I feel right smart proud of myself today. I did a good day's work, proving to myself that the heat and humidity and mosquitoes have not just been an excuse for me not to get outside and get things done because today I was fully invested in it, body and soul. The mosquitoes came out pretty fierce the last hour I spent in the garden but I just slapped them and kept on moving and got almost the whole garden cleared out and ready for a load of mushroom compost we're getting tomorrow.
After we get all of that spread and Mr. Moon tills, I'll be able to plant my collards, my kale, my lettuces, my carrots, my onions, my beets, my ARUGULA! And whatever else I'm forgetting. I'm pretty darn excited. Winter is the best season for gardening in North Florida and that's all there is to it. I have yet to dig my sweet potatoes, assuming the vines have produced any, but I'll get to that.
Besides all the gardening, I cleaned out the henhouse and got fresh water for all the chickens and washed the sheets and did other laundry and took a good walk and swept the kitchen and hallway and everything looks tidy and nice and I just feel a tad bit more in control of my life.
For the moment, at least, and I hope I'm not cursing myself by saying that but I know it's all an illusion anyway.
Mr. Moon has mowed most of the yard and here's a picture I got of the grown-up chickens pecking their way through the freshly mown grass.
I have noticed that Otis is having his handsome roostery way with tiny Miss Violet and so I know she's laying somewhere and damn, but I wish I could find those eggs. Sneaky little hen. Dearie probably is too. I keep looking but I ain't finding.
So. Friday night. Might be a martini in my future. I better get off my ass and start supper. It's one of those days where I'm just happy to be living my life, as crazy as it gets sometimes.
And can I just say a sincere thank-you to all of you who are here for the good times and the bad? The crazy and the saner, the silly and the ridiculous? Thanks for putting up with my obsessions and my imperfections, my rantings and my ravings.
Today really and truly feels like fall or at least fall as we know it in North Florida. The temperature is lower, the humidity is too and the mosquitoes in the yard are not nearly as fierce although when I stopped in the woods to pee, I was attacked unmercifully.
Lily suggests I just invest in some Depends but let's put that step off until we truly must face it, okay?
I have my doors open and thus, the front porch is again part of the world in which I live, not just a vague concept of a place where I go to water once a week, having sprayed with OFF! before I attempt that small chore.
Such a beautiful space. The Confederate roses right beside it are blooming.
Not a good picture but the light is blasting them right now. I'll get better ones soon.
I am staying at home today if all goes as planned. Owen seems fine but we are still concerned and as always, it would seem that when it rains it pours and other things are going on which are not exactly welcome to deal with but, that's life.
That's life, that's life, that's life and for right now, I am going to hang clothes outside and clean the hen house and just do the little things which bring me comfort and soothe my soul and be grateful for this clear, good day of fall in Lloyd.
Well, August's birthday party has been postponed until Saturday.
Lord, y'all. It's been a day.
Jessie and August and I had big fun shopping for the doin's we were going to have tonight but then Owen had a weird spell on the bus coming home from school and he had to go to the ER and Boppy and I babysat for Maggie and Gibson and thus, the party will be on Saturday.
My Owen boy, my heart, my love, has checked out fine and I got to see him and give him about a thousand kisses and he is looking upon it all as a grand adventure at this point. He is home now in his pajamas, I am sure (he puts his pajamas on as soon as he gets home no matter where he's been) and I'm also sure that his brother and sister are glad to see him. Maggie has the snot-nose again and a cough and DAMMIT KIDS, CAN'T YOU JUST STAY WELL?
So. Not the day or evening we were expecting but, as we all know, life is what happens when you're busy making other plans and to tell you the truth, August's reaction when he first saw me at Costco was enough to thrill me for an entire first birthday celebration. He joyfully bounced up and down in his seat and pointed at me and I swear (I am not making this up) he said, "Mer!"
Plus, I already gave him the giant kangaroo mama and her joey that we were going to give him tonight so my job, essentially, is done.
Mer's having a vodka tonic now and will be going to bed soon.
May all be well and may all be well and may all be very, very well.
And we shall celebrate August on Saturday.
I've spent half the day making a crockpot full of soup which, of course, is now large enough in volume to feed all of Lloyd and let's not talk about the loaf of bread in the oven.
I'm like the queen of rock soup. I can start with one almost completely picked chicken carcass and end up with something that's either a disaster or a thing of beauty, depending on your perspective.
So Bruce Springsteen is live on Facebook right now. Looks like he's really doing a lot of promotion for this book he's written. I've preordered it, of course, and will be getting it in a few days along with a new white cotton nightgown, both from Amazon.
It's a beautiful thing.
So- what's the deal with Bruce? He looks like he's been working out in the fields for the past decade. It doesn't look like a fake tan. He doesn't look like Donald Trump. Maybe he's been riding his motorcycle a lot and the whole rest of his body is as white as a dumpling. If so, he obviously doesn't wear a helmet.
I wonder if I'll love his book as much as I love Keith Richards' autobiography?
I seriously have no idea.
I've loved Bruce for longer in a true-love sort of way. Ever since I saw him play in Jacksonville in 1979. Maybe? He was still a skinny little guy at that point, jumping up on speakers and launching himself into the audience which he still does. I fell in love big time that night and his music has been my rod and my staff when I needed it throughout my life since then and I wonder if the words in his book will kindle an even deeper love.
We shall see.
All will be revealed.
It looks like Maurice may keep her eyeball. I hope so. Man, that's been a bad one. I love that damn cat. She's mean and she's sometimes cruel and she's bloodied me and Mr. Moon both countless times but she chose us and we can't help but love her. She's a cat and as such, cannot be judged by human standards and I will not.
Oh, y'all. Life is so tenuous and we need to take whatever comfort and love we can and I say that after having just gotten off the phone with a friend who is facing a whole mess of decisions and treatments and worries and cares.
Tomorrow is August's birthday and this time last year, Jessie was just starting into labor.
I try so hard to live the simplest life and I do, but in reality, there is no simple to any of it. And if someone says there is, they're lying out their ass.
Remember before Hermine hit and I was trying to eat all healthy and shit?
Boy. Those were the days.
So funny how little it takes to introduce chips and cheese back into my diet. Hysterical! Simply hysterical! Oh yeah.
And let's see- how long has it been since that storm? Weeks. And weeks.
But hey- Mr. Moon went out of town and so of course I had to eat a chicken pot pie because...well. Because.
And swiss cheese because he doesn't like swiss cheese and so when he's gone I can freely eat swiss cheese. Goddammit! Right?
And my walks? Hard to walk in a hurricane.
Which lasted one day.
But then...the mosquitoes! The heat! The...fuck if I know.
And you know, I didn't really eat that badly while he was gone. Many mornings I got up and made myself my own personal mason jar smoothie with fruit. And I put spinach in just about everything I cooked. And I ate salads when I went out.
Of course the salads I ate were so laden with delicious not-entirely-vegetable ingredients that I might as well have eaten hamburgers and curly fries.
Let's be honest.
Why is it so fucking hard and why do I even care any more?
Two more questions I don't have the answers to. But it is and I do.
Can I tell you that when we went to Sephora yesterday for Lily's birthday shopping fun, not one employee even asked me if I needed any help? And some of those employees were approaching my age range so we can't blame it on callow youth. Obviously, I am beyond the sort of help that Sephora can offer, even with their wide selection of beautifying and anti-aging products.
Ah well. (She said.)
So good morning and let me make one thing clear- I was not saying in yesterday's post that I am thinking about quitting writing here on the blog. I'm not sure I could if I wanted to but what I was saying is that my writing has become something that I am not very proud of.
And wondering how to make it better.
Let's make Ms. Moon great again!
Anyway, I took a walk this morning, feeling every ounce of my extra weight and that's the thing- the bigger you are, the harder it is to exercise which means you exercise less and then you are bigger. But here we are and I can still walk and for that I am grateful. It's harder every day and hurts more every day but I am not feeling overly stressed or depressed, simply facing the reality of it all.
The colors of fall around here are gold and purples and if nothing else, getting out and seeing them is sweet and a reward in and of itself.
It is supposed to get cooler this week and into the weekend, dipping down into the lower sixties at night at least, and that will be another sweetness.
So. I just watched a video which for some odd and baffling reason seems to me to be the perfect antidote to the current political bullshit which I can't seem to pull my head out of.
It made me cry. The fierceness, the feeling, the meaning, the strength of people moving together in an ancient and proscribed way. Watch it if you want. Don't if you don't. Could just be me and my particular brand of crazy it touched.
And hey- it's Billy's birthday.
Talk about fierce.
It's funny how little I feel like writing these days. Funny. And disturbing to me. The writing has always been the thing that keeps me from feeling as if I am falling through the arms of the universe to the vast nothingness below. And I'm not sure why it is, this reluctance to write. Do I feel as if I have nothing to say? Nothing new to say? Am I censoring myself too much to make the writing feel genuine? Not censoring myself enough?
It's a fine line, that one, between too much revealing and not enough. I cringe sometimes when I read the things people write, especially if the writer's children may be reading those things. This may be wrong-thinking, I may have become a prude in my old age or may have always been one, but still, I admit, I do believe that there are things about their parents which children just don't need to be enlightened to. I have always tried to be honest with my own kids about my life, to a degree, but there are things that they just don't want to hear, just as there are things about their lives which are none of my business and which I don't want to hear. I love that we can joke about a lot of subjects which were necessarily off-limits (in my house, at least) when they were young but which we can giggle about and relate to with each other now. But even still, there are other people involved and there is a part of me which feels quite strongly that at least when we are discussing sex, that it is a thing which is shared by two people (well, in most cases, not always) and part of the bond of it is the keeping of it within the relationship.
This is ours. It belongs to no one else.
Not in word or deed.
But sex isn't the only thing I feel shy or resistant to writing about. We all, I think, keep certain things to ourselves. Things we may not be proud of or things we are too afraid to say out loud lest they be taken from us or dreams that we may have which seem too farfetched or ridiculous or...whatever...to admit to. Sometimes it's even a matter of not writing about things because if we said them out loud they might sound like bragging. And that is our right, you know. Just as Johnny Depp does not owe the world details about his personal life, neither do we.
These blogs, once so popular, are becoming less and less so as people move to even quicker and less complicated (emotionally and literarily, at least) outlets for sharing: to Facebook and Instagram and whatever else there is now. Snapchat? I don't know a thing about that. But still- I feel that it is a huge pleasure and an honor to be able to read whatever thoughts we may be given by others. Things which touch the incredibly painful, the incredibly joyful, the hopeful, the despairing, the very, very real.
And sometimes I think it is enough that we who do continue to blog, paint in the outlines as best we can and allow others to take what they can from it, to fill in their own details, to fill the spaces we leave with their stories and hopes and dreams and shames and blessings and deeds and thoughts.
Isn't that, in a way, what poetry is?
We all have such different styles. We all come to the page with different needs and beliefs and interests and experiences.
Especially the experiences.
And for me, one of the grandest things about the community I have found here is discovering that although so many of us may have experienced different things, at heart, we are so much the same. And that we have so much to learn from each other.
But in the meantime, as some of us may struggle with this need to write, this need to communicate, this need to share it all, it is so easy to simply say, "Today I did this and I did that," and maybe even to drop a feeling about it all here and there, and then to move on.
I feel as if I have been doing that lately.
And it doesn't make me happy and I don't know that it makes anyone else happy either.
Today I went to town and met up with my daughters at the mall and we did have fun. Even if it was the mall. And for me, it was mostly the fact that I was out in public with my beautiful girls and two of their babies and we laughed and were silly.
To see how my children love each other and get along so well. To know that despite my constant grinchy harping about the mall and how much I hate it, they love me too. To play with the babies, to pass them from one to the other, to make them laugh in their strollers.
To make them try on ridiculous things.
Whether they like it or not.
They are precious to me, these people whom I gave birth to and to whom they gave birth. All day I kept thinking about how 31 years ago I birthed my Lily and how here she is- this mother, this force of nature.
Lord knows I've done my job and yet, there is that part of me which wants to do more, even if that more is nothing but loving and loving and loving.
Maybe that is the most important.
I don't know. I don't know much and as I grow older, I know even less but that which I am sure of, I grow more sure of every day.
So, well, there you go. Some thoughts, some pictures.
Here I am. Or my words, at least. Fill in the details as you wish.
And I'd like to quote something that Emily Dickinson, that homebody poet, said that a good friend of mine sent me yesterday.
"To live is so startling that it leaves little time for anything else."
Absolutely. And which requires (in my case) a lot of naps. And which, for some reason, I feel I must write about.
Birthday week continues with today being the birthday of both Lily and Vergil. I'm supposed to be at Lily's house in thirty minutes and there are plans and I'm not sure what they are and suddenly, life has exploded out of the cannon again and did you see the debates last night?
Some time in the early, early morning I was woken up by my husband and my heart was happy. So happy. I turned in bed and reached for him.
"You're home!" I said and "I'm home," he said and there we were.
I had thought maybe to stay up but I simply couldn't. It had been a long day of birthday partying and I had had the very worst heartburn and anxiety I've had in forever for most of the day and I finally caved and took a valium and let sleep take me away from it all but I did wake up to kiss that man's face, to hold him tightly. We talked a little bit and then he, beside me in our bed again, fell asleep and he was right there when I woke up this morning too.
All feels right with the world again. He's unpacking and I'm about to start on the marathon laundry event. We've spoken to Owen on the phone because today is his real and actual birthday.
Oh golly. He was just freshly born and Lily was just freshly reborn and we were all so very, very happy. Our Owen was here.
What an amazing journey it's been, having that boy in our arms, in our lives. From baby to boy and the time has gone like one sweet kiss, one little nap and in those seven years I have become grandmother to three other beautiful children and the world has turned and turned and turned and I swear- I can't even really fathom it.
Tonight we're going to eat supper with the Hartmann's and I think that hamburgers are going to be involved. Lily's letting Owen have a day off of school today and they're at the Junior Museum to see the animals, both woodland and farm, feathered, furred and scaled.
Speaking of animals, none of the animals in Canada were taken by Mr. Moon. He didn't shoot his gun or bow once and I don't think he's too disappointed. He saw plenty of creatures and that seems to have made him happy enough. He surely seems glad to be home though.
And I am surely happy to have him, feeling that all is well in the world, or at least in mine.
Husband on his way home, chickens all alive, orange cat with one eye swollen shut; she will not leave the other cat unthreatened and he responds.
Trash taken and mailbox checked. I always feel as if someone is in that little post office room with me, no matter how empty it is. Is it haunted? Maybe. Maybe not. An old, old train station. Who can know how or if these things happen?
Breakfast eaten, sheets in the washer, texts sent and received about status of birthday party preparations and Owen's excitement level. Very.
All of this so good, except for the cat, of course, so fine and the sun is shining and the air is shimmering and firespike is catching a light and a squirrel is climbing a tree with a mushroom in its mouth that he just plucked from the ground and I'm going to get to see all of my kids and all of my grandkids and other people I love and then later, my husband, and we're celebrating my first grandchild, the one who's been my best friend in some ways since his birth, and all of this is so good, so good, so very fine indeed and I'm in knots and tatters and I'm really tired of this.
The squirrel ran back and got another mushroom and ate it, perched on the side of a clay pot holding it in his little hands and taking enthusiastic bites. I guess these mushrooms must be delicious and probably not deadly. I do not know a thing about mushrooms and quite frankly, it shocks me how I can be the age I am and know so little about so much.
Woke up this morning from the worst dream. It pretty much hit every deep and horrible fear and concern I have at the moment or at least, did a good job of trying.
No. I will not relate it. I am not willing to share some parts of me and that's just the way it is.
The anxiety produced from the dream caught me like a cat's paws, held me tight and painfully at the points of the grasp. I knew that both Owen and Gibson, who are on the same flag-football team, had a game in town at 10:30 and I knew for sure that what I needed to do was to get there and try to regain a sense of normalcy and although I was late, I made it. Although both boys fit into the same age category to play on the same team, the difference is obvious. Gibson hates it when someone grabs his flags and actually lays down and cries sometime and when he wasn't on the field, he would come over and climb into my lap and curl up and want to be comforted while Owen is so tall and in control that Lily overheard the other team's coach say something to our' coach like, "Well, obviously your center drove himself here today," which was fucking rude if you ask me but what are you going to do?
I sat on a blanket with Lily and Maggie
and unlike T-ball, flag football appears to be barely contained chaos and I cheered twice for the other team because of beautiful runs, little bitty kids running like the wind, their legs pumping, the ball held firmly in their hands, their eyes straight ahead to the goal.
Here are the boys posing under a sign which I approve of heartily.
We went to lunch afterwards. Owen chose the demonic China First buffet where I made bad, bad choices and basically ate General Tso's chicken and some delicious greasy green beans and fried zucchini and other made-up Chinese fried food and I haven't died yet. Then Owen and I went to Costco where he ate every sample offered despite having just eaten his weight in noodles and chicken-on-a-stick and we bought a few things for his party which is tomorrow. We discussed stuff on the ride there and to his house like the imagination and how wonderful it can be and how horrible. He told me that this was the very worst thing you could imagine: Someone comes and takes you from your bed and throws you into a volcano.
I told him that that was indeed a pretty bad thing and kept silent about the dream I'd had in which I would have been so relieved to be thrown into a volcano rather than to suffer the consequences of my dream-actions.
We talked about stories from my childhood and he is fascinated by those. He actually prompts me to tell them so I told him about how our dog, Snoopy, when I was a child was not restricted to leash or yard as that was the way things were in those days and how Snoopy would travel regularly a prescribed path from house to friendly house where he was welcomed and given treats and also, we discussed Chester, the feral man who had lived in Roseland with his dog and who lived on whatever he could hunt, fish, grow or glean and whatever he could earn from doing small jobs around the community and Owen said, "The olden days were the best!" and I agreed that some of the things about them were indeed awesome but then I told him about the kid I knew in the third grade who got sprayed by a skunk and whose mother would not allow him into the house until he didn't reek of skunk any more and Owen said, "Did he have to sleep outside?" and I said that yes, he probably did, and that added a different perspective. He decided that he has the best of all worlds, living with his family in the country as he does, being able to see wild animals in his own yard and I told him he was right.
We also discussed the names of the new chickens and he wants to name one of them "Nicey" after our dear, departed Nicey, and I said that was fine. He said a little prayer to Nicey in heaven, telling her he was sorry and I told him that if Nicey could hear him, she'd probably be happy just to know that he hadn't forgotten her.
So I guess they're Nicey, Darla, and Dottie although Dottie could be Dewayne. As always, we shall have to see. I saw Otis trying to mount little miss Violet today and she was having NONE OF IT and ran away, squawking and I know those banties are laying somewhere but hell if I can find their cache.
Owen and I delivered the party food to his house and then I collected all three kids and we drove to Lloyd and y'all- it's been a long time since I've had all three of those young'uns at once under my care and after about five hours I had to send their daddy a text to say that I was about worn out and could he reach a stopping point and come and get them? He was trying to get the yard and house cleaned up for the party tomorrow because Lily had to work and he himself has to work tomorrow from the crack of dawn or before so that he can get off early enough to get home for the party itself. I felt guilty but I did what I could and that was about all I could do.
We did puzzles and played cards (Owen can shuffle now and when I asked him where he learned he said, "By watching you!") and we ate Pirate Booty and apples and they had hot cocoa and we all played with Maggie and I changed her diaper and Lord, those children are going to turn the bathwater black tonight. I spread out some big pieces of wrapping paper and traced Owen and Gibson and let them color themselves in and that was fun for a few minutes but Maggie kept trying to get in on the action and they're so sweet with her, so patient, but it was a problem. It's like the minute they walk in the house the dust comes out of the corners to greet them and toys get spread everywhere and my name is invoked over and over again and every glass in the house is used and it was chaos, although not very controlled. Maggie did love me kissing her neck over and over again and would turn her head to the other side so I could kiss that part which was the sweetest and best thing ever and Gibson asked me to scratch his back and he found an old cane and pretended to be an old man and kept calling all of us "sonny" and Owen chased a poodle that had found its way into our yard but never could catch it. They played horse and watched some TV and they are the sweetest, best children but after awhile, old Mer just couldn't do anymore.
So. There you go and here I am. Tomorrow is Owen's seventh birthday party and he comes up to the top of my bosom and I love my grandchildren more than I love my life itself.
And tomorrow Owen will have his party and I wonder if he even begins to know the sacrifices and work that his parents have put into this event to make it a day that he'll enjoy and remember. Do you remember your seventh birthday party? I don't. And even though Owen's an incredibly aware and sensitive child, I doubt he will either. But it doesn't matter. He won't have to remember the details to know, without a doubt, that he was always loved and cherished and protected and celebrated and even respected. By his parents, his siblings, his aunts and uncles and friends and teachers and grandparents. He'll never get taken from his bed at night and thrown into a volcano and he'll never be refused entry into his house should be be sprayed by a skunk.
It's been a long day. Mermer is going to eat some leftover rice and vegetable casserole and get into her bed and spend her last full night alone for this specific hunting trip. I can't even believe that tomorrow night, late, late, a big sweet man will crawl into bed beside her, to kiss her and hold her. The man who, if she hadn't loved him so much, if he hadn't loved her so much, there would never have been an Owen.
Here I am with my grandson, the Citizen of the week, the line leader!
So proud. He and his other grandma and I ate our lunches together and it was a lovely lunch indeed. Turkey roll-ups, Doritos, grapes, and Oreos. You just can't beat that.
Our grandson made us both badges to wear- you can see mine. When he gave them to us he handed his other grandma hers which was gold. "Gold for God," he said. She talks about God a lot. Then he handed me mine and said, "Blue for the ocean."
Nothing could have made me happier.
He knows me so well. And I even put on makeup and my bracelets to go have lunch with that boy! This may have been the first time I've put on mascara since I got back from Cuba which is sad, but true. And it was worth it.
I do have to tell you that when we were chatting over lunch, I said that when I was in elementary school, I'd sometimes ridden the bus.
"There were busses when you were a kid?" he asked me, his eyes huge with shock.
"Yes," I said. "But they were pulled by dinosaurs."
After lunch, I got a text from Billy whom I haven't seen in dog's years. We met up and both of us did some birthday shopping. We talked and talked and talked and he hadn't eaten lunch so we went to a sandwich shop and I helped him eat his sandwich and drank iced tea and we talked and talked some more. We had catching up to do. While we were talking, a lady walked by and then sort of stopped and turned around and stared at us. I thought, "What the fuck?"
And then I realized that Billy's big burly beard is Smurf blue right now and his mustache is hot pink.
I didn't even take a picture of him. Which I am sorry for now.
But it was so good to see him. I've known him since he was a child and now here he is, all grown up with a six-year old son and a wife and, well...I just love him.
Then I went and did a little more shopping and came home and now I'm fixing supper for Hank and a photographer friend. They came out to do a photo shoot because my house is all funky and shit. And also probably because I would be coerced into making venison meat loaf. Here's the photographer's web site. Excellent work.
Hank sure does keep my life interesting.
Not that it really needs much help in that direction- I mean, what with my chickens and grandchildren and stuff- but he puts the extra shine on it for sure.
The only other news I have is that this morning I went out and literally took those little chickens out of the baby coop and set them down in the big coop and closed the lid on the little coop where they've been hiding for the most part for a week and a half so they couldn't get back in. I have decided to name them Dottie, Darla, and something else that starts with a D that I can't remember at this second.
Oh, how I love getting old.
One more thing. Billy just sent me this.
It is, without a doubt, my favorite meme ever. And perhaps, the truest.
So when you're feeling down and discouraged, just remember those words. Penis in the vagina.
And you'll feel comforted and inspired. I promise. Or laugh. Which is even better.
Last night I cracked open a tiny new book (literally-it's a tiny book) of short stories by Alexander McCall Smith. In the author's note, I found these words:
Love transforms the people in these stories, as it may transform any of us. In some cases it will not be reciprocated as fully as it might be, but if that happens, we could do worse than to remember the advice of the poet W.H. Auden, who tells us that "If equal affection cannot be, then let the more loving one be me." I have always thought that those lines can be read in such a way as somehow to express an entire philosophy of life, a guide to all of us on our journey. Alexander McCall Smith.
The book is "Chance Developments."
This is the message I am going to try to carry in my heart today.
Got some stuff on my mind tonight, my heart too.
I have a friend who's about to embark on a journey she knows all too well and that I know, from a removed distance, too damn well too.
This is life.
I did my adulting stuff today. It went fine although my birthday shopping was far from successful. But I got new library books and the turkey wraps and tomorrow I will be at Owen's school for the grandparent's lunch. Owen still remembers that last year the grandparents of his best friend Chase brought Oreos and that's what he has requested that his other grandmother bring.
It should be a delicious and delightful luncheon in the cafetorium of Owen's school and I am sorry that Mr. Moon won't be there. He is too. I talked to him yesterday and he is having a wonderful time although he hasn't shot anything. I imagine him wandering fields of Canadian flowers, spying on large animals, admiring them as he keeps his gun tucked beneath his arm.
I'll be mighty glad to have him back. Here's a funny thing- it's been over a week since I washed the sheets on the bed but because I sleep on such a small portion of them, I am loathe to bother to launder them. I suppose I could sleep on Mr. Moon's side of the bed for a few nights but my fan and my light and my phone charger are on MY side while my books are piled on his side and there you go. And I am always very clean when I get in the bed and I barely move around enough to wrinkle the sheets so really, there's no need to go through the entire hassle.
The picture above is of Mick and Trixie. They sleep together every night in just that spot. She is the oldest hen and yet, he seems to prefer her above all the others. Her comb and wattle are so pale right now but I think that's because it's molting season, and not an indication of illness.
Or at least, that is what I hope. I have seen this before and am not too worried.
Should I be ashamed to admit that the news about Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie is actually making me sad?
Well, I don't care. It is making me sad.
I had hoped that they would be the fairytale couple who made it work forever with their love of each other, their family, their work and art, their good deeds.
But what's really breaking my heart is the thought of the children.
No matter who you are or how much money you have, when Mommy and Daddy don't love each other any more it is the breaking apart, not just of a marriage and a family, but of a reality.
Sometimes I truly believe that divorce is the very best thing that can happen for all concerned but it's never easy.
What in life is?
Let's love each other while we can. In sickness and in health, in youth and in older age, and then in old age too, should we be so fucking lucky as to have the opportunity.
Here's to Mick and Trixie and here's to all of us.
Today is the equinox.
I get solstices and equinoxes confused and I admit it. But I'm pretty sure that today is the fall equinox and it's certainly beautiful here. It's like ALL of the flowers are giving it their last, best shot and the butterflies are hovering and there are caterpillars in the stalks of blooming blossoms and the breeze is making all of these things dance and the light dapples and changes and it's a bit softer today, a bit cooler.
Unfortunately, the mosquitoes are just as bad as they were and I was fine on my walk as long as I kept walking but if I stopped to take a picture or- god forbid- go off the trail into the woods to pee, I was bombarded, attacked, and otherwise tortured. I see no end to this until first frost and we are a long way from that.
Jason just came by with the Glorious Gibson and the Magnificent Magnolia to pick up some yard-work stuff and it was so nice to see the children. Gibson ate a chicken leg and a chocolate and Maggie had some apple and now they are on their way home to eat real lunch.
And I'm heading to town for birthday shopping and library book getting and I need to pick up some turkey wraps at the Costco to take to Grandparent's Day lunch at Owen's school tomorrow because he loves them and I love him.
It's a good life today and I am grateful for it and I am still trying to wrap my head around the things going on in my country. These thoughts are simmering in my soul and here I am, a woman who was born into so much privilege and I don't forget that for a second, aware with every fiber of my being that in fact, I could and can forget exactly because of that privilege.
So strange. It is all so strange and today at Chichen Itza, the sun will make the great snake at the Northern corner of El Castillo appear to slither slowly from top to bottom.
I like to think about that.
For some reason, it gives me hope and a sort of peace.
I've hit a wall when it comes to tolerating the bullshit which keeps spraying at us when it comes to the murder of our black citizens.
Here's what Jessie wrote on Facebook today and I couldn't possibly have said better myself and I am so damn proud of her:
"When my husband and I found out we were having a boy, one of our first thoughts was how lucky this boy will be to live in a world where he is discriminated against the least. A white man. Wow. I am lucky, as a mother, because I don't have to spend my nights worrying about the greater chance of him being taken to jail or shot by police. Sure, he's human, so there's plenty for me to fret and worry about, but my life, my husband's life, and now my son's life is privileged because of the color of our skin. My heart is heavy for all the mamas that worry about their beautiful black men and boys every day. I really can't imagine having that stress on me, day and night. So, when I see white people (and some of these people are good people that I'm friends with on Facebook) say things like "All Live Matter" or "Blue Lives Matter" or "Colin Kaepernick needs to be kicked off the team", I get so mad. You people don't know what you're talking about. Just stop it. Please. Listen and learn some things. Your life is privileged due to the color of your skin. Be grateful and listen to your black brothers and sisters. They are hurting and they need us. Talking about race can be really uncomfortable, and honestly, I hate making anyone feel uncomfortable so I don't always bring up controversial topics. But it's sooo important. I am not colorblind. No one really is. Don't pretend you are.#blacklivesmatter"
Look- my family is white. We're like the poster children for white people. But you know what? That doesn't mean that we're not smart enough to figure out that what's going on in our country today is nothing short of murder. Murder after murder where the white murderer walks away, Scott free. And to tell you the truth, Jessie isn't someone who spends a lot of time just talking about stuff so when she wrote that today, especially the lines, "You people don't know what you're talking about. Just stop it." I was gobsmacked.
She called it out. She said it true.
Speak the truth and fear no man.
Isn't that what we all have to do?
Yeah. It is.
I'm having a hard time tonight, trying to say exactly what I want to say. I'm not sure why this is. But I think what I really want to say is this- if you're going to spout racist bullshit at me in the guise of, well, FUCKING ANYTHING! I'm going to call you out. I don't care if you're my neighbor, my relative, my Facebook "friend." I am going to call that shit out and I am going to tell you that you have no idea what you're talking about and to just stop it.
Shine a light, people. Shine a fucking light into the darkest corners of the darkest deeds.
This isn't a carefully considered essay about racism and I'm sorry for that. But I'm too damn mad to write one of those tonight. This is just one white woman's words about the horrific things going on today. I am a woman, I am a mother, I am a grandmother. I am a human being with the capacity for empathy and also for righteous anger and for the ability to see that which is evil and to point it out if I'm just not too afraid to do it.
This day has been a day best forgotten. And it will be. I feel sure.
I feel like the tree which has fallen in the forest with no one to hear it. Forget the question of whether or not it fell- was the tree ever even really there in the first place?
"She's come undone," said Wally Lamb and that is how I feel. Undone and drifting, arms like a marionette's, strings cut and dangling, mouth left clattering and voiceless, a trip to the trash depot almost more than I could bear, a stop by the post office where I got a magazine and in the space of one block, forgot it and left it in the car, not enough interest to go out and retrieve it.
I spent a good part of today rereading something I started writing years ago. Many, many pages and some of it- I swear- good enough to eat. I laughed out loud at some of the things I'd written. Did I write those things? How? What has happened to me? What happened to that woman who could sit and imagine worlds and people and weave together words to make it all almost real?
Ay-yi, and la-di-dah.
Tomorrow I'll be going to town to meet up with a friend after she has a "procedure."
And I don't mean getting botox.
Why the hell can't I stay off the internet?
I dreamed last night that there was some sort of apocalyptic event and people were dying and it was really okay because we just got really small and it was peaceful and people were playing music and being kind to each other as we all waited to die.
I am obviously not right when I start dreaming that the answer to it all is universal death of the species.
Also? Too many soybeans can be eaten.
Here's another thing- tomorrow it will have been a week since I got those chickens and they are still huddled up in the back of the baby coop and won't come out. To get them out, I'd have to get in there with them and physically take hold of them and that would only traumatize them more. They do come out to eat the treats I leave them when I'm not around but they won't leave the little coop. I feel so bad for them.
Maybe they know something I don't.
Sometimes, when I am feeling scared and afraid, I put on anger like a teenager or like a pair of steel-toed boots that are really too big for me so that when I walk on the earth I will at least sound like I am strong, like I know exactly where these booted feet need to go. Which probably fools no one, least of all me. But it's a coping mechanism and as we all know, coping mechanisms are hardly ever perfect but at times necessary.
I did that today.
I went and got Lily and Maggie and we drove to a store where I bought Owen's birthday present- some sort of Nintendo thing that's probably going to cause all sorts of problems but it's what he wants and his mom and dad say it's okay so I did. Then I had Lily text all the kids to see if they wanted to meet up for lunch because as I told her, I needed Mexican comfort food, and beyond that, I needed to be with my family. I just needed it.
So we went to El Patron, with its crazy less-than-six-dollars lunch specials and Hank had already planned on eating there with our darling friend Jo-Jo so it was good. We ate on the deck and it was fucking hot and it was fucking humid. For a moment a tiny rain came and the way the light was and the way the rain was falling, we could actually see it, each tiny needle of it defined and it was beautiful but then it stopped and steam rose up from the nearby asphalt and from the jungle of trees beside the deck and poor little August, who'd been napping in his car seat, woke up soaked in sweat. His mama took off his onesie but neither he nor Maggie ever looked very happy although they were content enough, and took turns on Hank's belly and ate guacamole and chicken and beans and rice and Maggie grabbed a handful of sour cream and gave herself a mustache.
"Where are you going, Maggie Girl?"
Before we picked up Gibson and after we'd gotten Owen's present, Lily and I went by the Dollar Tree to get a few birthday party things. When we were at the check-out, there was a woman in front of us wearing a long, heavy burlapy-type dress and a rope belt and she was wearing a cloth on her head like a nun but not really like a nun and for some reason, I almost lost my mind. I figured her to be part of some stupid-ass religious cult and standing there in my metaphorical steel-toed boots, I did everything but glare at her. When we left the store, I asked Lily, "So- what the fuck about that woman?"
"She was a nun," said Lily.
"No she wasn't. Nuns don't dress like that anymore."
"Yeah. She was."
"No, she wasn't," I insisted, and I was still ranting about it when we got to the restaurant and finally someone said, "Maybe she's a reenactor at San Luis," and suddenly, I felt better. I don't know why the sight of this woman in those clothes just made me want to scream. Maybe it's because I'm reading a book now about a kid who was raised by a woman who was obsessed with Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to the point where she moved to the utopian community which was formed around him and his teachings about Transcendental Meditation in Fairfield, Iowa. (I have no idea why I am currently reading books about utopian communities but whatever...) and I'm just at a really low ebb when it comes to tolerating such bullshit, whether the religion is TM or strange cults or the Catholic church or any organization which charges people for spiritual enlightenment. This kid whose book I'm reading talks about how her mother, who was so broke that a new coat for her daughter about busted the bank, spent thousands of dollars on training to learn how to "fly" or levitate as taught by the TM masters.
Here's a video of some guys flying.
Yeah. I'm convinced.
I'm also convinced that Mother Teresa was a saint and performed miracles.
Jesus Fucking Christ.
But. Back to my story. So, I felt so much better when I thought that the woman was probably an employee or volunteer at the local San Luis Mission museum in Tallahassee. I really did. She wasn't some poor sap who was wearing that heavy dress and freaking rope belt for some inane religious purpose. She was just a reenactor!
Until I realized a few minutes ago that San Luis is closed on Mondays so there you go.
Whatever. Knock yourself out, lady. And even if, as Lily insists, she is a nun, the Catholic church is just a cult that's mainstream and accepted despite the horrors they've propagated throughout the ages.
I actually knew a guy from high school who was a hard partier, a rough guy who became a merchant marine and who then, for some bizarre reason because a member of the Unification Church founded by Sun Myong Moon. (No relation, although my husband's father used to introduce Mr. Moon as "young sun Moon" as a joke.) He was actually married in one of those giant mass wedding ceremonies arranged by the church. Remember this?
Charles could well have been one of the happy grooms that very day. That could be his wedding portrait!
Anyway, about ten years ago, I was on my way home from St. Augustine and I stopped at a Wendy's and who did I see in there but Charles. His brilliant Irish red hair had faded a bit and his face, like my own, had settled into older age, but it was him, without a doubt. He was with an Asian wife and three sons and he looked tired and pissed off and worried.
I did not speak to him. I just...couldn't. How did this redheaded, brash, smart guy who wasn't afraid of anything fall for a religion that took in street kids and put them in virtual slavery, selling flowers by intersections? I think he actually became a minister in the church.
I hope he's happy. I really do. I'll never forget in high school how he bought a joint from a guy for a dollar and then, when he didn't get stoned from smoking it, threatened the guy that he'd beat him up if he didn't give his money back. And he got his money back.
Ah well. Obviously, I still have my boots on and that's just the way it is.
I sure was happy to have lunch with my kids and tomorrow I'm going to have Owen and Gibson and Maggie for a little while and that's a good thing. This house is getting as bored with me as I am although I've been doing little things to make it shine some. I even took everything off the hallway altar and cleaned and oiled and dusted and polished all of my treasures. I ran my Cozumel beach glass through the dishwasher
and oh! how it sparkles!
For tonight's hunting widow supper I am having one of my favorites- a big bowl of this:
I started cooking the soybeans and rice last night and am about to whip up the sauce although instead of "soy salad dressing" I will be using Duke's Mayonnaise as a base.
Hippie comfort food for me.
This recipe is to be found in a 1975 edition of The Farm Vegetarian Cookbook.
My copy doesn't even have a front cover any more. It's done wore off, as say around here. It's actually a vegan cookbook but I don't think the word "vegan" had been invented at that point.
Was The Farm a cult? Was it a religion? Was Stephen a guru?
Hell if I know. But I do know they had some very good recipes.
Talk to you tomorrow at which point I hope not to be wearing those big, honking, incredibly uncomfortable boots.
Here's the scary, horrible, terrifying thing:
Trump's supporters do not care one bit that he is a liar, a cheat, a scumbag, a racist, a serial cheater, a misogynist, a homophobe, a possible child-rapist. They do not care that he speaks at a fourth-grade level. They do not care that he has been sued a billion times. They do not care that his shit is made in China. They do not care that he knows he can't build that wall and make Mexico pay for it. They do not care that he won't release his tax returns. They don't care that his wife posed nude. They don't care that his kids are fucked-up little lying twats. They don't care that he thinks Putin is a swell guy. They don't care that his lies are so transparently false that they are disproven before his lips stop moving. They don't care that he treats women like dirt beneath his feet. They don't care that he hasn't got one clue about foreign policy. Or domestic policy. They don't care that his businesses were built on the backs of people he cheated. They don't care that he never did one thing in the realm of public service before he decided that it would be swell to run for president. They don't care that his "fortune" was born of inheritance and tax breaks.
Do you understand?
They do not care.
And that is why this election is so horrifying. It's not that Trump thinks and says these things. It's that he does and there are so many people who simply cheer him on.
Comparisons to Hitler are not over dramatic.
And besides all of that, I'm feeling anxious and depressed and worried and like the biggest faux adult in the world.
I finished "Arcadia" last night and it is a beautiful, beautiful book. I am still confused as to why Ms. Groff felt the need to so thinly disguise The Farm that it was barely disguised at all. Her imagination is obviously in no need of help in such regard. Perhaps as a tribute? I do not know.
I am glad I read it and I would recommend it. It gets into the deep darkness of the hard stuff and yet it celebrates the great glory light which can still surround us as well as the small, quiet moments of life which are, in the end, perhaps the most important of all.
So I turned out my light after I closed my book and Maurice was on the bed, but on the edge of it, on Mr. Moon's side, facing out into the room and she stayed there all night long except for one time when she came over and tried to get me interested in petting her which I ignored because her teeth were involved and it was late in the wee, wee hours and I was more invested in sleep than in cat-petting. She went back to her perch on the edge of the bed and that's where she was this morning when I woke up. She is doing her job because I slept safely and sweetly all night long.
It's quiet this morning, this Sunday morning in Lloyd, and I'm going to go into town soon to hang out with Jessie and do whatever she wants me to do or needs me to do. I hear that Vergil is steady-on with some house-hold chores, soldering wires for a sound system or something that men like Vergil enjoy. The only thing I really have planned for myself today is that I want to tidy up the back porch. This is not much of a goal.
So strange, so strange, this being by myself. I like it. I don't get lonely. Probably because I know that in a week my husband will be home with all of the woods and the stories and the dirty laundry with him and my "real" life will crank up again.
Until then, I'm pretty darn content to be here, quiet with such a small amount of cooking and washing to do that it isn't even worth thinking about. I started knitting last night after my supper, watching "Frida" and although I've seen it before, I was enchanted by it again.
Perhaps underneath it all, I am the thing I claim to loathe the most- a narcissist. I like having the house to myself, being able to choose what I want to eat without consideration of anyone else's needs. I like reading in bed with a cat to keep watch, for as long as my eyes can stay open.
Or perhaps I am just a woman who spent a good many years raising children and going against her natural grain to be out in the community, doing things for and with others, and now I am simply nestled into the comfort of being alone. And overall, I know that this alone-time is limited and that if I get bored or restless, there are children and babies to go and do with.
I gave birth and raised my own best friends. How lovely is that?
Meanwhile, best not to try and beat life into a dead horse. It is what it is and I am who I am and I know for a fact that the only times I ever truly felt safe as a child was when I was alone and so there is that to consider and acknowledge.
I think I'll go cut up some grapes for the baby chicks and then slowly get myself ready to go to town.
Jack has taken over guard duty and lies on the porch floor, watching the goings-on in the backyard.
I have left the garden gate open in hopes that my chickens will spend some time in there today, scratching the dirt and eating weed seeds and pooping.
So. I walked to the post office today and then I went out back and walked down the tracks a little bit and took this picture. That's the railroad track heading east.
I'm really glad I went to the PO in that the new issue of Florida Sportsman was there and god knows I need to read that.
It's been that sort of day.
Could not get motivated for anything. I cleaned the hen house because it had to be done and then opened up the young chicks' nursery coop so they could explore the big coop and one did fly out but then she just peep-cried to get back in and eventually she did.
I don't now about these babies. They seem to just want to stay in the protected, covered part of the little coop, huddled together. It's been three days now and from what I've observed about chickens, they should have pretty much forgotten their former lifetime and started adapting to this one. I go out and give them grapes and treats but they don't come out to get them until I leave. I know the woman who raised them and she is sweet so I don't know what the deal is.
We will try again tomorrow.
Dearie, Otis, and Violet seem to be hanging with the rest of the birds these days. So that's good. I got out in the garden this late afternoon because I couldn't live with myself if I didn't do something that made me sweat today and Butterscotch came in and helped me weed. That old gal can sure turn up some dirt! I pulled all the spent cream pea plants and am getting things ready for the fall garden. I need to take a shovel to the sweet potato patch and see if I've got anything there. I've never grown sweet potatoes before this year so I don't really have a clue.
It was miserable as fuck, working in the garden so I feel better about myself now. Even though I sprayed myself liberally with the OFF! the mosquitoes were horrendous and even the ones that didn't make landing buzzed about my ears with their supersonic piercing screams which the headphones I was wearing didn't do a damn thing to block.
Sort of a slow, self-induced path to insanity, I guess, being out there. If it wasn't the mosquitoes, it was the ants and then the gnats. And the heat. And the humidity.
Florida. How I fucking love you. How satisfying you are to someone who has a deep need to suffer. I heard that someone in a nearby town ran over a python the other day which means that they've made their way all the way up the state and all I can do is shrug my shoulders and wonder if they eat mosquitoes.
I did hear from my husband. He is good and he is happy. Yesterday he saw a herd of elk in the wild but he didn't shoot any. He just watched them. Now don't misinterpret this- he will shoot one if he feels like he can get a good shot. He loves to see the animals but he's a hunter, not just a wildlife observer.
After thirty-two years I'm still bewildered when I think about the fact that I married a hunter but I did and as I've said before, I'd rather have my old man off in the woods than in bars picking up women and yes, I do realize these are not the only two options but when you throw in all the other stuff that came with Mr. Moon, I'll take him gladly and make him venison stew any day of the week he wants.
Jessie posted this picture on Facebook today.
Greta and August. I might go babysit for him tomorrow for a few hours. This would be the first time that he's ever been taken care of by anyone but his mama or his daddy for more than an hour. It's time and Jessie and Vergil deserve to go and have at least a lunch alone together. He's just so attached to his mommy and hell, I mothered my kids the same way so I can't say a word. But it would be nice to try and ease in on this slowly, let him get used to me on a more one-to-one basis, learn to trust me and feel comfortable with me.
Plus, you know- Greta will be there to help.
And since I'm stealing off of Facebook, here's Magnolia June in what Lily titled "the obligatory first spaghetti pictures".
I think she liked it.
Well, that's enough from me and my tiny world. I've thought a lot about Donald Trump today and how the man can apparently do or say anything without seeming to suffer at all in the polls and I'm at once terrified and completely dumbfounded and all my life I've been hearing people talking about "it's the end times" and fuck me if I'm not thinking it finally may be.
I'm going to go have a martini and listen to Garrison Keillor talk about the folks in Lake Wobegon and try to stop thinking about politics or end times or pythons or oil spills or the melting ice caps or even mosquitoes for the rest of the evening.