Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yes, There Was Dancing

It is one of those most-beautiful-mornings-imaginable. Mr. Moon and I are on the porch, it's cool and clear and light is shining and puddling on the leaves, the trees, the flowers.
We slept, both of us, as well as people can sleep and let me tell you something- we're at the age when the first thing we ask each other in the morning is "how did you sleep?" so, well, that says a lot.
I think it's what happens when your youngest daughter graduates from nursing school and it was the perfect, perfect evening.

Above you see Jessie in her robes. She is showing her wings. That was before the ceremony when everyone was gathering outside before the Big Event.

Here she is with May and Hank, her oldest siblings. Everyone was so proud of her. The tears had already begun. Oh hell, with us? The tears never stop long enough to tell when they begin.
We are fine with that.

Jessie and her Granny. Granny loves that girl. They share a birthday. Which is tomorrow.

Jessie and her Mama and Papa. I could eat that girl alive. It's a wonder I haven't. Isn't her Papa handsome? Yes. Yes he is.

A goofy picture. I don't remember what was said to produce this look from me but may I point out that it is no wonder that Owen makes such funny faces?

Jessie walking in. We were in a long row at the back of the auditorium. My brother White, Mother, May, Hank, me, Mr. Moon, Lily, Jason and Owen. Owen was back and forth the whole time and spent a great deal of time outside with Jason. He didn't find the thrilling speeches to be as entertaining as the rest of us did and was stunningly unimpressed with the awe-striking costumes of the faculty and graduates.

So yes, there were speeches, of course, and then there were a few awards. Highest GPA, another one for...oh, something. And then both of the head clinical instructors from the two hospitals gave out awards for the outstanding student who had worked under them. First came the lady from the smaller hospital where Jessie did not do her clinical, and then the lady who from the hospital where she did.
And she was talking about the award and what it represented and the student they were awarding it to and all that this student embodied and we were all back there thinking, "Sounds like Jessie," but you know- you hear everything through the ears of people who love someone and then she announced the name of this student and of course, it was Jessie Moon.
That was the first surprise of the evening.

Here she is, getting that award.
That's MY girl, y'all. You hear me?

Last came the part where each student walked across the stage to get her pin and as each one walked, the name was announced and a small, short thing the graduate had written thanking those who had helped her and what his or her plans were for the future were read out loud by an instructor.
Of course, Jessie's little speech was the longest and best. It ended with saying that dancing, laughing and crying are the best medicine of all.

Here she is, getting her pin.

When it was all over, everyone gathered in the lobby or outside and the graduates could ask whomever they wanted to put their pins on. Jessie asked her beloved teacher, Miss Nana Cuchens, who, not coincidentally AT ALL, was one of my most beloved teachers and probably the one who pinned me too.

Owen's job after the ceremony was to wait for Jessie outside the auditorium and hand her flowers. He took this job very seriously and I wish I had a picture but I don't but I do have a picture of him on her hip, where he perched and refused to get off of for quite some time. This one was taken with the clinical instructor who gave Jessie her award.

Here's another picture of Jessie and me with an instructor who was also an instructor of mine. Sally Karioth.

And here's a picture of Lily and Jason and Owen when he DID finally get off of Aunt Jessie's hip:

There's Jessie in the background.

And then on to Liz of the West's house where the party was to be.

Now you know, Liz of the West was with me when I had Jessie. In the room. Twenty-two years ago tomorrow. Liz has literally known Jessie for all of her life and Jessie has rented a room from her for the past three years. And Liz has been, as have so many of my friends, a formative and beautiful part of Jessie's life. May lived with Liz too. Everyone should live with Liz. As I may have said before, Liz is the most say-YES-to-life woman I've ever known. And why I have no picture of her here is beyond me.

Anyway, the house was beautiful, lights and candles and the champagne out and cooling. Her famous, fabulous table set up with flowers and wine glasses.

We all gathered, knowing that what Jessie DIDN'T know was that Vergil was on his way, Melissa off to the airport to pick him up. This was the best-kept secret I've ever personally been involved with. If Jessie hadn't been in such a haze of graduation disbelief, she would have figured it out. But while we all waited, we ate pizza, we had beer and wine and Owen entertained us all. He cast his affections upon his Auntie May whom he still, I think, believes in his little man-baby heart, he will one day marry.

Here they are. He's in a hammock with his feet on her lap, adoring her with his eyes. Who wouldn't be in love with Auntie May?

Then she showed him how to stick a bottle cap on his head. Oh boy! And Bop got into the act.

But of course, all of this was merely prelude to that moment, that MOMENT, when Melissa came in and hugged Jessie and said something like, "Oh Jessie. Have you met my friend Fred?" or something like that. I sort of missed it. And Jessie turned around and there he was.

Sorry. We have to do it again.

"How can you be here?" she cried. "Am I making this up?"

And before you know it, they were dancing

And everyone was crying and Lily said, "That was the most romantic thing I've ever seen," and then we all made our plans to drift off into the night and leave them be but not before I'd pulled Mr. Moon up and made him dance with me, too, and the girls sat together on the couch and Vergil took their picture,

Lily, May, Melissa and Jessie.

And that. That was the most perfect evening I can imagine and since I started writing this, the phone has rung fifty times and grocery lists have been made and plans laid out and people caught up with and I've even talked to Lis in the Bahamas. She likes the Bahamas. She thinks I would too. I think she's right.

And now I need to go shopping and then come back and make food for the party at Melissa's tonight and and Mr. Moon is going to grill chicken and oh, I don't know. I've had too much coffee, too much brain jumping around from last night to today and then to tomorrow and back to last night and well, isn't that the way it is?

I've even talked to Freddy who is filming a commercial this weekend and wanted to know if I had time and WOULDN'T YOU KNOW THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN A PAYING JOB? but let the record stand- I only work for love.

And so far, that has been an outstanding policy.

