Saturday, August 31, 2013

Such Peace

Precisely because my life is so full and has been for so many years (and fullness is, of course, defined by me and who better to define it, speaking as I am of my own life?), when I get some time to myself, I am grateful beyond measure, almost to the point where I feel guilty but the older I get, the less guilt I feel about this. I know who I am and for whatever reasons there may be, I am completely and perfectly content to spend time by myself. There is no question that I love my husband and my children and my grandsons and my friends but there is also no doubt that in solitude, I am most relaxed and at peace.

And so it is tonight. After last night's wild ride with the boys and spaghetti and The Rolling Stones and dancing and bathing and sleeping and not-sleeping and whatever happened in that chicken coop, the quiet here tonight is a great balm to my soul.

I got quite a bit done today and have felt, despite my lack of sleep, very, very good. And when I had gotten the laundry done and the kitchen cleaned up and the sheets on the bed changed and everything made tidy again, I laid down on that tidy bed and read a few chapters of Alexander McCall Smith's The Right Attitude Towards Rain, which is part of his Isabel Dalhousie series. There is something so incredibly soothing (and yes, I overuse that word, it is one of my favorites) about the writing of Mr. McCall Smith. His characters, especially his female characters, have a rich inner life wherein they ponder the Great Questions and this resounds with me. I, too, think about everything way too much, and although unlike Isabel, I have no degree in philosophy, I try to weigh everything in accordance with more than one scale. Like Isabel, I try to be kind but frequently fail. I aspire to apply, as Isabel does, moral ethics to my life but well, we are human as well as angel. We are devil, as well as god. We are meat, as well as spirit.
And so I read a few of of those chapters and then I closed my eyes and took a most heavenly nap of perhaps an hour, the landline completely unplugged, the room dark and cool.

When I got up I had some coffee and then I took my real camera outside to take some pictures because I never do that anymore. The iPhone is good enough, and really, for my needs, better than that, but sometimes it is good to take the time to stop and focus, to look with a more discerning eye, to give literally and figuratively more weight to what I am doing, although honestly, I cannot say that the pictures are much better. I am no photographer.
But here is what I saw, here is what I recorded on a Saturday evening on the last day of August, 2013 in Lloyd, Florida.

The red passion flower, finally and at last, blooming after an afternoon shower.

Our orphan. I have no idea if this chick will survive without her mama. Mr. Moon, as I said, took care of the gaps in her coop and so perhaps she will be safe. I have no idea if a chicken can suffer from trauma. Perhaps. I know for a fact that she is no longer making her here-I-am-mama peeping noise. But there she is. He is? I hope she lives long enough for us to know whether she is hen or rooster. And then another long, long set of years. But it's not up to me. We shall do the best we can and that is all we can do, as I so oddly said last night of her mother who probably saved her life. 

The outside Buddha with a red impatiens. Remember when Owen used to love to move him around and called him "Buddhey"? 

The golden orb weaver who lives above the porch swing with her mate. You really can't get a perspective on how large she is. Large. Very, very large. 

The fallen tree in the back yard. And again- you can't get perspective. It is larger than large. It is huge. 

The cones of the Pinecone Lilies. Soon they will turn scarlet. 

The sky to the west. This may be the face of god or it may be a simple miracle of our planet. Or both.

And now, the pictures following were indeed taken with the iPhone. 

Another miracle- the miracle of the Shape Of The Egg. This is what my hens laid today. Each hen lays her own distinct egg and they are all beautiful to me. 

Part of what lies atop my kitchen hutch which has been with me since 1979. It occurred to me, when I took the picture, that at least three of the things you see in that picture were sent to me as gifts as a direct result of this blog. And the red pitcher belonged to my Lynn. 

And that's all. It's Saturday night and I am sipping an icy martini because no one needs me and I am not going anywhere and as a friend of mine used to say, "If you can't drink alone, who CAN you drink with?" and I am going to cook my little piece of salmon with lemon juice and dill. It is so quiet that I can hear myself think, although when I go into the kitchen to cook, I will turn on Prairie Home Companion because Garrison Keillor's voice is as soothing as that of Isabel Dalhousie's and the news from Lake Woebegon is not unlike the news from Lloyd. Always the same and yet eternally changing, sometimes funny and sometimes tragic, often joyful, frequently absurd. 

A cardinal is perched in the camellia beside the bird feeder, chip-chirping, the sun is setting, and I am alone but as far from being lonely as it is possible to be. 

And I am happy. 

A Sleep-Over Of Mixed Blessings

Well, today is...god. I don't even know.

The boys went to sleep around 10:30 last night, both of them around the same time. I had Gibson in the pack-n-play in the bedroom with me and Owen in the bed beside me. Boppy slept in our old room.
By himself. And I'd arranged all of that.
I woke up about 1:30 and thought, "Wow. Maybe Gibson will sleep through the night!" as he does at times. He must have read my powerful mind-thoughts though, because he woke up right that second and started crying so I got up with him and gave him a bottle, as his mama said to do if he woke up and we sat in the dark and I rocked him and gave him his milk but then, instead of being content to be put back into his own bed (which Lily says is what happens at home), he refused to lay down and cried piteously so I picked him up and brought him into bed with me and Owen where he alternately held on to me like a cuddly tick, flailed, scratched his bug bites, kicked, and punched. This went on for about three hours until I got back up with him, changed his diaper, gave him some Benadryl and some more bottle, and finally got him to the point where I could put him back into his bed.
It was then about 5:30 a.m. and by this time I felt terribly horrible about anyone who has ever been tortured by sleep deprivation because it is the worst and really, I would have preferred bamboo shoots under the fingernails although maybe not waterboarding. Hard to say.

My Torturer, Eating Watermelon For Breakfast

Owen slept like a champ through all of it. He woke up slightly at one point to ask politely for more covers. When he got up this morning, he asked me and his grandfather how our naps were and said that he'd like to just have a sleep-over every night and really, that would be okay. 

And of course, the morning sweetness made up for a lot of torture.

But then. Oh god. This is just horrible. Nature is bloody in both tooth and claw, y'all. 
We went out to let the chickens out and feed them and B.B. was OUT OF THE COOP and how that happened, we do not know because the door was tightly shut and Mr. Moon found Baby, dead in the corner of the coop, almost entirely eaten.
So. Fuck. Shit. 
Some animal, probably a coon or a possum, climbed up the coop and got in through a tiny vent space and murdered my Baby chicken and I'm sure she died protecting her chick. 
I feel sick. Just sick. 
We thought with all of our hearts that we were doing the right thing, keeping them in the coop which no animal but a squirrel had ever broached before. But you know what? Everything likes to eat chicken. Every creature with teeth on this earth loves to eat chicken and coons and possums are wily and capable and maybe Baby would still be alive if we'd let them out where they could have roosted up in a tree. 
Who knows? 
Obviously, not us. 

Owen took the news with more equanimity than either his grandfather or I did. "Maybe you get another mother for B.B.," he said. But he allowed as how it was very sad and he told his mother and father all about it when they got here to pick their sons up. Neither Owen nor Gibson nor I saw the remains, of course, and Mr. Moon buried what was left of Baby in a real grave of sorts. We loved that bold, crazy little mama. 

Well, you know- you raise chickens, you fall in love with them, you're going to get your heart broken. That's just the way it is. B.B. is back in the coop and Mr. Moon is closing that little gap and getting ready to go to Georgia. The boys have gone home with their parents who had Big Fun last night from what I hear. I sure hope they did. They deserved it. And the boys and Mr. Moon and I had fun too, up until the torture began and Mr. Moon's nap went quite well, or so he reported this morning. I actually feel about a million times better than I did yesterday, despite the lack of sleep and go figure. I'm washing sheets and drinking coffee and pondering the unfairness of life in ways both good and bad. Sweetness and slaughter, sleeplessness and coffee and feeling better, gorgeous boys who love and kiss me and their grandfather. 

I don't understand or have an answer to any of it and I guess if there's one thing I am yet to learn on this earth, it is that here we are, this is the way it is, it's what you do with the reality of it all that matters. 

Or something like that. 

I just know I'm lucky and I can take a nap today and that it stormed and rained like a motherfucker last night and it was beautiful and Owen and Gibson and I sat on the porch swing and watched it and smelled it and the lady spider above us (huge now) neither fell nor pooped on us and that was glory and Gibson wanted me to do the Eensy-Weensy Spider with his willing little hands over and over again and I did and he laughed and laughed. 


All is as well as it can be. 

Friday, August 30, 2013

Don't Ask Me

It has been a rather shockingly low-energy day for me. I finally got it together to get off the couch and went and took a nap.
That kind of day.
But I feel some better now and have spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove. Owen likes spaghetti but WITH NO MEATBALLS! He's never had meatballs so we're a bit mystified about that one. He does like meat in the sauce though, so I thawed out some Tennessee grass fed ground beef from the freezer in the garage and used that. I hope he likes it.
Gibson, of course, likes everything.

I am a little nervous, and I know that's silly, to be having both boys overnight. We have no patterns and rituals established here for a sleepover. I'm sure it'll be fine. I'm an over-worrier and that's all there is to that.

Mr. Moon's had a fabulous day. The bow kit (don't ask me) that he needs for gator hunting (don't ask me) has finally arrived just in time for next week's night-time river prowls in search for the elusive monster gator. He managed to sell two trade-ins and not lose money on them. And the railroad company has promised to have someone here on Tuesday to deal with this giant oak tree which fell on our property some weeks ago. Remember that? It's just been laying there dying ever since. We expected no help from them at all, to be truthful, but explored the option before we hired someone to do the job so this is good news. And tomorrow he's heading up to the Georgia hunting camp so he's out in the garage getting things ready for that. Don't ask me.

The boys will be here soon and things will get jiggy real quick. And after they leave tomorrow, I will have at least 24 hours of solitude. I might even go to a movie.
Or I might not.
We shall see. I swear to you- I can't even start to predict a damn thing around here and I've quit trying.

I'll let you know how it goes.

And I sent the letter. If I did nothing else today (and that's pretty much the deal), I sent the damn letter.

Thank you, all of you, for having our back on this one. I could feel your universal aghastness and somehow, that helped a whole lot.

I love you.
Ms. Moon

Best thing I've read all day.

30 Things To Tell A Book Snob

Matt Haig

You're welcome. Now I'm going to bed.

And Shit

It's been a week of being all sober and shit and eating pretty healthy and shit and exercising and shit and I feel like...shit.

I can barely walk, my hips feel like they're made of splintery boards, my energy is at a level where the idea of walking as far as the post office seems completely impossible, my brain feels foggy again, and I sort of just want to cry.

I shouldn't complain but goddammit, if I can be vocally grateful on the days when I feel good, shouldn't it be all right to bitch when I don't? Frankly, I don't care if it's all right. I'm just going to do it.

I've got to just pull it together here because the boys are having their first duo sleep-over with MerMer and Bop tonight. Lily and Jason haven't had a night to themselves since 2011 and that's just wrong.
I will pull it together. I always do.
In the meantime, there may be some Bravo TV watching going on around here.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon, The Old and Crippled

Thursday, August 29, 2013

We Try

I wrote the letter. I went over the incident. I said that children's feelings are just as valid as adults'. I said that telling them they must deny their feelings is dangerous (thank-you, Angella) and that what the assistant had done would never have been tolerated if directed towards an adult. I didn't rant and I didn't rave, I just said what I wanted to say. I printed it, I signed it, I put it in an envelope, I addressed it. I will put a stamp on it and mail it tomorrow.
I don't want this to be an e-mail. I want it to be a real paper letter.

Here's what I'm ashamed of- I KNEW I should speak up yesterday. I knew it. When that woman had her hand on my grandson and he put his hand on hers and wanted to push it off of him but was afraid or too polite, or whatever...I should have said something.

We all know I have a huge phobia about doctors. I just do. And as much as I have diligently searched my mind for a possible reason, I can't quite figure it out. My earliest memory of a doctor is a positive one. I had strep throat and my mother took me to a pediatrician and she was a woman and she was very sweet and I have no negative feelings associated with that memory. I suppose the whole thing could have started with the flu shots I had to get from another pediatrician when I was a little older. He was actually a friend of my mother's and I knew him but I was terrified of that needle and it took him and the nurse and my mother to hold me down. Was that it? Was it?

I don't know but I do know that I have been horribly intimidated by doctors my entire life and that's probably one of the reasons home birth appealed to me so. If I was at home, no doctor could talk me into something I didn't want to do. And that turned out to be true.
You know, I don't think intimidated is the right word. And it's not just doctors. It's anyone who works in a doctor's office. I think sometimes I went to nursing school to try and work through that phobia or neurosis or whatever it is and it did not work.
I get nervous and anxious when I go to a doctor's appointment with someone I love.
I literally drive out of my way to avoid driving by the hospital. This is not sane. But I do it.

And so all of this, I suppose, is to explain why I didn't speak up yesterday. Well, all of this and also the fact that I didn't want to jump down her throat in front of Owen. I didn't want to make it worse than it was. And yet, part of me thinks that it would have been good for Owen to know that his grandmother, his family, is here to protect him.

I don't know. Maybe I'm making too much of the whole deal but I don't think so and I'm not especially proud of the way things went and maybe what I should have done was to go directly back into the office and speak to the dentist and the woman while Lily was getting the boys in the car. We were both so stunned, Lily and I. Stunned into speechlessness for that moment?

I don't know. But I have written the letter and tomorrow I will send it and I will have done my job. I have had a dream-within-a-dream day and even though there was some sort of deep wrongness in the way the yeast in my bread performed when I baked the loaf, it will still taste good as the recipe is one of my oldest favorite ones and has corn flour and whole wheat, molasses, ground cloves, raisins and lemon peel in it. I have taken leftover soup and leftover beans and corn and other things and made a different soup. A soup and a bread and clothes dried on the line and a letter and a day in my life and I think tomorrow I may let Baby and her baby out of the coop because they are partly wild-things and right now, they are up on the highest perch and that child-chick is huddled against her tiny mother, the tiny mother with her wing spread over her baby as best as she can do it.

Such A Gorgeous Day

It's been a little crazy around here already today and I feel guilty because I'm sitting in my beautiful office with the jet-plane-engine fan blowing not-hot air on me and I can look out and see my still blooming phlox and occasionally Elvis and the chickens and the leaves fluttering down in my backyard. They know fall is coming and these, the least-attached (does that make them the most Zen-like?) are letting go early and look a little like yellow butterflies and I also just saw one of those.
I feel guilty because I haven't made the bed/done the dishes.
Honestly. That's ridiculous. But I took a walk and I've got clothes hanging on the line (I am trying very hard these days to pronounce the "th" in "clothes" because I never did, my whole life, just said, "close" and now I want to pronounce it correctly, don't fucking ask me why.
So this morning there was a huge sound of machinery and THEN, I heard a radio come on like the Voice of God, then turned down a bit but I could still hear a man's voice either ranting or preaching, one or the other, and then music started up and I could hear things like, "You are the hope!" and I knew it had been preaching and oh god. No.
So I went for my walk and I saw that the machinery was two things- one, the guys at the church next door were doing yardwork (and they keep that place so tidy and neat) and two, there was a truck the size of Wisconsin and it appeared to be digging holes in the ground for power poles, I guess.
And the radio was set at the church, outside, so that the yardworkers could hear the Message Of God over the sounds of the machinery and well, you know.
No, no, no.

When I got back from my walk the truck was still there, the radio still blasting another sermon. A ranty sermon and the preacher was probably a good preacher but I ain't got the patience and I ain't a Christian and so I walked over there in my sweat-stink clothes and I talked to a very nice young man and I said, "I'm your neighbor. I live next door. And I'm sorry to complain because y'all are such good neighbors but I am trying to write something and your radio is very loud and it's hard to write while listening to a sermon."
That was good, right? It made it sound less like I hated his GOD NOISE and more like I was a little interested in the sermon but it was interfering with my (possible) work.
And he smiled and he turned it down and now the truck is gone too but all of this has made me realize that they're supposed to lay a sidewalk in front of my house at some point (it was supposed to happen in July but, well, no, it did not) and that's going to be another sort of hell.

Anyway, it's peaceful now again and I'm staying in Lloyd today, all day unless some unforeseen emergency arises and I hope it doesn't. I feel better today and I just want to move slowly about this place I love on this beautiful day and do tiny things in my tiny world and be grateful for it all- feeling better and clothes on the line and chickens and food to eat and flowers blooming and a bed to make where I sleep with my love and running water to wash my dishes in when I get around to do doing those things.

It's that sort of day and it has been given unto me and to ignore it, to not breathe it all in and appreciate it would be a wrongness of which I will not be a part of.

And I'm going to write a letter to that dentist because the more I think about what that woman did yesterday, the angrier I get. It's not just for my particular precious baby but for all of the babies she gets paid to interact with.
Fuck her.

Okay. That's the story from here.

Time to hang some more cloTHes on the line.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Power And Powerlessness, Despair And Hope

The dentist went fine and Owen was very brave and was allowed to select a full-sized, rather awesome squirt gun from the selection of rewards for the "big boys" but when he saw his mother after the whole thing was over and he was clutching his water gun to his chest, he threw himself at her and began to cry which I think was probably completely normal and understandable. Going to the dentist is stressful and for a boy not-quite four, even more so, and they had insisted that he go back without his mother.
But. And oh.
I wanted so badly to smack the dental assistant who actually physically removed Owen from his mother and made him stop crying and breathe and told him that he had been given his present because he was so brave and that if he didn't stop crying, they would take it back and I can't believe they let that woman work there.
She kept her hand on him and he didn't want her hand on him and I felt helpless for him.

It probably bothered me far more than it bothered Owen but still.
I hated her in that moment, that woman.

I listened to some of the speeches today from the commemoration of Dr. King's I Have A Dream Speech and I cringed when his daughter, Rev. Bernice King, cited places like Syria, Egypt and Florida as places where freedoms are denied. I missed the speeches of Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter and I should go and listen to them on the internet. I admire those men so much. President Carter, especially. It seems to me that both of them have worked tirelessly since leaving their offices as president to help the powerless, the ill, the under-represented.
I read a quote on the blog of a Savannah writer, Jane Fishman, from Carter and I keep thinking about it. Fishman had gone to Plains, Ga. to attend his Sunday School class and in it, Carter had asked the question, "What is the purpose of our life?" and then answered it with the words, "Healing the sick and reaching out to the despised."
I am not exactly sure what that word means to Carter- the despised- but to my heart and soul, I think we must try, if we can, to reach out to the powerless, to those who have little or no control over the destiny of their lives and isn't that what all sorts of civil rights are about? That all of us should be able to start from as common a place as possible to live our lives, no matter our status in life, our skin color, our sexual identity, our talents, our handicaps, our beliefs about religion, our wealth or our poverty?
Shouldn't we?
And isn't it about not allowing those who are traditionally in power, be it governments or priests, to hold anyone back, to deny rights and liberties based on any of those things? Not only to not allow them to deny, but to make sure that they are the very people who make those denials unlawful, immoral?

I don't know.

And then I think about Owen and that woman who had her hand on him, who, from her position of stupid power as an adult, as someone who controlled the fucking toy box, told my grandson how to feel, to behave, and I know that it all begins with children and it will always begin with children because to deny children rights whether of housing or of health care or of respect for their feelings, their emotional and physical well-being, is the worst of the worst because they are the most innocent, the ones who literally have no power at all when it comes right down to it.

I shouldn't even be trying to write this out. I am tired, it's been a day of not-wellness but merely of plugging through, of one foot-in-front-of-the-other until I could lay down and rest. But I'm thinking these things and I am feeling in despair because when I was nine years old, Dr. King said those words, he had that dream, and although things are so much better, there is so much still wrong. Not just here but all over the world and it makes me sad and it makes me angry. As angry as I was at that woman in the dentist's office and with a more universal anger because humans have such a potential for empathy, for compassion and it would seem to me that there are enough of us who feel those things that we could make some of the wrongs right.
And yet, it never seems to even out, does it?

Hope is that small thing with wings, I guess. Or whatever that saying is. My wings are hidden tonight. That does not mean they are not there.

Here's a picture which gives me hope. It's Owen being fierce before his first Tai Quan Do class with his daddy. His sweet daddy who allows Owen to be as strong and fierce as he wants, and as tender and loving as he can be.

Owen likes my new Buddha and he took him from where I'd set him on a table in the hallway to the top of the piano and then raced to the library where the little Buddha has always stood on a stone on the mantelpiece and said, "I take you to your daddy!" and so he did.
Before he did that, though, he brought Daddy Buddha out to the back porch where he was eating watermelon and he thoughtfully gave bites to Buddha and after each bite, carefully wiped his mouth.
After awhile he said, "Buddha, I no give you any more watermelon. Your tummy gonna explode."

You can't make this shit up.

Oh, it's Wednesday morning and if yesterday I felt full of energy and good and happy, today I feel sore and tired and muggy in the brain. And I have no more explanation for why than I had yesterday for my feeling so good. It's all just a mystery to me.

Last night Mr. Moon witnessed a milestone in B.B.'s life. Baby had been taking her into a little box-shelter in the coop every night to sleep but last night, she flew up onto the perch in the coop and called to her chick to join her. Now that baby barely has feathers but she can fly for short flutter-flights. Mr. Moon said she flew to the top of the box and called to her mother and her mother called back and then B.B. flew up to join Mama on the perch and Baby tucked the child as best she could under her wing.
I find it fascinating that the mother bird knows when the baby is ready for a new developmental step. Chickens just fascinate me altogether. I wonder if we'll know when it's time to let the pair out of the coop? I feel quite certain that my own instincts are not as honed as Baby's are.

I need to get moving. Owen's getting a filling today and I'm going with them to watch Gibson in the spaceship pod of a pediatric dental office waiting room while this happens. I'm probably going to be there more to give Lily moral support than anything. HER baby is going to have to go through something which may be a bit traumatic for him and although he's our big, brave boy, he's still our baby too. I'm sure we'll all survive.

There's a lot going on in the world but I neither understand any of it nor care to participate. It seems to me that the older I get, the less I care to engage with it all. I don't give a shit what happened on various awards shows and I can't do a thing about what's going on in Syria. All I want to do is to tend to my own tiny corner of the universe and that is almost more than I can handle on some days. Today, for instance. And so let me tend to that. Keep my plants and chickens alive, do my best to keep my husband healthy, love my grandsons for all they're worth (all their worth?), be there if my kids need me, keep the home fires burning.

Owen asked me yesterday what my work was. We were discussing that Mama was at work and Daddy was at work and Boppy was at work. "Where you work, MerMer?"

It was hard to explain. He's pretty sure that all I do is play with him and his brother.

And so it should be.

Off to play. You play too, if you get the chance.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Owen's imagination is growing faster than his body. Which is fast. He is doing a lot of play by himself with his Power Ranger figures where he plays the role of all the characters and he can do that for hours. He and I get into long pretends about things. We pretend he's going to take my house and I'm going to have to live outside. We pretend he's my father. We pretend he's Santa Claus and is giving me presents. We pretend we're pirates. We discuss all sorts of things. Movies and mermaids and animals and...Power Rangers. That boy does love Power Rangers. His dad gave him one of his childhood Power Ranger figures and Owen told me today that his daddy was really sweet to do that.
Really sweet?
And Gibson wants to do everything that his brother does. He adores Owen and Owen adores him. If Gibson has a hurt, Owen rushes to comfort him and tells me if he thinks I'm not paying enough attention. Gibson loves the swing on the side porch. We sat and swung for a long time today while Owen happily played with his Power Rangers a few feet away. Gibson and I talk too. Long conversations and I'm not exactly sure what they're about but it doesn't seem to matter. And does that boy love his Boppa? Oh my god. If I were a jealous woman...
Well, I sort of am.

They are precious to me, those boys, which is the most vast understatement of the year.

When they were about to leave with their sweet daddy, Owen said, "We forgot to check the eggs!" and so we ran out to do that and when we were coming back with our brown egg and our green egg, Owen said, "Mer?"
"Yes?" I said.
"I love you," he said. So seriously and so simply.
"I love you too," I said. "As big as the world."
That much. That's how much I love those boys.

Every sort of love is different. Love for parents, love for siblings, love for friends. Romantic love is a completely different thing and yet, not really. But we go through life and we always think, "Oh, so this is what love is," and then, if we are lucky, we find there are more ways to love and to be loved. And when we have children, if we do, well- there you go. Yet another sort of love and I am sure that I cannot adequately describe it or any other sort of love. Is anyone really able? And isn't our love for each and every person that we love different? Even as to our children? And isn't love always evolving as things change, as we change?
And then, just when you think you've experienced all the sorts of love there are, all the flavors, perhaps, all of the joys and heartbreaks and comforts and might have grandchildren.
And it all becomes something else again.

More love makes more love.

That's all I have to say tonight. I'm pretty sure that's enough.


Ms. Moon

Very Diverse Ramblings

When Mr. Moon and I were on our way home from Roseland we stopped in Titusville for lunch at El Leoncito. "Mexican & Cuban Restaurant" as the sign says and it was really a fine place. It was packed, too, at 2:30 on a Sunday afternoon, with families and couples and I got a cup of black bean soup that was so good I have been in despair, knowing that I cannot replicate it. I'm trying though, with a crock pot full of black beans I started yesterday along with finely chopped tomatoes, garlic, peppers, and onions. And a bay leaf. It won't be as good as the soup I ate on Sunday and I know it but I just can't help myself. Some people know how to cook black beans and some people don't. I'm in the middle. The chef at El Leoncito surely does know how and I wish I could have a little chat with him.
It was an interesting interlude in our drive, mostly because I did a lot of eavesdropping. The couple sitting behind us was working on a pitcher of beer and when we first got seated, they seemed to be headed into an argument.
"I'll make the casserole and I'll walk the dog," she said. It didn't sound to me as if she wanted to do either. Then she said something about, "But you don't HAVE to go to work. You only go if you want to." I waited for the fireworks to begin but they never did. They drank more beer and waited for their food and before too long, they'd mellowed. They'd done that thing long-term couples do which is to stop and think about what the consequences of an argument over something essentially meaningless will be and they back off and go down other conversational paths and by the time their food got there, they were getting a bit sloppy in the speech but they were much happier.
Two ladies were seated beside us about that time. They appeared to have just come from church where, as I ascertained from listening, they both worked, perhaps as Sunday School teachers. I am not sure. They ordered their tea and their water and their tacos and they bowed their heads and one of them said a little prayer before the food got there and they discussed church business. The receptionist for the office had suddenly left with very little warning and THAT after having held the position for FOURTEEN YEARS!
Something shocking was happening there.
And then the beer-drinking couple started dropping F-bombs. Oh my god. I thought the two church ladies would surely get up and leave but they just pretended they couldn't hear and ate their tacos, one with the regular salsa, one with the mild.

