Wednesday, May 31, 2023

The Boys Are Back In Town


 It would appear that Levon lost most of his pupils in North Carolina. Either that, or he's rolling his eyes so hard they are in danger of falling out of his head at the thought of me taking yet another picture of him and his brother. 


And go ahead and judge me for the chaos in that Hoosier cabinet. I keep meaning to get in there and organize stuff but I just have not done it. I keep a lot of random things in there including the baking powder and baking soda and brown sugar and powdered sugar and the M&M's for chocolate emergencies, and the raisins and, well... yeah. For some reason the ants never get in there so it's a good place to stash the things they particularly like. 

Jessie brought those boyos over this morning as she had some things to do that would be easier done without them and she knew I missed them. They're obviously eating their lunch in that picture. Peanut butter, honey, and raisin sandwich for Levon and toasted cheese for August. Cherries and watermelon on the side. Levon started spitting cherry seeds because he has a demon in him. The same demon that all children have in them. 
I told him that grannies used to make their grandchildren go out and get switches for the grannies to switch their butts ("MerMer said butt!") with and if they brought in a switch that wasn't big enough, they'd make them go get another one. 
The boys thought this was hysterical and Levon went outside to find a switch. He couldn't find one so he grabbed one of my flip flops and smacked MY butt with it. 
Child!
They know me and my MerMer heart too well. 

We read some books and that was wonderful. August really snuggled up beside me and patted my old arms and shoulders and said, "Your skin is like rubber," and I said, "Yes. I know." But he also told me that I was warm and that he liked that. It occurred to me that I shouldn't feel so hateful about my body. Old grandmas are SUPPOSED to be warm and abundant of flesh. At least when it's time to read books. 

Before too long, Boppy came home from the gym and the boys wanted to play Wii and so they did. That was the last they needed of me. Shouts of laughter came from the Glen Den while I puttered around doing other things. And then Mama got back from her errands and Bye-Bye Treats were given and so were kisses. It was so good to see all of them. August even told me that it felt like it had been "four hundred days" since he'd seen me. I agreed that it did. 

Mr. Moon and our friend Chip are going over to Dog Island tomorrow to get some work done on the house. They left it in complete chaos, I think, last time they were there working on it and it's been months and months. Glen hinted around that it would be mighty swell if I cooked up something they could take with them and heat up to eat for suppers and at first I did not have the spirit or the desire to do that but then my sense of responsibility and, sure, love, kicked in and I've made a red sauce that we'll eat over spaghetti tonight and that I'll mix with elbow noodles and cheese to bake for them to take. God knows I can't let my husband and one of our best friends die of starvation on Dog Island. 

We've just gotten a nice little rain and I am glad of that. When I took the compost out earlier, I saw at least a dozen cucumbers coming along. The one I took a picture of a few days ago has indeed gained girth and heft and will be ready for picking any day now. 

Here's what Jessie brought me from her garden today. 


I am ready to throw my hands up in the air and admit defeat. She grows everything in containers in her front yard in downtown Tallahassee and it's all so beautiful and of better quality than what we've got going on here. In my defense, they get a LOT of sun in that front yard and we get a pitiful amount. 
I am not ashamed of accepting that bountiful gift, however, and I gave her some green beans, both raw and pickled. 

I guess I better go bake that casserole and a loaf of bread I've got rising, make us a salad and boil us some spaghetti pasta. Our rain has almost passed and Sheba just ate her/his supper which was probably a little soggy. 

Sometimes I wish I could give all of you Bye-Bye Treats. Today we gave the boys a choice of Dove dark chocolate, peppermint patties, M&M's, or a Nutella snack pack. August chose the Dove chocolate and Levon chose the Nutella. If you were here, I would let you choose from any of those OR a bowl of spaghetti OR a piece of bread with butter. 
Or oh, what the hell? A martini. 

Gosh. I am so incredibly generous when it comes to virtual giving, aren't I? 

Well, I really would. I swear. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Easy As She Goes


My knee looks a little bit less elephantine and a little more human and it doesn't hurt very much so I took a teeny tiny walk today. And look what I found! Those pretty gladiolas, growing wild right next to the woods by the sidewalk. I have seen many orange gladiolas growing around here, seemingly wild, but never a white one. So I trudged through the weeds and probably seed ticks to pick that one. It was almost lying down and no one in the world would ever have noticed it so I decided to bring it home and set it in water where it would make me happy. Later on in my walk, when I was half a block from home, I noticed some clumps of pretty black-eyed susans growing beside Mr. Lawrence's old store which is owned by someone now (not Mr. Lawerence) who bought it years ago and is letting it fall to the ground. It is for sure an eyesore and probably a danger, too, and people do complain about it because it's on one of the four corners of the intersection of two main roads that cross each other in Lloyd, right under the flashing light. I don't care what it looks like, really, because if people see it and think, "Well, I sure don't want to live in such a trashy area," all the better. Get on with your bad selves! Move somewhere else! 
Anyway, I did pick some of those lovelies and this is what they all look like in my kitchen. 


Not too impressive but wild and scrappy and I like it like that. 

As you can see, I also canned some more pickled green beans. I picked after my walk and then I got the canner out and started cutting beans I already had in bags in the refrigerator into the proper length for the jars. My next trip to the grocery store is going to involve buying more jars and lids. 
Oh wait! I think I saw some at the FGDDG last week! 
I didn't even get around to canning the beans I picked today as the canner will only hold seven jars and so I probably have another gallon and a half in the refrigerator. We are going to eat some with our supper tonight, along with the few potatoes I dug up last week. Is there anything better than that? 

