Monday, April 12, 2021

Another Sleepover!

Tomorrow being Jessie and Vergil's 8th anniversary, we are hosting these two fine young men for tonight and part of tomorrow so that their parents can have some adult celebration time. We have pizza dough rising here and Boppy has clocked out of shelf building until tomorrow. He has been working all day on those shelves and soon, they will be ready to receive whatever it is I choose to put on them. 

I am going to have to go buy some organizing baskets of some sort, as I've said, for things like my massive collection of furniture polish and lightbulbs, leather cleaner, and my museum-worthy assortment of flashlights and headlamps. Also cleaning rags, ant killer, wasp killer, packing tape, strapping tape, duct tape and measuring tapes. AND, all of my boxes of aluminum foil, parchment paper, wax paper, and every assorted type of ziplock bags known to mankind. This will be amazing because when we put the dishwasher in, a cabinet had to be sacrificed, and as Mr. Moon says, when we want a baggie, we have to stand on our heads to get one from the back of the cabinet where we keep the left-over containers. 
I am going to be in high-cotton soon! 

Anyway, that's the story for today and I better go start chopping things up for pizza. I asked August if he liked spinach on his pizza. He thought it about it for quite awhile and then said, "If there is cheese underneath it, I think so."
Again- a truism one could apply to many things. Out of the mouth of babes, and so forth. His mama didn't raise no fools. 

I have to tell you that when the Weatherfords got here today, I had just woken up from a very nice little nap and August ran and jumped on the bed and hugged me up and Levon joined us and they unpacked their suitcase with the blankets and pillows I'd made them and the little sequined animals I'd gotten them for Easter. They showed me how soft and cozy their blankets and pillows were and my heart almost melted with the sweetness. 

See you tomorrow. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Here is the pantry project, coming along. I am so excited. Mr. Moon asked me a few days ago if I want him to paint the shelves white or just stain the wood. 
"No." I said. 
"No. I want you to paint them red. Or blue. Or green would be nice."

I think we are going with a dark green like his bathroom. Oh! The smell of fresh wood and new paint! It's going to be lovely. 

The sun has just come out here in Lloyd. It has been raining for days, it seems and although I do love the rain and almost never complain about dreary days, it is a sweet surprise to see the sun again. The wisteria leaves are doing a fluttery dance in the breezes, the wind chimes are tinkling. 
Do you remember wind chimes like this?

The tinkly crystalline song they made?
And they were ridiculously cheap. A few bucks at most. They are so rare now as to be unavailable. I miss them. 

For quite a long time now, Mr. Moon has been having shoulder pain. He's been to the doctor. He's done physical therapy. He's had x-rays. And it's only getting worse and worse so his doctor finally sent him to an orthopedist who, after examining him tentatively diagnosed a torn rotator cuff and ordered an MRI for confirmation. 
Mr. Moon does not have a good history with MRI's. Turns out he is extremely claustrophobic and he was not looking forward to getting another. But today was the day it was scheduled and the doctor did prescribe him two Valium to take forty-five minutes before the procedure which he did and he was fine. Or at least that's what he told me after it was over. 
We'd had an easy day and he'd done a little more carpentry work and Jessie and the boys came out and I read to those little guys and Jessie helped her daddy with the sawing of boards. I read the boys a library book which is from a series that August is currently in love with. It involves robots and bad-guy unicorns and somehow the planet Uranus. Is Uranus still a planet? I've lost track of that particular situation. Somehow there are also characters in the book who love to eat sweets including a princess, but like I said, August loves them and Levon seemed entranced too. So we read that and then we finished the Richard Scarry book and then we read Levon's choice, "Murmel, Murmel, Murmel," which is about the sweetest book ever written and which I love to read because there are so many different voices. Levon is such a funny guy. Jessie sent me this picture this morning.

The child got up this morning, put on his new clothes and boots and went outside to unstack and restack the firewood. 
For whatever reason. He's such a BOY and yet, he's so tender and sweet. 
Another picture of them I got last week was this one.

They were at the library and August asked Jessie to take this picture. "It looks like we're getting married," he told his mother. 
That boy just loves love. 
They both do. 
I remember when Lily was about to have Gibson, and Owen, who was about Levon's age, maybe a little younger, started fixating on being married and having children. His "wife" was a stuffed orangutan with some incredibly fancy name which I have forgotten. All of the other stuffed animals were their children and he loved them dearly. 
How beautiful it is to see these children go through the beginning discoveries and feelings of what it means to grow up, to love, to take part in the traditional rites and rituals, to be parents. Some of you may even remember when Owen pretended to be my father and he would take care of me. It was lovely to witness his version of how his father fathered him with such care and devotion. 
I was reminded of all of this when Maggie was here and on Saturday morning, a little while after she'd gotten up she said, "Oh! I have to wake up my darlings!" meaning, of course, her baby dolls. 
Her darlings. 

One of the most amazing parts of being a grandparent is how we have the time and the distance to be able to truly appreciate these things. Parents don't have the luxury to really stop and ponder the small and tender things their children do. They're too busy feeding them, sheltering them, trying to teach them, discipline them, ensure that they are growing up healthy and strong and sound and potty-trained. But we grandparents- we can stop, step back, and cherish. 
If we are lucky. 
And I am. 
And I do believe that in doing that we are important in the children's lives too. And when we tell their parents what we've noticed about how lovely their children are, we are giving them some much-needed acknowledgement, support, and love as well. Which parents don't get nearly enough of. 

So that's my little perspective today. And perhaps an explanation for why we grandparents are all so incredibly convinced that our grandchildren are the most amazing children in the world. That is our job. To recognize that yes, they are, and to praise the children for being so, and to praise their parents for raising them to be so. 
Yet another example of evolution. Grandparents who are not only physically but also emotionally involved in the rearing of their grandchildren contribute to their chances of growing up, which of course will hopefully result in those children passing on our genes. 
Unconscious selfish behavior. 
Mother Nature, as I have often said, is a tricky bitch. Her tools include hormones, lust, love, and the need to protect our young. 
It's always worked for me. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, April 10, 2021

How It Went

That's the chinaberry tree in bloom and I had not even noticed it until today when Maggie and I were out kicking bamboo. She was wearing her garden boots and by the time we were finished she had the technique down.
"Thank you for taking me on that adventure," she said. 
Now I have to tell you that in all honesty I was a bit worried about how Maggie's overnight would go. I have seen the girl pitch fits that compare to the ones her mother used to pitch when she was a little girl. 
Which is to say- not pleasant to deal with and that is putting it incredibly mildly. 
However, it turned out that Magnolia June was absolutely a little ol' buttercream for her Mer and Bop. She was interested in everything, talkative as a little magpie (haha!) and sweet as she could be. She's so funny, too. 
She wanted me to go out to the swing porch and sit in the swing with her and talk. She loves to have conversations. And so we did. I took my martini with me and it was absolutely one of the most pleasant half hours I've had in a very long time. We discussed a lot of things including who my four children are, whether or not my mother and father are still alive, what their names were, the dart board hung on the wall of the porch, her cousins, and much more. When you hit on a subject that she needs more information about she says, "Wait! Wait!" and then proceeds to either quiz me or offer her perspective on the subject. 

She wanted to draw me a picture to put up in the kitchen and so I found her markers and paper and this is what she made.

It is me and I think it is very good. It immediately got taped up in the kitchen with all of the other artwork in a place of pride.

She cuddled with her Boppy and they watched Shaun the Sheep and The Mighty Baby Beehm while I made our supper. She ate almost all of her hamburger which she enjoys with lettuce, tomato, pickle, ketchup, and mustard. "Like a sandwich," she instructed. Although she loves broccoli, she did not like my steamed broccoli because she is used to frozen at her other grandmother's and mine was fresh and thus "stinky." Oh well. When we made our martinis, we made her special drinks in a tiny cup with crushed ice and grape juice and cranberry/pineapple juice. She was utterly charmed. 
Yes. We are setting a very bad example, so what, don't you judge me. She also got her Purple Cow with raspberry sherbet and grape juice as dessert which she insisted on calling a sundae and almost shrieked with delight when her Boppy put a few M&M's in it. 

She enjoyed an extended bath in Mer's big tub with all of the ducks and octopi AND her doll which, according to her, is waterproof because it is plastic. I did not challenge her on this and simply gave the doll her own towel when it was time to get out of the bath. 
We had set up her bed, the same fold-out that August sleeps on when he is here, beside our bed and she inspected it and found it lacking in one regard- there was only one sheet to lay on. She needed two. 
And yes, the Princess and the Pea did come to mind. 
Whatever, another sheet was taken from the drawer and tucked in over the first one. 
We laid on my bed and read four books and it was after ten by then but she was not ready to settle down. She had to attend to her dolls, she had to have the fan off, the doors and lights just so. She had to be assured that Scratchy Cat would not come and get her in her sleep. At one point she had to get up in order to "play with her babies" because they would just NOT go to sleep.
"But you are their mother," I told her. "You can tell them that they have to go to sleep now."
She thought about this for a hot second and then said, "Yes. I am the boss." 
It wasn't too long after that that she fell asleep on her little bed and dang if she didn't sleep there until seven this morning when she woke up and got in bed with us. Mr. Moon immediately slipped away to his chair and we all went right back to sleep. I got up before the two of them did at 8:30 so we did very, very well. 

She told me last night when she found my shelves of homemade jam that she wanted toast with jam for breakfast. Also, eggs. So that was what we had. She wanted "real eggs" which, it turns out, are the kind with the yellow part in the middle and the white part outside.
Fried? I guess so. That's what I made. And she was very happy with them. 

She told me that I was the BEST chef but warned me not to tell her mother because her mother is a great chef and if she found out that Maggie said that I was better, she would not let Maggie come back to visit. 
As if. 
I assured her I would not tell her mother she said that. 

After breakfast we let the chickens out and she gave them some corn and we picked some mulberries and she wanted to check on the garden which I thought was absolutely wonderful. She went straight to the carrots and asked if she could pick some. I told her she could and she did. One of them was a tiny bit provocative which I did not point out to her. 

And we kicked the bamboo, as I said, and she wanted to go into the old barn to see what it was like. 

She was not impressed. I think the cobwebs put her off a bit. 

I finally started hinting that it might be time to go home soon around eleven but she had things she still wanted to do. We read some more books on the porch swing and she read one to me. "Five Little Monkeys," which she sang to me. She has a very fine voice. 

But then it was time to go home and we packed up her things. She wanted to take my old Zippy home but I would not let her. She fussed a bit about that ("I don't understand!") and I told her she could take something else so she picked out a stuffed elephant and the Fisher Price rolling phone. 

I drove her home and she was glad to see her mommy and her brothers and then her daddy came to pick up all the kids because it was a daddy night. It was good to see Jason. I hugged all of the kids and their mama too and then I drove home where I've done very little but enjoyed it all a lot. 
So it was a very good sleepover and we shall do it again soon although first Gibson and Owen have to have their nights. Maggie has told me that she wants to come with them. We will have to work this out. 

And Lily sent a picture that Jason had sent her and the whole family has been chortling ever since. Turns out that Maggie's big brothers have taught her a new trick. 

I can't help but laugh. Look at Owen's face. Lily said, "Where have I gone wrong?" and of course she hasn't. Life is just life and kids will pick up everything. May reminded us of when Jessie was a little bitty girl and learned to snap her fingers and say, "Goddammit" on the same day and thus went about snapping her fingers and saying, "Goddammit". I do not remember this but wish I did because it sounds pretty hysterical. 

So that's the Saga Of Maggie's Sleepover. She was a delightful guest. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, April 9, 2021

The Grand Girl Is Here

 Today's blog post will be this picture because Magnolia June is here. 

In this picture, she is in the bathroom with Buddha whom she is about to wash because she likes him to be nice and clean. Most of the stuff from the shelves in the old laundry room are in bins behind her and in the shower because- well- where else? So, although the background and setting of this picture are not exactly ideal or picturesque, Maggie makes it all lovely somehow. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Big Stuff (Relatively)

Despite the fact that Magnolia June told her teacher that she wasn't coming back after her first day, she has now gone to school three times and I think she's doing great! This is the picture Lily sent this morning of what the little rock star looked like. Mr. Moon and I have issued a formal invitation to her to spend the night with us tomorrow. She has been begging for a sleepover for over a year now and I think it is time. When we discussed this on Sunday, she informed me once again that she will be scared at night when she stays over. This is just the fact, Jack. I told her that she'll be fine and can sleep on the cozy floor bed right beside our bed where August and Levon sleep so that she will not be scared. 
"I think I need to sleep with you," she said. "In your bed." In case I didn't understand. 
"But there's not room in our bed," I said. 
"That's okay. I can sleep between you."
I reported this conversation to my husband who said, "I'll be sleeping in my chair." 
Ooh boy. 

We shall see how this goes. I am planning to fix hamburgers and french fries for our supper tomorrow night and I got raspberry sherbet to make purple cows with for her dessert. Traditions must be upheld. 

Today was my shopping day but absolutely nothing like last week. I only went to three places today. Costco, Publix, and The Bad Girls Get Saved By Jesus Thrift Store which I have not been in for over a year. I took a picture.

As you can see, the true name of the place is not The Bad Girls Get Saved By Jesus Thrift Store. It is actually The Lighthouse Children's Home Thrift Store, "A Place of Second Chances". 
I like my name better and I think it is more descriptive and honest. By the time that most of those girls get to the Light House they are probably on their fifth or seven-hundredth chances but whatever- Jesus is involved and you can trust me on that one. 
Remarkably, I've never heard a whiff of a rumor about any sort of abuse there and I do hope that everyone involved in running the place is on the up-and-up but one cannot help but be suspicious. There is a Brother Billy involved who helped get the place started and helps run it. He was originally a police officer which does absolutely nothing to allay my fears. There used to be an Aunt Bob, too, who ran the thrift store but I think she has either died or is incapable now of working. She was mighty old twenty years ago. 
What all of that has to do with my visit there today is...nothing. The furniture section had a few interesting things today including a beautiful grandmother-reading-to-a-child chair but I didn't buy it. They also had a darling little child's rocking chair nicely upholstered in llama fabric but I left that there too. I think that Levon is the only one of my grands who would fit comfortably in it and that won't last for long. The main store had four nesting vintage Corning Ware (I think) bowls but they were asking $59 for them and I'm not a fan of their particular style anyway. I ended up buying two plates that will become part of my mismatched mutt eclectic collections of plates. They were a buck each but were on sale, 50% off and so that was a dollar, and I got a ziplock with about four spools of beautiful blue satin ribbon for two dollars. And that was plenty. It satisfied my need to buy something, to find tiny treasures to bring home. 

I have never in my life wanted matching china. That's always just seemed so boring. But I do love vintage plates and bowls with all of my heart and I have gotten most of mine at TBGGSBJ Thrift Store over the years. 

And so it's been another good day. I'll be going back to town tomorrow to pick up Lily from a dental appointment which will involve anesthesia so she needs a ride. We're hoping that she'll feel up to maybe going to a nursery or a thrift store for a little outing. Maybe she'll be in that sweet spot of pre-procedure meds having worn off just enough to allow her to function freely but haven't worn off enough to just make her feel tired. 

And then- The Great Magnolia Sleepover! 

Gonna be a big day. I better get some good sleep tonight. 

Oh- one more picture!

Vergil got his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine AND a lightsaber bandaid. 
We are moving along here, folks! 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, April 7, 2021


A little oxalis over by the old barn. We never go back there but today Mr. Moon and August and Levon and I were kicking bamboo and Glen wanted to show me where a huge branch had fallen onto the barn which is going to lead to more roof repairs. 
We could just let the old building do the inevitable and slowly and surely fall in on itself but we don't want to do that. It's a very cool space and although we don't use it for anything but some random storage, if we ever go to sell it's sort of a quirky cool thing on the property that people can look at and dream about what they could make it into. 
We certainly did. But there's no water or electricity to it so for now, it stands where it is, still straight in its bones. Although we call it the old barn, I'm not sure it ever was. Maybe. But the floor isn't on the ground- there are a few steps up to it, and barns are not built that way. Horses and cows aren't very good at steps, you know. There's a loft which is now dangerous and just a very large room downstairs. 
But yes, a huge branch fell on it recently and it's going to let in water which will lead to its downfall whether we want it to or not. And so...repairs will be done. 

Vergil has been working around the clock, almost, and Jessie hasn't had time to do her shopping so I offered for the boys to come over here today and she gratefully accepted. When they got here, August actually stopped at the doorway to the kitchen were I stood and hugged me and said, "I love you Mer," and then went directly to his grandfather.
"Did you tell him to do that?" I asked Jessie. 
"Well..." Yes. She had, in a way, telling her sons that when they rush right past me to find Boppy that it can make me feel bad and so what could they do to make me feel loved? And that was what August did and it was so sweet. Levon, of course, didn't hesitate for a second but went straight for his grandfather who was sitting at the kitchen island, eating his cereal and playing poker on his phone. Within a minute this is what was going on. 

Somebody has to teach them how to play poker, right? 
And then they all watched a little TV and next they helped Boppy get his supplies and tools ready to start the shelves for the pantry/storage area. Somewhere in the midst of all of this we kicked bamboo. 

Both boys are already pros. It's a strangely satisfying activity. When we got around to the front yard, I said to August, "Can you find my baby buck-eye?" And he did. He listens. He learns. Earlier on I'd told the boys something, I can't remember what, and had said, "Did you know that?" August said, "Yes. I did." 
"Where did you learn it?" I asked him. 
"Oh, just in some book about smart things." He said this in such an offhand, airy manner that I had a hard time not laughing out loud but I would never insult him in that way. 
There was some make-up playing. They got some eye shadow and August asked for stripes on his face and they both applied powder and blush to their faces although not in the traditional places. I kept warning them not to make a mess, especially with my powdered eyeshadow and then of course, I tipped it over onto my own leg. 
But we were on the swing porch so it didn't matter too much. And the stuff has to be twenty years old and I need badly to throw it away. So no harm done. 
There was spaghetti for lunch and August proclaimed, "Who doesn't like pasta?" which is sort of a universal truth. 
I also introduced the boys to B.B. King via a few videos and told them a little about Mr. King's life and what an amazing and kind man he'd been and what a good musician. About how I'd gotten to shake his hand a few times and how much I loved him. 
A little more Richard Scarry was read and then Mama came while we were playing Monument Valley on my phone which is a very slow and innocent game, no fighting or dying. I sometimes let them play it and we all enjoy working together to try and get the princess to where she needs to go. But August must have been tired or perhaps video games are absolutely blatantly evil and when he and Levon started fighting over who was going to control things and I took the phone away, he cried which he almost NEVER does here, and if he does, always when he's about to leave. 
So he was in a mood when they left and proclaimed that he was never coming back because it's boring here and I just laughed and said, "Well, I'll be so sorry if you never come back," and Jessie said, "Oh, we will be coming back." I told Jessie that I had told August and Levon about B.B. King and Jessie said, "That's great!" and August said, "He's the worst singer in the world." 
Five years old and he knows exactly where to aim the arrows at my heart. But they are candy arrows and he knows he can say anything to me and that I will still love him. So in a way, these things are the hugest honor. 
I gave them all a Dove chocolate and off they went. 

It was a good day. 
I have pinto beans on the stove cooking with Easter ham and there is plenty of last night's spinach pie to have again tonight. I'll make a cornbread, maybe a salad. Mr. Moon is getting all of his ducks in a row in my pantry and I know it is a labor of love. As much as we have talked about doing this particular project, I am still having a hard time believing it's going to happen. But it quite obviously is. 
I am so excited. 
Dreams can come true. They can happen to you. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Big Day For Grands, Small Day For Mer

My photos all transferred so there's one I took yesterday. Steve Reed emailed me helpful suggestions to help figure out my problem and I am going to save that email but what I did on my own was to go through my phone and delete a hundred or so photos and I'm sure that didn't hurt. As I told Steve, I believe that deleting photos is going to be my new hobby. It's ridiculous how many I have. Does everyone feel guilty for deleting even horrible pictures of their loved ones or is it just me?

The Hartmann children went back to school today. Lily said it went just fine.

Magnolia's first day of school EVER!

The office lady had to escort Magnolia to her class, as per protocol. Lily said the child tried to leave without even saying good-bye. And did not look back once. The report from the teacher after class today was good. She said that Maggie had them cracking up all day long and had a lot of questions, specifically ones concerning why certain things had to be done at certain times and yet other things couldn't be done at other times. 
The indoctrination has now begun which is not a bad thing. We all need a little of that in our lives. 

So that was a big day for them. 

I did some yard work. I dug around and weeded a little in the poison ivy patch so I'll be getting more break-outs. I planted a few fire spikes that I had rooted over the winter. And then I weeded and trimmed in the camellia bed. Doesn't sound like much. Well, it wasn't very much. But it was something. And yard work is like housework in that it's never done, ever, and there is always more to do. Around here there's always a LOT more to do. But it was nice being outside and I've come to the age where I just let go of any expectations of anything near perfection in the yard. 

Here's another picture I took yesterday of a potato blossom. 

Pretty little flower, isn't it? Can you see the tiny red bug up there at the top? I have no idea what it is. Probably something that destroys potatoes. 

And that's been my day. Very quiet, very peaceful. Mr. Moon had to go to town to get a bunch of stuff done. Car stuff, pantry-shelf-material-buying stuff. He's always busy. Makes me feel guilty. 
Well. Sort of.
It's funny. I often dream that he is leaving me for another woman. I've dreamed this dream so many times that I know what the husband-thief looks like, I know how she thinks. Although, a few days ago it was a different woman, younger and even more beautiful than girlfriend number one. I tell Mr. Moon about the dreams and sometimes he gets upset with me. "Quit that!" he says. "There is no girlfriend!"
And trust me- I do not like having these dreams and I hate realizing how insecure I must be to have them which is not completely impossible to understand with my history. 
When you don't see your father from the age of five until the age of thirty, you might just have fears of abandonment. 
But it has recently occurred to me that what I am really afraid of is losing him, not to another woman, but know. I can't even say it. If I prayed, I would pray for me to go first because I cannot fathom life without him. And I guess that my dream brain is being kind to me in a way by expressing my fears of loss via another woman and not into the great eternal mystery where there is no chance at all of winning him back. 

I tell you what- there are so many things that theoretically you can comprehend when you are younger but cannot really understand until you are older. 

That's enough philosophizing for today. I've got the spinach and leeks and garlic cooked for another skillet spanakopita and I best get to the rest of the preparation. It's always amazing how much spinach cooks down. An entire shopping bag stuffed with the stuff cooked down to about two cups. 
Two cups of insane green goodness. 

Be well, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon