Monday, January 31, 2022

Smelling The Roses

Last night I made my husband pose with one of our giant mustard leaves. And trust me- that is not the biggest one out there. But it's impressive enough, I think. 

I talked myself into getting out and walking today. It's been weeks, I think. Or a month. Whatever. Too long. It was beautiful and clear and by the time I started out it had warmed up nicely. A perfect temperature for walking. No Man Lord seems to have acquired yet another RV to set on his property which is good because it seems to be in far better repair than the one he has been sleeping in. I'm curious as to how these acquisitions occur but I am glad that they do. His yard at the moment is filled with scattered aluminum cans which he crushes and then sells, I suppose and how he gets those is another mystery. Someone must bring them to him. He did have very neat stacks of firewood for sale for awhile but it would seem that he's sold most of those. He always has a fire going in his yard now that it's cold. 
I do not know how he does it. Too cold in the winter, too hot in the summer, no electricity. No car. No plumbing except for a spigot near the road. No privacy. I think he might go across the street into the woods in lieu of having a toilet. 
I don't know. 
I'm sure that if he lived just another half mile down the road in Leon County, instead of living as he does in Jefferson County, he would have been dealt with by the law or human services or something by now. But he doesn't and so here he is, people helping him in various ways, and I am shamed every time I go past his house, thinking of my warm house, my three bathrooms, my chickens and garden, the yard full of cars and trucks, my more than comfortable bed, and washer and dryer, my hot and cold running water, my beautiful stove where I cook wonderful meals from the food we can afford to buy and that we can afford to grow. Trust me- growing your own food is not necessarily a money saver in any way. To improve the soil costs money, to buy seeds and plants costs money. To provide irrigation costs money. And all of the work put into it is not to be discounted either. It's so easy to wonder why people who live in poverty and who have a bit of dirt don't grow some of their own food but trust me- they can probably no more afford that than they can afford to buy it. And anyone who thinks they can save money by keeping chickens is dreaming. If we had to calculate what each egg we get cost us in chicken food, we'd no doubt see that buying our eggs would be a lot cheaper. Of course we like to think that our eggs are far superior to the ones you get in the store and we do have the satisfaction of knowing that our chickens lead pretty happy lives, wandering about and scratching where they want all day long, with plenty of extra food to eat.


Speaking of eggs, this is what I found today when I took the covers off the front porch plants to water them and let them get some sun today.

Those sneaky hens have been at it again. And they've been doing this literally undercover. Crazy girls. And now that I've discovered their hiding spot, they'll quit laying there. 
It doesn't appear to me that I've lost any of my porch plants. Some got nipped for sure but they'll be back. 
I cut the not-fully-opened roses from the yard this afternoon and put them in a little glass pitcher I'd forgotten I had but found when I did that archeological dig of the shelf above the sink. It was filled with feathers, of course. 

Maybe this week I'll take the pruners to all the roses and cut them back. Obviously, if I wait until they stop blooming it's never going to happen. I also desperately need to cut back the confederate jasmine because it's going to pull down the fence it's on if I don't. That is a messy, sappy, time consuming job. There are places where the vines have reached up and braided themselves quite literally together, forming ropes reaching for the sky. Nature is fierce, my friends. 
It all seems so overwhelming at times but I think the way to get things done is to go slowly and plod my way through it all. 

Can you believe it's the last day of January? I remember when Gibson was just a little guy and he always told me to drive "super speed" when he was in the car. Time is going super speed now, the tracks greased with all the years behind me. 
And that is the way that it is which is why I do not mind moving as slowly as an old mule in the field, warming its withered back in the sun as it grazes. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, January 30, 2022

The State Of The State In North Florida

That's what it looked like this morning on the garden fence where we'd left a sprinkler dripping to avoid busted pipes. Icicles in Florida! I think it may have gotten down into the low twenties but as far as I can tell from perusing multiple weather sites, it's not going to get that cold tonight. 
But as I had predicted, the chickens' waterers were frozen and there are plants that obviously got "burned" as they used to say for whatever reason when I lived in Central Florida. I remember how incredibly exciting it was when a hard freeze was coming. Those were the days when there were still many citrus groves in the area and back in those distant times when dinosaurs still walked among us, the boys in high school and possibly Jr. high were recruited by grove-owning family and friends to fire the groves which meant putting out kerosine heaters in the rows of fruit trees and then, when the temperature dropped to a certain temperature, they would light the heaters which in many cases did indeed prevent the crops from freezing. This all involved staying up all night in barns with fires to keep the boys themselves from freezing and it was always hinted that nips of alcohol might be involved and best of all- they did not have to go to school the next day. Firing groves was a valid absence pass. And I have to say that as a girl I was somewhat jealous and also very glad that my gender prevented me from those long, cold work nights.