And I guess that's about all I have to talk about today. It's been a quiet day, uneventful and pretty easy. 
For me, at least. 
Lily and her kids all have strep throat and so they're miserable. Strep  is horrible. It's like a flu that involves having razor blades in your throat, isn't it?  They're all on antibiotics now so they'll be feeling better soon. 
And Jessie and her family are on their way home from being in NC with all the family. They'll be heading back up pretty soon for the summer so I hope that we can all do things together before they leave, like going to the river. Especially going to the river. 
Mostly going to the river. 

Summer just does roll on in, doesn't it? It rolls in and slows us down with its heat and its haze and our subsequent daze and the songs of crickets, cicadas, frogs and birds, all of whom seem to be saying, "Shhh, shhh. No need to rush. Sit and look around, sit and look up. Stroll to the garden and fill your pockets with whatever's ripe. Everything is unfolding as it will and is not yours to control. Take it easy. It's summer in Florida." 

Or at least that's how I feel about it. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, May 29, 2023

Bitching Again



The only pictures I've taken today are of Maurice who followed me out to the clothesline this morning and then again this afternoon when I took the laundry off the line. She absolutely does watch to see when I'm going outside and she follows me, always keeping up the charade that she is not interested in either my comings or my goings because she is a cat and cats' number one priority is protecting their dignity. As you can see, Maurice has not been protecting her nose and has been in another fight. Her nose has had more scabs on it than my knees and that's a lot. 

So when I wrote yesterday's post about scabby knees and Merthiolate I knew I'd written a post before about the use of it but until a commenter asked me if Merthiolate and Mercurichrome where the same thing, I had not thought of that. Of course, we used both at one time or another. I looked them up and it turns out that they were indeed different from each other but both had mercury in them and so are no longer used. The reason we kids preferred Merthiolate was that it was water-based instead of the alcohol base used for Iodine and Mercurichrome and of course, applying anything with alcohol in it to a fresh wound is bound to hurt like hell. 
Did your mama blow on your cuts and scrapes after she burned the fire out of you with that application? I became the designated wound-treater in my neighborhood and blowing on boo-boos was definitely part of my treatment plan. 

Anyway. If you want to read the post I wrote four years ago that included Mercurichrome in it, you can go HERE where you will discover that my emotional intelligence quotient has not improved in the least since then. 

I went to Publix today as my grocery list was getting quite long. I know, I KNOW, I just went shopping. Well, that's how it goes. Right before I left the house Mr. Moon called me. He was in town as he'd gone to the gym and had other errands to run and he wanted to know if I'd like to join him at Chow Time which I would have loved doing but I'd already eaten some leftovers and was full. 
Darn. 
When I was at the store, I saw that Frank's wing sauce was BOGO and, being the sweet wife that I am, thought to myself that it had been a long time since I'd made chicken wings for my fella and he loves chicken wings and so I bought wings and the hot sauce but guess what he ate a lot of at Chow Time?

Yeah. Chicken wings. 

Isn't this how it always goes?

So I put them in the freezer and I'll make them another time. 

Here's another picture of Maurice. I took it right after I took the one at the top. I'd said, "Kitty!" to get her to look at me. 


Does it not look like she wants to slice and dice me? I reassure myself by saying that the sun was just in her eyes. 

And right after I took that, she rolled over on her back and showed me her nice furry belly. 



And sharp little fangs.

Damn, but I lead an exciting life! Right?

I did do a minuscule amount of cleaning today. I needed to use up a few rags. Which I did and then I THREW THEM AWAY! And you know what? I hate cleaning. I purely hate it. I get no pleasure whatsoever from it. Oh, sure, it's the tiniest bit rewarding when it's done but so what? There's always a shit-ton more I should have done and that's all I can see. 

I'll let you go now. I know you're busy. Thanks for coming by. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Am I Tough Enough?


The Georgia Thumpers are still in the juvenile phase and they are hungry little fuckers. That one was about three inches long and was chomping on my green bean leaves. I just let him be, mostly because he was on the other side of the wire fencing from me. I'm so fancy I can take a picture BETWEEN the squares of fencing. 
I'm surprised National Geographic hasn't gotten in touch with me yet. 
I found another one smack-snacking on a cucumber leaf and I am not proud to say that I removed my Croc and hit him square on with it. He was partially on a fence post which is why I was able to get him. I know. I know. All living things are as important as all other living things and killing is killing- but shit. An old southern lady gardener can only be pushed so far. And they make themselves so easy to hit! They are so concentrated on their eating that they don't even seem to see us as we swing our shoes at them! 

Speaking of cucumbers- here's one that is finally getting a little girth and heft to it. 


Not much. I just wanted to use the words "girth" and "heft" in describing the most phallic of vegetables. Or one of them, at least. it's still a little boy cucumber. 
"Come on! Be a man!" I told it. 
There are lots of little-bitty cukes coming along and oh, if I get enough to make a decent amount of pickles I will be so happy. 

Looks to be an okay year for peppers. 


Those are almost full-sized. 

And one more garden picture.


Garlic bloom. They are so pretty. 