I am so easily entertained.

But the long and short of all of that is that I have black beans cooking in the crockpot. I am feeling exceptionally fine today. I've gotten a lot done in preparation for my boys and am feeling more settled, and less like every one of my nerve endings is rudely exposed. The clutter in my house seems less like mindfuckery to me and more like merely an interesting place where people do a lot of living.
Still, I long to get rid of some things. Like the piano, for one. No one ever plays it but the boys who do not of course, play it so much as just bang on it with great enthusiasm as accompaniment to the Rolling Stones. I think that having that hallway back, cleared out and roomier would do grand things for my mind.
Anyone want a piano?
No. Of course not. Old pianos are like old typewriters. Everyone has one and thinks they're worth something and they are not. Especially old pianos like mine which was sweetly gifted to me by my ex-husband when Jessie was still home and she did play it some but it's so out of tune and there are actual keys missing and well...
Seriously. Anyone want a piano?

So. Here we are. Another day and the bed is made and the laundry is going and the trash is taken and the dragonflies at the trash depot were thick as dancing thieves and my walk was good and a hen just laid an egg and I think my husband may have shot a few squirrels this morning because they are annoying the SHIT out of him by sitting in the pecan trees and casually plucking and taking one bite of the nuts and then throwing them down on the ground and on the cars where they lay and leak their vital fluids (yes, nuts have vital fluids) and stain the cars and ruin the finish. I really should learn to cook squirrel but I'm not going to unless it becomes strictly necessary for protein requirements.
One never knows and that could happen but it hasn't happened yet.

My boys are coming and Owen is already packing his toys up to bring because GOD KNOWS THERE AREN'T ENOUGH TOYS HERE and it's not too hot and I think that Interior Therapy with Jeff Lewis is on tonight and there can't be too much Jeff Lewis for me. I wonder what would happen if he and Jenni and Zoila came to my house to do a little interior therapy and I'm pretty sure he'd walk in the door, take one look at the aprons and deer heads hanging on the wall, and walk right out.
"Nope," he'd say. "Not even going to try to straighten out that fucked-up shit."

Oh well. It's my fucked-up shit and today I'm enjoying it.

One more thing- I'm sending out a little happy birthday love to Elizabeth. 
One of the joys of my life is getting to know people through the blog and I feel incredibly fortunate to have met this woman. She is a force for good in this universe. She is fierce and eternally loving in her mothering. She is a writer who knocks the doors off my mind at least once a day.
And she is beautiful.

So happy birthday, Elizabeth! Live forever, okay? Or at least as long as you want to. Joyfully.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, August 26, 2013

Life Is Just Messy

I read an article in the New Yorker today ("What's Wrong With Me?" by Meghan O'Rourke) about the author's experience with an autoimmune disease. It sounded dreadful and she has resigned herself to the fact that she'll always have it and that medical science has no real answers for her. She's on a fairly strict dietary regimen and takes specific supplements and she has good days now as well as bad. Doctors do very much agree that she has the disorder, they just don't have any answers as to how to treat it.

It got me thinking. Some of the things she describes including joint aching, hives, brain fog, a feeling of disassociation, fatigue, a flu-like aching, sound mighty familiar to me. I wonder...
But the bottom line, of course, is that even if I do have some sort of a version of an autoimmune disease or disorder, there's nothing they can do about it and so...well, so what?

Yes. So what?

I didn't do a tenth of what I needed to do today but I did what I could and it was plenty and I'm still doing. I've plugged through this day and haven't lived up to my words about glorying in it very much at all but there have been moments when I've stopped to feel the air with its definite tilt towards fall that have been very fine. I ran by and kissed the boys and they'll be here tomorrow to play. The Rolling Stones T-shirt that I ordered for Owen's birthday has arrived and that gave me a thrill. Oh, how I think he is going to like it! I hope so. They don't sell that shit for cheap.

It's going to be big on him but that's okay. I can't believe he's turning four, a month from today. 

Hank was here all day, doing laundry and waiting for his apartment to be sprayed for fleas. We chatted back and forth as he worked on his trivia material for tonight and I did whatever the hell I was doing. It's always good to spend time with Hank and so yes, that was good. 

It's really all been good. I'm just having some difficulty in bringing myself back to real life. And of course I haven't de-cluttered a damn thing except for the hen house and the only thing I removed was poopy hay and replaced it with clean for the pleasure of the chicken's butts. In fact, I added something to the house- my new, admittedly rather tacky lamp that I got at the Methodist thrift store for two dollars. But I like it.

If I ever do get around to simplifying my bathroom, it'll look even better in there. 


And so that's it. I'm home and all of my chickens are alive and it's been a beautiful day and I got stuff done and it doesn't matter one bit that I didn't get everything done that I wanted to. 

Oh! I almost forgot. On my walk this morning I noticed that the Beauty Berry is coming ripe and I went to take a picture and look what was right in front of my eyes.

Can you see her? Isn't she fierce? Doesn't she look like she's protecting the Beauty Berry with her life? 

Yeah. That's a little glory right there.

Let's all get some sleep and get up and do it again. We may have brain fog and aching joints and fatigue and we may be having trouble readjusting to one thing or another and we may have just entirely TOO MUCH SHIT cluttering up our lives but you know- here we are. And tomorrow will be yet another opportunity for glory or at least interesting experiences. Sometimes we just have to take the time to look.  That's what I think anyway and I could be wrong but maybe I'm not. 

As always...Ms. Moon

This Day

It's sort of crazy cool here this morning for Lloyd in August. I've let the big chickens out and fed Baby and B.B. and tried to take a decent picture of her and failed again.

She is in that awkward teenagery stage and is getting feathers around her neck (his neck?) but they are still more fluff than anything and she's (he's?) a funny looking little bird and still making the biddie peep noise, sharp whistling trill notes which I suppose help her mother locate her at all times. I do not know. Mr. Moon looked in on them last night and said that Baby is still keeping the chick under her wing as they sleep but that B.B. is so big now that she sticks out from under. The hen house needs de-pooping badly. Another chore to be done.

I feel overwhelmed and that is part of coming home. We're down to eggs and bread in the refrigerator and of course the condiment collection which never goes away. When we were in Roseland I actually made quite a few of our meals in that beautiful little kitchen with the pink G.E. electric stove, and it felt fine to have only a few spices, some oil, some vinegar, a few purloined basil leaves from Glenn and Scott's plant which I chopped and added to our salads. So anyway, yes, I need to go to the store and I need to mop and I need to throw shit away and I need to get to the library to return things and I need to clean out the hen house and I need to take a walk and I need to do laundry and I need to figure out what I am doing with the rest of my life.

It is quiet here in Lloyd this morning with only the sound of the peeping chick, the roosters calling back and forth, the breeze sweetening the air and rustling leaves. My firespike is already starting to put out bloom which seems ridiculously early but it's been a crazy summer. I expect the Confederate Rose to start blooming soon and the red passionflower vine is thick on the fence but hasn't put forth one single blossom yet. The elephant ears beside the porch are catching the breeze and one of them is shaking its head back and forth as if saying, "No, no, no."
I wonder what the question was.

I need to get moving. I need to fall back into my routine here and I need to see my grandsons. I need to take the trash. I need to shake my head like a dog and clear it of river scenes and white sand roads and that deep blue pool and fit myself back here where I live and I probably need to stop pondering the questions for which there are no certain answers, questions like why and how and where and when and so forth.
There is nothing to be gained by them and they are simply the mind's way of keeping us stuck, too busy pondering to take up our tasks and simply move forward into the day which has been given us, cool and clear and clean and ready to be used and not just used, but gloried in too because to do otherwise is a sort of sin I want nothing to do with at this point in my life.

Time's a'wastin'.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Culture Shock

After a drive lasting approximately fourteen eons and seventy-eight geological eras, we are home. We sure drove through some beautiful places, though. I am here to tell you that Florida is one hell of a gorgeous state and none of what I'm talking about has one damn thing to do with Disney World or Miami Beach and everything to do with history and old houses and towns that time has somehow forgotten and jungles and long stretches of river which are almost shocking in their beauty.
I read more Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings as we drove and it was perfect. We would be driving through an area that the story I was reading was set in and it seemed like one of those times of impossible synchronicity. She was a Florida transplant but boy, when she got here, she fell and she fell hard. And thank god because she captured a time and a place like no one else could have.
Such an inspiration. Such a joy. Okay, some of her stories are dated horribly as to attitudes about race and culture but in this case, I'm giving the woman a pass. She ain't no Paula Deen, y'all.

Anyway, I'm exhausted and my house- oh my house. After spending three days in Glenn and Scott's jewel-box of a cabana house where each and every item is selected for its whimsy and utilitarian nature and is placed exactly correctly to charm and never to clutter,

well, I'm ready to just start going through my house and throwing every damn thing out. I just can't live like this anymore and frankly, the dogs can't die soon enough for me. Their smells, their pees, their constant demands to be let in and out- I'm done. I am so fucking done.

All right. I have a lot more to say but I'm too tired and I've got to go unpack a few things and create at least one square foot of order and tidiness. I want desperately to do that and to begin working on that as a whole for my entire life (yes, you've heard this before) but I do, I do, I DO! And I am glad that we'll be sleeping in our bed again tonight which is the best bed in the world as far as my experience extends, but I'm sure I'll wake up and not know which world I'm in- my present, very adult world of MerMer in Lloyd or my childhood world of Roseland.

Well, I'll figure it out.

I'm home. I've been on vacation, I've time-traveled and universe-tripped and gotten in touch with my mermaid roots and now I'm home and the edges are a little blurry but I'm sure things will sharpen tomorrow. And I'll see my boys soon and one day the dogs will die and fall will be coming and it'll all work out, somehow, some way, and this is my life and I hugged my husband so hard a little while ago that I almost choked him.

And I've just been informed that his work-out towels which he'll need tomorrow are missing and here I go, here I go. Home again, chaos ensues, life continues, we go on. I'm home.
Last morning, last breakfast done. I've packed up some of the treasures I bought at the Methodist Thrift store Including that carved Buddha and the two crystal martini glasses. 
Oh, that Methodist Thrift store!
Here's a funny thing- on the sign in front of the church it says,"Prayer is not a wish list," yet on the counter of the thrift store there's a jar you can put prayer requests into. Which seems...I don't know...contradictory?

Well, so much of life is. 

I would like to stay long enough to do all the laundry, make the bed up fresh, fold clean towels and put them back where we found them. I guess that's silly but I swear to you, that's exactly what I did the first time I ever stayed here. "Oh, can't leave yet. Gotta wash this dish towel!"

But yes, but no. We have to go home. I miss my boys or to be more exact, perhaps, I am thinking of them fondly. I have to teach Gibson to say MerMer. He is calling me MeeMee and although that is darling, it will not do. Owen named me as is his right, being the first grandson and thus it is. 
So yes. We have to go home which is a fine, fine place to be. It's just hard to leave. 

And that's all I can say about that. I cried when we got here and I'll probably cry when we leave and I don't pray but it is my most definite wish to come back and tears are the heart's prayer to make it so. 

See you at home. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Holy And Eternal Mysteries

I've got the sads now. I am the least Zen person in this world. I can't possibly enjoy the last evening somewhere because my mind, my heart, are too much taken up with the knowledge of it being the last. 
Really. We are leaving tomorrow and I don't feel as if I am nearly done here. Not done sitting in this secret garden where right now I am listening to the great bamboo creak in the wind, it's leaves rustling like the stiff petticoats of dancers. Not done with the pool and the way I feel in it, suspended in water and in time. Not done sitting on the dock never done sitting on the dock watching clouds and water, observing the constancy of their changing even as they stay so belovedly the same, the water lapping the pilings with great gulps of sound. Not done remembering here, yes here, around every corner, even as to specific trees and houses and the place in the road where we knelt on the white sand hunched over marbles or the place in front of my best friend's house on the one paved road where we drew a hopscotch with a chalky rock and could play all day with no cars disturbing us. 
Not done. 
Joy and Ralph's store, shut and boarded- are the coolers still in there where the yellow cheese, the great sausage of red-coated bologna she would cut a quarter of a pound from, the cokes in their little glass bottles were kept? What I would give for that knife she used to cut everything, including a Popsicle when Lucille and I came up with six cents and chose one- banana, grape, cherry- to split. The knife would go from meat to cheese to Popsicle with one cleansing swipe on a piece of paper. Where is that knife? And that sturdy wooden counter where she would figure out your total on a piece of brown paper with a pencil nib? Joy is gone with her long white hair twisted up on her head and so is Ralph, his face always white-bristled and a little scary. Gone for so long.

And maybe what I'm looking for of course is me but the child-me who without a doubt is still here. 

We drove to Vero Beach today and had lunch at the Ocean Grill. We came in from the bright heat and iodine-smelling air (it's right on the beach, hell, over the beach and the seaweed was in today and the visceral memory I have of THAT, swimming through that almost-prickly stuff) into the coolness and funk of the Grill and the bar was a sort of heaven. We used to go there only on the most special of special occasions and there was one more mystery- The Ocean Grill. 

What was that all about? I didn't know and still am not sure but it is grown-up and done right and I'm pretty sure that my sense of decore was informed within those driftwood and cypressed walls. I will never be done with the Ocean Grill. 

I'm on the dock now and my husband is fishing. 

The wind is blowing and I think of fishing with my brother and my grandfather a few docks down and the night I pulled in a sting ray with my bamboo pole and Grandaddy stepped on its barbed tail with his rubber boot and removed the hook from the strange beast's mouth and my brother and I cried out, "What is it? What IS it, Grandaddy?" And he slid it off the dock back into its watery world. Another mystery. 

I think that is it. There were so many mysteries and I was let loose to explore them and they fed my soul and my brain and my imagination in ways that nothing else could have done. From the clouds above me and the rough bark below me of the trees I climbed to the island that Mr. Mockeridge took us to in his boat where the ground was literally littered with the bones and teeth of mastodons, some of which we brought home. Didn't every child have the vertebra and teeth of ancient beasts in their laundry rooms? Mr. Mockridge's wife was the voluntary librarian at the tiny library where I checked my first books out. "Mary Poppins" and "Marooned On Mars." I read every book in that place she'd let me check out and she knew somehow that I needed words and more words. 

This was Roseland and also old Aunt Katie (related to none of us) who told us stories of when her daddy named the place and how the Indians would slip down the river in their canoes and how the panthers would stare into their windows at night, raised up on their haunches. That and mango trees and Chester, the wild man with hair like Jesus who had run away as a child to live in Roseland and who grew turnips and sold them door-to-door. And the fishermen who slept all day and fished all night, who squatted on their heels to talk and who built boats in their yards and mended their nets and stretched them to dry over clothes lines. 
And also Frank Baisden, the artist, whose wife Kay wore long skirts and silver jewelry and who would sometimes serve us tea and then read our tea leaves. 

That. All of that. And it is still here. All of it. And I am so loathe to leave it and its mysteries and the very heart of the mysteries- the lion-cornered pool where by god I will swim again tonight with my husband. 

And the greatest mystery of it all to me is that all of IS still here and all of it is still a mystery to me which still feeds me- heart, soul, imagination. All of it. And even when I am gone, the mysteries, like the river, will remain. 
No. I am not done with it or any of it and never, as long as I'm alive will be because those mysteries are in me as surely as my blood and bones and believe me- there is so much more. 

Love...Ms. Moon
Roseland, Florida
August 24, 2013

Good Morning

From a dock on the Sebastian River. 
The water is like a ripply mirror from whence mullet jump. An osprey calls and the ghost moon looks like she is astounded. 
Me too but peacefully so. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Still Life With Buddha

Joyful Survival

I have been doing a lot of thinking since I got here and one of the things I've been thinking about is that this strange little place of wildness and water and memory is so magical to me that even though some of the most frightening and horrible things that could ever happen to a child happened to me right here, I still love it beyond measure. 

We took a little stroll down the road today and there's a pine tree standing so tall and strong and half its trunk is hollowed out at the base. I remember distinctly when that tree was struck hard by lightening during a storm fifty years ago which is why it is hollowed. And yet, it still stands. Gnarled and hollowed but so very much alive. 

A little like that. That's how I'm feeling. 

There must be some rich and primeval river muck here to support such fecundity and I am walking barefoot. I am taking it all in again. My roots here are incredibly deep. There is no other way to explain it. Lightening did cruelly strike and I may bear the scars but still I reach up to this sky to be amazed. I still reach down to the earth for my sustenance. 

Maybe I'm Asleep

Good morning from Florida. Or at least a Florida which In my heart is the real one or my home-one, my heart-home one and I am in the land of my river dreams and I am feeling quiet and all around me is color and heat and water. 

And really did I ever leave?

I am so grateful to the men who have made this dream from my childhood into a real and certain paradise. To my husband for bringing me back to this dream and loving me in it. 

P.S. I want a pool. Real bad. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Made It


I have packed about forty times more than I need. I guarantee you, I will end up using and/or wearing less than thirty percent of what I'm carrying with me.
The bag of charger cords alone is worth a laugh. Those I will probably use.

I've taken the trash. Mr. Moon is outside gathering together fishing gear, I would assume. I assigned him the job of filling up the chicken waterers but I have a feeling I'm going to be doing that myself.

It's always so hard to leave. Even when I am going somewhere I yearn to be with all my heart. That has nothing to do with the actual act of leaving.

Well, so it goes.

I better go fill up the waterers. I'm wearing a silk dress. This makes no sense. And yet...

Talk to you from the road and beyond.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Dare I Say It?

Partial list of what I have done today:
Made soup and bread. I had help with the bread in the form of Owen who happily smashed the dough down after the first rise and helped me make the loaves. When it was done, he ate four pieces.
Did laundry.
Found my copy of The Marjorie Rawlings Reader which Hank gave me, to read shorts stories from aloud to Mr. Moon while he drives.
Made the bed. Why? I do not know because we subsequently played in it and tore it up. Me and the boys. I got tackled and kissed about a million times. And hugged. Jesus those boys are loving.
Swept. Again- why? We tracked in more than I swept up.
Read two stories to one boy while his brother napped.
Listened to long, long explanations of various Power Ranger toys. No, I have no idea what he's talking about but he does and that's the point.
Played an awful lot of pretending involving dinosaurs. And other things.
Spent some lovely time on the swing on the side porch with two boys, waiting for the rain to come in.
Changed diapers.
Listened to the Rolling Stones.
Responded to "Watch this, MerMer!" approximately four thousand times.
Responded to "Close your eyes, MerMer!" approximately three thousand times.
Prepared snacks that never got eaten, poured about four glasses of juice and made one glass of chocolate milk. Miraculously, there were no spills today. Christ! Call Ripleys!
Made two phone calls to two separate Zagg tech support guys. One was named Moses and was personable as hell, one was named Jerry and wasn't but he did help me.

(Gibson on his moon-shell phone. Talking to his Boppa.)

Played numerous tickle games and did the Eensy-Weensy Spider at least five times.
Went outside with the boys to check the eggs and feed crackers to the chickens. It was a good egg day with a total of four.
Washed some dishes.
Tidied up after the boys left.

Okay. That's all I can remember. I guess I'm not that sick, huh?

It's been a very, very good day and the soup is on simmer and the remaining bread is ready to be sliced. The boys seriously ate half a loaf this afternoon (and it was a small loaf but still) and took the rest of that loaf and half of a larger loaf home with them. I'm going to serve this supper up and try to get packed for our trip because I want to leave as early as possible. I am very excited to be going to Roseland. Can you tell?

I feel as if I am dreaming. I feel as if I am the luckiest woman in the world.
I feel fucking happy, all right?

All right.

(Please universe, do not kick my ass for saying this out loud. Okay? Thanks.)

All love...Ms. Moon

Pure Goodness

It is so beautiful this morning that I have opened the hallway doors and the kitchen door to let some of the fresh, cool, light-polished air inside. It is that day in August when fall's distant whisper is first heard.
There is a goodness about today. Last night was a sweet one with my husband and we held each other close and after all these years, there is such joy in that. I never for one second forget how lucky I am in this good man's love. The fact of his loving me continues to astound me and his love over the years has sustained and healed me in ways that I could not have experienced with anyone else on this earth. His very bones are made of steadfast goodness which yes, I can compare to this day's light and air and scent of earth, of leaf.

The boys are coming but not until later this afternoon. I am feeling...not so bad. Slow and a bit achy, but nothing horrible and I am going to take what I brought home from lunch yesterday which was the most delicious soup and add to it and make that our supper for tonight and make bread and do laundry and the chickens are already out and fed and tomorrow we are leaving for the east coast and my heart is so quietly happy to think of that. To think of the drive, the part of it beside the Indian River down to where we turn by the Sebastian River, to turn again on to the still-not-paved roads where I roamed as a child. They are made of white sand, those roads, and they gleam in the moonlight. The houses I knew as a child are still there, the river still flows and at sunset the giant fishes feed in the current, the great blue heron stands perched on one leg, patiently waiting for his supper on the sandbar, the dock where we will watch the sunset, my husband, this good man as he, too, takes part in the ritual of fishing, casting and reeling in, casting and reeling in, until the sun is truly set and we shall head up to the little cottage by the pool, by the river.

Each one of these good moments in my life is given thanks for, over and over again, forever for me.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Panthers And Tigers And Bears, Oh My!

We did indeed see the bears. Or at least, one bear. He was laying in the sun, snoozing like a beast.

Pretty healthy looking specimen of a Florida black bear, glossy and shiny and fat. 

It was a good day although I swear to you I am coming down with a cold. Now if we believe in the germ theory (and I suppose we must) I can't even comprehend how I could have gotten a cold. Did some bastard on Friday night sneeze my way? I don't know. But my nose is running, my sinuses hurt and my body aches. On the way to the museum, Gibson kept putting his little hand on my arm, saying, "Hot!" Could he tell I had a little fever? How odd. 
But I took Sudafed and Ibuprofen and it wasn't so bad but I never did feel very perky today. Luckily, it wasn't so hot and the boys were good boys. 

The first animal enclosure we came to was that of the Bengal Tiger's. He is visiting us and will be returning to wherever he lives soon and I am so glad I got to see him even though it does grieve my heart to see such an astoundingly beautiful wild animal in such a small place. As soon as Owen approached the enclosure, the tiger leapt up and bounded towards him and it was almost frightening. I KNEW there was no way the tiger could get out to eat my grandsons, but there is a part of the brain which was evolved way before glass was invented. I could have watched that tiger all day long but Owen's agenda does not seem to include staying for very long in any one place. Gibson, of course, is happy to do whatever. 
That child. 

Owen and I have been discussing the fact that we both believe that there are still dinosaurs somewhere on this planet and that we would very, very much like to see one. At the museum there are at least a dozen large dinosaur sculptures made by the very talented but now deceased Jim Gary. They are made of machine parts and vehicle parts and I don't know what all but they are amazing and graceful and look perfectly at home in their woody and watery settings and I especially liked this one, wading through the water. Our rainfall has finally given this dinosaur the habitat he was built for. The museum is located on the banks of a lake and a cypress swamp and I don't think I've ever seen it look better.

Here's Owen studying a map. That boy loves maps. 

After we saw all the animals we had to go to the playground which truthfully, is probably the boys' favorite part of the whole place with the possible exception of the gift shop. They played awhile and then I forced them to go to the cracker farm exhibit with me. I love that thing. I love the pigs and the sweet brown cow and the honking geese and the chickens, of course. I love the garden and the horses. 

The boys especially love the horses. 
But I think I love the old cabin the best. I can't peek in the door without wanting to take a nap on one of the beds. Something about that old place calls to me.

It was a hard life for the people who lived in that cabin. I tried to tell Owen about how, if he had been a boy back in those days, he would have had to work hard to help the family. He would have had to bring in wood for the mama to cook with, to bring in water for the family to drink, to help feed the animals and work in the garden to grow the food. But of course he's too young to understand all of that. He was much more interested in getting to the gift shop where I bought him five tiny dinosaurs and a watermelon-flavored lollypop with a worm in it. The worm was supposed to be in it. I think, in fact, that the worm had been in it too long and the worm-flavor had overtaken the watermelon flavor and he didn't finish it, but I thought it was brave of him to attempt it. He ate another one a few months ago and liked it right fine. 

And so that was our day at the Junior. I enjoyed it so much, even though I didn't feel very well. I came home and took a little nap and now I'm going to make supper and I'm hoping I am not really, really sick because dammit, I want to go to Roseland and I want to have a good time and I'm hardly ever sick and how can this be?
Well, if there's one thing that life has shown me this year it's that there is no fairness involved and why we humans think there should be is beyond me but we do, somewhere deep in our brains. Not as deep, perhaps, as the place which has a moment of panic when a Bengal Tiger leaps towards our grandchildren but still deep enough to be firmly implanted. 

We humans are silly things and some of us believe that dinosaurs surely still walk the earth or at least swim in the vast depths of the seas and on some days, anything seems possible and today was one of those days and I am grateful beyond all measure for it, as I am for this life which fairly or unfairly, I have been allowed to live.