I think I used up my monthly ration of cheer yesterday. At least it seemed that way. Today has been fine but that sweet light that some days possess that shines around me, giving everything a sort of comforting and contented glow was missing. 
Oh, how I love the days when it shines though. There just seems to be a rightness about even the most pragmatic and mundane pieces of my life. A satisfaction with how things are. Not a wild glory or a manic gleam, just a true ability to appreciate and enjoy things as they are. Which is about as close to nirvana for me as I'm ever going to get, I think. I recognize the preciousness of those days and I cherish them but I can't help but feel a disappointment when I wake up and realize that the light is gone and once again I see the dirty baseboards and realize the curtains need washing and worry about things that no amount of worry can change and fret over things that must be dealt with that the day before did not cause me the least concern.


But I did clean two doors' window panels and swept the house and took the trash. And spent way too much time doing two crossword puzzles. 
It's been a Sunday, I guess. 

And I really have nothing to complain about. A mood is a mood and feelings are feelings but sometimes I do wonder what it must be like to be one of those people who generally wake up without having to go through existential angst but instead feel fairly cheerful and start their days with thoughts of things they want to do and accomplish and the knowledge that on the whole, life is pretty darn good despite setbacks and frustrations, situational sadness and worry. I wonder if they realize what a blessing it is to have that sort of outlook on life most of the time. I think that many of them believe with all of their hearts that it's all in a person's attitude. And that attitude is something that can be slipped on like a sweater, a tutu, a colorful pair of socks. 

Sigh again. 

Well. Let us see what tomorrow brings. Who knows? I may clean more windows! Let the sun shine in. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, January 29, 2022

So Much Sweetness

This is the picture I sent to Lily last night when she texted to ask how it was going. I love that picture. I can see the woman in it that Maggie will become and yet, she is still such a little girl with her princess book, wearing the nightgown I made her. 

Asleep she is still a rosy cherub, those rosebud lips, that baby nose. 

She was a good bed partner, only waking up once and I think she was just dreaming then. She woke me a little after eight this morning, which was good because she had to be at dance at 10:30 and I had to make pancakes and bacon and eggs because that is what the woman baby wanted. She was absolutely a perfect guest up until it was time to go and oh! How she did not want to leave. I had to resort to my old bribe and distract school of child tending and promise her M&M's if she would get in the car without fussing. 
And she did. 

It has been a beautiful day. 

I spent a lot of time inside today, despite the sun, because it has been so chilly but just the sight of that blue sky outside my windows and doors has cheered me so. I did another cleaning project and tackled the old vanity in the hallway that holds many treasures and pictures and things that are meaningful only to me. I took everything off of it and dusted it well, cleaned the objects, washed the doilies, and put everything back. 

It may still look a mess but it is not in my eyes. Hell, I even washed the lamp and the lampshade. I googled "how to clean a lampshade." This is far beyond my usual cleaning. I remember once a woman I knew complained to me because her cleaning lady did not dust the lampshades! I was stunned- I had no idea that one was supposed to clean lampshades. 
I have never forgotten that. 
As you can see I also picked camellias. The freeze we're going to have tonight and tomorrow will kill all of the blossoms so I gathered them while I could. 

I am so glad I bought that vase. It's already given me far more than ten dollars' worth of pleasure. 

One of the very last of the pink perfections. At least for now. It doesn't even look real, does it?

Can you see the ants? Strangely, some of the varieties seem to draw ants while others do not. I'm sure there is a reason but I don't know it. 

So much pink. 

And finally, two pretties in the little Fiesta Ware pitcher. 

I also cleaned a window. Yes. One window. Guess what? It's making me so happy that I may in fact clean another one tomorrow! 

And I did lots of laundry and dried and folded it and put it all away. All day I've been listening to Cloud Cuckoo Land and I cannot say enough about the way Anthony Doerr can craft a tale that spans centuries and continents, characters, sagas, and dreams, and weaves them all together into a glorious, tight, bright whole-ness. Maybe it's just me but I find no false steps, no moments or even seconds of disbelief or confusion, just an incredible story written by a master of his craft. 

My iPhone gives me memories in my photos app daily and here is one that showed up today. 

Not only was it timely, but it is an absolutely wonderful picture. Oh, how our little Maggie has grown! And yet somehow, May looks exactly the same. Two beauties. 