Because honestly, my heart is bursting, even if my bank account isn't.

And last night I told Jessie to look around and see how loved she is.
"I know. I know. I can't believe it," she said.
And then I reminded her of the line in Abbey Road: And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.

No mystery there.

All right. Two more parties. Tonight and tomorrow. There will be cake. Mr. Moon made me a fresh coconut cake for my thirtieth birthday- the day we got engaged. He wants to make Jessie one for her birthday tomorrow. He insists on picking out his own coconut.

Time to fly.

Thank-you for choosing Air Bless Our Hearts. We are aware that you could have chosen another airline. We appreciate your business. The flight attendant will be around shortly to take your drink orders. There will be a meal served and you may choose the vegetarian or chicken option. The eggs are fresh. The pickles home made. Our joy is genuine.

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, April 29, 2011

There Was A Surprise

It was such an evening. Such a wonderful evening. There is a lot to tell but for now, right now, this is what I'm thinking about.

Lord, it's been hard to keep that surprise a secret.
But we did it.
Bless that boy's heart.
Vergil came to surprise Jessie.
And he did.

Much Better Than I Said It Or Will Ever Say It.

Historical Day

No one does it like the British.
Okay, I did not get up at six. But when I did get up at eight, I turned on the television and the balcony was waiting for the kiss and that's what I wanted to see anyway. And the doors opened and they all poured out, all those royal people, the Queen in her canary-yellow outfit, Camilla in pale whatever color that was, the men in tails and prince uniforms, the little girls in flower garlands and poofy skirts and then, that bride. That groom.
"Oh wow," it looked as if Kate said when she saw the throngs and throngs of people standing below, cheering for them and and who wouldn't say that?
Oh wow.
Well, I would have said, "Holy fucking shit!" but this is why I'll never be a princess.

And they waved and the crowd chanted, "Kiss, kiss, kiss!" and finally, they did and the crowd chanted, "Kiss again, kiss again!" WHICH THEY DID and that was such a huge break in protocol
that William might as well have thrown Kate's gown up over her head and gotten to work at creating some royal progeny right there and then and the RAF flew over and it was such a moment and I cried a little.

Oh. Here we are, we humans. Still recreating the powerful ceremonies that ensure and celebrate the continuation of the tribe.

It's lovely.
I'm so happy for the British today. They're so happy with this gorgeous king-to-be and his dark-haired beauty of a bride and the potential for beautiful babies and peace on the land and I don't care how cynical you are about the monarchy and such ceremonial folderol, you can't look at that country today and not feel like for this moment, at least, there is something perfect to celebrate in this crazy, insane world we live in.

And tonight, my baby, my darling Jessie who turns 22 in two days will stand up and get her pin, a small piece of jewelry that represents four years of hard, hard work and dedication and studying and frustrations overcome and tears and good times and hands-on learning and she will be smiling with a light as bright as that bride, Kate, I swear she will.
All of us will be there. Hank and May and Lily and Jason and Owen and her daddy and me and her grandmother and at least one of her uncles, maybe two, and friends and my god, I can't believe this day has come already.
It won't be the pageant they're staging right now in London but it will have as much meaning for us as the royal wedding's does for the British.

And I will be so proud. We all will be.

I remember my own pinning ceremony, vaguely. Twenty-six years ago? I think? I was pregnant with Lily and I remember they gave us special little green (or was it white?) Bibles that the Gideons (have you ever MET a Gideon?) donated and we all giggled because, come on, but it was part of the ceremony.
I think I remember relief. That part, at least, was done. That ceremony over and now I could get on with the rest of my life, a new marriage, a new baby coming, state boards to sit for, me a "real" nurse, one thing checked off the list. Get that degree. Yes. Done.

I think that Jessie's pinning is going to be more joyful. Jessie is just a joyful person. That's all there is to it. And it's impossible for me not to compare her pinning tonight to the one I had. Because here's the truth- what I mostly remember is that my family was there. My mother and her then-husband, my stepfather, and the poison of what he had done to me was like a raging infection in me. I had not yet told my mother about it, I had not gotten counseling, I had not begun to deal with the pain or the shame or the anger or the fear. I had told my new husband and I could feel his presence so strongly whenever my stepfather was in the room, my new husband's, protecting me and shielding me but there was no shielding from what was inside of me. So much hurt that my accomplishment- my own four years of nursing school, done mostly as a single mother of two while I was recovering from a divorce, my good grades, my hard work, my new love and marriage, the very life I had created with that new love growing inside of me- all overridden by that horrible, horrible crap. The knowledge that that man was in the room.

I didn't mean to go there when I started writing this. And I am not writing it because I want sympathy or anything like that at all. I suppose I am mostly pointing out that sexual abuse goes on, long after the physical acts have ceased, to taint and to create darkness where there should be only light.
I should have been so happy that night.

But you know what? I will be so happy tonight.
Because my dreams, my REAL dreams, have come true. I now have a family in which there are no horrible, dark secrets tainting the air, crushing the spirits of my children. We have a family that can come together to celebrate each other and our successes and that we hold hands tightly to catch each other when someone feels they may be falling.

I just talked to Jessie and she asked if she should dance across the stage when goes up to get her pin.
"Yes!" I said. "I think you should whip out your mandolin and play and dance as you go!"
And we laughed.

My dancing girl. This dancing light I bask in today. No one is taking any of the joy out of this accomplishment- neither Jessie's nor my own. Or her family's, either, because we have ALL raised this girl. Hank and May changed her diapers and read her books and Lily taught her the lyrics to dirty songs and loved her to death when she wasn't tormenting her as only big sisters can do and she and her daddy have always had a special relationship and she is as apt to help him in the garage as she is me in the kitchen and well, yes.
Just, yes.

As the British cheer the young and beautiful couple who have pledged their troth today, promising the continuation of that particular tribe, we will cheer our Jessie as she promises the beginning of this next phase of her life. Somehow, it's all a celebration of family, whether the British royal one of our own so very, very common, family right here in North Florida.

Not to me.
Not royal, certainly, but the word unbelievable springs to my mind. Unfathomable. That's another one. Unimagined.

How I wish that pregnant woman sitting up there waiting to be pinned in celebration of her accomplishment could have had an inkling of what lay before her that night so long ago.
How I hope that Jessie's heart is filled with the knowledge of what she has accomplished and how proud we are of her, how far we hope her wings take her, how much we cherish and adore her.
As she cherishes and adores each one of us.

Dance, baby. Dance across the stage. Know what you have done. And then let's all dance together. On this night and on many, many, many more.

To all my children and to my husband I say- you have saved my life, you have given me everything I have. And tonight we shall celebrate together like an entire nation, a tribe, a family.

History is being made! At home, as they say, and abroad.

It is a good day. And we celebrate. And we dance.

In the light.

Holy fucking shit! Amen and hallelujah!

We are dancing in the light here at home.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Many Faces of Owen and Bop

Bop brought Owen home this afternoon and the boy couldn't talk about anything but going and getting in the boat.

"Boat," he said. "Mote," he said. A mote is the motor. He knows that when he turns the wheel, the motor turns. It's very hard, though, to turn the wheel and see the mote at the same time.
But he tries.

I followed them out to the garage and actually got in the boat with them for better picture-taking. That boat is so tall that if I'm on the ground all I can see is the tops of their heads.

Here are Bop and Owen pointing to something. Possibly a light.

Here's Owen making his you're-kidding-me, right? face.

Frankly, I have no title for this face. But he makes it a lot.

Just happy to be in the boat.

After I took my pictures I said, "Well, I'm going to let y'all do your manly thing. I'm going back to the house."
And Owen, BLESS HIS HEART! said, "Hug," and so I went and hugged him and he gave me a lagniappe kiss and oh my darlin' heart.

God I love that boy. And that man, too.

We had a good time with him tonight, eating supper and taking a bath and reading a pile of books. He's transitioning from the picture books to the story books and I can't wait until he'll actually sit and listen to some of my favorites. The Little Bear books and the Jolly Postman and all of the wonderful, wonderful Dr. Seuess'es and oh, just thousands of favorites. Oh my. What a joy to read books to a child! There is already such a ritual with Owen and his book-reading. If Bop is here, he must be with us on the bed and we all prop up on pillows galore and Zeke must be on the bed and the fans on and the covers up. Children are such creatures of habit. As are grown-ups. It's just funny how quickly that becomes apparent.

Owen is nineteen months old today. He is a joy and a light and a sweetness in my heart. An easy child, a loving child, a smart child, an expressive child, a curious child, I look at him and wonder how in hell we got so lucky.

He was sitting in the bathtub and I said, "Owen, does your grandmother always tell you that you are the cutest boy in the world?"
"And the handsomest boy in the world?"
"And the best boy in the world?"

And we all laughed, me and Bop and Owen.

It was so good that he was here tonight. He soothed my soul and he made me keep my feet on the ground and he gave me the very best reason of all to get out of my head, my twirly-whirly head and when I read the book about Five Little Monkeys, Jumping On The Bed, I gave it my best dramatic effort and he made his faces and laughed and said, "No, no, no!" when it was time for the doctor to say "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!" and oh, it was good.

There's so much going on this world which is not good, not good at all, but tonight, here in Lloyd, it was very fine and the storms were kept at bay and we laughed.

All Is Well

Drove through horrendous rain but took the back roads and it was okay and got to the airport on time but the plane did not, of course.
I sat in the terminal and read Esquire Magazine for an hour and learned why I do not ever, ever, EVER want to work on the loading docks of a soda company in Detroit, Michigan and watched the people around me. One girl had on a pair of shoes that were SO big they looked like something you could load twelve packs of soda in, not something you would wear on your feet and she was not a very young thing, and she wore her hair in a bun on top of her head and a pair of what we used to call pedal pushers. I guess now they're called Capris. Or something. I think maybe those shoes were the sort you wear to tone as you walk. Her legs were nice and thin. Well, at least compared to those shoes.

My brother got off the plane and I got up and we hugged and we got his luggage and I found the car and we drove to Mother's house and I did not disagree with one thing he said and we didn't talk about anything heavier (as we used to say, boy, I'm old today) than the weather which was heavy enough, although clearing by then.

And I've talked to every one of my kids but one today and made plans for tomorrow night after Jessie's pinning ceremony and been to the store and bought tomatoes at the Costco and now I'm home and it's so gray. Owen's coming at four and I think I'll take a nap.

Heavy. The air is heavy, and I feel heavy but it's okay. I know it's all going to be okay and there's going to be lots of celebrating this weekend.

I was talking to my friend Liz of the West and we agreed that life never really gets easier, it just gets different and that although when you are in your twenties or even thirties, you look ahead and think that at some point things will settle down some, at least, and things will be in place and normal, whatever that is, and you keep waiting but that doesn't happen.

So don't wait. Get used to it.

Love...Ms. Moon


Black skies and no wind at all and thunder in the distance and chanting frogs and the rain is beginning to fall and it's almost time to go pick up my brother at the airport and deliver him unto our mother and my belly is full of snakes.
I hate driving in rain. I hate it. I hate driving in the dark. I hate it.
I hate confrontation/faking-it/everything about this situation.

But if I told you that I love this brother, even if we are match and striker, even if we are gas and flame, I would not be lying one bit.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

West Wind

The wind has been blowing so hard all day, on and off. Big gusts come in and toss the branches and the feathers of the chickens, and cool the skin and lift the leaves and flatten the spears of the wild lilies. It's all green and light-shot and beautiful.

