Thursday, February 28, 2013

What Is Real And What Is Reality?

Well, I did my exercises and I tried to walk correctly. After about a block (if Lloyd had blocks which it does not) I realized that I was not only not walking correctly, I was barely walking. The mule-kick feeling intensified into something akin to a King Kong punch. I thought hell, I'll just keep walking a little, see if I can warm it up, work it out. 
Yeah. That was a good idea but it didn't really work and so after a little more I turned around and by the time I got home I was mostly barely hobbling but being the masochist that I am and because it was so beautiful outside, I decided that doing a little branch-and-stick picking up was just the thing I needed so I did that for about half an hour and no, that didn't really help either but we could now build a nice fire with the sticks and branches and roast some marshmallows on it so all is not lost.
Not that I have any marshmallows but if I DID, I could.

It's been one of those days. I haven't done squat and I don't even care. I did bake my bread and it's beautiful. Baking bread never gets old for me. It's like a miracle, every time. I mix up flours and grains and salt and a little honey and some sourdough starter or yeast and water and before you know it (or in 24 hours, depending), I have bread.

There my loaves are, resting. They, like kale, make me feel virtuous, despite the fact that bread is the enemy now and gluten-free is the way to be. Well, screw that. Maybe some day I'll check that shit out. For now, no way. That bread has oats and whole wheat AND leftover mashed potatoes in it. 

Dolly still appears to be fine. Not to jump the gun or anything but Mr. Moon called and asked the vet how much it costs to have your dog put down. He said that he gives the dog two shots. One to relax her and one to do the deed. This costs $75. I asked Mr. Moon how much he thought the vet would charge if he skipped the relaxation shot and just gave her the lethal one because honestly, she's pretty relaxed all the time. This is all a moot point anyway in that we can't take her in to be euthanized if she merely had a spell or a touch of canine vestibular syndrome (and thank you, Allison, for bringing that to my attention) or something like that. Then I asked Mr. Moon if he had asked the vet how much it would cost to put me down because honestly, I am lamer than Dolly by far. He laughed but I'm sure he wondered. Look- let's not get sentimental about this shit. Neither dogs nor humans should be allowed to linger on and suffer. I suppose that since I can still make bread and go out and collect the eggs it's not yet time to put me down but that time will come. In Dolly's case, she's not good for anything except throwing up and sometimes pooping in the house so what are we waiting for? 
Okay, okay. I know. Sorry.
But in truth, the dogs are getting old and Buster completely fell off the steps the other day and didn't even miss a beat. He just kept on walking. He's blind as a bat but without the radar. 
I think about what it will be like to live without dogs and I shiver with anticipation. So sue me. 

And that's about it. I did not learn one thing on Facebook today that changed my life and I spent way too much time looking at old Duck Dynasty clips. I am embarrassed to admit how much I love that show due to all of the killing of animals in it but since I am married to a hunter, I can relate. Those people eat what they kill. Mostly. Also, I guess I'm a redneck or at least I do have a fine appreciation of the redneck sensibilities at least as portrayed on Duck Dynasty. There's a little too much of the religion about it for me but there are no visible Confederate flags and one of the guys on the show has adopted a son of mixed race (which they don't really talk about, it's just the way it is) so I do not think they are racist. But they are funny. And they love their mama. Look, we live in a crazy world and I think it's nice to be reminded that food can and does come from the woods and the fields and the waters and that if you eat meat, someone had to kill it and that families can be insane and still loving. Also, that a really poor guy from Louisiana can invent a duck call that ends up making millions. 
A duck call!
You just never know, do you?
Anyway, it is a good yang to balance out the weird yin of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. 
Lord. I should be so ashamed to admit any of this. And yes, I do know that none of it, whether filmed in Louisiana or Beverly Hills is anything like reality. Or maybe it is. I don't really know. I have a hard time determining reality versus what my own mind is making up as it is so there you go.

I hope y'all have a real nice evening. Really. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Dolly has arisen from her death bed and seems to have made a full recovery.
Will fucking wonders never cease.

This Is A Mess. Just Like My Life. Oh Well

Well, I guess I've lost my mind. Or at the very least, become what Phil, the Patriarch of the Duck Dynasty clan would call...a yuppie. I am, AS WE SPEAK, drinking a damn smoothie that has kale in it. 
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know. Kale is some sort of miracle green. Frankly, I have avoided kale, believing as I do that our indigenous miracle green here in North Florida is the collard. But after reading sweet Melissa's blog posts about her green smoothies, I decided I would finally try the kale. Plus, Publix had a big old bag of organic kale for sale the other day and I thought, well, what the fuck? Why not? I chopped some up in our chicken and rice the other night and this morning I threw a handful in my blender which had some remnants of a regular yogurt and fruit smoothie left in it along with half an apple and some frozen pineapple. Pineapple makes EVERYTHING better. Chicken, cake, fruit salad, sweet and sour anything. So it sure couldn't hurt in a kale smoothie, right?

It's okay. And now I'll feel all healthy and virtuous and shit all day long, knowing I've had my kale.

It's a beautiful day here in Lloyd. The sun is out full force and it's chilly but not cold. It is, however, supposed to freeze again this weekend. Will the dogwoods ever get a chance to bloom? I do not know.

Anyway, my hip pain has gotten steadily better although the anterior part of my thigh on that side feels a little as if a mule kicked it. This is to be expected, I guess. I am going to do my exercises (which I seriously doubt I am doing correctly) and then go and take a little walk, trying like hell to do THAT correctly. I miss my walks fiercely, especially on a day like today when the sun is shining so brightly and making our rain-washed world so pretty. All that rain we got last weekend added up to the most rain received in the shortest time in recorded history or something like that. It was some sort of record. I am feeling pretty good overall and last night while I was cooking supper I straightened up the baking dish cabinet and the leftover container cabinet so that feels good too. I am listening to another James Lee Burke book on CD narrated by the fabulous Will Patton and so I have been trying to find busy-work to do while listening. The cabinet where I keep the cake pans and pie pans and bread pans and cookie sheets and muffin tins and casserole dishes was to the point where opening it was a real and dangerous threat to my feet. And you know how those leftover containers multiply and lose their lids. But now those areas are tidy and I've washed the dishes and have sourdough bread rising which I started yesterday and I've let the chickens out and fed them their scratch.
Here's Miss Baby.

I just love that hen. She's been running with the flock again because we threw the eggs she was sitting on away. That may sound cruel but those eggs were getting nastier by the day and she could sit on them until Kingdom Come and they were never going to turn into baby chickens. Ever. As in- I am not sure that hen has ever had sex. I love the chicken and admire her spunk but I do not think she is the Virgin Mary of domesticated foul and I don't believe in any sort of Immaculate Conception and the fact is, you have to have sex to make baby chicks. So. The eggs are gone and she's back to scratching and digging and eating at the bird feeder. Which makes me happy. I mean, if she ever raises a clutch I'll be thrilled but this is not the time. I know she must be laying somewhere but I can't figure out where. One of the places she used to lay in the garage has been taken over by a hen from next door which is awesome because that hen is a laying machine. She gives us an egg a day and all we have to do is provide the box she's laying in which was already there and allow her to eat bugs out of our yard.
I have tried and tried to find the Duck Dynasty clip where Jase talks about chickens and how it's a human right to be able to raise chickens in your yard but I can't. He was in a fight with his homeowners' association but he lost because he'd signed the contract.
"Yuppie," his daddy would have said.

We watched some of the Top Chef finale last night and a collard slaw was served. One of the judges said, "Collards are the new kale."


I can't keep up with this stuff but I think that basically one should never sign a homeowners' agreement, one should eat whatever greens one can grow, and that the raising of chickens IS a human right and besides that, it's a joy.

