Sunday, May 31, 2020

No Title

Not much to report today from here in my bubble in Lloyd. Didn't even leave the property. Hank and Rachel came out and wore their masks the entire socially-distant visit and I appreciate that. Hank, because he's been not only in the hospital but in a doctor's office is being super careful about protecting others. We talked for a long time on the back porch. There's a lot to talk about. Hank and Rachel are both upset that they can't be present at the protests. They are both strong believers in showing up to represent. But it's just too dangerous for Hank now and Rachel can't afford to bring anything home. They are as upset as any of us. They are both the kind of people who see injustice and want to do something about it. I am proud of my children. They are all that way. But perhaps because of Hank being a part of the LGBTQ community, he has always been the most finely attuned to fighting for the rights of all. I remember when he first told me he was gay and I, being afraid for him, said, "I just don't want you to get hurt. You don't have to be too vocal about it," and he said, "I couldn't hide it if I was black."
My kids are my greatest teachers.

I don't know what else there is to say today. I can't watch videos of the violence. It makes me sick. I understand it and where it comes from but I cannot watch it. I did not watch the video of George Floyd's death, either. All I had to see was the picture of that cop with his knee on George Floyd's neck with his hands in his pockets to understand it all. It's just all so crazy. It's like the LA riots and Viet Nam war protests and Selma and all of it all together at the same time combined with a global pandemic. I have seen some strange times. I have witnessed hard things. I have been present at a time when things changed so much that it almost could have been called a revolution. It WAS a revolution. I have seen good changes and bad changes. I have seen a president murdered. I have seen a president shot. I have seen police set dogs on peaceful protesters and I have seen students killed while they were protesting.
All of this via television, of course. We ate our dinner watching Vietcong getting blown to bits, American soldiers coming home in body bags.
But I swear, these may be the craziest times I've ever seen.

Perhaps in a way for my brain to distract me, this morning I woke up thinking about my Granny and Granddaddy's house in Roseland and it occurred to me in my sleepy musings, that I could remember almost every thing in that house. Not everything, but specifically every thing. 
Of course I can't literally remember every item in their little cottage but I swear- I can remember so many of them. It's not that I have a great memory- I do not. It's just that they lived that simply. And they were not poor. They were in their retirement and after they died, my mother still inherited money from them, even after Granny had lived for years in a nursing home. My grandmother never worked and Granddaddy had one job his entire life and sent three kids to college but he saved. They had enough money to buy a good chunk of river-front land in Roseland and donate a part of it to have a community center built which is still there. But their own home and the homes of their friends were incredibly uncluttered and unpretentious. They just didn't keep things around that they didn't need, didn't want. Marie Kondo could have learned from them. They were, in their way, quite Zen. And so each thing in their house had purpose and meaning and I remember everything from the way the enamel cabinets and drawers in their kitchen sounded when they opened and closed to they magical way the little telephone notebook they had magically snapped open when you slid the lever down to the proper part of the alphabet. I remember Granny's hairbrush and comb on her dresser and the picture of her mother she kept there. May has that picture now. I remember the picture she had over her bed that my uncle had painted when he was a boy and which I feel sure my granddaddy made the frame for. It looks like his work, perfect and absolutely simple. I have that picture and it is in my own bedroom. I can remember Granny laying down to take her nap, her glasses with the horrible hearing aids in them laid on her bedside table, her tiny feet crossed at the ankles. She wore one of the three or four dresses that she wore daily, arranged straight as a pin on her small body as she lay on her back on top of her white bedspread, the oscillating fan on from across the room in the afternoon summer Florida heat. I remember Granddaddy's banjo clock on the wall, the rattan couch and chair in the tiny living room, the spices set on the back of the chimney bricks over the stove in the kitchen, the strange and wonderful porcelain piece on the mantel of a boy and a girl, somehow completely too fancy and out of place in this Florida cottage. I loved it.
My mind keeps going back there today, to Granny and Granddaddy's little house. It soothes me. It was the first house I was ever in that made me feel safe and yet, held mysteries and magic even in its small spaces. That porcelain statue, Granddaddy's card shuffler, the iron dog nutcracker that I would insert my finger into its mouth- the cracking part- and raise the tail which caused the mouth to clamp down to test my ability to withstand pain. The cabinet of books, one of which was a National Geographic book on early man which Granddaddy would look at with my brother and me, explaining the pictures as we turned the pages. My favorite picture was one of a group of almost naked men stabbing a mastodon to death. I could not study it endlessly, trying to suss out the agony of the animal, the determination and fear of the men.

Perhaps, like I said, I am thinking of these things as an alternative to thinking about the horrors.

I don't know.
I don't know shit.
I do know I am missing Roseland right now. Even though horrible things happened to me there the eternal beauty of the river and the trees and the plain simplicity of life and the unadorned and unspoken goodness of my grandparents somehow saved me even as it happened.

That's all I can say.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Hanging On, Part 403

That's a rather goofy picture of Maurice having a roll in the leaves in the shade of the tomato plants as I toiled away, weeding and mulching. She just does love to come hang out with me in the garden and I'm fairly certain it's because she likes to watch me sweat, to laugh at me silently, the way cats do. Now she's napping on the table where I'm sitting.

She's like a little ghost cat who is suddenly just there, occupying space that you could swear was empty. She seems to have mellowed a little bit in the past few months and hasn't drawn blood on either Mr. Moon or me. She is still strange, even for a cat. She will absolutely rub her head on us and beg to be scratched but when we try to please her by obeying her, her tail will twitch, twitch, twitch, which as all cat observers know, means irritation to say the least. 
She loves to sit on the big chair with Mr. Moon where I know she feels as safe as August does when he sits there. 
Oh, how I miss watching those two beloveds sitting together, watching TV, being content.

It's been a quiet day for me. I took the trash, went to the post office. I received my replacement driver's license and do not have to renew it until I am 73 years old. As Mr. Moon said, "They sure are optimistic, aren't they?"
Indeed they are. 

I started pinto beans this morning and I made a loaf of sourdough which is in the oven now. I picked a grocery bag full of green beans. I did that little bit of weeding and mulching. And I saw this. 

A zebra long-winged butterfly on a pink zinnia. Before I saw the butterfly, I saw its shadow on the ground where I was working. I looked up and there it was. 
I suppose that's a metaphor for something. 
When I was walking back to the house I stopped and looked up at the magnolia tree in our backyard. It truly is huge. 

I almost said, "my" magnolia tree but it was a very long time ago that I realized that humans cannot own trees. We can plant them, we can cut them down, but we cannot own them no matter where the property line is. The ground and the sky own them. They own themselves. They have their own lives to live and if we are lucky, we can share space with some of them while we live our own lives. 
That's what I think, anyway. 

One of the reasons I've wanted to be quiet today is that I heard from an old high school friend that her brother had died. He, too, was my friend and was in my class. He was one of those sweet, smart boys. Not a captain on the football team, big and blustering. He did not swagger in any way. He had crazy hair and glasses and he was shy but funny and one time, when I was in the hospital almost dying, he came to visit me and brought me an aviator's cap with sheepskin wool ear flaps that buckled under the chin and I have never forgotten that because it was so beautiful for him to come and give me that gift, so unique, so sweet. 
His whole family was the most grace-full family. I have spoken of them before. How the parents were what I would call "true" Christians, like Jimmy Carter. Never judging, always loving. I've spoken about how they gathered a bunch of us outcasts who had strange and what we'd now call "dysfunctional" families and told us that if any of us ever needed help in any way, to call on them and they would be there. 
And they would have. 
The last time I saw them was many years ago. I had dropped by their house to see if they were there and they pulled up right beside me in the driveway. As they got out of the car, the wife said, "Is that our Mary?" And they love-hugged me so. 
I'll never forget that. I cry when I think about it. 
And so of course their son was a good one. I keep saying "sweet" but dammit, he just was. 
A few months ago his sister had gotten in touch with me to tell me that he was very ill. She sent me his e-mail address and I wrote him and he wrote me back and I answered that but I never heard from him again. His sister told me that he'd really appreciated my e-mails but he was just too sick to respond again. That he was in a lot of pain. 
And now he's gone. 
All day I've thought of his merry eyes, shy beneath that great mushroom-banged hairstyle of his. 
Do you want to know a secret? 
I wish I had kissed him in high school. 
I don't think he would have minded that. I think I would be a better woman now if I had. 

David Teeter. His name was David Teeter. I'm glad he's at peace but I know his family is deeply grieving. One of his sisters, the one who's been in touch with me, is a poet. Her name is Alice Teeter. She posted this today on Facebook.

Added to the family of ghosts
who gather at the table
how is it possible this sunlight
fluttering the green leaves 
these birds chirping in the trees 
this white cloud billowing
high into this bluest sky this
cool breeze blowing across water
will no longer know him?

And all day as I've heard the birds and seen the green leaves I've thought of him and his family. 

And of course I've thought about people rioting and wondering why it's taken so long for people, descended from people owned by people who had no more qualms about saying they owned a person than a person would have qualms about saying they owned a tree, to take to the streets because they have exhausted all other recourse. I sat and watched a video that Trever Noah posted and if you have any questions at all about why this is happening right now, I suggest you watch it too. In fact, I think everyone should watch it. 

There were protesters in Tallahassee today, I hear. They started at FSU, marched to the capitol, and then to the police department. Someone (a white someone, of course) drove a truck through them as they marched. Amazingly, no one was killed and police had him in handcuffs and in custody as soon as the truck was stopped by the protesters who followed it, to ensure that the driver did not get away.
The dominos have truly begun to fall.

On top of everything the virus is still very much among us and I shudder to think of the people being exposed as they gather to protest. I guess that once the dominos start to fall, there is no stopping them.

I wish I prayed because I would pray for protection for all who are fighting for an end to the horrors of a very-not post-racial America.
But I don't.
So I guess here we are. History is being written, being made as we watch.
And like they chanted during the Viet Nam war protests, The Whole World is Watching!
Only now a million times more so.

Remember to look up, even as you look around you.

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, May 29, 2020

Magnolias, Martinis, Murder

My husband actually went in to his office at the credit union today which is his physical location for business. The lobby there isn't open yet so he felt pretty safe in his office. It was quite a shock to see him this morning in an ironed shirt and neat jeans, hair combed and looking all professional. He'd probably fall over from shock if he saw me dressed in anything but overalls or a wrinkled dress. I'm really not making much effort (none) to try and look decent these days. I do shower regularly, so there is that.

I spent the day doing housewifely stuff for the most part. I did take a walk and it was as humid and horrid and unpleasant as ever but it didn't seem to lay me out as badly as the other ones I've taken lately. No idea why.

I opened a jar of green beans I pickled yesterday. It was one of the jars with the cut trimmings in it and they're pretty okay. No one's going to demand I start selling them in bulk. But they're fit to eat.

I've swept some (and honestly, I'm thinking of getting in touch with an exorcist about the amount of dust that collects in our bedroom in a week because it seems highly unnatural and I suspect demonic forces) and washed the sheets because it's Friday and one must delineate the days of the week somehow. To be honest, I've spent a lot of time online reading about the horrors that are occurring daily in our country. I am incredibly relieved that the cop who killed George Floyd has been arrested on a murder charge although the charge was third degree, and not first or second. It's never going to be enough. Here in Tallahassee a transgendered black man was gunned down by police two days ago and although the circumstances were different, if he'd been white they would somehow have managed to take him alive instead of just going at him, guns blazing.
Shot in the back.
Remember Dylan Roof?
Anyway, what can I add to the general conversation?
Not one damn thing. 
If you're reading here and you're not outraged and if you don't understand why people are rioting then you're probably not in the right place.
No. You're definitely not in the right place.
I have so much to say about this that I wouldn't even know where to begin. Maybe I'll try tomorrow.
Or maybe I'll just shut my white girl mouth and do what I've been doing my whole life which is just to treat everyone with respect and kindness and to call out racism when I see it. See? Even that sounds so fucking entitled.
Well, let's not deny the fact that I am.