All right. Off to make soup for this coming-on very cold night. Creamy cashew, acorn squash and sweet potato. I am pretty excited. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, January 28, 2022

It's Maggie's Night

Ms. Magpie is here! I picked her up after school and on the fifteen minute drive home she probably asked, "You know what?" about forty-five times and I said, "What?" in response every time. Of course. She is so glad to be here and the first thing we did when we got home was pick salad and get eggs. I showed her a rag doll that I've worked on all day long to try and finish before she got here but since the doll's head is still not attached to its body and it doesn't yet have a face, she wasn't that interested in it. 
Oh well. 
I decided that since it's going to be rather chilly tonight, she can sleep in the bed in the "new" bedroom with me and Boppy can sleep in the old room in the old bed. I do not think he is too upset about this. I told Maggie and she was thrilled! "I always have good dreams when I sleep with people!" she said. She also pointed out that actually, she would get more sleep because she wouldn't have to get up in the morning to get in bed with me. She'd already be there! 
Can't argue with that. 
When we went into the bedroom we'll be sleeping in she immediately looked for the little, very old stuffed lamb that plays "You Are My Sunshine" when you wind it up. I think it was her mother's and for a very long time it's been on the vanity in that bedroom. I recently put it in the library in one of the doll carriages and Maggie panicked. 
"Lambie! Lambie! Where ARE YOU???"
I assured her that Lambie was indeed fine, just in another room. 
"Phew," she said. 

We've already played Matching Game and we tied which was awesome. 

And, since it's Friday and fancy drinks must be had by all, she got hers. I was given quite detailed instructions on how that strawberry should be affixed to the edge of the glass. She's already asked if there will be a purple cow later and I told her there would be. She was so happy. And I'll be making cheesy noodles and chicken nuggets pretty soon for her dining pleasure. I'll make a salad but I doubt she'll eat much of it. This is a good thing about being a grandparent- the children's nutrition is not really our responsibility. If I provide vegetable matter I have done my job. 
While we were picking our salad greens, she asked if she could pick some carrots. I told her that I didn't think they were ready but by golly, we found two that were. And she pulled them up. 

"I'm a genius at picking carrots!" she said. I agreed that indeed she was. I suggested that she eat those tonight with her supper. 
"No. I don't like carrots. But I'll eat another strawberry!" 
Sounds good to me. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 
May we all sleep well. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, January 27, 2022

A Good Day Was Had In Lloyd

This morning Maurice woke us up. She jumped up on the vanity in our room and as clearly as if she was speaking Human said, "Get UP! Get UP!" I mean really. 
Finally I looked at my husband and said, "Honey, I think Timmy's in the well."

The sun was back at work today, blueing the sky and setting the last of the Bradford Pear leaves afire.

I was in the most cheerful mood I've been in for quite awhile and then I got a text from Jessie saying that she was keeping August home from school and so both boys were home and what were we doing today? I answered her, "Come out and see us!!!!"
And they did. I was so happy. 

Mr. Moon and our friend Tom had arranged to get together this morning to work on that step railing. Tom has tools and skills that would come in helpful and when the boys got here, the men were already hard at work and immediately gained an audience. 

They spent a good part of the time they were here watching the guys saw and sand and shape and...oh, I have no idea. But it made a lot of noise and was obviously fascinating. 
Jessie and I made everyone a lunch and then I read the boys a few books and then we played Parcheesi! I had looked up the rules and how to play before they got here and we had a grand time for about thirty minutes at which point Jessie and I began to wander in our minds a little bit. 

I remember all of the Parcheesi that my grandmother played with me and I told Jessie, "God, I never realized how patient my granny was." August lost no interest. Levon played on first one team and then another and then he decided to go back out and see what Boppy was doing. 
By the time that we had called the game for Jessie because she got one of her pieces into the home section (you're supposed to get four to win), Levon and Bop were heading across the street on the four-wheeler to borrow a tool from neighbor Paul. 

So we walked on over there too and had a nice little visit with Paul and his wife and their doggie, Stella who was beyond excited to see two boys. She fetched a tennis ball for them for a little while and then she grew jaded about that and laid down and chewed a stick. 
Both boys got to ride home on the four-wheeler with Jessie and I right behind, just in case someone fell off, I guess. 

No one fell off and that battery that August is leaning on didn't explode and once again, Boppy was right and they were fine. 
I think that men just don't feel quite the same way about children as mothers do. I mean, men would definitely throw themselves in front of a train to save a child but then they let them ride four-wheelers and trust that they'll hold on whereas all women can think about is how we grew those human beings in our bellies and then labored to deliver them safely into life and then fed them with our own bodies and checked on them every time they fell asleep to see if they were still breathing.
And so forth.
You know. 

There was a little more carpentry observation. 

And then it was time to go home. There were nuts and raisins and four M&M's apiece for good-bye treaties and lots of silliness as they pulled away. 

So it's been a very good day. 
We are all a little freaked out here because it's supposed to get down into the mid to lower twenties on Sunday night. We are not in the least prepared for this sort of arctic insult. I know- go ahead and laugh, but that's just how it is. We'll be dropping dead on the ground from the cold, pipes will be bursting everywhere, azaleas will be nipped in the literal bud, and we'll have to take pick axes to the chicken waterers. 

Stay tuned. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, January 26, 2022



Is it Wednesday? Is it still January? Why did I walk into this room? Wait a minute- what did I need to put on the list for my next grocery run? 
When did I lose my looks/my mind/become invisible/stop ever wearing make-up? Or jewelry? When did I stop wearing jewelry? When did my clothes get so threadbare that mending them requires patching them? When was the last time I went clothes shopping in an actual store? When did this attitude arise that I really don't need anything new because, well, I'll be dying before I'll get good use out of it? 
Does this all sound depressing and morbid and ridiculous and sad?
Yeah. That's me these days. 
My dreams seem more real than my waking moments somehow. This does not say a whole lot for my sense of reality. Of being here now. Have I slipped into a crack in the simulation, being neither here nor there? 
Go ahead. Tell me I need to do mindfulness meditation. Or get my medications changed. Or get more exercise. Or volunteer somewhere. Or start a book club. Or learn to paint. Or refinish a table or a dresser or a chair. Or drink green tea. 
I know. I know, I know, I KNOW! 
I do. I do know I should do all those things. Except for the green tea. 

I stayed busy today. Busy, busy, busy little housewife. Laundry, tidying, cleaning sinks, taking trash, making chili, making Bragg's roasted almonds and cashews for tasty, healthy snacks! Mending. Plant watering. Patching. Bed-making. Bread-baking. 
Nothing news-breaking. Nothing back-breaking. Nothing breath-taking. Nothing earth-shaking. 
Just living, I guess. Just living on the earth and making of it what I can. 

Funny. I miss Roseland so much. Talk about nostalgia. I keep thinking about the sunsets on the dock over the Sebastian river. Maybe Mr. Moon and I need to go on a little trip somewhere soon even if we are risking our health, if not our lives, by doing so. 
Even the thought of shopping at a different Publix sounds exotic to me right now. 

Meanwhile, I really am fine. And Maggie is coming to spend the night on Friday and that will be fun. I'm listening to Cloud Cuckoo Land via the library's loan of the audio book. I have books to read with my eyes and I have everything I really need and living a dream-filled life is not so bad for the most part. I know that. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

I Drove To Town And Did Things

I had a much-needed day out of Lloyd today. My mental health is going south fast, spending all of my days and nights here in this house and on this property. I'm extremely grateful that I have a large, rambley house and a couple of acres because if I lived in an apartment I think I'd go mad. I don't know how those of you who have been limited to a mostly smaller area have done it. 
Last night I hit a pandemic wall. Jessie had gotten home from work (she spent her first two days back on the floor at the hospital!) to find August coughing again. Did I tell you that although he tested positive for Covid on Wednesday he tested negative on Friday? Neither one rapid tests, either. So. He probably did not have Covid to begin with but he did have something and we all know that I gave it to him. 
I just couldn't deal with it. I cried. Levon and Jessie are fine now and of course August could have picked up what he has at school but all of a sudden, all of the isolating and quarantining just stabbed my heart and I felt so very low that even the drops of Eucalyptus oil I sprinkle in my shower which generally delight me and soothe me immensely did nothing for me. I leaned my head against the wall of the shower and inhaled and just felt so blue. 
It's all been...a lot. Even for someone who loves nothing more than to stay home and who does get to see her family and her grandchildren. I guess I hit a breaking point. 

I knew we had to go to town to sign a lease today and I had other errands to run and I picked up some things that Jessie needed at Costco and took them by her house. The boys rushed out to see me and my heart felt so much better. August seems okay and only coughed a few times while I was there. He seemed to not want to stop holding on to me or hugging me or touching my hair which is not like August who is not a physically affectionate boy but today he was. And not because he felt sick. I think he feels pretty good. Maybe he's just missed me. Whatever, I loved it. 
The boys got my phone and started taking pictures. Levon obviously took these.

It was a huge strawberry. 

I'm not sure which boy took this one but it reminds me that children's point of view is lower than adults' and even though we all know this, I think it's good to be reminded in such a visceral way. 

Mama in the kitchen. This also inspires me to realize that my own point of view is quite different from Jessie's who is a good half foot taller than I am or Mr. Moon's who is something like a foot and a half taller than I am. So strange, isn't it? Our realities are not everyone's reality, even when it comes to what and how we see. 
I read the boys a book and then August forced me into playing Uno and I suppose that eventually I'll learn to play that game. He knows ALL the rules and cards and at one point I looked at Jessie and said, "Why aren't children this age running the world?"
"I don't know," she said. "They should be."
I'd tried to tell August that I couldn't play because my brain wasn't working and also, because I'd forgotten the rules. He instructed me to google how to make my brain focus and then, when I'd done that, to google the rules of Uno. 
This makes a great deal of sense and I could hardly argue with that logic although I did not google how to make my brain focus and I just let him tell me the rules. Which he did. 
So that was a beautiful visit and then I had to go to Publix after which I stopped very briefly at the library because it was getting late and I needed to get home. 
When I was at Costco, I saw Brenda with the Beautiful Eye-Shadow and she told me the story of her family getting covid. They're all fine but they did go through it. I just love that girl. I'm glad they all came through unscathed. 
And now I'm home and it's rainy again, the sun obviously having forgotten how to shine and it's chilly and damp. Funny how humidity makes the heat feel hotter and the cold feel colder, isn't it? But it truly does. I guess that everything is relative whether it's what we see or feel, hear, taste, or smell. Roquefort cheese smells like heaven to some people and like the nastiest dirty socks in the world to others. I go around seeing mostly chests and faces and my husband sees scalps and the tops of refrigerators. 
This is hardly profound. 
Which reminds me- I got a grilled shrimp po' boy for my lunch before I went to Jessie's house and while we were talking I told her, "Well, I have truly decided something today."
"What?" she asked, possibly thinking that perhaps I'd made progress in some sort of end of life planning or something equally serious. Jessie does worry about these things, as well she should.
"I've decided that fried shrimp is a hell of a lot better than grilled shrimp." 
She laughed. 
"Yeah," I said. "It was a real epiphany." 

And now I'm going to go fry a fish. Probably in oil and not air. We shall see. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, January 24, 2022

Another Totally Productive Day

 And that is some of what was on my little shelf above my sink. That is not including all of the china shards and feathers. Honey, I had an entire bird's worth of feathers up there stuck in various vessels. Also sea shells. It was a dang mess. 
It took me all day to figure out what to keep and what to toss, and where to relocate some things and what I should do with the space created. I wanted the space for things I use. Not clutter. I put some bowls up there. 
Eh, okay, but not really. 
What I finally ended up doing was pulling some of the vases out of the pantry and putting them up there. They are pretty and I certainly do use them and what's the first thing you do when you're putting flowers in a vase? You run water into it and voila! There is the sink. 

Not a great picture but you get the idea. I am keeping a few small bottles that I love, some that we have found here in the yard on the shelf. 

And a favorite Virgin of Guadalupe. 
My little and very old Seminole Indian dolls had to stay up there because they are precious to me and I do not want them to get lost in other groupings somewhere else. 

And of course they need their seashell and also the little leaf baby which charms me so much. I do not know why. Maybe it's his bare bottom.

That took me about forty-eight hours. I also cleaned out the hen house and cut down the bananas and hauled their trunk/stems to the edge of the woods. My husband planted potatoes today, creating the most beautiful potato beds I've ever seen. He really is good at gardening. And he started building a railing by the kitchen steps. 
Not a bannister if it's outside, is it? 
I don't know. 
Something for us to hold on to when we go up and down those steps. And our other old-timer friends. I remember when we bought this house and the insurance guy came out to look it over and he said, "You'll probably want to build a railing here," pointing the to the space where Mr. Moon is building one now. 
"Right, right," I said, but hell, we were young and spry fifty-year olds then with the balance of yogi masters. Things change. And so do needs. I expect that one day we'll need a ramp but I hope it's no time soon. 

The sunset birds are twittering away and the chickens are up in their roost with clean straw in the nests. Except for Bella who still sleeps on the same branch above the hen house every night. I hate to think about her sleeping outside in this cold. I know it's not exactly warm in the hen house but it's got to be warmer than on a tree branch. 
Thank goodness that she has such nice warm down under her feathers. I wonder what it's like to wear your comforter all the time? Probably not too bad. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, January 23, 2022

I Am NOT A Hoarder. I Am A Collector Of Nostalgia

I am, let's face it, the Queen of Tchotchkes. I am not one of those people who love a clean, spare look. 
Well, that's not true. I do like that look but I've never been able to achieve it in my own home. I've never even really tried. And that's okay. Little children sit in my kitchen and look around and say, "I want a house just like this when I grow up," which charms me to pieces. 
Adults sit in my kitchen and wonder what sort of insane mind created this chaos. Probably. 
Lately though I've been looking around, especially in the kitchen, and thinking that at least I ought to clean some of my many objets d'art. My attention has been focused on the items I had hanging from the ceiling light above the island and the aprons hanging on the walls. 
All of those things were filthy. To put it mildly. 
The things hanging from the light fixture were the mobile you see above, a sort of copy of a Chinese glass wind chime that I bought from ebay eighteen years ago, and a glittery bird. 
And this morning, I started there. Mr. Moon, because he is taller than a giant, got them all down for me. I threw the bird away. She was simply done. The mobile I put in a sink full of warm soapy water and the wind chimes I cleaned as carefully as I could because the glue holding the strings on with little gold paper dots is weakening and the whole thing is fragile. I shined up the glass on it as best I could and re-glued the strings that had come unattached, and hung it up in the window where the pantry is. 

Some of the pieces of glass have fallen and broken but there it is. If any of you know where wind chimes like that can be bought, please let me know. They have always been my favorites and I just don't think they make them anymore. 

Then I started taking down aprons and wiping down walls. I cleaned a few plates that I have mounted above the kitchen door and put them back up. I took down my ristras

and ran them through the dishwasher with a punch bowl and a cake plate that live way, way up on top of the glass-fronted china cabinet. Mr. Moon had to get those down and while he was up there he cleaned the top of the cabinet. 
"Do you need some paper towels? Rags? What?" I asked him. 
"A plow," he said. I believed him. Who cleans things that high up? 
I took down things on top of the kitchen hutch and cleaned them. I took down my precious Mexican rooster and gently bathed him. 

I took down and wiped down the...flower things? that Hank gave me long ago that I have on the doors of the cabinet above the stove. 

And as you can clearly see, I never throw away any grandchildren artwork, whether drawn or colored or cut. 
There are more things, trust me. Ribbon strung tiny Mexican jugs, pictures, extremely tacky but colorful heads of una Senor y Senora. 
I'll never, ever achieve a Zen emptiness and peacefulness in my decor. I know it. 
BUT, I am feeling a strong urge to get rid of the things that (gag) don't spark joy. 
The senor and senora may go. EVEN THOUGH every time I look at them I think of tiny Owen insisting that they were his mama and daddy. 
I'd say that I'm not going to put any aprons back up but Linda Sue sent me some recently that are so dang cute that I might have to reconsider that prospect.
I should probably think about taking down some of the grandchildren's artwork. I doubt they even remember it's up there. 
Well. Some of it. 

And that's mostly what I did today. I cleaned tchotchkes although I did take time to go outside and appreciate the fact that the sun came out today and the sky had all of the blue that can be fit into one sky. 

Last night's gumbo was so good that we're happily looking forward to finishing it tonight. I've picked greens to make a salad to go with it. 
It's cold and getting colder. 
Tomorrow I'm going to do something about that shelf over the sink which is now a repository for hundreds of chicken feathers and bowls of china shards we've found in this yard. I told Mr. Moon that I'm going to put them back out in the yard for someone else to find. 
"Let some other kids treasure hunt," I said. He laughed. 
Maybe I should put a grow light in there and check "raise African violets" off my bucket list. 
Okay. I don't have a bucket list but I have always wished I had a good spot to grow violets in. 
We shall see. 

Be well. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Kitchen Witchin'

I woke up this morning from a dream that left me unsettled- not an unusual occurrence. For whatever reason, dreams with my stepfather in them are happening almost nightly. 
I wish they weren't. 
In his last night's appearance he was actually apologizing to me...for brushing my hair when I was asleep. 
In my dream I thought, "That was not hair brushing." 
I have absolutely accepted the fact that what happened to me as a child will always be a part of my psyche and as such, something that I cannot afford to get too worked up over. And I know that there are millions who are in the same situation. We may all handle the residual damage differently but we have all developed our coping mechanisms. Some of them healthier than others. Some of them no longer even necessary but so much a part of us that we've lost our ability to let them go. 

Well. That's not really what I came here to talk about this evening. Actually, I didn't have much of anything on my mind when I sat down. I've just had a very house-wifey day and the minutes and hours have gone by of their own accord as I've floated through the motions. 

In covid news, Jessie reports that everyone in her house except for Vergil has a snotty nose and that is that for any symptoms. Lily reports that Owen is still testing positive and she and Gibson and Maggie are still negative. I actually talked to all of them today. Maggie called me on Gibson's phone and then I got to speak to the boys too. I told Owen that even though I knew he was going to be fine, that I'd cried when I heard he had Covid. 
"That's okay," he said. 
"I know," I agreed. 
I also Face Timed with Maggie on her mother's phone. We are planning a sleepover for next weekend if everyone stays negative. She wants macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets. And she says she has a surprise for me! I need to find a surprise for her too. She's such a sweet child. 

It's getting colder. Might freeze tonight so I have covered my Roseland mango and my back porch plants. The front porch plants are still covered from when it froze last week. The sun did not show its face all day long for the second day in a row but it may tomorrow. 
I've made a gumbo which is simmering and waiting for the shrimp to go in. There's a loaf of sourdough in the oven and I'll make rice because for whatever reason, there must be rice with gumbo. I just tasted it and I do think I got the roux just about right tonight. Here's what it looked like after it was done and the chopped onions, celery, garlic and peppers went in. 

Can you see how dark the roux is? It's such an interesting dish to make. You have to stir the oil and flour for a long time, patiently watching it go from ivory to the color of an old penny. Some say it should be the color of mahogany. But it's that roux and its slow, intense browning that gives gumbo its earthy deliciousness. Yesterday I made a chicken stock with the carcass of the roast chicken I'd made the day before and I added the shrimp shells to that today and let that mixture simmer while I made the roux, then poured it through a strainer into the roux and vegetables, added the okra and sausage and tomatoes and now, like I said, it's waiting for the shrimp. Every time I make gumbo I think of the Africans who brought this celestial dish here along with the okra that brings the whole thing together. Sometimes when I think about cooking I feel as if through the food we make we are honoring and actually tasting so many cultures and horticultures, too. 
It's history and art and skill and practice and intuition and science and tradition and creativity all brought together into one place. It is no mystery why the kitchen is the heart of the home. 

I guess that's what I came here to talk about this evening. 

Love....Ms. Moon

Friday, January 21, 2022

Covid Math And What Does It Matter?

I got a very cute visitor today and his mother came too. The weather is dreary again. Cold and rainy all day long. No line-dried sheets for us this week. It's one of those days that make me so very, very thankful for good heating, a clothes dryer. And lots of other things too like a dishwasher and a gas stove but at this moment, I am most appreciative of having heat and a way to dry clothes. 

It was a breath and a shot of fresh air having Jessie and Levon over. Jack was happy too, as you can see. He was trying to mind-meld Jessie into offering him some of her roast chicken which he is very fond of. Levon loved the pot pie and almost finished up the last piece of it. Jessie ate what he didn't. She said she liked it too. 

So of course after their visit last weekend, Jessie and Levon began to have very slight cold symptoms. Or, at least symptoms of something. So Jessie took them all except Vergil to get tested again. They got PCR tests and while Jessie was here today, she got an e-mail informing her that August was positive. 
The one without symptoms. 
This of course led to all sorts of speculation. Were Mr. Moon's and my negative tests false negatives? We'd gotten rapid tests last week. Had Jessie and Levon's tests been false negatives? We did all sorts of math (saw Jason and Owen two weeks ago, came down with symptoms about five days later, tested two days after that, saw the Weatherfords the day after that....blah, blah, blah) and we finally decided that it is what it is and she took Levon to go pick up August from school and get three more PCR's. 
I called Mr. Moon who was in town to get two at-home rapid tests which we took when he got home and they showed negative. 

What the hell? I'm not going to get a PCR test because it wouldn't change a thing to know I had it. We're still masking religiously. I think I'm going to figure that if Jessie and Levon come back negative again, it will be safe to assume we didn't have it and if they come back positive, I'm going to assume we did. 
Does that make sense? 
None of this makes sense but it is quite possible that August picked it up at school. 
Nobody else at Lily's house is testing positive. Owen, it turns out, is the only one in the house who hadn't had a booster so that may be an explanation of why he seems to be the only one who got the virus. 
Who knows? 
Not me. 

But that's what happened over here today and in my family. 

I watched the last episode of "After Life" and I'm not sure how I feel. No spoilers because some of you are watching it and enjoying it. But I think I get the message of the last episode quite well although there is certainly a lingering question. If you watch it, you'll see what I mean. 

Mr. Moon just made nachos in the air fryer and brought me one. I think we shall try that again. I mean- what's better than nachos? Last night I air fried some cauliflower and onions and that was pretty okay although my husband told me that he'd rather eat cauliflower raw. With dip. He said this in the most loving way possible.
"Well, that's easy," I told him. He just doesn't really like cooked cauliflower which is too bad for him. He needs to go out of town again so that I can make my delicious cauliflower dish. Actually, I could make it with him here, couldn't I? What if I made that and salmon and LeSueur peas? He'd eat it but that would be so mean. 

I just remembered something else that I am extremely grateful for on this wet, cold day- Goodwill cashmere! It's just the most perfect thing on days like this. I really need to find more of it as I've inadvertently shrunk a lot of what I own. I was looking at a sweater the other day that is not only too small for an adult now but also has holes in it and I thought, "Hmmm...I could mend that and give it to Maggie!"
This mending thing is getting out of hand. Not everyone appreciates my artistic, wabi-sabi techniques. I think I need to crochet a few more potholders instead. 

What silly problems. Not even problems at all. 
I think I'll go inform my husband that I'd like a martini now. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

P.S. And hot and cold running water. I think I may be most grateful for those. I remember when I had a hand pump out in the back yard of another house many, many years ago and how it got so cold the winter we lived there that when I'd pump water, ice chunks would come out before the water did. I have a very visceral memory of this. Not to mention the cold, cold walk to the outhouse. 
I can't believe I lived that way but I do not regret that I did for one red hot second. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

When Ironing Is The Most Interesting Thing You've Done All Day

Gloom and fucking doom out there today and I've been worthless. 

I did iron some shirts. I did that because it offered an excuse to binge watch "After Life", the Ricky Gervais series. The third season has recently come out and I'm lapping it up although I'm not sure why. It's not exactly cheerful and I absolutely abhor some of the characters. 
But there's something about Gervais's humor that grates on me in an interesting way. Does that make any sense? 
It's a very dark and yet surprisingly sweet kind of humor somehow. And I can completely understand why some people feel about him the same way I feel about Jim Carrey which is to say- please never appear onscreen again and also, while you're at it, make everything you were ever in disappear. 
Although I do like the "Truman Show." 
Anyway, I do not feel the series is going to end well which would be just about what I would expect. 

I have absolutely nothing to offer the universe today. No advice, words of wisdom, poetry, pithy observations, jokes, lyrical descriptions, book recommendations, recipes, household tips, or relationship suggestions unless you want to piss off your partner. 
I just pissed off my partner. 

And so, as the rain falls down and the sky grows dark and bed time is still hours away, I leave you with nothing but the knowledge that perhaps tomorrow will be a better day and if it isn't, the one after that. 
Or, you know, some day. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

No Title

I've been posting this same R. Crumb cartoon since I started blogging. Some days, you just have to think about Mr. Natural affirming that it don't mean shit to get over your damn self. Facebook is full of self-affirming memes and quotes that are supposed to make us feel better about ourselves and our choices and our efforts and frankly, most of them make me want to gag. 
Or at least roll my eyes so hard they threaten to fall out of my head. We're all so self-caring and enlightened and positive, aren't we? 
No. No we are not. 
Mr. Natural certainly isn't. Get on with your bad self, Mr. Natural might say. It don't mean sheeit.

So yeah, I'm having one of those days. First off, Jessie had to test herself and Levon today because of minor cold symptoms. Although they are negative, I still feel guilty. I knew this would happen. 
Fuck me. 

And I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about choices I made or didn't make when I was young. I don't really regret them so much because every choice I made has led to this life I lead now which is pretty damn sweet, not to mention Hank, May, Lily, Jessie, Owen, Gibson, August, Maggie, and Levon. But there has been a lot of pondering going on this old wrinkled head of mine, wondering mostly why I never had the courage or determination to really try to do some of the things I wanted to do. There are thousands of reason, I'm sure, or at least a few. Some of them good and some of them simply because I didn't have the backbone, I had the fear instead. Not so much of failure but of making too big of a ripple in the universe in which I live. 
I know, I know. I'm being cryptic. Forgive me. I am still afraid of that ripple, that possible rend in the fabric of my life. I think that if you gathered any group of older women (and probably younger, too) in a sort of group therapy way, most of us would have similar stories to tell. The details might differ but the stories themselves would be as familiar as the contents of our purses. Or pockets. 

In this mood, I did a little closet purging today. Not nearly enough. But some. Enough to yield two large bags and a box of things to take to the Bad Girls Get Saved By Jesus Thrift Store. It's hard for me to let garments that I have loved go, even if the only way I could ever wear them again is to contract some horrible wasting disease that ended up killing me. I remember where I wore the dresses, the jeans, the blouses, the skirts, how I felt in them, how I looked in them, how I danced or walked or talked in them. 
Who I was in them. How much I loved who I was in them for a moment, at least. 
So it's hard. I try to shrug off and ignore these feelings and sometimes I can but sometimes I just can't. 
I did find a pair of shoes buried at the bottom of a basket in my closet that I have no idea why I stopped wearing. 

They are what I would call winter shoes in that I can wear socks with them. Also, they are as comfortable as can be. 
Not only that, I found a pair of my favorite style Croc flip flops still in the package they were shipped in! I must have ordered two pairs at one point and put one in that basket as spares. AND I found a wrist brace that I've been looking for that I need to start wearing at night. I knew it was here somewhere...

So I took the things I no longer need to donate and I threw away a few things that no one wants or needs but which were once beloved to me. While I was at the BGGSBJTS I did a bit of browsing. Didn't find a thing I really wanted but did see this. 

It looks a little like a souvenir thing, but the weaving is absolutely beautiful on it. The construction of it, the colors- so very lovely. I didn't buy it and now I regret that. I didn't buy it because I thought to myself, "Just what I need- something else that I do not need." 
Well, maybe I'll go back and get it and maybe I'll just let some other person who appreciates the art and fine craft of it find it and be thrilled. 
I appreciated and admired it and perhaps that is enough. 
Besides- what's it all mean, Mr. Natural? 

You know. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, January 18, 2022



The hippie bread is a joy to me. I love the flavor that the cloves and molasses and lemon zest and raisins give it and I love the grit the corn meal gives it. 
Staff of life stuff. I'm so glad that Jessie triggered my memory and caused me to get that cookbook out. 
A very sweet pleasure on a cold January night.