And I've been quiet and domestic and I walked and hung clothes and sheets on the line and trimmed the wisteria arbor and cleaned out the hay in the chickens' nest and have bread rising and I took a nap and I feel completely mad.
Gone off.

Well, I'm not the only one. I know that. There seems to be something going on, at least here. The external weather like the internal, great gusts out of nowhere, perhaps a storm bearing down on us, please, let it come if it will, let it break this spell of dry holding-in, this odd and eerie sudden opening of doors and gates to invisible guests or ghosts or spirits or nothing at all but wind.

Is there such a power in the winds? Siroccos and Santa Ana's and who knows what all sorts of invisible powers flung from places far away to intrude and excite and madden? What we would call such winds here?

I have no idea but the birds seem to be more vocal than usual, the donkey next door is braying, the traffic on the highway nearby seems louder than ever, there is a sense of hurry-hurry but no destination in mind, just mindless hurry, rush, push.

Or maybe it's just me and the wind has nothing to do with it at all.

Nothing at all.

And the birds are just happy it's evening and the wind is merely a breeze of stiff proportions, the wind chimes calling out to be played, their tune just their normal tingling song, not a warning jangle at all.

Blah, Blah, Blah, Snap, Snap, Snap

I dreamed last night that I figured out how to use my camera. I pushed all the buttons until I learned how it all worked which came in handy as I was about to secretly photograph a Mafia secret religious ceremony at a beach-front hotel.

Oh yeah.

Well, I woke up this morning not knowing any-one-damn-thing more about my camera or how to use it and besides that, I wasn't at a beach-front motel and there were no Mafia in sight.

This squirrel was. I swear. I have the fattest squirrels in Jefferson County.

Here's some blue salvia that I don't even remember planting but I sure must have.

The two chairs where we like to sit now. When Owen sits back in one he looks over at me and says, "Nie!" He's right. They are nice.

Last night we could hear a nearby transformer pop and pop and the electricity waned and shone and then another pop and it was gone, baby, gone. Our neighbors from across the street came over and the men talked in the garden and the woman and I sat in the chairs and caught up on stuff. This is what happens when the electricity goes out. Times slows down.

Then I cooked dinner wearing one of those miner-lights. I am not even kidding you. Mr. Moon brought it in for me and said, "Do you want to wear this?" and I said, "I'd rather not," but it sure did work better than trying to hold a flashlight in one hand and cook with the other.

The electricity came back on and I got dinner ready to go on the table and it went out again and then we ate in the dark for awhile, or by lamplight, anyway, and then the electricity came back on for good and we washed the dishes and were able to sleep in the air conditioning.
I don't even know why Mr. Moon has those little miner-light things. He has TWO of them. At least. Well, he's a handy guy and he has a lot of stuff out there in that garage.

The oak leaf hydrangea is blooming.

I did not plant this but I'm glad someone did.

Jungle. Or at least a north Florida version of it.

Now this is wisteria vine. I am thinking it is a form of hurricane-proofing because if a storm comes, the trees it's wrapped around could uproot but that vine will keep them off my sleeping body which is in the room directly underneath.
Well. It's a plan. Not a very good one, I admit.

Kathleen gave me this rose.

It's in a pot and that flower is about as big as my thumbnail. Not quite that big.

Part of my front porch.

Well, I better get off my ass and go walk. Despite the fact that I live here in a sort of heaven, I am feeling all kinds of anxious and nasty stuff and my mind is making up all sorts of reasons for me to freak out and not a damn one of them is valid but hey! you know me!

I wish there was a Magic Eraser for the soul. I'd love to give mine a good polishing, wipe off all the guck and stuff keeping my light from shining through. If I were a younger woman, I might eat some mushrooms and see if I could reboot the alien computational material which is my brain but I am not a younger woman and so there you go. I can't even push all the buttons on my camera. Owen can, believe me.

Okay. One last picture. Zeke napping with Big Bear. Big Bear is always so damn cheerful.

And Zeke just stays out of the way and sleeps with me at night.

Yeah. It's okay. Let us proceed.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

More On My New Possible Religious Affilation (Or, I Don't Know Shit)

So, okay, I got very excited today when I was outside with Owen and he was playing in the water and I was reading an article about a scientist named David Eagleman in a New Yorker magazine and came upon this quote:

"Eagleman was brought up as a secular Jew and became an atheist in his teens. Lately, though, he'd taken to calling himself a Possiblian- a denomination of his own invention. Science had taught him to be skeptical of cosmic certainties, he told me. From the un-fathomed complexity of brain tissue- "essentially an alien computational material"- to the mystery of dark matter, we know too little about our own minds and the universe around us to insist on strict atheism, he said. "And we know far too much to commit to a particular religious story." Why not revel in the alternatives?

There's more and then this:

"As Voltaire said, uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one."

Didn't I just recently say that I don't know nearly enough to say there is no God? That I don't even understand how electricity works so how could I possibly say that with any real assurance?

Well, as you can imagine, I felt like I'd found my people when I read that quote. Or person.
Not like I'm going to join their Facebook page or anything. Oh hell no.
But it's just nice to know that there are other people out there in the world who think along the same lines as I do.

You know? Phew. So maybe when it comes to that blank after "Religion" when I'm filling out forms, I can now put "Possibilianism." Might make me feel less freakish.

Okay. Well, that's that. Not like I had an epiphany or anything. Just like I found that there's a name (albeit one only recently made-up) for the way I believe or don't believe or whatever.

Here's something I know for sure though:
Owen was Mr. Crankypants today. My sweet, good-natured baby boy was, for the most part, having NONE OF IT! Also, he pooped three times. So he was Mr. Poopy Crankypants.

This may or may not be related to the fact that he and his daddy laid around and finished up the Easter chocolate last night. Owen is practically a candy virgin. We gave him a Peep on Sunday and he tried it and said, "Nope," handed it back and went back to eating his fruit. So it's within the realm of POSSIBILITY that chocolate might have upset his tummy and his all-around disposition. Who knows? NOT ME, which come to think about it, should perhaps be the the overall statement of philosophy for Possibilianism. It already is the statement of philosophy for the Church Of The Batshit Crazy so there you go.

I Can't Even Think Of A Title For This

Oh my goodness! I think I may be a possibilian!

Settin' The Bar (Aimin' Low)

You know what? I don't have any Heavy Thoughts this morning. Nor do I have anything amusing. I am basically shit-for-blogger!
I just got an e-mail from the Beloved and Fabulous Ms. Bastard-Beloved and she asked me what was on the agenda for life in Lloyd today. I replied, "I've already taken the trash and recycle so my work here is DONE! Haha!"
This is the level of communication which Ms. Bastard-Beloved and I share. It's a precious thing.

Anyway, I got all the laundry done yesterday AND went to town and saw the NP. She's a funny little thing. I always cry when I talk to her and she always reaches into a drawer and finds one of those take-away packs of Kleenex and she struggles with it and hands me one with about as much compassion as she would in handing me a paper towel after a pap smear and pelvic.
I cried because I was telling her about Jessie Moon graduating and leaving town. She said, "Well, that's a big transition for you, too."
Uh. Yes. Yes, it is.
She doesn't know that this patient of hers is the most self-examined woman in the world. Not her fault.

She recommended some blood tests for hormone levels and some saliva tests for adrenal levels and some supplements. So okay.

I drove to the New Thief Market, as we so lovingly call our Co-op. I got the supplements and a bag of apples.
Then I drove to Publix where I picked up my Lexapro and some groceries including a lovely, tiny piece of salmon that I cooked for myself last night with an entire bag of spinach and green onions and red peppers. Mr. Moon called while I was cooking the onions and peppers. "What should I eat for dinner?" he asked me.
Good Lord.
I promised to make him a little baked organic chicken and some broccoli tonight. What more could I do?

I love that he trusts me with his nutritional needs. We decided one night recently that the reason Pearl is still alive (and I just checked- she is) is that she's been eating my food for all these years. Forget those high-dollar dog foods. Give them the cheap shit and supplement with good human food. And plenty of deer liver during hunting season.
Well. Works for us.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, Publix. I was depressed yesterday. And anxious. Depressed and anxious. Ooh boy. Bad combo. Like a crack addict paired up with a meth addict. Nothing can go wrong with THAT plan, right?

So when I went to bed last night I was pret-ty, pret-ty proud that I'd done what I'd done during the day. Taken a walk, gotten the laundry done, gone to town, taken care of medical situations, made a long overdue appointment to get my teeth cleaned, made an appointment for Mr. Moon to have his dental problem checked out, AND cooked myself a lovely piece of salmon. With all those vegetables.

So. Trash and recycle and now Owen's coming and tonight the chicken and broccoli and here we are. I'm trying like hell to make myself keep the chickens in the coop because I know that if I did that for a couple of days they'd start laying in their nest again but honestly, I'm so nuts that I'd rather see chickens scratching around the yard being all happy and shit than I care about eggs. My pioneer foremothers are laughing their asses off.

So that's me today. I am certainly not Super Woman. I am Barely Adequate Woman and think I deserve some sort of sparkly tiara for taking the trash. And planning to cook broccoli.
Don't forget that.

Gotta run.

Be productive, y'all! Use me as the bar to judge yourselves. It'll make you feel so much better.

I promise.

Monday, April 25, 2011

For SJ And All Of Us

One of our dear sister-bloggers is despairing over at her place and I wish there was something I could tell her. Something I could write and say to reassure her that her dreams will one day come true because they are such good dreams, so obtainable. Her dreams of having a life with someone, having children, a family, simple dreams that most of us have.
Not all. But many.
Someone to love and be loved by.

Something she said struck a chord in me because she said that everyone says you can't really know what love is until you have a child of your own but I don't think that's true. I don't think you can know what THAT sort of love is unless you have a child, but there are so many kinds of love.

I was watching my husband with our daughters and it hit me so very hard that I'll never know either what it feels like to know a father's unconditional love or what's like to unconditionally love a child from the father's side of the equation. I have a feeling it's different than the love a mother feels, just as it so very different to know a mother's love from a father's. And I also believe very strongly that a child, whether a boy or a girl, who has a loving father whether born-to or raised-by, has something so precious that it is one true gift I wish I'd received but did not.

I can't even bear the thought of a child who grows up without a mother's love, even a vastly imperfect one (and what mother loves her children perfectly, no matter the silent vows she takes when she first holds her child in her arms?) I know that my mother tried and although our relationship has been damaged and frayed by so many things, I do know somewhere that she loves me. I do know that. I was thinking the other day how they say that sometimes as people are dying, they cry out for their mothers, even if the mother is long dead, and how I can't even imagine that. I know my mother was with me once when I had one of my babies and it never occurred to me to ask her for help. But she would want to have helped if she could have. I am sure of that.

I have, of course, known and do know, of a mate's love. A lover's love. A partner's love. Through all stages up to the one I'm in with mine. The initial lust and testing and fact-finding and trying out all the parts to see if they fit, not just the obvious ones but the small but oh-so-important ones- beliefs, for example and how this person sleeps and what they like to eat and what they expect from a mate and whether or not they want children and theories as to how those children should be raised, as compared to the other person's. That lust-stage can get you through a lot of differences but when the fire settles down to glowing embers, that other stuff becomes so very important. So important that too many differences can dash water all over the embers so that they die and then what the hell is left?
Ah. Not much.
But when it's good, when the parts fit and the beliefs mesh and the theories can adjust themselves as reality pokes its head out of the egg of the fantasy and when two people want so badly to live up to the promises they made, well then...what amazing comfort, what an amazing thing to have someone with you whom you know almost as well as yourself who despite age and change, welcomes you into their arms over and over and over again.

And then the grandparent love- well. That's certainly one that I never expected and never had a clue about until I turned fifty-four and Owen was born and that's a sort of love that is so shining, so easy that it would seem to be a heavenly reward for living long enough to know it.

There is the love of siblings for each other. Sometimes. And when it is strong and true, blood IS thicker than water and if laughter is involved, and the knowing that there is always someone who knows you to your core and will always love you- well. That's got to be one of the best kinds of love.

The love of a person for the beloved children of sisters and brothers. That love is so very special because you don't HAVE to love your nieces and nephews. It's quite acceptable to be sort of a stranger, in fact. But blessed is the child who receives this love because there is the knowledge that Auntie or Uncle isn't required to love him or her but does! Which means that the child must know, must feel most strongly, they they are deserving of love.
Same for the love of a friend's child. My children have been blessed with the love of friends of mine who would give them a kidney as quickly as I would. A kidney, a party, a music lesson, encouragement, furniture, time- all things that say, "I cherish you," and thus, the child knows that he or she is worth cherishing.
No strings attached. Just so.

And then, of course, there is the love of a friend for a friend. That real love which isn't based on who works where or what this person can do for another. Just that recognition of hearts, coming along sometimes at the oddest, most unexpected times. A shared laugh when no one else gets the joke, an ease, a heart's ease, a soul's ease in their presence. Oh. I have known this love. And I do.

But their are other types of loves I'll never know. The love soldiers seem to find in each other in battle when they must, by definition, entrust their lives with each other and that trust is rewarded with unimagined grace and the shared experience bonds like nothing else- or so I've heard. I'll never know.

The love of people who create together. That's another sort of love.

The love of people who share some core value or shared religious-belief, I suppose, although I distrust this one. But I know it must be true for some.

So what I guess I am saying here is that no one who has ever loved another in any way can be told that he or she doesn't know what love is. That there are so many different sorts of love. Some perhaps 95% (at least) biological. Some having nothing to do with biology at all.

I don't even have a definition of love which I suppose makes everything I've said suspect. I doubt that even science will ever come up with a good definition. Or religion or philosophy either.
But Lord, humans have spent a lot of time trying to define it, to make it into a science. Match.Com has built a very prosperous business around that concept. Does it work? I don't know. I've said before that if Mr. Moon and I had entered our data, we would never have been sent each other's profiles.
I don't think I would have fit into the criteria of what he was looking for at all and he would have fit into the criteria of "alien" to me and yet...
Here we are.

Well. What do YOU think? What are some other types of love I have neglected? Types that have made your life richer, fuller, and more worth living? Tell me. And what do you think love is? And what sorts have been most important to you, those with children, those without? The loves you have experienced for and by.

I would be interested to know. And I would want so very much to tell our sister-blogger that her life is rich in many types of love that some people, even people with mates and children, may never have the joy of knowing.

All right. That's all.
I'm going to go cook some salmon now.

And it just occurs to me that some types of love have nothing to do with one-person-for-another. There is the love of art, of literature, of writing, of growing things, of polishing diamonds, of running impossible miles, of music, of doing good works, of sailing on the sea, of the god one believes in, of serving, of making money, of learning, of teaching, of dogs, of cats. Of oneself.

What else?

Tell me. Tell me, babies, as I say on my comment panel, tell me what you think.

I love you. Somehow yes, really I do. I don't quite understand it. But I do.
Ms. Moon

Dancing In The Light, In The Rain, In The Wonder

Cha-cha-cha, move this way, sway that way, cha-cha-cha, good morning, hello, another Monday. Is it?
Yes. The cardinal sits at the feeder and yesterday I watched a daddy cardinal feed either a juvenile or a wife, I can't tell the difference, both dun-colored to his scarlet. Over and over again, seed was handed from daddy-beak to other-beak. Here, take, eat.
Birds are like this, I think. Elvis, too, gives his sister-wives food from his beak and he is good at making sure they all get some.
We feed each other, another way to insure the survival of the species, whether your species or mine, whether red-bird or chicken.

Monday morning barely begun and my shoulders already so tight they feel as if they might snap right off, or in two. I'm drinking my coffee out of a mug that Hank brought me yesterday and it has a red rooster on it, stylized and it's a really good shape and size.
My thoughtful children.

It's Lis's birthday today and I am thinking of the day when we'd really first begun our friendship and she was turning forty and we drove to the coast, she and her man, and me and mine, in that same blue Cutlass and she and I wore scarves and sunglasses and Lon gave her a string of black pearls when we were at dinner. Such sweetness! Such sweetness to have been her friend all these years. Happy birthday, Lis-my-love! and today she and Lon are flying to the Bahamas! They're playing down there, some sort of festival, maybe? and I can't wait for her to see that water for the first time, the way it looks from the air and you can't believe the way it looks, that color, that clearness. I wish I was going to be there too, but I am glad enough for her and Lon that I'm content with knowing I'm not.

Besides, this week...

I can't even tell you what all it's going to bring because of course, I don't really know but I do know that on Thursday my brother is coming to town, first time in four years. I do know that on Friday Jessie is going to graduate from nursing school. I do know that on Saturday there is a huge party for her at her friend Melissa's house. I do know that Sunday is her birthday and my mother's, too, and there will be a party here.
I do know that there is going to much celebration and joy and family-all-together. Yes.

As for the rest. Well. Maybe my brother is right when he told me that "plans just mess up your mind."

Yesterday when Jessie and Mr. Moon and I drove the back way to Lily and Jason's house in the Cutlass with the top down, Mr. Moon swung the car over to the side of the road where a magnolia blossomed right at arm's length and I, dressed in skirt and shirt and pearls, reached out and plucked it, creamy white, lemon-perfumed, and of course I thought about the day Jessie was born and how it rained that day but in a break between showers, Mr. Moon and I walked and walked, trying to get that baby down, down, ready to be born, and I was so overcome with knowing that this child was about to be born that I would cry and sway and then walk some more and Mr. Moon reached up into the sky and handed me down magnolia blossoms and we put them in a jar in the bedroom and when Jessie was born, their scent was there, welcoming her to this rainy planet where such things can grow and there were so many people there, too, to welcome her. One all the way from Norway, one from Washington State.
Such a joyful day.

And here she is, twenty-two years later and she's spent time in the hospital, learning to deliver babies or help them be born, and I think of that. She is, if it's what she wants to be, going to be the best midwife, and any baby lucky enough to be born with Jessie in the room is going to know what sweetness is.

And this week will be a week of celebrating all of it, the family who is knit tight with so many meals, so many celebrations, so many tears and such joy and how can I not just let it all happen and be grateful? Let my shoulders relax knowing (hoping) that all will go well, how can it not?
We love each other.
We feed each other.
We bring each other magnolia blossoms and we ride in the Cutlass and wave at little boys in their Easter finery, chartreuse shirt and snappy dark green suit, shining faces; we watch the redbirds at the feeder, we dance, we sway, we cha-cha-cha to the rhythm of the powers of the earth, singing deep within us all and it all and we may wear sunglasses and we may wear lipstick or we may be naked, kneeling on the floor, bringing the baby out to this world and then saying, "Here, here, here!"

And I am so grateful and not least for the fact that every morning, every night too, if I want, I can sit here and write it all out so it won't be forgotten, so that I can remind myself of the fancy dance of it all, of the love that brought these babies, these friends, these loves to me, of the love that keeps it all going like an old blue Cutlass, color of a piece of the sky, slowing down enough for me to pluck a magnolia blossom and then heading back out onto the road again.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hey! We Said Grace! (Don't Read This If The Word "Hoo-Hoo" Offends You.)

So we went to Lily and Jason and Owen's house this morning for a lovely Easter brunch and egg hunt and I have to say that it was practically perfect in every way. If May and Taylor and Kathleen and Vergil had made it, it would have been but May and Taylor had to work and Kathleen was indisposed and had Opera House duties to boot and Vergil's in Colorado. So...
But besides that, it was just lovely.
Lily made two gorgeous quiches, one spinach and feta and one with bacon and something else green. I forget. I couldn't get past the bacon. And she made ham! HAM I tell you! And there was fruit and a pineapple casserole. Yes! And a salad! And a carrot cake! And deviled eggs. Yummy, yummy deviled eggs. Oh, and smoked deer sausage! She did such a good job, that Lily. And she looked pretty too.

When we got there, Hank and Mark were already there with Granny. Mark always comes to our Easter gatherings and he calls me Mom. "Remember that year you talked Mom into making a ham?" he asked Hank. "That was awesome!"
How to charm me:
Call me "Mom" and recall specific things I have cooked for you. Works everydamn time.

Here's the group. Mark is taking the picture.

Cutest boy in the world with Monkey basket, hunting eggs.
He dug it. Every time he found another egg he'd say, "More!"

Eating the feast:

And to top it all off, on the way home we saw a rattlesnake!
In the road.
We turned around to check it out. Another car backed up and we met on either side of the poor thing which, it turns out, was dead. We all took pictures and remarked on it and briefly discussed rattlesnakes and then drove our separate ways.
Big doin's on Highway 158 on Easter.

And now....
Another CRAPTASTIC video from the very own personal camera of Ms. Moon! I swear, these things look great on the computer before I export and all that shit. I SWEAR!
But if you want to see what it sort-of looks like for eight adults to follow an almost-nineteen month old boy around as he hunts Easter Eggs for the first time, here you go. The dialogue is pretty simple. Mostly made up of "More!"

Since we got home we haven't done a damn thing but watch a movie with Ms. Mean Aunt Jessie Moon. Mr. Moon has some bad tooth pain and I gave him an old pain med left over from when Jessie got her knee surgery. He just sat back and watched the movie with a small smile on his face.
I don't why I'm so lazy. I didn't eat THAT much and I didn't even have a mimosa. I think it's because all my energy is leaking out my hoo-hoo.
I had to put that in there for Ms. Radish King. Plus, if the damn hospital is going to block my site, then let's give them a reason! Besides for the use of the word "cocksucker."

Well, there you go. My true Easter post. Pictures of family and a discussion of what we ate and a small little video of a boy hunting Easter eggs. And a rattlesnake. And mention of my hoo-hoo.

And the word "cocksucker."

Yep. Sounds like Easter to me.

Hope yours was as good as ours.

Pass the salt and peel the eggs. Life is good.

P.S. Vergil- this is for you. We miss you and love you. Hope we see you soon!

Easter Sunday Of A Different Sort

Aw, it's such a nice morning here in Lloyd.
And one of the nicest things is that I AM NOT COOKING A FEAST!
No, Lily's at home probably wondering why in hell she decided to throw this brunch with food everywhere and dyed eggs and a boy clamoring for his meal-meal.
And I'm just wandering around, taking pictures and talking to Jessie and being all happy and shit.

Here's last night's biscuits:

My chickens:

I do love my chickens.

My giant begonia is blooming. For some reason this just makes me crazy-happy. I started out with one leaf I rooted in a pot. It took about four months. Now I have three pots full of giant begonias. Best rooting I ever did.

Squash, beans, tomatoes, and tiny baby greens.

Tiny emerald cherry tomatoes, turning with precise chemical and magical processes into sweet rubies.

Oak and tung trees, Spanish moss and confederate jasmine. Sunlight and shadow. Yes, you have seen this before. You'll see it again.

My baby, waking up.

Easter sillies for a monkey boy. Who is probably eating his meal-meal right now.

A few minutes ago Mr. Moon got up out of his man-cave (he's been up for hours) and said, "Time to go see Owen!"

"Not yet," I said.

"Darn," he said, and went back to the man-cave.

I'm going to go roll out biscuits.

But I have to tell you, there is a part of me that's going to miss having Easter here. Not that part that cooks and cleans up. But the part that rejoices in having all my baybees on the porch, dying eggs and then eating lots of tasty food together right here in Lloyd Heaven.
For last year's pictures and post (and to remember what Owen looked like a year ago- oh my god!), go HERE.

Now those are some pretty pictures of pretty people.

Well, it's all sweet and today will be a new kind of fun.

It always is.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Luck and Love and Angel Biscuits

Ah-yah. What a day.

Well, it's not been bad. Okay. Part of it was. I talked to one of my brothers and he hung up on me. If I was a prayin' woman, I would pray for a softening of the heart for each of us.
I would pray for us to find out where our anger lies, for us to root it out, for us to be able to love each other the way I know we do. Somewhere. I know we do.

But besides that, it's been a good day. I weeded three rows of beans and it took me three hours. I mulched them. Mr. Moon went to an old car rally to raise money for a boy who has a horrible blood disease. He bought raffle tickets and as he always does, he won and won and won. One of the prizes- a TV- he gave to the family of the boy the fund-raiser was being held for. One of the prizes was a giant Easter basket and I'll take that tomorrow to Lily's brunch and egg hunt. One of the prizes was a manly-as-shit griller/barbecuer/smoker thing.
Mr. Moon is just damn lucky. He always gets FOB parking. He won me in love. What more need I say?

Jessie's here and we made angel biscuit dough together. Most to take tomorrow and a bit to roll out for tonight's left-overs feast. We'll have mustard shrimp and brown rice, venison meat loaf and green beans and potatoes and corn on the cob, and a salad. And biscuits. The table will be filled with food and hot sauces and salt and pepper and butter and ketchup and last year's blackberry jam.
We're all lucky.

You bet.

Bethany's gourd and cucumber seeds are coming up. So are the zinnias.

Tomorrow Owen will learn how to hunt colored eggs.
Tonight I am home with my husband and my daughter.

If you want my recipe for angel biscuits which I am sure I have posted over and over again, go HERE.
There's a recipe for fig preserves too.

If you have set your cap for someone and you want to seal the deal (and I say this every time, almost), make them these biscuits. If you have already sealed the deal and want to remind them of how much you love them, make these biscuits. If you are hungry and need comforting, make these biscuits. If the Queen is coming for tea, makes these biscuits.

Make these biscuits.

Serve with butter and something sweet. Honey is the purest form of that. Fruit preserves of any kind ain't bad.

Love on a plate.

The rest is up to you.

Unintentional Still Life

A bit creepy, no?
But not nearly as creepy as the picture on the front of the paper this morning of a Good Friday reenactment of the crucifixion, all that long hair and blood and agony.

Why do we have to go through this over and over again? Why do we have to celebrate such horror? Why do we have to believe that one man could suffer for our sins? Why do we think that is the greatest pain anyone ever endured? Why do we think that Big God could have only one son? Why do we stand by such a gory story?

I think that Mel Gibson is no different than many humans, secretly thrilling at each cutting lash of the whip, each nail being driven through flesh and bone and nerve, ligament, tendon, the very impossible beauty of the human hand being rearranged with such disregard for the miracle of it.
The blood, oh the blood.

But it's okay! We redeem it all, that secret thrill of killing god in such a brutal, primitive way. We put Christ back into the womb-cave and then we allow him to be born again.

And if we believe in that we, too, can be born again and we too, can rise to heaven.

Oh whatever.

Perhaps the whole story has gotten twisted. Perhaps.

Perhaps because men know that they cannot create life in their own bodies they think that power is in taking life away. Perhaps the story is an allegory for the goddess's story. Men can take the life we create away in horrible, bloody ways but it is truly in the bloody wombcave that life can be formed, shaped, given.

And re-given again and again.

What do I know? Only what my heart tells me, what my eyes show me, what my mind allows me to believe or not believe.

Forgive them. They know not what they do.

Yes they did. They were killing a human. That's enough. Leave the godstuff out and it's just another state-sanctioned murder.

Here we are. Still celebrating this horror.

The madness of men. Let us make god in our image.


Where are the fluffy lambs, this morning, Ms. Moon? Sacrificed to a bloody god.

Easter just makes me mad. Take a perfectly beautiful celebration of the natural order of the resurrection of life here on this planet as winter passes unto spring and turn it into a bloodbath. Follow up with a hazy rising-from-the-dead and pass around the chocolate bunnies.

Well. I'll probably lose a follower or two on this one. I always do when I talk about religion. Or the Christian religion. And yet, I get flyers in the mail from local churches telling me that if I come to their church on Easter I'll know what salvation is. And oh yes- don't forget the egg hunt! Bring the kiddies!
I open the paper and there's some poor boy, acting out Christ's agony, another in the costume of a Roman soldier.
People come to my house and knock on my door, telling me that theirs is the way, the truth, and the life.

I am just writing what I think here. I am just saying what I believe. No one is forced to believe it. I am not bringing it to your door or your mailbox.
I am just saying that I KNOW what the resurrection is. I see the lilies push through the soil every spring. I know what the life is. I see it all around me every day and I pay attention and I praise it. I am not telling you that if you don't believe as I do, you are facing an eternity of hellfire.

Poor Jesus. Eternally on that cross.

One more thing- who do you think suffered most? Christ on the cross or his mother watching his torture?

Why do we even have to ask these questions? Why aren't we rolling around in the fields and forests, celebrating the fertility of it all, crushing flowers beneath our backs, making perfume as we release their scent into the air around us, howling at the rising moon, it's belly as full as a woman's carrying life?

Yeah. I don't know either.

But don't go piercing any hands and feet for me. My sins are my own and I will or will not atone for them myself. And the mockingbird singing outside in the magnolia doesn't care one way or another and to me, that says it all.