Tuesday, December 31, 2019

And Here We Are

Well, last day of 2019 and it was about as representative of any day of the year as it could have been. I got up this morning to discover that one of my hens had been slaughtered in the hen house last night, probably by a possum or a raccoon. When Mr. Moon went to put them up last night he did not take a flashlight but simply shut their door and so he did not notice the trail of feathers leading from the entrance to the corner where the poor chicken lay.
I guess the critter took whatever part of her he wanted and dragged it off to his den or lair (and of course this could have been a female critter) and left the rest which I managed to pick up with a shovel and, not being able to stand the sight of the bloodied body, averted my eyes and carried her to a piece of woods by the railroad track under the old honey-tree oak where I set her down and where I am sure she has become a part of nature. May she rest in peace.

This is the way of it.

I got some texts after that from Jessie who is still up in North Carolina. She had gotten so ill that she actually went to a walk-in clinic where she discovered that she was running a temperature of 103 degrees which is no joke. No wonder she felt so bad! They tested her for flu and strep and strep came back the winner.
Well, at least with strep they give you antibiotics which can work fairly quickly.
Great vacation, right?
And I so wish I was there to help but I am not.

Where I was able to go was the FSU basketball game.
Ooh boy. What an experience. Owen's basketball team got to high-five the players and that was the honor they received which neither Lily nor I got to witness at all but Jason and Boppy did. I think Owen was pretty thrilled.
Lily and I parked about two blocks away from the civic center which wasn't bad although Maggie was wearing her high heels which made "sidewalking" as she put it, a bit difficult. When we got to the venue we got in line and stood there, waiting to go in when we were informed that no purses were allowed and so I took Lily's and my bags back to the car and when we finally got inside, we found Boppy who was in somewhat of a state. He was trying to bid on a car at the auto auction via phone and watch the game and he'd helped our friend Tom to get to his seat and he'd high-fived the players too, I think, and all of this was just a bit overwhelming. I do not like walking down or up the steps of the civic center myself because they are steep and dangerous and if one has a walking problem, it can be a nightmare.
BUT, we eventually all got seated and the game had already begun.
I was reminded about what I do like about basketball aside from the long legs and squeaks and that is the fact that it's a fast-moving game and the athleticism of the players is undeniable and often quite beautiful. I do truly wish I had been able to see my husband play when he did because I know he was very good at it.
I will report that the shorts are shorter this year, although not THAT short and also, that many of the guys wear what look like leggings which I suppose are some sort of athletic hose. I really know very little. I mean, I do understand the game and many of the rules but Lily and I couldn't even figure out where to find the score until the first half was almost over.
There's a lot going on at basketball games now. I kept forgetting to watch the action on the court right below me as my eyes were drawn to what one might call the sports jumbotron. I guess. Throw in the band, the dancers, the cheerleaders and all the rest of it and it's a lot of stimulation.
At half time, we went and got nachos and other foods and Maggie got a red Powerade and we managed to get back to our seats and I went to work on the nachos like it was my job and Maggie, sitting next to me, ate her hot dog and then, suddenly, I realized that red Powerade was cascading from the bottle like a scarlet waterfall.
Again I say, ooh boy. 
By some miracle none of the stuff got on the lady sitting in front of Maggie but the poor child was soaked and my coat took a good amount of the spillage. And Maggie cried and then she was freezing but Lily gave her her own jacket and things settled down and I soldiered through the nachos and FSU won the game and I have no idea why Maggie was crying in that picture above but she was.
She is a most dramatic child.

So those were the most exciting things that happened today and Mr. Moon DID get the car he was bidding on which is good because it was for a woman we love and respect so much and she's buying it for herself as a retirement present. About ten other stressful things happened to him today but he's relaxing now and we need to get to bed pretty early tonight because he's taking our across-the-street neighbors to the airport at 4:45 a.m.
He's such a sweet man. He's such a good man.
And we don't have much of a New Year's Eve celebration going on but I'm going to try and make us a nice but very simple supper. I keep thinking about how we've spent thirty-six, thirty-seven? New Year's together, that first one in New Orleans, the second one too and I was already pregnant with Lily. We'd been married for two months and although she was not even a true fetus yet, I was dizzy, did not feel like drinking or, um, celebrating, and I'm sure he was wondering who in the hell he had married and more to the point- why had he married her?

Well, here we are. Still celebrating in our own, more subdued way, with so much more to celebrate.

Jack has been puking all over the house including on the Duck and so besides washing my coat (I got the Powerade stains out) I am now washing bedding.

Life. Honestly, I can't imagine what 2020 is going to be like. On the world-wide and national scenes it looks a bit frightening. Or, actually, really scary. But if on the personal level our life continues on as it has been, I will be fine with that.

I wish all of you a very Happy New Year. I have a feeling that most of us are staying home tonight whether out of wisdom or just plain disinterest in participating in Amateur Night. I think of all the years we went out and blew it out and I wonder- what was up with THAT?
As long as my Duck is clean and dried by the time we go to bed, I'll be thrilled.

Kisses, y'all. And peace and love. Be safe, be warm, be well.

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, December 30, 2019

The Etiquette Of Eating Your Young, Plus Other Things

When I went to let the chickens out this morning I came upon this sight. Dottie and Darla were taking very polite turns daintily dipping their beaks into an egg with a hole broken into it. The funny thing is that I've been getting an egg like that one every day with a few cracks in it. Sometimes eggs do get cracked in the laying process but they're generally weaker-shelled eggs whereas these eggs have seemed rather sturdy.
Have Dottie and Darla turned into...CANNIBALS?
I think it's a possibility.
And damn.
Chickens do like eggs but I've never seen quite this behavior. And it's odd.
Lay an egg, eat an egg? And so forth?
Perhaps they have some sort of nutritional deficit but they're eating the same things they've always eaten. I give them laying pellets and corn scratch and food scraps and they spend their days scratching in the dirt in search of tasty bugs.
I will be observing them to see if I can figure out what's going on. I definitely hope that it's not a matter of these two hens developing a fondness for their unborn.