All right. Since I started writing this the world has changed almost entirely in ways I can't even put my finger on but I think maybe my dog Dolly has had a stroke and I'm not even kidding. I guess I better go deal with that. And I don't even know what that would mean. I joke all the time about wanting these dogs to die. And seeing as how this has been such a great year (Owen appears to have finished puking but who knows?) she probably will.

Lord, y'all. Well, at least it's not boring.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Evening Update

Holy fucking shit. Could this year get any better?
Owen has now thrown up again. I knew he was sick today when I ran errands with Lily and the boys. He was pale and wan and quiet and not hungry and a very, very good boy who neither complained much nor demanded much.

And Lily's just called to say he's thrown up.
I think back on Gibson's last week. The fever, the fussiness. The diarrhea. I thought it was molars. It sure might have been whatever Owen has now.



Okay. Well. That's just the way it is. The boy is sick, there is another illness going around.

I feel like we've been trapped in some sort of evil curse. Owen was never sick once in the first two years of his life. Boy, those days are gone forever.

Look. I know that there's a whole lot going on in the world beyond me and my immediate family. I just can't seem to pull myself out of the hole far enough to observe and talk about them. I apologize for being a completely self-absorbed blogger. I'll try to do better.
Someday. Soon. Really.
When we've all quit puking and throwing our hips out of joint and our mothers quit dying. Etc.
I promise.

Love...Ms. Moon


That's the wisteria and in a week or so it will be a glory, those fuzzy buds bursting into purple blossoms which will hang like clusters of grapes. Wisteria's bloom is like a child's dream of a flower. It even smells, to me, vaguely like purple Kool-Aid.

I had a hard time pulling myself out of the bed this morning. What's-the-point, what's-the-point, what's-the-point my mantra.
Well, the point is, it is daytime and thus, time to get up.
That is the point.

You want to hear something strange? In the last few days I have desperately wanted a mother. Now, not my real mother who died six weeks ago today, but a mother I could go to and say, "This is happening. I'm sad. What do I do?" A mother who would take me in her arms and say, "There, there. It'll be okay."

And what's strange about this to me, is that I haven't had a mother like that in forever (ever? did I ever?) but all of a sudden, now that the mother I DID have is gone, I want that. I want that mother. Isn't that just the silliest thing you ever heard?

I feel fairly certain that I'm not the only person who has ever felt this way.
As proof I offer this- the entire five minutes and nineteen seconds of John Lennon's heart-and-throat ripping song saying it all exactly.
I may have never had a real mother and I certainly never had a father of any kind but I had the Beatles. I had John Lennon and sometimes I think I miss him more than I miss never having had a mother or a father. Because I did have him. We all did.
Bless him. Bless him so.

Well. It sure will be nice when the wisteria blooms.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

And What Are The Options?

I am sad and depressed tonight. Not depressed like clinical depression but like shit, this sucks. 
And it's nothing. It's nothing new, nothing I didn't know.

Dr. V. operates out of his home, or at least it looks like his home, and he is all business and has a degree in body mechanics and is from Malasia which I know ridiculously little about. He is a trim man and he seemed to be interested in the fact that I have chickens and immediately upon seeing me walk and stand he asked me about various parts of my body which have indeed been injured or overused or misused and I have no doubt the knows what he's talking about. He put hands upon my hip and did some manipulation but mostly he gave me a set of three exercises to do and then he attempted to teach me to walk properly which, it turns out, I have been doing improperly my entire life and which is tearing my body down and if there is anything more difficult than the idea of relearning to walk at the age of fifty-eight, I am not sure what it would be.

Still. I am going to try.

The injury on Saturday night occurred due to the overstretching of my ligaments on that side of my body and that hip has been bothering me for so many years I can't even tell you the number. I know that I went to see an orthopedic surgeon at least eighteen years ago about it and he x-rayed it and told me I had no arthritis and sent me home after a lovely chat. It has been one of those things I've learned to live with and I've blamed it on carrying babies on that side of my body since I was twelve when my brother Chuck was born but I was probably built crooked to begin with and that has only exacerbated the problem. Over the years I have cocked that hip more and more and I'm sure that's why I've had injuries in my calf, in my foot. I stand wrong, I walk wrong. I obviously dance wrong and I am wrong in all regards, it would seem.

I asked him to take a look at my bad wrist and I think I am more depressed about that than anything. He barely looked at it, took it up in his hand for a few seconds, laid it gently down and said, "Oh, this is very bad." He said that it's a mess in there from the bone being set wrong when I broke it and that over the years adhesions have formed and so forth and that if I did get surgery on it, it would probably not be "successful." That he can help me with alignment of it and circulation but that would be it. He left me realizing that I am never in my entire life going to not be in pain from this wrist and that as I age it is probably going to get worse and it is already far more of a bother than I even care to admit and seems to get worse by the day.

The reason I am depressed is that this is all just more definitive evidence that no, I am not going to wake up one of these days and be who I used to be. My face is still going to frighten me in the mirror, my skin is going to continue to wrinkle and fold itself into horrific origamis, my cuteness will never, ever be a factor in any conversation or encounter I ever have again, my memory is not going to improve, and now my vertebra are going to thin, I am going to have less and less function of my hips, my legs, my wrist.
And I am always going to be in pain.
At least I still have a great deal of hair and I am loathe to even say that, knowing that as I do, I am going to jinx myself and it is going to start falling out by the handfull. And my teeth- they are decent, although they've always looked fucked up and still do, they remain serviceable and my own. But you know, overall, there are no magic bullets. I used to go fairly regularly to a chiropractor, did yoga for three years and here I am. I have walked regularly and faithfully most of my life and it turns out that I have been doing it in such a way as to hurt myself. There is no expensive face cream or body lotion which is going to turn back the calendar. Surgery of any kind is probably NOT GOING TO BE SUCCESSFUL.
Hormones are not the fountain of youth.
Coconut oil probably is not either.

And so it goes.

I suppose the trick is to accept with grace, to do the exercises Dr. V. has given me, to try to learn to stand and to walk differently, from the shoulders, ignoring the hips and legs and letting the feet fly over the ground as he demonstrated. But at the moment it all seems so hopeless. And I have arrived at this feeling of hopelessness by means of what was supposed to be a lovely and for me, rare night out, a night of music and dancing and look where it's led.

I'm sure I'll perk back up again at some point and I'm not exactly wallowing in despair, although perhaps I am. I wouldn't put that past me. But I am definitely having a what-the-fuck and what's-the-point moment and please don't tell me about all of the things I CAN still do. I know that I am still capable of a lot and will be, hopefully, for some time but it feels as if the tipping point has been reached and breached and that it is all downhill from here. I have no desire to hear about women who are still doing yoga or dancing into their nineties and beyond. I know these women exist.
I am not one of them. And for the moment, I seem to have misplaced any grace I might ever have had and also and more worryingly, my sense of humor.

Blecch. Fuck. Shit. Damn hell.

I believe I am going to make a martini. With my good hand. And cook supper. Mr. Moon has had a rough day of it too and is still far away from home. I will gladly drink his martini as well.

Seriously, I need to remember that I have used this body long and well. It has brought me much pleasure and I have asked of it much work. It has given birth four times, it has walked countless miles, planted seasons upon seasons of gardens, carried and toted and lifted and tended babies, dug ditches to lay PVC, dug huge plants out of the ground, crocheted and knitted and embroidered and sewed and chopped and sliced and hauled and pulled and so on and so forth and yes, I have danced.

I will try to put this all in perspective and adapt and reorder my priorities and DO THE DAMN EXERCISES. I honestly believe that Dr. V. knows the body and I would be a fool to ignore him.

All right. That's enough.

Have a good evening.

Love...Ms. Moon


It rained and stormed all night long but for right now, it has cleared up some and there are even patches of sunlight in the yard. As soon as I can, I want to take a walk around the yard and see what branches have fallen because I know that many have. Overnight the dogwoods and wisteria have begun putting out leaves and buds. Spring is coming on a fast train and there is no stopping it now.

The earth's thirst here is satiated for now, it is a beautiful morning, the train whistle sounds in the distance, the birds are calling for more of everything, it is warm and I can walk.

I am grateful. Time to get ready to go to town which seems a journey as incredible as one to China at this moment. I will report in on the customs and costumes of the natives.

Be well.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, February 25, 2013

And The Rain Still Falls Down

It is still raining, but softly, gently, sweet rain silver and gray. I just walked slowly, slowly, out to the hen house to shut up my darling chickens and they seemed so cozy with the gentle patter on the tin roof above them. I do not mind at all the smell of the henhouse. It is the smell of hay and the chicken's feathers and yes, of their poop but I do not find that odor to be offensive, especially if it is relatively fresh. Chickens DO poop a lot but it is easily taken to the garden where it becomes fertilizer. There is actually nothing about my chickens which does not charm me. As I say, I think that the raising of chickens has become embedded in our DNA. I certainly feel that it is in mine.

Mr. Moon is out of town, gone down to auction. That man never ceases to amaze me with the grace he displays in the everyday grind of life. I don't know what I would do without him. He not only takes care of our entire family in so many ways, he takes care of me which is not always an easy thing to do. He puts up with my crazy which, although it does not make an appearance as often as it used to, still shows up sometimes and does a little tap dance and takes a little bow.
I admit it.
And there, too, he displays grace. And he sticks around.
He is my saving grace, that man. And as a girlfriend said on Saturday night, he is also easy on the eyes. How in hell did I get so lucky?

I am so much better than I was even twenty-four hours ago but I am still glad to be going to see this...uh, I'm not quite sure what he is...tomorrow. I have made an appointment for ten a.m. He is a doctor, but the PhD kind. Mostly I would like to see if he can tell what it was that popped, what happened and how to prevent it from happening again and what to do and what NOT to do to make the healing go as quickly as possible. And while I am there, I am going to at least start a dialogue about this wrist which has pained me for so long. See if he has any suggestions as to exercises I can do with it to help. As much as it bothers me, I loathe the idea of surgery. I hate the thought of someone mucking about in my tendons and muscles and ligaments and all of those deep, bloody parts of me that my skin so thoughtfully keeps covered. I know. I'm a bit over-the-top with this anxiety about such things but I can't help it. It's who I am. I spoke to a friend on Saturday night, right before my body betrayed me so callously who has had several surgeries on his wrist and has been treated by the local orthopedic clinic practice. He is not happy with them and doesn't have good use of his wrist and the doctors he's been seeing seem to have no further alternatives for improvement.
Well, anyway, I will go see this guy tomorrow. It will be interesting, at least. I am basing that on the phone conversation I had with him today. Whatever happens, I'm sure I'll be writing about it. You can count on that.

And so it goes. The rain continues to fall and the night has closed in and I am going to go make something for my supper that doesn't require much time on my feet and then I'm going to get back into my little nest with my pillows, my books and my remotes and my iPhone. I started a biography of Bruce Springsteen today that I got from the library last week but I am afraid that it is so wretchedly written that I cannot read it. The word "matriculated" appeared on Page 3 and that is just about enough for me. Fifty dollar words used in a twenty-five cent sentence are like diamonds on a possum. What's the point? The diamonds are going to get dirty and the possum is still going to be a possum. No one is going to be fooled.

Speaking of which, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is on tonight.

How's that for a segue?

Let's all sleep well tonight, okay?

See you tomorrow.

Love...Ms. Moon

I Feel Insulted

I shouldn't be sitting up. I should be back in bed. I know it and I will go there soon.
This is a weird injury and it is, as they say, an "insult" to the body. I can feel my body being insulted, if you will, and it responds with a slight feeling of nausea, a bit of a shaky feeling.

I have actually called to make an appointment with a man who is known as something of a joint wizard around these parts. I have been wanting to call him for years about my wrist but have not because, well, I don't do well at calling for appointments and so now the issue is forced and I called and got voice mail but I left a message with my name and my number and so I have done that. I really have. But today I want to do mostly what I did yesterday, which is to rest, to ice.
I read an entire book yesterday and then finished another which I had started and then interrupted. I guess there will be more of that today. It has been raining off and on for three days and I am not tired of that. I woke up at four this morning and it was pouring and all I could think of was the long, long roots of the live oaks, the deep aquifers underneath us, all of that ground, taking it all in, restocking, restoring and I was glad for that rain.

I think I will hobble slowly out to the chickens now and let them out. I hear that yesterday Mr. Moon and Owen came up with a new game which was to feed apple pieces to the chickens through the holes in the kitchen's screen door which is hysterical. I wish I had seen that and I have a feeling that my tiny kitchen porch is going to be shat upon by patiently waiting chickens from here on out.

Owen was so sweet to me yesterday. He kept coming into the room where I was and saying, "Mer-Mer, I so sorry you not feel well."
At one point he got up in the bed with me and told me that he had a boo-boo too and that he needed to lay down as well. He showed me a tiny scratch on his wrist and for at least twenty seconds he rested beside me, sharing the experience of being laid-up. We also read A Giraffe And A Half again and I am more than glad that he is taking an interest in stories.

All right. It is time. But first- did you watch any of the Oscars last night? I swear to you, I do not get that show. I will tell you the moment which resounded most with me though- it was when Catherine Zeta Jones was dancing and singing and as she swung those beautiful hips about and thrust them this way and that, I thought, "Oh honey. Be careful."

I swear. I think I have a little PTSD from that weird and crazy "pop" the other night as I danced. It felt like an entire lifetime of dancing had just been quite dramatically put to an end. For someone who has always said that dancing is her favorite form of prayer, this is devastating.

Here's the fortune I got in my cookie last night.

Sorry it's sideways. It says, "For greater returns, avoid being too risky this week."

I think that is grand advice.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Boppy has been the boys' babysitter today here at the house and he has been wonderful. From the bed I have heard the falling over of block towers and loud exclamations of delight coming from the Glen Den where blocks and puzzles live along with toys for both big boys and small.

A storm came in with one perfect blast of thunder and then came the rain and the air was sharp with ozone so strong that it made me think of when I was very young and was just beginning to make that association between the sharp smell and the rain and the thunder. A scientific observation proved out over many Florida storms over the years and still to this day.

My hip feels better and I have spent most of the day lying on the bed where I am right now with a sleeping Gibson. The rain patters and I am so grateful for this quiet moment. Owen is running around the house and laughing. Mr. Moon is talking to Lily on the phone about bringing us something for our supper when she comes to get the boys. Gibson breathes so softly. In and out and his chest rises and falls. His eyelashes are butterfly wings on his cheek. He is beauty.

We survive. For right now we most certainly do.

No Way. Yes Way.

I give up. Again. But this time for real.
I mean it.
I'm gonna dig a hole and crawl in.

So here's what happened- it was a great night. I was so happy to see all these guys come together that have been playing music since they were in Jr. High together, some of them friends of mine that I hadn't seen in thirty-forty years and it was just a joy. I chatted and I danced with my May and my girlfriends and Mr. Moon and just reveled in the fact that musicians can just keep on going and it's such a beautiful, beautiful thing.

And then.
We were dancing to Dixie Chicken. One of my favorite songs to dance to ever. Not even a fast song. Just a slow, hip moving thing and I moved my hip and I heard and felt something pop in my right hip and baby, that was all she wrote for me.

Nothing's broken. I'm pretty sure of that. I have complete range of motion and there's some swelling at the site but nothing profound and if I'm just sitting or lying down it's okay. Walking is tricky but it can be done. So. I probably popped something out of place and then back in, I guess, I hope, and I iced it all night and I'll ice it all day and most importantly, STAY OFF OF IT and take my Ibuprofen and hope for the best.

But mostly I just feel like I have fallen prey to aging in a new and undeniable way and I hate it.
I mean- I injured myself while standing up and dancing. Just...dancing.
How ridiculous is that?

