Monday, September 30, 2019

Lloyd, Florida, Land Of Flowers And Bulldogs

The weather continues to be hot and I've been moving my little sprinkler around all day. My weather widget does finally show rain forecast but not until next Sunday and that's a long way off and who knows if it will even happen? Meanwhile, the temperatures are going to be in the nineties again all week.
Hello, October!
Usually by this time I'd have some of my fall garden in but it's too damn hot to get out there and plant anything. Everything that I do outside has to be done in short bursts. I just can't take the heat. Still, I managed to hang clothes and water the porch plants and sweep off the little side porch. And like I said- move the sprinkler.
And I took a walk this morning before it got burning hot. I actually crossed paths with a runner twice which I don't think has ever happened before. Lloyd isn't a place where a lot of people voluntarily exercise except for cyclists and they don't live here. I imagine some people, like my husband, go to the gym but there are an awful lot of folks who probably couldn't begin to afford a gym membership, even one at the YMCA.
There is poverty here. That's all there is to it. It's not just "underprivileged." It's pure, ugly poverty. The man to whom we give our roosters when we have too many, the guy I call "No Man Lord" because he has a cross in his yard and he used to have a sign with those words on it, lived for years in a single-wide trailer but a few days ago someone pulled an RV up into his yard and the next thing I knew, the trailer was gone and now he is living in the RV. I don't think it's even hooked up to electricity and I have no idea what he does for running water. He seems to have relatives next door who do have a sweet little house and maybe he gets his water there.
There isn't even a tree that shades that RV but I see him sitting in a chair frequently, underneath the shade of one to the side of the yard reading his Bible. He often raises his arms in greeting, throwing them up to the sky and I always say, "Hello! Good morning!"
I have no idea what he lives on.

This is America. 
He has no car except for a junked one over to the other side of his yard. It does seem as if there are people who stop by and check in on him and as I said, the people in the house next door may be relatives. Folks do take care of each other around here. And I have had people knock on my door who asked for money but this man never has. Whenever I am asked, I do give a little, but No Man Lord has never even accepted the offer of a ride when he was walking home from the convenience store in broiling heat.
"Just you stopping and asking if I needed a ride is enough," he told me. I could have wept.
But he will take our roosters and greens from the garden too, when we offer. He is proud and he has put his faith in his god and so far, that has sustained him. 

These flowers were blooming. They are so sweet. They cheered me as I walked. 
A guy in a pick-up stopped and rolled down his window and asked me if I'd seen two bulldogs running free. 
"Not today," I said. 
"Well, mine took off. They always come back but it's taking longer this time than usual. If you see them, don't be scared. They're really gentle."
"Okay," I said. They may well be gentle but I have a feeling that if they got into my yard and went after my chickens it would be bloody. Dogs can't really help who and what they are and unless they've been specifically trained not to chase chickens, they will do it. As I know from sad experience. But I have not seen them. I hope they've wandered themselves back home. 

When I was walking back from the post office I thought to myself, "It's time for the sasangua to start blooming." I looked up and yes. It is. 

These plants live next door to me and they are old and they are tall and I think I love the petals on the sidewalk when they drop as much as I love the blooms in the trees. They create a magic carpet for a fairy bride. 

I did some ironing and I did a little more stitching while watching Derek on Netflix. It's just a very simple series with a very simple premise- it's a sort of docu-comedy/drama like Gervais's other huge hit, The Office, but this one is based around a guy who works in a nursing home, or as they call them in Great Britain, a care home. Derek, played by Gervais who also writes and directs the series is a guy with possible unexplained disabilities who works at the home and he is a sort of Zen master of kindness. Of course one does get completely involved with the characters in these things. The manager of this place is a true saint named Hannah whom Derek adores with every fiber of his being. Some of the characters, one in particular, are a bit, um, unsavory. There are the usual tropes of the elderly who spend a lot of time dozing in their chairs in the common area and who sometimes have sex. There are the uncaring adult children and grandchildren who find it hard to find the time to come and visit their elders and the wisdom that those elders could impart if they were only allowed. They bring in new characters with the people who are sentenced to do community service in a care home and at least one of them has stolen my heart. 
It's just fucking sweet and some of the actors are supremely gifted and suited for their roles. 
Here's a trailer in case you're wondering if you might find it interesting. 

And so that's been my day. Mr. Moon is not home yet. He's leaving on Friday morning to drive to Canada with two other guys and some hunting dogs in a Suburban. Although this sounds like pure holy hell to me, he is excited beyond belief. Once again I can only say that although I do not understand everything about what my husband loves, I do understand that he loves these things and that they are very important to him. Just as he understands that sitting here every evening typing out words is very important to me despite the fact that I am sure he does not truly understand why.
Well, that makes two of us.
But he has a lot to do to get ready. He took my car in today to get some work done on it so that all will be well when he is gone. He is a most responsible husband.
He is going to be gone for nine days. Last night I related the conversation I had with Lis about this. I told her how long he was going to be gone and she said, "What are you going to do while he's gone?"
"Whatever I want!" I said, brass-bold. "In fact, I've already bought two cans of Le Sueur baby peas!"
We giggled like Betty and Wilma because both of us love those peas and our husbands do not and so when they're away, we indulge.
So yeah, baby! It's probably going to go something like that. UNLIMITED AMOUNTS OF CANNED LE SUEUR BABY PEAS!

And now he's home. Tonight we're having a peppered venison stir fry, "inspired" by a NYT's recipe. It will also have cabbage, asparagus, onions, and mushrooms in it.
I wonder what three men on the road with dogs will be eating. I have a feeling it won't include asparagus. I better feed him up good before he leaves. He's sort of important to me.
As in- please let me die before he does.

And on that cheerful note I will say good-night.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Another Birthday Post

Well, I might as well go ahead and write a little August Birth Day post. Because today is his birthday. That picture was taken when he was the newest human being on Planet Earth. For those of you who do not remember, August was actually born in his parent's beautiful (and thankfully fairly spacious) bathroom because, well, that's where Jessie was when August decided to be born. This is one of the many joys of a home birth. You can labor where you want and where you feel most comfortable and safe. Where the sights and sounds are familiar. Where there are no machines beeping and no strangers coming in and out of your room. Where you make the rules about who will be present and who will NOT. Where your midwife will follow you to wherever it is you want to be and if that's the bathroom, so be it and if that baby starts coming when you're sitting on the toilet she can help you to the floor and she will get right down there with you and catch that baby and hand him to you and his daddy.
And so it was for August's birth.
I can't even remember who all was there. The midwife, two assistants, May, Lily, me. Hank and Mr. Moon were down in the basement, napping until they heard what they knew to be the sounds of baby-coming NOW because they are old pros at this.
I tell you what I do remember- Jessie and Vergil being the most amazing team. Vergil was nothing if not physically and psychically connected to his laboring wife. I felt as if they did not even need us in the least. And honestly- they could have done it themselves. I know they could have.
And together they birthed that little boy who has become the golden curly-headed child who, like all of the rest of my grandchildren, is a unique and precious wonder on this earth.
Not that I'm prejudiced or anything.
He is the little boy who is pragmatic. Who is stingy with kisses and hugs because that's who he is. Who asks the best questions. Who has the best answers. Who loves waffles and chicken and dumplings. Who loves tools and all of the stuff that his daddy and his Boppy own, work with, and use. Who likes me to make him dresses. Who can hike up mountains like a mountain goat. Who loves books so much. Who has music in his blood. Who would rather hang out with his Boppy than almost anything on earth. Whose hands are the prettiest hands on a human I've ever seen.
Who was a wide-eyed wonder from the moment he was born. Which he told me this morning he can remember.

Oh, my babies, my babies. My heart explodes.

He was a few hours old when Lis took this picture. I was rocking him and telling him the story of how he came to be while his mama and daddy ate some soup. 

If you want to read the original post I wrote about the day he was born, you can go HERE. 

It's been a lazy Sunday for me. I have done a bunch of nothing. A tiny bit of laundry, a kitchen tidy-up, pulling a few leggy four o'clocks, and sitting on the couch and watching a Ricky Gervais series called Derek which is slow and sweet and a bit silly and probably completely un-PC while doing a little more decorating on a pair of corduroy overalls for August and eventually Levon. 

Although August wants me to put more beads on the dinosaur/wrecking ball part, I believe I may have done enough of that tedious work for now and have moved on to boro stitching, or at least my interpretation of it which I learned about from Linda Sue's blog. 
Let's face it- I am merely amusing myself but I enjoy hand stitching so much and although I am not very good at it, it makes me happy to sit and do. I'm free-handing it on the yellow patch and it's fun. 

Mr. Moon did stuff out in the woods on a tractor which made him very happy and we've had a pleasant afternoon together since he got home. 

I'm going to cook some scallops and pasta and we'll watch another episode of Outlanders. 

My soul is at peace. My grandson August is four. I am still very much in love with his grandfather. The Americaunas are laying again. 

I am the luckiest woman in the world. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Good LORD, What A Party

I am not as tired as I've ever been in my life but I am tired. Yesterday I put in a lot of hours and although August was a great boy and went to sleep as fast as turning out a light last night he did wake up a little before seven this morning. It was still pitch dark outside and his grandfather and I both told him that he needed to get in our bed and go back to sleep because it wasn't DAYTIME YET! He tried to convince Boppy that they could indeed watch TV in the dark but Boppy said no, it was still sleeping time.
So he got in the bed and I hugged him up tight and he let me which was worth waking up earlier than I wanted because he's not a cuddly boy for the most part. He kept twitching the curtain back to check the progress of the coming day and wiggling about and it felt not unlike cuddling a moving bag of sharp little bones but then I turned my back to him and he still stayed close and settled down for a bit although I don't think he ever went back to sleep.
Finally Boppy got up and let me drift back to sleep for a few minutes and then I got up and eventually pancakes were on the table and were eaten with gusto.
After breakfast the boy and I went to take the trash and go to the post office which, as you may know, is a great treat for August because he gets to sit in the booster seat instead of the car seat for the long block of travel to the trash depot. He reads a book that I keep in the back seat just for that purpose. He goes into the post office with me and today he even held the door open for me.
He is truly a grand boy.
Vergil came out with Levon to do a short project with Mr. Moon and then took both boys over to Lily's to help get things ready for the party and Mr. Moon and I sort of collapsed until realizing we couldn't afford to collapse and we got up and got ready to take things over to the party ourselves. Which we did.
These parties can be anxiety-producing for me. There are always so many people and although they are people I love, it's still stressful. I wish it weren't, but it is. And it was hot. So, so hot. But when we got there, kids and Vergil and Jason were already going down the huge water slide and having the time of their lives and I helped Lily and Jessie and Lauren set up the crock pots and Hank and Rachel got there and plugged in their crockpot and things got put on the table and kids began arriving and grown-ups too. There was a weird glitch in things in that an accident occurred on the road right where the turn-off is for Lily's road and so Billy and Shayla and May and Michael and some other folks couldn't get down the road but that didn't last too long.
And so the party people all gathered and the kids played on the water slide and in the little pool set up beside it and there was jocularity and grazing on chips and all sorts of delicious homemade salsas and chatting and hugging.
It was good to catch up with people. Billy's sister was there with her husband and their three children and I honest to god asked Kelly, Billy's sister, who that girl was that they'd brought with them.
"That's Adah!" she said.
"No fucking way!" I said.
I still think of Adah as a tiny child about three feet tall and now she's this grown-up woman-child already in high school who was wearing her hair in a sort of Bridget Bardot style and honestly, I was shocked.
And of course it was great to see Billy and Shayla and Waylon whom I hadn't seen in forever. Oh, how I love those people.
Honestly, it was a great party all the way around. There was even a snow cone machine! And when the taco-time came around, it was truly a gourmet joy.
Here's some pictures.

Levon on a tractor. I started fanning him with my dollar store fan and he liked it so much that he wanted to sit on the bench beside me so that I could fan him even better. He was happy with this for a long time. When I'd quit he'd say, "Do again." And so I would.

The littlest guy with his Boppy. They were inside in the AC watching a football game. Levon, like his brother, adores that man.

Maggie's turn at the pinata! Actually, there were two. A donkey and a taco. Hank and Rachel had brought them. Remember when I said that no one knows how to make as much fun as Hank? This is another example. He and Rachel had filled the pinatas with candy and little toys and the children were thrilled. I had no idea there were so many kids there until they lined up to whack the things.

As soon as the pinatas were broken and the candy and toys scattered, the children rushed to pick up the treasures and they stashed them in the bags that Lily provided. August was so very, very proud of his haul. It was like Halloween, all over again. 

And then came the birthday cakes. There were a total of seven people celebrating their birthdays. Here are four of them, plus Levon. 

That's the dark chocolate stout cake that Jessie made for her guys. It is an incredible cake. Lily had made a Mine Craft cake for Owen and Lauren had decorated it. And Billy's mother had made him a pound cake. Jason's mama made ice cream.
Yep. Pretty much perfect.

Here are all of the birthday people. Billy, Shayla, August, Vergil, Owen, Lily, and Jason's brother Chris. We sang them happy birthday. We cheered. We celebrated. 
As it was all happening I looked at my husband and said, "If you hadn't asked me to dance that night, none of this would be happening." 
And that's true. Of course we had nothing to do with the birth of Billy and Shayla or Vergil or Chris but if Lily hadn't been born, there certainly would not have been a party at her house today. 
It was pretty cool. And a bit mind-blowing.

Mr. Moon and I left before the presents were unwrapped although we did see Maggie unwrap the little present I got her. I found her and August some tiny flashlights that you can project film images on the wall of mermaids. I hated the thought of Maggie getting no presents at all. She was so happy. "You my best Mermer!" she kept saying, hugging me hard. 
"And you're my best Maggie," I told her every time. 

And then Mr. Moon and I came on home, exhausted but agreeing that it had been a very fine party. I just got this picture from Rachel who said that it was the best picture she got. 

I believe this pretty much sums up how Owen felt about it. 

And here's my favorite photo that I got. 

Billy and May. 

So there you go. I feel a little bit guilty about leaving Lily with the huge chore of cleaning everything up but I know that she'll have help. I think of all of the years of birthday parties I gave (although none so grand as this one) and how exhausting it all was and I feel somewhat justified in just being the grandmother and kissing everyone good-bye and leaving. 

I want to add two things- it would appear that no one was truly hurt in the accident that held up people getting to the party and I am thankful for that, as were we all. 
Also, the person we know who is on the jury for the trial that's happening now is, in all actuality, being paid by her employer for her time spent doing her civic duty. So she's fine. She was at the party and of course she could not say a thing but she she says that when it's all over, she can't wait to tell us everything. 
We can't wait to hear it all. 
If you are curious, there's a podcast about the case which involved a murder. You can read about that and find out how to access it here. 
Our friend never listened to the podcast although almost everyone else I know around here has. The murder occurred a few streets over from a house I used to live in. The house where Lily was born, in fact. 

Okay. Birthday week has officially and royally and completely and utterly been celebrated. 

I may do absolutely nothing tomorrow. 

That was a lot of adverbs. I apologize. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, September 27, 2019

Happy Birthday, Darling Lily!

You cannot buy a decent sprinkler these days but Mr. Moon brought this one home last night and I tried it out this morning and discovered that with the aid of a brick, it works beautifully! I had to break down and get some water on some of my plants or I was going to lose them. Of course all the horrible invasive plants don't need water, obviously, because they are fine. But my camellias and fire spike and bananas- they need water!
So one of the things I've done today is move the sprinkler around.

It has been one of the busiest days for me that I've had in a long time.
First of all, today is Lily AND Vergil's birthdays. And when Rachel sent out a group text asking if we wanted to meet up for a birthday lunch for the girl, I had to go. I wanted to go. So I drove in, stopped by Costco, got her some roses and was able to give her a kiss on her real birthday.
And normally I would write one of my florid The Day My Baby Was Born posts but I just don't have time today. I'll sum it all up by saying that it was a beautiful fall day in 1985 and she was born in her parent's bed, all ten pounds and two ounces of her and it was a difficult birth (no surprise!) but after she was born it was all pure glory.
She was the most gorgeous newborn you've ever seen.

Honestly, she was less than a week old in this picture. Her umbilical stump still had not fallen off. She looked like she was about to get up and walk on out to the yard and play.
I was so happy. Her daddy was so happy. Her grandparents were so happy. Her siblings were so happy. THE WORLD WAS HAPPY!
And here is one of my favorite pictures of Lily as an adult.

So I got to have lunch with that stunning woman and Maggie and Rachel and Hank and then I had to run by Publix and I'd already gotten my chicken taco filling cooking in the slow cooker and the laundry going so I came home and finished up the laundry, made the bed with fresh sheets, made the ground venison taco filling, made pickled cabbage and red onions, and started the chicken for our chicken and dumplings tonight. And wrapped birthday presents. 

An old friend from Tampa stopped by on her way to stay with friends in Tallahassee and it was so great to see her. She used to live with her granny and granddaddy when she was little and she loved them so much. Her granny died a few years ago at the age of 101 and Michelle misses her every day. She said that being in my kitchen and talking is like being in her granny's kitchen and talking, and nothing could make me happier than that. 

And, and, AND- August is here for the night! Hurray! Of course all I've had to do for him is make popcorn for he and his Boppy to eat while they watch TV. I've still got to get the rest of the chicken and dumplings going. Jessie advises me that it would be best if he was in bed by eight. 

Ooh boy. 

Because there's the party tomorrow!

So. Here I go, off to chop carrots and celery and mushrooms. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Ten Years Old, Y'all. How Can This Even Be?

This is what Owen looked like this morning when he woke up on his tenth birthday.
Ten years old.
Can you believe it?
Some of you have been visiting here that long. Or longer. You remember these pictures.

And the beautiful day they were taken. 
When my baby became a mother. When Owen made me a grandmother. When that which had begun so many years before when Mr. Moon looked at me with a twinkle in his eye became a sort of fulfillment which I never could have even imagined. 

Ten years since that day. And here he is, a very tall boy with his own life, his own style, his own needs and wants and abilities and talents and struggles and all of the stuff that makes us who we are. 

Here's more of what he looks like today. 

His mama went and had lunch with him at school today.
So did his sister.

Could there be a better big brother? 

He had a baseball game this evening and I actually went. Because it's his birthday. I am NOT a sports granny and I was not a sports mama. I admit it. I went to all of the kids sporting events but it was not, to be honest, my favorite part of being a mother. But because it's his birthday, I went to Owen's game. He did great and his team won 13-5 and I survived the heat and the...sports stuff. 
But ten years old! I had to be there today. 
And the team sang him Happy Birthday and Lily brought cupcakes for the team and Jason and Gibson worked in the concession stand and Maggie, who was practically raised at the ball park, played and bought her own hot dog and ran around and was happy and when I took her to the bathroom she asked me to take off my sunglasses, which I did, and she said, "Oh. Yes. You are the real Mermer."
The name her brother gave me. 

I find it very reassuring that my granddaughter makes absolutely sure that the person taking her to the restroom is indeed who they say they are. 

I swear to you- it never really occurred to me that I would live long enough to have a grandson, much less a ten-year old grandson. And yet, here we are. 

And because Gibson is a part of this sweetness too, even though it is not his birthday, I want to share this picture that Lily sent me. 
THIS is Gibson. 

Tomorrow is Lily's birthday. In just a few hours it will have been thirty-four years since I started labor with her. As with every laboring mother, there was truly only one thought on my mind- that this baby be safely born and the travail be over and I would hold him or her in my arms. The sweetest, most miraculous moment of life. 
At least for me. 
I never thought as those hours passed where I was convinced that it would never end, that labor was life, my life, as my baby and I both struggled and strained to bring her to this world, that one day I would be holding her child. 
And yet, that's exactly what happened. 

I birthed an amazing human that day and now she has given birth to three other amazing humans. I often say that birth is the most everyday pragmatic miracle there can be. I stand by those words. 
And I am so grateful, so stunned even now, to have been a part of that. 

Thank you, Lily and Jason. Thank you Owen. You absolutely completed the circle of so much. 
And I love you more than you will ever know unless there comes a day when you hold your first grandchild in your arms. I hope with all of my heart that you know that joy because it is a joy like none other. I want you to know you brought me that. 


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

And This Is Where We Are

I never watch the news. I just don't. But today when I heard that the barbecued intestine was going to have a press conference I determined that hell yes, I was going to watch the fucking thing. Every fucking moment of it.
And I did.
It was exactly as I had expected it would be. He rambled, he bragged, he jumped from Iran to the border wall. He repeated the lie about having mountain climbers (the best mountain climbers!) testing it and it was the best (the best!) at being unclimbable.
Has he not seen the videos of Mexican kids climbing the wall for fun?
He called the news media "fake" over and over again.
He called this newest whistle-blower report another witch hunt.
He claimed that "senators" had done the same thing he was being accused of but the difference is- he didn't do it!
He bragged some more. He listed all of the nations he'd had meetings with in the past three days at the UN Conference. He bragged about the fact that China wants to make a deal now but maybe, maybe not. He bragged about the economy. He bragged about jobs. He bragged about how great African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanic Americans are doing. He bragged over and over again about the 2016 election.
He insinuated that there are some "interesting things" about the whistle blower him- or herself. Does he even know who the whistle blower is? Who knows?
He was belligerent, and subdued at the same time. I think that for once he may actually realize that he's screwed the pooch.
You know what he did not mention? Not once?
The UN Climate Change Summit and the reports that came out of that. And to tell you the truth- this bullshit about Donald Trump will eventually be history but if we don't do something and do it fast, there isn't going to be anyone to read that history and no matter what we do, as Greta Thunberg said- Change is coming. 
Change is here.

Oh Jesus we are fucked.

As Trump kept ragging on about the economy and how great it is and blah, blah, blah all I could think about was Greta telling the World Leaders at the UN summit this week that all they talk about is money and economic growth. "How DARE you?!" she almost screamed at them.
Yes. How dare we?
And how dare Trump claim that all he cares about is the American people when it is quite clear that he doesn't care about the American people on any level whatsoever except that they vote for him in next year's election?

HAS he finally screwed the pooch? Well, I give that a little better odds than I do that he'd ever do anything about climate change except to ensure that it happens even faster.

On a personal level, I had a very nice day. I probably added to the carbon level handsomely. I drove to town again (but in my Prius, people!) to meet Lily and Jessie at the library to go to toddler story hour. I missed the part where they sang Happy Birthday to August and I'm so sad about that but Lily sent me a picture.

There he is, holding up four fingers to indicate how old he is about to be. 

After the library we went to Costco where we bought things for the Big Birthday Bonanza. 

The shopping was a fiesta in itself with some good samples and lots of cousin play. 

Lily had a small breakdown in front of the plastic cups because you can buy 240 of them at Costco for less than you can probably buy 40 at the regular grocery store but WHO NEEDS 240 PLASTIC CUPS? 
None of us. 
I told her I'd buy the plastic cups at Publix in a reasonable amount. 
And here you go- we are going to buy plastic cups because...they are easy. There they are! Already made and bagged up and priced to sell! 
And the planet dies. 
And then we went to lunch. Yes, all I do is go to lunch. It's true. 
How I wish that when I was a young mother I could have gone to lunch now and then. It would have been precious. And honestly- nothing in the world makes me any more happy than going to lunch with my babies. 
Maggie is going through an especially Mama-Love moment in time. She can't get enough of her mother. It's so beautiful. 

Her mama likes it too. 
And yet, she lets her Mer take her to the bathroom and when she got to ride in my car all the way to the restaurant which was approximately a five-hundred yard drive, she was so happy. 
"I so 'cited to ride in your car, Mer!" She is simply a very loving child. 

And in other big news, a very close friend of ours has been selected to be on the jury of a HUGE Tallahassee trial that has had nationwide attention. I can't and won't say anything more than that but this is crazy and weird and amazing all at once. The very big downside is that she's not going to be compensated for her time enough to pay her bills which is bad. Her employer only gives a certain number of paid days off and you only get fifteen dollars a day for jury duty and this case may have up to a month of testimony alone. 
But what a story she will have to tell. 

I gotta go cook supper. 

The next few months are going to be historical in many ways. The next few years are going to be possibly the most telling and important of human history and that is terrifying. 


Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Reasons To Live

I think the butterfly is a common buckeye but I could be wrong. It surely was intent on sipping as much nectar as possible from that zinnia.

I have had a day of it. "It" being the blues, the saddies, the downs, the fuck-this-shit's, and also a little of the anxiety thrown in for good measure. I always tell myself when I feel this way when I wake up that it'll pass and might even become one of the best days or at least a good one.
And sometimes that happens.
Sometimes it doesn't.
I had to go into Tallahassee to pick up a birthday present for Owen that I'd had shipped. I'd had it sent to the Target near FSU by mistake and so I drove down that way for the first time in forever. Every time I do that I think of myself in 1982, twenty-eight years old with two kids, a divorce behind me, in nursing school. I'd have to get my babies up so early and get them to the preschool way the hell out west of town and then get to my own classes by eight in the morning. It was not easy. And leaving my children was a sort of hell although they loved that school, for the most part, and now my brother has worked there for thirty years or something crazy like that. It's a sweet place. But it was still hard. Everything was hard. Enrolling in school, figuring out childcare, finding a house in town to move into, re-learning to take notes and how to study. Nursing school's no joke and the sciences you have to take are daunting. All of this and having to deal with my ex. We had separated and even divorced but we weren't yet entirely cut asunder. I felt so much guilt for breaking up our family and I don't know that he felt much guilt about his part in the situation but he missed having a family too. I know he did. I think he even missed me. But eventually we worked that out for good and forever and there are a few stories involved there that even now I can't write about. And if I thought that leaving Hank and May at their preschool was hard, letting them go off with their father for two nights a week truly almost killed me. I had been a 24/7 mama to both of them since birth and the nights they'd spent away from me were few and far between. But I knew that no matter what, my children needed to be a part of their father's lives and he needed to be a part of theirs. That was just the truth of it. I refused to do what had been done to me (probably out of necessity) and have their father removed entirely from their existence. To deal with the pain of separation though I had to completely shut down a part of myself when they went to their Dad's in order not to go completely insane. And trust me- I was close enough to the border of that country to be able to spit across the divide between with ease.
In fact, I was straddling the world of sane and in- pretty precariously as it was. As might be expected I went through a terrible bout of depression and I shudder to think about what would have happened if I had not had my children to be responsible to and for.
But it all worked out! I made the best friends in nursing school and we studied and we partied and I had other friends who were so close to me and when I met Mr. Moon he really did not know what to do with all of the women in my life. He went through a lot of testing. And there was no way I was going to shove my ladies out the door just because a man had come along.
I made it clear that they were there first and he got it and eventually he was accepted by all of them and even loved dearly by some of them.
I have to say it was probably harder for him to jump that hurdle than it was for him to gain the trust of the children. He was so down home about everything and didn't push himself as a daddy but his own father had told him that if he was falling in love with a woman with children he was going to have to fall in love with those children too and he did.
Hank and May have a dad and they have a daddy Glen and they love and are loved by both.
And I graduated from nursing school and walked to get my diploma married, and pregnant with Lily. I studied for my licensing exams with a huge belly and managed to pass.
Still, this was not the "and they lived happily ever after" part. It took years for me to work out some of my crazy. Years and counseling and a survivor group and way more patience and tolerance from my husband than any man should have to put up with.

So I guess being down by the university brought all of that back a little bit and I tried to buy a rug at Ross but when I got to the check-out line I knew I just could not deal with it and put the rug back and walked out the door.

And I haven't been good for shit the rest of the day and I swear, if this heat doesn't break soon, I will. Today it went from something like 64 degrees this morning to 96 degrees this afternoon. That's cruel.

I'm hoping tomorrow will be a better day. Lily and Jessie and I have talked about going to Monticello to see Terez and let the kids play in the library for awhile. I would like to do that. I actually met Lily and Jason and Maggie for lunch when I was in town and Maggie's kisses were everything. Grandchildren and their love can bring me back from the brink better than anything.

And I've sent a deposit for our anniversary lodging at the Cabana house in Roseland. So I have that to look forward to. This. I have this to look forward to.

We're talking about taking the little boat and using it to putter about on the Sebastian and Indian Rivers. There's a dock right there that the owner says we could tie up to. 

So that's all good. 
And tonight there will be sleep. 

How are YOU? 
I'd love to know. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, September 23, 2019

In Which I Face A Fear And Get A Gift Card

My favorite picture of the day. Lily and Jason and Maggie were at a lawyer's office (don't worry- it's all good stuff) and that's what our darling girl was up to. Or, down to. Or, under to.
I love those little legs. Those strong and sturdy little legs and I love the strong and sturdy girl they support so well.

Rachel called out a lunch for today and Jessie and the boys and Lily and Maggie and Hank and Rachel got to go. Me too. I hadn't left Lloyd since Friday so it was a good thing. I took a walk this morning and got a few chores done, took a shower, dressed and went to town. We met up at Jason's Deli where we all ate salad bar except for the kidlings. August and Levon ate pasta, supposedly. Mostly I think they ate crackers. And ice cream. Maggie loves the cream of broccoli soup there so she got a cup of that. And ate crackers. And ice cream.
As usual we ate leisurely and then we moved outside and talked for awhile. Here's Hank holding some babies.

August is fascinated by Uncle Hank these days. He always wants to see his tattoos. He also likes to go through my purse but that's mostly just because he's looking for mints and gum which grandmothers are required by law to keep in their pocketbooks. (Remember when they were pocketbooks?) We're also supposed to carry Kleenex in those little packages but I don't have any. Occasionally I'll grab a wad of unused napkins off a table and tuck those into my purse but I haven't yet reached the Kleenex stage. 

Anyway, Jessie and Lily needed to make a few plans for the Big Birthday Bonanza happening next Sunday so the rest of us went out to Hank's car and searched it for things the kids would like. It ended up well, despite the fact that the Hoarder's Delight box still hadn't been put back in. Levon got a little purple bear that squeaks when you mash it as well as a ping pong ball which especially thrilled him. Maggie chose a pad of paper that says, "Somebunny loves you" on each page with a picture of a rabbit. I gave her a little pack of crayons that we'd gotten in the restaurant that the kids hadn't used but that I'd put in my pocket and she was thrilled. August got one of those things you can hang around your neck to put an ID badge in. Hank put a quarter in it for him. This was indeed a major prize. So all the kids were thrilled but the mamas still weren't done so Hank gave August a plastic bag and instructed him to pick up trash on a little grassy area which August diligently did. He was into it. Hank comes up with the best things for kids to do. I think part of that is because he retains his sense of what childhood was like and besides that, he always came up with the best things for kids to do when he was a child. 
All of the kids wanted to hang out with Hank because he was the most fun. 
Guess what? All of the kids still want to hang out with Hank because he's still the most fun. Which explains a lot about why his trivia is so popular. He uses that imagination and intelligence he was born with along with his sense of fun and joy to make his living and I can't think of anything much cooler than that. 

And all of that was the main part of my day and then I ran errands, remembering when I was on the east side of town that I had something I had to pick up on the west side of town so had to backtrack and after all of that I went to Publix where...I got a flu shot. 

Getting flu shots as a child may have been what started my horrible fear of all things medical and they had to get three people to hold me down to give me one when I was a little girl. I have no idea why I was so very, very frightened but I was. So I have never gotten a flu shot as an adult, even though shots don't bother me at all any more. But last winter when everyone in the family got the flu except for the smart ones who got a flu shot, I decided that this year I was getting one. 
Fuck it. I'm not going through that shit again. 
And besides that- you can get one for free at Publix. And not only free but they GIVE you a $10.00 gift card! So not getting one is pretty stupid and today was going to be the day and I did it. I filled out all of the paperwork and had to wait for the pharmacist to give it to me and honestly- I barely felt it. It was a total non-event. 
Then they gave me my gift card and I did my shopping and of course I forgot to use my gift card but I've tucked it in my wallet by my debit card and I'll use it next time. It's not like I won't be going back to Publix. 
If this was a story my fear of medical stuff would now all be magically cured but this is not a story, it's real life and getting that shot didn't do a thing as far as I can tell to make me feel any better about going to a doctor. Just the thought still gives me shivers. 
But maybe I won't get the flu.
We shall see, won't we? 

Let's talk tomorrow.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Black Beans- Good! DT- Bad

Mr. Moon just got home a little while ago. He had a great time in Tennessee with his old friend and his family and I'm glad to have him home. He's going to get some of the black beans I made yesterday. I wanted a bowl and knew that by today they'd be even better. This is the recipe that I got from the New York Times cooking app and it's so good that it's worth the cost of the entire app. That's my opinion, anyway. I thought I'd posted the recipe but I can't seem to find where I did, if I did, which I probably didn't. The name of the recipe is Best Black Bean Soup and it just is. As always, I love to read the remarks left on the site of the recipe and of course lots of people wrote in about how THIS isn't how you make black bean soup but THIS is, and then proceed to give their own recipes but even though I have no problem with altering a recipe to suit your own taste, in this case I barely change a thing and wouldn't. It's just that good.
Here's what a bowl of it looked like before I ate it. A little messy but real.

I'd put chopped avocado and green onions and tomatoes on it with some balsamic vinegar and it was pretty much heaven. 
You may get firewalled but you may not. You can also try googling "Best Black Bean Soup" and see if that'll get you there. And of course, if you have the money and the inclination, the app is worth it, in my opinion. I get a lot of inspiration there. 

I don't know if yesterday's post got me all talked out or what but I'm not feeling very inspired today. I haven't had a lot of energy although I did get a few things done. The chickens have clean nests and the bed has clean sheets and I took everything out of the refrigerator and wiped it down and now it's all sparkly again. I still think of that refrigerator as brand new but it was getting sort of messy as refrigerators do. It ended up being a National Holiday for the chickens because I threw a lot of stuff out. Well, not that much but a lot for twelve chickens. They got many tasty treats like mozzarella that should have been eaten two weeks ago and crackers that have been lurking in a back corner that no one is ever going to eat. 
But chickens will! 
So they were happy little dinosaurs. I'll be glad when they stop molting and start laying again. I got exactly one egg today and it wasn't even in a nest but up on a little shelf where one of them sleeps. I could keep chickens for a hundred years and not understand exactly how they think. 

And so that's about it, I guess. Nothing new. Nothing exciting. Which is fine with me. 
I'd be jumping up and down with excitement over the fact that it would appear that Trump has finally done it this time, enlisting Ukraine to get him some dirt on Joe Biden but how many times has it looked as if finally, FINALLY the man will be brought down? And then wasn't? Wasn't it Reagan they used to call the Teflon president? Haha! Oh god, how I disliked him and thought him a bumbling fool and then George Bush came along and pushed the bar even lower and I thought that surely he was the worst president imaginable and now I almost look back on those days with nostalgia.
Not really. Well, sort of. 
After Trump got elected after saying what he said about grabbing women by the pussy I've just had to realize that I don't live in the country I thought I lived in and that lesson has been pounded into my head like John Henry pounded steel into rock over and over again. 
It's to the point that I can't even put it all on Trump. Let's face it- the man is obviously in the throes of dementia. He cannot construct a sentence that makes sense. And as they say, dementia just makes a person more of who they always were. That may or may not be true but with Trump it seems to be. A racist, sexist, narcissist. 
But supposedly there are people in the senate and house that do have their wits about them and why they're allowing this travesty of an administration to continue is beyond me. 

I'm done. I'm going to go stir the black beans I've got reheating on the stove. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, September 21, 2019

It's All A Sacred Space

Liberace and some of his ladies decided to hang out on the porch today and while they were there the rooster stood on a chair and opened his beak wide and crowed magnificently. He's a pretty bird but he doesn't have shit for tail feathers. He definitely did not get the gene for that. Right before that crowing, Darla got on the table and pecked at the almost invisible crumbs I'd left from eating my breakfast there. I've almost lived on the back porch today. It's been cool enough and I haven't had a whole lot of inspiration to get much done and some days are just like that.
I did some laundry and worked out in the yard for about an hour, mostly pulling rice paper plants which is an unpleasant thing to do because when disturbed they emit a sort of fine dust which you can actually feel in your mouth from breathing it in and after awhile you find yourself coughing from it and it doesn't feel like a good thing to be doing.
But what is the alternative?
The only one I can see is to hire someone else to do it and that doesn't seem fair. They're not hard to pull, especially the tiny ones which are mostly what I was pulling today but it's a pain in the ass and a cough in the throat and dust in the mouth and there are so many of them. I truly wish they'd never been planted here but I suppose that someone thought it was a good idea at one time.
Here's something I am so glad that grew in this yard. I doubt any human person planted it though.

It's the beautiful old oak in my front yard and you can't possibly get a scale of how huge it is. Anyone who could stand beside or under this tree and not feel that it's a sentient being is not someone I would purposefully hang out with. 
I've been having a conversation about spirituality, for lack of a better word, with an online friend of mine today. We differ in our feelings and beliefs but we are both old enough and both smart enough to know that we can differ and it's fine. And then a Facebook friend of mine whom I do know in real life posted about how different her and her husband's beliefs and practices are and how that's sometimes tricky to navigate but that they manage, and are able to appreciate the path that the other is on. They have very definite practices, each in their different ways and although I do not understand either, I respect that they have them. I believe they are sincere in their quests, in their attempts to make sense of the world and of life in their own more formalized ways. 
So I've been thinking about these things today and quite honestly, I do think about religion and spiritual practices quite frequently. Sometimes I even wish that I had a defined and satisfying spiritual life but I don't. I have actually tried throughout my life to adopt one or another but as I wrote to my friend, they never felt as if they fit. I felt as if I was playing a part or playing a game. 
I know I've told this story before but when I was quite young, perhaps around ten or eleven, I saw a televised Billy Graham revival thing. Whatever it was they called those huge productions with choirs and testimonies and preaching and wailing and gnashing of teeth and crying. Billy held on to the edges of his podium and tossed his golden forelock in the shining sun and proclaimed the power of JAEESUS and the healing that was possible if we would just take our cares to GOD and I tried that. This was when my stepfather was still abusing me and sometimes I would get down on my knees (which was painful- I had a woven rattan rug in my room instead of carpet) and prayed and prayed to Jesus and his holy father to make my stepfather quit coming into my room at night, to make our family happy, to let me enter into a state of grace and goodness. 
Well. Nothing happened. My heart did not open and Jesus did not make an appearance and my stepfather still kept coming into my room and my mother kept getting headaches and taking to her bed and weeping. 
So then I decided to read the Bible. This was when I was in Jr. High school so I was probably twelve? Thirteen? 
Reading the Bible in order to become inspired did not work for me. I read it. Cover to cover. Of course I didn't understand a lot of it. And the "begats" were boring as hell. There were some pretty juicy parts. But it all just seemed like a bunch of stories stuck together until the New Testament at which point the books kept disagreeing with each other and then came Revelations and who in the world could understand that shit? 
Even at my young age I could not and would not accept the veracity of any of it and that pretty much ended my Christian phase. 
We did go to church sometimes but none of the sermons touched me in the least. Looking back it was all so white bread and the only thing I liked about it was that we would go out to eat for lunch when it was over, usually at Morrison's Cafeteria and that was a real treat. 
Food over religion. It's always worked for me. 
When I got older I dipped my toe into Buddhism without knowing a thing about it. I really still don't understand much about it. I've tried but my pragmatism just keeps popping up to block my way down the path. New Age-y stuff drives me insane. The first time I ever attended a ceremony where the four spirits were conjured and evoked I could only think, "Fuck this shit. We're white people." 
I've been through a candle-burning phase, an altar-making phase, a sage-burning phase. 
And now I'm to the point where all of those make me feel like a pretender. 
Mopping a floor with Fabuloso and white vinegar is more effective as a spirit-chaser for me than burning sage. Or incense. I don't believe in Feng Shui although I do believe in arranging furniture so that you don't run into it and hurt yourself and I also believe that a tidy and uncluttered space leads to more serenity than a cluttered one. This is a bit of an untested theory in my house. 
I have also been through a Madonna phase. I have pictures of the Madonna all over my house. I inherited some of them as well as the love for the love of the images from my friend Sue. Even as I jumped in with both feet, I knew that it was more of a goddess/mother thing than a sacred thing. And of course the Virgin of Guadalupe is beloved as "La Reina de Mexico" so I glommed on to her in a big way. I still love my sweet little folk-art carved and painted version of her in my hallway 

but the other images of the Virgin I have hanging about have become more weary to me lately. Still, some of them are beautiful. 

This one was my Sue's. 

Here's a picture of a mother and child and a father, too, that I honestly cherish. 

May bought me that at a Goodwill and it means more to me than one would think. It reminds me that a mother's love for her child is deeply ingrained in our DNA and that's why we're still here. Of course the same is true for chickens and alligators and raccoons and possums and dolphins too. Which doesn't make that love one bit less miraculous or beautiful. 

It's pretty much all a fucking miracle, I think. I mean- here we are. We may not be here for a whole lot longer although this picture does give me some hope. 

And to tie things up, Hank just posted a picture on my timeline on Facebook that honestly makes me think that there are types of psychic (again- for lack of a better word) communication which exist which we do not understand as of yet but which are as real as ink on paper, as blood and as bones.
Here it is. 

I mean- he JUST posted it this minute. 

You can't make this shit up. 

I love you, Hank. And all of my babies. It may just be a trick of evolution to ensure the safety and protection and nurturing of future generations but it works for me. 
And yeah, chicken-love? Same thing. 
As I so often say- it's in our DNA. And chickens have done more for the human species than Jesus Christ. 
At least that's what I think. 
I could be wrong. 
I frequently am. 

Love...Ms. Moon