibson is sweet like that too. And Owen is still pretty free with the kisses. Or at least he tolerates them with a good amount of cheer.

I got up this morning at eight because I knew their daddy was coming at nine because of Gibson's soccer game. I roused the children and got them fed (sort of) and dressed. Here's Gibson looking ready to rumble. 


Can you believe he'll be seven in March? He's still quite interested in how you spell everything and is pretty darn good at it himself. And he can really read. I'm impressed and I'm proud and I love that he wants to do these things. You just never know what's going to engage children, do you? Each one is so different and each one has such specific interests and budding talents. It really does thrill me to observe this in all of my grands. 

And then Jason came and helped Gibson on with his shin guards and cleats and Maggie on with her purple, sparkly shoes. When they left, he thanked me for having the kids over and I thanked him, as I always do, for being such an amazing father. 

The rest of the day I spent in sweet, sweet solitude. I washed and hung sheets on the line, made up the beds when they were dry. I did some ironing and watched a Netflix movie ("Last Laugh" with Chevy Chase and Richard Dreyfuss) and it was abominable. Name a stereotype and it was in there. Name a trope, and they troped all over it. There were holes in that movie you could have dropped a Himalayan Mountain in. The presence of Andie McDowell whom I think is one of the most beautiful women in the world did brighten things up but 
1. The material she had to work with was pitiful, and
2. She's really not the best actor in the world. 
Nor is Chevy Chase. Richard Dreyfuss is better but see #1 above. 
It was a good movie to watch while ironing, though, because it allowed me to concentrate on what I was doing without worrying about missing any of the shit happening on the screen. 

I haven't talked politics in awhile but trust me when I say that I cannot believe we've come to the place in this country where a Cheese Doodle, lying nutjob who is currently the subject of too-many-to-count investigations is being allowed to hold the entire government hostage to fund his ridiculous fucking wall. Meanwhile, as we all know, almost a million federal employees aren't getting paid which puts their families at risk for eviction, hunger, lack of ability to pay for health care, etc., while air travel is becoming more and more unsafe, airport screening and customs screening is becoming a joke, our national parks are being left untended and uncared for, trashed and even destroyed, and a thousand other small, sharp knives are cutting away at the fabric of our country. 
I'm sure he's hoping to divert attention away from the real problems this country faces, not to mention the fact that he could well end up in jail or at least in disgrace and dishonor (not that he'd care) before 2019 is over. 
Well, shit. I have nothing to add about this situation which would enlighten anything or any one. 

In better news I hear from Mr. Moon that he and Owen are having a fine time. "Just what his Boppy hoped for," he texted me today. And I know it is. I think it's pretty dang cool that our oldest grandson gets to experience a part of his grandfather's life that makes him so happy. Getting up early, early to sit in a deer stand and watch the forest come awake, eating in the restaurants where his Boppy eats, sleeping in the motel his Boppy stays, meeting his granddad's hunting buddies and some of their grandchildren, having, hopefully, some good bonding conversations. Or, just talking about shit, the way guys do. As far as I know, no animals have been harmed in this adventure yet. Which is mostly the way these hunting trips go. 
Once again, this situation is nothing I could ever have imagined when I was growing up and wondering what my future would hold. First of all, I seriously doubted I'd live long enough to see grandchildren; secondly, me? Marrying a hunter
Turns out that life is absolutely not anything we can predict. We choose to go to a certain bar on a Friday night wearing a certain sweater that keeps slipping off a shoulder where an improbably tall man asks us to dance, we say okay, and the next thing we know, your husband of almost thirty-five years is off in Georgia with your first grandchild, both of them wearing camo and you've learned to cook venison. 


So it goes and so it is. 

What a grand ride it can be. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, January 11, 2019

Another Overnight At Mer's

Last night Owen DID want me to read him The Little Red Hen Makes A Pizza. Also, A Fish Out of Water, and finally, Professor Wormbog In Search For The Zipperumpazoo.
The exact same books August wanted last Saturday night.
A good book is a good book and I imagine that Gibson will want the same three tonight. I have already read Maggie No More Monkeys Jumping On The Bed. 


Oh, that girl. 

Boppy and Owen took off early this morning. I got to kiss them both good-bye and then I went back to sleep with Maurice cuddled up beside me. We did not get up until a reasonable hour more suitable for ladies. 

And I've spent the day just doing the little things that needed doing along with spending some time pulling up the nasty, invasive Clerodendrum which has taken over a huge section of the yard on the other side of the garage due to my own foolishness. As I've pulled the plant in the yard over the years, I piled them over in that area and of course the damn things took root and have spread and now it's such a daunting thing to try and eradicate them. Yesterday Jessie and I were over there because it's near the neighbor's goat pen and I told her that if I just spent fifteen minutes a day, I could probably get the job done. 
Eventually. Of course, every bit of root that I leave behind is going to sprout more. But I think I'll do my best to try, putting the pulled plants and their roots on the burn pile. Here's just a small portion of what I'm talking about. 


These plants were probably started by an unknowing resident of this house at some point in the past. Nurseries actually sell them because they do have a beautiful bloom and their leaves are nice, too. 


They are also called "glory flower" and yes, they can all go to glory for all I care. Another non-native plant which seemed like a good idea at the time, I suppose. 
Anyway, I filled up the garden cart and that was enough for today. Now my back hurts and I really need to get in better shape. 

But now Magnolia and Gibson are here and right now they are playing with some toy rabbits and mice and their houses which I got somewhere that I can't remember. Probably a thrift store. There is furniture and clothing and two families, one with a baby and also, a random bulldog police officer with a smart blue cap. We just went out to put the chickens up and I held Maggie on my hip so she could give Miss Eggy Tina a little pat and we bade them all good-night and shut their door. We looked at the bright, pretty crescent moon shining in the sky above the witchy arms of the bare pecan limbs and both children had flashlights to shine our path clear although Maggie's flashlight mostly shone in my eyes. 

I was going to make them pizza but they have to leave fairly early tomorrow morning because Gibson has a soccer game so I offered to make them their pancakes tonight. They thought that was a swell idea and Gibson asked if I could also cook eggs and I said that yes, I definitely could cook him some eggs. 
"Don't burn 'em!" he warned me. 
I'll try not to. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, January 10, 2019

"Scattered And Smothered" Would Make A Great Band Name


I have a doctor's appointment with my adorable and kind and attentive GP next Tuesday so of course I've been freaking the FUCK out because going to any sort of doctor appointment feels to me like I'm about to go into surgery for a heart transplant. Or something worse. I don't know.
And of course I was supposed to get blood work done a week before the appointment. This, too, I've been dreading. No, not because I have any problem with needles but because it's MEDICAL and because they will be taking something from inside of my own body which will reveal things so secret and hidden that even I am not aware of them and even if I were, I wouldn't want anyone else knowing about them.
Seriously, that's one of the things that freaks me out the most.
Like Tom Robbins, I prefer to think of bodies being filled with pure, white light and nothing else and if one can just stay away from...oh, science...one can continue on with this beautiful belief. Four years of nursing school did nothing to assuage my denial or fear and in fact, made them even worse.
So. Monday I did not go get my blood drawn because it wasn't yet a week away and also, I didn't feel well.
Tuesday, I again did not feel well.
Wednesday I convinced myself it was Tuesday again, despite the fact that I knew damn well it was Wednesday and even discussed that fact with Jessie.
So. Today there was no getting around it. I had to get up, get dressed, and get to town.
Which I did. I sure hope they process and analyze that precious blood before Tuesday. And it wasn't bad at all. The waiting room was not packed and it wasn't long before they called my name and I went back and met my own personal phlebotomist and she and I were cackling like hens before it was over and that was that.
And THEN, because I am a suicidal crazy-woman, I took myself to Waffle House.

Oh, Waffle House! How I love thee!
That's a picture of the breakfast I got up at the top of the page. Scrambled eggs, hashbrowns scattered and smothered (with onions) and raisin toast. With apple butter. A true work of art on a plate. A delight for the eye.
Was it good?
You bet your ass it was. I left my server a three dollar tip on a seven dollar breakfast because she was just so darn sweet.

