Saturday, April 30, 2016

Memories Of Snake's Stores Island

Owen hit his first home run today and then we all went and got pizza and even though it's hard for me right now, I am quite able to recognize these moments of glory that I have in my life, daily, no matter what.
When Gibson wants to snuggle up to me and wraps my arms around him with his arms. When Maggie smiles at me and my kisses. When I watch the way my Lily is with her children. When Owen wants to sit next to me at lunch. When Boppy makes us all laugh. When Jason coaches his team and the children are boys and are girls and are tiny and are precious and everyone claps for everything, even when the "other" team does anything worth clapping for which is almost anything.
These moments cut through the disassociation and lowness of my soul like bright beams of light cutting through cave-dark and will lead me to the light again and I know it.

Tomorrow Jessie and I are heading for the beach and I think that May and Michael are coming for a few days too. I have packed: Christmas lights, a fancy-schmancy coloring book with many colored pencils, the baby-walker, and...that's all.
Oh well. Jessie says all I need is a beach towel, my chair, a good mug and my bathing suit. She's pretty much correct.
We are going to meet at Costco tomorrow to buy pimento cheese and booze and bread and chips and fruit and possibly some vegetables. Salsa, I am sure, which is a fine vegetable and avocados and limes by the bag. I have plenty of cilantro from the garden and we'll be bringing that too and there will be guacamole which is an even finer serving of vegetables. We will buy seafood on the island from Doug, whom we bought shrimp from back when Jessie was a tiny girl and we spent the summers on St. George in a tiny two-room apartment, cement block, yard of sandspurs, now a tattoo parlor, I believe. Oh, those summers. Long, long days of just me and the little girls, mostly, Hank and May already grown up and going on with their lives, Daddy joining us on weekends. Hunting for periwinkles for me to make soup of, watching dolphins, them having the grand privilege of walking the block to the little store to buy candy. The ice-cream store, the Jimmy Buffet dancing, the Bingo at the fire station on Tuesday nights where one night, Jessie won the jackpot and wanted a pair of Panacea Nikes which are rubber boots the sort that the fishermen wear. She got them, too. Me forcing them to take the sunset walks to see the dolphins returning to the east side of the island even though we'd watched them in the morning heading west to the cut to feed. The sand castles, the floating in the water, cool and warm at the same time. The millions and billions of stars in the night time sky, the giant moon rising up and making a golden path over the water.
Nighttime bedtime reading. Me sleeping on a futon with my feet right next to the canned goods. The twinkle lights around the room, the guy next door who sat on the sidewalk and drank beer and was a good soul and his name was Wayne. The year we had adopted a horrible dog who tore up the apartment, breaking blinds and lamps and shit everywhere. Me trying to grow a little garden in the sand and rocks which Wayne would water for me when I was gone.
Jessie thinking the name of the place was Snake's Stores Island until we corrected her- St. George Island- and I wish I never had. The time Liz Sparks came down and made me supper and a birthday cake. The few and far between evenings we'd go down to the little beach bar and I'd have a beer and a shot of tequila and the girls would get Shirley Temples and play on the sand, the setting sun making crazy magic light everywhere. The sound of the cicadas, deafening as they'd begin in one place on the bay and then, as if conducted by a god, the rest of them on the island chorusing in until the air was filled with the sound, alive and buzzing and electric and I'd go next door to a building which was abandoned but you could climb up on the roof and watch the sunset and listen and I would shiver in the summer heat, it all being too much to bear for one human person.
The times we had to evacuate for hurricanes.
The storms that came and went.
The reruns on TV that the children begged to watch. Old, ancient sit-coms they loved.
I remember the week my oldest friend from childhood came and stayed with me, just the two of us, and one night we got drunk enough to go down to the water in the middle of the night and float in the gulf with the stars above us, completely and utterly naked, talking about all of the things in our hearts.

And now those little girls will be putting the sunscreen on their children and sharing with them what is in their very bone marrow from those summers although the house we are staying in has actual bedrooms and a kitchen and so forth. Which is lovely. We watched the house we are going to be staying in be built on one of the summers we stayed there. Everyone on the island hated those houses, built right on the beach, blocking the view, but I always thought they were pretty damn charming, although I felt sorry for the people who rented them, only getting a week there while we, who had to walk between them to get to the water, had an entire summer in our little cement block apartment.

And tomorrow is Jessie's birthday. She will be turning 27 and how that happened is a complete mystery to me. We are talking about buying her one of Costco's giant cakes and I think we may do that. She was just born yesterday on a rainy day and after she was born, a rainbow appeared in the sky. A perfect home birth, my friends and family all there, such labor, such work, then peace and joy.

On these days when things are hard, when my soul is so low, it is good to remember all of these things, to have this week to look forward to, to make new memories, this time with grandchildren and by god I hope I see and hear and feel the ghosts of those summers past. Those little girls, so golden and young, dancing across the sand as the waves come and go, and maybe I'll see the ghost of me too, a woman whom I thought then was getting so old in her just-turning-forties, sitting outside at the plastic table in the sandspur yard scribbling on paper with a pen by the light of the citronella candles, the smear of the Milky Way above me, my babies in bed on the other side of the wall, safe and clean as saltwater and freshwater and soap could make them, sleeping and dreaming.

That little beach bar is still there. I bet you that at one point, we will go down for a sunset and have a shot of tequila and a beer and Owen and Gibson will play on the sand and maybe even get a Shirley Temple. Oh. There will be pictures. You just wait.

Love...Ms. Moon

A Saturday Morning

Friday, April 29, 2016

That Which Heals Us

The blessing of the drool.

I am so grateful that Hank called us forth again to go to the river.
This time I did submerge myself and it was good.
Gibson is a fish, Owen makes friends wherever he goes, August is making the funniest new faces and is trying to learn to walk by standing up on all fours and Maggie is our squishy-love-rose.

The river was beautiful and I feel much soothed and comforted. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Who Cares What We Eat For Breakfast?

I remember my mother
(I remember my mother)
screaming that she was going to kill herself.
(I'm just going to kill myself!)
It seemed as if that happened a lot but maybe only once.
(Who knows?)
I think a lot, plus a much younger brother remembers her doing it as well.