I did not do any actual gardening today, just picked green beans. My knee is still hot and swollen but as long as I don't bump it on anything or kneel on it, it's not so bad. I feel like such an ass but also, I feel like a human. I remember a long, long time ago when I was probably about nine years old, I fell on the back steps of my best friend, Lucille Ferger's house. Must have been a pretty good fall because I can distinctly remember watching the blood seep in over what I now realize was probably my patella, covering the whiteness with crimson. I was a clumsy child, constantly falling off my bike or on the primitive playground at Sebastian Elementary school, and my knees were always scabbed over. They still bear scars. Another very strong memory I have is the way the brown paper towels in the restroom at school felt and smelled when I wet them under the tap and then pumped some tincture of green soap on them to delicately remove the sand and grit from a freshly skinned knee. And the way my knees would burn after that when I sat in class and tried to concentrate on what my teacher was saying. 
Childhood is rough! At least it was in Roseland. I think the generally accepted medical advice in those days was to "walk it off" and we did, after applications of Merthiolate or (oh god, please no!) Iodine. 
It's a wonder any of us survived. 

And yet we did. 

I am living proof. Humans may fall but we are strong. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, May 27, 2023

What Is My PROBLEM?


The last approximately 24 hours has been a fucking klutz-fest for me. It started out yesterday when I was making my crumble and reached for the oatmeal in a cabinet above the stove and somehow managed to pull the container over which caused the plastic lid on it to fall off which allowed oatmeal to spill over everywhere. Cabinet. Stove. Floor. Under the stove. All the places. 
That was incident number one. Not so bad, really. Just annoying as hell and wasteful and I was in a hurry which is probably why it happened in the first place. But I managed to clean it all up and get on with the crumble-making. 

Then today I decided to do something about the chaos in the pantry which led to doing something about the chaos in the cabinets too. You know how that works. One big but-first after another. I wanted to relocate some items in the pantry to the bottom of my Hoover cabinet and that involved throwing out some of last year's sweet potatoes, some of which, unbelievably, are still fit to eat. But some are definitely not and these are the big bad boys that were just about the same size and shape as one of Big Foot's feet. So I tossed those in the compost pot along with some other things and took it out to where we dump the compost and I did that and when I came back to the house, I fell UP the steps to the kitchen door and for a second it was that horrifying experience of what have I done now? 
Well, for one thing I blew out my Croc flip flop and the way the toe piece got messed up somehow pulled my big toe with some serious torque and no, it's not broken but it's probably sprained which is no big deal. It just hurts a little and it's slightly swollen. 
HOWEVER. My knee which took my not-insignificant weight and which was already teetering on going out on me was my main worry but hey! It's okay! It's swollen and a little painful and has a small bloody delineation where it must have hit the edge of the step. 


Somehow this looks more like a leg that should belong to an elephant than to a human but what can I say? I used to have beautiful legs and now I don't. 

So. Whatever. I can bend my knee and nothing appears to be knocked askew in there so- Carry On! 
Which I did. 
And then I dropped a pot lid on my little toe on my other foot and thank goodness it wasn't one of the cast iron lids because if it had been, I would probably be in a pain-killer coma at this moment. But why does it hurt so much when you drop something on your foot? 
Who knows? Not me. 

Next up on the I-can't-believe-I-did-that wheel was doing almost the exact same thing with a box of tapioca that I'd done with the oatmeal. I pulled it towards me, somehow pulling it over and releasing tiny grits of tapioca all over the...cabinet, countertop, and floor. 
Sigh. 
But I was not done yet! There is more! 
I picked up a package of black-eyed peas not realizing that it was open and...yes. You guessed it. Black-eyed peas all over the cabinet, the countertop, the floor. 
Well, all that shit needed cleaning anyway. 

And eventually I got things at least neater than they had been but I didn't really do much good because mostly the only things I threw away were some questionable home-canned goods. Not too many of those but a few. I don't throw out the jars or lids (unless the lids are rusty) but the mystery pickles and preserves went into the compost pot along with swept-up and wiped-up tapioca and black-eyed peas. 

Well. Here's what the pantry looks like now. 


Part of it, anyway. 

I did throw out a few flashlights that looked like something you'd get for free at a gas station or something. We have so many flashlights and miner's head-lamps and lanterns and so forth due to the preponderance of power outings here in Lloyd but we have the generator now. Still, as Mr. Moon said when I told him I was going to throw some of those things out, if we do, that will pretty much guarantee that the generator breaks down. 
And if that doesn't sum up why we hold on to shit we don't need, I do not know what would. 
Now, why I am holding on to a GIANT bin of rags is another matter. I doubt I could use all of these rags if I used each one and threw it away instead of washing them after use. But they're such great rags! Old cleaning rags that Mr. Moon used in his car business, old dishtowels, old napkins, old washcloths, old pieces of toweling, old pieces of tablecloths...
I don't even know. Hell, there could be pieces of the Shroud of Turin in there and we'd just cut it up and use the strips to tie up tomatoes. 
I might use more rags if I dusted more than once in a blue moon but, well. 
No.

And that's what I did today. I was going to work outside because it is unbelievably cool and beautiful here in North Florida for this time of year. Just perfect weather. It got down into the fifties last night and will do the same tonight. But I thought that I'd get that pantry done in an hour or so and then I'd change into my work overalls and do some yard work but things rarely happen in as timely a manner as you think they will and now, with this knee, it is going to be impossible to do my weeding and crocosmia pulling. 
GEE DEE! 

Life will go on. 

And I will try to be more careful, pay better attention, and concentrate on the tasks at hand. Etc. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Friday, May 26, 2023

Triggering In Oh, So Many Ways.