Then I came on home and Jessie brought the boys out so that they could all get out of the house. August said he needed to come and tell me he was sick, which I already knew of course, and he told me again when he got here along with the fact that because he was sick, he could watch TV. He'd had some Ibuprofen before they left home and he started feeling better pretty quick. First we decided to read some books on my bed. Levon was asleep in his little carrier/car seat so Jessie and August and I all crawled up on the bed and covered up with The Duck and August had picked out a Richard Scarry storybook which had about thirty stories in it.
"That's a long book," I said.
"I need a long book when I sick," he told me.
"I understand," I told him.
We read some Richard Scarry and then he wanted to watch TV so we let him watch The Land Before Time. Levon had woken up by then and was busy crawling on his mama and asking for milk in sign language which is like squeezing an udder and it's ridiculously funny to watch him on the breast, making that sign. When he'd had enough he started playing with the toys and Jessie and I got in the kitchen and tried to come up with things that August might eat because he hasn't been eating much since he got sick. Jessie made him a peanut butter banana but he didn't want that. I found a can of Campbell's chicken and stars soup and I have no idea who bought it or when. Jessie said that she felt like grandmothers just had to have a can of that in cupboard and she may be right. I showed it to August and he said that he'd eat some of that and so I heated it up and put it in a mug and spoon fed him some of the star noodles while he watched the dinosaurs on TV but he wouldn't drink the soup part.
Oh well.
Then it was a cut-up orange. And crackers with goat cheese. Like two.
Jessie found some leftover chicken wings her daddy had bought for a basketball game watching he'd had with two friends on Sunday and she heated those up and ate them. All of my kids seem to need to open the refrigerator and check it out when they're here and I understand that perfectly. When I babysit at Lily's, I look for crackers she might have stashed away. I turn into a sixteen-year old in someone else's house, looking for the good snacks.
Levon ate a little bit of everything. I don't think he's ever met a food he doesn't like. That includes cat food but then again, all little kids seem to love cat food. And dog food.
We went outside for a little while. It's been chilly but it was warm in the sun.


The boys immediately headed toward the goat and chicken pens next door. Here's Levon and a very handsome and large rooster checking each other out. 
August started coming down from his Ibuprofen high and wanted to go back into the house soon and so we did. And then it was time to leave and he tried to talk his mother into leaving him here and picking him up later but she wasn't having that. I promised he could come back soon. 

After they left I found myself fairly exhausted. I never did get this cold or flu or whatever it is the way Mr. Moon did. He's finally feeling better but he sounds like an eighty-year old man which is rather interesting. When he's talking the contrast between my beloved and familiar husband and this deep, croaky voice is disconcerting. I've just felt a little less energetic and have had some drainage and today I've started coughing a bit but I think it caught up with me this afternoon and I laid down and slept for a little while. I'm quite sure that that tiny amount of blood which was taken from my body had nothing to do with it. 

Mr. Moon is at one of Owen's basketball games and then he's going to bring the boy back here to spend the night and tomorrow they're going to leave for Georgia as I have mentioned before. I'll have Maggie and Gibson over tomorrow night so that the acid of jealousy will not consume them and also, to give their mama and daddy a small break. Lily just sent me this picture. 


Mags and her Boppy, chillin' at the gym. 

And so it goes. 

As always, life in Lloyd. I better go start supper for those men who are going to show up pretty soon. I wonder if Owen will want me to read him The Little Red Hen Makes A Pizza or not. I hope he does. I hate to think that he's outgrown it although I'm sure that if he does let me read it to him, it will be because of ritual. I can see myself old and crooked and tiny and white-haired sitting in a nursing home, holding the life-like baby doll that my children have given me to keep me content, insisting to a six-foot, seven-inch Owen or Gibson that I must read them The Little Red Hen. 

You know this could happen. 
"Has anyone fed the chickens?" I will quaver in my little-old-lady voice. 
"Yes, Mer," they will say. "The chickens are fine." 
"How many eggs did we get today?"
And they will close their eyes in saint-like patience and say, "Four. We got four."
"Damn hens!" I'll say with vehemence. "You know they're not all laying in the nest!"

Until then things will continue as usual. 
If I am very, very lucky. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Domesticity


Last night as I finished cooking the soup and the bread that I had made for our supper, I felt a great sense of contentment and peace. Also, huge waves of love for my husband washed over me again and again. It occurred to me as I kissed him and stirred soup and knocked on the bottom of the bread to test for doneness that domesticity is one of the ways I have found to comfort me and give my life meaning.
Tara Westover found her saving grace in education, as the title of her book would indicate. She started at BYU so absolutely UN-educated that she had no idea what the Holocaust was. When she took the ACT test, she did not know how to fill in the bubbles on the answer sheet. She had never taken an exam in her life. And now? She has a PhD from Cambridge. She was like a dry sponge plunged into water when she began her education, soaking it all up as quickly and as intensely as she could after a childhood spent in a home where science and history were ignored and made fun of.
Me?
I have wallowed in home and family, always trying to create the family which I had always wanted and never had. A family in which a mother and a father truly did love each other and their children and where that which appeared on the surface was not that far from what was lying underneath unlike my childhood home which looked from the outside as Beaver Cleaver as any house in America but which, in reality, was a dark and twisted place filled with fear and pain. I did not want either that sort of family or the one which it tried to disguise itself as. With all of my hippie heart, I wanted room for the crazy, the good crazy, right along with the homemade bread and the garden in the backyard. I wanted laughing and I wanted dancing and I wanted music to dance to. I wanted love in all directions, backwards and forwards. I wanted to have my babies at home so that they never had to spend one minute in a plastic box, separated from me. I wanted smooching and lots of books, and chaos would be okay but underlying that would be a certain and sure foundation of trust.
And by god, I got that.
We weren't perfect. We still aren't. We had and have problems just like any family and I made a lot of mistakes. It certainly wasn't always easy or smooth.
But somehow, we mostly were a fairly joyous family. So much music, a lot of dancing, a lot of smooching. Many books. For a long time when we were raising the children we lived in a big brick house that had windows all along the back. Big, tall windows so that if you stood outside, especially at night, you could look into what was going on almost like a doll house. I loved that. We had our privacy when we needed it but there was no need to shut from view the regular goings-on in that house. I look back upon that time almost in wonder.
And you know what?  I would not have been able to do any of this without the love of my husband who stepped in and stepped up and loved me and all of the children the way he had been loved by his parents which was powerfully and unconditionally. He worked like a demon to support us. He was there when we needed him. We often took quick little weekend family trips to the beach and stayed in funky old places that smelled of cedar and time and salt.
Despite the mistakes I made I would not do anything radically different if I had to do it all again.

And here I am now, keeping house for just the two of us. I always knew, deep in my heart, that the children would grow up and leave one day and that if Glen and I had worn out our love and respect and caring for each other, we would be miserable. And I am glad we tended to our relationship throughout the years, often in what seemed like selfish ways.
Going to Cozumel was one of those ways but I swear to you- we would not be the couple we are now if we had not taken those trips so I regret nothing about them.
And I love that man more than I ever imagined I could have. We treat each other tenderly and yes, with respect. And we can still have a very good time, given the chance.

Domesticity. I cherish it. This house which I love and which shelters us is such a gift. The little bit of land where I can grow a few things and keep my chickens and where ancient oak trees spread their branches in another sort of sheltering.
Perhaps I love chickens so much because they themselves are so very domestic in their way. They have their own family and their own family rules. They have their rituals and their customs. They stay close, their bonded unit is their protection.


There they are. Eighteen of them, at least. Little Miss Violet is off somewhere else doing her banty wild thing which is the way she is and I love her for that. Every family has at least one. 

I went over to Jessie's today. She and Vergil seem to be coming down with the nasty hoopacoodis, as my mother would have called it and August has it full on. He was sleeping when I got there with the soup and bread I'd brought them. I hung out with Jessie and the merry little Levon for awhile and then we went to check on August who had taken himself back to bed for the first time in his life. He was sleeping but I just had to lay my hand on his forehead to check his temperature. His little cheeks were rosy and his lips were too. He stirred in the bed and opened his eyes and for a moment I did not know if he was going to fall back into sleep or not but then suddenly he said, "I sick." 
"I know," I said. "I'm so sorry. How do you feel?"
"Pretty good," he said. 
Bless him. 


Families. 
They can wreck you and they can save you. Sometimes they do both. Sometimes you pass on love and laughter, sometimes you pass on nasty viruses. And then they take care of you while you recover.

I know what my family has done. It has saved me. Over and over and over again. And it still does. Every day of my life. 

Love...Ms. Moon 



Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Grace And Goodness In Sharing (Possible Trigger Warning Needed, I Guess)

I'm pretty sure I've got what Mr. Moon has, but it's just in the beginning phase and so I've felt under the weather, as we say, but not horrible and so one of the things I have done is to get out in that poor excuse of a garden in this perfect weather to do some weeding if for no other reason than to create the illusion that the carrots and the greens are larger than the weeds.
And of course while I weed, I have to be listening to something and I've been listening to Barbara Kingsolver's Unsheltered which I am enjoying although not captivated by. But while I was weeding, I decided to listen to the Mormon Stories podcast of two interviews with Tara Westover, the author of Educated which is truly one of the best books I've read in forever. It's a book that makes a strong argument for the incredible resilience and strength of the human spirit under crushing circumstances (and that's a bit of a pun for anyone who has read the book) and it's one of those books that captures you enough so that you really do want more. More of the story, more of the author.
So. The podcast interviews.
And as I was listening, I heard her say something that completely blew away a great many of the clouds which fog my mind about the abuse I suffered as a child and how I still suffer, despite years of therapy and self-examination and way too much thinking and reading and more thinking.

A lot of what fucks with my mind is how I feel about my mother who was not my abuser. At least in the sexual abuse. It is eight days away from the six-year anniversary of her death and I have been thinking of her far more than normal. I have also been having dream after dream of my stepfather and in those dreams, I have been left alone with him and I am terrified and of course this speaks to my feelings about my mother because there is part of me which is never going to get over the fact that she did not protect me, just as she did not protect my brothers from terrible things her husband said and did to them.

In Westover's story, it was her brother who mostly abused her and not sexually, but physically although there was most definitely a sexual element to it which one could argue amounted to sexual abuse, but she was also abused by her father who was probably bi-polar and by her mother, too, who always stuck up for and defended her brother along with her husband. And although Westover does spend many, many words on both her father and her mother, it is her father and his mental illness which she credits with allowing what happened to happen in her childhood.
But I keep wondering why she doesn't ask the question of why her mother, who does not have bi-polar (or so it would seem) was (and still is) so intent on defending and supporting her husband? She did, once, apologize to Westover for not protecting her.
"You were my child," she wrote her. "I should have protected you."
These words gave Westover a great deal of peace and even now, long after her mother has denied that what happened was abuse and gone back to the family story that Westover is possessed or crazy or whatever, those words still comfort her.

My mother never said those words. The closest she got was saying, "I'm sorry this happened to you."
Although in my heart of hearts, I am not sure at all she ever believed me. Not really. And if she did she was completely adament in her position that she had never, ever suspected a thing and therefore, was absolved of any guilt in the situation.
There is a lot more I could say about this and I have and this isn't the time to say more.
But it has certainly contributed to the massive amount of guilt and confusion and anger and hurt that I still feel.

My thoughts about her swing from knowing that she had her own problems which were not being addressed and as such, she truly did the best she could and that yes, she did really love me, to wondering if perhaps she wasn't a classic narcissist and not really able to love me.
And just about everything in between.
These thoughts can be torturous. No one wants to believe that their mother did not love them. Everyone wants to know from the very first moment of birth that their mother is someone who will love them no matter what. Who will always be there for them. Who thinks they are special and wonderful and important and worthy of love and attention. This is just basic human nature.
And so when I feel anger or pain about my mother I feel tremendous guilt because surely, I have made up the behaviors I attribute to her. Right? Of course she loved me. She was my mother.

My brother tells me that our mother was nothing like the woman I remember her as. His anger when I have spoken about these things is towering and frightening. He will defend her unto death and I am quite aware that the mother one child has in a family is not necessarily the same mother another sibling had at all.
This too is human nature.

And Tara Westover went through years and years of doubting herself and feeling guilty about separating herself from her family which she finally had to do but she said something in one of these podcasts that gave me another place to stand upon from which to view all of these things.
What she said was that when she finally took the focus off her father and put it on herself, her feelings of guilt were so eased, her thinking became more clear. No longer did she have to make internal lists of all of the ways her father had mistreated her in order to rationalize her separation from him because it wasn't about him.
It was about her.
And for her own sanity, her own well-being, she simply had to separate from him and the family who supports him and denies her version of events, even though they witnessed most of it themselves. One sister, who was also abused by the same brother who abused Westover and who admitted that to her and confronted her mother and father, later came back and denied it all and accepted her father's blessing in order to be a part of the family again.

So. That's what I'm thinking about right now and I'm also thinking about how much I appreciate the honesty and courage of each and every person who tells his or her own story because even though each of those stories is vastly different in some ways, there are elements which are true to all of them. And sometimes, we can help each other by offering our own stories, not just of the abuse but of the ways we have coped and not coped, of the ways the abuse has affected us or not affected us, how tangled and seemingly endless our thoughts can get and remain even after years and years of trying in so many ways to unpick the knots to get at the very core of it all, the truth of it all.

The fact is, there may be no way. There may come a time when we have unraveled all that we can and it is time to just put that tangled web away. Not to deny it's there or to try and ignore the confusion and pain and problems it has caused. These things are undeniable. But to admit that we cannot know the what's and the why's of another person's actions or thoughts. Not really. Not ever.
And it isn't about them anyway, as Westover said so casually, a cough drop in her mouth as she spoke. It is about us and it has to be about us because we cannot go back and fix things and make it all right and straight and true the way we wish it had been.
And so we have do what we have to do to save ourselves.
And if that means we have to finally admit that a rift was created for whatever reason and that trying to build a bridge across it always has been and always will be fruitless, then so be it.

I think it is natural that as I get older and my children have grown into adults, I often feel horrified at the fact that none of Mother's children wanted to take her into our own homes when she could not take care of herself. That none of us even visited her the way we should have. And if you don't think that makes me feel guilty then you don't know me.

But. It was the way it was for whatever reasons and it is not my job to try and figure it out. There is no reason to anyway. That time has passed.

All I can do is to try to live my life in such a way that my children know that I love them, to know that I respect and cherish them, each as they are in their own unique and beautiful differences. I have tried to do that their entire lives, not because I have been worried about whether or not they'll pick out a good nursing home for me, but because I wanted them, I WANT them, to never have one doubt that they have been the blessings of my life and that for as long as I am able, I am there for them.
Wondering why my relationship with my mother was the way it was serves no purpose in my life anymore. Neither does torturing myself with thoughts of my own responsibility in all of that.
It happened. It is done.

I am still here and so are my children and my grandchildren and my husband and as I get older, I would wish that the flame of love I have inside of me only burns brighter, unhindered by anything at all.

That's what I want to think about and I am grateful for Tara Westover for helping me to define this.
She is an amazing human being and the flame within her burns so true and strong that it can illuminate the most inner heart of other humans.
I wish her well in her journey forward as I wish all of us.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, January 7, 2019

She Says She's Four


Well, Magnolia June is well and truly three now although she says she is four.
"No, Maggie, you're three," her mother told her.
"No I am not!" said Magnolia June. Her mama made her a unicorn cake and it was gorgeous.


There was salad and pizza and two uncles, two aunts, an almost-aunt Rachel, two grandmas, three cousins, a mama, a daddy, and two brothers.



Just about perfect for a three-year old birthday.
There were presents, of course. When I left, Maggie was trying to put together an ice cream cart that Uncle Hank and Rachel had gotten her. She was doing better with it than I would have.
Trust me.
I took it upon myself today to fold up and put away the Pack'n'Play that all of my grands except for Levon have outgrown and I couldn't figure the damn thing out and now it's laying there in a tangled angled mess on the floor.

Anyway, it was just a very sweet birthday and if you want to read about the day Maggie was born, you can find that post HERE.


A sweet picture from that day three years ago.

Being able to be at the births of my grandchildren has truly been the greatest honor of my life. Our whole family has felt connected and bonded from that first moment of life and I truly think that's one of the reasons we're all so close.

Mr. Moon couldn't make it to the party. That man is sick. Some sort of cold or sinus infection but he feels terrible and of course he worked all day long. You know how people joke about "man colds," insinuating that men are wussies when it comes to being sick? I wish my husband were a little more like that because when I get sick I feel guilty if I just stay in bed and sleep because he never does. I suppose he either picked it up in Mexico or far more likely, on a plane or in an airport.
Gah.

Steve Reed said that he'd love to see a picture of all of the chickens if that was even possible.
It may be possible, theoretically, but I couldn't do it this morning. I did get this one.


That's most of them. 

So it's been a good day and I got a few things done and this morning it really hit me that no, I was not going to get up and drink coffee and look at the Caribbean in worship and in wonder. 
There may have been a tear. 
But I was here to see Maggie turn three and I am glad of that. 
Among so many other things. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, January 6, 2019

A Boy Spent The Night


August and I picked camellias today and he carried some in. We put them in vases and he loved the fact that one of the bushes bears the name Peppermint Stick. Or at least I think that's what it's called.
Okay. I just looked it up and it's actually called La Peppermint.
Close enough.


You can see how it got its name. 

We had such a good time with that boy. He leapt up at 7:30 this morning, stripped of his pajamas which I hear is what he always does. I have no idea when or how he unzipped them and took them off but he did and he does. He looked at our bed, saw his grandfather wasn't there and raced off to find him without a word to me. 
I turned over and went back to sleep. And when I got up his grandfather had dressed him and given him juice and they were waiting patiently for pancakes. 


The requisite pancake picture.

When he finally sat down to eat he grabbed up his fork and said, "I'm  a hungry boy!" and he gobbled them down along with some bacon. 
Of course. 
It charms me tremendously that he still wants to sit in the high chair and eat off the princess plate. Ritual is scrupulously observed here at the Moon house. 

He helped his Boppy clean a car and do other Boppy-related things and then I asked him if he'd like to go to the dump place with me to take the trash and this, too, is another cherished ritual, believe it or not. It's very special because instead of sitting in his car seat, he gets to sit on Gibson's old booster seat for the entire block-and-a-half journey. 
I was putting the bags of trash and recycle in the car and said, "Where are you going to sit, August?"
"The booster seat," he said. "Did you forget?"
He truly thought perhaps I had. 


The floor of the back seat of my car is filled with kid books. He wanted The Grinch and I gave it to him. We safely navigated our way to the dump place and back without incident, I am happy to say. 

I will absolutely admit that August much prefers the company of his grandfather to that of mine. This doesn't upset me in the least and I think it's beautiful. He is absolutely fascinated by Boppy who has all of the tools, like his daddy does, and fishing stuff and machines and a tractor and also, the big comfy chair in front of the TV. I know there's more to it than that. He simply adores Glen. He follows him around like a puppy. But he will hang out with me too. We read a lot of books this afternoon. He always wants the same ones over and over again and they seem to be the same ones that Owen and Gibson always wanted and in fact, still do if only for the nostalgia and ritual factors. And the ones they like are ones that I rarely tire of reading out loud, so that is good. 
He is still asking WHY? about forty-two times an hour. He has definitely not grown out of this phase. And he wants to know what every character in every book is saying. 
"What he say?"
"He says, "Hello, Jack."
"Why?"
I DON'T KNOW! HE JUST DOES! 
Etc. 
We also played the Dr. Seuss matching game which all of the kids have also loved. You're supposed to play it with the little cardboard tiles facing down so that you have to remember where they are on the table but frankly, I'm not up to that sort of memory game and truthfully, never have been. We play a simplified version which makes us all happy and there are bite marks on some of the tiles from Gibson who used to chew on them when he was a baby when Owen and I played. 
Again- ritual. 

Jessie and Levon showed up in the afternoon to pick the boy up. He had said steadfastly all morning and early afternoon that he did not want to go home but he seemed pretty happy to see his mama. He hugged Levon and asked Jessie, "What Levon say about me while I was here?"
Which I thought was a fairly advanced concept to wonder about. 
Levon is talking some and his walking has gotten to the expert level.
He's also cute as hell. 


He wants to do what his brother does and here they are, knocking on the screen door from the inside for some reason I cannot fathom. 


I gave him a celery stick and he kept offering me bites. He is generous. He is also a good kisser. When I went to kiss him good-bye, he offered me his sweet little baby lips. Levon is pretty much just the perfect one-year old. A little shy but a jolly fellow when he gets comfortable. 
After a short visit, Jessie collected August's backpack and the stuffed sloth he'd brought and buckled the boys into their seats and Glen and I kissed them good-bye and off they went to go pick up Owen and Gibson who are spending the night at Jessie and Vergil's house. 
August was powerfully excited about that. He worships his big boy cousins. 

I have finally finished unpacking. I think I have finally finished the laundry. Well, almost. I have clean sheets on the bed and I am cooking black-eyed peas for our supper because we did not eat any on New Year's Day which is yet another ritual that southerners observe here in the U.S. We did eat about a tablespoon apiece of refried black beans on New Year's Day at Playa Corona with our shrimp quesadillas and so I don't feel as if we missed the good luck window for 2019. Still, black-eyed peas are delicious and there's no reason not to eat them, whether for luck or just plain old gustatory satisfaction. 

So I better get to it. Gotta cook the rice and broccoli. You're supposed to have greens with the black-eyed peas but my garden is still in a strangely stunted place of growth and I don't have enough to cook and I refuse to buy them this time of year. My mother always said that you eat the peas for peace and rice for riches but who knows?
Not me. 
I'm also going to cook some cornbread (for contentment?) and I need to get on with that too. 

Tomorrow is Magnolia June's birthday. She will be three years old. Can you believe it? 

Dang these children. They just keep growing up and it happens faster and faster with each subsequent child. 
Do you suppose that perception has anything to do with my age?

Yeah. It does. But it's my reality and that's just the way it is. 
Can't change it. Gotta go with it and try to cherish each moment as it happens. 

Love...Ms. Moon



Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Fullness Thereof


Here are just a few of the chickens. I swear, I was hanging clothes when I saw almost all of them running from one part of the yard to another and I thought, "Oh my god! It's a herd of chickens!"
Actually, a flock. But still, so many.

So yes, I hung clothes, I washed more clothes. I dried some of them in the dryer. The clothes I hung outside are still outside because I went to Publix and Costco and didn't get home until almost six and August was already here and I had to unload all of the groceries and make the supper. Right now there are more clothes in the dryer and another load in the washer and one more load to be done.
Good grief!
But supper is almost ready and here's my two handsome fellas enjoying beverages and watching TV.


I will get August's attention after we have eaten and he's had a bath which he will undoubtably want his grandfather to help him with. At that point he will let me put his pajamas on him and read him some books. I have made up his bed right beside ours and Old Monkey Zippy is already under the cover, waiting to be slept with. 

I feel like I've hit the ground running and that's not so bad. I still haven't entirely finished unpacking but my goal for tomorrow is to finally get that done. 

It's been another good day. May we all sleep well and peacefully tonight. 

Love...Ms. Moon


It's A Wrap

I think before I completely forget what I did and where we went in Cozumel, I will go ahead right now and post some of the pictures I took which I want to remember. It's a chilly morning in Lloyd and the chickens are busy scratching in the yard looking for bugs because they went through fifty pounds of food in two weeks and we're out. I gave them their corn scratch this morning which they devoured like the little dinosaurs they are. Do you realize that I have nineteen chickens now? This is crazy! And eight of them are growing teenagers! Mr. Moon has gone to town to try and contact a few customers and come to think of it, I'm alone for the first time in forever. I have not finished unpacking yet and there is still a small mountain of laundry waiting to be done but all of that will wait. I had thought it was going to be sunny today and that I would be able to hang clothes outside but instead, it's as gray as the inside of a pewter bowl.
So. Here we go.


Mr. Moon from New Year's Eve. We ate at a little restaurant which was on the second story of a building downtown and we could watch the people passing by below us. 



Perhaps these people were divers lined up in front of a dive shop. Or...who knows?


They made their own pasta at this restaurant. It was delicious. 


Such a pretty restaurant. 


The decorations downtown.


One of the gardener's little rooting places. Even those were pretty. 


One of his hibiscus.


And a tiny-petaled orchid. 

On our last full day we finally made it to the cemetery. Here are just a few of the shots I took. I love this place. It is like a small village of the dead. Mr. Moon never feels quite comfortable here but I do. It seems to me such a lovely thing to have this place to come to if your family is interned here. Keeping the mausoleum clean and tidy and painted seems like such a nice way to feel close to those who have gone on. To still tend to them and their needs. Or perceived needs, at least. 




Here's a smaller family place, but pretty.


Some of the altars are simple.


Some a great deal more complex. 


Here is one I always visit and reread what is written on it. The stonework is very typical of Cozumel. 


It is the resting place of a woman named Mary who lived and died in Cozumel back some time ago although she was born in the US. I always cry when I read the words her family chose to put here. They are about loving her as a mother, as a wife, as a grandmother and about how much she loved the island which she had chosen to call home. Her husband rests there with her. 


A darling baby girl who was eating beside us that day. I asked for permission to take her picture. "Of course!" said her mother and great-grandmother who later proudly told me that the little girl's grandmother (her daughter) was a police officer! Which reminds me of another thing I love about Cozumel- the way the women carry themselves there. They are so strong in their bearing and sure of themselves, too. When you see a mother and a father and children, the father is as apt to be carrying the youngest as the mother is. Perhaps more so.


Ixchel. They have moved her statue and somehow she has lost some fingers. Statues get moved all the time. I have no idea why. I love her, even without those fingers.


In a fight between Mr. Clean and Mr. Musculo, who do you think would win? 


Our last visit to Playa Corona. 


The last sunset we watched. 


And finally, Bagheera letting Mr. Moon give her some love. She only lets a few people even touch her so this is rather huge. She lets me (the one who feeds her!) scratch her head and belly but she never once sat in my lap. 

And well, I guess that's about it. It is time to wrap up our journey, as sad as it makes me. 
I have my own little world here and it needs tending more than my memories. I've been to the post office and picked up all the mail that accumulated while we were gone. I HAVE to go to the grocery store. And I'm picking August up to spend the night. Next weekend Mr. Moon is taking Owen up to Georgia for a weekend doing man things at the hunting camp and I believe that I'll have Maggie and Gibson over one night while they're off galavanting in the wilds. 

I kissed my husband good-bye when he left this morning and we looked at each other and both of us knew what the other was thinking- how different it is to be going off on our different ways now when for the past two weeks we had been together almost every moment, with neither one of us responsible for anything beyond each other. 
And that was good. 
But this is too. 
Balance, I suppose. Life can't be a continual holiday. 
Supposedly. And it all makes everything sweeter, the going away together and the coming back to this life we lead in Lloyd.

Ah. Looks like the sun may be coming out. I think I'll risk hanging some clothes out. 

Love...Ms. Moon