Monday, August 31, 2009

From Anxiety to Logic to Love to Answers

Good morning and it's Monday and how are you?

Me? Oh. I'm anxious. I've cut my dose of antidepressant in the last few days, not out of false belief that I don't need it, but because of other reasons (uh- could we get a damn health plan that covers prescriptions that a normal person can afford?) and it is not working out. No. It is not.

I woke up at four a.m. worried sick about several things, one of them that had I perhaps forgotten to pack Mr. Moon a post-workout snack. I usually send him with a boiled egg but had not had any pre-boiled and by the time I got around to thinking about that last night, I didn't feel like boiling eggs and in my four a.m. stupor, I couldn't remember if I'd packed him a substitute or not and GOT UP OUT OF BED TO GO CHECK and yes, I had. I'd packed him some cottage cheese with cantaloupe and so then I went back to bed and worried about other things.

Then the real morning came and I found even more things to worry about, fret about, get anxious about and then I read Ms. Adrienne's post about panic and Pan and all through yoga I cursed Pan and fretted some more.

But now I feel, if not calmed, then at least aware that my worries are being magnified by my lack of chemical intake and so I am okay. I am not walking around feeling as if I am going to die at any moment and hey yah! bring it on.

There are some things I just need to accept and one of them is that I damn well need this medication and that is that. I wish I didn't. But I have access to it, I can buy it, and I need to. This life I have is too precious to walk around in panic with, to spend my night hours worrying myself out of bed, my daylight hours worrying myself out of my head. I don't know why my chemicals are fucked up but the fact remains that they are.

The other night a thought occurred to me and I wrote it down. It said this, "If everything is a lie, then everything is a lie."

Well. Of course.

But what I meant was that when you grow up in a house where you know, even in your innocent little child-soul that what is going on in that house is wrong, wrong, horribly wrong, and yet everyone pretends it is lovely! okay! just peachy-keen and normal as milk! then it is very hard to trust the validity of anything, even fifty years later. What, at the very basic level, do the words, "I love you" mean when the person speaking those words is acting in a most unloving and abusive way?

I think you get my drift.

And quite possibly (I believe) this sort of situation can fuck up a person's chemicals for the rest of their life and if so, that may be my problem.

Anyway, la-di-dah and here I am and when I went out to give the chickens their corn scratch this morning, there was Miss Red on the nest. She looked at me like this:

I think she is saying, "Hey! I'm trying to lay an egg here. Leave me the fuck alone!"
Don't you?

Those chickens.
Sam (aka Suzie) has gotten quite randy in the past few days. His favorite target for his affections seems to be poor little Betty whom he squashes with his giant rooster weight while beaking her head with an iron grip. It's hard not to see this in a human perspective and she doesn't seem to enjoy it one bit but it doesn't take long. Like...seconds. And then he is off to scratch for bugs and she shakes out her feathers and joins him in the scratch. He made a grab for Lucille the other day but she shook him off and scrambled to the other side of the coop. He did not pursue her.
And what do chickens have to do with anxiety or depression or when everything is a lie then everything is a lie?

Not much is the answer to that.

But then again, perhaps one of the reasons I love observing my chickens so much is that there is so little bullshit or prevarication in a chicken coop. The big ones rule the roost. The small ones keep a wary eye out because they know where potential harm comes from. There are quite firm rules and if one is broken, it is broken with the full knowledge of what may happen. And yet, there is compromise, too. There is the pushing of envelopes and this is how progress is made in the social system of the birds in my back yard. The babies are now allowed access to all parts of the coop by the big birds and yet, there is still a definite separation. I do not understand how all of this works but I know it does. When a rooster wants to fuck, he finds a hen and fucks her. When a hen needs to lay an egg, she does it. And finally this- if you hand feed your chickens from an early age, they will come to accept your presence as a good thing and may even allow you to catch and cuddle them, even as they cluck a bit defensively when you do. They respond to kindness as well as to threat, but in a completely logical way.

There was no logic in the house where I grew up. None. Every evening's dinner hour was a lesson in complete fearful nonsense. Every bedtime was a moment of panic. And yet, the words I love you were bandied about with abandon.

No wonder I find peace in the chicken coop. Or the garden. Where if you plant okra, okra will surely come up.

And when we grow up we can look at these things and we can discern the bullshit from the truth. We can see things the way they are and if we need to, we can even perhaps change them. But before change can come, knowledge has to be acquired.

For five and a half years, the sink in my bathroom has been a frustration for me. It is beautiful but the water always splashed onto the wood of the cabinet it is set in. I have a rag there, just for the purpose of cleaning up the water.
Finally, it occurred to me a few days ago that the reason this happens is because the water does not go directly into the drain, but onto the bottom of the sink.


I told Mr. Moon this. He said, "And you can't move that faucet, can you?"
"No," I said. "It's stationary."

And then this morning, while I was fretting and worrying while brushing my teeth, I tried bumping the faucet with my hand. It moved. The water now drains into the drain even though the faucet does not come out at a straight angle, the way it "should."

But the point is, I have spent five and a half years just accepting this fault and cursing it and wiping up water when all it took was a gentle bump of the hand to fix the problem.
No. It is not perfect because the faucet is off center. So what? The problem is solved and forget the aesthetics.

And I think that many things are like this- we curse the darkness and forget we have an entire box of candles with a nice pack of matches right there in the drawer.

