Friday, September 20, 2019

People Get BUSY At The End Of December

This morning when I got up I couldn't believe how cool it was- down in the sixties! Oh, the glory of it! I opened up the doors at both ends of the hallway and immediately the cool air dashed and danced right through it, just as this house was designed for.

Jessie and I had talked about doing some birthday shopping while August was in school and so I drove in and went to her house and we took off for the stores. Here are the people we love who are having birthdays in the next week:
Billy, Lily, Shayla, Vergil, August, Owen, and Lily.
You know what happens nine months before the last week in September? 
Yeah, that's right. Christmas and New Year's Eve. And all those party days in between the two. 
So we have a lot of birthday presents to buy. 
Now. Besides my neurotic fear of all things medical, my neurotic (and growing) aversion to making phone calls, especially for appointments of any kind, I also have a terrible and neurotic anxiety about buying gifts. 
It's probably one of the reasons I hate Christmas so much. 
Part of me wonders if I'm just a complete narcissist who only wants to buy presents for myself but I really don't think that's it. I think I just want to give the people I love the perfect gift. The gift that says without a shadow of a doubt how much I know and respect and love and cherish the very essence of that person's soul. 
And you know- it's hard to find that sort of present at, say, TJ Maxx. Kids are easier to buy for, of course. For one thing, they won't remember for a week what you got them. It all blends in together with all of the other presents. You could make a four-year old kid a quilt stitched entirely by hand with love or buy them a bag of Skittles and Gummy Bears and they'd probably prefer the Skittles and Gummy Bears. 
And adults? Well, we come to expect that our presents are going to be less exciting as we get older. That's all there is to it. But dammit- I want to get something meaningful and lovely and that will last for years to come to give to my sweetest sweeties. 
Which makes it almost impossible. 
Some people are just so damn good at gifts. They have a knack, an almost magical ability to know what someone will love. I don't have that. 
And don't even get me started with buying cards. Good Lord but that's one of the most anxiety-producing things I can imagine. 
It's all a nightmare! 
But Jessie and I got a few things for a few people and it was so much fun to have Levon on his own. We were quite literally at TJ Maxx and besides birthday presents, I needed a bar of soap. I don't like body wash for the shower. It makes my skin feel weird. I want soap. Real soap. And TJ Maxx has soap from all over the world. Levon sat in the cart and together we smelled a whole lot of soaps. 
"This is Shea butter," I'd tell him. "What do you think?"
And he'd smell it and say, "Good!" 
When we got to the lavender soaps he liked them so much that he kissed them. 
Levon kissed the soap. 
Oh, how I love him! 
While we were there I bought him a new book about trucks. It has hundreds of trucks in it. I am not kidding. Ooh boy. He loves that book. He is learning to talk by repeating words like, "Hay Baler," "Recreational Vehicle," and "Forage Harvester." 
These things will surely come in handy someday. 

After we picked up August we decided that it was time to go see May. So we went to Midtown Pies and there was our beautiful girl! It was a joy to hug her. 

Also- delicious foods! Jessie and I split a Caprese salad and a little pizza with fresh tomatoes and ricotta and other good things. We shared with the boys. 

So, so good. 

Levon and August turned on the charm for their Aunt May as all little (and big) boys do. We got to chat a little bit- mostly about the upcoming GIANT BIRTHDAY BONANZA PARTY that Lily is hosting next weekend. We're all very excited about this. 

And thus, it was all a pretty dang good day. I even stopped at Costco on my way out of town to get August's present which is a magnetic building kit. When I got home the house was still very nicely cool even though I'd turned off the AC. 
And here I am, Friday night with no husband to make my martinis. 
Guess what? 
I can make my own. 
I hope he's having such a good time up in Tennessee with his old friend. I bet he is. Here's a picture he sent me of his friend's sweet boxer showing some love.