So I went to the mall today. I haven't been to the mall in probably a year. But I have to have a new pair of shoes to replace the ones that the soles spontaneously rotted on because I have very few shoes that socks can be worn with and it's about to get chilly again. I knew that Dillards carries Danskos and so I checked to see if they had the ones I want but they did not. I walked around a little bit, just in the shoe department and thought about the days when I shopped. I wanted to call Lis and tell her that I missed us being those shopping girls, looking for treasures whether of the shoe kind, or jewelry, or clothes. We were so good at hunting out bargains and sales and we had such good times.
Now we're too busy, I guess, and neither one of us seems to have a need to acquire new things. It's a little sad.

When I got home from town I went online to try and find the shoes I wanted and I did and everywhere I looked they all cost the same.
Check this out.

Whoa! A markdown of ninety-five cents on a pair of shoes that cost over a hundred dollars! 
Take my money!
No. I did not order from that site. I went to the Dansko site and ordered there. They cost a dollar more but shipping was free. I hate spending that sort of money on shoes but if they are as comfortable as my old ones I will be wearing them frequently for the next ten years so I guess that's okay. 

I had planned to cook our black-eyed peas with the ham bone from Christmas and some collard greens tomorrow but I just realized that is the the New Year's Day meal, not the New Year's Eve meal so I'll have to plan something else for tomorrow. 
I swear- deciding what to cook for supper is just about the hardest thing I do all day. 
Get out the tiny violins, right? 

I'm going to an FSU basketball game tomorrow because Owen's basketball team is going to be doing something at halftime. Like...walking out on the court? 
I have no idea but it won't kill me to go to a basketball game. I like the way the shoes of the players sound when they squeak on the floor. Also, Mr. Moon has informed me that they serve some awesome nachos at the venue. I used to like basketball more when the shorts the players wore were actually shorts and showed off those long, fine legs. 
Oh well. I can look at my husband's legs whenever I want to look at a nice long leg. He's got two of them. 

And speaking of the guy- this picture came up on my FB memories today. 

That was him on New Year's Eve last year. Am I a lucky woman or what? 

I better go make his supper. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Sunday, Suckday

It was a Sunday if you spell Sunday with shaped gloomy clouds of gray that occasionally drip their Sunday gray, gloomy glop onto the ground.
Know what I mean?
I made biscuits and grits this morning with eggs whose yolks were as yellow as sunflowers, no, actually, yellower. More like chrysanthemums whose spicy scent reminds me of Homecoming and a boy named Marty who was my date and he brought me a corsage that he pinned to the front of my maroon dress that was so pretty and I wonder where it went to.
Dress heaven, I suppose. But the memory is eternal and one whiff of a chrysanthemum brings it right back which is a sort of magic, isn't it?
So yes, that yellow and the biscuits were not my best.
Here's a huge cooking failure I made: a marinade for venison jerky.
Ugh. Yuck. It was terrible!
The other night while I was cooking supper, right in the midst of all the chopping and stirring and sauteing, Mr. Moon was making up two different marinades and asked me to make one and I was too busy but trying to be helpful and I remembered that horrible-sounding recipe for meatballs where you mix grape jelly and chili sauce and cook the meatballs in it in a crockpot and it's so awful-wonderful, even if you use vegetarian meat balls. I didn't have any grape jelly but I had blackberry and I had chili sauce and within minutes I presented a concoction to my husband that included not only those two things but also soy sauce and a sort of sweet Siracha.
Just no.
I have apologized to my man and to the poor deer.
I wonder if Sammy the dog would even eat that jerky.
I doubt it.

Anyway, I have forgiven myself and I went out to the garden today to try and atone for my sins and to make myself feel better and I weeded for a few hours and all that did was make me not want to be weeding and then I came in and took a shower and read for awhile. And now I do feel more cheerful for no discernible reason but perhaps it's because it's dark now and I can't see the gloom so I don't feel quite as much doom.
Also, I have picked another salad's worth of baby greens (no longer micro, now baby) and I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to that.

All right. Big news.
I got this for Christmas.

Yes. Yes. I got everything for Christmas.
But do you know what that is? It's a, well, here's an Amazon ad for it.

That pretty much explains it all. 
It's a jar lid opener and it is amazing. I highly recommend it. It easily breaks the vacuum seal on a jar lid so that you can just screw the lid off with little to no effort. 
Forget all of those other ridiculous jar lid openers. (Google jar lid opener and see what I mean.)
Get yourself a JarKey. In your favorite fun color! 

You are welcome. 

Love...Ms. Moon

P.S. And as always, I am not getting one cent from any company, not even the JarKey company but just like Jesus, I do these things for love. 

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Pretty Flowers

You know what? Today was just good. Okay, sure, when I first woke up it felt anything BUT good but that's normal for me. I'd been dreaming of working at a daycare center and not doing a good job of it and someone breaking something made of glass and a child stepping on it and then an adult showing me her foot which had a knife completely embedded in it and Lord God Almighty that was enough of that dream.
Am I worried about feet? Sharp objects? Sharp objects and feet?
Who knows? Not me.
But I managed to pull myself together and acclimate back to this world (not going to call it the real world because who knows?) and I took all of the trash and recycle to the place where we do that and everyone else in Lloyd obviously had the same idea because it was packed, people shoving cardboard into the cardboard recycle bin and so forth. Whenever I have to break down a cardboard box I always think about John Waters. He wrote a book about his experiences hitchhiking across the US called "Carsick" and how he felt so unmanly when he realized that he couldn't even break down a box to make a sign on indicating where he wanted to go. I, too, have problems breaking down a box and soon after I had read the book, we went to visit Jessie and Vergil where they were living in Asheville and they showed us the shelves that Vergil's mom had made for their kitchen which were beautiful and well-crafted.
"Jeez," I said. "I can't even break down a cardboard box."
And it's true although I did manage to flatten mine enough today to get them in the bin.
I felt so triumphant! Look at me! Being all box-flattening and shit!

