Sunday, March 31, 2019

A Fine Sunday

Jessie and I made a plan to go see The Beach Bum today. First of all, I was so honored that she would want to use some of her precious no-boys time to go see a movie with her mama. Secondly, I just really wanted to see the movie.
I was, in fact, almost inappropriately excited to go see it.
We met up the big fancy new movie theater where you have to buy assigned seats which in this case was ridiculous. There were only six people in the entire theater which was showing The Beach Bum including Jessie and me. But we picked out our seats and then we figured out what our beverages and snacks would be. I wanted popcorn because that's what you get at the movies. At this place you can get a three-course meal to take into the theater with you which seems ridiculous but whatever. You can also get adult beverages. Jessie got this.

I think it was called a Honey Bee. I could be wrong. I had a sip. It was delicious. 
We got a huge bag of popcorn although we passed on the Giant Dumbo Bucket of popcorn. Literally, a bucket. That you could use to haul dirt in. Or use at the beach. And I got some root beer. I hadn't had a root beer in forever. It was pretty good. One sip took me right back to when I was sixteen and worked at McDonald's. Every day for my lunch I would have a Filet o' Fish, a fried apple pie, and a root beer. 

When we went into the theater we first sat in the wrong seats. This was my fault. But we moved to the proper ones. We reclined in perfect comfort and watched the previews. Always fun. Until a preview came on for a horror movie. Jessie and I both hated that. We don't go to horror movies and we didn't want to see a preview of one. 
We lived. 

Finally, our movie came on. After all my pre-excitement and anticipation I bet you think I'm going to say, "Dammit, it fucking sucked!" 
Well guess what? It didn't. 
We laughed so much. It was actually better than I thought it was going to be. Matthew McConaughey totally passes my good-actor test which is always- Can you see him (or her) acting? 
I truly thought that he was going to phone this one in, using his Dazed and Confused southern-drawling stoner character and he could have. But he didn't. There were elements of that character in there but his Moon Dog had layers and a deepness that I didn't expect. I almost cried a few times. Of course, that's a low bar for me and movies. 
Or anything.
And there were very uncomfortable moments. Watching a good actor portray a drunk can be pretty damn sad. He didn't just get high in this movie, he got fucked up. Or, his character did. 
Now let's move on to Snoop Dogg. 
Honestly, I had no idea that Mr. Dogg was such a good actor. OR that he was so damn sexy. The chemistry he had with Isla Fisher was shockingly electric. No pun intended. 
Or was that just me? 
He did basically play himself and I hear that originally he WAS going to play himself and his character's name would be Snoop Dogg. He, however, changed his character's name to Ray, short for Lingerie after an epiphany he had. Which was pretty perfect. Smooth as silk. 
Isla Fisher was wonderful. 
Jimmy Buffett can't act. But he is Jimmy Buffett. 

The plot had holes in it you could sink the Titanic in. The ending was fairly ridiculous. There were many gratuitous bare breasts which didn't disturb me in the least. I do love breasts although as Jessie pointed out, most of them were fake. There were entire parts of the movie that had absolutely nothing to do with anything except the director's obvious love of the actor. Martin Lawrence's role as Captain Whack (or is it Wack?) for instance. And yet, the scenes with him in it were like a delicious lagniappe that the chef sends out to your table because he loves you.

And yes, that tangent ended up being a bit, uh, weird and National Lampoon-ish but I still loved it.

So it was a lovely afternoon, well spent with one of my daughters. If laughter truly is the best medicine, we're in good shape.
And yes, it's probably obvious that I need to get out more. Not to mention the fact that I have extremely low-brow taste when it comes to culture.

I don't pretend otherwise.

When Jessie got home she discovered that Vergil had given the boys their dinner, bathed them and brushed their teeth and had them in their pajamas.
Dinner was PB&J's with chips and salsa.
It was 5:30 p.m.
What a dad!

I got home to find my husband still working on the laundry room. I think it's all ready for the big changeover and washer delivery tomorrow.
Or, well, almost.
I don't think I've ever looked forward to doing laundry as much as I am right now.

I cleaned out the nests in the hen house today and pulled the rest of the arugula. It has not rained but the temperature is dropping. We got nine eggs from our nine hens today, and one of them appears to be a maiden egg. Getting rid of those roosters was the best thing we could have done for these sweet chicken girls.

I think the main take-away I have from watching The Beach Bum is that kissing is a beautiful thing. The Moon Dog character kissed passionately and often. He was an equal-opportunity kisser whether the kissee was a probable super-model, his wife, his male friends, or his Cuban housekeeper who was a woman of a certain age. There was plenty of sex but the kissing was the best. And the sweetest.

I think I'll go kiss my husband now and then I'm going to heat up some very fine leftovers. If you were here, I'd probably kiss you too.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Silly Things And Serious Too

Things got crazy over here at the Moon house last night. There was an Auburn game before the Duke game and Mr. Moon played basketball for Auburn so that was a pretty big deal to him. He showed August one of his old jerseys and August wanted to wear it and before you know it, it looked like that around here.
Silly fun. But seriously, I know that my husband is proud of his days playing ball. After he graduated Auburn he played some pro ball in Europe and I'm glad he did even though he was married to a different wife at the time and she got all the European travel experiences. I believe it was probably one of the best educations he ever got, to live and work in Europe and most likely a real eye-opener for a guy from a tiny town outside of Nashville, Tennessee. By the time he married me he was open to a lot more things he might never have been without that experience. Or maybe he was just born that way. I don't know. His parents never said a racist thing around me and never denigrated a gay person either. They were open and accepting and loving to all even though they were (and I'm sure they'd agree with this) country people. Good people.

And how I got from that picture to Glen's parents is beyond me but I did and isn't that just the way I am? Yes. Yes it is.

August was tired last night and so his mama got him ready for bed before we grown-ups had supper. I told him I would read him one story because I was still working on that supper and he agreed that was okay. He wanted A Fish Out of Water. Of course. So I read it for the four thousand and seventh time.
And I still enjoyed it.
Then I tucked him into his little bed and he wanted Zippy and the little monkey. I offered him some books to read in bed and at first he said that he'd like that but then he said that no, he didn't need any books. I kissed him good-night and he was probably asleep before I got back to the kitchen.
Levon went to sleep soon after and his daddy tucked him into the pack'n'play that stays set up all the time.

Supper was good although the cake was a major disappointment to me. I don't know what I did wrong but it was more like pineapple upside down pudding than cake. Thankfully, whipped cream makes everything okay.

August woke up this morning around 8, jumped up as he always does and said, "Where's Boppy?" Again, as he always does.
Boppy was still in bed and said, "Come get in bed with us, August," but August was having none of that. All of the TV time the night before had been ruined by basketball and he was now ready for some kid TV. So Boppy got up with him and I'm sure that Jessie and Vergil and Levon were already up. I, however, slept until nine.
And then there were pancakes and bacon and eggs

and there were also haircuts for Mr. Moon and Vergil. Jessie is the family barber and set up a stool on the deck where the fellas took turns getting their hair clippered. I was so happy because while Jessie was cutting hair, Levon actually let me take him around the yard and he didn't ask for Mama once. We kicked bamboo which he loved. "Kick," he kept saying. And we checked on eggs and we went to see the goats and we looked at the garden. I took no pictures but in my mind I can see him in his little purple Crocs holding my hand and walking beside me, pointing out the flowers. We also read books with his brother and he already loves books. Especially if they are about animals or trucks. We have a little board book about dump trucks that I think he demanded be read to him by everyone here at least twice.

After they went home, I had a lazy afternoon. Mr. Moon went to town briefly to get chicken feed and hay and scratch and there was a nap when he came home, the sweet cool breeze blowing in the window over our bed. Now he's working on getting the laundry room finished up as to wiring. The guys next door have band practice. They seem to have moved on from metal grunge to something resembling actual music but it's still sort of an auditory intrusion. But hell- it never lasts forever. It's supposed to start raining tomorrow and keep it up for a day or two. That's fine with me. You know how I love the rain.

A new movie just came out that I want to see in an actual theater. Y'all can go ahead and laugh at me but I am extremely excited about it.

I really have no pride, y'all. And even though it's gotten "mixed reviews" to say the least, how can anything with Matthew McConaughey, Snoop Dogg, and Jimmy Buffett not be fun? Okay, it's probably going to be pretty ridiculous but I still can't wait to see it.

And in one more piece of news, this one troubling, the Rolling Stones have canceled or at least postponed their American tour which was supposed to start in April due to an unnamed illness that Mick Jagger has which requires treatment. That word- treatment. It ain't a good word, is it?
Keith had this to say on FB:

Again- y'all can laugh at me all you want but you know how much I cherish these old men. Mick and Keith are both 75 years old and I care. I know I've told you this before but Lily asked me once what I was going to do when Keith Richards died. 
"Well, that's not going to happen before I die," I said, and then I added, "But if it does, I am not going to be okay."
Hell. I'm still not even close to being okay with John Lennon being dead. 
The Beatles and the Rolling Stones don't just represent huge chunks of my life. They ARE huge chunks of my life.
May Mick live to dance onstage for at least another decade. 
Or until I'm well dead and gone. 
Whichever comes first. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, March 29, 2019

Let's All Have A Martini!

Well, today is not going to be the chicken versus God day. Sorry. But I'm pretty sure you know which side of the argument I fall on. I have been having more thoughts lately about religion and what we call cults and and what it is that makes humans so susceptible to beliefs that on the surface defy every sort of logic.

Today was a busy day. I met Jessie and the boys in town and we went to Costco and Publix and also lunch and then I had a few more errands to run after she and the boys went home. I felt as if I'd scaled Mt. Olympus and been kissed by all the gods when I got them done and pulled into my driveway. But no rest for the wicked, as they say, and I had to hit the ground running.
Jessie and Vergil and those two kids in that picture are coming over for a sleepover. There's a Duke basketball game coming on at 9:00 and Vergil went to Duke and so there will be a viewing of the game, of course. I've changed the sheets on the their bed and made a pineapple upside down cake which is on the plate all wonky because I was talking on the phone when I did the plate/cake flip but I have very little pride when it comes to food presentation and I think it will taste fine. I also whipped some cream to go on it. I've picked the greens for the salad and have the dishwasher running and have swept up a tiny bit of the topsoil that has accumulated in the house recently.
I need a new broom. Badly.
I am looking forward to next week when I shall have use of a washing machine again. I think it may take half the week to catch up but that's just fine. It will be such a pleasure. I am going to wash EVERYTHING!

So that's the story from Lloyd, Florida today. I watered the heck out of the garden and some of the cucumbers are coming up which is heartening.

Sounds like Mr. Moon is trying to start the tractor although it could be something else. August keeps asking about the tractor. Also my washing machine. He seems to be invested in the proper running of the appliances and so forth around here.
Or perhaps he's just being polite.

I better go get started on our supper. Venison meatloaf, roasted yams, and salad. Or, well, roasted sweet potatoes. Let's not get into that debate again. Whatever they are, they will be delicious. The recipe I use is another from the New York Times Cooking app and it involves everything from honey and lime juice and red pepper to scallions and yogurt. Doesn't sound great but trust me- it most definitely is. And my meatloaf brings all the boys into my yard.
I know. That's a stupid saying and I've used it before but it does make me giggle.

Happy Friday, y'all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Treasures And Tiredness

Back we went today for the Monticello library story hour. And again, it was so fun. Today Maggie joined us with her beautiful mommy and our friend Lauren. Wiley Cash was not there which was a little sad but we managed with the joy of Terez and his amazing cohort, a woman whose name I do not know and I feel ashamed about that. She reads the stories and she picks out great ones. Today's books were one about iridescence, one about Jean-Michael Basquiat, and one about Frida Kahlo. Although I am not sure that the little ones understood very much, they were all attentive and quiet.

Between stories there was the parachute and the shakey eggs. And then painting. 

And to finish it all up, the BUBBLES! 
"This is my favorite part," said Terez as he held up the little machine. 
I think it's the children's favorite part as well. 

And because we always do the same things we played and read books in the library after story hour and then went to our favorite lunch place in Monticello, the Rev. We ate outside and it was actually chilly. The children played with blocks while we waited for our food.

Glasses were made with Wiki Sticks. 

Our server was a lovely and she kept the iced tea glasses filled. We ate everything from burgers to salads to a soft-shelled crab sandwich (me), asparagus, grilled vegetables, fried chicken and french fries with KETCHUP! Such a fine little restaurant for the small town of Monticello. And as always there were lots and lots of trucks going by for Levon to love. 

And then on to Wag the Dog. 
Bet you didn't see that coming, did you? 

I found great things today. I bought a beautiful doily that someone probably spent a year of their life making for a dollar and fifty cents. 

I bought a much-needed lampshade to replace one that had rips in the silk. I bought a few children's books including one by the same author who wrote Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel called Katy and the Big Snow. 

I think that Levon will definitely appreciate that one soon. He is growing up so fast! When Jessie says to him, "Oh, Levon!" he says, "Oh, Mama!" August tells him words to say and Levon repeats them back as best he can and he does very well getting his baby mouth around them. 
Both Maggie and August were mostly interested in the plastic Easter eggs which Wag has a goodly plenty of now. 
When we had made our purchases and were on our way out the door, I spied something that gave me a little heart-lurch. 

An incredibly detailed porcelain parakeet who reminded me so much of the real parakeet I had as a child and something told me that this little beauty was special. It was marked at fourteen dollars which is a fortune at Wag the Dog but I bought it and I brought it home. I did a little research and like the lamp I got at Wag, it's not worth a fortune by any means, but it's worth far more than fourteen dollars and it was made around 1936 by the Royal Worchester company in England. Isn't it pretty? It's now in a place of honor on my most beautiful piece of furniture, the vanity in my soon-to-be-again bedroom. 

I held it up when I was contemplating buying it and literally asked myself, "Does this spark joy?" and my answer was "Yes!" 

I have gotten absolutely nothing done today except to hang out with daughters and grandchildren and unload the dishwasher. I have been tired beyond reason. I took a long nap this afternoon, only waking when Maurice came and climbed on my hip to settle in with me. I don't know what's going on. 

Anyway, time to put up the chickens. I have brown rice going on the stove and salmon marinating. Mr. Moon has taken chicken wings to the rehab facility where our friend is to watch an FSU basketball game with him. This is their thing to do together. My husband does not really like salmon so I cook it when he's gone. I told him on the phone that since I had no tofu, I would be cooking the salmon. 
"Be sure to put cooked carrots on top of it," he said. 
He doesn't like cooked carrots either. 
Those are like the two things he doesn't really enjoy and I understand. I've tried and tried to make both salmon and cooked carrots in such a way that he will like them but it's not going to happen. I feel the same way about Brussels sprouts. I keep trying recipes for them that proclaim that even people who do not like Brussels sprouts will love them. I never do. 
It's okay. We don't have to like everything. 

But I do like chickens. 

Tune in tomorrow when I might possibly discuss the differences between the benefits that chickens have brought to the human race versus what religion has given us. 
You never know. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

No Title

Yesterday I was in the middle part of the house doing something when I heard what I thought was Mr. Moon coming in the door and setting things down. I gave the family whistle which is what we do around here to let someone know where we are. He didn't answer and when I went into the kitchen I saw that he wasn't here so I shrugged and figured the cats did something and went on about my business.
When Mr. Moon did get home and made his way to the den to sit in his chair and watch a little TV and have a little well-deserved time to relax before supper he noticed that the hallway table right outside the den was messed up. Pictures on the floor, a candle on the floor, and something that he did not closely investigate but thought might be cat puke. He called out to me, "What happened here?"
I went and looked and damn if chickens hadn't gotten up there and knocked stuff off and pooped all over too.
Really, birds?
I'd noticed Liberace and some of the hens on the porch earlier in the day, standing at the threshold of the hallway and I guess his curiosity overcame him.
I cleaned it up all up and today I shut the hall door on them when he acted like he wanted to go back in for Round Two.
I suppose that since the rooster threat has passed he has more leisure time to explore. Connie and Clara, the two hens left from Dearie's fall hatching follow him around all day long and no, we won't be discussing the fact that obviously they are his daughters. We'll just pretend that we don't know that.
I just saw the man rooster and Dottie up on the bird feeder where they perch many times a day and Dottie was snatching gnats off of Liberace's face and comb and wattle. When she does this it looks for all the world as if she is giving him little pecking kisses and it's adorable in a small dinosaur/chicken way.

The weather continues to be amazing. It's supposed to get into the forties tonight and it rained last night and the air has been clear and cool and beautiful. I took a walk this morning on White House Road where I saw wild flowers and wisteria that climbed way, way up into the trees as if knowing that the new-green leaves and blue sky make a perfect background for it.

I kicked bamboo when I got home and worked in the garden a little. I've got a weird thing going on with my left knee. Not the joint but the skin itself and if I put my weight on it in a certain way, it feels as if a fire was flashing across it. You can't see anything odd on my skin but I swear, it hurts like holy hell and this sort of detracts from the pleasure of my dirt-prayers. No matter how hard I try I can't entirely avoid doing whatever it is that I'm doing to cause the pain and I yelp and curse every time. So I moved slow and weeded and then I pulled half of the old arugula because it has well and truly bolted. Then I sat and stripped off the usable leaves. I got about half a garbage bag full and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them. The supper I'm making will use up two cups but that's nothing. 

That's just half of them. You can make pesto with arugula and I did that last year but to be honest, I still haven't used it all up. I froze it so neatly in ice cube trays and then bagged up the frozen cubes in freezer bags but I just forget it's in the freezer. Still, I may make more with some of these leaves because I hate to waste them. 

I also got a few hills of squash planted. My squash NEVER does well. Don't know why I bother planting it. Eternal optimism? The beans I planted are coming along nicely but the cucumbers haven't broken ground yet. I hope that birds didn't eat all the seeds. Seems unlikely. 
What I really need to do is mulch but as I've said, every time I think about raking and hauling that many leaves it makes me want to lay down and cry. I have access to plenty of leaves- my yard is filled with downed oak leaves. They don't drop until winter's end when the new baby leaves push them out of the way and that has indeed happened. 
Maybe tomorrow...

And so it's been a day like that. A simple day. 
Mr. Moon is not home yet but is visiting with our friend. I am proud of how he is stepping up to do these very hard things. I married such a good man. Watching him take such good care of his buddy makes me love him even more. Amazing how that can happen even after being with someone for thirty-six years. 

Do you get the the Poem of the Day from the Poetry Foundation? I do and there are plenty of days that I read the daily offering and am not really moved but some days the poem knocks me out. Today was one of those days. Here's what I got in my e-mail. 

Unlegendary Heroes

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'Life passes through places.'
–P.J. Duffy, Landscapes of South Ulster
Patrick Farrell, of Lackagh, who was able to mow one acre and one rood Irish in a day. Tom Gallagher, Cornamucklagh, could walk 50 Irish miles in one day. Patrick Mulligan, Cremartin, was a great oarsman. Tommy Atkinson, Lismagunshin, was very good at highjumping—he could jump six feet high. John Duffy, Corley, was able to dig half an Irish acre in one day. Edward Monaghan, Annagh, who could stand on his head on a pint tumbler or on the rigging of a house.
          –1938 folklore survey to record the local people who occupied the South Ulster parish landscape.
                                                                                                                      * * *

           Kathleen McKenna, Annagola,
who was able to wash a week’s sheets, shirts
      and swaddling, bake bread and clean the house
                   all of a Monday.

            Birdy McMahon, of Faulkland,
walked to Monaghan for a sack of flour two days before
  her eighth child was born.

  Cepta Duffy, Glennan,
very good at sewing—embroidered a set of vestments
   in five days.

  Mary McCabe, of Derrynashallog,
who cared for her husband’s mother in dotage,
   fed ten children,
the youngest still at the breast during hay-making.

   Mary Conlon, Tullyree,
   who wrote poems at night.

   Assumpta Meehan, Tonygarvey,
saw many visions and was committed to the asylum.

   Martha McGinn, of Emy,
who swam Cornamunden Lough in one hour and a quarter.

   Marita McHugh, Foxhole,
whose sponge cakes won First Prize at Cloncaw Show.

   Miss Harper, Corley,
female problems rarely ceased, pleasant in ill-health.

   Patricia Curley, Corlatt,
whose joints ached and swelled though she was young,
   who bore three children.

   Dora Heuston, Strananny,
died in childbirth, aged 14 years,
  last words ‘Mammy, O Mammy!’

   Rosie McCrudden, Aghabog
noted for clean boots, winter or summer,
   often beaten by her father.

   Maggie Traynor, Donagh,
got no breakfasts, fed by the nuns, batch loaf with jam,
   the best speller in the school.

   Phyllis McCrudden, Knockaphubble,
who buried two husbands, reared five children,
   and farmed her own land.

   Ann Moffett, of Enagh,
who taught people to read and did not charge.
Mary O’Donnell, "Unlegendary Heroes" from Unlegendary Heroes.  Copyright © 1998 by Mary O’Donnell.  Reprinted by permission of Mary O’Donnell.
How could anyone read this and not be moved to tears? Or at least...moved? 
Everyday and unlegendary heroes. I am certain that all of us know many who fit this description. 
Perhaps even you. 
Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

When Memes Won't Do

Let's just call it Maurice week, shall we?

It's been an odd day for me. I've spent most of it town with my husband and although parts of it were pleasurable, parts were not so much.
We met up at Costco to look at their washing machines. Today was the day to buy one. Now, you know how often I go to Costco and 99% of the time I go with some combination of my children and grandchildren. It's not just shopping- it's a social event. But I gotta tell you, going with Mr. Moon is not the same AT ALL. Good Lord, he has no idea how to have a good time there. He didn't even want to go in the coldy room! He didn't want to look at jewelry. He didn't even care about the samples. I got a sample of some absolutely terrific grass-fed sliced sirloin with some mashed potatoes and I offered to share it with him. This would be about half a bite of food. But he said, and I quote, No. I ate my raw vegetables on the way over here.
More for me.
I could tell that he did not know one employee by sight, much less name. It was just all wrong.
We did see a washing machine that we liked a lot. But we didn't buy it. I bought a ten pound bag of sweet onions and way too many small cucumbers. He picked out some clothes for our friend who is now in a rehab facility. More on that later. When we were standing in line to get our receipt checked against the contents in our cart I told him that really, he was not as much fun to shop at Costco with as the grandchildren are.
"Next time I'll throw a few fits and eat all the samples and cry. How's that?"
"Perfect!" I said.

Then we went to Lowe's. Gotta do your due diligence, right? They had nothing we wanted except the restroom. I really had to pee.

After that we went to lunch at a Cuban place and I was not impressed. It was sorely mediocre. But you know- I didn't cook it or have to clean up after it so it was fine. Then we went to the family-owned place where we seem to end up buying all of our appliances. The same washing machine we'd liked at Costco was one they had in stock which someone had ordered but had not been able to use because they had not estimated the space constraints properly. In other words, it was too big. This is a machine that I will be able to wash rugs in with unprecedented ease and abandon. It's going to stick out a little too much in our laundry room too but what the hell? We got a decent deal on it and they'll deliver it next Monday unless Mr. Moon goes in with his truck and just picks that bad boy up and brings it home himself. I can't begin to tell you how excited I am.
We got all the paperwork done and paid for the newest family member and then we drove to the rehabilitation center where our friend is staying after his stroke.
And that was not pleasurable in the least.
But it was real.
He looks fine and he's lucid as hell and as smart as ever and all of his problems are in one leg and one arm and hand. The arm and hand he can use somewhat but not the leg.
It's a bad fucking situation and there's a lot more going on but for the moment, that's what he's dealing with.
We wheeled him out to a little courtyard where there was good cool air and a blue sky and a few plants. We talked for quite awhile. Well, mostly he talked. He needs to talk. He needs to be listened to and both Mr. Moon and I are smart enough not to get all freaking fake optimistic with him and say stupid shit that's not true. And it's hard.
As we sat and talked a pretty little green lizard made his way across the bench in front of us and then another man in a wheelchair managed to get out of the door and into the courtyard and he got a little exercise in the sunshine but when it came time for him to go back in I had to help by opening the door and what sort of a rehab place for stroke victims has doors that people in wheelchairs can't manage on their own?
This kind of a place, I guess.
Every time a patient used his call bell a beeping sound would echo through the halls and a little electronic digital sign hanging from the ceilings would say something like, "Rm 102 Bed A" over and over and over again until I wanted to go myself to Rm 102 and see what the person in Bed A needed. It isn't quite as depressing as the nursing home my friend Lynn lived in for the last few months of her life but it was noisier.

There's really nothing else I can say. The situation is about as dire as one can imagine and if there is a rainbow at the end of this particular storm I can't begin to see what it might be. And neither can our friend.

Well. Even as all of that is happening, there is this.

Still so beautiful. 
And this. 

My wild orange flame azalea is finally starting to bloom. 

If there is one thing I can glean from our friend's situation it is that we have to just appreciate every molecule of gorgeous normalcy we can. 
Wait. Have I said this before? 
Yeah well. I'll say it again. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, March 25, 2019

How Not To Accept Gifts

Boy In A Dress, Eating A Banana
He is in touch with his simian roots. 

I woke up this morning feeling no more inclined to believe that I fit in this world than I did yesterday. Hot tears kept flooding my eyes for no apparent reason. 
It just was that way. 
Meanwhile, Mr. Moon got ready to attack the laundry room situation again and Vergil soon came out to help. It made me feel guilty to have these two men here, one who had taken off work and another who had given up one of his days off which he could have spent with his family to come and help fit me out a laundry room. 
I realize that it is very hard for me to accept gifts of any type and really, a laundry room is not like a luxurious spa-room or, well, something like that. It's a place where I'll be able to fold clothes on a surface, where I'll have room to move. Where there will be a place for the laundry supplies. It is not exactly a necessity but in some ways, because I already had a laundry space, it is a bit luxurious. 
Or so it seems to me. 
Who am I, I wonder, to deserve these man hours, this hard work given so freely? 
Thinking back to when I was a child, I don't believe I ever learned to ask for what I needed, much less for what I wanted. I think that my younger years were spent trying with all my heart to be as little trouble to my mother as I could be because even though I had no name for what it was she was going through, I intuited that it was very, very difficult and that she was spread about as thin as she could be already. She worked full-time as a teacher and she was not happy in that job. She was a single mother and not happy at all to be one in those days when divorce was almost unknown and a divorcee (what a word!) was almost always judged to be a woman of perhaps loose moral standards at the very least and a home wrecker at the worst. And of course, a complete failure in a world where the only viable option was to get married, stay married, and produce children. 
I just knew I needed not to bother my mother overmuch. Money was always a worry even though we did have a nice little house that my grandfather had built for us. We had the basics and a tiny bit more, but not much. My mother and my grandmother made most of my clothes. A new pair of glasses for me was an almost unaffordable necessity. 
And then when my stepfather came around and he began abusing me, things changed up a bit. I got presents from him. Sometimes jewelry- a little silver scottie pin, maybe, or a charm bracelet which had one charm on it- a microscopic Bible with the actual Ten Commandments in it. An Easy Bake oven which was ridiculous- I was already using the big stove to make basic meals and bake cookies and cakes in. 
And with each of these gifts, there was somehow a silent message- if I kept his secret, the gifts would keep on coming. 
I grew to hate those gifts until I was about fifteen and the man drove up in a 911-T Porsche, a car that I had first seen on a trip we took to California (and that trip was a nightmare in all regards) and that I was absolutely enchanted with. He must have found the only slightly pre-owned Porsche in all of central Florida and brought it home. As soon as I got my driver's license, he would start tossing me the keys when I was going out. It was stupid- no child of that age should be given access to that sort of power but my god, I loved that car. I'd learned to drive on a 1960 VW Beetle and the difference between the two cars was like the difference between eating a McDonald's burger and a Filet Mignon. And somehow, I did not kill myself in it or anybody else. And by that time I was old enough to somehow grasp what the man was doing with these gifts, and why and although the abuse had stopped by them, I was angry enough and prideful enough to take whatever I was given and enjoy the hell out of it with a sort of wicked satisfaction. Especially being able to drive that beautiful, amazing car. 
Still, he was buying my silence. He had no idea that I had neither the words nor the ability to break that silence then, even if it had occurred to me to do so. 

And what all of this led to, I believe, is my inability to gracefully accept anything given to me. It is literally painful for me to accept presents from people I love. And I always feel a confusion when I am given a gift. I can become angry about it, which, when viewed with the perspective of what I've written here, is understandable. what do YOU want in return? 
This is not a way I want to feel. It makes me think of myself in terms that I would rather not think of myself. Ungrateful, ungraceful. Selfish. Those. 
And sometimes I am just so overwhelmed that I don't know how to react. When someone gifts me with something coming from what is just so obviously a place of love I don't know how to accept that. 
And let's not even talk about how fucked up I am about giving gifts. That's a whole other bowl of wrong soup. 

And there you go- Glen and Vergil spending all of this time and effort to make a nice laundry room for me just brings up so much that I can't even begin to describe what I feel but I will say it makes me cry. 
And they're done. At least with the washer part. And tomorrow we can go and buy a new one and Mr. Moon will install it and then the dryer will get moved and I'll get some sort of surface to fold clothes on and some shelves for my supplies and I will appreciate that room every time I use it; every time I walk through it. And since the room connects both the back porch and the main part of the house to the newer part of the house which includes my beautiful bathroom, I will walk through it many, many times a day. 

Today I did laundry at Jessie's house and played with those boys and read books to August. And to Levon. He handed me first his book about trucks and other fascinating heavy machinery and then the one about animals. He is a smart one. He can point out the dogs and the ducks and the cows. He can tell me with sign language that he wants me to read more to him. He can say "truck" with great authenticity. 
We also went to lunch and then to the nursery next door to the restaurant. Jessie needed some tomato plants and a few other things and I needed a big bag of potting soil. They had kid-sized carts there and both August and Levon pushed those things all over the place and I was amazed at how well they did, especially Levon. The combination of a baby and a kid-cart is generally a recipe for disaster with collisions and tears being inevitable but that kid just steered and pushed like he'd been born for the job. 
Like it WAS his job. 

It made me want to go out and get him a little grocery cart of his own to carry his shovels and trucks around in. Giving gifts to grandchildren is not that hard for me. It's such a sweet and pure thing. 

People were a bit confused about August in his dress. He was called a girl several times. As in, "What a cute little girl!" and at first, I would correct them and say, "He's actually a boy," and then explain about the dresses and how I made dresses for his cousin and how he wanted dresses too, blah, blah, blah. 
But then I realized that it doesn't matter in the least what gender people think he is. Although, it did occur to me that if I told them he's a boy that it might remind them that gender is not always what we think it is. 
Oh well. Whatever. The boy loves his dresses and who wouldn't? They're so comfy and floaty and unrestrictive. 

In chicken-and-egg news, I got my first two green eggs today in weeks. I guess that Pansy and Eggy-Tina are finally recovering from the psychic and physical wounds that the roosters inflicted on them. I was so delighted to find the eggs, both in the same nest, the two sisters both able and willing to lay again. 
It is easy for me to accept the gift of eggs from my hens but I think I may be a bit overly grateful. 
I mean...chickens. Eggs. Yeah. 
Still. I am gladdened by each one of them. 

Each hen's egg is so very distinctive and different. 

I have no ending tonight. No tie-it-all-up-in-a-bow-and-deliver-it tonight. 
I suppose it's like one of my clumsy, poorly wrapped gifts. 
Trust me though, my heart was in it. As it generally is no matter how it may appear. And let me just say that this seemingly completely unrelated topic is yet another way that childhood sexual abuse can affect a survivor for his or her entire life. One more layer of the stinky onion of it all to be peeled back and examined, one more clue as to why things are as they are for us. And with each peeling-back, with each close examination, there is more understanding and a small but important freeing of one part of a soul. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Another One Of Those Sundays

Maurice watching The Great British Bake-Off. As I said to a neighbor today, so many series on Netflix trigger such yucky things that I don't want to think about but all the Bake-Off triggers is a desire to eat baked goods. 

I have been so frustrated today. To the point of anger. And you know what? I have no reason for this frustration. I WANT to be angry at my husband but honestly, all he's done is spend the day under the house working on getting the plumbing set up for the laundry room which is hardly like spending the day in a sports bar or bordello or something. So it's ridiculous for me to focus my anger on him and I know that. I KNOW THAT!
I don't know what's going on. If I were a younger woman, I'd think I was premenstrual but that's something I will never be able to blame a horrid mood on again.
Maybe I'm just overwhelmed with everything and adding on not having water for an entire afternoon and having to stick close to the center of laundry-room-creating-operations in order to go and hold a pipe which is sticking out of the floor while my husband does something mysterious to it from where he's laying on his back on the ground which meant I got NOTHING DONE just kicked me off the edge.
I don't even know what I think I'd have gotten done if I'd had the chance. And frankly, I did get August's dress finished.

I believe we shall call this the "happy camper" dress. It's going to swamp him and by next week it'll be too hot for him to wear anyway.
So, yeah. That was a huge, big deal.

I am wondering if part of the reason I'm feeling this way is because it would appear that the Mueller report contains no smoking guns, no flaming flares, no reason for White House security to get out their handcuffs. I swear to you- I could curse the paint off a wall right now. A motherfucking, cocksucking wall.

I just Facebook unfollowed someone I've known in real life for about thirty years because he wrote this as a comment under a video of an ABC news report about the Mueller report:

Now investigste (sic) the real criminals and America haters...obama, hitlery, pelosi, and a few others on the list.

Here's the weird thing- I thought I knew this guy. He's never been in the military, he's lived the sex, drugs, and rock and roll lifestyle. He loves and truly cares for animals more than anyone I've ever known. Hell, he worked at the local food coop! He is a kind man. I've only seen him treat women with true respect. And yet...
And herein lies the fucking goddam conundrum- aren't we supposed to be able to push aside our differences when someone we know and whom we've always cared for expresses a political opinion with which we very much disagree? Yes. Yes we are. But the divide created by this particular president and his followers is so stark and so sharply defined that I just can't bring myself to ignore that. It's not possible! Not for little ol' unenlightened me.
It's like, "So really? All this time you thought it was cool to talk about women as if they're objects here for nothing more than male satisfaction and enjoyment? And that you really don't see anything wrong with white nationalism? And that you really don't care about the environment or freedom of the press or, or... THE TRUTH?"
The strangest thing about this particular instance is that this man is, himself, the son of immigrants who fled their beloved country because of a dictator.
Go figure. I can't. So I just unfollowed him.
Ooh. Aren't I a brave woman?
No. No I am not.

Okay. That's enough of that. It's only adding to my frenzy of weirdness and bad attitude.
Now my husband has gone to the hospital to visit our friend. How can I be angry at a man like that?
And I'm not.
I think I'm just really tired of not feeling as if I have any autonomy. I probably need a good few days spent entirely alone because that is the way I am made. When the friends of Mr. Moon were here from Chicago, the wife asked me if I was ever afraid to be here by myself. I think this was after she realized that this house has seven doors that access the outside. Or, alternately, the inside.
"No," I told her. "I love being alone and I'm not afraid at all."
Which is the honest to god truth.

Jesus. The chickens are having a very difficult time going to roost tonight. So much fussing and flapping. I wonder what's going on. I think they're still working out the blending of the hens into all being part of Liberace's flock.

One more picture of Maurice.

Vergil and August dropped by this morning with things Mr. Moon needed for the plumbing project and while they were here, I read August one of our favorite books, "Pickles The Fire Cat." It's about a cat named Pickles of course, who has a reputation of being a very bad cat but one lady named Mrs. Goodkind realizes that he is NOT a bad cat, he just needs something BIG to do. 
August and I discussed how perhaps that is Maurice's problem as well. She just needs to find greater meaning in her life but neither one of us could figure out what that might be. August would probably be very glad for her to go live in a fire station somewhere quite far from here and be a fire cat like Pickles. But I do love that crazy cat and besides, she chose to live here and when a cat picks your house as a place to make her home, there's not much you can do except to buy Friskies. Or, the Publix brand equivalent. And provide cozy sleeping places where the cat feels safe and secure. And keep Band-Aids close at hand for any and all bloody attacks. 

That's pretty much all I even pretend to think I know tonight. 

Be well, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Another Day Of Reminders

Things were going along normally this morning. Pancakes were made and eaten, Boppy was working in the garden and Vergil and Jessie and the boys were planning on coming out so that Vergil could help Mr. Moon with the laundry room project. Owen and I walked to the post office and he talked about the memories he had of being a little guy and making that walk when he stayed with me. Everything was cool.
The Weatherfords showed up and August was thrilled that his big-boy cousin Owen was here. He adores Owen and I'm sure he admires him tremendously as someone who is strong and can read and who is helpful and kind. And yet, is still a kid. Someone to look up to and yet, is relatable.

Mr. Moon was just about to finish up in the garden when he got a phone call from the neighbor of our friend who has been ill. Our friend had called an ambulance for help and they couldn't get in the gate. Mr. Moon has keys to that gate and he and Vergil sped off.
Turns out that our friend had a stroke in the night and it took him from six in the morning until around eleven to make his way to his phone and dial 911.
Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
Our friend is a Luddite. That's all there is to it. He did recently get a cell phone but it gets no reception in his house which is in the woods nearby here. Mr. Moon is kicking himself for not getting him a couple of cordless phones to keep around the house. He feels terrible about this although of course, it's not his fault. He's being such a good friend, going to doctors' appointments with him, taking him to pick up his medications, checking on him.
Anyway, Vergil drove my husband home and he showered and changed clothes and went on into town to go to the hospital. He is still there. It has been determined that, as I said, he had a stroke. Strangely, it did not affect his mental capabilities at all, nor his facial muscles. I guess it depends on where the blood block in the brain comes when a stroke occurs. The last I heard, the neurologist was with them and I'm sure I'll get the report later.
This is all so hard.
And that is probably the understatement of the year.

Meanwhile, somehow everyone got fed here. Leftovers were heated and eaten, cheese toasts were made and enjoyed. Vergil went on to do some of the preliminary stuff for the installation of the new washer (which, by the way, we haven't even bought yet), even crawling under the house which is not fun at all. Trust me. I've done it myself.

And the boys and Jessie and I all went outside and had adventures, first in the bamboo jungle and then on the railroad tracks.

This is part of the tree that came down during Hurricane Michael. The part that didn't land in our yard. It's on the railroad property and I wanted to take this picture to give perspective on just how monstrous it was. And please remember- that was only part of the ancient oak.

I still can't believe it's gone. Or at least, not living anymore.

Oh, the fun of walking on the railroad track! We found bones and iron spikes and many, many rocks. Treasures were brought home. 

Eventually Vergil crawled out from underneath the house and the whole pack of them loaded up and went back to town. It was suddenly so quiet here. I truly enjoyed Owen's visit and I think he enjoyed being the only kid. Last night we ate our tacos while watching a show that he certainly has never watched before and which I thought he'd probably be terribly bored with- The Great British Baking Show which Mr. Moon and I are slightly addicted to. Surprisingly though, he got into it and was quickly taken with the various personalities and who was good at baking what. When it was over he said that it was so sad that someone had to leave and how different the show was because no one was mad or arguing. I loved that. He is a gentle boy and so kind. He is very good with younger children and helped August with some puzzles and picked up Levon when he needed picking up. 
"Levon is so cute," he told me. 
"He is a handsome lad, isn't he?" I said. 
He's also patient with the little ones and not afraid to show his affection. Yesterday I saw him give Maggie a quick kiss as she passed by him. She didn't even notice but I did. And of course the love in that gesture is something she has known since birth and will always have with her. 
After Owen had his shower last night and got in bed, he wanted stories and I read him the books he picked out which are the ones he's always loved. He laughed when I told him that August picks out the exact same books to hear before bed when he spends the night. 
So all of that was good. Owen's visit and the visit with Jessie and Vergil and their boys, even as we all felt a bit shell shocked that our friend was in such a frightening situation. 

After they left I tidied up and then went out to the garden and finished the little bit of weeding that Mr. Moon didn't get done and got the tomato plants and peppers and eggplants into the ground. They probably aren't where he would have planted them but he was determined that they should be planted today. The sprinklers are on which causes the pipes in this old house to creak a rhythmic groaning song. Before I turned the water on I picked our supper's salad greens. I have no idea if my husband will be home to eat it. Eventually. Eventually he will be. 

It seems like each day lately brings some reminder of how very mortal we all are and makes me want to hold tighter than ever to this man I pledged my troth with so many years ago and makes me realize how much I want to love my children and grandchildren and friends with everything I have within me while I can. I think that one of the things I most disdain about religion is how it focuses on what will happen after we die. That we must suffer now in order to know eternal joy. The promises that we will be with our family again after death seem so flat and ridiculous to me. For one thing- there are plenty of people in my family of birth that I'd just as soon avoid for eternity. And to put off joy and whatever love we can make and take now for some ridiculous theoretical life everlasting seems to me to be the most dangerous and sad of philosophies. 
Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, I suppose. 

And in that spirit, another thing I did was to pick some of the very last camellia blooms and set them in the old copper vase that was my grandmother's and which I have had since I was a young woman. 

As I picked each one I was in full knowledge that I will not be doing this again until spring and summer and fall have once again passed and it felt almost ceremonial, this plucking and bringing in of such soft pink beauty to enjoy for as long as I can, for as many times a day as I pass by them. 

I just got a text from Mr. Moon. 
"Trying to get his first meal of the day."
I answered, "Jesus. They can scan your brain but they can't feed you."
"Yep," he answered back. 

Oh, we live in a crazy world. Of course a brain scan is important if you've had a stroke. Immensely important. 
But so is food. 

I'm going to go cook our supper now. And I am going to enjoy every moment of the cooking and then of the eating thereof because this is it. Right here, right now. Because that's truly all we have as far as I can determine. And if we do that properly, it is enough and more than enough. It is, in fact, a sort of heaven. 

Love...Ms. Moon