I'm going to go lay down again. I may or may not ever get up again.

Here's the song that did it.

Love...The Decrepit Ms. Moon

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Saturday

 Storm's aftermath, branches down, littering the ground, resurrection fern velveting limbs being held out for admiration.

Gray sky, wet ground, my work will be in all ways dirty today.

Everything bedazzled by rain. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

How We Amuse Ourselves

God Bless Us. Yes. It Is Raining

Child, it has been raining here all day. It's been beyond beautiful. I laid down and slept for awhile to the orchestra of rain and blackbirds singing. It was a holy sleep. It was gorgeous.

I figured out that what I needed to do today when the rain started coming was to rest. And so I did. I mailed invitations and I did laundry and I washed sheets and put them back on the beds and I read some.

And then, when Mr. Moon came home, we had a martini on the porch with the rain falling down beside us and we took inventory of the blessings of our life and we determined together that It Was Good.

It's still raining and Mr. Moon is peeling shrimp and I'm going to cook some of that and the scallops for our dinner. I have pesto thawed out from the freezer from last summer and I'll cook some pasta to rest the seafood on. The church next door is cranking out some sort of music and it's loud enough that I can hear the bass over the rain.

Here. I've posted this before. But. It's perfect.

The rain fall down.

Your Friday Letter From Ms. Moon

You see that picture? There is absolutely no reason in the world I am posting it except that IT MAKES ME HAPPY!
Fuck it.
It's Friday.
I got that picture off of Facebook because I am a friend of the Rolling Stones. How ridiculous is that? Facebook is ridiculous. I'm ridiculous for wasting one second on it. I get the fact that a lot of people share some powerfully good stuff there. I'm not one of them.

I wrote out a lot of invitations for a shower for Jessie by hand last night. I loved it. I still have beautiful handwriting. A few days ago I wrote Owen a letter to be sent by actual mail. In it I told him that I was writing him a letter because I wanted him to know that I love him and I think about him when we are not together. Isn't that the essence of a letter? I also told him that I like to think about things we will do together. I told him that someday soon I hope we can go see the mermaids together and I drew a wretched picture of a mermaid on the page. With fish and a turtle. He will know what they are. He won't judge my wretched picture. I think we need to write more letters by hand. I think we need to send more invitations by mail. Facebook invitations are handy but they lack a certain seriousness of purpose, not to mention any grace whatsoever. That's what I think.

I unfriended someone on Facebook a few days ago. I felt like a real grown-up. This is a person I've known for forever and used to know in real life quite well. We were close. Then she moved away and started a family and somehow turned into a Republican Right Wing sort of person. She would say that she did this because she now knows what life is really all about. She once told me (on Facebook) that life is not all about peace and love and rock and roll and that I if I had ever had a real job, I'd know that.   Maybe she's right.
Anyway, I found her posts to be offensive so I unfriended her. She seems to be inordinately concerned with people ripping off the health care system. She did work at a big hospital in the ER for a long time so maybe she's right about that too. Frankly, I don't care if people rip off the health care system. I'd rather my country spend money on health care for people who may not really "deserve" it (and what in hell does that mean?) than for my country to spend money on drones. Did you read Elizabeth's post yesterday about this very subject? If you haven't, go HERE and read it. I don't think that Elizabeth believes that life is all about peace and love and rock and roll but I do think that Elizabeth would rather live in a world that WAS all about peace and love and maybe, yes, some rock and roll, than in a world where paranoid individuals are seemingly obsessed with the right to bear arms and the belief that our country's problems stem from undeserved people getting free health care.

Whatever. The older I get, the less tolerance I have for shit. Or, to be more exact, what I perceive as shit.

Last night I wrote another letter. This one, however, was written in my mind. It was to Larry McMurtry. I wanted to tell him the story of when I had the flu and how miserable I was and how much of a miracle it was when I finally took a pain pill and settled down in my bed with one of his books. It was like a Mother's Touch. It was like rebirth. It was like heaven. I should actually write out that letter and send it to him. I sent him a letter once before. He never wrote me back. Haha! I don't care. I have no point here. It was just another letter-story.

Well. It is Friday. Mr. Moon tilled up most of the garden yesterday and so it is time for me to get in there and plant something. This spring is so confusing that I don't know whether to plant lettuce or tomatoes. Broccoli or cucumbers. It's warm today. It's supposed to rain this weekend. It would be good to get things in the ground. Baby is still sitting on those eggs. The rest of the chickens made lace of my cabbages and collards. I asked for that by letting them in the garden. In my mind they were going to eat bugs that feed on the greens but instead, they went straight for the greens.
I don't care.

Tonight I plan to have a martini and cook scallops. Tomorrow night I plan on going to The American Legion Hall in Tallahassee for the sixtieth birthday of my ex-husband. There are going to be people there I haven't seen in decades, some of them from the high school we attended. I'm sort of excited about this. My kids will be there too, except for Jessie who is stuck in Asheville, North Carolina which is too bad because she could maybe play a little mandolin with some of these people I've known for forever and ever and ever. I know she'd dance. I'm planning on dancing. There's going to be peace and love and rock and roll. There's going to be a celebration of the fact that some of us are still alive. Hoo-boy!

See what I'm saying here? No? Me either.

Happy Friday, y'all. Drop me a line.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Is This Going On My Permanent Record?

Unsettled but okay. My babiest grand baby was solemn today and a bit feverish. I think it's those back teeth, big and cutting through the swollen jaw. He grinches and rubs at his face, his ears. He wanted me to hold him and I did, mostly, for three hours and more.
Owen was patient and played and watched TV and we chatted and read some books.
Just that.

Grocery store and Mr. Moon tilled up most of the garden and I've got leftovers heating up and a bread pudding waiting, rich with apples and raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg, golden from my hens' yolks.

It is ever thus, isn't it? Tend to floors and tend to laundry, tend to babies, tend to the garden, tend to dinner. I tend to be that woman. I lived through the Woman's Movement, always feeling a huge amount of guilt because I didn't want a job in an office. I didn't want to be the CEO of a company or the president of a country or a scientist or a dance instructor. I just wanted to tend things.

I still feel that guilt.

What crap.

Yet, it unsettles me sometimes. The feeling that I've failed my gender, failed my community, failed my very world.

Unrelated Blah-Blah-Blah

Another cold, clear day in Lloyd but it's supposed to get up into the seventies and that makes me happy.
I am feeling quite productive in that I have already done some online shopping- two packages of the underwear I love and a set of Sony headphones.
Neither the type of underwear or the headphones seem to be available anywhere in Tallahassee any more but Amazon met my needs in less than five minutes. Sure, I have to wait a few days but who cares? I remember hearing an interview with Jeff Bezos about a million years ago when he was just cranking up Amazon and it still only sold books and I was like, "Whoa! Dude is going to make millions."
And yes he has and I'm grateful to be able to buy such prosaic stuff as underwear and headphones from his company. I've used these Sony headphones for years but the wires do get caught and pulled and they break but I still like them. They're lightweight and I can't deal with ear buds. Sorry, Steve Jobs, I hate the ear buds. My ears are obviously not constructed for them. I CAN do it but I don't like to.
Anyway, blah-blah-blah.

Here's a picture of Super Man. Lily sent it to me last night. I'm going to go stay with those boys for a few hours today and I'll try and get a good shot of Gibson, too. Maybe, for once, I'll get one of him smiling. We'll see. When I got to their house yesterday, I was informed that they were having an animal celebration. 
"Close your eyes!" said Owen. He loves to do this. Make me close my eyes and surprise me which is fine except for when I'm carrying Gibson and I admit I cheat and open my eyes enough to see where I'm being led. This was the case yesterday but I was still a bit surprised to discover that an animal celebration entailed every stuffed animal in the house in a pile on the floor of the living room. It truly was an animal celebration. Monkeys and dinosaurs and bears and rabbits and every animal you can plush-out and stuff. There were no cupcakes but beyond that, it was an excellent celebration. 
We shall see what sort of fun we can get up to today. I think that Boppy is going to come and join us and so we're going to have a fine time, I'm sure. 

