Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What Kind Of A Name Is Hermine?

Shy red passion flower on my fence. 

I've been amazingly unproductive today although I guess that's not entirely true. I did laundry, I did some kitchen stuff, I went through my closet and culled three garbage bags full of clothes to give away but if it had been eight bags, it wouldn't have been enough.
And I wrote a real letter. Four pages of handwritten words to a dear friend and I realize with sure and troubling certainty that my handwriting is not what it used to be and I never in my young life thought that I'd ever get out of practice putting real pen to real paper but there you go. I can write on my phone more easily than I can with my fountain pen. A sad but true fact.

Still. I feel, as I told the friend I was talking to a few days ago, that I am failing at life. I am sure this will pass but it's how I feel and that's valid.

I can't decide whether or not to be more worried about this storm than I am. How silly is that? Mr. Moon went to get gas after work and the lines were long. People ARE concerned and they've canceled school for tomorrow and Friday and they've called for evacuation of all visitors and residents of Dog Island and St. George Island and for those who live in trailers on the coast.
Better to be safe than sorry is always the feeling and I agree with that.
I'm not sure what in hell I'd be doing if I really felt threatened. For one thing, move my hanging front-porch ferns to the inside of the porch and check to see if I have batteries for flashlights. Hermine, as they've named her, now that she's reached Tropical Storm strength, could bring us winds up to and above 50 miles an hour and the resulting little twister tornadoes that do occur under such circumstances, not to mention a great deal of rain in a very short amount of time.
We have a generator which hasn't been cranked in years and we won't starve and really, the only true worry I have is that a tree will fall on us and when I say "a tree" I know exactly which one it would be. Unless it was two others that are also a bit perilous. Not to mention the resurrection fern laden old branches of the live oaks which I worship but which could fall if things get wild enough.

Ah-lah. It is what it is and this house has been standing for over 150 years and I doubt that this tropical storm will flatten it.

Florida. What can you do? Love it or leave it and I guess I must love it.

Let's all be well and be safe.

Love...Ms. Moon


We watched most of another episode of "Stranger Things" last night because dammit, EVERYONE LIKES IT!
I say, "most of another episode" because neither one of us could hang for the entire thing.
Yes, yes, I know it's supposed to be an homage to 80's movie terror and ET and Poltergeist and all that stuff but to me it just seems derivative and distractingly so.
But the main thing that I dislike about it is simply the acting. On the whole, I think it sucks.


On to whatever comes next.

Food And Stuff

On my walk this morning, I happened to notice some hanging fruits which looked like limes and I stopped to check them out. Had I been walking past a citrus tree all these years without noticing?
Quite possible, but no, and I immediately knew what I was seeing, which is passion fruit. Those are growing on vines which are entangled in dog fennel and I saw at least half a dozen this morning. I've heard that passion fruit is delicious and I'm excited to think that perhaps these lovely ovoids will ripen and I can pick them and bring them home and try them.

I'm really enjoying listening to Anthony Bourdain's book but it's sort of all over the map, which is appropriate, I suppose, given his inclination for travel. He discusses everything from dating the Very Rich (he doesn't recommend it) to his experiences in various kitchens to famous chefs to becoming the father of a daughter. Also, of course, food, and now I'm really hungry for some Pho. The man is a decent writer and he has quite strong opinions about things, as one would assume and seems to have blurrier boundaries than is probably good for him in some ways but which makes for interesting reading. And since I'm listening to the audio version, narrated by him, it's an even better experience for me. I've had a crush on the man for a long time (and who among us has not?) and it even got crushier when he had a meal with President Obama in Viet Nam where they ate Bun Cha at what we might call a modest restaurant (the entire tab was six bucks).

Bourdain reported that the President's chopstick skills are "on point" and thus, my crush on our president got crushier as well. 

Anyway, la-di-dah, and we're all waiting to see what this storm will do. "Should I go get hurricane supplies?" I asked my husband. "Beany-Weenies, perhaps?"
We laughed. I talked to an old friend of mine yesterday and we discussed getting ready for hurricanes which always involves filling the bathtub with water so you can flush the toilet. I'm pretty sure this storm isn't going to reach the point of us needing a bathtub full of water and let's face it- no one on this earth needs Beany-Weenies unless they are literally dying of starvation and that is the only source of calories available which could happen but is not likely to happen here. 

Wait and see, what and see. I think that's what life mostly consists of. 
I shall wait and see if the passion fruit gets ripe and if the storm comes our way and many other things but right now, I need some lunch which will not be Pho or Bun Cha or even an egg cooked over a wood fire as Bourdain described Alice Waters cooking for Leslie Stahl on a Sixty Minutes special with not a small amount of disdain. 

And here's a picture of Maurice just because. 

My little tiger who keeps me company. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Todo Es Tranquilo

Otis and Dearie and I still have no idea if Dearie is a hen or a rooster although my money is on hen. I haven't gotten an egg from either her or little Violet yet and for all I know, they're laying regularly somewhere hidden in the bushes. My egg totals are way down and I blame both the chicken massacre and the inevitable August molting slowdown. Even if I only get one or two eggs a day, that's plenty for me and the Mr. but it's not enough to share and I hate that.

I don't really feel as if I have much to say this evening. The day went very well. My teeth were cleaned and then declared by the dentist as "Great!"
And the endorphins flooded my body and the one-half of a precious Ativan that I'd taken before the appointment hit me at the same time and I felt as tranquil and content as a old sow wallering in cool mud. I met up with Lily and Jessie and we went to Costco hoping for samples as we were all starving and there wasn't one sample to be had but that was okay because then we went to lunch.

My Maggie.

My Gibson. 

My August.

I voted, and I've just had a very quiet day and I think I'm just going to let the pictures tell the story. This picture tells a possible story.

Unless things change dramatically in the next 24 hours (always a possibility) we are going to get some weather. It doesn't look like it's going to be terrible but it could be a bit intense. I live up there in the armpit of Florida and the storm will probably cross right over us, and we'll see some rain and some wind. May all of our trees remain standing...