I just pulled this out of the oven. It is a strawberry rhubarb crumble. I saw a picture of one online the other day and I realized that I must make one. Strawberry rhubarb is absolutely and without a doubt one of the best combinations of flavor in the entire world. 
In my opinion, anyway. 
And I know I have talked about this before but it's absolutely because when I was a child living in Roseland and there was one restaurant in which to eat in the nearby area, strawberry rhubarb pie was the go-to desert. The restaurant was called The Anchor Restaurant and yes, there was an old, giant anchor out front with the big iron chain and everything. It was surrounded by huge cacti that made prickly pears every year that my brother and I would poke with a toothpick after supper to watch them bleed their crimson juices. It seems to me that large, rusty anchors were everywhere to be found in Indian River county in those days, adorning the front yards of many. I am not sure where they all came from. It was very much a fishing area being close to the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean but these anchors were big enough to hold an ocean liner in place. 
Okay, okay. Not really but far bigger than most boats would require. 

Like this. 


That's just a random photo I got off of the internet but that's what those anchors and their chains looked like. 

Wait. What the hell was I talking about? 
Oh yes. The anchor restaurant, strawberry rhubarb pie, and the crumble I just made. Okay. Here we are again. 

Man, I had a tough morning. Everything hurt. My back, my legs, and also I kept wanting to cry. Then I realized that yes, of course, Jessie and the family were on their way up to NC and thus- my sadness. This is just a short trip before they go up for the summer. They are having a memorial service for an uncle of Vergil's and they also took a lot of stuff that they'll need this summer. The RV is already up there. So, I girded my loins and got on with my day. 
I went to town to get a few things at Costco and Publix and I bought myself lunch at Maddio's pizza joint because I suddenly remembered the "gourmet" artichoke and spinach pizza I'd had there once and that's what I had today. As weird as I am about being in public places and spaces, I do not mind eating by myself in a restaurant. I take my magazine and I just enjoy myself. 

When I came home I picked about another gallon and a half of green beans and I made that crumble and I put clean sheets on the bed. I've been listening to a book that is probably triggering me in certain areas. Abuse is mentioned often in the book, mostly sexual and domestic, and I feel so grateful that I never seriously dated or married a man who had the tendency towards control and physical violence. I was slapped once by a guy I dated in college for just the shortest amount of time and I will never forget that experience. I have no idea what I said or did that riled him but we were in a car with my dear friend and roommate and her boyfriend on our way to a Poco concert, I think, and he flat-out slapped me. 
I had no idea what to do or think or even feel. Before that moment he had been the most genial and humorous of guys. But something triggered HIM and I was smacked. 
I remember nothing about the rest of the evening and I do believe that was the last time I went out with him. 
My step father did spank me at least once and it was an incredibly inappropriate situation. We'd spent a holiday weekend camping with friends and some of his coworkers, and I and a friend of mine from school developed a little crush on each other. I think we were probably about fifteen. We spent a lot of time with each other that weekend but it was entirely innocent and sweet but the stepfather was, I could tell, quite upset. In his eyes, I guess, I was his and seeing me being interested in and interested by a boy my age enraged him. When we got home after the weekend and it was time to unpack the camper, I, having the natural urge that having one's own bathroom can create, disappeared for a few minutes and when I got out, he yelled at me for not helping unload the camping stuff and then, he grabbed me, bent me over, and spanked me. 
At the age of fifteen. 
As I recall, my mother chastised him. "Charlie- what are you doing?" And I knew in my heart exactly why he felt the need to hit me and I came to hate and fear him even more and have dreams where I am terrified by him even now. 

So exactly why I'm listening to this book I am not sure but I suppose it's good to let these memories surface and to examine them if possible. To know that what happened to me was so very wrong. And to be grateful that at least I never got seriously involved with a violent man. That, at least, has not been one of my problems but I surely know that many women who find themselves in that situation are not fools or stupid for not leaving their abusers. They have their reasons and whether or not we on the outside can see or understand them is not what's important. We can support these women in whatever ways we can but we cannot make them leave until they are ready. I have been on that side of the situation myself, and I know it's a lesson hard-learned. 

Well, that was a rather depressing post. But truly, I am feeling fine now and it is martini time and oh, how I am looking forward to those clean sheets. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Thursday, May 25, 2023

A Day In My Life. A Life That Mattered


That's my new lady's spot in the bathroom. It's on a small shelf at the end of the clawfoot tub right next to the window. The pot was one of my grandmothers and the snake plant struggles but it has not died and it even has a small new shoot. The conch shell no doubt came from the Gulf, the mermaid mirror was given to me by a friend, and Lis gave me the little painting of the wild azaleas. And oh! Linda Sue sent me the bark cloth which the plant, the shell, and the mother and child are graced by. My bathroom truly is my favorite room in the house, not counting the porches. Are porches rooms? They are living spaces for sure but I don't know if they qualify as actual rooms. Anyway, the bathroom has the tub in it and my smallish dresser and a beautiful old piece of furniture with my Talavera sink in it, AND a shower. 
A toilet too, obviously.
There are many treasures in the room including two beautiful madonna painting reproductions, art work from Linda Sue, a very old Chinese parasol, and, well...other stuff. I would take pictures but I would need to do a good cleaning and tidying first and that is not happening right this second. I mean, it's certainly not filthy but it's one of those situations where you don't realize how much it needs cleaning until you start doing something simple like wiping down a surface and the next thing you know, it's eight hours later and you smell like you've been dunked in bleach and fried in Fabuloso.

