Sunday, April 30, 2023

More Pragmatic Miracles And The Good Smell Of Fabuloso And White Vinegar

 Red daddy cardinal sits on the feeder, his black mask and yellow beak his pride and his joy and he is beautiful. He pecks away in a desultory fashion, taking time between each head-dipping retrieval of a seed to stop and look around. I suppose he could be on the alert for danger but I like to think that he is so blown away by this late afternoon's blue sky and green everything else, fresh breeze that makes the leaves dance, and soft cool air, that he has to stop, look up, and admire it again and again. 

Just like me. 

I can't stop being in wonder at this sweetness. 

Unfortunately, I did not spend much time outside today. And part of the reason for that was because it took the weather all day long to decide who it wanted to be. A windy, fussy bitch with a gray-sky hat or a perfect joy that you'd just like to breathe in, take in, with all of your senses? 
But mostly I just felt that there were things around here that HAD to be done. One of those things was mopping my kitchen and the bathroom and pantry that lie off of it. I absolutely have no idea when the last time I mopped that area was. And there have been spills, of course, and the regular detritus that falls onto kitchen floors. It is a workroom, the kitchen. And ours has a door that leads to the outside which is the door we use most of the time so add tracked-in black Lloyd dirt to all the other stuff and well...

I moved everything that I could out of there and swept twice and mopped twice and honestly, if I had swept and mopped three times it probably would not have been quite enough. But twice was enough for me. 

And last night I fed my sourdough and put black beans to soak and after I made our Sunday morning breakfast I made up the bread dough and put together soup with the black beans. Talk about your slow cooking! Of course sourdough takes all day long and black beans do too. But you know- the best things always take a good long time to come to fruition. 

When I got up today, Mr. Moon told me the wildest thing. Around six-thirty, when it was just beginning to get light, Jack jumped on the bed in a hunting-pounce stance and then, something, he thought a mouse, ran across the length of our bed where it disappeared to his eyes. 
I was aware that Jack had jumped so heavily on the bed but was deep, deep in sleep I guess, because I did not really wake up fully although I did notice that my husband was using his phone as a flashlight for something and I was going to ask, "What in hell are you doing?" but did not. Glen could not find any trace of the mouse he saw, if indeed it was a mouse. He went into his bathroom which is right off of our bedroom, and on the floor there he saw a bullfrog that had been wounded. 
He swears that whatever ran across my bed did not hop but scurried. Ran like...a mouse. 
But there was the frog. Obviously brought in by a cat. 
Jack, most likely. 
And so he took the frog outside and knowing he could not go back to sleep after all of that, he got up. 
He told me about all of it when I got up and he was still completely mystified as to what in hell had actually happened. I couldn't believe I'd mostly slept through it all. 

When I went to make the bed later on, I found muddy prints on the blanket and sheets as if Jack had indeed brought something in and jumped on the bed to give it to us. 

Glen is still mystified and boggling over this event and as I just told him, "It's like a fairy tale." 

But what it really reminds me off is Lily yelling, "Too much nature!" when she was confronted with several critters one morning before dawn when she got up to go to work. That has become a sort of tagline and we use it only in the most appropriate of situations. 
I believe this would be one of them. 


Thirty-four years ago right now I was pretty sure I was about to go into labor with my last baby who turned out to be Jessie. I was right. The anniversary times of my babies' births are a sort of holy thing to me. I remember all of those moments- the feelings, the pain, the ecstasy, the joy. 

And so it is now. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Oh, Mary. Calm Down

 This is exactly how I feel these days. I do not think any explanation is necessary. 


It's not been a bad day and in fact, the part of it where Jessie brought her boys out was wonderful. They both gave me hugs when they burst through the door and as expected, they immediately asked, "Where's Boppy?" and "Can we watch TV?" 
Knowing those boys as I do, this doesn't bother me in the least. I know what grandchildren are like. They love us but that does not mean they want to hang out and chat with us. Especially not the littles. Yummy treats and Netflix for Kids makes them the happiest. So after some lunch, Jessie and I let the boys sit in the Glen Den and watch that TV while we talked, which was great. And when she told the boys that was enough TV, they deigned to let me read them books which I love more than anything as they curl around me while I get to be their own private narrator/actor. August rubs my arm and Levon sticks his foot out for a foot massage. Well, at least that's what happened today. Maurice sat on the back of the love seat in the library while we read and of course both boys are quite leery of her, as well they should be. Not wanting to admit that he was scared of Maurice, Levon said, "That cat is distracting me." 
"I bet she is," I told him. 
But Maurice was a good girl and did not swat or bite anyone. 

It began to rain while they were here and is still raining now. It is cooler than it was yesterday and that's nice. Last night Mr. Moon and I sat out on the front porch for a martini and it was so lovely. No mosquitoes and cool enough to enjoy it. I took a picture of this little guy on one of my giant Bird's Nest ferns. 

He was enjoying the evening as much as we were but I am sure he was wishing there were more bugs. 

And I don't have much more to say. My spirits are still low but I am pondering the comment Ashley left on my post yesterday about how her husband gets kidney stones frequently- some of them huge- and how they deal with them by waiting until one starts moving and then they seek help and treatment. I think this is good advice. As the doctor said, that stone may never move and if it does, I'll know what it is. But I also know that this last one bothered me with vague symptoms for months before I figured it out and this makes me think that I'll probably be anxiously analyzing every twinge and pinch in that side forever. 

Back to Shoe and the comfort zone thing- I really do feel like I have to at least try to pull myself up out of this rut I'm in, to try to allow myself to experience things and places beyond my tiny little world. This is the time of our lives when Mr. Moon and I absolutely can travel and go and do, free of most of the responsibilities that have held us back our entire lives and here I am, getting more and more insular and (let's face it) agoraphobic with every passing day. Add to that the fact that going to medical appointments and having a "procedure" have only made me cling even more desperately to my safe place- my home, my yard, my tiny world. 
My etched-in-stone routine. 
No pun intended. 

And meanwhile, my dreams at night have become one version or another of the same subjects- needing to clean a filthy, trash-filled house while at the same time, tending to small children. I worry that they are not getting the right foods to eat, that their diapers are not being changed enough, that I do not know where they are at all times, that they do not have beds with clean sheets, or bathtubs clean enough to bathe in, or clean towels to dry off with. Some of these children I seem to be related to but many appear to be neighborhood kids who just show up and they, too, must be fed and kept safe. 
Am I trying to take care of myself or is it worry I have that my children will need me and I will not be there to take care of them?
Is this about travel anxiety or death anxiety?
Is it all of those things or none? 

Am I going insane? Am I already there?

Eh. I think too much. I worry too much. It would best serve me to remember that I am a minuscule bit of animated stardust on a minuscule planet that is traveling through a vast universe, capable of far more cognitive ability (though it is fading every day) than any primate needs, fussing and trying to fit together the unneeded unknowables into a coherent fashion that is not even there. 

Or something like that. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, April 28, 2023

Knowledge May Be Power But Sometimes It Sucks

That's the beautiful magnolia my sweet man brought me home today. He told me he stole it from "Government Land" which means it came from a tree down beside the interstate exit that is as full of blooms as any magnolia I've ever seen. 

And that is the best thing has happened to me today. 

I am downhearted again. First of all, despite telling Lily yesterday that no, I wasn't nervous at all about going to see my urologist today and that it was just going to be a short check-back-in situation that turned out not to be the case. 
Of course I got so anxious before the appointment that I sort of thought I'd go into outer space or something but I made it there and I got called back quickly and all was going pretty much okay and the doctor came in and reassured me that I was doing well, it sounded like, and that we've probably seen the last of that stone and was about to leave when I asked him about the stone still in my kidney. 
I do not think he remembered that but he said, "Let me go look at that scan." 

And when he got back he told me that the stone was yes, there, and that it was larger by a few millimeters than the one I just had and that it's possible it could stay right there until I'm 99 years old OR it could move tomorrow. 
No way to know. 
So. There are options here. One is to just wait and see. If it starts moving, I'll know it. The other option seems to be blasting it with shock waves in a completely non-invasive procedure. However, as I well know by now, getting rid of all of those tiny stonettes are, in itself, a very painful prospect. 
Well, fucking shit. 

He said I could get an X-ray to pinpoint its exact location to see if the second option was feasible to do any time in the near future. So, off I went to get that at a radiology place and the doctor said he will call me after he looks at the film. 

So now I just feel like crying and the idea of going through all of this mess again but with a bigger stone really does make the idea of just dying now sort of attractive. I know I shouldn't say that and I probably don't mean it but I'm not exactly sure I don't mean it. He did say that if he left a stent in me, that the passing of the grit might go easier but the stent is no fun either. 
The anxiety and fear have returned like a dull ache in my gut and I know that nothing is different right now than it was yesterday but my knowledge of that is indeed different. 

Before I go on, let me tell you what he said about preventing stones: They used to believe that diet had a lot more to do with the formation of stones than they do today. It may be possible to eat so much spinach and kale (and collards) that one is sort of pushing it, but probably not. That the most important things are staying well-hydrated, drinking or eating citrus products, adding lemon juice to the water we drink, and get this- NOT DRINKING CRANBERRY JUICE which does indeed increase the chances of the formation of stones. 

So there you go. 

When I got home, I just felt flat again and it took a lot to get me off my ass to wash the sheets and towels and other laundry and then to go out to the garden to do some more weeding and put in the little Sugar Bomb tomato seedlings I started. That did help with both mind and body but not very much.

I'm waiting for Mr. Moon to get home from Tom's where he is working on my table. I think today's project was to fill knotholes and perhaps to start with the finish. 
Oh wait! He just pulled in. 
What in the world would I do without that man? I have no idea nor do I ever want to find out. 

I guess I'm looking forward to martinis but even that prospect does not fill me with joy. But maybe I'll relax a little and let go of some of this anxiety. Get a little more perspective. 

And at least now I know that if I even BEGIN to experience the sort of pain I had when that stone first started moving, I'm going to the ER. I will not be shilly-shallying about to see if it eases off. 
Does anyone still say shilly-shallying
Well, I just did. 

My hallway smells of magnolia and this is what the blossom looks like now that evening is coming on.

It closes its magnificent creamy white petals around its precious match-stick sized stamens, allowing the waxy emerald leaves to have their turn at a showy display. Tomorrow the petals will open again and the stamens will drop, one by one to the surface below it, joining the rose petals that I do not have the heart to toss away. And then it will be done. A magnolia blossom's life is short but oh, it is a glory! 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Sweetness And Good News

I dropped by the post office today to thank the lady who helped retrieve the package from Linda Sue which contained that beautiful dolly. The story of how the package got shuffled all over Leon and Jefferson counties is long and rather ridiculous but this particular post mistress who works at both our post office here in Lloyd and in the post office in Monticello, figured it out and got it to me. I was not sure about this lady at first but she has become someone I truly like. We chatted for a few minutes today and I told her I wrote a blog and that is how the lady who sent the package found me and how she sends me beautiful treasures and gifts for my grandchildren. Post Office Lady was intrigued and I told her where to read find my blog if she wanted to and she said that she needed some new material because she had just started working with a youth group at the Baptist Church in Monticello. 
"Oh Lord!" I said. "Then you don't want to read my blog. I am NOT religious at all!" Which, of course, is putting it rather mildly.
She laughed and told me that the kids in her group were surprising her by calling her out on things she talked about which is not exactly what you would expect from Baptist youth, but as I told her, I think the internet has made a lot of people come to doubt their faith although certainly not everybody. And we had a very civilized and actually pleasant conversation about that and I told her that I thought that humans either have the religious gene or they don't and I honestly enjoyed talking to her. She's great! 

Today was "take your kid to work day" and we got this picture of Jason taking Owen and Gibson to his work which is being a manager at Publix. 

And this now one of my favorite grandchildren pictures. Jason and his boys! He even took them to get haircuts although Owen's is still long on the top. Don't they look professional? 
Lily was off today so Maggie, who did not want to go hang out with Dad at Publix, stayed home with her mama and supposedly they were going to do chores which is what Lily does when she's not at her paying job. However, Maggie just wanted to do fun stuff and Lily agreed that they could do SOME fun stuff and one of the things Maggie wanted to do was to go out to lunch and so I met them at Chow Time which I will never turn down and we had a great time. I gave Maggie her doll which she showed to the man who took us to our table and when he said, "Cute doll!" she said, "I just got her. Linda Sue sent her to me."
To Maggie, Linda Sue is a magical being who lives far away and is the kindest, most fun person in the world. 
Well, she's not wrong. 
So Rosa, as Maggie named her, ate lunch with us and after Maggie had finished eating and wiped her hands thoroughly, she helped Rosa do some tricks to amuse Lily and me while we finished our meal, and when they left, she was already going through some imagination-generated scenario in her mind starring Rosa and herself. 

I was tired today, mainly because I got up at the ungodly hour (for me) of 7:30 to go to an appointment with Mr. Moon. He was going to get some cardiac tests, not because anyone said he needed them, but just to make sure all was well. 
He is so weird. 
Who does that? Goes to a doctor voluntarily for tests? 
My husband. 
But he insisted that he did not need me there and he passed all the tests with flying colors and the doctor told him he had a great heart. 
But we already knew that. 
I am so happy. 

It is still raining here and right now there is a great deal of celestial bowling-alley sounds going on as thunder rumbles to the south. I am simply grateful for all of it. But oh, it's such sleepy weather! 

Tomorrow I have my follow-up appointment with the urologist who did my procedure and I doubt that will consist of much. I do have questions though, of course. 

And then that will be that for now, at least. 
Meanwhile, off to make supper and then early to bed to catch up on not getting my regular nine hours of sleep. I hope it will still be raining to ensure maximum sleep enjoyment. 

Take care, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

I Obviously Need An Editor

There's a picture of old Jacko Boy that I took the other day while he was napping on my our bed with his nose up by the window. On a pillow, of course. He has been such a huge comfort to me throughout this whole painful experience I've gone through. Somehow having him snuggled up to me at night is exactly what I need and if I wake up and have a hard time getting back to sleep because of worry, he lets me pet him which soothes me and we both drift off again. It's funny how Maurice has become Mr. Moon's baby. She insists on sitting either on his lap or beside him in his chair, happy to stay there as long as he'll let her. And although she does indeed still sometimes draw blood, he loves her and she knows it. 

So. Still no more pain episodes. 
I will not tempt fate by saying any more about that.

Today I decided that I should and I could do my shopping. Of course Mr. Moon would do it for me but the grocery store is as foreign to him as an auto parts store is to me. It does little good to have "buttermilk" on the list because of course there are at least three different types to choose from and which one should he get? If I write "corn meal" on the list, I know what I want but he doesn't and corn meal comes in self-rising, yellow, white, fine, regular, and there is also cornmeal mix. It just seems like a lot to ask. So much easier and less stressful to do it myself. 

Before I started my shopping though, I met Jessie for lunch. What a treat! We decided to meet at a Cuban place and the food was delicious and we talked, and talked, and talked. Here's a picture she sent her daddy and me this morning.

I texted back, "WHERE did that child come from? One day he's the Prom King and the next day he's James Dean." 
So of course we talked about the children and we talked about her family's summer plans and we talked about her birthday which is on Monday and we talked about the podcasts we listen to and we talked about our server who was so beautiful with the tiniest waist and the nicest curves who said, "I am sorry for my bad English," and we assured her that her English was great. And it was. She was an excellent server too. Jessie finally had to go pick up her boy and I went on to Publix where I got to see LILY! That was wonderful too. We talked for a little while and I hugged her and hugged her. I feel like I've lost the threads of my children's and grandchildren's lives in the last few weeks and it's rather heartbreaking and I hate it. But it is what it is. 
And oh- listen to this- when Lily told her kids why I wasn't showing up for Easter a few weeks ago, Owen said, "I bet she has a kidney stone because she eats so many greens."
Now where did that boy learn about kidney stones? Do we have a diagnostician in the family? 

So I did my Publix shopping and after I hugged Lily one more time, I went to Costco and got what I needed there. Costco is so bizarre in some ways. I remembered I needed Ritz Crackers and had not gotten them at Publix and of course Costco has Ritz Crackers which are a staple of the American diet, and of course, the box of them is huge and yet, it costs far less than what the same amount of the luscious, buttery crackers would cost at a grocery store but when you get them home that familiar red box takes up half a shelf in the pantry and you think, "What did I buy that many Ritz crackers?" and you have no idea but you did and you may not need to buy Ritz crackers again until next year. Which is a good thing, I guess.
I saw the beautiful Brenda and when she asked if everything had been going okay of course I had to say NO and tell her all about my kidney stone and the guy she had been talking to when I walked up had his own kidney stone horror stories and we discussed various sizes of stones and the amount of pain the fuckers cause and what works best when you get to the ER for pain. Turns out his body creates kidney stones like McDonald's creates hamburgers- one after the other. I listened in fascinated horror. How does he deal with it? 
Like everyone else, I guess. You just have to. 
Anyway, Brenda and I hugged too so that was a lot of good hugging for a day and by that time I was so tired. It takes far more energy to go to town and shop than it does to work in the garden. For me, at least. 

But I'm home now, and it's raining a nice gentle patter and it smells wonderful outside, of confederate jasmine and magnolias and good wet dirt and could there be anything more Southern than that? Everything is put away and I have even made up the mixture for crab cakes which we will eat tonight. I have picked lettuces and two nice, fat scallions and I will sleep well tonight, I hope.

Oh! I just finished reading this book last night.

I am not at all sure that it would be a book to suit everyone's taste but I could only put it down at night when my eyes just would not focus anymore. I won't even try to describe the plot or characters. There's a LOT going on here from the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia to the drug cartels in Mexico, with a goodly helping of Lucha Libre mixed in. 
And I thought the writing was beautiful. Let's just say that it's not a book I will soon forget. Although having said that, I probably will because I forget everything these days. 

Update on the folding table:

I am getting quite excited. And I've just now recalled the "laundry room" that I had when I lived in the little trailer out in the woods of Lloyd where May was born which was a sort of, uh, covered platform that our very-used washing machine sat on. 
And you know what? That was fine. I was damn happy to have that and my nice clothesline although occasionally my dang bulldogs would pull all the clothes off the line and chew them up. I still mourn for a beautiful corduroy shirt that I lost that way. I'd gotten it in Denver and my room mate and I used to call it the "security shirt" because no matter what, it made us feel beautiful when we wore it. 

Boy. I sure can ramble. 
I'll stop now.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, April 25, 2023


Well, look who was in the garden today. And guess who else was there? 
Mary Moon, that's who. 
I am almost afraid to write these words but... I have passed nothing but pee for about 36 hours now. 

Thank you.

I feel better today than I have felt in yonks, as dear Keith Richards might say. And it's been such a good day. First off, it is my dear Lis's birthday and I called her and we Wilma and Betty giggled and I wished her all the love. This is Lis for you- for her birthday she got the gift of a flower-making class AND a chain saw. 
That's right. A chain saw. 
She is a Florida girl. 

And before I even talked to Lis this morning, Liz Sparks stopped by on her way out of town to go see her granddaughters. She couldn't stay long but we had a great chat and I just love her so. She is the most amazing woman. She's recently back from Mexico where she got dental work done and in doing so saved trillions of dollars. Well, maybe trillions of pesos. She figured it all out, found a friend-of-a-friend connection with a man who who lives in Mexico, is a translator, who rented her a room and helped her. She had a great time. I just love her sass and her ability to know what she needs and wants to do and makes it work. I envision her on star-paths, following one to the next, saying yes and yes and yes. 
In a sensible, extremely hard-working way, of course. 

And after she left and after Mr. Moon left to go work on my table, I put on my work overalls and I emptied the garden cart of the croscomia I'd been working on the night before this whole wild ride began and got in the garden and pulled the lacy collards and kale who have been feeding the bugs, hauled them to the compost, and then I weeded a wide row where we can plant peas and then, because I was still feeling fine, I weeded the onion patch. 
My god it felt good to sweat and get dirt under my nails again. 

Oh! And I took the trash to the dump! 
When I told Lis I'd done that she said, "I bet you feel giddy!" And you know what? I did. I wanted to shout, "Hey, y'all! Look at me flinging this trash into the compactor!" 

And if tonight another piece of grit wants to make its way out I will curse and possibly cry and I will walk and I will be so pissed off. 
I was going to add a but there but there is no but. If the pain starts up again those are the things I will do because I will have no choice. 

I will survive. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, April 24, 2023

In Which I Moan And Whine And Bitch Some More And So Would YOU, Goddammit (Warning- cussing all over the damn place)

Volunteer sunflower under the bird feeder.

Somewhere between two and four-thirty a.m. this morning the thought occurred to me that despite what I had written in my post just a few hours earlier, there was absolutely no lesson to be learned from pain like I was experiencing that could be worth it. 
It was a very bad night. I bet I walked a mile in this house, up and down the hallway, up and down the back porch, circuits around and around the kitchen island. Toradol was taken. I have no idea if it helped. 
Are y'all tired of this? 
Well so the fuck am I. 
Glen slept through the whole thing and I'm glad. There was nothing he could do except fret and that would not help. I knew if I made the decision to go back to the ER, I could wake him up and he'd take me. 

When it all finally stopped, it took me quite awhile to get back to sleep. I was exhausted but also keyed-up and scared to death that it would start again. It did not. And I've been pain free today except for some tenderness on that side. I did manage to pass two large what I am calling "stonettes" and they were red and ugly. Still tiny but quite visible. 

I have been downhearted all day long. The way this keeps going on makes me frightened and despondent at the same time. And the unpredictability of the attacks is infuriating. It makes me afraid to go anywhere or to let Mr. Moon out of my sight. 
That's a bit of an exaggeration. He can go as far as Tom's house and THAT'S IT!

But I did leave the property today, for the first time in almost a week, and went to the post office and then later, I actually walked to the Dollar General where I was able to buy orange juice, cucumbers, and bananas. As much as I fought that place, I have found it to be far less horrible than I thought it would be. And it is, in many cases, a convenience. Now the water levels on the land next to it and across the street from it (there is a culvert under the road) are as high as I think I've ever  seen them. And we have not had a great deal of rain. It has rained today but I doubt we got anywhere near a half of an inch. 

And that's where I am today. Wrung out, strung out, and left out to dry.

Still, there is this. 

Love...Ms. Moon

P.S. That cake was and still is, completely delicious. Mr. Moon is most pleased with it. 

Sunday, April 23, 2023

Letting Go Of Perceptions, Learning Forbearance

I seem to have a routine now. I get up in the morning, pee, feel an ache in my side, and I know it has begun. I have enough time to drink a bunch of water, maybe a cup of coffee too (life goes on, you know), read a blog or two, and then things ramp up, I get completely dry-mouthed and then I begin to walk around the yard. I have no idea if this stomp-walking works and I don't really stomp, I just walk HARD, and eventually, the pain stops and in a little while I pee out something smaller than a grain of salt and I feel as if my work for the day has been done. I am still straining my pee although I do not know why except to validate the fact that there is still grit that I'm passing. I am not sure why this happens regularly in the morning but I'm guessing because I'm just lying there at night and when I get up, things get moving. 
But really- who knows? Not me.

I have to say that the weather has been gorgeous for this daily activity. I took the picture up top there because it was so beautiful that despite my fierce concentration on breathing and walking, I was not unaware of what the new green leaves of that old, old oak tree looked like against that blue sky. 
I was thinking of Ross, of course. 

There was a new feature in today's walk. Well, two. One was that the guys that mow the yard across the street pulled up their truck and trailer on the sidewalk and strip of land in front of our house and as I walked towards that part of the yard, I knew that they probably thought I was going to complain so I paused and said, "Hey! No problem! I have a kidney stone and I'm just trying to walk it off." 
No need to say anything about grit, right?
The older guy looked at me in a puzzled fashion and said, "Okay. Well, have a blessed day."
"Thanks," I said, and stomped off around the house. 
I must be a sight. 

The other thing that was different today is that instead of popping a Toradol when the pain started getting bad, I just took two Ibuprofen. I've been taking one Toradol for the pain but it seemed to me that after the pain had passed I was having to deal with the exhaustion and weird-headedness of the drug for the rest of the day. However, what I discovered today is that no, the exhaustion and muddled mind were not a side effect of the drug but of the pain experience itself. This is becoming almost interesting. Well, it IS interesting but definitely not in a good way. 

This has to end eventually, right? All things must pass, as George Harrison so eloquently reminded us all those years ago. Even kidney stones and their lithotripsed grit. 

I didn't have the energy today that I had yesterday. I honestly thought that I'd get out and weed a little today. But I just did not have it in me. So I puttered about, doing a little potting of plants I'd rooted and watering the front porch plants and some other potted plants, cleaning out Sheba's water bowl, laundry (yes, again), and I made a recipe I'd seen in the NYT's cooking app that caught my attention. I'm not convinced it's going to be great but I felt compelled to make it. 

It's a lemon-coconut snacking cake which makes me laugh. What the hell is a snacking cake? Does this imply that there are entree cakes? Side dish cakes? Serious REAL dessert cakes? 
Whatever. I hope it's good. I sure did grate a lot of lemon zest. Mr. Moon loves coconut and even though the combination of lemon and coconut is not one that I'm really familiar with, it might be good. 
I hope so. 

Mostly what I've done today is just be thankful beyond anything that it's been so pretty and so relatively cool and taking in all that I can of what nature is offering up so gloriously right now in my own yard. 
Here's another picture I took later in the day of the pecan trees' new leaves along with some other sister-trees. 

Brand new green petticoats for all of them! And oh, how they love to show them off. Wouldn't you? I would. 

Mr. Moon's been over at Tom's again, working on my folding table. I think he's getting close to finishing it. No pun intended. I'm sure he will finish it and then it will be finished. 

He is loving doing this so much and I am glad. He is happiest when he has a project and this is something he's always wanted to have time to do. And since Tom's house is only about fifteen minutes away, he is close enough for me to feel comfortable with him being gone. God knows he doesn't need to have to deal with me every second of every day. 

As shitty and awful as this whole kidney stone experience has been, it has once again slowed me down and made me appreciate the beauty and sweetness of the life I live right here on these two acres in this tiny almost-a-village, Lloyd, just as it has allowed me to appreciate my husband even more and I thought that was not possible. He has put his whole life on hold, just to make me feel safe, to be here when I'm having my morning attacks, to hold me, to listen to me, to love me. When he gets into the bed at night where I've probably already been reading for an hour with Jack beside me, I feel as if my heart could not be more at peace. I love to hear his breath slow as he drifts into sleep, to know that he is there beside me. Jack settles down by my hip, knowing that I'm done petting him for the time being, and I, too, begin to fall into dreams. This is when I think that if this isn't heaven, I do not know what heaven is. 

To be at peace, to be at ease, to be without pain, to be with my love. These are the simplest things. 
These are the greatest miracles of all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, April 22, 2023

A Turn For The Better


I can say without a doubt that today has been the best day since my kidney stone attacked me. Although I did have my usual morning bout of pain it was neither as bad nor did it last as long as yesterday's. I did pop a pain pill and drank a bunch of water and then I stomped around the yard. On my third circuit, I could already feel the pain abating, like the ocean's tide going out, slowly but surely. And was over. And since it had not been so bad, it didn't wipe me out the way the other ones have and I had far more energy to do a few things around here. 

As you can see, I fed my sourdough and it is bubbling away, happy with its infusion of whole wheat and white flour. I even used the starter that is supposed to be thrown out to make a loaf of cheat bread with a little yeast and a tiny bit of milk and a spoonful of sugar in it. That is still rising. 

I decided to make a salad that I always make new-born mamas. 

The recipe comes from a very, very vintage Southern Living magazine and it has things in it that no one in their right culinary mind would use these days like a dressing made with vegetable oil, chili sauce, sugar, soy sauce and wine vinegar. Well, I guess all of those are all right, really, but if I used all of the oil and sugar recommended we would probably die tonight. It also has thinly sliced beef in it, sugar snaps and tomatoes, spinach and red onion, along with hard boiled eggs and sesame seeds. I don't have any spinach but I picked a bunch of lettuce and some kale and I don't have a red onion but I have a sweet onion and those will do. The name of the recipe is Peking Beef Salad and I am thinking that the tablespoon of soy sauce and sesame seeds are what makes it qualify to be titled "Peking." It's certainly not the Heinz chili sauce or hard boiled eggs unless there's something about Asian cooking that I do not know. 

Anyway, I surely have a goodly plenty of sugar snaps. 

That's about a half gallon right there. 

I also washed the sheets, dried them (in the dryer) and put them back on the bed. I just was not up to it yesterday. And after I'd done all of that, I was pretty much done but the best had yet to come. 

Lon and Lis came over to Tallahassee from Gator Bone to play a set at the Word of South Festival. 

Liz Sparks sent me this picture. Can you see Vergil and August and Levon off to the right? Jessie had to work. 

It's a big deal and lots and lots of musicians and authors play and read and are interviewed at these things. I haven't seen Lon and Lis in so long. They've been taking care of Lis's sister who has had several surgeries since Christmas and many, many complications, not to mention needing complicated care throughout. That has been the focus of their life and honestly, I can't even remember the last time we saw each other. Obviously, I was not up to going to hear them today but they stopped by on their way home and had a cup of coffee and we got a very short catch-up visit with so many hugs and kisses. 
My god, but it was good to see them. 
Lis brought me that pretty little rose you can see behind my starter and I finally gave her the Christmas present I'd gotten her and since her birthday is next week, it has ended up being her Christmas/birthday gift. 

And so hasn't this been just the very best day? 

I feel almost 50% my real Mary Moon self. I'm tired. I will admit that. But I got some shit DONE. And I got to see my beloveds. 

I am so, so grateful. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, April 21, 2023

What A Long, Strange Trip

Another strange, rocky day. 
No pun intended.

I slept very well but as soon as I got up, the same pain came around again to remind me that I'm not done with this yet. It's just so weird how it builds and builds and then suddenly, you realize it's VERY bad again and you're doing labor breathing. My mouth gets so dry and I don't know if that's a fear reaction or what but at least it does remind me to drink water. I cannot even imagine how much water I've drunk in the last few days. Gallons and gallons. At this point I should be aquatic. 

So. Yeah. It got bad again. To the point where I told Glen to go ahead and eat his breakfast because he might have to take me back to the ER for IV drugs. I took one of the pain pills I was given there last Monday (was it Monday? I am so confused) and although I'm not sure that helped, eventually, the pain ceased and when I peed, I found a tiny piece of grit in the screening, and I am assuming that was the cause of the pain. How long can this go on? According to what I've read, for months. But surely not with all of the water I'm drinking. 

And the rest of the day was spent doing what I do now with my days which is crossword puzzles, the jigsaw puzzle (still working on those forest gnomes) and "Parenthood." I knit a little while I watch that. 
And then I napped. 

I will be so glad to feel like myself again. I have so little desire to eat and even less to cook. I did enjoy making that little soup the other day but since then- ugh. My sourdough starter is looking so sad in its glass jar in the refrigerator and I haven't even had the will to feed it. And when Ms. Moon doesn't even have the will to feed her sourdough, she is definitely not right. 
I have been feeding Black Kitty, aka Sheba. She is still terribly skittish and may always be. 

Here's the other cat that hangs about. 

If I were to name him, I think I would call him B&B for Bold and Ballsy. He is both. He is such an odd-looking cat, far more so than the picture shows. He is one of those cats who looks as if they were made of the left-over spare parts at the end of a long week and some of them had been left out in the sun too long. He walks right up the steps and whines and cries. He is eating out of the food dish too. 

And so this is how today has gone. I am so glad that my husband is back. I don't know how I could have stood it if he had not. All I had to do was ask. 
Which of course sometimes, is the hardest thing of all to do. 

I would say "Happy Friday" but I'm just not feeling it today. 
Maybe next week. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Today's been rough and I called my husband and asked him to come home. And he has. I've been having some pain- nothing like what I experienced before- but I am deathly afraid that the other stone in there has taken upon itself to move now which may be completely false but the idea scares me. 

I am drinking more water than I knew I could drink. I am trying to shake myself out of my fear. I am reminding myself that some post-procedure pain and discomfort is normal as the tiny bits of broken-up stone have to pass. 

But I could not spend another night alone and trust me when I tell you that asking him to leave his sister was one of the hardest things I've ever done. 

I will be so glad when all of this is just a bad, hazy memory. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2023


 Rainbow-inspired paintings by Ms. Magnolia June. 

Well. Today has been a rest and recovery day. I slept fairly well and was so happy to have my cat beside me to pet for my comfort when I woke up in the middle of the night. Yesterday, when I was waiting for my surgery, I just kept thinking about how much I wanted to be home in my bed with Jack when it was all over. And then- like a dream- there I was. 

I've been processing everything in my head from this whole incident. There was a great deal of it that did truly remind me of labor. 
Which makes me wonder why I voluntarily went through that four times, all without drugs. Phew. But when I'm in labor I walk. I walk and I walk and I walk. And I dance. Not a real dance, of course, but a bending, a stretching, a swaying of hips and and knees. And that's what I did yesterday and on Monday when the pain was so bad. 
The nurse at the ER center said, "When I see a woman doing that dance, unless she's in L&D, I know she's trying to give birth to a baby kidney stone."

Oh, how I fell in love with that woman as she delivered the drugs to my arm through the IV she placed in the same vein the student phlebotomist had used last week. There were so many people I fell in love with through my ordeal who were kind and who truly wanted to ease my pain and take care of me. We bitch so much about our health care system and when I say "we" I include myself in that and yes, so much of it is broken but the people in it, the ones who put their hands on you, who listen to your story, you see you with the eyes of not just a medical professional but of a human being who wants to help alleviate your pain- that part of the system is still unbroken no matter how hard the system works to break them, and I am in awe of them and their work, their kindness, their training, their intelligence, their empathy, their skill, their willingness to go beyond what is absolutely necessary to help the people who need them. 

Now let me stop right here and say that I am more than aware that I am an older, white woman of fortunate means with good health insurance and access to the system. I live in an area which may not have THE BEST healthcare in America but we have decent facilities for those who can afford them, sometimes stellar facilities. 
The ER center we went to is one of those. And I will never forget the doctor (Tallahassee raised and trained) who had the most beautiful eyes and who reached out to find a urologist who could see me quickly and set it all up so that I could make an appointment for the very next day. He sat beside the bed, his hands on the bedrail, with literal truly good bedside manner, and discussed these things with us, and gave us the rundown on treatments. 
When we left, at least three people said, "Come back if you need us. We'll take care of you."
And I knew they would.

And then the next day when we met the urologist, he, too, was as kind as could be and he said, "Now I don't want to try and sell you a procedure and eventually, that stone probably will pass, but who knows when?" When I told him that it had been bothering me for well over a month, he nodded and said, "Well. There you go."
"Let's do this," I said. 
And we did. He did.

I got a text from our friend Kelly, the scrub tech, when I was on my way back to the surgical center, again in horrible pain as the stone was trying to move, asking me if I was the Mary Moon on the schedule for that afternoon. I wrote her back that I was and she assured me that my doctor was a very good one, and very nice, and although I would have let Jack the Ripper have at me with a rusty shaving razor in a Howard Johnson's parking lot to relieve that pain, I was so reassured to know that this doctor was a good one. And Kelly tells the truth. 

After we checked into the surgery place and I was called back, the nurses and techs were all incredibly efficient. They have that place running like clockwork. And a group of techs came in to tell me that if I was friends with Kelly, I was friends with them and they would take care of me. The nurse who admitted me and did my vitals and got my IV started was kind and gentle. My doctor came in to see me and when he saw my obvious distress, he said, "Oh. It's bad again, isn't it?"
"Yes," I said. I was crying by then. 
He immediately wrote out an order for pain relief and although there was some mix-up with the fact that no anesthesiologist had been assigned to me yet, the nurse tracked down whoever she had to in order to get those drugs to me. And she did. And I have to tell you, they hit me like a train, and I was flattened. I laid there and tried to logically examine the way I was feeling, the effect these powerful drugs had on me. I knew I was slammed and it was most interesting. One of the things that I was a bit surprised at was how I would have thought that along with the pain, they would have taken away my fears and worries but they did not. I fretted but the fretting was at a distance. I noticed that too. My right arm seemed to me to have no place to rest, no purpose. My left arm had the IV in it (same vein) but my right one just laid there, limp. That was when I really wished for Jack to pet. Mr. Moon held that hand when I asked him to and I so wished he could crawl up beside me in that tiny bed but of course he could not. 

Eventually, everything was ready and I remember nothing about going to the OR. The anesthesiologist had given me one more dose of "calming medicine" and that put me out. When I woke up, I was back in that room with my husband and a different nurse and all had gone well. The doctor told me that he had not had to leave a stent in which was a relief. 

The nurse whose job it was to get me ready to send me on my way home was from the Philippines and she was something else. She was just about the sweetest woman I've ever met. I think that at some point I began to remind her of her mother or her grandmother. She said, out of blue, "I want to bring my mother here from the Philippines," and the next thing I knew, she was insisting on putting my underwear on for me, and then putting my SOCKS on me, despite my protestations that I could do it myself.
"No, no! Let me!" she kept saying. 
I had to hug her and I think she loved that so much. 


And then she wheeled me out and tenderly helped me into the car and wished me the best of luck. 

And so that was that. In some ways, one of the worst experiences of my life, in others, such a lesson in the way people can care for others, DO care for others. 

Here's a funny story- when we were in the urologist's office, and he was discussing the possibility of having to leave a stent in me, he said that generally it could be removed within forty-eight hours. "I leave a string on it so that you can pull it out yourself," he said. "Like a tampon."
"Ooh," I said. That did not sound pleasant to me. 
"It's so easy!" he told me. "A child could do it!" 

In my mind, I could imagine gathering my five grandchildren around me and saying, "All right, kids. Here's a teachable moment for you- let's learn how to remove a stent from Grandmother's urethra!" 
I was not in pain at that point, and when Glen and I were on our way home, I told him what I'd been thinking and although he did not find it that funny, I laughed and laughed and laughed. 

I admit I was more than a little crazy at that point. 

So. Believe it or not, Mr. Moon has gone to Apalachicola to meet Brenda. I insisted that I would be fine and all of my children have agreed to be on stand-by should I need anything. Rachel and Hank have both called to check on me, they have all texted. Before he left, Glen went to town and got me more food and while he was gone I actually got hungry and felt the urge to cook something which was a first for me in over a week. I made a little soup-chowder thing with a few bits of the last of the Easter ham, celery, onions, red pepper, broccoli, corn, and sugar snap peas. It was delicious. I ate a small bowl, Mr. Moon ate a large bowl, and the rest of it is now in the refrigerator for another meal. And so obviously, I am definitely on the mend. 

It has been beyond beautiful here again today. 

We've had a string of such days. Clear and cooler, very low humidity. I can't believe that it was just three days ago that I was outside, digging and pulling at weeds, tugging them out of the ground to reveal long, fat worms I'd disturbed in the humus-rich dirt. I covered each one back up again and apologized. 
I did no such thing today. I walked outside and took the compost to it's pile, I did one small load of laundry, I have done crosswords and worked on my jigsaw puzzle. And I slept for two solid hours this afternoon.

Mr. Moon let me know that he is safely in Apalach. He sent me this picture of a cat who is lounging about where they are staying. 

"Did you take Sheba with you?" I asked him but just then I looked out to see that no, Sheba was right here, standing over her food bowl, obviously wondering if I was going to refill it for her. 

Jessie is fostering two new baby cats. They are bob-tails, manx. And they are about the cutest things in the world.

When Jessie was just a tiny girl, her daddy brought me home a Manx kitten who looked so much like that kitty on the right. We named her Maxi. Eventually, before we got around to having her spayed, she had a litter of kittens and we named one of them Bob and kept him. He looked like that kitten on the left. Bob And Maxi lived almost forever. At least into their twenties. They were the most wonderful cats and we loved them and tell stories about them to this day. They are both buried here in the backyard. I would love to adopt both of those little reincarnations with all of my heart but...
You know. 
The boys have named them Berry and Basil and love them.

Thank all of you for your comments, once again. The suggestions about how to avoid forming new kidney stones and how to possibly dissolve the one already here are appreciated. From what I understand, there are at least four types of kidney stones, each formed from different causes. I do not know if they retrieved any of the pieces of the stone they blasted in me yesterday but I doubt it. If they had, it could be analyzed to see which type it is. I will indeed be drinking apple cider vinegar in water because- why not? 

Meanwhile, here I am, doing so much better, and hopefully that will continue. I see a little more jigsaw puzzling in my future, along with some possible "Parenthood" watching and knitting. Some reading. I've started two new books that are keeping my interest, one audio, one old-fashioned paper and ink. Mormon Stories has two new long-form episodes out and I've discovered a new podcast that I like very much. Julia Louis-Dryfus' "Wiser Than Me" wherein she interviews older women. So far I've listened to one with Isabele Allende, and one with Fran Libowitz who stole my heart by saying that she doesn't believe in forgiveness. 

Okay. I have gone on way long enough and then about another two miles or so.

Love...Ms. Moon 

Tuesday, April 18, 2023


What a day it's been but it's over and that particular stone is no longer in my body. I got in to see the urologist this morning at 9:30 and he scheduled me for a procedure this afternoon at the hospital's surgery center. I am so, so grateful. By the time I got there I was in severe pain again and the pain meds were doing very little. 

To sum it all up, the doctor went up the proper pathway and did something which may have been a laser-needle blast of the stone and that was that. And I have hardly any memory at all of the whole pre-op experience because by then they'd hit me with a dose of dilaudid that kicked my ass hard. Thank goodness. And they did the procedure under general anesthesia.

And now I'm home, feeling exhausted, battered, flattened, and sore but home. Home, home, home. 

Poor Glen had to wait patiently and seemingly endlessly while they figured out how to fit me into the surgical schedule. The doctor had the availability but an anesthesiologist and a room had to be found. In fact, it seems like this whole experience has been one of endless and limbo-like waiting. Waiting to get to a facility to see a doctor of one sort or another, waiting to get pain meds, waiting to be prepped and made ready for surgery, waiting for pain meds, waiting for pain meds, waiting for pain meds...

But, that whole part is done (knock wood) and I am going to eat a piece of cheese toast and crawl into my bed and not get out for many hours. 

And that, for now, is that. Thank all of you so much for your kindness and caring. 

Love...Ms. Moon