Monday, October 31, 2011

Do Not Feed The Nose

What an odd day. What a very odd day.

This morning was lovely. Owen got here very bright-eyed and happy and threw himself into his Bop's arms for one of the best hugs in history and then he trotted off with me to bed and we went back to sleep and when we got up we had fun galore and he was extremely generous with hugs and kisses but then the boy stuck something up his nose and I thought it was dog food, a tiny chunkette, and it hurt him and he cried and freaked and I didn't freak but ya know- those things can get sucked down into a lung and so I called his mama and then I took him to town although I knew in my heart he was fine.
He wouldn't let me look and he was crying hysterically so he was breathing okay and he wanted his mama and he coughed a few times and he sneezed a bunch of times and on our way to town he sneezed and said, "Did it!" but you know- can you trust the boy to know? Did what? Sneezed or got rid of the offending foreign object?

So we picked up Lily from work and decided to take him to get a burger and fries and so we did and he seemed normal, normal, normal but we took him to the pediatrician and they sort of laughed at us but hell. You have to get these things made sure of.

He checked out A-Okay and after I dropped Lily and Owen off at their house I looked in his car seat and sure enough, there was a tiny round seed in it which I cannot identify but which may well have been the object.

Kids. He'll probably have mostly forgotten about it by this evening when he will don his Halloween costume and go out with his plastic pumpkin to collect CANDY! as he has been calling it all day. It's not candy, it's CANDY!

I apologized to Lily about a million times although I know as well as anyone that a child will stick things into their orifices (the NP said she's just removed a clothing snap from a child's ear last week) but let's face it- I can't keep my eyes directly on him every second. Well, I could, but that would be crazy.

The ironic thing is, is that Lily has always dreaded the idea that he would stick something up his nose because when she was a little girl the boy next door stuck a peanut up his nose and almost died. He did not, though, and lived to stick a coffee bean up his nose on another occasion.

I have more to talk about but I'm exhausted.

Love...Not The World's Best Grandmother

Dark Now But Light Will Soon Be Here

Owen will be here soon and I will take him back to bed with me. He will try to get me to turn on the lights but I will be firm and say, "No, it is still dark, it is time to go to bed," and he will get under the covers with me and say, "Cozy," and it will be.

I just wanted to tell all of you that I do feel you, an army as such, behind my back, and that image makes me feel so strong, somehow. Dream world and virtual world meet up in my mind and I don't understand and I don't know but I keep thinking of Steve Jobs' last words which were "OH WOW, OH WOW, OH WOW," and that too, gives me comfort and somehow his life led to this place here where I write and where I read and where we are a sort of community which gives us all at times a reason to go on, a place to shed our bras, as it were, to sit down and reach out for each other.

I am grateful today, this early dark morning. I am aware, even in my half-awakeness, that I am so very, very grateful.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Why Can't I Kill Him?

He keeps coming to me in dreams. For twenty or more years, maybe thirty or forty, I have been meeting him at my dream-door and trying to kill him.

So far, no good.

My blows are ineffectual and I never have a knife when I need it.

I know that now if he is alive, he is so old and suffering from Alzheimers and doesn't remember shit but none of that matters because in my dreams, he is still very much alive and his intent is evil.

"Go away!" I tell him in my dreams! "You cannot hurt me any more."

And still, there he is.

All the years of therapy, all the years of safety, all the years of goodness, and he is still there.

And my mother keeps staying with him, even though in my dreams I tell her over and over again how evil he is, how much he threatens me and my brothers. I keep finding her in bed with him, in those dream rooms.

Fifty-seven years old and I am a grandmother and still.


I do not know where pedophilia comes from. I do not know why it occurs. Some deep junk-bond of a DNA strand.

I am part of the whatever-huge-percent of people who were molested as children. We do not march or protest (mostly) and we get no god damn "special" benefits.
We just are.
Our molesters were scout leaders and priests, coaches and band leaders. Teachers and young-adult education specialists.
Our pedophile rapists were uncles and stepfathers and brothers and mothers and next-door neighbors.

We may survive and we may stop the buck here but we never, as far as I can see, stop having nightmares and if we are fortunate (blessed/lucky/smart) enough to stop that buck we will go to our graves fearing we did not.

That our children might have suffered what we did and in loving us, never told us.
In loving us, did as we did.
Kept our mouths shut.

Mostly I am okay with it all. I know that all of us- every one- suffered something horrible in our childhoods.
But sometimes it just breaks through the membrane of it all and I am enraged once again.

If he would just stop showing up in my dreams.
If I could just admit that although I loved him with all of my heart and saw him as a savior, a father, he betrayed us all and it was not my fault.

If I just had a knife in my dreams. If I just had some power in my dreams. If I just had more than a voice and fists that did nothing at all to stop him. I pummel him with those fists and he just steps on through the doorway.

So that. That is where my dreams take me. No matter what form they take or what the present stories are, that is what they are bringing me.

And tomorrow? I may wake up at five-thirty and get up and be ready for Owen to come at six and be happy and content. I may well be.

But for right now, this second, I am afraid to go to sleep because he may show up again.

Well. Sundays.

They can be hard. No matter what.

Some Things We Did With Owen




Bright Morning

Sunday morning and it is chilly and Owen is coming today. We don't usually get Owen on the weekends as his other grandma has him then but there was a wedding last night and other grandma is bound to be exhausted and so Bop and I are getting him. When Lily called last night, from the wedding, to ask me if he could come here today, she sounded so tired.
She even cried, thinking that she was asking too much because I'm going to have the boy this week for four days.
"Oh honey," I said. "Bring him over. We'll have a wonderful time with him."
And we will.
I think I am going to make him pancakes.

I'm glad he's coming. My dreams last night were horrible. Just awful. I have begun to feel that I am in a Poe story myself- one in which the protagonist refuses to go to sleep because her dream-world is so horrific, so wearying. And thus, she goes insane. Is she insane because of the dreams or does she have such dreams because she is insane?

Whichever, it is damn good to have sweetness while awake.

Pancakes. With maple syrup. There will be peaches in them today and bananas and nuts and half a sweet potato. The house will smell like syrup, Owen will be sticky-sweet. His Bop will be here to play with him too. What could be better? What could be more important?
It's so odd how I perceive myself as a grandmother. It is like being a mother and yet, nothing at all like being a mother. My role, as I see it, is to just deliver love and attention and such sweetness as there is available to us. To sit on the steps with the boy and share popcorn with the chickens.

The antidote to crazy.
Funny how well it works out for me.

Yes. We are happy to have that boy here today. He can play with his new toys on the kitchen floor while Mr. Moon makes the chili and I tell him what to do. We never got around to it last night. We will do it today.

It is Sunday morning. It is chilly. It is a bright and beautiful day here. I will creep out of this creeped-out state of mind I am in, the residue of dreams. I will give and collect an entire new bushel's worth of hugs and kisses.

This is life. This is not a dream.

I am grateful.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Here's Looking At You, Babe

Guts And Seeds

Okay, it's the Rum DIARY, not Diaries, okay?
I'm such a stupid doody-head.
Ah, no I'm not.
So I went to the movie. I got the senior discount on my ticket! Which amounted to 25 cents. Hellfire, Martha. A fucking quarter? That's all I get for admitting I'm old?
Then I spent forty dollars on popcorn and Diet Coke. Okay, not really. Almost. I reached for a straw for my vat'o'coke and honey, you could use those things to run household plumbing through! Oh, we big fat Americans and our big fat thirsts and our big fat cups and our big fat hungers.
Well. At least I didn't buy Jr. Mints or Snow Caps or any other candy although I did think about it.

So when did they start showing previews as long as movies? I swear, there's some movie coming out in December that I feel like I've already seen. Mark Walburg is in it and it looks VERY dramatic.
Yep. Don't need to go see that one.

There were probably about fifteen people in the theater, which was fine by me. Here's the funny thing- fourteen of them were women my age. I am not even kidding you. Well, some of them looked to be older but that's probably just vanity on my part. Do you suppose Johnny Depp has any idea how much us old ladies love him?

So. There was rum-drinking galore in that movie. And cock fighting and sex and sweetness and Ugly Americans and there were laughs. Also, LSD. It was pretty much fun. I stayed 'til the film quit rolling and was rewarded with a tiny snipped of a Patti Smith song called The Mermaid Song. That was nice, too.

Before I went to the theater I went to Old Navy which is right down the road from the movies. Man, I saw so much stuff there I was sort of interested in. Stuff made in tenth-world countries by children, as I have said before, who have had their little feet removed so that they can't escape the workhouses where they toil to provide us with such delightfully cheap goods.
I didn't buy anything but I'm thinking I might go back sometime soon. That place was packed! We Americans love our cheap goods! I know I do!

After the movie I went to the store and then I came home and Mr. Moon was just leaving to go to the woods and I stood in the yard and told him good-bye for quite some time. The air is cool but the sun was strong on my head and my hair was down for once and I kept kissing his hand and it was a moment of bright bliss and I wish I could remember it on my death bed and maybe I will. Just that moment of kissing his hand and him touching the top of my head and telling me he loved me and saying, "The sun feels good on you, doesn't it?" and it did, oh it did.

There are children next door at the church playing at some sort of Halloween party and their voices and laughter rise and fall and that, too, is sweetness. Elvis is crowing to round up the hens for their final scratching in the dirt before bed and the sun is setting. The white beans are cooked and Mr. Moon is aiming to make the chili tonight so that the flavors will be fully full by Monday. He told me he wants it to be award-winning chili which is so funny to me. Like me going out hunting ONE TIME and announcing that I want to get an 86-point buck. Or something like that. But maybe it will be. Who knows?
Not me.

All I know is that it has been a nice day and I took myself to the movies and I brought the popcorn I couldn't finish home to the chickens and they gobbled it up and Prairie Home Companion is about to come on and I found my Goodwill Cashmere and someone next door keeps calling for Emily! and I might carve a pumpkin, I don't know. I do love a jaunty-snaggle-toothed pumpkin and the chickens would probably love the guts and seeds.

Guts and seeds.

Sounds like a band name or a poem name or a book title to me.

Or a blog post title.

See you tomorrow, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon


Mr. Moon claims that I will not teach him to cook my recipes because I think that if I do, he will not need me around and will leave me.

We were discussing this with Lily the other night when she was here for dinner. She made the point, and rightfully so, that if Mr. Moon died, I would have no idea about the financial end of life and if I died, he would have no idea about the domestic end.

"Daddy, you'd have to move in with one of us," she said.

I said that he'd be fine and then he'd find someone to marry who would cook for him in about two months. "But not like you do," Lily said. "I see what people buy. Most people buy frozen meals and boxes of things like Hamburger Helper."

Well, quite frankly I think that Hamburger Helper is pretty darn tasty and I'm here to tell you that if my replacement fulfilled certain other criteria Mr. Moon would not turn up his nose at any of the forty (forty?) delicious varieties of Hamburger Helper but would tuck in to a nice big plate of it quite happily, especially if the woman made it with ground venison rather than hamburger.

That is neither here nor there but the point of my story is that Mr. Moon has signed-up to bring chili to a chili-contest thing on Monday at the bank where he works. White-bean-venison chili, to be exact, and he insists that HE WANTS TO COOK THE CHILI HIMSELF!
Mr. Moon has made chili exactly 0.0 times in his life whereas I have made it Gozillion point Gozillion times in my life.
Now I am not saying that Mr. Moon cannot make white bean chili. I am sure he can. The problem is is that although there is a recipe, I do not follow it exactly (are we surprised?) and that I add this and I add that and I do this and I do that and I'm pretty sure he wants to make the chili taste the way I make it and dammit, I just can't tell him how to do that. Unless I sit there and supervise the entire process and I sort of want to cry at the prospect. I have never had much patience in the kitchen and when people come over and ask if they can "help" I generally say no and not because I don't trust them or because I don't want to give up control of my kitchen but because it's just far easier to do it myself, except for with Taylor or May or Lis because they can do things better than I can and that's just the truth of it.

Well, I have a feeling that this is going to be a saga which takes up a good part of the weekend. And I already started the white beans because you know, they come in a bag and you have to boil them and I always add some stuff to them while they're boiling and he's already a bit perturbed with me because he wants to do this himself and really- he's right. I should just let him at it and let him follow the recipe because it's a good recipe and that's that.

We both slept horribly late for us today and it's already a strange day and not just because of that. The temperature is dropping like a rock and there's going to be about a forty-degree difference between what we woke up to this morning and what we'll be going to sleep to tonight. It is windy and I've already had to put on a sweater.
This is just fucking disconcerting. If I liked cold weather I would live in Alaska which I hear is about the most beautiful place in the world.
But I don't and so I don't.

Well, it IS getting chilly on this Saturday morning and already eleven o'clock and Mr. Moon is not out in the woods or on the water but right here and so he read me things out of the paper during my usual "quiet" time and I'm all discombobulated but I made him a nice breakfast because if I don't he will forget to eat and besides, I was about to die to crack that big brown egg and so I did. It looked like this:

I mean...WOW!
And I cooked him a little sausage and some toast and those eggs and they were almost orange in the yolks when they cooked and so I restored the balance of a few things, I guess, by making him some food to eat, even if I did fuck things up by putting the beans on to boil.

And the wind is whippy and my feet are cold and I might even go see The Rum Diaries this afternoon and I need to figure out where in hell I put my Goodwill cashmere because I am gonna need it.

And one more thing- if not for Mr. Moon I would be living in a cardboard box under a bridge or in a van down by the river and so perhaps he is right- I don't want him to know how to cook because he might leave me if he did. I am not saying I am the most mentally stable of all people here on earth by any means but mostly I think that I just want to cook for him because I love him and making him good food to eat which is good for him is one loving thing I can do which is tangible and positive and it makes him happy.

If there's one thing I know, it is that nothing in this life is as simple as it appears on the surface except for a very few things and even they have more shades of meaning than we may like to think.

And some of us think too damn much but we may be good cooks which makes up for a lot of stuff in the long run and that's just the way it is.

Friday, October 28, 2011

I Am Not A Ghost

Ah-lah. I read the Masque. Ah-lah. It was fine except for the part where I totally lost my place and said, "I'm sorry."
Nothing like breaking character. Nothing like FUCKING UP!
But I projected well. I always project well.
It was fun to be at the Opera House again. It always is but it didn't make me regret deciding not to do the current play. I just...don't have it in me right now.

I stole my free beer from the cash bar after it was over and chatted for a few moments. Monticello was having a big downtown Halloween celebration with all of the merchants handing out candy. There were still older kids walking around town when we were done, merry and happy and looking to catch up with the ghost tour. Monticello is famous for its haunted houses and is actually going to be on the TeeVee, I think, on Monday on some morning show. The Opera House is supposed to be haunted by Mr. Perkins, the man who built it, but I've never seen any evidence of him although others I know have. Maybe he doesn't like me. Maybe I'm not talented enough and I merely slip below his radar with all of the rest of the hundreds and perhaps thousands who have trod his boards, so to speak.

I've never seen any evidence of haunting in this house, either to tell you the truth.

Now Dog Island- well, that's another story. Definitely a poltergeist there although Mr. Moon has never seen any of the action. I definitely have and so have Jessie and Lily. And that house was built in the seventies, I think.

I am not a person consumed with interest about what the dead may concern themselves with. But I am not a person who denies that anything, anything at all, is possible, either. At births and at deaths, I have seen the curtain move to allow entrance and egress into and from this particular veil of tears. This particular realm of wisp-smoke joy and sorrow.
I do not view these partings as any sort of parlor game. I take them as seriously and pragmatically as I take the day's dawning, the night's falling. I think we are here and to worry and wonder about what might be there is a fool's errand.

Well, here is where we read our Poe.

We had feared we might not get ten people as an audience, we hoped for twenty. We got almost fifty.
Monticello is a very cool place to tell you the truth and if it is inhabited by ghosts, well, so be it, but that has nothing to do with why I love it which is the very Mayberry essence of it, albeit a more multi-cultural Mayberry than Andy Griffith sheriffed over. We have our Aunt Bee's, our Barneys, our Claras, our Opies, our Floyds, our Otis's, our Darlings, our Helens, our Howard Spragues.

I am all of them, at times. The Opera House has allowed me to be many of those characters and the Court House says on it, Suum Cuique, which means Each To His Own. I find this surprising but then again, I find much about Monticello to be surprising and somehow, whenever I am there, I am surprised once again.

Surprised that almost fifty people showed up to sit in the audience to hear stories and poems written by Edgar Allan Poe not the least of it. Surprised that I go there and they let me read out loud. Surprised and delighted and wondering what sort of blessing Mr. Perkins has laid on me, whether he shows himself in ghostly form or not.

Well, time for bed. Thank god the Time of Red Death has not, at this point, devastated the country. Poe lived a short life, but an imaginative one.

I am tired, y'all.

Good night.

I Find This Incredibly Reassuring

Some asshole (me) stuck an avocado pit in the water to root upside down. And yet, the avocado was not fooled! It somehow managed to send its roots down and its sprout up.

Once again proof that although I do not know shit, nature sometimes overcomes my ignorance and proceeds as necessary.

Now. A few people have asked for the recipe for squash croquettes. Here is how I make them:

Steam sliced yellow squash with a thinly sliced and/or chopped onion. Let's say about five largish squash or an equal weight of small. When the squash and onions are translucent, let drain very well and then, in a bowl, mush them up with a potato masher or other mashing device. They don't have to be completely pureed, you know, just nicely mashed.

Empty a sleeve of crackers into a plastic baggie and roll over them with a rolling pin until the crackers are tiny crumbs. Add these and one slightly beaten egg to the croquettes. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and sage. Not too much.
Mix it all up. If it seems too wet, add some more crackers. I don't care what sort of crackers you use. Saltines are fine but you can use Ritz or whatever. Yesterday I used water crackers which I had bought for a party but which, when I opened, I found to be crumbled.

Let stand, covered in the refrigerator for a few hours. You don't have to do that, but it helps with the consistency.

When ready to cook, heat a large skillet, spray with Pam or other such product. Medium-ish. With your hands, make patties of the squash mixture. Not too big or they won't cook all the way through. If the consistency is correct, you won't need to use any flour or anything and the mixture won't be too sticky.

Put the patties in the skillet in batches, making sure not to crowd them too much. Let them brown on one side, spray the tops of the patties, then flip them over and brown on the other side. You can squish them a little when you do this with the spatula. Keep the done ones warm on a plate in the oven.

We like them with ketchup although Owen liked his plain.

As you may have noticed, my recipes do not use very accurate measurements or, for that matter, any measurements at all. As with the avocado seed, I find that if you start out with the proper ingredients and don't fuck 'em up too badly, all will be well.

Zippity Doo Dah

I don't know, y'all. I really don't have a damn thing to say today.
Isn't that odd?
Boring, boring, boring.
It is neither sunny here today nor gray. It is not cold and it is not hot.
The dogs are not barking. The roosters are not crowing. The hens are not cackling.

For a moment there I thought I'd lost Zeke but then I found him. He was asleep. I think he's depressed because he couldn't go home with Lily and Owen last night. They have too much going on this weekend and are going to be away from home a lot so he stayed here where he is the least-of-the-dogs instead of going to their house where he is the Only and Top Dog.
Their cat is not happy about Zeke but you know cats. They are easily offended. And quite frankly, that cat could whip Zeke's ass in a heartbeat. He's not afraid of Zeke, he's just completely disdainful of him. That's what I think, anyway. Like- damn- if you were going to get a dog, why didn't you get a real one?
Seriously. Does this look like a real dog?

So I hear that I'm going to have Owen a lot next week, which is fine with me. But the deal is, is that someone who is a meat-manager at one of the Publixes got fired and Jason is going to have to step in and take his place. Dude was fired because he was caught up in a pedophile computer porn sting. I read about that sting in the paper last week and if the accused are truly guilty, may they rot in hell but I certainly never considered the fact that the sting would lead to me having my grandson more.

Everything affects everything doesn't it?

Well, Jason and Lily can use the money and I never mind spending time with Owen.

I guess I better get my boring ass out for a walk and then do some serious rehearsing of my Poe Tale.

Happy Friday, y'all. And remember- boring ain't the worst thing, even if it doesn't make for very exciting blog posting.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Early Christmas And Pinto Beans

It was freakin' Christmas around here today. AND a birthday. My next door neighbor, Ms. Petit Fleur, brought over three huge bags of Harley's outgrown toys, books, and a few clothing items including one very cool pair of overalls and one nice rain jacket. Owen's eyes got bigger and bigger and BIGGER!
"Presents!" he announced joyfully and so they were.
We didn't even make it out to see the goats today. There was too much to do inside.
Then to make things even better, Bop got home early and took the boy out to the woods to spread corn. They had a fabulous time, I hear, and saw four deer on their way out of the woods. Or, jungle, as Owen calls it.
Throw in the nap we took and it was a perfect day.
And no Christmas songs were uttered in earshot.

But, as they always say on game shows, THERE'S MORE!
We got a brown egg today that was even bigger than the the ostrich-sized blue eggs we've been getting. Check this out:
Those are two smallish-but-normal-sized chicken eggs and two huge blue ones and one brown one that just puts all other chicken eggs to shame. Those six eggs could feed ten. Easily.

And then, to top it all off, I made one of my favorite suppers. Pinto beans, brown rice, squash croquettes, cornbread and a nice salad. Owen called the squash croquettes "burgers." He liked them, too. Lily joined us for the meal and I think she was pleased. I was pleased as hell to be able to feed her. She has to be at work at six a.m. tomorrow morning and then go to a rehearsal for her brother-in-law's wedding and then the rehearsal dinner.
Gonna be a long day.
When she was leaving she hugged me and apologized for leaving the dishes and the toys strewn all over the house and I assured her that it was fine. That in some ways, nurturing her in ways I was never nurtured is nurturing myself.
"And you'll do it for your babies," I told her.
"I don't know," she said. "I'm pretty lazy."

Right. Pregnant, working full-time and the mother of a two-year old. Lazy is the last thing I'd call that daughter of mine. Tired, maybe. Lazy, no.

Isn't it funny how we all view ourselves through such harsh, judgmental lenses? I will never, ever understand that one.

Anyway, the dishes are all clean now and Mr. Moon's lunch is made and put up in the refrigerator for tomorrow. The toys are in baskets and tucked away. The laundry is done and put away, and all is well.

Tomorrow I will practice reading The Masque of the Red Death a few more times before I trot over to the Opera House for the formal deal. I really hope I don't fuck it up. I have no idea what I'm doing but I just keep remembering the great advice my music teacher and Girl Scout leader told me a long, long time ago- while you're reading, actually think of what you are saying. See it in your mind. And then the audience will understand as well.
Simple. But not as easy to do when you're nervous.
I just need to remember to go slow, don't rush, and act like I'm reading to a bunch of six-year olds and I want to scare the shit out of 'em.
That's my plan.

And now, since this post has already gone on forever, I will give you my recipe for Pinto Beans which is simple as hell and the best, best bean in the world, according to me.

One bag of pinto beans. I don't care what size bag. Tonight I used the 1-lb bag and that was plenty for three adults and one child with quite a bit left over.
I did not soak the beans. You can. I didn't. I just poured the beans in the pot, put in enough water to cover plus about three inches, added a few tablespoons of olive oil, covered them and set them on the stove. I let them come to a slow boil, then turned down the heat as much as possible and let them simmer for hours. At some point I added some salt (about a tsp. and a half) and a few tablespoons of chopped, dried onion. Keep checking and add more water when it looks like it might be getting low.
When the beans are tender, I take the lid off and let the juice cook down to make a gravy. Pinto beans make the best gravy. I add water during this part of the cooking too.
Taste for salt. You may need to add more.
And that is that. When the beans are smushable and there is gravy, they are ready.
I serve them over rice but they are good in tortillas. Corn or flour.

There you go. Cheap delicious protein.

You can get fancy and grate cheese over them but I don't. The leftovers can be made into chili or thrown into soup or just eaten for lunch.

All right. Almost time for bed. I wonder what the chickens and I will be doing in tonight's adventures.

Thanks, Ms. Fleur. You made our day!

And thank all of you who come by here.
Kumbayah, my friends. Kumbayah.

Love...Ms. Moon

What's It All Mean, Mr. Natural? Part II

Lord, y'all. You wrote the nicest things about me on that post I did about onions. Mostly I wrote it because I was feeling that my life, in the end, would add up to little more than one small task after another done over and over and to what effect?
Not a self-pitying thing, just a...what does it all mean, Mr. Natural? thing.
Those of you who do not know who Mr. Natural was, or is, well, he was a creation by the incredibly talented R. Crumb. Don't know who R. Crumb is?
Sad for you.

I think perhaps Mr. Natural's time has come again if you want to know the truth.

So anyway, Mr. Natural was like this guru-dude who people pestered constantly for the meaning of life.

And Mr. Natural, because he was enlightened or perhaps because he was merely pissed off all the time would always reply as stated below:

I have posted this picture before. I may well post it again some day. It sort of sums it all up for me.

Don't mean sheeit.

So yeah, I was folding a towel you know, and that obit thing came to me. Of course, I have done more in my life than folding towels and peeling and slicing onions but when it comes right down to it, I, like you, most likely, have spent the bulk of my life doing one small task which shall need to be repeated almost immediately after another.

Perhaps instead of a Turtle Motherist, I am a Mr. Naturalist.

Maybe I am both. Perhaps I am merely a Possiblianismist.

See? I don't know. I don't know sheeit.

In the meantime, one thing I do know is that there is a small hurricane which may, as I write this, have been downgraded to a tropical storm, dancing around the Yucatan in the general area of Cozumel. In the news letter I get from the delightful Laura, she states that the island has been making preparations since Monday and all is in readiness. Things have been trimmed and secured, the elders have been provided for, shelters are stocked. Etc. The mood is one of patience and determination.

Not contrast that with what happens here in the good old USA when a hurricane threatens. First, the weather people scare us to fucking death with footage of them standing on a beach where the waves are pounding and the wind is whipping. They are risking their lives to bring us the proof via film of Nature's Devastating Power.
Then they show us the local Home Depot where people are pleading and crying for boards, tape, batteries and generators. Also, there is usually footage of angry people at gas stations and at grocery stores, trying to get their fair share of gasoline and canned peaches.
Or whatever.
But it's always PANIC! It's always ARMAGEDDON! It's always HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN?

And in Cozumel, a tiny island where when a hurricane hits, no one can go anywhere and so they calmly and rationally make their preparations and accept that it is all part of life on an island in the Caribbean.

I remember once when Mr. Moon and I had a trip planned to Cozumel and they had a hurricane before we got there and this was in the pre-internet days and finally, to get information about whether or not there was even electricity on the island, I CALLED, on PHONE to the Cozumel Tourist Department and a woman answered and when I got through with my semi-hysterical questions she calmly said, "We are ready for you."

Uh. Okay.

And they were.

One of the best trips we ever had because everyone had been scared off and we just about had the island to ourselves in terms of tourists. Not good for Cozumel, but good for us.

Where am I going with this?

Nowhere. I have to do laundry. And make the bed. And sweep the floors and take a walk and get ready for Owen and figure out what to cook for supper because Lily will be eating with us and, and, and...
All that stuff, you know. That little bitty stuff which adds up to a day which adds up to a lot of days and then...
You die.

What's it all mean, Mr. Natural? I ask as I take out the compost.
Don't mean shit.

Okay. That's okay.

And in two months I'll be in Cozumel and I will NOT be folding towels or peeling onions and someone else will be doing that for me and I will feel somewhat guilty but hell, I feel guilty all the time anyway and in Cozumel I'll be feeling guilty with the Caribbean lapping at my feet. And you can add to my obit that I loved the small island of Cozumel, Mexico, and that I had some of my best moments there when I wasn't doing the small tasks of life but someone else was and because that is what my life is mostly made up of- those small tasks- I will be more than appreciative, I will be gloriously grateful, and right now I am hoping that this storm leaves the island and all of its inhabitants unharmed and I feel certain that it will because in Cozumel, people know that it may mean shit or it may not mean shit but that hurricanes do happen and you better get those beans boiling and make sure you have plenty of gas for the stove and water to drink.

Because we are human and we need to drink water and we need to have food to eat and that, my friends, is that.

And we can accept that and we can even make a sort of art of it or we can despair and we can panic and question the meaning of it all.

Up to us.

I guess.

Haul water, chop wood, build cathedrals.
Collect eggs, feed chickens, write poems.
Fold the towels, peel the onions, play Beethoven.

Clean up the poopy butts of babies. Wash the diapers.

Okay. I'm done. I have no idea what I'm talking about and guess what?
Doesn't matter.
It's a beautiful day, I have tasks to do, and Cozumel is going to be ready for me.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How I Feel About It All Tonight

When I die I have no idea what they will say
Or what they will remember me for but if truth be told
It should go something like this-

She peeled and sliced one million onions and set them to cook in an iron skillet
She chopped one hundred thousand peppers and did the same.
She peeled ten million cloves of garlic and insinuated them into food and
Oh honey.
Add them to the potatoes.

Also, she held up two hundred thousand towels to her chest, folded them over
In one deft motion, then
Thirded them and set them down, folded and ready for use.
She hung clothes on the line as an art form
She kept track of hangers and of the levels of dishwashing detergent, also toilet paper.
She fed the dogs, cats and chickens before she'd drunk her first cup of coffee every morning,
She read the opinion pages with the greatest interest.
She kept the sheets clean.
She changed and washed approximately ten million diapers and she hung half of those on a line.
She swept and she scoured and she cleaned the toilets.
She forgot to wear perfume and she loved jewelry.

Mostly, though, those onions and towels. Mostly though,
She got up every day and she almost never, never
Let the towels go unfolded, the onions go unsliced and she never
God dammit,
Let the dogs or cats or chickens go unfed.

Not once.
Also. She read a lot of books.

That's a long obituary, but it would be pretty accurate.

Hunter Thompson Plus Johnny Depp. What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Did I already post this?

Oh well.

"How does anyone drink drink a hundred and sixty-one miniatures?"

"Are they not complimentary?"

I can't wait.

"We've all been down on her. It's a wonderful experience!"

Mothers, Turtle, Grand, And Otherwise

I do not feel grateful this morning. It is one of those hard mornings. The dreams. Oh, the houses. The children. The chickens are always in my dreams now. I dream of chickens.
I dream of houses untended and poor and I am in moving in and I realize that in doing so, I am giving up things but that comes to mean nothing, I am too concentrated on making the new, poorer house a place to live in to grieve the finer house I have left.
And there are chickens.

It almost seems as if every night there is a lesson I am supposed to be learning. Not always the same one.
I am a slow learner.

Back to town today. I am going to a midwife appointment at Lily's house. We will hear the new baby's heartbeat again. Then I am bringing Owen back here to play.

If I believed in a god, which one would I believe in? Great Turtle Mother is as close as I've come, probably.
Great Turtle Motherist.

I don't know. Hard to feel all cuddly and warm about a Great Turtle Mother but then again, people manage to feel pretty reassured by a crucified god. All that blood. How do they do it and why? I will never understand.

Well. This is a put-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other day. This is a do-not-question-just-move day. This is a swim-through-the-seas day. The turtle mother swims vast distances to lay her eggs on the beach where she was born, trusting there will be sand, trusting some inner knowledge that she probably has no conscious awareness of.

Yes. That will do for today. It has to. And I will hear that baby's heartbeat and Owen will make me laugh and the day will pass and then I will go to bed and I will dream again and there I'll be and here I am, swimming slowly but with my head up.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

In Which I Demonstrate Once Again How Ancient I Am

Well god, I went to town. I went to BEST BUY! I cannot begin to tell you how much I hate that place and not just because they have all the delicious Apple products which I cannot buy. No, they have TOO MUCH NOISE AND TOO MUCH BLACK STUFF AND PEOPLE WHO ARE VERY, VERY YOUNG WHO LOOK AT ME LIKE I'M DRIVING A BUGGY BECAUSE I WANT TO BUY A CD WALKMAN!
Hey- it was a CD player, not a tape player (and they do have one of those, oh yes they do. One.)

I also went to World Market. They always want your damn phone number and e-mail address. I said, "I don't do that."
The woman behind the counter didn't seem to give a shit, and for that, I am grateful.
I know they can find my phone number and e-mail address if they want to. I just find it absurd and refuse to participate.

And then I went to Target and it happened again- before I had my card back in my wallet and my wallet in my purse, the cashier had already rung up and bagged the purchase of the person behind me.
Shit, pe0ple! Why are we in such a damn hurry? There was no one behind the person behind me either. I think I hate this because it makes me feel old. Like, "Oh, god, these OLD people. They take so LONG!" Don't even get me started about what happens if you happen to want to pay with cash and TAKE THE INFINITELY INCREDIBLY SUPER LONG TIME IT TAKES TO GET EXACT CHANGE OUT OF YOUR WALLET!
Again with the looks like I've no doubt got a horse tied up outside while you're counting out your pennies.

I guess I am old. I screwed up at least three POS (that's point of service, not piece of shit) debit card machine transactions. One was NOT my fault, okay?

Anyway, after all of that I went to the liquor store where I ran into an old neighbor-friend and we sat there in front of the beer coolers and talked for probably forty-five minutes. It was GREAT! She mentioned she had company coming but she didn't care. "So what?" she said. "I don't even like 'em that much." We discussed everything from our kids to New Yorker short stories to my obsession with Keith Richards. And how much we hate leaving our houses.

So I've had a big day. HUGE! I even went to the library too. Yeah, I know. I go to the library all the time. I am counting down the days before the new branch library opens on "my" side of town. (Nine days.)

But now I'm home and Mr. Moon will be here in awhile and the venison is about ready and I need to get the sheets off the line. Practice my dramatic reading of Masque Of The Red Death because we're doing that on Friday and there are still passages that trip me up.
Oh well. Hopefully, everyone will be drunk and not notice. Monticello is good about that.

And that's it. Oh shit. I just realized I forgot to buy shortening for the biscuits. Well, I shall improvise. I am home and all is well and I can figure it out. Right after I go feed the horse her oats and wash down ye olde buggy and take my corset off and beat my rugs with a rug beater and my eggs with an egg beater and post this on that newfangled interweb thingee.

If you're reading this, I somehow managed. Will wonders never fucking cease?

Poop, Kissing, And Marriage Advice

This is what I see from my back porch.
Doesn't suck, does it?

No. It does not.

Just a slow regular day here in Lloyd. Got sheets in the washing machine and the chickens are out pecking around. I need to clean out the hen house. I'll tell you one thing I know: nine chickens poop a lot more than four chickens do.
Which is fine. I use their poop in the garden.

Speaking of poop, Lily just called to tell me that Owen pooped on the potty today all by himself. She and Jason were lazing around and Owen came in and demanded a lolly-pop and they said, "No," but then they discovered that he'd pooped and that's his reward so did he poop on the potty and then remember that he was qualified to get a lolly-pop or did he want a lolly-pop and so pooped on the potty in order to get one?

Who knows? Not me.

I hope he got a lolly-pop though.

It's my anniversary and I am discussing poop. Well, that's the way it goes. I remember the day we got married, Mr. Moon and I. It was a day as beautiful as this one. I wore dotted swiss, he wore a tux and brand new Nikes. I think they were Nikes.

We kissed before the notary said we could.

Then we kissed again when she gave us permission.

Been a whole lot of kissing going on ever since.

Life is all about kissing and poop, too. Funny how they don't really mention poop in the wedding ceremony. They probably should.
There's a lot they don't mention in the ceremony that they probably should but it would last too long and you'd never get to the kissing part.

Well. Here we are. I'm going to go out into this beautiful day and hang the sheets on the line, take a walk, start some venison in the crock pot, go to town and maybe find a little something to give to my husband of twenty-seven years.

Twenty-seven years.

I wish I had some advice on how to make a marriage last but I really don't. I guess if I did it would be something like treat the other person the way you want to be treated, pride doesn't have much place in a marriage and ego doesn't either. Also, remember that there's going to be some poop and don't forget to kiss.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, October 24, 2011

In Which Owen Gargles, Sticks His Fingers Up His Nose And I Proclaim My Love

Owen was especially delightful today. I am not sure why but he was. He let me hug him and hold him a bit more than usual for one thing. Two-year-olds don't have all the time in the world to indulge their grandmothers' needs for constant kissing and it is with great patience and forbearance that he usually tolerates such silliness but today, he was more open to the idea of it all.

We took a walk which we haven't done lately. The idea of the stroller hasn't appealed to him as much but today he got in it and told me that he wished to go to the post office. So we did. He told Miss Joanne, the postmistress that he was going to be a cowboy for Halloween but he pronounces it "toe-boy" and he also pronounces football as "butt ball" and so lately, his Bop and I have taken to calling him the Toeboy Who Plays Butt Ball.
I am sure he will not appreciate this when he is older but he does not seem to mind now.

After we stopped in at the post office, he said he would like to walk up the road a bit and so we did but I noticed that he was being so very still and I checked, and yes, he was falling asleep so I hot-footed it on home and kept him awake and when we got in the door he said, "Bed," and so we made our way back to the bedroom and got out Big Bear and he picked Mother Goose from the stack of books on my vanity and before we had gotten through the entire book, he was asleep.

He took a good nap and when he woke up he ate some yogurt and some Chex Mix and some popcorn and then we went out and sat on the steps and fed the rest of the popcorn to the chickens who love popcorn as much as any movie junkie and I had another one of those perfect moments of peace and awareness in the golden sunlit fall air and why these always occur with Owen and the chickens I do not know but I have a feeling that it's at these moments that I am living my destiny most profoundly, my DNA completely satisfied with the clucking hens and the rooster and my grandchild by my side.

I thought about how I have been tending children since I was twelve years old and how I don't really think of myself as someone who likes children that much and it came as sort of a shock to me to realize how much of my life has been taken up with them. And how it has been, of course, the most satisfying aspect of my life.
Something to think about as I sat there, Toeboy Owen beside me in his jeans and flannel shirt. He pulled at the strap of my overalls and said, "Overalls," and when Ozzie got too close for Owen's liking, he jumped into my lap and said, "Scary!" the way he does but like I said, he isn't really scared. Or maybe he is, just a little.

I know that one of the reasons Mr. Moon fell in love with me is that he was ready to be a daddy when he met me and I was proven breeding stock and was obviously a loving mother, albeit a crazy one. He'll deny all of that, or maybe he won't, but it's true. It was the mother-thing and the way I shoveled chicken shit off the back of a truck for the garden AND the biscuits AND a few other things too which caught his attention. But come on- it's not just women who have biological clocks ticking away and he was twenty-nine and ready to settle down and make a family and there I was and before I knew it (like in two days) he'd essentially moved in and we were married less than a year later and had Lily a year from that. Well, eleven months from that.

And tomorrow will be our twenty-seventh anniversary.

Twenty-seven years.

We will have been married for twenty-seven years tomorrow and I can't even imagine how that has happened any more than I can imagine how I have achieved the age of grandmotherhood but it would appear that both are true.

And you know me- I completely believe that lust is nothing more at the beginning than womb calling to sperm and vice-versa and so he and I have done our part in fulfilling the role which nature provided for us but at this point- when we are not apt at all to conceive another child- we are still married and still, quite frankly, in love and speaking for myself, I would wish nothing more than twenty-seven more years with this man.

He's gone tonight to hopefully buy a car at auction tomorrow for a customer and so we'll wake up on our twenty-seventh anniversary in separate beds, separate towns, but that's okay. We have a broad perspective at this point and we know a little about life and love and anniversaries. We know we're going to be celebrating all of it when we go to Cozumel in December and we know that we celebrate it all every day. We never end a conversation on the phone without saying, "I love you," and we often cry when we talk about our life together. There's a whole lot of glue that binds us and Owen is the newest part of that and this new baby coming will be even more. We look at each other frequently and say, "Can you believe....?" and we know we're talking about this next one.


Twenty-seven years of marriage and we met because a friend of mine wanted some pot and he knew I had some in a bag up in the closet with cat hair and pine needles in it and he brought over the guy he was painting houses with and that guy was so ridiculously tall that I didn't give him a second thought as to a possible love-interest and besides, the tall guy was dating another woman.

But one thing led to another and one night he saw me in a bar and I was wearing my friend Sue's blue angora sweater that kept slipping off my shoulder and within a week from that, I knew he was going to ask me to marry him.

And he did.

And here we are.

Kids and grandkids and chickens and a thousand biscuits later.

Here we are. And I always keep buttermilk in the refrigerator for emergency biscuit-making.

And I love that man and I am still, STILL amazed at how tall he is but mostly, amazed at the fact that he still loves me.
And he still surprises me all of the time.

Well, that's that. I'm going to go pick some tiny salad greens for my own tiny salad for tonight's supper. And tomorrow night, for our anniversary, I am going to cook some venison tenderloin with heirloom potatoes and garlic and onions. And biscuits.

We may not wake up together tomorrow, but we'll go to bed together and I will sleep under the quilt of the years of our love together and I will remember so many things and I will hope for so many more even though that is selfish, selfish, selfish.

How much can one girl ask for? How many gifts can one old woman receive?

So far, too many to count and no one knows how many to come.

I am the luckiest woman in the world. I have tended children, I have loved and I do love and I have been loved and I am loved.

There you go and there you are and honey-darling, Mr. Honey Moon, if you are reading this, please know...I love you. And isn't our Toeboy Who Plays Buttball gorgeous?
Yes. Yes he is.

Yours truly forever...Mrs. Moon

That Boy Is Coming

Owen's coming, it is cold.
I am thinking about the days when Owen would arrive, a sleepy bundle of baby boy and how I would take him out of his car seat and hold him to me, that wrapped up bundle and how different it is these days when he bolts out of his car seat and demands it all- chickens and dogs and goats and play, play, play.

"You need a diaper change, Owen?"
"No way! Clean!"

Oh, that boy. He's growing up so fast. Before you know it, he'll be potty trained. Just in time to demand the bathroom every time his mama sits down to nurse the new one coming.
I know children. I know their devious little minds.

"Do you love your Mer Mer, Owen?"
"No way!" and then peals of laughter and I attack him and demand my due and I sweep in to kiss his neck, his belly, to squeeze him to me.
"Hide!" he says and we pull the cover up over our heads and we are camping in a tent, hiding from the world, we are Owen and his Mer Mer, we are cowboy and grandmother, we are playing and then a train comes by and he throws himself into my arms.
"Scared!" and his eyes are wide as saucers, he is smiling, he is no more scared than I but what fun to pretend he is, to pretend, to play, to say "No way!" to spend the day with Mer Mer and he is no longer that sleepy bundle of baby boy but a bullet of a boy, a banshee of a boy, a bushel of love, of deviousness, who stomps around in my big red boots, who rides his horse with his cowboy hat on, then pats the horse's head and says "Good boy," and who has ridden into my life with such fierce abandon, who has stolen my heart, who still likes to view the world from my hip.

Owen's coming. It is cold but it will warm up soon and we shall have adventures.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Not A Day That Will Go Down In Infamy

Well, it has been a spectacularly uneventful day. At one point I decided I was going to get the entire garden weeded but that intention passed as my shoulders began to ache and my fingers began to get sore but I made some good headway and then I turned on the sprinkler.
We're dry again.

I watered the porch plants and as you can clearly see, I have decorated for Halloween.

What? There's a fucking pumpkin and some skeletons. That's decorating, right? That's Halloweeny.

No, the typewriter has nothing to do with Halloween. I am not sure what it has to do with anything but I like it and there it sits.

Nature is decorating herself. The Yaupon Holly is putting out its berries. Here they are, glowing like tiny spot-light lit pumpkins by the setting sun.

I was just thinking that I'd like to take a picture of the chickens when Elvis and some of the hens strolled up. I took a picture of El and Ozzie. I still think of Ozzie as a boy, even though she proves me wrong daily with a nice egg.

She came pre-named so what can I do? She'd probably be pissed off if I suddenly started calling her Marlene or something.

So okay, I just remembered a girl I knew in high school whose name was Marlene. She was like the Marilyn Monroe of Winter Haven High and so I googled her. This is what I found:

Click on the picture to go to the site where I found it.

I could write an entire post on Marlene and then go on to create a novel around some of my brief memories of her but I won't because what if she found me?
Oh god.
Let me just say that her bosoms were sorta like proof of god.
We were in Girl Scouts together. Girl Scouts- where girls discover a lot more than how to make their way through the woods in the dark by feeling for the moss on the sides of the trees.
That's all I have to say about THAT!
(Disclaimer: Marlene never once said or did anything in the least lesbian-ish. That I know of. Really. She had a very nice soprano voice. Now there WAS the trembling-on-the-verge-of-an-affair between two other girls, one who was obviously a girl-who-liked-girls and another girl who was a Very Good Mormon Girl but I can't talk about that either.)

Ah me.

So yeah. Nothing going on around here today. I'm just happy to be able to have tended my baby greens.

Ain't they pretty?

You bet!

And they are going to be incredibly delicious in a nice light garlicky, lemony vinaigrette in about a week. I've already started thinning them out and adding the tiny baby leaves to our salads. Pretty soon I'll be passing up the salad greens as well as the mustard and turnip and collard greens as well as the eggs in the grocery store. Just whizzing right on by 'em.
And the venison aisle too.
Oh wait. They don't have a venison aisle.

They should.


Baby greens, Girl Scouts and pumpkins. Chickens and Yaupon Holly and skeletons.

Word salad.

Add some blue cheese and you got dinner.

You're welcome.

A Little Bit Of Wonderland, A Little Bit of Zombie Land


Quiet and cool Sunday morning and I made omelets and grits. The omelets had basically the same ingredients as last night's pizzas but were wrapped in eggs, instead of dough.
Vegetables. Can you ever have too many?
I don't know.
I didn't feel sacred or holy making either the pizzas or the omelets.
I felt like- oh, here we go again. More food. Time to eat. More food.

I love to eat as much as anyone in the world. I love to cook. I love to grow food.
Sometimes, I get sick of all of it and wish we could subside on cups of yogurt, eaten with plastic spoons. Open, eat, throw cup and utensil away.

I have no wisdom today. I have no poetry or music.
I think my buckets are empty again. I obviously have some woefully leaky buckets.

Hey. Don't go to Facebook to try and get any sustenance. I have one "friend" there who posts all day long. I think. This person links to every liberal and PC article on the whole fucking internet. It's like- do you have a thought of your own?
I'm being cruel.

But then I read something like Tearful's last post.
He ain't fucking around with PC shit. He's reaching for his gun. He's digging moats. He's tending gardens of roses and burbling springs.
He's making art.

He's THINKING about shit.

I'll trade you one post like that for forty-two pages of Facebook.

Problem is- there ISN'T one post like that for every forty-two pages of Facebook.
There probably actually is, you just have to do like a mole and go underground and find it.

I tell you what- when I do find that one post, I come up out of my dirt-bed and I blink my eyes and I think, "Well, someone is carrying the buckets today."

I'm going to go dig in the dirt now. Those tiny greens coming up are as good as I got on this Sunday and I might as well go hang out with the most good I can find.

As that Tearful Guy would say, Namaste, y'all.
Now go read the rest of what he would have to say if you haven't already.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, October 22, 2011


The house is almost set, all of the ingredients are bought, I could go ahead and start cutting things up, start getting ready to get ready. The day is so bright, even now, in afternoon, and yet, and yet...

I have been reading about dads. Ms. Radish King misses her daddy and so does Angella and Mr. Shife, who, like me, never really had one to miss.

I guess what I am thinking about when I should really be thinking about cooking, is fathers and how they can be so wonderful that when they leave, the hole is impossible to fill and how, if you do not ever have one, the hole is impossible to fill and how that seems too hard and perhaps impossible but there you are; I think it is true.

I think I would be more whole, though, if I had had one. I think there is an empty spot inside of me that no matter what, will never, CAN never be filled because it is the place where a father's love should be.

I truly and fully and wholly believe this.

And I am grateful for all of the good fathers I know whose children will never know that emptiness.

Cosmic Rivers, Starting With Pizza And Good Mint Soap

So, go. I have to go to town today to buy things to make pizza and we are having a pizza party tonight for Kathleen's birthday although of course she is not calling it a birthday party, just a pizza party, a girl's night out party.
Here are things I use to make pizza:
Tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, spinach, pineapple, jarred sauce, cheese, onions, olives, deer sausage, maybe some chicken sausage, maybe some banana peppers...I don't know what all.
Flour of course and salt and yeast and a tiny bit of sugar. What am I forgetting? Seems like there is more than that.

Yesterday's fluidity in life seems to have taken leave again, flown and flowed off to visit someone else (lucky soul!) and I am timid again, poor little country mouse. I need to wash my hair.

Last night I took a bath and used a piece of mint soap that Kathleen had given me yesterday from an earlier batch she'd made that her cat had laid on and squished down and it was amazing, that soap and now my whole bathroom smells like heavenly mint. I remember the first time I ever drank mint tea. It was at Hanuman's Conscious Cookery Restaurant in Denver, Colorado about one million years ago- a restaurant far ahead of its time where the ingredients were local and probably grown by white-turbaned monks in a magical garden protected from cold and snow by gods of great beneficence, the vegetables, the beans, the cheese, that mint tea which they brought you a pot of and you could hold the steaming cup in your hand and it warmed you through and through as you waited for your food which was being cooked according to the "cook's consciousness" as stated in the menu and sitars played softly in the background and I will never forget their broccoli hollandaise, their mung bean casserole, their brown bread, their mint tea.

It was right down from the university and sometimes, bored and tired of the vegetarian options at the cafeteria in the dorm (I had chosen to become a vegetarian and I do not quite remember why but it made perfect sense to me) I would go there, sit at a table by myself or sometimes with someone else I knew and that was one of the places I learned to cook by eating.
Sometimes I got fennel seed tea instead of mint.
It was all heavenly.

It was eons before its time.

I just googled the restaurant and found this.

And then this.

From which I just learned that Hanuman's Conscious Cookery had ties to Orlando and Winter Park which were just down the road from Winter Haven where I lived before I moved to Denver. And in one of the pictures from the second link, I see Stephen Gaskin whose wife, Ina May, played such a role in my own personal life and in the lives of thousands and thousands through her work and writing as a midwife.

Wow. Well.

I had no idea. In some of those pictures I saw the faces of the men and women who waited on the tables at Hanuman's. How strange to have just flown back in time and to have discovered more of the mystery of that place.

So. Here I am in Lloyd, Florida, now drinking a cup of mint tea, and I started out talking about pizza and suddenly, I am remembering mung bean casserole and white-turbaned servers who walked in a sort of visible grace- say what you will, I was there- and although I will never in this lifetime be a practitioner of any sort of religion, all of them have touched me at one point or another and yes, probably changed me.

Stephen Gaskin was the one who led his band of hippies back to the land in Tennessee and I suppose his message affected me the most and of course, his wife's message that birth is a sacrament and is best experienced at home if possible. And on the (not always) Evil Facebook, I have discovered that Ina May has a new book out. Birth Matters.

Circles of light and circles of sustenance and circles of wisdom and folly and memory and sometimes Lord, I can barely hold on to the rivers of it all as it swirls and as I so often say, we are flung about through this universe and even if my fluidity has flown has flowed, the rivers are still running, some rivers of chanting, some rivers of dirt-and-soybeans-and-birth, some rivers of prayer, some rivers of music and of words and of all things which are created and I can't even begin to know where they begin, where they will end, where the confluence of them is located or even if there is one, but maybe they all do, somewhere, and that is the location of It All and even if I do not swim in one of them, I can drink from them all and some of them taste of mint and some of them taste of tears and some of them taste of light and some of them taste of blood and all of them are part of It, I think.

Friday, October 21, 2011


May just called me. One of the nurses who had been in the ER when she came in after she was hit by the car seventeen years ago was in the restaurant where she works as we spoke.

It's funny. That same guy was a nurse on cardiac at TMH when I was doing my clinicals there about one million years ago and I was pregnant with Lily. He was so sweet to me then and he was like an angel.

And here he is- right now, this second, eating dinner with his wife at the restaurant where May works.

Well. There are angels on this earth.
I do not doubt that.
Angels with wings who float above us?
That I am not sure about.
But angels like nurses and teachers and so forth?
Those I am sure about.

Those I can see and feel and give great thanks for.

Thank you, Terry Schneider. Thank-you.

Good Soap Does Far More Than Get The Dirt Off

I drove over to Kathleen's house today to make soap. I have done this with her once before and since then, I have come to realize the utter inferiority of any other soap but Kathleen's.
I tried to make it once myself but I was not patient enough and it never did harden correctly, even though Kathleen lent me all of her equipment and exact instructions. Also, martinis were involved.

Lesson: Soap-making is somewhat of a precise science. Martinis have no place in the process.

Well, you learn by doing. And failing. Or, you don't repeat the experiment in a timely manner and then all is lost but to tell you the truth- I am still using some of that not-hard enough soap. It is still better than what you can buy.

Here are the secret ingredients. Well, some of them.

Kathleen's friend Souix is visiting Kathleen so she helped today too.
Okay. If you want to know the truth, Souix and I mostly stood around and watched Kathleen. She let us weigh out the fats. By the time that process was over, our hands were thoroughly moisturized. We were scooping coconut oil out with our fingers. Mmmmm...
Play time!

We also opened and sniffed from the many, many bottles of scented oils which Kathleen has. Here's her dear old dog, Harry, guarding a box of them.

Harry was so polite and stayed completely out of our way. Unless we wanted to, uh, walk across the floor.

There were so many wonderful scents. Lime and orange and lavender and eucalyptus and rosemary and rose and even toasted rice. We passed them around and discussed good combinations but we let Kathleen be the final judge. She is the scientist AND the artist. An uncommon and beautiful combination.

For our first batch she stirred in orange oil and rosemary, I think, and then added orange peel.

Oh. If only you could smell this. Oh my. Oh yes. And the orange peel will give it a bit of a scrub, a bit of grit for exfoliation.

The second batch had lavender with a plum dye and oatmeal and oh, what else? Kathleen, I can't remember. She swirled the scents and dyes and oatmeal into the soap after it had been poured into the mold.

Here she is, making magic, with Souix doing the same thing I was.

But we weren't just taking pictures. NO! We were also practically swooning at the smell of it. Luscious in every way!

Besides making soap, we also talked, as you know women do. We talked about men (imagine that!) and about how Kathleen is feeling a bit superstitious concerning her birthday this year which is tomorrow. She said that since Dr. Blowsucker, her first oncologist, had told her that she would be dead before this birthday, she is almost afraid to call attention to it for fear the gods will say, "What? You're still alive? You're still walking around?"
And then they will rectify that mistake.
Which we all know is not going to happen. Look at that girl.
Go on over to her blog and check out the pictures and words there.
Then join with me in thinking really, really evil thoughts about Dr. Blowsucker who, if she hadn't found a different doctor probably would have been right.
And by the way- Blowsucker isn't his real name but it's close enough so that if you knew him, you'd know who I was talking about and even if you don't know him, it's pretty fucking accurate.

But, that is neither here nor there. We talked about men, yes, and dreams and life and roses as we toured Kathleen's yard and we talked about dogs and okay, I may have mentioned my grandson once or two thousand times.
It was good.
The air was cool and Kathleen's doors were open and her dogs were running in and out and we could hear the chickens and the sun poured in and the good smells and laughter poured out and yes, it was just a very good day.

And then we went to lunch in Monticello and that was lovely too.
While we were eating, I spontaneously reached over and hugged Kathleen and said, "Thank-you so much for having me over to make soap with you today."
It was one of those moments when your heart just takes over and becomes the puppet-master to your body, to your mouth. Dear sweet goodness. I meant it so much.

When you're like me and you have trouble with going out and doing things with others, to have a day where you feel comfortable in your own skin with the people around you- well, it's a blessing and you know it. What might just seem like a normal thing to do for some people is not-far short of a miracle for some of us.

And so it was for me today.

And now it is sunset time and Mr. Moon is out in the woods and he brought home about seven pounds of what I can only describe as homemade Goo-Goo clusters- chocolate candy with peanuts and caramel which a woman at the bank made for him to thank him for helping her with a car and I think about one of the things we talked about today which was that if I died, Mr. Moon would be remarried in three months or less.
I swear- I think there is a sign-up sheet somewhere for my possible replacement.

Now what the hell are we going to do with seven pounds of homemade candy? DELICIOUS homemade candy?

I don't know. I'm going to go make some chicken and yellow rice myself. And when he walks in the door, I'm going to pour him a martini. With tomolives. And I'm going to kiss him all over.

Those other women whose names are on a clip-board somewhere better know that I don't plan on going anywhere here for awhile. And that yes, Mr. Moon does indeed love homemade candy but he loves homemade soap and homemade soup as well. And he truly appreciates a woman who can clean out a hen house. Which I also did today.
And who can cook a mean venison roast. And who can grow potatoes and beans and greens.

Who is not afraid to get dirty.

Which brings us back to soap.

It's been a good day.

I am grateful.