And that's about it from Lloyd tonight. Mr. Moon will be home soon and I don't have to go back to the dentist for six more months and I got to hang out with some of my grands and some of my kids and I voted and it wasn't as hot today as it has been and I picked yet more zipper cream peas and only got about five ant bites and of course, my MacBook is back and in full working order and so, overall, a very fine day indeed. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Fingers Crossed, Breath Held

Writing this on the MacBook which seems restored to life.
Now. Time to get ready to go see the dentist.
Can't wait for those endorphins to kick in.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, August 29, 2016

Science. Profanity. Humor. Dorothy Parker. And So Much More

Haven't had the courage to try and turn my computer on. I'll probably do that tomorrow morning before I go to the dentist at 9 motherfucking a.m. 
It's just for a cleaning that I've now canceled and rescheduled twice so there's no way to get out of the appointment. 
Anyway, so yeah, if it doesn't magically come alive, my magic box, I'll take it into town with me to go and visit the handy young men at the Computer Doctor place and if they can't fix it I guess I'll have to buy a new one and although my husband will spring for that, I hate the idea of it with all of my heart and soul. 

I'm just having a bad day. Do you remember that movie "Crimes Of The Heart"? If you never have, you should watch it because it's pretty fucking great and there's this one scene where Diane Keaton's character tries to off herself by various means (I think it's the Diane Keaton character- it's been a long time) including hanging herself from a chandelier which falls from the ceiling and then, still dragging the chandelier behind her, sticks her head in the oven. Her sister, played by Sissy Spacek (again, as memory serves) finds her and confronts her with what the hell she's doing. 
"It's just been a really bad day," says the Diane Keaton character. "A really bad day."
Well, we've all been there or perhaps not and honey, you just have to find the humor sometimes and skip over the suicide attempts and go straight to the image of yourself with your head in the oven and a chandelier tied to your neck and realize that no, you might as well live, as Dorothy Parker said.
Not that today has been that bad. Honestly, it has not. It's just been a medium bad day with one thing and another and there is no doubt that I might as well live despite the computer and the dentist appointment tomorrow. 
You know what makes me really sad? 
Okay. No. You don't. 
But ONE thing that makes me really sad is that I've never made enough money writing to buy so much as a freaking iPad, much less a MacBook. 
Back when I'd written my first novel and had a real agent who said she was definitely going to sell it, I had two goals as to monetary reward. One was to be able to afford to take my kids to Cozumel and one was to buy myself whatever the newest Apple laptop technology was available at the time. 
That dream died and with it came a resignation which flattened me so much that I never really submitted any other piece of writing in the ensuing years except for a tiny thing here or there and I have sadly accepted the fact that I am: A housewife, and, An eternally unpaid blogger. 
I know. So unique. And honestly- pretty good gigs in the scheme of things. 
I never even bought into the fantasy that by monetizing (what a great word!) my blog I could make ones and ones of dollars. Or, more likely pennies. 
This is not to say that I would quit blogging for any reason on earth which I can imagine short of the death of the internet because although I don't make any money on what I write here, it is for various reasons one of the most important things in my life which is either extremely profound or incredibly sad. 
Am I droning on and on?
Yes. I am. So what? No one is paying me for this shit. 
Excuse the profanity which may be, even for me, in excess today. I downloaded and have been listening to this. 

And if anyone uses profanity more liberally and creatively than I do, it is Mr. Bourdain and my ears and brain have been influenced. 
Perhaps I should be listening to Shakespeare but I am not and there you go. 
Interestingly enough, Anthony (may I call you that sir?) speaks of tempting fate in various self destructive ways when he was going through a long string of bad days, and I also caught the final episode of "Olive Kitteridge" today while I was IRONING which involved an almost- suicide but which then ended with Francis McDormand lying on a bed with her head on Bill Murray's chest looking out a window at the ocean saying, "I don't want to leave this life yet," or something like that. 

The point of this entire exercise of typing with my thumbs on an iPhone is to say that I don't want to leave this life yet either and that really, things are not that bad and that the potential for much joy in my life lies right here within me and around me. I almost said "without me" in homage to the Beatles but that could be misinterpreted. 

So. In short (too late for that now!) all is well or well enough and I am going to go to bed early so that I can get up and get to that appointment and as much as I dread it, I know that I will be enjoying the rush of endorphins I'll experience when I leave that office tomorrow morning. 

Maybe I won't even have to go to the Computer Doctor but I'm not going to ask for too many favors. 
Although whatever is, is and that's just the plain and real truth. Either the water that I accidentally sloshed into the side ports of my MacBook killed something vital within it or did not. The universe does not care and it's all a matter of the reality of electronics at this point. 

Time to put the chickens up. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Among other sucky and depressing things occurring here today I have probably fried my MacBook with ice water. 
Don't even ask. 
So. For now I'm posting via my phone and that does have its limitations. 
Somehow I feel certain the universe will continue to function. 

Sunday, August 28, 2016


Mr. Moon and I watched the last probably quarter of St. Vincent's as we ate our supper and we both cried.
Then the credits part came on and I said, "This is the best part of the whole movie," and Mr. Moon said, "I remember," and we held each other and we laughed and we cried some more.

Sometimes you not only get what you want, you get what you need.
St. Vincent.
St. Bill Murray.
St. Bob Dylan.

What a world. What a world.

Just A Bit Of Pondering

I've been texting on and off with Jessie all afternoon, getting updates on the boy. He's doing okay, still running a fever and not very interested in solid food and wanting plenty of cuddles and nurseys. And as you can see, he's still, as Jessie said, being a goober.

It always seemed to me to be such a blessing when my babies were nurslings that if they got sick, it was me and the breast they wanted and as a mother of a sick child, all I wanted to do was to make them feel better, to comfort them, to give them what they needed to get better and so it seemed the perfect miraculous equation of fulfilling need and want from both sides. 
I'm not sure that in my entire life I've ever experienced anything else quite so simply perfect. Or so perfectly simple for that matter. 

Ah, but it's such a trick of nature which makes us love our babies the way we do and I gladly fell for it and even now, as a grandmother, still do. Last night Owen wanted the Mr. Peep story after I'd read him his new dinosaur book and so both boys settled down, Gibson with my arm around him, Owen with his back bared to me so that I could gently scratch it, as I did when he was such a little boy, and I started telling the story of old Mr. Peep, the turkey who used to live next door and all of his friends, the goats, the chickens, the cats, the dogs, the squirrels. In the story, everyone ends up taking a nap and I tell it in such a droning voice, slow and soft, that before long, eyes are closed and breathing is deep and regular and both boys fell asleep. I traced Owen's face in the light of the nightlight, thinking of how he'd fall asleep like this when he was a baby and I tended him and how much he's grown, his face no longer a baby face, but a true boy face, with angles and hollows all his own. I kissed him on his forehead and turned to Gibson and kissed him too. I wiggled out of my position between them and got out of the bed and pulled their covers up and closed the door and thought about how grateful I am to have had so many babies to love in this life of mine. 

Sometimes nature scores the right hit and it did with me. I'm so glad I was surrounded by all those hippie mamas when I started having my own children because by their example I understood that it was my own instinct (and I swear- I did have some) that I needed most of all to take care of my children, at least when they were very young. And when they got older and no longer nursed and problems sometimes seemed overwhelming and I could not comfort them the way I had when they were babies, at least I knew that all I really had to do was to love them and let them know they were loved, even in my own imperfect, damaged way, and that somehow that would get us through. 
That love has never failed me and I hope that it has never failed them. 

All right. That's what I wanted to say tonight. 

Here's Miss Trixie in the garden with me. We did some weeding this late afternoon and I was glad for her company although I have not heard her sing her song lately. She is a very old hen at this point and I love her all the more for that. She is still, I think, a beauty. 

Love...Ms. Moon

A Fall, But Not Yet Fall

I woke up at 5:21 this morning to find my bed empty of husband. Then I noticed that half the lights in the house were on.
I got up to see what in hell was going on and found my husband putting a large pork roast into the smoker.
"What are you doing?" I bitch-cried. "Nighttime is for sleeping!"
"It takes twelve hours to smoke," he said, patting the butt rub on the meat.
"But we're not going to eat supper at 5:30." I was whining.

Ah well. Sleep was re-found and fallen into.

Everything was going swimmingly this morning.

Requisite pancake picture.

Until Gibson fell off the rope swing onto his back whereupon many tears fell and he wanted his mommy. After a time in my bed watching videos on my phone he was fine but when it was time to get up again and go home to that mommy of his, he began to cry again and insisted that he wanted to stay at Mer's house with her on her bed. 

Oh Lord. With children you never know. Did he break his back? I don't think so. He can walk and I can see no bruising. He didn't let me put ice on it and he didn't want to get into the tub for my all-purpose remedy which is a lavender bath. So I felt terrible, sending an injured boy back to his mama but so it goes in the life of kids. Owen felt terrible guilt because he was the one who was showing Gibson how to swing when he fell and of course, it's not his fault either. He gave Gibson one of his Pokemon cards and watched the videos with him and encouraged him to laugh and was so sweet. 

And of course I feel terrible. I mean, there's nothing in this world I could have done to prevent him from falling. Falls happen. The play set is to play on. Gravity exists. But still- every parent knows what I'm talking about here. And we were having so much fun! 

Ah well. It's another hot, sunny day and the pecans are falling and hitting the tin roof of the old shed and sounding like small bombs hitting. I just got a text from Jessie that August is running a fever and what's that about? Teething? It's a pretty high fever for that but he doesn't seem to be too upset. 
The Dog Days can be witchy and without doubt, make us all twitchy. 
The spiders continue to grow, the heat seems relentless, we sniff the air for change. We get up at five in the morning to cook meat. 
Well. Some of us do.

God. It's noon and I haven't cleaned up from breakfast yet. It may be one of those days. 
It is Sunday after all, and the tail end of August, and here we are in this tiny spot in this massive universe, doing what we can to make any sense of it at all which may be the most pointless thing we can do. 

Be here now. Or whatever. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Allergic To Life

My brain is made up of chicken feet today, scaly, scratchy and scratching, befitting the ends of dinosaur legs.
Sometimes I can calm it with doing stuff and I did stuff and it was too hot, really, for the stuff I was doing so I finally came inside and Lily texted and asked if maybe the boys could come have a sleep-over and so of course I said yes and they came over and here is what Maggie looked like, wearing one of her brothers' hats from Cuba.

Pretty girl and her pretty mommy. 

Boppy set up the pool and the boys got in where they tussled like puppies and when they got out, Gibson was covered in itchy red welts and is the child allergic to water? Lily was my hivey child. Gibson is hers. 

I gave him half a Benadryl and he's fine now. They are putting a puzzle together with their grandfather, drinking hot cocoa and wearing their Christmas pajamas. 
"I'm a pajama guy now," Owen informed me. And so he is. 

Suddenly, it looks like rain and it smells like rain, that sharp ionic tang, the ozone that comes with it, but I don't think we're going to get anything here. Maybe next week when the storm that's trying to make up its mind as to what it wants to be when it grows up travels our way. 

If it travels our way.

The radar right now just shows bits and blobs, moving from east to west, not unlike the welts on Gibson's body, but green rather than red. It makes me feel itchy. 

I need a Benadryl for the brain. 

I want rain. 

One of those days where I feel deeply inadequate to all things which create beauty, truth, and the American Way.

Or anything else, actually.

So it goes.

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Charmed Life

And thus, as promised...
Before I got a picture of Hank holding August, the little man had been tucked into his car seat, ready for transportation.
Ah well. There will be another day.
We ate lunch and then some of us went to the Big Lots where stuff was purchased and then to the Goodwill bookstore where I bought books for the children including a 3-D (glasses included!) book on dinosaurs entitled something like, "Dinosaurs In Your Face!" That wasn't quite it, but close. Hank and I perused the old books and there was yet another copy of "Little Women" which we did not buy because we both have at least four copies apiece and an old, old edition of "The Vicar of Wakefield" which, if you have read "Little Women" as many times as Hank and I have, you will remember as the book that Jo tucked into her pocket to read, along with a hot baked potato to keep her warm and fortified.
We sighed and I thought about how wonderful it is to have a child for whom that book title means as much to him as it does for me.
Although I do not believe in the "there are two types of people in this world" thing, I do sometimes think that there ARE two types of people in this world- those who have not read "Little Women" and those who have and whose lives were forever and eternally changed by it and who wanted to grow up to be Jo March.

I am feeling low today and a bit miserable but I realize that I've had a good week and Fortuna's Wheel (another literary nod- do any of you know it?) must spin and balance itself out.

I am making a good old American shepherd's pie with venison and potatoes and frozen vegetables along with fresh and here are two other pictures from the day.

A spider, seemingly suspended in thin air whose web was so far above me on my walk this morning that I did not bump into it, and 

my gladiola-graced hallway altar. Publix has bunches of glads on BOGO this week and it's been forever since I bought some of them and so I purchased these and there's another vase full on a different table and this is all quite serendipitous as it was my darling Lynn who taught me about buying gladiolas at Publix and it was her birthday last week. 

I think of her, I think of us all, I am glad to have these colors in my house. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Just...Oh, Fuck It

You know how I always say, "I took a walk and did not die"?
Well, today I did die. Okay. Obviously not really but I think that my human mind left my body due to the torture of it all and let some insect part of my neural system continue to make my legs go on because the alternative, which would be to lie down in the dirt and let ants crawl all over me, was not acceptable.


Also I saw a Confederate flag in front of a trailer and it made me so angry that I wanted to go knock on the door and say, "Fuck you! We live in a very integrated and mixed community and your flag is a spit in the heart to everyone of color who lives here and you are a jerk and an asswad and a racist and a bully and a shitty, shitty human being and that American flag you have flying in front of your thirty-dollar-a-month-rented-trailer doesn't prove otherwise. You fuck!"
The Confederate flag was a small thing like you might wave in a KKK parade, stuck in the dirt right by the mailbox and the American flag was a large one and that one is right by the trailer door and somehow, that made it even worse.
I thought of what Kathleen used to say about people who fly Confederate flags which is at least you know what you're dealing with. 
And I don't know. I mean,who the hell WANTS to live in a shitty trailer like that and the answer to that is no one unless the alternative is sleeping in their car and I should have some compassion for that and I think about the fact that for some people, the only way they can feel as if they are as good as or better than someone else is to put down an entire other perceived race of people but that's still shitty stupid thinking and my give-a-damn-meter as the dear old (may he rest in peace) ferry captain A.P. Whaley used to say, is at zero.

So. Hot. Tortured. Pissed. Upset. Saddened.

That is me right now.

And by the way- the people who used to live in that trailer had a Make America Great sign in their yard. They've moved up in the world to a house which I've loved forever-  a very old house, tucked away on a side road under great, spreading live oaks where no one ever goes except for the three folks who live on it. They took their sign with them and it makes me ill to see it.

Anyway, I need to take a shower and get to town. It's lunch day at the Indian buffet with as many of the kids and grands as can come and so there will probably be a picture of Hank holding babies and that is a cheerful thought.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Making It Up As I Go

In the beautiful cookbook that Rebecca sent me, there is a recipe for Jamaican pigeon peas and rice with coconut milk and spices which is baked, which I have wanted to make since the book, upon arrival, fell open just there, on that page.
Now. As you know, I rarely follow recipes. And yet, I have complete disdain for those online recipes where, in the comment sections people say things like, "I made this and my family didn't really like it. Instead of whole milk, I used soy milk and instead of celery, I used zucchini and instead of tomatoes (my son is allergic to tomatoes) I used eggplant and instead of dried mustard I used paprika. Other than that, I made the dish exactly as written. I won't be making it again."

I mean, really. What's the point there?
But I am not stupid and I know that if you stray too far from a recipe and it doesn't taste very good, it's not the fault of the recipe.

And so what have I done here?
Well, instead of pigeon peas, I have used some of our zipper cream peas from the garden. I have also added leftover chicken. I've used some brown rice instead of white, although there is a bit of leftover jasmine rice in there too.
Beyond that, I have mostly stuck to the recipe as to spices and the coconut milk and the process of making the dish which is a bit fussy in that it has to cooked on the stove and then baked and so forth.
I have absolutely no illusions (or is it delusions?) that my dish is not going to be the same as the dish presented in the cookbook but I think it will be good, nonetheless.
I'll let you know.
I am making another recipe from the book for goat-cheese stuffed tomatoes with herbs and that will be pretty darn close to what is given as instructed and YES! I am using cheese but not as much as recommended and for my lunch I had a big bowl of curried vegetables and for my snack I had a small organic apple and one of those extremely dense flatbread things spread with a tiny bit of hummus.

Instead of a Cuban sandwich.

So. Changes are being made and I have been feeling good and have been going at it strong all day. Lily ended up bringing Magnolia and Gibson here because her power went out and so they got to have a little play time at Mer's.

And lunch time, too. Will you look at that child? She smiles like that all of the time. I know I keep saying this but never in my life have I met such a happy baby. I had wondered what it would be like to have a granddaughter and in truth, I feel a certain familiarity with her, an unearned closeness which is nothing short of a delight. After I had picked up Owen at the bus stop and taken them home and gave them over to their father, Maggie reached out to me from her father's arms to take her again and it was so sweet. 
She's a peach, that one. A real peach. 

Here's Gibson, playing with some toys, waiting for his lunch. I had a good time with him too. We played the matching game and I won and he was NOT happy but he dealt with it. He rolls with life, that boy. 
And it was good to see Owen although we really didn't have much time to talk before their papa got home and I took off to go to Publix and the library and then get home and get the clothes off the line and clean up the kitchen and put away the toys and make the supper. 

I think I will sleep well tonight and it's been a very good day and I have two new Elizabeth Strout books to read and I eavesdropped on little girls doing their homework in the library with perhaps their grandmother and my pharmacy called to tell me that my bio-identical hormones are ready for pick-up tomorrow and the girl leaving the message called me "Miss Mary" which she always does and that charmed me and I have had four good walks this week and have not died and am in a decent mood. 

Time to go chop parsley and onions and stuff some tomatoes. 

Love...Ms. Moon


Beauty berry and just because it's the most gorgeous color in the world right now, those shiny berry clusters clinging to their branch, a bruise of color, a most-secret-parts-of-anything color, a glory.

I finished My Name is Lucy Barton last night. What a lesson in saying the most while saying the least. Cut that meat to the very bone of the truth, to the tenderest part of the muscle.
Started listening to another book, Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente. Not sure if I can stick with it, Ms. Valente the opposite sort of writer who can't use one word if fifteen will do better. Oh, don't get me wrong- those words sparkle and jangle like charms from a bracelet and who am I to say that spare is better than spangle?
Somedays you want to wear the charm bracelet and some days you want to wear the slim gold slip of a bracelet that your grandmother left you.
Somedays you just might want to wear both.

Books. Oh, books and their words and their worlds.

What would any of us here have done, would do, without them?
We could probably all give testament, give witness to their life-saving abilities in the most personal and yet universal of ways.

Well, here we are, dead of summer, tropical storms are heading up in the heated-up ocean and poised for who-knows-where and Florida sticks out like a tongue, taunting them.
It felt a little cooler this morning and let us be grateful for that. My garden calls me like a lover to come and tend it, but wait, I say, just wait. I'll be there.

Today I'm going to stay with Gibson and Maggie for a little while and then pick up Owen at the bus stop and drive him home. I'm glad to be seeing them. I'll want to see what Maggie's up to, to hear what Gibson has to say about school, if things are less bad, and of course, to hear about first grade from Owen and to hear if he's gotten another kiss from his girl yet. He has his grandfather's way about him, that one, his self-confidence when it comes to knowing that he is of course worthy of a pretty girl's kisses, even at the age of six. It's just the way it is, why belabor the subject?
I think he's going to have his grandfather's long legs too and August looks to have them as well, although maybe those are his own daddy's legs, long and strong and lean.

Our children, our children, their children, we pass on what was passed to us, and oh, please, let one of these grands at least, have my love of books, my love of words.
A love of chickens would not be so bad either although where did that come from in me?
I have no idea although come to think of it, my mother always told me about her daddy keeping chickens on Lookout Mountain and how she hated having to go gather the eggs because the hens (more broody than mine, obviously), would peck at her as she reached under them to take what was there. Or theirs?

Enough words. I have things to do before I leave to go see Magpie with her smiles and Gibson with his ALWAYS OUTDOOR VOICE and his snuggly ways.

How are you today? Are you okay? I hope so.

Love...Ms. Moon Reporting In From Home

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Bit Of Quiet Heaven

Because I Can

So we watched the first episode of "Stranger Things" last night and I am pretty sure I can't do that. It made my stomach hurt. Seeing children in danger does that to me.
Hank- what's that show I was supposed to watch years ago? The one you kept telling me about with what's-his-name in it? From Deadwood? You know what I'm talking about. "Unforgiven?" "Unbidden"? "Un-something?" Lis told me to watch it too.
Ah. The aging brain.

So. Good morning. Had another walk. Trying to get out a little earlier and it's helping. Had some delicious yogurt with sliced almonds for breakfast. Made my poor husband eat vegetables with curry spices last night. I think he may actually have liked them. He said he did but he was starving so who knows? The chicken was okay. It would have been a lot better with skin on it.

Guess what I think I'm going to do today? Something I've been threatening to do all summer, which is to take my book and my chair down to the river and spend a little time there, all alone, just me and my book and the river and I'll read and then dip and then read and then dip and then...
You get the picture.
So the book I'm reading.
Oh my goodness. I want to eat it up in one sitting and I about halfway have.

As you can see there, same author who wrote the Olive Kitteridge stories. 
I had to force myself to put it down last night, close it up, turn off the light, close my eyes. 
Deceptively easy to read. A glass-shined ballroom floor upon which your eyes glide so quickly but you know that it might very well end up, this dance, in a fall. So many dances with mothers end that way, I have found. And this is definitely a mother-daughter dance. 

Well. We shall see.

And here I go to finish a few chores around here (isn't "chore" a delightfully old-fashioned word?) and then off to the river where I hope to find a bit of shade in which to sit in-between holy immersions in the Wacissa. Some of us find that one Baptism is not nearly enough and must repeat the ritual frequently for full effect.

Speaking for myself, at least. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

But Bread Is The Staff Of Life! And It Tastes So Good With Cheese On It!

Ugh. When I'm hot, everything is so damn annoying. Right now my glasses keep slipping down my nose and you'd think that my nose itself was threatening to fall off, the amount of pissed-offedness this is causing me. I need new glasses because these are scratched and it's been over two years I think since I got an eye exam but my doctor anxiety is to such a degree now that the idea of going to a doctor, even an optometrist, not even a real doctor, makes me shudder and shut down.
Did you know that optometrists can see into your brain?
I think that's true.
God. That is so terrifying.

Ah well. It's been a good day and lunch at Japanica was terrific, as it always is. I am wanting to start eating all healthy-and-shit again and I think about that- that period of time in my life when I actually did that- and I can't even remember what I ate.
I know what I didn't eat:
Processed food. This includes chips and crackers and nearly all breads and anything that comes in a box almost, and even veggie burgers and so forth and almost everything that makes life worth living.
Pork. Mostly. I still had a pork chop about once a month.
Cheese. Life without cheese is so fucking sad.
White rice, white flour, white sugar. Or any sugar for that matter unless it came wrapped up in the original fruit in which it formed.
No chicken skin, no bottled dressings or mayonnaise or sour cream or any of those delicious foods.

Again- is this life?

As I recall, once I got used to it, it was all fine and it was glorious, not worrying about how much I was eating because honestly, I had no desire to overeat things like quinoa and lentils or whatever the fuck it was I was eating.
Oh Lord. But something must be done.
I've let things slip to an intolerable degree and am paying the price and hate the way I look with a burning passion. Let's not even talk about what this extra weight is doing to my knees and joints and poor little old feet.
Age is insult enough, must I add to it?
So. Food. Real food. (Oh, you've heard this before, have you?) Food that is close to the dirt. I need to get out the cookbook that Rebecca sent me with it's heavenly sounding bean and vegetable recipes and not just read it, but make lists and buy ingredients and cook these dishes because I know they are delicious. I can tell just by reading them. And good for me, too. And for my husband.
I've gotten so sloppy with it all. We still eat good food. But I've had sort of a live-until-you-die attitude about it all lately, grabbing a Cuban sandwich at the Publix deli far too often when before I would not even have considered such a thing with all of that processed meat and the cheese and the white bread.
The soft, white Cuban bread. The Swiss cheese. The ham, the pork...
Oh shut up. Shut up.
Do you know I think I saw exactly ONE Cuban sandwich on a menu in Cuba?
I am not surprised.

When I went to the store with Jessie after we had our lunch today I didn't know what the hell to buy. For one thing, I was so entranced and distracted by this little guy that I could hardly keep my lips off his face.

I mean- who wants to look at fruit when you can look at that?
He loves to do his stand-up trick wherein he puts his feet in his mama's hands and rises up big and strong like a man. 

Hurray, indeed! 

But anyway, tonight I am cooking a recipe with chicken that Lily has fallen in love with. A slow-cooker Adobo thing although I bought my chicken without skin and so it looks nothing like this recipe. 

Nothing at all. Still, it should be good. And I'm going to make some rice and a green bean and other vegetable dish. From Rebecca's cookbook. I shall ease into this. 

We live in a culture where there is so much food that we don't know what to do with it all and so we break it down and add all sorts of crap to it and fry it and pour sugar and/or delicious chemicals on it and if we don't eat that shit we feel deprived. 
Or at least I do. 
Not that I buy Doritos or anything but I will admit that I did for sure and for real buy a bag of Lays Kettle-Cooked potato chips a while back and over the course of a week or so I ate every one of them. 
40% fat less than regular potato chips! the label promised. 
Which is still 60% too much fat and I know it. 
I am not a fool. 
I just play one in real life. 

My glasses are driving me insane. Have my ears gotten lower on my head? 
Oh wait. I just figured this out. Even my head has gotten fat, thus my glasses are stretched out. 

There you go.

Off to cook some vegetables now. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Simple Stuff

Watched the last episode of season four of OITNB and I gotta tell you- that's some damn fine TV. It just is. The story-line got a little out of control this season as far as I'm concerned, but truths were told, even so.

I've had my walk and now I have to go to town to get some errands done. My mood has improved and I'm sure that part of that is the good night's sleep I got. Sleep truly does knit up the raveled sleeve of care and can you imagine if Shakespeare was writing screen plays or TV scripts?
Holy Crap!

So. Speaking of good writing- what do you recommend we watch now? Something with good writing? And acting, of course. That goes without saying.

I have to go to town today but Jessie and I are meeting up at Japanica! because we are both craving it hard. I feel as if we are cheating on Lily and her boys but a craving is a craving and so it goes.

Drink your water, y'all. Eat your vegetables and fruits. Get good sleep. Get off your butt and move around. Take note of that which is beautiful when you can.

That's all I have for you today.
Well, that and a picture of Otis.

Isn't he a pretty thing?
I still mourn the loss of his hens. I wonder if he does.
We will never know.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, August 22, 2016

Another Day

We went down to the river when Mr. Moon got home from work and jumped into the cold clear water. Whatever is going on in body or mind, a swift mermaid dive into that will chill you and calm you for at least a little while.

I've got okra and tomatoes cooking. For those of you who have only ever had stewed okra and fought the slime and hated it, try cooking it with tomatoes and onions. The acid of the tomatoes eats the slime so you don't have to.
Trust me.

I also made a gourmet tuna casserole with these vegetables:

Red pepper
Snow peas
Tiny green peas

I think that is all the vegetables.

Last night we watched an episode of Orange is the New Black wherein a major character got killed.
All day the theme song of that show, which is the most insidious of songs, has ricocheted from one of my ears to another, worming its way into my brain over and over again.

I am a bit crazy right now. I admit it.

But I washed our sheets today so there is that. I saw the Sheik on my walk this morning.
"Where you been?" he asked. "I thought you got lost."
"Oh honey. I get lost and then I get found. You know."
"I do," he said and we did a side-hug.
"Let's just keep on going," I said.
"Let's do that," he answered.
And we both walked on our separate ways.

Yours truly...Ms. Moon

Life And Love, Per Usual

When my friends Spencer and Marilyn were here visiting many months ago, I handed over my copy of Keith Richard's autobiography, Life, on CD's for them to listen to as they traveled which they do constantly because Spencer is a musician who plays everywhere from here to there and all the way across the ocean and back again.
When they took it, Spencer asked if I wanted them to return it or to pass it on and for some reason, I said to go ahead and pass it on, which I instantly regretted because my children gave that audio book to me and because for years it has been a part of my silly hallway altar where my beloved Virgin of Guadalupe from Mexico lives along with pictures of my children and grandchildren and seashells and beach glass gathered in Cozumel and candles and my silver baby cup and so forth and so on.
I even looked online to buy another copy for myself but it would appear that maybe they're not making it anymore, probably because everyone listens to everything on their devices and by devices, I do not mean CD players.
Or something.
Anyway, today when I went to the post office on the last leg of my walk, I got a package slip in my box and so got in line (and there was an actual line which is most unusual) and the post master handed over a box sent by Marilyn and when I got home and opened it, I found my audio book, held together with rubber bands now because Keith has traveled far which is only appropriate.

I had a little cry, quite literally, and placed my spirit totem animal back on the alter in the hallway between a large conch shell and the beach glass and there he is and I am glad. 

Right now I feel as if I need all of the spirit totems I can gather and frankly, most of my familiars have lost their luster for me but I somehow, Keith Richards never does.

Here. I've posted this before. More than once. But sometimes, it's the only thing that can go directly to my heart and pierce and heal it at the same time. 

Such a beautiful song, written by Gram Parsons, a Winter Haven boy whom Keith Richards met and fell in love with a long time ago.

Substitute the word "life" for the word "love" in the song and it means even more although love is life and will get you through times when life is just too damn hard and hurts too damn much.

Well, that's what I think.

Thank you, Marilyn, for sending old Keith back to me, scarred and used and held together by rubber bands as all of us are by the time its over if we've done any living at all.
Any loving at all.

I don't know much but I know that for sure. Hurt and heal. Keep on.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, August 21, 2016

It's Sunday. What The Hell Do You Expect?

I had to stop by Lily's on my way to Jessie's because I missed those other three grandchildren too. Maggie was asleep when I got there so I got to talk to the boys about school. Gibson crawled up and snuggled me as he does and I asked him how school was going.
"Bad," he said, his voice somber.
Lily says that the teacher reports that he is doing very well and seems to enjoy learning and is well-behaved and gets along with everyone.
"If you can believe it," she added.
I'm not sure why Gibson is refusing to admit any affection for school but he is.
He seems to be handling it well though. This badness.

Owen seems to like first grade. He does arts and crafts, he said. Also? He thinks his teacher must believe that they are in kindergarten because they are doing letters and numbers again and he already knows them. Plus? There's a kid in his class who is EIGHT YEARS OLD!
"Does he shave and drive a motorcycle?" I asked. I was remembering a guy from my 9th grade class who did that. Shaved and drove a motorcycle.
"No," Owen said. I told him about the guy in Jr. High I was remembering.
"I had a crush on that guy," I told Lily.
"I bet," she said.
Owen reported that he likes a girl in his class. Her name is Kimberly and she has long hair and freckles and she rides the bus with him! He is riding the bus this year to the end of the road they live on and his mama picks him up there. It's about a two minute bus ride but I think he likes it. Especially since this little minx Kimberly rides the bus too.
I asked Gibson if there were any cute girls in his class.
"No," he said.
"Any cute boys?" We are a completely equal-opportunity family around here.
"No," he said.
I should have told him that there was at least one cute boy in his class and that his name was Gibson but I did not.

Just as I was about to leave, Ms. Magnolia June woke up and so I delayed my departure in order to visit with her for a few moments. She woke up from her nap in the best mood, all smiles and happiness and waves of joy coming off of her like rays of sunshine and rose perfume and amber waves of grain and the waves of country-girl beauty queens riding on the back of vintage red convertibles in the 4th of July parade down Main Street.
She is so happy, that one.
I held her kissed her and snuggled her and squished her with my love and the boys loved on her and her mama loved on her and she smiles so big and so freely and so completely that I think that her smile is going to overtake her entire being one of these days and she'll disappear into it completely and we'll have to make her mad to get her back.

After I finally peeled myself away from those three, I went to Jessie and Vergil's house where August was seemingly fine with seeing me but he didn't lose his mind about it or anything. He is starting to do that thing that Hank did when he was but a baby where he points to things and asks what they are. Hank always pointed and said, "Dat?" and I would tell him the name and this would go on all day and all night until he finally fell asleep, his little finger still pointing at something he wanted to know the word for. August says it more like, "Dis?" but it's the same-same.
He gave me his goofy grin and let me hold him and we played on the couch for awhile and then Jessie went outside to help her husband with the garden project and I took him into his room to read him books. He loves his books, especially the ones with the pages he can turn himself to reveal new pictures. I knew he was sleepy because Jessie had told me that he'd missed his naps entirely and so we rocked and we read and we talked and I sang to him and then we read some more. When we got to the First Book Of Animals, I could feel him getting heavy on my bosom and before we'd gotten through the jungle animals, he was asleep.
I felt as if I'd won a Nobel Peace Prize.

It is astoundingly precious to me that this little guy lets me hold him and play with him and read to him. He doesn't know me the way Owen and Gibson did. He's been such a mama's boy and there's nothing in this world I love more than seeing their love for each other, the way they both beam with such pure joy-light when they smile at each other. And he adores his daddy, of course, but he doesn't really know me that well and so today felt very, very special.
Jessie came in and she put him into his crib and covered him up and turned on the baby-monitor system she uses which involves an old iPhone and her phone and we tiptoed out of the room and went outside. 
I pretended to help with some yard digging for about five minutes and that was enough for me. I came on home and finished up the laundry and unloaded the dishwasher and thought about things. 
I'm struggling. 
I don't know why. I just feel so worthless, so useless. 
Even though, of course, all of the above. 

I suppose it's mostly a problem of chronic low-key depression. I never, ever wake up in the morning excited about the coming day. No matter what's going on in my life I always feel a sense of dread in the mornings. Always. And you'd think I'd be used to it by now but I'm not and sure does take up a lot of damn energy to fight my way through it to the other side. 

This is not to say that I don't love my life. I do. And there is so much in it to love. 

There's old Scar Face Maurice whom I do adore, and the zipper cream peas and rattlesnake beans I picked this afternoon. This damn garden is determined to keep giving, even when I have so very little to offer it. 

Which is probably a metaphor or something fucking spiritual. 

Well, as we all know, I will struggle on and there are always books to read and babies to love and a husband to continue to love and learn about, even after all of these years, and thoughts to have and loaves of bread to make and changes to make as well, should I have the fortitude and discipline to try and make them. 

We shall see. I know without doubt that it's all up to me and no one else in this entire world. 
Gosh. That's scary. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thought For Today

If anything ever convinces me to quit Facebook for good and forever, it may well be the phrase so often left in comments, "Sending healing thoughts."
"Sending healing vibes" comes in a close second.
"Sending prayers" is just the cherry on top of the cowgirl of my deep disdain for such expressions.

No one ever says, "Sending money."

One wonders why.

Actually, one does not.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Bye-Bye, DI!

Well, we woke up this morning and I said, "So. Do you want to go home today?"
And Mr. Moon said, "Let's talk about it after coffee," and after coffee we figured we might as well. I mean, there really can be too much relaxing if you want to know the truth.
We'd done all of the Dog Island things we needed to do. We'd eaten too much and had plenty to drink and played cards and laid around and taken naps and been sweet and lounged in the bay (for what THAT was worth) and it just seemed like a good idea to come on home.
I missed my cats and chicken and oh, okay, my grandkids too.

Jessie sent me this picture this morning.

August is standing up all on his own although he shows absolutely no signs of wanting to walk. I've never seen quite this sequence of development, but there you go. August is his own man. 

We've been talking about our place on the island and whether it's really wise to keep it now. We bought it almost eighteen years ago and let me tell you- the difference between being forty-five and being 63 is pretty huge when it comes to a place where you have to pack in all of your needed goods. We used to go there a lot and we've had some amazing times there but things change. Hell, I used to go out there by myself and have a wonderful time and I could tote my ice chest and all my stuff and not really worry about it but now it's not as easy for any of us. And I used to be able to handle having the whole family out there (and of course, the family was much smaller then, pre-grands) but now the idea of sharing the place with a whole passel of other folks is so overwhelming. It's not big. And somehow, there's just never been time for us and our partner to get it together and do all of the repairs and make all of the changes we thought we'd make. Fixing the shower in the second bathroom. Replacing the old shag carpeted plywood flooring with new, more beach-friendly flooring. Fixing the side-deck which is now rotting off and completely unsafe to walk on.
Oh, the men have done plenty of things. Completely redigging the septic system and fixing the roof. And replacing the water heater and the air conditioning and the washing machine and dryer (I think- did we do that?) and all of the things that one MUST have, even in the most primitive of glamping experiences. Screen replacement on the porch has been done so many times that I can't even count. Ceiling fans have been replaced or installed where there had been none before. 
But it is what it is and although the little house is comfortable in a shabby sort of way, it's never going to be easy and it's never going to be done. Not by us, I am coming to realize. The old couch and chairs which were there when we bought the house are ugly as sin and they are now on their second hippie Indian print bedspread incarnations and those now need replacing too as they are faded and ripping. I mean, there's a certain comfort in not worrying whether dirty and wet feet get on the furniture but there's also a certain sigh which I sigh when I walk in and see those ugly things. The bed in one of the bedrooms is almost completely unfit to sleep on and the one in the room we call ours has been rendered only slightly better by a memory foam topper. Still, after two nights on that bed, my old bones ache. And to replace these things would require bringing the new items over on either our boat or on the boat the island management keeps to haul things back and forth across the bay. Which is not free, of course. 

It's a completely unique situation- owning a house on Dog Island. The privilege of having a place in Florida (or anywhere, for that matter) you can go where nature is almost entirely preserved, where there is absolutely no commerce, no pavement, no hunting or condos or swimming pools or street lights or any of what interferes with our interaction with nature as it is except for a few dirt roads, some wooden walls, electricity, and a place to take your garbage, is not to be taken for granted. This is not your typical beach vacation. You aren't going to be able to order pizza or hit the beach bar for daiquiris or call the rental agency if your dishwasher doesn't work. 
No. You're going to make your own pizza if you want pizza (if your oven works!) and your own daiquiris (don't forget to bring the ice!) and I suppose some people have dishwashers but we certainly don't and as Mr. Moon said when he washed a peach off before eating it yesterday, "I'm not sure whether this is helping or hurting." You can certainly wash your body in the water and we've never gotten sick from washing our dishes with it but I use bottled water for cooking and drinking and brushing my teeth. It's like a third-world country but within a few unbridged miles of a first world country. 
But. Where else can you sit and watch the sunset and the mullet jump and the osprey hunt and find shards of pottery and see snakes and butterflies and dragonflies and and hike through piney woods and down Gulf beaches and bay beaches and catch fish and crab for your supper and go to sleep on temperate evenings with the windows open and the sound of the waves crashing on the Gulf to lull you to sleep? 

Well. I don't know. But I know that we're home and decisions like whether or not to keep the Dog Island property need to be made with the input of not only our partner but also of our children because if we do decide to keep the place, we're going to need their help and we're going to need to know that they want to be part of this thing. That having a place where they can bring their children to see and experience a piece of nature not available anywhere else is something they find worthy of the effort. 

I'm glad that we bought that house on the bay because I know that all of my kids cherish the memories of the times we've spent there, both as an entire family and on their own. 
But sometimes? 
Lord, I just wish we'd bought a place on St. George thirty years ago when a regular person could possibly afford a cement block shack on the beach which would now be worth gazillions simply for the land and we could be all civilized and shit and drive there in a car and yes, order pizza and hit the beach bar and if the dishwasher quit working, call a plumber. 

Anyway, we're home now and all is well and I've got some extremely sensible zipper cream peas and green beans with onions simmering on the stove and Maurice let me hug her when I got home although I know she hated every second of it and I've got laundry going and tonight I'll take a shower in water that doesn't stink and brush my teeth with water from the faucet and sleep on a most comfortable bed and tomorrow I am going to go hang out with that August Man Boy who is standing on two legs while his parents work on some raised bed gardening. I realize with all of my soul that I am beyond lucky to have the choices that I have to make. 
And I have to admit that I am rested and relaxed from my most recent trip out to Dog Island, Florida where right now the cicadas are cranking up and the sun has set and left the sky with every day-glo color there is and the light is magical, pink and orange, and the tide is going out and no one cares whether I am there or not, my presence nothing but a slight disturbance in the atmosphere. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, August 19, 2016


In all truth I found that dead scorpion yesterday and honestly, the scorpions we find here will not kill you unless you're allergic to them. Their sting just hurts like hell. 
Just another one of the charms of Dog Island. 

The old baby-poop brown wall oven which I've baked a million biscuits in over the years despite the fact that the top elements have never worked has now gone completely upside-down and the top elements work fine and the bottom, actually operational elements, have quit working. 
Can you broil biscuits?
No. No you cannot. 

Anyway, the bay which looks so enticing and lovely from the house is, in reality, the color of coffee right now, warmer than body temperature, smells pretty stinky and has great pods of some sort of grass floating in it. We did actually go and get in it but it was just not that pleasant. ("It's like trying to swim in the fucking Sargasso Sea," I said as we tried to relax and enjoy ourselves.) And when we got out we rinsed off in the hose water which is only slightly less offensive in sight, temp, and odor but which hopefully does not carry within it the flesh-eating bacteria which the bay probably does. 

So. Why don't we just go over to the Gulf which is less than a half mile away? 
Well. I will tell you. It's because it's so fucking hot that even the idea of getting in the car and driving over there, parking, getting out and walking the ten yards to the beach is just...not...acceptable. Plus then we'd be in the direct sun and I doubt the water over there is that much cooler. Maybe we'll check that out tomorrow. If the battery charger works and the car will start. Because I will tell you right now that I am not about to WALK over there. That would be suicidal. 


At least I've had plenty of time to read which has been heavenly and the fact that we are just about the only insane assholes on the island means that clothes are completely optional, not that I'd walk around naked even if no one was here but me because even I (especially I) just don't need to see that. 

All of this is not to say that I'm not having a good time. 
I am. 
It's just weird to be so lazy and sedentary. I'm having a good time with my husband although I'm not so sure he's having a good time with me. I keep trying to talk to him about Cuba because I finished that book and have found some extremely interesting blogs written by Cubans and also, I just beat the shit out of him at cards which NEVER HAPPENS, EVER and no fish are biting when he does get the energy to wade out into the surf. 
Plus- no biscuits. 

Oh well. Just one more day in Paradise. It could be so much worse. At least the only things we've been stung by are biting flies and not a sting ray or jelly fish.  And I'm about to go cook some shrimp and make some coleslaw and cheese grits. Also?
And air conditioning. 

All right. That's enough for now. 

Your Honest Reporter From Dog Island, Florida...Ms. Moon