I do curse the darkness but I know I have a pill to help me fight my way out of it.
I need to just take the pill and quit the cursing and look for solutions.

And perhaps one of these days I'll finally accept that everything around me is NOT a lie and thus, everything is not a lie. That the goodness and love I seem to be surrounded with are not all an illusion but as truthful as anything can be.

That the words "I love you" mean just that. That the rules of this house are as logical and real as the rules of the chicken coop.

Does this make any sense?

It does to me.

And I need to remember that I do not have to live with lies any more, nor have I for many years and that the lies my brain tells me at four a.m. or eleven a.m. are not valid nor real nor anything I need to pay attention to. And that sometimes, I just have to look at something in a different way to figure out how to change it to make it work.

And perhaps after another lifetime of reminding myself of this my chemicals will realign themselves and I won't need a damn pill.

But until then, it is only logical that I take it. It may not suit my sense of aesthetics, but it is a solution and I am grateful for it.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

And Hank Makes It Right

Thank-you, my son, for reformatting and re-sizing my oak tree.
Now. Teach your dear old doddering mother how to do this herself. In fact, I think you need to come out and give me a tutorial.
I love you....Mama

Holy Communion At The Church Of The Batshit Crazy

So this morning was the morning we were to eat our four tiny eggs. Here they are in a carton with four regular-sized eggs that our neighbor's chickens laid for comparison.

Aren't they precious?

Anyway, I didn't wake up until the ungodly, unheard-of hour of 9:30 a.m. after oh, about nine hours or so of solid, lovely sleep. Sure, I woke up with a few hot flashes but let's not expect miracle upon miracle. Let us not ask for the impossible. Let us be grateful for the merely blessed and good.

Before I started cooking, I advised Mr. Moon, who had been up for quite some time, to go ahead and cut the cantaloupe in the kitchen and eat some of that because surely, breakfast was now going to be brunch, and as we all know, brunch must always involve some cantaloupe. I drank some coffee and read some of the paper and then we went out to the chicken coop and gave the rinds and the seeds to the chickens and we admired them and loved up the ones who would let us and then we came in and I began to cook.

I mixed up some biscuits and started the lovely applewood smoked bacon that Ms. Fleur had gifted us with.

I patted the biscuits out into a pie tin and set them in the oven.

Mr. Moon was outside, puttering around with something having to do with hunting season preparation. I began to think, it being Sunday and all, about holy communion and that whole eat-of-my-body thing and how every time we ingest anything, something has had to die to feed us, whether a carrot or a pig or a deer. Even, I suppose, an egg, although if it is not fertilized, it would never develop into a baby chicken, no matter what, so perhaps unfertilized chicken eggs are completely guilt-free, although the hens probably suffer some discomfort in laying them. Or, perhaps it is an orgasmic, completely ecstatic experience. I will never know. And what a carrot could grow up to be is beyond me, unless you are speaking of baby carrots which, when we eat, we deny the possibility of it growing up to be a full-grown adult carrot.

Food is a sensitive subject and I would say more so than ever these days with the raw foods people and the organic foods people and the free-range people and the fruitarians, vegetarians, pescatarions, vegans, and those who believe in the cave-man diet.

But if you go back to the old testament, you will see that there were multiple rules then,too, about the food to eat and not to eat and how to raise it, grow it, harvest it and so forth. In fact, if you broke some of those laws, you were apt to be stoned to death so I suppose we are better off now than we were then.

All I know is that probably, the closer to the source, the healthier the food. Thus, a peanut is better for us than peanut butter and fruit plucked from a local tree is better for us than a fruit smoothie we get at the mall. Etc.

And I also know that for me, cooking is generally something I love to do and I do it with consciousness and I do it with full respect for the ingredients I use as well as the people I am cooking for and if I have grown what we are eating or Mr. Moon has hunted it and brought it home, so much the better and, if my opinion, the more sacred, and is of better service to our bodies and souls.

Not to say I don't enjoy peanut butter and pork chops, too.

BUT, it was with a great deal of satisfaction that I cracked the very substantial shells of Ms. Red's eggs and let them spill into a bowl in preparation for cooking.

We have raised these chickens from the tiniest of peeps and I have watched them grow and nurtured that growth and loved each and every one of them for months now and I feel so gifted with these eggs.

The bacon and the biscuits were done and I slid the eggs into the pan, two at a time and salted and peppered them.

I managed to cook them without breaking their yolks and I served them up to Mr. Moon and myself on the back porch and he waited for me to be ready with my own plate to take the first bite.

Yes. Too much bacon. So what?

And we ate our eggs and our bread and our meat and if that wasn't a holy breakfast, I don't know what was. The body of Jesus may have been in there for all I know although I doubt it.

But I was thinking about how when I am on my deathbed, I doubt seriously I will be regretting the fact that I never saw the Parthenon by moonlight. I think I will be thinking about cracking fresh green eggs into a bowl and serving them to my husband with biscuits and bacon and about how completely and utterly satisfying that was to me. I think I will be thinking about patting out biscuits and picking greens from my garden and cooking them in my big pot and then eating them with my family.

I believe I will think of those things and also how it felt in the morning to get that first cup of coffee, and also how it felt to hang the clothes on the line, to feed the chickens, to walk to the creek, to lie down at night on sunwashed sheets, fresh from outside. I will think about how it felt to nestle tiny plants into dark earth and water them.

And of course I will think about how it felt to dance with my husband and my children. I will think about how it felt to close my eyes and listen to music made by people I love. I will think about how it felt to give birth to a baby, to take it to my breast, to offer it the milk my body made.

I will think about all of those things and I will regret that I did not get more of it.
That's what I believe. That in doing each of these things, these most basic of things- and what can be more basic than the sharing and eating of bread?- that I am partaking of something deeply holy and deeply satisfying. These human/animal things and yes, I think Jesus was on to something when he broke that blessed bread and offered it around the table. He may have gone a little far (or some future reporter did) with the whole this-bread-will-turn-into-my-body thing but so what?

And that's my sermon for today- the holy blessedness of the smallest things. How if we pay attention and take care, even a fried egg can be consecrated unto our use. And I suppose that's what I'm always talking about, one way or another.

Those eggs were good. And now I need to wash up the dishes, another holy chore and one, unless I am not mistaken, I will not miss quite as much as messing them up preparing food to eat.

One never knows, though. I certainly don't. All I know is that for right now, at this moment in time, I am walking in grace and I filled with the goodness of grace and clean skillets and plates and bowls will only add to that and it is Sunday and I am content.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Picture Explanation

I wish I could figure out how to fit the picture in perfectly to the heading of my blog but I cannot. Thus you see the giant image above. Which is appropriate in one way- that oak tree is a huge mother of a tree. She is amazing. She gives me peace, joy, and calms my soul. And in the morning when the sun is breaking through her limbs and shining its light on me, I am stunned into amazement that this, THIS, is where I live.

Mr. Moon can't wait for the day we build a house on our lot down by the Apalachicola Bay in the sweet little town of Apalachicola. And in some ways, I am excited about that prospect as well. It has always been a dream of mine to live by the water. And a bay is so full of life. It has tides that rise and lick the dock and tides that lower and leave the secret life of the bay's bottom revealed. There are birds and there are fish and there are the shadows of clouds on the water as the weather changes, which it will do quite regularly and quickly on the coast.

But right now, for this part of my life, I am so happy here, to be inland, to have my own oak island of serenity in Lloyd with these giant trees standing guard, lifting their arms towards heaven with my chickens in the backyard, my garden in the side yard, my house in the middle yard, my heart in the midst of it all.

So there you go- my new heading.

I see my light come shining. For me it usually comes from the East down to the West. But that didn't make Mr. Dylan's rhyme come out right and that's okay.

And any day now- tomorrow or in thirty years, I shall be released. We all shall be.

But until then, here I am. Plowing the seas of this life, in this place, with these people, in this time, and I am so blessed to be.

Who knows? Tomorrow I may get up, look at the blog and say, "Yeah. No."

And change it.

But for tonight, at least, here it is.

And I hope that you, too, have something bigger than yourself to make you look up to heaven and see the light. And when I say "light" I am not talking about one damn thing but...light.
Which is heavenly and which is en-lightening and which, when mixed with love is all I need.

Amen and get some sleep.

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due (The Chickens Have Fooled Me Again)

Yes. This picture is a repeat. But I must repeat it because not only is Miss Red the highest jumpin', grape snatchinest' chicken in the coop, she is also the one who has been laying those tiny green eggs! Four so far.

This morning we found her sitting in the laying box and we were so excited to see what HER eggs would look like.

Uh. Exactly the same as the other three we have found so far. And so although Miss Betty is still one fine chicken, we now have to look to Miss Red as the first to lay eggs and apologize to her for not giving her the credit. We stroked her and told her what a fine, lovely chicken she was. She looked at us with eyes that were far away. It really can't be that fun to lay an egg. We left in the nest instead of stealing it right away from her. We'll go back and retrieve it later when she's rejoined the flock after her efforts and recovery.

Bless her heart. No wonder she's always so hungry for those grapes and watermelon.

Lily's Legacy

Last night Herb and Kathleen came over and in between the sunset ride in the convertible, the martinis, and supper, I washed and dried 47 diapers.
They have been in a cedar chest since Lily's sister, Jessie, became potty-trained. She's twenty now, so that was a while back.
They have been waiting, white and soft and functional for at least seventeen years, maybe eighteen, and it felt like treasure when I pulled them out. I didn't realize I still had so many.
When I folded them this morning, I kept thinking of how nicely they are going to fit around Lily's baby's bottom. How comfy they are going to be for him. I thought about Lily changing her baby and how she'll be an expert in three days at this business of diaper-changing. How each diaper change is an opportunity to kiss her baby, admire his perfect belly, his boy-parts, his tiny butt. How she'll so carefully clean him up and make him all cozy again, tucked into soft white cotton.
It doesn't seem possible.
But the diapers are ready and so she may have this baby at any time.
I am handing over the diapers to Lily who is about to become a mother.
And so it continues, and so it begins.

Friday, August 28, 2009

And Then The Sun Came Out

And I took a walk and I took these pictures with my phone and no, they are not very good, but it was so beautiful with the sun picking up the shine the rain had given everything. I could not get a picture at all of the huge butterflies, the hawk at the top of a tree, the gopher turtle who slid down his burrow like a shot when I walked by, the emerald green damsel fly by the creek. And who knows what was there that I just didn't notice?

Anyway, as always, click if you want to see them bigger.

The creek:

A mossy cypress tree beside the creek:

It's so still down there by the creek except for the sound of the water traveling across the downed trees and snags. I wish I had a house down there. Cypress trees, pines, oaks. It's just a glory.


Beauty Berry:

An undomesticated spider (and you have no idea how close I came to walking right into her):

The woods:

The peaceful dead, being orderly as is their wont:

Main Street:

My neighbor's morning glories:


Raindrops and Muffins

It's been raining for two days now, which is fine with me except that's so gray. Just...gray.
And I can't keep up with anything. The cobwebs are taking over the house. Overtaking the house. The tomato plants need to go in the ground as well as the squash seeds, the collards. The okra is being eaten by some small caterpillars. Hundreds of them. They are lacing the leaves of the okra plants with their chewing. In turn, I pluck the leaves and take them to the chickens. The chicken coop needs mucking out. I haven't finished Lily's baby quilt. The book I'm writing goes as untended as my garden. The dogs find it impossible to go out into the wet back yard to pee and poop and so they do it in the house. I never catch them at it, either, which is infuriating.

And it rains.

Speaking of the chickens, Miss Betty continues to lay us perfect tiny eggs. And the rooster (I give up, he is he) whom we shall now call Sam, has been observed by Mr. Moon on top of tiny Miss Betty, and I doubt seriously they are just cuddling which means my eggs are fertilized but destined never to be hatched. We still haven't eaten any of the eggs. Maybe by Sunday there will be enough to make a breakfast. Ms. Petit Fleur brought us a gift of applewood smoked bacon to go with. She's such a love. And her son sings to tigers and brings grapes to my chickens.

Mr. Moon suggested that I make a cake with the first eggs, which I find strange- he has never once asked for a cake. Perhaps I should make him one. I don't know.

It's raining.

I have nothing important to say today. Nothing at all. I feel as if my brain is roosting like the chickens in the darkness. They are able to respond when they are roosting but believe me- nothing of any high intellect is going on there in that hen house at night. Not that I can discern. Same with my brain. It's responding. (More coffee, please, it says), but otherwise, it is twiddling its thumbs, waiting for something to bring it to life.
Even the sound of a giant, juicy, one-bite-taken-out-of-it pecan hitting the tin roof of the well house does not seem to wake it. You can't believe how loud that is.

Mr. Moon came home last night and I was in the garden. I had intended to plant the tomatoes, the squash, the collards. We got into a whisp of a tiff about where the plants should go and I was a bit rude to him. "I'm sorry," I apologized. "I'm about to start my period."
That made him laugh as he walked away from me and I laughed, too. "Okay. It worked for a long time," I said, catching up to him. He looks just like his daddy from the back as he walks, which astounds me and breaks my heart, too. "Really," I said, "I just had a hot flash."

This was true.
The tomatoes, collards and squash are not, as I said, yet planted. I had a beer instead and made supper. It was a good supper and there were muffins and I think made the amends I wanted to make. Especially with those muffins.

I think I'll copy the recipe here because they are so delicious, these muffins. I use the exact one off the back of the oat bran box but I change things around as I feel fit. I will call them Making Amends For Being Bitchy Oat Bran Muffins.
If it's raining where you are, you might want to make them.

Oat Bran Muffins (For making amends after you have been bitchy and as found on the back of the Quaker Oat Bran box)

2 cups Quaker Oat Bran Hot Cereal, uncooked
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 cup skim milk or 2% low-fat milk
2 egg whites, slightly beaten
1/4 cup honey or molasses
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Heat oven to 425. Line 12 medium muffin cups with paper baking cups or spray bottoms only with no-stick cooking spray. Combine dry ingredients; mix well. Add combined milk, egg whites, honey and oil; mix just until dry ingredients are moistened. Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake 15-17 minutes until golden brown.

I generally add about half a cup of flax meal to these. Also, I use an egg instead of two egg whites. And I add whatever fruit and nuts I want. Last night it was a peach, over-ripe and cut up. I also added craisins and grated orange peel. Sometimes I add bananas, mashed, and also pecans. I have used left-over baked sweet potato in them. Blueberries are wonderful in them, as are grated apple and cinnamon. You can use soy milk instead of cow milk. You can just hardly go wrong.

And oh yes- I don't mess with that combine-dry-ingredients-and-then-add-the-liquid-ones stuff. I just put everything in the bowl and mix it up. It works.

Serve these to your sweetie. Give your sweetie a kiss and then pass the butter and honey.

All is forgiven, all is well.
Even when it is raining and you are premenstrual.
Even if you are having hot flashes.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love....Ms. Moon

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Oh Yeah. He Totally Loves Me

He noticed I was wearing new overalls.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Florida- It's Still A Pretty Wild Place

I find it hysterical that not one person commented on the fact that while I was asleep, a bug crawled into my ear! I thought it was quite amusing. Well, not at five-thirty a.m. when it happened, but when I wrote about it in the light of day.
I thought people would be SHOCKED! and HORRIFIED!
Maybe waking up with a bug in your ear is actually quite common.

So if that wasn't weird enough, let me tell you this: Mr. Moon set up a trail camera on the back porch last night to see what was coming in the dog door and eating up all the dog food. I thought surely it was a coon or a possum. But NO! It was a RAT! Yes. I tell you it was.
Believe you me, I will be taking up the dog food every night before I go to bed.

I so frequently think of what Lily said that day a roach got in her panties and a bat attacked her in the bathroom out here: Too much nature!

I know. It's hard to believe but sometimes, even I feel that way. Nature is lovely when it's oak trees and flowers and chickens and gentle rain and lovely brown deer with huge, limpid eyes and velvety horns and sweet little green lizards. It's not quite so lovely when it's cockroaches the size of, well, really big giant bugs, rats on the back porch, snakes dropping out of trees with baby squirrels in their mouths, big squirrels who eat my pecans, and yes, bats. Bats are just scary to me. It's that crazy little claw-hand that spreads out into a wing. Mammals aren't supposed to have wings, okay? And please don't tell me how cool bats are. I agree. I just don't want them flying around my house, which they do at certain times of the year. And oh yes- the mosquitoes. Lord but the mosquitoes have been terrible this year. It's because of the rain so I can't complain but oh hell, I will anyway. They're bad. Evil little fuckers. And wasps- wasps are bad when they pour out of your porch plants and attack you when you water. And poison ivy. Poison ivy serves NO usual purpose that I am aware of. Motherfucking evil plant.
At least mosquitoes feed the birds and the frogs. What in the world would eat poison ivy?

But this is Florida. And yes, it's North Florida and not the beach. But even our beaches harbor their own particular annoyances. They don't tell you about Portuguese Man of Wars in the commercials for Florida's lovely beaches, do they? Nah. Or the yellow flies that, like mosquitoes suck your blood but in massive quantities, meanwhile injecting you with a toxin that causes you to itch for days. Or the no-see-um's which are so damn big here you can see 'em and are so tormenting and unrelenting that you cannot stay on the beach when they're out. And then there are the sting rays and also the sharks. But really, we don't worry about the sharks so much.

Oh, it's lovely here in Florida. I wouldn't live anywhere else. Okay, maybe Mexico or Italy or Greece or Hawaii but this is my home and I do love it. I just don't want everyone in the world out there to think it's all white sand dunes, blue water and placid, pastoral visions of calmness and pine trees here. Or palm trees, either. In fact, another name for the giant cockroaches is: Palmetto Bug. Think about it.

And of course there's the heat. And the fact that in winter here in North Florida it gets cold enough to freeze your tits off, not to mention freezing your mango tree dead, dead, dead.

And I don't know where I was going with this and the damn bold button won't stay unpushed while I write this and it's driving me crazy so I might as well go in and wash the dishes. My poison ivy is itching anyway.

If you haven't already, go check out DownTownGuy's new site: I've Had Dreams Like That. It's all images and they're really cool.

Also, Miss Kori did a blog about a missing child. If you haven't read that, maybe you should. It's here. I do not know these people but Kori asked us to do it and I have done it. I can't imagine what that would feel like. Thank God.

And don't forget to book your flight to beautiful Florida. Did I mention the alligators? But you already knew about those, right?

Quick. Before hurricane season is over.

Just be sure to wear your earplugs to bed to prevent bug molestation.

Your room is waiting.

Figments and Fragments, Questions and Dreams

The reason your grandparents sleep in separate beds is because Grandma snores and she worries that she's keeping Grandpa awake. In other words, she loves him so much she moves to the guest room and then later, wanders back to the marital bed, creeping like a nun, trying not to disturb him as she slips back under the covers.

The reason your grandmother takes a nap is because she spent half the night wandering around the house, trying not awake your grandfather.

When you wake up at five-thirty a.m. dreaming that you are taking off into outer space while sitting on a school table surrounded by children coloring and that you have forgotten your ear plugs and that no matter how much jaw-popping you do you can't clear your ear of that sound, it may be that you, in reality, have a bug in your ear.

After having had such an experience, and even after you feel certain that the bug has been removed from your ear, your ear may feel strange all day.

I have decided that when poor people actually rage to their congressmen that they "don't deserve universal health care," and that they are certain that any sort of government intervention in health care (except for Medicare, of course) is a sure sign of the end of the United States as we know it, I can only determine that these people have succumbed to fear. Fear promulgated by greed from the insurance and drug companies and by having a black (relatively) president. There. I said it. I think many of these people are racists at heart. Stone, cold racists who, in seeing a president of color, can only believe it's the end times and who, in some twisted talk-show logic, think that if our president's health care bill is not passed, his presidency will be brought down, thus bringing things back to "normal".

The death of Ted Kennedy makes me very sad. He was a man who made a horrible, tragic mistake in his younger years. And then spent the rest of his life being the advocate for the people who have no voice, for women, for children, for health care, for the rights of all, no matter how low on the social scale they were. His life was messy. He never seemed to give up on making it right.

Why has every automated phone menu recently been changed?

In my fantasy of Lily's birth, she goes so fast that Jason ends up delivering the baby while I make it to their house just in time to deliver the placenta and make sure her uterus contracts as it should and to tie and cut the cord and then hang around to tidy up and make soup while the baby nurses and Lily and Jason try to take in the fact that they have a beautiful, perfect son and he is born and in their arms.

I think some chickens do know their names and respond to them. Miss Penny for example.

I am coming to believe that I will never, ever in this lifetime be rid of the poison ivy.

I am going to Target today. For some reason, the very thought of this makes me a little bit excited. Is this wrong?

People who brag that they do not measure when they sew, but only estimate, then rip the cloth to that estimation should not try to make quilts.
I'm serious.
It's true.

If you put a few prunes in your smoothie, you will have no need of sweetener of any kind. Plus- extra fiber!

Prunes are indeed "dried plums" but raisins are also dried grapes and we do not go about trying to change their name.

Yesterday on my walk I saw two does and a young buck. They crossed the road in front of me and they were beautiful and silent and they looked at me warily as they leapt.

I am thinking I will just want my grandson to call me "Grandmama." Nothing fancy, nothing French, nothing cute. Just plain old Grandmama.

Why is it that it was only after I took the picture you see above of the little green lizard on the inside of my kitchen screen door and looked at it that I noticed the spider webs which you can so plainly see?

Squirrels spend their entire day this time of year, picking pecans, taking one bite of them, deciding they are not ripe, and throwing them on the ground.

I am thinking I need to learn to cook squirrel and if you know me (and Mr. Moon) you will realize I do not say that in jest.

Time for a walk. I need to get to Target!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Now All I Need Is Some Tiny Bacon. And Teeny Tiny Biscuits.

And then this morning, another. This one in the actual nesting box. Same size, a bit darker in color. I have to say I think that Miss Betty is the perpetrator of such eggy beauty and perfection. Will the other hens catch on? Will I have enough eggs to use as barter? Are they going to taste as good as they look? Oh my.

And one more question on this subject: If I get this excited over chicken eggs, what is it going to be like when my grandson is born?


Paths And Where They Lead

HoneyLuna started her first day of nursing school yesterday and when I talked to her, she sounded fine. Excited. Happy about her classes. Parking was a stone cold bitch, but everything else seemed great. I'm not surprised. HoneyLuna is a happy girl, generally, and faces life and all it presents with a smile, a giggle, an attitude of getting it done.

This just goes to show that it wasn't just her height she got from her daddy. Thank God.

I remember my first day of nursing school. I was an older student- twenty-eight or something like that- and I had two children and was a single mama at the time. Everything about the program intimidated the hell out of me. I was in nursing school for two reasons: I wanted to eventually become a midwife and I had two kids to support.

You may notice that there is absolutely no mention in those reasons of wanting to be a nurse. I had experienced enough of life and was already at odds with the western way of medicine to have no sentimental ideals about nursing. I knew damn well I wasn't going to be happy working in a hospital and I was quite frankly afraid of killing someone by a drug error or perhaps even just turning them over in bed the wrong way and I felt guilty about putting my children (ages 2 and 4) in day-care and when I dropped them off before my eight-o'clock classes every morning I left their preschool in tears.

It was not a great time in my life. To add to all of that, I was, looking back, clinically depressed.
I was recently divorced, was still grieving the breakup of my family, and felt completely inadequate in every way.

Somehow, though, I struggled through and made some of the best friends of my life and my children survived and I learned to freeze yogurt for their lunches and managed to get them where they needed to be and read them bedtime stories and made excellent grades and even had a sort of social life and then I met Mr. Moon and the rest is history. I graduated pregnant with Lily, took my RN exams, passed them and then had a baby.
And I never did have to work in a hospital.

But I tell you- I will never, ever forget my first day of clinicals. The children had spent the night at their father's house and I was the only one in the house. In those days, instead of wearing scrubs for our clinicals the way they do now, we had to wear completely dorky uniforms with the FSU logo on them and white stockings and white nursey shoes and even, oh Lord, a nurse hat. I remember getting all of this costumage on and sitting on the edge of my bed and feeling so damn alone. For me, having children actually saved my life and got me through school. Having to take care of someone else made it possible for me to do what I had to do. And when the children weren't there, it was very difficult to focus on getting done what I needed to get done. With kids, you have to get up, you have to get dressed, you have to do laundry, you have to make lunches, you have to go to the grocery, you have to buy school clothes and notebooks and you simply must stay sane enough (or at least pretend to) to do all of that. When the children weren't around (they spent Monday and Tuesday nights with their father), I felt lost and I felt so lost that morning, sitting there with my white stockings on, my very long hair pinned back and up, that stupid hat on my head.

I had met my patient the day before and really, all I had to do for her was give her a bed bath and change her sheets. Simple, simple stuff. And yet, I was scared to death. Every minute I spent in the hospital during my nursing school days was a nightmare for me. If ever anyone was unsuited to nursing, it was me. But I got through it. I did it. I didn't kill anyone. I learned a lot. But I always knew I was not on a path that was mine. I realized I could do this work, even as I hated it.

I remember one patient I had. He was a patient from Chattahoochee, our local infamous state hospital for the mentally ill. And he was comatose. I don't remember what his diagnosis was but I do remember the charge nurse saying, "Oh, he's simple. Put it in one end and clean up the other when it comes back out." And what I cleaned up was so foul that the smell of it stayed with me for weeks. In fact, I got married right after I had taken care of this patient for a few days and all during my honeymoon, I could smell that smell and I thought for sure that Mr. Moon could smell it on me, although he protested he could not. I also remember that it was during this rotation that my teacher reamed me a new one for not remembering to bring my bandage scissors.

I remember a baby I took care of when I did my pedes rotation who had cystic fibrosis. He cried endlessly and the mucus ran out of his nose and mouth and my heart broke in half and I knew I could never work with sick children.

The only rotations I did in which I felt comfortable and at ease were my L&D and postpartum ones. Having self-taught myself a lot in these areas already due to my participation and assistance at home births over the years, I could do what needed to be done, I could chart with all the terms at hand. I remember a delivery I observed where the woman had already had three or four babies and she told the doctor (a resident) that the baby was coming and coming NOW. "Oh no," he said. "We just checked you. It's going to be awhile."
Of course they barely got her into the delivery room before her baby came.
And there, again, I knew that I could not practice in a hospital setting when it came to my passion- childbirth- because of the way it was handled in medical-crisis mode, rather than in a woman-centered way.

And here's Miss Jessie, my HoneyLuna, and she's already been to Jamaica and set up clinics and helped people in the most primitive of conditions and now she's ready to begin her training in hospitals and clinics here, having taken her anatomy and physiology, her biology and chemistry. She won't have to wear that stupid uniform. She won't have to wear a hat. She won't have to wear white stockings. She is smart and she is curious and she is strong and that she is going to be a wonderful nurse. She has a great need to take care of others. I am so proud of her.

I was not put here on earth to be a nurse. I knew it when I was in school and I know it now. I never did become a midwife although I worked for several years at a birth center. I hated being on call, although I loved the actual births. And I had another child, giving me a total of four and God knows I am not one of those women who can handle home, children, a husband and a job. I do not do well with less than eight hours of sleep a night. It was not meant to be.

But I see Jessie and I think she IS on the right path. I think of a time to come when it will be her face and her hands that laboring women look to for help and reassurance, for technical skill and calm encouragement and I think of how much those women are going to love her. I can just see her, delivering a baby and holding it and then handing it to the mother to take to her breast. I can see this in my mind as clearly as I can see a lonely, scared woman back a million years ago, sitting on the edge of a bed, wearing a white polyester uniform.
One of those pictures was so wrong. One of those pictures is so right.

Yes. I'm sure that girl is going to make it. The next two years are going to be difficult for her and wonderful. She's going to do well. Better than well. She will get up every day and face the challenges presented to her and she will learn and she will question and she will touch the hearts of the people she takes care of.

Even without two children to take care of. That girl doesn't need a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Because she has everything she needs right inside of her. She has grace, that girl. She has light.

My path was not to become a midwife or a nurse. My path was to raise my children. I know that now.

And it's worked out.

Oh my. How well it has worked out.

Congratulations, Jessie. You're going to be a great nurse and then a great midwife. Keep your sense of humor, believe in yourself and your dream.

You'll figure out the parking thing. And it'll be gravy from there.

Just one last bit of advice- don't forget your bandage scissors. Really. Teachers hate that.
I know.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Can't Complain

I started writing a post last night and it was all full of woe-is-me and can-you-believe-this!? and it was about my mother and one of my brothers and it started like this:

Jesus and I haven't been writing about anything that cuts to the bone, reveals my flesh recently. Why is that? Why do I feel as if anything I write here might lead to disaster? Is it that with Lily about to give birth I am completely afraid of tempting the gods? Who knows? But honestly. My life is not entirely all rainbows and buttercups, Daffodils and Miss Reds and Miss Penny with her brain injury healing up. No. There are...situations.

And then it went on in that vein and darlings, you really would read it and weep...with laughter. It was so filled with self-righteousness and indignation and you know what? I'm not going to post it because....
Well, because my life IS almost entirely rainbows and buttercps, Daffodils and Miss Reds and Miss Penny with her brain injury healing up. It's all of that and so many butterflies out right now you can't believe it and cooler temperatures and lower humidity and, and, AND, Lily about to give birth and my four wonderful children and my husband, my hard-working husband.

Here's what he did this weekend:

Not by hand. Oh no. He rented a backhoe (and he used to own one and was the envy of every man who met him) and he and our neighbor dug a new sewer line over at Lily and Jason's house.

"Shit runs downhill," he told me. "And that's all I need to remember."

Oh, Mr. Moon. My hero.

While he was backhoeing, Jessie and May and Lily and I were gathered at Lily's house to make a plaster cast of her belly. As May said when we were leaving, "I haven't had that much fun since we cleaned your apartment, Lily."
And she was not being facetious, either. Anytime I gather with my kids it's a damn good time. We laugh. Oh, how we laugh.

In this picture, Lily thinks she's hearing a cat throw up but actually, it was just some equipment outside. A backhoe maybe? We vasolined her belly and then started covering it with strips of plaster gauze. I am sure there's a real name for this product but I don't know it. None of us knew what we were doing, but May had just spoken to some other friends who had done the same thing a few days before and they had given her lots of advice which came in handy, indeed.
We plastered her up and then removed the cast and then more hilarity ensued.

That's May and Jessie posing with Lily's belly and breasts, pretending to be pregnant. Jessie was trying out her tranquil mother-face but the giggles took ahold of her before I could snap the picture.
We ate watermelon and we discussed our plans for the birth while the men worked outside on the sewer line and at one point, Lily leaned her head onto my bosom and I said, "Honey, are you okay? Do you need a nap?"
And then I realized she just loved her mama.

So look- how can a woman with this life complain? How can she even mention...situations?

Lord, we all have situations. But mine are nothing, nothing, NOTHING compared to the joys and blessings all around me.
And I know it.

And then, as if to underscore all of that, after I got back from yoga and taking the dogs to the groomer this morning I went into the chicken house to find this:

A tiny green egg. My heart did leap. I'm not kidding you.
I think it must have been laid by Miss Betty (aka One Fine Chicken) because she is tiny and has green legs. Here she is:

And this is how tiny she is compared to Suzie the Rooster:

Of course, short of DNA testing, there is no way to know for sure who laid that perfect tiny egg but I think in my heart it was Betty. She's such a good chicken. She lets me pet her, even when she's awake. I'm so proud of her.

And look- this is my life- and how can this be? This life of giant, towering oaks in my very own front yard and tiny, sweet chickens, in my very own back yard, and a daughter about to have a baby and all my children who make me laugh so hard and who laugh at me and tell me things I would never, ever tell my mother in a million years.

Somehow when I held that little egg in the palm of my hand it seemed to sum it all up for me. The miracle of it all, the magic of it all, the richness of it all, all wrapped up in the most perfect shape of the most perfect food (except, of course, for breast milk which also comes in a pretty perfect shape) in the entire world. I felt like I had the entire world in the palm of my hand.

And I do. I have the curve of an egg, the curve and dip of my daughter's belly, the curve and shape of my husband's face, and hands to reach out and hold all of that.

"How you doin'?"
"Can't complain. How about you?"
"Doin' all right."

And the light is shining through the trees on a Monday at noon and I rejoice and no, I cannot, I will not complain.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday Evening/Sunday Morning Services

Jimmy Buffett once said that there's a thin line between Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Not so much here in Lloyd at the Church of the Batshit Crazy where Saturday night sort of drifts softly into Sunday morning and what a Sunday morning it is. I knew the weather had cooled down a bit when I ran the water to wash my face this morning. It came out of the tap cold and I smiled.

Well, guess what? Lady Spider did not die, she merely moved. Right to the damn screen door and when I opened one half of the double doors this morning, her web moved with it. Don't cry for her, Argentina. She is alive and fine but she cannot keep her web there. I don't know what happened to the little man. Perhaps she ate him for a tasty midnight snack which gave her the energy she needed to spin and weave her new web. Well she better find a new husband or perhaps a Red Bull because she's going to have to move. Access to the porch cannot be denied.

Last night we built a fire and Mr. Moon cooked steaks. We don't eat a lot of red meat so when we do, it's a big deal and we enjoy the entire process.

I wandered around after we got the fire built and took pictures of things in the night. I know I've posted another picture almost exactly like this one before, but I'm going to post this one anyway because I like it. I love the way our house looks from the back yard at night with the lights on.

When I bought the purple gladiolas last week, I noticed that there was one stalk of not-purples among them and when I brought them home, I put that stalk in a blue vase on the porch. It's a lovely peachy color and this is what it looked like last night:

Onto the kitchen.
Lynn's sister Peggy sent me three beautiful aprons for my birthday and one of them was so gorgeous I had to put it up on the wall. I love having aprons on the wall. And let me point out that only Mr. Moon eats "O's". Cereal is not cereal to him unless it is an "O" cereal. I do not know why.

Here's the bread I made to go with the meat last night. Isn't it a lovely loaf of flax and oat goodness?

We ate our supper and it was delicious and by then it was almost late enough to go to bed and so we did after the kitchen was cleaned up. I never, ever leave the dishes overnight. I think the sight of the previous night's mess would throw my morning despair quite over the edge and I would probably have to take a dirty knife from the cutting board and slit my wrists. Or something. Weep, at least.

This morning while I was making waffles, Suzie crowed like a big boy and yes, I am having a great deal of trouble making the transition in my mind of that bird being a boy. I have no idea why. But to me she shall probably remain as a very butchy girl even though there is absolutely no doubt she's a boy. Ah lah. Magical thinking or something.
Anyway, besides the crowing coming from the coop this morning, I thought for sure I heard the triumphant cackle-call of a hen who has just laid an egg. I turned the fire down on everything in the kitchen and raced to the coop with my camera but I found no egg whatsoever. Damn. But here's a picture of some of the young'uns, including the elusive and shy Daffodil who has never once eaten out of my hand, no matter how patient I am or how sweetly I coax her.

That is Henry behind her. He is becoming a very brave rooster and does a wonderful job of protecting his ladies. And he has no problem eating out of my hand. I would also like to add that the hole in Miss Penny's brain is filling in nicely. Let's hear it for golden seal. It's not just for drug test cleansing, people!

The firespike is beginning to bloom which means two things: Fall is coming and the hurricane season is here. It's a beautiful plant.

Those are the fronds of a young sable palm behind it.

The blue salvia is also blooming. It's not very dramatic but my Lord, what a gorgeous color blue.

And in the same bed I have these and I think I know the name of them but dammit, it won't come up on the old hard drive of my brain. Oh well.

Does it begin with a "c"? This is how I spend my life. Wondering what it is I've forgotten.

Well, that's Saturday night and Sunday morning in Lloyd.
Not much going on but enough to make a life.
Mine, anyway.

Wait! I forgot the obligatory lizard shot. Here it is:

And I suppose I forgot a sermon, too.
Oh. You know what my sermon always is. Bless our hearts. Indeed.

And to quote Ms. Bastard who quotes Kurt Vonnegut, let me just add, "If this isn't nice, what is?"