I have no ending but I've run out of words. That'll have to do. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Life On Earth As A Human: Possible Trigger Warning

Lord, I woke up sore this morning.
"I need a massage!" I thought.
Well, actually, it took me a while to formulate that thought. But I knew I was sore right away. That massage therapist worked my muscle attachments and worked 'em good!
Mr. Moon had already taken off for Tennessee when I got up. He kissed me good-bye around seven and if I were a good wife I would have gotten up early and made him a hearty breakfast but that's what they make Waffle Houses for so I just went back to sleep.

I did take a walk today. It was so much cooler and drier which made it much more tolerable. I didn't walk very fast but I did it and I took the picture of that Hibiscus Mutabilis which we sadly call Confederate Rose in my neighbor's yard. Well, to be accurate I took the picture from the church's yard next door but the tree is in my neighbor's yard. I have one too but it gets too much shade, as all of my plants do and it won't be blooming for awhile. I always call this flower the prom queen of flowers because- well, just look at it. They make me think of the flowers that my best friend Lucille and I used to make with pink Kleenex and a bobbie pin. I bet I could still make one, too.
On my way back home on my walk I realized that some neighbors have acquired a new piglet. This is the house where they have the yappy dogs. At this point, the pig isn't much bigger than the dogs but it will be. Trust me.

As I walked past, the little dogs came to the gate and barked at me and the pig ran to the gate and oinked at me. It already thinks it's a guard pig. 
Maybe it is. 
It's pretty cute. 

Jessie texted and asked if I'd like her to bring the boys out after she picked up August at school. I answered, "Of course!" 
And so she did. 
We all piled on my bed and read books. Levon spent quite a bit of time nursing while holding his tractor book and Jessie actually fell asleep for a few moments while that was going on. Bless her mama-heart and her tired mama-bones. August was in a merry mood and we read quite a few books and stories. Coincidentally, one of the books he picked out was our Pig Tales book which has lots of stories and poems about pigs in it. "That's my favorite!" he'd say about each story. "That's my favorite too!" 
He knows which story is MY favorite but it's not one of his favorites so we didn't read that one. 
Sigh. I just love Johnny Squelchnose.

I've always been attracted to the bad boys. 

One of the best things to do at Mer's house is to find things to eat that you don't have at home. Today it was Honey Nut Cheerios. Mr. Moon considers Honey Nut Cheerios to be the only cereal worth eating so we always have some. 

We also had some popcorn a little later on. Kids are an excellent excuse to eat snacks. 

Eventually Jessie decided it was time to take the kidlings home. We'd put the hallway-length alphabet puzzle together and Levon had pushed the babies in the carriage for a good long time. There was even a little bit of TV despite the fact that Mr. Moon wasn't here. 

So it was a perfectly lovely afternoon and now I've finished watching Part 2 of Leaving Neverland and it gave me a lot to think about. The final bit of it was about the mothers who had allowed the boys who are the subjects of the film to spend endless nights alone with Michael in his bed. Now let me say this- where were the fathers? 
One, yes, was in Australia. His wife left him and took her son and her daughter to LA because Michael Jackson had begged them to come and live there. This was when her son was Michael's boy de jour. And that father had mental health issues and eventually he killed himself. 
So there is that. 
The other father was in LA as far as I know but as in both cases- the mothers had taken over the situation and Michael seemed to have courted them, as I said, and given them reason to believe that he loved them as much as he loved their children (but all in a perfectly platonic way, of course) and there were gifts and travel and adventures involved. Also a house loan which ended up being a gift as well. But goddam! That father should have stepped up and said, "Nah. This ain't happening," from the very start. 
Of course neither father was interviewed for the film. And both of the mothers are adamant that they had NO IDEA IN THE WORLD that Michael Jackson was molesting their sons. As I think I said before though, even if he hadn't been, there was just absolutely nothing in the world okay about letting their little boys sleep in the same bed with a grown man. 
And of course both of the men, now grown up and who finally, after years of depression, anxiety, and all sorts of horrible dysfunction and becoming fathers to little boys themselves, have very mixed feelings about their mothers. And the mothers are filled with regret. 