My closest-to-me-in-age brother says
He said, he says, he screams these words at me.
Not any more. We have parted and he lives as far away from me as he can
Which he has done for all the years of his adult life

Here's the thing of which I am sure
Mother was so angry at all which had befallen her
And she had every reason to be.
God knows she did

It's just that a child whose mother is angry
(so, so angry)
in her heart that the anger is hers, earned in some mysterious way.

This morning I poached an egg, still warm from the chicken.
I watched it in the water.
It looked exactly like a jellyfish at first
It's translucent edges around that golden eye gracefully ruffling
given life in the bubbles
of the small sea in the pan
and then it turned the ruffling edges and jellyfish skin

I toasted two tiny rounds of sourdough bread and buttered them
And placed the perfect egg atop one of them
Cut it all up into bites, fork and knife flashing
I ate it all slowly and it was good
(So good), then
set the bowl in the sink with water to soak

I am sorry you were so angry
(I am)
but I wish I had not thought your anger was mine
to bear.

It had no more to do with me than the simmering water has to do with the egg
(the perfect egg, still warm from the hen)
And yet, that simmering water changed it as surely as that anger changed me.

Simmering, simmering, brought to a boil
The sacrifice of the egg
Still warm from the mother's body
(I ate it up)
But to no good purpose
(not one good purpose)
at all.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Not My Best Day

I did go to the Goodwill but all I got was icky-feeling fingers. The internet has ruined Goodwill, as far as I'm concerned. The treasures are few and far between now. Did you know that in fact you can shop at Goodwill online?
You can. Here. 
I didn't hear any decent conversations either. Mostly just "Oh, look at this! I just love these little cherries. Isn't that cute? Don't you love those little cherries?" The younger woman who was with the cherry woman did not seem to be as charmed by the cherries but she was being patient.
And truthfully, I wasn't in the mood to buy anything. There was a darling little wicker rocker for 25 bucks that I could have easily put in my car and also, a pair of silk and linen pillow shams which were lovely that I didn't buy. Now I wish I'd bought those things but I didn't and there you go. Someone else can make themselves happy with them.

And so I went to Publix where a great crack of thunder made all of us shoppers look up in brief alarm and got a few things and came home, the sky bruise-dark, the rain coming and going.

I put a new bandage on Baby Chick this morning but then decided that it just wasn't offering enough support so when Mr. Moon came home he helped me to fashion this contraption.

It is made from a piece of an index card and that breathable medical tape which I love because you can stick and unstick it over and over again like a nervous twitch. I swear to you- that tape was about my favorite thing I discovered in nursing school.
Well, that tape and my friends.
Anyway, even if that chick's foot never fully develops properly, I think s/he'll make it. She is truly the feistiest one of the bunch and even with her duck-foot splint can outrun the other two and is definitely getting her share of the food and treats which so far are greens and grapes.

I am heavy in soul and body tonight but tomorrow we are again going to the "pool with the tunnel" as Gibson calls the Wacissa. There is a small bit of the road to the river which is canopied by great oaks and he and Owen love that. And a pool is anywhere you can swim.
I hope to actually fully submerge myself in the clear, cold water and also hold Magnolia a lot. I have not seen her in days and I miss her sorely. I will also get to see Owen's new summer hair cut. He trimmed his own hair this week and as this is the fourth time he has done this (we think it's a plot to go see Melissa), his dad buzzed it off.

He is growing up too fast. I can't stand it.
And yet, I suppose I have to.

Love...Ms. Moon

My Brain Holds But A Tiny Fragment Of Knowledge

The walk was so hard today. It's feeling more like summer with the heat and the humidity. My eyes itch with whatever is blooming right now that I'm allergic to, my brain is itching with what I dreamed last night, dreams not so opaque in meaning that I am not fully aware of their messages and meaning. They represent things I am worried about but which I push down during the day, feeling inadequate to the task of actually dealing with them.

Then again, there was that one dream about being caught up in international terrorism that I'm a little hazy on.

Baby chick's toes seem to be curling again and I do not know whether to reapply the bandage I took off last night or give it a chance to bear weight on the foot. As in all things, experience comes hard and just when you think you know a bit about something, you find you really don't. Child-raising, chicken-raising, gardening, relationships, cooking...there is no end to the learning.

I am feeling particularly ignorant today about all things and I believe I may go to a Goodwill and just get lost in the meditative state of going through racks, one thing after another and eavesdrop on conversations which in no way involve me and yet, are somehow, sometimes fascinating.

It takes so little to amuse me.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Pieces Of Peace

This has been one of my favorite kinds of days. The kind that I get to be a housewife, a recluse, a pretend farmer. I've cooked and I've picked a few peas and I've cleaned up chicken domiciles and chopped grapes and greens for chickens and walked and hung clothes outside and listened to books and even did a little ironing.
Here are my peas.

Not so many, but enough for Mr. Moon and I to both have a sweet taste with our dinner.

I am hoping that tonight's supper will make up for last night's disaster. The sauce was so salty that although we ate it, we decided that for our health we should throw the rest away, which I did, pouring it out by the woods where the coons and possums could get to it. They should probably go get their blood pressure checked today.
Tonight I'm cooking chicken with onions and garlic and wine and balsamic vinegar and capers and olives and carrots and mushrooms and tomatoes, herbs and spices. It's been simmering in the slow-cooker for hours and as I was preparing it, browning the floured and rosemary-spiced chicken, I was listening to the end of the Ruth Reichl book and they were interviewing her and they asked her what she thought about audio books. She said that being read to was one of her greatest joys and that one of her favorite things in the world is to cook all day, listening to an audio book.

Baby chick is doing so well. He or she is feisty as hell and I do believe the little bandage thing is working. S/he is running about and when I put cut up grapes in their ice chest, s/he stole from the larger siblings and ran to eat her grape piece in peace. The leg, which up until today seemed as substantial as a cooked noodle, now seems to be strong and normal.
How can something as tiny and weightless and seemingly delicate as a baby chick be so resilient?

If they are all hens, I think I shall name them Zora, Marjorie, and Louisa. 

The other baby chicks are good and growing so fast. When I open the lid to their little coop, they come running now, knowing that treats are arriving. 

