Monday, November 30, 2020

Plant Day


Hare's Foot Fern

I never realize how big my plants have grown over the summer until I bring them into the house before the first freeze. Of course I don't bring them all in. Not by a long shot. Some of them are just way too monstrous for me to haul inside and I don't know what I'd do with them if I did. The room we used to use for that purpose is now the laundry room and although I actually have a few in there now as well as the rooting nursery and babies-in-pots daycare, there isn't room for nearly as many as there used to be. So I brought in what I could, what I could find room for, and covered up the rest with my stash of old tablecloths, sheets, and blankets that I keep just for that purpose. 

Here are a few more of the ones I did bring in. 

This lovely thing is a Banyan tree and I just figured that out today with my wonderful Picture This! app. Kathleen gave it to me and I've had no idea what it was and I'm pretty excited because I love Banyan trees. I've just never thought of one being in a pot before. And yes, it does need a bigger pot and that will happen after winter but I read that they do like to be potbound so I've accidentally done the right thing by it. It sort of takes up half the hallway. 

The plant up there on the left is an arrowhead plant and it's gotten all sorts of out of control. I have the polka dot begonia on a little child's chair under the window and Mr. Moon isn't going to mind that his toilet area is compromised with that set up, right? 
I'll change it before he gets home. I promise!

There's another begonia and a pineapple plant in the dining room. That window does not get much sun but it'll have to do for now. I've got a few plants more stuck here and there and it's rather nice, having the green company. 

The first thing I did this morning before I moved plants around was to go out and cut my banana stalks off their trees. I did my research and found that what I thought was true IS true which is that those little banana fingers will get frozen and die when it gets below 32 degrees. One of the stalks was easily accessible to cut but the other one, the one I just discovered, was way too high for that so I had to cut the main part of the tree down with a sharp knife in order to harvest the fruit. That is fine because once a tree has produced fruit, it dies anyway. Now the fruit stalks are set to ripen in the old laundry room and I hope they do. 

Exotic decor, right? Goes perfectly with my darling Sue-Sue's vintage bark-cloth curtain. 

I also cut a bunch of fire spike today to stick in vases to root over the winter, some for Rachel and Hank and some for me to plant in the area where I pulled the poison ivy. So I have great bouquets of that all over the house too. 

While I was at it outside I picked up some branches and twigs and hauled them to the burn pile. 
Feels good to get some stuff done. 

And now it's closing in on night time, already dark, chickens up in the hen house, and the temperature is dropping. I know- I KNOW! We make way too much of a big deal about it around here when the thermometer goes down past thirty-two. We can't help it. 

Mr. Moon made it to Tennessee safely and has been sending me videos of SNOW! That transplanted Floridian is going to freeze his ass off in the deer stand. 
He'll love it. 
Last night as we were settling into our cozy bed I asked him to please kiss me good-bye before he left in the morning. He said, "You can kiss me after you make me a big breakfast," and we both laughed and laughed. I informed him that there were two packages of granola bars in his snack bag and that would have to do. I'm not best-wife enough to get up at four in the morning to make oatmeal.
But he did kiss me and I told him to be safe and that I love him and he said he'd be safe and that he loves me too. And then I turned over and went directly back to sleep although I could not sleep as late as I usually do. The house was just too quiet. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Sundays. Blah. Dang. Hell.

There is no reason for me to write a post tonight except for the fact that I feel like if I don't write a post I might inadvertently cause the end of the world or something because as Ann Lamott once wrote, "I am the piece of shit the world revolves around," which, although she sometimes annoys me, I find to be one of the most profound things I've ever read. 
Or at least relatable to me. 
Every woman I know adores Ann Lamott and I adored her too when I first read "Operating Instructions" because I felt like it was absolutely one of the most truthful books about motherhood I'd ever read but over the years I've grown weary hearing about the Uncle Jesus stuff even though I am glad that it works for her and that her faith gets her through the hard stuff and inspires thousands and thousands of others to get through their own hard stuff.
Maybe I'm just jealous, knowing that I don't have that kind of belief or the kind of church community she has. It would be so nice to believe that everything works out in the end according to a god's plan and we mostly have to just get out of the way and let it happen while striving to love one another. That's rather beautiful. I do definitely believe in the striving to love one another part but my ability to believe that there is a celestial plan is just about zero percent. However, I have gotten out of the way as much as possible, especially when it comes to believing that I can control anything except, of course, for the continuation of the universe as we know it, thus...I'm writing a post. 

How's that for a tangled web? 

God, it's been a dreary day. Dark all day and sort of damp and getting chillier and all day the fact that my husband is leaving tomorrow to go off into the unsafe world of disease and traffic has been in my heart and I'm not upset and I'm not mad and I'm not even especially worried but still...we've been in each other's pockets since March now and it's going to be different around here while he's gone. I made a huge pot of chili which I'm afraid is a little too spicy but there's nothing I can do now except advise him to make rice to mix with it. I also made a large batch of oatmeal, pecan, raisin, chocolate chip cookies to take which would sustain him for a week if that's all he had but he also has two bags of snacks to take with him so he won't starve. I'll bet you anything that those hunters will not finish up any of what I'm sending unless they stay up there for a month. 
Okay. Maybe the cookies. 

And I'll be fine. I plan on watching whatever I want on the TV at night and that will not include sports or muscle car restoration or drag racing or knife-forging of any kind and I will eat whatever my heart desires.
Honestly, I already do eat whatever my heart desires (within reason) because I plan the meals, do the shopping, and cook the food. And if I need anything at all, my children will help me and I probably won't need anything except maybe a little company and I think that I can arrange to visit with some grandboys and their mama to dispel any loneliness I might feel. 
And of course I have a nice flock of chickens and two insane cats to keep me company. Not to mention books, books, books. 

I am also most grateful for this sweet community right here that always makes me feel as if I have dear friends right next to me at all times. 
Thank you. 

Check in tomorrow evening if you want to and I'll let you know if I've cleaned the house, planted an acre of fruit trees, finished Obama's memoir, run a marathon, convinced Jack and Maurice to be BFF's and sweet snuggle-buddies, and figured out the meaning of life. 
Or, you know- made it through another day.
Also, you'll be able to thank me for not letting the world come to an end. You are so welcome!

Big love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, November 28, 2020

A Generally Cheerful Accounting Of A Day

If this Bradford pear leaf was a dance, it would be a Tango. Or perhaps the Electric Slide. Certainly not a minuet, a waltz or a (shudder) box step. It's a Cha-Cha of a leaf, a whirling Sufi dancer in a ballroom full of sedate people wearing somber gowns and too-tight tuxes, a Santeria priestess trance-dancing with a lit cigar clamped between her lips and a bottle of rum in her hand. 

Or something like that.

It's been a nice day although I've thought it was Sunday all day. I woke up from a strange dream wherein I was in a play and, as usual in these dreams, I had no knowledge of the script and my costume was not the one I was supposed to be wearing and I couldn't make my hair do what it was supposed to be doing BUT none of that mattered! Who cared? The play was being performed in a library, not on a stage, and I just kept laughing at my foibles. Of course, I did lose a child somewhere but that was an entirely different part of the dream. That part was stressful but the play sure wasn't. 

I made us a nice breakfast which we finished around noon because we were both being lazy and then did some crosswords and more laundry and eventually, went outside to do a little pulling of plants that have served their yearly purpose and also some weeds. I am listening to the audio version of The Queen's Gambit, the book, and quite enjoying it. So far it would appear that the series is quite faithful to the novel. We shall see if that continues to be the truth. 
While I was yardworking, my chickens came to observe what I was doing. 

What would I do without my chickens? And look what they gave me today:

These are semi-arranged in order of size, the largest one being the egg at approximately 2:30 which, although you can't tell, is HUGE, to the smallest which is little Miss Tweety's in the very center. I doubt that three of them would have the volume of the largest one. 

Here's a funny story involving eggs- Mr. Moon got a guy to come over to give him an estimate on how much it would cost to get some trees in the yard taken down. Now, as I have said before, my husband has been making deals since he was six years old when he sold a herd of cows. He lives to bargain. Loves it too. So he asked the tree guy what he was thinking for taking down the trees we want taken down. 
The tree guy says, "X thousand, five hundred." It is quite expensive to have trees taken down and I'm not saying what the "X" stood for and basically, I don't remember anyway. 
BUT. Tree Guy then says, "What were you thinking?" 
And Mr. Moon says, "X thousand and a dozen eggs." 
Tree Guy says, "Sounds good," and they shook on it. 
We are now joking about how our eggs are worth five hundred dollars a dozen. That's approximately $41.67 an egg. 
My hens should be proud. 

And so it goes. Maurice and Jack had a huge fight in the middle of the night and now Jack can't walk on one of his paws and Maurice has spent the entire day sleeping in the Pack'n'Play. What is WRONG with those cats? Kum Bah Yah, you assholes! 

And to end the day on a festive note, I just got a text from Jessie with pictures. They went down to Tate's Hell today to cut a Christmas tree. There's some program where you can pay a fee and go out and cut your own tree just like the pioneers (and my family when I was young) did, and they got stuck but they Macgyvered their way out so all was well. 

As I always say, Florida isn't all about Disney World and Miami Beach. There's Tate's Hell, too. 


Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, November 27, 2020

A Little Sweetness In The Soup Is A Very Good Thing

This is another picture of a banana bloom and not a good picture because the light was weird and the bloom itself looks gray rather than the red it actually is but here's why I took the picture- this is a completely different bloom from the one I've shown you (repeatedly) growing on a completely different banana tree (tree?) and I didn't even notice it until yesterday when Jessie was digging up worms in the bed where it's growing. I only pass by it about twenty-four times a day. As I always wonder- what in hell else am I missing?
But I am glad it's there. And I'm very glad that we're getting a little more rain to help those bananas and the garden and every other growing thing because dang it- we need it. Things are drying up. Even the incredibly hardy firespike is drooping and looking so very tired. 

Which is how I felt when I woke up this morning. Drooping and so very tired. And so I haven't done very much today. A ton of laundry because I went for an entire day (or was it two?) without doing any and for whatever reason, baskets full of laundry collected. And I do not mind because doing laundry is the least onerous chore in the world, as far as I'm concerned. It makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something even when all I have to do is walk to the laundry room, take things from one machine and put them into another and push some buttons. I do fold directly from the dryer but folding clothes is something I could do in the dark. I remember a thing a neighbor of my mother's told her once when he looked across his backyard to see her taking in laundry from the clothesline in her backyard which was, "Ruth, I don't know if y'all are the dirtiest people I've ever known or the cleanest." 
I think of this frequently as I start yet another load. 

I also made soup today. This has been an all day process. I boiled the turkey carcass for many hours and added what leftover broth I had from boiling giblets and some celery and onions and garlic and achiote paste that I buy in Mexico and which I love. I threw in leftovers from yesterday including greens and green bean casserole and...what else? Oh yeah, leftovers from before Thanksgiving including broccoli and cheese sauce and also cut-up baked sweet potatoes, delicata squash, apples, and raisins. Yes. Yes I did. Some old mushrooms that had totally reached their peak got thrown in along with some cut up cherry tomatoes that were dancing on the edge of evil, and some frozen corn. And some brown rice. I have filled up the biggest new faux La Creuset dutch oven with this concoction. And believe it or not, it's pretty darn tasty. 

Also, I can send most of it to Tennessee with Mr. Moon along with the chili I'm going to make so they can alternate meals nightly. I imagine that Mr. Moon's friend may question the presence of raisins but I will advise my husband to simply say Gourmet if he brings the issue up. That word covers a lot of ground and can explain mysterious and unusual ingredients found in food. Or so I've found.
Let me add that after months of using these Tramontina enameled cast iron pots that I got at Costco, I am still completely happy with them. I noticed that they are back in stock at our Costco in the Christmas present section and if any one of you is thinking about trying them, I'd say go for it. So far they have been lovely pots. 
And do we even need to mention that milage and performance may vary in your house? 

So here's another thing I did today- a bit of desultory online shopping for a new stove. I'd been simply googling "30 inch gas stoves" and was getting what I am sure are perfectly practical and fine stove suggestions but today I made the mistake of googling "High-end 30 inch gas stoves."
What a difference a mere modifier can make! 
Now we're talkin'. 
I have, however, been down this path once before when Mr. Moon and I redid a kitchen and he bought me a Viking stove that was huge and gorgeous and cost as much as a French automobile and which ended up being a pain in my ass in ways that I never could have imagined. We tried to get Viking to come and fix the thing but they said, "So sorry. Your warranty is expired," and I wrote the president of the company a letter that amused him so much that he sent an entire crew out to check on this stove to see if it the electronic igniters indeed caused the telephone to ring when used and if I was actually using an old axe-handle to keep the oven door propped closed. 
They were and I was. 
They fixed everything. Free of charge. Which makes that letter the most well-paid writing I ever did. 
So Big Names do not impress me but quality does. Of course it's impossible to tell what the actual performance of a particular stove will actually be until you buy it, but research does help. I'll probably end up going to the local appliance store where we have established a relationship and I'll ask them to tell me what I want and they will. 
All of this for a woman who had her first thrilling epiphany concerning cooking while boiling an iron pot of vegetables over an open fire on a mountain in North Carolina during a Girl Scout primitive camping event and who for quite awhile, cooked in a stove that had no thermostat for the oven. Successfully, I might add. 
I just really like to cook. 
And to wander along this vein for another second, my husband bought me a new bread knife this week which is such a joy to use that I can't even describe it. I've been using my grandfather's bread knife my entire life and it has become a bit...dull. He was born in 1888 so you can only imagine. I do have a lot of emotional attachment to his knife so perhaps I should give it a proper burial. Or just keep it in the knife holder for fat, juicy tomatoes which it will still cut nicely. It's just not up to the challenge of sourdough bread which needs to be cut without smushing the loaf. And this new knife does it. 

And I guess that's about all my news from Lloyd. Well, I did get to do a FaceTime call with one of my oldest dearhearts this morning and although FaceTime is a most unsatisfactory method of communication in some ways and although I always obsess about how I probably look, it was a beautiful conversation with a beautiful friend and I ended up crying a bit and we told each other we love each other and I am just so grateful for friends like that. 
Some poison ivy has broken out on my inner arms but it would have been a miracle if that hadn't happened. It's not so bad as these things go. A mere slight annoyance. 

Here I go to stir the Gourmet Soup and heat up some of The Very Best Dinner Rolls. There will also be pie. I decided last night after a small amount of random sampling that when it comes to pecan-based pies, the plain old simple pecan pie is superior over the deadly rich chocolate pecan pie. It's like we took perfection and messed with it. 
That is just my opinion. Sometimes Gourmet is not what is needed. Amazing but true.

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Thanksgiving, 2020

I bet you that a whole lot of Americans, and not to be sexist but mostly women, are sitting back right now thinking about their smaller Thanksgiving celebrations and saying, "Well, that didn't suck so bad." I did very much miss all the rest of my children and grandchildren who couldn't be here today but honestly- small can be sweet and we've been in touch with each other all day, sending pictures back and forth, sending love. 

I didn't even get up until nine o'clock although I woke up at six when August jumped in the bed with us but it was okay because he did some serious cuddling and didn't talk much. At seven his grandfather got up with him and I'm pretty sure that Jessie and Vergil and Levon had already been up for quite awhile. When I finally made it to the kitchen, Jessie had already made her spinach and artichoke casserole and the boys were rocking and rolling. I got started on the stuffing which August helped me with. 

He peeled a hardboiled egg and cut it up and he smushed up the cornbread. 

He's a handy little lad in the kitchen with decent knife skills. 
Later on in the morning, Vergil and Boppy took the boys out to the woods to walk around and do some fishing with worms they'd collected in my little garden bed beside the kitchen which turns out to be thick with the wriggly critters. While they were gone, Jessie and I rambled around the kitchen and cut things up and stirred things and talked about things and laughed a lot and did a shot of rum, and I stuffed the little turkey and put it in the oven and for some damn reason that eight-pound turkey cooked twice as long as some fifteen pound turkeys I've cooked and still didn't get done all the way. And I know the oven was working because other things in there sure did get baked. I have no idea what that was about. It held the stuffing nicely though and the white meat was edible. I'll cook the rest of it for soup. We had greens from both Jessie's garden and ours and they were pure good. I did not like the green bean casserole, made with some of my own beans that had been frozen. I'm pretty sure I won't be doing the raw freeze again. They're okay for soups and stews but not so much for other recipes. We had the spinach and artichoke casserole which is a sin and delicious. Stuffing and gravy were fine. The cranberry relish was delicious. And the rolls were superb. 

I tried a recipe I found online and it was called something like The Very Best Dinner Rolls and Jessie and I kept joking about that- why would you use any other recipe? When we ate them I said, "You know, Jessie, they might just BE the very best dinner rolls." After going through the pickles and olives and cheese and crackers, August and Levon basically both ate a roll apiece and saved the rest of their tummies for pie. 

I have to tell you that this boy is absolutely hysterical. He looked at his brother eating his pie with his fingers and said, "Hey guy! Use your fork!" If anyone knows the value of the correct tool for the job, it is Levon. 

So it was a very nice day and there was a little hallway dancing by these two sweethearts. 

It was Vergil's turn for the wild hair. I think his wife likes it. 
And while we were eating I made Vergil tell us about meeting Jessie and how that went and that segued into how I met Mr. Moon and so forth.
Love stories are the best stories, aren't they? 

Things got a bit rough when it was time for the Weatherfords to leave. The TV had to be turned off and August, who was suffering from TV addiction cold turkey withdrawal, exhaustion, and possibly sugar overload, wailed and wailed and wailed. He wanted to finish watching The Grinch and he would not stop crying. It was the most crying I've ever heard from him. Levon cried a little bit in solidarity and then he got over it but no matter what anyone said or did, August could not get over the sadness of no Grinch. No one fussed at him about it or told him he was being silly. We all know that sometimes crying is what you need to do. His daddy held him and said, "I know, I know." 
At the end, August and I were the last ones in the Glen Den, everyone else packing up and tidying up and I said, "August, do you want me to hold you?"
"NO!" he wailed. 
"Do you want me to kiss you?"
"NO!" he cried. 
"Do you want me to leave you alone?"
"NO!" he sobbed. 
And he was crying when they left. 
But they left with so many leftovers and and our love and the memory of the fun we'd had. Last night after the kids went to sleep, I made Jessie and Vergil and Mr. Moon watch this...advertisement? that I'd seen on FB that day. 

We laughed and laughed and laughed. As crazy as this world is, as much as I despair that things are just so fucked and that we are living in the end times, I do have to stop and realize that weed is legal in many states, Tommy Chong is now able to get stoned without fear of prison and is married to a beautiful, hot wife, there is marriage equality, Joe Biden will soon be our president, and Keith Richards is still alive. 
And so is Tommy Chong. 

I hear owls hooting in the distance. We got the tiniest bit of rain today and it may rain again in the next few days. There are three types of pie in the refrigerator- chocolate pecan, regular pecan, and Jessie's key lime and my bed is waiting and my copy of Barack Obama's book is lying beside it. My children and grandchildren are all safe and well in their own cozy homes with enough to eat and we all love each other. The man whom I met and knew within a week was going to ask me to marry him is here and he still loves me and I sure do love him. 

What more could a woman ask? 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

The Ghosts Of Thanksgivings Past

 Yesterday Lily asked for my chocolate pecan recipe so I got it out and took pictures and sent it to her. I think I should probably recopy the recipe, don't you? But I used it today to make a lovely pie for us and then I made Mrs. Matthew's recipe for plain pecan pie and here's what I have on the counter now.

Making these pies I always remember the woman we called Granny Matthews and I have written about her frequently. If you are curious, do a search up there at the top left of the page for either Mrs. Matthews or Granny Matthews although I must warn you that some of the stories she is involved in are, well, difficult. Still, she has a very warm spot in my heart and I like remembering her. 

Today has been a day for memories. I watched a five minute video that someone took of driving down the malecon in Cozumel and I watched it, remembering every block as somewhere I have walked, shopped, eaten, drank, danced, or stayed. It brought tears to my eyes. So much magic there for me and I miss it horribly. And of course, memories of Thanksgivings past are evoked by not only the physical recipe cards but by smells and actions, the specific ingredients as I chop them, roll them, prepare them. I have been making Thanksgiving dinners since 1976 and I know that because it was the year that Hank was born and my then-husband's sweet mother and her partner came and ate with us and I'll never forget that she put all of the leftovers away for me which was the greatest gift she could have given me. I remember Thanksgivings where I was pregnant and so tired that after I got the dinner on the table I excused myself and took a nap. I remember Thanksgivings where I set up tables all over my living room like a small restaurant because we had so many guests. I remember Thanksgivings where people stayed so long that I found some of them sleeping in bedrooms hours after the meal was over. I remember Thanksgivings where I was resentful, Thanksgivings where I was truly thankful, Thanksgivings with people whom I loved and adored who are no longer here. 
And I remember the Thanksgiving Eves where after a long day of cooking and prepping, I threw giant parties for musician friends and family and neighbors and loved ones of all description. A bonfire, oysters raw and roasted, pasta and so much more and this old, old house welcomed everyone so gracefully and graciously in rooms, porches, and the yard. 

How did I do that? I do not know. 

But here we are in this quite different year and Jessie and Vergil and the boys are here and I've done all the things I listed yesterday that I needed to do and cleaned out the hen house, too, and there are piles of stuffed animals on beds and little boys watching TV with their grandfather and we are going to eat pizza tonight, thank god, that I bought frozen from Publix yesterday. I thought about making my own but then I thought better. 

I am looking forward to tomorrow where Jessie and I will finish up the cooking while the little guys and the big guys wander in and out of the kitchen. No pressure at all. The eating of the meal is not the point of it, in my estimation. That happens so fast and then, it is done. It is the cooking, the loving, the gathering, the rituals, the love. Or at least, whatever parts of that we can do here in 2020. 
And the dancing in the hallway and the sip of yum rum. Mr. Moon came through on that one. 

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all. It's going to be different this year but we still have much to be grateful for. So very, very much. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

We Go On As Best We Can

There's the ram statue down the road from us at what I call, "El Rancho." I have no idea what the numbers signify. Could be the address for all I know. But it's looking quite spiffy, isn't it? I would not be surprised to see flowers planted around it at some point. As I passed by today, I also saw two beautiful, huge black cows, resting under the trees. "Hello!" I called in my saying-hello-to-cows voice. They looked at me with fierce indifference which sounds like an oxymoron but I swear it is not when it comes to these cows. 
Or cats. 

It did not please me nearly as much to see the two Trump signs that I'd pulled out of the dirt and laid down on public property a few weeks ago, now re-erected. 
I pulled them again and laid them back down but on my way to town I noted that one of them had been put back up. Why only one? I need to either let that shit go or be really evil and dispose of the signs but in my innocent and crazy heart, that would be theft. 
Which I am no good at. 

And yes, I did go to town and it was terrible. I really did make an effort last week to get everything we'd need for Thanksgiving so that I didn't have to go in this week but of course that came to naught. Thanksgiving really is covered but Mr. Moon is going to drive up to Tennessee on Monday to hunt with an old, old friend and both of them are being tested for Covid and they are going to isolate when they're not in the woods and it was suggested to me that if I made a huge pot of chili, they could eat on that for days, thus cutting down on their trips out to procure food. 
What's a good wife to do? 
I bought all the stuff I need to make that huge pot of chili and also a lot of snacks so that my husband doesn't have to stop on the road as often and if I'm in a particularly good mood this weekend, I may even make him cookies to take. 
I really am a very fine wife. But honestly, he is the finest husband. 
When he told me about the trip I was of course worried about the covid situation. Still, I think they will be as safe as they can be. And generally, when he goes off to hunt I feel as if I'm on a little vacation of my own. I love being alone and rarely get lonely but I am so very used to having him around now that I actually teared up at the thought of him being gone. 
It'll be okay. And I will still see Jessie and the boys and also Lily and her children for backyard visits.

Speaking of- Jessie and Vergil are going to spend the night tomorrow so that we can get up early and start cooking Thursday morning and the guyfolk can do projects or whatever it is that they want to do. Jessie said that this morning the boys heard her and Vergil talking about this plan and immediately rushed to get ready. 

"That's a lot of luggage," I texted her. 
"It's all stuffed animals and trucks," she texted back. 
Aren't they the little style mavens? 
Yes. Yes they are.

So Costco was okay and Brenda, she of the beautiful mermaid eyeshadow, was wearing a gold sequined mask. I love that woman. Publix was horrible, though. So many people and I should not have even been there but I was NOT going to go on Friday or Saturday or Sunday either. I raced about and got my chili stuff and snack stuff and other stuff and got out of there as quickly as I could. I honestly felt like I was going to have a panic attack right there and did indeed get all hot and sweaty and spacey but I managed to escape. 

So that was my day and I'm making split pea soup and for some reason the split peas are taking forever to cook so I guess they're as ancient as Egypt. Hell, I even soaked them which you do not generally need to do. 

Tomorrow will be boiling giblets day and making cornbread for stuffing day and making Mrs. Matthew's chocolate pecan pie day and so on and so forth. And even though so much will be the same, so much will be different. We certainly will not be going out tomorrow night to hear music which is the traditional thing for us to do but maybe we can do a little hallway dancing. 
And maybe Mr. Moon will get me a bottle of dark rum tomorrow when he has to go to town so that I can have my yum-rum sip and toast to my dear Lynn with whom I shared that tradition for so many years on so many Thanksgiving mornings and I will say, "Whoop-Ai-Ay!" as she always said and then I'll go baste my turkey. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, November 23, 2020

In Which I am Somehow Uplifted

 It's been an interesting day and mostly a very good one. It's been cooler, for one thing. Still warm enough for me to break a sweat on the walk which I took this morning. Last week, in my slugfest state, I did not walk once and this morning I knew I absolutely had to and I'm glad I did although this sight presented itself to me as I walked past my next door neighbors' house. 

They have not only replaced the original Trump sign, they've added a new one. And the "Women for Trump" sticker which had been scraped off the back window of their car has also been replaced. 
This all leads me to believe that the original sign and sticker were stolen although it's hard to believe that anyone would take the time and energy to scrape that sticker off a window. 
Jesus H. Christ. Am I really going to have to look at those signs for another four years? Forever? 
I have to admit that I felt downhearted, seeing these signs. One of the worst parts about them is that the new one is practically in the yard of the church which lies between our houses and it is a Black church and I have no reason to believe that our neighbors didn't put that damn horrible racist sign as close to their property line as they could. 

But then this cheered me.

Have I mentioned that another neighbor put this up recently? It makes me so happy. I've been asking Mr. Moon to make me one for years but it's low on the project list and hasn't happened yet but having this one so near is almost as good. I have taken some books and magazines down there and put them in including one kid book that I NEVER WANT TO READ AGAIN because Owen loved it so much and I read it to him about a million times. It's an Elmo book and thus, no great piece of literature. But here's a funny thing- recently, Boud, of Field and Fen had posted about books she's reading and one of them was an Anne Tyler book. "The Beginner's Goodbye." In my comment to her post, I had said that I did not remember reading that one and I thought I'd read all of her books except for her newest one and that I needed to get a copy of it. And lo and behold what should I find in the little library today but that very same book? 
It came home with me. 
What a very nice coincidence! 
As I was walking, a truck honked at me and pulled over and goodness, gracious- look who was in that truck!

I know. I know. It's a terrible picture of two beautiful boys. Vergil was taking them to a local river and they were on their way to stop at our house to borrow Boppy's trolling motor. What a nice surprise! 

And the rest of my walk was sweet. I did not walk fast but took my time and spent an hour outdoors and I had a little chat with Jacob and Emma who were sitting in their yard. I came home and hung laundry on the line and had lunch and made Mr. Moon's lunch and then I put on my gardening overalls and went out and attacked a small piece of ground near the sidewalk where my husband had poisoned some poison ivy which sort of worked but of course, not really because even a nuclear device would not completely eradicate poison ivy and I've been meaning to get out there and pull what's coming up before it becomes another murder jungle. I wore gloves but felt the entire time as if I was probably the stupidest person on earth although I know that Ellen  has been doing the same thing on her property over in Texas. Maybe we're not stupid so much as just...stubborn? 
Whatever. I gave it my best shot although I know I left a ton of the stuff in the ground via roots which are long and thick and travel far. While I was working a guy from down the road who travels about in a motorized wheelchair came by and he stopped and we talked for a few minutes. We've never really done that, he and I, although we see each other all the time. He's one of the regular visitors at No Man Lord's and lives right across the street from him. He showed me a picture on his phone of the car wreck he'd been in which is the reason he's in a wheelchair. It was horrific. It didn't look like anyone could have possibly survived in that flattened mess of steel and glass. 
"Good Lord!" I said. "How are you still alive?"
He told me that it was because of angels, his mother being the main one. I'm not going to say it wasn't because some sort of miracle had obviously occurred. 
He's a handsome man and his face appears to be unscarred. 
He's also a popular man. Every local car that passed honked at him and he waved at them all. Finally he asked if I'd seen Pinot and I said that no, I had not, and he said that he was going to go down to where he stays and see if he could find him and off he went. 

When I finished up with all of the poison ivy I wanted to pull, I came in the house, threw my clothes in the washing machine and took a hot shower with Dr. Bronner's, scrubbing every bit of my body, even the parts that had been covered. We shall see what happens. 

So it's been a good day and here's a picture of Magnolia June that Lily sent in a group text. 

She is holding a little green anole she named "Girl" and trying to convince her mother not to make her let it go so that she can keep it as a pet. 
That child. 
Hank sent an attachment of the video of the song "Born Free" by Andy Williams and this message: 

"Play her that. Hold her and sway. Tell her it's best for everyone and that Girl is a wild lizard who must reach her potential out in the world."

I might quite possibly have the best family in the whole damn world. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Look- The Earth Is Not Flat And The Emperor Is Completely Naked

I have been just terrible at answering comments the last few days. Lord knows I have enough time but as I've noticed since this whole isolation thing has begun, time is just ridiculously slippery somehow. Today for instance was another day when I haven't gotten comments answered and for no good reason. The day somehow away from me and here it is, about to be dark and I've got to cook supper and I want to get something written here although for the life of me, I do not know what. 

It's been another regular day in these somewhat unusual times, meaning I have been home and have done regular things. I worked in the garden a little, replanting some beets and spinach, weeding and thinning. I did a few crosswords. I...
What else? 
Nothing, really. 

Took a nap. There. That messed me up. I almost never nap these days. There's just no excuse and god knows I don't want to interfere with my greatest pleasure which is falling asleep at night. My sleep is a respite from the insanity which is life today in America. I keep thinking about the old saw of putting a frog in a pot of cool water and putting it on the heat and how the poor frog doesn't realize he's in danger until the water reaches boiling point. That's what it's felt like here in the states since 2016 when Trump became president. Remember how shocked people were when he claimed, baselessly and easily proven false, that he'd gotten the biggest crowd for his inauguration in history? We were outraged, we were dumbfounded! It was perfectly clear from the pictures that no, he had not. And. yet...he insisted it was true. His minions insisted it was true and the term, "alternate facts" was invented. 
I feel as if we've been living in an alternative universe since then.
Bizarro world, if you will. 
And it has only gotten worse. Even now, it seems that few news outlets dare to call Trump's "alternate facts" lies which is absolutely what they are. He lies every time he opens his mouth and those lies have ranged from the patently ridiculous to the deadly dangerous, especially when they have involved the pandemic. 
It turns out that the lesson in the old tale of the Emperor's New Clothes is as true today as it was when it came out in 1837 in Anderson's Fairy Tales for Children. As much as we humans would love to believe that we are far more sophisticated and educated than any generations before us, we obviously are not, and the advent of the internet has allowed those who proclaim the emperor not to be naked but in fact, to be clothed in the finest velvets and silks and linens ever seen in the history of the universe that they are absolutely correct! New myths and legends are born and believed, perpetrated by the internet to fit the alternative facts and thus we have conspiracy theories and QAnon and I don't-even-want-to-know that seemingly no rational person could ever possibly believe, and yet- here we are. 
We are at the point where we aren't surprised at all when the nude emperor struts about claiming that he won an election that he so obviously lost. We sit and drum our fingers waiting for the days to pass until the new president is inaugurated and the petulant orange penguin has waddled off in chains, if necessary.
But even though we can feel fairly certain that our systems will work to ensure a transition (I don't even dare call it a peaceful transition), there is always the fear that nothing else has gone as it should in this administration and that somehow sanity will not prevail, something horrible and unthinkable will occur, and, well- I dare not even say what could happen. 

And off course the unending months of the virus spreading across our land, our world, making us redefine our very existences would be enough to trigger insanity in most of us in "normal" times and these are absolutely not normal in any way, shape, or fashion. 

No wonder we've lost our bearings, our senses of safety, security, motivation and also our minds. 

At least that's how I feel tonight. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Sometimes We Can't Help But Cry

Lily brought her children over today for what is becoming our regular Saturday visit. Magnolia was carrying flowers that they brought me and I was so surprised. 
"Why did you get me flowers?" I asked. 
"Because we love you," said Lily. 
Fifty million heart emojis. 

We have our routine down. Someone has to get Maggie the toys she will want to play with which are the farm and the little rabbits and bears with their houses. Gibson likes to play with some magnet toys while we chat at the table outside. Today Owen and Boppy did some target shooting with an air gun. Or BB gun. I don't know. It wasn't very loud. So that was a bit different. Lily and Gibson and I caught up and then I made us a little lunch of cheese toasts and chips and salsa and pickles and there is a routine to that now, too. I bring out plates and Lily sanitizes her hands and serves her children's plates and we make do. Today Miss Pecky came around and in a horrible move, thinking she saw something worth eating on Gibson's knee, she pecked a scab which drew blood and hurt him very much. Then the dang chicken flew up and grabbed a cheese toast! I never knew her to be so bold. She didn't mean to hurt Gibson. Chickens often peck at our toes, especially if we're wearing toenail polish, thinking that perhaps we have food at the end of our feet. Chickens are very food-oriented. You've probably guessed that by now. 

And so it was pleasant and Maggie found eggs and we joked and laughed and discussed and I teared up a little when we started talking about Thanksgiving and soon it was time for them to go. 

Yes. We are still in flip-flops or barefooted around here. I did change out my tank top for a shirt with sleeves a little while ago. 

Nothing else to report except that Maurice seems to be softening a little bit after her two-day accidental isolation in the garage. Last night, not only did she sleep on the bed but she actually moved off the pillow that she's been sleeping on between Mr. Moon and me and crept down to snuggle next to my hip. This is new. She and Jack continue to play with the cat toys I bought but also continue to pretend that they are not if we interrupt their play, staring innocently off into the middle distance and when we leave the hallway, we hear the jingle of the little toys again as they are batted about.  

It is so strange that my life has become so small that new cat behaviors are something worth nothing. I have got to get more motivated because I seem to just do less and less lately. Doing the basic chores and anticipating bed time is hardly a life being lived fully. I remember back when this whole pandemic started and there seemed to be more motivation- to flatten the curve, to stay safe and keep others safe, to make use of all the food because shopping was so perilous, to savor each minute because life seemed even more tenuous than ever. Of course nothing has really changed. We still need to stay safe, to keep others safe, to keep the health care workers from being completely overcome. Using all the food is always a good idea and a noble goal. And life is actually even more tenuous than it was in March, shopping even more perilous, considering the statistics. 
I don't know. I just don't know. But I do know that seeing children and grandchildren when I can't hug them or kiss them or cuddle them is just damn hard and not getting easier. Having Jessie and her family in our bubble is life-saving but having to observe stark precautions around the rest of them is overwhelmingly sad sometimes. 

When I stood by the car waiting to tell them all good-bye today, Magnolia held a ballon that she'd gotten at Publix. "What is August's favorite color?" she asked me. I told her that August's favorite color is actually rainbow- all the colors. "What about this color?" she asked, indicating the red balloon that was floating, anchored by a plastic star, the string in her pudgy beautiful hand. 
"Yes, he likes that color," I said. 
"Why don't you keep this balloon and give it to August?" she asked me. My heart broke. She misses her cousins so. I told her that it would probably deflate before I saw him again. 
She was sipping on a juice in a bottle with a Frozen character on it. 

"You keep this," she said. "You keep it with your cups."
"I don't know that I'd have much use for it," I said. "You keep it, Maggie."
"No. Levon can use it when he comes over." 
I thanked her and told her that that was so very sweet and that I loved her, that she, too, can use it when she comes over.
"Because Levon loves me?" she asked. I said that yes, he did.

I took the bottle and will indeed keep it with my cups for when Levon comes over. 

Fucking virus. 
We go on.

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, November 20, 2020

Just A Very Good Day

 Today was the perfect antidote to yesterday's in-town stress and anxiety and resulting exhaustion. This morning Jessie texted and asked if I'd like to go to a park or the Jr. Museum with them or hiking or something and I said that yes, I would, but I'd also love to have them out here because I am lazy as hell. She said they'd like that very much and so out they came and it was just a sweet day. 

August and I seemed to reach a new level in our relationship today. It started when we were in the driveway, sort of looking for treasure but sort of just hanging out. The boys had shovels and trowels and were scraping at the hard ground and finding little chips of glass and old china and I got a chair and just sat down so that Jessie and I could chat, which we did. She was sitting on the ground and August came and draped himself around her, mostly on her lap and finally she said, "August, this isn't very comfortable for me." 
"Come sit on my lap," I said, patting the cushiony comfort of my legs. I was not expecting him to take me up on my offer. As I have said before, August isn't a big snuggler but up he came, and there he sat for the longest time. I scratched his back which all little children love and which actually, all of us love. I often say that we do not realize how itchy our backs are until someone scratches them for us. We are apes at heart, are we not? And as such, we don't do nearly enough social grooming. Levon came and joined us for awhile, squeezing in next to his brother and I was in complete heaven. 

Eventually, it was lunch time and we all came into the house and ate various leftovers and peanut butter and honey and raisin sandwiches. Juice and graham crackers for dessert. And then it was book time. We read another two chapters of "Charlotte's Web" and "The Very Best Nest" and "Babar's Cousin: That Rascal Arthur" which we had never read and enjoyed tremendously. We agreed that it was a fine book and we were glad we'd read it. Levon had lost interest after "The Very Best Nest" and he and Jessie went out to play some more but August wanted to look at my big mermaid book again. This is a coffee table book that May got me one year for Christmas and August loves to look at all the mermaid pictures. We discussed the various mermaids from around the world and throughout history and I tried to explain what myths and legends are and we talked about the pictures and what they might mean and it reminded me so much of looking at my grandfather's big National Geographic book about early man. Granddaddy didn't read it to me- it was way too dense for a child of my age- but we talked about the pictures and what they might mean. A magical place from which my imagination to leap and I still remember that with a fierce fondness. 

I felt that way today with August. Like we were making a bond or strengthening a bond that has been forming between us since he was born but which has had to be nurtured slowly and organically. I never want to be a granny who demands kisses or hugs. That is wrong on so many levels. Nor do I want to pretend to be a character whom I am not in order to please children. I want my relationships with my grandchildren to be like my relationships with my children and my friends- based on our real selves and a mutual enjoyment of our company together. Otherwise- what's the point? 

But okay, yeah, yeah. I do give them M&M's as a going-away treat because I want them to love me so I need to get off my high horse and admit that truth. 
I am a grandma after all. 

Here's August explaining something to me while I was taking the clothes off the line. 

It may have been about his trophies, one of which he got for sewing "faster than a sewing machine!" 
Mmmm. Okay. 
No worries about his imagination. 

When Jessie and the boys were in the car and ready to go, August said to his mother, "Did you know that sometimes when I am talking to you I am talking to myself?"

She looked at me and I looked at her and we both laughed. Because...yeah. 
And then Levon added something about "toots" to the conversation which I am sure was hysterical because toots are never not funny. 
And off they drove. 
"I love you! I love you!" 

And I came in and made my cranberry relish and put the clean sheets on the bed. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, November 19, 2020

I Bought Bacon, Butter, And Barack

I have taken exactly zero pictures today. I've been too busy doing things that did not beg for posterity through photography if you know what I mean. It was not a stop-and-smell-the-roses-and-then-take-a-picture sort of day. It was a get-your-ass-to-town-and-get-shit-done sort of day. 

I did not procrastinate as badly as I usually do on shopping days but it was still almost noon before I left the house. I stopped by Hank and Rachel's with eggs, venison, and a pair of socks they'd left over here. I got to see Rachel but Hank was asleep because, as August told me a little while ago, "Hank is nocturnal."

Yes. Yes he is. Hank stays awake and makes sure that the world is turning as it should while the rest of us slumber. When we get up and begin to function, he hands over the running of the planet to us and goes off to bed for his well-deserved sleep. It is the service he provides. I had to laugh this morning over the comments on a Hank FB post. May commented at some ungodly hour of the morning and Hank replied, "Why are you awake?" and she answered, "Because I have to be at work in two hours and I need this time because I am old." To which Hank said, "As long as it works for you. This is when I do the dishes and work on my trivia chores."
This sums up the difference in siblings quite nicely, I believe.

Anyway, after I chatted with Rachel for a few minutes I went to a local compounding pharmacy where I get my hormones. That was fine and everything was fine but I was treading on the edge of sharp anxiety all day long. I was very hungry though, and decided to order pick-up at a seafood restaurant near Costco, my next stop and so I did. I ordered a grilled fish sandwich and some cole slaw and I picked them up and ate them in a shady spot in the parking lot. The sandwich was surprisingly delicious and it gave me another reason not to rush right on in to the giant warehouse of Costcolandia. 
I really wasn't feeling it today. I got the stuff I needed plus a copy of Barack Obama's new book. I'd been listening to an interview with him on Fresh Air while I was driving around and was so pleased to find the book. 
My GOD! What a gracious, funny, brilliant, well-spoken man he is. Comparing him to the Orange Intestine is, well- pointless. There is no comparison. One was one of the best presidents this country has ever had and a man whom dogs and children love and whom women swoon over and men envy for his coolness and basketball abilities while the other is a poor imitation of a human male who has to pay women to sleep with him, has probably never had a pet in his life nor read a book in his life, can hardly make it down a ramp without assistance, and who makes children cry just by his very presence and who has almost single-handedly destroyed democracy. 
But I digress. I can't wait to read the book although I want to finish the one I'm reading now which was written by a guy in the group of people with whom I went to Cuba, entitled Harmony and Normalization: US Cuban Musical Diplomacy. Tim Storhoff is the author's name and Lis and I both came to adore him on the trip because he was so funny and so sweet and sometimes told dirty jokes about Bach and his organ. His book is quite scholarly but his style is accessible and I'm enjoying it. I had no idea that Tim was a scholar at all when I first met him but I suspected right away that he was a lot smarter than the rest of us. He is one of those quiet smart guys that listens a lot and then suddenly comes up with something that sort of blows your mind. 
He's definitely not only the smartest guy in the room, he's also truly the coolest. 

There's Tim and his book. And I must say that Obama comes off quite well in it. If not for his policies on Cuba, I would never have been able to visit that amazing country so close and yet so far away and neither would have the Rolling Stones. 

Lord, I'm rambling. I'm sorry. I really am exhausted. Once again I felt as if I was in Publix for an eternity and then I came home and unloaded everything and put everything away and made chili and folded laundry and unloaded the dishwasher and I have the oven preheating now for the loaf of sourdough that's about ready to be popped in. 
Speaking of ovens- I want a new one. My stove is...adequate. But there is much about it which does not make me happy. My stove is my most-used tool and I am itching for a better one. I suppose I should start doing some research.

So I guess I'm ready for Thanksgiving, whatever that means. I bought a tiny turkey because all I really care about at the Thanksgiving dinner is stuffing (not dressing), cranberry/orange/pecan relish, and green bean casserole. Yeah. Really. And now I have the ingredients for those things so whatever...

Mostly I just want us all to be safe. I saw people buying huge turkeys and carts full of beverages and pies and rolls and all of the things that one would need to feed a huge gathering of people and I wanted to slap them and say, "WHAT THE FUCK?" 
How many people who attend huge Thanksgiving dinners will end up in the ICU by Christmas? How long can our health care workers keep doing what they're doing before they break? How long before our entire health care system breaks down entirely? 

Like I said, I'm tired. We're all tired. Some of us can probably barely get out of bed on their days off. Let's try not to add to the problems. Cranberry sauce and pumpkin pies aren't worth risking lives for. They just aren't. 

Be well.

Love...Ms. Moon