Our friends Anna and Taylor are both in town for Christmas and Hank had set up a lunch at Midtown where May works for us to all get together to see them. I didn't realize how much I've missed them and how much I love them until they walked in the door and I started crying.
"How are you?" asked Anna, who is a very proper (in her way) doctor of history and I said, "Emotional as ever, as you can see."
Anna has moved back to South Dakota to teach at a university there, and Taylor and her husband have moved to Houston where they both have good jobs. And I'm glad for all of them but Tallahassee feels a little less than itself with those two gone.
I am SO proud of Taylor. She started working in restaurants awhile back and she has gone from doing the grunt work in various places and the only chef at a little cafe where she used to work with May to being the head prep chef in a brewery attached to some other venues (one of them huge) in Houston. She has learned to prep meals for five hundred people!
I asked her if she got good benefits. She said she has two new teeth, was about to get another one, had good medical insurance, was being paid for her vacation, and when she got back she would have her very own new prep room with a new walk-in and SHE IS IN CHARGE!
Whoa, Tay-Tay!
"There will be no yelling in my prep room," she told us.
And I bet there won't be.

Lunch was good and it was great to see May and give her her other Christmas present which I had mistakenly given to Hank. Lily and Lauren and Magnolia were there. Magnolia was in a sprightly mood and at one point wanted to go outside so we could take her picture.

She is such a pretty child. I tried to get her to pose beside or in front of the glorious poinsettias but no, she had to be standing on that little wall. 
She is the boss of me. 
Hell, she's the boss of everyone. 
She asked me to take her to the restroom, which I did of course, and when I asked her if she needed to go she hemmed and hawed and said that no, she just had some germs she needed to wash off her hands. 
So we pushed our sleeves up and washed the germs off our hands. 

I came home and cleaned the hen house and tidied up a few things and did some laundry and then sat on the couch and embroidered French knots on a pair of green corduroy kid overalls and watched "Schitt's Creek" which is not the best thing I've ever watched on TV but it's certainly not the worst. The acting is fantastic. How could it not be with Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara? 

And then Mr. Moon got home from a basketball game and one thing led to another. 
As things sometimes do. 
If you're lucky.
Which I am. 

Now he's getting his smoker ready to make venison jerky in. It's drizzling rain and supposed to rain all day tomorrow and Monday and then get cooler again which will be nice because it's been a lot warmer the last few days. As we speak I am wearing a short-sleeved shirt and am barefoot. In fact I hear a frog tweeting out his bird-like song. Our frogs don't croak, they sing. 

Another picture of camellias. 

The world can't be all bad if there are flowers growing that look like that in it. I'm holding on to that thought tonight. I'll try to remember it tomorrow when I wake up with whatever horror show I've dreamed about on my mind, leading me to despair and deep, existential angst. 

We shall see how that works out.

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, December 27, 2019

Owen's Education Continues

Well, I screwed the pooch this evening.
Mr. Moon called me to tell me that he was with Jason and Owen and they were going to come to the house and get the trailer and go pick up Lily's van to take to someone in Havana (Florida, not Cuba) for repairs. This was about 4:30 this afternoon and I knew that meant he would NOT be around for martini hour and who knew when supper should be ready.
Projects like this take approximately eighteen times more time than you think they'll take.
And effort but that's not my problem.
Anyway, Mr. Moon needs a new phone. It only works on speaker for the phone part of it (remember when we bought phones to call and talk to people?) and I, forgetting this despite the fact that just yesterday when he called me he said, "And don't cuss because I'm on speaker phone," responded to his plan with the words, "Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME?!"
And Mr. Moon said, "Uh, your grandson is right here."

Oh dear.

Yes. I cuss like a sailor. I have a terrible case of potty mouth. I swear and I profane and I take god's name in vain and I like it! But I try so hard not to do it in front of my grandkids and I have been pretty successful with that for the most part.

So I apologized, on speaker phone, and to be quite honest I didn't feel that bad about it. It had to come to light at some point that Mermer's favorite word is fuck in all of its glorious forms and usages.
A little while later I was in the kitchen down on the floor, trying to sort through and rearrange my pots and pans cabinet to make room for my new glorious Le Creuset when Owen came through the kitchen door, grinning at me.
"I'm sorry," I said. "But the truth is, I have a terribly filthy mouth."
He just laughed. And when I stood up he hugged me tight.
His other grandmother is a good Christian church-going woman so she can be the good example. I'll be the bad.

The rest of the day has been fine as could be. Took a walk, went to town, returned some earrings that Mr. Moon gave me for Christmas because although they are beautiful they are not me at all. He was cool with that. He really did go overboard this year in a big way. I looked all around the  jewelry store and it's a beautiful establishment with very fine pieces of all descriptions but what I decided to do was to get a gold chain that I could put a small diamond pendant on that he gave me twenty-five years ago. It had a chain of course but in the last few years it has become too small. Not only have I grown fat, I have also inherited the puff adder neck of my people. So I haven't worn the pretty diamond in years and I have been wanting to.
So- perfect!
Practically practical!

And then I went to a different Publix, not my own, which is more like a city than the little village Publix I usually go to and so that was an experience and then I came home and did all of my household chores and have made room for all of the pots and pans in my cabinet.

And...I just got a phone call from my husband. The plan has changed! He is now going to come home and take the van to Havana tomorrow.
I could not be more pleased.

He just pulled up in the driveway. Friday night shall resume as usual.
How I love my routines. In fact, I fucking LOVE my routines.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Boxing Day

The children's presents arrived today and I picked them up at the post office. I brought them in and set them in the kitchen and then got dressed in my walking clothes and took a short walk- my first in weeks. I knew I needed to go. Not walking does me no good. No good at all. Not physically or mentally and I know it but despite that knowledge I can find ten good reasons every day not to do it.
I thought about a woman I'd known who used to say that exercise was like brushing her teeth. It simply had to be done.
And it had to be done.
It was an okay walk. Nothing very new seemed to be going on in the neighborhood although when I passed the little enclave where No Man Lord lives there seemed to be a small gathering. There was a fire and a few kids and a mother holding a baby and one man was giving another man a shave while some other guys were standing around talking. No one seemed to notice my passing but I waved anyway.

I decided that today would be my de-Christmasing day and so it was. I took the lights and ornaments off the tree and packaged them up carefully, wrapping them in tissue paper and putting them in the bag I've been using for years for that purpose. I unwrapped the string of lights very carefully and wrapped them around an old paper tube so that they'll be ready for whenever I do it all again.
If I do.
I put the little nativity scene back in its bag and I carried them all upstairs and put them in the closet and then I opened up the boxes of toys and wrapped them and then carried all of the wrapping paper and bows and ribbons and tags upstairs and set them alongside the decorations. My big grapevine wreath with the cardinal is still on the porch and I'll leave that for awhile. I like it.

I made the decision this morning to keep my Le Creuset pot and pan that my husband gave me for Christmas. They really are beautiful and thoughtful gifts and the fact is that although I do not need them, I will enjoy them and their quality for the rest of my life. I've never been one for fancy kitchen stuff but I do insist on decent cookware. My stack of cast iron skillets and pots is my joy and pride. My knives may not be the best but they are good and I keep them sharp. There are plenty of kitchen tools that one may skimp on as to quality but there are some that any cook deserves to have the best she can afford. I explained to Mr. Moon a long time ago that these things are my tools. My pots, my knives, my food processor, my mixer, my bowls and my casserole dishes and baking sheets. He immediately understood- he, too, has his tools and he knows the value of quality. But I have to know that I will be using what I buy. Some things I use almost daily, some perhaps only a few times a month, but I like knowing that when I do need them, they are there. I may not have a souffle dish or a crepe pan but I damn sure have a stock pot, a wok.
And I have acquired a lot of these things slowly, over many years, a lot of them from thrift stores. I keep an eye out for the good stuff. The pot I used for decades for soups and stews and all sorts of cooking was given to me by my brother who found a returned set of good pots in a dumpster at a department store where he was working. It is as fine now as it was then.
So for me to accept the gift of a pot and of a pan that cost as much together as probably all of my cooking utensils was huge for me.
But as my husband said, "These are your tools."

And thus, I peeled off the labels and washed them both with warm soapy water and set this beauty on my stove and poured stock in it that I had saved from when I cooked the chicken two days ago and added the bony remains of a chicken I'd roasted a few days before that along with a frozen chicken thigh and a breast and I simmered them all day with garlic. 
And every time I opened the heavy lid to peek inside to give a little stir with a wooden spoon, to add some celery salt, celery seed, it made me happy. 

Here's something else that made me happy. 

Lily brought the kids over and despite yesterday's giant gift haul, they were as excited to open these presents as if they were the only ones they'd gotten. 
Don't even ask me what they were. Lily sent me the links to buy them and I did. 
She obviously knows her boys. 
Gibson gave me about a hundred kisses. Owen hugged me and hugged me. They wanted to go home right that second to play with their new things whatever those new things are. 
And Magnolia? 
Okay. A doll I understand. But Baby Alive? 
Turns out that this Baby Alive can not only talk when you mash her tummy, but she comes with some Play Doh and a little press that you can make noodles with to FEED THE DOLL who sucks them in with a slurpy sound and says things like "Yummy, Mommy! More noodles!"

So what happens with the Play Doh noodles? you might ask. 
Well, I'll tell you- Baby Alive has an extremely fast digestive system and after a few noodles have been slurped says, "My diaper needs changing!" Mommy then checks the baby's diaper to find that the noodles are right there! 
I cannot imagine that Baby Alive is getting much nutritional value out of such quickly passed Play Doh but what the heck? 
It's pretty much just like the Betsy Wetsy dolls that little girls my age all begged for. 
Except you know- poop instead of pee. 

It's a brave new world, y'all. 
Although not really that new to be honest.

And the creepiness factor seems to be a continuing issue.

But you know what? Maggie will have a lot of fun with that doll even though I have a feeling that like a lot of little girls, including me, she will always end up loving the dolls that do nothing but allow themselves to be cuddled the most. I had a Chatty Cathy and after about an hour, she was boring as hell. Not much of a real conversationalist, that Cathy. She felt more like a machine than a baby.
And let's face it- Maggie's still going to create entire families out of salt and pepper shakers.

So that was that and off they went to play with their new toys and I swept my house, the metaphorical meaning not lost on me, and did laundry and enjoyed stirring my broth in my new pot.

It occurs to me that this entire post could be viewed as incredibly sexist. I could have gotten a chain saw for Christmas and Maggie could have gotten a track hoe but say what you will- hundreds of thousands of years of evolution have not been erased with cultural awareness.
And if Maggie had wanted a track hoe, she would have asked for one and she would have gotten one. If I had wanted a chain saw, my husband would have bought one, wrapped it up and given it to me.
And if Owen and Gibson had wanted Baby Alive and tea sets, they would have received those things. And yeah, Gibson does love a good tea party. Which we do sometimes have.

I guess that's it. My soup now has vegetables and rice in it and I'm about to go squeeze lemon juice into it.

Happy Boxing Day, y'all. I have heard Boxing Day described as a cat's favorite day of the year which tickles me.

Be well.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Well, There You Go

Levon had a very, very track hoe Christmas. He wore track hoe pajamas and Santa gave him a new track hoe. For most of today's celebrations, he was outside playing in the mud with his track hoe. Also, playing basketball which he plays by holding the ball and asking his dad or Boppy to lift him up high enough to stuff that ball in the net. The picture above is of Maggie escorting her youngest cousin into the house. I could hardly stand the sweetness.

Lily made us all breakfast although Lauren made the delicious grits. Eggs and bagels and sweet rolls and bacon and fried potatoes. And grits. The kids were all pretty patient with that process.

August and Boppy waiting for breakfast to be ready. A Christmas movie was involved. 

August and Levon had already opened the presents at their house so they were primed for more. The Hartmann kids had been allowed to go through their stockings so they were too. And when I looked at what was under and around that Christmas tree I realized that if my presents had gotten here on time, there would not have been room for them. It was insane.

May took on the job of handing out presents. I huddled on a couch and tried not to completely lose my shit over the chaos and noise. I swear- it's just too much for me. I can't even begin to tell you what everyone got. I got some beautiful things from my kids including two silver necklaces, one with a conch shell and one with a Virgin of Guadalupe that I had actually looked at in a store last week because it was so pretty I almost bought it. Those were from May and Jessie. Lily gave me and Mr. Moon the most outrageous blanket/throw with pictures of the family on it. It is perfectly cheesy and wonderful! The pictures are actually great. I sort of want to hang it up somewhere. It truly deserves that.
I also know that Maggie got a bicycle. This Christmas had a "Frozen" theme for our Magnolia. The bike was a "Frozen" bike. Her helmet is a "Frozen" helmet. And she got on that bike and she rode circles around the driveway like she'd been born on it. She was fearless. Yes, it does have training wheels but still...

Because she's a good mother, she put her baby in the basket. There is a seatbelt so don't worry.

And, because she is a WOMAN baby, she put her cosmetic backpack bag on. One never knows when a girl will need to refresh her lip gloss. She just cracked me up. We all stood around and watched her go. She did fall a few times but got right back up and right back on. Do not underestimate the Power of Magnolia!
To continue with the theme of "Frozen" Maggie also got a light-up microphone that plays Belle singing a few of her songs (I really know nothing of this movie or the sequel, truthfully) and damn if Maggie didn't turn it on, start singing with Kristin Bell and when the song reached it's most dramatic and high-note moments, she raised her left arm in the air like a pro-damn-fessional singer.
Here she is, right before the dramatic moment. She's getting ready though, you can tell.

Here's a picture of Michael wearing his new bathrobe holding Sammy.

I just know that at some point Sammy is going to end up in that bike basket. 
I hope Maggie puts his seatbelt on. 

Gibson got a crazy, crazy helmet that has a bluetooth connection making it a sort of Star Wars-ish headset. Now, I have told you that Gibson is taking hip-hop dance classes, right? So he, too, gave us a performance. 

I swear, that kid is the most loving, innocent, darling child. He is also the world's loudest child but as a middle child, that is only to be expected. 
And you know what? I didn't get one picture of Owen. I have no idea why. Mostly because I was so completely overwhelmed by it all. I meant to get family pictures of everyone but only managed to get this one of May and Michael and Michael's beautiful mama Chris. 

They were leaving to head over to Bio-Dad and Other Mother's house. 

And that was about it. I think my favorite moment was when we were sitting around eating breakfast and Lily told the story about how when she was a little kid she was doing flips on her bed which broke a slat which caused the mattress to tilt way up and then she proceeded to pretend that she was asleep and had no idea that it happened, much less how it had happened. 
As she recalls, I did not for one second buy that. I laughed so hard at her telling of this story that my stomach hurt. 

The rest of the day has been very peaceful with Mr. Moon and me just hanging out at home. 
We opened our gifts to each other here. He gave me a bunch of fun stuff like a can of my favorite fancy espresso and a new paring knife that's sharper than a serpent's tooth and also some Le Creuset which I love but also feel like I do not need. I don't know. Maybe I do. 
I am not good at gift-receiving. 
I gave him a new barn coat to replace his beloved old one that is literally falling apart. And a box of Godiva's. 

Tomorrow Jessie and Vergil and the boys are going to drive up to Asheville for a week or so to spend some time with the mountain kin. I will miss them so. 

And we missed Hank and Rachel a whole lot. They seem to be having a fine time up in Georgia with Rachel's mother and brother and that's good. They'll be back in a few days. 

In four hours and forty-three minutes Christmas 2019 will be over. 
I survived. 
I hope you did too. 

One more thing- I really don't have the words to adequately describe how much this tiny little place on the internet means to me. Sometimes, like today, someone leaves me a comment that absolutely guts me with emotion. And every day I get comments that mean more to me than you can know, that sustain me through times of feeling worthless and useless and alone. 
I know I'm not alone. 
I hope that you know you are not either. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Rituals Have Been Observed

Strange Christmas Eve here. I had what I think was a weird and unfamiliar type of anxiety attack late this morning and decided to just take an Ativan and see what happened which is that my symptoms abated but never entirely left me. After I got the chicken salad (see above) made and the bread baked, and the ham in the oven I took a nap and then got up and took a shower and got dressed to go over to Lily's. It turned out to be a rather small gathering. Jessie and her family are not feeling well and Michael has been running a fever so it was just us and Lily's family and Jason's brother and the Darling Lenore and Jason's mother and Lily's best friend from forever and her husband and son, the one and only Wiley Cash. And Lauren, the Hartmann's roommate and our friend.

There was way too much food but it was a fairly peaceful and sweet evening. The children played and watched a Christmas movie and the adults ate and drank rum punch and I dissociated and stayed close to my husband and ate too much ham and smoked salmon and talked to my Owen.

Forget gold, frankincense and myrrh. We have ham, sourdough bread and Miracle Whip. 

The presents I ordered for all of my grandchildren have not arrived and so I'm going to look like the Big Christmas Loser tomorrow which I suppose I am. I also discovered that I gave one of May's presents to Hank and Rachel instead of one that did belong to them and no, I didn't mislabel them. I just screwed up.

That pretty much sums it all up.

Although these pictures may sum it all up even better.
When Mr. Moon and I bought this house, there was a plaster nativity scene ON THE REFRIGERATOR and it charmed the dickens out of me because I was in some sort of religious iconography phase as long the images portrayed the madonna. There are many reasons for me being in this phase. One of them was that my friend Sue who died in 1995 had loved the Madonna and had pictures of her all over her house and another was because the holy mother is so beloved in Mexico. And let's not forget the goddess aspect of Mary.
So. The plaster nativity. It looks like this.

It's pretty impressive in a large sort of way. It covers the fireplace in the dining room which is where I keep it these days. 
But the expression on the holy infant's face just kills me. 

And let's be honest- that's the holy toddler. That kid could sit straight up, throw his legs over the edge of the manger, hop down and walk out of the barn if he took a mind to and it looks to me as if he may be contemplating doing just that. 
"Oh my god," he appears to be thinking. "Really? Really? This is what life on earth is like? And who thought this was a good idea? Oh yeah. God. My father. Sure. Thanks, Dad! This is not going to turn out well."

Poor baby. And he was right. It just didn't.
No wonder his first miracle was turning water into wine. The poor kid needed a damn drink. 

I better go to bed. We have to be back over at Lily's tomorrow to eat breakfast and watch the grand unwrappings. I hope my grandkids don't hate me for waiting so long to order their presents. Oh well, they'll love me to pieces when they get lagniappe Christmas. 

Here's wishing all good things and peace and love to everyone. 
May your anxiety attacks be short, may your sleep be deep, may your home decor be as holy as mine. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, December 23, 2019

The Christmas Family Feasting Has Begun

Maggie explains it all to August. 

I am tired, tired, tired, TIRED!
It's been a long day but a good one. Almost the entire family got together at Tan's because...well, of course. And we had to discuss what our plans are for Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. And Hank and Rachel are going to be in Georgia with Rachel's mom for Christmas and so we all needed to touch base and hug.
And hug and hug and hug.
Good Lord.
When we were leaving, we'd already gone through one series of hugs and another began because, as May said, "Those hugs already wore off."
We're insane.
But I like us.
Yes I do.
Only Vergil and Jason couldn't come but Mr. Moon was there, and Michael and Hank. So the men were represented.

As I've said so many times, I do love Tan's. We all love Tan's. One of the things I love the most about it is the woman who runs the place. I've spoken of her before. No matter what's going on she is cheerful and friendly. Today was the first day she'd met Mr. Moon and she made sure to tell him that I often pay the bill for the children.
"Not always!" I said.
"No, but sometimes," she said, laughing.
Her accent is so perfectly perfect that I can imitate it which is probably completely wrong and I mostly only do it in my own head and it's not to make fun of her, it's to try and capture the lilt and beauty of the way her words slide up and down the scale.

So we ate our Asian Fusion foods and August had to sit next to Boppy and Maggie wanted to sit next to August although at first August had wanted to sit by Owen too which resulted in some tears from Maggie and then a compromise with August and Owen who changed seats so that everyone could eat their broccoli and chicken-on-a-stick in perfect harmony.

Got that?

Of course what the children like best about Tan's is the ice cream freezer. 
Magnolia wrapped up her Klondike bar after she'd eaten half of it to take home. It quickly became apparent that it wasn't going to make it home in its ice cream state so she unwrapped it, put her face down and licked it up. 
"Girl, your tongue isn't long enough to do that," I told her. 
She didn't care. 

So after we'd all finally finished and paid our checks I went to the liquor store and Costco and Publix. I wanted to get Mr. Moon some Bailey's Irish Cream but it was about a million dollars at the liquor store so I bought it at Costco where it was only half a million dollars. He loves that sweet stuff and it's a tradition that he has some in his coffee on Christmas morning. I also got food for tomorrow night's Christmas Eve appetizers and cocktail party. A veggie platter, chicken to make into the Moon Traditional Chicken Salad with grapes and pecans, hummus, crackers, chips. And I have the ham already and also some salmon. 
And I did not forget to buy things for Christmas morning including bagels and sweet rolls. 
We are going to die. 
Well yes. Yes we are. But hopefully not because of all of this food. 

I came home, unloaded everything, put it all away, started cooking the chicken, made up the dough for a loaf of sourdough for tomorrow night, unloaded the dishwasher, folded clothes, put more clothes in the dryer AND in the washer, and started some rice for our dinner tonight. 

So yeah. I'm tired. 

You know what I was doing on December 23rd last year? 
Looking at this. 

And what was I eating? 



Well, that's okay. I was there, now I'm here. 
It's all good. 

Owen asked me today what I wanted for Christmas. 
"A house on the beach in Cozumel," I said. 
"Me too," he said. 

I love that boy. 

Love you too...Ms. Moon

Sunday, December 22, 2019

I Wish I Knew

The only picture I took today was of Owen using the grinder to make ground venison. And I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that scene offends some readers. The vegetarians, the vegans, the people who feed the deer in their yards.
And I don't blame you. I mean- if forty years ago you'd told this hippie vegetarian girl that she'd be using ground deer meat to make her spaghetti, she would have been horrified.
But it is a cute picture of Owen.
And like I say- if you're going to hunt and if you're going to eat meat- know what turns it from animal to supper.

I am torn about the whole situation. I am. But the reality of the situation is that the men in my family hunt for deer and we eat the meat.
Speaking of venison spaghetti, I have some sauce simmering right now. Besides venison it has cauliflower and olives, capers and onions, peppers, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Also spinach.
One of my favorite kinds of suppers- boil some pasta, put it in a dish, add the sauce.

So what I did today while Jason and Mr. Moon and Owen cut up and ground up deer was to finish Maggie's nightgown and to wrap most of the presents. Doesn't sound like much, does it?
Well, it wasn't.
But somehow it took all day.
I am the world's worst present-wrapper. No, really, I am. It took me hours to gird my loins enough to go upstairs and get the giant tub of wrapping paper and boxes and ribbons and bows and tags but I finally did it, descending each stair slowly and carefully because those stairs scare the shit out of me. I find it hard to believe that no one has ever fallen down them and broken their neck. And it quite possibly has happened but no record of such an accident exists. I really do wonder and am quite curious as to all of the things that have happened in this house.
Births and deaths for sure.
The house was already here during the Civil War and so quite possibly it was used in some capacity while that was going on. The guy we bought the house from claimed that at one point the house was being used as a bordello but I think he's full of it. I mean, it's possible. We are a block away from what was a main highway before the interstate was put in but I'm pretty sure that old Mrs. Miller who used to live in this house before she moved across the street would never have allowed that to happen.
But yes, certainly births and deaths and sickness and health. Music and dancing and kissing and fooling around. The sweetest words, whispered into a lover's ear, the cruelest words hurled across the space of the kitchen.
You just know that a good many of the things that can happen to humans have happened here.
I wonder about the pets, the dogs and the cats and birds in cages that have sheltered here. I wonder about the quilts stitched here. I know for a fact that there used to be a quilting frame in the hallway and women would come and sit and sew together. I wonder about the meals cooked here. I wonder about the gardens grown and the animals raised for food and for farm work here. I am curious to know what it was like when the house was first wired for electricity and the first light switch turned on. Same with what whoever was living here at the time felt when indoor plumbing was introduced or when the first automobile pulled into the yard.

And in the almost sixteen years that we've lived here now, I've witnessed and been a part of some of it. Courtships of my children, Vergil asking Jessie to marry him in the back yard under the oak tree. Babies learning to crawl and then walk down the long hallway. I've made so many meals, I've raised and tended my own chickens and we've gardened a bit. I've added to the landscape with camellias and palm trees, we've had parties and music and I've gotten more than one grandchild down for naps with stories and songs and back-scratching. There have been weddings and there have been wakes. There have been tears of joy and of despair and of gutted grief, words of promise and words of hot anger.
But not too many of those.
I have slept so sweetly here.
There has been love-making and there has been hallway dancing and this house, this little piece of earth it sits on, has taken it all in, offered its spaces up to every bit of it.

And how the hell did I get from gift-wrapping to that?

I have no idea. It's been a rambling, rainy day. It's raining now. It's supposed to rain all night and tomorrow too.
The bed has been made twice.
A ten-year old boy has helped his dad and granddad prepare food that will eventually feed us all.
I didn't check eggs all day but when I went to close the chickens up, I found Sissy sitting in a nesting box and when I checked under her, I found these.

She pecked me so hard that she drew blood as I so cruelly took the eggs from underneath her. I don't know whether she was just pissed at being disturbed in her night-sleep or whether she was defending a nest she feels compelled to sit on. I would happily let any hen go broody and hatch eggs except for the fact that so many of them seem to turn out to be roosters. 
Well. We shall see if she seems to want to go through the tremendous sacrifice of sitting on eggs. I suppose that if she is absolutely determined, I'll let her. Not like I can stop her if she takes a mind to do it. She'll just nest somewhere I can't find her. 


I figure that this will be my house's 160th Christmas. 
I like thinking about that. It takes some of the pressure off of me. Why even bother thinking that I could possibly be the worst or the best at celebrating Christmas day? 

Love to you all...Ms. Moon

Saturday, December 21, 2019

From The Mundane To The Celestial

Well, the cookie plan came to fruition. This morning I made up a double recipe for sugar cookies out of my old, old cookbook, the one my mother learned to cook from. I have used this same recipe for a million and four years. I wrapped the dough in parchment paper and put it in the refrigerator to chill and then cleaned off the kitchen island. I took everything off of it and sprayed it down with vinegar and Fabuloso, of course, and then wiped and wiped it with a soapy rag and finally rinsed it. It was smooth as silk and ready to be used.
I got out my cookie cutters (amazing that I even knew where they were) and discovered that my Christmas cookie cutters were all tiny. What happened to my others? Who knows? Not me. No problem. Lily said she had some and she did.
Jessie and her boys got here first. I made the frosting that we would divide into small bowls and color for the decorating. Jessie brought some sprinkles, I had some too. August was crazy excited to begin this project. Far more excited than he was about my Christmas tree. I showed it to him and Levon and they took one look at it and August said, "It's little," and that was enough of that. I showed him an ornament that was made from a picture of Jessie when she was about three. He could not guess who it was. He and Levon both proclaimed that it was Maggie. I don't think they believed me when I told them that no, it was their mama.

Lily and her three got here and the cookie baking began. I dragged in the old bar stools so that there was one for everyone except Levon but he said he was wasn't big enough and wanted to sit in the high chair. He loves that high chair. So that worked out. At first everyone was very, very excited to get the party started and Jessie set them to mixing the food coloring into the frosting. Anything having to do with frosting is fun so that went well.
And then it was time to roll out the dough and cut the cookies and at first, everyone was interested in this project although after about five minutes, only Maggie remained while the boys disappeared off to the Glen Den to play reindeer games or something. Santa and elves were involved.
But Maggie was thrilled to help and Owen stuck around for a little while too.

She cut out a cookie!

Jessie was so patient.
Lily had to go home because she was cooking food for a party they're going to tonight so it was just Jessie and me but Owen helped. He's so good with the kids.

The cookies were rolled and cut and baked and allowed to cool a little bit and then everyone was called back in to do the artwork. This too, was thrilling for a little while. 

Levon wanted back in the highchair where he proceeded to not only decorate but eat a cookie. 

Fair enough. 

I am not sure how many cookies were eaten but there were tears from Magnolia when she was told that no, she could not decorate any more because she was going to get sick from all of the frosting she was eating. She went to the bathroom and cried until I went in and sat on the closed toilet and said, "Come here," and held my arms out to her and she let me hold her and she soon settled down and was ready to go play. 

It was a messy, chaotic, sugary afternoon but eventually, all of the cookies were decorated in one form or another by either the children or Jessie or me. I ate one of the tiny ones and it tasted just exactly like they do every year which is to say, delicious. 
Boppy came home in the middle of all of this and the boys talked him into playing Wii and then Jessie took her boys home and after I'd cleaned up the kitchen I took the Hartmanns to their house. The whole drive was spent with me and the boys discussing old cartoons that I had watched as a child and that they, too, had seen. Tom and Jerry, The Roadrunner, Yogi Bear, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Woody Woodpecker, Pepe le Pew, and so on and so forth and when we got to their house, Gibson asked me in all seriousness if there had been pencils and paper when I was a child. If there had been chairs. I assured him that there had been. We'd even had TV and airplanes and cars but no internet. 
The funny thing is, is that I can remember my own brother being amazed that my mother had pencils and paper when she was a child. He thought that surely she'd written her lessons on slate. 
How old our children and grandchildren must see us as! One step away from dinosaurs and surely we lived in caves and huts. 
Well, I've lived in a hut or two in my life. Sort of. To be honest. 

It was a good day. I felt like a grandmother for sure and for real. Even though my Christmas tree did not impress the young'uns, at least I had one. And this old house again rang with the footsteps of little running feet and shouts of excitement, and games of hide-and-seek were played (so many places to hide) and a Christmas ritual was reenacted. I had good chats with Owen who told me that talking about old cartoons with me was his favorite part of the day. And there are cookies to be set out for Santa on Christmas Eve and extra ones to eat, crisp and covered with sweet butter frosting and plenty of sprinkles. So many sprinkles. Bazillions of sprinkles. 

I've been thinking on and off all day about it being the Solstice but I have not done one thing to honor that. 
I'm pretty sure that the earth and the sun and the moon and the stars do not care at all. 
It is starting to rain and I think it is going to rain for the next two days. 
I honor that as I can feel myself the smallest part of this beautiful planet as it flies through space with its own atmosphere and oceans and deserts and mountains and valleys and rain forests and jungles and rivers and cities and its billions of people, each of us as important and as unimportant as the next. 

I better go make supper. 

Happy Solstice, y'all. It is truly winter and the days will grow longer, just as it has all been happening since before there were chairs or pencils, paper or the internet, huts or caves or dinosaurs or even black and white TV. 

Let there be light. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, December 20, 2019

In Which I Make The Effort

I know. I KNOW!
You all have the vapors now, right?
I mean, it's practically a nativity scene right there with Baby Jesus in the little carriage and the rocking horse taking the place of the peaceful donkey.
After I figured out that I could indeed pick up that tree and carry it into the house myself I had a pretty good time decorating it. I have the very few ornaments I need in one bag these days, and the little tree requires only one string of lights although I will say that it's rather amazing how much it's grown in the years since I bought it and put it on the hallway altar as my Christmas tree.

That's a little birchbark canoe that Mr. Moon made when he was in Boy Scouts with a very old Chinese couple whom I set in it and then perch in the branches to help us sail into the new year safely. Although this is completely my own ritual it brings me satisfaction. 
There are ornaments that the children made over the years and there is a baby ballet slipper and there are a few small vintage glass balls. 

I suppose I can admit that this all represents a bit of magic to me as does my probably forty-year old Nativity scene that I bought one single-mama Christmas at a department store which no longer exists. 

Hank set the Buddha behind the baby one year and since then, the little grinning fat man has always found his way to stand behind the manger, proclaiming with great joy and assurance that we are ALL the baby Jesus, all holy, all a part of the big lit electrical gestalt of it all, just as the donkey, the cow, Joseph, the shepherds, the wise men, even the gold, the frankincense, the myrrh and the hay lining the manger are. 
It is a sweet story, this tale of a baby born in a barn. Of course in my mind I add the scent of animal dung, a mother's blood, and amniotic fluid, the presence of a midwife and her assistant, the news of the baby born to a near-child and her older husband causing the women in the neighborhood to bring food and drink for the exhausted mother, clean cloths and hand-me-down clothes for the newly born infant. 
And that is how I've given the story my own perception of magic. The sights and sounds and smells and pain and eventual joy of human birth. 

There was so much I was going to do today. Wrap presents and finish Magnolia's nightgown, mainly. But instead I just did that little bit of Christmasing and took the trash and went to the post office and cleaned the poopy nests in the hen house. I washed the sheets and hung them on the line and made up the bed with the sundried sheets. I baked a loaf of bread.
And took a nap.

Tomorrow is the solstice. Perhaps I'll make cookie dough and see if any children want to come and help bake and decorate cookies on Sunday. 

I am certainly not filled with what we might call the Christmas Spirit, whatever the fuck that is, but at least I am not filled with resentment or pain. Not tonight. 
There is light in the darkness. And oh!

Let us not forget- Bad Mean Santa, keeping watch over the babe at night. 
And in the daytime too. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon