Thursday, December 31, 2020

No Title

 The pink dump truck and earth mover I ordered online got here a few days ago and knowing that the boys were going to come out today, I wrapped them both up in the box they came in and told the guys they could share them. They were so thrilled. The toys are quite clever and have locks and levers so that the different parts can be manipulated and it took a little while to figure everything out. 
"I don't think I've ever seen any toy trucks this complex," said Boppy. 
"That's because they're designed for girls," I muttered to Jessie. 

It was a lazy visit. There was TV watching. 

I will admit that I do get a little jealous of all the snuggles Mr. Moon gets in that chair. He often dozes off when they're all piled up together, the cover over them. The boys do not care. 

August's eye looked perfectly fine today and he told us the story of how it happened, beginning with receiving the rocket launcher for Christmas and putting it together. A long story. 
"Did it hurt very badly?" I asked him. 
"Yes. I cried," he said. 
Poor baby. But it doesn't hurt any more. 

We had buffet lunch with leftovers and hotdogs and it was all delicious and then there was some manly activity wherein Mr. Moon and the boys pulled a few trees up with the truck. You can only imagine how exciting that was. Levon even got to drive a little, sitting on his Boppy's lap. 

After they left to stop by Lily's on the way home to finally exchange Christmas presents and drop off a big steamer pan for Lily to use for the tamales she's making, I actually got some of August's name quilt pinned together to start stitching. Lord but it's going to be a funny-looking quilt with the two different rainbow prints I have combined with a shocking pink backing made of that soft material which cannot possibly be found in nature. Oh well. He'll love it. 

So. New Year's Eve, right? I'm going to roast a little chicken and make Mr. Moon's favorite potatoes and cook artichokes. I've even made stuffing for the chicken because that's about my favorite food. We'll watch another episode of Bridgerton. Last night we finally got to the sexy parts. 
"Sex!" we both called out! "Finally!"
It's odd. Things may change but at this point, the action is quite sexy and we have seen bosoms on characters but we have NOT seen the breasts of the main female character nor have there been any naked man butts. Are sixty-six year old women supposed to be noticing these things? 
Yes. Yes we are. 

I know it's normal on New Year's Eve to at least attempt to think back on the year we're about to kick to the curb to make some sense of it and to look forward to new beginnings as we step into what we so innocently call the New Year. As if time were really measured that way. But you know what? I just can't. 
There is no sense to any of it so I'm just going to keep doing the best I can knowing that we are living in unprecedented times where the only things we truly have to fall back on are science, patience, sense, nature, friendship, and love. That we need more than ever to cherish that which is genuine, to discard that which is not. 
And basically, to keep on with this thing we call life as long as we're okay doing that. 

And that's all I have on this, New Year's Eve, 2020. 
It's been a hell of a year. A hell of a ride. And however we've managed to stay on the back of this beast thundering through the darkness, we need to just keep on doing that. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Emotional Flare-Up

Lis sent me a bag of heirloom beans from a company called Rancho Gordo a few weeks ago. They are lovely shiny large black beans called Ayocote Negro. I was craving our favorite black bean soup yesterday but didn't have any black beans so I substituted half of the bag of the heirloom beauties for regular old black beans as a sort of experiment and they were so good. I cannot recommend this recipe enough. It's a bit fussy to bring together but it's so worth it. I've probably posted it before but here's the link again. 
I hope you don't hit a paywall. If I recall correctly, this recipe is what caused me to buy a subscription to the New York Time's cooking app and I have not regretted it for one second. 

I'm glad I fortified myself so well with last night's supper because today was just rough. I had to go to town to do grocery shopping and I'm now at the point where doing anything out of the ordinary is almost more than I can handle. Even things that I know will bring me pleasure cause distress and anxiety. I am not happy about this. I've always been this way to a degree but it has only become worse since last March. I sit in the parking lot of Costco (usually my first stop) and gather my courage and gird my loins, sometimes filing my nails and listening to whatever it is that I'm listening to before I can manage to go in. It did seem to me today that in both Costco and Publix people are being a little more aware of trying to preserve space and distance. Perhaps even the most dickwaddiest of virus deniers are realizing that no, this virus is not a hoax and that it did not disappear magically either by Easter or the election and that new mutations are appearing and that maybe the best thing to do to prevent death before being vaccinated is to wear the damn mask correctly and act according to the guidelines. 

So I managed to get the things I needed without feeling that I had, without a doubt, risked my life to buy peanut butter M&M's and all purpose flour but had only risked it a little bit. And sure, I bought more than that. Lots more. But when I got home I was in a very bad mood. So bad that I felt sorry for my husband who was trying to help me unload and put things away while I was being Ms. Bitchy McBitch Bitch, asking him to please let me do it, as if I am the only one who knows where shit goes in the kitchen. 
This is true to a small degree but it wouldn't have hurt me to just thank him and move things around later if I absolutely needed to. 

I went out to uncover my porch plants and water them and had a conversation with my across-the-street neighbor who informed me that their next-door neighbors have Covid. They seem to be okay with only mild symptoms and I hope that continues to be true. I picked up some downed branches in the front yard and then decided to just get those forms into the health department so I filled them out and drove back to Monticello where I gave them to a very nice lady who said the nurse would go over them and call us to make appointments to get the first of the two vaccines. 
So that is done. 

I think I have just hit a small wall when it comes to covid. In some ways, it has been fine with me. The quarantining is not a problem except for not being able to kiss and hug my loved ones. But the mask-wearing is not pleasant, not pleasant at all and I do not know how people who have to wear one at work all day do it. And the constant low-level of anxiety I have when I'm shopping for what we need does not help at all when I already carry anxiety with me daily. I am quite aware that I have it as easy as anyone on earth when it comes to living through this situation. I don't have to worry about being fired or being around people all day every day. I am not all alone. I don't have to take care of small children every day, keeping them entertained, healthy and happy. I don't have to supervise the schooling of children. I don't have to live in a small apartment with only the view of a parking lot below me. I haven't caught the virus and no one I love has caught it either. I have room and space to move about and plenty of nature to sustain me. I have a beloved to live with. I have plenty of every thing I need. 
And yet. 
And yet sometimes it's still hard. 

We all need to remember that no matter our circumstances, this has been difficult and that we are bound to have days where it catches up to us. 

Meanwhile, we go on, knowing that some days are not going to be great days. That's just life. 

Keep on living. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Another Love Story

Quite a while back I briefly mentioned that there was something going on here in my world that I couldn't discuss because it wasn't my story to tell but I have been given permission now and so I will because it is part of our family's story. 
How to begin? 
Well. Over a year ago now, Lily and Jason separated. I had no idea that there was any problem between them and neither did almost anyone else. The day I mentioned that something had happened, Lily had come out to tell me and her Daddy and she was so very upset and so very worried that we would be angry or disappointed or one of those things that children never want their parents to be. 
Of course we were shocked, but there was no anger and no disappointment. Both Mr. Moon and I had been married to other people and divorced before we met each other. In a fantasy world people would fall in love, get married, and stay married forever and ever, happily ever after, always, amen.
In the real world, this does not always happen. 
And we went through feeling surprise and sorrow because the break-up of a family is very hard thing. I know. I broke up with my first husband when my children were little and I am still very emotional about that even though I know it was the right thing to do. Not just for me but for the children and for him. Still, it was one of the most incredibly difficult and heart-rending things I've ever experienced. 
It just was. 
So. We knew we wanted to support Lily in this very hard time and we knew that we also did not want to make Jason feel as if we were judging him in any way because we love Jason and he is the father of three of our grandchildren. And there really was no "fault" in this situation. It was mostly a falling-apart for various reasons and they had already decided that more than anything, they wanted the children to feel loved and cared for, safe and supported. 
As did their grandfather and I. 
The children are always the main concern and their health and happiness is of utmost importance. 
And things carried on. Jason eventually moved into his mother's house where the children feel at home when they stay with their dad and he has continued to be a big part of their lives and he and Lily get along very well so that the children see that their mother and father can be friends who love each other, still, in ways that matter, even if things change. 

And then Lily and Lauren began a relationship. I think that some of you may have already guessed parts of this. Especially when I've written about them all visiting Lauren's parents who treat the kids as if they were their own grandchildren. They have been far more than accepting. They have been thrilled to have these three kids become a part of their lives and they have taken them in with such love right along with Lily. 

And we have absolutely come to love Lauren. Although she certainly never expected to be in a relationship where children were involved, she has stepped up in ways that I can't even believe. She is so good with those kids. And she is so good to those kids. She is responsible and beyond caring. And the children know she cares. They know that she is Lily's partner and, well, in our family love is quite definitely love and that's all there is to it. 

And to be honest- I've never seen my daughter Lily happier in her life. It's absolutely unbelievable. For that and that alone I would love Lauren and be glad that she and Lily have found each other. 

Today the ladies brought the kids out so that we could exchange presents. Lily gave us homemade bath bombs and pickles and jellies and we got the kids presents, of course, and I had bought that silly unicorn rainbow salt and pepper holder for Lily and Lauren and I took the picture above. Lily loves that silly thing. Right before I took the picture, she said, "Maggie says she has two moms now."
We all laughed because- well, yeah. 

And a few hours ago Lily texted and told me that if I wanted to write about her and Lauren, it was okay. 
And now I have. 
Because you are all, in some way, part of my family. Some of you have known me now since before Lily had Owen. You have been with me through births and through deaths. Through times when I didn't know if I was going to make it out alive and times when I have been filled with joy. Hell, you know I wash my sheets on Friday. 

And in one more bit of news- I drove to Monticello today to pick up forms at the library to fill out and hand in to the health department which will get my husband and I scheduled for the Moderna vaccine. At first I said that I would wait awhile and let others who need it more get it but Mr. Moon said, "No. Owen and Gibson and Maggie need us." Since before Owen was born, his Boppy has been planning all the things they would do together when Owen got older and by damn, he's ready to do those things. And we are both so very, very ready to kiss the children, to hug them tight, to kiss and hug their mama. 
And Lauren. 
And Jason too. 

And bonus! I got to see Terez at the library! We were so happy to see each other. He called me his favorite hippie which delighted me. We chatted a bit outside, both of us masked, but he took off his mask for me to take his picture from a good distance away. 

What a sweet, sweet man. He misses us and we miss him and it was a joy to see him. 

All right, y'all. I think that's enough for one day. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, December 28, 2020

Not A Bad Day At All

It has been a very exciting day here in Lloyd. 
Okay. That's a lie. It wasn't really that exciting but it was nice. 
First- the best news. August's cornea, according to the ophthalmologist, is almost entirely healed. Hurray for August's eyeball! The picture above is the device he used to shoot himself in the eye so I guess he was jumping on the launcher facing the other way when he did it. And although the rocket is indeed soft, that thing has a lot of force behind the launch. I hear that those rockets soar way into the sky! 
Anyway, we are all relieved and happy that he is okay. 

Last night Jessie and May and Lily and I got texts from Liz of the West who was looking for aprons to use as curtains in a kitchen window. The arbor that had been right outside the window is being taken down due to rot and the horribly invasive plant growing on it and she feels exposed to the outside world now. I have a pretty large collection of aprons, some of which hang on my kitchen walls, 

and I invited her to come out and look at them and take home whatever she wanted. And I pointed out that she'd probably given me half of them anyway. I have fancy aprons that were surely cocktail party hostess aprons and aprons that look like they were probably worn by farm ladies and aprons that are dramatic and aprons that are simply pretty and aprons that are purely practical. All of them were probably homemade. 

So Liz came out this afternoon and went through my collection and we sat on the porch and chatted for a little while and it was so lovely. I am not a social person, as we all know, but it was truly wonderful to just hang out and talk to a friend. As she said- a small bit of normalcy. 
So that was delicious. 

Mr. Moon had a very frustrating morning trying to talk to someone at Century Link which is the company that provides us with a landline and our internet. Living in Lloyd means that you really do not have much choice when it comes to internet providers. We're lucky to have any. But he'd neglected to pay last month's bill and they wanted to charge him a late fee of almost 25% of what the bill was and he wasn't having it. He'd thought he'd paid the bill but it would appear that no, he did not. So he sat in the kitchen and every time I'd come in to get coffee or make my breakfast cheese toast with tomatoes, he'd be very, very patiently talking to someone on his phone, never losing his temper, always being polite, but damn! You should have seen his hair! He had raked it back in frustration so much that he looked wild. 
This went on forever. He finally got the whole bill thing taken care of (with the fee waived, of course, because there was no way he was paying that) and was supposedly put on hold to discuss a technical matter with a different department when he got cut off. 
You can only imagine. 
When I left the house to walk to the post office, he was trying to get ahold of another real person to talk to and I felt terrible for him. 
When I walked into the PO, the post mistress was talking on the phone which is sort of a big customer service no-no if you ask me as I was waiting for her to retrieve a package I'd gotten and here's the thing- the subject she was discussing with her friend on the phone was POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE that she'd gotten from someone on the phone representing some store. 
"Instead of saying, 'Yes m'am' or anything like that, she just kept saying, 'Yup!' And I was like 'Yup! What does that mean?'" 
Good GOD. 
She finally hung up and got me my package and I walked on home to find Mr. Moon on a break from phone calls as he'd been HUNG UP ON AGAIN!
What a strange world we live in now. 

After Liz left here I decided to go out and try to dig up a plant I have in the little garden area by the kitchen but I got sidetracked and pruned back another rose growing there first. Then I started digging this stupid plant up (and I have no idea what it is or why it's there) but the roots were too big for me and I finally just shoved the shovel into the dirt and decided to cut down the dead bananas instead. They were looking like this. 

The way I trim back my bananas is to get a big ol' honking knife that lives in a drawer in the kitchen that I use for no other purpose and slice through the stems. Bananas are mostly a large sponge and are filled with water. Their insides are rather beautiful. 

They are fairly easy to cut through but the larger ones are heavy as hell with all of that water in them. I cut the biggest ones up and put the pieces in my beloved little garden cart and hauled them over beside the garage where I dumped them. And now it looks like this. 

I am not sure what all of those other plants are but I think they may actually be turmeric. I should figure that out. I need to dig up a bunch of those if I want to plant herbs this spring. Or anything, really. Between them and the pine cone lilies, there's nothing but my chickens scratching for the compost I throw out there to stop them from taking over the whole space. 

Florida is not a state where plants or insects or invasive reptiles know their place. It is a state where every noxious and/or ordinarily well-behaved species and variety takes their bras and shoes off and dances in the sun and performs fertility rites under the moon. 

Oh well. Dealing with all of it keeps me out of the pool halls. 

Time to make supper. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, December 27, 2020

I Guess It's Sunday

This is what the garden fence looked like this morning where we'd left the sprinklers dripping all night to prevent the pipes from bursting. Real ice sickles! And that part at the top of the fence was so interesting. Look at this.

Ice sickle sculpture! But it all melted away by noon as did the ice on the chicken waterers. We worried the tiniest bit last night, putting the chickens to bed and knowing how cold it was going to be but they all survived nicely and gave us nine eggs today so they must be doing okay. They spent their day doing their regular roaming of the yard. They have specific places they visit daily and it seems to me that there's a schedule to it. They do tend to congregate around the kitchen until I bring out the compost for them to eat and scratch about and after that they go to different spots to scratch and hunt for bugs and whatever else it is they're looking for and places where they lay in the soft dirt they've scratched up for their dirt baths and sun naps. They seem to stay in a fairly small area of the yard although a few days last week I did catch some of them in front of the fence over near where I cleared the poison ivy which is way too close to the road for my comfort. 
"Get on back in the yard," I told them and they did. 
Before I ever had chickens I remember our then next-door neighbor, Scott, got chickens and let them run in the yard. 
"Aren't you afraid they'll go out into the road and get run over?" I asked him.
"Ms. Mary," he said, "Have you ever seen a dead chicken in the road?" 
I had to admit that no, I had not. I've seen countless armadillos, possums, raccoons, birds, a fox or two, and even deer but never a dead chicken. 
Here's a good joke:
Why did the chicken cross the road?
To show the armadillo it can be done.
I have no doubt related both this story and the joke before but y'all- it's been a slow news day here in Lloyd. 
I think that breakfast was pretty much the highlight of the day but of course we haven't had supper yet so...

I finished listening to Nothing To See Here and it was truly a charming book. I sort of can't believe that a man wrote it. If you get a chance, please listen to the audio version. As I said yesterday, the narrator is fantastic. I listen to a lot of audio books. A LOT. And the lady who did this narration (Marin Ireland) is absolutely one of the finest narrators I've ever heard. Plus, it's a charming, heartwarming story and has a lot to say about children with differences in a sort of allegorical or metaphorical way. Maybe both. I ain't no grammar teacher. 
Bottom line- highly recommend. 

August seems to be fine after shooting his eye with a foam rocket. FOAM, people! He'll be going to see the pediatric ophthalmologist tomorrow. He even told Jessie that going to the hospital was sort of fun although that's probably because he got to watch Shaun the Sheep on Mama's phone while they were waiting. We are big fans of Shaun around here. It's one of those shows that kids love and yet, doesn't make adults want to puke. 
As many of you related, having children just absolutely means that you will be spending time in emergency rooms. I remember my youngest brothers having to go to the ER after they got into our other brother's model glue. They had it all over their faces and in their mouths (they were quite young, a year apart in age, and absolute partners in toddler crime) and so my mother rushed them to the hospital where they puked up the bananas they'd recently eaten. Neither one of them ended up as glue-heads, thank goodness. 

We started watching Bridgerton last night which is a very, very pretty show but we haven't gotten to any of the parts with nudity yet and until we do, I'm pretty sure that my husband will be fairly bored. I absolutely love the fact that so many racially different people are cast in all of the roles with no mention made of the fact in the scripts. From watching the trailer, I had thought that perhaps race was a theme in the show- you know- Whoa! Black man, very, very white romantic interest, Black queen, etc. But nope, just gorgeous people of various skin tones and ethnicities going about the ridiculous lives of the upper class and royalty. I hope that tonight's episode will give us at least a bare breast or two to keep my husband's interest. 
And let's face it- who doesn't love a lovely breast?

I guess that's about it. I've made soup. Dough for focaccia is rising. A bowl of soup, a wedge of bread, a bit of goat cheese- perfection. The soup is a sort of minestrone, I guess. It has a lot of vegetables in it including tomatoes. 

Tomorrow is Monday, right? I absolutely have to get back to walking. And perhaps also, eating all healthy and shit. I mean- we eat very, very well with fresh vegetables and wild meat and so on and so forth but the sugar and fat consumption has to come to an end. I finished up the last of the cinnamon rolls that Jessie brought over on Christmas day that she'd made and I felt like a junky wanting to call her supplier. I almost texted her to say, "Uh, could you please make more of those rolls? We need them badly."
And of course we do not. 
No one NEEDS cinnamon rolls. 
With icing. 
Or otherwise.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, December 26, 2020


After examining him, the doctors have given August an antibiotic ointment to use and he will be seeing an ophthalmologist on Monday. 

Pretty much what we expected. But at least we know he's not in terrible danger. I think he will heal up nicely and all will be well. 

Adventures in parenting. 

Keep Your Eye Off The Rocket

 I checked my photos to see if I'd taken any pictures today and I had but it was just one and it was of Jack sitting on a chair. I sent it in a text to the kids about how I caught him trying to scoop an egg out of the wooden bowl it was in on the counter in order to push it onto the floor to play with. When I gave him toys to play with and he discovered that he likes to play, I had no idea I was creating a monster. 
Rachel texted that his inner kitten just wanted to play and I answered by saying that if he starts breaking eggs on the floor, his inner kitten's ass is going to get whipped. 
Yeah, yeah. 

So I'm reading (with my ears) the book whose cover you see above and I'm enjoying it and I also thought the title would probably be appropriate for tonight's post so there's your picture. The narrator is tremendous and I have fallen in love with her. Well, I guess I've fallen in love with the character she is portraying but also with her voice. The storyline involves a protagonist whose best (and only) friend asks her to come and be a nanny for her two step-children who have the unfortunate habit of bursting into flames spontaneously. 
They spend a lot of time in the pool, as one might imagine. 
The premise sounds a bit iffy but somehow it's working very, very well. 

In other entertainment news, we watched a movie on Netflix, The Midnight Sky, with George Clooney. We kept expecting...something. And smallish and mediumish things happened as the movie plodded along but then it was over and we sat there and went, "Well. Okay."

"Hand me the remote," said my husband. 

Jessie just called. August shot himself in the eye with a rocket a little while ago and Jessie's trying to decide whether to take him in to the ER and she probably will. She says it looks a little funky and it hurts him and his vision is blurry. Jesus. She said, "I forgot to tell him to watch out for his eye!" so of course it's her fault. As I always say, no matter what happens, it's the mama's fault because we gave birth to them and if we hadn't, nothing would have ever happened to them. Now there's a pro-choice argument you never hear.
I told her I had no idea what to do because none of my kids ever shot themselves in the eye with a rocket (and it's a very soft rocket with a rounded end but still...). I told her I did remember taking a friend to the ER who'd done something to her eye and they treated it somehow but I couldn't remember what the problem was or what they did and then I said, "So that doesn't help AT ALL." I always erred on the side of caution about taking kids to the doctor but I can't tell you how many times I realized after interminable waits to see someone that either there had been no real cause for concern or else whatever the doctor had done seemed to have little effect. But of course, one can't base any decisions of this sort on that thinking. 
Poor August. Bless his little rocket-launching heart. And poor Jessie. I hope their adventure turns out to be easy and that there's actually someone there who knows what they're looking at when they peer into my grandson's beautiful, perfect eye. 

It did indeed get cold last night. Down to 25 I think. When I got up, Mr. Moon announced that we were down to 9% in the propane tank so he wasn't turning up the heat and had just put on more thermal underwear. He'd already arranged to have the gas guy come fill up the tank on Monday. I, however, did not like this plan and demanded in my pre-coffee state that he "CALL THEM!" and he said, "But it's a holiday," and I said, "No, it's not. Christmas is over and the post office is open."
So he called them and they came out and now we have a full tank and will not freeze when it gets down to 27 tonight. 
Crisis averted. 

Quite frankly, I've been in a very cheerful mood today and my stomach has not hurt. I am not surprised in the least. Christmas is over and the darkness has dispelled in my heart. For a day at least. I felt a little guilty when my children mostly reported feeling the let-down of it being the day after Christmas and also feeling the effects of eating so many Christmas treats and so much unaccustomed rich food but I didn't feel very guilty and although I did sympathize, I mostly just enjoyed feeling better than I've felt in weeks. 

My husband and I have been jokey and loving and so it's been a fine, sweet day. I even cleaned out the hen house and pitchforked the big pile of poopy hay that has been collecting over the months, turning it and compacting it into a smaller pile. I felt like Farmer Mary. 

Time to go make supper. I'm roasting some sea bass and making the grits that take an hour to cook because they are real grits and not the kind that are called "quick" or - horrors!- "instant". Those are not real grits although I will admit that I do cook the quick ones sometimes for breakfast if we're in a hurry. Needs must, as they say. 

Jessie said she'll keep us posted about August and I'll let y'all know how it goes tomorrow. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, December 25, 2020

We Did It, Y'all! We Survived Covid Christmas

 I made up the cheesy-sausage bread loaf this morning with the dough that had been in the refrigerator last night after I'd let it warm up a little while. Jack was the supervisor. Actually, I think he wanted to knock the rolling pin off the counter so that he could play with it. Since I got the cats those toys, he's become quite interested in pushing things off of tables and counters in order to bat them about on the floor. He's finally become a real cat. Maurice not so much but she does bat one of the little jingly balls around sometimes. 
So I cooked the sausage and drained it and grated some cheeses and rolled out the dough and applied the sausage and cheese and rolled it up. I let it rise a little while and then baked it. I probably should have let it rise a little longer and also probably should have baked it a little longer but this is what it looked like when it came out of the oven. 

However, it tasted nice. I scrambled up some of our very yellow-yolked eggs and that was a fine breakfast. And then I started working on the Christmas lunch that Jessie and Vergil were going to join us for. I made buns for the barbecue and damn if the fuckers didn't burn on the bottom and I am not sure why. The tops weren't burned in the least. Oh well. I sliced off the burned bottoms with my beautiful bread knife and all was well. I heated up the barbecue and made macaroni and cheese and a salad with garden greens and apples and pecans and goat cheese with a dressing made of fresh orange juice, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. 

All morning we were getting texts from the kids. Everyone was having a good time, eating delicious foods, and children were opening presents. 

Here's one I stole from FB that Jessie posted from last night. 

And Hank sent this one of their kitty Honeybelle who was checking out the new cat scratching taco truck. 

About one o'clock the Weatherfords showed up and the boys were beyond crazy happy. SO MANY PRESENTS! They'd stopped by Hank and Rachel's and gotten more presents and more cookies. They both rushed me and screamed, "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" 
Levon said, "Do you have a present for me?"
"We DO!" I said. 
He was so happy. But first, they had to show us the new digger that their Aunt Pearl sent them. 

As you may probably know, Aunt Pearl could not have chosen a more thoughtful and appropriate gift. 

Boppy bought August a Hot Wheels race track and great fun was had putting that together. There was some problem with it but I was in the kitchen so I don't know what it was. But there were still great roars of delight so it must have worked at least a little. And Levon did love his new Big Lots trucks because Levon has never met a truck he doesn't love. 

When I pointed out the scarf to him he looked at it like WTF? and continued on with the truck exploration which cracked me up. 

When it was time to eat lunch, the boys sat down at the table but if they ate two bites, I'm shocked. They just couldn't. Life was way too exciting to eat. Which was fine. We adults did a good job of it. There was a little more playing and then suddenly, both boys were in their car in car seats and ready to go home. They had, as Vergil said, accomplished everything they'd come to do. They'd even gotten to watch Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer sitting with Boppy in his chair. 

Before they drove off, Levon modeled his scarf for me. 

August asked if I'd make him one too and I told him I would. I packed up leftovers and half a chocolate pie and some whipped cream, and kisses were given and so many thank-you's and off they went. 

So it's been a fine Christmas Day. I only cried a little bit when I was talking to Jessie about Cozumel and yes, I know you're tired of hearing about that. 

The kitchen has been cleaned up and everything is quiet again. I think our supper is going to consist of martini olives. It's getting cold, cold, cold. 

Oh! Mr. Moon made me cry a second time when he gave me a present. Last night he gave me a delicious beer that we shared which was fine but this was a real present- a pair of Apple AirPod Pros. He has a pair and loves them and my ear buds have been on their last legs for quite awhile. I listen to either books or podcasts almost all day long so they are a necessary part of my life. 
I love them. 
I wish Apple made everything. They are so simple to use and if I get a text while I'm listening to a book or podcast, Siri stops the narration and says, "Text from ...." And then she reads it to me. If I want to do something with my phone like call Hank, all I have to do is say, "Hey Siri!" and she says something like, "Uh-huh?" or "Mmmmm?" and I say, "Call Hank," and she does. I can set it so that she doesn't interrupt to read texts if I don't want her to. She's polite like that. 

So we have survived another Christmas. We are still going to get together with the other children and grandchildren to give them gifts but I think it's been sort of sweet for everyone to have their own little Christmas. Of course I've missed everyone but I know that all of my babies are healthy and safe and happy in their nests and honestly, nothing could make me happier than that. I think that before the next year is over Mr. Moon and I will probably have had our vaccines and be able to hug and kiss all of them. I have no plans to rush out and join the masses in any way, shape, or form, but the thought of being able to touch, hug, and eat with my loved ones is enough to bring me joy. 


See you tomorrow. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, December 24, 2020

This Ain't No Hallmark Movie

While we were watching a documentary series on the Yorkshire Ripper (how's that for holiday entertainment?) last night I finished crocheting this scarf. It's...colorful. It also screams, "HOMEMADE BY A TERRIBLE CROCHETER!" 
Oh well. 
I put it on Jack who was lying beside me and he rose up to stretch and I took his picture. I think he looks quite handsome. However, I will be giving it to Levon for Christmas just because. As Jessie said, within five minutes the boys will be using it to tie each other up with but that's fine with me. It's like giving money to someone on the street- you give it away and what the receiver does with it is their business. That's my opinion, anyway. 

I ain't gonna lie to y'all. Today's been a hard day. Just one of those days where you're on the verge of crying and/or puking and/or crawling under the covers. As I have said so many times, I really am not sure why Christmas is so damn hard for me but it just is. 
It just is. 

I wrapped the kids' presents and I did laundry and I made a chocolate pie and read a few articles in the New Yorker and I went to the post office and I took the trash and I looked at the beautiful Christmas cards we got and felt horribly, horribly guilty for not having sent any myself. I almost screamed at my husband when it was apparent that he'd bought me a few little things because we promised we weren't doing that and I didn't. Kayak and stove. That was the deal. 
Again with the guilt. 
But he calmed me down and he's been so sweet all day. The deer finally found Lily's garden and so he spent a lot of time today working on temporary barriers to their access. FYI- deer like collard greens the best. They know what's good for them. 
This morning in the online paper Mr. Moon found a recipe for cheesy-sausage bread that he asked me if I'd make for him. The recipe called for a roll of Pillsbury French bread dough and of course I'd rather make five hundred loaves of French bread from scratch before I'd go back to Publix right now so I've made up the dough and it's in the refrigerator and tomorrow I'll make his cheesy sausage bread for our breakfast. I was thinking about making cinnamon rolls but I have to tell you that I'm way over the limit when it comes to sweets at this point. 

My kids and I have been texting back and forth all day. Rachel and Lily have still been baking. Jessie's been doing the last minute stuff she needs to do and she DID have to go to Publix. Poor May came home from work exhausted and ready to collapse. She told us that for Christmas dinner she and Michael are having sheet-pan nachos and I texted back, "You are my most brilliant child!" 
Having nachos at Christmas reminded me of the Christmas Eve in Cozumel that Mr. Moon and I had four years ago. You can read about it here if you have any desire. We had nachos that night for our dinner and it truly was one of the very best Christmas Eves of my life. 

I bought special seafood for our supper tonight. Two lobster tails and a few rock crab claws. I wish I'd bought frozen pizza instead. I am not cooking well today. It's impossible to cook when your heart is heavy. I left out the butter in the chocolate filling for the pie I made and then the bread dough I made for tomorrow just didn't come together the way it should. I usually have a very intuitive touch when it comes to bread dough with the ratio of liquid and flour and I just couldn't seem to get it right today. 

Ah well. La-di-dah. 

It has rained all day long. It is going to get cold tonight. Twenty-eight degrees Fahrenheit, you guys. That's really, really cold for us. I have to go cover my Roseland mango. I hope the porch plants survive with their light coverings. They'll probably be okay. Here's the thing- even when my plants appear to have caught their deaths of cold, if I cut them back and give them time, they eventually send forth new shoots of green life. 

I'm holding that thought in my heart, knowing that it is true for people too. Where there is life, there will be growth given time and patience, light and water. 

And love. 

Here you go. That's the Pissed Off Baby Jesus nativity that sits in front of my dining room fireplace year round. It came with the house. I did put up lights around it. Don't say I'm not trying. 

Here's to visions of sugar plums. Or cheesy-sausage bread. Or nachos. Whatever. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Christmas Pancakes!

Why didn't I remove that not-so lovely leaf in the front of the camellia before I took the picture? Because I didn't even notice it. That's why. I am very much NOT a visual person and I think that may have to do with the fact that I needed glasses far earlier than my nearsightedness was detected. I'm not blaming anyone because I was only in third grade when the Lion's Club visited the classrooms at my tiny school and had us all point in the direction that each "E" was facing.  
"What E?" I asked. 
Ooh boy. 
At which point I became not only the fat kid whose mother was our teacher but also the kid who wore glasses. 
Good times. 

Here's how blue the sky was today.

Pretty darn blue. Blue as a Siamese kitten's eyes. Blue as the sea in Cozumel. Blue as...
You get the picture.

Lily brought the kids over today for a pancake lunch. We've been planning this for about five days but between Lily's brief (not covid) illness, the weather, and me having to go to town yesterday, it didn't happen until today. I made the traditional sweet potato, apple, banana, oat bran pancakes and put the butter, maple syrup, tart cherry syrup, and blackberry syrup (thank you, Lis!) on the table outside. 

The chickens knew that food was about to happen.

Miss Pecky is a bold, bold bird.

And when the kids got here they flocked right up, begging for treats. Poor Gibson. He's been traumatized. 

Magnolia June found the new baby stroller right away and soon she was taking care of a baby. 

Not a great picture but I'm lucky I got it. When I asked the girl to pose she said, "I don't have much time," and off she went. 

It was so good to see my Lily and her bebes. I wanted to sit around and chat all afternoon but they couldn't stay that long. Cookies to be baked! Christmas crafty gifts to be made! I don't think I've ever seen Lily so cheerful and energetic. Her happiness makes me so happy. I got to talk with just Owen right before they left. I miss that child so much. He's growing up so fast. They all are but, damn. I talk to him like he's an adult. Okay, I don't curse around him. He's only eleven. Otherwise, I respect his intelligence immensely and our conversations reflect that. I'm sure he humors me a bit. I am his old Mer and he is thoughtful and polite. I feel so lucky to be his grandmother. 

After they left I cleaned up and brought the vase of camellias to the back porch and later found Maurice posing beside them. She reminded me of the old Glamor Shots. Remember them? 

So. Here we are. I wrapped two Christmas presents today. I put my wreath out that I made from twisty grape vines and a fake cardinal approximately fourteen hundred years ago because I do really love it. I have not put out the nativity scene and I seriously doubt I will. It's two nights before Christmas and all through the house, many creatures are stirring, probably more than one mouse. 
Although not if Maurice and Jack are doing their job. 

Love...Ms. Moon

P.S. Speaking of Glamor Shots-

Our Maggie. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

(No) Thanks For the Memories

 Carpet of Bradford pear leaves

I had a few things to do in town today. I could zip through them and get home in short order. That was my plan. 
What is it about going to town that makes time slow and speed and warp and weave itself in such unusual and unaccountable ways? 
I do not know.
I first stopped by Hank and Rachel's to drop off a bag of assorted frozen meat packages and eggs. Rachel gave me Christmas cookies to bring home and I will admit I have already eaten two and they are the best damn cookies I've ever eaten. We chatted for a few minutes on their back porch. Rachel had settled Hank into a chair with a blanket and he said he felt like someone from Little Women, an invalid, taking the sun. He looks completely happy and good. 
After I left there I dropped off a skull and a jawbone and a tooth in a box at a friend's house. I know. That sounds strange. Her son is doing a project of some sort and she's put out a message on FB to see if anyone had such things they'd be willing to give up. These items had been sitting on top of my circuit breaker box for forever. We find these things in the woods and bring them home to examine and then what do you do with them? So I was most happy to give them away. 
On to the compounding pharmacy where I get my hormones. There was a situation there with a homeless guy and that took a little time. Nothing bad. I decided to check out an Indian grocery store as I am almost out of sesame seeds and they cost a small fortune at the regular grocery stores but go for a pittance at the import stores. I bought a bag of them and a bag of whole nutmeg and by then I was hungry and decided I would give myself a huge treat and go through a Middle Eastern drive-through for a falafel pita. It wasn't too far out of the way. So I detoured a little and went to where the place used to be but no longer is and had to turn around and go back to its new location and I got my pita and then I drove to a parking lot and ate it and somehow all of that took about an hour. I suppose it was sort of worth it. 
(Not really.)
I had thought I'd go to Costco, mostly just to see if I could find something, anything, for Levon to open on Christmas because his pink heavy equipment isn't going to be here until after. I decided, however, to just go to Big Lots and find him a little something-something and I did and it was ridiculous because basically I risked my life (although everyone was masked properly) to get him some cheap trucks that he doesn't need but I DID find some rainbow wrapping paper with snowflakes on it that will thrill August to no end. 
On to Publix and then finally home and I am exhausted and hoping with all of my heart that I have not picked up the virus by some unthinking action. It would be ironic if I died due to Christmas-related activities, wouldn't it? 

I was thinking last night about all of the things I used to do for Christmas and I know that every mother/wife/woman can identify with the tasks that we have felt or do feel we must accomplish in order for our families to have anything near resembling a happy Christmas. The amount of cooking and baking alone was unbelievable. There were endless gifts to buy and cards to write and the house to decorate and the wrapping to do and I carried so much guilt and resentment inside of me as I drove from malls to grocery stores, to little local shops and back to malls and back to the grocery stores and to top it all off, I always seemed to make presents for people. Nightgowns for my kids, pillows for friends. Bread for my children's teachers. Cookies for neighbors. 
How in the world did I do it? 
And why? Why did I do it? I did not enjoy a bit of it except for the Christmas Eve hanging of the stockings and the Christmas morning opening of the presents. 
I suppose I did it because that's what I was supposed to do. As a mother for my children. As a wife for my husband and his parents and relatives. As a woman for my brothers, my mother, and for my friends. There had to be light and cheer and delicious smells and the perfect presents and a beautiful Christmas tree and Christmas cards hung on the wall and if you wonder why my favorite Christmases have been spent in Mexico with nothing to do but to wish people "Felice Navidad," and to snorkel in the beautiful clear water, and to eat whatever we can find to eat and to walk past the houses in town where you can easily look in through the open windows to see other families' trees and decorations (it's not peeping Tomism, you can't possibly walk by without seeing them) and the church which is open on all sides where the Christmas mass is being held in Spanish, of course, and to end the day sitting outside and looking at the stars and moon shine their faces over the Caribbean sea while the palm trees sway above me making whispery gossip on the night breeze- well- I'm sorry.

No I'm not. 

Carry on. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, December 21, 2020

Memories And Stuff

There you have it. Christmas baking at its finest. I finally rolled out the cookie dough I made last week and, having no Christmas cookie cutters, I just cut out circles, baked them, and frosted them with seasonal chocolate frosting with gold sugar sparkles. Jessie had brought the dough back to the house on Saturday, thinking perhaps that we'd find some time to bake and decorate them with the boys but of course that didn't happen. The final product wouldn't be so bad if I hadn't over-baked about half of them. Oh well. Chocolate frosting covers many sins. And Mr. Moon said that it's better than green frosting. 
He's probably right about that. 

This morning we got a ray of sunshine in that Vergil brought the boys out to collect their share of the MEAT. It was nice to see those little guys and I got to read them a few stories from the pig stories book and we laugh and laugh at those. I also read "A Fish Out of Water" and when I pointed out something on one of the pages August said, "You always say that when you read this book."
"I know," I said. "I do." 
God, I'm old. 

They didn't stay very long and I finally got around to trimming my roses back. Always a joy. I don't know the first damn thing about trimming roses. I just go out there with the cart and my pruners and hack away. Whatever I do always seems to turn out okay because they always grow back and make roses. Of course my roses are of the heritage varieties meaning that they're not picky about much of anything. While I was out there with my pruners and the cart I pruned and pulled the red passion flower vine from the fence. It was brown and dead but will come back in the spring. I got exactly zero passion flowers this year. I have no idea why. Not enough sun, probably. 

Mr. Moon defrosted and cleaned out the deep freeze in the garage and informed me that he now also wants to get a standing deep freeze because you don't have to defrost them and also because we're getting another ninety pounds of wild pig that he actually sent to a professional to process. 
I'm just overwhelmed here. 

I keep doing research on a new stove but it all boils down to the unknowables. You can read every review on the internet (well, theoretically) and still not know if you're making the right decision. For someone who could actually make passable meals on an open fire if I had to, I sure am being particular. 

Hank reports that he's feeling better every day. This makes me so happy. Lily went and got tested for covid today because she's been coughing and tired. She's probably fine but better safe than sorry. May works at a food co-op and I can't imagine she's having a very good time at work this week. The best thing about her job is that she works with Billy and that's a priceless perk. He posted a thing on FB the other day that I'm still laughing about. It was a Christmas card he was sending to our Taylor and on it he'd written, "Shayla made me send this. I hate you. Love, Billy."
If you knew Billy like I know Billy, you'd laugh too. 

My FB memory today was from two years ago in Cozumel. 
Remember this?

That was a tip jar from Burritos Gorditos. 
And I've just gone back to my blog from that day and found two more cool pictures. 

The traditional Great Pyramid of Tecate at Chadraui's, the grocery store where we always get our supplies from a coffee maker to rum. 
And here's a picture of the sunset that night.

So, okay, yeah, I'm crying now and missing Cozumel so hard it really does hurt. I watched a video this morning from a guy who lives in Cozumel who is just the most amazing person and it was all about how to safely and properly wear a mask. He said in it that yes, some people feel that masks are taking away their freedom but the fact is- if you're in Cozumel in public, you have to wear a mask. They aren't screwing around with it there. 
But I don't want to go back until I can see the beautiful smiles of the people. That's just the way it is. 

Just heard from Lily. Her test was a rapid-results one and she's negative. Whoo-hoo!

Y'all be safe. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Bloody Sunday

I have no pictures today. I have read or watched nothing inspiring, heart-lifting, or profound. I did read a story in the New Yorker that made my stomach hurt and there was one line in it which I will probably remember for a long time.  I would copy the line here but without context it is meaningless and so there is no point. But it's a damn good line. 

It's been drizzling all day long. My weather widget got oddly specific this morning. 

Okay. I guess I did have a picture. Anyway, I've never seen anything like that before. It's supposed to freeze on Christmas Day and it may also rain. I suppose that means that there is the slightest chance for snow. I seriously doubt that will happen. 

I scrubbed the toilets today. Do you suppose that Donald J. Trump even realizes that toilets need scrubbing? I think he probably assumes that either 
a. Toilets are magical and thus, never need to be cleaned, or
b. His bodily issues are magical, and thus, have no need of being cleaned from any surface they may come in contact with.

That was disgusting. Forgive me. Let's face it- I'm an old woman who has scrubbed a lot of toilets and I have little regard for those who have never had to face that reality. 

I sort of started August's quilt. Perhaps by his birthday in September it will be done. Christmas is out of the question. Rumplestiltskin couldn't finish this quilt by Christmas. Isn't it odd how so many cultures seem to have the selling-your-soul-to-a-devil myth? Well, there are variations, of course. Rumplestiltskin asked for a firstborn child. The devil asked for Robert Johnson's soul. Delilah asked for Samson's hair. I am sure there are other stories. It's a good theme and one we should all ponder from time to time just in case we're in a situation where an ugly (or beautiful and undeniably hot) creature shoves a piece of paper and a pen in our hands and promises to solve our greatest problem or bestow many gifts on us if we just sign on the dotted line. 

I had a small breakdown just a little while ago. I was trying to find something in my freezer under packages of various meat products which kept slipping and sliding even and unto the underneath part of the freezer drawer which meant that the freezer drawer had to be removed in order to retrieve them. Mr. Moon came to my rescue but I, being an old woman (is this our theme for today?) had already smashed the back of my hand on a part of the drawer which caused blood to break through the thin-and-getting-thinner skin there which didn't really hurt but it did really set me off. 
I think I said something like, "That's it! I've hit my limit on meat products! I can't take any more of this!" 
There may have been more words but mostly to that effect and none of them truly obscene which is a small miracle. 
If I had been twenty-six instead of sixty-six, I would not have bled due to thin skin but I probably would have thrown packages of frozen meat products at the wall while screaming epithets. I have matured, however, since then. I have attained a level of dignity. Just ask my husband who took all of the packages out of my freezer and moved them to a different freezer. One of HIS freezers, out in the garage. 
I feel better now. 

I would at some point like to talk about the moral dilemma I'm having reading Dr. Doolittle to August but who needs that on a Sunday night? 
No one. That's who. 

It's drizzling. I'm grizzling. Supper needs making. It's been a Sunday and I will tell you that some of it has been very, very sweet. 
Who could ask for more?
Not me, baby. Not me. 

Love...Ms. Moon