Sunday, March 31, 2024

Change In Plans

 Darling Rachel took that picture of the second the Kraken children were released to go look for eggs. And no, that is not a park. At the almost last minute I offered my house because the park thing was iffy, not even knowing if it was open or if annoying people would be there or if we would annoy nice people who were there and there aren't a whole lot tables there and we all know the logistics and working of my house and kitchen and bathrooms and yard so everyone agreed that if it wasn't too much on me, that would be nice. 

And then before you knew it, this had happened. 

Rachel had gone to a work party earlier in the week where a whole lot of charcuterie foods had gone unopened so she brought those, of course, and Lauren is the Queen of Charcuterie and there you go. Besides all of those foods there was a very nice baby lettuce and fruit salad that Jessie had made and a tabouli salad that May had made and my ham and bread and the Costco family pack of sliced cheese and the deviled eggs, etc. And Lauren made ambrosia and Lily made two types of potato salad and they were both awesome. 

So we ate outside in a casual manner. I set out a quilt for the kiddos. 

Maggie decided to eat in the house where she would be more comfortable. Here she is with her princess fairy doll. 

I believe her name is Charlotte. 

Before lunch there was some kitchen dancing. 

Rachel took that picture. 

And then after lunch, there was a little massage therapy. 

The kids were a rowdy pack of feral beast children, as usual. They were playing cops and robbers and I'm not sure what the rules were but a great deal of screaming and running through the house and the yard seemed to be involved. At some points, the kids lost track of who were cops and who were robbers but that did not seem to be a problem or hinder their joy in the least. Owen was a fantastic big brother and kept everything at least moderately under control. 

In short, it was the best Easter of the year, as we all agreed. 

I was especially happy to get to spend time with May as we all know how rare that is. When they left, her work had called and there was a problem and I would not be in the least surprised if she got back to town, changed her clothes, and went in to take the shift of someone who did not show up. 
On Easter Sunday. 
That woman is way too responsible. But she is the manager and she takes that seriously and she should be making at least a hundred thousand dollars a year. I swear. 

And to top it all off, the Weatherfords are staying for a slumber party! There's a Duke basketball game and Vergil went to Duke and Glen loves basketball and so now they're all in the Glen Den eating wings and carrot sticks and cantaloupe and I don't know what all. Adults are drinking adult beverages and the birds are SO happy because we've finally gotten out of their feeding area. I was sitting under the magnolia tree earlier and a cardinal pooped on my arm. Probably to display his displeasure in our presence. I swear to you- I believe that is the first time I've ever been pooped on by a bird. Well, a wild bird. When I was a child we had a parakeet who pooped on me all the time. 

Well, not our regular Sunday. But a good one.
Funny how there was no talk of Our Savior rolling away the stone at all. I do believe that Zombie Jesus was mentioned several times. We are not quite Pagans but I suppose we are definitely heathens. And as I heard Vergil say to one of his boys when we were talking about Easter eggs- "Very appropriate as we are celebrating fertility." 
I think that's what he said. 

I may not be a shining star in the eyes of our Lord Jesus Christ but when it comes to fertility- I have done my job and have a place in the firmament. Or so I tell myself. 

Happy Eostre, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, March 30, 2024

Perfectly Dull

Lately I've been getting some enjoyment out of a few groups on Facebook that are for dull people. There is a Dull Man's Group and a Dull Woman's group although both sexes seem to accept the other sex as long as they are dull. How the algorithm decided that these groups would be something I'd relate to, I have no idea. The postings are quite humorous and people discuss their love for things like making their own butter from cream, saving "good" boxes, enjoying being at home the most, reading dull books, and having dull jobs. They always list their shoe sizes for a reason unknown to me. I guess that's just a dull fact about someone. 
I have not joined one of these groups but I could definitely join all of them as anyone who reads here can attest to. I thought about this today a lot as I was going about my exceptionally dull activities and when I found a not-quite-dead poinsettia at the dump that I brought home and repotted which gave me a certain sense of pleasure, I realized that in doing this, I have probably achieved penultimate dullness. 

You know damn well I'll be reporting in on possible poinsettia new growth. 
I also took one of the bloom clippings and put it in water to see if it will root. I have no idea how one propagates a poinsettia but it looks sort of pretty anyway and I am feeling too dull to google "poinsettia propagation" so I won't. 

By the way- I wear size 8 (American) shoes. 

The weather has been just as beautiful today as it was yesterday and the day before although a little warmer but for some reason, I have not felt like doing much. I did hang the laundry on the line and I made my challah dough. I am not going to braid the loaf so I guess it's not really challah, but merely plain old egg bread. I'm not braiding it because it will be sliced for sandwiches and I don't want the braid parts separating and making things all messy. I have decided not to even heat the ham up because it is already fully cooked and who needs warm ham for sandwiches? Not to mention that by the time we get to the park and actually have lunch, it will be cold again and possibly somewhat dried out. 

I worked a little more in the old kitchen yard and I suppose I've finished up what I really wanted to get done in there for now. Maurice was not as interested in hanging out with me today as she was yesterday. She may have hit her limit when she followed me to bed last night and slept all night long right beside my head on a pillow. I am reminded of how, when I was a child, I would suddenly take an interest in an old toy and for a day or too, I would be completely enchanted with it again, and carry it with me and play with it everywhere. Usually a doll. I think that yesterday I was Maurice's doll and for whatever reason she was captivated by my company. I can think of no other reason for her following me around so closely all day and night. She didn't even bite or scratch me once! And a few times, she reached out with her rough tongue and groomed my hand or arm which I appreciated a great deal. 

I did find something while I was pulling weeds. 

A pretty little crystal, don't you think? Now for all I know, that could have been part of something that was mine or, it could have belonged to a former owner of the house. Whatever, I think I may wear it on a necklace. 

Oh! Here's another thing I did today: I pumped the brakes on Mr. Moon's Camaro which is something he needed help with. Don't ask me why. I just know that at one point he jubilantly shouted, "I have fluid!" and I felt as if I had really contributed to his restoration efforts. It felt good. 

So I am not sure which one of these activities was the most exciting for me. So many to choose from. Deciding not to cook the ham, finding a not-dead-yet poinsettia at the dump (and going to the dump!), finding a little crystal in the dirt, pumping brakes on a 1972 Camaro, making bread, heating up soup for supper, and oh- discovering I had an entire unopened box of plastic cutlery for tomorrow's picnic! Gosh, I forgot to mention that. And Lord- how could I have forgotten that I put drain cleaner in the kitchen sink because the drain has gone from sluggish to deathly slow? 

Okay, I admit it. I do not lead a very exciting life but I am at the point in my life where excitement is just about the last thing I want. Excitement can involve things like sirens and panic and I certainly don't want any of that. It can also involve fun things (supposedly) that would require a bra-like garment and talking to people. I'd just as soon avoid those situations too. 
Honestly, I don't even know what excitement feels like anymore and I am not sure that's something to celebrate. But as we seem to be so fond of saying, "It is what it is," which is in my opinion a rather broad rationalization for avoiding change. Which of course is my main goal in life these days. 

Okay. How's that? A little anole on the back porch with his splendid toes and ancient eyes. 

The breeze is tinkling the wind chimes and making the magnolia branches sway to a tune that humans cannot hear, the cardinals are chittering, the baking bread smells amazing, a crow is talking about something, another is answering him, and I am pretty excited about the prospect of getting in our cozy bed to read in a few hours. 
I guess that's what I get excited about these days- going to bed. 

Ah well. And La-Di-Dah, as Lynn would have said. 

Maybe it's not so much that it is what it is as much as it's I am what I am. 
Thanks, Popeye, you sailor man, you. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, March 29, 2024

A Day With Maurice

It's been another crazy-beautiful day. I can't stop looking up and being gobsmacked at the glory of it. It would have been a complete and utter sin to be inside for much of it and I wasn't. We went to lunch in Monticello and we even ate outside there. So, okay, we were looking at a road and buildings but it was still gorgeous and we could see the sky. The restaurant where we ate is relatively new. Someone's spent some money on it. We've never eaten there before and I was reading Yelp comments online before we got there. One of them said, "Poor parking and staff are all alcoholics poor variety of people." (sic)
Well, we had to go eat there after reading that. The variety of people seemed okay to me and our server was sober as a person can be to my discerning eye. She had a lot of tattoos and I would not have messed with her in any way and she was a fine server. The menu was pretty limited for lunch, heavy on the burgers and fried things, but Glen got a lovely BLT with avocado and I got a nice salad with adequate shrimp. It's ridiculous for me to get a salad anywhere but my own garden right now but the greens were perky and the chili-lime vinaigrette was just sweet enough and the feta cheese was abundant. 
What else could you ask for? 

Here is what the courthouse in Monticello looks like. 

That is the north-facing side. All of the sides are impressive. It is a good example of a true southern, small-town county courthouse. And look at that sky.

We walked over to Wag the Dog but I just wasn't in the mood. We did a quick browse and then I said, "Let's go home. I want to work in my yard." 
And so we did. 

All right. Maurice needs to absolutely give up the charade that she is not following me around the yard. Or perhaps she already has. I took pictures of her all day long as she tagged along. 

First off, we hung out the laundry. She seems to enjoy this activity. Perhaps she finds the dancing shadows on the billowing sheets as lovely as I do. 

Then we were off to the garden where I had gone simply to survey the new growth, check the progress of the beans (they are sending out their fence-grabbing tendrils) and pull a weed here and there. 

Then I did an entire circle of the yard to check on blossoms and kick bamboo. We made it all the way to the old barn at the far east end of the property and back to the house again. 

"Come on," I told her. "Let's go inside for some water."

She also followed me out to the kitchen garden where I've almost finished up the work I want to do there. Slowly, slowly things are looking better. 

She's hiding in the phlox jungle. 

Here are a few more pictures from the yard today.

Blooming aloe. 

Oxalis. We've never had so much of it. 

Japanese maple on fire. 

And that's been the day here. I have been known to write a sort of diatribe about Good Friday (Happy Day They Crucified Our Lord!) and Easter too but I don't feel worked up about it right now. Mostly I feel so sad that so many people feel the need to believe that they were born in sin and can only go to their eternal happy place if they worship an ancient, probably mythical, carpenter-rabbi whose blood was given in atonement for the sins they were born with and the sins they committed, and who arose a few days later from the tomb to prove his presence to his mama and his dude-posse and then to arise to heaven to be with his daddy god. 
I absolutely understand that there's more to it than that and I also realize that many, many people find great comfort in this story but it enrages me that religions have monetized this myth and belief in various ways and flavors to make the big bucks. 
Did you know that the Mormon church has more than 250 billion dollars not including property? That they own 2% of Florida? Do you know how many Mormon LGBTQ+ kids die by suicide every year?

Oh dear. I guess I still have some issues. 

Meanwhile, the true miracle of spring and the fecund beauty it presents us is all that I need. The seemingly dead trees and plants that surround us burst into bloom and color and that, as far as I am concerned, is resurrection enough. 
And you should see the way the squirrels are chasing each other and the brilliant attention the birds are giving each other. Love is in the air and babies will be the result. Another miracle. 

Maurice right now sharing the table on which I am writing. 
My friend, my familiar. She and I have had a good day.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, March 28, 2024

Here Comes My Nineteenth Nervous Breakdown (Yet Again)

Mr. Moon has been keeping so many plates spinning at once lately. It's ridiculous. As he keeps saying- it's a good thing he's retired or he wouldn't be able to do it all. Some of it is just regular life like taxes and insurance and car maintenance, and some of it has been out of the ordinary stuff like selling the property on Dog Island and helping Lily find a house and dealing with situations at our rental property. It's been a lot. His phone never stops ringing. And of course he's been working on his old Camaro and trying to figure out problems he's having with the brakes and he's been putting a whole lot of work into the garden. 
I don't know how the man does it. 
If I get the laundry done and supper on the table I figure I've done a day's work. Well, that's not entirely true but you know what I mean. He's been bemoaning the fact that he had planned on doing a lot of river fishing this last winter and spring and hasn't done any except for the little trip he took with Jessie and her boys. He's been talking about going to the river by himself, launching the kayak, and putting his line in the water. That is his idea of heaven. And floating down one of our rivers here is indeed a sort of heaven. 
So yesterday when he started talking about it again, I said, "You need to just go. Go tomorrow. It's supposed to be pretty," and he finally said, "I think I will."
And he did. I am so glad. He needs that peace and serenity desperately. 

And it has been a pretty day. Yesterday's rain washed everything clean again and I have not seen so much as one cloud in the sky all day. 

It has been cool and a bit breezy and I imagine that it's been a fine day on the river. I haven't heard from him and I'm glad of that. I don't want him even thinking about anything here. I want him to just be on the water, watching the birds, the trees, the turtles and probably alligators. I want this blue-sky day to soothe his heart and soul. 

I, on the other hand, went back to town to get the things I need for our family's Easter picnic. I think this was a brilliant suggestion of Lily's- to have a plain old picnic at a park in the woods where the kids can hunt eggs and the adults can sit around and be lazy and for once, not worry about the damn food so much. I'm going to bake and slice a ham and take rolls and bread for sandwiches. I'm also taking smoked salmon for those who do not eat pig and also for those who just like smoked salmon and really, who doesn't? So I bought those two things at the Costco as well as sliced cheese for the sandwiches. I'll take mustard and mayonnaise and Miracle Whip and sliced tomatoes and lettuce and I'll bake a challah for bread and I've bought crackers for the smoked salmon although it just occurred to me that I did not buy any cream cheese but oh well. I'll probably go to that fucking Dollar General and get some. 
When I was at Costco I almost ran into a cart and apologized but then realized that the person pushing that cart had almost run into mine and it was Kevin! The guy who used to work in the liquor store whom everyone loves. Oh, what a hug I gave him! He looks so good! 
"You staying happy?" I asked him. And the way he answered left no room for doubt. His smile was as big as the sky. 
So that was lovely and then dammit, I got to talking to the woman who was working in the liquor store today (that Tito's doesn't buy itself) and she'd just gotten back from a trip to Jamaica that she'd taken with her mother. I told her that I surely wished that I'd had that sort of relationship with my mother and she proceeded to tell me how much she loves her mama and how very close they are. That she is the best friend this woman has ever had. 
And before you know it, I was fucking crying. Right there in the Costco liquor store. I wasn't sobbing but tears were escaping from my eyes and I told that woman that yes, she is lucky, but that her mother is very, very lucky too. 
It doesn't help that I am at the tail end of listening to that book, A Place for Us, which is basically the story of a father who lost his son due to not knowing how to love him because of the many reasons that a parent may not know how to love a specific child and these things were on my mind. 

I'm just a mess. I might as well be premenstrual or pregnant or postpartum or menopausal or post-menopausal or any one of the hundreds of different phases a woman goes through in her life due to hormones and changing life situations. I thought that at least one benefit of older age would be that I would find myself in a more stable and less transitory space when it came to emotions but it does not seem to be true. 
At least for me. 

And then I went to Publix and got the kids some silly Easter stuff and things to make a vegetable soup. Glen told me that he planned to stay on the river until sunset and so I really don't know when he'll be home for his supper. I figured that soup would be good as it can be ready whenever he is. I came home and got the laundry off the line and picked some greens and carrots and I've made a huge pot of soup because that's the only size I can apparently make. 

A guy at the church next door is running a leaf blower and I swear I will lose what small amount of my mind I have left if he doesn't stop soon. My god, there's hardly anything to clear over there. This is the time of day when there should be peace and sleepy bird call, not that horrid sound that I can't even describe beyond it sounding like a trillion man-made mosquitoes, all riding Harley Davidsons, invading my head.

I'll try to be more cheerful tomorrow, okay? 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Who Cares?

For the first time ever my poor, pitiful, grocery-store orchids all have flower stalks on them and here is the first one to bloom. They are just so crazy, aren't they? And pretty, yes, but their designs, colors, and patterns are like a mathematically inclined lunatic artist's dream. Can I say lunatic? I love the fact that it comes from luna- the moon, based on the belief that the moon in its changing phases can cause intermittent insanity. 
But you knew that. I feel a deep connection to that belief in name and in the effect. 

It rained all night last night. I woke up a few times to hear thunder and see our room become suddenly bright with lightening. Ah, I thought, as I woke up this morning, I won't be taking a walk today, but later on the rain stopped and so I figured- why not? What harm would it do me if I did get wet? And I put on my incredibly stupid-looking walking shorts and shirt and headed back to the wild azalea. I think it would be some sort of sin to not admire it as often as possible during it's brief blooming. I nodded my admiration to it, turned around and headed back to "downtown Lloyd". 

Here's another old house that has lost its people and which is falling in, if not exactly falling down. It's just a very short walk from my house. 

I've posted pictures of it before. It's the house I was trying to take pictures of when the woman who lives across the street from it came out of her tiny, tiny home and told me that I was trespassing and to get off of that lot and so on and so forth even though there are zero "No Trespassing" signs and she has no more right to tell me to stay off that property than Maurice does. 
Still, I do stay off of it because she so obviously has some pretty severe problems and why would I want to rile her? Also, she's the person who put up the little community library and I love her for that, no matter what. 

The whole area across the street from the GDDG is way, way flooded while the store sits there high and dry on the lot they spent so much time and energy on building up with imported dirt. The water drains from there to the south and then through the culvert under the road to the property across the road and there is no doubt that it is affecting that piece of wildness. But hey! Who cares? This is just Lloyd, Florida- not even a town! Hardly a village! No one's using that land except for the trees and plants anyway, right? 
Yeah, motherfuckers. You are so correct. Not one damn thing using that chunk of earth except for pine trees, cabbage palms, palmettos, blackberries, oak trees, and so forth. Not to mention the coons, armadillos, tortoises, and every other creature who lives there. People will be fishing from the sidewalk before you know it. 

I passed the fally-down house. Its progress towards becoming one with the earth is accelerating. The pictures don't really show the inevitable collapsing of it as much as just seeing it does. The first time I wrote about the house was in 2008. 

Here's what it looked like in 2016. 

And here's a picture from 2015 (I think) when Steve Reed visited and wanted to go see it. 

That's him, taking a picture inside the house. It would be impossible to walk into it now. And that's little Owen, probably about five. He still remembers that day, that walk with Steve Reed, which I find remarkable. You never know what a child will remember. 

One more thing that I took pictures of on my walk is this Crimson bottlebrush tree in bloom.

You can see where they get their name. That tree is planted on the corner of Main Street and Old Lloyd Road in front of a trailer that no one's lived in for years and never will again. It's part of an ancient trailer park where only a few of the trailers are being lived in. It's right across the street from the post office and the My Gypsy Soul Boutique and yes- that's how tacky Lloyd is so why worry about a Dollar General Store's effect on the wetlands? 

Don't ask me. I have no idea. 

Meanwhile, it is raining again. In fact, it started raining right after I got home from my walk and has been raining on and off all day. I did get a little less than an hour to work on the old kitchen yard again. Slowly I am making progress. I noticed that Maurice now has access to little paths between the wild phlox clumps that she can meander when she comes out to check on me. 

Off to make dinner. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Outdoor Therapy

I took a little walk today and saw those wisteria climbing a tree in front of the abandoned house three doors down from us. I just hate seeing that house so callously neglected but the people who own it have severe health problems and they can't even keep their own house or yard up. 

Farther down the road is where the wild azalea that I look out for every year lives. It is blooming as we speak and it is simply magnificent. There are also Cherokee roses blooming around and through it. 

It's a little past its prime but still highly worth noticing. My own native azalea that I planted years ago has budded up but not opened. It's more of an orange variety. I should plant more. They're just the most beautiful things. 

Some years ago I planted an Ashe magnolia in the camellia bed and it has struggled. A while back, a branch fell and broke off part of it and I wasn't sure it would make it but it's still with us although it is tiny. 

These too are a native species and I had never been aware of them until I visited a local nursery that specializes in native plants and they had a tree-sized one in the parking area. I fell in love and bought one that day. 

When I feared for that one's life I bought another and planted it in front of my swing porch by the native buckeye that I had planted. 

It gets more sun and although the Ashe magnolia is very shade tolerant, it still needs more light than the little one in the camellia bed gets. I am hoping that with the extra light gained from the removal of the Bradford pears, it will put on some growth. The one in front of the swing porch is about to bloom and that is well worth seeing. They, like the grandifloras, put forth a huge white blossom with a lemony, heavenly scent, but their petals are more delicate than the grandiflora's which are thick and waxy. Anyway, I will be checking that one daily because the flowers are so quick to come and then go. A brief beauty for sure. 

After my walk I ate my yesterday's leftovers for lunch and then went outside and kicked bamboo. While I was out there, I took a picture of the carpet of tung blossoms because it is so pretty.

I do love a tree that gives me pleasure when its blooms are on the branches and then again on the ground when they fall. 

After I kicked the bamboo I got back on my knees in the little yard behind the old kitchen and did some more clearing. This is the sort of weeding I like. The invasive plants in there are easier to pull or dig out than crocosmia and border grass and chenille plants. The wild phlox that I brought from the yard of my last house before this one have taken over that space nicely and I am not unhappy about that. I let them grow as thickly as they want to. They manage themselves in a sane and healthy manner. 

The book I've been listening to while I do all these things is a novel called "A Place For Us" and it was written by Fatima Farheen Mirza. It's gotten very good reviews by some serious reviewers and I am enjoying it although the way it jumps from year to year and back again and then forward again from the third person perspective of different members of a family took me some time to get used to. The writing is beautiful and strongly visual but this is not the book for someone wanting action or complex plot lines. It's the story of an Indian Muslim family who live in California and mostly describes how the family tries to maintain its cultural and religious beliefs despite the many challenges of doing so in this new (to the parents, at least) country. The book, due to its length and its voices, is able to grab on to big chunks of what one family's reality and experiences are from the perspective of its members. I'm enjoying it. 

And so it goes. I've pushed myself today a bit because when I woke up I was in a sort of trauma-drama from the dream I'd just had which was so bad. All of the familiar elements were there including the house filled with garbage and filth which I had to clean and there were no garbage bags, my stepfather whom I had to keep yelling at to get out of the room I was in, to leave me alone, to put on some clothes, two Christmas trees that were months overdue on being taken down, a child I was worried about, plants that needed planting, a storm on the ocean that the house was built next to, and that unending feeling of never being able to take care of it all. 
I felt like a completely fucked-up human being for whom there is no hope of ever coming to peace with any of it. 
But it did help to walk, to stay busy, to be on my knees in the dirt, to listen to a good book. 

Here is Maurice reminding me that well-worn overalls are the most comfortable garment of all. 

Lord, my fingernails are dirty. Sign of a well-spent day, in my experience. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, March 25, 2024

Life Is What Happens When You're Busy Making Other Plans (John Lennon)

 African Iris.

Today has been another day which did not go the way I had thought it was going to. May and Jessie and I had planned last night to go get pedicures today and all was going as planned this morning. May and Jessie both had appointments that we were going to meet up after. Jessie's appointment was for her weekly allergy shot which she receives to try and desensitize herself from the many tree and pollen and animal allergies she has. She's been doing this for quite awhile now and they always have her stay in the office for half an hour after getting the shot to make sure that no reaction occurs and she's never had one before. But today, about an hour after the shot, while she was shopping, she began to get a rash and a wheezy cough and a few other slightly disturbing symptoms that could have heralded anything up to and including anaphylactic shock so she went home and took some Benadryl and called the doctor's office. They encouraged her to go to an urgent care for them to check out her vitals and hit her with an Epi pen if need be. 
This was all happening while I was on my way into town and texts were going back and forth between her and May and me and we all agreed that she should probably take that advice and so Vergil drove her to the Urgent Care facility and I met them there so that Vergil could go back to work. He felt okay doing this as her symptoms were not getting worse and seemed to be getting a little better. 
We saw a doctor and that experience. The nurse had taken an excellent history and the doctor was okay but we had to educate him on what allergy shots are and he got off on a tangent about one of her symptoms but he did seem to pay attention for the most part. He thought that her lungs sounded fine, and her symptoms were not alarming and that she was probably safe to leave. 

So off we went. By then we were both very hungry and texted May to see if she wanted to go to lunch as the pedicures were not happening and she didn't but we took her some kale that I'd picked for her and got to visit for a few moments. It was so good to see my May girl. And then Jessie and I went to a Mediterranean place we like and both got the veggie platters with falafel and hummus and pita and dolmades and it was goodness on a plate. 

By then she was very tired from both the Benadryl and the adrenaline rush letdown response and I took her home so that she could get a little rest before the boys got out of after-school. 

And then I went to Publix and got all the things I didn't get at the GDDG last weekend and saw Lily which means I saw all my kids except Hank today. 

I am so glad that my children all live close enough for me to get my arms around if I need to. Or even just want to. 

And that's been my day. My toenails are a sin but we are thinking that perhaps next Monday we can try again. 

I see that the little black sugar ants we get every year are back. For whatever reason, they love my laptop and I would not be surprised if they actually got in it. That picture is magnified a zillion times. Not only is the tablecloth the ant is on very tightly woven, but that thing above it is a charging cable and you know they are slender things.

Here are two on the plug and cable. They really are small but...they bite and you cannot believe the annoying sting that such a small thing can give such a big human. 

Life in Florida. Life in a family. Life. You just never know what's coming up next.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Ain't Complaining

It has been a work-in-the-garden sort of day. Both Glen and I spent time out there with Maurice supervising at times, but I have to admit that he's been doing the hard work of it all. He's doing it all the right way, none of this slap-dash gardening that I do. He mixes the compost with the soil and mulches and treats each little seedling like it's precious, making sure that every one of them gets their bone meal and organic fertilizer just as nannies of old made sure their charges got daily doses of cod liver oil. 

It's all about the bag-container garden this year. We're going to give it a shot. See those potatoes in the black bags? They're just leaping up with the joy of living. I hope there's as much going on in the bags as there is on top of them. He also planted my tiny heirloom tomato seedlings in the beige bags that you can see. Those are the ones I've started from the seeds that Jennifer sent me. I got way more seedlings than we can plant but better too many than not enough, I suppose. I can't wait to see how they do, if they make us fruit, if they are happy here. Their names are so wonderful. Hillbilly Potato tomato, Rosso Sicilian, Berkeley Tie Dye, Eva Purple Ball, Nebraska goes on. We have grown the Berkeley Tie Dyes before and they were fabulous so I asked the man if he'd plant extra of those and he did. 
He also planted the squash in bags and I'm hoping that helps us prevent the squash plants from dying as soon as they fruit from whatever evil fungus we have in our dirt. He's out there right now, planting the peppers but those are going in rows which you know will be straight and true with an exactly equal distance between each plant. 

So what I did today was to pick off the remaining good leaves of the arugula to wash and keep in the refrigerator for the last salads of it, then pull the plants and weed those rows. I did the same for most of the mustard greens which never did do much this year. No idea why. I picked the last of the peas and cut those plants, leaving the roots in as I have been told to do and then planted cucumber seeds where they had been. I also pulled the row of different salad greens that have gone to seed. 
I hate pulling plants, even when I know it's the right thing to do. It's really time to pull up the collards too but I could only stand so much plantacide today. Here's what they are looking like now.

I'm leaving them for the bees at this point. 

I did pick a few of those beautiful stems to bring inside. And I picked kale (which is unbelievably green and healthy with still no signs of bolting), collards, mustards before I pulled them, and turnip greens along with a few of the turnips to cook for our supper. They are on the stove now. How I will miss them for the rest of the year! Not just the way they taste, but the way my knife feels, biting through those crisp, sturdy leaves and stems on the wooden cutting board. There is something just so very primal about that which satisfies my soul in ways that nothing else can. There is no way that a bag of greens from the grocery store can compare and so we just don't eat many cooked greens in the summer. Of course we still eat salads but the lettuces we buy are also vastly disappointing. The hydroponically grown lettuces and the Romain are not awful and we mostly make do with those but it's still not the same. We have appreciated each and every salad we've had this winter and spring. Every time I make one, it's a little different. Last night's had greens, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, black olives, toasted pine nuts and a very simple vinaigrette that I made on the salad and mixed in. The night before I switched it all up with just the greens and cucumbers and toasted sesame seeds with a tahini and tamari dressing that I love so much. 

But like the Bible says, to everything there is a season and soon it will be tomato and pepper and cucumber and squash season. And green beans! Hopefully. One never knows what sort of year it will be for those. Between the heat and the bugs and the various plant diseases we get here, it can be tricky. But each and every year, hope springs eternal. Gardens are living, breathing little universes all unto themselves and as with every living thing, one can know all the rules and yet, no one can compensate or prepare for the many, many variables that each year brings. 

Mr. Moon is back in the house. He just told me that he "ran out of ass," which is one of my favorite sayings. It's just so perfectly descriptive. 

Here's another picture of the tung tree in less gloomy circumstances. 

It's been another beautiful day and I am beyond grateful that I live in this place where there is so much to appreciate, literally in my back yard. 
And front yard, too.
For a million different reasons, some days are just so much easier for me to luxuriate in and this has been one of them. 

Love...Ms. Moon

P.S. Mr. Moon just sent me a few pictures. He'd gone out to see his garden being watered. If you've ever had a garden, you'll understand. 

Saturday, March 23, 2024

A Surprise Birthday Party! In A Way

Well, today took a turn. When I woke up this morning I'd already had a text from Lily asking if I was up. Seeing as how I was up when I read the text, I answered that yes, I was. She wanted to ask if I could possibly let them have Gibson's gathering here today because she hadn't had time to get her house in shape for a party and she still had food and a cake to make. 
Well, of course I said yes. 

I didn't do much to get ready. The house was already in pretty good order. Candie had been here on Tuesday and Mr. Moon and I are not messy people, really. All I was making was the queso which involves nothing more than chunking up Velveeta, nuking it, and mixing in some Rotel chili stuff. Lily and Lauren were bringing most of the rest of the snacks and a cake and Jessie brought a fruit salad and Rachel and Hank brought guacamole. Maybe something else, I don't know. And Kelly, mama of Wiley, brought some of her homemade spicy jam and a few other things, I believe. 

It all looked like this. 

Candie and her two youngest came, as well as Kelly and her husband and their boy, Wiley. May couldn't come because of work but her husband, Michael did, and I was so happy to see him. Levon and August had spent the night with their cousins so Lily brought them with her. The children were all ridiculously excited and Candie's two had never been here before but immediately recognized the perfect place for hide-n-seek as soon as they walked in and before two minutes had passed, all the kids were joyfully hiding and seeking and before too long, my True Inner MeeMaw found her voice.

"Y'all go play outside!" I said. And they did. Amazing. And I instantly felt a connection with all of the mothers who have ever lived and the grandmothers and their mothers too. 

So then they were wild outside and so was Sophie who'd come with Jessie and I have a feeling that a bunch of kids and one Labradoodle are going to sleep very well tonight. There was bamboo kicking and then playing with bamboo and before the afternoon was over, boys were hitting trees with sticks which in my experience is what boys do. 
Sophie was delirious with joy as all of the children chased her while she had a bamboo shoot in her mouth. What a great game! 
At one point I heard Magnolia June announce, "Kid Meeting! Kid Meeting inside!" and of course everyone trooped in after her for their kid meeting. Let me guess who led that meeting. 

Grown-ups visited and snacked and visited some more. I mostly sat outside and talked to Michael and also to Jessie and Owen who is becoming so very, very tall and guess what- Gibson is suddenly taller than I am. 
He just turned twelve. 
I think he really enjoyed his birthday party. Callissa, one of Candie's children, recently had a birthday too so she got to blow out the candles with Gibson, and her mother had brought some of her presents. Gibson got some good stuff but I think he liked what we gave him the most which was cold, hard cash. We didn't give him more than I would have spent on a present but he was incredibly impressed and pleased. I guess cash is a novelty these days. 

There wasn't much left to do after everyone left. They'd done clean-up and Sophie made sure that anything edible dropped on the floor was taken care of. So that was that. Fun and easy. For me, especially. I had to keep reminding myself that I really had no responsibilities which is a novel thought. Barely a night passes that I don't have a dream in which I am taking care of a child, protecting them from danger, worrying about them and usually, there are many other people I am responsible for feeding and finding beds for. This is so engrained in my very marrow that when I find myself in a situation where no one's health or happiness or survival depends on me, I really don't know what to do. 

The sweetest moment for me of the entire afternoon, though, was when Lily told me that every time she's in my bedroom, she sort of wishes she could stay there to recuperate from something with me taking care of her. "It's so light and airy, somehow," she said. "It's so comforting." 
I know what she means. It's a small room and a very simple room, but it is cozy and who doesn't sometimes long for a mother who would tenderly tend to them? 
Lily has been through a lot lately and she has had to be so strong and do all the hard grown-up things. 
I am grateful that my child feels that I could provide rest and comfort in times of trouble. I never felt that way about my own mother after I left home. Or, even before, truth be told. We did not have that sort of relationship. 
But I think I do with all of my children and besides that, I have this house, this magical old house. When Gibson was showing the house to the two children who had never been here before, he said, "This is the perfect grandmother house!" 
I am not now nor ever will be the perfect mother or grandmother but my heart and my house will always be open to my babies. And they know that. 

And even as I say that, I feel a smug sense of power, knowing that I told those children to go play outside and they did. 

As I said a few days ago, I am not nearly as nice as you probably think I am. Perhaps I am just finding my strength here in my older age which is fine as long as I am not sending the kids out to find switches for me to use on their butts. 
I don't think that's going to happen and if it does, please put me in a facility or get me a caretaker because I will truly have lost my mind. 

Meanwhile, here we are. 

Love from the grandmother's house...Ms. Moon