And so it's been a good day and I just put the air conditioning on and although I feel a tiny bit guilty about it, I am also so grateful for the way the house will feel soon and I know we will sleep so well. I'm just all-around grateful that I've had this day to do the smallest things and walk in the woods and have the time to be mindful of all of it from noting the healing of the chick to wildflowers and swelling blackberries on my walk, to the way the porch plants look, shining with beads of water after I slaked their thirst with hose water, to the peeling and chopping of garlic, to the way the wine smelled when I added it to the onions and garlic and tomatoes, to the way the eggs I gathered today felt in my hand, and yes, even the way the chicken-pooped hay smelled as I removed it from the nests and the way the new hay I replaced it with smelled in the warm air. 

This day has been a poem, lived.

We all deserve that sometimes. We do. 

Love...Ms. Moon

It's All So Simple. Really

Oh look. I got a free book in the mail today.
Well, booklet, to be more precise.

My favorite chapter.

And perhaps this explains the fact that there was only one begotten son. 
Sad. But there are techniques which can help with this problem. 

Could I get a time-frame so that I can figure out when to let my anti-depressant prescription lapse?

After a quick perusal of the booklet, I believe I have figured out the main problem with the world today.

Thanks! Seventh Day Adventists for clearing it up, once and for all. We are observing the Sabbath on the wrong damn day! Jeez. 

This message brought to you today by Don't bother looking it up. The website is no longer operable. 

I'm going to go deal with chicken shit now.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

We're Going To The Beach Soon And Thank God

This is why you have a grandmother:

Because when you are four years old and put a noodle over your nose in a restaurant, she does not say, "Stop playing with your food." She says, "Oh, let me make you a mustache with one of these carrot slivers."
And she does. 

And you hold still the way she tells you and she takes your picture and it is fun. 

It's been a hard day. Just physically hard for me. I've been exhausted and achy and all I did was go to town and have lunch with Lily and Jessie and the kids at a new Asian fusion place that was simply awful. Still, we had fun and my fortune cookie gave me the eternal wisdom that, "If winter is here, can spring be far behind?"
"Wonder how many night's sleep Buddha gave up to come up with that one?" I asked no one in particular. 

Then we went to Target and got a few things for the beach because on Sunday we are going down to St. George to stay in a rented house and all who want to come may come and Jessie and I, I believe, are going to be there for the entire week. Since there are children involved, canopies must be purchased and toys and vats of sunscreen and hats and tiny sunglasses. 

Jessie and I moved on to Old Navy where August tried on swimming suits. 

Little surfer dude with great big eyes. 
I got Jessie a few things for her upcoming birthday and then they went home, August truly ready for a nap and I still had to go to Publix and by the time I got home it was after five and I still had to take the clothes off the line, make up the bed with the clean sheets, put everything away, check on all the chickens and cut some up a few grapes very fine for all the babies, and start dinner. 
I had thawed out what I thought was ground venison to make some plain old spaghetti sauce but what I had actually thawed was venison sausage and I went on and used it anyway and it's so salty we probably need to take a gallon of water each to bed. 
Fuck it. 

The little crippled chick seems healthy but still does not want to walk on that foot. I think her entire leg may be messed up and I'm not sure what to do about it. People on the internet seem to use everything from pipe cleaners to tape to deal with these problems and I guess that tomorrow I'll do another review of the situation and go from there. 

And that is about the most stressful thing I care to deal with tomorrow. I plan on staying home and watering plants and taking a walk and not do any rushing about, driving in traffic being tailgated by assholes in Lincoln Continentals who obviously believe that going 50 in town in a 40 mph zone is ridiculous and being beeped at for taking .5 seconds to gun it when the light turns red. 

I want to yell, "I'm a fucking grandma, you asshole! Show some fucking respect!" but of course I do not and I swear to you that next week at the beach I am going to turn into a complete and utter useless human being who cooks when she wants to, walks when she wants to, sleeps when she wants to, reads when she wants to, plays with her grandchildren when she wants to and paddles about on the new float she bought at Target today when she wants to. I have always said that if sleep and the beach can't cure you, just give it up. 

This may be the vacation in which I teach Owen to make martinis. I think he can handle it. I think he's ready. And Gibson is certainly capable of spearing an olive onto a toothpick. These children need to start earning their keep. 

Love...Ms. Moon

And Baby Powder Causes Cancer

Woke up this morning with the worst dream hangover ever. I believe I had one of the strangest dreams of my life. I was working in a giant rug factory (as in the factory was huge and the rugs were huge) and I witnessed a murder and the rug factory people were trying to kill me so I couldn't rat them out about the murder thing going on in the rug factory and a darling little butch chick was trying to help me and she was so funny and so smart and it all involved chases and cars that wouldn't start and I don't know how it ended up but suddenly, I was in Asheville, NC where I was living with most of my family.
I had a sort of gig working at a co-op type cafe and I was trying to make a breakfast there of black beans and a grain and cucumber noodles but the newest health guidelines insisted that you need to eat your grain the day before you eat your beans and...
Did I mention trying to wash a giant quilt in the washing machine at the co-op?
So then I gave up on the bean/grain/cucumber breakfast and was simply trying to shop for eggs and bacon but the bacon was like forty dollars a pound because it was organic and locally-sourced.
Of course.
But wait! That doesn't include the part where Jesus freaks were trying to save my husband's soul.

So I woke up confused and anxious.

And I've been thinking a lot about how much harder it is these days to make any sort of decision because whereas you once chose what to have for a meal according to
(a) What you wanted, and
(b) What you could afford
you now how to consider every fucking ethical/health/moral/carbon-footpring/animal cruelty issue involved around it and the media is extremely happy to tell us what we should be eating and exactly why and it all changes about every fifteen minutes.

Fuck me.

And it's all like this. And don't get me wrong- I hate the idea of factory farms and heavily sprayed and artificially fertilized food and also, child slave labor (where's that chocolate you're eating from?) and so forth. But it's not just food. Did you actually just buy a bottle of water? Do you have any idea how wrong that is on so many levels? Everything from the type of wood chips you use in your landscaping (never use cedar- I'm serious) to whether you vaccinate your child or how much screen time you want them to have (screen time!) or whether you let them play outside by themselves or what goddam bathroom you are allowed to use or whether the detergent you're using is destroying the planet (I'm pretty sure it is) to...well. Everything.
There are SO many issues and I'm not joking about this and I'm not making fun of the fact that we now KNOW more than we used to and that the options are becoming more and more worthy of debate. But hell- we used to eat whatever the grocery store stocked and none of it was grown in other countries and shipped in at great, huge cost to the environment and fish wasn't farmed in Thailand. Don't get me wrong- it wasn't Eden and it wasn't Nirvana. Rivers were being polluted and poisons were being used and although we didn't realize it, we were destroying the ozone which has led to where we are now.
We just were blissfully ignorant.

I feel so sorry for today's parents. There is absolutely just too much to consider. Even for us without children going to the grocery store is a lesson in too-much/too-much/too-much. The way every parent used to raise children would pretty much be considered a crime these days. Seat belts were still brand new and car seats were a damn joke. They barely contained a child, much less protected her from injury. If you told your kids now to go outside and don't come back until supper time, the DCF would be notified and someone would be knocking at your door. And yet- we survived. If we did fall down and hurt ourselves, we knew how to use the iodine and band-aids. If we got cactus all stuck in our legs we knew where the tweezers were. No one worried about whether or not our shampoo had toxic substances in it. Did you like Prell or did you like Breck?
Parents were usually only involved in case of snake bite (and actually, despite the fact that I lived in one of the snakiest parts of the world, I never knew anyone to get bit) or broken bones or third degree burns. If you got strep throat, you went to the doctor and they gave you a shot in the butt and no one knew about micro-biomes which is probably why all of us old people are on heartburn medication which is now being shown to lead directly to dementia.
If you got a terrible headache or a fever, you got an aspirin. No one had ever heard of Reyes Syndrome or whatever that is which I am too lazy to look up and actually, baby aspirin was a treat because it was delicious! Our vitamins (if we got them), were too and they weren't even GUMMY VITAMINS which now even adults can enjoy.
If we had a car and a dollar, we could afford to take a Sunday Drive after lunch after church on Sunday. This was a big deal. "Come on, family! Let's take a Sunday Drive!"
We weren't worried about fossil fuels. Did we even know what gas was made from? I'm not sure.

We just did what we did and no one overly worried about it. You sent your kids to the nearest school and just assumed they'd be getting a decent education. Teachers paddled the shit out of kids or sent them to the principal for an even more vigorous paddling because teachers were always female and the principal always male and thus, stronger.
And thank god we did start realizing the outcome of some of this stuff. I'm so grateful for that. And I'm grateful that people are now more aware of things like domestic abuse and sexual abuse of children and civil rights and women's rights and gay rights and the education of differently abled students and how our actions affect the environment but it sure does make every decision a thousand times more difficult. No one cared a bit out a child's self-esteem or realized that telling a kid with dyslexia that they were stupid might actually be damaging which was horrible.

It's no wonder we all suffer from anxiety and depression. No one is capable of taking all of this in and constantly having to make the "right" decision whether it's about dinner or our children's healthcare or whether to pay for treatment for a pet's cancer. Add in whether or not we are being our "genuine self," are finding meaning and worth in the work we do and if we are or are not self-actualized.
No one.

It's hard enough just to decide what you want for supper on the simple merit of hunger. Ask any housewife.
If you can find one.

All right. Enough. I have eighteen things going at once which is making me crazy and I can't seem to prioritize and my baby chick's curled toes may be the least of its problem.
I've sat down to write this in about forty different sessions and thus- it sucks.

But do you get what I mean?
It's so hard. And we're all peddling as fast as we can and doing the best that we can despite the fact that we have all of this knowledge, some of it genuine, some of it not-so-much and have to make the best decisions we can and then, we so often feel as if we have to defend those decisions to others whose business it really isn't but who have no problem speaking their truth to us.

Where is Mr. Rogers when you need him? He used to tell me every day that he liked me just the way I was.
I wonder if his sweaters were made from organic and non-cruelty raised sheep?

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, April 25, 2016

Further Chick Adventures

I got a call today from my next-door neighbor.
"Hey Mary," she said. "Could you take three biddies?"
"Oh, Lord, Carolyn," I said. "I just transitioned my babies outside and got the bathroom where I was keeping them all cleaned up."
Which is so true. So very, very true.
And then she proceeded to tell me a story about a broody hen she's got who's been sitting on eggs and she's put peacock eggs under her, trying to get those to hatch out, and then these three little ones got born and if she left them with the mother, she wouldn't sit on the eggs and she's afraid that cats will get them, etc., etc.
"Please, please, please!" she said. This woman loves animals. Dogs, cats, chickens, goats. Since I've lived here she's had a turkey, a llama, and she has donkeys too. And she had a very old horse.
What could I do? I sighed and told her I'd get them everything set up and I did and went over there and gave me these three in a box.
They are the grandchildren of Elvis, having been sired by Elvis, Jr.

So I brought them home and one of them has a messed up foot. And these babies have just hatched. I settled them into their pine shavings and turned on their light and showed them where the food was and then I went online to see if anything could be done about the foot.

Turns out that supposedly, you can help this problem.

Yeah, I know. You don't need to watch that. I love the woman's voice though. She's so pragmatic about it all. I showed the video to Mr. Moon and then we applied a bandage to the foot and we shall see how it goes.

I can't believe I'm doing this again.

Well, here we are. I haven't even thought about naming these three. Let's just see how they do.

Also? The candle is still playing "Happy Birthday."

Love...Ms. Moon

We're Getting Good At This Birthday Thing Although The Magical Candle Wasn't Magic

It's quiet here in Lloyd right now and I'm alone but two hours ago it was not quiet and I was certainly not alone. We had a little birthday brunch for Lis. I made a frittata-like thing with the leftover potato and greens gratin and eggs and cheese and made toast of homemade bread and cooked bacon and set out the apple butter I made from Vergil's mama's apples.
And then we ate prune cake which had already been cut into last night after our shrimp supper.

Okay. When I said it was quiet, I was sort of lying.
I can still hear the sad, sad, pinging "Happy Birthday" song that the Magical Candle I put on the cake last night is playing. That fucking candle. I am DONE with Magical Candles. This one sort of exploded and the petals fell off and it wouldn't really go around the way it's supposed to and I felt terrible. I mean- I was trying to introduce MAGIC into the situation and it was a damn disaster.
Glen put the candle outside last night and it was still playing this morning and Lon found it and tried to smash it to no avail and he put it in a trash can out by the shed and by god, that thing is still playing and I can still hear it.
Oh well. It was a fun night anyway.

And a fun morning as well. Lis got to hold the babies. Here she is with Miss Maggie, the dumpling child.

Owen couldn't be here as he has school but today was a field trip to Wakulla Springs so I'm sure he's cool with that. Gibson was here in force, as he always is. He asked me what we were going to eat and I said, "eggs with potatoes."
He got terrifically excited and told his mother that we were going to have EGGS AND TOMATOES but when it came time to actually eat, he declared the frittata to be "disgusting" all mixed up the way it was but he ate some bacon and toast and loved the prune cake. I put new regular candles on it this morning and we all sang Happy Birthday with our real voices and Gibson got to blow out one of the candles.

So. All is well.

Lily and Jessie have gone home and taken their children with them and Lon and Lis have packed up and gone home to Gator Bone where Lis is taking two days to work in her garden which is a huge treat for her, and Lon has promised to be her garden slave.
"I'm gonna wear the man out," she said this morning. She was smiling when she said it. I don't think Lon is too afraid.

We went out to check on the baby chicks before everyone left and we picked them some mulberries to eat. They were not sure at all about those mulberries and eyed them with grave suspicion.

It is getting hard to tell the two lighter colored barred Plymouth rocks apart.
In line there we have Blossom, Violet, Dearie, Diamond (I think), Mona Lisa (I think) and Sally. 
Pay attention people. There will be a quiz later.

And so- another Lis birthday and it was a good one. I just feel so lucky to be able to spend birthdays with Lis. We discussed the possibility of going up to Asheville this year for mine as Jessie and Vergil and August are going to spend a few months up there this summer and I doubt I'll be able to last the entire time without seeing August. 

I think I might iron today which is such a good excuse to watch TV. 
Or go to bed. Either one. 
One more picture.

Look at that little mouth. Don't worry. I kissed her for all of us.

Happy birthday, my darling Lis. Thank you and Lon for sharing your shining, beautiful presence with us again.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Short. So Sweet

After we all ate breakfast this morning in Eastpoint, which is right across the bridge from Apalachicola at the Mexican restaurant which serves American breakfast, we went over to the property and Lon and Mr. Moon staked out some more house things and we met one of our neighbors, or should I say- a present and hopefully future occupant of the lot.

It was truly a fine weekend and in twenty-four hours I got to experience so much pleasure. Lunch with Lon and Lis and Mr. Moon and shopping with Lis and some sweet husband time and then dressing up a little bit and going to listen to my two favorite musicians and having a late-night bar-supper with them at the Gibson where we were staying. Not to mention...martinis.

When we got home this afternoon I cleaned up the bathroom where the baby chicks have been living. They are just getting too big to live in an ice chest in the bathtub. Lon and Lis had another gig this afternoon in another town west of Apalachicola but they will be coming in to spend the night in Lloyd and tomorrow is Lis's birthday and some of my kids will be coming out to have birthday breakfast with her. She is their fairy-godmother and Lon is their fairy-godfather. I have a prune cake in the oven and fresh shrimp to cook. And Jessie and Vergil and August came out to borrow Mr. Moon's smoker so that Vergil can make venison jerky for the Grand Canyon trip he's about to embark on.

Mr. August is having some difficulty, either with teeth or tummy or who-knows-what and was a little fussy but also happy when he wasn't being fussy and here he is, chewing on some celery and blessing us all with his beautiful hand in the way he does.

And Jessie brought me roses.

They are sublime and magnificent and I was just despairing that I have nothing blooming to put on the hallway altar. And now I do.

Time to go make a brown-sugar frosting, boil shrimp, heat up bread and risotto and wait on my favorite musicians and I am so grateful that Lis and I have gotten to spend so many birthdays together and here we are, about to spend another.

Maybe tomorrow I will write about when Lis turned forty and she and Lon and Glen and I drove down to the coast in the convertible to eat fried oysters in Panacea and Lon gave his wife black pearls and we didn't have a care in this world.

Or maybe I just did.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, April 23, 2016


Maybe I can live here. 

A woman just danced with a broom in front of the stage and told me, "Best dance partner ever!" And two women, very married to each other tipped the band generously and held on to each other tenderly while the retired, the fishermen, the local people all wandered about with dogs in tow and beers in hand. 

We're having a very good time. 

Love... Ms. Moon

Why Do I Resist Having Fun So Much?

I believe I may have used too much spinach in that risotto but it was good.
So, that's the news.

No, not really. But seriously. Sort of.

We're supposed to be getting ready to drive over to Apalachicola. Have I done one thing to get ready?
No. I have not.
We have no animal tenders so Mr. Moon is going to put the baby coop in the big coop where there will be a doubling of protection and just let them spend the night in it. I'm pretty sure they'll be okay but of course I'll be worried the entire time because I was put on this earth to worry and by god, I do my fucking job whether I get paid or not.

I am sure that once we get on the road I'll be fine but that is going to involve some packing which I have not yet started and oh, boy. Here we go again.

Cutest picture on the internet today:

For some reason that just tickled my heart. Little Prince greeting President Obama in his bathrobe.

I better go pack.

Or something.

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, April 22, 2016

Might As Well Laugh/All's Well That Ends Well

Today was a complete and utter cluster fuck and yet, all ended pretty well and I am smiling and I have my medications and I'm going to make risotto tonight.

I am listening to Ruth Reichl's "Garlic and Sapphires" and she speaks of risotto and I remember I used to make a version of it with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes and damn, suddenly, I must have it.
And so I will.

The cluster fuck involved two vehicles stuck on Lily's road and good and friendly neighbors and a neighbor not so good and friendly and unexpectedly needing to go pick up Owen at school for Lily whose van was one of the vehicles stuck and I mean STUCK up to the tits (if a van had tits) and then my vehicle getting stuck (but only up to the ankles, if Prius's had ankles) and Boppy was involved as well as two neighbor boys with a truck and a chain and a very good attitude, despite working in the rain and getting all red-clayed up and driving back and forth to town more than once.

This boy was also involved.

You just can't be around him without just feeling pretty joyful. And his sweet mama. And Lily and the boys and Maggie and Hank.

About the only thing that really got accomplished today was lunch with Mr. Turtle Face and getting Owen home safely and getting cars pulled out of clay.

I could go on and on about stubbornness and long love and the relief of getting my medications and laughing at jokes I can't even remember but I really want to go chop onions and mushrooms and spinach and start stirring risotto. We are having martinis and I would love to go outside and wander around our estate because although the rain is still dripping from the trees, the sun has come out and in its setting is sending laser beams of light across the yard and I'd love to see if we have more than the one pea pod I saw this morning on the vines but the fucking mosquitoes are so bad that we can't bear it.

Might as well cook.


Love...Ms. Moon

Friday Rolls Around Again

Yesterday was just a shit day and I didn't get much done but Jessie did come by with Prince August and I had a lovely time holding him on the porch. He had just woken up from a nap and was completely content to sit on my lap and try to get my necklace off of me and into his mouth and to accept my kisses and snorgles and to look around at all the hanging stuff on my porch- the mermaid, the glass disks, the mirror, the funky junk I surround myself with. His big eyes took everything in and then I handed him back to his mother so that I could look at him.

I have the baby chicks now where I can see them from my seat on the porch and they amuse me no end. The larger chicks, the Barred Plymouth Rocks, have begun a rather distressing activity which involves flying towards each other and bumping into each others' chests with great fluttering of wings and much peeping. 
I fear this may mean they are all roosters but we shall see.
This is not a great picture but it's what they look like today.

They love being outside and they love the greens I chop up for them and deliver at regular intervals. The cats and the mature chickens still seem to be ignoring them. 

Last night I made a potato and kale and collard gratin. I'd never made a gratin before and the recipe called for me to massage the greens "aggressively" with olive oil and salt and pepper and garlic and so I did. I thought the dish came out lovely. Not sure my husband agreed so much. When one has a garden full of greens, however, one must step outside of one's comfort zone occasionally to try new things. 

And so it went and here it is Friday and I've already been on the phone with my health care provider because I am literally OUT of my medications and despite being contacted at the beginning of the week, they had not responded even though I went to see them about this a few weeks ago and then had that horrible anxiety attack and dear god, I have to find another provider. 

Prince is still dead. Donald Trump is still running for president, bluebirds are flitting about my yard, Jack and Maurice seem to have become friends or at least hang out together for much of the day, I have to go to town, tomorrow we are going to spend the night in Apalachicola because Lon and Lis are playing there and it is almost Lis's birthday, the baby chicks are trying to figure out how to escape from their coop, the mosquitoes here are as fierce and large as I've ever seen them, and it might rain today which would be good for the garden. 

Life is such a mixed blessing of it all, isn't it?

Happy Friday.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Do We Even Know When Angels Live Among Us?

I don't even know what to say about Prince. He came to us, full bloomed when I was in nursing school, already in my very late twenties. His music was not the music that made my bones what they are but I recognized, I knew without doubt, that he was the real deal. That he had driven a spike into a completely different realm of music, of art, and let it flow free and the world lapped it up and became drunk on its bloody magnificence.

Like Bowie. Like the Beatles. Like the Rolling Stones. Like Little Richard. Like Chuck Berry and Elvis and Howling Wolf and Muddy Waters and Michael Jackson and Joni Mitchell and Aretha Franklin and like St. Jimi Hendrix.

One of those guys.

And as with Bowie, he did not seem human. He transcended sex and race and gender and any sort of description. He was male/female. He was tiny, he was huge, he was a screamer, a whisperer, a musician who let loose the hounds of hell and the doves of peace.

When I wrote my post last night, I should have mentioned people like Bowie, like Prince, even like Mick Jagger and Little Richard, who refused to fit squarely and snuggly into any square of definition as to what a man looked like, dressed like, sounded like, was.
These people were not round pegs in square holes. They were fluid enough to fill any space. Their beings were too liquid to be defined while their music was too amazing to be ignored.

And so, again as with Bowie especially, it seemed impossible that he would die. Like...a mortal? Really?

And yet, yes. Prince's soul in this incarnation at least, inhabited a human body, a body as prey to disease and death as any of us live in.

I can't say that I'm devastated at his death. But I can say that I am hallelujah-holy amazed that he lived among us for the time that he did.

I hope he went in peace. Like a Prince. Like a veritable Prince of Peace.

Doves cry.

Love...Ms. Moon

Homos, Algebra, Shit Like That

Yes, Virginia, there ARE liberal rednecks.
Here's one.

Let Mr. Crowder enlighten us in his own extremely blunt and beautiful way.
I believe he said it better than I did.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

We All Deserve To Pee In Peace And So Much More

In some ways, I am astonished at how far we've come in this country in the past few decades when it comes to gay rights. From the 1960's when I was a little child and no one, NO ONE admitted to being homosexual, including the gayest man on the planet, Liberace, to now where the United States has decreed that gays and lesbians have the right to marry and adopt children and create families in a myriad of ways-well, as I said, I am astonished.

This did not happen by pure grace or accident. It took years of protests and demands for equal rights. It took Stonewall where gays and lesbians refused to let the police do what police had always done which was to shame and arrest them and they fought back. It took literature, it took the AIDS crisis, it took lawmakers brave enough to step forward and support gay rights. It took kids who were brave enough to come out of the closet and say, "There is nothing wrong with me. I am who I am and I deserve the same rights as any other kids." Who refused to be bullied. Who refused to be shamed back into the closet. It took Rock Hudson's death. It took Ellen Degeneres, it took Rosie O'Donnell, it took families who supported their kids in every way. It took PFLAG, it took Will and Grace, it took that couple down the street who refused to pretend that they were roommates and who came to community potlucks with casseroles and kids in strollers and matching gold bands on their left hands. It took couples who had no desire to become public figures but who had been together so long that it became unbearable for them to not only pretend they weren't together but to demand military benefits, spousal benefits when it came to health insurance and social security benefits and the rights to be with their loved ones in hospitals as spouses who had more right than a family of birth which had abandoned their gay sons and lesbian daughters until they ended up in hospitals and maintained that they were the ones who legally had the rights to determine medical care for children they had perhaps not seen in many, many years. It has taken dignity and honor and anger and patience and impatience and the absolute refusal to remain under the cover of darkness. It has taken gay pride parades. It took flaming queens and bull dykes, it took what we used to refer to as "lipstick lesbians" who presented themselves as part of a community which refused to be judged on how they had been born. It took victims of the sorts of therapy which promised to change one's sexual orientation to finally step forward and say, "This is bullshit! I have no need to change and I couldn't if I wanted to!" It took your aunt, your brother, your daughter, your grandmother who began to refuse to pretend that their partners were simply good friends and quite frankly told family members that these were their partners in all ways. It took children who, in telling their parents, were at grave risk of being kicked out of the family, being told they were sinners and were no longer welcome in their own homes. It took Harvey Milk, it took Matthew Shepherd. It took ministers speaking compassion and truth from the pulpits, it took teachers who accepted kids the way they were and supported them when perhaps families at home did not.

I could go on for days. And now there are laws which ensure so many of the civil rights that cis-gendered people have enjoyed just by accident of birth. The Supreme Court has ruled that love is love and cannot be denied on basis of gender.

And yet. Here we are, fighting again, this time over the rights of transgendered people and it makes my heart sick.
These "bathroom bills" as they are known are so destructive and so ridiculous. To be told that you can only use a public restroom designated to the gender given to you on your birth certificate. I mean- there's really no way to determine, in many cases, whose birth certificate needs verifying. In the name of equality should we all have to show our birth certificates to government-employed bathroom attendants?

Perfect illustration of the absurdity.
Hell, I had a distant relative whom I would have sworn was a transgendered female had I not known that she did indeed give birth several times. But if I had been the bathroom police, I would have asked to see her birth certificate if that were the sort of thing I was concerned about.
And as always with these issues of civil rights, the religious right is behind so much of it. Whether it's slavery or homosexuality, you can find a place in the Bible that proves your point. Unless you're looking to Jesus for the final word in which case you won't find it.
When I am feeling compassionate about it all, I try to remember that these people operate out of fear and out of ignorance but as Jessie and I agreed the other day, there are an infinite number of ways to educate yourself on these issues and those who refuse to do so do so out of blind hatred and closed-mindedness and there goes my compassion.

Yes. Changes have happened far faster than I thought they would but as with most things, it's one step forward and two steps back. The struggle continues and all anyone is asking for is equal rights, equal protection under the law. And don't even talk to me about the founding fathers and what they would have wanted. Fuck that. They wanted slaves and they had them. They wanted men to be the rulers and they got that. It's taken many years for our country to realize that at least in some ways, the Constitution was a flawed document, however ground-breaking and amazing it was for its era.

And now we do have equal rights (at least under the law, if not in reality) for people of color and for women and yes, even for same-sex couples. And we have leaders from the president on down who do speak of the rights of the transgendered. But the battle is still ongoing and as with all of these issues, it's going to take a lot of people who refuse to be defined by their sex organs and it's going to take a lot of people who do not suffer fools gladly and refuse to do business with the states who pass these laws, who refuse to remain silent because this issue "does not affect them."

Just as no one should let someone get by with telling a joke that is obviously racist or someone using words which are not acceptable to describe someone who is differently abled, we should not remain silent when people spew their fear and ignorance about the LGBTQ community. I don't care if people like Donald Trump ARE making certain people feel as if it's acceptable to do these things, it is not. And we, who try to act always out of love and compassion and who are able to at least try to imagine ourselves in the shoes of others, have to stand up, be brave, tell the truth and shame the devil.

Well, at least that's how I see it.

I want my grandbabies to grow up in a world where we accept each other on the basis of who they are, not what they are. Where the vast diversity of humans on this earth is celebrated, not vilified.

And things like this give me hope:

I couldn't pick Chris Hemsworth out of a line-up of two but I love him for what he told his daughter.

All right. I'll put my soapbox back under the counter but goddamn it! Sometimes I just have to step up and make my say.

All love...Ms. Moon

P.S. I am most grateful for all of the differently-gendered people I have come to know and love in my life. They have expanded my definition of normalcy, educated me, loved me, and filled my heart with their strength, their quiet bravery, and their refusal to stay silent.
Also, they are absolutely, without doubt, some of the best people, parents, and friends anyone could ever know. I am blessed with their presences in my life. And I am pretty sure they know that.

Can You See It?

Maurice and Jack were in the backyard and I could tell they had their eyes on something. Maurice patted the ground and I saw a scuttle and went outside and this is what I saw. I would never have seen it, had I not seen it move.
The cats don't really appear to be hunting it or tormenting it but they do seem to be amused by it. For now, at least. Chickens eat lizards too.

Let's face it- it'll be a fucking miracle if that poor critter lives to see another sunset.

Nature is cruel.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Someone Needs A Rubber Duckie

Okay, okay, okay, okay, I'm fine, I really am.
It's been one of those days where I just did the tiny things like scrub toilets and sweep floors and hang laundry and repot a plant and eat crappy food.

I did get to see Owen and Gibson and Magnolia for a few minutes. When I got there, Owen and Gibson were trying to fix their road. Owen had a shovel for said purpose. Their road is horrible. The Waste Management company throws tantrums and refuses to pick up their trash. It's a feud by now. Owen, however, decided that no, he could not fix the road but his mother thanked him for trying. It is a rather large job for one boy and a shovel, even with Gibson's help.
Magnolia joyfully smiled for me and rested her head against mine for a blissful moment or two and slobbered all over me and spit up on me and let me kiss her over and over again.

In order to try and negate some of the crappy food I ate today, I am going to make one of my favorite recipes tonight, Creamy Cashew Butternut Squash soup, although I use acorn squash and sweet potatoes. Let's bring it on down south, y'all. Mr. Moon does not especially like it but he'll eat it because he's sweet like that. I bought new turmeric today and the lady checking me out, whose name was Geeta, asked me what I was going to cook and we got into quite a discussion about turmeric and how she uses it and its health-giving properties and also cumin, etc.

So I suppose I better get in the kitchen and start cooking onions and cashews and ginger and squash and sweet potatoes. I hate peeling hard squashes. Do you? Cutting them up is no picnic either.

Here's a picture Jessie just sent me.

All of a sudden he's sitting up like a boss and he got a new bathtub. She sent me an even cuter picture before that one but it showed his precious little pee-pee and you know I can't disrespect my grands by showing more than an occasional little pink butt so I requested one that covers the preciousness up. 
Is there anything in this world cuter than a naked baby in the bathtub? 
If there is, I surely would like to know about it but I'm not sure I could handle it. 

Love...Ms. Moon

It Comes And It Goes And It Comes Again

Not one damn thing wrong in my whole tiny world and I woke up so anxious you could skin me alive and I wouldn't even know it.
In fact, I feel like someone did skin me alive while I slept on my clean sheets, my cat laying beside me.
I will take a walk.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Another Day In The Life, Part 406

Maggie's smiles. They are as big and full and brilliant and gorgeous and joyful as any smile on this earth which has ever been smiled. She is beatific, imparting, as the dictionary says, "holy bliss."
You cannot look at that face and not smile back. And she laughs, too. Those funny deep baby laughs that make you just want to keep on doing whatever it is you are doing to make her laugh for as long as she'll keep responding.

We met up for lunch and our friend Liz Sparks came too and she held both babies, loving on each of them, sniffing heads and making goo-goo eyes. August stood on Uncle Hank's belly and stretched up tall, with Hank holding him, waving and flapping his arms like a baby eagle, ready to take flight. It was hysterical and beautiful and you'd think by now that just thinking about my grandchildren wouldn't make me tear up but it does.
It does.

Well. Yes. Lucille died sometime between noon and two-thirty which was when I got home. I came in and changed my clothes and got a shovel and dug a little grave under the giant oak where the honeybees hive and carefully laid her in and covered her up.
Still no idea why she died. She was young, a young hen.
So it goes. So it goes. I am glad she was not suffering for long and honestly, I do not think she was conscious when I found her this morning but far into the process, moving along that path.

The baby chicks loved being outside. Or at least it seemed as if they did. I gave them garden greens and they tore at them with their dinosaur beaks and they scratched in the dirt with their dinosaur feet. I thought the other chickens would pay them more attention than they did but I only saw Lisa Marie peering at them through the screen and I saw neither cat giving them even a glance but you know cats- they are clever and sneaky and if the did have interest in them, they would pretend otherwise. And the babies can run into the boxed in part of the coop if they feel afraid where the cats can't see them at all and it would take a far bigger cat than either Maurice of Jack to breech that coop. Like a lynx. They're back in their bathtub home now for the night and tomorrow I shall take them out again.

Speaking of cats, I just saw Maurice staring intently at the bluebird box where I am almost sure there are babies. I whistled at her and yelled, "Maurice, NO!" and she broke her stalking stance and now she's back in the house and I gave both her and Jack some Temptations for being such good cats and not killing birds and because I'm a fool.

I really do not consider myself to be an extreme animal lover on any level and yet, the animals which I do love, I simply love. Not like I love my friends or my husband or my children or my grandchildren and perhaps it isn't even love at all but simply a respect and appreciation for the other creatures who share my life and make it so much more interesting. And that would include the bluebirds.

I'm going to shut up now because I'm only rambling.

I'm tired. Let us all sleep well tonight and perhaps, if we are as lucky as lucky can be, we will dream of smiling babies.

Love...Ms. Moon

It's Too Beautiful A Day To Feel This Sad

I woke up to another perfect day, but haunted by dreams and it would seem that I've taken to chewing my tongue at night, or at least biting down on it. But up I got and knew that today was the day to take the little chickens out to the new outside shelter and that was cheering.
But when I went to let the big chickens out, I found Miss Lucille on the ground, flat and breathing hard. I thought perhaps Mick had just mated with her because sometimes after sex, the hen does just lay there, still, for a moment before she stands up again and shakes it all off.
But no. This was different.
And she didn't move and I noticed that her comb was turning black and I picked her up and could not find a wound on her but it was so obvious that she was in the process of dying and I had no idea why and didn't know what to do. And so I did nothing but stroked her soft feathers and Nicey stayed in the hen house with us and watched her

and then looked at me as if I was supposed to do something and sang a little song and now she's on the nest by her dying friend. I keep going out to check on Lucille, to stroke her feathers, tell her what a fine hen she's been and I am so sad.
I have no idea what is wrong with her. Did she eat something she shouldn't have? Did a snake bite her? I don't know. I don't know. But she doesn't react to my touch at all.

Damn. These chickens have made such a nest in my heart.

So I'm going about my day. What else to do? Supposed to meet kids and friends in town for lunch and I'm washing sheets and I did put the baby chicks out.

Here's the new daytime coop for them that Mr. Moon built. You can move those wheels at the end down and lock them into place and use those leg-looking things on the other end to wheel-barrow the entire thing to another spot. It's tight and safe, no gaps for things to get in or chicks to get out. There is a shaded area should the sun get too bright or they want to feel protected, and plenty of room for them to run around and scratch in the dirt. I can hear them peeping now. 

And so life ends and so life goes on and it's only a chicken. Only a chicken and there are probably billions of chickens on this earth but there are only sixteen in this yard, each one named and known and yesterday Lucille was out and about and running with the flock. 

I just went and checked on her again and she is still breathing but that is all. Nicey is off the nest but keeping watch and that is the saddest of all. Don't tell me that chickens are brainless creatures. Even Mick has gone in to see her. In his rooster talk he told her to get up but she did not. He walked around her for awhile, and then went back to his flock. I have no idea what these birds think but I know that they do think and they do know when something is wrong. 

Sometimes we can't think about it too much. We just have to keep watch. 
And so we are, each in the way that we can.