That whole thing about the non-protective parent is just one of the many, many horrible stinking layers of the entire child sexual abuse onion. And I realize that my perspective is slanted because my relationship with my mother grew worse and worse over the years after I told her about the abuse of her husband towards me and probably towards two of her other sons. To the point where when she died I was still not able to be there for her as lovingly and as gracefully as I should have been. 
I am not proud of this. 
But it's the truth. 
Part of me knows without a doubt that any of my children could have been abused and there is the possibility that I would not have been aware of it. But I also know that I was constantly on the lookout. Whenever anyone came into our home I remained on high alert. And when I had boyfriends after my divorce, that constant wariness doubled and tripled. 
Still- I know that it could have happened. 
It was my greatest fear and to be honest, I still fear that one day one of my kids will come to me and say, "Mom, there's something I need to tell you."
But I will tell you this- if that day ever happens the first thing out of my mouth will not be, "I did not know." 
It will be, "Oh my darling child. Please forgive me for not protecting you. I am so sorry."
And I think that's why my mother's and my relationship became so bad. She never, ever, was able to tell me that she was sorry that my abuse had happened on her watch. Her line of defense was:
1. I didn't know.
2. I had no idea.
3. How could I have known?

She did once say that she was sorry it had happened to me. But she never apologized for not protecting me. 
And I suppose she simply couldn't do that. She also couldn't protect her children from what she quite obviously did know about how her husband treated her children in the light of day which was, in and of itself, horribly abusive. He was abusive towards her too. And things that should have prompted questions or concerns were never addressed. When she did finally divorce him it was after all of the children were grown and out of the house. 
My mother did not have an easy life. My own biological father was a nightmare husband. His drinking was way beyond anything that was tolerable and she was able to leave him only when his behavior became obviously dangerous to the point of being life-threatening. I think that the shame she felt in the late fifties, early sixties, at being a divorced woman was so great that the idea of going through that again was more than she could face. 

So, so many layers. The list of things that childhood sexual abuse steals from its victims is almost endless. Perhaps I should write a series of posts focusing on some of those. 
But one of them is most definitely an inability to have a loving, trusting relationship with a non-protective parent. I am sure that many survivors work this out in a more loving and graceful way than I did. We all deal with the myriad of different aspects differently although there are similarities between all of us. And knowing that can be such a relief. 
It's not just me. 
It's not just you. 

Well, night is coming upon us here in Lloyd. Church is happening next door. The cooler air feels as sweet as a tender promise whispered by a lover. Summer is not over but we have gotten a blessed, albeit brief reprieve. 
My husband has made it safely to Tennessee and he said it was a beautiful drive. 
I am alone but I am not lonely. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Water From The Sky And All The Facts You Don't Need To Know

It finally happened this afternoon- we got a little bit of rain. One minute it was clear blue skies and this endless sweltering heat and the next minute thunder was cracking like the knuckles on god's henchmen getting ready to go out and break some kneecaps.
Or whatever it is that god's henchmen do.
Give people boils. Send down frogs and locusts. Introduce plague.
The point being- it rained! A little bit. It was coming down there good for a few minutes. And it's actually starting to sprinkle again. I believe you might call this "scattered showers." Perhaps I should consult the Meteorologist In Chief. Hell, he probably knows as much about the weather as he does anything else.
Which is to say- not shit.

So- Ms. Moon! How was your massage?
Thanks for asking. It was pretty intense. This lady doesn't go for the relaxing thing except as pertains to getting your body all relaxed enough so that she can get in there and find the spots that need help and that means the spots that really hurt when they get pressed on. Still, I enjoyed it. It felt like something was being accomplished. And she is very, very careful to continuously monitor how the pressure feels to the person being massaged. So I am a little sore right now but expect to feel much better tomorrow.
Or the next day.
But it wore me out! I will admit that. I did a little grocery shopping afterwards and came home and ended up sitting on the couch and doing some more embroidery and starting Part 2 of Leaving Neverland and then I had to take a nap. I'm pathetic.
No I'm not.

Here's an interesting factoid- last night before bed I took some CBD oil and this morning I woke up remembering not one dream and also not feeling my usual horrible morning existential angst. I shall repeat the experiment tonight and see if we can repeat these findings.

Mr. Moon is talking about leaving for Tennessee tomorrow for a hunting-preparedness weekend. There are hurricanes and tropical storms and disturbances lined up in the Atlantic ocean. I actually got four eggs today which is about three more than I have been getting lately. My Americaunas have not given me one of their beautiful green eggs for days. My chicken scratch bag is filled with red ants which means I get new ant bites daily. I cut my thumb barely, barely on a sharp knife this morning- hardly enough to draw a drop of blood- and when I did it I thought, "That's going to hurt like hell," and now it does. I looked up recipes for pork chops in the NYT's cooking app and not a damn one of the hundreds they have look as good as Shake'n'Bake. When I got to the one for "kale smothered pork chops" I quit looking.
Oh. Hell. No.
Lily is on a mini-vacation with girlfriends and was anxious before she left that the children would all be okay during her absence and that her house would not be destroyed when she got back. I think we can all relate to this. HAVE A GREAT TIME, LILY! YOU DESERVE IT!
I am horribly, terribly, awfully homesick for Roseland and I think we might go there for our anniversary which is coming up in October. Thirty-five years! The river and the ocean are calling me and so is the Ocean Grill where I want to eat some shrimp salad and drink some pina coladas. I even want to go to the Roseland Publix and buy things to cook in the beautiful retro-kitchen with the pink stove and the window that looks out on the pool with the spitting lions and the bamboo and the river. I am hoping that the crazy restaurant that decorates for Halloween like the Vatican decorates for Christmas is still open.

And I guess that is truly about all of the news I have to relate.
In the past three hours the temperature has probably dropped twenty degrees. Yep. I just checked. It has. It's gone from 98 to 78.
Talk about your miracles!
And hey- my power's still on. Knock wood.

All right. Gonna go make some pork chops. And sweet potatoes. And salad with pears and blue cheese. And toasted pecans.

Life is truly okay tonight in Lloyd. I hope it is for you wherever you are.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Dreams, Heat, And Other Things Which Are Difficult To Deal With

So this morning I was making Ronnie Wood mint tea as one does. All of the Rolling Stones were at my house or somewhere near my house and although I was making that tea for Ron (it required fourteen tea bags AND honey) and was there to see Charlie Watts get his new, stripped-down drum kit I never did see Keith or Mick because I was too busy making that damn tea.
Well, it was good to see Ron and Charlie.
The Rolling Stones seem to have become part of my nightly dream roster and unfortunately the way they've fit in is that I'm constantly trying to clean something or make impossible tea or do some other domestic chores that I am simply incapable of doing just like my other dreams where the laundry cannot possibly ever be done because there are like fourteen bedrooms, some of which I've not even yet discovered and all of the sheets and bedding must washed or else the collected filth and detritus and hoarded-like objects which fill the rooms must be cleaned out which is also a Sisyphean task or I can't reach someone I am desperate to get in touch with because my phone is lost/uncharged/falling into pieces/beyond my ability to operate. Then there are the being-lost-in-a-strange-city dreams or the I'm-working-as-a-server-or-a-shop-tender and have no idea how to run the cash register or perform the most mundane and necessary things in order to do the job. This morning after the tea-making debacle I was looking for a place to buy (haha!) on the beach near Vero and found myself in Ft. Pierce and one had to walk through the houses because they were so chock-a-block along the beach and one old man, instead of being angry that I was in his house, tried to give me a bunch of useless kitchen-wares to carry with me on my house-hunting journey.
Also? The ocean below the houses was deep and treacherous with rocks instead of sand.
And the houses cost too much.

Needless to say that when I wake up I am exhausted, confused, out of sorts, out of body, and ill prepared to start a new day. And that's the non-scary version of how I feel.

I did take a walk this morning. It was quite cool when I got up but by the time I'd come back to myself and dealt with the chickens, and read everything on the internet, and eaten, and read the paper, and done a load of laundry, it was, needless to say, getting a bit warm. Not as warm as it eventually got today which was 99 degrees but warm enough. I did hang all of my laundry on the line though and also watered the garden which felt wasteful because the only things in it that are still growing are the zinnias, a little bit of arugula, a few peas which have survived the heat and the drought and my volunteer sweet potatoes. I can't stand to see those zinnias all shrivel up and die though. Picking a few of them and putting them into vases has made me incredibly happy this summer. Their colors are as true and deep as gowns made of silk velvet and worn by queens.

The weather forecast says that we may actually get a bit of rain tomorrow but I'm not betting the ranch on that. The temperature is also supposed to become more normal for this time of year and it may not even reach 90 on Thursday although it may get up into the high 90's again tomorrow. The chickens are surviving but not doing much laying and they are molting. They seem to be okay, making their dirt baths in the direct sunlight sometimes and I don't know how they tolerate that but I guess that the hot sand feels good against their skin. Or something. Perhaps the heat has fried their little chicken brains and they are completely witless. 

Here is what the blossom of my bananas looks like. 

Isn't that freaking bewitching? 
Here are the fruits themselves. 

There is something just so lush and...naughty about tropical plants and their fruits. They shove their swellings and organs right in your face like a female baboon's beautiful red bottom when she becomes sexually receptive. 
Do you know what I mean? 
Perhaps my little brain is fried too from this heat, this endless summer that drives me inside to sit in front of the TV and embroider useless decorations on things. My project right now is a pair of corduroy overalls for August. He checked out what I was doing the other day and gave me rather specific instructions about how it should be done. Colors everywhere and also, when he discovered the beads that I'd been using for Maggie's dress he wanted those everywhere too. And oh- buttons. 
I told him I would do my best. 

What I was watching today was Part 1 of the Michael Jackson doc, Leaving Neverland. 
You know, it's so weird. I know a woman who is truly devoted to defending Jackson against the accusations made in this film and I can't figure out why. She's not stupid. But how can anyone believe that a man who looked and acted like Michael Jackson did was not a pedophile? But that's not my real question. My real question is- how could these parents allow their little boys to spend the night with a grown man in his bed while they themselves slept in distant rooms or even in distant houses? I can tell that Jackson courted and groomed the mothers as much or more than he did the children but my GOD! Of course, at that time, Michael Jackson was the biggest star in the universe and to have someone of that elevated a status wanting to spend time with your family, your child, was like being touched by Jesus. Or chosen by a king. 
And quite honestly, even if he never touched any of those boys it was still completely wrong and immoral and horrible for any parent to have allowed their child to sleep with him. 
And I am convinced that he did touch them and molested them too. The worst sin, as I see it, is that he encouraged these little boys to fall in love with him which allowed him to do what he did and then he replaced them in his bed and in his life leaving them doubly scarred forever. 
Those boys were as much pets to him as was Bubbles the chimp who, after having grown too old, too big, and too aggressive to be fun to play with, was taken to a wildlife refuge. 

So much for that. 

Tomorrow I go and get my massage and I am looking forward to it. 

Oh Lord, it is hot. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, September 16, 2019

Lunch, Weed, Snakes, Grandboys And Delicious Foods

Today I woke up feeling dark and nothing ahead of me beckoned me with any cheer at all. I didn't want to walk and didn't- what's the point?
Of course there's always a point but some days you just can't see it and even if you can you don't care.
Luckily Jessie texted and asked if anyone wanted to go to lunch and that, at least seemed to be a good idea. I know that even if nothing else appears to be worth the doing, seeing the children will pull me through when nothing else will.
Hank and Rachel could go too and I picked up Hank and we went to Tan's and if any of you live in Tallahassee and have never eaten there, I would really encourage you to do so. It's a good restaurant and the food today seemed especially especially delicious from the Mongolian tofu to the beautiful sushi and the things they do with eggplant will make you dance.
August and Levon were happy boys. Levon told us all about various large equipment. He is quite apt to greet you with the words, "Dump truck," instead of "hello" or "hey" or something boring like that. He was wearing a shirt with a truck on it and he pointed this out repeatedly. I asked him if he'd had a good time on the boat yesterday and between then and now he has decided that he did.
"Daddy drive," he said.
August was an even more golden shade of brown from yesterday's sun. I would be interested to see what his DNA says about where some of his beautiful color comes from. Neither Vergil or Jessie has his perfect toasty color. And his eyes are so dark brown although that hair keeps growing in blond as can be. His mama had just cut it for him and he looked quite stylish.
He was Uncle Hank's boy today. I think he was angling for something from the Hoarder's Delight box but alas! The box was not in Hank's car which Rachel had driven from her office. He accepted this fact with equanimity.

Even without a box of wonders to pick a gift from, his uncle amused him greatly today. 

Our friend John, aka Juancho, aka Husband of Beloved Melissa, also showed up and joined us at our table. He and Rachel work together and had both just gotten out of a two-and-a-half hour meeting and were ready for some lunch. We'd actually been talking about John when he appeared. He and his wife have recently returned from a real, true vacation where they went out west and visited his family and drove around and went to cool places. 
"Who does that anymore?" asked Jessie. 
More people should. 
We asked him about the trip and he said they'd had a great time. His brother-in-law in California is now in the weed business on the construction side. He is building grow facilities and also retail outlets, partnered with another guy who handles the product side. We all admitted that it was pretty crazy to live in these days when all of a sudden, that which would have put you in jail is now big business. It seems like it's happened overnight which of course isn't true. But the idea of being able to go into a lovely store and talk to knowledgeable people about weed is just...crazy! 
Mr. Moon has his medical marijuana card and he brings home brochures from the dispensaries that really blow my mind. It's like Cheech and Chong and Snoop Dogg and Jimmy Buffet had a dream and we're living in it these days. 
Part of me is saying, "Hallelujah!" and another part of me is so fucking angry because of all the lives that have been destroyed by pot laws that everyone has known were stupid and applied arbitrarily, of course affecting African American men in numbers far exceeding what white folks have experienced thus providing business and fodder for the goddammed private prison industry. Laws are changing and some states are releasing prisoners who have been incarcerated on marijuana charges but there are still people in jail literally dying after years of being kept in prison for having been arrested for possession of ridiculously small amounts of weed leaving families without breadwinners, without fathers, without husbands, sons, and brothers. 
Okay. Okay. We all know it's some kinda bullshit. And even if the laws are changing to the benefit of some while others are still looking at years of prison, the change is positive. And not everyone who is bringing home a paycheck because of the new laws is a celebrity with their own weed line, but regular guys like John's brother-in-law and of course there are the medical benefits as well as the fact that reefer is and always has been a positive way to change consciousness especially compared to alcohol and other legal and illegal substances, at least to my mind. 
And let me say that I don't even partake although I used to and if I enjoyed it I would today. Humans in every culture have taken mind-altering substances and always will. 

So who shoved that particular soap box under my feet tonight? 

I never know what's going to come out when I sit down to write. I swear. 

Here's a picture of Levon and Rachel. 

I love those two people. So much. 

And here's one more picture. 

Can you see it? I almost stepped on the poor thing. It's a little oak snake that was on my back porch. I wish I could say that I'm the type of strong, practical woman who can just grab a little snakey and put it outside but I will be honest and tell you I am not. Mr. Moon did catch it for me though, and let it go in the backyard. 
It's so funny how if we're at the Junior Museum and one of the people who work there and who are doing a snake presentation hand me a snake I am happy to hold it but if I come upon one in the wild or on my very own porch, I am the biggest wuss in the world. 
Logic has nothing to do with so much, no matter how big our human brains are and the older I get, the more I realize that this fact pertains to me. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, September 15, 2019

A Simple Trip Down A River (Possible Trigger Warning)

The Weatherfords and the Moons took a little boat trip down the St. Mark's river today and it was practically perfect. It would have been entirely perfect if the temperature had been about ten degrees cooler and perhaps if we'd caught a bunch of mullet but one cannot ask for everything. Compared to the last time I took a trip down the St. Marks wherein it was horribly hot, yellow flies tore us up, the boat didn't run right, the trailer got a flat tire, and the place we ate supper was not air conditioned and had biting flies, it was indeed practically perfect.

August reminded me of a tiny sailor who could climb the rigging up to the eagle's nest if we'd been in a sail boat. He had the time of his life.

Levon, however, was doubtful about the entire enterprise from the moment he stepped on the boat. We do not know why. He insisted that his mama hold him almost the whole trip. 

We weren't going fast, barely puttering along for the most part, and he loves going out in the kayak. Whatever was bothering him seemed to require all of his vigilance. He didn't want to nurse, he didn't want to eat. He just wanted to be held. 

We saw osprey, one who seemed to be escorting us down the river. He or she would fly ahead of us, perch on a tall limb over the river, and when we caught up, fly ahead again. It was interesting. Perhaps WE were interesting to it. We saw turtles, sunning on logs who would plop off as we approached. I felt bad about disturbing their sunbathing but then I realized that falling off a log into the water is probably not that big a deal to a turtle. 

When we got to the bridge we anchored the boat and jumped in the water which was heaven. And oh- we'd seen an alligator AND a water moccasin right where we anchored but Vergil made sure to make a big noisy splash and we felt sure that we would go unmolested and we were. August paddled about in his life jacket and his dad let him perch on his belly as he backstroked around. They looked like an otter and its young. Levon came out of his funk and squealed, actually and truly squealed with joy in the water. He was so happy. Jessie held him as they cooled off and giggled. I treaded water and declared that I would now be cool for the rest of the day which proved to be untrue but it was wonderful while it lasted. After awhile we all clambered back onboard and headed back to St. Marks where we'd put in. 

Levon finally let his daddy hold him and he helped drive the boat. 

It was a sweet afternoon. 

Jessie got to drive some on the way back.

And here's my sweet somber boy. 

When we got back to the marina where we'd put in, we saw something that made us all laugh.
Well, the adults, anyway.

Can you read what it says? Figure it out yet? 

Add in the boat's engines and we can only assume that this is indeed a party boat. 

Oh, North Florida! Keeping it classy, baby! 

Both boys fell fast asleep on the way home as I knew they would. Four hours in the sun and in the water is a lot for anyone, especially the little guys. I can tell I got a little too much sun even though I used sunscreen. 
For once. 

I thought a lot today about Sunday boat rides and how I suppose I have a little bit of PTSD about them. When I was a child and my mother married the man who abused me, Sundays were the worst days. Sunday mornings were when the abuse mostly happened. Not always but mostly. And then we'd go to church- our happy little family- and then we'd often go out on the Sebastian River and the Indian River in the stepfather's boat. 
I can still remember the registration number of that boat. 
Before he came into the picture, I had loved boat rides. Friends of my mother's would take us out and everything about being on the river thrilled me. The jungle flying by us, the mysterious brown brackish water where I knew porpoise and sharks and giant rays swam. I had seen them. I can remember being fascinated by the wake of the boat, the white bridal path of it, and sometimes we beached on one of the dredge islands in the Indian River, sometimes even Fossil Island where mammoth teeth and vertebra and other bones littered the sandy ground. 
Those times, before the stepfather, were magical. 
But when we were in his boat on a Sunday I was a mass of confusion and (although I could not define this then) burning anger. I was a damn smart nine-year old, ten year-old, but I was not smart enough to know how to think about what had happened on those Sunday mornings. I knew something was very, very wrong but no one seemed to notice, much less care, and I did not even begin to have the words to describe what was going on. There had been nothing in the world that I had wanted more than a daddy. A man to make my sad mother happy. A man to be a father to me and to my brother. A man to make us into a whole family. 
And that had happened. Here we were- on the river in a boat- visible and visual proof of what a good, loving American family did on a Sunday afternoon. 

So for years after, decades and decades after, being out on the water with my own family, especially on Sundays, brought back those feelings of confusion and of anger. Of course I had more insight by then but insight and wisdom can't erase such deeply engrained feelings. 
But I've gotten better. And although I think of those things as we eat sandwiches and float past another jungle, they do not cause me to disassociate. I can stay firmly where I am and today, when August was looking at the spray from the engine and he said, "Look! Rainbows!" I could look and see rainbows and be as thrilled as he was to see them. 

I am so lucky in so many ways. This is just one of them. This ability to find pleasure in what once brought rage and despair.

Life is something, isn't it? 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, September 14, 2019

From Weeding To White Privilege

It has been a little cooler today. Still above ninety but not so humid and because of that I was able to get outside and finish up the garden weeding. I am pretty sure that I've never had a garden this weed-free in my entire life. Part of it I think is that I haven't been using hay as a mulch except for that which comes from the chickens' nests and so it has not seeded and sprouted the way it can. This has made things a lot easier. I love the way the chickens get in the garden after I've dumped that poopy hay into a pile and they scratch in it for bugs and seeds (which may explain having fewer weeds too) until it's all neatly spread about. Chickens can be very helpful garden assistants. They do like to snatch some of the field peas but I do not begrudge them that. And of course when the lettuces sprout this fall, I'll have to banish them because they do love a tender lettuce. They don't care a thing about store bought greens but they love the garden lettuces, the collards, the kale. They leave the arugula and mustard greens alone. I suppose they do not fancy the rich bitterness of the arugula or the spicy bite of the mustard.
I am glad I got to get out in the dirt because I badly needed it. I have been so bitchy lately. Just horrible. I fussed at my husband when he came out to kiss me goodbye before he left to go mow because he pulled a handful of weeds. 
"This is MY work!" I told him.
Poor man.
It's a wonder he ever comes home.
But it did me good to sweat through my clothes and rip those weeds from the dirt and watch the butterflies dipping and floating around the zinnias which they love.
And then a dear friend texted me and we carried on a little conversation and that was better than anything, a small sharing which led me to tears for a moment which leaked some of the hotness of my mean soul out to where it could not harm me anymore.
Bless you, friend. And thank you. I love you.

I came in and showered and cooled off and sat in front of the TV and did some embroidering on a pair of old kid overalls and watched a new Chelsea Handler documentary on Netflix. It's called Hello Privilege, It's Me, Chelsea and it was not easy to watch. There were extremely awkward moments as Chelsea spoke to people of color about what it was like to live in a culture where white privilege is so prevalent and taken for granted that many, many white people don't have the slightest idea it occurs. I heard the thing that I hear so often when people are disclaiming their various privileges whether of being white or being male or whatever, which is "I worked my ass off to get where I am. No one helped me."
Which is of course bullshit.
And perfectly illustrates a complete and seemingly conscious inability to understand what the whole issue is about.
There were some startling statistics. There was a heartwarming reunion of Chelsea and the man  who'd been her boyfriend when she was sixteen, an African American man who has spent fourteen years in prison.
I think the thing that gave me most pause was the fact that racism is not the problem of people of color to help us poor little white folks understand or to do something about.
It's our responsibility to do something about it. We got us into this fucked up situation and if there's any way out, it's up to us.
Chelsea Handler is a bit of a conundrum to me. I recently listened to her memoir Life Is Going To Be The Death Of Me and I found some things in it to ponder, to reflect on. Even to instruct, even as parts of it made me cringe. I think her heart is in the right place and I do admire her outspokenness.
Anyway, I think that the documentary was fine for a one hour Netflix piece and it could be a starting point for discussion and for thought. Chelsea seems to be using her powers for good. That's saying something.
Not a one of us is a perfect being, me least of all.
Here I sit in my beautiful old historic house, most likely built by slave labor. At least I realize that. At least when I think of the many, many ways this house pleases me and how it has sheltered so many generations, I am aware of that fact and in my heart I never fail to remember that and to give thanks to the people who felled the pines, who cut the boards, who constructed this place where so many people have probably been born and who have also died, who have lived hard lives and experienced joy. I will never know their names but I honor their souls, their labor, their artistry, their lives.
And I wonder where they lived. I wonder where they are buried.
And I thank them.

Love...Ms. Moon