When Mr. Moon got home he handed me that magnolia blossom you see above. You have no idea how amazing it smells unless you are personally acquainted with the blossoms. I love the way the light shines through the thick petals. I am grateful to live in a place where these flowers abound this time of year. And even when they aren't blooming, the glossy, waxy leaves are things of beauty to behold.

He brought me a flower. I baked him a pie.

It's actually a cross between a pie and a cobbler. The topping is made of oats and almonds, sugar and butter. There are blueberries, blackberries, cherries, and apples in the filling. 

And as for delineating the days of the week, we know that martinis may be involved. 

He made the martinis, I made and shish-kabobed the pickled green bean tidbits. 

We work well together, Mr. Moon and I. 

Happy Friday, y'all. Or, you know- whatever passes for happy these days. The bar seems to be set lower and lower but then again, our ability to appreciate that which is good increases daily. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Summer Stuff

I've felt so much better today. And again- no idea why. It's not like Donald Trump isn't still alive and the president and the US is certainly not any healthier today in any way, shape or form than it was yesterday but perhaps my boat has just floated more lightly on the river of denial I seem to drift in. I remember that Kathleen used to say she carried around her own bucket of sand to stick her head in. I think of that frequently.

But I started out by going to the Post Office and sending a package to a friend and then I decided to walk my old, old route and I did. I checked on the old graveyard and it is still there, its occupants still resting peacefully in the shade under their headstones. This is a pretty old cemetery for Florida. I am always surprised that the grave markers are still readable. Some of them are over a hundred years old.

I do not know who cuts the grass and keeps things mostly in order. The most recent burial was in 2013 so it's still in use. 

I walked past Mabel's house. Some of you may remember her. She's about my age or a little older and is retired and has her own house at the top of a hill in a nice little neighborhood. She has told me stories about taking care of her younger siblings, picking cotton and blackberries through hot summers to help her family, working in their garden, feeding their animals. She's had a hard life and I think she loves her little home where she lives by herself. She never married or had kids and that's the way she wanted it. She was out in her yard which is her kingdom where she knows each leaf that falls, I swear. "Hey!" we said and I took my headphones out of my ears.
"You started back to walking?" she asked me.
"Oh, I've been walking, I've just been going different routes." 
She told me she'd broken her leg March a year ago and hasn't gotten back to exercising yet. She asked how my garden was and I told her that since the virus my husband has mostly taken it over and that it's beautiful. We both agreed that we like staying home and so the virus isn't affecting us as much as it does a lot of people. Before we really got into it all though, her phone rang and I said, "You take that. I'll see you soon," and she said, "Okay, good to see you," and I walked on. A few houses down, a guy was opening his gate to drive out of and said, "I see you walking all the way up in Leon County." 
"Yeah, well, sometimes," I said. I told him that if I get out and walk I can be lazy for the rest of the day and feel okay about it. He laughed. 
I like having the eyes of neighbor people on me. I like feeling recognized and known. It makes me feel like if I had a problem someone would stop and help me, just as I would stop and help someone if they needed it. 
Isn't this how heaven would be? We don't have to love or be best friends with everyone but we can recognize them and keep an eye out and help if needed. 

Speaking of which, my husband's been at our friend Tom's all day long, helping him weed his garden. Glen's that kind of friend. He just does what should be done. He knows that Tom can't get down on the ground to tend his garden the way a garden needs tending and so he planted his beans for him and now he's weeding them. He came home to get out of his wet clothes after he'd been rained on, and to eat his lunch. We went out into our garden and picked some more beans and admired the pretty roses and laughed/fussed at the chickens who were busily sticking their heads through the wire and beaking bites of bean leaves. 

Ellen! Those are yours! 

We laughed together and were easy together, the way you hope and imagine you'll be with someone you've been in love with forever and ever. 

After he left to go back to Tom's I got out the canning kettle and filled it up and boiled my jars and simmered my lids and made my brine for the bean pickles. I spent well over an hour trimming beans to the correct length to fit into the jars. 

I saved the trimmed bits and bobs, thinking I'd cook them for a meal but ended up processing them too to use in salads. Why not? 
Two gallons of beans filled seven pints plus the two with the snippings. I added a peeled clove of garlic to each jar after I'd filled them with beans, then dill seed, mustard seed, hot pepper and coriander seed. I put them back in the canner and probably processed them too long in the boiling water but this is all a learning experience. I think that all of my jars have sealed. The canner's delight is hearing that metallic pop. The sound of success as I always say. 

I still have enough beans left over to cook for supper. 

Mr. Moon's potato digging did not give us a huge bounty but they look lovely. 

I'm going to cook some of them for supper too. 

So it goes, so it goes. I got nothing to complain about. At least as long as I stay here in my own little bubble of Lloyd where there are too many of us to all know each others' names but too few to be complete assholes. We're all either related or neighbors and often both. 
One of these days we'll all be in the ground and it's important to keep that perspective. 

Meanwhile, I think I need to find out if the Wacissa is open for swimming and see if we can figure out a time to slip down there and dunk our sweaty bodies in the clear holy water. I'd say we could go at night when surely we'd be alone but alligators might mistake our arms and legs for something on their regular menu so, no. We won't be doing that. 
There are as many ways to die as there are to live but I'd just as soon not die by alligator. 
That's gotta hurt. 

Life in Florida.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Not So Happy

I didn't take a walk this morning and I didn't make pickled green beans today. I didn't do laundry and I didn't patch my husband's overalls. I didn't sweep or mop or dust or even clean out a drawer.

I did go to Publix and Costco. Of course everyone at Costco was wearing a mask as per instructions. I was ready and willing to buy something fun for myself there to cheer myself up. Retail therapy, so to speak. But I just wasn't feeling it. So I bought cucumbers and cheese and garbage bags and filled up my gas tank for the first time since last March.
Then I went to Publix where a lot of people were wearing masks but a lot weren't. People seemed to be very aware of social distancing though. Mostly. I didn't really have any emergency items to buy except for cat food which we are getting very low on. Or were. We have plenty now. Meow Mix was BOGO. I think I was again searching for some sort of a quick lick of a sweetness, a sense of the larders being full if nothing else.
Despite buying a lot of stuff, none of it brought me any pleasure. But I do have twelve new canning jars and more vinegar and spices for pickling and pumpkin seeds which are a time-honored remedy for worms in chickens and in children and a whole bunch of other stuff that I can't think of at the moment.
Guess you can't buy happiness after all.
Except at maybe a dispensary.

My husband is out in the garden, digging up potatoes. The sun is getting lower in the sky creating the golden light that movie makers make so much of. Jessie's new chickens are safely at home in their new coop. Lily is home with her brood. They had such a good time. Here are a few more pictures.

Fishing in the rain. Isn't that a pretty river?

Lauren's folks not only have goats and dogs, they have chickens too!

Magnolia doesn't know it yet but she comes from a long line of fisherwomen.
Here's a picture of Glen's mama and daddy and look who caught the big fish!

Paw-Paw doesn't look too happy about it either.
I love that picture.

In so many ways it all feels so normal, so fine. Plenty of food on the shelves. A garden full of beautiful things. Happy kids. Happy chickens.

And yet.

At least 100,000 people have died from covid 19 in the U.S.
People refuse to wear masks or practice social distancing because fools and bots tell them that the virus is a hoax and they have the right to believe it and act like it.
And the virus of racial hatred only seems to grow and thrive in the willing worst of our country, people not only refusing to see it as a threat but welcoming it, practicing it, and our fake president hasn't said a word about the latest two horrors, one a murder as sure as I am living, one a travesty of human decency, as far as I know.
Meanwhile he's threatening to shut down Twitter because they had the nasty audacity of fact-checking some of his tweets.
Fuck. Him.
Fuck racism. Fuck hatred. Fuck people who blithely believe what they want to believe even when it is so obviously unbelievable and so obviously dangerous. 

I honestly don't have anything else to say because I've about given up hope for humanity. At least this country's portion of it.

Prove me wrong. As they say. I sure wish someone could.

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

How We Deal

I've been as cheerful today as a bluebird or, well, maybe a slightly bitchy mockingbird but all-in-all, it's been a much better day. I only walked three miles this morning which probably made a big difference. The air was so full of water that it was almost raining- spitting down tiny eyelashes of drops, not enough to wet the ground but enough to create a humidity situation that was almost unbearable when combined with the heat.
I took a shower as soon as I got home and that helped. Jessie called to see if she could come out with the boys. She's going a little crazy trying to keep them happy at the house and she was ready to pick out the chickens she wants to take home. Mr. Moon and I are going to have to get them on the roost while they're sleepy and docile and keep them overnight in a dog kennel to take to her. Catching chickens is not something I want to do when they're fully awake and aware. Those little birds can run fast and, as I always say- they can fly if they want to. Plus, it traumatizes them so best to just pick them up at night while they're drowsing.
I made chili and it's been simmering for most of the day. I picked another gallon of green beans and looked up recipes for dilly beans. I located some canning jars and I think I have enough spices in the freezer and vinegar in the cabinet to make getting the canning kettle out worthwhile. My goal for tomorrow is to make those.

And then Jessie and the boys arrived and Holy Mother, I have sinned. I let them come in the house. Okay, I asked them to come in the house. And I let the boys play in the Glen Den and we interacted and I read books to August. Oh hell, we even-pretend talked on the phone to Boppy on one of the old plug-in phones that I keep around in case of power outages. The same phone.
I'm about as successful at keeping socially distant from the kids now as I was at the age of seventeen at not having sex with my boyfriend.
That's not just a funny thing to say, either. It feels that powerful. Remember what it was like to ache with longing for what we'd been told over and over and over again was evil and dangerous? It's like that, except not evil and somehow, even when we were teenagers we knew that sex wasn't evil if it was with someone we loved or thought we loved and it was consensual. So very, very consensual.
But yes, it was dangerous, especially in those times when contraception was hard to get although I doubt that it's exactly easy now.
And I know that being this close to anyone can be dangerous but I ache and I long to let them come to me and ask me to help put a toy together, to get closer and closer on the couch as I read a book to them.

August's haircut is very short and he has those Audrey Hepburn eyes now.

Jessie cut Levon's hair and it's a more normal cut. Shorter, but not quite so shocking. 

So we did all of those things and August wanted to play a CD so I let him. He picked out his mama's band's CD which is his favorite. He showed me his dance moves which mostly involve running up and down the hall and doing fawn-like leaps and fancy kicks. While he was doing that, Levon was outside with Jessie, picking out which chickens she wants and pulling the old rusted, busted wagon around. 

When it was time for them to go I gave Jessie some of my chili and also some sourdough starter. I showed her how to feed it. She had brought me a prescription that needed picking up and also some beer. Pandemic trades. Actually, I still owe her. 

It has been raining on and off all day. It's sprinkling now but with constancy. The frogs are singing in joyful celebration, the garden is sucking up what it needs. 

Beloved Grady Doctor has just posted for the first time in a long time. I think we all need to hear what she has to say. Go HERE.

Y'all be safe. As safe as you can. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, May 25, 2020

Little Miss Saddie

I am having one of those days.
I woke up in it and it's hung around me like a formless dress of gray and dusty cobwebs all day long. I forced myself to go walk. Two miles to Still Creek, turn around, two miles back. I asked No Man Lord how he was doing but it was one of those days when he did not feel like talking to me, I suppose. I saw two cardinals chasing a blue jay and I saw that gardenia. I wanted so to pluck it but I always feel like someone is probably watching me from a window, peering out from between curtains just waiting for me to purloin one of their posies.
It smelled like gardenias smell which is something I am not sufficiently able to describe. One cannot compare it to anything because there is nothing that smells like gardenias except for the flowers themselves but there is a certain hotness to it. A heat of a scent and that sweetness, too.
I can't describe it.

I came home and there were a few things that I really needed to do, the main one being to clean the nests in the hen house and give them fresh straw. It took me until after two to finally get to that. Having twenty-three chickens roosting in a hen house is vastly different than having six chickens roost in a hen house in terms of the amount of poop which collects nightly. So I filled up the yard cart with the old straw and the poop and I laid it between a row of potatoes and field peas in the garden. That done I was completely exhausted. I did do two loads of laundry but when I put one in the drier I forgot to turn it on and when I put a load of whites in the washer I forgot to set it to "whites." When I started the dishwasher I thought that if the little red light came on telling me to add rinse aid I would probably cry and when I was watering the porch plants and the hose got caught on a palm frond and I had to walk ALL THE WAY AROUND THE END OF THE PORCH to free it, it might as well have been a journey across three continents. I worked on a crossword for hours and when I say "worked" I mean that I sat and stared at it and ran through the alphabet in my head over and over trying out letters in squares to figure out words and then wondered if perhaps there were other letters I was forgetting because none of the usual twenty-six was working.

One of the things that's truly upsetting me right now is this whole let's-get-back-to-normal attitude. Not one fucking thing has changed as to the number of new covid cases daily and weekly. They are still increasing and so is the death rate. There is no vaccine yet, there is no treatment, there is no herd immunity. We, as a country, seem to have simply accepted the fact that sacrifices must be made and they will be made by the older people, the people with medical issues, people with disabilities, and of course- people of color.
Ah well. Who cares? We want to go to the beach and out to eat and to church and to go drink in bars and to get our hair cut and to get our nails done and it is our right, our right, our right to do all of these things without masks because masks inhibit our freedom.
Funny how the same people who insist that they need their loaded guns in order to protect themselves and others are the same ones who insist that wearing masks is a threat to their liberty.
Some days I am just sick of humans, myself included of course.

On a much lighter note, Lily and Lauren and the kids are having what looks to be an amazing time at Lauren's parents house. We've been getting pictures all day of them having so much fun.

And there have been golf cart rides and there's a river and of course all of the animals which I haven't even seen pictures of yet. The general consensus is that none of the children will be coming home. I mean- who would want to leave that wonderland of a pool? I am so glad they are having fun. 

Jessie and Vergil gave the boys haircuts today. Here's the picture I got of August. 

The Pandemic Summer haircut for four-year old boys. 

I just saw on FB that a six-year old child has tested positive for covid in Leon County which is Tallahassee. 

Tomorrow will be a better day. And it has rained again. And I have picked beautiful greens for a salad. 

Oh- have any of y'all watched "Hollywood" on Netflix? It's sort of strange and wonderful. Or at least that's what I thought.

And somehow this past week I missed the fact that it was the thirteenth anniversary of this blog. I have published 7844 posts. 
One day at a time. Hank, what did you think you were doing when you told me to start a blog? 

Good Lord. 

I sure do love y'all...Ms. Moon

Sunday, May 24, 2020

A Most Special Day

I'm such a space queen. May and Michael came out today for such a sweet visit and you know what? I forgot to take a picture. I thought about it so many times but we were just chatting and chatting and chatting and so I'd think, "Later," and then when they were driving off I remembered again but it was too late and I'm so sorry. May looked so beautiful today. Well, she always does but today she was wearing a pretty dress and red shoes and I gave her a little rose that she tucked into her beautiful hair and dammit, I wanted to take her picture.
But here's a picture of her and Maggie from a while back and it's sweet, two beauties for the price of one.


Of all the holidays it is my children's birthdays that are the ones that get me in the heart the strongest. Their births were, without a doubt, the most powerful and formative events of my life. I know I have forgotten many of the details of all of them but it's not just a matter of recalling those details, it's visceral memory that rests within my very bones and heart muscle that I recall. I don't know if this is true for all women. I suspect it is for many. But when a woman is allowed and able to birth without the aid of drugs or medical procedures in her own home she learns more about herself and her body and its strength and the strength of all women's bodies than she could possibly learn any other way. And the feeling of relief and joy and love that overcomes us when our babies are born- that second- is something we can never forget.
I will be that old lady in the nursing home happily holding a baby doll and I know it and I don't care.
And forty-two years ago today May was my baby. I've written before about how during my entire pregnancy with her I was so ashamed and so afraid because I knew without a doubt that there was no way I could love another baby as much as I loved my baby Hank who was, at the time, just a few weeks shy of being two-years old.
I could not discuss this with anyone. I could not admit this fear to anyone. I just couldn't.
And then...the second she was born, I learned more about the human heart's capacity for love than I ever could have imagined.
Thank you, my darling girl for teaching me that we can never have a finite amount of love which has to be shared. Each baby brings all of the love in the universe with her. Or him.
And all we have to do is open our arms. Our hearts have already been exploded with that love.

It's amazing.

So this morning I got up and I made pancakes because I had half a leftover sweet potato and half a leftover banana and all of those blueberries and you can't let things like that go to waste. And after we ate I made two pies. One for May and a smaller one for us. They are lime/lemon/mango meringue pies with graham cracker crusts and I hope they are good. The mango is from puree that I've had frozen for a very long time that I'd made from Roseland mangos. I wasn't sure if it would still be good but yesterday I thawed it out and then drained the puree into a bowl, letting the sweet juice of it collect and I sipped some of it and it was the elixir of heaven and I knew the puree would be too.

After the pies were made I started in on the shrimp flautas I wanted to make for her and Michael to take home with them. I thawed shrimp and peeled it and cleaned it and cut it up and coated it with some olive oil and spices and peppers and garlic and then sauteed it quickly in a little butter and then made the thick sauce that it would go into. I folded the cooked shrimp into that and then rolled tortillas around it and fried them, then made the avocado sauce that goes over them.
It's an old, old recipe that a friend gave me when we were living on the property where May was born.
So the recipe is completely "inauthentic" in all ways. But hell, it's a good one and although I've always made it with chicken before, May doesn't eat chicken but does eat shrimp and so I changed it up a bit.

And then she and Michael got here after visiting her other parents and we walked around the garden and picked another gallon of green beans and visited the chickens and I gave May the dress I ordered her, a sort of dream dress of the softest floating white cotton. We sat on the porch and talked and talked and laughed and I was so happy to have her here. It's so funny how we have such completely different relationships with all of our kids, each special in its own way, and in so many ways, May and I are very much alike. I've often said that between the two of us, one of us is redundant but of course that's not really true although I think we do read each other's minds.
Is there anything better than being such good friends with our adult children?
If there is, I don't know about it.
And she brought me flowers.
Lord, I am a lucky mama.

We packed up green beans and squash and eggs and some blueberries for them to take home and I almost forgot to give her the flautas. I swear. I just remembered that I DID forget to give her a few books I wanted to pass on. But I pleaded with her to pick out a purse from my rack of many, many purses to take home with her. She's been carrying the same bag I found at a Goodwill about eight years ago and I thought she might be ready to try a new one. And she found a lovely red backpack purse that will hold anything and everything.
I asked if she wanted to take home some chickens but she didn't.

My only sadness is that we could not hug. My arms literally ache from the lack of holding my daughter close to me. While I was looking back through my pictures to find one of May to post, I could not believe the wealth we had just so short a time ago of being able to hold each other. The grandchildren hugging us, us hugging them, they hugging and kissing each other.
Well, at least we can still use words. At least we can still see each other. At least we are still here to do these things.
And we will never, not EVER, take those things for granted.

I can't wait until we can all give each other huge, strong, smushing-you-with-my-love, rib-bruising hugs. 

Like that. 
Billy hugs. May hugs. All-of-us hugs. 

Happy birthday, May. I love you so much. 
Thank you for coming to see me. Thank you for coming to be my daughter all those years ago. As Ziggy told you once, "You sure have grown up good."
He should see you now. 

Love...Your mama

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Funky But Good. Funky AND Good

Here is La Sirena, or perhaps we should call her La Sirenita. The Little Mermaid. She has recently learned to swim in her other grandmother's swimming pool and as you can see, she is brown as a little toasted marshmallow. I'd say brown as a berry but I've never in my life seen a brown berry.
Lily brought the kids over for a visit today and although it was hot we had a good time. At least Mermer did. As soon as they arrived, Magnolia raced for the hen house to find eggs and she did. A brown and a green which she presented to me. Then, of course, she wanted to hold a chick. She did her best to catch Fancy Pants but could not and finally Lily went and did it and all three of the kids got to hold the little roo.

Maggie adores animals. I mean, she is crazy about them. They brought Pepper with them as usual and for awhile we chatted in the front yard with my across-the-street neighbor who had her one-year old doggie, Stella, out for a walk. Maggie could not keep her hands off of Stella who is a most rambunctious dog. She patted her and she let Stella kiss her with puppy-tongued wild enthusiasm. 
"She kissed me right here!" Maggie cried, showing me the space between her lips and nose. Then she dove back for more kisses. Maggie, hands on hips, asked Linda many, many questions. When Linda pointed out her husband, Paul, sitting on the porch across the street, Maggie asked, "Is he your daddy?" 
"No," said Linda. He is my husband. 
"Is he Stella's daddy?" 
"Yes. He is."
And so forth up to and including asking if Linda has a daddy and a mommy. A lot of information was exchanged. 

Lily had brought me a few things I needed from Publix. Tomorrow, for May's birthday, I am making a batch of to-go shrimp flautas. She and Michael are coming out and I needed a few ingredients for those. I gave Lily some eggs and wanted to give her squash and green beans but she and the kids are going out of town on Monday to visit Lauren's parents. This is hugely exciting because they have not only a pool but also six dogs AND some goats who have a barn with a TV in it for their watching pleasure. 
I am not kidding. 
You can only imagine how spoiled the children will be if they have a TV for their goats. 
And to put the cherry on top of the cowgirl, they have bunny rabbits!!!!
Jump back, Jack. Life is good for the Hartmann kids. Maggie will probably move in with them. 

Here's my Gibson. The heat affects him more than the others and also, bugs adore him. They always have. Whatever it is that attracts biting insects to humans, that boy has it in spades. Plus, the bites always cause a bad reaction. So being outside in the summer is not his favorite thing. But he was a trouper. 

So that was fun for all of us except possibly Gibson. Lily and Owen took a tour of our garden. Lily has just started growing some vegetables and she wants a big garden now. Hank and Rachel want a little garden at their new place and May has a very small patch in the sunniest part of her city yard. Of course Jessie and Vergil have replaced most of their lawn with raised beds and designated garden spots with fruit trees too. I love the fact that my babies are growing good things to eat. It's a nice feeling to know that they have an interest in something I've done all of their lives. 

I know I've posted this picture before but this was me, probably about the age of twenty-four, barefoot in my garden when we lived about ten miles from here. 

The picture has faded but I have too and I am glad I have it to remind me of my hippie days although truthfully, I'll always be in my hippie days. It was in a trailer on that same property that May was born and because my labors were always so long and protracted, by this time of the day, forty-two years ago, I had already been in labor all day and that sweet bebe wasn't born until the sun came up the next day. 
She was worth the wait. 
And I remember making supper the night she was born (yes I did!) and we had peas and potatoes from our garden with a cream sauce. One of the happiest days of my life. 

And here I am, an old hippie woman who still loves her garden and who still loves babies although even her grandbabies are growing up. 
After Lily and the kids left, I had a leisurely afternoon. My biggest accomplishment was filing my nails. I swear, they grow with preternatural swiftness. 

I also discovered that either Liberace, Darla or Dottie has worms. 
I suspect Liberace although all three of them were on the porch where I found the wormy poop. 
Guess it's time to buy some worm treatment. After a little research I have discovered that worms are quite common in chickens and are rarely much of a problem but for safety's sake (and the sake of my mental health) I need to take care of this problem. A lot of people worm their chickens twice yearly just because it's so common and I suppose I should start doing that myself. 

So that's the news from Lloyd tonight. I've already chopped all the vegetables to make a fine baked chicken and rice dinner. We had a short but good rain and so we don't have to water the garden and the birds are singing their evening songs and I imagine that soon the frogs will gather for choral practice. 
For a moment at least, I feel like this is as good as it gets in a life. My sack of blessings feels extremely full in my arms and I am strong enough to hold them. 

Be well, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, May 22, 2020

A Not-Humble Brag For Myself And An Even Bigger One For Our Rachel

All right. I have to tell you that that focaccia/pizza rustica/whatever you want to call it, was one of the best things I ever made. After it was baked I dressed all of those tiny arugula leaves that I patiently stripped from a plant many people would have pulled up long ago with a tiny bit of olive oil and balsamic, salt and pepper and we ate that on top of the pie-without-a-name and had bowls of squash soup and it was pretty much heavenly.
Do I miss going out to eat with my kids and grandkids?
Yes. Of course. Because of the social aspect, because it's fun to see everyone. But not for the food. I'll tell you the truth- I don't think I brag about much. I admit that my housekeeping skills are a bit of a joke, that my husband is obviously a much better gardener than I am, that as a chicken-tender I could definitely keep things cleaner for the birds, as a seamstress I'm subpar. But when it comes to cooking, I can do it.
And last night I really did it.

I may have discussed this before (what? twenty, thirty times?) but sexing young chickens is a fool's errand. I'm not about to stick my finger up anything so I just judge on looks and I don't claim to be an expert but this morning I got a picture of a youngster that I'm fairly certain is going to crow eventually.

I love the way the sun is shining through his little comb and wattle. He's a very handsome guy. 
I think. 
Combs and wattles do vary as to size and even presence according to breed and I don't know enough about chicken breeds to testify to anything but I do believe he's a man bird. 

So this morning I was in a horrible, down mood. Tears spilled without prompt. I'd had so many ridiculous and disturbing dreams and they were hard to shake and I just did not feel good. Jessie and Lauren were planning on taking all the kids blueberry picking at a local farm and had invited me and I really thought I wouldn't go. It was already so hot and humid and honestly, berry picking in Florida is a special sort of hell. But after I got the sheets on the line and the chickens all taken care of I decided that I'd join them. Lily was at work but sweet Lauren, being a trouper, agreed to take that brood. I met them at the farm after a beautiful drive a few miles north of here. Everything is so very green right now and the road the farm is on is a canopy road with giant oaks bending towards each other over it. I'd never been to this place before and it's pretty cool. They've moved three old farmhouses out to the property that I would gladly live in. They are fairly primitive but beautiful in their unpainted, chinked log walls. I have no idea if they do anything with those tin-roofed, graciously-porched old beauties but I'd live in one. 

I met up with my sweeties and it was hot. Hot AND humid. But we started out cheerfully enough. The bushes are in full sun, of course, and I'd forgotten my hat and the bushes were absolutely NOT filled with berries. We found some as big as marbles, but they were few and far between. Even the little ones were sparse. We trudged from field to field, from row to row and thankfully, before I admitted defeat, Maggie and Gibson and Levon put their little feet down and said, "That's enough. 

The little man was just exhausted. 

Maggie needed water. 

Resting in the shade. 

We probably didn't pick for half an hour and between all of us, I doubt we got a pound of berries. But it was fun, talking to August and Owen as we walked between the rows. August wants to be as big and as cool as Cousin Owen so bad. He wants to impress him. And Owen is sweet with him. We were talking about what time we get up in the morning and Owen said, "I sleep until ten o'clock!" 
I said, "I'm pretty lazy. I sleep until about 8:30." 
And August said, "I sleep until 31."
"Wow!" I said. And Owen didn't point out that thirty-one is not a time and he calls August "dude" which makes August feel like a man, and it's something that I love to witness. 
On our walk back to the parking lot, Levon and Maggie had a long conversation and it was precious to see and hear them just talking away. Such sweeties. 

But we didn't walk back to the cars empty-handed. Turns out that you can buy pre-picked berries for the same price as the ones you pick which is truly ridiculous. People are paying for the privilege of sweating their asses off and I get that it's a grand experience for children and people who are thrilled at the idea of harvesting something right off a living bush but really? 
Yeah. I'll take three pounds. Here's fifteen dollars. Thank you very much. 
They're really not that cheap but they are good. 
August asked me what I was going to do with my berries and I told him I wasn't sure. I think I'm going to give Hank and Rachel some and maybe make a pie. Sounds good, right? 
And speaking of Rachel- she's been accepted into the FSU Master's program for social work! We are all so proud of her. She's just amazing. That's a line of education I had considered at one time. The counselor who saved my life had an MSW and it was something that I probably could have gone on and done with my BS in nursing behind me but I never did. I don't know that I regret that but it sure makes me happy to see Rachel going for her own dream. 
She's a very, very strong woman and our family is so lucky that she's part of it. 

And that was my day. I also made Lily another mask and put the clean sheets on the bed and I've got a nice little chicken (not my own, of course) in the oven with stuffing and everything. I'll put some potatoes and carrots from the garden in with it along with some garlic and onions in a little while. My husband is home from working hard all day at the duplex. It's getting close to being finished. Mr. Moon posted this picture on our thread after Rachel made her announcement today:

His text said, "Rachel your office and study room is ready for the floor."
Such a good daddy. Such a good man. 

And so somehow during this day my mood has lightened, my spirits have risen. 

One more picture. 

This was taken on the road I drove home on. The orange clay is so very much a part of north Florida, just as it is of southern Georgia because borders are so random and do not reflect geology but rather man-made constructs. 
Not unlike time which we think we have harnessed with phones and watches and nuclear clocks while my chickens go to bed at the same time every evening although it is only the same time in their estimation which I think is probably the truest one. 
Perhaps they go to bed at 31. I would not be surprised. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, May 21, 2020

A Quiet Day Full Of Thoughts

If I don't start getting up earlier to walk I'm going to die. It's just insane not to get out before the heat becomes something that physically bears down on me, with humidity percents matching the temperature. It wasn't even that horribly hot this morning when I finally stepped out of the house, my walking stick in my hand, my earbuds plugged in, my sweat rag in my pocket. But yesterday's and last night's glorious rain had caused the street and the ground to steam and it was not a pleasant experience. I cannot say I enjoyed it at all. I jokingly say that I need to walk to satisfy my need to suffer but there is a line. I also say that I walk because if I can still do it, I'm probably not dying but Jesus Christ, wouldn't it be ironic if I died walking?

Ah well. I did not die today.

I picked even more green beans than I picked two days ago. I picked more squash. I admired the many, many green tomatoes on the vines and hoped that they will ripen without being ruined by pest or pestilence. I ironed while I watched A Secret Love on Netflix. I cried as I ironed. I've got dough for focaccia rising and I picked as many leaves of arugula off one of the spent plants as I could to top it with along with mozzarella and cherry tomatoes.

I have thought about my mother a lot.

I'm going to make more squash soup and I need to get to it.

Here's a song for you that musicians in the Gainesville area made. Lon and Lis are in it. It is beautiful.

Often, after I see Lis and Lon play, I will tell Lis, "I can't talk to you," because I am so overwhelmed by their music. One minute Lis and I are giggling about the silliest of things and making supper together and drinking martinis together and the next, she is onstage and doing something I could never imagine being able to do.

I feel like I can't talk to her after watching this video.

I am humbled by the entire thing.

See you tomorrow. And on the other side.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, May 20, 2020


From Treaders today at Random Thoughts. 


So Am I A Teletubby Now?

Today was odd and anxiety producing but it was also good in that I got some things done that I've been putting off and it has rained and is still raining and the ground is licking its lips as its thirst is slaked.

Yesterday I had called my compounding pharmacy to get a refill on my bio-identical hormones, knowing that they would have to call the doctor and they did have to call the doctor and then the doctor's office called me to tell me that it has been quite awhile since I've been in which is true and because of the law and hormones, they really had to see me.
Well. I told them that I'd been self-isolating and couldn't even HUG MY GRANDCHILDREN and they said they understood and I could do a televisit.
Would 11:45 today be okay?
Of course my schedule was wide open and so I agreed and I was a bit unsure how a televisit from your GYN would work. I mean- there's an app for everything, right? But breast exam? To check a cervix? To palpate a uterus?
Of course not.
First I had to agonize about where to sit for this televisit and then about whether or not this was GOING TO WORK and it didn't seem to be working on my phone so I switched to my laptop at the last moment meaning that my background was a stuffed tarpon that a friend of ours gave us after he found it in the garage of a house he bought instead of my dreamy library.
But it worked and the doctor was very, very nice and we just chatted and he does want me to get a few tests to make sure that the hormones aren't killing me which I suppose is understandable but he's not insisting that I do it "yesterday" as he said but I did have to set up one appointment for a test that I will not name for the sake of delicacy, although I will say that it is a delicate test.
And I ain't talking mammogram here although I'm supposed to get one of those too.
My appointment is for the end of August so I don't have to worry for awhile.
But all of that was a bit much for me, the girl who has to take Ativan to do anything medically related, sometimes even if it's not about her but someone she loves. Or maybe just read about online.
And since I'd accomplished all of that I decided to go ahead and do two clerical type chores I've been putting off, one of which was to get that copy of a marriage certificate in an envelope with all the necessary information to mail to Social Security and the other was to renew my driver's license online.
I did both.
I am exhausted.

Beyond that I've done a little laundry, planted some arugula in the rain, swept a tiny bit and completed two crosswords.
I was going to do some ironing. Mr. Moon does not have one ironed shirt in the entire closet that doesn't have long sleeves and although he surely hasn't needed one lately, who knows when an emergency will arise which will require him to wear something other than a pair of overalls with a tear in the butt and a ragged shirt with holes in it?
But just as I was about to go set up the ironing board, my oldest continual friend called me from Maryland and we chatted for a good long while which was extremely cheering. She was my best friend from about the 6th grade when we were in the same Girl Scout troupe which was a wonderful troupe that camped a lot and did many fun things. Our friendship continued throughout high school, as did our Girl Scout activities. We spent one summer together being counselors-in-training at Camp Juliette Low which I believe was in North Carolina and if we hadn't already been the best of friends we would have been after that. We were in the same cabin which once got struck by lightening and although no one died, we were almost scared to death. Most of the other CIT's had been attending the camp since they were unripe eggs in their mother's ovaries but this was Laney's and my first summer so we had a lot of catching up to do. As anyone who has attended summer camp knows, there are a myriad of seemingly mysterious rituals and activities which for some reason endear the campers and keep 'em coming back every year. So we had to catch up on everything from the lingo to where the commissary was to the songs to the specialty of the dining hall, which, as I recall, mostly involved white bread set out at all the tables along with lemons slices and bowls of peanut butter and of sugar. With these ingredients, you could make a "Juliette Low Special" which was the bread with peanut butter spread on it, then liberally doused with lemon juice and then sprinkled with sugar. Or perhaps the sugar went on before the lemon juice.
Yum! Yum!
As much as food plays a part in my memory, this is the ONLY thing I remember eating at Camp Juliette Low.
So my friend and I did not not discuss camp or Girl Scouts today or even old boyfriends or high school but we did discuss our husbands, our children and grandchildren, and our mothers.
I am so grateful to have a friend like that. Who knew me back when I was barely more than an unripe egg in my mother's uterus. Or at least when I was an unripe adolescent in my mother's home.

I've been dreaming about my mother and my stepfather almost every night. I'm truly getting sick of this. It's fucking disturbing to tell the truth. I spend most of the dreams yelling at my stepfather to get away from me, not to touch me, etc.
And also cleaning up their house which, as so many of my dreams do, involves garbage bags.
So, so, SO many garbage bags.
Is that as obvious as I think it is?

Perhaps I need a televisit with a counselor. Every podcast I listen to has an online counseling service as a sponsor. I suppose I am not the only one with problems these days. Not that the coronavirus situation has anything to do with the dreams about my mother, stepfather, and garbage bags.

It's still raining a bit and thunder is rumbling like god's tummy in the next room.

I put my duck back in its bag today and tucked it away in a closet and put my cashmere in a different bag and then in a different closet.

Time moves on. So do we.

Love...Ms. Moon