I took a walk this morning. The most exciting thing about it was that I passed a gardenia bush in bloom and sniffed some of the beautiful blossoms. I have planted one here but as with everything else, I do not think it gets enough sun. I'll give it another year or so and then it's coming out. I would have stolen one of the gardenias but I have a powerful inability to take anything that isn't mine. Flowers in front of abandoned houses are fair game and I tell myself that even the flowers in front of a house where someone is living are probably okay to take now and then. I wouldn't mind if someone picked any of the camellias I have growing by the fence in the front yard. And these gardenias are on a small bush tucked away at the very front edge of a yard where a woman of quite advanced years lives and I have never once seen her come out of her house so I doubt she'd notice or mind either one. 
Still. I can't. 

So I took the walk and I've been fairly nonproductive the rest of the day. You know- laundry, some mending, etc. 
Mr. Moon told me that he had read on the University of Florida website that a few days before you dig up your potatoes you should cut the tops of the plants off to begin the "hardening" process. Now I have never heard this in my life and also, the damn bugs are getting rid of the tops of the potato plants for us but I told my husband that I'd cut them. He was on his way to Tom's. And I did. I do not have much hope at all for those potatoes. I just have a feeling that most of them are rotted or so bug-eaten that we're not going to get many. 
In fact, the whole garden is getting eaten up. Glen sprays with Neem oil which is supposed to be relatively nontoxic to nonbugs but it doesn't seem to be that toxic to bugs either. I ended up picking some green tomatoes today because it seems like they're all getting wormed-out before they ripen. I'm going to air-fry some of the green tomatoes tonight and we'll certainly enjoy that. I'm also going to actually pan fry some tiny river fishes that Mr. Moon caught. I mean seriously- you could put those things in an aquarium. But they are sweet and they are good. 

Here's what I picked today. Not too impressive. 


But pretty! As usual, the banana peppers are going crazy. The cucumbers are being so slow but I am not losing faith. The bees are certainly buzzing around them with the obvious intent of pollination. 

And that's all I have to say today. I have not discussed Tina Turner dying but in a way I feel like that was a sacred and private event. I can't quite explain it but somehow, even as the world rightly honors her for her strength, her voice, her heart, her soul, her courage, her LEGS, I have the image of her essence rising up in hushed silence with complete peace and joy. I hope it was that way. 
I am so grateful to have been on this planet at the same time as she was. 
And god, was she gorgeous. 


Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

My May's Birthday And Also, Her Birth Day


There is our beautiful birthday girl, May. We celebrated her today in typical our-family fashion. First all of us who could, had lunch at what I have no doubt is the best restaurant in Tallahassee, Kool Beanz. In all honesty, it is quite possibly the only restaurant around where I feel that the food is better than what I cook. It just is. 
So May and Michael and Rachel and Mr. Moon and I gathered there and enjoyed the best lunch. Then we broke out the cake I made yesterday and oh, honeys. It was a fine cake.




I grated fresh ginger into the cake batter this time and that worked perfectly with all of the other spices. SO good. We gave our server a piece, too. I hope he enjoyed it. 

And then on we all went (except for Mr. Moon) to a nearby thrift store called City Walk which is a Christian organization but much to my delight, they have quit playing Christian rock in the store and have replaced it with the music that I grew up on, meaning lots of Rolling Stones and Beatles and James Brown and so on and so forth, which made our shopping all the more fun. Hank had gotten off of work and he joined us and we joyfully explored all the goods. It is really an excellent thrift store with tons of bowls and baskets




and you know how much I love those. I got a book collection of humorous writing for children and I hope with all of my heart that Levon and August will let me read some of it to them. I got a green vase and I also bought some very nice souvenir type dolls. This one is my favorite. 



I can imagine that Boud and Joanne will be able to place her origin by looking at her clothing which appears to be made from handmade textiles. And also, she is holding a spindle- she is spinning yarn. Although her head appears to have been broken at one time, her beautifully painted face is still lovely and so is that of the baby she is wearing on her back who is peeking boldly over her shoulder. She is in a place of honor right now in my bathroom which is, truthfully, the prettiest room in the entire house. 

We had so much fun at the thrift store. We wandered and laughed and pointed things out, both beautiful and absurd. Funny memories were triggered by different items and I, for one, enjoyed the whole experience. I think we all did. 

On all of my children's birthdays I can't help but remember so many details about their births and they days they were born. I had wanted to have Hank at home but ended up in the hospital where he was born not even an hour later and we did go home that same day which was unheard of in 1976. And so with May, I was hopeful that I could give birth in my own bed and my underground midwives and a good friend came to be with me in the tiny trailer in the woods that my first husband and I were living in with our almost-two-year-old Hank, just a few miles down the road from where I live now. I am a woman who takes forever to have a baby and with May the process was very long and very slow. But under the watchful eyes of my midwives I finally did have that precious baby just as the sun was starting to light the sky.
I always say that Hank taught me what love truly is when he was born. I had absolutely no concept of how much I would love my baby. He blew out my heart to make room for that love in a way I did not know was possible and I spent my entire pregnancy with May feeling guilty and scared because I was absolutely convinced that I could never love another child the way I loved Hank. 
And then she was born and I realized with absolute certainty that there is no limit on how much we love. That the capacity of our hearts is infinite and unfathomable. I looked into her eyes and held her to my breast and I loved her, plain and simple, pure and precious. 

That is how it was when May was born. And she has always been a light to me and to this world. She is wicked smart, she has more talents than I can list. She can write like nobody else. She can tell jokes that will make you blush and roar. She is the most loving and empathetic person I know. She can draw and paint and sew and make beauty. Michael got her a dressmaker form for her birthday so that she can start making more clothes. I think that was a perfect gift. 
And speaking of Michael, when we were all about to get in our cars and go home, he hugged me so tight. 
"Thank you for my May," he said. 
"My pleasure," I said. 

Truth. 

Happy birthday, my darling girl. Thank you for coming to me. I saw your light before I knew I was pregnant even though I don't believe in that sort of woo-woo. You are just that brilliant of a soul. 

All love...Ms. Moon, May's Mama






 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Ain't That America?

 


What a day! Gibson graduated from elementary school and his school does it with a parade. A parade! They began doing it this way back when covid was more of a concern and I guess it went over so well that it is now the custom. 

So Mr. Moon and I got up at an ungodly hour in order to make it to the school at nine but it was worth it and it was really sweet. The principal led the way in a golf cart and then came a fire truck and then all of the kids in decorated cars who waved while we shouted, "Congratulations!" and every kid felt like King or Queen of the Day, I am sure. 


There were kids hanging out of sun roofs and kids in the backs of trucks. There was even a kid on the front of his family's van! They were going so slowly that it really wasn't much of a danger. Gibson sat in a chair and waved like the man of the hour he was. Lily and Jason did a beautiful job of decorating Jason's truck. 


Not only were family members lining the parade route, but all of the children from all of the grades were taken out of class by their teachers to line up beside it to cheer and wave. It is such a fun way to celebrate, I think. Far, far better than a boring ceremony in the cafetorium. 

And after it was over, we met up with Lily and Jason and our graduating boy and went to the Waffle House where we had delicious eggs and hash browns. 
And raisin toast. 


Gibson was so happy. He had his mom and his dad and his Mer and his Bop all to himself and we celebrated him!


When you're the middle child, that opportunity does not come around every day so it's special when it does. His mom and dad are so proud of him. As are we all. 

And then, since we were just right down the road from Publix, Glen and I went to do our shopping. I did not have the list but by some miracle I got everything on it except for tomato paste and then I found a tube of the stuff in the cabinet when I got home so no harm done. When we walked into the store from the parking lot I told my husband that it was not going to become the norm for us to grocery shop together. And to illustrate why I said this, I will tell you that in the time it took Mr. Moon to pick out a bar of soap, I had gotten everything else we needed. 

May's birthday is tomorrow and this year when I asked her what she wanted her mama to make her, she said, "A prune cake!" and so I did indeed make a prune cake today and while that was in the oven, I started a different project. 


I had two gallon bags full of beans and a brand new box of pint canning jars with lids and I got to work. Turns out that two gallons of raw beans makes just about seven pints of pickled beans. 


I hope this is a good batch. 

I am keeping my fingers crossed about the cucumbers this year. We've got the best-looking vines and the most blossoms we've ever had but the flowers don't seem to be setting many cukes. I have seen bees on them and I'm not going to despair yet. I sure would like to make some of Mr. Moon's mama's sweet pickles that take fourteen days and a crock to make, along with approximately fourteen pounds of sugar. 

Mr. Moon has spent the afternoon over at Tom's working on a new piece of furniture. This is something he has been thinking about and planning in his mind for a long, long time. It sounds sort of ridiculous and I suppose it is, but it will suit our needs well. We watch TV while we eat supper and no, you're not "supposed" to do that but we do, so sue us. This is something we never did when there were still children at home but now we're old and can do whatever we want. So for all these past many years, we've been eating at a coffee-table that Mr. Moon's daddy bought for us and finished himself. It is round and smallish and it has served us well. But we have to sit on the floor to eat off of it and let's face it- our getting-older joints are not happy about getting down onto the floor and they absolutely protest our getting back up. 
So Glen has designed a coffee table which will have a top that can be raised and extended so that we can sit on the couch more side-by-side while we eat. 
Yes. It does sound a little weird but won't it be practical? 
And ain't that America? To build a piece of furniture that can transform into a dining table for two so that TV can be watched while we eat? 
YES! That is America, just like riding in the back of a big, shiny blue pick-up truck to graduate is. Like going to the Waffle House is! 

Gawd. No wonder the whole world laughs at us. I laugh at us too. 
And you know damn well that table will be beautiful and the graduation was a hoot and the Waffle House cannot be beat when it comes to people-watching and eavesdropping and admiring the way the staff works together to serve you your food fast and hot off the grill. 
And damn, their hash browns are great. 

See you tomorrow which will be my May's birthday! 

Love...Ms. Moon 

Monday, May 22, 2023

Whoopie! We're All Gonna Die!

 



I have had a bit of a rough day today. Nothing horrible. Just one of those days where it feels like my defenses are down and all of the pains of older age are making themselves known for whatever reason. In fact, from the moment I woke up this morning, getting old/being old has been on my mind. There are so many things about aging that you can't really conceive of until you're there. Like waking up and realizing for the umpteenth time that even with a lot of luck, the number of years left to live is a mere sliver of what seemingly lay ahead such a short time ago. And time flies so quickly now. What used to be as stretchy and sturdy as toffee now seems more like cotton candy, dissolving at a breath. And usually that's all okay but some days reality does seem to want to slap you in the face.

And today was one of those. I grieved the swiftness of the days and the shortness of the years ahead. And I worry so about what we should be doing with our lives. Obviously, we should be living out whatever dreams we have that we can afford to do, that we are physically able to do. But oh, my dreams and the man's dreams differ. He has always wanted many acres on a pond or a lake- somewhere he can fish any time he wants. A place he can hunt, too. A place where he can take his grandkids fishing and be surrounded by nothing but land and trees. And he should be able to do that. But that is not my dream. As I see it, we do not need to live farther away from the kids and stores and (oh shit) doctors and hospitals than we do now. In fact, shouldn't we be making plans for our "final years," the years when we'll absolutely need help with our daily activities? I mean, let's be honest- that time will come unless we are blessed and lucky enough to keel over dead while we're relatively still together enough to live the way we want to live. 

And that's another thing. There are so many unknowns when facing the future when you're older. Of course there are always unknowns but the ones that loom when you're getting up there in age are so much more frightening in some ways. 
Will these little mind-slips we're having bloom into full-fledged dementia? Will one or both of us become disabled to the point where this old house is unnavigable for us and our mobility is severely limited? What if we can't drive? 
Hell. What if we can't wipe our own butts?

Ay-yi. 

I know that although it is wise to have things in order, to have plans in place, it is ridiculous to dwell on these things to the point that they paralyze you and limit what you can do now due to obsessive worry. So what is the proper balance? What is the best way to live this part of our lives? Add to all these questions an anxiety disorder, a touch of agoraphobia, a pinch of an overdeveloped love of routine, and a soup├žon of just plain old generalized fear of the unknown and you definitely realize that your "golden years" are not going to be filled with dancing in a white dress on a beach in Greece as the sun sets, both literally and metaphorically. 

I do not know the answers to any of these questions. I just know that for now, we are relatively well and able to do things like garden and cook and work on cars and build furniture and enjoy our grandchildren and our children and read books and enjoy each other tremendously and be grateful for the experiences we've had and the memories of those things that we cherish and I really do not want to taint what we love with fears about the future. 

But some days...
Some days are harder than others, especially when I think about the fact that we are already having to make certain decisions based on our present reduced abilities that signal the absolute end of a few dreams. 
Reality can be a bitch. 

I did garden today, a little. I pulled the pea vines and I picked another gallon and a half or so of green beans and I cleaned out the last of the poopy hay in the hen house that I have not, until now, been able to bring myself to do. I garden-carted that hay to the garden and used it for mulch between a row of beans and peppers and tomatoes. I weeded a little bit and got ant-bit as usual. It was not very hot due to the fact that the sun was hidden behind the gathering storm clouds that did indeed bring us lightning, thunder, and rain. 

I made a soup with probably too much venison sausage in it, and green beans and tomatoes and garbanzo beans and garlic and onions and a few small sweet potatoes that grew last year, unbidden and unasked for in the garden. 

The best thing to do, I suppose, is to be here now and realize that life goes on, within us and without us and try not to worry overmuch about those things we cannot control. 

Good advice. Now if I could only follow it...

Love...Ms. Moon



Sunday, May 21, 2023

Non-Sucking Sunday

Lace Cap Hydrangea


Today was a rest and restore day for me. First off, I got ten hours of sleep. Why do they always say that old people need less and less sleep? I sure don't. But I do tend to spend that last hour or so having such intense dreams that I wake up exhausted so there is that, too. This morning I had one of my dreams wherein I need to clean a huge house that is filled with trash and dirty crap and there are many washing machines and I can never remember which ones have clothes in them and which ones don't. I had promised some friends they could have a party at my house which is why I was cleaning it. So all the while I was trying to create order, people were coming in to party and oh, it was so dreadful. At one point, Mr. Moon was down in the huge, warehouse-sized basement with the foreman of a crew going over plans for building something. There was heavy-duty construction equipment all around us. The crew had just gone home and the foreman looked at me and said, "Did you feed all of those hard-working men before they left?"
"Oh god!" I said. "Was I supposed to?"
He just gave me a look of complete disgust. I apologized and apologized, all the while wondering how in hell I could have cooked for an entire crew AND get ready for that party. I find that a very funny, slightly sad, and rather easily interpreted part of the dream. 
Now why there are always Christmas trees in these wrecks of houses when it's nowhere near Christmas and I am the one who needs to take them down is a little more of a mystery to me but I suppose we could explain it by all of the years I did Christmas like a Mom's supposed to do, all the while resenting the work to make the magic happen and then having to take everything back down, tree included. 
Man, I must have really hated that. 

But anyway, I didn't do much today except make us a breakfast and make up a loaf of sourdough to rise and do a little laundry and water plants. And even that sounds like more than it was. I worked some on the jigsaw puzzle I got a few weeks ago and y'all- I'm having to use a combination of my MeeMaw magnifying glass and my phone to see some of the details in these pieces. Good Lord. This is ridiculous. 

Last night we got a text from Lily telling us that their beloved doggy, Pepper, had been rushed to the vet after probably being snake-bit. She was in a terrible state, yelping and acting like every part of her hurt when Lauren picked her up and the only thing they could see was a little blood on her paw. When they got her to the vet, the paw had swollen and her blood was not coagulating properly so yes, snakebite. No idea what kind. Pepper and Chloe, who is Pepper's sister from another mother, are Lauren's babies and I know she was scared to death. But she is home now, safe and sound. Yay, Pepper! Hurray for good vets and antivenin! I know she will be as glad to be home as her family is to have her there. It is scary to think that she got bit in their yard. We do have snakes here for sure. I haven't seen any this year but I am not fool enough to think I haven't been close to one. A good reminder, though, for the kids to be watchful and wary. As much a part of my life as snakes have been, I am still not comfortable with them. That primitive part of my brain that screams DANGER, DANGER! when triggered takes over when I see one and that's all there is to it. Now if I take a second and really look at the snake and realize it's a rat snake or some other harmless kind, I can relax and let it go on its way. And if it's one of the beautiful snakes, like an Indigo, I can actually admire it. But shitfire. Rattlers and moccasins, especially the moccasins, freak me out. They SAY they're not aggressive but I will just say that they seem to have no interest in silently slipping away if threatened but will rise and strike and defend their ground. 

The important thing here is that Pepper survived and is fine. 

It's raining again and I am not complaining. I think that the smell of rain when it first begins will always make me swoon. Not just the sharp ozone smell of the air itself but the way the dirt, the very flesh of the earth, releases its funky, verdant scent as the rain dampens it.

Oh, mama. Yes. 

That's all I have to say tonight. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Saturday, May 20, 2023

Evening Peace


Hey look! I changed the basket! I found that one on a pantry shelf yesterday when I was looking for batteries. I have GOT to get in there and create some order. But it is nice to find useful things you didn't know you had.

We had a good time with our Gibson. We did the same thing with him that we did with August and Levon a few weeks ago and invited him to join us on the front porch while we had martinis and he had ginger ale. He, like his younger cousins, seemed happy to come sit with us. 


We talked about stuff and just sat and enjoyed the magic hour. 
As much as I love that picture, here is my favorite one. 


I think that boy loves his Boppy. And his Boppy loves him. 

A large amount of spaghetti and meatballs were eaten for our supper along with salad, and bread out of the oven. Hard to beat a supper like that. By then it was time for for a purple cow, a shower, and bed and that's what happened. I had no purple cow but I sure was ready for bed. I think I was asleep by 10:30. 

This morning I made pancakes. Of course. It occurs to me that I could make these grandchild pancake breakfasts in my sleep by now. Today's pancakes were fairly pedestrian, containing only blueberries and grated apples along with the regular pancake batter which absolutely must include buttermilk. I do not really like pancakes that much. I mean, I like them in theory but sweet breakfasts no longer appeal to me. I make them out of love and I generally eat one without syrup. 

Mr. Moon took Gibson home around noon and then it was time for us to go back to the same auditorium where August's dance recital was last week to attend Maggie's recital. 
Ooh boy. 
Literally thousands of people come to this school's recitals. They have three different shows and the auditorium holds 3000 people and I bet you anything that at least 2800 folks attend each show. It's like this every year. I have to say that it's quite overwhelming for me. So many people and the music is quite loud and the screen behind the dancers is constantly changing as is the lighting, of course. It is very professionally done. This year a woman sat in front of me who had rather fluffy hair and I had to lean into Lily almost constantly to see what was going on onstage. It was somewhat frustrating. But of course the show was great from the tiny tutu-wearers to the far older and experienced dancers, some of them rather unbelievably good. An audience favorite was when five women who were probably dance moms did a number with their teacher, the hip-hop instructor. It looked like they were having a lot of fun. 

When it was all over, Lily got Maggie from the "holding room" and we took pictures. 


Maggie had been in a circus-themed dance and when we saw her after the show I said, "Maggie! You were magnificent!" and she smiled. She knows she's magnificent. 


Then there were hugs all around and we drove home. Our route took us through a part of Tallahassee that used to be nothing but old warehouses and businesses that did things like sell construction materials and do auto repairs. It's just a few blocks from FSU and it is now all apartments and coffee shops and restaurants and smoke shops and nail and hair places and I don't know what all. I used to live in that neighborhood in an old wooden house on a quiet street when I first moved to Tallahassee and the house I lived in and all of the houses around it have been torn down to make room for these new places and driving down that road makes me anxious. So much stuff clamoring for attention and everything that I knew gone and taken over by tall, windowed buildings that make the street feel closed in and it's too much for me. 
Just way too much. 
When we finally got to the east side of Tallahassee where there are still pastures and trees and old houses that have withstood time and weather, I started to calm down and by the time we approached Lloyd with its woods and lazy ways, I could only feel great gratitude that I am able to live here in this green world under the ancient live oaks, where instead of traffic noise there are bird calls and crickets and the croak of frogs when the rain is coming in a house set amongst it all that seems to breathe with us as it shelters us and so gracefully and graciously offers its space where we can go about our lives. 



This is where I find peace and sustenance. This is where my soul is at rest. And the older I get, the less I want to leave it. Oh, it's fine to go to the river although if there are too many people there, I can only stay for so long. And I do have to leave it at times to shop for food, to do things with and for the grandchildren and children. But again, the older I get, the fewer things I feel the need to do in a town and there are absolutely way fewer things I feel I need to see, to shop for, to do. 
I am happy at home from the moment I have my first cup of coffee on the back porch to the moment I crawl into my bed with my book and my cat, knowing that my husband will join me there soon. 

Once again, I did not set out to go from green beans to Gibson to a recital and home again and yet, that is exactly what I did. 

Sometimes you have to drive down quite a few roads to get to where you're going. 

Love...Ms. Moon