Speaking of Boppy, I think he figured out what's in my leg. And no, it is not an alien. Or a tick. Or even a thorn. 
It is, wait for it...a hair. 
Yep. I think that we spent half an hour trying to remove a particularly dark, coarse hair from my leg. 
I should be ashamed to admit that but I am not. This is just life, folks. 

You know something I've been thinking about for awhile? The fact that I don't wake up in despair every day anymore. I can't really believe that, but it's true. Sure, I have my bad mornings but they are not the norm lately. Maybe some things do get better with age. Not leg hair, perhaps, but leg hair is easily dealt with. Far more easily dealt with than every-morning despair.

All right. I need to get a few things done before I head into town to take care of Super Man and his brother. It is a bright, clear day in Lloyd and I am not in despair. This is worthy of a celebration of some sort, animal, vegetable, or mineral, I am not sure. 

One more thing. I caught up on a little New Yorker reading yesterday and read an article about Dr. Oz. 

Quit believing in green coffee beans, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I Am Quite Aware That I Am Not A Superior Being, Part II

That's a picture I took last night of Dr. Mr. Moon as he was operating on the not-a-tick on my leg. He determined that it was really, possibly a thorn and spent about half an hour with the headlight, needle, tweezers, and a magnifying glass trying to remove it but he could not so he put some Neosporin and a band-aid on it and called it done. That was fine with me. It was a bit uncomfortable, having him dig around in the meat of my leg but it wasn't really that bad. Plus, I was watching Ancient Aliens over his shoulder the entire time which was a good distraction.

I love that show so much. Of course, one of the reasons is the man you see above. His name is Giorgio A. Tsoukalos and the reason I know this is not because of the show where I never pay attention to stuff like actual facts (and no one else does either) but because if you Google ancient aliens, guy with...
it'll go ahead and complete your phrase for you, the way Google so thoughtfully does with the word "hair" and then it'll take you someplace where you can find out that his name is actually, yes, Giorgio A. Tsoukalos. 
I find this guy fascinating and hysterical. It would appear that other people people do too. There are a lot of memes out there with his face on them. That one above is one of my favorites because ANCIENT ALIENS AND THE MAYANS GET ME SO FUCKING HIGH TOO! 
You think I'm joking here but if you really know me, you realize I'm actually pretty darn serious and look- we possibly-atheist folks need some loony magic in our lives just like the religious people do and HOW DID THEY BUILD THAT SHIT? 

And why? 
Ancient Aliens, y'all. 
History Channel.

Civilization is going to hell in a handbasket. 
And I'm going there too. 
With something in my leg. Which doesn't seem to hurt at all. What could it be? Why can't we get it out? What strange, small black object has lodged itself into the very fiber of my limb?

Better than a tick. 

Love...Ms. Moon

I Am Quite Aware That I Am Not A Superior Being

My god, it is beautiful today. The sun is creeping into all the spaces it can find, puddling and painting everything with gold. And it is cold. We're about to run out of gas and the gas guy is supposed to come this morning and I surely hope he does. I think so often about what it must have been like to live in this house back when it was built over a hundred and fifty years ago and how it must have been almost a full-time job in the winter, keeping the fires going and I wonder who chopped all that wood. There were six fireplaces, SIX! and that's not counting whatever they used in the kitchen which was detached from the house. And where was the outhouse and the chicken coop and the pig pen? Surely there was a pig pen. And a smoke house? And a garden? There must have been.
We are so lazy now, we humans of the modern world. We get in our autos and drive to the grocery and buy our vegetables, our pork, our fruit, our breads, our grains, our coffee. An entire planet's worth of agriculture and food production right there on the shelves for us to buy.
I was standing in the grocery store yesterday trying to decide what sort of tortillas to buy to make my chicken enchiladas and I almost broke down. There must have been at least three dozen different kinds of tortillas. The small corn ones, the large flour ones. The low-carb, high-fiber ones. Can those even be called tortillas? Just because they are round and flat doesn't make them anything that an actual Mexican would recognize as a tortilla.
I think.
Our over-abundance of food and the ease with which we can acquire it is such a blessing and also, we must admit, a curse. Obesity and diabetes were probably NOT a problem when it was a life-long struggle to consume a few more calories than were expended in producing and cooking the food we ate. And let us not forget the hauling of water. I lived in a house once with no running water and had to pump the water we used from a hand pump out back and believe me- I will never forget it. How did people do it? We like to thing we're so advanced now with our technology and our sciences and our every damn thing and we wouldn't last a fucking month if we couldn't get to the grocery store, if we didn't have electricity. I think a Neanderthal could learn to use an iPad a hell of a lot quicker than I could figure out how to feed myself if I were thrown back into the world the Neanderthal lived in. Or, well, even the world the people lived in who built this house.

All right. That's enough useless ruminating. I have to take my dogs to the groomer and how freaking ridiculous is that? These dogs will never die. Never. I will keel over and die myself and they will come and sniff my corpse and then probably pee on it. Then they'll go curl up and scratch their fleas.
And who will take them to the groomer then, I ask you?

Good morning from Lloyd. It is a beautiful day. I drink the rest of my smoothie from a glass. It has five kinds of fruit and yogurt in it. After I take the dogs, I need to take a walk because I did nothing to grow that fruit or harvest it and I did not milk a cow or a goat to make the yogurt and my body was constructed to do those things or something like them and quite honestly, it needs the physical activity more than it needs the fruit. And then I will take a shower in hot water which runs miraculously through pipes and appears at the twist of a wrist.
And I will not take that for granted.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Miracle Of Being Okay

I went to town and it was fine and nothing horrible happened and nothing great, either, except that I saw my grandsons, but only briefly, at the grocery store. I stocked up on food and stuff we need and tonight I'm making a chicken enchilada casserole which is going to be so good I can't stand it and also guacamole and I make excellent guacamole.
As my brother used to say, "No brag, just fact."
It rained and then it didn't rain and right before it went down, the sun came out and I'm feeling okay which is wonderful, really. Just okay can be the finest thing.

When I saw the boys I kept saying, "I have missed you so much!" and Owen looked at me as if he was fifteen and I was wearing leopard print and purple lipstick and trying to smear it all over his face with my lips.
Okay, I was wearing leopard print but no purple lipstick.
Gibson, on the other hand, looked at me as if I was god's best girlfriend, Pocahontas, Cinderella and a whole circus-full of clowns. The good kind, not the scary ones. I wanted to eat him up, starting with his fingertips.
Owen did let me kiss him good-bye. He even puckered up and smacked me back.
I have to see them tomorrow. There is just no doubt about it.

I think I have a tick embedded entirely in my leg but the internet tells me this is not possible.
Something's in there.

My hands smell of garlic and cilantro and the kitchen smells of onions and tomatoes. Mr. Moon and a friend are watching a basketball game on TV and they are pounding the floor with their feet and making manly and enthusiastic vocal noises. The friend brought over a bag of spinach that he picked an hour ago.

Okay. Okay. Yes, okay.

And you? How are you? I think about all of us seemingly entering and leaving these crazy moods at the same time. Why is that? Are you feeling okay tonight? And if so, aren't you grateful?

I walked today. I shaved my legs. I washed my hair. I kissed my grandsons. I picked cilantro from my garden, I gathered three eggs, two of them brown and one green. I didn't fall apart anywhere, nothing horrible happened. Not to me, anyway. I moved slowly and carefully and my umbrella broke but so what? I threw it away, I don't care. It was so old and such crap anyway. I had enough money to buy our food and laundry detergent. I went to the library where they let you borrow books for free.

It was okay. All okay.

It is good again. Nothing has changed but everything has changed and it is good again.

Don't Come Looking For Rainbows Here Today

Cement gray sky and there's a chopper moving back and forth overhead and I feel like I'm in downtown LA or something, okay, probably not but that helicopter, Jesus, I guess it's shooting radar on the interstate which is just a quarter mile or so down the road. Way to disturb the peace, motherfuckers!
Also, for those of us who grew up during the Viet Nam War era, a chopper sounds disturbingly like war. We got that footage every damn night on the TV while we ate our dinners of Ground Beef and Something casserole, iceberg lettuce with tomato and French dressing salad. Body bags and burning babies. Oh yeah, we ALL have PTSD whether we were there or not and if you were there, I don't know how you've managed to live this long. My stepfather, whose very presence made me physically ill would slop his dinner, no matter what it was, on slices of white bread and eat them, slowly, methodically, that's how they did it in the Depression and he never quit. He'd slur his words, talking constantly about the Veet Nam War, how they needed to use the bomb on those people, how these long-haired hippies ought to be shot. The man didn't drink but he sure could take some pills. My mother would try to make peace, try to create some reason and sanity where none existed, my little brothers sat wide-eyed, everyone just wanted to get the fuck out of there, get that dinner over with, get those dishes in the dishwasher, let that man get back in his chair in front of the TV, go back to our rooms and shut the doors, have at least the illusion of a barrier between us and him.
No wonder I became a hippie, it's a miracle I didn't become a Communist.
I dated a guy once who'd been a chopper pilot in Viet Nam. He was crazy as a sprayed roach. (Thank you, Pat for that phrase which I told you I would steal and now I have.) He really was. He loved the sound of the chopper. Do not ask me why.

I feel like I'm hungover and I am not. Valerian root tea? Maybe. I have to clear the cobwebs, get out there and walk, get to town and pretend to be a normal person, get some shit done. Also- make phone calls. Fuck. I hate making phone calls. I'd rather dig ditches. It's not cold, it's not warm. It's not raining, it's not clear. It's not late and it's sure not early. I got my best sleep this morning from six to nine. Dogs and light and tossing and turning and this is just one of those days. One of those cement-sky days, helicopter thudthudthudding overhead, not enough covering on the old basal ganglia to protect the delicate balance of intake and insight, azalea blossoms droop-down-dead and brown.
What are you going to do?
Grind it out, grind it out, get out there and grind it out.

Sometimes life's a beach, sometimes life's a bitch. Sometimes you are life's bitch. That is the reality of the situation.

We go on.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Where Does This Come From?

My old enemy, anxiety, has shown up today. From whence it comes, I do not know. It just arrives, unannounced, no precipitating event as far as I can tell.
"Here I am," it says, taking off its sweater. "Let's get a little torture going here. You look entirely too complacent."

Or so it seems, anyway.

I had a good, lovely walk this morning, three miles, not too fast but the sky overhead was blue as cobalt's dream of itself, crisscrossed by contrails. I stopped and chatted with Miss Iola who had the stomach flu too, and is still experiencing the aching misery in the back and leg muscles. But she had hung her clothes on the line and said she was trying to move around, do a little raking, trying to chase it away. And when I got home I went and worked in the garden again for a good hour or so, my progress slow but pleasant and then I moved a few iron plants to a bed in front of my bathroom, a little shovel work, and somehow, during all of this, the anxiety was niggling its way back and then somehow it was full-blown, okay, maybe only a five on a scale of 1-10, or maybe not even that much but enough for me to have to talk to myself about it all. To accept that I was feeling it, to try and use logic on it which never works, but one must try, at least. I have found that there is nothing in this world logical about anxiety and since it is the same mind which holds it that is trying to talk itself out of having it, it is sort of a fool's errand.
But. It doesn't hurt to acknowledge it. To realize that the sky is probably not falling, even if everything within me is insisting that it is indeed falling and something. What?
One never knows. At least not me.
I tried lying down for a little nap. Sometimes it's as if I can reboot the brain but today's attempt at that did not work. I slept for a little while but awoke in the same state of mind and it was hard to uncurl from my fetal position and get out of the bed but I did and here I am. Here I am. Here I am.

It's so hard to explain anxiety. As with the word "depression" the label doesn't begin to actually describe the situation. It's more like a low-level (or a high level when it's really bad) of panic than what I personally think of anxiety as being. That fight-or-flight feeling, the gut's reaction, the overwhelming sense that something is very, very wrong despite all evidence to the contrary. The feeling that everything I have done in my life is for naught and will lead to only bad ends, that it is all a false dream, I am nothing more than a fake, a pretender, a Very Good Actress whose skills are failing her, at last.

And so forth.

Ah, it's a most uncomfortable thing. I am drinking some teas that are supposed to help you sleep- Valarian and that sort of thing. I think about the article I read on Salon where a guy talked about drinking poppy-seed tea. That was his gate-way drug to heroin use (it was a painful story) and I sort of wish I had a good, hefty stash of poppy seeds although I really do not care to move on down that particular road to having to go to NYC and score heroin after the poppy seeds begin to fail which is what he did.
So I drink my tea and I will heat up leftovers for our supper and watch some TV and read and take a shower and do all the normal things and hopefully, this is just a little visit. A pitstop for anxiety on its way to somewhere else. Back to hell from where it comes, would be my wish but I have no control over that.

And no, we did not go to Dog Island. Again. Mr. Moon thought until the last minute that he might be making the trip to auction but he did not and so here we are and I have plenty to do this week.

So it's okay. It's all okay. And this is nothing, just a little thing, a small disturbance in the gut, the mind, it makes the thoughts race, the blood simmer with the tiny bubbles of fizzy worry but I have experience here and I know that this is not The Big Deal, which of course is what I fear when anxiety shows up and takes off its sweater. Being anxious about anxiety is ridiculous but there you go.


I don't think I've ever used that word before but now I have.

Peace, y'all. Peace.

Another cold, clear day and Mr. Moon just called. He left at six for the gym and I thought he was calling to say "good morning" the way he often does between work-out and work.
But not today.
"Need anything from town?" he asked.
"It's President's Day. I can't even get in the bank. I'm coming home."
Lord. We are not paying attention the way we should be.

I know you can get service animals for all sorts of things including, as Lily tells me, small dogs who protect their owners from anxiety, thus allowing the owners to take the dogs everywhere, including the grocery store. Could we, perhaps, get a very clever monkey to help us remember things around here? Because honestly, we could use some help.


So what's the deal with coconut oil? It seems to be the new miracle food supplement and according to claims, can help prevent and even reverse things as diverse as Alzheimer's, candida, and diabetes (when, of course, combined with the restriction of carbohydrates and liberal use of the oil). So now I'm supposed to get rid of the fish oil and flax and simply start using coconut oil? Jeez. Whatever happened to wheat germ? To nutritional yeast? To soy protein? To Vitamins C, D, B12 and E?
I can't keep up with this shit. I did buy and am using coconut oil. I admit it. Why not?
Still. A clever monkey might be a better answer. I'll bet monkeys like coconut oil. They might get testy if you tried to restrict their carbohydrates, however.

I don't know. It's Monday. I have got to take a walk. Mr. Moon is not going to work and he will not be going out of town, most likely, due to the fact that all of his possible customers' phone numbers are in the bank. Which, if he had a clever monkey, could possibly break into the bank for him and get those numbers.
Or maybe an orangutan. They're not monkeys but they are very, very clever. An orangutan could probably by-pass the alarm system and get into his office and retrieve the necessary information. Especially one hopped up on coconut oil.

Maybe we should just load up the boat and go to Dog Island. No one needs me until Thursday at least. I'm going to run that by the man. See what he says. It's supposed to warm up here some.
He'll probably say no. He'll probably tell me that he has to get back to work tomorrow. And he's probably right. But it's a nice thought. The idea of being on the island in the middle of a winter's week. No one will be there. We could probably go for three days without seeing another soul.

Why is that idea so appealing to me? When did I stop wanting to see people? When did I start preferring chickens and cardinals to people? When did I stop buying clothes, going out on Friday night and giving a shit about things? When did I stop paying attention? Or, at least stop paying attention to anything beyond my yard?

I don't know. I'm only half way through that jar of coconut oil. I'll let you know if things change when I finish it. Meanwhile, if you know any clever monkeys who are looking for jobs as service animals, shoot me an e-mail.

Happy Monday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sweetness And Lots Of Light

Why are some days so much better than others? I don't think I'll ever know. Perhaps there is a complicated formula in which the variables are things like amount of sunshine received and amount of sleep gotten and the colors and subjects of dreams. Of course we would have to include such things as the position of the planets and the moon, what we ate the day before, and when the last time we made love was. All of these things must be considered, I think.
For whatever reason, though, today has been a good day.
It was, in fact, such a good day that I finally got up the whatever-it-is-that-it-takes-me to call and make reservations for a room for a wedding Mr. Moon and I are going to attend at the end of March up in Georgia. This is going to be a full-blown wedding, the wedding of the third son of one of my oldest friends and I am sure beyond doubt that it is going to be done well and done big.
I really don't want to miss it, even if the thought of going out and finding something to wear is so daunting that I can hardly bear it. I have been putting off simply making the reservations call for a week but today in the face of such a fine mood and so much sunshine, I did it. When I pushed the "off" button on the phone after getting my confirmation number I felt like Uncle Si on Duck Dynasty who is frequently known to announce, "It is ON! It is ON like Donkey Kong!"

Amen, Uncle Si! Amen!

Now tomorrow I'll probably wake up and think, "Oh Jesus. I can't go to that wedding," but now I have to. I've made the damn reservations.

Anyway, Lord, how much can one person talk about the simple making of reservations? Obviously, a lot.

We got in the garden, too. I sort of just wanted Mr. Moon to get in there and till that shit under but he decided to do some weeding so what could I do but put on my overalls and join him? I didn't do much, honestly. Just enough to make my wrist hurt enough for me to actually consider going to see a doctor about it. Eventually. Maybe. It's only been hurting me and waking me up regularly at night for approximately twenty-seven years now. I'm not one to rush in to see a doctor for every little thing.
Or...almost anything.

While we were in the garden I decided to let the chickens in to join us. I have no idea why but almost nothing makes me happier than working in the garden with the chickens all around us. I love how Elvis rushes in first and makes that ooooh sound he makes, alerting the hens to vast opportunity of the culinary kind. They pecked around in utter ecstasy for quite some time and then discovered the collards and now my greens all have delicately tattered edges. Oh well. I don't care. I have a pot boiling with some I picked earlier for our supper and I am glad to share the riches.

So yes, just those simple things have made me happy. Chickens and pulling weeds and the good clean sunshine and the cooking of beans with the last of the funeral ham which I pulled out of the freezer and the greens I have simmering with tomatoes and onions. The rising sourdough loaf. Hanging out with my husband, the prospect of yet another cozy evening in, a phone call accomplished.

And this:

The birds at my feeder. I have never seen as many cardinals as we have this year. That last picture is what a male cardinal in the light of the setting sun looks like. As if he might burst into flames at any moment. The azalea blooms may be history but there are still the camellia blossoms and the bright fire of the cardinals, the red and yellow stripe of color on the blackbirds' wings, a swoop of it as they sing their rusty song and then suddenly, burst forth with such a sweet whistle of a sound that it reminds me of syrup, poured out of a bottle.

My wrist hurts. I'm going to quit writing now and go stir my beans and decide whether or not to add rice to the pot.

I am happy. For no apparent reason and for every reason on earth.

Today the world is sweet for me and I am grateful and do not even care why overmuch.

No Matter What

Well, the azaleas sure were pretty while they lasted. The freeze we had last night bit them hard and the blossoms are heads-down this morning and will be nothing but a memory in a day or two. We're supposed to get another hard freeze tonight.

So it goes. I got up at four this morning, remembering suddenly the giant begonias I am trying to root on the back porch as well as the orchid I'd brought home from my mother's room after she died. She took such delight in that orchid. Lily gave it to her and it seemed to bloom far more frequently than an orchid should. I pulled on Jessie's old bathrobe which has been hanging from a hook in the off-the-kitchen bathroom for years and which I've recently appropriated as my own and came out to a freezing darkness and brought the pots inside. Then I remembered that I'd forgotten to make coffee the night before and so I did that, too. I was having a hard night of it anyway, sleeping and waking and sleeping and waking. I would have settled down to read for awhile in the guest room but I couldn't remember where I'd put the book I'd been reading and so gave it up and went back to bed and eventually, I did sleep.

Forgetting and remembering. These are things I do most frequently these days.

Just now I am remembering a dream I had. I was at the beach and somehow, there was an entire herd of cattle, some of them in the water and some of them on the shore. Some of them were pure black and they were the glossiest things I have ever seen in dreamworld. They shone like ebony and all of the cattle had noses of that same black, some of them lined up together as they swam, their bodies underwater. I have no idea what that means. They rather delighted me, these bovine creatures I was sharing my beach with.

The mind is such a strange thing, is it not?

Despite my nocturnal ramblings and my dreams, I am in a fine mood this morning. It is cold but the sun is shining brightly, as brightly as it did in that dream and it reflects off the leaves of the magnolia, the camellias, the way it did off the water and the backs of the glossy black cows while I was sleeping. We have eaten our breakfast of pancakes and while I was making it, I made up some sourdough. One should not ignore the starter go for more than a week and I hate to throw some of it out in order to feed it. It just seems more sensible to make a loaf of bread with it. There is laundry running and I am not sure what we are doing today. And even as I say that, I realize that the day is slipping away as days will do. The older I get, the more loath I am to allow that to happen. To let a day go by without having something I can point to and say, "I accomplished this, at least." Quite frequently, the thing I can point to is something I have written here. It may not be much, but that is my joy. In the library book I am reading which is yet another Alexander McCall Smith novel, there is a discussion about that which is merely a talent or a job one has and that which is an intrinsic part of who one is. A politician is no longer a politician after he retires from office but a painter who is no longer painting is still a painter, is he not? And the person in the book who was speaking said something to the effect that painting is not just something he does, it is the very idea of the painting he is about to do which gets him out of bed every day.

I pondered this.
I do not really think of myself as a writer and yet, is it not the idea of this sitting and writing which gets me out of bed every day? Of course I would get up anyway, I suppose. The needs of the chickens and the dogs alone would be reason to do that. And yet...
There will be a day when I don't have either chickens or dogs. I am ecstatic at the idea of not having dogs eventually and saddened at the the idea of not having chickens but that is the truth of the matter- that one day I will have neither. And what will get me up then? What will pull me from my bed which most ironically feels the best and most satisfying when it is time to leave it?

I believe it will still be the writing. I think. I hope. I may forget to make the coffee or bring pots of rooting plants in during a freeze but I hope I will remember to sit and write every day. It is as unthinkable to me that I would forget to do that, that I would not yearn to do that, as it would be for me to forget my name, to forget to eat.

All right. There. I have written it all out for now. The dreams and the cold and the dropping azalea blossoms which the freeze robbed of life. The desire to write.

Time to move on to other things. There is this day in which the birds sing and the chickens scratch, seemingly unaffected by the cold. I have no idea what I'm doing with it, this day.

But. I have written. And in doing so, I have satisfied some inherent need within me.

Thanks for coming along with me, those of you who are. I would wish for you that there is something you do every day of your life if at all possible which brings you as much satisfaction.

Yours in words...Ms. Moon

Saturday, February 16, 2013

How To Cook

I just threw a casserole dish of cube steaks in the oven and I've been thinking as I've cooked about all the different influences that go into that dish.
They're venison cube steaks so that's my husband's influence, of course in that he brought home the deer and I had never cooked cube steak until I cooked the deer ones so I had no idea how to do it. I asked Billy to ask MawMaw how she did it because he always bragged on her cubed steak- beef, not venison, but still.
Turns out you have to soak the meat in Pet Milk before you cook it and although I don't use Pet Milk, just regular milk, I soak it. I also add Worcestershire sauce to the milk, not too much, just some, and garlic salt too. Then, I do like MawMaw says and dip that meat in some flour with salt and pepper and although MawMaw sort of deep fries hers, I just brown mine in the skillet with some olive oil and then put the pieces in a baking dish and let them rest there while I cut up onions or leeks and mushrooms, mostly, usually, portobello mushrooms and saute them in the same skillet I did the meat in. When they're tender, I put them over the patiently-waiting meat and then I make a gravy of sorts. I use olive oil and whatever flour I had left from the breading of the steaks and the leftover milk and Worcestershire marinade and more black pepper and I make that according to how I learned to make a white sauce from a cookbook I grew up with and still have a copy of which is so old that the pictures in it are hand-tinted and I cherish it.
I add some soy sauce which I learned from a Farm Vegetarian back in the day, y'all, on a hill in Tennessee on a meatless Thanksgiving Day, one of the coldest days I remember in my life, and I remember the woman telling me that she'd put her soy sauce gravy up against her mama's chicken gravy any day and I think she was right.
I put that gravy over the meat and onions and mushrooms and I put a lid on it and I bake it in the oven.
It's real good.

So there's my husband in there and my childhood cookbook and that Farm Vegetarian and her chicken-gravy-making mama too. And Maw Maw and Billy, of course. And probably Granny Matthews whom I really learned to cook from, watching her walk around the kitchen wearing a nylon negligee grabbing a little of this and crushing it up and stirring in a little of that and tasting it all and putting a lid on it and letting it simmer.

I've got potatoes and garlic bubbling away together in salty water and I'll smash them up with some milk and a little sour cream for mashed potatoes and I'm warming up some okra and tomatoes I made a few days ago and that'll be supper. It'll be good.

I'm thinking about my mother tonight and how she got dinner on the table every night and how it wasn't ever really delicious but it was okay and we grew up fine on what she cooked, even if the meatloaf had suspicious alphabet noodles in it and I wonder what it was that my mother did for a creative outlet and I do not know. Which makes me as sad as anything. I am remembering the day she discovered frozen loaves of white bread in the grocery store and how when she brought them home and thawed them and let them rise and baked them something happened in my brain and I suddenly understood that bread did not necessarily come from The Sunbeam Bread Girl.

And then I went to Europe and learned more about bread and then I came home and followed the path of the hippie girl and then I moved to neighborhoods where I learned about cooking cornbread and beans and was told by my across-the-street neighbor that I could cook better than any white girl he ever met and that was one of the proudest moments of my life except for when I was told that I danced real good for a white girl.

I don't even know how it all happened. I just know it did.

Clean as you go. That's my advice. Don't worry overmuch about seasoning your cast iron. Just use it. It'll last forever.

It's been a real slow day but we're going to eat well tonight.
I hope the same for you.

Love...Ms. Moon

I Should Have, Maybe Not

This day. Ugh. It's gray again and chilly and vultures have flown in and roosted in my magnolia tree. Either something is dead or my garbage really does smell bad.
All the chickens and the cat are alive. Must be the garbage.
Did you know that vultures grunt? I didn't until just now.
I'll say it again- ugh.

Yes, we went out last night. Yes. It was fun. Sort of. I don't think I like to go out anymore. Newsflash, right? It's too much. I go to the bathroom and worry as I'm leaving that all my various layers of costumage are correctly arranged. I always feel like I'm wearing a costume when I go out on the town. Skirt, tights, underthingee, shirt, overthingee, shawl. Whatever. Jesus. What if I think I'm pulling down the underthingee when actually I'm pulling down the skirt? Oh dear. That would be bad.
I hadn't put on make-up in so long that I honestly could not remember the last time. When I went to apply it last night, I realized that Owen has been in it and that his method of application involves gouging it out with a finger or busting it up with a brush.
Oh well.
Lon and Lis were wonderful. They always are. I saw some folks I love. That was excellent.
I got mad at my husband for a stupid reason. Stupid.
Some random guy in a striped shirt put his arm around me and I wanted to smack him and I didn't and I should have.

Dinner was delicious.

Overall, though, it is probably best for me to stay home and make our supper and watch Duck Dynasty or something. I am feeling today as if I am never, ever going to achieve squat. I realized yesterday that Valentine's Day is the day we're supposed to have our peas and potatoes in the ground. Not to mention the onions and lettuces. My garden looks like a meadow. It hasn't been tilled, it isn't ready for anything.

Jeez. I have no idea what I'm doing today. No one really needs me which is odd. I suppose I could clean the house because it needs it. I could get in the garden but this weather sucks. I could go to town but no thanks. I'm worthless. I'm useless. The world goes on full of amazing people making a difference and making art and making strides and I sit here and worry about vultures and underthingees.
I made oatmeal.
I hated it.

I should have smacked that man last night.

I've been trying to get this written for about four hours now. Okay, three. Whatever.

It's going to freeze hard tonight.

God. I am useless.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Oh My God

We're out in the town.

Everyday Magic

The sun's back out and it's cold. Cold, I tell you! Well, down in the thirties which for us is cold.

So...a meteorite injured five hundred people in Russia? What? Aren't they keeping track of these things? Can you imagine how scary that would be? Those things are supposed to stay in the damn sky. That's my scientific assessment of that event.

Yesterday Owen wanted to play something new. He wanted his grandmother and grandfather to pretend we were married which we are incredibly good at. I believe he meant he wanted us to pretend we were having a wedding but still. I said, "What do married people do?"
He looked at me as if I'd recently fallen off a turnip truck and said, "Dance."
So he sat on the stairs holding the alligator xylophone and played dance music and Boppy and I danced together, Gibson on my hip. It was a lovely wedding.
Gibson's cutting molars and has the resulting diarrhea which makes his little butt hurt so he's not as happy as he usually is. He wants to be held. I hold him. It's tough being a baby. People don't realize that, I think. It must be perfectly miserable to have tooth pain, tummy pain and butt pain all at the same time. We'd be begging for drugs if it was us but Gibson just sits in my lap or on my hip looking seriously at the world. Owen did a lot of puzzles yesterday. It's like he's all of a sudden figured out the puzzle thing. Look out, Will Shortz! There's a new puzzle master in town! So there was puzzle-doing and baby-holding and wedding dancing. There was also bed-fishing and cookie-making. Diaper-changing and snack-eating. My lunch was two leftover fajitas eaten standing up in the kitchen. It was a busy day. I also had the pure pleasure of reading Shel Silverstein's "A Giraffe And A Half" to Owen and he laughed so hard I thought he'd pop. Another interesting interlude came when Owen demonstrated what it would be like to have baby dinosaurs in your pants.
It tickles. Obviously.
The kid never quits.

Last night Lily sent me a picture of a boo-boo he got near his eye when he whacked a chair. She made the mistake of showing him the picture too and he freaked out thinking that all of his blood was going to run out. He had to talk to me on the phone about it and also about the fact that he'd left his brother's Valentine's Day stuffed animal here. He was devastated. I told him he would be fine and that he could get his brother's dog or whatever the hell that thing is today. They're coming out again for awhile. Here's what the chair in my hallway looks like right now.

We really need more stuffed animals.
Awhile back, Owen found an entire stash of his aunt Jessie's and his mother's old Beanie Babies. They live in a canvas shopping bag now and yesterday he brought those out and set up a museum. You know, I can't recall a time in my life EVER when there wasn't toys all over my house. Toys and books. Yesterday I asked Owen if he thought my house was "magical."
He considered this.
"No," he answered.
I think he does. He just doesn't realize it.

It is when he's here, anyway.

Well, let the magic proceed. Watch out for meteorites.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon